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Last month French President Fran�ois Mitterrand dismissed the July 10 bombing in New Zealand of the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior as an "absurd crime" (SI, Sept. 2). Now it has been confirmed that the absurd crime was committed by Mitterrand's own government.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Laurent Fabius said secret service agents, acting on the orders of superiors, were responsible for attaching two mines to the hull of the ship. He did not say who had issued the orders. The announcement followed the resignation of Defense Minister Charles Hernu, a longtime friend and political ally of Mitterrand, and the dismissal of Admiral Pierre Lacoste, head of the secret service. Lacoste was fired after refusing to cooperate with an investigation of the Greenpeace affair ordered by Mitterrand.
Rainbow Warrior had been scheduled to be used in a Greenpeace demonstration to protest French nuclear testing in the South Pacific. Although that testing continues, at least the air has been cleared about the mystery of Rainbow Warrior's destruction.
HIGH TECH ON THE HIGH SEAS
The stakes for the 1987 America's Cup showdown in Perth, Australia have gone sky-high. "We are now investing in technology to win the Cup back from Australia," says John Marshall, coordinator of the Sail America syndicate's three-man design team.
Sail America is spending at least $12 million and will eventually put five boats in the water. On Saturday its third 12-meter yacht, and first brand-new one, was commissioned in San Diego. Dennis Conner, the skipper who lost the Cup in 1983 aboard Liberty, is seen here with the new boat, Stars & Stripes; if a Sail America boat is selected as the challenger, Conner will be at the helm. Research by the Grumman Aerospace Corp., The Boeing Co. and a defense contractor named Science Applications International Corp. has gone into this deceptively simple-looking thing. The syndicate hopes that its high-tech approach yields something at least as effective as the revolutionary winged keel on the '83 champ, Australia II.
Even if money and technology produce a fast boat, Sail America must navigate a tough course. In the competition for the right to challenge Australia, the New York Yacht Club, which held the Cup for 132 years before Conner and Liberty lost it for them, is off to a fast start, with two new boats ready for their second winter of training off Australia. The NYYC suffered a setback last week, however, when skipper John Kolius quit the campaign after disagreements with the syndicate's management.
Seven other American groups, two syndicates from France, two from Italy and two from Canada, plus one each from Great Britain and New Zealand intend to compete in next fall's trials to select the challenger. Meanwhile, at least three syndicates are challenging Alan Bond's Australia III for the right to defend. Gridlock comes to the Indian Ocean.