The French are understandably upset about being stabbed in the back by Australia’s sinking of the submarine contract. They pontificate about the need for trust in international affairs and now claim countries trading with Australia must beware of being double crossed.
French Foreign Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian said. ‘I’m very angry today, and bitter… This is not something allies do to each other’.
Correct, Monsieur! But neither do allies bomb civilian ships, which is exactly what French Secret Service agents did in July 1985 when the Greenpeace anti-nuclear protest ship, Rainbow Warrior, was bombed in Auckland harbour, killing Fernando Pereira. It was preparing to protest French nuclear testing at Mururoa atoll. In 1989, outside the National Press Club, Canberra, three of us pelted rock (M Rocard!) cakes, coloured yellow with turmeric (symbolising yellow cake uranium) at the then French Foreign Mister, Michel Rocard. Our banner carried Dreyfus’ famous words, ‘J’Accuse!’. We were arrested and charged with ‘throwing a repulsive substance to wit an orange pastry like substance’ at an internationally protected person.
Magistrate Michael Ward wrote, ‘The actions of the defendants are not such as would necessarily lead any right-minded person to be offended. In short, it was a peaceful protest, with actions by the defendants not necessarily inappropriate to the situation as they perceived it’. Unlike the French, we were found ‘not guilty’.