"When critics say we are going too far, our answer is that, for the whales, things have already gone way too far," says the grey-bearded Canadian who rejects the label "terrorist" but doesn't mind "pirate".Of course, it's all justified by this logic:
During the past week, Watson's crew attempted to use steel cable to foul a whaling ship's propeller. They sideswiped the whalers' supply ship using their "can opener", a steel blade designed to inflict maximum damage to a ship's hull.
He says he's not the only one playing hard, accusing a Japanese captain of trying to run down his much smaller vessel on Christmas Day.
Watson says his tactics work. He reckons whalers flee whenever he arrives on the scene and as long as they're not whaling that's good enough for him.
But the willingness to get physical leaves some people uneasy. On Wednesday Conservation Minister Chris Carter labelled Watson's sideswipe attack "very irresponsible" and said it was contributing to the whalers' "increasing anxiety".
Late last month, Carter's Australian counterpart, Ian Campbell, attacked what he called a "war-like" statement by Watson that he was willing to lose his ship to stop the whalers.
"The word deranged came to mind when I read it," Campbell said.
Property damage is not really violence, Watson says. Violence, he insists, is inflicting harm on a living creature, something he says has never happened in his campaigns.I'll bet if someone torpedoed his ship, he'd call it violence...
Watson's campaign tally since 1977 includes eight whaling ships sunk, in port, either by known Sea Shepherd operatives or by others whom he prefers to describe as "allies". There have been no injuries, a record he says he's dedicated to maintaining.UPDATE: More on Watson's position here, as he tries to assert that he is following the non-violent teachings of Martin Luther King...