Cultura Brasileira: no ar desde 1998


My Enemy's Enemy - Klaus Barbie and the NAZI/CIA Connection (a review)

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My Enemy's Enemy - 2007 - Kevin Macdonald



Technical Specifications

My Enemy's Enemy - 2007 - Kevin Macdonald


Runtime     1 hr 27 min (87 min) (Toronto International) (Canada)

Sound Mix          Dolby Digital

Color          Color

Aspect Ratio       1.66 : 1

Printed Film Format     35 mm

Audio English with parts in Italian

Genre: Documentary / History

Director: Kevin Macdonald

My Enemy's Enemy - 2007 - Kevin Macdonald. Documentary on Klaus Barbie, the infamous torturer and killer of the French Resistance Leader Jean Moulin. Barbie, as so did many Nazis (such as Joseph Mengele and Adolf Eichmann, for instance) with the Hand of the Providence at their side, used a Vatican Passport, came to South America basically to – with the full knowledge of his skills in Persecuting, Torturing and Killing Communists (as well as Jews) help out the Western Powers with the “ideological” war of the day: “The War on Communism”. “My Enemy’s Enemy is my Friend”, so the saying goes… The Western Powers, USA at the head, as always, provided him with all help he could get not only to “Fight Communism” in South America as well as to escape trial for War Crimes for almost all his life. Only after being old, having lost both wife and son and becoming “expendable” to the Empire he was finally delivered to Justice in Lyon, France, where his crimes took place during WWII. Among the many crimes Barbie has commited when acting as Chief of the SS at Lyon was the cold killing of 44 children, orphans in the orphanage of Izieu (Hit here to visit their memorial), sent by him to death in Concentration Camps in June 1944.




Jean Moulin, Head of the French Resistance

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Klaus Barbie, "The Butcher of Lyon"

As a side note, one should point out what could possibly lead the State of The Vatican to provide so many Passports to the Germans, particularly those willing to come to the Catholic South America, most of them still under having to answer for Heinous War Crimes – at the very least under suspicion of participating on them, but The State of Vatican seem not to bother: the War on Communism, so it would seem, was far more important than those “small technicalities”… We must not forget that the Head of State of The Vatican was also the leader of the main Religion in South America. Also, Eugenio Paccelli, both Head of State of The Vatican AND The Catholic Church was also known for publicly praising God for deliver the World a Man [Adolf Hitler] capable of fighting what we used to call “the most dangerous threats to Catholicism”: Communism and Judaism…

By the way, one of the Nazis ratlines, made famous by the Frederick Forsyth thriller The Odessa File, was run by the ODESSA (Organisation der ehemaligen SS-Angehörigen; "Organization of Former SS-Members") network organized by Otto Skorzeny… That thriller became a movie in 1974 starring Jon Voight, by the capable hands of Ronald Neame with the same name: The Odessa File IMDB:


The Book @ Amazon The Movie @ Amazon

My Enemy’s Enemy reveals an alternate history of the post-war world. This is a version of history where, in contrast to what we are all told, fascist ideology prevailed. The story of Klaus Barbie, Nazi torturer, American spy, tool of repressive right wing regimes, is symbolic of the real relationship that the “Western” governments – i.e. USA – had with fascism and makes us see the world as it is today – and the politicians that inhabit it – in a different way, that makes us see the world as it is today – and the politicians that inhabit it – in a different way. Kevin Macdonald’s film goes on to trace how that specter came to be, how a Nazi war criminal—an infamous one, at that—came to spend 30 years in a Bolivian villa, surrounded by his family and working for the U.S. government.






My Enemy’s Enemy: Klaus Barbie: the CIA, the Vatican and The Fascist Connection


An interviewer leans in to ask his question: “Do you regret anything you have done in your life?” Klaus Barbie doesn’t hesitate. “Deep down, there have been errors,” says, “But we all follow a line.” Asked to explain, he adds, “I’m talking about a line of character.”

Watch the Full Movie at Youtube  


This scene, grainy and brief, opens My Enemy’s Enemy (Mon meilleur ennemi). His shoulders hunched and his hands cuffed, Barbie looks away from his questioner and into the camera, the image of Barbie’s aged face fades to black and white and then freezes, still elusive. Kevin Macdonald’s film goes on to trace how that specter came to be, how a Nazi war criminal—an infamous one, at that—came to spend 30 years in a Bolivian villa, surrounded by his family and working for the U.S. government. 

Indeed, the “line of character” considered by the film is less Barbie’s, per se, than the ideology and politics that shape Western activities, both official and covert, postwar and after. Barbie’s own story, at once outrageous and banal, occasions a broader investigation of international hypocrisies, the sort that produce the adage “My enemy’s enemy is my friend.” At the end of WWII, the film remembers, “Our governments old us that fascism had been defeated and all the war criminals would be punished for their crimes.” The narrator goes on to say, under archival shots of concentration camp prisoners, exuberant Allied troops, and battered bodies, a smiling Ike and Richard Nixon, Kim Phúc, a space-race lift-off and atomic bomb tests, that “Neither of these assertions turned out to be true.” Punctuated by a recurring vintage shot of strawberries and cake (as in, the idea is to have it and eat it too), the montage illustrates that U.S. and other world leaders used fascists and war criminals “to fight against the threat of Communism and ultimately to shape the world we live in today.” 

My Enemy’s Enemy, doesn’t come up with new information so much as it makes a compelling case against the usual hypocrisies and perversities that inform international politics. It’s a system that is by definition erratic and exploitative. In fact, as the film shows, this is the argument made at Barbie’s eventual trial by his lawyer, Jacques Vergès (the focus of Barbet Schroeder’s film, Terror’s Advocate): after three decades of employment by the U.S. Army Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC), the defendant was arrested and charged with war crimes—when he was no longer “useful.”

This question of usefulness is at the heart of Barbie’s wartime and postwar experiences. The documentary doesn’t dig too deeply into the psychological details of what made Barbie Barbie, what might have driven his savagery while installed at the Hôtel Terminus. It does allow that, according to biographer Neil Ascherson, he was an unremarkable son of a village schoolmaster who may have “just wanted to matter.” Like many other Germans, Ascherson suggests, young Barbie was “ready to be just overthrown by the Nazi movement,” an inclination he pursued by joining the Sicherheitsdienst (SD). The film is structured as a series of interviews, including several tearful recollections testimonies by Barbie’s victims and a plainly defensive (archival) interview with his daughter, Ute Messner, who maintains that his reputation as a “butcher” was “invented” by his enemies (and besides, she goes on, butchering is a noble profession). 

At the same time, the movie never lets you forget that this reputation was also set aside by Barbie’s U.S. employers as long as such forgetting was convenient. He was set up in La Paz, Bolivia as a “businessman” named Klaus Altmann, initially gathering information on the French Communist Party and later helping the CIA to set in motion a military coup in Bolivia (1964) and pursue Che Guevara. A fellow CIC agent rationalizes, “I don’t think he really was a sadist,” but instead, “did what he had to do, and he was proud of his ability to interrogate people.” The film lays out this history as a network of contradictions and deceits, of selves and others. When a U.S. Justice department representative submits that the CIC didn’t know Barbie was wanted for war crimes in France, the scene cuts directly to journalist Christopher Simpson, who says straight up, “Bullshit.” The CIC, he says, certainly read French newspapers throughout and after the war, where the story was regularly reported. 

“There was this idea that the ends justified the means,” says Elizabeth Holtzman, the former U.S. Representative from New York and member of the Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Records Interagency Working Group (IWG). “That is, of course, a Nazi idea and a totalitarian idea.” And that is, of course, an idea that grounds most wars, cold and hot. Holtzman points as well to Iraq and Afghanistan, where the U.S. has made use of “the most extreme fundamentalist Islamic groups.” If, she concludes, “The ends justify the means and you choose to use Nazi war criminals, them where do you draw the line, ever?” As long as this line remains un-drawn, Macdonald’s documentary shows, there can be no accountable “line of character” either.





            Kevin Macdonald’s film goes on to trace how that specter came to be, how a Nazi war criminal — an infamous one, at that — came to spend 30 years in a Bolivian villa, surrounded by his family and working with full support of the U.S. government

          In 1984, Barbie was indicted for crimes committed while he directed the Gestapo in Lyon between 1942 and 1944. The jury trial started on 11 May 1987, in Lyon, before the Rhône Court d'assises. Unusually, the court allowed the trial to be filmed because of its historical value – thanks to that, there are  A LOT of material easily found at Youtube. A special court room with seating for an audience of about 700 was constructed. The head prosecutor was Pierre Truche.

At the trial Barbie was supported by financier François Genoud, and defended by the lawyer Jacques Vergès, who was a known Maoist (!?!?) during his youth.

Vergès had a reputation for attacking the French political system, particularly in the historic French colonial empire. His strategy was to use the trial to talk about war crimes committed by France since 1945. This had less to do with the trial than with Verges' desire to undermine the French Fifth Republic. The prosecution dropped some of the charges against Barbie due to French legislation that had protected people accused of crimes under the Vichy regime and in French Algeria. Vergès tried to argue that Barbie's actions were no worse than the supposedly ordinary actions of colonialists worldwide, and that his trial was selective prosecution. During his trial, Barbie said, "When I stand before the throne of God I shall be judged innocent".

The court did not accept the defense argument. On 4 July 1987, Barbie was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. He died in prison in Lyon of leukemia and cancer of the spine and prostate four years later, at the age of 77

Jacques Vergès and the Klaus Barbie's Prossecution in 1987


More information on Klaus Barbie can be found all around Internet, Youtube and Wikipedia, such as this one:


Watch at Youtube


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