RANN’S RADICAL ANTI-FRENCH PAST
By Sasha Uzunov
South Australia’s Premier Mike Rann has literally been in the wars lately and the media spinners have done the best to paint him as a man of peace but the feisty politician has a radical past where he took on the likes of the French security forces in the 1970s.
Rann, born in 1953, chose to join environmental group Greenpeace in New Zealand in the early 1970s and battle French nuclear testing in the South Pacific region instead of joining the New Zealand military and fight in Vietnam as a rite of passage into young male adulthood.
(We are not referring to any National Service scheme but enlisting voluntarily in the regular New Zealand armed forces)
He was a member of NZ Greenpeace’s ruling body and as a backroom general plotted the sending of ship Greenpeace III to Mururoa Atoll, a French possession in the Pacific, in 1972. This involved the ship trespassing into French territorial waters and tangling with the French authorities to stop nuclear testing.
France, a traditional ally of Australia, has been invaded during two world wars by Germany, and as a reaction to its vulnerability created in the 1950s what it calls Force de frappe, a nuclear weapons deterrent.
Anyone or any organization interfering with France’s nuclear program in the Pacific is seen as a direct threat upon its territorial sovereignty. In 1985 French intelligence agents bombed and sank the Greenpeace ship, Rainbow Warrior, in Auckland, New Zealand in retaliation in this undeclared war. One activist was killed.
France was condemned for the bombing.
In 1978 Australia passed the CRIMES (FOREIGN INCURSIONS AND RECRUITMENT) ACT, which forbids Australian citizens or residents from entering foreign states and in engaging in hostile activities. TEAM UZUNOV explicitly states that Premier Rann broke no Australian law.
French sources have revealed that since becoming a middle of the road politician, Premier Rann has not made a formal apology to the French state for his anti-nuclear activities.
“We don’t now see him as an enemy of France and accept his youthful radical past,” the source said. “But for the sake of good diplomatic relations between our two countries it would be a step in the right direction if he apologized for his anti-French activities.”
Rann was born in England and immigrated to New Zealand with his family before moving to Australia in the mid 1970s to work for Don Dunstan, the colorful reformist minded ALP Premier of South Australia.
His father served with the British army during World War II and fought at El Alamein.
Premier Rann is married to Sasha Carruozzo, an actress and Greens party member.
A response will be sought from Premier Rann in the next few days.