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Review: Celebrated French Rainbow Warrior investigation echoes Watergate

Le Monde

Volume 21, Issue 2

October, 2015

From page
to page
Parmentier, Rémi. (2015). Celebrated French Rainbow Warrior investigation echoes Watergate. Pacific Journalism Review, 21(2): 185-188. Review of La Troisième Équipe—Souvenirs de l’Affaire Greenpeace, by Edwy Plenel. Paris: France. Editions Don Quichotte, 2015, 140 pp. ISBN 978-235-949-462-4
Author(s): Rémi Parmentier
Reviewed book by Edwy Plenel
Publication date: 
October, 2015

If you visit the headquarters of the newspaper Le Monde in Paris, on the wall facing you in the main hall after you’ve passed security you’ll find, side-by-side, the large reproductions of two covers of the daily newspaper which has been for decades the hallmark of the French intelligentsia. Testimonies of passed times, nearly three decades separate the one on the right side of the wall, ‘Marshal Stalin has died’ (March, 1953) from the one on the left, ‘The Rainbow Warrior would have been sunk by a third team of French military’ (September, 1985). Why did someone choose to juxtapose two stories that bear no relation? Maybe it is because both events marked a new point of departure in the psyche of the Parisian Left: Stalin’s death opened the key to the Soviet Pandora's box, and the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior 30 years ago by a French secret service squad in Auckland harbour to prevent Greenpeace from protesting against nuclear weapons testing in French Polynesia is now seen as the most grotesque illustration of François Mitterrand’s presidency (1982-1995) renunciation of his Socialist Party’s stated values.

Image above: Rémi Parmentier alongside the 1985 Rainbow Warrior 'scoop' front page in the foyer of Le Monde.