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Author condemns Rainbow Warrior bombing hypocrisy

Author condemns Rainbow Warrior bombing hypocrisy

The author of a new book about the Rainbow Warrior bombing today condemned hypocrisy and double standards over the global “war on terrorism”, saying the French secret agents who sabotaged the ship in New Zealand were terrorists and killers.

“Two decades on we should keep a sense of perspective – this was an outrageous act of war against a friendly sovereign nation and an act of terror against a non-violent global protest organisation,” said Dr David Robie, author of Eyes of Fire: The Last Voyage of the Rainbow Warrior.

A new updated edition of his book is being released early next month to mark the 20th anniversary of the bombing of the Greenpeace flagship on July 10, 1985, with the death of Portuguese-born photographer Fernando Pereira.

Dr Robie was commenting on last night’s TVNZ programme Sunday which interviewed two of the agents involved in the bombing.

Sunday talked to Dr Xavier Maniguet, a specialist in diving medicine and one of the Operation Satanic support agents, and the field commander in New Zealand, Colonel Louis-Pierre Dillais, now a Washington-based arms dealer associated with the war on terrorism.

Dillais admitted his involvement and expressed regret over the loss of life.

“His comments were quite hypocritical. He was a soldier carrying out orders for an act of war against a friendly nation – an act of state terrorism, in fact,” said Dr Robie, an associate professor in journalism at AUT’s School of Communication Studies.

“Any real sense of concern over possible loss of life would have required a warning tip-off so that the crew and others on board that night could flee the ship.

“In fact, it is extraordinarily lucky that nobody other than Fernando died in the sabotage outrage.”

The timing for the first of two bomb blasts, at 11.50pm, was aimed when some people aboard would have been asleep, and following a party when the ship had many visitors.

Dr Robie was also critical of the British and US attitudes over the bombing, and particularly Australia.

Two out of 13 French agents involved in the operation, Alain Mafart and Dominique Prieur, were arrested in Auckland. They denied murder charges but pleaded guilty to manslaughter and wilful damage charges and were sentenced to 10 years in jail.

However, they served only eight months of their sentence before being transferred to three years in exile at Hao Atoll in French Polynesia as part of a United Nations mediated compensation deal between France and New Zealand in 1986.

They were eventually spirited back to France to a hero’s welcome and later published books on the attack.

Dr Robie’s Eyes of Fire was first published in New Zealand in 1986. It was later published in Britain in 1986 and the United States in 1987.

His new “memorial edition” with revised and updated sections is due for publication next month. It is dedicated to a number of prominent South Pacific campaigners who have worked for a nuclear-free and independent Pacific.

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