Sunday, July 10, 2005

The Rainbow Warrior Rises Again

One of my first online arguments I ever had was over the sinking of the Greenpeace ship "The Rainbow Warrior." It's wild to see it in the news again.

My life of activism started in a poetry class, of all places. My teacher in college was a huge supporter of Greenpeace, and passed their literature around. Loving whales and dolphins and all life in general, I was transfixed by the images of people putting their bodies between the harpoons of whaling ships and the overmatched whales. That's commitment, I thought.

My teacher took us on a protest to the Nuclear Test Site in Nevada, where I met Daniel Ellsberg. It was also the first time I was captured on film for government files. As we protested, a van of men in black drove by with video cameras, filming all our faces. I wondered if they'd captured our names too.

On the way there, I saw for the first time the desert in spring. It was nowhere near as spectacular as the display I saw this last spring, but to see anything blooming in the desert, especially near a nuclear test site, seemed magical to me. I'll remember that trip forever. I rode with a fellow classmate, who commented on how cool it was to see the "shape of the earth" there. There were no buildings, no roads, no power lines in sight. Only the gentle rising and falling of pieces of the planet.

At any rate, that experience happened long before I got online. (I refused to use a computer in school - I was certain I could write faster on a typewriter. Ignorance is definitely NOT bliss, I can atest.) I purchased two books around that time - No Nukes, and Warriors of the Rainbow: A Chronicle of the Greenpeace Movement. The latter told the story of the activists on those ships that I had seen in the pictures in their magazine, and I longed to ride on that ship someday.

So imagine how heartbroken I was to hear that the great Rainbow Warrior, the ship that had saved so many animal and human lives (it was sunk in the South Pacific while the activists protested nuclear tests over the ocean ), was no more.

I suspected the French government from the start. Cui bono? The only people that Greenpeace was blocking were the French and their nuclear tests. But proving it took a little longer. And even after the French admitted at least that "rogue intelligence agents" had done the terrible deed, some in my circle did not believe that could be true. I had to run around and dig out articles and post them. "Not a credible source" someone said, so I found another source, and then another. I think I finally found a US News and World Report article in which the French proclaimed at least partial guilt, and that shut my opponents' mouths.

Today, the Rainbow Warrior is in the news again. The Times of London reported today,
FRANÇOIS MITTERRAND ordered the sinking of the Greenpeace boat Rainbow Warrior, despite the late President’s denials at the time, France was told yesterday.

Exactly 20 years after the bungled operation in Auckland harbour, a report by Admiral Pierre Lacoste, who at the time was head of the DGSE, the French foreign intelligence service, was published by Le Monde.

In Operation Satanic, as the DGSE called the plan, three teams of secret agents used explosives to sink the vessel as it was preparing to sail to observe French nuclear testing at Mururoa atoll in the Pacific. Fernando Pereira, a Portuguese photographer, died in the attack.
We knew the French had sunk it, but we didn't know until today from just how high up the order came.

I also don't recall the name of the operation being known twenty years ago. How utterly appropriate - Operation Satanic.

What will we know twenty years from now about the attacks of 9/11? What will we know in forty? I wonder.


Blogger Cyril Bouanna said...

And to put things into (dramatic) perspective, this was from the Champion of the Left in Liberal France! :\

3:08 PM  
Blogger Cyril Bouanna said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:24 AM  
Blogger Cyril Bouanna said...

Actually, maybe it's worth pointing out that the international and national public outcry at the time still cost the French Secretary of Defense (Charles Hernu) his job. Even without admitting higher responsibility at the time, he had to resign for it happening under his watch.
Think about it: a SecDef resigning for 1 "peacenik" boat sunk (in defense of vital national interests) and 1 innocent death.
Makes you wonder how many Rainbow Warriors(and palestine hotel innocent journalists) it would take for Rumsfeld to give up...

10:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

10 July 2015
30 Year Anniversary of Terrorist Attack against
GreenPeace Rainbow Warrior 10 July 1985

Blowing Up Paradise 2005
shown on BBC TV
French nuclear attacks on South Pacific
French Secret Service terrorist attack against Greenpeace
Murder of Greenpeace crew member 10 July 1985!JgAkASAQ!WgbLhx_tol5Kx9crJ3vBsA 56.2 MB!54Y3UCjB!y1cRTYFp13rJpZI4Q9kFCXbl4Or5REt1lCKUylcBWqQ
Blowing_Up_Paradise_2005.z01 100.0 MB!lwgFkZ5L!H8upHfaMOksPGz9gwJKA1ApOtAc1X7k1ErnhAJcIaoM
Blowing_Up_Paradise_2005.z02 100.0 MB!psZTkAyC!ptHpQf8LKwkSG2cUdegKVyVaH0lpj6WPIrH8nWbeFEE
Blowing_Up_Paradise_2005.z04 100.0 MB!ckpQRRwA!2eOJeSESK27G-02hRgfvb3rTBnYgsbt0MkxZoLMffTQ
Blowing_Up_Paradise_2005.z05 100.0 MB!IkJChADb!qzjw3xlepqL7IcBEvYJUA9yZ6V3nzdQ7sYJYuC-YO9s
Blowing_Up_Paradise_2005.z06 100.0 MB!MhojxA6a!o-cJMRBLC7lpthLAKPjZYGz2pszFud7RlVNZJVQ3tg4
Blowing_Up_Paradise_2005.z07 100.0 MB!FkQw1AiR!SiGFl5-biXp6UY9nAJFsQMtH9QWDuHKT7dzS4fJhrIw (rated 7.3 out of 10)

Sinking of the Rainbow Warrior

Rainbow Warrior (1955)
formerly trawler Sir William Hardy

Green Peace

Eyes Of Fire: The Last Voyage Of The Rainbow Warrior
by D Robie

11:04 PM  

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