Aussaresses, Abbott, Rajapaksas, birds of the same feather on torture?
While Australian Premier, Tony Abbott, whose recent statements on condoning the allegations of torture by Sri Lanka security forces, was condemned by international rights groups, European media reported that one of top French ex-military officers, Aussaresses, who confessed to coldbloodedly torturing and summarily executing dozens of prisoners during France’s brutal colonial war in Algeria decades earlier, and who defended his actions, passed away this week. He was 95. He was stripped of his medals, and was convicted later in France. Allegations of rape and torture are also rampant in Sri Lanka under the rule of Rajapakse-family, with UK charity Freedom From Torture documenting more than 60 cases of torture by Sri Lanka security forces, and Human Rights Watch documented 62 cases of sexual violence involving the security forces, noting that rape is widespread and systemic.
According to the New York Times, "General Aussaresses insisted that the torture and the summary killings were a matter of policy. He wrote everything down, he said, and briefed Gen. Jacques Massu, his superior, every day. He suggested, but did not prove, that François Mitterrand, who was justice minister at the time, had known about the torture through his representative in Algiers. Mr. Mitterrand was elected president of France in 1981."
NYT article further said, "In an article in Soldier of Fortune magazine in 2001, General Aussaresses recounted the first time he tortured a prisoner, in 1955. The prisoner had killed a man with an ax, he said, and the victim, before dying, identified his assailant. General Aussaresses tortured the prisoner to death.
“I thought of nothing,” he recalled. “I had no remorse for his death. If I regretted anything, it was that he refused to talk before he died. He had used violence against a person who was not his enemy. He got what he deserved,” NYT reported.
In August 2012, Tamils Against Genocide (TAG), a non-profit litigation and advocacy group based in the U.S., pieced together an operational blueprint of Sri Lanka’s White Van abductions, and the complicity of State Institutions. The blueprint is based on affidavits from surviving abductees, a video deposition from an ex-member of Liberation Tigers who was spared execution at the last moment, information revealed from white van abductors in the South, and other circumstantial evidence including open death threats issued by Sri Lanka’s Defense Secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapakse. TAG concluded that the white van phenomenon is not a random occurrence of isolated events, but a systemic well-organized criminal enterprise carried out by independently operating cells consisting of criminal gangs and military personnel and activated by directives from high level State officials.