Skip to comments.Greenpeace Commemorates 1985 Ship Bombing - Rainbow Warrior (FRench 'GLUB' Club Alert!)
Posted on 07/10/2005 8:22:10 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
WELLINGTON, New Zealand - Twenty years after he drowned in his cabin on the sabotaged Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior, photographer Fernando Pereira was honored Sunday with a marble sculpture lowered to the seabed beside the sunken ship in which he died.
As supporters and friends prepared to ease the sculpture into 85 feet of water in New Zealand's Matauri Bay, a French newspaper reported this weekend that the French spy agencies that sank the ship in 1985 with two mines placed by frogmen had direct approval from then President Francois Mitterrand.
The vessel, the Rainbow Warrior, had been readying to sail for France's South Pacific nuclear testing site at Mururoa Atoll to protest a series of nuclear explosions.
A report in the Paris daily Le Monde's Saturday edition quoted a 1986 report by Pierre Lacoste, the former head of France's DGSE secret service, confirming Mitterrand's direct involvement in the bombing of the vessel.
"I asked the president if he gave me permission to put into action the neutralization plan that I had studied on the request of Monsieur (then Defense Minister Charles) Hernu," Lacoste wrote, according to the newspaper.
"He gave me his agreement while stressing the importance he placed on the nuclear tests," he noted. Hernu and Lacoste both lost their jobs for their roles in the affair.
Greenpeace on Sunday dismissed the report as "not changing anything" in the tragedy of the ship's sinking and Dutch photographer Pereira's death a shame, they say, for France, because it was clear early on that the operation was approved at the highest levels of government in Paris.
New Zealand authorities arrested two French agents and convicted them of manslaughter. They were sentenced to 10 years each for Pereira's killing, but freed within two years after France threatened trade and other sanctions.
In the years since, the organization formed in 1971 has grown into an environmental powerhouse with 2.8 million supporters worldwide. As Greenpeace commemorates the attack, the group remains angry over the French operation.
"We already knew the decision was taken at the highest levels of the French government," Greenpeace climate policy director Steve Sawyer told The Associated Press. "The fact that he specifically authorized it doesn't really change anything."
He said, however, that Mitterrand should bear much of the blame.
"They clearly made Lacoste and Hernu the fall guys instead of the president," Sawyer said. "Mitterrand was ... responsible because he appointed these guys. It doesn't change anything from our point of view."
Dozens of people threw flowers onto the water as the white sculpture was guided to the deck of the sunken Rainbow Warrior by divers. The vessel was raised from the bottom of Auckland harbor for an investigation but then sunk again in Matauri Bay in 1987 to form a fish breeding reef and dive site.
Sawyer said about 100 Greenpeace members and supporters held a pre-dawn ceremony with local indigenous Maori before a memorial service on Rainbow Warrior II, the sunken vessel's replacement. The marble sculpture was set on the seabed Sunday but divers will later mount it on the submerged deck of the first Rainbow Warrior.
Pereira's daughter Marelle Pereira, aged nine at the time her father was killed, gave a speech remembering her father and thanking people around the world for their support over the 20 years since, Sawyer said.
The commemoration 20 years later showed how much the world had changed and how much it remained the same, he said. "We still face the threat of nuclear weapons and nuclear proliferation today," Sawyer said.
Mon dieu! The French had balls then!
The sinking of the hippie navy was one of France's proudest moments.
It's the only military victory they've had since Napoleon.
In 20 years the French at least did one thing right!
It IS kind of redundant;)
"Les Phoques". (slang for french navy SEALs, or "seals" like the animal.)
Man it's nice to have FR back .
Yep it sure takes balls to blow up pacifists.
What is not clear from this report is just how much oil money, bribes, and weapon sales kickbacks ol Smarmy Puss Francois pocketed out of this hit job. Somebody must have compensated the ol boy to get this kind of action.
Justice is justice. Especially when it's served up to scum who hide behind pretty little euphemisms like "pacifist," and "progressive."
But just in case you're experiencing a little bit of moral confusion concerning the well-meaning pacifist, consider this:
The pacifist is as surely a traitor to his country and to humanity as is the most brutal wrong doer."
Teddy got it right.
...20 years gone, and still not missed.
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