Nazi era crimes and post-1945 West Germany, film review


This video says about itself:

THE PEOPLE VS FRITZ BAUER Trailer

8 August 2015

Top German actors Burghart Klaussner (The White Ribbon) and Ronald Zehrfeld (Barbara, Phoenix) star in this riveting historical thriller, which chronicles the herculean efforts of German district attorney Fritz Bauer to bring Nazi war criminal Adolph Eichmann to justice.

Today, I saw the film The People vs. Fritz Bauer.

Here is a review by Joanne Laurier from the USA; with, as usually, links and remarks added by me:

THE PEOPLE vs. FRITZ BAUER

In Germany, fewer than 500 individuals were punished for their participation in the liquidation of millions of Jews and others in the Holocaust. Only one hundred defendants out of a total of 4,500 who stood trial between 1945 and 1949 for Nazi crimes were accused of murder-related offences.

Fritz Bauer (1903-1968), a Social Democratic lawyer and, later, judge, had been forced to flee Nazi Germany because of his politics and Jewish origins. Upon his return from exile in Denmark and once more taking positions in the justice system, his unrelenting attempts to prosecute the crimes of the Third Reich encountered fierce resistance from the officials in the Konrad Adenauer government (1949-63). The first postwar West German administration harbored many former high-ranking Nazis. In a well-known comment, Bauer stated: “When I leave my office I am entering an enemy, foreign country.”

Bauer is the subject of Italian-born, German filmmaker Lars Kraume’s engrossing film, THE PEOPLE vs. FRITZ BAUER. The movie opens in 1957. Famed Attorney General Fritz Bauer (the remarkable Burghart Klaussner) is found lying unconscious in his bathtub. Near him are a glass of wine and sleeping pills. Federal Office of Criminal Investigation officer Paul Gebhardt (Jörg Schüttauf) wants the incident to be classified as an attempted suicide. He intends to claim Bauer, a thorn in the side of the authorities, is unstable and should be dismissed. The attorney general is feared for his dogged efforts to bring to justice former Nazis and their defenders.

Bauer succeeds in quashing rumors about his supposed attempted suicide, all the while receiving death threats. Soon after his release from hospital, he gets a tip that Adolf Eichmann, one of the most pivotal figures in the deportation of European Jews to the concentration camps and known as the “architect of the Holocaust,” is living under an assumed name in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

A chain-smoker with a razor-sharp mind and disheveled attire, Bauer wants to try Eichmann in a German court. He has dedicated his life to tracking down major Nazis like Eichmann, Martin Bormann (who, in fact, had died in 1945) and Josef Mengele, hoping to help rehabilitate the post-war German state. However, as he is fully aware, the country’s investigative agencies are peppered with Nazis. In addition, no help is forthcoming from Interpol, a thoroughly reactionary and dubious body, which claims it has no jurisdiction over “political crimes.”

In fact, the film suggests that that not only the BND (German Federal Intelligence) but the CIA as well were involved in shielding high-ranking Nazis,

Eg, in the Eichmann case, they both knew where Eichmann was, but did nothing about that.

and depicts the constant attempts to derail Bauer’s investigation. Eventually, Bauer turns to the Israeli intelligence service Mossad, risking prison for committing treason.

As his colleagues scheme to undermine him, Bauer’s only ally is a young public prosecutor, Karl Angermann (Ronald Zehrfeld), who is prosecuting a man arrested for prostitution. At Bauer’s suggestion and in defiance of a code against homosexuality made more onerous by the Nazis, Angermann demands only a small fine. Angermann is married, but, like Bauer, he is a homosexual. He and Bauer are obliged to keep their sexuality a secret. Eventually, the naïve Angermann gets entrapped by Bauer’s enemies, who force him to choose between going to prison or fingering Bauer as a traitor.

As the noose tightens around Angermann’s neck, Bauer, trying to get his foes off his back, covertly creates the conditions for Eichmann’s capture by Mossad. Bauer’s plan is to put Eichmann on trial in West Germany, but he underestimates the extent to which the Adenauer government, backed by the United States, is hostile to the possibility of a show trial that might name names.

The film ends as Eichmann faces trial in Jerusalem in 1961. Bauer initiated the famous Auschwitz trials in Frankfurt that began in December 1963 and were the largest criminal proceedings in postwar Germany against former members of the Nazi Party.

According to the filmmakers, Bauer’s influence was far-reaching. In the movie’s production notes, the director states that Bauer was “convinced that the German postwar generation [had] the opportunity to build a new society. In reality he opened a completely new perspective for the youth in the Adenauer era, because he dared to lift the veil and break the bleak silence. And so he became an important source of inspiration later on for the student revolts.”

Despite a few rough edges, Kraume’s film is driven by a powerful commitment—and extraordinary lead actors—to dramatize Fritz Bauer’s historic contribution. It is inspired by Bauer’s determination to put “everything that was inhumane here on trial.”

British government spying on citizens, documentary


This April 2016 video from Britain says about itself:

Brought to you by Scenes of Reason, The Haystack documentary is a real life investigation into 21st century surveillance in the UK and the Investigatory Powers (IP) Bill currently before Parliament.

In light of Snowden’s revelations in 2013, both privacy groups and our government agree that the laws surrounding surveillance need to be updated, but public debate and examination of the Bill have been shockingly limited on an issue that impacts us all. The Haystack explores whether the powers set out in this Bill will stop the next terrorist attack, and asks, are we willing to accept an unimaginable level of intrusion before it’s too late?

Background:

In late 2015 Scenes of Reason decided to take action and do what they do best; decode complicated topics for young millennials in order to stimulate debate. A team of four young female journalists wanted answers to both the simple and complex questions surrounding surveillance. Producer and director, Olivia Cappuccini states;

“At a time when the U.S are rolling back their surveillance powers, we need to be asking why the UK isn’t following suit, and instead pushing forward with an unprecedented Bill that is more intrusive and could seriously challenge our fundamental civil liberties in the name of national security.”

Scenes of Reason set out to present a balanced debate on the effectiveness, necessity and intent behind mass surveillance powers but found that it will never be a simple accept or deny conclusion. We interviewed a host of the biggest players in the surveillance space; ex director of GCHQ David Omand and National Security Agency whistleblower Bill Binney to name a few, and put the main arguments both for and against mass surveillance to them.

For more information, additional content, visit: thehaystackdocumentary.squarespace.com.

Edward Snowden, new Oliver Stone film


This video says about itself:

Snowden‘ Trailer

28 April 2016

Oliver Stone’s “Snowden” provides a look at the drama behind the adventures of former CIA employee turned whistleblower, Edward Snowden. “Snowden” hits theaters September 16.

New Study Shows Mass Surveillance Breeds Meekness, Fear and Self-Censorship: here.

Iraq war 2003-2016, new film


This film trailer video from Belgium says about itself:

…WHOSE PEACE WILL IT BE?

18 December 2015

Exploring a future for Iraq and the Middle East, we interviewed all kinds of people. We let people speak for themselves in their true colors. Fiction meets reality in poetry of the image and in esteem of the human kind! – a production of The BRussells Tribunal with the support of theWizard.

You can watch the film here.

From the filmmakers:

…WHOSE PEACE WILL IT BE?

A documentary by Luc Pien

ABOUT THE DOCUMENTARY

War is intensifying in Syria and Iraq … with the support of our governements. Life has become unbearable in both countries. Hundreds of thousands of refugees seek safe haven in Europe. Many drown attempting to cross the Mediterranean. Others make it across only to discover that there is no place for them in Hotel Europa. A peaceful life seems a distant dream …

Drawing on voices other than those we hear, see and read daily in the media, “… Whose peace will it be?” traces the origins and causes of the present disaster. The documentary weaves memories of the past through experiences of the present to create a mosaic within which the pathway to peace might be discerned. It provides an impetus to think differently about the future and act accordingly. But, above all, the film seeks to chart a pathway to peace.

Iraqi academics in the diaspora muse about the need for freedom, education and humanity in the Arab world. Refugees from Iraq and neighboring countries highlight the horror of the catastrophe. Artists discuss other ways of social thinking and acting. United Nations officials recount what has gone wrong in recent decades. European philosophers and experts explain how knowledge of, and respect for, other cultures has gotten lost.

In what sense are we, “the West,” complicit in—perhaps even responsible for—the disaster that has struck Iraq and Syria? What political action should the UN take? What’s stopping the supposedly enlightened nations from entering into genuine dialogue, with respect for the identity of all concerned?

What means do we have at our disposal to restore the human and cultural riches of Iraq and Syria? How can we show solidarity with the desire of people to decide their own fate? What can we do to make sure Iraq and the entire region become, once again, a secure and decent place to live? Can so much suffering be forged into hope? Whose peace will it be once the war is over?

All these questions have led to a movie full of options and possibilities for the future. We do not show the atrocities of war: we know them all too well. Nor do we show the unbearable and self-destructive side of human behavior. We let people speak for themselves, in all their uniqueness and sincerity. Utopia and reality meet in the poetry of the narration, and respect for everyday people.

This video from London, England says about itself:

At the invitation of Lord Maginnis of Drumglass and Lord Clarke of Hampstead, a conference was held at the House of Commons on 10 June 2014 “11 Years After the Occupation of Iraq” to discuss the major concerns in Iraq including the situation of human rights, the lack of security, absence of social developments and Iraq’s international obligations.

Participants in the conference included Mr Sabah Al Mukhtar, official of Arab Lawyers and Legal Consultant in UK, Dr Isam Al Chalabi, Former Iraqi Oil Minister, Prof. Saad Naji Jawad, Professor of Political Science and visiting professor at LSE, Dr Subhi Toma, Expert on Minorities and Immigrants, His Excellency Sid Ahmed Al Ghozali, former Prime Minister of Algeria, and Messrs Denis Halliday and Hanz von Sponeck, former Assistant Secretary Generals at the UN.

Colonia Dignidad, Pinochet’s nazi cult torture camp, on film


This video says about itself:

Emma Watson and the stars of Colonia talk the film’s historical background

15 April 2016

In theaters and on iTunes now.

Emma Watson, Daniel Brühl, Michael Nvyquist, and director Florian Gallenberger talk the history of Colonia Dignidad, the real Chilean Nazi camp the film is based upon.

See it in theaters: here.

A young woman’s (Emma Watson) desperate search for her abducted boyfriend (Daniel Brühl) draws her into the infamous Colonia Dignidad, an ex-Nazi cult from which no one has ever escaped.

Starring: Emma Watson, Daniel Bruhl, Michael Nvyquist.

Directed by Academy Award winner Florian Gallenberger.

By David Walsh in the USA:

Colonia: Under Pinochet, a disposal center for enemies of the state

16 April 2016

Directed by Florian Gallenberger; co-written by Gallenberger and Torsten Wenzel

The article is based on coverage of the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival.

German director Florian Gallenberger’s political thriller Colonia opens this weekend in the US. This is a disturbing film that deserves an audience.

Colonia takes place during and after the US-backed Chilean military coup in September 1973. Lufthansa flight attendant Lena (Emma Watson) is in Santiago to visit her boyfriend, Daniel (Daniel Brühl), a militant supporter of Salvador Allende’s Popular Unity government. When Allende is overthrown, General Augusto Pinochet’s forces round up thousands of people. Daniel and Lena, who are caught taking photos of the brutal sweep, are among those picked up.

In the national stadium filled with political opponents of the dictatorship (40,000 people were held there), Daniel is identified by a hooded informer as a poster-maker for the Allende camp. While Lena is released, Daniel is taken to a compound in the south of the country, called Colonia Dignidad (“Colony of Dignity”). It is home to an evangelical cult run by psychopath, pedophile and pro-fascist Paul Schäfer (Michael Nyqvist), which uses the cult followers as slave labor in the production of poison gas and weapons for the Pinochet regime. The compound also serves as a disposal center for enemies of the state.

Colonia’s underground tunnels and chambers are used to interrogate and torture dissidents like Daniel, who is brutalized and then handed over to Schäfer. Pretending to be brain damaged, Daniel is under less scrutiny and therefore able to figure out how to escape. Unbeknownst to him, Lena has traveled to Colonia and joined the cult in order to rescue him. For some 130 days, Daniel and Lena, who finally meet up, must endure the tyranny and perversions of Schäfer. Even if an escape is possible from the electric fenced-in, dog-guarded Colonia, there are vested interests, from Pinochet to the Germany embassy, determined to prevent Schäfer’s hellhole from being exposed.

A fictionalized version of actual events, Colonia brings to light the appalling story of Schäfer, who was born in Germany in 1921 and eventually joined the Hitler youth movement (and reportedly attempted to volunteer for the SS). After the war, he set up a religious-based orphanage until he was charged with molesting two children. He fled Germany in 1959 and ultimately emigrated to Chile with a group of his supporters, where he set up the Colonia. After the end of the Pinochet era, his crimes were gradually revealed. Schäfer was jailed for child sexual abuse in 2006 and died four years later.

A lengthy September 2008 article, by Bruce Falconer, in the American Scholar, “The Torture Colony,” provides many grisly and revealing details. Falconer first notes that in the months following the September 1973 coup in Chile, some 45,000 people were arrested and taken to detention centers for interrogation. At least 1,500 were summarily executed.

In June 1974 Pinochet created the National Intelligence Directorate (DINA), a secret police force, “designed to hunt down and eliminate his political enemies. DINA agents routinely kidnapped regime opponents and delivered them to secret torture and execution centers located throughout Chile—including Colonia Dignidad.”

According to Falconer, Schäfer’s principal contribution to Pinochet’s operations “came in the instruction of DINA agents in the science of torture.” One survivor, Luis Peebles, described Schäfer’s participation in and supervision of his agonizing torture by electric wires attached to every part of his body. Based on the testimony of Peebles and other survivors, Amnesty International produced a 60-page report in 1977, “Colonia Dignidad: A German Community in Chile––A Torture Camp for the DINA.” Schäfer’s legal efforts managed to block the release of the report until 1997.

Falconer explains: “Contract torturing was not the worst of Schaefer’s collusion with the Pinochet regime: executions, perhaps of entire groups of prisoners, were sometimes carried out. … In truth, no one knows how many people were killed inside Colonia Dignidad. One former colono recently told Chilean government investigators that, on Schaefer’s orders, he once drove a busload of 35 political prisoners up into the Colonia’s wooded hills and left them in an isolated spot by the side of a dirt road. As he drove back down alone, he heard machine gun fire echoing through the forest. No bodies were ever recovered. … All that seems certain is that many of the prisoners who went into Colonia Dignidad were never seen again.”

Of note is the fact that Michael Townley, a professional assassin who was the primary liaison between Colonia Dignidad and the Pinochet regime, was an American CIA agent, who also served as a member of DINA, and assisted in the military coup that ousted Allende. Townley designed the torture chamber at Colonia Dignidad and participated in biological experiments on prisoners there. In 1976, he was convicted of the murder of Orlando Letelier, former Chilean ambassador to the US.

Swedish actor Michael Nyqvist as Schäfer is chilling in Gallenberger’s well-made, heart-pounding piece. The movie offers an up-close look at the torture chambers and human filth like Schäfer, who began with the Nazis and ended up a creature of the CIA.

Regarding the overthrow of the Allende regime, Henry Kissinger, US Secretary of State at the time, infamously remarked that “I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its people. The issues are much too important for the Chilean voters to be left to decide for themselves.” Instead, he helped give them torture and brain-washing factories run by lunatics.

French state terrorism against Greenpeace ship, documentary film


This video says about itself:

The Rainbow Warrior – Trailer

13 April 2016

The Rainbow Warrior: It would go down as one of the first acts of state-sponsored terrorism

Available on iTunes: here.

The plot summary is:

The Rainbow Warrior had set out to protest against French nuclear testing. But in the late hours of July 10th 1985, as the laughter and birthday celebrations of the crew filled the air, two French divers were planting two bombs on the bottom of the Rainbow Warrior. When the bombs exploded the ship was sunk, one man was killed, and a ten year battle between New Zealand and France began.

“If all they were trying to was to stop us then they could have done it in far less spectacular ways”, says head of Greenpeace, Steve Sawyer. In fact, the options of poisoning the diesel or using a single bomb were preferred by all agents involved.

But Charles Henu, an alcoholic and a womanizer and also the French Minister of Defence, was determined to strengthen French military independence. He dispatched three action teams for ‘Operation Satanic‘, many of whom speak here for the first time. “Of course I regret that somebody died”, says Dr. Xavier Maniquet, “but we were just following orders”.

His crew were part of action team 2 and had a near miss with the New Zealand government. Agents Marfur and Prieur from action team one were not so lucky. After making a series of phone calls to a known DGSE number in France, they were intercepted and imprisoned.

Yet what about the action team responsible for planting the bomb in the first place? Head of Operation Satanic, Louis Dillais, now sells arms to US Special Forces in the war against Terror. Banned from speaking by the French government, he can only hint: “No one wanted it to go this far”. The French government’s report on the mission was a whitewash – no second bombs, and some of the men in this documentary wiped from the pages of history. Yet the evidence of the New Zealand Police made a mockery of the cover-up. Speaking about the mission for the first time the former Prime Minister speaks revealingly of how the details of the mission were kept from him. This eye-opening investigation lays the secret workings of a government bare.

Birds and Minions in Cornwall, video


This video from Britain says about itself:

Videos for Kids to Watch – Stuart of The Minions Feeding The Birds

Filmed in April 2016

Video Produced by Paul Dinning – Wildlife in Cornwall