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.

Chile Wins First Oscar With Dictatorship-Inspired Animated Film

JSC: Jamaicans in Solidarity with Cuba

Sources:  TeleSURThe Wrap
February 28 2016

Gabriel Osario bear story chile oscar.pngGabriel Osorio and Pato Escala’s Bear Story won the Oscar for Best Animated Short. It is Chile’s first ever Oscar Academy Award. | Photo: Bear Story

The animated short Bear Story tells the story of a sad bear torn away from his family, a symbol of the suffering under Chile’s military dictatorship.

Source:  TeleSUR
February 28 2016

A Chilean filmmaker made history on Sunday, bringing home the first ever Oscar Academy Award for the South American country with the animated film Bear Story, winner of the Best Animated Short.

“Bear Story” is an ingenious, dazzling piece of 3D animation, the sad story of a lonesome bear who builds an elaborate mechanical diorama in an attempt to remember (and perhaps recover) the life he used to live with his wife and son, before he was ripped from his home and sent to a…

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Beached blue whale saved in Chile, another video

This video says about itself:

RAW: Huge stranded [blue] whale rescued from Chilean beach

29 December 2015

Police, navy, fishermen & beachgoers use a large net to help a whale stranded on a Chilean beach return to the sea

The science behind blue whale feeding patterns: here.

Beached blue whale saved in Chile, video

This video from Chile says about itself:

29 December 2015

A 65-foot [blue] whale has been saved by fishermen during a three hour rescue operation after it became beached off the coast of Chile.

The huge creature was rescued after a lengthy rescue operation was staged to tow it back out to sea.

Video footage shows beach-goers, who had been surfing, struggling to move the whale as it was rocked backwards and forwards by the waves.

After dragging it for some 5 kilometres, the whale was cut free from the rope and able to glide off into the water.

The triumphant rescue was celebrated by the rescuers, all pleased that the magnificent whale was free to enjoy the ocean again.

The whale was spotted swimming further out to sea after that, causing a huge cheer from those on the boats responsible for the rescue operation.

The fishermen were alerted to the drama by authorities after it was spotted washed up on the beach of Iquique, a coastal city in the north of Chile.

Naval officers, police, employees of Marine Rescue Centre ‘Kaitieki’ and local fishermen banded together to coordinate the three-hour rescue operation.

The maritime governor of Iquique, Navio Gaston Guerrero, said: ‘It is important to highlight the support of the authorities, fishermen and civilians who helped accomplish this difficult but gratifying rescue, showing that by working together they were able to successfully achieve their objective’.

Beached blue whale saved in Chile

This video says about itself:

The Corcovado Gulf: a unique ecosystem for blue whales in Chile

3 October 2013

The marine ecosystems in southern Chile are highly productive and rich in biodiversity. From cold-water corals to blue whales, we must endeavor fully for its conservation.

From the Daily Mail in Britain today:

Locals look on as 65ft blue whale lays beached on Chile beach

A huge whale that got beached was saved after a huge rescue operation was staged to tow it back out to sea. Fishermen helped after they were alerted to the drama by authorities on the beach of Iquique, a coastal city.

More, in Spanish, is here.

Chilean Pinochet dictatorship soldier confesses massacre

This Associated Press video from Chile says about itself:

University of Santiago symbolically graduates 39 students who disappeared after Pinochet coup

31 July 2015

Ahead of next week’s 40th anniversary of the coup that began Chile’s brutal regime under General Augusto Pinochet, the University of Santiago on Friday symbolically graduated 39 students who disappeared or were executed during this period.

On the day of the coup, military officers swept the University of Santiago campus in the Chilean capital, took thousands of students and teachers as prisoners and moved them to a nearby stadium.

Many former prisoners have reported they were tortured and abused while detained and some others were killed.

Others were never seen again.

Initially, organisers planned to leave 39 empty chairs in honour of the students, but so many people attended Friday’s ceremony the seats had to be filled.

Ana Araneda Yevenes, the sister of Rafael Araneda Yevenes, a student who disappeared on 12 December 1974, attended the ceremony with her family to collect her brother’s diploma.

“This is wonderful because after so many years, after waiting so long, after so many things, this is comforting for the family,” Yevenes said while holding a portrait of her brother.

The head of the University of Santiago Juan Manuel Zolezzi presided over the symbolic graduation.

Zolezzi called the relatives of the absent students one by one and presented a diploma in their honour.

“I find it remarkable that students who participated in such a big way in the Popular Unity period are recognised, they gave their lives, as students,” said Luis Aravena Mardones, who received a diploma on behalf of his brother, Jorge Aravena Mardones.

Chilean President Sebastian Pinera on Thursday asked anyone with information about those who “disappeared” to come forward and help heal the country’s wounds.

In 2011 Pinera’s [right-wing] government officially recognised 9,800 more victims of the dictatorship.

That increased the total list of people killed, tortured or imprisoned for political reasons during Pinochet’s regime to 40,018.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Former Chilean military man confesses 18 executions on the radio

Today, 13:50

The Chilean police have arrested a 62-year-old former soldier on suspicion of murder. The man was found after he had told on the radio about eighteen executions he carried out during the dictatorship of General Pinochet.

ON Wednesday the man who called himself ‘Alberto’ phoned to a popular Chilean radio. He said he wanted to commit suicide.

After a brief conversation about a failed relationship, the man started speaking about his involvement in executions of opponents of Pinochet, who was in power between 1973 and 1990.

The presenter of Sentimental Chacotero was getting quieter and quieter as the man told about the first time he killed someone. “I cried, but the lieutenant said I was a good soldier, a brave soldier.”

“Pow, pow,” the caller yelled. And then: “The second time I liked it, then I enjoyed it.”.

What followed was a conversation of twenty minutes, in which ‘Alberto’ said he was involved in eighteen executions. He also explains what happened to the bodies, a question about which many survivors have struggled in recent decades. “We blew the bodies up with dynamite. There was nothing left of them, not even their shadow.”

The caller did not give his real name, but the police tracked him yesterday and arrested him. He is 62-year-old Guillermo Reyes Rammsy. He has been officially charged with the murder of two members of the Socialist Party who were arrested in 1973. Their bodies were never found.

Chilean human rights organizations welcome the arrest and hope that there is now greater clarity about the fate of many disappeared opponents of the Pinochet regime. An estimated 40,000 people were arrested and tortured during the military dictatorship.

Chile’s President Salvador Allende remembered

This video is called Last words to the nation of Salvador Allende – Ultimo Discurso 11 September 1973 (English subtitles).

By Peter Frost in Britain:

Hope brutally snuffed out

Friday 4th November 2015

PETER FROST looks back 45 years to an all-too-brief period of socialism in Chile – and its swift, bloody end

The US, police force to the world, has always thought it had the divine right to decide on how the peoples of South America should be ruled.

Even before Salvador Allende was elected as the first ever Marxist president of Chile the CIA and its Chilean right-wing puppets were planning a coup.

In 1969, a year before Allende’s election, three Pentagon generals dined with five Chilean military officers in a private house in the suburbs of Washington.

When one of the Pentagon generals asked what the Chilean army would do if Salvador Allende were elected, General Toro Mazote replied: “We’ll take Moneda Palace in half an hour, even if we have to burn it down.”

So who was this man who terrified the US and its Chilean lackeys?

Allende was born in Valparaiso in 1903. While still a medical student he studied Marxism and became involved in radical politics. He was arrested several times while at university.

In 1933 Allende helped to found the Chilean Socialist Party. He was elected to the Chamber of Deputies in 1937 and served in the government as minister of health (1939-41). He was also senator between 1945 and 1970.

Allende stood for president in 1952, 1958 and 1964, gaining support but failing to win.

Then 45 years ago, in November 1970, he was elected president of Chile.

His new Socialist government faced huge economic problems. Inflation was running at 30 per cent and one in five of the male adult population were unemployed.

Half of Chile’s children under 15 suffered from malnutrition.

Allende introduced a radical socialist programme to redistribute wealth and land. He introduced wage increases of around 40 per cent. At the same time companies were not allowed to increase prices.

Chile’s main industry, the mining and refining of copper, was nationalised alongside the banks.

The government restored diplomatic relations with China and the German Democratic Republic.

Five thousand miles away in Washington you could hear the angry roars. Fidel Castro in Cuba was bad enough but a democratically elected socialist in South America was just too much to take.

The CIA moved into action. Top operatives were smuggled into Chile and local right-wing military officers were offered money and support.

A special task force was organised with only one order: remove Allende.

The CIA attempted to persuade Chile’s chief of staff, General Rene Schneider, to help. He refused and on October 22 1970 his car was ambushed.

Schneider drew a gun to defend himself, and was shot point-blank several times. He was rushed to hospital, but he died three days later.

Military courts in Chile found that Schneider’s death was caused by two CIA-sponsored military groups.

CIA documents now available show that as early as September, before the election, president Richard Nixon asked Henry Kissinger planned to organise a coup against any Allende government.

Another CIA document, written just after the election, said: “It is firm and continuing policy that Allende be overthrown by a coup.

“It is imperative that these actions be implemented clandestinely and securely so that the United States government and American hand be well hidden.”

Two CIA-backed groups — one calling itself Order and Freedom, another Common Protection and Sovereignty — started an arson campaign in Santiago. Carlos Prats, head of the Chilean army, resigned after a CIA-inspired smear campaign.

Allende and his socialist government struggled on until September 11 1973, when a CIA-backed and funded military coup removed his government from power.

He fought till the end. He died with an AK47 rifle, a gift from Fidel Castro, in his hands in the heroic fighting in the presidential palace in Santiago.

He would be replaced by the fascist dictator General Augusto Pinochet. Thousands of Chile’s democrats, trade unionists and socialists would be rounded up, imprisoned and executed.

Dictator Pinochet would become Margaret Thatcher’s darling. When he was finally placed under house arrest in Britain in October 1998, Thatcher got her public relations hack Patrick Robertson to lead the opposition to his being bought to justice.

Pinochet was eventually released in March 2000 on medical grounds by the home secretary Jack Straw without facing trial. Straw had overruled a House of Lords decision to extradite Pinochet to face trial in Spain.

He did come to justice in Chile but died during the trial. Evidence revealed not just human rights offences but also crimes including fraud, theft and money laundering.

Today the dream of a democratic socialist Chile that Allende started lives on but the fight continues. In January 2006 Chileans elected their first female president, Michelle Bachelet Jeria, of the Socialist Party.

In January 2010 Chilean elected Sebastian Pinera as the first right-wing president in 20 years. His election campaign cost nearly $14 million. Then in March last year socialist Michelle Bachelet returned to office. The spirit of Allende survives in Chile today.