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“The Crying Post Project: Post #3, Abandon Ship.” Yenne, France.
Post Notes
Planning on going to France, I remembered the story of the bombing of the Rainbow Warrior, and the photographer’s death. I thought that it might be a good idea to put another post up in France as a kind of memorial to that tragedy. Given my suspicion that the French authorities probably wouldn’t be too keen on something like this, I decided to make it a "stealth" post. Thus, it is shorter than the others, and doesn’t cry. Almost all of France is farmland of one sort or another, so it was going to be tricky finding an appropriate location. 

Thinking that somewhere in the foothills of the Alps, I might be able to find an out of the way place, we left Lyon for Annecy, taking small back-roads through even smaller villages. Driving in France is difficult because road names and numbers are less important than the towns that the roads lead to. And many of these towns have similar names, the difference being some French suffix or prefix, the meaning of which was lost on me. Nonetheless, near the town of Yenne, along a river with a beautiful mountainous backdrop, I found the perfect place. Had to drive off-road, and avoid the couple of guys who were fishing. They looked just as guilty as me, and left shortly after seeing me. I found a spot somewhat hidden, and began digging. It was very hot and much stonier than I was prepared for. Needless to say, it was knuckle-bruisingly difficult and took longer than expected. 

When done, I appreciated its proximity to water, and the way the mirror on the post top acted like water reflecting the heavens. With the coloring of the post and its natural materials, it fits right in with the French countryside.
The Bombing of the Warrior

On the night of July 10 1985 the Rainbow Warrior had been docked in Auckland harbour for three days while preparations for the protest voyage to the nuclear test site at Moruroa Atoll were finalised. 

On board the Rainbow Warrior that night were several of the crew and a number of local Greenpeacers. Martini (Gotje, first mate), skipper Pete Willcox, engineer Davey Edwards, Bene Hoffman, radio operator Lloyd Anderson, Rien Achterberg and Fernando Pereira were all having a drink in the ship's mess. Bunny (McDiarmid) was visiting relatives and Henk was at a meeting in the ship's theatre. All the skippers of the peace flotilla were there. Relief cook and peace squadroner Margaret Mills had baked a chocolate cake for Steve's (Sawyer) birthday. After the birthday celebration the assembled skippers met in the ship's theatre to discuss schedules and routes. Margaret, Pete and Lloyd were asleep in their cabins by 11:30, all the others either departed or were up in the mess talking. 

At 11:49 an electric blue flash was seen in the water beside the Warrior, quickly followed by a huge explosion. 'Bloody hell... It's from the engine room,' shouted Davey Edward after he was thrown from his chair against the wall. As everyone raced from the mess, Davey ran to the engine room. He was hardly able to open the door. It was like a huge steam bath, with water hissing in through the gaping hole torn in the ship's side. 

Captain Pete Willcox, jolted awake, stumbled down to the engine room. One look was enough. 'Abandon ship, everyone get the hell out of here!' he shouted as the ship keeled over towards the wharf. 

Fernando Pereira was worried about his cameras. He called out that he was going below to get them. He was quickly followed by Martini, who couldn't find his partner Hanne Sorensen and was worried she might still be in their cabin. The two men skidded down the stairs together. Martini checked out the cabin in scant seconds and made for the deck again, then the wharf. Fernando was in his cabin when the second blast went off, barely two minutes after the first. 

There was panic on the wharf. No one had seen Fernando come back up. Martini was still asking, 'Where's Hanne?' Someone said they thought she's gone for a walk earlier. 

Elaine (Shaw, director of Greenpeace New Zealand) had just returned home from Piha when the telephone rang. It was a New Zealand Herald reporter who wanted to talk to her about the Rainbow Warrior. 'At one o'clock in the morning!' she snapped. 'Oh I'm sorry. Didn't you know? Your ship's been sunk.' Elaine slammed the phone down in shocked disbelief. Then it rang again - a local radio station this time. 'No, I don't know anything about it,' she said firmly, heart pounding, and hung up. She rang Steve (Sawyer) and the Piha contingent immediately set off for the city. 

When they arrived the wharf area was already cordoned off and they were directed to the Wharf Police Station, where the crew,some wrapped in blankets, sat pale-faced and in shock. It was 2 am. The only good news was that Hanne had turned up safe after a walk into the city. 

By 4 am divers had recovered Fernando's body. He had drowned, trapped in his cabin, the straps of his camera bag tangled around one leg. 

As it emerged that the bombing was a deliberate act of sabotage, there was little doubt in Greenpeace minds who was responsible. Two days after the bombing the French Embassy in Wellington issued a statement echoing the flat denials emanating from Paris. 'In no way is France involved,' it declared. 'The French Government doesn't deal with its opponents in such ways.' But within a few days police had arrested French secret service agents Alain Mafart and Dominique Prieur as they tried to return their van to an Auckland hire company. 

While they were held in custody, the charter yacht Ouvea, carrying another team of agents implicated in the bombing, sailed to Norfolk Island and then disappeared a few days out to sea heading north for Tahiti. Her crew was reportedly picked up by the French nuclear submarine Rubis, which turned up in Tahiti on July 22 - the first time a French nuclear submarine had been known to enter the South Pacific. 

The international outcry pressured the French Government into setting up its own inquiry. After less than three weeks the head of the inquiry, Bernard Tricot, a former Director-General of the Elysee Palace, announced, 'On the basis of the information available to me at this time, I do not believe there was any French responsibility.' The French agents caught in New Zealand were merely there to spy on Greenpeace, Tricot implied, not to bomb them. 

Hostility towards the French Government grew after President Mitterrand threatened that any protesters at Moruroa that year would be arrested, and refused to meet with Greenpeace International director, David McTaggart. Rather than cool the growing international controversy, the transparently inadequate Tricot report served only to fuel the fires of indignation and further undermine the French Government's credibility, so that a second inquiry was ordered on 5 September, but it was already too late. 

Following claims in the London Sunday Times that President Mitterrand had known of the bombing plan, and implicitly, therefore had authorised it, French Defence Minister Charles Hernu resigned and Admiral Pierre Lacoste, director of the DGSE, France's intelligence and covert action bureau, was sacked. Within days Prime Minister Fabius admitted French secret service agents had bombed the Rainbow Warrior under orders. It was, said New Zealand Prime Minister David Lange, nothing more than 'a sordid act of international state-backed terrorism'. 

Charged with murder and arson, on 4 November Mafart and Prieur, just two of a much larger team of saboteurs, pleaded guilty in the High Court at Auckland to lesser charges of manslaughter and wilful damage and were each sentenced to ten years' jail. Their guilty plea ensured that the facts of the police investigation would never be made public. In June 1986, in a political deal presided over by the United Nations Secretary-General, Javier Perez de Cuellar, France agreed to pay compensation of NZ$13 million (US$6.5 million) to New Zealand and 'apologise', in return for which Mafart and Prieur would be detained at the French military base on Hao atoll for three years. 

To cap it all, the two spies were both free by May 1988, after less than two years had elapsed, Mafart having been smuggled out. 

In the mid-1970s Fernando Pereira left his home in Portugal to avoid being conscripted into the armed forces, then embroiled in colonial wars in Africa and Asia. Fernando travelled to the Netherlands, where he eventually joined Greenpeace to turn his photographic skills to what he saw as a politically positive use. After fleeing war to work for peace, Fernando's death was a tragic and cruel irony.

France topographically is one of the most varied countries of Europe, with elevations ranging from sea level to the highest peak of the continent, Mont Blanc (4,807 m/15,771 ft), on the border with Italy. Much of the country is ringed with mountains. The French Alps were formed in a series of foldings that lasted from the beginnings of the Tertiary to the Quaternary Period. 

Three types of climate may be found within France: oceanic, continental, and Mediterranean. The continental (transition) type of climate, found over much of eastern and central France, adjoining its long common boundary with west-central Europe, is characterized by warmer summers and colder winters than areas farther west; rainfall is ample, and winters tend to be snowy, especially in the higher areas. The mean temperature is about 12°C (54°F) at Paris and 15°C (59°) at Nice. In central and southern France, annual rainfall is light to moderate, ranging from about 68 cm (27 in) at Paris to 100 cm (39 in) at Bordeaux. 

France’s flora and fauna are as variegated as its range of topography and climate. It has forests of oak and beech in the north and center, as well as pine, birch, poplar, and willow. The Massif Central has chestnut and beech; the subalpine zome, juniper and dwarf pine. In the south are pine forests and various oaks. Eucalyptus (imported from Australia) and dwarf pines abound in Provence. 

The Pyrenees and the Alps are the home of the brown bear, chamois, marmot, and alpine hare. In the forests are polecat and marten, wild boar, and various deer. Hedgehog and shrew are common, as are fox weasel, bat, squirrel, badger, rabbit, mouse, otter, and beaver. The birds of France are largely migratory; warblers, thrushes, magpies, owls, buzzards, and gulls are common. There are storks in Alsace and elsewhere, eagles and falcons in the mountains, pheasants and partridge in the south. The rivers hold eels, pike, perch, carp, roach, salmon, and trout. 

Water pollution is a serious problem in France due to the accumulation of industrial contaminants, agricultural nitrates, and waste from the nation’s cities. Only 52 per cent of the population has adequate sewage facilities. France’s cities produce 18.7 million tons of solid waste per year. France has 40.8 cubic miles of water with 69 per cent used for industrial purposes and 15 per cent used for farming. As of 1994, 20 per cent of France’s forests were damaged due to acid rain and other contaminants. The mid-1970s brought passage of laws governing air pollution, waste disposal, and chemicals. In general, environmental laws embody the "polluter pays" principle, although some of the charges imposed -- for example, an aircraft landing fee -- have little effect on the reduction of the pollutant (i.e., aircraft noise). Air pollution is a significant problem in France. The nation contributes 1.7 per cent of the world’s total gas emissions. Official statistics reflect substantial progress in reducing airborne emissions in major cities. An attempt to ban the dumping of toxic wastes proved less successful, however, and the licensing of approved dump sites was authorized in the early 1980s. 

In December 1984 there were six national parks, with a total area of 12,279 sq km (4,740 sq mi); as of 1 January 1986 there were 25 regional parks, with an area of 34,690 sq km (13,394 sq mi). In a total of 113 mammal species, 6 are currently threatened, as are 21 of 342 bird species, 2 of 36 types of reptiles, 1 of 29 types of amphibians, and 3 species of fresh-water fish in a total of 70. The greatest threat of extinction to France’s flora and fauna concerns its plant species. Of 4,300 -- 4,450 species, 143 are currently endangered. Endangered species in France in 1987 included the Mediterranean monk seal, the gray wolf, and the large blue butterfly. As of 1985, 25 per cent of all species known to have appeared in France were extinct, endangered, or in substantial regression.

Worldmark Encyclopedia of the Nations: Europe >
Post Place
N 45º 39.099' 
E 005º 41.419' 
Elev. 210 m (690') 
Savoy has an interesting history. The people from this area are referred to as Savoyards and often speak in a centuries-old dialect. Shepherd tribes from north of Italy inhabited Savoy beginning in the Bronze age. The Gauls appeared during the Iron Age. the communities of this area were united and referred to as the Allobroges. They were conquered by the Romans between 122 b.c. and 118 b.c. Strategically, the area was important because it served as a natural communication link between the valleys of northwestern Italy and the valleys of the Rhone. 
. . . . 
In 1815 under the Treaty of Paris, which ended the French Revolution and the Napoleonic era, King Victor Emmanuel of Italy won back Sardinia and Savoy. This ushered in a conservative era that included strict police controls. In 1848 the king granted a constitution that permitted a two-chamber parliament, but Savoy’s representation was to be based on its physical size and not its historical past; this led to discontent in Savoy, and, many began to look toward the French emperor Napoleon III (1852-1870). Fortunately, Count Camillo Benso di Cavour (1810-1861), who was one of the architects of Italian unification, promised Napolean III that if the French drove the Austrians from Italy, France would be given both Savoy and Nice. In 1868 the Savoyards voted to unite with France. Later, two departments were created, Savoy and Upper Savoy, which became integrated into the development of France. In the 1870s a railway was completed across the Alps; at this time roads were also improved and tourism developed. With the development of hydro-electricity, heavy industry also began to appear in the area. Nevertheless, economic development today lags behind the rest of the Rhone-Alpes region.

The Regions of France: A Reference Guide to History and Culture/ Wayne Northcutt
Nuclear Testing

The Good News 

PARIS, 29 January, 1996 -- With today's announcement by French President Jaques Chirac that the sixth French nuclear test conducted Saturday will be the last, Greenpeace welcomed the news saying that a global ban on nuclear testing is now that much more possible. 

"After provoking worldwide outrage over the resumption of nuclear testing, France has finally bowed to international pressure and stopped its testing at six tests rather than the originally planned eight," said Greenpeace Disarmament Coordinator Josh Handler. "The onus is now on France to ensure the passage of a zero-yield nuclear test ban (CTBT) currently being negotiated." 

On Saturday France set off its sixth nuclear test at Fangataufa atoll which measured 120 kilotonnes. This was the largest test carried out by France since it broke a testing moratorium in September 1995. 

Last week, a controversy arose when France admitted a release of radioactive iodine 131 was detected after one of its South Pacific tests. A number of nations have registered protests and asked for clarification about this radioactive release as well as about what other information France has withheld about its nuclear tests. 

"These reports raise great concern about the environmental aftermath of global nuclear testing," Handler said. "France and all other nuclear weapons states must now stop testing and close their test sites to show support for a CTBT. 

The Bad News 

An independent health study of the people of French Polynesia has never been undertaken, and the military records of the health of personnel from the site have not been released. No follow-up programme has been undertaken to monitor workers' health once they have left the site. 

In 1963, the French Governor of Tahiti, M Grimald claimed 'Not a single particle of radioactive fallout will ever reach an inhabited island'. But immediately after the first atmospheric tests, radiation was detected as far away as Samoa, Fiji and New Zealand. According to testimony from people affected by the tests collected and published by Greenpeace, higher rates of cancer, birth abnormalities and other illnesses have been experienced by people in French Polynesia since testing began. 

The environmental safety of testing nuclear weapons underground at Moruroa has been the subject of major controversy and concern. Moruroa and its sister test site at Fangataufa are water permeable coral atolls on basalt, now containing several Chernobyls worth of radioactivity. Testing threatens the geological stability of these fragile and vulnerable environments and makes leakage of large quantities of radionuclides into the marine environment an ever present threat. 

Since 1975, more than 130 nuclear warheads have been exploded in deep shafts in the atoll, resulting in huge cavities that fill with molten rock and radioactive debris. Because of the fracturing of the rock, some radioactivity leaks into the surrounding areas through venting or seepage. 

While the French authorities have argued that testing is safe, several scientific missions to the atoll - all of which have had severely limited access to the site - have raised serious questions about its ability to contain the radioactivity released by underground tests. 

In 1981, a mission led by French geologist Haroun Tazieff issued a warning about the geological stability of the atoll in the long-term if nuclear weapons testing continued. In 1983, a New Zealand-Australia-Papua New Guinea mission found elevated levels of tritium, and severe fissuring of the atoll and subsidence of more than one metre in parts of the atoll. In 1987, Commandant Jacques Cousteau found short-lived radionuclides such as caesium 134 and iodine 131 in the Moruroa lagoon, indicating leakage from test explosions was already occurring. He filmed spectacular cracks and fissures in the atoll as well as submarine slides and subsidence, and described the impact of testing on the atoll as creating 'premature and accelerated aging, which explains to a great extent, the next move of the largest nuclear tests to Fangataufa atoll.' In 1988, French officials announced that larger tests would be exploded from then on at Fangataufa. 

In 1990, a Greenpeace team - even though denied access to the test site and restricted to working outside the 12 mile military exclusion zone around Moruroa -found artificial radioactivity in plankton. In 1991, an International Atomic Energy Agency mission invited by the French military to counter Greenpeace's findings found elevated levels of plutonium in samples taken 12 miles from the atoll. 

Any further nuclear testing at Moruroa and Fangataufa could exacerbate environmental damage at the atoll. Greenpeace has called for a comprehensive and independent monitoring and sampling programme at the French test sites, along with a fully independent epidemiological health survey and full disclosure of all information held by the French authorities about the environmental and health effects of nuclear testing.

A Threat to Cultural Survival

Language loss is a threat to cultural survival, in two phases: first, Indigenous knowledge, perceptions and strategies encoded in the language are lost; second, knowledge, perceptions and strategies dictated by the colonizing language and culture will attempt to fill the vacuum. It can happen on multiple levels, from the loss of subtle shades of meaning when derivations and morphological relationships are forgotten and cease to enliven new forms of speech, to the loss or enfeebling of entire genres of discourse. 

The most dramatic culmination occurs when the ceremonial life of traditional people is threatened by language erosion. That is, when the most deep -- and far reaching forms of expression the people possess -- and the critical relationships they enliven, especially with Other-than-human beings -- grow pale, lose significance and coherence, and begin to die. 

Another potential that is impaired when language is endangered is the potential of a community to grow, and for its members to find new creative solutions to the problems they face. Patterns of thinking and perception and prioritization encoded in their original language can easily be lost with that language, making it increasingly difficult to frame problems -- and to solve them -- in any but the dominant culture’s terms.

Endangered Languages, Current Issues and Future Prospects, ed. by Lenore A. Grenoble, and Lindsay J. Whaley/ Marianne Mithun
The World's Fresh Water to be Owned by Two French Corporations
The combination of increasing demand and shrinking supply has attracted the interest of global corporations who want to sell water for a profit. The water industry is touted by the World Bank as a potential trillion-dollar industry. Water has become the “blue gold” of the 21st century. 

The move to privatize water coincides with the rise of the Washington Consensus as the dominant world economic philosophy. This philosophy calls for trade and investment liberalization, and turning responsibility for social programs and resource management over to the private sector. In this case, it is an assault on the ancient commons of water. 

Global trade agreements have become perhaps the most important tool for corporations trading in water and their allies. All of the multinational governing bodies, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATT), and the World Trade Organization (WTO), define water as a commodity. As a result, water is now subject to the same rules and regulations governing other commodities like oil and natural gas. Under these combined international rules, a country cannot prohibit or limit the export of water without risking censure by the WTO. Nations are also restricted from denying the import of water from any country. NAFTA’s “proportionality clause” means that if a country turns on the tap to export its natural resources, it cannot turn off the tap until it runs out of that resource. 

In addition, the push to privatize water services will be greatly enhanced by new rules governing cross-border trade in services at the WTO, known as the GATS (General Agreement on Trade in Services). Under the proposed GATS rules, not only will governments face added pressures to deregulate and privatize their water systems, but once a city’s water services have been taken over by a foreign-based corporation, efforts to take these services back into public hands will invite severe economic penalties under the WTO. 

Leading the charge for privatization are three big transnational corporations based in Europe: Vivendi, Suez, and RWE. All three have systematically bought out smaller rivals to become the dominate powers in the business of water all over the globe. The long-range strategy of these companies began with their efforts to take over the public water systems in Third World countries where they hoped to position themselves as the saviors of the water crisis. Instead, a series of private-sector fiascoes in the Third World derailed their plans. 

The big water companies are now changing their strategy and concentrating their operations and their investment on more secure markets in North America and Europe. Eighty-five percent of all water services in the U.S. are still in public hands. That’s a tempting target for conglomerates like Suez, Vivendi, and RWE. Within the next 10 years, they aim to control 70 percent of water services across the United States. 

They have positioned themselves to move aggressively. Vivendi, Suez, and RWE have bought up the leading U.S. water companies, U.S. Filter, United Water, and American Water Works, respectively. These water companies had largely serviced small towns and communities, but under the tutelage of the global giants they have become the engines for privatization in the United States 

Investors are betting that the business of water will boom in coming decades. "This is a $200 billion market, growing at a 6 percent rate annually, in terms of population," said Hans Peter Portner, a fund manager at Banque Pictet in Geneva who handles the bank's Global Water Fund. He predicts that privatized water systems will expand to serve about 17 percent of the world's population by 2015, up from 7 percent now. 

[The two largest corporations are] the French giants, Vivendi Environnement and Suez. Last year, almost half of Vivendi Environnement's $26 billion of revenue came from water; roughly one quarter of Suez's $38 billion in revenue was generated by the water division, Ondeo.

1. The Battle For Water, Yes! Magazine, Winter 2004/ Tony Clarke and Maude Barlow 

2. As Multinationals Run the Taps, Anger Rises Over Water for Profit, New York Times, August 26, 2002/ John Tagliabue

Earth Making
There is and can be no such thing as a purely objective map, one that simply reproduces a pre-existing reality. Choices always have to be made about what to represent and how, and what to leave out. It is here that cartographic meaning is created. To be included on the map is to be granted the status of reality or importance. To be left off is to be denied. the reality that is given on the map is influenced by technical limitations and also by the deliberate strategies of the cartographer. More significant perhaps are the bounds set by the world-views of particular cultures, views that are themselves constructed and reinforced on the map.

Mapping Reality/ Geoff King
The Beech Tree

The Common Beech is a tall, elegant tree with feminine contours. The curves of its trunk and branches so much resemble parts of the human body that beech trees often appear like dryads (tree spirits) diving into or emerging from the earth. 

The beech tree is a symbol for the written word and for the innate wisdom contained within it, and for ancient learning. Thus the beech is symbolic of the sum of the wisdom of all the other trees. Beech was once used to make writing tablets and thin slices of beech wood bound together made the first book, previously scrolls had been used. This connection is evident in many of the languages of modern Europe. The Anglo-Saxon word for beech is boc, which later became book. The German for beech is Buche, which became Buch for book, and Buchstabe is the modern German word for letter, as in letter of the alphabet. The modern Swedish word bok means both book and beech tree. 

The wood and leaves of the beech tree are carried as a talisman to increase creative powers. 

Although there will always be those who seek to manipulate and control others by restricting access to information and learning, and by slanting information available to suit their own ends, as long as the wisdom of the trees, which is the sum of all human knowledge and experience, is enshrined in writing, so there is hope. 


 Although wood from the beech tree is used today to make flooring and furniture, it was used by the Teutonic tribes to create runic tablets for divination.

1. The Wisdom of Trees/Jane Gifford 

2. Sacred Trees/Nathaniel Altman

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