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Vigilante Sinking of the Skarbakk

Agenda 21 is the name of a environmental document passed seventeen years ago by the United Nations Earth Summit in Brazil. Agenda 21 is also the name of a Norwegian monkeywrenching gang that wrecked a Norwegian whaling ship last week.

skarbakk sunk Members of the Agent 21 group, called “conservation commandos” by some, boarded the Skarbakk a few days ago, and opened up the ship so that sea water began to flow in (news in Englishnews in Norwegian). The ship did not sink fully, but the water wrecked the electrical and mechanical systems on the ship.

Sea Shepherd’s Captain Paul Watson, in his typically bombastic manner, declared, “These laws must be enforced and Norwegian whalers are in blatant violation of the worldwide ban on commercial whaling. We are happy that Agenda 21 took over this task back in 1996 with the scuttling of the Elin-Toril. If I knew who they were, I’d give them a medal.”

Must laws be enforced? Well, yes, they must, or else there is no point in having law at all. The thing that Captain Watson failed to consider, though, is that destruction of other people’s property, as conducted by Agenda 21, is against the law. Watson also didn’t stop to think that when the law is enforced, there are special government forces authorized to do so. They’re called the police and the courts.

When a citizen group commits a crime in response to another crime it believes has taken place, that’s not law enforcement. It’s vigilantism. If the crew of the Skarbakk violated international whaling law, then it’s up to international courts to deal with the matter. For Agenda 21 to seize power of judge, jury and punisher is an assault not just upon the Skarbakk, but upon the principles of civilized justice.

Can such an act be ethically justified? Perhaps, if it is performed as an act of civil disobedience in which the participants operate openly, and offer themselves up into police custody, to be punished for their crimes. That’s not what the “commandos” of Agenda 21 did. They performed their crime under the cover of darkness, and ran away before they could be discovered. They didn’t accept the consequences of their action. While justifying their acts as a response to a crime, they failed to acknowledge the criminality of their own behavior.

If activism is to be effective in making commercial enterprises accountable to the law, it must not itself attempt to operate outside of the system of law. That leaves open the possibility of violations of the law, but only if the legal debt incurred as a result of those violations is paid. The activists of Agenda 21 don’t deserve a medal. They deserve a jail cell.

8 thoughts on “Vigilante Sinking of the Skarbakk”

  1. Zlatko Colovic says:

    Live Long Life, Agenda 21!!!

    Valhalla awaits!!!

  2. Tom says:

    Yeah, well when the egregious crimes continue DESPITE THE LAWS (ie. lack of enforcement of corporate crime) then, as in the American Revolution, people can only stand so much and it becomes time for the pitchforks and mallets.

    When the system is rigged so that the corporate players have all the rights to damage whatever they want and own the governments, steal the common utilities and resources for their own use, gouge the public and pollute at will – i’m with the activists. These people are risking serious penalties and probably jail time to save whales. They are heros in my book. The laws are being breached by the obsolete whaling industry, but the corporate owned media doesn’t mention that, only how they hope to catch and prosecute the “eco-terrorists”.

    i can’t wait til we start taking down the corporations in the same manner, since it’s not happening in the courts. Until they are forced give up their strangle-hold on our government (and others around the globe), don’t expect anything to get appreciably better – especially the environment (which they regard as their free well of assets and dumping ground for their waste).

  3. Gypse says:

    It’s good news that the Skarbakk is out of action.

    The Norwegian police force should have seized this ship and arrested it’s crew long ago. Instead they just sat around for years with illegal commercial whaling right under their noses.

    There would be no need for vigilantes if the police did their jobs.

  4. Julian says:

    I admire this action. International law was not being enforced – and it was time for someone to stand up for what is right.
    I see this as wholly ethical. Your editorial is flawed – these activists have a choice – do it openly and end up in the courts of a country which is flaunting international law, or carry on undercover and keep an eye open for another opportunity for the safe disabling of property used in the crime against the marine environment.

  5. Mike says:

    This is great I pledge my support for AGENDA21 they are doing what we are all thinking and what we want to do but can’t take that step forward good on them and SHAME ON YOU NORWAY WHALING WHERE IS YOUR HONER FOR LIFE BITC*s

  6. Si (England) says:

    I read the article then formed my reply, however Julian has eloquently done that for me, as have others posting herein.

    The fact that stands out is this: if these people gave themselves up to the “law”, they would be prosecuted and jailed. End of. The illegal whaling would continue, and sod all would be done about it. Diplomacy and rhetoric only go so far and with only a few groups of people; other tactics can be the only answer.

    1. Green Man says:

      And how is the reasoning different for criminal whalers? Does the law apply only to some?

  7. Skarbakk cruw says:

    Whale meat is good … Skarbakk is now condemned. the owner got several million in insurance for the boat, and NY larger boat is the most probable built in the future.

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