The bombed hull of the Greenpeace flagship 'Rainbow Warrior', following its sabotage by the French secret service is shown in Auckland port on 1 August 1985. Photo: Fournis / AFP

By Guy Jackson
6 September 2015

(AFP) – The French secret service frogman who attached the mines which sank the Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior in New Zealand 30 years ago apologized for his actions in an interview Sunday with investigative website Mediapart.

Jean-Luc Kister, whose face was not covered in the hour-long video interview, said he believed it was now the right time to say sorry to the family of Portuguese photographer Fernando Pereira, who was killed in the explosion, to Greenpeace and to the people of New Zealand.

"Thirty years after the 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," Kister said.

On July 10, 1985, the Rainbow Warrior was docked in Auckland on its way to protest against French nuclear testing at Mururoa Atoll, about 1,200 kilometres (750 miles) southeast of Tahiti.

Kister was working for France's spy agency, 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 so-called "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 after the covert operation.

"I have the blood of an innocent man on my conscience, and that weighs on me," a visibly emotional Kister said in the interview. "We are not cold-blooded killers. My conscience led me to apologize and explain myself." [more]

30 years on, French agent apologizes for sinking the Rainbow Warrior

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