French colonial torture general dies

General Paul Aussaresses, photo: AFP

From the BBC:

4 December 2013 Last updated at 11:27 GMT

Algeria torture: French general Paul Aussaresses dies

General Paul Aussaresses, who defended the use of torture by French forces during Algeria’s war of independence, has died.

The 95-year-old retired general was the first senior French officer who admitted torturing and killing 24 Algerian prisoners-of-war in a book he published in 2001 about the conflict.

In 2002 a French court convicted him of defending the use of torture.

So, apparently he was convicted for whitewashing torture. Unfortunately, never for his torture itself; or for his murders.

He was also stripped of his Legion of Honour – one of France’s top merit awards – after the book appeared.

Aussaresses never regretted the use of torture. He said “it became legitimate when the situation demanded it”.

He also maintained that the government of the day was not only aware of the atrocities, but also approved them.

Aussaresses was born in November 1918 at Saint Paul Cap de Joux in the south of France. He enlisted in the French secret services and went on to found the counter-espionage unit.

In 1957 he was approached to establish order in Algeria. He himself described the unit he was heading as a “death squad” that was charged with carrying out night raids, torture and the removal of certain detainees.

According to Dutch NOS TV, General Aussaresses described torture as “a very efficient way to make suspects talk”. If I would be tortured, then I might well confess to being Osama bin Laden’s uncle, or Osama bin Laden’s granddaughter. Of being Queen Cleopatra. Of being Julius Caesar; or of having killed Julius Caesar.

So much about the “efficiency” factor of “intelligence” extracted from “talking” under torture.

A book on France’s relations with its ex-colonies is an indictment of its policies in the Arab world, says IVAN BEAVIS: here.

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