Paul Neazor QC: Rainbow Warrior and Zaoui
Good documentary on Sunday about the Rainbow Warrior bombing. Unfortunately I missed about 15 minutes of it because the video recorder stuffed up. Does anyone know if Sunday will be repeated later in the week? (and I don't mean another day off!)
Alain Mafart and Dominque Prieur were convicted of manslaughter for their part in the bombing of the Greenpeace ship.
I was very interested to learn it was Paul Neazor, as Solicitor General, who reduced the charges against the pair from murder to manslaughter. According to the Police account of 'Operation Wharf' he did so because "with the evidence available it could not be established that Mafart and Prieur were personally responsible for the placing of the explosive devices on the Rainbow Warrior, no that they intended anyone should be killed or injured."
Well I would have thought the use of any bomb implies an intention to injure, unless its a paint bomb or a marshmallow surprise.
The same Paul Neazor Q.C is now the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security, charged with the review of the 'Security Risk Certificate' issued to Mr Ahmed Zaoui. Many of the allegations against Zaoui are thought to originate from a smear campaign orchestrated by Algerian security services, agencies who are known to have close links with French security services. As Mr Zaoui says "France has a good big link with the military regime. They are involved with everything in Algeria."
Initially, the French government denied all knowledge of the Rainbow Warrior bombing. But as evidence of their involvement became overwhelming, French Prime Minister Fabius came clean. "Agents of the DGSE (Secret Service) sank this boat. They acted on orders." The French minister of defense resigned.
It would be fascinating to know how the Rainbow Warrior episode formed Neazor's views/attitude towards French intelligence agencies, as this could have quite a bearing on the Zaoui case. As the French and Algerian governments applied "immense pressure" on Switzerland to deport Zaoui to the African nation of Burkina Faso, they are likely to have 'influenced' the views of our own SIS.
Unfortunately, we are unlikely to know how much credence Neazor gives to the self-interested bleatings of French intelligence agencies.
Given that the last Inspector General Laurie Greig was forced to resign after he uttered the word 'outski' to the news media, comments interpreted as bias on his part, the new IG is not likely to reveal the personal views that influence how he exercises his discretion. But as David Small argues, this only demonstrates the fundamental problems with the office itself.
"Solicitor-General at the time of the 1985 Â“Rainbow WarriorÂ” bombing, the new I-G reveals very little about himself. It appears that almost everybody who has had close dealings with the former Solicitor-General vouches for his integrity. However, the same was said about Laurie Greig when he took up the position. While the issue of "apparent bias" brought down Greig, any lack of Â“apparent biasÂ” does not address the fundamental problems with the office itself.
PS: Being 9 years old at the time of the Rainbow Warrior bombing I remember thinking Ma-fart was a funny name :)