Whaling piracy vs terrorism

Whale wars are on the verge of mutating into eco-terrorism

Sea Shepherd won with the Japanese last week, as the Japanese declared they will withdraw their whaling fleet as the anti-whaling protester ship threatened the safety of Japanese whalers. So, Discovery channel can now advertise a success of its TV show with a leading G8 nation, and the crazy mavericks on board the Sea Shepherd can party till they vomit, happy with the lives of whales they saved.
Congrats to the pirates (they DO fly the black-skull&bones flag). Good riddance to Japanese “whaling research”, whose by-products wind up in Japanese restaurants as offshoots from a valuable research project (sic!).
Unfortunately, this will not last.
The Japanese are ambitious, have a good memory and do not take kindly to such insults. Right now, there is a bunch of lawyers reading the international law books with one major aim: to equate sea piracy with terrorism. Impossible? Hmmm…
Piracy is a crime regulated by international and national laws that emerged from centuries of painful experiences. It’s primary aim is economic, i.e. the conversion of ownership of goods/people through violence of various gradation. Even the simple sinking of a ship also has economic connotations (immediate loss of investment, cost of replacement, etc). Wikipedia: Piracy is a war-like act committed by private parties (not affiliated with any government) that engage in acts of robbery and/or criminal violence at sea.
Now, terrorism is different. Especially in the post-911 world with American politicians and agencies going crazy over anything they don’t like and continuously upgrading the extent and violence of their “war on terror”. Wikipedia comes handy again: “Terrorism is the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion. No universally agreed, legally binding, criminal law definition of terrorism currently exists. Common definitions of terrorism refer only to those violent acts which are intended to create fear (terror), are perpetrated for a religious, political or ideological goal, deliberately target or disregard the safety of non-combatants (civilians), and are committed by non-government agencies.”
Where do the actions of the whale pirates fit? They have an ideology, deliberately target a specific group, disregarding the safety of “non-combatants” (whalers) and they are a non-governmental agency (a charity dedicated to anti-whaling). By calling the whaling as “research” the Japanese have removed any connotations with “economic” from their whale butchery, further pushing the whole issue towards…not-piracy.
Now, if the Japanese succeed in converting the ocean actions into terrorism, Sea Shepherd will find itself under fire from the very same military vessels that are (badly) trying to protect the ships off Somalia. The US will be required to chase this anti-whaling ship, as it cannot selectively enforce its OWN policies on anti-terrorism by pretending the crazy anti-whalers are just “deranged ocean idealists”. Discovery will have to cancel the show, and no credit card company will accept/transfer donations (like they did with wikileaks).
Still, the win is a first, and will hopefully lead to next successes of non-economic ideologies over the selfish and short-term capitalist mind-set that is destroying this planet.