The following is a short summary of the previous article in French titled « Algérie: A la recherche du véritable général Mohamed Lamine Médiène dit “Tewfik” » with minor changes. It covers the search by many Algerians of pictures and videos of the powerful boss of the secret services, General Mohamed Lamine Mediene, alias Tewfik.
At the previous July 5, the 50th anniversary of Algeria’s independence day, News TV Channel France 24 broadcasted a documentary showing an excerpt of a video on the January 16, 1992, when State officials were waiting for the arrival of the new head of State, Mohamed Boudiaf. It showed a man in brown suit, previously photographied, and widely presented on the net as Mediene himself. Here are pictures extracted from the video.
[Legend: Man X in brown suit is the alleged Mohamed Mediene, accompanied from left to right by General Mohamed Lamari, Larbi Belkheir, Benabbes Gheziel, and in the background a man Y in red polo shirt that seems to be part of the security services]
And here is the formerly known picture on the same event. [Legend: Man X with Prime Minister Sid Ahmed Ghozali and the Interior Minister Larbi Belkheir]
Are we sure that it’s Mohamed Mediene himself ?
The boss of the DRS is of the same generation than his pairs. He’s born in 1939, Lamari was born in 1938 and Belkheir in 1939. The man in brown suit looked much younger than them.
It is worth to note that at this same event, when President Boudiaf was welcomed by the civilian and military authorities on the red carpet, he shaked hands and kissed an unknown officer. The latter was also presented as General Mediene on the net. On numerous videos, extensively shared on the social networks, the kiss between alleged General Mediene and Boudiaf -which will be killed less than 6 months later- was named the ‘Judas Kiss‘.
Obviously, there are too many Medienes, the same day, same moment. The shape of the face, the length of the hair, without citing the clothes are different with those of Man X. This unknown in the guard of honour was suspected of being the secret general because the TV commentator was unable to say his name.
In the rush, his image was showed on websites and other public medias as being the true face of the hidden decision maker. Nobody objected, nobody said that maybe the TV commentator was unaware of his identity because he was a second rank general of the army. Moreover, this unknown man looks like General Mohamed Elaalem, who was then at the time the director of the Military Justice. Here is a picture of him sourced from the MAOL’s website. So, with these elements, it is better to forget the ‘Judas Kiss’, as it sounds like an assertion built on a great lack of critical mind.
Other pictures circulate since more or less a year, the alleged Mediene this time is with General Rachid Benyelles, the man in white clothes of the Marine Forces. Actually, Benyelles was chief of the algerian marine from 1978 till 1984. And after the events of October 1988, he resigned from the army. So we could presumably say that these pictures are from the FLN’s congress in 1983.
Again, the trackers of images were not enough vigilant. The man in dark blue shirt could be Medjdoub Lakhal Ayat, the boss of the secret services (direction centrale de la sécurité militaire DCSM) in the Eighties. The two men were almost of the same promotion. Benyelles became General on November 1st, 1984 and Lakhal Ayat on July 5th, 1985. At that time, Mohamed Mediene wasn’t on an official position of the same rank. Compare the facial features with the following photos of Lakhal Ayat.
Then we have the historical picture of Mediene. This photo has a story in itself. It was included in the first edition of the Memoirs book of general Khaled Nezzar in 1999. It could have slipped between the fingers of censors, and then it disappeared from the following editions.
Picture A (thanks to @copi35 for finding it on the web) with the unknown A.
Little do we know on the context of this picture. The date is not referenced. The other personalities are in my opinion from left to right, Yahia Rahal, Man A, Khelifa Rahim, El Hachemi Hadjeres, Benabbes Gheziel and Abdelmalek Guenaizia, by comparing with other photos. More work needs to be done on this picture, starting by identify the status of each officer. The military are in ceremonial dress, the day could correspond to a national day where promotions are distributed. Is Man A the real Mohamed Mediene ?
Again, there is a problem. The Man X of the airport and the Man A on the couch do not resemble much. The officer A seems to be much taller, facial features are different, and Man X has a slight streak of white hair on the upper right side. Very hard to believe that this is the same man.
In conclusion, the Algerian blogosphere -who is mainly a vlogosphere on Youtube and other similar websites- is engaged in a variant of the game « Where’s Waldo? » trying to find a picture of the secret service boss. In what seems to be a quest for greater transparency, we may ask if the secrecy veil is really lifted. The man with dark brown suit could be General Mohamed Lamine Mediene alias « Tewfik ». Or it could be the officer on the couch ? Or it can be neither one nor the other because there is no certitude in the matter.
People who know him are not lacking, generals, ministers, journalists, convicted people… It seems that the General regularly attends official funerals, where he could be seen by the public. Those who know the truth are therefore so many, yet they remain desperately silent.