Sunday, June 29, 2008
jean-pascal couraud, above
Death in the tropics
Presented by Elise Lucet. An inquiry by Magali Serre and Christian Gaudin (France, 2008). 105 minutes.
In 1997, Tahitian journalist Jean-Pascal Couraud, by-lined JPK, disappeared under troubling circumstances. Suicide? At first, the family take this hypothesis on board, before revelations in 2004 by a certain Vetea Guilloux lead them to lodge a complaint for murder and complicity.
Investigative journalist and opposition politicians aimed at Gaston Flosse (then president of Polynesia), JPK investigating a number of sensitive dossiers of local and metropolitan authorities, addressing issues including patronage, fictitious jobs and embezzlement.
He was therefore closely monitored by GIP, the Intervention Group of Polynesia, assimilated as a section under the presidency, a service employing Vetea Guilloux.
If they fail to precisely identify those truly responsible for the death of Jean-Pascal Couraud, numerous documents and testimony gathered by Magali Serre and Christian Gaudin shed light on a flood of undignified administrative practices, judicial and political acts unworthy of a republican democracy, irrespective of the territory in which they occur.
by Sophie Bourdais
Télérama, Saturday, June 28, 2008
translated by avaiki nius agency
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
president gaston flosse in 2003, during a visit to
french polynesia by jacques chirac
Officials from a Japanese bank claim to have found "no evidence" of an account held for former French president Jacques Chirac.
The claim is made in one of seventeen documents seized by an investigatory magistrate from Pape'ete, Jean-François Redonnet, according to French media reports.
Redonnet astonished Paris circles when he arrived from Tahiti with search warrants for the offices of the DGSE, Directorate General of External Security, a French equivalent of America's Central Intelligence Agency.
'A LITTLE JUDGE'
One site, Lalettrea, headlined its coverage - Le petit juge qui grandit subitement - "A little judge suddenly grows up."
Reporting on the search, another site, Le Point, quotes sources as saying the "atmosphere was relaxed" as the judge settled in at a meeting room of the DGSE on Mortier boulevard.
The next day, Redonnet also served a warrant at the offices of Jean Veil, lawyer for Jacques Chirac.
Under the headline, "Tartlets for the judge" - Le Journal de Dimanche - the Sunday Journal - described the judge's mission to Paris as being "without precedence."
Accompanied by prosecutor Jean Bianconi and two policemen, Justice Redonnet had to wait three hours at the offices of Jean Veil, as he was in court.
But once the laywer for Jacques Chirac did arrive, he delivered an equally civil reception, offering "tartlets" and sandwiches - "very courteous."
News there was "no evidence" of a Chirac account at the former Tokyo Sawa Bank was widely reported in French media. At least, no evidence, so far.
Tokyo Star Bank since 2001, officials claimed they only have access to accounts as far back as 1999 - nearly two years after JPK disappeared.
Most French media overlooked this date. The bank officials also added there was no way to tell if an account was set up for Chirac under a 'shell' name.
Judge Redonnet was held back from using the bank letter and other documents as they are still sealed under national security laws.
A judge from another jurisdiction, of liberty and detention, decided on the bank letter, saying it had already been made public in January with its publication by Le Point.
"Seizure of documents ... is necessary to reveal the truth when they would likely help determine whether a theory of political motivation, namely the desire to eliminate a journalist who had knowledge of the existence, in a Japanese bank, of a bank account opened on behalf of Jacques Chirac, or not, based on objective factors, " judge Brigette Delpech wrote in her decision.
Completing his Paris mission, Judge Redonnet interviewed General Philippe Rondot.
An intelligence specialist, he conducted a search in 2001 for the account, at the request of the Elysée. Five years later, in March 2006 before justices investigating the Clearstream affair, he said that an account for Jacques Chirac existed at the Tokyo Sowa Bank and was credited 300 million francs to 1996, allegedly via cultural foundation.
General Rondot later retracted his remarks, saying the account did not exist, a claim he repeated for the Tahiti judge.
One news site operating under the safety of "satire" described the judge's journeys as an example of an official investigation stifled by the press.
Bakchich reported how the "venerable" news group, Agence France Press, held off from reporting the latest news about the investigation until late afternoon, after other sites had been carrying the news all day. Just five "laconic" lines featured in the AFP report, reflecting a country where the most daring comments from so-called satire sites, and journalists face heavy fines, even prison, even when reporting facts.
Then, in May, the Sarkozy government introduced a bill that would require journalists to reveal their sources when "a pressing imperative requires it" - wording that unions described as too vague.
judge seizes documents from french spy agency
french parliament splits on journalism bill
lawyer's office searched in case of missing french polynesian journalist
tahitipresse carries news of the flosse defamation claim
translated from Tahitipresse, France 3
French senator Gaston Flosse says he will lay a claim of defamation against a documentary on France 3 TV accusing him of “the most abominable acts” relating to the disappearance in 1997 of journalist Jean-Pascal Couraud.
Broadcast in France on June 20 and rebroadcast in French Polynesia on June 22, the Tempo programme “Pieces of Evidence” focused on alleged graft by former French president Jacques Chirac, involving bank accounts in Japan.
Titled “Death in the Tropics” the documentary also focused on the role played by Flosse, alleging links with the disappearance of Couraud, by-lined JPK.
"This programme, specifically slanted, violates the basic principles of any democracy,” said Senator Flosse in a press release, carried by Tahiti Press Agency.
"I am indeed accused of the most abominable acts without being able to respond because despite the age of the criminal investigations and diligence by special magistrates in charge of these cases, I've never been called in judicially for questioning.”
"This situation also reflects the lack of credit given by Justice to evidence from these ‘canaries’ implying also that neither I nor my lawyer, have access to the file of instruction.
"The imbalance of the programme is therefore obvious and deplorable, since I cannot answer what was presented as evidence.
"Moreover, one can question the aims pursued by journalists since several reports were unrelated to the purpose of the programme but tended towards the object of ‘smearing’ me.”
"We even witnessed the sad spectacle of a ‘courageous’ judge - face hidden and voice disguised - settle his account with a prosecutor of the republic.
"This programme features only lies and falsehoods against me, without the slightest respect for ethics or codes of ethics. I can only claim jurisdiction for an action of defamation."
The statement from Flosse was the first in nearly three years on the JPK affair.
His accusation of journalism with a “particular orientation” plays on an accusation from France 3’s Tempo magazine that justice in French Polynesia is nuanced in a “particular manner.”
In their cover webpage, reporters Magali Serre and Christian Gaudin give background to the case.
“Despite reports from the Court of Auditors, despite the scandals, strange disappearances, the money evaporates, nothing changes, and nobody worries.”
Flosse to sue - Tahitipresse
Death in the tropics - France 3