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Stealing the Fire

Stealing the Fire

In 1996, the German nuclear engineer Karl-Heinz Schaab was accused of selling secret information to Iraq. With this data, which had been stolen by Schaab, about the nuclear centrifuge, Saddam Hussein obtained an indispensable link in the process of the production of nuclear arms. But was Schaab a shrewd traitor or a simple pawn in a much more extensive network?

In STEALING THE FIRE, famous film and TV programme makers John S. Friedman (HOTEL TERMINUS: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF KLAUS BARBIE) and Eric Nadler (Frontline) travel across half the world in search of the origin of the centrifuge scandal. Via Brazil, where Schaab sought temporary asylum and made shady deals with the government, the filmmakers arrive in Germany, where they make a shocking discovery: not only did German (and other European) companies conclude lucrative deals with Iraqi purchasers for years—knowing full well that by doing so they supported the Iraqi nuclear programme—but the roots of these firms, like those of the crucial centrifuge, lie in Nazi Germany. Friedman and Nadler also follow the trial against Schaab, who makes a strikingly naive impression. Without this money-eager engineer, the documentary demonstrates, Saddam's nuclear heads would have been made anyway. (—IDFA)

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