Wednesday, December 19, 2007

poem for jpk - the shattered mirror

TRIBUTE

by jason brown, editor, avaiki nius agency

It was, as promised, a small and simple ceremony.

Gathered around an empty grave, tombstone in place, friends of the Couraud family, about 20 in all.

"This is the time he was ..."

The mother of Jean-Pascal Couraud pauses, searching her French memory for the right word in English.

Kidnapped?

"Yes, kidnapped," agrees his mother, stepping across the syllables carefully, like a goat on a mountain, fearful not of the plunge, but of forgetting to be careful.

"... the time he was kidnapped at this very hour, exactly ten years ago."

She peers upwards as she speaks, a small women for such enormous memories, shadows of frangipani falling across her shoulders, children surfing on even smaller waves in the background.

As happens so often in all our lives, she begins to say more but is distracted by a comforting hand.

Did he surf here too?

JPK's brother glances across his brother's empty grave, past other tombs, and whitewashed stones of the deceased less famous, to where the waves roll in; Mo'orea, sister island to Tahiti, looming hazy in the distance.

"Yes, but only when the waves were bigger."

He smiles, and like their smiles of welcome, their teeth are white, in tanned faces of rude health, somewhat disturbing for those unprepared for civility not grief, for warmth not sadness and loss in a place of such fragrant loveliness.

Earlier, a tribute is read out from a colleague, an original editorial from 1988 by JPK titled "Never again" and a peom by Jacques Prévert, a sardonic, punning poet taught to generations of French schoolchildren.

The shattered mirror is a pun in itself, defiance in the face of vandals who, earlier this year, drank and smashed their bottles on what little JPK has left in this world, oblivious to themselves, or how their actions reflect on us all.

No eternal flame, just small wickering candles, for a young man with an adopted acronym, Kennedyesque, in nature, doomed by real politik.

It was, as promised in the pages of the newspaper that sacked him more than a decade ago, a small and simple ceremony.

Le miroir brisé

Le petit homme qui chantait sans cesse
le petit homme qui dansait dans ma tête
le petit homme de la jeunesse
a cassé son lacet de soulier
et toutes les baraques de la fête
tout d'un coup se sont écroulées
et dans le silence de cette fête
j'ai entendu ta voix heureuse
ta voix déchirée et fragile
enfantine et désolée
venant de loin et qui m'appelait
et j'ai mis ma main sur mon coeur
où remuaient
ensanglantés
les septs éclats de glace de ton rire étoilé.

The shattered mirror

The little man who sang ceaselessly
The little man who danced in my head
The little man of youth
Undid his shoe lace
And all the shacks of the feast
All of a sudden collapsed
And in the silence of this feast
I heard your happy voice
Your voice torn and fragile
Childish and sorry
Coming from afar, he who called me
And I put my hands on my heart
Where they trembled
Bleeding
From the seven ice chips of your starry laugh

Jacques Prévert

tribute to jpk - lucien maillard


lucien maillard, a former colleague to JPK, pays tribute, saying he never imagined their work could lead to his death.

TRIBUTE

After grief, after anger and outrage, in time comes meditation.
The time for prayer.
A prayer of communion with the parents of Jean-Pascal, his children, his brothers, his sister, his friends, present or missing.
I am thinking particularly of the late Patrick Brai, a valiant companion of a beautiful collective adventure - what must be called journalism at its most noble - including Jean-Pascal who was both its soul and radiant symbol.

Some, to achieve their ideals of loyalty, travel to the Orient or take the pilgrimage to Compostela.

We need to move closer to Jean-Pascal - because it is with him, I know! - to keep us with him, to listen, to remain faithful to our ethical commitments, not to betray the word of honour that he has bequeathed to us.

We have had the privilege of meeting an exceptional person. Absolute in his quest for truth and honesty, in his tireless fight against lies, against corruption, and yet so delicate, so attentive to others in his daily work.

A head above others, Jean-Pascal almost danced through his daily work. He walked lightly upon the earth but did not lose his footing, did not raise his voice and calmed conflicts with an even temperament, one that I attributed, stupidly, to his past-time of surfing, his being a master of the waves.
I quickly understood that this natural elegance was an expression of a strong soul. I never saw a young man assemble as many gifts for the profession he had chosen: the eye of the photographer, a solid talent for writing, beautiful, consistent - in form and in substance - which banishes redundancy, affected style or emphasis, but that cultivated accuracy and brevity in the interests of truth.

Only in our professional relations were we so intense! We divided the roles tacitly, without having to explain anything to each other. I was aware that we shared, outside the awareness of the reporters and owners of the newspaper, a unique experience; perilous, but which constituted the major act of a lifetime.

I did not think that it could lead to the death of Jean-Pascal. A layoff, a forced exile is in the nature of things. But his killing … was to imagine the intolerable!

In everyday life, in my work as a teacher and journalist, I live every day for ten years in the shadow of someone I knew during those years in Tahiti. I became more accomplished, more demanding of myself. This week, I spoke at length about the quiet bravery of Jean-Pascal to my students in political science, whom I quote as a model, as an example.

I do not doubt that, one day, we will see a school of journalism given in his name for its promotion. I try, through all my business and personal initiatives to be worthy of the confidence Jean-Pascal showed in me for nearly twenty-five years.

That confidence was a grace and, with it, a resource. The powerful friendship that we wore accompanies us all.

He still shines.



Tuesday, December 18, 2007

never again - jpk editorial from 1988


"never again" - a hard hitting editorial against the "calamitous reign of Gaston Flosse."

TRIBUTE

Reaching back nearly two decades, a former colleague of Jean-Pascal Couraud has typed out an editorial from his most infamous edition.

Headlined "Never again", the front page editorial was part of a "special edition" with a self-proclaimed "bias" towards "derision", collecting stories and cartoons from the "calamitous reign of Gaston Flosse."

The issues were seized by authorities in Tahiti after Flosse laid an injunction against the newspaper. Interviewed on television, Couraud thanked Flosse for the "free publicity."
"NEVER AGAIN!
"The weather in Polynesia does not have the same consistency as elsewhere: it is only a succession of moments, one after another, ad infinitum, blending in a kind of eternity with no beginning and no end.
"That is why events are like successive images of a movie on a cinema screen, leaving behind no trace and few souvenirs.
"If the inhabitants of these islands seem to have an insouciance that makes them sometimes appear like big children, it is because they have an extraordinary ability to forget. But maturity is born from experience stored in memory.
"Our ability to forget is in the political arena, a handicap for democracy and a danger to the freedoms in our country.
"It seems that the most painful feelings, born of frustration or humiliation, may diminish day by day until they disappear, but what is written remains noticed. The great strength of writing is in its printing in black and white, freezing fluctuating currencies and setting to paper facts and events, relaying the memory of men's failures.
"Les Nouvelles" reveals this day after day, tirelessly denouncing the most outrageous abuses of the system. Our readers would never suspect the threats and pressures exerted on the owner, the management and journalists of this newspaper in an attempt to silence them.
"Our pride is in having successfully resisted.
"We adopted (in this special issue) a bias towards derision by choosing stories and cartoons that show the central character and his henchmen at their most petty, in the hope that these ludicrous men and situations exorcise the spectre of dictatorship and its attendant hatreds, humiliation, violence and injustice.
"May this edition serve as a memorial to stupidity, greed and political ambition, reviving memories of the still recent past, so that no one forgets! Our dearest wish is that in closing the last page of this special edition of News, each reader should take the resolution "NEVER, NEVER AGAIN."
Jean-Pascal Couraud - April 1988

Monday, December 17, 2007

france radio broadcasts JPK "interception"


france inter radio has broadcast fresh evidence on the JPK affair.

UPDATE

Second most popular radio station in the republic, France Inter has released a major investigation into the JPK Affair on the tenth anniversary of the disappearance of the former Pape'ete editor.

Titled "Sharks in troubled waters - a counter-investigation into the JPK Affair" the programme sees fresh testimony from witnesses connected to the affair.

Following below is a translation taken from the introductory webpage.

"Sunday, December 16, 2007


"Sharks in troubled waters - a counter-investigation into the JPK
Affair


"10 years ago, during the night of 15 to 16 December 1997, the investigative journalist Jean-Pascal Couraud disappeared in mysterious circumstances in French Polynesia.

"Under his byline JPK, Jean-Pascal Couraud denounced political, economic, and judicial scandals and abuses of power by Gaston Flosse, leader of French Polynesia for almost 30 years, protected by Jacques Chirac since the 70's.

"Officially, JPK committed suicide by drowning, after absorption of a drug.

"His body has never been found.

"In October 2004, a former member of the security service of Gaston Flosse relaunched the case. The man attests to having witnessed the abduction of JPK, and identified the perpetrators of his death.

"The thugs allegedly tried to extort information from the journalist on files in his possession concerning Gaston Flosse.
"JPK's family then filed a complaint for "assassination".

"Since then, however, the judiciary seems to find it hard to let the truth emerge.

"Today, 'Interception' brings new pieces of evidence to the JPK Affair.

"For the first time, Jean-Dominique Desarcis, the former lawyer Jean-Pascal Couraud, talks publicly.

"He reveals threats against him, and reveals what "sensitive" records JPK held shortly before his death: arms trafficking, financing of the RPR*, alleged payments from a businessman in Polynesia to Jacques Chirac, in liasion with Gaston Flosse… in Japan!

"The former No. 2 GIP (Intervention Group of Polynesia, a service under orders from Gaston Flosse) Sandy Guilloux, tells how one of his subordinates confessed to having been present at the death of JPK.

"A report by Benedict Collombat, sound by: Alain Fauchet."

* Rally for the Republic, Le Rassemblement pour la République (RPR), the main right-wing party of France.

IN FRENCH

Saturday, December 15, 2007

reporters without borders see fresh hope for JPK




PRESS RELEASE > reporters sans frontieres

15 December 2007

The tenth anniversary of the disappearance of Jean-Pascal Couraud: Reporters Without Borders calls on the authorities not to betray the hopes of his family
A few days before the tenth anniversary of the disappearance of the former editor of the Les Nouvelles in Tahiti, Jean-Pascal Couraud ( "JPK"), on December 15, 2007, Reporters Without Borders calls on the French authorities including the Justice minister, known as the the Keeper of Judicial Seals, Rachida Dati, to renew their commitment to establishing the truth about the exact circumstances of the death of the journalist.

"Recent events allow us to believe that the investigation into the death of Jean-Pascal Couraud could move forward on a sound basis. Ten years after the fact, it is urgent, both from a moral and legal viewpoint, that the ins and outs of this case be brought out into the open. We call on French justice not to provide arguments to those who believe that French Polynesia is an area of exception where scandals are king. On the contrary, we expect that the hopes of JPK's family and those of members of his support committee are confirmed by transparent ruling, without setting aside the self-evident legal route," said Reporters Without Borders.

"Jean-Pascal Couraud concerned, among other things, the supposed transfer of funds to a Japanese bank account, through a Polynesian account, in favor of the former President of the Republic, Jacques Chirac. Sensitivity of this information and the tragic loss of JPK makes even more compelling the discovery of the truth in this matter," said the organization.

The year 2007 enabled progress.

In September, civil claimants were finally able to obtain a copy of the legal file, including interviews reinforcing their belief that the journalist was assassinated. On November 20, they obtained satisfaction at trial chambers, Papeete, on two points: the deposit of papers from the file seized at the home of General Rondot, in the context of the Clearstream scandal, linking back to the Japanese account of the former President of the Republic, and, the dismissal of Judge Philippe Stelmach, previously in charge of the case.

According to the lawyer for the civil parties, Max Gatti, the discovery of two documents found on the hard drive of General Rondot relating to an account belonging to Gaston Flosse proves the documents were as controversial as JPK claimed.

In May 2007, the journalist's former lawyer, Jean-Dominique Des Arcis, confirmed that JPK had specific information on the transferral of funds between a large company in French Polynesia and an account held by Jacques Chirac.

The lawyer will be heard by the court on December 17.

Civil parties were authorised by the court in French Polynesia to verify whether it is possible to establish a link between the documents and their complaint for "assassination and conspiracy" in 2004.

Judge Stelmach, who had asked to be withdrawn from the case on many occasions, and, had informed the civil parties of its desire to close the case in July 2007, was replaced by Judge Jean Redonnet.

Finally, after requests by the family and the support committee in June and September, the Keeper of Judicial Seals, Justice minister Rachida Dati, assured in mid-November that "directors of criminal cases had taken up the file and that it would be studied with the greatest attention. "

In November 2007, the public prosecutor issued a dismissal of indictment, without waiting for a decision from the trial chamber in Papeete. It is urgent that the claimants quickly present their version of the case and its supporting elements to the judge. It is also essential that the material facts from the Clearstream scandal be transmitted as soon as possible.

JPK disappeared on December 15, 1997, and his body has never been found. In October 2002, the Papeete court concluded suicide and pronounced the case closed. In 2004, the investigation was reopened after testimony from a former member of the Groupe d'Intervention de la Polynesia (GIP, personal services of the former president of French Polynesia Gaston Flosse). Vetea Guilloux said that he had witnessed the assassination of Jean-Couraud Couraud perpetrated by members of the GIP, before recanting his statements. In December, the family of journalist filed "complaint against X", whereby a civil party to "murder" and "complicity".

Reporters Without Borders supports their search for truth.

On December 16, 2007, from 9 to 10 am, France Inter broadcast on the show "Interception" a story by Benedict Collombat devoted to the disappearance of Jean-Pascal Couraud called "Sharks in troubled waters - against an inaquiry into l'affair JPK."

LINKS

Reporters sans frontières - We mustn’t forget them!

Google JPK

EN FRANCAIS

Dixième anniversaire de la disparition de Jean-Pascal Couraud

Google JPK

Saturday, December 08, 2007

french media giants focus on jpk

NEWS RELEASE

Two French media giants are marking the tenth anniversary of the disappearance of former Pape'ete editor, Jean-Pascal Couraud, with independent investigations.

Second most popular in French radio, France Inter and leading daily newspaper Le Monde are both set to release indepth reports into allegations of assassination. Reportage seems sure to increase pressure on authorities previously foot dragging their way through official inquiries, now in their third year.

Couraud disappeared nearly one decade ago, on Monday night of 15th December 1997.

MAFIA

Initial findings of suicide remained unchallenged until October 2004.

Vetea Guilloux, a presidential security agent, told the administration of Oscar Temaru, then new, about widespread espionage activities in his surveillance section. Including, allegedly, overhearing colleagues boast about the mafia-style drowning of the investigative journalist - known by his byline "JPK".

Like Watergate, L'Affair JPK is becoming known for the crime as much as the coverup.

WHISTLEBLOWER

Low level inquiries attracted extraordinary resistance from inside the justice system. The original investigatory magistrate was sidelined by corruption allegations appearing out of nowhere; a replacement was appointed direct from Paris.

The new magistrate toyed coyly for two years before publicly declaring his desire to be relieved of the file, while privately instructing a commissioner of police to stop accepting any more evidence relating to Jean-Pascal Couraud.

Far from stopping, the inquiry has slowed down only to envelope an astonishingly large affair at the world's largest clearing bank, Clearstream. Similar to Enron - but one thousand times bigger, at roughly 1.5 trillion euros - Clearstream I and II emerged in 2001 when a former bank executive turned whistleblower.

MASONRY

As might be understood, official inquiries into Clearstream proceed slowly. Links with JPK emerged earlier this year, when a satirical newspaper, The Blue Dog, published copies of accounts of a bank in Japan with US $70 million in the names of Jacques Chirac and Gaston Flosse.

The papers were matched with those found in a dossier of documents collected privately by a former general of French secret services, regarding Clearstream, and 33,000 secret bank accounts run out of the clearing house under a secondary banking system.

From a small if deadly scandal on the far frontiers of the free French, L'Affair JPK has unexpectedly grown big enough to cause at least a few cracks in presidential masonry.

CONDEMNS

Not least because of the election of a former Chirac protege, Nicholas Sarkozy, now fairly bitter foes.

New president Nicholas Sarkozy marked a visit to Algiers this week by saying he "condemns" corruption during administration of the former French colony, directly attacking the record of once revered leaders who annointed Chirac.

In Tahiti, the renewed presidency of Oscar Temaru expressed hope Sarkozy would recognise similar circumstances when he visits French Polynesia next year.

MERRY-GO-ROUND

There are signs he will.

In Paris, justice officials defied an aura of high-level immunity claimed for Chirac, charging him on 21st November 2007 with embezzlement over 20 fake jobs he gave out when he was mayor of the city.

Not so much a case of fresh independence of the French magistrates, perhaps, as a case of anti-Chirac officials finally getting their turn on the judicial merry-go-round.

SMALL STUFF

News today will only reinforce that impression.

An appeal court in Paris has confirmed similar findings against Flosse and a folder of fake jobs worth EU 2.5 million - after corruption complaints laid in 2004 by the new Temaru government.
A few fake jobs might not seem a big deal, especially against a background of seemingly enormous scandal but like mafia investigators in the United States, sometimes you have to go with the small stuff; tax evasion, not assassination.

FAT CAT

Attention from Le Monde and France Inter may yet prompt progress towards a different outcome.

Just how far remains doubtful.

After all, behind the scandals lies Paris, at the heart of European 'diplomacy' for centuries, a global centre for secret societies stretching back into mists of history. And, like Chirac, Sarkozy has fat cat friends of his own.

SEE ALSO:

communique from the jpk support committee
committee welcomes new rulings on l'affair JPK

jpk support committee: pursue legal action

soutienjpk comite l'instruction doit se poursuivre...

candy flosse solution

a tahiti, le "compte japonais" invoqué dans une
...
clearstream fallout goes galactic

clearstream dwarfs enron
tahiti link to trillion dollar fraud clearstream
letter to justice minister grabs French media
letter from jpk committee
magazine takes aim at new president
brother of dead journalist sacked on st. valentine

jpk witnesses die "strange" deaths
justice officials block inquiry say family
radio new zealand international affair JPK
transcript of tf1 doco on jpk
exposing jpk founding editorial

ALSO AVAIKI NIUS AGENCY

avaiki: tahiti publisher: " i do not even have a tie "

communiqué du comité de soutien "JPK"

Papeete, le 5 décembre 2007

A tous les amis, membres et sympathisants du Comité de soutien,

Tenue de notre assemblée générale annuelle

Tous les membres et sympathisants du Comité de soutien sont cordialement invités à notre assemblée générale annuelle qui se tiendra le mardi 11 décembre 2007 à 17h30 à l'hôtel Shératon de Faaa afin de délibérer sur les points ci-dessous inscrits à l'ordre du jour :
1. Situation et contenu du dossier d'enquête
2. Examen des comptes de l'association
3. Renouvellement du bureau
4. Questions diverses

Rendez-vous avec la presse

A tous nos amis résidant en France, nous rappelons la diffusion sur France Inter de l'émission « Interception » réalisée par Benoît Collombat, le dimanche 16 décembre à 9h10 heure française.

France Inter étant retransmis en direct sur RFO Polynésie toutes les nuits (à partir de 22h00 le samedi), cette émission pourra être également écoutée le samedi 15 décembre à 22 heures 10 en Polynésie française, jour du dixième anniversaire de la disparition de Jean-Pascal Couraud.
Compte tenu des rencontres interviews qu'a pu faire Benoît Collombat tout au long de la réalisation de ce reportage, celui-ci devrait présenter un intérêt tout particulier et il est possible qu'il obtienne des retombées importantes dans d'autres media français.

Enfin, un journaliste d'investigation du journal « Le Monde » avec qui nous étions en relation depuis plusieurs mois arrivera en Polynésie dans quelques jours et effectuera à cette occasion un reportage sur la disparition de Jean-Pascal et l'enquête en cours. Il est prévu qu'il soit présent à notre assemblée générale du 11 décembre.

Vous remerciant de votre soutien à tous,

Philippe Couraud

communique from the jpk support committee

COMMUNIQUE soutienjpk.org

Papeete, December 5, 2007

To all the friends, members and supporters of the Support Committee,

Hosting of our AGM

All members and sympathisers of the Support Committee are cordially invited to our annual general meeting to be held Tuesday, December 11, 2007 at 17:30 at the Hotel Sheraton in Fa'aa to deliberate on the following items listed on the agenda :

1. Situation report and contents in the inquiry dossier.
2. Examination of accounts of the association
3. Renewal of office bearers
4. Other business

Rendevouz with the Press

To all our friends residing in France, we remind you of the dissemination on France Inter radio of the programme "Interception" by Benedict Collombat, Sunday, December 16th at 9:10am French time.

France Inter being broadcast live on RFO Polynesia every night (from 22:00 Saturday), the program can also be heard Saturday, Dec. 15 at 22:10am in French Polynesia, day of the tenth anniversary of the death of Jean-Pascal Couraud.

Based on interviews done by Benoît Collombat throughout realization of his report, it should portray particular interests, and it is possible it will attract significant spin-offs in other French media.

Finally, an investigative journalist of the newspaper "Le Monde" with whom we were in close relations for several months, in Polynesia, arrives back in a few days and will conduct on this occasion a story on the disappearance of Jean-Pascal and ongoing investigations. He is scheduled to be present at our general meeting on 11 December.

Thank you for all your support

Philippe Couraud