Saturday, November 25, 2017

Algeria’s Brutal DRS Intelligence Agency: The Nation's Real Power?

To read this item at the International Business Times website, kindly click on this link:

Algeria’s Brutal DRS Intelligence Agency: The Nation's Real Power?

From the article:

Jeremy Keenan, a professorial research associate at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London University, compared Mediene’s longevity to other prominent intelligence chiefs, in a column for Al Jazeera.
Felix Dzerzhinsky, the founder of the Cheka and the predecessor of the KGB, was in power in the Soviet Union for nine years (1917-1926), Keenan noted. (Dzerzhinsky died of a heart attack.) The psychotic Lavrenti Beria led Joseph Stalin’s NKVD for 15 years (1938-1953) -- he was executed under the reign of Nikita Khrushchev.
Heinrich Himmler, Reichsführer of the Schutzstaffel (SS) under Adolph Hitler, lasted for 11 years (1934-1945) before committing suicide during the closing days of the Third Reich. Apartheid South Africa’s Bureau of State Security (BOSS) was supervised for 11 years (1969-1980) by the redoubtable General Hendrik van den Bergh.
However, Keenan notes, Mediène has lasted longer than any of them.
The rise of Mediene coincided with the emergence of an Islamic militancy that threatened to topple the long-entrenched FLN regime, culminating in an election – subsequently canceled by the government – in which the radical Islamic Salvation Front looked poised to win. That provocative measure – which Mediene participated in directly, sparked a brutal civil war that killed up to 200,000 people, mostly civilians, many of whom were massacred by both militants and government forces.
DRS had its fingerprints all over this dirty war.
John R. Schindler, professor of national-security affairs at the U.S. Naval War College, wrote explicitly in National Interest: “Simply put, GIA was the creation of the DRS.”
Schindler explained that by learning methods of intelligence and counter-espionage from the Soviet KGB, DRS formed groups like GIA to create the largely false impression that Islamic extremists posed a threat to the country’s stability and security -- thereby justifying the intelligence network’s very existence.
“Much of GIA’s leadership consisted of DRS agents, who drove the group into the dead end of mass murder, a ruthless tactic that thoroughly discredited GIA Islamists among nearly all Algerians,” Schindler, a former counterintelligence officer with the National Security Agency, said.
“Most of [GIA’s] major operations were the handiwork of the DRS, including the 1995 wave of bombings in France. Some of the most notorious massacres of civilians were perpetrated by military special units masquerading as mujahedeen, or by GIA squads under DRS control.”
By the time GIA were driven underground by the late 1990s, other Islamist organizations popped up, including those linked to al-Qaeda, including Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) -- all of whom were either formed or infiltrated by DRS and/or the Algerian military for their own nefarious purposes, Schindler alleges.
“[The] recent record suggests that DRS influence over any Algerian extremist group is considerable,” he said.

“Algeria’s neighbors, who fear the country’s outsized influence in Northwest Africa, are appropriately skeptical of the Algiers-created narrative that portrays AQIM as a major threat to regional stability,” Schindler said.
“They reject the idea that extremists can be combated only by greater Algerian involvement in regional affairs that is implicitly supported by the United States. African officials are known to drop unsubtle hints that AQIM is not quite what it seems to be and ought to be viewed within the broader context of Algerian foreign policy.”
Such knowledge and suspicions can be very dangerous indeed.
In mid-2009, Colonel Lamana Ould Bou, the chief of Mali's state security service, which was responsible for the restive northern regions of Mali, boldly told the media: “At the heart of AQIM is the DRS."
He was shot dead outside his home in Timbuktu soon afterwards.

Amnesty International has long accused DRS of committing grave human rights violations.
The DRS “continue to torture uncharged detainees held in their custody,” the rights group said in a report.