Joe Hendren

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Sunday, June 26, 2005

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 “Rainbow Warrior” 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 “apparent bias” 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 :)

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At 2:47 PM, Blogger Ghet said...

At some point this week, I followed a link train on this that led me to, I think, the TVNZ site, where you could download the Sunday article in three pieces. Can I find it now? Of course not. But I did see it, so it's out there somewhere.

And yeah, I first met Quentin almost bang on twenty years ago. He was hugely influential on me. To discover he's living right here in Christchurch was something of a shock.

At 3:06 PM, Blogger Joe Hendren said...

Cheers for the tip on warrior story will hunt it out :)

Q is a good friend of mine, we first met when we were both working in wellington a few years ago. Want me to let you know next time us Chch lefties are heading out for a drinkie, so you can catch up?

I saw Q at the Alliance quiz last night, which was fun, its more of a social than a party political thing, abet with a leftish slant on the questions!

At 10:59 AM, Blogger Ghet said...

yeah, y'know, that'd be good. What I'll do is give you my email addy, and through that route my real name, which I'm obviously not in a hurry to bandy about the blogosphere, and you can see if he actually wants to see me. While it's tempting to just turn up and surprise him, I don't honestly think he'd recognise me, which rather takes the fun out of it.

Anyway. I'm


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