On This Day — French Prime Minister Laurent Fabius : “DGSE Agents Sank the Rainbow Warrior” (September 22 1985)

“The truth is cruel.. Agents of the DGSE sank this boat [Rainbow Warrior]. They acted on orders.”

French Prime Minister Laurent Fabius  (September 22 1985)

“Governments lie. They do it all the time. And, much as we’d like to believe otherwise, the US government is no exception. There were times when we may have believed otherwise. But after Vietnam and Watergate, we know better.”

Ted Koppel : “The USS Vincennes: Public War, Secret War.” —  ABC News (July 1, 1992)

On September 22 1985, French Prime Minister Laurent Fabius appeared on TV to confess that agents of the DGSE — French Foreign Intelligence Service — had sunk the Rainbow Warrior. They acted on orders. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY

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On August 26 1985, the French government denied any knowledge of the attack on Rainbow Warrior. But less than a month later, the French Prime Minister confessed the role of the DGSE.

Laurent Fabius “Oui, c’est la DGSE qui a coulé le Rainbow Warrior” | Archive INA

French secret service agents planted two bombs and the Greenpeace flagship, the Rainbow Warrior, sinking the vessel and killing Portugal-born Greenpeace photographer Fernando Pereira.

The Rainbow Warrior was in Auckland, New Zealand preparing to sail to Mururoa Atoll to continue protesting against French nuclear testing in the Pacific.

The French government initially denied all knowledge of the operation, but it soon became obvious that they were involved.

Eventually, prime minister Laurent Fabius appeared on television and told a shocked public: “Agents of the DGSE (Secret Service) sank this boat. They acted on orders.”

Following the attack, two DGSE officers, Dominique Prieur and Alain Mafart, were arrested on 24 July. Both were charged with murder, pleaded guilty to manslaughter and were sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment.

The case caused the French government considerable embarrassment. While the attack was on an international organisation and not New Zealand as such, most Kiwis did not make this distinction.

The fact that it was carried out on New Zealand territory by a supposedly friendly nation caused outrage and seriously compromised relations between New Zealand and France.

TIMELINE

1985-07-10 — French foreign intelligence agents blow up the Greenpeace boat Rainbow Warrior in Auckland harbor, New Zealand to prevent it interfering with French nuclear tests in the South Pacific. Dutch photographer Fernando Pereira is killed.

1985-07-24 — French DGSE officers Dominique Prieur and Alain Mafart are arrested and charged with murder over the bombing of the Rainbow Warrior

1985-08-26 — French government denies knowledge of attack on Rainbow Warrior

1985-09-22 — French Prime Minister Laurent Fabius appears on TV to confess “Agents of the DGSE sank this boat [Rainbow Warrior]. They acted on orders.”

French Agent Breaks Silence on Bombing Greenpeace’s Rainbow Warrior

Thirty years ago, French secret service blew up Greenpeace’s flagship Rainbow Warrior ship in Auckland, New Zealand, killing a Portuguese photographer, as the ship was preparing to head to sea to protest against French nuclear bomb tests in the South Pacific.

Now the French intelligence agent who led the deadly attack has come forward for the first time to apologize for his actions, breaking his silence after 30 years.

On July 10, 1985, Jean-Luc Kister led the dive team that planted the bombs on the Rainbow Warrior that sunk the ship and killed Greenpeace photographer Fernando Pereira.

REFERENCES

The Sinking of the Rainbow Warrior — On This Day

Sinking of the Rainbow Warrior — Wikipedia

Thirty-two years after the Rainbow Warrior bombing, unrepentant French spy Christine Cabon is found — STUFF

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On This Day — French government Denies Knowledge of Attack on Rainbow Warrior (August 26 1985)

On This Day — French Prime Minister Laurent Fabius : “DGSE Agents Sank the Rainbow Warrior” (September 22 1985)

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