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Tahiti: Investigation On The GIP's Mission

Tahiti: Investigation On The GIP's Mission

PAPE'ETE (Oceania Flash/Pacific Media Watch): French Polynesia's armed "intervention group" GIP is currently undergoing a low-key police investigation, especially over its alleged intelligence unit.

This follows oral evidence given late last year by the son of one of its former members, who openly admitted that a French journalist, Jean-Pascal Couraud, who once headed the local daily La Dépêche de Tahiti, would have been physically eliminated by GIP members because of his outspoken stance against the Flosse-led government of the time.

Couraud has been missing since December 1997.

But the allegations have since been withdrawn.

The official view, to date, is that he would have "committed suicide".

According to the French national newspaper Libération, French gendarmes in Pape'ete have now acted on a court warrant and formed an investigation unit dedicated to the GIP and its ramifications.

Nicknamed "JPK 987", the unit was formally set up on January 17, the paper says.

The GIP was initially set up with the open mission of providing help to populations stricken by natural disasters, both in French Polynesia and in the past few years to South Pacific island states such as Fiji, Tonga, Niue.

Early recommendations from the French gendarmes include that all of the GIP's activities be reviewed and assessed, including what was officially termed the "manifest cell", to describe the GIP's intelligence unit.

"Investigations carried out through evidence provided by witnesses who have worked in the 'manifest cell' point to the existence of an intelligence unit located within the GIP premises," Libération quoted initial police report abstracts.



PACIFIC MEDIA WATCH is an independent, non-profit, non-government organisation comprising journalists, lawyers, editors and other media workers, dedicated to examining issues of ethics, accountability, censorship, media freedom and media ownership in the Pacific region. Launched in October 1996, it has links with the Journalism Program at the University of the South Pacific, Bushfire Media based in Sydney, Journalism Studies at the University of PNG (UPNG), the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism (ACIJ), Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand, and Community Communications Online (c2o).

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