US judge labels anti-whaling group 'pirates'
LOS ANGELES (AFP) - A US appeals court has labeled militant conservationist group Sea Shepherd as pirates, and cleared the way for Japanese whalers to pursue legal action against them.
"You don't need a peg leg or an eye patch" to be a pirate, declared chief judge Alex Kozinski of the Ninth Circuit US Court of Appeals, overturning a lower court's ruling against Japanese whalers, who he said were "researchers."
"When you ram ships, hurl glass containers of acid, drag metal-reinforced ropes in the water to damage propellers and rudders, launch smoke bombs and flares with hooks; and point high-powered lasers at other ships, you are, without a doubt, a pirate," he said.
This was true "no matter how high-minded you believe your purpose to be," he added in a ruling that dubbed Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson as "eccentric."