Torture during the Algerian War

Torture during the Algerian War

The French Armed Forces made a systematic and indiscriminate use of torture during the Algerian War of Independence (1954-62), creating a public controversy which is far from having been stifled today. Although the Algerian National Liberation Front (FLN) also engaged in violent acts and some of those cases of torture have been registered, it was never systematized and developed as it had been by the French military. Pierre Vidal-Naquet estimates hundred of thousands algerians were tortured by the French military.(references: ), Raphaëlle Branche's doctoral thesis confirmed this estimation.


The armed struggle of the FLN and of its armed wing, the ALN was for self-determination. The French state itself refused to see in the colonial conflict a war, as that would recognize the other party (the National Liberation Front, FLN) as a legitimate entity. Thus, until August 10, 1999, the French Republic persisted in calling the Algerian War a simple "operation of public order" against the FLN "terrorism." [ COLONIALISM THROUGH THE SCHOOL BOOKS - The hidden history of the Algerian war] , "Le Monde diplomatique", April 2001 en icon/fr icon ] This was therefore a 'classic' colonial war of liberation and it is on these different viewpoints (police action vs. war) that much of the argument about these events tends to focus.

Thus, the military did not consider themselves tied by the Geneva Conventions, ratified by France in 1951Fact|date=March 2007. Beside prohibiting the use of torture, the Geneva Conventions give the ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross) access to the detainees. Detainees, who included not only FLN members but also old men, women and children, were thus not granted prisoner of war (POW) status. On the contrary, they were considered as "terrorists" and deprived of the rights which are legally entitled to belligerents during a war, including cases of civil wars under Geneva Convention Protocol II.

Violence increased on both sides from 1954 to 1956. But in 1957 the Minister of Interior declared a state of emergency in Algeria, and the government granted extraordinary powers to General Massu, head of the armed forces in Algeria. The Battle of Algiers, from January to October 1957, remains to this day a textbook example of counter-insurgency operations. General Massu, who was assisted by General Aussaresses and then Colonel Bigeard, of the 10th D.B. (Paratrooper division) made widespread use of methods used during the Indochina War (1947-54): they included a systematic use of torture, including against civilians, a block warden system ("quadrillage"), illegal executions and forced disappearances, in particular through what would later become known as "death flights" (at the time, victims of such methods were known as "Bigeard's shrimps", or "crevettes Bigeard"). All these methods were documented as standard counter-insurgency tactics by Colonel Trinquier in "Modern Warfare: A French View of Counterinsurgency" (1961), a reference in the areas of "counter-revolutionary war" and of psychological warfare.

Although the use of torture quickly became well-known and was opposed by the left-wing opposition, the French state repeatedly denied its employment, censoring more than 250 books, newspapers and films (in metropolitan France alone) which dealt with the subject (and 586 in Algeria). Henri Alleg's 1958 book, "La Question", Boris Vian's "The Deserter", and Jean-Luc Godard's 1960 film "Le Petit Soldat" (released in 1963) are famous examples of such censorshipFact|date=March 2007. A confidential report of the ICRC leaked to "Le Monde" newspaper confirmed the allegations of torture made by the opposition to the war, represented in particular by the French Communist Party (PCF) and other anti-militarist circles. Although many left-wing activists, including famous existentialists writers Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus, and historian Pierre Vidal-Naquet, denounced without exception the use of torture, the French government was itself headed in 1957 by the general secretary of the SFIO, Guy Mollet. In general, the SFIO supported the colonial wars during the Fourth Republic (1947-54), starting with the crushing of the Madagascar revolt in 1947 by the socialist government of Paul Ramadier.

The controversy over the use of torture continues to have echoes today. Already in 1977, British historian Alistair Horne wrote in "A Savage War of Peace" that torture was to become a growing canker for France, leaving behind a poison that would linger in the French system long after the war itself had ended. At the time, Horne could not confirm or deny that torture had been ordered by the highest ranks of the military and civilian hierarchy of the French state. Despite France's difficulties in looking at its past, which is made evident by the obstacles it continues to put before the historical research, and the way the Algerian War is taught (or not) in French high-schools, [ COLONIALISM THROUGH THE SCHOOL BOOKS - The hidden history of the Algerian war] , "Le Monde diplomatique", April 2001 en icon/fr icon ] the fact that torture had not only been massively employed, but also ordered by the French government, was confirmed by General Aussaresses in 2001.

These revelations followed testimony from a former tortured ALN activist, Louisette Ighilahriz, published in "Le Monde" on July 20, 2000, three days after the visit to France of Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. Louisette Ighilahriz declared that she had been tortured for three months and accused as the responsible party General Massu as the then-commander of the French armed forces. Massu used this opportunity to publicly regret the use of torture, declaring that it could have been avoidedFact|date=March 2007. On the other hand, General Bigeard violently denied its use. [ « Le témoignage de cette femme est un tissu de mensonges. Tout est faux, c'est une manoeuvre »] , "Le Monde", June 22, 2000 fr icon ] [ [ Louisette Ighilahriz : " Massu ne pouvait plus nier l’évidence "] , "L'Humanité", November 23, 2000 fr icon ]

General Massu, Aussaresses, and then Colonel Bigeard were the military commanders during the 1957 Battle of Algiers. The following year, General Aussaresses confessed in his book "Services spéciaux, Algérie 1955-1957" (2001) to having engaged in torture and illegal executions, on direct orders from General Massu. Aussaresses declared that torture had been directly ordered by Guy Mollet's government. Paul Aussaresses was condemned for "apologism for war crimes," because he had justified the use of torture, claiming it had helped to save lives. [ condamnation du général Aussaresses pour "apologie de crimes de guerre"] , "Ligue des droits de l'homme (LDH, Human Rights League), February 2002. fr icon ] Although Aussaresses claimed that torture was an efficient way to fight against what he saw as FLN terrorism, recent historical research demonstrate that, contrary to the popular "ticking time bomb scenario", torture was not used for short-term intelligence purposes. Instead, the aim of torture was not to make people talk but to affect the group as a whole and to break the civilian population's morale. Torture was fully a part of the psychological warfare methods as theorized by General Salan and others (Branche, 2004).

The 2004 Court of Cassation judgment condemning Aussaresses stated that "freedom to inform, which is the basis of freedom of expression" does not lead to "accompany the exposure of facts ... with commentaries justifying acts contrary to human dignity and universally reproved nor to glorify its author." [ French: "Sur la liberté d’expression revendiquée par le général et les deux éditeurs (Plon et Perrin), elle souligne que celui qui se réclame du droit à l’information n’a pas pour autant à accompagner l’exposé des faits qu’il rapporte "de commentaires propres à justifier des actes contraires à la dignité humaine universellement réprouvés, ni de glorifier l’auteur de tels actes"." [ La condamnation du général Aussaresses pour apologie de la torture est maintenant définitive] , LDH, December 11, 2004 (mirroring an Agence France-Presse news cable. fr icon]

Colonialism and torture

Torture was a frequent process in use since the beginning of the colonization of Algeria, which was initiated by the July Monarchy in 1830. Directed by Marshall Bugeaud, who became the first Governor-General of Algeria, the conquest of Algeria was marked by the "scorched earth" policy and the use of torture, which were legitimized by a racist ideology. In 1841, the liberal thinker and deputy Alexis de Tocqueville could declare :

"war in Africa is a science. Everyone is familiar with its rules and everyone can apply those rules with almost complete certainty of success. One of the greatest services that Field Marshal Bugeaud has rendered his country is to have spread, perfected and made everyone aware of this new science... As far as I am concerned, I came back from Africa with the pathetic notion that at present in our way of waging war we are far more barbaric than the Arabs themselves. These days, they represent civilization, we do not. This way of waging war seems to me as stupid as it is cruel. It can only be found in the head of a coarse and brutal soldier. Indeed, it was pointless to replace the Turks only to reproduce what the world rightly found so hateful in them. This, even for the sake of interest, is more noxious than useful; for, as another officer was telling me, if our sole aim is to equal the Turks, in fact we shall be in a far lower position than theirs: barbarians for barbarians, the Turks will always outdo us because they are Muslim barbarians. In France, I have often heard men I respect, but do not approve of, deplore that crops should be burnt and granaries emptied and finally that unarmed men, women and children should be seized. In my view these are unfortunate circumstances that any people wishing to wage war against the Arabs must accept. I think that all the means available to wreck tribes must be used, barring those that the human kind and the right of nations condemn. I personally believe that the laws of war enable us to ravage the country and that we must do so either by destroying the crops at harvest time or any time by making fast forays also known as raids the aim of which it to get hold of men or flocks." [Alexis de Tocqueville, 1841 - Extract of "Travail sur l’Algérie", in Œuvres complètes, Gallimard, Pléïade, 1991, p. 704 & 705.] [ en icon Cite news | author=Olivier LeCour Grandmaison | title=Torture in Algeria: Past Acts That Haunt France - Liberty, Equality and Colony | publisher=Le Monde diplomatique |date=June 2001 | url= (quoting Alexis de Tocqueville, "Travail sur l’Algérie" in "Œuvres complètes", Paris, Gallimard, Bibliothèque de la Pléiade, 1991, pp 704 and 705). ]

"Whatever the case", continued Tocqueville, "we may say in a general manner that all political freedoms must be suspended in Algeria." [ fr icon Cite web | author=Olivier LeCour Grandmaison | title=Tocqueville et la conquête de l'Algérie |date=2001 | publisher=La Mazarine | url=] Historian Olivier Le Cour Grandmaison thus wrote that "From the years 1840 to the 1962 independence, the physical body of the "Arab" has therefore been used as a terror instrument on which the colonial power has never ceased in graving the marks of its almighty power. Torture in Algeria and in the French Empire: an exception limited to wars of national liberation conducted against the metropole? No, the rule." [ French: "Des années 1840 à l'indépendance en 1962, le corps physique de l'"arabe" a donc été utilisé comme un instrument de terreur sur lequel le pouvoir colonial n'a cessé d'inscrire les marques de sa toute puissance. La torture en Algérie et dans l'empire français: une exception limitée aux guerres de libération nationale conduites contre la métropole? Non, la règle." Olivier Le Cour Grandmaison in "Coloniser, Exterminer : Sur la guerre et l'Etat colonial", Fayard, (2005) p.161. ISBN-13: 978-2213623160 ] However, Le Cour Grandmaison's work has been criticized by Gilbert Meynier and Pierre Vidal-Naquet in an article published in "Esprit". [ Gilbert Meynier and Pierre Vidal-Naquet, "Esprit", December 2005, pp. 162-177]

Still, other historians also show that torture was fully a part of the colonialist system: "Torture in Algeria was engraved in the colonial act, it is the "normal" illustration of an abnormal system," wrote Nicolas Bancel, Pascal Blanchard, and Sandrine Lemaire, who have published decisive work on the phenomena of "human zoos.Nicolas Bancel, Pascal Blanchard and Sandrine Lemaire, [ TORTURE IN ALGERIA: PAST ACTS THAT HAUNT FRANCE - False memory] , "Le Monde diplomatique", June 2001 en icon/fr icon] "From the smokings ("enfumades") of the Darha caves in 1844 by Pélissier to the 1945 riots in Sétif, Guelma and Kherrata," the repression in Algeria has used the same methods. Following the May 9, 1945, Sétif massacres, other riots against the European presence occurred in Guelma, Batna, Biskra, and Kherrata, causing 103 deaths among the colonials. The repression of these riots officially caused 1,500 deaths, but N. Bancel, P. Blanchard, and S. Lemaire estimate it to be rather between 6,000 and 8,000 deaths [ Bancel, Blanchard and Lemaire (op.cit.) quote **Boucif Mekhaled, "Chroniques d’un massacre. 8 mai 1945. Sétif, Guelma, Kherrata", Syros, Paris, 1995 **Yves Benot, "Massacres coloniaux", La Découverte, coll. « Textes à l’appui », Paris, 1994
**Annie Rey-Goldzeiguer, "Aux origines de la guerre d’Algérie", La Découverte, Paris, 2001.

Three years before the 1954 "Toussaint Rouge" insurrection, Claude Bourdet, a former Resistant wrote an article published on December 6, 1951 in "L'Observateur", which was titled "Is there a Gestapo in Algeria?" Torture had also been used during the Indochina War (1947-54) and in all the French colonies. [ THE FRENCH ARMY AND TORTURE DURING THE ALGERIAN WAR (1954- 1962)] , Raphaëlle Branche, Université de Rennes, 18 November 2004 en icon ] [ Raphaëlle Branche, "La torture et l’armée pendant la guerre d'Algérie, 1954-1962", Paris, Gallimard, 2001.] [ Mohamed Harbi, "La guerre d'Algérie". ] [ Benjamin Stora, "La torture pendant la guerre d'Algérie" ]

As soon as the war started, torture was deemed necessary to break the population's morale (and not to acquire short-term intelligence). Historian Raphaëlle Branche, "maîtresse de conférences" in contemporary history at the , who wrote her doctoral thesis on the use of torture during the Algerian war, noted that "in metropolitan France, torture did not attain the same height as in Algeria. It remained however, on both banks, a practice tolerated by the authorities and a form of violence to which Algerians knew they could be subjected." [ French: « en métropole, la torture n'atteint pas la même ampleur qu'en Algérie. Elle n'en demeure pas moins sur les deux rives, une pratique tolérée par les autorités et une violence à laquelle les Algériens savent pouvoir s'attendre. » ]

Context and descriptions of torture: scope and extents

The FLN was progressively assuming control in Algeria, through targeted acts of terrorism against French nationals and Algerians supporting the French initiative. Meanwhile, the French army targeted civilians. From 1954 to 1956, the amount of violence massively increased, accompanied by summary executions and internment in camps. Justified by the notion of "terrorism", torture was used indiscriminately against military detainees and civilians suspected of aiding the FLN. General Salan, commander-in-chief of the French forces in Algeria, had developed in Indochina a theory of "counter-revolutionary warfare" that included the use of torture [ THE FRENCH ARMY AND TORTURE DURING THE ALGERIAN WAR (1954- 1962)] , Raphaëlle Branche, Université de Rennes, 18 November 2004 en icon ]

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) was authorized by Radical-Socialist prime minister Pierre Mendès France on February 2, 1955, to have access to the detainees for short missions of one month, but their report "was not to be made public." His government had to resign three days later. According to historian Raphaëlle Branche, "it was as if Mendès France was preparing for his departure by setting up as many protective barriers as possible." The French Army did not consider the detainees as prisoners of wars (POW), but as PAM (French acronym for "taken captive while in possession of weapons", "pris les armes à la main").

The Battle of Algiers (January-October 1957), the state of emergency and the ICRC report

The civilian authorities relinquished control to the military during the Battle of Algiers, from January to October 1957. Thus, Colonel Marcel Bigeard and General Jacques Massu, leader of the 10th D.B. (Paratrooper Division), in charge during the Battle of Algiers, were to crush the insurgency by whatever means necessary. They threw hundreds of prisoners into the sea, from the port of Algiers or by helicopter death flights. Since the corpses sometimes came back up to the surface, they began to pour concrete on their feet. These victims were known as "Bigeard's shrimps" ("crevettes Bigeard"). [ [,%20Bernard Film testimony] by Paul Teitgen, Jacques Duquesne and Hélie Denoix de Saint Marc on the INA archive website ] [ [ Henri Pouillot, mon combat contre la torture] , "El Watan", November 1, 2004. ] [ [ Des guerres d’Indochine et d’Algérie aux dictatures d’Amérique latine] , interview with Marie-Monique Robin by the Ligue des droits de l'homme (LDH, Human Rights League), January 10, 2007.] [ Prise de tête Marcel Bigeard, un soldat propre ?] , "L'Humanité", June 24, 2000. fr icon - Accessed on February 15, 2007 ] Such a practice of forced disappearance would be also systematized by Argentine Admiral Luis Maria Mendia during the "Dirty War" in the 1970s. Journalist Marie-Monique Robin showed in 2005 that a 1959 agreement between France and Argentina instaured a "permanent French military mission," consisting of veterans of the Algerian War, which was located in the offices of the chief of staff of the Argentine Armed Forces. [ Marie-Monique Robin, "Escadrons de la mort, l'école française", La Découverte (15 September 2004). Collection : Cahiers libres. (ISBN 2707141631).] Robin declared to "L'Humanité" newspaper: "The French have systematized a military technique in the urban environment that would be copied and passed on to Latin American dictatorships." [ L’exportation de la torture] , interview with Marie-Monique Robin in "L'Humanité", August 30, 2003. fr icon ] General Aussaresses also taught counter-insurgency tactics to the US Armed Forces ("See below for more information on this subject").

Also prefiguring events during the illegal repression in Argentina during the 1970s, French military chaplains quieted the troubled military's consciences. One of them, Louis Delarue, wrote a text distributed to all units:

"If, in the general interest, the law allows a murderer to be killed, why should it be seen as monstrous to submit a delinquent who has been recognized as such, and is therefore liable to be put to death, to an interrogation which might be painful but whose only object is, thanks to the revelations he may make about his accomplices and leaders, to protect the innocent? Exceptional circumstances call for exceptional measures." [ Quoted by Argentine journalist Horacio Verbitsky in [ Breaking the silence: the Catholic Church and the "dirty war"] , 28 July 2005, extract from "El Silencio" transl. in English by Open Democracy (p.3). ]

In 1958 General Salan set up special military internment centers for PAM rebels. The Minister of Interior declared a state of emergency, while the army engaged in a "struggle against the terrorism" of the FLN. Special powers were devolved to the military and were returned to civilian powers only in September 1959, when Charles de Gaulle made his speech on self-determination. General Salan refused to apply the Geneva Conventions, ratified by France in 1951, because the detainees were not POWs. The civil authorities had different attitudes concerning the use of torture by the military. The IGAME ( Inspecteur général en mission extraordinaire ) of both Oran and Algiers chose to avoid the issue, whereas the IGAME of Constantinois, Maurice Papon (who died in 2007, after having been convicted for crimes against humanity for his role under Vichy), was actively involved in repression (Branche, 2004).

On 5 January 1960 the newspaper "Le Monde" published a summary of the report on the ICRC’s seventh mission to Algeria. "Numerous cases of ill-treatment and torture are still being reported," the article disclosed, giving the ICRC's legitimacy to the many previously documented cases. A colonel in the French police force had told the delegates, "The struggle against terrorism makes it necessary to resort to certain questioning techniques as the only way of saving human life and avoiding new attacks." However, in practice, torture was not used for short-term information and immediate action. The aim of torture was not to make people talk, but to affect the group as a whole. Torture was a full part of psychological warfare methods as theorized by Salan and others (Branche, 2004).

It was found much later that Gaston Gosselin, a member of the Ministry of Justice who was responsible for internment issues in metropolitan France, had leaked the report to the journalists of "Le Monde". He had to resign a few months later, and the ICRC was prohibited for a year from undertaking any mission to Algeria. [ [ Torture in Algeria. The report that was to change everything] , ICRC, August 19, 2005 en icon ]

Other testimony and descriptions

Henri Alleg, director of the "Alger Républicain" newspaper and of the Algerian Communist Party (PCA), who himself had been tortured, denounced it in "La Question" (Minuit, 1958), which sold 60,000 copies in one day. [ The torture of Algiers] , Adam Shatz, "The New York Review of Books", November 21, 2002 (mirrored by Algeria Watch NGO) en icon ] The title of his book referred to the Inquisition, who was said to put people "to the question." Alleg's book detailed the various torture methods, among which the famous "gégène", an electricity generator initially used for telephone purposes, but also sleep deprivation, truth serums, etc. Beside torturing actual suspects, the French military also buried alive old men. [ Prise de tête Marcel Bigeard, un soldat propre ?] , "L'Humanité", June 24, 2000. fr icon - Accessed on February 15, 2007 ]

Benoist Rey's book "Les égorgeurs" was also censored in April 1961. In the same year, he denounced torture as a "habitual repressive method, systematic, official, and massive."

According an article of Verité Liberté published in 1961, "In the Ameziane farm, a CRA ("Centre de renseignement et d'action", Information and Action Center) of Constantine it is practiced on "industrial scale". The suspects were arrested during raids, after having been denounced. Suspects were divided into two groups, those immediately interrogated and those who would be forced to wait a bit. The latter were deprived of food for from two to eight days in a blatant violation of the 1949 Geneva Conventions."

According to historian R. Branche, torture would begin with the systematic stripping of the victim. Beating was combined with many different techniques, among them hanging by the feet or hands, water torture, torture by electric schock, rape, and so on According to "Verité Liberté" 's description,

"The interrogatories is done in accordance with the provisional guide of the intelligence agent ("Guide provisoire de l'officier de renseignement, OR"), chapter IV: first, the officer questions the prisoner in the "traditional" manner, hitting him with fist and kicking him. Then follows torture: hanging..., water torture..., electricity..., burning (using cigarettes, etc.)... Cases of prisoners who were driven insane were frequent... Between interrogation sessions, the suspects are imprisoned without food in cells, some of which wre small enough to impede lying down. We must point out that some of them were very young teenagers and others old men of 75, 80 years or more." Text published in "Vérité Liberté" n°9 of May 1961. ]

According to the article of "Vérité Liberté", the end of these torture sessions was either liberation (often the case for women and for those who could pay), internment, or "disappearance." "The capacity of this center, opened in 1957, is of 500 to 600 persons.... Since its constitution, it has "controlled" (less than 8 days of prison) 108,175 persons; filed 11,518 Algerians as nationalist activists...; kept for duration of more than 8 days 7,363 persons; interned to Hamma [an internment camp] 789 suspects." Text published in "Vérité Liberté" n°9 of May 1961. ]

The controversy during the war

The systematic use of torture created a national controversy which has had lasting effects on French and Algerian society. As early as November 2, 1954, Catholic writer François Mauriac called against the use of torture in "L'Express" in an article titled "Surtout, ne pas torturer" ("Before everything, do not torture.").

Two important officials, one civilian, and another military, resigned because of the use of torture. The first was Paul Teitgen, former General Secretary of the Algiers Police, who had been himself tortured by the Gestapo. He resigned on September 12, 1957, in protest against the massive use of torture and extra-judicial killings ordered by generals Bigeard and Massu. Under pressure from the left-wing opposition to the war and the use of torture, including the anti-colonialist French Communist Party (PCF), [ France confronts Algeria torture claims] , "BBC", January 9, 2001 en icon ] the government, then led by Guy Mollet (SFIO), created a Commission of Safeguard of Rights and Individual Liberties, composed of various personalities named by the government, which gave public its report in September 1957: according to it, torture was a frequent practice in Algeria. [ COLONIALISM THROUGH THE SCHOOL BOOKS - The hidden history of the Algerian war] , "Le Monde diplomatique", April 2001 en icon/fr icon ] The other was General de Bollardière, who was the only army official to denounce the use of torture. [ [ le général Jacques de Bollardière] , "Ligue des droits de l'homme" (LDH) October 2001. fr icon ] He was put in charge of military arrests and then had to resign.

Torture was denounced during the war by many French left-wing intellectuals, members or not of the French Communist Party (PCF), which maintained an anti-colonialist line. Confronted by the left-wing opposition, prime minister Guy Mollet, general secretary of the SFIO from 1946 to 1969, ordered in April 1957 a "Commission de sauvegarde des droits et des libertés individuels" (Commission for the protection of rights and individual freedoms), composed of personalities named by the government, to investigate the issue. However, the main aim was in fact to absolve the French army of accusations and to gain time (Raphaëlle Branche, 2004).

Henri Alleg, director of the "Alger Républicain" newspaper and of the Algerian Communist Party (PCA), who himself had been tortured, denounced it in "La Question" (Minuit, 1958). Along with "La Gangrène", by Bachir Boumaza, and Italian Communist Gillo Pontecorvo's 1966 film on "The Battle of Algiers", Alleg's book was immediately censored in France. Torture was also evoked during the trial of ALN activist Djamila Boupacha, defended by lawyer Gisèle Halimi. A 1977 film by Laurent Heynemann adapted the book, and also treated of the Maurice Audin affair. Writer Albert Camus, a "pied-noir" and famous existentialist, tried unsuccessfully to persuade both sides to at least leave civilians alone, writing editorials against the use of torture in "Combat" newspaper. Other famous opponents to torture included Robert Bonnaud, who published on council of his friend Pierre Vidal-Naquet an article in 1956 in "L'Esprit", a personalist review founded by Emmanuel Mounier (1905-1950). Bonnaud was afterward imprisoned, in June 1961, on charge of support to the FLN. Pierre Vidal-Naquet, one of the many signatories to the "Manifeste des 121" against torture, [ [ Manifeste des 121, transl. in English] . ] wrote a book, "L'Affaire Audin" (1957), and, as an historian, would continue to work on the Algerian War all his life. Beside Vidal-Naquet, famous signatories of the "Manifeste des 121", published after the 1960 Barricades Week, included Robert Antelme, an Auschwitz survivor and writer, Simone de Beauvoir, Maurice Blanchot, Pierre Boulez, André Breton, Hubert Damisch, Marguerite Duras, Daniel Guérin, Robert Jaulin, Claude Lanzmann, Robert Lapoujade, Henri Lefebvre, Michel Leiris, Jérôme Lindon, editor of the Minuit edition house, François Maspero, another editor, Théodore Monod, Maurice Nadeau, Jean-François Revel, Alain Robbe-Grillet, founder of the nouveau roman, Françoise Sagan, Nathalie Sarraute, Jean-Paul Sartre, Claude Simon, Vercors, Jean-Pierre Vernant, etc.

According to Henri Alleg, "in reality, the base of the problem was this injust war in itself. From the moment one starts a colonial war, that is a war to submit a people to its will, one can issue all the laws one wants, but they will always be violated." [ French: "En réalité, le fond du problème était cette guerre injuste elle-même. À partir du moment où on mène une guerre coloniale, c’est-à-dire une guerre pour soumettre un peuple à sa volonté, on peut édicter toutes les lois que l’on veut, il y aura toujours des dépassements." from Henri Alleg, [ Colonisation: A Crime Against Humanity] , first half of the interview published by "Politis" on September 8, 2005 (complete interview on the Ligue des droits de l'homme's website. ]

Torture and the OAS

Pierre Vidal-Naquet (1930-2006), one of the leaders of the Comité Audin had denounced the systematic use of torture by the 10e D.P. (10th Paratrooper Division), commanded by General Massu, during the 1957 Battle of Algiers. But he also denounced the non-systematic use of torture, mainly beatings, by the French Army on members of the OAS a far-right terrorist group, which engaged after the March 1962 Evian Accords in a campaign of bombings directed against the civilian population in Algeria. He wrote a letter in "L'Esprit" in May 1962:

"Have OAS activists or sympathizers been tortured during these last months in Algeria?... far-right weekly newspapers, "La Nation française", "Rivarol", "Carrefour" have started to publish articles on crimes committed against supporters of French Algeria. Articles which are sometime strange: in the November 1, 1961 issue of "Carrefour", for example, M. Vinciguerra, who was, with Kovacs, one of the torturers in the "Villa des Sources", offered his indignation, and on the next page we could read the prose of ... Colonel Trinquier.... We certainly do not forget that torture is a system that has been established in Algeria by policemen and military men of whom many are today members of the OAS. But we do not forget either that torture is a gangrene which largely overhauls the frame of colonial war. Whoever are the victims, these torturers speak and act in our name; we do not have the right to allow, by our silence the belief that we are their accomplices. The half-voluntary ignorance, the cowardy indifference, in which readers of the "Figaro" have basked for years do not justify themselves in any case. Whatever may be the ensign with which one would pretend to cover them, and anti-fascism least of all.... Another few remarks impose themselves:
#"It is striking to observe that these tortures, more than the "scientific" technologies applied during the Battle of Algiers seem to belong in most of the cases to beatings ("passages à tabac") disproportionately aggravated by the responsible policeman."
#"... any symmetry with the 1957 Battle of Algier would however be absurd; it was the whole of the 10th D.P. which, in 1957, controlled, arrested, tortured. The team of the "Tagarins" [barracks] remains to the contrary isolated.... To our knowledge, nobody has accused the units charged of controlling Bab-el-Oued of torturing...." "This having been said, there is no need to dissimulate against the truth: such facts are scandalous and intolerable. They also proceed of a ruthless logic. It was difficult for an army and a police force which has for years tortured Muslims to abandon such methods, on the pretext that the opponent is no longer the same. The struggle against the OAS must be directed with ruthlessness, certainly: but it is not with teams of torturers, it is even less with court-martials that we will arrest what J.-M. Domenach called a "clandestine fascism." There still remain other methods. The arrest of Generals Salan and Jouhaud [leaders of the OAS] has just proved it." "Pierre-Vidal Naquet, Member of the Bureau of the Comité Audin."
"PS: I do not want to be unfair towards all these right-wing men: some have been able to do their self-criticism and to recognize, as did Philippe Ariès in "La nation française", that they had erred in their judgment against the campaign against torture." [ [ L’O.A.S. et la torture] , by Pierre Vidal-Naquet, in Esprit magazine, May 1962 (re-published on the Ligue des droits de l'homme website on July 31, 2006. fr icon]

Repression in metropolitan France

The war was also waged in metropolitan France, where the Algerian-born population was put under a special regime of curfew by Maurice Papon (1910-2007), head of the Parisian police — Papon was convicted for crimes against humanity in 1997-1998 because of his role during Vichy. On the other hand, the FLN also carried out operations on the other side of the Mediterranean sea, as did the OAS.

The nomination of Maurice Papon on March 15, 1958

After having participated in the repression in Algeria as prefect of Constantine, Papon was named Prefect of Police in Paris, on the recommendation of Gaullist Minister of Interior Maurice Bourgès-Maunoury, on March 14, 1958. His nomination immediately provoked a demonstration that evening by 7,000 policemen in the courtyard of the Police headquarters, who protested against the delays in the "risk bonus" accorded to them because of the war. At that time, the FLN had not yet begun to target police officers in metropolitan France. Encouraged by far-right deputy Jean-Marie Le Pen, 2,000 of them attempted to enter the Palais Bourbon, seat of the National Assembly, with shouts of "Sales Juifs! A la Seine! Mort aux fellaghas!" (literally: "Dirty Jews! Into the Seine [river] ! Death to the [Algerian] rebels!"). [ Jean-Luc Einaudi and Maurice Rajsfus, "Les Silences de la police - 16 juillet 1942, 17 octobre 1961", L'Esprit frappeur, 2001, ISBN 2-84405-173-1 fr icon ] .

Special methods, torture and "disappearances" in Paris

Papon exported the methods used in Algeria to Paris. He created the 'compagnies de district' (district companies), police forces in which new police recruits were trained. These district companies were formed mainly from veterans of the Indochina War (1947-54) or young people repatriating to metropolitan France from Algeria. Papon also created the Identification Center of Vincennes (CIV - Centre d'identification de Vincennes), where Algerian-born citizens could be taken for identification purposes and also held under house arrest. He also created in 1960 the "Auxiliary Police Force" (FPA - "Force de police auxiliaire"). This special constabulary force, put under the authority of the Algerian Affairs Coordination Center of the Prefecture of Police ("Centre de coordination des Affaires algériennes de la préfecture de police") and supervised by the military, was under his direct control. Led by Captain Montaner and based in the secure police station of Noisy in Romainville, it was composed of Algerians (who, for the most part, were opposed to the FLN for personal reasons, but some of whom had been forcibly recruited in Algeria). In autumn 1960, the FPA was composed of 600 members. It first operated in the XIIIe arrondissement where it requisitioned hotels. "Torture was utilized most notably at 9, rue Harvey and 208, rue du Château des Rentiers... Disappearances took place. The FPA then extended this policy to the XVIIIe arrondissement, where three hotels were requisitioned in rue de la Goutte-d'Or. The FPA was also active in the suburbs, in particular in Nanterre's bidonvilles. Some voices were opposed to these crimes denied by the police prefecture". [ Jean-Luc Einaudi and Maurice Rajsfus, 2001, op.cit., p.75 ] Christian magazine "Témoignage Chrétien" wrote: "It is not possible to stay mute when, in our Paris, men are resurrecting the methods of the Gestapo". [ Quoted by J.-L. Einaudi, 2001, op.cit., p.76 ]

The August 1958 raid

On 25 August 1958, an FLN guerilla offensive in Paris killed three policemen on boulevard de l'Hôpital in the XIIIe arrondissement and another in front of the "cartoucherie de Vincennes." In retaliation, Maurice Papon organized massive raids against Algerians in Paris and its suburbs. More than 5,000 Algerians were detained in the former Beaujon hospital, in the Japy gymnasium (XIe arrondissement), and in the [Vélodrome d'hiver — the Japy gymnasium as the Vél'd'Hiv had been used as detention centers under Pétain's collaborationist regime. [ See Jean-Luc Einaudi and Maurice Rajsfus, 2001, "op.cit.", pp.73-74 for the 25 August 1958 FLN offensive; the detention of 5,000 Algerians; "L'Humanité" quote and the "boasting about throwing Algerians into the Seine". ] A former member of the FTP resistance, reporter Madeleine Rifaud then wrote in "L'Humanité" communist newspaper:

"In the past two days, a racist concentration camp has been opened in Paris. They have not even had the good sense to choose a site which would not remind French patriots who are currently celebrating the anniversary of the Liberation of Paris of what took place there" [ Ibid. ]

Autumn 1958: prologue to the October 17, 1961 massacre

At the end of August 1961, the FLN resumed bombings against the French police. From that time until the beginning of October 1961, 11 policemen were killed and 17 injured (in Paris and its suburbs). "These bombings had the effect of spreading fear throughout the ranks of the Paris police, but also of increasing the desire for revenge and hate against the whole of the community. During the whole of September, the Algerian population was severely repressed. In practice, this massive repression was based on physical appearance," according to historian Jean-Luc Einaudi. [ Jean-Luc Einaudi, op.cit., p.76 ] Daily raids against Algerians — frequently confusing any Magrebpeople (Moroccans or Tunisians), and even Spanish or Italian immigrants, with Algerians. — Algerians were arrested at work or in the streets and unknown numbers were thrown into the Seine with their hands tied, in order to drown them, as shown for example by a report published by the priest Joseph Kerlan, from the Mission de France [ Report quoted by Einaudi pp.76-79, op.cit. ]

According to historian Einaudi, "It was in this climate that, on 2 October, during the funerals of a policeman killed by the FLN, the police prefect [Papon] proclaimed, in the prefecture's courtyard: "For one hit taken we shall give back ten!" This call [was] an encouragement to kill Algerians and [was] immediately understood as such. On the same day, visiting Montrouge's police station, the prefect of police declared to the police officers present: "You also must be subversive in the war that sets you against others. You will be covered, I give you my word on that." [ J.-L. Einaudi, op.cit., p.79 ]

The 1961 Paris massacre

Under clear orders from Maurice Papon, who was rewarded by his efforts in helping de Gaulle during the May 1958 crisis which led to the creation of the Fifth Republic, the French police attacked an unarmed and peaceful demonstration of some 30,000 Algerians on October 17, 1961, protesting against the curfew imposed by the prefecture of police.

In 1961, the police prefecture spoke only of "2 persons shot dead". [ fr icon Cite news | title= 17 octobre 1961 : la longue liste de morts des archives de Paris |date=23 October 1997 | publisher=L'Humanité | url= ] But in 1998, the state acknowledged the massacre and spoke of 40 dead. A French government commission in 1998 then claimed only 48 people died. The historian Jean-Luc Einaudi ("La Bataille de Paris", Paris: Seuil, 1991) asserted that as many as 200 Algerians had been killed. Current estimates are between 70 and 90 people. In 1997, Minister of Culture Catherine Trautmann (PS) allowed limited access to historian David Assouline to consult part of the police documents (which were supposed to be classified until 2012). With only limited access, he found a list of 70 persons killed, while the texts confirmed Einaudi's comments that the magistrates who had been called on by the victims' families to investigate these incidents had systematically acquitted the policemen. According to "Le Monde" in 1997, which quoted the director of the Paris' Archives, the register already listed 90 persons by the second half of October 1961. [. Concerning David Assouline's access to "part" of the Paris' Archives and the "Monde" quoting the director, see Cite news | title= 17 octobre 1961 : la longue liste de morts des archives de Paris|date=23 October 1997|publisher=L'Humanité | url= ]

The massacre appears to have been intentional, as has been demonstrated by historian Jean-Luc Einaudi, who won a trial against Maurice Papon in 1999. Police records show that Papon called for officers in one station to be 'subversive' in quelling the demonstrations and assured them protection from prosecution if they participated. Hundreds were interned, while Algerians' bodies, thrown in the Seine river, came up floating days later. [ Jean-Luc Einaudi: "La bataille de Paris : 17 octobre 1961", 1991, ISBN 2-02-013547-7 fr icon ]

The February 8, 1962 Charonne massacre

Another demonstration against the OAS, called for by the PCF (Communist Party) on February 8, 1962, was repressed at Charonne metro station. Nine members of the CGT trade union, most of them communists, were killed by the police forces, directed by the same Maurice Papon under the same government, with Roger Frey as Minister of Interior, Michel Debré as Prime minister and Charles de Gaulle as president, who did all they could to "obscure the scale of the 17 October crime" (Jean-Luc Einaudi [ J.-L. Einaudi, "op.cit.", p.83 ] ). The funerals on February 13, 1962 of the nine persons killed (among them, Fanny Dewerpe) were attended by hundreds of thousands of people. [ Cite news | title=Charonne, passé au scalpel de l’historien (interview with historian Alain Dewerpe, member of the Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales) |date=6 February 2006 | publisher=L'Humanité | url= ] [ Cite news | title=Charonne et le 17 octobre enfin réunis |date=11 February 2006|publisher=L'Humanité|url= ] [ Alain Dewerpe, "Charonne, 8 février 1962, anthropologie historique d'un massacre d'Etat", Gallimard, 2006. ]


No one was brought to justice for crimes committed during the war, not even for the case of Maurice Audin, a young communist student arrested and tortured to death. The case had been specifically documented at the time by the "Comité Audin", to which historian Pierre Vidal-Naquet belonged.

The first amnesty was imposed in 1962 by President Charles de Gaulle, by decree, preempting a parliamentary discussion that might have denied immunity to men like General Paul Aussaresses, Massu's right-hand man. [ The torture of Algiers] , Adam Shatz, "The New York Review Of Books", November 21, 2002 (mirrored by Algeria Watch NGO) en icon ]

The second amnesty was enacted in 1968 by the National Assembly, which gave blanket amnesty to all acts committed during the Algerian war [ France Faces Its Demons For Algerian War Brutality] , by Keith B. Richburg, Washington Post, Thursday 10 May 2001; Page A26 en icon ] .The OAS members were given amnesty by president François Mitterrand (PS), and a general amnesty for all war crimes was declared in 1982. Pierre Vidal-Naquet, among others, has qualified it as a "shame". [ La guerre d’Algérie - bilan d’un engagement : un entretien] avec Pierre Vidal-Naquet, 1996, Confluences Méditerranée N°19, Automne 1996 (re-published by the LDH Human Rights League. fr icon]

The archives of the war were closed to the public for thirty years, a period extendable for up to 60 years for those doccuemnts that were liable to compromise a person's privacy or state security. It was only in 1995-96 that new works began to reveal information.

2000s controversy

General Jacques Massu, military chief of Algier, had defended the use of torture in his 1972 book, "The True Battle of Algiers" ("La vraie bataille d'Alger"). He later declared to "Le Monde" in 2000 that "torture was not necessary and that we could have decided not to use it". [ French: "la torture n'était pas indispensable et l'on aurait très bien pu s'en passer". ]

Two days after the visit to France of Algerian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, Louisette Ighilahriz, a former ALN activist, published her testimony in "Le Monde" on June 20, 2000. At the age of twenty she had been captured in September 1957, during the Battle of Algiers, and raped and tortured for three months. She named General Massu as the responsible of the French military at the time. Massu, 94 years old, acknowledged Ighilahriz's testimony and declared to 'Le Monde' that "Torture isn't indispensable in times of war, and one can very well do without it. When l look back on Algeria, it saddens me... One could have done things differently." To the contrary, General Bigeard (then Colonel) called her remarks a "tissue of lies," while Aussaresses justified it [ The torture of Algiers] , Adam Shatz, "The New York Review of Books", November 21, 2002 (mirrored by Algeria Watch NGO) en icon ]

General Aussaresses' 2000 confession and condemnation

General Paul Aussaresses admitted in his 2001 book, "Services spéciaux, Algérie 1955-1957", to the systematic use of torture during the war. He confessed to having himself engaged in torture and having himself illegally executed 24 Algerians, under the orders of Guy Mollet's government. He also acknowledged the assassination of lawyer Ali Boumendjel and head of FLN in Algiers, and Larbi Ben M'Hidi, which had been covered up as "suicides." For justifying the use of torture, he was condemned in court, and stripped of his army rank and his Legion of honor. [ French veteran fined for excusing torture] , BBC News, January 25, 2002 en icon ] [ [ L'accablante confession du général Aussaresses sur la torture en Algérie] , "Le Monde", May 3, 2001. fr icon ]

According to Aussaresses, Massu followed on a daily basis the list of "interrogated" prisoners and of "accidents" which occurred during these torture sessions. Aussaresses said that it had been directly ordered by Guy Mollet's government. He notably declared:

"I have given daily accounts of my activity to my direct superior, General Massu, who informed the Chief of Staff. It would have been possible for the political or military authority to put an end to it at any moment." [ French: "J'ai rendu compte tous les jours de mon activité à mon supérieur direct, le Général Massu, lequel informaitle commandant en chef. Il aurait été loisible à toute autorité politique ou militaire responsible d'y mettre fin." ] [ Human Rights Watch : le gouvernement français doit ordonner une enquête officielle] , Human Rights Watch. fr icon ]

He also wrote:

"Concerning the use of torture, it was tolerated, if not recommended. François Mitterrand, the Minister of Justice, had, as a matter of fact, an emissary near [General] Massu in the person of judge Jean Bérard who covered us and knew exactly what was going on at night." [ French: "Quant à l'utilisation de la torture, elle était tolérée, sinon recommandée. François Mitterrand, le ministre de la Justice, avait, de fait, un émissaire auprès de [Général] Massu en la personne du juge Jean Bérard qui nous couvrait et qui avait une exacte connaissance de ce qui se passait la nuit." ]

However, historian Pierre Vidal-Naquet said, concerning Mitterrand, who was President of France from 1981 to 1995, that "when he was Justice Minister in 1956-57, during the Algerian War, he has been not as bad as had been claimed. He had under his charge only civil justice, and Reliquet (the public prosecutor in Algiers and who was a liberal [i.e. "liberal" in French usually refers to economic liberalism] ) personally told me that he never received such strict instructions against torture as that which he had had from Mitterrand." [ La guerre d’Algérie - bilan d’un engagement : un entretien] avec Pierre Vidal-Naquet, 1996, Confluences Méditerranée N°19, Automne 1996 (re-published by the LDH Human Rights League. fr icon]

Following Aussaresses' revelations, which proved that torture had been ordered by the highest levels of the French state hierarchy, Human Rights Watch sent a letter to President Jacques Chirac (RPR) to indict Aussaresses for war crimes, declaring that, despite past amnesties, such crimes, which may also have been crimes against humanity, may not be amnestied. [ Human Rights Watch : le gouvernement français doit ordonner une enquête officielle.] , Human Rights Watch. fr icon ] The Ligue des droits de l'homme (LDH, Human Rights League) deposed a complaint against him for "apology of war crimes," as Paul Aussaresses justified the use of torture, claiming it had saved lives. He was condemned to a 7,500 Euros fine by the Tribunal de grande instance court of Paris, while Plon and Perrin, two editing houses who had published his book in which he made an apology of the use of torture, were sentenced each to a 15,000 Euros fine. [ condamnation du général Aussaresses pour "apologie de crimes de guerre"] , "Ligue des droits de l'homme (LDH, Human Rights League), February 2002. fr icon ] The judgement was confirmed by the Court of Appeal in April 2003. The Court of Cassation rejected the intercession in December 2004. The Court of Cassation declared in its judgment that "freedom to inform, which is the basis of freedom of expression" does not lead to "accompany the exposure of facts ... with commentaries justifying acts contrary to human dignity and universally reproved," "nor to glorify its author." Aussaresses had written in his book: "torture became necessary when emergency imposed itself." [ [ La condamnation du général Aussaresses pour apologie de la torture est maintenant définitive] , LDH, December 11, 2004 (mirroring an Agence France-Presse news cable. fr icon]

However, the Court of Cassation rejected the complaint which had been deposed against him on charges of torture, claiming they were amnestied.

Bigeard's attitude

General Marcel Bigeard, who had denied employing torture for forty years, finally also admitted that it had been used, although he claimed that he personally had not engaged in the practice. Bigeard, who qualified FLN activists as "savages", claimed torture was a "necessary evil." [ [,13-0,37-90746,0.html GUERRE D'ALGÉRIE : le général Bigeard et la pratique de la torture] , "Le Monde", July 4, 2000. fr icon ] [ [ Torture Bigeard : " La presse en parle trop "] , "L'Humanité", May 12, 2000. fr icon ] To the contrary, General Jacques Massu denounced it, following Aussaresses' revelations, and before his death pronounced himself in favor of an official condemnation of the use of torture during the war. [ [ La torture pendant la guerre d’Algérie / 1954 – 1962 40 ans après, l’exigence de vérité] , AIDH. ]

Bigeard's justification of torture has been criticized by various persons, among whom Joseph Doré, archbishop of Strasbourg, and Marc Lienhard, president of the Lutheran Church of the Augsbourg confession in Alsace-Lorraine. [ [,13-0,37-92611,0.html GUERRE D'ALGÉRIE : Mgr Joseph Doré et Marc Lienhard réagissent aux déclarations du général Bigeard justifiant la pratique de la torture par l'armée française] , "Le Monde", July 15, 2000. fr icon ]

In June 2000, Bigeard declared that he was based in Sidi Ferruch, known as a torture center and from which many Algerians never left alive. Bigeard qualified Louisette Ighilahriz's revelations, published in "Le Monde" on June 20, 2000, as "lies". An ALN activist, Louisette Ighilahriz, had been tortured by General Massu. She herself called Bigeard a "liar", and criticized him for continuing to deny the use of torture 40 years later. [ « Le témoignage de cette femme est un tissu de mensonges. Tout est faux, c'est une manoeuvre »] , "Le Monde", June 22, 2000. fr icon ] [ [ Louisette Ighilahriz : " Massu ne pouvait plus nier l’évidence "] , "L'Humanité", November 23, 2000. fr icon ] However, since General Massu's revelations, Bigeard has now admitted the use of torture, although he denies having personally used it. He then declared: "You are striking the heart of an 84-year-old man." Bigeard also recognized that Larbi Ben M’Hidi had been assassinated, and his death disguised as a "suicide". [ Prise de tête Marcel Bigeard, un soldat propre ?] , "L'Humanité", June 24, 2000. fr icon ]

Jean-Marie Le Pen

Jean-Marie Le Pen, leader of the far-right National Front party and a lieutenant during the war, attacked "Le Monde" and former Prime minister Michel Rocard on charges of defamation after the newspaper accused him of having engaged in torture. [ [ Le chef du FN oppose un « démenti formel » aux accusations de torture] , "Le Monde", June 9, 2002. fr icon ] However, he lost his trial, with the French justice declaring "Le Monde"'s investigations as legitimate and trueFact|date=May 2008. Le Pen still denies the use of torture, claiming there had been only "interrogation sessions". "Le Monde" produced in May 2003 the dagger he allegedly used to commit war crimes as court evidence. [ [ L'affaire du poignard du lieutenant Le Pen en Algérie] , "Le Monde", May 17, 2003. fr icon ] This affair ended in 2000 when the "Cour de cassation" (French supreme jurisdiction) concluded that it was legitimate to publish these assertions. However, because of the amnesty and the prescription, there can be no criminal proceedings against Le Pen for the crimes he is alleged to have committed in Algeria. In 1995, Le Pen unsuccessfully sued Jean Dufour, regional counselor of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur (French Communist Party) for the same reason. [ [ Le Pen et la torture, l'enquete du "Monde" validée par le tribunal] , "Le Monde", June 28, 2003.] [ [ "J'ai croisé Le Pen à la villa Sésini" (I crossed Le Pen in the Sesini Villa)] , interview with Paul Aussaresses (whom had argued in favor of the use of torture in Algeria), "Le Monde", June 4, 2002. ] [ [ "Un lourd silence"] , "Le Monde", May 5, 2002. ] [ [ "Quand Le Pen travaillait 20 heures par jour"] in "L'Humanité" (freely accessible), May 2, 2002. ] [ [ "New Revelations on Le Pen, tortionary"] in "L'Humanité", June 4, 2002.] [ [ "Le Pen attaque un élu du PCF en justice"] , in "L'Humanité", April 4, 1995. ] [ [ Jean Dufour: "Le Pen vient d'être débouté"] , in "L'Humanité", July 26, 1995.] [ [ "Torture: Le Pen perd son procès en diffamation contre Le Monde"] , in "L'Humanité", June 27, 2003. ]
Pierre Vidal-Naquet in "Torture; Cancer of Democracy" alleges n that Le Pen was refused a drink due to the bar in Algiers being closed and in revenge had the bartender tortured to death.

"The French School"

Journalist Marie-Monique Robin showed in her 2004 book on death squads how French intelligence agents had taught their Chilean and Argentine counterparts the use of torture and "disappearances" as a counter-insurgency tactic. Her demonstration was based on several filmed interviews of high-ranking militaries [" [ La Escuela Francesa, escuadrones de la muerte] " (French, English, Spanish — Spanish subtitles), broadcasted on Mefeedia ] .

Luis Maria Mendia, Argentine Admiral and originator of the "death flights" during the "Dirty War," testified in January 2007, before Argentine judges, that a French intelligence "agent," Bertrand de Perseval, had participated in the abduction of the two French nuns, Léonie Duquet and Alice Domon. Perseval, who today lives in Thailand, denied any links to the abduction but did admit being a former member of the OAS and having escaped to Argentina after the March 1962 Evian Accords that brought an end to the Algerian war. French intelligence agents have long been suspected of having trained their Argentine counterparts in "counter-insurgency" techniques. Referring to Marie Monique Robin's film documentary titled "The Death Squads - the French School" ("Les escadrons de la mort - l'école française"), which demonstrated that the French intelligence services had trained Argentine counterparts in counter-insurgency techniques, Luis Maria Mendia asked before the Argentine Court that former French president, Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, former French premier Pierre Messmer, former French ambassador to Buenos Aires Françoise de la Gosse, and all officials in place in the French embassy in Buenos Aires between 1976 and 1983 be brought before the court. [ [ Disparitions : un ancien agent français mis en cause] , "Le Figaro", February 6, 2007. fr icon ] [ “Impartí órdenes que fueron cumplidas”] , "Página/12", February 2, 2007. es icon ] John McGuffin's book "Beating the Terrorists" (Penguin) also alleges that French advisors were seen at Fort Morbut in Aden during the independence war.



French-language studies

* Alleg, Henri "Mémoire algérienne : Souvenirs de luttes et d'espérances", Paris, Stock, 2005, 407 pp., ISBN 223405818X.
* Bousselham, Hamid, [ "Torturés par Le Pen" sur] de édité par Rahma co-édition Rahma-Anep.
* Branche, Raphaëlle [ "La torture et l'armée pendant la guerre d'Algérie"] , Gallimard septembre 2001.
* Harbi, Mohamed and Stora, Benjamin, "La Guerre d'Algérie, 1954-2004. La fin de l'amnésie" Paris, Laffont, 2004 ISBN : 2221100247. Re-edition Pluriel ISBN-10: 2012792790 ISBN-13: 978-2012792791 (includes abstract by Raphaëlle Branche, "La torture pendant la guerre", p.381-402)
*Le Cour Grandmaison, Olivier (2005). "Coloniser, Exterminer : Sur la guerre et l'Etat colonial", Fayard, p.161. ISBN-13: 978-2213623160
*cite book |last= Rey |first= Benoist |others= [ preface by Mato-Topé] |title= Les égorgeurs : Guerre d'Algérie, chronique d'un appelé, 1959-1960 |origdate= 1961-04-03 |edition= 21e éd.|series= Collection Pages libres |year= 1999 |publisher= Éd. du Monde libertaire |location= Paris |language= French |isbn= 2-903013-61-6 |id= ISSN|1158-8438
* Robin, Marie-Monique, "Escadrons de la mort, l'école française", 453 pages. La Découverte (15 Sep 2004). Collection : Cahiers libres. (ISBN 2707141631) "Los Escuadrones De La Muerte/ the Death Squadron", 539 pages. Sudamericana; Édition : Translatio (Oct 2005). (ISBN 950072684X) [ "Escadrons de la mort, l’école française" présentation sur le site de la LDH de Toulon.]
* Vidal-Naquet, Pierre, "L'Affaire Audin" (1957); "La Torture dans la République : essai d'histoire et de politique contemporaine (1954-1962)", Minuit, 1972.

Abstracts and collective works


*Branche, Raphaëlle. "Justice et torture à Alger en 1957 : apports et limites d’un document" (en collaboration avec Sylvie Thénault) in Dominique Borne, Jean-Louis Nembrini et Jean-Pierre Rioux (dir.), "Apprendre et enseigner la guerre d’Algérie et le Maghreb contemporain", Actes de l’université d’été de l’Education Nationale, CRDP de Versailles, 2002, p.71-88. [ Available on-line] .
**"La seconde commission de sauvegarde des droits et libertés individuels" in AFHJ, in "La justice en Algérie 1830-1962", Paris, La Documentation Française, 2005, 366 p., p.237-246.
**"Comment rétablir de la norme en temps d’exception. L’IGCI/CICDA pendant la guerre d’Algérie" in Laurent Feller (dir.), "Contrôler les agents du pouvoir", Limoges, PULIM, 2004, p.299-310.
**"La torture, l’armée et la République" in Université de Tous Les Savoirs, dir. Yves Michaud, "La guerre d’Algérie (1954-1962)", Paris, Odile Jacob, 2004, p.87-108 ( [ Audio Conference]
**"Faire l’histoire de la violence d’Etat" in Sébastien Laurent (dir.), "Archives « secrètes », secrets d’archives. Historiens et archivistes face aux archives sensibles", Paris, CNRS éditions, 2003, 288 p.
**"La torture pendant la guerre d’Algérie : un crime contre l’humanité ?" in Jean-Paul Jean and Denis Salas (dir.), "Barbie, Touvier, Papon... Des procès pour mémoire", Autrement, 2002, p.136-143.
**Branche, Raphaëlle. "Des viols pendant la guerre d’Algérie", "Vingtième Siècle. Revue d’histoire", n°75, juillet-septembre 2002, p.123-132.
**"La lutte contre le terrorisme urbain" in Jean-Charles Jauffret et Maurice Vaïsse (dir.), "Militaires et guérilla dans la guerre d’Algérie", Bruxelles, Complexe, 2001, 561 p., p.469-487.
**"La commission de sauvegarde des droits et libertés individuels pendant la guerre d’Algérie. Chronique d’un échec annoncé ?", "Vingtième Siècle. Revue d’histoire", n°62, avril-juin 1999, p. 14-29.

Other languages

*Branche, Raphaëlle. "Torture and the border of humanity" (in collaboration with Françoise Sironi), "International Social Science Journal", n°174, December 2002, p.539-548.
**"Campaign against torture" and "Algerian War" in John Merriman and Jay Winter (eds.), "Encyclopedy of Europe, 1914-2004", New York, Charles Scribner’s Sons.
**"French Soldiers in Algeria, 1954-1962 : Denouncing Torture during the War and Forty Years Later", international symposium organized by the University of Maryland and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem on "Soldier Testimony and Human Rights", Jerusalem, February 2004.
**"The State, Historians and Memories : The Algerian War in France, 1992-2002", conference at the international symposium "Contemporary Historians and the Public Use of History", Södertörn University College, Stockholm, August 2002 (published in 2006)
**"The violations of the law during the French-Algerian War" in Adam Jones (eds), "Genocide, War Crimes, and the West", Zed Books, 2004, p.134-145 (also available in German)

Contemporary works

*Alleg, Henri, "La Question", Lausanne: E. La Cité, 1958; Paris: Éditions de Minuit, 1961 (ISBN 2-7073-0175-2).
*Lazreg, Marnia, " [ Torture and the Twilight of Empire] ", Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007 (ISBN 978-0-691-13135-1).
* Trinquier, Roger. "Modern Warfare: A French View of Counterinsurgency" (1961).
* Vian, Boris, " [ The Deserter] " (translated in many languages; censored during the war)


* [ THE FRENCH ARMY AND TORTURE DURING THE ALGERIAN WAR (1954- 1962)] , Raphaëlle Branche, Université de Rennes, 18 November 2004 en icon
* [ COLONIALISM THROUGH THE SCHOOL BOOKS - The hidden history of the Algerian war] , "Le Monde diplomatique", April 2001 en icon/fr icon
* [ Torture in Algeria. The report that was to change everything] , ICRC, August 19, 2005 en icon
* [,%20Bernard Film testimony] by Paul Teitgen, Jacques Duquesne and Hélie Denoix de Saint Marc on the INA archive website

ee also

*May 8, 1945 Sétif massacre
*Paris massacre of 1961
* Jacques Massu, "La vraie bataille d'Alger", 1972.
* Jean Lartéguy, "Les centurions", 1959, and "Les prétoriens", 1961.
* Maurice Audin
* The Battle of Algiers, Italian film which describes very well, according to Paul Aussaresses himself, the use of torture in Algeria
*Human rights abuses
*French rule in Algeria and Algerian War
*French colonial empires and colonialism
*Operation Condor and "Dirty War"
*Comparison of Iraq War to the Algerian War
*Human rights in France

External links

* [ The Torture of Algiers] , Adam Shatz, The New York Review Of Books - November 21, 2002
*Branche, Raphaëlle. March 7, 2002, Audio Conference at the Université de Tous Les Savoirs (UTLS) " [ La torture, l’armée et la République"]

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