Friday, May 28, 2010

Pete Bethune on trial in Tokyo for boarding a vessel that had rammed and sunk his......

During Sea Shepherd’s 2009-2010 Antarctic Whale Defense Campaign: Operation Waltzing Matilda, Captain Pete Bethune was volunteering his services as skipper of the Ady Gil. On January 6, 2010, the much larger and more maneuverable Japanese whaling vessel Shonan Maru No. 2 deliberately rammed and split the Ady Gil in two, then hosed its crew members down with water cannons as they scrambled for safety amongst the wreckage. As the Ady Gil began to take on water, the Shonan Maru No. 2 ignored Sea Shepherd’s multiple requests for assistance. As a New Zealand citizen, Captain Bethune was empowered under New Zealand law to serve a citizen’s arrest warrant on the captain of the Shonan Maru No. 2 for the sinking of his vessel and the attempted murder of himself and his crew. On January 15, 2010, Captain Bethune made his first attempt to serve the Shonan Maru No. 2 with a citizen’s arrest, but he was unable to complete the service. On February 15, 2010, Captain Bethune made a second attempt, and this time, he was able to successfully board the Shonan Maru No. 2 to deliver his citizen’s arrest warrant, along with an invoice for the loss of the Ady Gil. However while on board the Japanese ship, he was arrested and taken back to Japan where he's been held for 100 days, and is now currently on trial on five charges.

The charges are:
trespass, possession of a weapon, injury to persons, damage to property and obstructing commercial activity.
He is pleading not-guilty to all charges, as he contends he was stopping an illegal operation and was in fact serving a Citizen's Arrest. Interesting to note that although Japan is killing whales for "scientific purposes", Bethune and Sea Shepherd got in their way and now Bethune is charged with "obstructing COMMERCIAL activity".

And so it's easy to understand that the whaling interests of Japan would like him handled punitively, and I see this case as a test of how honourable the Japanese courts are in administering international law. Which they themselves are flouting by whaling.

Paul Watson of Sea Shepherd, said this morning on Breakfast, that he didn't know of a case in maritime law where a captain had deliberately rammed another vessel at sea, or where a ship had been sunk - intentionally or accidentally - by a ship of another country, and the country of the damaged ship has done nothing. The Ady Gil was a NZ registered vessel with a NZ crew, skippered by a New Zealander and NZ has done nothing to question the captain of the Japanese vessel at fault.

I'm not so presumptive that I think I know everything that's going on in the halls of power. I hope there ARE diplomatic discussions taking place behind closed doors, and that NZ is in fact allowing Japan to save face and "come to their own decision" to give a suspended or other appropriate sentence and release Bethune.

It was a bloody heroic thing he did.
And then maybe we could look at what charges the Captain of the Shonan Maru No. 2 might face?


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Enjoying the signs...

My doctor's waiting room and consulting rooms are wonderfully entertaining. Just by looking around I can get an idea of some of the things that have happened since I was last there. It's pretty obvious he has a bit of an obsession with signs, and it seems that any one person behaving in a way he doesn't want a repeat of, will initiate a Sign to Warn Others.

For years we've had the usual "IF YOU DON'T TURN UP TO YOUR APPOINTMENT YOU WILL BE CHARGED" and "PLEASE TREAT THIS TOILET WITH RESPECT" (that one's in the toilet, not the waiting room, and saw me bowing three times before I used the loo). Then there was the addition of a whole series about the scales - these were two to each consulting room and I could only surmise that there'd been a bit of an outbreak of hyperactive children in need of a trampoline.... "NO ONE IS TO STAND ON THESE SCALES WITHOUT A NURSE PRESENT" and 'DO NOT TOUCH THESE SCALES UNLESS INSTRUCTED TO'. There are plenty of others, the walls are a bit of a boring patchwork of these white A4 laminated works.

Life in the waiting room got a bit boring until the "WE WILL NOT TOLERATE ABUSIVE BEHAVIOUR, SPEECH OR GESTURES TO THE NURSE, THE RECEPTIONIST OR THE DOCTOR". Hmmm. Someone hadn't liked their diagnosis? More likely they got sick of the waiting time....
The "CHEWING GUM IS FORBIDDEN ON THESE PREMISES" spoke of efforts involved in scraping the stuff off the floor, and I could see their point. Likewise the 'DO NOT USE OUR RUBBISH BINS FOR NAPPIES'.

Today's one was a touch different, and replaced some of the others, so important it was.

So that must have been an interesting moment, but does it necessitate signs for the whole world, almost all of whom don't cut their nails in this doctor's waiting room? Could a simple word in the ear of the offender not have done the trick?
But on the other hand, then I would never had had that delicious moment of reading it and visualising the disgusting event!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Getting satisfaction..

In the last two hours, I have

1. collected a load of bricks ($20 on TradeMe), seen here next to the load of stones I got a month or so ago. Both required for the same project, which will make my berry patch (blueberries and at the moment one singular cranberry/guava bush which I hope soon to be part of a group of the same. So yummy!) more efficient when the bird netting goes up in summer.
2. Sprayed the lemon tree, the mandarin and the lime with Conqueror Oil to protect them over the winter.
(Mandarin in front, lime to the far left - these are just baby trees, but both have already produced fruit - and gnarled aged lemon tree to the right.)
3. Dug up the last of the bricks which had formed a garden edging but which I realised I hadn't seen for over five years.... yep they were there, about half a spade head deep in the ground! They too will be part of my berry patch edging. Hopefully not to sink..
4. Chopped down a 7 year old lime tree which has never flowered or fruited. I was about to give it one more year, mindful of the Biblical parable where Jesus told the man with the nonproductive fig tree to prune it and give it one more year, but when I asked my colleague who has great experience in orcharding about it, she said "it's not the root stock that's growing is it? Are you sure it's the graft?" Which when translated proved to be the case. The flowering fruiting lime had been grafted on to some citrus rootstock, but a close inspection of the lower part of the truck showed the scar where the graft had been, and the rootstock which had been split for the graft had grown together at the top of it, and had formed a tree that was never going to fruit. We have transplanted that tree, hoping it just needed a "better position", it has been pruned, fed.... Well now it is in the wheelie bin!

So all in all, a very satisfying couple of hours!
This food production isn't all about seedlings, there is some munty work to be done with the pruning saw, which I have to admit I find immensely satisfying!, and some good water-ish play to be done with the sprayer on the trees. All good fun.
But on the subject of seedlings, look at my very healthy Brussels Sprouts! Mmmmm looking forward to a feast in a few months' time!