Makah Hunt Spring 1999
As of 2:00 pm PDT, The Makah are actively hunting gray whales off the Washington coast. The U.S. Coast Guard has boarded a SEDNA vessel at gunpoint and are detaining the crew. Seattle-area TV stations are covering
the hunt live.
IT IS CONFIRMED that the Makah are presently hunting gray whales off the coast of Washington. It is further confirmed that the Makah have struck at least one whale, reportedly a female accompanied by her calf.
It was reported earlier today that the Sea Defense Alliance (SEDNA) attempted to intervene on behalf of the gray whales. The US Coast Guard, acting on a false report filed by members of the Makah tribe, boarded their
boat at gunpoint. The false report alleged that SEDNA was in possession of weapons on their boat. Two members of SEDNA, Josh Harper and Jake Conroy, have been arrested by the US Coast Guard and have been charged with 'reckless endangerment' and 'resisting arrest.' The Coast Guard also confiscated SEDNA's inflatable boat.
The remaining SEDNA crew members and their flagship are being illegally detained at present by the US Coast Guard. We are asking for a large number of phone calls to the Coast Guard to voice your feelings on the matter. You may speak with Commander Costner at (360) 645-2236. Demand that they release the SEDNA members and their boat!
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is reportedly dispatching the 'Sirenian' to Neah Bay at present.
3:00 pm PST, the Makah whaling crew is still on the water.
Call the US Coast Guard, share your thoughts with the people at these agencies... make your voices heard!
Coast Guard Seattle: 206 220 7237
NMFS: Brian Gorman, 206 526 6613
4:00 pm PST, the Makah are still on the water, actively hunting gray whales. One strike has been confirmed. No whale fatalities have been reported, although Jonathan Paul of SEDNA reported via cell phone at 3:53pm PST that a harpoon was being thrown at a gray whale (it missed).
7:15 pm PST, 5/10/99
Apparently the hunt is over for the day. The most recent information indicates that the Makah whaling crew was NOT able to kill a gray whale, despite their best efforts. Earlier reports that they had even STRUCK a
whale are now in dispute. Unbelievably, it appears that the gray whales the Makah were hunting managed to dive at precisely the moment they needed to escape!
Two SEDNA members have been placed under arrest for attempting to intervene on behalf of the whales, and at last report, the flagship SEDNA vessel and remaining crew are STILL being detained by the US Coast Guard.
The Makah hunt is the lead story on all of the Seattle area television stations tonight, and if you want to explore the coverage further, you way wish to visit some of the web-sites maintainted by NW Cable News, KIRO, KING or KOMO.
I have put some video stills on a web-site for all to see. They are not the best quality, but they will show some of the drama of the day. To see the caption for each photo, hold your mouse pointer over the picture. You can see them at:
Folks, the front-line troops need your support more now than ever. Please consider a generous donation to one or more of these groups. If you need help making contact with them, please let me know so I may assist. We must win this battle.
FROM SEDNA SUPPORT
The Makah began attempting to kill gray whales today. They were on the water with their canoe, harpoons, the rifle, the Coast Guard and 3 support powerboats. The Makah made a false report to the Coast Guard that Sedna
(Sea Defense Alliance) crew had aimed a rifle at them and attempted to blow them out of the water. The Coast Guard then boarded all Sedna boats and searched for weapons and safety violations. No weapons or explosives were found, nor were any safety violations found. Nonetheless, the Coast Guard detained the Sedna crews saying they were not under arrest, but also not free to leave. Ultimately, the largest Sedna boat and its crew were released. Sgt. Don Kelly of the Clallam County Sheriff's Office said two Sedna crew were being brought to the Coast Guard station at his request.
However, the Coast Guard detained another Sedna boat and two crew, Jake Conroy and Joshua Harper, and moved them to the Coast Guard station at Neah Bay, where they are still being held now, nine hours later. Reportedly they are being charged with a state offense, a gross misdemeanor, Reckless Endangerment, but are being held while the federal authorities decide whether or not to file any charges.
The Coast Guard and the Clallam County Sheriff's Office have refused to take a criminal complaint from Sedna's attorney against the Makah for filing a false report. It is illegal to make a false report to law enforcement authorities.
The latest weather report says it will begin raining at midnight and the winds will pick up. The Makah have said they intend to hunt at first light tomorrow. They have a whaling permit good for until May 20th.
Sea Shepherd, which was not on the scene today, has now arrived and will be part of the protest tomorrow.
The good news is that the Makah did not kill any whales today. They threw a number of harpoons that missed. There is a report that they harpooned a mother with its calf, but that the harpoon bounced off and did not penetrate the whale's flesh.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Call the Coast Guard at Neah Bay and ask on what charges Jake and Joshua are being held and demand their release. That number is 360/645-2236. Coast Guard Officer Coster.
Call the Clallam County Commissioners to complain about violations of civil rights and First Amendment rights by its Sheriff's Office. Commissioners' # is 360/257-1761.
Complain to the 13th District Coast Guard Commander, Hasselback in Seattle at 206/217-6185.
Complain to every level of government you can
Call the media to correct the erroneous stories they are putting out (e.g., that the IWC has approved th Makah hunt).
Get up to Neah Bay if possible. Bring food, boats, planes, videocameras, cameras, cell phones, fuel funds, bullet-proof vests, whatever. Keep a close eye on law enforcement and document their moves. They are acting like this is a totalitarian police state and that they, because they have the guns, can act with impunity.
Sedna is still in desperate need of fuel funds, so contribute if you can.
The psychically inclined can work on more bad weather and the grays moving farther offshore.
FROM WCCA - 11MAY'99
The Makah were on the water again this morning, actively hunting gray whales. SEDNA, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and the West Coast Anti-Whaling Society are all on-site to counter the Makah efforts.
Seattle-area media have just reported that the hunt may be "off" for the day, due to worsening weather.
Streaming video is available from yesterday's Makah action. You can access it at:
Final note: The Peninsula Citizens for the Protection of Whales are ratcheting up their protests at the Makah reservation border. They will be on-site today at noon, and are planning a larger protest this Saturday at
1:00pm. PLEASE make an effort to join them in expressing outrage over this illegal hunt. They will be meeting at Olson's Resort in Sekiu at 11:00am. Contact: Chuck Owens (360) 928-3048
FROM SEA DEFENSE ALLIANCE - 10MAY'99
Little clarification...I've been talking to Jonathan Paul all day on the SeDnA lead vessel, and they are not now being held. They were detained earlier this afternoon for an hour or so. They were searched for weapons,
and none were found - because none were on board.
But, Jonathan and the SeDnA flagship are, as of 6:30 p.m., alive and safe and well.
If anyone needs more information about the Sea Defense Alliance (SeDnA), you can contact me at 916/452-7279. As the only defense group on duty this a.m., they are "sucking wind" - and 2 of their members are in jail.
FROM PROJECT SEAWOLF - 10MAY'/99
As of this report, the Makah tribe is actively engaged in a gray whale hunt attempt. Throughout the day, reports have come in that one whale was actually hit with a harpoon but not fired upon by riflemen in the pursuit boat. KING 5 TV and KIRO News & have run aerial videotape of at least 2 harpooning attempts from the canoe. All that is clear is that, as of sunset Monday evening, no whale has yet been landed.
Earlier this evening I spoke with Captain Paul Watson of Sea Shepherd, who has moved the "Sirenian" to Sekiu in preparation for tomorrow's hunting efforts. Earlier today, another anti-whaling group had their boats seized and detained on alleged charges of "reckless endangerment," suspected firearms possessions and violations of the Coast Guard established exclusion zone. Coast Guard personnel boarded these activist's vessels with drawn weapons and 2 of the activists were arrested and detained at Clallam County jail. Canadian boats and some other US independents are reported to be arriving this evening.
The vessel launch is apparently being staged from the backroads far south of the Makah reservation. From our previous surveillance, it appears that the launch points may be at beaches near the coordinates
48.14.89N/124.41.74W or 48.12.56N/124.41.62W. This means that the vessels are being brought in by road along Makah Bay Road or the Ozette-Neah Bay Road. This is particularly concerning because under these circumstances, since the ability for activists to find and monitor all these locations is virtually impossible. There are reports of a small craft gale advisory for tomorrow, but if the weather is clear, it is clearly expected that a hunt -- very possibly a successful one -- will occur tomorrow or the day after.
At this point, all avenues must be explored. SeaWolf is formally contacting the CITES secretariat by fax this evening asking them to demand that the US Commerce Department call an immediate cessation of this hunt,
until it can be determined whether the US has violated CITES regulations by allowing the trade of endangered bowhead whales for these gray whales. We are not certain whether this will work, but if this can be achieved by tomorrow morning, it may possibly derail the hunt until the spring migration ends. At this point, every effort must be made to block the killing of a first whale.
We will continue reporting as information comes in....
URGENT NEWS ADVISORY - May 11, 1999
Sea Defense Alliance Activists
Arraigned Tuesday at 1 p.m.
In Clallam County Court
PORT ANGELES, WA - Two anti-whaling activists from the environmental protection group Sea Defense Alliance will be arraigned at Clallam County Superior Court (223 East St.4th St) Tuesday at 1 p.m. on charges of assault.
Jacob Conroy and Joshua Harper, who were detained by U.S. Coast Guard vessels about 1 p.m. Monday on their 19-foot zodiac as it protested the whale hunt by the Makah, were moved about 11 p.m. Monday night to Clallam
County Jail from the Neah Bay Coast Guard Station.
Both activists said Tuesday they are not guilty, and have begun a hunger strike.
Their attorney complained Monday night that the activists were being held illegally, and that their civil rights were being violated.
"These Sea Defense Alliance activists only sought to protect the whales from Makah harpoons and their .50 caliber anti-tank gun," said Helga Kahr, a Seattle attorney for the Gray Whale Legal Action Team.
Ms Kahr said that Makah made a "false report" to the Coast Guard that SeDnA crew, who are committed to nonviolence, aimed rifles at the Makah canoe. The Coast Guard search of SeDnA boats uncovered no weapons.
Members of the Sea Defense Alliance, after patrolling the coastal waters early Tuesday, will be in court to testify to false claims by the Makah and the Coast Guard.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Washington Citizen's Coastal Alliance is issuing a travel warning for the Makah Indian Reservation and the community of Neah Bay in northwestern Clallam County, Washington.
A virtual police state exists on the Makah Indian Reservation as of May 11, 1999.
Seattle-area media is reporting that visitors to the Makah Indian Reservation may be stopped, questioned and searched at will by police officers under the direction of Tribal Police Chief Lionel Ahdunko, a convicted felon.
The heightened security measures have been put in place to assist the tribe in carrying out the Makah Whaling Commission's illegal gray whale hunt.
Also, since November of 1998, members and employees of the Makah Indian tribe have participated in confirmed incidents of threat, assault and theft on visitors to this area.
Visitors are advised to use extreme caution when traveling in northwestern Clallam County while the Makah Whaling Commission persists in illegally hunting gray whales.
Contact information: WCCA firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday Harbor, Washington 9825.
FROM WASHINGTON CITIZEN'S COASTAL ALLIANCE
The Peninsula Citizens for the Protection of Whales was out at the Makah border again today and received wonderful press coverage! These fine folks are planning a LARGE protest for this coming Saturday. They are requesting that all available people come out and make their presence known! Please consider taking a day of your time in order to show your opposition to the illegal Makah whale hunt! They will be meeting at Olson's Resort in Sekiu at 1:00 pm this coming Saturday. Questions? Contact Chuck Owens at (360) 928-3048
We have received a number of credible reports that several Puget Sound-based groups will soon be launching picketing actions against area merchants carrying Makah arts and crafts. The pickets will be for the purpose of expressing outrage at the illegal Makah whale hunt. The WCCA has been informed that picket lines will be in place at various area merchants during the busy weekends and holidays of this coming summer. We will pass on information as it becomes available.
LATEST UPDATE ON ARRESTED SEDNA MEMBERS
Jacob Conroy and Joshua Harper, the two SEDNA members taken into custody by the US Coast Guard, made their court appearance in Port Angeles this afternoon. It was originally reported that the two were being charged with 'first degree assault'- a felony- but were actually charged with 'reckless endangerment'- a misdemeanor- and released on their own recognizance. However, a restraining order has also been issued, forbidding them from traveling west of Port Angeles. This means they have been denied the opportunity to return and continue the fight at Neah Bay.
The WCCA wishes to thank all of you that called, faxed and e-mailed the appropriate authorities on behalf of these two whale protectors. Looking back at the chaos of May 10, it appears that the SEDNA crew was able to
prevent a whale being killed by the Makah whaling crew. We encourage all of you to contact SEDNA and thank them for their timely and brave intervention on behalf of the gray whales.
- The Makah whaling crew, met by a reinforced fleet of whaling protestors including Sea Shepherd, SEDNA, the West Coast Anti-Whaling Society and the World Whale Police, were turned back by the imposing number of boats and bad weather. The Makah claim they will be on the water again tomorrow to resume the hunt.
- There has been a continuing question of whether the Makah whaling crew actually struck a whale yesterday. From the best information available at this point, we conclude that they did NOT strike a whale. There were two separate actual harpoon attempts, but neither was successful.
- The protest groups on-site will continue to need your support in order to maintain a presence in preventing this hunt. Please dig deep and be generous! These people are laying it on the line, and it is our duty to assist them in preventing any whales from being killed! If you need assistance in contacting any of the groups, please contact me anytime!
Whales in Danger Information Service