Greenpeace photographer Fernando Pereira died in the explosion which has been dubbed the only act of international terrorism on New Zealand soil. The French intelligence agent who led the deadly attack on the Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior in New Zealand 30 years ago has for the first time apologised for his actions. Mines planted by Kister, a naval frogman, sank the vessel in Auckland harbour, killing Mr Pereira. Kister was working as part of a 12-man team for France's DGSE spy agency at the time of the attack. The Rainbow Warrior on 10 July 1985 was due to sail to Mururoa atoll in French Polynesia to protest the explosion of a nuclear bomb by France where the tests were due to be conducted.
Kister told TVNZ's Sunday programme "We had to obey orders, we were soldiers." He said the destruction of the vessel was "disproportionate" and "an unfair, clandestine operation conducted in an allied, friendly and peaceful country".
Only two agents have stood trial over the attack - Dominique Prieur and Alain Mafart. At first the French Minister of Defence Charles Hernu denied French involvement in the actual bombing claiming Prieur and Mafart had simply been observing the Greenpeace ship. They were arrested in New Zealand after the attack and sentenced to 10 years in jail for manslaughter. However, a settlement meant that they were quickly transferred to a base in French Polynesia and were released within two years.
Greenpeace USA said that during the production of its 2015 calendar, the calendar's publisher, Workman Publishing, sourced an image of giraffes and zebras in Namibia from a nature photographer, Alain Mafart-Renodier. "It was later discovered that Mafart-Renodier is also Alain Mafart, one of the French military operatives who was involved in the bombing of the Greenpeace ship, the Rainbow Warrior, in New Zealand in 1985." Greenpeace USA ordered the recycling of the 14,000 calendars in its possession. Workman had distributed a further 19,000 to retailers and refused a request to recall the calendars, unless Greenpeace paid out US$250,000 ($300,387) for costs and lost profits. Greenpeace USA said. "We determined that this was not the best use of our donors' money."
In a book, Mafart revealed agents had originally tried to plant poison bacteria on the ship in order to make its crew ill.
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