family quotes judges: it was assassination

NEWS Family of former Pape'ete editor Jean-Pascal Couraud are fighting attempts by "the State" to close off a dossier of evidence involving allegations of his assassination. They are now quoting anonymous judges in an appeal against closing the dossier. "It was assassination." Philippe Couraud says judges who have seen the dossier point to it as containing conclusive evidence to his brother being killed by members of the "administrative flotilla." DEADLY Reference to 'the State' and its 'administrative' side signals a deadly new phase for an investigation that has seen its scope widen dramatically since late 2004. At that time a presidential security agent alleged overhearing colleagues boasting at a party about drowning the investigative journalist. Contradicting an official finding of suicide, the allegations gathered force with an expose just this year of bank accounts holding US$70 million. SECRET Set up in a bank in Japan, the secret accounts were under the names of Jacques Chirac and Gaston Flosse, the former French president and his Polynesian protege. French media reports recently suggested that the Japan accounts are part of an emerging - and staggeringly enormous - banking scandal. Allegations centre on $1.5 trillion in over-stated assets at Clearstream, senior of two main clearing houses for banks worldwide. EXPOSED By comparison, Enron involved $14 billion in false assets - one thousand times less than Clearstream. Bankers stoutly deny corruption, exposed in a 2001 book by an investigative journalist and a former Clearstream executive. Official investigations by the European Union did not found any evidence to support the claims. Authors claim investigations are incomplete and suffer political interference because of a 'secondary system' of some 33,000 secret bank accounts, held by politicians and business people at highest levels. EXIT COURAUD Sacked by pro-nuclear press magnates for criticising Flosse, the former Les Nouvelles editor carried on as an investigative reporter under the opposition. Nearly ten years after Couraud disappeared on 15th December 1997, French media report he was leaked details about the Japan bank accounts - and very probably tortured for the whereabouts of backup copies. In 2004, Pape'ete courts heard evidence that Couraud was seen with a dossier some seven centimetres thick on the day he was allegedly 'disappeared' by agents. FRENCH CIA Now the family say local agents were led by officers of the DGSE, the Directorate General for External Security, an allegation previously limited to their having a training role. French equivalent of CIA and MI5, the history of the DGSE includes bombing the Rainbow Warrior in Auckland in 1985 in the lead up to protests over nuclear testing in Moruroa. Few of these details make it into the latest update from Soutien JPK, with chairman Philippe Couraud limiting comment to the role played by members of "administrative flotilla." ANALYSIS This new phrase - the administrative flotilla - includes GIP, the Groupe d'Intervention du Polynesie, officially an emergency response group. Some GIP agents are ex-convicts, carrying out political thug tactics and espionage on orders from their boss, former president Gaston Flosse, including, allegedly, the kidnapping, torture and assassination of Jean-Pascal Couraud. In widening this description to include 'the administration', Soutien JPK's support committee are drawing attention away from this group's headline grabbing antics, limiting its part to a detail in a much bigger picture of corruption at the highest levels of the French republic. BACKGROUND Tahiti publisher accuses French prosecutor of legal harassment Further appeal to France over 1997 disappearance of Tahiti journalist Appeal to French minister to help solve mystery disappearance of Tahiti journalist Memorial site of missing French Polynesian journalist vandalised Judiciary criticised over 1997 disappearance of French Polynesian journalist Mystery man shows up to mark anniversary of missing Tahiti journalist


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