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I don't understand this diary -- or rather, I'm afraid I do, and it's based on a misunderstanding of and contempt for France. I'm not going to say everything is fine in France. There are many real problems. But this:

With choices like this for their presidency, no wonder the situation in France is hopeless!!

kinda gives the game away, imho.

OK. The Rainbow Warrior attack was an appalling, stupid, and unfortunately deadly blunder on the part of the French secret services and of François Mittereand, who gave the go-ahead.

Ségolène Royal was then a junior advisor in the Elysée's general secretariat, which is not a small group of people spending their time in the President's office listening to secrets. Ségolène Royal's remit was health, environment, and youth questions. There is absolutely no reason to suppose she would be told about a top-secret military operation, and she most certainly would not have been involved in its planning. Her brother was a special agent and soldier, and the mission he was sent on was top-secret. There is no reason why he should have blabbed the secret to his sister.

It has long been known that Gérard Royal was involved in the Rainbow Warrior mission, and Ségolène Royal is not denying it. But your supposition that she was necessarily part of the Rainbow Warrior plot has neither proof nor likelihood in favour of it. Yet, when you say she refuses to "come clean", you are finding her guilty in advance.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Nov 18th, 2006 at 11:14:11 AM EST
as we have the same hopeless situation in Australia between our current Conservative Prime Minister and a very weak leader of the Opposition Labor Party to which I belong. So many of us are so frustrated by it. Fortunately the Greens here are strong, united and 80% palatable.  So there is an alternative that while not strong enough to win outright can at least often hold the balance of power.

In so many countries the days of great "statespersonship" is so over.  This is what I am lamenting, not France in general.

It is a contempt for a person who refuses to tell the truth about a major issue she may have or may have not been part of.

All she would need to say is the following:

"I knew nothing about the terrorist plot to sink the Rainbow Warrior from with my job in the Government or from my family.  I find the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior an unacceptable terrorist attack and condemn anyone's active involvement in it.  I furthermore greatly regret the loss of life involved and resolve to not let anything of this nature occur during my presidency".

But no, she would rather hem and haw and praise her brother's sterling military career.  

Not the kind of statesperson I would want.  Is honesty and integrity really that hard?

I like the silence of a church, before the service begins better than any preaching. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

by Norwegian Chef (hephaestion@surfbirder.com) on Sat Nov 18th, 2006 at 02:25:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
At the time the press was talking about this, (end of September/beginning of October), Ségolène Royal made a statement that is reported here in the NZ Herald:

The Associated Press news agency today quoted Royal as saying: "I have a brother, who 20 years ago was a soldier, a frogman, for whom I have a lot of admiration. He was indeed involved in a detestable act. But he had received orders for that."

She added in an interview on the TF1 television channel: "Fortunately, the nuclear tests stopped. But clearly, and unfortunately, a person died."

Royal said she did not know of her brother's secret role at the time.

"The irony in this story is that I favoured Greenpeace's action against the nuclear tests," she said.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 19th, 2006 at 09:00:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wow, This is completely new information to me.

If in fact what the New Zealand Herald is reporting here is true, this is critically important information.  

However, I can not find any evidence of the original Associated Press article or any other article mentioning this, or any information on what interview is being referred to.  Recent press down here since her election have only covered the more negative talking points that I have again rehashed in this diary. It is surprising that something as important as this would not be widely publicised and relegated to a small article buried in the NZ Herald.

Likewise the people inside Greenpeace are not aware of any such statement like this by her. If she could put this sentiment in a letter and send it to Greenpeace much in the same language as the NZ Herald article quotes, it would go light-years to building her reputation inside this important organisation.

This article in the NZ Herald that you cite comes 5 days after her interview with Le Parisien, and although I do not have a full transcript of that interview, the coverage of it in France, Australia and New Zealand that I saw led everyone to believe she was in fact not at all contrite. Maybe a full transcript of the interview would be more enlightening.  IS there any way to get a copy?

So if in fact she is contrite, the message needs to get out.If she has said those things then it needs to be publicised widely and clearly.

Trust me, I would like nothing more than to be able to like Ségolène Royal, and I would more than gladly admit I was wrong and ignorant in my assessment of her if she has in fact said these things and feels this way.

Please if you could find me any transcript or definitive original article where she states these things, I would be more than glad to circulate it widely in the environmental and Greenpeace communities down here.  It would mean a lot to people down here to know she was contrite on this issue.

Thanks for taking the time to reply to the diary and pointing out these important aspects.

I like the silence of a church, before the service begins better than any preaching. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

by Norwegian Chef (hephaestion@surfbirder.com) on Sun Nov 19th, 2006 at 03:56:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
She was on the 8 pm news of France's biggest TV channel, TF1, on Wednesday, 4th October. (In the French political world, this newscast is about as bigtime as you can get in terms of public exposure, so she wasn't, you know, mumbling in a corner).

You can see a video of the interview here on the TF1 site -- in French of course.

I haven't yet found a full transcript. The French left magazine Nouvel Observateur summarizes her words in a similar way to the NZ Herald here, but again in French.

I'll get back to this later if I may, because I need a little time to find a more useful source for you.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 19th, 2006 at 04:38:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My French is alright as I did an MA in Egyptology a few years back and most of the research was in French and German.  I have listened to the interview on the TF1 and read the Nouvel Observateur article.  I now feel a good deal of relief knowing that I was wrong and ill-informed in my initial assessment of the situation.

If you or anyone else (dodo, jerome etc) can get me a full transcript of both the Le Parisien  and TF1 Interviews (either French or English) relating specifically to the Rainbow Warrior information, I will be happy to post these exact quotes on those sites that are putting out disinformation about Ségolène Royal in relation to the Rainbow Warrior Affair.

I will also seek to amend the Rainbow Warrior and  Ségolène Royal Articles on Wiki to include her express quotes so that there is no longer any lack of clarity about her exact position.  I will also post a diary on Daily Kos to correct my own wrong information there.

I will also send it to my good friend in Greenpeace who runs the Eastern Mediterranean Office and get him to circulate it around the various Greenpeace offices in Europe and Australia/New Zealand. The fact that she has unequivocally stated on French TV that she was actually in support of the Greenpeace Action will definitely impress them.

So if you or anyone could get me the transcripts that would be great, and I will commence my penance.

I like the silence of a church, before the service begins better than any preaching. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

by Norwegian Chef (hephaestion@surfbirder.com) on Mon Nov 20th, 2006 at 06:46:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I had no luck in getting a full transcript of the TF1 News interview, so I did it myself and translated it. It's now up as a diary Media (Mis)perceptions).

I hope it will be useful.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Nov 20th, 2006 at 07:03:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's great! I am happy ET could be of such help.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Nov 20th, 2006 at 08:01:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A further detail you missed. In the original article in Le Parisien (now behind subscription wall, but the detailed in NZ Herald article), in which Antoine Royal claims his brother Gérard himself placed the bomb (something later interviewed intel guys deny BTW -- they say he only drove the inflatable boat from which the bomb-laying scuba divers set off), Antoine also says that Ségolène only learnt of her brother's participation in the attack from a recent newspaper article (obviously the L'Express article from March this year).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Nov 20th, 2006 at 06:21:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
...Greenpeace...

Interestingly, I couldn't find a single word on the recent episodes of the Gérard Royal affair on the French and German Greenpeace pages nor on the main international site, even though the New Zealand counterparts went as far as demanding the brother's extradiction.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Nov 20th, 2006 at 06:37:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for your willingness to provide and discuss the facts (or articles) that generated your concern, and to take into consideration the additional facts provided by others.

Your attitude is much appreciated and enhances this forum.

Thank you.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Nov 20th, 2006 at 07:30:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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