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February 1, 1999
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CPYRGHT h n F _ dPYRGHT Ap pro ittAerosbRe Wa 200111/01./26 : C o, di France and Morocco have strong . ceelines and both have declared that they i.arit the whole truth revealed about the disappearance ? and probable murder ? of Istehdi Ben Barka. De Gaulle himself has stated that it is a question of French honour: the vanished Moroccan leader was a guest of the Republic who, was kidnapped in Paris twit% Morocco's honour is equally at stake, ? since King Hassan considers it intolerable that his country has been slandered and one if his chief ministers, General Oufkir, un- . ustly accused. it was therefore reasonable o assume, in view of the determination :spressed by these two autocratic govern- - mans, that the trial of Ben Barka's alleged tbductors would eventually throw lighton he guilty, no matter how highly placed they may be. In Dc Gaulle's case there was, one might think, an additional reason for get- ling to the bottom of .the affair. The cir- cumstances surrounding the kidnapping re- called some of the worst public scandals . of the Fourth Republic ? the kind of thing ? which the majestic probity of the Gaullist regime was supposed to have banished for ever. Six weeks ago the trial at last began: it turned out to be a macabre pantomime. In the dock were six accused who could have had no motive for committing the crime (five of them did not even know Ben Barka), but who faced the risk of heavy prison sen- tences rather than try to exonerate them- selves by revealing the names of those who had hired them. With the exccption of Phillippe Bernier, who pleaded not guilty, all the others admitted that in different degrees they were mixed up in the sinister affair, but none Would explain how or why. Rarely have such accused been seen in ,the Paris criminal court. The witnesses were no more forthcoming than. the accused. The high police officials. ? invoked 'professional secrecy' in withholding - the names of their informants, and 'govern- ? ment security' in explaining the reasons for. their rather tardy and ineffective interven- tion. The diplomats would, say nothing about - the Franco-Moroccan transactions following Ben Barka's disappearance, because of 'diplomatic secrecy'. .Several journalists called to give evidence also chose not to reveal their sources of information in the name of 'professional secrecy'. Even a . tradesman, summoned to testify on a point of detail, declared that he would say noth- ing since 'personal secrecy' was involved.... Judge Perez. who presided, raised his hands heavenwards and exclaimed: 'I am disgusted n,vi.r know the truth.' Coming minteotateIy temaidt.d his .a.aaaet.eas vant by promoting him to the rank of lieutenant-colonel, accorded Dlimi's fathcz an audience to show his gratitude and it-- structed his Minister of Information t) defend him before the French bench. Th s time the moment of truth seemed to be drawing near, for Dlimi is no supernun - erary: it is established that he was at tl?e scene of 'the crime on 30 October 1965, ail it is believed that he knows _everything abo4t Ben Barka's fate. For 24 hours all Par s held its breath: what would Mini say? Well, he will say nrehing at least for some time to come. Fos after all his hero c gestures Dlimi has decided to fight a proc:- dural battle rather than talk. He has apish( d to the appeal court because the warrant for his arrest was not served at his domicile ar d because the Franco-Moroccan convents n lays -down that 'both parties undertake o prosecute their own nationals, even fenr offences committed on the territory of. tl e other state'. It is hardly likely that ti e French criminal court has much confiden :c in the way Moroccan justice might deal wi Ii a subject so highly regarded by his King; ;o sooner or later Dlimi will appear before tie Paris court. But it is generally believed that his trialwill not take place in the near future and that a lot of .-water will run under t ic -Seine bridges before a new bid is made to uncover the truth of the Ben Barka affair, However, despite the delays, it would 'De wrong to think that the six-week trial of t minor characters has been pointless. Plough- ing through the discreet and elmfussd evidence of the secret agents and police officers, one nevertheless finds certain clt es as to what happened before and during tic kidnapping of Ben Barka. Thus in May 1955 the French counter-espionage service knew that the Moroccans were preparing to 'get hold of Ben Barka by unorthodox mear s'. The' aim of this operation, it appears, 51 as not very clear to the James Bonds of SDECE (Service de Documentation et de Contre-espionage), for they believed tl at Oufkir- and Dlimi wanted to entice the opposition leader to Rabat in order to eff:ct a reconciliation with him. A very shaky theory, as relations between the royal pah.ce and Ben Barka's friends in Morocco lad sharply deteriorated since May 1965 and re- conciliation was more .unlikely than es er. But let us admit that SDECE -was baily informed and that its inaction, is explaine by its ignorance of Moroccan politics. The other French police forces (for tiler arc several) were no more vigilant in pro tecting - Ben Barka because their., offic als from a judge, this declaration oi despair could also he regarded as somewhat unusual. The verdict was to have been delivered last Wednesday, and on the following day the court was due to try in absentia the two accused Moroccans, General Oufkir and Ahmed Dlimi, director of Morocco's Special Branch. But at the very last moment came. a coup de titre: Ahmed Dlimi, after 'writing a moving letter to his King, decided to give himself up to dear his country of 'unjustified clApprtaietitf CITIAMMEPSec2c00 against the 'outrage'. So he shaved off his moustache and travelled to Paris under a ' .1 ren iti'rpip touched. NEXT WEEK Heading for a Slump? A Special Economic Survey Centrepiece: Dandy Days J. B, PRIESTLEY Can We Afford Muggericlge ? KINGSLEY MARTIN 1 7126 : 9/181-Rpra?tOntRe001C 03 COLIN MACINNES UL.I 11.1d the Ministry of the Interior who gave the 56044 6ght' for the two policemen. Suchen anerVenot, to question Ben Barka and take him to a villa near Paris belonging to Boucheseiche, a gangster ',ell known in Casablanca. lip to this poi: the account of the kidnapping seems quite clear. Things only begin to grow obscure after the hand- ing over of Ben Barka by the police to a 'group of gangsters (or 'vagrants' as they are politely called), who presumably were to take him to Morocco. Ben Barka was no drawing-room politician: he NV:1S tough, un- yielding, ;, man who had lived underground for years. ; :e was probably armed and, one can imagine, seeing. the trio of 'vagrants', had no illusions about the danger he faced. . So something unforeseen must have hap- ?pened in Boucheseiche's villa with the result that the gangsters began to call Rabat frantically for fresh instructions. Oufkir ? and Dlimi arrived personally the following day, and instead of going to an hotel, if only for the sake of appearances, they went to the villa -- to decide how to get rid of Ben Barka's body? How does it happen that no police followed the Moroccan Interior Minister when he arrived in Paris and went immediately to a' council of war with the 'vagrants'? How is it possible that meetings .'of this kind can take place with impunity on territory where, as Le Monde commented 'ironically, 'in theory French sovereignty obtains'? And, finally, how is it possible for Ben Barka's body to vanish without trace when all the various police forces had been alerted to the kidnapping of the Moroccan opposition leader? We have no accurate answers to these riddles, but on one point we can be certain: 'such extraordinary 'irregularities' could not . 'have occurred unless important nten, and not just ordinary subordinatensa had been 'involved in the, affair. But tiycgimes do not like to admit that 'importTillit?servants of the state' can, throngh incoritaia;-epee .or corruption, get mixed up in such diattiFbing criminal enterprises. Paris and Rabat were unable to reach agreement either on the .suppression of this painful case or on an explanation that would be plausible while not too damaging to one or the other, Justice has been paralysed by this, lack of co-operation on the part of, the men in power, which led first to . the tragi-comic nature of the trial and then to its adjourn- ment. Is Judae Perez right when he declares that we will never know the truth? Many French- men believe that he is, that the Ben Barka . case is like a detective novel without the last chapter ? the chapter which solves the crime and reveals the identity of the guilty. But this sense of despair is accompanied by bitter indignation that a regime which re- . -pals 'national prestige' as Bic: alpaa and omega of its policy can hush up an iU;air so prejudicial to France's good name. As for 'King Hassan, whatever he says or does, lie will never be able to wipe out the stain of this dreadful business from his country's reputation: even if his Minister of the Interior, General Oufkir, did not persona4 commit the crime, in the eyes of the world he inspired it, and an Barka's blood is ea his hands. No procedural nianoeuv'"s'wil ?nr_cyjwIt people from tfi helieving that ,ere 500sWeri hing rotten in the -kingdom el Morocco. Paris October 29. 1966 iasi Fqr Release,2001/07/2E0 CIA-RDP75-00149R00010-050010-5 1/11;:caS SCOL LITF'4.L TO FRENCH COURT CPYRGHT Ben Barka Kidnap Trial Delay BEIRUT.-- Lieutenant-Colonel Ahmed Dlimi, deputy head of the Moroccan security police, who caused a sensation last week in the Ben Barka case by surrendering to French police. has made a second appeal to the French Supreme Court to rule that ho cannot be tried in France, it was learned in Paris on October 25: according to reports published hereo The officials surrender on October 19 came in the sixth week af the Paris trial of 13 men (seven of them in absentia) who are alleged to have boon involved in the disappearance of Mehdi Ben Barka, the Moroccan opposition leader, from 4 Paris street on October 29 last year. Colonel Dliti had been one of the accused being .tried in absentia, along with Bri&aaioa-- General Mohammed Oufkir, Morocco!s Minister of the Interior. Trial proceedings were suspended and a new trial ordered because of complicated French judicial proceedings. It may not begin for many months. Colonel Dlimi and General?Oufkir had both claimed earlier in ;Lae proceedings that they could not bp judged In France, under the terms of a Franco-Moroccan judicial agreement. Lawyers representing Colonel Dlimi said in Paris on October 25 that a second appeal had been made on his behalf because it was Marod the first might be rejected on the grounds that it was made before he was token into custody. Since his surrender in Paris the Moroccan official has boon kept in custody In prison. According to French judicial sources his lawyers have ' questioned the legality of his detention under the terms of the Pranco-Moroecan- judicial agreement. - CPYRGHT SEMINAR ATTACKS IMPERIALISM CAIRO -- An Egyptian editor has expressed the hope that the Soviet- Chinese dispute will be settled and will not be allowed to imperil African unity. Mr.' Lotfi Al4Choli, editor of the Cairo monthly magazine Al-Talia (Vairsuard) was addresSing the. opening .session on October 24 of a seminar on "22-rica: National and Social Revolution", organised by his magazine and the "i'roblems of Peace and Socialism" magazine of Prague. . ? The seMinar is being attended by 31 political parties and organisations from 30 African countries, who will be- meeting here until October 29., Mr. Kholi said that the phenomena facing Africa today was how to seek a now strategy and tactics in order to carry out national liberationand social revolution at the same time. This could not be achieved through - following slogans and generalities or freezing revolutionary theory in rigid ideological forms, he added. ? Tho speaker hailed the "glorious -resistance" of the Vietnamese people and called for immediate withdrawal of foreign troops, followed by. self- determination. Ho said imperialists were supporting armed racists in South Africa, adesia and Israel in their "conspiracies to sabotage African revolutionaries Mr. Youssof Sebai, secretary-general of the U.A.R.'committoo for l'uoplest Solidarity, called on the developing countries to stand tothor in order to impose the best -conditions rogard?hg economic and t.:1.:ozi on developed countries. ? following day Mr. Khali presented a 47-page research paper entitled 'Approved -ForReleiateMAggi2641GWROPM001491:41004176855 -;-;--