The banned interview in Algeria: with Kamer Eddine

The banned interview  in Algeria: with Kamer Eddine

 

In early 2013 I received a phone call from a journalist, Faisal Oukaci- from the newspaper "Mon Journal", directed Mr Hicham Aboud. We discussed some issues then he asked me to do an interview- from the beginning we had to agree that he could ask any question and I would have to answer, but he would publish the whole interview without censorship. He agreed, while apologising for not being able to come to London.

So we arranged that he sends me all the questions by email and I send the answers in the same way. After that he would respond with any additional questions relating to my answers, then send me a copy of the interview to correct and approve- it would then finally be published.

The interview proceeded as agreed; Mr Faisal Oukaci sent me a set of questions to which I responded, he sent me other questions relating to my answers which I replied to by email and after that... no sign of life.

After a few months I read in "Mon Journal" title an excerpt from the interview about Mr Ahmed Merani, I contacted Mr Faisal Oukaci to remind him that we agreed to publish the entire interview and not an extract. He apologized and told me that the director of the newspaper Mr Hicham Aboud was the one who refused to publish it.

A few weeks ago, Mr Faisal Oukaci contacted me to tell me that the newspaper had closed, so I informed him of my intentions to publish the interview myself and he did not object.

Initially the interview was in French, I translated it to Arabic and now I will translate it to English InshaAllah. I left all questions as received, and as the correspondence was done by email, the interviewer had no idea what my answer would be to the list of questions he had sent until I responded to the full interview- this is why the reader will note a lack of consistency between some questions and answers.

Recently, I heard Mr Hicham Aboud in "Rashad" TV declare that he has always respected the ethics of journalism, all journalists who worked in the newspaper, and that he never restricted their freedom to write or publish in any way. Unfortunately, reality contradicts his words. Perhaps if asked about the ban, he will accuse Mr Said Bouteflika of banning the interview, as he has done countless times in the past with regards to every personal trouble and those plaguing Algeria.

The Interview with Kamer Eddine Kherbane; "KEK":

Reporter: Faisal Oukaci- Mon Journal; "MJ"

 MJ: Let start from the commencement. We know that Kamer Eddine was a MIG pilot in the Algerian army, with the rank of lieutenant before leaving the ANP. What were the reasons that pressed you to leave the army?

KEK: It's a long story so I will try to summarize. I was serving in the Air Force from 1976 to 1989 and a pilot fighter on a MIG. The most decisive reason that pushed me to leave the Air Force was my arrest by the military security (currently DRS) in 1986 following accusations by a young neighbour of Soustara called Madani who was arrested by the military security, of belonging to an Islamic organization with the late Sheikh Mahfoud Nahnah and conspiracy against the security of the state. He also accused two other youths at the same time, Mr Saber and Mr Faraj who lived in the Kasbah neighbourhood.

It then turned out that Madani was a member of the late ex-President Ahmed Benbella's party, he wrote slogans on the walls of the Kasbah leading directly to his home. Unfortunately for him after this event he was released to become a known grass, the military security purposely picked him up in their car at Soustara in broad daylight so that everyone knew. He was killed just after the cancellation of the elections in 1992 and the beginning of the civil war, I later heard that his father was killed during the liberation war for the same reason. After my arrest I was brutally tortured, in particular by a sub-officer who took pleasure in torturing an officer- he clearly told me that he was taking revenge on me because of his troubles with his superiors.

Having found nothing to hold against me I was released but immediately wrote a detailed report on my arrest, torture I suffered, and the disillusionment of the sad reality in military security. I gave the report to a General, a relative of an officer in our Air Squad, to transmit to the late President Chadli. I heard later that my report shocked General Lakhal Ayat, the head of military security at that time to such an extent that it led to a partial paralysis, but practically nothing had changed for me.

I was summoned to the Ministry of National Defence by the General Abdelmalek Guenaizia who was chief of Air Forces at the time and he told me that he could do nothing for me and I had to return again to see the infamous military security to finish this matter with them, because there were no other options.

So I returned to the sinister jail at Antar centre where I was charged with the Casbah protest in 1984 with the two other defendants as punishment for daring to complain against military security to President Chadli. It was taboo and unthinkable to complain against the military security at the time.

After that, I was transferred to the military prison of Blida a top-security prison and in 1988 I was convicted, without any evidence and refuting all charges, to two years to cover my temporary detention at the military prison but without touching my rank as a lieutenant.

On my release from prison I was asked to return to my base and continue to serve in the army as if nothing had happened. I was disgusted with the hypocrisy from the high command and I categorically refused to serve again in this army.

I sent my first resignation letter to President Chadli formally, about 3 months after President Chadli refused my first letter of resignation. I was furious and angry and so I wrote a second letter of resignation exposing all truths behind the military and military security with strong language.

After this, the President had appointed a special commission to decide on my case. A few months later, the commission accepted my resignation but demoted me to the rank of soldier; depriving me of any allowances for the years of my service in the army. I am curious to find out whether General Guenaizia was part of the commission, and if so, was he the president.

  MJ: Between the army and Afghanistan, there is a blank space, what happened in the head of Kamer-eddine; who pushed him to go to Afghanistan?

KEK: I never went to Afghanistan. Just after my release from prison in July 1988 there were the events of October 1988 and the creation of the FIS party in 1989 where I was a founder member, and up to the arrest of FIS leaders in June 1991 after the FIS strike, I lived for a month in hiding and then left Algeria to Pakistan with a mission to inform the public opinion on the political crisis in Algeria.

MJ: In Pakistan, you were at "Maktab al- Khadamat" with Boudjemaâ Bounoua. What was this office?

KEK: I have never been at Maktab al- Khadamat in Pakistan with Boudjemaa Bounoua alias Abdallah Anas. Maktab al- Khadamat was a help desk to Afghan Mujahedeen and Afghan refugees founded by Sheikh Abdullah Azzam who published a magazine on the war in Afghanistan called "Sada al Jihad".

MJ: Who were the first Algerians who participated in the war against the Soviets, apart from the two brothers Kari?

KEK: To be honest, I do not know.

 

MJ: During this period precisely, there was much talk of American support to Afghans. Have you seen some images of this American support?

KEK: In July 1991 when I went to Pakistan, the war was almost over and I stayed there for two months before leaving. Everyone has heard of American support, but American support does not show on the streets, it passes automatically to the Pakistani army, and is therefore kept secret.

MJ: Have you met Osama bin Laden and Abdallah Azzam? Al Qaeda was in gestation. By then what had the Algerian-Afghans planned?

KEK: As I have explained before, the purpose of my trip was to inform the public opinion on the political crisis in Algeria, so I visited almost all of the politician residents in Peshawar, Pakistan. Among them the now deceased ex-President of Afghanistan Burhan-eddine Rabbani, Sheikh Abd Rab arassoul Sayyaf, Gulbeddine Hekmatyar and Osama Bin Laden, but I had not met with Sheikh Abdullah Azzam as he had passed away. At the time, there was no Al Qaeda and what you call the Algerian-Afghans. I knew that there were two groups not exceeding twenty people who went to Algeria through the (infiltrated) GIA, the first was arrested in the operation of the Admiralty and the second was annihilated in an ambush after being assembled together in a house in Sétif.

MJ: At what point did you decided to return to Algeria? If the possibility of establishing a political party was decisive?

KEK: It is clear that I left after establishing the FIS party, not before.

MJ: How did you meet the FIS people, Abassi Madani and Ali Belhadj?

KEK: I knew Sheikh Abassi Madani before establishing the party, he called me through Ahmed Merani. I met Sheikh Ali Benhadj at Majliss Ashura known as the FIS Council.

MJ: The clash of mid-June 1991 was a serious break between Islamists and the army. What had you done in the FIS to prevent such a scenario, which had drawn the decor of the civil war for a long time?

KEK: What you call the clash of mid-June was actually a peaceful strike initiated by the FIS as a political action allowed by law in a democratic country to thwart the FLN government dividing districts they thrived in for extra seats and votes in the next legislative elections. I do not blame the leaders of the FLN who thought to use an electoral tactic to avoid losing the election. In fact there was a third force, not the army as you may guess but some corrupt general in the army with the DRS who wanted at all costs to overturn the transition to democracy in Algeria. These evil forces have manipulated the two fronts to achieve their aim and unfortunately it is the people who paid the price of this drift which honours neither Algeria nor the Army. For the decisions taken by the FIS party, they were all taken by a majority of members in the FIS Majliss (council), among those, the strike for three days before its extension, and everyone should respect the choice of the majority.

MJ: Abassi Madani said recently that from the beginning he had doubted Said Makhloufi , a former army lieutenant, accusing him of giving with his pamphlet "al- Isyan al- Madani " ("Civil Disobedience ") the legal grounds to dissolve the FIS a few months later. Do you share this opinion?

KEK: I have not heard this statement but what I can say is that Said Makhloufi rahimahullaah Allah was an extraordinary man, he was humble, pious and honest  with an exceptional capability of political analysis, and above all brave. He did not hesitate to sacrifice himself to fight against tyranny and dictatorship, leaving a wife and two young children. Everyone knows that the dissolution of the FIS party was made on the basis of newspaper clippings, "sufficient legal grounds" at that time, and by two illegal "assessors"- whom decided the dissolution, but without the approval of the main sitting judge- a woman who was in fact against it.

MJ: events of Guemar gave another reason to believe that behind the facade hid a FIS organisation guided only by the desire for jihad. The group leader in Guemar  was a former Afghan. The FIS does not go by himself to its destruction?

KEK: In 2013, the truth is known about what happened in Algeria; DRS manipulations, planning to prevent a democratic transition in Algeria. It is not me who says it but it is the Army and DRS dissidents- they even have a website called MAOL "Algerian Movement of Free Officers".

MJ: In the local elections of 1991 in which the FIS had a landslide victory- did that give the FIS hegemony that would be fatal? Management of local councils gave you a new power, but it was forming against you new opponents too, who saw a rise of a party that probably tried to rule unchallenged, creating another FLN religious version?

KEK: The FIS did have a landslide victory, but it was the Algerian people who chose the FIS, so if you are for democracy you must accept the election results. Hypocrites are making analogies between two parties, two completely different periods and think they can convince people with these baseless arguments, when in fact, they cannot even convince themselves. How the FIS party which was democratically elected by the people and has demonstrated the field's ability to solve the problems of people at local level may be similar to the FLN that fakes elections since the dawn of time and that is the source of all corruption and troubles in Algeria, it is called reasoning by absurdity.

MJ: The parliamentary elections in December 1991 were the last FIS political involvement. Mediators had advised Abdelkader Hachani to accept an interesting quota in the Assembly instead of an overwhelming majority. A proposal that the FIS elected members have rejected. Is that true?

KEK: I do not know because I was abroad, but recently ex-Foreign Minister Dr. Taleb Ibrahimi in a broadcast TV channel Al-Jazeera said Abdelkader Hachani rahimahullaah practically renounced all official responsibilities. Despite the majority obtained in the elections, he renounced the presidency of the Parliament or government, he simply asked, even though he won the elections, to be allowed three government ministry positions- this removes all credibility in the reasons given by those who have stopped the democratic process and executed the coup. We cannot talk about democracy and play at 30% or 50% quota proposals, it is a scam- this cannot be called democracy.

MJ: It is at this point that Kamer Eddine Kherbane goes to Morocco and Britain. What really happened to you?

KEK: I left well before as I already said, I went to Pakistan and then to France, Croatia, Albania, Sudan, Yemen, Syria, Azerbaijan and finally the United Kingdom. All the while being married and raising children.

MJ: Sahnouni Hashemi said some FIS leaders have worked for the party, while others have worked the FIS for their own account. The situation is even more severe when he gives examples; the names of leaders who became later, businessmen, officials, or simply the rich and wealthy.

KEK: Those who obtained fortune in life honestly, deserve it. Others should not sleep peacefully at night and it is for Allah to judge them.

MJ: At the outbreak of civil war in Algeria, they blamed Kamer Eddine Kherbane for nurturing an armed group- it seemed suspicious because it was signed "Al Bakun ala al-Ahd". Is it you who signed the war bulletins of this group, which would disappear quickly?

KEK: Everyone knows that from the GIA to Al Qaeda in the Maghreb through Al Bakoun ala al-Ahd, Al -Gama'a Salafiya li Dawa wal qital etc.- all of them are 100% copyright of the DRS, you must give back to Caesar what belongs to Caesar.

 MJ: As most of the FIS leaders, you gave your blessing to the GIA in its foundation. In 1994, you were excommunicated and condemned to death by the same GIA, along with six other leaders of the FIS. On what grounds was the sentence against you pronounced, and what was your reaction before you took your distance with the GIA after 1995?

KEK: I never gave my blessing to the GIA, on the contrary, I was the first to speak against GIA since its foundation. If I remember correctly I made ​​statements against the GIA in 1993 in an interview given to a French magazine, the "Nouvel Observateur" at a conference in Sudan. In any case it should not be very smart to imagine that the infiltration is virtually assured when people who have never known each other come together to create an organization like the GIA. As for the death sentences; it was clear that the DRS were behind them, they killed Sheikh Abdelbaki Sahraoui in Paris, Belkacem Tajouri, Said Makhloufi and Abderazak Redjem in different places in Algeria, Abdelkader Hachani in Algiers- all of them were founder-members of the FIS, and Sheikh Yekhlaf Cherati a senior member was killed in Serkadji prison Rahimahoum Allah, I myself barely escaped an ambush. What can I say about 500,000 dead, 30,000 missing and millions of widows, orphans and wounded.

MJ: Knowing that the GIA had drifted badly, especially at the time of Zitouni, but more so Antar Zouabri, why did you not try to make things right with the magazine Al Ansar published in London under the control of "Abu Fares" (the GIA member exiled in London), and under the influence of doctrinal references like Abu Mossab es- Souri, Abu Qatada al- Filistini and Abu Hamza al- Misri?

KEK: The GIA had not drifted at all, since the beginning the goal of the DRS was clear. First, infiltrate the GIA to manipulate and control it, then physically eliminate all opponents who try to take back control of the GIA. Among the victims of this evil plan, there were Sheikh Mohamed Said, Sheikh Abdelhamid Boucha and many others Rahimahoum Allah. And finally, create an Islamic terrorist organization to tarnish Islam and strike in Algeria against the people to push them away from the FIS Islamic project and abroad to convince Western countries to support the DRS in its crusade against Islam under the guise of war against terrorism. For doctrinal references that you cited, all without exception were manipulated by the DRS too.

I remember at the time some Algerian newspapers linked to DRS have highlighted  the issue of raising funds for the GIA in London, the answer came almost instantly. The magazine "Paris Match" in Paris has published secret information given by the Home Office in England "Ministry of Interior" revealing that GIA statements published in the journal "Al Ansar" in London were sent from a DRS barracks in Algiers.

MJ : We know that Scotland Yard and MI5 could handle many Algerians Islamists , residents as you in London. Have you not been manipulated?

KEK: All intelligence services in the world recruit agents for their work in collecting intelligence and analysis but the misfortune of Algerians in Algeria and the world is that the DRS recruits agents for other intelligences and show its total dedication to the fight against terrorism by putting its own agents for other intelligence services. For myself I have been subjected to threats, surveillance and some low blows but no manipulations. Those who have been manipulated had all the privileges, I have not even been granted British nationality, which was granted to all.

MJ: A few years ago, after the adoption of the treaty for Peace and National Reconciliation, we started talking about Kamar eddine Kherbane in Algeria. Bouteflika sent at the time, his emissaries, Islamist interfaces, as Soltani and Belkhadem, to Europe and the UK for this purpose. Why you did not give credit to such an offer?

KEK: I have never been contacted.

MJ: In a recent interview given in Algeria, Ahmed Merani, your former partner of the FIS who became Minister, accused you of having received money.

KEK: He said much more than that which is not true- his accusations; sharing money with Rabah Kebir from Gaddafi or any other source, and that I am currently away from politics. Again, I have never received any money, nor am I away from politics. I am currently the administrator of the official FIS website "fisdz.com" for over 2 years. When Ahmed Merani forgets why he went to his famous statement on TV and confuses the events, people and dates- it is simply a disease called dementia; in Algeria "khraf ". In any case I do not blame him and it makes me sad to see him stoop so low, maybe he still blames me for not meeting him on two occasions when he came to London especially to see me, and I must admit it he does not deserve to finish like this after he has spent his entire life in the Dawa but there are only few who can get out of the intelligence's nets after their fall- his companion in the TV show Mr Bashir Fkih, who wanted to make a public confession were killed by the DRS. Said Guechi was also killed in Saudi Arabia, his family accused the DRS.

MJ: The head of GIA Abdelhak Layada was in Morocco at the beginning of 1993 without informing his top lieutenants, do you know something that may provide some answers?

KEK: To be honest I do not know Abdelhak Layada  nor his GIA activity, at least he is still alive and he can answer himself, but I know his brother who worked with us at the FIS headquarters and I can tell you that he is an honest and hardworking man.

MJ: You said Lakehal Ayat was so shaken that he was paralyzed. To our knowledge, he has never been, at that time, paralyzed, partially or completely.

KEK: Not only was Lakehal Ayat partially paralyzed but he has never recovered after that, he was sacked a few months later in 1987 and the whole institution was shaken. Commander Dawud (Rachid Diah) that Colonel Samraoui cited in his book as a corrupt man when he was chief of a Daira in Bechar, in fact was born in the Casbah in the same neighbourhood as me. The day after the report to the president, he came whining in the neighbourhood and informed everyone that Kamer Eddine has gone insane and became mad in regards to how I dared complain and write a report on military security to the President of the Republic. At the time that today's young people did not know, who could complain against military security.

MJ: The accusation that we are talking about is a cheque issued by a Kuwaiti named  Mohamed Ibrahim Abdelsalam, he handed to the FIS leaders a cheque in return for their support to Kuwait when it was invaded by Saddam. They say that Abassi Madani gave his part to his son in law, Simozrag, and signs of this money were visible thereafter. For Benazouz Zebda, his sudden incursion into the world of business and import-export towards Turkey had informed about the source of its funding. For Kamareddine, it is true that nothing was found in his possession that is visible. Swear you did not have money from Kuwait?

KEK : This is the first time I hear about money from a Kuwaiti and I can assure you that this had never existed to my knowledge, in any case all the past period will be discussed and all light will be shed on all the shadows at the FIS Congress which will be held insha Allah when the Algerian people regain their freedom the same as the people of Tunisia, Libya and "Egypt". Because to form a party or start a newspaper in these countries only requires you to inform the Ministry of the Interior, and not obtain his permission.

English

Add new comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
13 + 0 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.