Bethune savages Sea Shepherd

October 6th, 2010 at 12:20 pm by David Farrar

Ecorazzi report:

The former captain of the Ady Gil, who was arrested (and later set free on a suspended sentence) after boarding a Japanese whaling vessel, has lashed out at the group — calling them “dishonest” and “morally bankrupt”.

“I am asking that from now on, SSCS determine to act in an honest way with its volunteers, supporters and media,” he writes on his Facebook page. “SSCS does not need to lie. Saving whales, dolphins, tuna and sharks are noble causes, and the public will embrace these as worthwhile. The story does not need to be manipulated and changed in order to get public support.”

Hard to know who to support when it is Bethune against Sea Shepherd. But Bethune is now exposing the lies of Sea Shepherd:

Pete says:  ”After the ramming of the Ady Gil, Chuck said to me that Paul, the Admiral of the Sea Shepherd fleet, wanted me to scuttle the Ady Gil. He said there was no point in towing the boat all the way to the French base, and that it would be best if the boat was just sunk and we could get on with chasing the whalers. Later that day, Chuck and I went to the Ady Gil, and I performed the necessary tasks with Chuck observing. Ady Gil then gradually took on water, and later that night she was left to sink, while the Bob Barker moved on to pursue the fleet.”

“I felt horrid before, during and after the scuttling and I have felt terrible about it ever since. It broke me heart to sink a vessel that had been such a big part of my life, and I also felt we had betrayed SSCS sponsors, SSCS supporters, Ady Gil, and the public by lying about it. It was a totally dishonest thing to do and as a conservation group, the order is a total breach of ethics.”

“I sincerely regret my role in this. I apologise unreservedly to Ady Gil, and Sea Shepherd Volunteers and supporters, all of whom I have let down. It was the wrong thing to do, and while I was under orders to do so, I should have refused to carry out the instructions. I am resigning from Sea Shepherd forthwith.”

Well he has just gone up in my estimation.

Pete Says: “When I met with Paul Watson in July 2009, he gave me permission to take a Bow and Arrow to Antarctica, with the idea of pasting a poison on the arrow tips (or fake poison), and firing them into dead whales while they were being transferred from harpoon vessel to processing ship. When I met Paul on the Steve Irwin in Antarctica, I confirmed all tactics, and he again said I had permission to use the bow and arrow if we came across a suitable situation.”

“After the Ady Gil was scuttled, crew of the Shonan Maru found four arrows in the water. SSCS issued a press release denying all knowledge of the arrows, suggesting instead that the whalers had planted them as false evidence. There was no need to say anything at all. The story was the Ady Gil had sunk…not that some arrows had been found. No one really cared about four arrows when the whalers had explosive harpoons and 12 gauge shotguns.”

“In issuing the press release, SSCS was lying to media. It was a mistake to ever deny the arrows, and the communications debacle since then has been a total disgrace

The ones who should take notice of this are the media. They tend to report the claims of the whalers and Sea Shepherd equally, as equally credible. They now have proof that Sea Shepherd blatantly lie to them. They should not publish allegations from Sea Shepherd in the future unless they can be substantiated.

Pete says, “A number of crew on the Bob Barker and Steve Irwin were discussing the alleged shooting of Paul Watson. In the first series of Whale Wars, Paul Watson was supposedly shot by crew of the Nisshin M…aru. SSCS Crew present on that voyage argued strongly to me that the entire episode was faked. I was not on the campaign, so in fact I don’t know if it is in fact true or not. However given what I’ve witnessed in the last year, and my knowledge of the Japanese crew, I would bet $500,000 at odds of 10:1, that the event was staged. The shooting represents just another lie that does little for the credibility of SSCS. The organisation does not need to lie or be deceptive to sell its message. The public will support the cause of stopping whaling, however they will not support SSCS if they become aware of the many lies the organisation increasingly propagates through media.”

I am actually against the Japanese whaling tactics. However I am against SSCS even more. Their tactics actually help the Japanese whalers. I’ll take an honest whaler over a dishonest environmentalist. I will give credit here to Greenpeace who have campaigned on this issue without the lies and violence of SSCS.

Pete says, “What really concerns me most is the apparent moral bankruptcy of senior SSCS personnel. They routinely conspire and lie over serious matters, with little regard for people like myself who they malign and bulldoze along the way. They misrepresent themselves to the public who are generous enough to support them, and to media who they rely on to promote their cause.”

“The short time I have been associated with SSCS, and the sheer number of lies I’ve witnessed, makes me realise there is a large and increasing number of skeletons hidden in the SSCS closet. It is time for this closet to be closed (or opened fully) and for the organisation to move on. I am asking that from now on, SSCS determine to act in an honest way with its volunteers, supporters and media. SSCS does not need to lie.

I think this makes it clear the SSCS and Paul Watson especially are pathological liars.

Bethune’s Demands

July 14th, 2010 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

I should stop giving him publicity, but I couldn’t believe his assertion that he was surprised he ended up in Japan, so I made some inquiries. Below is a copy of the demand letter he gave to the skipper of the Japanese boat.

Bethune Demand

First of all you have to love the lunacy of a man who makes a demand for arrest on the basis of un-named “maritime experts”.

Could you imagine what would happen if you boarded a plane and demanded the pilot arrest himself, citing un-named aviation experts.

Now his primary demand was that the Japanese boat transport him to Wellington. As the other captain does not suffer from clinical insanity, obviously that was never going to happen. So look closely at what he then said:

I will refuse to be handed over to any Sea Shepherd vessel. I will also refuse to be handed over to any New Zealand or Australian Coastguard, Customs or Naval vessel.

So this so called “prisoner” was in fact refusing to leave the whaling ship. What a farce. Even if the NZ Government had sent a naval vessel to pick him up, Mad Pete proclaimed he would refuse to leave the whaling ship.

He also gave the Japanese an invoice for his boat, demanding they buy him a new one. An extract from that invoice is:

If we have not received payment by April 1, 2010, we will be proceedingwith a civil action in Japan against your company. We will be seeking punitive damages, in addition to the full replacement cost of the Ady Gil.

Now this is exactly what he should have done. As far as I know, he lied, and there has been no civil suit. If there is a dispute about who was at fault, it should be resolved in court.

The whining Bethune

July 13th, 2010 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Before I deal to the latest whines from Bethune, first I’ll share this document which a reader sent to me.

SS Application Ady Gil

Note Paragraph 11 which states:

11. The Ady Gill must not interfere with vessels of the Japanese whaling fleet i n ways that may entail risk of collision or other consequenc that might result in marine pollution and with it risk of more than a minor or transitory effect on the Antarctic environment, as well as risk to human safety

This was in the official Ministerial notification to Sea Shepherd.

Two letters from Murray McCully also worth reading – Bethune letter McCully 4 Dec 2009 and Bethune letter McCully 18 Dec 2009.

We all know what happened of course – there was a collision – which is exactly what Sea Shepherd wanted. They have a long history of collisions, and we now have it confirmed that they have no problems lying to further their cause.

But the Herald also reports a statement from the PM in response to Bethune’s whining:

At a press conference today, he said Foreign Minister Murray McCully had instantly sided with the Japanese, saying he should have known what he was getting himself in for by boarding the vessel. …

Mr Bethune should remember that he got himself into the situation, Mr Key said.

“He had a letter that said ‘I do not want to be taken off the boat under any circumstances and I do want to be taken to Japan’ and he was.

And further to this, Paul Watson is quoted as saying:

“I think what the Japanese have on their hands is a hot potato and they’re going to want to get rid of it, because this is going to make Pete Bethune a national hero in Australia and New Zealand and a hero for conservationists worldwide,” he added.

Watson also mentioned that Bethune is fully prepared to engage the Japanese court system and state his case that what is happening in the Southern Ocean is wrong. “I’m prepared to go all the way, I’m prepared to do whatever time it takes,” said Bethune.

So McCully was absolutely right that Bethune knew exactly what would happen, when he boarded – he wanted it to happen. He is whining about someone telling the truth – a foreign concept it seems.

And as further proof, we have this story from after when he boarded but before he was arrested:

“Sea Shepherd anticipates that the Japanese will hold Captain Bethune as prisoner onboard the Shonan Maru 2,” the group’s statement added.

Personally I think Bethune should be sent a bill for the cost of all the consular assistance he got.

Huge = 3

July 11th, 2010 at 7:08 am by David Farrar

I’m amused that the media predicted a huge crowd would turn out to Auckland Airport to greet Peter Bethune, and i n fact a total of three non-media people turned up.

The question has to be why were the media hyping this up? Did they have any reason to believe there would be a huge crowd, or do they just make it up?

The Bethune deal

July 8th, 2010 at 7:39 am by David Farrar

The Dom Post reports:

Anti-whaling activists appear to have struck a deal with Japanese officials allowing Pete Bethune to walk free – in return for banning him from future expeditions.

Bethune, 45, who has been in Japanese custody since February after boarding a Japanese whaling ship, was given a two-year suspended sentence in a Tokyo court yesterday. …

In June, he was banned from future Sea Shepherd Conservation Society expeditions to the Southern Ocean.

The group’s chief executive, Chuck Swift, said at the time that the ban was because Bethune broke Sea Shepherd policy by taking a bow and arrows on to the protest boat Ady Gil, which sank in January after colliding with the Japanese fleet.

However, there are now suggestions that the ban was Sea Shepherd’s part of a bargain that saw Bethune walk free.

Sea Shepherd captain Paul Watson said last night that the organisation knew what the sentence was several days ago, “because we’d already arranged for Pete Bethune’s air ticket”. He was relieved at the sentence and said the ban on Bethune joining Sea Shepherd’s campaigns was because of “a deal” with the Japanese.

He did not elaborate on the terms of the deal and Sea Shepherd would not confirm last night whether the ban was in return for a suspended sentence.

The outcome is a good one. Having Bethune in a prison would have just made him a martyr. Pleased to see the Japanese Government was pragmatic.

I am not surprised there was a deal. I never thought it likely that Sea Shepherd banned Bethune from future expeditions because he was too violent, considering their long long history of violence.

Editorials 10 June 2010

June 10th, 2010 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald says NZ Post must not alienate its customers.

What is surprising about the contents of a letter from the NZ Post board to the Government is the extreme nature of one of the options under consideration. That would see mail delivered every second day.

If enacted, this would be the equivalent of NZ Post shooting itself in the foot. In effect, the organisation would be conceding that postal delivery has become something of an irrelevance.

Advocates of such a move would say that is already largely the case. Over the past year or two, letter volumes have been declining by about 6 to 7 per cent annually, an unprecedented rate far in excess of the 1 per cent or so drop of previous years.

Almost all my mail now is junk. 80% of my suppliers now e-mail me statements etc.

That trend is almost certain to continue as more consumers embrace online communications and bill payments. But delivering mail every second day would surely serve only to accelerate the rate of decline.

Yes, but it would accelerate a decline in costs.

Of these, the ending of Saturday deliveries appeals as a reasonable first step towards cutting costs that would have little impact.

Australia and Britain long ago abandoned weekend deliveries, and the United States is about to do the same. It is remarkable that it has remained part of NZ Post’s contract with the Government for so long.

Indeed, it says much about the organisation’s service ethos. But relatively little mail is delivered on Saturdays, and the service would hardly be missed, even by old people, who rely more on mail than other groups.

A sensible first step.

The Press wants more cruise liners to Christchurch:

The idea of building a swept-up dedicated facility at the Lyttelton port to serve cruise liners is an attractive one.

In addition to the fact that the Lyttelton Port Company says that as its other shipping activities grow it has an urgent need for one anyway, a new, modern facility providing a good first impression for visitors to Christchurch and the wider region is certainly worth serious consideration. The port company has so far, however, not been able to persuade others who would have to put some money up to pay for it that the proposal is financially worth-while. Since they are the ones who would most benefit from the project, it suggests that some of the claims made for it may not stand up under closer scrutiny, at least not in the present financial climate. …

If a compelling economic case can be made that a better facility will increase the volume of traffic at the port above what would occur in any event, then the port company will deserve to win financial support for it. But money should not be put into it simply because it would make an attractive building on the waterfront.

The Dom Post says Peter Bethune is fighting the right fight but with the wrong tactics. I agree. The Dom Post incidentally has been a strong campaigner itself against Japanese whaling:

Supporters of New Zealander Peter Bethune, facing a Tokyo court after boarding a ship protecting Japanese whalers in Antarctic waters, are right to describe as bizarre Sea Shepherd’s decision to ban him from future protests because of his bow andarrows.

Taken at face value, it is a late development of responsibility from an organisation that has a well-deserved reputation for protests that cross the line into idiocy and endanger lives.

Its founder, Paul Watson, threatened in an earlier protest to ram his ship into the slipway of a Japanese whaler, saying he would give it “a steel enema”.

He has been reported as referring to Greenpeace as “Yellowpeace” over its refusal to use violence. In a 2007 interview with the New Yorker magazine, he said Sea Shepherd had sunk – in port – 10 ships. (The magazine credited Sea Shepherd with two sinkings and two attempts.)

That sits oddly with Sea Shepherd’s now announced stance of “aggressive but non-violent direct action”.

Indeed. It may be a publicity stunt to try and get a lesser sentence for Bethune.

Another is that, however much Bethune might wish otherwise, the case does not revolve around Japan’s shameful use of the scientific whaling loophole to pursue what amounts to a commercial operation in the Southern Ocean, but around charges of trespassing, vandalism, possession of a knife, obstructing business and assault – charges on which he appears to have received a fair trial.

Bethune chose foolish tactics to promote his views. The Japanese were entitled to use the law to test whether he went too far. He and his family must now be concerned that he will pay a high price for his high principles.

The four charges he pleaded guilty to were fairly minor, and if he is found innocent of assault, I hope he gets to come home soon. If he is convicted on the acid throwing charge, he may be in Japan for a fair while longer.

The ODT notes the retirement of Pete Hodgson:

Mr Hodgson was no novice when he sought public office. He had become the Labour Party’s master election strategist at a time when such essential duties were still of an amateur nature.

He became aligned with Helen Clark’s backers and by the time she achieved the prime ministership, in 1999, he had become a member of her trusted inner circle along with Michael Cullen, Trevor Mallard, Phil Goff and Steve Maharey.

She appointed him a minister from a caucus light on genuine talent and gave him a heavy workload from the start, reinforced by his task in Parliament’s debating chamber as one half of Labour’s heavy artillery in debates – the other half being another Dunedin MP, Michael Cullen.

As a minister, Mr Hodgson’s success was mixed. His generally detached demeanour – that of a strategist and pragmatic thinker – provided no profile with which the public could warm to, and Ms Clark gave him some most unpopular portfolios including climate change, energy and health.

In politics, nothing lasts, and it became clear Mr Hodgson’s star was losing its shine in 2008, when he was replaced as the party’s chief strategist for the forthcoming election by Helen Clark herself.

Mr Hodgson has generally been considered a well-liked and hard-working constituency MP who wore his political colours lightly when it came to representing Dunedin’s interests and the personal matters with which, as Dunedin North MP, he dealt on a daily basis.

Even in this professional political era, Labour will miss his strengths – and Dunedin will certainly miss his abilities and advocacy.

Sea Shepherd v Bethune

June 9th, 2010 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Pete Bethune has been axed from any future anti-whaling protests led by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

The move follows allegations by the Sea Shepherd that Mr Bethune had a bow and arrows aboard the Ady Gil when it sank in the Southern Ocean, following a collision with a Japanese whaling boat.

In a statement released by the Sea Shepherd, the organisation said the bow and arrows “are not in line with the Sea Shepherd’s policy”.

So Rambo Bethune has been kicked out of Sea Shepherd – rather astonishing.

It’s good to know that Sea Shepherd will at least draw the line somewhere. They happily plant limpet mines on ships and blow them up. They also happily ram ships and try to sink them. They also happily throw containers of acid at people. But a bow and arrow is a step too far it seems.

Getting thrown out of the Sea Shepherd Society for being too violent is like being thrown out of the Labour Party for being too academic!

Editorials 4 June 2010

June 4th, 2010 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald wants some trams to play with:

On a broader canvas, cities such as San Francisco and Melbourne are closely identified with their trams.

Auckland chose another route when it removed trams from its streets.

Now, more than 50 years later, they are being readied for a comeback on the city’s waterfront in time for next year’s Rugby World Cup.

They can be successful here as well, but only if other developments in the Wynyard Quarter provide a suitable underpinning. …

The Press focuses on water:

The granting of final approval this week to the Central Plains Water irrigation scheme should now let the proposal finally get under way.

The process by which the decision was reached has been long and impassioned and has wound up costing about twice what was originally estimated.

But along the way, the scheme has been rigorously scrutinised. About 2000 submissions were considered by the independent planning commissioners.

It has been much modified in the light of criticism that was made of the original proposal, and it is now much less ambitious than first intended.

In the end, though, the potential benefits have now been weighed by the planning commissioners against any adverse effects it will have on some people, and the final assessment is that the scheme will be good for Canterbury.

The Dom Post talks promises:

Mr Key has now been burned twice in a matter of weeks for taking positions he cannot defend.

The first was the Crown’s negotiations with Tuhoe. Whatever the Government is saying publicly, it is obvious Tuhoe was led to believe that ownership of Te Urewera National Park was up for negotiation. As Mr Key belatedly realised, it should not have been. But the fallout from Mr Key abruptly removing the park from the table has soured relations between National and the Maori Party and created a fresh source of grievance for Tuhoe.

Mr Key’s second false step – actually it was his first – was his pre-election promise, given both to this newspaper in response to a question from a reader and during a TV3 leaders’ debate five days before the election, that Kiwibank would never be sold. The promise conflicts with National’s policy on state-owned enterprises – that none will be sold during this term of government but that sales could be considered in future.

Key has now restated that Kiwibank will not be sold – not just during this term. He had little choice once he realised that his pre-election statements about sale were not just about the first term.

Key has gone to great lengths to keep faith with the electorate. What he is finding now though is that he should have been more careful with what he said pre-election. It is my belief that no leader should ever give a permanent guarantee on an issue. They should give commitments for the upcoming term of Parliament, but should always retain the right to campaign on a different policy at a future election.

The ODT asks if Peter Bethune is a hero or a victim. Some might say neither!

It is possible to feel strongly opposed to Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean yet uneasy at some of the actions taken in opposition to it.

That’s me. I joke that the only people I hate more than the whalers are Sea Shepherd.

He continues to blame the captain of the larger vessel for a sudden change in course and a direct attempt to ram Ady Gil, such that a collision became unavoidable.

The exact sequence of events – who did what to whom – remains masked in confusion amid claim and counterclaim, the only certainty being there was a collision and, consequently, the unsalvageable Ady Gil later sank.

It was no surprise. The whalers have never had a collision with Greenpeace or other protest ships. Only Sea Shepherd who have a long history of trying to ram other ships.

It is hard to know at this distance the extent to which his tearful supplication to the Japanese judiciary on Monday was for their benefit – or that of the world at large.

Many activists tread a fine line in their efforts to invoke sympathy for the cause, often teetering but a small mis-step from achieving precisely the opposite.

Nobody, least of all those who believe Japan’s “scientific whaling” in the Southern Ocean to be bogus and unacceptable, would wish a prison sentence on this singular activist; but there might be those prepared to concede he appears, by his actions, to have asked for one.

I hope he does not get a prison sentence, because that is what he wants.

The Bethune trial

June 1st, 2010 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Father-and-son anti-whaling protesters from Auckland clashed with right-wing Japanese yesterday outside the court where Pete Bethune is being tried. …

Gary Thomason and his son Robert, from Auckland, were moved away by Japanese authorities.

They told the Herald they had gone to Japan to show solidarity for Bethune.

Gary Thomason said: “It’s a personal issue for New Zealanders; New Zealand prides itself on its environment and wildlife and respect for other countries and traditions.”

Ummm if one had respect for other countries and traditions, then one would support the tradition of Japan to hunt and eat whale meat.

I’m not arguing for whaling. I’m just pointing out the contradiction in the statement.

Personally I’m supportive of protests against Japanese whaling, from the likes of Greenpeace as they don’t blow up ships and throw acid at people. I only become more supportive of the Japanese whalers when Sea Shepherd is involved.

Bethune boarded the whaling vessel the Shonan Maru 2 in February. He has admitted trespass, possessing a weapon, damage to property and obstructing commercial activity – charges which carry a sentence of up to 15 years in prison.

But it is believed the prosecution is seeking only 2 to three years.

I don’t know the Japanese criminal code, but to my mind the four charges above are all pretty minor, and none which should attract jail time. Yes I know Bethune brought it on himself, but boarding a ship without permission and cutting a net are hardly the crimes of the century.

If this is all he is convicted of, then he should just be sentenced to time served and booted out.

He denied a charge of assault, saying rancid butter stinkbombs he threw at Japanese ships were no more acidic than orange juice.

Prosecutors told the court a rancid butter, or butyric acid, stinkbomb caused chemical burns to the face of a 24-year-old Japanese crew member during a February 11 clash and also hurt the eyes of other whalers.

This is the more serious charge, as it actually involved violence and personal harm. And again Sea Shepherd have a long history of violence – blowing up ships and ramming ships etc.

Butyric acid is not like nitric acid – it is a fairly mild acid. But it does cause nausea and can do damage. The Sea Shepherd protesters do not throw it at boats, but at people. It is clearly assault, and if Bethune is found guilty on this charge, there should be enough of a punishment to be a deterrent.

But this I don’t mean years in jail, or even lots of months. Again I have no idea of what the Japanese norm is for sentencing, but I would have thought less than six months is appropriate.

Of course Bethune would have got away with throwing the acid bombs, if he had not chosen to board the Japanese ship. They did not invade the SS boats and grab him off there. He boarded their ship, in the full knowledge he would be arrested and put on trial. He wanted the trial as a publicity stunt.

More from Bethune

May 23rd, 2010 at 11:22 am by David Farrar

The HoS reports:

Anti-whaling activist Pete Bethune, imprisoned in Japan, believes he will be found guilty and fears a lengthy jail sentence.

He knew this of course when he illegally boarded the Japanese ship.

Personally I hope the Japanese Government just deport him, rather than put him on trial. I suspect he wants to be a martyr for the cause – which is why he did it.

Meanwhile, his wife Sharyn revealed financial and personal pressures of her husband’s long absences have caused the couple to separate.

Not a huge surprise, as Bethune has spent four of the last five years

Roughan on Bethune

April 10th, 2010 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

John Roughan writes in the Herald:

Peter Bethune mortgaged his house to build himself the boat of his imagination, a weird biofuelled motor trimaran, and set out to race around the world in it a few years ago. That adventure ended when his craft collided with a fishing skiff of Guatemala and a fisherman was killed. He was detained by Guatemalan authorities but not charged and was allowed to leave after paying compensation to the dead man’s family.

So Bethune has had a collision before, and was liable for a man’s death to the extent he was obliged to pay compensation for the death.

If someone wants to hurtle around a working ship with the expressed intention of getting in the way of its operations I don’t have much difficulty deciding where fault lies.

Sea Shepherd have had eight collisions with other boats. As far as i know the Japanenese whalers have never ever collided with another boat – except Sea Shepherd ones.

Sea Shepherd has done stuff like stick 100 tonnes of concrete on their bow to enable it to ran and disable other ships. They have even laid mines three times on ships to sink them. They throw acid at crew members.They have fired guns at police.

Even Greenpeace regard them as violent nutters. Before he became their biggest fan in Opposition, even Chris Carter denounced them:

New Zealand Conservation Minister Chris Carter criticized Sea Shepherd as irresponsible for using tactics such as running into the other vessel with a “can opener” device, a seven-foot steel blade on the starboard bow designed to damage the hull of an enemy ship

While today Carter says:

He has a few sympathisers in this country. Labour MPs like Chris Carter call him a “great New Zealander”

Such consistency.

In this case Bethune is probably content to stay where he is for a while, drawing continuing attention for his cause. Back here, his family may be missing him but they are accustomed to long absences. When he got himself taken by the whaler his wife Sharyn said: “Nothing really surprises us these days.” She estimated that over the past five years he had been home for a total of one.

Puts into context the newspaper stories about how upset his family were that he would not be there for a child’s birthday.

Hat Tip: Keeping Stock

Media manipulation

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

The Herald reports:

As New Zealand anti-whaling activist Peter Bethune 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.