Death of Admiral Pierre Lacoste, one of the protagonists in the Greenpeace affair

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Pierre Lacoste, in October 1983. PHILIPPE WOJAZER / AFP

Born on January 23, 1924 in Paris, Admiral Pierre Lacoste died on January 13, a few days before his 96e anniversary. Entered the navy in 1943, and escaped from France the same year to join Morocco, this patented signals officer experienced a late career particularly exposed as director general of external security (DGSE), a position he held between November 10, 1982 and September 19, 1985, at the time of the Greenpeace case.

In March 1985, Admiral Lacoste received from the Minister of Defense of François Mitterrand, Charles Hernu, mission to protect the French nuclear fire campaign of the summer in the Pacific, threatened by actions of the ecological association Greenpeace . The military’s concern then rests on the fact that Greenpeace implemented a ship, the Rainbow warrior, by announcing its intention to mobilize the separatists against the trials. Paris decides to blow up the ship, in its port of departure from Auckland, New Zealand. The DGSE is sending some twenty agents to the operation, which will turn into a fiasco. On July 10, 1985, after a first charge exploded under the boat with the idea of ​​making its passengers flee, a second explosion kills the photographer Fernando Pereira, returned on board to recover his material.

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In September, after the arrest and imprisonment of the “false Turenge spouses” (in fact two agents of the DGSE), the revelations of the World, then The Express, will put an end to Prime Minister Laurent Fabius’ denials of the government’s involvement. Admiral Lacoste was dismissed, and Minister Hernu forced to resign. Laurent Fabius has publicly acknowledged that the soldiers have acted “On order”. But it will be necessary to wait for 2005, and the publication by The world from the admiral’s secret memory, to shed light on the way the orders were given.

“Dropped by the government”

His report, dated April 8, 1986, is intended for the new minister André Giraud. In these twenty-three handwritten pages “In fine, slightly tilted writing”, according to the newspaper, the admiral reports the interview he had with the President of the Republic on May 15, 1985 to ensure that the latter wanted to complete the mission: “I asked the president if he allowed me to implement the neutralization project I had studied at the request of Mr. Hernu. He agreed to that and expressed the importance he attached to nuclear testing. I did not then go into more detail of the project, the authorization was sufficiently explicit. “

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