quarta-feira, julho 10, 2024

Uns Serviços Secretos assassinaram o fotógrafo Fernando Pereira e afundaram o Rainbow Warrior há 39 anos...

A drawing of the Rainbow Warrior
The sinking of the Rainbow Warrior, codenamed Opération Satanique, was an operation by the "action" branch of the French foreign intelligence services, the Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure (DGSE), carried out on July 10, 1985. It aimed to sink the flagship of the Greenpeace fleet, the Rainbow Warrior in the port of Auckland, New Zealand, to prevent her from interfering in a nuclear test in Moruroa.
Fernando Pereira, a photographer, drowned on the sinking ship. Two French agents were arrested by the New Zealand Police on passport fraud and immigration charges. They were charged with arson, conspiracy to commit arson, willful damage, and murder. As part of a plea bargain, they pleaded guilty to manslaughter and were sentenced to ten years in prison, of which they served just over two.
The scandal resulted in the resignation of the French Defence Minister Charles Hernu.
In the 1980s, the Commissariat à l'Énergie Atomique was developing nuclear warheads for the M4 SLBM, which were tested in underground explosions in the French Polynesian atoll of Moruroa.
Greenpeace was opposed to testing and planned to lead yachts to the atoll to protest, including an illegal incursion into French military zones. The Rainbow Warrior had not previously visited New Zealand, but David Lange's New Zealand Labour Party government opposed nuclear weapons development and had banned nuclear-armed or powered ships from New Zealand ports. (As a consequence the United States was in the process of withdrawing from its ANZUS mutual defence treaty obligations.)
The French government decided that in order to stop the planned protest, the Greenpeace flagship would have to be sunk. Operation Satanique would seek to disable the Rainbow Warrior while it was docked, while trying to prevent any casualties. Twenty years after the incident, a report by the then head of French intelligence said that the attack was authorized by French President François Mitterrand.
Agents had boarded and examined the ship while it was open to public viewing. DGSE agent Christine Cabon, posing as environmentalist Frederique Bonlieu, volunteered for the Greenpeace office in Auckland. Cabon secretly monitored communications from the Rainbow Warrior, collected maps, and investigated underwater equipment, in order to provide information crucial to the sinking. After the necessary information had been gathered, two DGSE divers beneath the Rainbow Warrior attached two limpet mines and detonated them 10 minutes apart. The first bomb went off 11:38 P.M., creating a large hole about the size of an average car. Agents intended the first mine to cripple the ship so that everybody would be evacuated safely off when the second mine was detonated. However, the crew did not react to the first explosion as the agents had expected. While the ship was initially evacuated, some of the crew returned to the ship to investigate and film the damage. A Portuguese-Dutch photographer, Fernando Pereira, returned below decks to fetch his camera equipment. At 11:45 P.M., the second bomb went off. Pereira drowned in the rapid flooding that followed, and the other ten crew members were either safely evacuated on the order of Captain Peter Willcox or were thrown into the water by the second explosion. The Rainbow Warrior sank four minutes later.
 Fernando Pereira
Operation Satanique was a public relations disaster. France, being an ally of New Zealand, initially denied involvement and joined in condemnation of what it termed to be a terrorist act. The French Embassy in Wellington denied involvement, stating that "the French Government does not deal with its opponents in such ways".
After the bombing, the New Zealand Police started one of the country's largest police investigations. Most of the agents escaped New Zealand but two, Captain Dominique Prieur and Commander Alain Mafart – posing as married couple 'Sophie and Alain Turenge' and having Swiss passports – were identified as possible suspects with the help of a Neighborhood Watch group, and were arrested. Both were questioned and investigated, and their true identities were uncovered, along with the French government's responsibility. Both agents pleaded guilty to manslaughter and were sentenced to 10 years imprisonment on November 22, 1985.
France threatened an economic embargo of New Zealand's exports to the European Economic Community if the pair was not released. Such an action would have crippled the New Zealand economy, which was dependent on agricultural exports to Britain.
In June 1986, in a political deal with Prime Minister of New Zealand David Lange and presided over by United Nations Secretary-General Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, France agreed to pay NZ$13 million (USD$6.5 million) to New Zealand and apologise, in return for which Alain Mafart and Dominique Prieur would be detained at the French military base on Hao Atoll for three years. However, the two agents had both returned to France by May 1988, after less than two years on the atoll. Mafart returned to Paris on December 14, 1987 for medical treatment, and was apparently freed after treatment. He continued in the French Army and was promoted to colonel in 1993. Prieur returned to France on May 6, 1988 because she was pregnant, her husband having been allowed to join her on the atoll. She, too, was freed and later promoted. The removal of the agents from Hao without subsequent return was ruled to be in violation of the 1986 agreement.
Three other agents, Chief Petty Officer Roland Verge, Petty Officer Bartelo and Petty Officer Gérard Andries, who sailed to New Zealand on the yacht Ouvéa, were arrested by Australian police on Norfolk Island, but released as Australian law did not allow them to be held until the results of forensic tests came back. They were then picked up by the French submarine Rubis, which scuttled the Ouvéa.
A sixth agent, Louis-Pierre Dillais, commander of the operation, was never captured and never faced charges. He acknowledged his involvement in an interview with New Zealand State broadcaster TVNZ in 2005.
A commission of enquiry headed by Bernard Tricot cleared the French government of any involvement, claiming that the arrested agents, who had not yet pleaded guilty, had merely been spying on Greenpeace. When The Times and Le Monde claimed that President Mitterrand had approved the bombing, Defence Minister Charles Hernu resigned and the head of the DGSE, Admiral Pierre Lacoste, was fired. Eventually, Prime Minister Laurent Fabius admitted the bombing had been a French plot: On 22 September 1985, he summoned journalists to his office to read a 200 word statement in which he said: "The truth is cruel," and acknowledged there had been a cover-up, he went on to say that "Agents of the French secret service sank this boat. They were acting on orders."

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