Chile’s Secret Nazi Past

The Colony: Chile’s Dark Past Uncovered

Al Jazeera (2013)

Film Review

This documentary concerns a secretive post-World II German colony in Chile. Named Colonia Dignidad, the colony was run as a cult by ex-Nazi pedophile and Baptist minister Paul Schaefer. Roughly 300 of Schaefer’s followers emigrated from Germanye in 1961, after he persuaded him the Soviets were about to invade. In Chile, Schaefer and his close circle of supporters were in close contact with Mengele, Rauff and other Nazi war criminals who escaped to South America.

On Schaefer’s orders, the cult removed babies from their parents’ custody at birth and raised them communally. Parents who tried to establish close relationships with their offspring were publicly punished humiliated and sometimes beaten. Cult members who escaped and sought sanctuary in the German embassy (in Santiago) were returned to the colony.

Children began a life of heavy farm labor at age 7. Allowed only one rest day a year, both children and adults worked 12-hour days seven days a week. Schaefer used the farm profits to expand his land holdings.

When the fascist dictator Pinochet came to power in a 1973 CIA coup, Schaefer made his hospital facilities available to the Chilean army to interrogate human rights activists under torture.

Despite the restoration of Chilean democracy in 1990, it would take the government until 2005 to investigate and close Colonia Dignidad. Schaefer (who died in 2010) was arrested and given a 20 year sentence for child molestation in 2005. Five of his accomplices were arrested and sent to jail in 2013. The sixth fled to Germany, which doesn’t have an extradition treaty with Chile.

Winfried Hempel, one of the children abused at the colony, has since become a lawyer. He’s suing the governments of Chile and Germany. He has compelling evidence that both were aware of the atrocities yet did nothing to stop them.

In 2019 the German government agreed to pay 50,000 euros to each of the 50 remaining victims. See https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-48318295

 

The Origin of Democracy

The Origin of Democracy

Press TV (2015)

Film Review

In this Press TV documentary about “democracy” in early Athens and Rome, what intrigued me most is that it glosses over burning questions that are glossed over in high school social studies. It has always mystified me why the Athenians put Socrates to death  and why the Roman Emperor Constantine declared Christianity the official Roman religion in 313 AD – when only 20% of Romans were Christian and the emperor himself was non-Christian (he converted shortly before his death).

According to the Iranian scholars interviewed in this film, the supposed Athenian democracy was actually ruled by a hereditary nobility. Socrates ran afoul of them because he taught the Athenian form of government was actually a type of demagoguery. He was also highly critical of their lack of concern about morality, justice or the massive social inequality present in Athens at the time.

At the time of Socrates, only about 1/8 of the Athenian population (the landowners comprising the nobility) were allowed any input into government. Women and slaves (who comprised 3/4 of the population) and foreign non-slaves (about 10% of the population) were automatically excluded.

In addition to examining the contrasting political systems in the city-states of Athens and Sparta, the film looks at the Roman Republic (509-37 BC), which combined elements of both. It attributes attributes Constantine’s 313 AD Edict of Milan (which made Christianity the official religion) to a desire to unify the population during a period of growing class warfare and growing conflict with the Persian (Iranian) Empire. The latter, which stretched from the Indus to the Nile Rivers, was an enemy of Rome.

The film also explores two distinct differences between Western and Eastern systems of governance. Slavery was far more prominent under Western “democracy” and leaders were much hard to depose when they became corrupt. In contrast, Persian emperors were deposed when they became corrupt and lost the support of the people they ruled.


*A demogogue is someone who makes use of popular prejudices and false claims and promises in order to gain power.

World War I, the Versailles Treaty and Why You Don’t Learn About it in School

Paris 1919: Negotiating Peace

Directed by Paul Cowan (2009)

Film Review

This film was a real eye opener for me. Despite studying World War I numerous times in high school, I had no knowledge of the extreme turmoil in Europe during the 1919 Versailles Treaty negotiations.

Although peace negotiations were meant to take four weeks, they would last nearly six months owing to bickering between the allies. Previously I had no idea that Germany was engaged in a civil war (aka the German revolution of 1918) during the Versailles negotiations. The German delegation would ultimately resign and return to Germany, with the intention of resuming battle.*

After the German military blew up the naval fleet that had been “interned” by the allies, the German constitutional monarchy collapsed. The Weimar Republic that replaced it sent two official to Paris in August 1919 to sign the Treaty.

The long drawn out negotiations also created major popular unrest in France and Italy, which were experiencing high levels of unemployment, hunger and homelessness. French primer minister Georges Clemenceau was shot in the back by an anarchist assassin in February 1919, and the government of Italian prime minister Vittorio Orlando, one of the Big Four members, fell in June 1919. In August 1919, Hungary elected its first communist government.

The main point of disagreement among the Allied powers (Italy, France, Britain, US and briefly Japan) was the level of war reparations to impose on Germany. Initially US president Woodrow Wilson sided with British economist John Maynard Keynes. Heading the Versailles Reparations Committee, Keynes estimated that the German economy was too damaged by war and revolution to pay more than $19 billion. However In the final treaty Wilson supported UK prime minister David Lloyd George and French prime minister Georges Clemenceau in imposing war reparations of $300 billion on Germany.

Wilson’s pet project, a global League of Nations (which excluded Germany) was written into the Treaty. Ironically because the US senate refused to ratify that section of the treaty, the US would not become a member.


*The armistice signed November 11, 2018 was merely a cease fire.

**Germany had paid $30 billion when they ceased payments in 1931.

Jericho: Oldest City on Earth?

Jericho: Oldest City on Earth?

Magellan TV (2019)

Film Review

This documentary explores the ancient history of Jericho, based on archeological remains and carbon dating.

Recent evidence suggests that the city of Jericho dates nearly to 10,000 BC. The first known settlement (10,000 – 9,000 BC) contains some of the earliest examples of domesticated plants and animals. It’s believed Jericho was originally founded by “affluent” hunter gatherers, who came across the regions abundant grain grasses when the last Ice Age receded. Cultural artifacts suggest they had extensive trading relationships with other communities throughout the fertile crescent, including Göbekli Tepa Turkey.

The next settlement at Jericho (8,500 – 7,300 BC) is referred to as the Pre-Pottery Neolithic A Settlement. It seems to have had a much stronger religious focus (with evidence both of the “mother goddess” and male animalistic gods. Residents still mostly relied on wild gazelle for meat, though there’s some evidence they ate sheep and goats. It’s not clear whether these animals were domesticated or if people caught them and kept them in pens before eating them. They also ate domesticated wheat, barley, peas, and beans.

This city was replaced by the larger Pre-Pottery Neolithic B settlement (7300 – 5800 BC), housing roughly 2,000 people. Here the homes were rectangular, with clear evidence of domesticated pigs, goats, sheep, and oryx. The residents engaged in ancestor worship. Some major natural catastrophe (flood?) depopulated all of Palestine around 6000 BC, with human settlement resuming in the 5th century BC. Archeologists believe that between 5800 and 4000 BC, the region’s residents were nomadic herders, continually moving domesticated animals between pastures rather than settling in specific region.

During Jericho’s copper period (4,000 – 3,000 BC), the settlement was more like a small village than a city. Residents imported their copper (and obsidian) from the region that is modern day Turkey.

During Jericho’s bronze age (3100 – 1400 BC), it was clearly a city again, with defensive walls, an army and evidence of written Mesopotamian and Egyptian language. The city lost its independence in 2000 BC and for three and a half centuries was occupied by multiple competing powers, including Egypt, Assyria, the Mittanites and other regional powers. In 1550 BC the city was destroyed and would not reappear as an urban center for 100 years.

In 1400 BC the city was destroyed once again during wars with Israelite tribes. This would be consistent with the Biblical account in the book of Exodus.

The Long US Government War Against the American People

The War at Home – Rebellion

Scott Noble (2020)

Film Review

Notorious for the world’s bloodiest labor history, the US government has a long history of declaring war against its own people. In the US, the direct result of industrialization and mass production was concentrated wealth and power in the hands of a handful of robber barons. This was only possible through brutal exploitation of the men, women and children who worked in America’s first factories, along with brutal suppression of strikes and labor organizing by both government and goon squads hired by wealthy tycoons.

Between 1886 and 1905 there were 35,000 strikes in the US, nearly all of them violently suppressed. The strikes weren’t simply for higher wages, but for safe working conditions and freedom from management goons and “industrial feudalism.”*

Noble’s history of US labor massacres starts with the infamous 1894 Pullman Railroad strike, in which 30 striking workers were brutally murdered. Another high point of the film is the 1921 Battle of Blair Mountain, which Noble describes as the largest post-Civil War armed insurrection in the US.**

My favorite part of the film concerns the formation of the International Workers of the World (IWW). The first union to represent unskilled workers, as well as women, Blacks and Mexicans, under the IWW (aka the Wobblies) US workers began to make some headway with their industrial action. The IWW organized the historic 1912 Lawrence textile workers strike (which successfully reversed a pay cut, as well as winning a pay hike and overtime pay). They also organized the five day Seattle general strike in 1919, in which strikers themselves took over essential services, such as milk delivery and health services.

1919 saw more strikes in the US than any other year, with 22 1/2 % of all US workers going on strike that year.

During the 1920s, severe repression under the 1917 Espionage Act (the law under which Assange and Snowden have been charged), the 1919 Sedition Act and the 1920 Red Scare and Palmer Raids would successfully suppress most union organizing.

This trend was reversed during the Great Depression with the formation of the Congress of Industrial Workers (CIO). Like the IWW, the CIO (unlike the American Federation of Labor) represented unskilled workers and was committed to racial equality.


*In coal and other mining industries, miners had no choice but to live in company-owned dwellings and buy food on credit from company-owned grocery stores. This meant any miner who joined a union did so at the risk of homelessness and starvation.

**During a 1921 coal strike in Blair Country West Virginia, 10,000 striking miners took up arms to protect themselves against the coal company’s paid militia. When President Harding sent in US troop to suppress the strike, most miners refused to fire on fellow soldiers they had served with in World War I. About 100 miners would be killed, with thousands experiencing disabling wounds.

RFK Jr: Vaccines, the 1986 Vaccine Injury Act and CIA Assassinations

RFK Jr Interview with Patrick Bet Jr

Valuetainment (2020)

Review

For me the high points of this interview begin with the revelation that the US government doesn’t vaccines to be safety tested. As Kennedy explains, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) was initially an agency of the US military. Founded in 1946, it’s original purpose was to protect US citizens from a hypothetical biological warfare attack. The goal was to mass vaccinate the population quickly without undergoing the 2-5 years of testing required for regulatory approval.

He goes on to talk about the enactment of the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act, signed into law by Ronald Reagan in 1986. The latter offers vaccine manufacturers blanket immunity against vaccine injuries. It also set up the National Vaccine Injury Program, which pays out hundreds of millions of dollars every year to children who suffer permanent injuries from vaccines.

According to Kennedy, the US vaccine schedule expanded exponentially following the 1986 Act, from three vaccines to 72 separate vaccine doses at present. Along with the increase vaccine exposure, came an epidemic of 420 chronic diseases, including food allergies, eczema, autism,* asthma, ADHD, SIDS and autoimmune diseases (all reported on the package inserts, as required by law).

I was also intrigued to learn about Kennedy’s friendship with late Fox News founder Roger Ailes, the mysterious cancellation of the vaccine commission Trump promised us following his election and the dubious (pre-Covid19) history of mRNA vaccines.

My favorite part of the film (starting at 2.13.37) concerns Kennedy’s insights into the JFK and Bobby Kennedy assassinations. Kennedy describes interviewing numerous CIA officials and members of the CIA Cuban exile group Alpha 66 for his 2019 book American Values. There is no question in his mind that the CIA was behind assassination.

From his CIA interviews, Kennedy learned that Oswald was a CIA asset** at the time of his supposed “defection” to the Soviet Union. The purpose of Oswald’s mission (which failed) was to try to expose a KGB mole at Langley. The Warren Commission was able to hide Oswald’s links to the CIA until the 1975 House Committee on Assassinations reopened the investigations.

When asked about his father’s assassination, Kennedy says he originally believed the official narrative that Sirhan Sirhan was the assassin – until Paul Schrade, one of the men wounded by Sirhan, offered him  convincing evidence otherwise. Schrade continues to fight for Sirhan’s release to this day.

According to forensic evidence, the two bullets that killed Robert F Kennedy couldn’t have been fired by Sirhan’s gun. All the evidence points to them originating from Eugene Cesar’s gun. The latter was a security guard and CIA asset, who died in 2019 as RFK Jr was trying to set up an interview in the Philippines.


*Kennedy refers viewers to an excellent article by J.B. Handley summarizing the research evidence linking vaccines and autism: https://jbhandleyblog.com/home/2018/4/1/international2018

**At the time of the JFK assassination, the late Western Hemisphere Chief of Operations David Atlee Phillips was Oswald’s CIA case officer.*

The Cultural Roots of Brexit and Make America Great Again

I Can’t Get You Out of My Head

Part 5 The Lordly Ones

Directed by Adam Curtis (2021)

Film Review

Part 5 traces the ideological origins of Brexit and Trump’s Make America Great Again campaign.

Curtis maintains the American and British middle class have yet to come to grips with  their unconscious guilt over colonialism and slavery. Instead they paper over these feelings with a nostalgic nationalism harkening back to a mythical past that predates the rise of mass democracy.

In post-World War I Britain, this took the form of heightened interest in rural folk music and dancing (eg Morris Dancing). Examples in the US include the resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan following the release of D W Griffith’s 1915 film Birth of a Nation. The twentieth century Klan copied the white robes and hoods and cross-burning from Griffith’s film, based on medieval Scottish rituals described in Thomas Dixon Jr’s novel The Clansmen.

Although Britain lost her empire following World War II, British intelligence maintained the appearance of power by creating a magical world in which they could bug, burgle and even assassinate enemies – just as the Empire had done.

Like the UK, the US also uses its spies to maintain the fiction of US supremacy. Since its formation in 1947, the CIA has made 66 attempts to overthrow foreign governments via and/or vote rigging. They were successful in 26 (including Italy, Greece, Syria, Indonesia, Chile and Iran).

Curtis believes this US/British tendency to make real life decisions based on a romanticized past was largely responsible for the debacle in Iraq.

Part 5 also traces how the brutal effects of deindustrialization marginalized nearly the entire working class in both countries. Trump would appeal to these workers by promising to recreate a lost America, just as Brexit promised to restore Britain’s lost greatness by leaving the EU.

The video can’t be embedded because of age restrictions.

https://thoughtmaybe.com/cant-get-you-out-of-my-head/#top

Money As Religion

I Can’t Get You Out of My Head

Part 3 Money Changes Everything

Directed by Adam Curtis

Links to Part 1 and Part 2

Film Review

Part 3 of I Can’t Get You Out of My Head concerns the gradual handover of political power from elected official to banks and financial institutions. Curtis traces this process to Nixon’s 1973 decision to abolish the gold (and silver) standard. Once currencies ceased to have any fixed value, power began to shift to banks (who create the vast majority of our money*) and currency traders. For Curtis, one of the most significant cultural events of the seventies was the publication of a Russian emigre’s 1974 book It’s Me Eddie. The main theme of the novel is that Americans mistakenly believe they are free when they’re really simplified robots controlled by the rules of money.

The 1973 oil embargo (which caused oil prices to skyrocket) reinforced the popular sense that elected officials had lost control over government.

Nixon, who was naturally paranoid, was aware from the onset of his presidency that there were intelligence insiders at the White House plotting against him.** This led to his decision to tape record all his Oval Office conversations, providing ammunition for opponents who forced him to resign. 

Meanwhile in China, Mao’s fourth wife Jiang Qing (see Part 1 Where Has Democracy Gone?) was briefly the most powerful woman in the world. Beginning in 1971, Jiang lost control of the Red Guards, which broke into warring factions. Mao, in turn, removed her from power and exiled troublesome Red Guard leaders to the desert and the provinces. Determined to succeed Mao, Jiang allied herself with three other party officials to form the Gang of Four.

Deng Xiaoping, who would succeed Mao in 1977, immediately had them arrested and imprisoned.

For me, the most interesting segment of Part 3 concerns the discovery by Kerry Thornley, co-founder of Operation Mindfuck (see Part 1 Where Has Democracy Gone?) that many of the individuals New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison implicated in the JFK assassination were involved in the Watergate break-in. Thornley ultimately decided he had been manipulated by intelligence operatives to start Operation Mindfuck and spread phony Illuminati conspiracy theories.


*Contrary to popular belief, private banks create 97-98% of the money in circulated with government creating the 2-3% that exists as notes and coins. See 97% Owned

**Russ Baker probably gives the best account of the conspiracy by Bush Sr intelligence operatives to bring down the Nixon presidency by undertaking a bungled burglary at the Watergate Hotel and implicating Nixon in the operation. See Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, America’s Invisible Government, and the Hidden History of the Last 50 Years*

Shooting and F**king Are the Same Thing

I Can’t Get You Out of My MInd

Shooting and Fucking Are the Same Thing

By Adam Curtis (2021)

Film Review

Link to Part 1: Where Has Democracy Gone?

In Part 2, Curtis helps us understand how six 1968 revolutions (in France, Berlin, Mexico City, Chicago, Prague and London)* all failed. He sees a clear connection between the cult of hyperindividulam, which began in the 1950s, and the move of many radicals away from collective community concerns to a focus on self actualization.  He gives the example of Chicago 7 member Bobby Seale becoming a chef and Tupac Shakur (a Black Panther from birth) becoming a rapper.

Part 2 broadly covers the late sixties and early seventies. It traces the rise and fall of Black power in US and Britain, focusing on the organizing efforts of Afeni Shaku (mother of assassinated rapper Tupac Shakur) and Michael X in Notting Hill London. Curtis observes that Michael X was arrested in Redding in 1967 for “inciting racial violence,” while Conservative MP Enoch Powell’s 1968 anti-immigrant “Rivers of Blood” speech made him the most popular politician in the UK.

Afeni, representing herself, would ultimately get the Panther 21 acquitted of “conspiring to commit bombings” after proving the bombing plot originated with two FBI informants who had infiltrated the Black Panther Party.

In addition to tracing Richard Nixon’s rise to the presidency, Curtis also examines a number of high profile psychological experiments that convinced the ruling elite that trying to change people’s behavior by reasoning with them was a waste of time. Instead they decided the best way to control people was to keep them in a constant simplified dream world.


*See 1968: The Year That Rocked the World

 

Where Has Democracy Gone?

Can’t Get You Out of My Head

Part 1 Bloodshed on Wolf Mountain

Directed by Adam Curtis (2021)

Film Review

Adam Curtis has come out with another great documentary series this year, the first to be widely promoted since his 2016 series Hypernormalisation. The theme of this series is understanding why our democratically elected representatives have handed governance over to unelected financial, banking and managerial technocrats (eg the EU, UN, World Economic Forum) instead of representing us.

I confess to being somewhat addicted to Curtis’s work. The erasure of history has been essential to the end of the democratic process, and his work is full of hidden history that people aren’t taught in school.

In Part 1, Curtis outlines the gradual rise in hyperindividualism that happened both in the West and the Communist East following World War II. He begins by examining overall trends in public attitudes in post-war Britain facing the collapse of her empire, in Communist China in the prelude to the 1966 Cultural Revolution and In the US during the “white flight” to the suburbs.

The segments on Britain mainly focus on the political career of Michael X, born in Trinidad as Michael de Freitas, a black revolutionary and civil rights activist in 1960s London. The evolution of his political career continues in Parts 2 and 3.

The segments on China focus entirely on Jiang Qing, a movie actress and the fourth wife of Mao Zedong. Branded mentally ill and confined to virtual house arrest for many years (on the orders of Joseph Stalin), she was recalled to power in 1959 when Mao’s enemies sought to depose him. She assisted him in launching the 1966 Cultural Revolution that effectively disposed of them.*

The sections on evolution of US culture focus on the social isolation, anxiety and mild paranoia white Americans experienced when they abandoned the close knit communities of US cities.

For me the most interesting segment of Part 1 concerns a friend who served in the Marines with Lee Harvey Oswald named Kerry Thornley. Thornley, with friend Greg Hill, created the Discordian religion and Operation Mind Fuck. Their main work was to parody the upsurge in conspiracy theories by planting the fabricated conspiracy in numerous media outlets that the Bavarian Illuminati was behind the major political assassinations of the 1960s (among other false conspiracy theories).


*The Cultural Revolution was a violent sociopolitical purge in China lasting from 1966 until 1976. It was launched by Mao and his wife Jiang Qing to encourage students and working people to rise up and violently attack any teachers, bosses and party leaders suspected of abusing their authority.  See An American in Mao’s Cultural Revolution