Friday, September 11, 2009

les barbouzes tahiti - flosse shadow spies


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COMMENT

Recently fined 1000 euros for defaming a Pape'ete prosecutor, Tahiti Pacifique publisher Alex du Prel has blasted back with a front cover expose of secret dealings during the Flosse years.

The phrase "barbouzes" is slang similar to "spooks" while "filatures, surveillances, enregistrements" refers to shadowing, surveillance and recordings.

September caps a rough few months for the 18 year old magazine, one of the few independents left in the Pacific.

Earlier, a Paris court, 18,000 kilometres from Pape'ete, had found in favour of a complaint from a French prosecutor representing Tahiti. It is one of the few successful attempts at defamation proceedings, du Prel receiving dozens of legal - and illegal - threats over the years.

Their decision came despite earlier decisions by the Consultative Commission on National Defence Secrets to not release three documents from the Directorate General of External Security, French equivalent of the CIA. Seized during a historic raid on DGSE by an investigating justice, the documents first had to be screened by the independent panel for national security considerations.

Without the documents, however, it is impossible to prove whether Tahiti Pacifique was right or wrong. As Reporters Sans Frontiers asks, was "a journalist silenced in order to protect a French politician, or several of them?”

RSF described the fine as "extremely regrettable. Defence secrecy has again been used to prevent the truth from emerging, in this case the truth about a journalist’s murder. We fear the recent progress in the Couraud murder investigation will go no further and that the authorities have decided to bury the case.”

Meantime, there has been a second request to lift the diplomatic immunity held by Flosse as a senator for French Polynesia, following expose of kickbacks from an advertising agency contracted to the Office of Post and Telecommunications.

LINKS

Tahiti Pacifique
RSF

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