Beyond the Rainbow Warrior – the French Pacific catastrophe


resize-620x4501-650x450France detonated 193 of a total of 210 nuclear tests in the South Pacific, at Moruroa and Fangataufa atolls, before halting them in 1996 in the face of Pacific-wide protests. On 10 July 1985, French secret agents bombed the Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior in Auckland Harbour, killing photographer Fernando Pereira, in a futile bid to stop a protest flotilla going to Moruroa. A ni-Vanuatu citizen, Charles Rara, was on board. New Zealand journalist David Robie was on board the Rainbow Warrior for more than 10 weeks of its last voyage. His book Eyes of Fire tells the story and here he reflects about the Rainbow Warrior’s lasting legacy in the Pacific. New Zealand wasn’t the only target of French special ops three decades ago. Nor was the Rainbow Warrior. The attack on the Greenpeace environmental flagship 30 years ago was part of a Pacific-wide strategy to crush pro-independence movements in both New Caledonia and French Polynesia during the 1980s. And Operation Satanique, as the Rainbow Warrior sabotage plan was aptly named, got the green light because of the political rivalry between then socialist President Francois Mitterrand and right-wing Prime Minister Jacques Chirac that pushed them into point-scoring against each other. Read more.