Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Some honesty surfaces twenty years after the Rainbow Warrior sinks

This image was originally posted at Firstlight Travel

It was twenty years ago last month that the Greenpeace ship, the Rainbow Warrior, was blown up in the Auckland Harbour. The ship was preparing to protest French nuclear tests in the South Pacific and the French decided on expediency being the better part of valor.

And the British responded with the discretion part, choosing to tone down their response after learning that it was the French who bombed a British ship in a Commonwealth port during peacetime. The initial response of,
"This was an outrageous act of terrorism against a British vessel with tragic loss of life, which the government utterly condemn."

was quietly changed to,
"This was a lamentable event. The government deeply regret the death of a member of the crew. We hope the culprits can be brought to justice."

Were the culprits brought to justice? Well the two French agents directly responsible for the actual bombing were charged, and sentenced to ten years in a NZ prison which became three years on a French atoll after the UN intervened. Then the French threatened NZ's trade access to the EEC, and the two agents left Hao Atoll before their sentences ended. When they returned to France they were treated as heroes and awarded medals

The French government apologized to New Zealand and paid them thirteen million dollars for their little foray into state-sponsored terrorism. No , the culprits were not brought to justice, Fernando Pereira died in vain, more islands in the South Pacific were contaminated by radioactive fallout from atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons and the ship became a reef off NZ's north coast. No justice brought; just par for the course.

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