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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Günter Wallraff says 9/11 the work of Covert Ops


Bin Laden ist also nicht der Drahtzieher?
(Bin Laden is therefore NOT the mastermind?)


Hinter den Anschlägen steckt ein Plan, mit eiskaltem Kalkül und einer Langzeitstrategie.
(the attacks went according to a plan of cold reasoning and long-term-strategy)

Und man muss davor warnen, dass unsere Politiker in diese Falle tappen,
(and one has to warn of our politicians stepping into this trap)

damit nicht eine Neuaufteilung der Welt im Sinne dieser Terroristen geschieht ...
(so that a new, terrorist-designed division of the world is prevented)


... die Sie im arabischen Raum sehen.
(which you see inside te arabic realm)


Ja. Ich sehe die Aktion aber nicht auf einen Einzelnen konzentriert.
(Yes. I see this act not concentrated on the idividual.)

Es ist die Handschrift von Geheimdienst-Experten.
(It is the hand-writing of intelligence-experts)

Aus welchem Land oder Ländern dies genau beaufragt wurde,
wird sich vielleicht nie exakt beweisen lassen.
(From which country or countries this was commanded
may never be exactly provable)

The Man InsideWallraff came to prominence thanks to his striking research methods. This style of research is based on what the reporter experiences personally after inveigling himself into the heart of the subject under investigation. Wallraff would construct a fictional identity so that he was not recognisable as a journalist. In this way, he created books which denounce what he considers to be social injustices and which try to provide readers with new insights into the way in which society works.

Life and work

Wallraff first took up this kind of investigative journalism in 1969 when he published 13 unerwünschte Reportagen ("13 undesired reports") in which he described what he experienced when acting the parts of an alcoholic, a tramp, and a worker in a chemicals factory.

He traveled to Greece in May 1974 at the time of the Ioannides dictorship. While in Syntagma Square, he protested against human right violations. He was arrested and tortured by the police, as he did not carry, on purpose, any papers on him that could identify him as a foreigner. After his identity was revealed, Wallraff was convicted and sentenced to 14 months in jail. He was released in August, after the end of the dictatorship.[1]

In 1977 Wallraff worked for four months as an editor for the tabloid Bild-Zeitung newspaper in Hanover, calling himself "Hans Esser". In his books Der Aufmacher ("Lead Story") and Zeugen der Anklage ("Witnesses for the Prosecution") he portrays his experiences on the editorial staff of the paper and the journalism which he encountered there, which at times displayed contempt for humanity. In 1987 the journalist Hermann L. Gremliza claimed that he, rather than Wallraff, had written parts of Der Aufmacher. The book also formed the basis for the English-language film The Man Inside, starring Jürgen Prochnow as Wallraff.

Ganz unten ("Lowest of the Low") (1985) documented Wallraff's posing as a Turkish guest worker, and the mistreatment he received in that role at the hands of employers, landlords and the German government.

Wallraff has been heavily criticised by those on the receiving end of his style of investigation, as they consider he breached constitutional rights to privacy or revealed trade secrets. Attempts were therefore made on a number of occasions to legally prevent Wallraff's investigative methods, but his actions were regularly ruled as constitutional by the courts. The courts opined that freedom of the press and public interest in areas concerned with the formation of public opinion favoured Wallraff's actions. In balancing public interest with the competing interests of those immediately affected by his actions it follows however that private conversations, for example, may not be published.

Wallraff has been publicly accused of several cases of plagiarism and falsifications, especially concerning his books Lead Story and Lowest of the Low. (German TV Das Erste, Report München, 3.12.1985 and Report Baden Baden, 11.3.1986)

Wallraff was one of the first people in Germany to invoke his constitutional right not to do armed military service. Despite this refusal, Wallraff was obliged to serve time in the Bundeswehr.

In January 2003, Russia turned away Wallraff and two other Germans, the former labour minister for the CDU Norbert Blüm and Rupert Neudeck, head of the relief organisation Cap Anamur, as they tried to enter the country to work on a human rights article about Chechnya.

In September 2003, investigations were made by the BStU (the federal commission set up to deal with the files of the Stasi) into the Rosenholz files on Stasi workers which somehow got into the hands of the CIA; as a result, it was claimed that Wallraff had had connections to the Stasi in the 1960s. Wallraff disputes that he ever actively worked for them. On December 17, 2004, the Hamburg district court ruled on a suit brought by Wallraff that he must not be described as an Inoffizieller Mitarbeiter or Stasi collaborator (he was being called this above all in newspapers belonging to the Axel Springer Verlag - the publishers of Bild-Zeitung) as no proof of collaboration could be furnished in the documents which had been presented.

In May 2007, Wallraff announced that he had started yet another undercover journalist work, this time at a German call centre..[2]

His investigative methods have led to the creation of the Swedish verb 'wallraffa' meaning "to expose misconduct from the inside by assuming a role" which has been officially included in word list of the Swedish Academy.[3][4]

The Man Inside

Nathalie Baye ... Christine
Dieter Laser ... Leonard Schroeter
Monique van de Ven ... Tina Wallraff
Philip Anglim ... Rolf Gruel
Henry G. Sanders ... Evans
James Laurenson ... Mueller
Sylvie Granotier ... Kathy Heller
Hippolyte Girardot ... Rudolph Schick
Joseph Sheridan ... Karl
Philippe Leroy ... Borges
Christine Murillo ... Angela
Barbara Williams ... Judie Brandt
Florence Pernel ... Angel

This was a rare film, an intelligent thriller which also tried to define the character of the protagonist and show many sides. The acting was terrific across the board and I appreciated the attempt to weave many nationalities together; IE... Monique van de Ven (Dutch), James Laurenson (British), Henry G. Sanders, (American), Natalie Baye (French), and Dieter Laser (German). The cinematography by Ricardo Aronovich (Argentine/Jewish)who shot 'Missing' for Costa-Gavras and 'Providence' for Alain Resnais, was sumptuous and moody. The editing by Luce Gruenwalt (Belgian) was fast-paced and the directing was thoughtful and compassionate.

Based on a true story, this is a small, issue-based film, not earth-shattering, but intriguing in its depiction of a supposedly free media in 1980s West Germany. The thrills are intellectual rather than action-based--the most frightening chase is in a dream sequence, the only violent death takes place in near-darkness and is messy and brutal rather than glamorous.

As a movie, it also offers a few rare gems: an adult relationship with real warmth and sexual chemistry between 40-somethings Jurgen Prochnow and Nathalie Baye; Peter Coyote seducing Prochnow with guns and chess; and the more amusing assertion that all it takes to make Prochnow unrecognizable, even to the mother of his children, is to put in brown contact lenses. And as an added bonus, I think it's the only time we see Jurgen and Dieter Prochnow onscreen together.

One for the indie audience rather than the masses. 7

This true life story of an undercover German reporter, determined to discover the truth about media corruption, is fascinating. You can only admire the man's courage, and although I never quite got to grips with Peter Coyote's character - a very unusual role for this actor - it was a highly compelling story which didn't insult the viewers intelligence by spelling everything out, but allowed them to think for themselves. Juergen Prochnow's disguise was quite good, but it distracted me because he reminded me of some other actor, possibly James Woods, which nagged at me through the whole film. The relationship between Prochnow and his girlfriend was excellent. How anyone lived with a man like that is beyond me. Very interesting, and definitely one for people who like to have something to think about.


Revue de presse


(Author of The Lowest of the Low)




Günter Wallraff is not only one of the West Germany best known journalists, he is also one of its best known personalities. But he is also a secretive man who dreads publicity and mistrusts cameras unless it is a case of using the media to promote his own struggle.
The film constitutes the first exhaustive portrait of Günter Wallraff, which gets to the core of who he is. Its writers have gathered the rarest and most complete collection of information on all of his past "roles". Among other extracts from films made when he had transformed himself into Ali the Turk, previously unseen documents about his private life, other films produced by Turkish, West German and Soviet television...
This portrait hinges on a few highlights: - Chancellor Kohl himself stating his mind on the usefulness of Wallraff's technique;
- Wallraff's daughter confessing to not having recognized him when he was disguised as a BILD ZEITUNG journalist;
- his German teacher remembering the first investigation Wallraff carried out at school when he was sixteen;
- Wallraff filming Gorbatchov at the Kremlin with a hidden camera;
- Wallraff revealing his true identity to his Turkish workmates who didn't have a clue who Ali was ...

Above and beyond the documentary films themselves, the writers have succeeded in getting him to expound on his methods and give us his thoughts on the direction his life has taken so far, his notion of the "mask" and its success, the evolution of his concept of investigative journalism and the problem of filming and editing that go with it.
Behind the public man, there is a fragile often tormented individual who reveals himself for the first time to an international audience.
Beyond the public image and the individual, G.Wallraff is a unique phenomenon: his books have been translated into 35 languages and sold in total about 15 million copies.
La première image du film présente un Wallraff inattendu, coureur de fond solitaire en survêtement et chaussures de marathonien.
The first frame of the film presents an unexpected image of Wallraff, a lonely long distance runner in a track suit and running shoes. And this is precisely the question the film tries to answer:

" What is that keeps Mr.Wallraff running? "

GÜNTER WALLRAFF, investigative journalist and writer
" You have to put on a disguise to unmask society! "
Born in 1942 near Cologne (West Germany), he left school at the age of 16 and trained as a bookseller.
1963 to 1966 First investigations disguised as a worker in German industry
1967 to 1969As an alcoholic in a lunatic asylum;

as an informer for the Intelligence Services; as president of a factory making napalm bombs;

as council member

in 1973 runner for a large German insurance company

in 1974 political detainee in Athens under the colonels' dictatorship;
in 1976 an extreme-right-wing banker working to help to finance General Spinola's

at tempted coup against the new-born Portuguese democracy;

1977 underground journalist with BILD, the jewel in the crown of the SPRINGER group that came under such fierce attack in

dans The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum. by Heinrich Böll.

1985 his latest investigation on the Turkish immigrants, The Lowest of the Low ( Ganz unten ),

met with unprecedented worldwide acclaim.

MARIA PARNELL, film director
Born 1948, Warsaw (Poland).
1967 to 1971 studied at the Lodz Film and Television Academy;
1972 to 1974 Polskie Radio i TV (Warsaw)
1974 to 1985 Westdeutscher Rundfunk (Cologne)

M.Parnell made about 50 films for television since 1971. Is currently living in Paris.
KLAUS SCHUFFELS, screenwriter
Born 1949, Krefeld (West Germany). German lecturer at Rouen University, France;

made Wallraff known in France

( Le journaliste IndŽsirable, Maspero 1979; The Undesirable Journalist. Pluto Press, London 1979 and, New York 1979; " La vŽritŽ comme une arme", La DŽcouverte, Paris 1989)

and translated Ganz unten (The Lowest of the Low) from German into French with A.Brossat (Tte de Turc, La DŽcouverte, 1986). Press Review...

"A million miles away from stale ideological formulas, his book reads like a thriller, you simply can't put it down."
Journal de Genève
"Wallraff has rehabilitated the immigrant Turks by telling us of their every day hell."

Le Nouvel Observateur
"A society unmasked"

Le Monde diplomatique
"Courageous end truthful"

Afrique- Asie
" Not a single journalist has done anything like this before. Wallraff is dynamite... A Zorro, crusading for justice, who lives on the fringes of the international journalistic community. "
" More than a best-seller: a social phenomenon. "
Le Monde
" Wallraff has become the greatest popular writer of the moment. "
Der Spiegel
" Wallraff, sunk in a destitution of his own choosing, rises to an exceptional, almost superhuman dimension. A stroke of genius "

Die Zeit
" Contemporary of the release of the book, three major North European papers (Politiken, Denmark; Dagbladet, Norway; Dagens Nyeter, Sweden) published large extracts from it. Politiken devoted half of its front page to the book under the title: Wallraff unmasks West German xenophobia. "
Suddeutsche Zeitung
" Grimm tales of the dealers in men "
The Times
'Lowest of the low' may result in more than pricked consciences. Several compagnies, including giant steelmaker Thyssen, for whom Ali worked, are under investigation of alleged labor-law violations.
West german portrays 'a piece of apartheid'.
International Herald Tribune
" It is easy to write about Wallraff. His life is very much like his book: dynamic, fascinating, full of unexpected discoveries. Wallraff is not a militant engaged in a solitary struggle. He is someone who makes people act. "
Litératunaya Gazetta, Moscou

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