Environmentalist and founder of Sea-Shepherd, Paul Watson talks to media and friends after he was released from prison in Frankfurt, May 21, 2012.
Credits: REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach
When we think of pirates, we think of the Disneyfied version, like the lovable Captain Jack Sparrow.
And then there are some semi-literate thugs off the coast of Somalia who make a business out of hijacking ships and demanding a ransom.
But what would a modern, sophisticated pirate in the 21st century look like?
Why, he'd look just like a Canadian criminal named Paul Watson.
Watson got his start long ago, assaulting a police officer in 1979 at a violent protest against the seal hunt. He was sentenced to 10 days in Quebec jail and fined $8,000. See, Watson believes that animals have rights - they shouldn't be clubbed. But he's fine clubbing people, including cops.
Watson's weird that way. He was elected to the board of the Sierra Club on a platform to radically limit immigration. He's anti-people. He believes there should be fewer than a billion people allowed on the Earth. He thinks we're a cancer.
So he's a superfreak. But he's smart. More than that, he's media smart.
But he's still a criminal.
Watson is so extremist, he was kicked out of Greenpeace for being too radical. Given that Greenpeace's specialty is breaking the law, that's really saying something.
But Greenpeace tries to look respectable. Watson has embraced his darker side. He actually has taken the age-old symbol of pirates - the skull and bones, symbolizing death and murder - and made it his official logo. Seriously. He actually flies it on his ships.
Some normal people have a skull and bones for fun - for irony, or as an edgy tattoo, or as a kids' adventure. Not Watson. It's actually his philosophy - just like the Somali thugs.
Watson once told an animal rights conference that "there's nothing wrong with being a terrorist, as long as you win. Then you write the history."
Watson doesn't get rich robbing ships. He gets rich ramming them, videotaping his activities, and then asking liberal donors around the world to give him money for it - because his donors hate things like the seal hunt or shark fishermen. It's a form of pornography - he attacks fishermen at sea, often ramming their ships or spraying them with fire hoses, to the delight of left-wing donors to his "charity."
He raised $11.4 million that way in 2010. He doesn't hide his piracy. He flaunts it on his Sea Shepherd website. He has a board of directors. He even takes corporate donations, like more than $20,000 from the extremist Tides Foundation, the same "charity" that is funding the attack on Canada's oilsands.
In 2002, Watson was on a massive ship off central America and came across a small boat of poor fishermen catching sharks. Sharks aren't endangered any more than seals are, of course. But Watson knows there are liberal Americans and Europeans who will pay big money to see him harass fishermen like them. And so he sprayed and rammed the little boat until it surrendered, and he captured it and towed it, like a pirate of old.
Except that, unlike in centuries past, these men radioed for help. And when the law started speeding their way, Watson let the fishermen go and bravely ran away.
Until he was arrested in May while flying through Frankfurt. His donors posted $300,000 bail, but he fled Germany, putting out press releases taunting the law.
He's a criminal and a fugitive. But he has big friends. Rich friends. Airhead liberals like Pamela Anderson. The left loves their violence, don't they?
Oh - and you support him too.
Did you know you that? Your taxes helped finance a propaganda film about him called Eco-Pirate, directed by Watson fangirl Trish Dolman. It romanticizes the criminal. It's how he creates his myth that pays the bills.
We should ask for our money back from Dolman. Watson should be prosecuted for piracy. And all of the people who orchestrate and organize his crimes should be prosecuted too - just as they would if they were part of the mafia or a biker gang.