A Brief History
On July 10, 1985, the Rainbow Warrior, a ship owned and operated by Greenpeace, an environmental activist organization, was sunk by bombs placed by French government operatives while in Auckland, New Zealand harbor, resulting in a single death.
The French intelligence agency Directorate-General for External Security, or DGSE, was responsible for state sanctioned attack, code named Opération Satanique. Obviously, France initially denied any government involvement with the terroristic act, but captured French operatives proved the involvement of the French government.
Rainbow Warrior, was a small ship of 418 tons and a length of just over 131 feet. The ship had been operated by Greenpeace since 1977, and had partaken in interference with whaling and seal hunting, as well as nuclear weapons tests and the dumping of nuclear waste. As France prepared to conduct nuclear weapons tests in the Pacific, Rainbow Warrior was expected to interfere with the tests, prompting France to preemptively remove the threat to their testing.
Question for students (and subscribers): Did France have any right to take such drastic action? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
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For more information, please see…
Polisar, Patti. Inside France’s Dgse: The General Directorate for External Security. Rosen Young Adult, 2003.
Weyler, Rex. Greenpeace: How a Group of Ecologists, Journalists, and Visionaries Changed the World. Rodale Books, 2015.
You can also watch video versions of this article on YouTube.