Murder in the Pacific, BBC 2, BBC iPlayer, Director Chloe Campbell.

‘One death is a tragedy, a million death is a statistic.’

A quote perhaps wrongly attributed to the Georgian, and mass murderer Josef Stalin it could equally apply to Vladimir Putin whom the International Criminal Court has indicted for war crimes. Or President Xi whom Putin is currently meeting with in Moscow. But it could equally apply to any number of American Presidents such as George W. Bush (senior and junior). Junior’s  invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, for example,  twenty years ago killed tens of thousands and helped create millions of refugees. Most world leaders are in the frame. The moron’s moron and 42nd American President in refusing to admit defeat in the 2016 election was responsible for around four deaths. Murder in the Pacific nails to the mast the person responsible for death of crew member and photographer on the Rainbow Warrior, Fernando Pereira, 10th July 1985, was French President Mitterrand. He should be tried for murder, but we know he’ll not. That’s the way our world works. 

The atomic bomb dropped over Hiroshima and Nagasaki helped defeat the Japanese and end the war. That was the official narrative. Australian reporter Wilfred Burchett, who helped coin the term ‘The Atomic Plague’ offers a counter narrative. Stalin, he claimed, agreed that Soviet forces would attack the Japanese in mainland China, after the Germans surrendered. They did so in Manchuria. But the Soviets also claimed Japan was ready to surrender. 14th August 1945, the Japanese officially surrendered. The dropping of the A-bombs ended the Second World War.

The American narrative remained it was necessary. Wilfred Burchett did something radical. While General MacArthur with his airborne troops set himself up as de facto ruler of Japan. He went to see for himself the devastation of Little Boy. Burchett sent a warning to the world. He was put on a watch list, a black list, and his movement was restricted. Media reports were supressed. His power didn’t rely on controlling millions of troops, but in telling the truth and not listening to official lies.

Greenpeace members on Rainbow Warrior followed the same dictate. Before travelling to Auckland, in 1985, they had had taken on board around 300 Marshall Islanders from Rongelap Atoll, men, women and children. They had been poisoned by radioactive waste from American nuclear tests. A hydrogen bomb test around 1000 times more powerful than the atomic bomb at Hiroshima in 1954, for example, was more potent than officials expected. Outwith their margins for error.  It did not stop further testing of hydrogen bombs. But State officials monitored indigenous illnesses, while congratulating themselves that they were ‘savages’ and therefore guinea pigs that didn’t feel pain in the same way. Should nuclear fallout contaminate real people, white Americans, they’d therefore know in advance what to expect. Captain Wilcox and his crew helped transport these Marshall Islanders to another less polluted and uninhabited atoll in the Pacific. Ironically, global warming will swamp these islands in the next ten to twenty years. Nuclear war has also never seemed more inevitable.

In 1985, Rainbow Warrior sailed to New Zealand to meet with other yachts and boats that planned to protest and disrupt French nuclear testing at the Mururoa Atoll in the Tuamotu Archipelago of French Polynesia. Like their American counterparts, nuclear explosions poisoned water and reefs and created widespread radioactive deserts. If there was such a thing as a safe nuclear explosion, here was the official French government response. More bombing, this time non-nuclear.

While Captain Peter Wilcox gave his crew, some much needed downtime in Auckland Harbour, French divers were attaching explosives to the hull. Much like the Salisbury Poisoning, the three teams involved were identified in a criminal investigation. Two French nationals were convicted, but released after two years. They returned to France and a hero’s welcome, much like the Salisbury terrorists, returned to a hero’s welcome in Moscow. President Mitterrand and the French nation had been unofficially found guilty of state terrorism.    



Cracking piece, CM. Will definitely catch up with this. The fallout from nuclear testing is one of the best kept secrets. I didn't know any of this stuff. Shocking and exploitative. Like you say, most world leaders have crimes to account for. [Will Trump be arrested today for the Stormy Daniels hush money? Lower league stuff but still..]


Let's hope so marinda. Multiple reasons to jail the moron's moron, but it never seems to happen. Money can't buy a good hair job, but it certainly does keep the wealthy crook and rapits out of jaill 


Well done Celt!.....

In a flash back note... my mother was/is an environmental activist.... (revolutionist).... the monkey wrench gang genre -Ref:

and she is a volunteer & contributor to Green Peace = has a picture of the Rainbow Warrior on her wall w/ a collection of such photos, travels, protest, etc....(you could say some of them look like riots).....

(ya, i´m chip off the old block ya might say, on the rescue side, environmental awareness & participation) ... not so in a revolution sense, chaining my self to oil tankers, graffiti chemical company HQ´s, throwing paint on energy company executives or laying in the autobahn handcuffed together as NATO was moving Nukes around mainland EU..... ´but she was´..... She´s been cuffed, arrested, detained many times back in the day. (hippy chick, rowdy, revolutionary with a Phd in hematology, preaching climate change before it was a catch phrase & advocate of Cannabis-medical treatments & the likes, yoga & vegetarian girl to this day)..... a good portion of my life was seeing those photos of the Rainbow Warrior, before & after, crew photos & its tours.....

The French Connection, as noted herein.... (blunder) putting it politely, planned by the dumb, approved by the stupid, executed by the dumber... (no honor there, a stain on those who took the oath to protect & defend_IMO) 

What stuck to me here is ‘One death is a tragedy, a million death is a statistic.’..... So true*.... sometimes, in my line of work, I see reporters looking for the, or thee, individual story, when in fact its the human statistics that is the big view of problem & challenge staring them in the face...... I´ve come to accept its better that reporters tell part of the story, in their version of what sells, than not at all. (but then again I avoid them = its for the PR people, I´m just rescue guy, keep´n it simple).......

Anyway.... you did it again Celt... captured me, another good read.

Keep up the good work & selections.....yes 




I watched the final part last night. Found it gripping and sad in many ways. The regret from the people who worked for the French Secret Service came across as genuine. The "burial" of the Rainbow Warrior was moving. The view at the end that the soldiers weren't to blame but it was ultimately the responsibility of the politicians concerned may be salient. 


thanks Kris, your mum is the real hero. Im not even an armchair activist. Just a voyeur. yeh, Marinda, but remember when we are young we think and behave differently. The crew members remember what a waste of life it was. The French SAS kinda regert it now. But if they asked their younger self I'm sure they'd still volunteer. 


Your quote:
"But if they asked their younger self I'm sure they'd still volunteer".

Ain´t that the F´n truth... I´ll hand up on that one.... well said....enlightened