20 years since Rainbow warrior sinking




 
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Boots
 
July 8th, 2005  
chewie_nz
 

Topic: 20 years since Rainbow warrior sinking


this weekend is the anniversary of the sinking of the Rainbow warrior in Auckland harbour by French Navy divers. an attack by one nations military on a civillian ship berthed in the harbour of another nation.


The first Rainbow Warrior, a craft of 40 metres and 418 tonnes, was originally the MAFF trawler Sir William Hardy, launched in 1955. She was acquired for £40,000 and was renovated over four months, then re-launched on April 29, 1978 as Rainbow Warrior. She was named after a Native American prophecy. The engines were replaced in 1981 and the ship was converted with a ketch rig in 1985.

Rainbow Warrior was used as a support vessel for many Greenpeace protest activities against sealing, whaling and nuclear weapons testing during the late 1970s and early 1980s.

In 1985, she had travelled to New Zealand to lead a flotilla of yachts protesting against French nuclear testing at Mururoa Atoll in the Tuamotu Archipelago of French Polynesia. During previous nuclear tests at Mururoa, protest ships had been boarded by French commandos after sailing inside the shipping exclusion zone around the atoll. With the 1985 tests, Greenpeace had intended to monitor the impact of nuclear tests and place protesters on the island to do this. The French Government infiltrated the New Zealand organisation and discovered these plans.

Rainbow Warrior was sunk just before midnight on July 10, 1985 by two explosive devices attached to the hull by operatives of French intelligence (DGSE). Of the twelve people on board, one, photographer Fernando Pereira, was drowned when he attempted to retrieve his equipment.

The New Zealand Police immediately initiated a homicide inquiry into the sinking. With the assistance of the New Zealand public, and an intense media focus, the police quickly established the movements of the bombers. On July 12, 1985, two of the six bombers who had operated under orders, were found, interviewed at length, arrested and sent to trial, and eventually imprisoned for 5 years. The others, though mostly identified and although three were interviewed by the New Zealand Police on Norfolk Island, where they had escaped in the yacht Ouvea, were not arrested due to lack of evidence. Ouvea subsequently sailed for Nouméa but disappeared. Most of the agents remain in French government service. In 1987, under heavy international pressure, the French government paid $8.16 million compensation to Greenpeace. In 2005, Adimiral Pierre Lacoste, head of DGSE at the time, admitted that the aim of the operation had not been to kill, and that the death weighed heavily on his conscience. He also acknowledged the existence of a three teams: the crew of the yacht, reconnaissance and logistics (those successfully proscuted), plus a further three man team who carried out the actual bombing, who have never been publicly identified[1].

Rainbow Warrior was refloated on August 21, 1985 and moved to a naval harbour for forensic examination. Although the hull had been recovered, the damage was too extensive for economic repair and the vessel was scuttled in Matauri Bay, Cavalli Islands on December 2, 1987, to serve as a dive wreck and fish sanctuary. The move is seen as a fitting end for the vessel.

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In early 1985 the Rainbow Warrior had never looked better. It had a fresh coat of paint, a new radio and radar, and a complete engine overhaul. The crew remarked on how well the ship sailed. The ship was in Auckland, New Zealand, preparing to visit Moruroa Atoll for a major campaign against French nuclear testing. But the trip never happened.

At the time, a French volunteer known as Frederique Bonlieu was helping out in the Greenpeace office in Auckland. But Bonlieu was in fact Christine Cabon, a French secret service agent. In the office, she folded letters, sealed envelopes and sorted address labels. In secret, she monitored communication from the Rainbow Warrior, collected maps and investigated underwater equipment. Her mission was to lay the groundwork for French saboteurs who were coming to sink the Rainbow Warrior.

The French wanted to stop Greenpeace’s plans for a peaceful protest against nuclear testing. They were particularly concerned about Polynesians launching outrigger canoes from the Rainbow Warrior. Polynesia is a French territory and the French feared any hint of independence.

The first bomb exploded at 11.38pm, lifting those in the mess off their seats. Davy Edwards rushed into the engine room to find a hole the size of a car, water pouring in. Everyone was ordered off the ship but some went back to grab possessions. Fernando Pereira, the ship's photographer, was one of them, perhaps going after his precious cameras. There was a second explosion and, caught in a rush of water, Pereira drowned.

The crew were in shock. They gave statements to the New Zealand police, who reacted swiftly to the first act of terrorism on their soil. Piecing together statements from members of the public, they were soon questioning a French couple, agents Prieur and Mafart of the French secret service.

Initially, the French government denied all knowledge but it soon became obvious that they were involved. Soon French Prime Minister Fabius appeared on television to tell a shocked world, "Agents of the DGSE (Secret Service) sank this boat. They acted on orders." The French Minister of Defence resigned.

Six weeks later in New Zealand, the preliminary hearing in the trial of agents Prieur and Mafart began in Auckland. It was expected to last for weeks but a deal was struck before the agents entered the courtroom. In just 34 minutes, they pleaded guilty to charges of manslaughter and wilful damage, attracting sentences of 10 and 7 years to be served concurrently. A UN negotiated settlement meant that the two agents were transferred to Hao atoll, a French military base in French Polynesia to serve their time.
July 8th, 2005  
Damien435
 
 
It is unfortunate that that someone died but I support the French in this case. From what I have seen Greenpeace commit's acts that border on terrorism, putting their own lives an the lives of those they are protesting. (Sending boats through an area of sea that is being used for the test firing of a Triton missile, ramming a Coast Guard vessel while interfering with the Native's sacred right to hunt for whales just as their for father's did, putting ships into the possible fall out of a nuclear test, etc.) IMO this is not a terrorist act because the goal was not to kill innocent civilians in an effort to push a political agenda, now if the French had meant to kill the crew that would be different, but from what I have read this was an un-intended death. But to be honest, if my government had done this I would probably say "got what they deserved, those two were only following orders and should not have been punished" but it is so much easier to be less biased when your country (for once) is no the one being blamed.
July 8th, 2005  
PershingOfLSU
 
People tend to forget how dedicated some Frenchman are to the prestige of their nation. There was even a coup attempt over De Gaulle's decision to stop fighting in Algeria.
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Boots
July 8th, 2005  
Whispering Death
 
 
Given that this is in a political form I can express my political views on this one.

America should have blown the crap out of that thing way before the French thought of it
July 8th, 2005  
bulldogg
 
 
C'mon WD let us know how you really feel.

Seriously I had some talks with people from Irkutsk near Lake Baikal and they told me about Greenpeace's actions there to "help save the environment". It amounted to a letter to several key major industries in the Lake Baikal region that were indeed polluting the Lakes from their factories. The gist of the letter was a request as to how much these companies were willing to pay them (Greenpeace) to keep their mouths shut and leave them be.

The only thing upsetting about the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior is that was done in a non-eco-friendly manner.
July 8th, 2005  
Bory
 
 
I am mixed here on opinons.

Firstly, I am against Nuclear Testing, because I do see any need for the Nuke exisiting.

Secondly, blowing up a protest ship, in the soverign territory of an allied nation (At least I assume they are allied) should very much be frowned upon. There are other CLEVER ways of stopping a ship reaching those waters. Stealing fuel supplies, sabotaging the engine, and make idiots out of them coz the french navy have to rescue them etc.

Thirdly, It was stupid of Greenpeace to plan to sail into a French Military Zone, and sit in the path of a nuke, because the French obviuosly don't care about the protestors welfare and would set them off regardless.

I know Greenpeace have alot of times just gone off their nut over some pointless reason, and do make compelete idiots of themselves in the process. However, they do some useful things.

I found out coz my sister is now a "Cyber Activist" against whaling. There are people there who provide well thought out and planned arguments to stop whaling. Unfortunatly they are in the minority, like my sister.
July 8th, 2005  
chewie_nz
 
heres a thought for you, the NZ govt send two navy frigates with greenpeace....why didn't the french take them on?

if france wanted to test a nuke....why not do it in france? south pacific is OUR back yard.
July 8th, 2005  
bulldogg
 
 
Come one Chewie you know that France was merely exercising one of its imperial perrogatives. Now we have three eyed fish in the Pacific and people on Atolls that can read in the dark without a nightlight, be thankful.
July 8th, 2005  
chewie_nz
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Damien435
It is unfortunate that that someone died but I support the French in this case. From what I have seen Greenpeace commit's acts that border on terrorism, putting their own lives an the lives of those they are protesting. (Sending boats through an area of sea that is being used for the test firing of a Triton missile, ramming a Coast Guard vessel while interfering with the Native's sacred right to hunt for whales just as their for father's did, putting ships into the possible fall out of a nuclear test, etc.) IMO this is not a terrorist act because the goal was not to kill innocent civilians in an effort to push a political agenda, now if the French had meant to kill the crew that would be different, but from what I have read this was an un-intended death. But to be honest, if my government had done this I would probably say "got what they deserved, those two were only following orders and should not have been punished" but it is so much easier to be less biased when your country (for once) is no the one being blamed.
OK you have a couple of misconceptions here, first of all that a terrorist attack HAS to kill civillians...they dont, they have to cause TERROR, hence the name. secondly this was an attack by one nations military against civilians...PEACE ACTIVISTS no less...in what up world is that ever OK?

honestly i think you are talking without even having the base knowlage to form a proper opinion on what happened here. do some research

hell, have a look at what was posted last time the rainbow warrior was mentioned here
http://www.military-quotes.com/forum...+rainbow#98162
July 8th, 2005  
Whispering Death
 
 
Well, seriously speaking, I understand the position of NZ getting a little pissed about nuclear weapons being detonated in their backyard is understandable.

As far as this particular act is concerned, I like the symbol that sinking that ship sends, but it's really really really sad that 12 people where killed. You'd really think they could have sent her to the bottom in a slower manner so that all the civies could make it to the life boats.