French agent remorseful for attack on Rainbow Warrior
PARIS: The French secret t service frogman who attached the mines that sank the Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior in New Zealand 30 years ago hass apologised for his actions.
Jean-Luc Kister, whosee face was not covered in the hour-long video interview with investigative website Mediapart, said he believed it was time to say sorry to the family of Portuguese photographer Fernando Pereira, who was killed in the blast, to Greenpeace and to the people of New Zealand.
“Thirty years after the event event, now that emotions have subsided and also with the distance I now have from my professional life, I thought it was the right time for me to express both my deepest regret and my apologies,” he said.
On July 10, 1985, the Rainbow Warrior was docked in Auckland on it its way to protest against F French nuclear testing at Mururoa Atoll, about 1200km southeast of Tahiti.T
Mr Kister was workingin for France’s spy agency,a the DGSE, which carried out an unprecedented mission to stop Greenpeace by bombing a peaceful protest ship without warning in the waters of a friendly nation.
He was part of the socalled “third team”, whose mission was to attach two large limpet mines to the hull of the converted trawler, working with fellow frogman Jean Camas. A third member of the team, Gerard Royal, a brother of France’s current environment minister and former presidential candidate Segolene Royal, picked up the two men in a dinghy.
“I have the blood of an innocent man on my conscience, and that weighs on me,” a visibly emotional Mr Kister said. “We are not coldblooded killers. My conscience led me to apologise and explain myself.”
He said the mission that the 12-strong unit was ordered to carry out by then French defence minister Charles Hernu was “disproportionate” and he claimed that other, less drastic ways of damaging the ship were rejected by the government.
Two days after the bombing two of the agents who took part – Alain Mafart and Dominique Prieur, who had posed as a couple of Swiss tourists – were arrested by New Zealand police.
Mr Hernu, the defence minister, was forced to resign two months later.