28th Anniversary of ‘Operation Satan’

Atolls are ring-shaped coral reefs that encircle a lagoon. They are beautiful places rich in marine wildlife. Moruroa Atoll was once such a place. Thanks to the French government, it is no longer so.

Moruroa is part of French Polynesia which, along with many other island groups in the Pacific, was a territory of France until 2003. It then became an Overseas country of France. Whatever you want to call it, the French government considers that it is free to do what it likes to Moruroa Atoll. Despite international protests, what France liked to do was to use Moruroa to test nuclear weapons.

One or two nuclear detonations would have been bad enough, but between 1966 and 1996 France detonated 193 nuclear devices on Mururoa and nearby Fangataufa atolls. Throughout this period, Australia and New Zealand strongly protested the tests. France did not care.

In 1985 the Greenpeace ship the Rainbow Warrior was moored in Auckland. It was about to sail to Moruroa Atoll to challenge the French nuclear testing. Secretly, the French Government ordered the French foreign intelligence services, the Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure (DGSE), to stop the Rainbow Warrior. Under the codename Opération Satanique, (‘Operation Satan’ in English), French secret agents entered New Zealand posing as Swiss tourists. In the dark of night, they put on scuba gear and attached two bombs to the hull of the Rainbow Warrior. At 11:38pm on 10 July 1985 the first bomb exploded. At 11:45pm the second bomb exploded. The Rainbow Warrior sank within four minutes. Eleven people were on board. Photographer Fernando Pereira drowned. Two French secret agents, Captain Dominique Prieur and Commander Alain Mafart, were later arrested and sentenced to ten years jail. The French had them freed within two years. Mafart was promoted to Colonel in December 1993. In 2009, Prieur was hired as the director of human resources for the Paris Fire Brigade.

Is July 10 an important anniversary? I am sure the French would like it to be forgotten. Do you think remembering matters?

Below: Murorua Atoll, July 3, 1970.


13 thoughts on “28th Anniversary of ‘Operation Satan’

  1. Well it doesn’t really matter if it isn’t remembered but it was a stupid thing to do and the 2 French secret agents should’ve been in gaol for the 10 years not 2.
    So if it’s an important day to people it should be remembered.


  2. I believe that July 10th should be celebrated, because the 11 people on board were innocent people wanting the French to stop the testing of nuclear bombs on an island that is close to them. They were brave to try to go to the island to protest and with that they got bombed.
    Yes, I believe that remembering matters, so that people know why they died and what had happened on that island to get people to try to challenge the French.


  3. I think it shouldn’t because why would you want to remember such a horrible thing and it’s just going to get a lot of hate. Yes it was a bad thing and it is pretty sad but think about the future and not the past it’s not like you going to change the past when you remember it.


  4. Yes, I do believe that the 10th of July should be celebrated because those eleven innocent people believed in something and whether or not the French cared they continued to go to Moruroa Atoll to challenge the French. I also think that the men who planted the bomb got a 10 year jail sentence but they only stayed there for 2 year thanks to the French government. I think that remembering matters because if you forget about it you forget about the people who tried to make a difference.


  5. I say this date shouldn’t be remembered because who wants to remember about bombing that was for no real reason, I would not want to remember such a thing. another thing why do people get to be let out earlier from jail than your supposed to the 2 guys were sentenced 10 years but got let out in 2 years what’s the point if they were sentenced with 10 years then let them serve the 10 years in prison.


  6. I think that this day shouldn’t be celebrated because why should people keep remembering something that went very bad and why would you celebrate a day of sorrow ? it just doesn’t make sense to me


  7. Yeah, nukes are bad, and they should not be used, most of the time.
    Any way, Operation Satan is a bit extreme for a name but what ever, don’t nuke things, that are alive any way, because lots of dead things such as coral.


  8. I agree with Alex I wouldn’t want to remember such a horrible day unless it had happened in Australia or something to do with Australia. Let them server they’re Ten years in Prison


  9. this date should not be remembered because it is not a good thing to be remembered, bombing and nuking is not good. this date about bombing is not good and should be fogotten


  10. I think the date shouldn’t be remembered. Simply that it wasn’t a world wide phenomenon, unlike other attacks such as 911 or the London Bombings. Moruroa isn’t a famous place seeing as I haven’t heard of it.


  11. I think this event was not as significant to celebrate, but i do think these people’s bravery is something to be remembered and reminded for other people to acknowledge what happened should not be repeated.


  12. It isn’t a pleasant anniversary to remember so I believe that it shouldn’t be looked upon in the future because it can cause lots of conflict on something that happened in the “past”. There won’t be any benefits attached as it will just provoke the French; the big mistake these days is for Australia to make enemies because these days every country has nuclear weapons or NUCLEAR BOMBS that can cause a destruction and can easily destroy Earth in less than a day if every source of land is blown up, since we don’t know when it will occur which hopefully never does it is still good to be with less enemies because for all we know there always is someone that makes a mistake and all it takes is that mistake to set off a whole mind field. However everyone should be notable after committing to their duty as a brave soldier that sticks up for their land but in this case I wouldn’t take the risk of taking it a bit too far because you never know starting world war III isn’t that hard it takes one small mistake to finish everything man made.


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