Media manipulation

March 18th, 2010 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

As New Zealand anti- activist sat confined in Japanese custody yesterday his eldest daughter turned 15, unsure of when she will next see her father.

How is this a story? It is not as if the Japanese Government sent a squad of ninjas to kidnap Bethune from his family home.

Bethune trespassed on board a Japanese ship, knowing he was breaking the law in doing so. He has in fact been looked after well on the ship, fed and given a room. And when back in Japan, he is of course facing charges for his trespass.

The sole reason he is not at home for his daughter’s birthday is because he chose not to be there – he chose to board the Japanese ship.

Danielle’s mother, Sharyn, was showing “remarkable resilience” through the tough time, which had been a struggle for the family emotionally and financially, he said. The pair have another daughter Alycia, who is 13.

It is a shame Bethune has abandoned his family. But that was his choice. Bethune wanted to be arrested, and wants to have a trial in Japan.

Personally if I was the Japanese Government I’d avoid a trial and just kick him out. But have no doubt that is the last thing Bethune wants – to be home with his family. He wants a high profile trial.

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46 Responses to “Media manipulation”

  1. Pete George (23,591 comments) says:

    At least his family should know he should be safer now in Japan than he was playing dodgem in the Southern Ocean.

    It would be interesting to know if he would have been at home for his daughter’s birthday if he wasn’t in Japan.

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  2. KiwiGreg (3,255 comments) says:

    If he gets jail time in Japan he will not enjoy it.

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  3. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,903 comments) says:

    I hope they feed him on nothing but whale meat and sea weed for the duration of his trial and subsequent incarceration.

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  4. RRM (9,933 comments) says:

    ^^^ Japanese sea weed stuff is bloody good. Worse things could happen than that.

    LOL at the ninja image!

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  5. Psycho Milt (2,412 comments) says:

    When the govt are showing themselves to be lazy, useless fucks it’s up to the media to give them a prod. Hopefully the Herald will continue to dip McCully in shit over this on a regular basis.

    Personally if I was the Japanese Government I’d avoid a trial and just kick him out.

    Same here – he’s looking for a day in court so he can embarrass them, so it would be foolish to oblige.

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  6. david@tokyo (263 comments) says:

    Getting a story or two in the NZ Herald is one of the perks of committing a publicity seeking crime.

    Interesting that the story talks about some kind of financial trouble for the Bethunes because of Bethune’s decision to jump on board the Shonan Maru 2.

    I would not be surprised if Bethune has some arrangement with Sea Shepherd to get a special cut of donations made to their organization due to the extra media coverage he is trying to garner for them.

    Getting a trial in Japan might contribute to their donations, but it sure isn’t going to help his purported goal of “saving the whales”. Sea Shepherd and Bethune are regarded as eco-terrorists here. I think the Japanese authorities will push ahead with a trial because of the high profile nature of the event. The last thing authorities will want to do is send out a message that it’s OK to jump on Japanese ships and disrupt them in the name of saving whales, at significant cost to the Japanese taxpayer and wasting the officials time.

    Greenpeace Japan too currently have a couple of would-be “investigators” on trial for trespassing on a delivery company’s property and stealing a box of whale meat in transit. They claim they needed to steal the box of whale meat because they believed it was “proof” of embezzlement by whalers. So like the Waihopai Three story, they are trying to use the “greater good” defense too. However they have shown no humility or remorse and refuse to accept the findings of the real investigators who confirmed with the original owners of the whale meat that it had not been embezzled as claimed by Greenpeace to much media frenzy at the time.

    Similar situation. Publicity seeking acts done for selfish ends won’t go down well here I believe.

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  7. speters (108 comments) says:

    Totally agree. Although the morality of this kind of quasi-militant political activism is itself up for debate, it seems pretty clear that Peter knew what he was doing in boarding and being detained by the Japanese – he’s obviously decided that his activism is more important than being with his family right now. Regardless of my personal beliefs concerning whaling, I believe the Japanese have conducted themselves perfectly well in regards to this blatant attack on their interests.

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  8. david@tokyo (263 comments) says:

    I don’t think it will embarrass the Japanese to have a trial. What would embarrass them would be if Sea Shepherd got off this time (again – they already got off once before 2 years ago), and then pull the same stunt again next year.

    When other nations like Canada and Norway have had trouble with these guys they crack down on them and it seem to have had the desired results.

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  9. Auberon (873 comments) says:

    More and more this guy reminds me of that self centred weather balloon dad in the US.

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  10. Pete George (23,591 comments) says:

    some kind of financial trouble for the Bethunes

    If he had any financial interest in the boat that sank while he was in charge of it then he could be in a bit of financial trouble.

    showing “remarkable resilience” through the tough time, which had been a struggle for the family emotionally and financially

    Does this refer to before the boat sank or only since it sank?

    Did he have a paid job he would have otherwise returned to Auckland by now?

    Was he getting paid as captain as Sea Shepherd? If so did those earnings stop once it sank?

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  11. Pete George (23,591 comments) says:

    “On the night of March 19, 2007, while around 22 kilometres offshore from Guatemala, Earthrace collided with a local fishing boat.”

    He would have missed his daughter’s twelfth birthday too.

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  12. 2boyz (262 comments) says:

    The guys a prat, normally I’d say lock him up so he can do some hard time in a Japanese prison. But in this case they should kick him out as quickly as possibly so media attention will be limited, if he did prison time he could right a book, appear on close Up, 60 Minutes etc till the cows came home and I really don’t want that to happen. I am against the whaling that the Japanese are doing but the SS (Funny initials I have to say)are are bunch of w**kers .

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  13. Murray (8,847 comments) says:

    Exile him to Somalia and he can live among his own.

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  14. emmess (1,428 comments) says:

    >>If anything, the corporate owned newspapers are biased towards the interests of the wealthy and big businesses

    Yes, because we all know that greedy corporate fat cats only gorge themselves on a diet of nothing but whale meat.
    Get real, do you actually think about what they print or get told that in a sociology lecture?

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  15. RKBee (1,344 comments) says:

    Peter Bethune another green activist destined for politics.

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  16. Murray (8,847 comments) says:

    emmess didn’t you know that the Nakatomi Whale Meat and Baby Seal Sandwich Spread company owns half the newpapers in New Zealand. I thought that was common knowledge.

    Right up there with aliens built the pryamids, UFO’s, crop circles and Obama knows what hes doing.

    Mmmmm… baby seal sandwiches!

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  17. Offshore_Kiwi (500 comments) says:

    Right up there with aliens built the pryamids, UFO’s, crop circles and Obama knows what hes doing.

    Murray, you can add “humans are causing the climate to change by pumping carbon into the air” to that list.

    This guy’s a pirate, plain and simple. He boasts about the number of vessels he’s sunk. He should be keel-hauled and hung from the yard arm. No pieces of eight for him.

    I’m with DPF. He’s absent his family because he chose to be, and for the repeaters at the Herald to spin it differently is a disgusting manipulation. And they wonder why most (thinking) people prefer to get their fill of news and information online these days.

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  18. Psycho Milt (2,412 comments) says:

    I don’t think it will embarrass the Japanese to have a trial.

    Depends on how open their courts are to the media really. Maybe they’re not open at all, I wouldn’t know. Certainly the lazy shits calling themselves the govt of NZ ought to be at the very least telling the Japs they don’t want to see Bethune facing charges unless the bloke who rammed and sank his boat is also subject to an investigation – the one without the other amounts to victimisation of an NZ citizen by a foreign govt for political purposes, which (in theory at least) Murray McCully gets paid a fat salary to do something about.

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  19. david@tokyo (263 comments) says:

    A1kmm,

    Yes the whale meat is sold. I’ve eaten my fair share of it.

    The whaling commission’s whaling convention rules require that any whales taken for research purposes not be wasted. This is obvious. Imagine a whaling convention where whalers would catch whales for commercial purposes but then go and catch extra whales for research purposes but then waste the whales. That would be very poor use of the whale resources.

    So in accordance with those rules Japan has the meat sold, and directs the proceeds go towards partially funding the costs of the research.

    You have been misled it would seem, the way you talk about there being “evidence” of the meat on sale. Japan has never hid this, it’s an open fact (the restaurants that sell it say thats where its from), and if the Japanese government weren’t having the meat sold or making some other good use of it, it would be violating the terms of the whaling convention.

    That Bethune’s daughter is a “victim” is Bethune’s responsibility.

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  20. david@tokyo (263 comments) says:

    > Depends on how open their courts are to the media really.

    Media is free to report on Japanese court proceedings, and I think there are spaces for public to attend too (selected by raffle?) but they don’t allow video cameras as far as I know. Picture sketches are OK though.

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  21. KiwiGreg (3,255 comments) says:

    I’m in Tokyo on the 19th David, prolly staying at the Imperial, any of those restaurants nearby?

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  22. JiveKitty (778 comments) says:

    The Japanese government wouldn’t send ninjas. Ninjas are not typically looked upon in a positive light in Japanese culture. They are seen as cowardly. In line with that attitude to cowardice, I expect the Japanese government to go ahead with a trial unless there’s some real diplomacy occurring for it to not: pragmatism is not considered cowardly sometimes. As far as I am aware, conviction rates there have been, uhh, lets just say that there have been questions from human rights groups about the conviction rates (they exceeded 99% in 2007 – for a variety of reasons: resourses available to prosecutors mean they only prosecute cases they feel they can almost certainly win, coerced confessions – despite the law stating a person can’t be found guilty on their confession alone or something like that – and so on). However, they brought back in a jury system last year, so things may have changed a little.

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  23. MIKMS (167 comments) says:

    refer my post on frog blog’s whine about it, Its international Waters- You cannot “Citizens’s arrest” in NZ law – only get justifiability, He was acting against NZ wishes

    It’s HIS OWN FAULT! people need to realise that and no matter what nasty stuff the Japs are doing to whales he still broke the law

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  24. david@tokyo (263 comments) says:

    KiwiGreg,

    The Imperial is in Hibiya area, if I remember correctly. Here’s a couple of options I know.

    Hamamatsucho: There is a whale speciality restaurant close to the JR station called “Hyakko”. The restaurant is small, south of the big trade building. Operating since around 1988, I believe. Catch the JR Yamanote line from Yurakucho station to Hamamatsucho, should take around 5 minutes.
    Map:
    http://r.tabelog.com/tokyo/A1314/A131401/13009424/dtlmap/

    Akasaka: A new restaurant called “Magonotei” opened here in February this year. Take the Chiyoda subway line from Hibiya to Akasaka, should take about 5-6 minutes also. The restaurant is not far from Akasaka Biz Tower.
    Map: http://r.gnavi.co.jp/a636504/map1.htm

    I’d recommend the Akasaka one personally, since it’s brand new and has a bit more space than the one in Hamamatsucho.

    You could also ask the Imperial staff if they know where you can get some. But you probably want to try it fried, as cutlets or steak before you get into it raw.

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  25. david@tokyo (263 comments) says:

    JiveKitty,

    Japan’s conviction rates are an issue, but in this instance there is no doubt that Bethune did actually commit this crime.

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  26. MikeNZ (3,234 comments) says:

    There was no issue that the Ploughshares people committed burglary and malicious damage either.
    I wonder if he can use the Ploughshare’s defence?
    He certainly believes he is protecting a sentient creature from being killed.
    Wonder if their legal beagle would take the case?

    What is the penalty for piracy in Japan, do they still cut their heads off?

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  27. kowtow (8,522 comments) says:

    Sicko milt: this gummint int lazy. I dont want them wasting my money on some prat who got himelf in trouble doing something really stupid abroad. There’s too much of that bollocks going on as it is. Good on ya Murray McCully tell it like it is.

    AK1mm; Bollocks, I reckon the crime the dick was dealing with was his own and he wanted to surrender to the proper authorities ha ha ha.

    Murray; forget Somalia,Western navies have no balls.(sorry I reckon its the govts that send them there have no balls,) Today the news is “silly pirates” approach Dutch warship. What happens? All let go.This is “human rights”madness. Nelson would be turning in his grave.

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  28. MIKMS (167 comments) says:

    they still hang every now and again a few yakuza

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  29. MikeNZ (3,234 comments) says:

    # MIKMS (29) Says:
    March 18th, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    refer my post on frog blog’s whine about it, Its international Waters- You cannot “Citizens’s arrest” in NZ law – only get justifiability, He was acting against NZ wishes

    It’s HIS OWN FAULT! people need to realise that and no matter what nasty stuff the Japs are doing to whales he still broke the law

    Pity the jury in the ploughshares case didn’t see it that way :-)

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  30. Psycho Milt (2,412 comments) says:

    I dont want them wasting my money on some prat who got himelf in trouble doing something really stupid abroad.

    Yeah, I realise it may astonish you to learn this, but what you want actually isn’t the yardstick against which the govt’s obligations to its citizens is measured.

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  31. JiveKitty (778 comments) says:

    david@tokyo: Thanks, yeah, I know. I thought someone was curious as to the justice system in Japan. (I’m guilty of just skimming the comments, I guess.) There’s pretty much no chance there’ll be a verdict like the Waihopai one. Haha. Their penalties for crimes which aren’t, say, murder aren’t all too harsh though apparently?

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  32. Rex Widerstrom (5,354 comments) says:

    Unfortunately for the thousands of families throughout the Pacific who rely on fishing for their living, Bethune’s actions have drawn attention away from the broader issue.

    The Japanese are grossly over-fishing bigeye tuna (sold in Japan as sashimi grade) from the Southern oceans. Local commercial fishermen (at least here in Australia – not sure about NZ) are worried the species will be driven past the tipping point and into extinction if they’re not made to stop.

    The government knows this but, as one commentator put it, “has chosen to spend all its limited political capital on the issue of whaling”. In Australia it’s partly to resurrect the political career of former Midnight Oil frontman turned Green activist turned first-term Minister in a Labor government Peter Garrett after the roof insulation fiasco where millions of dollars were wasted and four people died. By taking a “no compromise” approach on whaling Garrett fools enough of the people enough of the time and gets re-elected… or at least isn’t such a huge liability for Labor.

    Which is apropos of nothing much to do with the Bethune story… other than to say Japan has an appalling marine record which goes well beyond whaling and threatens species like tuna – which provides the livelihoods of thousands of people throughout the Pacific.

    Governments are playing politics and selling out fishing families for a “victory” on whaling they can take to the polls, and most of the media are too fixated on the exciting stuff, like Bethune’s arrest, to look any deeper.

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  33. david@tokyo (263 comments) says:

    Rex,

    Tuna is being over-exploited everywhere. It’s not just Japan that’s doing it. Australia itself is making lots of cash by catching young tuna (not good for the tuna stocks), fattening them up and then exporting them off to Japan.

    The IUCN regards the Southern Bluefin Tuna as “critically endangered”, yet still the Australian government is happy to take the quotas.

    The Australian media of course doesn’t have much incentive to report that side of the story when it can just bash Japan for all the world’s problems and sell papers.

    But I agree that tuna over-exploitation is an issue that deserves a proper focus, rather than the increasingly abundant, happy whales.

    Ironically if the same degree of strict harvest rules that would be applied for whales under existing IWC management procedures were to be applied for tuna fisheries, most tuna fisheries (and indeed most fisheries) would probably be stopped immediately. But banning a fishery actually destroys the livelihoods of people who rely on the fishery just as much as wiping a species out to the point of commercial extinction does.

    The solution is to get the relevant fisheries management bodies (at which nations like Australia and New Zealand have voting influence) to get their acts together and properly regulate the fisheries in accordance with sound scientific principles.

    Unfortunately I fear that name-calling and mis-attributing blame may delay this process from happening. The current debacle at CITES over Atlantic bluefin tuna is a case in point. The US and EU nations are both pushing for an outright ban on international trade while many of these same nations have been dragging their feet while talking with their other hats on at ICCAT, the RFMO in charge of the Atlantic tuna fisheries management.

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  34. Stuart Mackey (337 comments) says:

    Rex Widerstrom (2502) Says:
    March 18th, 2010 at 4:53 pm
    Unfortunately for the thousands of families throughout the Pacific who rely on fishing for their living, Bethune’s actions have drawn attention away from the broader issue.”

    And will probably also distract from the fact that for decades these anti-whaling types have been doing these sorts of stunts and have failed to stop whale hunting. I don’t know why people continue to give them money, they are only consistent in failing to achieve their stated objectives.

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  35. Robert Black (423 comments) says:

    Yeah, make your bed and then sleep in it.

    Herald/TV1…say no more, sensationalist bumblers.

    Here’s a breaking story Herald, the whole thing with the sinking boat was staged, his real mission is to tunnel his way to “the Cove” to make a documentary about the killing of dolphins.

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  36. Rex Widerstrom (5,354 comments) says:

    david@tokyo:

    Well I’m getting my information from the media (albeit The Australian and not some tabloid) and they in turn are reporting the statements of vested interests, and you seem better informed than I. But it seems that Australia has cut its tuna quota, much to the anger of local fishermen, while the Japanese “have now admitted that they’ve taken roughly 10,000-20,000 tonnes illegally per year for the last decade”.

    There’s also more on the issue in a reasonably in-depth piece here, which repeats the allegation that Japan has run “a high-seas smuggling operation worth about $10bn”.

    Though Australia has now cut the quota by 24 percent, it’s applied equally to foreign and domestic fishermen and the locals are complaining (rightly, IMHO) that Japan ought to have been whacked with a greater restriction because it’s been primarly responsible for the depletion.

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  37. Hurf Durf (2,860 comments) says:

    corporate owned newspapers are biased towards the interests of the wealthy and big businesses – since they are, after all, run by the wealthy and big businesses.

    You really believe that junk? Account for the Huruld’s whining about the Super City and constant shilling for the left in the World section.

    Get real, do you actually think about what they print or get told that in a sociology lecture?

    It gets forced down your throat by every media politics lecturer. They genuinely believe that public service shite.

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  38. Patrick Starr (3,674 comments) says:

    FFS its nearly as pathetically touching as the sad music they played on Closeup, whilst urging people to vote on mining/no mining.
    Playing funeral sad background music whilst showing beautiful rivers and forests – then asking you to vote

    (btw the yes vote won)

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  39. V (720 comments) says:

    That would be the best option send him to Japan on a slow boat, then decide to release him and send him back to NZ on another slow boat. In effect wasting 3 months of his life to achieve absolutely nothing.

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  40. starboard (2,537 comments) says:

    Bethune=Buffoon….play with fire get burnt idiot.

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  41. Murray (8,847 comments) says:

    I have question for all kiwis. GHow many you are descended from whalers?

    If you claim any Maori ancestory you’re in. If your more than 6th generation you’re propably in.

    Nothing more evangalical than a born again anti-whaler is there.

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  42. david@tokyo (263 comments) says:

    Hi Rex,

    Indeed Japan’s regulations were found wanting with respect to it’s (lack of effective) oversight of it’s bluefin fishing vessels.

    What the Australian media barely reported so far as I remember (I think it got a mention here or there) was that the Japanese authorities subsequently introduced a very tough regulatory system for their catches. This is not entirely the Australian media’s fault, as there isn’t much info on the system from the Japanese provided in English, which doesn’t help them.

    Everyone did take a quota cut, but Japan’s was the largest
    http://www.ccsbt.org/docs/management.html
    This is as it should be given the circumstances, although questions have also been raised about reporting of catch in the Australian fishery from the Japanese side. I personally am skeptical and wonder whether a lack of monitoring / transparency from the Australian side isn’t disguising their own misdeeds.

    What I suspect is happening with the Atlantic bluefin tuna is a similar pattern of ineffective regulation by EU member nations with respect to their own industries.

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  43. Robert Beller (1 comment) says:

    In regards to Bethune missing his daughter’s birthday I would like to point out Bethune missed his daughters birthday on the the Earth Race’s 2007 world record attempt. It started March 10th in Barbados his daughter’s Bday is the 13th on March 19th Bethune killed the Guatemalan fisherman so I know he was on the boat away from his daughter. Why no heart tugging stories when daddy abandoned her to go questing after a world record?

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  44. Its da truth (12 comments) says:

    Oh kick him while he’s down guys. That seems to be the Kiwi way these days.
    Bugger someone standing up for their principles or having the guts to try and stop something illegal happening. Lets just let governments ride rough shod over the law.
    We can all speculate at how much his wife has ‘suffered’ but his girls love him and admire him and sometimes a cause may require some sacrifices, but I doubt there are many on this site that would understand that.

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