The meetings of the International Whaling Commission undoubtedly generate passionate debate from all sides, but “exciting” is probably not a term you would usually use to describe the proceedings.
However, a leaked document published on the Intercept website from whistleblower Edward Snowden, reveals that US officials attending an IWC meeting in May 2007 in Anchorage were supported by the US National Security Agency (NSA). One of the agency’s representatives was working with local colleagues to collate information gathered by counterparts from New Zealand on Japan’s lobbying efforts with countries that might support its position on various whaling issues ahead of votes later in the week. A selection of delegates from the US, New Zealand and Australia met to be presented with the findings each day.
While it is unclear exactly what information was passed to these delegates and how it was used, Japan ultimately failed in its attempt to get any exemptions from the ongoing moratorium at the meeting. The document concludes: “Was the outcome worth the effort? The Australian, New Zealand, and American delegates would all say ‘yes’. I believe the whales would concur”.