Pierre Péan

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Person.png Pierre Péan   Amazon IMDBRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(author, investigative journalist)
Pierre Pean.jpg
Born5 March 1938
Sablé-sur-Sarthe, France
Died25 July 2019 (Age 81)
Exposed • Great Oil Sniffer Hoax
• Le Cercle
Interests • Pan Am Flight 103
• UTA Flight 772
A pioneering investigative journalist, whose work shed light on a variety of deep events

Pierre Péan was a French investigative journalist and author of many books concerned with political scandals. Aged 81, he died on 25 July 2019.[1]

In 1983 Pierre Péan was the first to break the story of the Great Oil Sniffer Hoax in the satirical magazine Le Canard enchaîné, a scandal involving French oil company Elf Aquitaine. The company spent millions of dollars to develop a new gravity wave-based oil detection system, which was later revealed to be a scam. Elf lost over $150 million to the hoax.[2]


Pierre Péan's 1984 Enquête sur l’affaire des avions renifleurs et ses ramifications proches ou lointaines was the first published account of Le Cercle.[3]

In his 1990 book L'Homme de l'Ombre ("Man of the Shadows"), Péan went into great detail on Jacques Foccart, who was President de Gaulle's adviser on African matters, describing him as a man of mystery and yet the most powerful person in the Fifth Republic. As a result of Péan's revelations, Foccart unsuccessfully sued for libel.

His best-seller was Une jeunesse française: François Mitterand in 1994, but Péan was unhappy about press coverage of certain aspects of the book.[4]

In 2003, Péan published La face cachée du Monde ("The hidden face of Le Monde) with Philippe Cohen. The book criticised the French newspaper's editors, claiming that they had purposefully turned their backs on Le Monde's past journalism ethics. In particular, they alleged that Colombani and Plenel had, amongst other things, shown partisan bias (concerning Corsica, for example) and engaged in financial dealings that compromised the paper's independence. These findings remain controversial, but attracted much attention in France and around the world at the time of their publication, not least due to the fact that they impugned the analytical reliability of a paper whose emphasis is precisely on analysis and not simply straight reporting. Le Monde's subsequent difficulties have been attributed in part to this book.

In 2005, he published Noires fureurs, blancs menteurs. Rwanda, 1990-1994 ("Black furies, white liars. Rwanda, 1990-1994") about the Rwandan genocide. This controversial book was an explicit attack on François-Xavier Verschave's work concerning the Françafrique, a term connoting the specific kind of neocolonialism imposed by Charles de Gaulle and successive presidents of the Fifth Republic on the former African colonies of the French colonial empire. In his book, Pierre Péan alleges the existence of a "counter-genocide", which immediately sparked critics of his book as a revisionist attempt to alter the accepted history of the Rwanda genocide with a false comparison.[5]

Accusations of Anti-Semitism

In 2008, Pierre Péan wrote The World According to K, alleging ties between Bernard Kouchner (then the French foreign minister) and African dictators. Péan claimed two consultancies run by associates of Kouchner were paid nearly $6m by the governments of Gabon and Congo for reports that were written by him. According to Péan, some of this money was paid by the two African governments after Kouchner became foreign minister in May 2007. Kouchner denied the accusations of conflict of interest, blaming the allegations on "circles" who hated him and pointing to differences with Péan over who should be blamed for the Rwandan genocide.[6] Bernard Kouchner countered by accusing Pierre Péan of antisemitism, provoking a scandal in French press.[7] Péan's book also covered how Kouchner used to behave when he was United Nations delegate in Kosovo (1999-2001) but Kouchner did not respond to these allegations.

Victory for freedom of expression

In September 2008, Pierre Péan was put on trial in Paris accused of inciting racial hatred in a book on the Rwandan genocide. Péan wrote that the Tutsis had a culture of lies and deceit, and this had somehow spread to the Hutus. He said it made investigating Rwanda "an almost impossible task". Some 800,000 Rwandan Tutsis and moderate Hutus were slaughtered in 1994.[8] A French rights group, "SOS Racisme", filed the lawsuit against Péan in October 2006 and was backed by the public prosecutor. The case related to four pages in Péan's book "Noires Fureurs, Blancs Menteurs" ("Black Furies, White Liars"), published in 2005.[9]

The trial took place from 23 to 25 September 2008. Among the witnesses testifying on Péan's behalf were two former French government ministers: the socialist Hubert Védrine and the rightist Bernard Debré. Giving evidence, Pierre Péan complained that for three years he had been under a cloud:

"At best, I was treated like a racist; at worst, a genocide denier."

On the second day of the trial, Péan burst into tears when a former leader of the French Union of Jewish Students compared his book to Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf. A survivor of the Rwandan genocide - psychotherapist Esther Mujawo-Keiner - accused him of "playing with words that can kill", to which Péan, without apologising for the words he used, replied:

"I bow down in front of the suffering of the victims."

In November 2008, when the case against Péan was dismissed, his lawyer said the verdict was "a victory for freedom of expression, and for a real exchange of ideas on what is a very difficult subject." SOS Racisme said they would appeal against the court's decision.[10]

FBI fabricated evidence against Libya

Pierre Péan says that the FBI fabricated the bomb-timer evidence against Libya

One of Pierre Péan's most significant investigations revealed how the FBI conspired to incriminate Libya for the sabotage of both Pan Am Flight 103 and UTA Flight 772.[11] In March 2001, Le Monde Diplomatique published the article, just after the Lockerbie bombing trial at Camp Zeist in the Netherlands had ended with the conviction of Libyan Abdelbaset al-Megrahi on the strength of just one piece of hard evidence: a tiny fragment of a timing device manufactured by the Swiss firm MEBO.

Two years earlier, Abdullah al-Senussi and five other Libyans were tried and convicted in absentia by a Paris court for the UTA Flight 772 bombing. Péan claimed there was something wrong:

"It is striking to witness the similarity of the discoveries, by the FBI, of the scientific proof of the two aircraft that were sabotaged: the Pan Am Boeing 747 and the UTA DC-10. Among the thousands or rather tens of thousands of pieces of debris collected near the crash sites, just one printed circuit board (PCB) fragment was found in each case, which carried enough information to allow its identification: MEBO for the Boeing 747 and "TY" (from Taiwan) for the DC-10."

Péan went on to accuse Juge Jean-Louis Bruguière of ignoring the results of an analysis by Claude Colisti of the Direction Centrale de la Police Judiciaire (DCPJ) – one of the world's foremost explosives experts – that the "TY" timer fragment had no trace of explosives residue, and could not therefore have been connected to the bomb that destroyed UTA Flight 772. Furthermore, neither a forensic inquiry by the Direction de la Surveillance du Territoire (DST) nor an examination by the scientific laboratory of the Préfecture de Police (PP) could make any connection between the timer fragment and the bomb. According to Péan, Juge Bruguière had therefore taken at face value the word of an FBI political operative (Thomas Thurman), who had been discredited in 1997 by the US Inspector-General, Michael Bromwich, and told never again to appear in court as an expert witness, rather than accept the findings of French forensic experts.

Pierre Péan was interviewed on French TV channel ARTE info on 28 August 2007 following the admission by MEBO engineer Ulrich Lumpert that he had handed over a prototype MST-13 timer to Lockerbie investigators in 1989.[12]

It was revealed at the Lockerbie bombing trial that the British scientist, Dr Thomas Hayes, had also failed to test the MEBO timer fragment for explosives residue. Such reckless disregard for the integrity of forensic evidence would have had the most profound effects upon the Scottish judicial process in relation to Megrahi's second appeal against conviction.[13] However, in August 2009 Megrahi agreed to abandon his second appeal, was granted "compassionate release" by Scottish Justice Secretary, Kenny MacAskill, and flew back to Tripoli. Thurman's fabricated evidence has never therefore been exposed in court.[14]


  • La Troisième Guerre mondiale (avec une préface de Jean-Pierre Vigier), éditions Calmann-Lévy, coll. « Questions d'actualité », Paris, 1974, – Réédition revue et augmentée, sous le titre « Pétrole, la troisième guerre mondiale », éditions Club français du livre, coll. « Le Club pour lui », Paris, 1975.
  • Après Mao, les managers, éditions Fayolle, coll. « Intervalle », Paris, 1977, ISBN 2-86221-002-1
  • Bokassa, éditions Alain Moreau, « Collection dirigée par Jean Picollec », Paris, 1977, 196 p. + 6 p. de planches illustrées.
  • Pierre Péan et Jean-Pierre Séréni, Les Émirs de la République : l'aventure du pétrole tricolore, éditions du Seuil, Paris, 1982, 224 p., ISBN 2-02-006154-6
  • Les Deux Bombes, éditions Fayard, Paris, 1982, 203 p., ISBN 2-213-01133-8. – Sous-titré : comment la France a donné la bombe à Israël et à l'Irak. – Ouvrage réédité en 1991 sous le titre « Les Deux Bombes : ou comment la guerre du Golfe a commencé le 18 novembre 1975 ».
  • Affaires africaines, éditions Fayard, Paris, 1983, 340 p., ISBN 2-213-01324-1
  • V : enquête sur l'affaire des avions renifleurs et ses ramifications proches ou lointaines, éditions Fayard, Paris, 1984, 265 p., ISBN 2-213-01450-7
  • Secret d'État : la France du secret, les secrets de la France, éditions Fayard, Paris, 1986, 365 p., ISBN 2-213-01840-5
  • Les Chapellières : Une terre, deux destins en pays Chouan, éditions Albin Michel, Paris, 1987, 359 p., ISBN 2-226-02835-8
  • La Menace, éditions Fayard, Paris, 1987, 306 p., ISBN 2-213-02087-6
  • L'Argent noir : corruption et sous-développement, éditions Fayard, Paris, 1988, 278 p., ISBN 2-213-02204-6
  • L'Homme de l'ombre : éléments d'enquête autour de Jacques Foccart, l'homme le plus mystérieux et le plus puissant de la Ve République, éditions Fayard, Paris, 1990, 585 p., ISBN 2-213-02631-9
  • Les Deux Bombes : ou comment la guerre du Golfe a commencé le 18 novembre 1975, éditions Fayard, Paris, 1991, XIV-198 p., ISBN 2-213-02744-7 – Nouvelle édition de l'ouvrage paru en 1982.
  • Vol UT 772 : contre-enquête sur un attentat attribué à Kadhafi, éditions Stock, coll. « Au vif », Paris, 1992, 327 p., ISBN 2-234-02486-2
  • Le Mystérieux Docteur Martin (1895-1969), éditions Fayard, Paris, 1993, 500 p., ISBN 2-213-02784-6.
  • Une jeunesse française : François Mitterrand, 1934-1947, éditions Fayard, Paris, 1994, 615 p.-16 p. de planches illustrées, ISBN 2-213-59300-0
  • L'Extrémiste : François Genoud, de Hitler à Carlos, éditions Fayard, Paris, 1996, 424 p.-16 p. de planches illustrées, ISBN 2-213-59615-8
  • Pierre Péan et Christophe Nick, TF1, un pouvoir, éditions Fayard, Paris, 1997, 695 p., ISBN 2-213-59819-3
  • Vies et morts de Jean Moulin : éléments d'une biographie, éditions Fayard, Paris, 1998, 715 p.-16 p. de planches illustrées, ISBN 2-213-60257-3
  • La Diabolique de Caluire, éditions Fayard, Paris, 1999, 261 p.-20 p. de planches illustrées, ISBN 2-213-60402-9
  • Pierre Péan et Richard Labévière, Bethléem en Palestine, éditions Fayard, Paris, 1999, 321 p. + 12 p. de planches illustrées, ISBN 2-213-60510-6
  • Manipulations africaines : l'attentat contre le DC 10 d'UTA, 170 morts, éditions Plon, Paris, 2001, 290 p.-32 p. de planches illustrées, ISBN 2-259-19319-6 – Sous-titré : « qui sont les vrais coupables de l'attentat du vol UTA 772 ? ». – Voir : Les preuves trafiquées du terrorisme libyen, 2001.
  • Dernières volontés, derniers combats, dernières souffrances, éditions Plon, Paris, 2002, 328 p., ISBN 2-259-19495-8
  • Pierre Péan et Philippe Cohen, La Face cachée du Monde: du contre-pouvoir aux abus de pouvoir, éditions Mille et une nuits, Paris, 2003, 631 p., ISBN 2-84205-756-2.
  • Guy Vadepied, Marcel Dassault ou les ailes du pouvoir (avec la collaboration de Pierre Péan), éditions Fayard, Paris, 2003, 473 p., ISBN 2-213-61337-0
  • Main basse sur Alger : enquête sur un pillage, juillet 1830, éditions Plon, Paris, 2004, 271 p.-12 p. de planches illustrées, ISBN 2-259-19318-2
  • Noires fureurs, blancs menteurs : Rwanda, 1990-1994, éditions Mille et une nuits, Paris, 2005, 544 p., ISBN 978-2-84205-929-3, voir présentation au chapitre 2 de cette fiche : Noires fureurs, blancs menteurs
  • L'Accordéon de mon père : une enquête intime (avec une postface de Jean Grégor), éditions Fayard, Paris, 2006, 306 p. + 8 p. de planches illustrées, ISBN 978-2-213-63026-7.
  • Chirac, l'Inconnu de l'Élysée, éditions Fayard, Paris, 2007, 516 p., ISBN 978-2-213-63149-3. – Initialement titré : « L'Inconnu de l'Élysée ».
  • Une blessure française : les soulèvements populaires dans l'Ouest sous la Révolution, éditions Fayard, Paris, 2008, 325 p., ISBN 978-2-213-63566-8
  • Le Monde selon K., une biographie critique de Bernard Kouchner, éd. Fayard, Paris, 2009, 323 p., ISBN 2213643725 978-2213643724
  • Carnages. Les guerres secrètes des grandes puissances en Afrique, édition Fayard, 570 p., 2010: enquête sur le rôle des États-Unis, de la Grande-Bretagne et d'Israël dans les guerres africaines, notamment sur les théories de génocide au Rwanda et au Darfour.
  • La République des mallettes - Enquête sur la principauté française de non-droit, éditions Fayard, septembre 2011: à propos de nombreux témoignages sur le financement occulte de la vie politique surtout autour l'affairiste Alexandre Djouhri, "un des hommes les plus puissants de la République", lié à Charles Pasqua, puis ami de Dominique de Villepin, puis se rapprochant de Nicolas Sarkozy.
  • Manipulations, une histoire française, France Télévision, novembre 2011 : 6 épisodes de 52 minutes, réalisé par Jean-Robert Viallet, produit par Christophe Nick, écrit par Pierre Péan et Vanessa Ratignier; narration Emmanuelle Yacoubi. Les épisodes sont disponibles sur YouTube; l'épisode 2 contient des interviews du journaliste Denis Robert et de Ernest Backes sur leur livre Révélation$ sur Clearstream.
  • Le Pen : Une histoire française, avec Philippe Cohen, éditions Robert Laffont, 2012, 548 p., ISBN 2221123832 978-2221123836
  • Kosovo: Une guerre « juste » pour un État mafieux, éditions Fayard, 2013, 506 p., ISBN 2213651353 978-2213651354
  • Une France sous influence, avec Vanessa Ratignier, éditions Fayard, 2014, 484 p., ISBN 221367826X 978-2213678269[15]
  • Nouvelles affaires africaines: Mensonges et pillages au Gabon, éditions Fayard, 2014
  • Compromissions, éditions Fayard, 2015
  • Jean Moulin, l’ultime mystère, avec Laurent Ducastel , éditions Albin Michel, Paris, 2015, 250 p., ISBN 978-2-226-31916-6.


Related Document

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
Document:PT35B - The Most Expensive Forgery in HistoryArticle18 October 2017Ludwig De BraeckeleerLudwig De Braeckeleer proves that the Lockerbie bomb timer fragment PT/35(b) is a "fragment of the imagination"


See also

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