Poster of the Week – You Can't Sink a Rainbow
Tomorrow, July 10, is the 36th anniversary of the bombing and sinking of the Greenpeace’s Rainbow Warrior, by the French government. Crewmember and photographer Fernando Pereira drowned. Greenpeace had acquired the 171 foot boat in 1977, and used it to support its anti-whaling, anti-seal hunting, anti-nuclear testing and anti-nuclear waste dumping campaigns during the late 1970s and early 1980s. The Rainbow Warrior had traveled to Auckland, New Zealand to lead a flotilla of yachts to protest French atmospheric nuclear testing at the Mururoa Atoll in the South Pacific. Agents of the French secret service posed as tourists and supporters in order to tour the boat, familiarizing themselves with its layout and systems. The French government initially tried to cover up its involvement in the bombing until The New York Times and Le Monde contradicted these findings by claiming that French President François Mitterand had approved the bombing. From 1960 to 1996, France carried out 210 nuclear tests, 193 of which took place in the South Pacific. While France unbelievably argued that the controlled explosions were clean, papers declassified in 2013 show how dangerous they actually were. Not only did plutonium fallout hit the whole of French Polynesia, but Tahiti, the most populated island, was exposed to 500 times the maximum accepted levels of radiation. The United States and the United Kingdom also conducted atmospheric nuclear testing in the South Pacific as the area was considered to be “empty” space. Racist attitudes defined the Pacific Islanders as “less civilized” and they were used as subjects of medical experiments on the effects of radioactive fallout – all without free, prior, and informed consent. Sound familiar? In addition, the radioactive fallout contaminated the land, water, and food for generations. Poster Text: You can't sink a Rainbow On July 10, 1985, agents of the French government bombed and sank the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior in Auckland, New Zealand. Crewmember Fernando Pereira drowned as a result. The attack occurred just days before the Rainbow Warrior was to lead a Peace Flotilla of boats to Moruroa Atoll, where the government of France regularly explodes nuclear bombs as part of its weapons-testing program. Greenpeace Offices · Australia: 310 Angus St., Adelaide 5000 S.A., tel. (08) 2233133 or 223578 or 1/787 George St., Sydney 2000 N.S.W., tel (02) 2110089 or 2114694 · New Zealand: Private Bag, Wellesley St., Auckland, tel. (9) 31030 · United States: 1611 Connecticut Ave. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20009, tel. (202) 462-1177 · Canada: 2623 West 4th Ave., Vancouver, B.C. V6K 1P8, tel. (604) 736-0321 or 427 Bloor St. W., Toronto, Ont. M5S 1X7, tel. (416) 922-3011 Profits made from the sale of this poster will be used to continue the Warrior's campaign for peace.
Sources: Who Sank the Rainbow Warrior? Rainbow Warrior (1955) French nuclear tests 'showered vast area of Polynesia with radioactivity' Nuclear Testing and Racism in the Pacific Islands