Skip to main content

How anti-Communist propaganda was used to restore US corporate colonialism in a banana republic


The award-winning documentary Harvest of Empire unveils a moving human story that is largely unknown to the great majority of citizens in the US. “They never teach us in school that the huge Latino presence here is a direct result of our own government’s actions in Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America over many decades - actions that forced millions from that region to leave their homeland and journey north,” says Juan González, award-winning journalist and author of the book upon which the documentary is based.

The 1954 CIA-orchestrated coup in Guatemala

Robert White, former US ambassador to El Salvador reveals that “If you had to pick one date where US foreign policy towards Latin America went wrong, the date would be 1954 and the place: Guatemala. That was the beginning of this terrible, terrible attitude that the United States developed towards Latin America and, particularly, towards Central America, where change became our enemy.

From the documentary we also learn that Guatemala was one of the few countries in Latin America that, after World War ll, actually experienced a period of democratic rule. President Jacobo Arbenz was determined to reduce widespread poverty by effecting major land reform in Guatemala. Only 2% of the owners controlled 75% of the arable land. Out of all of those, the United Fruit Company was the largest, with some 600,000 acres of property.

In the US Government, John Foster Dulles, who was the Secretary of State under president Eisenhower; his brother Allen Dulles, who was the head of the CIA - had both been law partners in the main law firm that represented United Fruit Company. Melvin Goodman, former CIA division chief says that “The feeling was we could very easily overthrow this progressive government and make it a lot easier for the United Fruit Company and other American businesses to operate in Central America.

The CIA got heavily involved in managing public opinion. It created the image of Arbenz as a crazy radical. And it was a systematic effort, mobilization and financing of opposition forces, until the Arbenz government was overthrown.

A vicious repression of all progressives and supporters of the Arbenz government ensued. Guatemala really began to establish a new pattern whereby the United States government used covert operations, employed local proxies to destabilize and overthrow governments in the region. A civil war erupted in the county that lasted 20 years. The brutality of the US-backed regimes forced many people to flee to the United States. That common US policy nearly to all the Latin America, in order to promote the interests of the US big capital, created massive waves of immigrants towards the US soil.

How the coup was designed with anti-Communist propaganda as basic tool

Adam Curtis, through his documentary The Century of the Self, goes deeper inside that story, exploring the method and the man who actually designed the coup for the CIA and the United Fruit. The man was Edward Bernays, the father of modern propaganda, or, public relations, if you prefer.

In 1953, the Soviet Union exploded it's first hydrogen bomb and the fear of nuclear war and Communism gripped the United States. Those in power became concerned about how to reassure the population. Committees were set up and public information films made appealing for calm in the face of new threats like nuclear fallout.

At this point, Edward Bernays was living in New York. In the 1920s he had invented the profession of Public Relations and was now one of the most powerful PR men in America. He worked for most of the major corporations and advised politicians, including President Eisenhower. Like his uncle, Sigmund Freud, Bernays was convinced that human beings were driven by irrational forces. The only way to deal with the public was to connect with their unconscious desires and fears.

Bernays argued that instead of trying to reduce people's fear of Communism, one should actually encourage and manipulate the fear. And in such a way that it became a weapon in the cold war. Rational argument was fruitless.


One of Bernays' main clients was the giant United Fruit Company. They owned vast banana plantations in Guatemala and Central America. For decades, United Fruit had controlled the company through pliable dictators. It was known as a 'banana republic'. But in 1950, a young officer, Colonel Arbenz was elected president. He promised to remove United Fruits' control over the country, and in 1953 he announced the government would take over much of their land. It was a massively popular move but a disaster for United Fruit, and they turned to Bernays to help get rid of Arbenz.

In reality, Arbenz was a Democratic Socialist with no links to Moscow, but Bernays set out to turn him into a Communist threat to America. He organized a trip to Guatemala for influential American journalists. Few of them knew anything about the country, or its politics. Bernays arranged for them to be entertained and to meet selected Guatemalan politicians who told them that Arbenz was a Communist controlled by Moscow.

During the trip, there was also a violent anti-American demonstration in the capital. Many of those who worked for United Fruit were convinced it had been organized by Bernays himself. He also created a fake independent news agency in America called the Middle America Information Bureau. It bombarded the American media with press releases saying that Moscow was planning to use Guatemala as a beachhead to attack America. All of this had the desired effect.

But what Bernays was doing was not just trying to blacken the Arbenz regime. He was part of a secret plot. President Eisenhower had agreed that America should topple the Arbenz government, but secretly. The CIA were instructed to organize a coup. Working with the United Fruit Company the CIA trained and armed a rebel army and found a new leader for the country called Colonel Armas. The CIA agent in charge was Howard Hunt, later one of the Watergate burglars.

As planes flown by CIA pilots dropped bombs on Guatemala City, Edward Bernays carried on his propaganda campaign in the American press. He was preparing the American population to see this as the liberation of Guatemala by freedom fighters for Democracy. He totally understood that the coup would happen when conditions on the public and the press allowed for a coup to happen and he created those conditions. He was totally savvy in terms of just what he was helping create there in terms of the overthrow. But ultimately he was reshaping reality, and reshaping public opinion in a way that is undemocratic and manipulative.

On June 27th, 1954, Colonel Arbenz fled the country and Armas arrived as the new leader. Within months, Vice President Nixon visited Guatemala. In an event staged by United Fruit's PR department, he was shown piles of Marxist literature that had been found it was said in the presidential palace.

Bernays had manipulated the American people but he had done so because he, like many others at the time, believed that the interests of business and the interests of America were indivisible. Especially when faced with the threat of Communism. But Bernays was convinced that to explain this rationally to the American people was impossible. Because they were not rational. Instead, one had to touch on their inner fears and manipulate them in the interest of a higher truth. He called it The Engineering of Consent. He was doing it for the American way of life to which he was sincerely devoted. And yet, he felt that the people were really pretty stupid.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Establishment's attempt to promote the hardcore neoliberal Kamala Harris up to the presidency through the back door

globinfo freexchange
Rumours spread around the mainstream quickly on July, 28, whenPolitico "accidentally[?] published a report that Biden picked Harris as his running mate. The outlet quickly deleted the report, and said it was published by mistake. "For a brief period yesterday afternoon, placeholder text was mistakenly published to the site," Brad Dayspring, Politico's vice president of marketing and communications, told The Hill."
Huh?

Politico labeled Sen. Kamala Harris as Biden's running mate... that he chose on August 1 (4 days from now).https://t.co/M3dhmIwZ7opic.twitter.com/99GDHzWPnL — Mark Bednar (@MarkBednar) July 28, 2020
How did that happen? 
Was that indeed a big blunder by the establishment machine? Or, was a deliberate "leak" by the machine to test reactions?

The next day, Kamala Harris wrote a quite "presidential" tweet, reflecting perfectly her presidential ambitions. As she stated: "We can't have millions of…

Ο Κούλης επιβεβαιώνει πλήρως ότι θα εφαρμόσει νέο, σκληρό μνημόνιο!

globinfo freexchange
Όπως είχαμε αναφέρει ήδη από το 2016 και αμέσως μετά την εκλογή Μητσοτάκη στην ηγεσία της ΝΔ, το αποτέλεσμα των εσωτερικών εκλογών στη γαλάζια παράταξη έλυνε τα χέρια του άξονα Βρυξελλών-Βερολίνου. Οι γραφειοφασίστες των Βρυξελλών και το διευθυντήριο του Βερολίνου απέκτησαν μια πρώτης τάξεως εφεδρεία σε περίπτωση που τα πράγματα "στράβωναν" με την κυβέρνηση Τσίπρα.  
Έτσι, ο νέος [τότε] αρχηγός της ΝΔ, Κυριάκος Μητσοτάκης, αποτελεί την καλύτερη λύση προκειμένου να εφαρμόσει πιστά τις πιο σκληρές νεοφιλελεύθερες πολιτικές προκειμένου να ολοκληρωθεί το πείραμα με κάθε λεπτομέρεια.
Ήρθε η ώρα να μας επαληθεύσει πλήρως ο ίδιος ο Μητσοτάκης. Όπως αναφέρει ρεπορτάζ του tvxs.gr:
Μνημόνια με τη μορφή κυβερνητικής πολιτικής είναι το οικονομικό σχέδιο του Κυριάκου Μητσοτάκη, όπως προκύπτει από τη συνέντευξή του στους Financial Times, με αφορμή τη σύνοδο κορυφής της ΕΕ στις 17-18 Ιουλίου. Ο πρωθυπουργός μάλιστα θεωρεί ότι η πανδημία μπορεί να αποτελέσει…

Powerful signs that Biden will have a tough time to control progressives and their growing influence inside the Democratic party

globinfo freexchange
We wrote recently that, even if Biden wins easily in November, things will never be the same inside his party. It seems that the progressive wave is getting stronger, especially after some big victories of progressive candidates in the recent Democratic Primary. The most impressive of them, is AOC's new victory against a Wall Street puppet. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez achieved an astonishing victory through an unreal percentage (72.6%).
Therefore, Bernie's political revolution is far from over. The progressive army is growing stronger and Biden will have a tough time to deal with the Leftist pressure inside the Democratic party. Maintaining the neoliberal agenda won't be a walk in the park on a sunny day.

We already have strong indications towards that case. As Joe Garofoli reported recently for the San Francisco Chronicle [emphasis added]:
California progressives are not letting up on Joe Biden after he released a clean-energy plan last week that is…

Νέες αποκαλύψεις-σοκ: οι τραπεζίτες άρχισαν να "ροκανίζουν" τα δισεκατομμύρια του "μαξιλαριού"!

globinfo freexchange
Σε μια νέα, απίστευτη καταγγελία προχώρησε ο Γιάνης Βαρουφάκης, στις 13/7 στο τοπικό κανάλι της Κέρκυρας Start TV.  Όπως ανέφερε:
                         Η Eurobank ίδρυσε μια εταιρία "σφραγίδα" - τώρα, αυτή τη βδομάδα -  στην οποία περνάει κόκκινα δάνειά της. [...] Την εισάγουν στο χρηματιστήριο - τώρα, οσονούπω - και τις μετοχές θα τις δώσουν ως μέρισμα στους μετόχους της Eurobank. Θα μου πείτε: τι αξία θα έχει αυτή η μετοχή; Ναι, αλλά εδώ έρχονται τα 12 δισεκατομμύρια, τις εγγυήσεις που θα δώσουν τα παιδιά σας και τα εγγόνια σας, γιατί εκείνοι θα επωμιστούν αυτά τα 12 δισ. από τον ESM, για να έχουν κέρδη οι μέτοχοι της Eurobank που δημιούργησαν μια εταιρία "σφραγίδα"! Αυτά τα πράγματα ούτε οι εγκληματίες της Lehman Brothers δεν τα κάνανε, το 2007!

Όπως είχαμε γράψει ήδη από τον Απρίλιο,  τον Δεκέμβριο του 2019, η κυβέρνηση Μητσοτάκη πέρασε ένα σχέδιο νόμου με την κωδική ονομασία "Ηρακλής", με στόχο να μειώσει το άνοιγμα των τραπεζ…

Trump tells Florida crowd “something will happen in Venezuela” soon

“Something will happen with Venezuela. That’s all I can tell you,” Trump said, before not-so-cryptically  adding that Washington would be “very much involved.”
by Alan Macleod
On a trip to COVID-19 riddled Florida this weekend, President Donald Trump not-so-cryptically revealed that he had something big planned for Venezuela during a meeting with leaders of the U.S. military’s Southern Command. “Something will happen with Venezuela. That’s all I can tell you,” he said, before adding that Washington would be “very much involved” in what he was referencing.
On Trump’s orders, Southern Command moved large numbers of forces to the region, ostensibly to conduct a counter-narcotics operation against Venezuela, which the U.S. has described as a “narco state,” with the DEA offering a $15 million bounty for President Maduro’s head. This, despite the fact the U.S. government’s own reports on drug smuggling barely even mention Venezuela and official summaries show that U.S.-allies Colombia and Ec…

Ο ρόλος της Τουρκίας και του Ερντογάν στην κούρσα των Δυτικών αποικιοκρατών για τον ορυκτό πλούτο της Λιβύης

του system failure
Κλιμακώνεται επικίνδυνα η ένταση στην Ανατολική Μεσόγειο, λόγω κυρίως της επεκτατικής πολιτικής της Τουρκίας και της ενεργού ανάμιξής της στο Λιβυκό χάος.
Αλλά παρόλο που η κατάσταση παραμένει πράγματι χαοτική στη Λιβύη, λόγω κυρίως των επεμβάσεων των αποικιοκρατών της Δύσης, οι οποίοι πρώτοι άνοιξαν τον ασκό του Αιόλου (και από αυτούς πρώτοι οι Γάλλοι), φαίνεται ότι το γεωπολιτικό τοπίο αρχίζει, σιγά-σιγά, να ξεκαθαρίζει. 
Όπως είχαμε αποκαλύψει ήδη από το 2016, μια επιστολή από το αρχείο της ηλεκτρονικής αλληλογραφίας της Χίλαρι Κλίντον, που δημοσίευσαν τα WikiLeaks, αποδείκνυε ότι είχε ξεκινήσει μια σκληρή κούρσα ανταγωνισμού μεταξύ των Δυτικών αποικιοκρατικών δυνάμεων πάνω από την Λιβύη. 
Όπως είχαμε αναφέρει, ο τίτλος και οι λεπτομέρειες των πληροφοριών που περιέχονται στην επιστολή, προδίδουν μια έντονη δυσαρέσκεια από πλευράς Αμερικανών για το γεγονός ότι οι Γαλλικές εταιρίες έκοψαν πρώτες το νήμα στην κούρσα για το Λιβυκό πτώμα.
Υπενθυμίζεται ότι, στη συγκεκ…

How a US and Qatari regime change deception produced ‘Caesar’ sanctions driving Syria towards famine

Like the mysterious figure it is named for, the Caesar sanctions bill is the product of an elaborate deception by shadowy US- and Gulf-backed operatives. Instead of protecting Syrian civilians, the unilateral measures are driving them towards hunger and death.
by Max Blumenthal
Part 7 - 46% of the Caesar file reveals mass killings – by a brutal armed opposition
Though the full contents of the supposed Caesar file has never been made public, Human Rights Watch (HRW) was able to view the documents in full in 2015. In a lengthy report hyping the photos and attempting to reinforce the push for regime change, HRW inadvertently demolished Washington’s narrative.

In a virtual footnote in its lengthy report on the Caesar file, HRW acknowledged that nearly half of the entire file – some 24,568 photos – depicted the bodies of government soldiers who had been killed by the armed opposition, “including [by] incidents of terrorism, fires, explosions and car bombs).

As Rick Sterling noted, “nearly …

Firm linked to HHS’ Robert Kadlec poised to become exclusive manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines

A pharmaceutical firm with a dark history and questionable ties to serving ASPR Robert Kadlec is poised to become the exclusive manufacturer of the COVID-19 vaccines now being funded through Trump’s Operation Warp Speed.
by Raul Diego 
Part 3 - The Money Trail
As usual, following the money usually takes us to the center of the real action. In the case of the COVID-19 vaccine, Emergent’s “go-to” status is borne out by this tried and true method, and when we survey the agreements already in place with the companies most likely to develop a vaccine for the novel coronavirus. The value of Johnson & Johnson’s contract with Emergent Biosolutions, for instance, matches up almost exactly with the $456 million grant it received from the Trump administration; Emergent’s five-year manufacturing agreement with the American multinational is worth approximately $480 million.
AstraZeneca’s vaccine candidate, which also received considerable funding from Operation Warp Speed, likewise reached an $8…

After Trump deploys secret police in Portland, 'imagine what happens if he gets four more years'

"They want to see what they can get away with before launching into other parts of the country."
by Jake Johnson
Video footage and first-hand accounts of unidentified federal law enforcement officials snatching up Black Lives Matter protesters in Portland, Oregon and throwing them into unmarked vehicles drew nationwide attention and outrage Friday, with members of Congress, human rights groups, and journalists accusing the Trump administration of deploying "secret police" to crush dissent.
"Unmarked federal agents in combat gear are pulling protesters off the street and jailing them without charge," tweeted Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). "That is what a police state is all about. Now is the time to defend our Constitution. Now is the time to come together and defeat Trump's authoritarian policies."
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) called the conduct of federal law enforcement "outrageous" and said the Trump administration "should …

The east-bound wind causes a storm in the West: Iran-China sign long-term trade agreement

by Behrooz Ghamari Tabrizi
A few months after the publication of his remarkable book, Adam Smith in Beijing, I had an illuminating conversation with Giovanni Arrighi about the significance of China in world history. The late sociologist was interested in knowing more about the subject of my scholarship–modern Iran and the Iranian revolution. When he saw my puzzled face, he told me that he believes that all this apprehension in the west about Iran, is actually rooted in apprehension about China. 
Arrighi thought that if there were any “mainstream” of world history, it ought to be located in the story of China, the only civilization that has shaped the world as a hegemon over many millennia with the exception of the last 250 years. The rise of the West, according to him is an aberration and China will define the future of the world history. 
For China to play that role, it needs sources of energy to feed its expanding economy and a firm foothold in the world trade network. And there is …