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Electric Koran

Richard Vinen, 7 June 2001

Services Spéciaux Algérie 1955-57: Mon témoignage sur la torture 
by Paul Aussaresses.
Perrin, 198 pp., frs 99, May 2001, 2 262 01761 1
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Appelés en Algérie: La Parole confisquée 
by Claire Mauss-Copeaux.
Hachette, 332 pp., frs 140, March 1999, 2 01 235475 0
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... practise both torture and murder. Three quarters of the forty or so conscripts interviewed by Claire Mauss-Copeaux witnessed episodes of torture and at least three of them admitted practising it. One of the testimonies she cites inverts the conventional wisdom that conscripts were passive bystanders in a war conducted by professionals: ‘I saw a kid ...

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