Unfortunately for fans of Animal Planet's Whale Wars there are no cameras filming Paul Watson's latest attempt to avoid extradition from Germany to Costa Rica where he faces ten-year old criminal charges.
Seashepherd.org confirmed news that Paul Watson skipped out on his bail. His attorney alerted the organization about his flight. The background on Costa Rica's beef is summarized here.
"I received confirmation today from Germany’s General Public Prosecutor that Japan filed an extradition request against Paul Watson on July 19th,” said Oliver Wallasch, lead German Counsel for Captain Paul Watson.
“Germany was proceeding with Captain Watson’s extradition to Costa Rica and, once there, there is no doubt he would have been delivered into Japanese custody,” said Susan Hartland, Administrative Director for Sea Shepherd. “Upon being extradited to Japan, he would not have received a fair trial and would never have seen the outside of a prison again,” she added.
No one has confirmed whether Costa Rica will defer to the Japanese desire to put an end to Paul Watson's adventures for good, but you can't beat this for a great guessing game.
Paul Watson had to forfeit the reported $300,000 bail posted for him and leave his passport behind. How many countries will help him slip through their borders without one? A day of protest was set up for July 20 to raise awareness about his plight, but jumping bail was not on the agenda until a few days later.
It all started according to Sea Shepherd when Watson learned of the last minute maneuver by Japan. The request went to Germany to allow the Japanese to negotiate with Costa Rica for rights to Watson. His flight came quickly thereafter.
For NBA fans, it smacks of trading activity between two teams when a third team gets involved to facilitate moving a top notch player to one of the others. In this negotiation no one else is going back to the one country that loses the chance to skewer Watson.
However, there is plenty of bluster coming from Sea Shepherd about replacing Capt. Watson and continuing the real whale wars in the Southern Pacific Ocean.
Administrative Director Susan Hartland has said as much in a statement on the organization's website. It won't stop the ships from attempting to thwart efforts to kill whales, despite Japan's protests that they are conducting scientific research.
Critics of Capt. Watson say that he has yet to face justice for attacks on the high seas and that he demonstrates cowardice for doing so. He should be willing to be jailed for his cause they argue.
With Sea Shepherd's assurance that the fight will go on with or without Paul Watson, his flight from Germany looks like it is more about his individual fight against what he considers an illegal prosecution, rather than about making Japan cease prohibited whaling activities.