IWC - some voting episodes

Let's review some episodes of the past history of IWC voting.
To see more detail, refer to a member nation table and delegation lists below.

While the media were enthusiastically recording Greenpeace staffers dodging harpoons from Zodiac infratable dinghies, McTaggart was helping to pack the International Whaling Commission.

The commission was formed in 1946 in a treaty among whaling nations to prevent the overhunting of whales. The most closely affected nations were Japan, Iceland, the Soviet Union and Norway, but membership in the commission was open to any country that was willing to pay an annual fee of roughly $20,000 to $30,000 plus the cost of sending its representative to meetings. According to Francisco Palacio, a former Greenpeace consultant on marine mammals, he and McTaggart, working with their friends, came up with a way to bend the commission to the Greenpeace view that there should be an outright ban on whaling.

The whale savers targeted poor nations plus some small, newly independent ones like Antigua and St. Lucia. They drafted the required membership documents for submission to the U.S. State Department. They assigned themselves or their friends as the scientists and commissioners to represent these nations at the whaling commission. For instance, Palacio, a Columbian citizen based in Miami, arranged to be the commissioner from St. Lucia. The commissioner from Antigua was Palacio's friend and lawer, Richard Baron, also from Miami. McTaggart's friend Paul Gouin, a Moroccan-born French expatriate living in Nassau, Bahamas, served as commissioner from Panama. According to Palacio, the Greenpeace-inspired commissioners enjoyed an annual all-expenses-paid ten-day trip with a $300-per-diem perk to attend commission meetings. Palacio says the group paid to fly a U.N. ambassador home to talk his government into going along with the plan.

Between 1978 and 1982, Palacio says, the operation added at least half a dozen new member countries to the commission's membership to achieve the three-fourths majority necessary for a moratorium on commercial whaling, which passed in 1982.

This project cost millions, says Palacio, including the commission membership payments picked up on behalf of cooperating members. "In membership fees the payments amounted to about $150,000 [a year], and then we had all the grease money throughout the years," says Palacio. The Frenchman Gouin, then in his 30s, was the angel, funneling the funds through a Miami-based "foundation" called the Sea Life Resources Institute. Where did Gouin get that kind of Money? From trading investments, he says.

(from "The Not So Peaceful World of Greenpeace", Forbes, Nov. 1991)

What of Caribbean votes?
There is widespread propaganda that some Caribbean nations have sold their votes to Japan. Japan gives development assistance to as many as 150 countries around the world, and it so happens that these Caribbean nations are among the recipients of this assistance. The Caribbean nations at IWC have studied the whaling issue and have come to understand that their position is the same as Japan's, namely supporting the sustainable use of natural resources. That is why they have chosen to speak strongly in support of whaling at IWC and vote in support of Japan and Norway. On the other hand, if all 150 countries that receive Japanese aid were to join IWC and vote in support of Japan, the IWC would have been a different place altogether. However, in reality only a few of the recipients have joined IWC and some of them almost always oppose Japan in voting, for example, Argentine and India.

If you believe what the anti-whaling propaganda tells you about a contrived set up in which an anti-government advocate from Grenada spoke to the press in Adelaide, the story behind Caribbean IWC membership may interest you.

In 1981, only a year before the proposal for a moratorium on commercial whaling was voted on at IWC, two Caribbean nations joined IWC. Both voted for the moratorium, which was adopted by a margin of only one vote. Those representatives, acting as Commissioners for St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, were not nationals of these countries, but were an American and a British activist associated with anti-whaling organizations. Suspicion emerged about the authenticity of their credentials presented to IWC in support of their appointment as Commissioners. These surrogate Commissioners explained that the credentials were issued by legations outside of the home country.

After the moratorium was passed, humpback whales were caught off the island of Bequia by a national of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. This catch was reported to the IWC Infraction Sub-Committee. The surrogate Commissioner could not explain the situation surrounding this whale hunt in the country which he represented. Neither did he try to defend the whaler or claim the hunt was authorized by "his" government.

After 1982, the government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines appointed a new Commissioner to the IWC, a world-famous opera singer from the St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Ms. Gloria Peningsfeldt. This new Commissioner, appointed by her home government, approached Japan and asked for support for a proposal to classify Bequian whaling as Aboriginal/Subsistence Whaling, a category accepted by IWC. The proposal was approved, and Bequian whaling has continued to this day.

In 1984, it was determined that the surrogate Commissioner for St. Lucia, Dr. Francisco Palacio, had presented forged credentials to the IWC and he was dispelled by the Commission. After he left, St. Lucia appointed a new Commissioner with true credential from his government.

The Caribbean nations are independent states, whose future depends heavily upon the development of their fisheries. Their economy has largely depended upon the export of bananas and spices to the United Kingdom and other countries in Europe. However, since the U.K. joined the EC, these Caribbean nations have lost their preferential trade status that favored their exports into the UK.

Japan is an island nation dependent on fisheries resources. So are the Caribbean nations. These people have traditionally used what they call "Black Fish", which is the pilot whale. They also utilize as much other wildlife as is available to them for food in their limited environment. Japan gives development assistance to those island nations whose marine resources have the potential for sustainable development.

(from "Media Wars on Whales and Whaling", Shigeko Misaki, 2000)

A top US government official, Dr. Michael Tillman, has admitted that anti-whaling fundraising groups recruited countries into the International Whaling Commission (IWC) to pass measures against commercial whaling, including a commercial whaling moratorium.

According to John Rudolph, reporting for National Public Radio's Living on Earth program, anti-whaling activists wanted to ban whaling in late 1970's and developed "a campaign by the U.S. government and conservation groups to bring new members into the IWC. Among the nations recruited in the early 1980's were several from the Caribbean: St. Vincent, St. Lucia, Antigua and others. Their votes helped the moratorium squeak through in 1982.

"Dr. Tillman and others claim that, in the years just before the vote on the worldwide moratorium, conservation groups paid some small island nations to join the Commission," he said.

"There was what we called 'common knowledge' that a number of countries joined and that their dues and the travel support was reportedly due to conservation groups providing it," Dr. Tillman stated on the program. Dr. Tillmann was the acting head of the U.S. delegation at many of the IWC annual meetings.


The countries referred to included the Seychelles, India, Belize, Costa Rica, Uruguay, Egypt, Kenya, Jamaica, Senegal, and four newly independent eastern Caribbean states.

The Solomon Islands were recruited by the United States in 1985 to help obtain a catch quota of bowhead whales for Alaskan Eskimos.


In 1994, the anti-whaling groups recruited Austria into the IWC to vote for a whale sanctuary in the waters off Antarctica and this year Italy was brought into the IWC to help the anti-whaling cause. The incentive for Italy was the threat by conservation groups of trade sanctions stemming from its use of illegal driftnets in the Mediterranean Sea if it did not support the anti-whaling movement.


In addition, IWC members are often exposed to both coercion and intimidation from the anti-whaling advocates to force them to vote for anti-whaling measures. Countries voting for sustainable use of abundant stocks of whales have been subject to threats, an International Wildlife Coalition tourist boycott campaign, and economic pressures from the major anti-whaling countries, the US, UK, Australia and France.

In 1994, U.K. Agriculture Minister John Gummer threatened the Caribbean countries with loss of UK support for their European banana market if they voted against the Antarctic Whale Sanctuary. As the Caribbean countries depend upon the banana market for up to 60 percent of their total annual incomes, they abstained from the issue.


(from "JWA Press Release", 16-June 1998)

Jim Mitchell, the Prime Minister of St Lucia, decided in 1985 to no longer send two members of the 'environmental Mafia' - F. Palacio (a Colombian) and J.P Fortom-Gouin (a Frenchman) - as the St Lucian delegates to the IWC from 1986. Getting angry, Greenpeace sent a threatening letter to Mitchell. It said to "pressure the US House of Representatives and reduce the economic help to St Lucia". But this threat did not succeed. In the IWC meeting held in Marmo, Sweden, in June, 1986, both Palacio and Fortom-Gouin were not in the seats for the St Lucian delegation.

(from "Kujira-to Inbou", Yoshito Umezaki, 1986)

However, on the first day of the IWC meeting that year, members of the Japanese delegation were surprised at who some members of the Seychelles delegation were. Lyall Watson was there.

In the fall of the previous year, 1978, Watson had visited Japan as the secretary-general of the Threshold Foundation and proposed ideas to solve the whaling issue. The Threshold Foundation is chaired by a brother of ex-Iranian Shah Pahlavi. Since Shah Pahlavi did not have any children by his previous wife, he designated his brother as prince. However, after having a son by his second wife, the brother resigned as prince. At this point he was given a huge fortune and established the Threshold Foundation. This foundation's goal is to fill the gap between different cultures and thus reduce friction among them. With that aim in mind, it started to deal with the whaling issue. Rather, precisely speaking, it started to deal with the whaling issue after Britisher Watson became the secretary-general.


Now Watson is in the delegation of the new member nation Seychelles. Since the Pahlavi family owned a large villa in the Seychelles, they had a close relationship. Watson utilized this relationship to let Seychelles join the IWC and he himself joined the delegation.

(from "Kujira-to Inbou", Yoshito Umezaki, 1986)

It was in 1981 that anti-whaling power undertook a full scale maneuver to gain a majority in the IWC. In that year ten nations - India, St Lucia, Dominica, Jamaica, Uruguay, St Vincent & The Grenadines, Costa Rica, Philippines, Egypt, and Kenya - joined the IWC. In 1982 five nations - Monaco, West Germany, Belize, Senegal, Antigua & Barbuda - joined the IWC.

It was only to obtain the vote necessary for the moratorium that these nations with no relation to or interest in whaling were recruited. Among these nations, the membership of West Germany attracts attention. Contrary to our expectation, it joined the IWC due to an approach from an anti-whaling organization.

"We approached Mrs. Schmidt - wife of the Prime Minister of West Germany. Since she was a fancier of the orchid, we at first approached many orchid experts in the world, and asked them to write letters to Mrs. Schmidt to request cooperation with whale protection. Of course, orchids were sent with the letters. When we ask cooperation from top politicians, it is our strategy to also approach his wife or daughters. The case of West Germany was one example in which this strategy worked well."
- David McTaggart


From these nations, the 'foreigner delegates', like the case of Watson of the Seychelles, emerged. People who did not have either the nationality of the country nor any relationship to it began to attend the IWC as delegates. They were F. Palacio of St Lucia, C. Davey of St Vincent & the Grenadines, R.S. Payne of Antigua & Barbuda. F. Palacio - a Colombian - lives in Miami, Florida, USA. C. Davey and R.S. Paine are Americans and also live in Miami. J.P. Fortom-Gouin, who became the acting commissioner of the St Lucia delegation after Panama had quit the IWC, also lives in Miami.

One thing common to these 'foreigner delegates' are that they are fanatic cetacean lovers. C. Davey, the chairman of the board of directors of the Cetuman Foundation, was possessed by a love of sperm whales. The name "Cetuman" is mixture of "Cetacean" and "Man", and was an expression of a belief that cetaceans - especially toothed whales like sperm whales - would establish communication with mankind in the future. In the spring of 1982 the Cetuman Foundation put a sensational anti-whaling advertisement in Japanese newspapers. It had an illustration of a sperm whale, spilling blood with a harpoon stuck in its back, and in large print, the message that "Japan is the only country who voted for continuation of the killing of sperm whales." Also, another message: "Prime Minister Zenko Suzuki, please direct that the killing of sperm whales stop as soon as possible".

Payne insists that humpback whales are the best soprano singers. Once he had made a large profit by the sale of disks of 'humpback singers' which was recorded in the Bermuda Islands and near Hawaii. It was around 1971 when movements to ban whaling had just started. It is true that humpback whales sing, but it could be heard only near the Bermuda Islands or Hawaii. It is not known why they sing only there, but Payne says that since these areas are mating grounds, the song must be for sexual attraction. Payne says with a straight face that whales could play a violin if they were able to use hands.

J.P. Fortom-Gouin is a Frenchman who was born in Morocco. He is around forty years old, had made a fortune as a real estate broker, and established the "Institute for Delphinid Research" in Miami for the study of the intelligence and activity of dolphins. Because of being a Frenchman, he is not fluent at English. So he recruited F. Palacio who had been the head of the Tinker Institute of University of Miami. Although F. Palacio was not a whale scientist, in the Scientific Committee he played a role attacking Japan with his eloquence and knowledge of marine biology obtained through the study of the mackerel.

(from "Kujira-to Inbou", Yoshito Umezaki, 1986)