Laboratory Greece: The Crisis that Change Our Lives
Directed by Jacopo Brogi (2019)
Despite its length, this documentary is well worth watching. My favorite part was the beginning, which concerns the liberation of Greece from Nazi occupation during World War II. Greece was the only country in Europe in which the resistance movement defeated the Nazis long before the Allies arrived.
In fact in October 1944, Greece was re-occupied by British troops demanding the restoration of the Greek King (George II) to the throne. Then British prime minister Winston Churchill ordered Greek that resistance fighters seeking to establish democratic rule arrested, beaten, imprisoned and tortured.
When British forces proved unable to restore Greece’s authoritarian monarchy, US President Truman massively increased military and economic aid to the Greek king, as well as bringing hundreds of Greek intelligence agents to the US to be trained by the OSS (the Office of Strategic Services was precursor to the CIA).
The CIA would also be instrumental in propping up the military dictatorship that woud rule Greece between 1967 and 1974.
The filmmakers believe the current enslavement of Greece by the European Union and global banking institutions is comparable the British/US military occupation following World War II. The only difference is the US of debt (by the IMF, the European Central Bank and the European Commission), rather than troops, to oppress the the Greek people.
For me the other high point of the film concerns the role of US intelligence in building popular and political support (in Europe) for the European Union. Shortly after the CIA was formed in 1947, the CIA and State Department funded a secret action committee for a European economic committee. In addition, no European country could receive Marshall Plan* funds unless they committed to forming common market that would abolish tariffs and facilitate foreign investment and movement of capital across borders.
Most of the film is devoted to examining the major political corruption that led to the punishing debt repayment program and austerity imposed on Greece following the 2008 world economic crisis. The price the “Troika” (IMF, ECB and European Commission) has imposed on Greece for ongoing loans to repay their debts include privatizing nearly all Greek public assets and services, closing hospitals and schools and reducing the size of pensions and other unemployment benefits in half. With unemployment over 25%, there is massive homelessness, malnutrition and needless death from treatable conditions.
The filmmakers interview numerous local activists who applaud Britain for voting to leave the EU. They hope to force the Greek government to leave, as well