Dr. Jerry Vlasak, along with the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and it's head, Paul Watson, are back in the news, under siege and apparently imploding, this time as a result of the meticulous reporting by CBC's Peter Gullage. (You can listen to audio versions of Mr. Gullage's story here and here, and you can view the breathtaking video version of the story here.)
Mr. Gullage's report grew out of recent efforts by the SSCS to disrupt the Canadian seal hunt, an effort in which the good doctor Vlasak figured prominently, being twice busted: first his nose by a sealer's bare-knuckled fist, and then his butt by the long arm of the RCMP. Dr. Vlasak is due to return to Canada to face charges arising from the regrettable incident.
Mr. Gullage's exposé has stunned the Newfoundland citizenry and has the province's government scrambling for answers: in particular, why were they not informed by the Canadian government of Vlasak's terrorist rhetoric and advocacy of murder in the pursuit of his Animal Liberationist goals, and why did the Canadian government fail to ban him and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's ship the Farley Mowat from entry into the country?
Mr. Gullage documents his reports in meticulous detail. He uses a recent audio clip of Dr. Vlasak justifying the ethics of assassinating scientists and a film clip of Dr. Vlasak openly advocating the practice itself. In the longer of the CBC audios, you will hear Mr. Gullage linking Dr. Vlasak to PCRM and the PCRM to PeTA. You will also hear him link convicted arsonist and PeTA familiar Rod Coronado to SSCS, and an admirably stoic Mr. Gullage observing that the SSCS is a tax exempt orgainzation!
Mr. Gullage did his homework, and he did it well: he tied Dr. Vlasak to the terrorist Animal Liberation Front, and outed Dr. Vlasak's position as a member of the SSCS's own Board of Directors.
Mr. Gullage interviewed Captain Paul Watson, skipper of the SSCS's ship Farley Mowat. When asked about Dr. Vlasak advocating assassination, Watson claimed that Vlasak's comments had been taken out of context, and that Vlasak's remarks were intended to protect vivisectors against violence! (I kid you not . . .)
However, when Elizabeth May, a prominent Canadian environmentalist and pacifist learned of Dr. Vlasak's rhetoric and affiliations, and offered up her resignation from the SSCS's board of directors unless Vlasak was removed, Watson chose Vlasak and his rhetorical baggage over May and her civilized inclinations:
[ . . . ]
Reports of Vlasak's comments were enough to prompt Elizabeth May – one of Canada's most prominent environmentalists – to say she will resign an advisory role with the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society if Vlasak does not quit.
"I'm deeply shocked … I don't care what somebody is doing, murder is murder," says May, the executive director of the Sierra Club of Canada.
"That is crossing a line that is not only irresponsible and illegal but immoral. And I don't want any part of that," says May, who admits she had not even heard of Vlasak until hearing a CBC Radio report.
Now, isn't that interesting . . . she herself, a member of the SSCS's board of directors, didn't even know who one of the other members of the SSCS's board was. So here we have an organization, the SSCS, who holds environmental evil-doers of their (SSCS's) designation to the very highest standards of transparency and accountability, and yet, apparently, members of the SSCS's own Board of Directors are unaware of the incendiary rhetoric and terrorist ties of one of their own . . .
What sort of corporate governance is this?
Who on earth would contribute funds to these bozos?
Contacted aboard the society's ship Farley Mowat, Watson says he is prepared to lose May as an adviser to his organization if it means retaining Vlasak, a Los Angeles-based physician.
"You ask me to condemn a trauma surgeon, who saves lives, who simply spoke up to expose the hypocrisy in our society … absolutely not," Watson said.
"I would never condemn him. So, if she has a problem with that, that's her choice." [My emphasis . . . ed]
I suspect Captain Watson will come to rue the day he said that . . .
His organization — the SSCS — has been tainted by the good Dr. Vlasak, just as Vlasak has tainted the PeTA front organization the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM). At least the PCRM had good enough self-preservation instincts to try to sell the idea that they "forgot" that Vlasak was their former spokesperson, as demonstrably silly as such a denial would appear.
Captain Watson? You just ran your organization into a metaphorical torpedo . . . to the extent that the SSCS's existence depends on public acceptance of its goals and tactics, not to mention public contributions, you have hazarded your . . . vessel . . .
But there's more . . .
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society was involved in a torrent of death threats that were delivered by phone this month against Newfoundlander sealer Ren Genge.
An April 2 posting on a blog on the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's website identified Genge's name, mailing address, phone number and even the name of his wife.
This is the very definition of terrorism . . .and it shows the lengths to which SSCS's functionaries are willing to go in their quest to "peacefully persuade" others to their agenda through the use of coercion, threats and intimidation. When you add together Dr. Vlasak's appalling advocacy of murder . . . well . . . the SSCS just doesn't come off looking very good, does it?
The RCMP are investigating the incident.
Watson initially said he had no idea how Genge's personal information was being spread around the world, but later ordered the details to be removed from the society's website.
He has no idea . . . well, he is responsible, isn't he?
Just as Captain Watson is responsible for placing Vlasak on the SSCS's board of directors in the first place; for falsely representing the nature of Vlasak's assassination comments to Mr. Gullage, a reporter doing a story for public consumption (whether Watson did so through ignorance or malice is irrelevant); keeping Vlasak on the Board at the cost of May, and keeping his Board of Directors in the dark about one another (hmmm . . . maybe they aren't in the dark . . . and what would that tell us about the SSCS?); Captain Watson is also responsible for what goes up on his web page. If not Captain Watson, who?
May says she has known Watson for years, and has not always supported some of the society's policy decisions. She said this revelation, though, is entirely different.
"I've never heard of anybody with any credible organization expressing views like this," she says. "[Watson] should never have put such a person on his board of directors."
One would imagine, Ms. May. One would indeed imagine.
Mr. Gullage has stirred up a hornet's nest of Dr. Vlasak's construction. The provincial and national governments are demanding answers, and at least one of SSCS's Board members has resigned in protest when Skipper Watson chose a supporter of murder over her!
What an amazing story, how brilliantly told . . .. And Mr. Gullage has only revealed the tip of the iceberg . . .