Finance Minister Slams US Position On Whaling

Finance Minister To US On Whaling: “Who Has The Moral High Ground?”

Published June 19, 2014

Andie Sophia Fontaine
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Minister of Finance Bjarni Benediktsson has responded to America’s anti-whaling position against Iceland, in part by pointing out that the US still uses the death penalty.

In a Facebook post the minister made this morning, Bjarni responded to a recent snub from the US Department of State, who did not invite Iceland to the international Our Ocean conference, on account of the country’s continued practice of whale hunting.

“If the whaling of Icelanders had an effect on whether Iceland was invited to the conference, it would be wise for Americans to learn from the Icelandic experience and not least of all, take a look at themselves,” Bjarni wrote in part. “Amongst many other things, one might mention that their new policy of experimental deep-sea explosions has been harshly criticised, amongst other reasons because of its effects on deep-sea animals, including whales and other sea mammals.”

Bjarni then kicked it up a notch, saying that there was something “crooked” about the Americans criticising and possibly initiating boycotts against Iceland over whaling, “while at the same time the news reports how they make mistakes in executing people who have been sentenced to death in their own court systems. Who has the ‘moral high ground’ here, as they would put it? Who has reason to end business with who?”

As reported, US authorities all the way up to President Barack Obama have expressed their opposition to Iceland’s whaling practices. A White House statement from last April said that, amongst other measures, US authorities will “re-examine bilateral cooperation projects and, where appropriate, to base U.S. cooperation with Iceland on the Icelandic government changing its whaling policy”. Iceland’s practice of hunting endangered fin whales has drawn White House criticism as well, for instance with Obama advisor John Podesta tweeting condemning words on Tuesday along with a link to Grapevine’s story on whaling recommencing.

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