Paul Watson is far too radical for Greenpeace, the group he co-founded. His vigilante group Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is a roving pack of eco-saboteurs, trolling international waters for whalers—and ramming the offending ships. Watson usually operates illegally, and his theatrical and violent defense of aquatic life is credited with turning Icelandic opinion against saving whales, the New Yorker reports.
Friend to Mick Jagger and the Dalai Lama, Watson is not wholly wrong about international law: Whaling falls in a gray area, not legal but rarely policed. His tactics—blockading ports and sinking 10 ships—have rarely earned him proud state sponsors, but the self-proclaimed captain has forced political concessions from exasperated governments.