Propaganda and the shaping of Public Opinion.
The US relied on anti-communist fear, created through the “Cold War”, directly following the end of WWII which continued to around 1991. The McCarthy era had Communism marketed as the biggest threat to freedom and the American way of life since Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. The “Second Red Scare”, (the first being the Communist revolution itself), coincided with the increase of the popular fear of communist espionage, the Chinese Civil War, the Berlin Blockade (1948–49) and the Korean and then Vietnamese wars. In addition, red baiting and blacklisting was the order of the day that led to the downfall of many who favoured social responsibility and was the cover needed for the Ruling Elite and its government puppets to exploit the Masses and rob the People (again).
And so, when a socialist government was voted into office in Guatemala, they were taught a lesson CIA style. Bernays was hired to handle the PR crisis in dealing with the new democratic government of Guatemala who weren’t playing nice as far as the capitalists were concerned. He swung into action and did what he did best; he lied. By creating a bogus news agency, the “Middle America Information Bureau”, he set about crafting and moulding public opinion accusing the newly elected president Arbenz of being a Communist and that Guatemala was getting support from the Russians, both of which were untrue. Influential newspapers and magazines including Newsweek, the New York Times, the New Leader, the Atlantic Monthly and Time magazine published articles discussing the growing influence of Guatemala’s Communists regime. 300,000 copies of a brochure entitled “Communism in Guatemala: 22 Facts” were mailed to American Legion posts and auxiliaries. When liberal newspaper “The Nation” started printing these articles, Bernays was especially pleased since he recognized the importance in “winning the liberals over” in his tactical smear-campaign. Of course what really happened was rather different from Eddy’s version and included a component that he usually avoided called “truth”.
A coup was planned using the CIA trained “Liberation Army” that consisted of roughly 400 fighters and headed by exiled leader and army officer, Col. Carlos Castillo Armas. The coup effectively put an end to the experimental period of representative democracy in Guatemala known as the “Ten Years of Spring”, which culminated with Arbenz’s official resignation. Afterwards, the CIA’s “Operation PBHISTORY” began whose objective was to gather and analyze documents from the Arbenz government that would incriminate Arbenz as a Communist puppet and justify the prototype of American Imperialism that has existed for the last 60 years and today includes Iraq and Afghanistan and dozens of other countries.
Fundamentally, if you remove the names and location and instead of Guatemala insert Iran, with its Prime Minister Mohammed Mosaddeq, you could not tell the difference between both of these illegal interventions by the CIA and the American government. Both started with democratically elected leaders who tried to wrestle power away from foreign “investors” who were monopolizing their respective industries at the expense of the peasant population and the host country itself. With Guatemala, it was bananas and UFC and in Iran’s case, it was oil and British Petroleum, which was angered by the action of Prime Minister Mosaddeq in nationalizing the countries oil industry in order to get a bigger share of the profits.
The brutal coup d’état in Guatemala that took place from late 1953 to 1954 was a carbon copy of what happened to Iran (and many other countries), both of which succeeded in the overthrow of their newly democratically elected governments. This blueprint went on to become the standard operating procedure used against a slew of foreign governments that America, through the CIA, underwrote.
The same old faces showed up during this period that had been seen elsewhere, one being the infamous Allen Dulles, then head of the CIA, who described the Guatemalan situation as a “Soviet beachhead in the western hemisphere”. This rhetoric was just what was needed to send the Eisenhower administration and the CIA into a frenzy at a time when the political backdrop was Cold War and McCarthyism.
A note of interest is that both Allen Dulles and his brother, John Foster Dulles, who was Eisenhower’s Secretary of State, owned shares in the United Fruit Company (UFC), with Allen being on the board of directors. The law firm that they partnered at, Sullivan and Cromwell, also represented UFC as a client. A cosy situation indeed. In addition, the major lobbyist for UFC was a man by the name of Ed Whitman whose wife Ann was the personal secretary of President Eisenhower. Whitman even made a propaganda movie called, “Why the Kremlin Hates Bananas”. Many other politicos’ had ties with the CIA front company, UFC, but this type of intrigue is not unusual. The following quote gives an excellent description of what exactly took place, showing, not only the immorality of the CIA, but how the United States has no problem in attacking and undermining foreign countries.
“In 1954, the U.S. State Department and the CIA sponsored a covert operation resulting in the overthrow of the democratically-elected Guatemalan President, Jacobo Arbenz…. From the 1950s until the 1990s, the U.S. directly supported Guatemala’s army by supplying it with combatant training, weaponry, and money. The U.S. sent the Green Berets to Guatemala to transform its Army into a “modern counter-insurgency force,”… The CIA also created a list…leaders who were targeted for assassination.
As documented by the Guatemalan Historical Clarification Commission and the Intelligence Oversight Board, assets (hired mercenaries) committed egregious acts of violence on the citizens of Guatemala including: “Mass indiscriminate killings defined as “genocide” by the Historical Clarification Commission. Arbitrary executions and Kidnappings. Widespread and systematic torture…executions. Policies of genocide such as the “Scorched Earth” operations”.
According to the Historical Clarification Commission, 93% of human rights violations and acts of violence are attributable to the Army. The Historical Clarification Commission documents the following human rights violations committed by the Guatemalan State:
The deaths or disappearances of over 200,000 persons…over 600 massacres – The elimination of leaders of those organizations in defence of human rights – The mass extermination of defenceless Mayan communities, including children, women, and the elderly – Damage to many Mayan communities homes, cattle, crops, and other elements essential for survival – Multiple acts of cruelty and savagery either preceding, accompanying, or occurring after the deaths of the victims – A systematic practice of forced disappearances – The rape of women as a common practice – A systematic practice of arbitrary executions – Counterinsurgency tactics, including psychological warfare, propaganda, and intimidation – Death squads used to eliminate alleged members, allies, or collaborators of those considered “subversives” – Systematic denial of habeas corpus, continuous interpretation of the law favourable to the authorities, indifference to the torture of those detained, and limitations on the right to defence – Forced and discriminatory military recruitment, including minors under the age of fifteen – Failure of the Army to make the distinctions between the enemy and the civilian population – “Genocide” as defined by the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
In 1997…The Clarification Commissions exposure of U.S. complicity in Guatemala over the past 36 years prompted President Clinton to offer a formal and unequivocal apology on March 10, 1999.” –Found at: Shepard Broad Law Center website of Nova Southeastern University, Florida
History clearly turns into a broken record. The Imperialist modus operandi is to re-classify the People as the “opposition”, which then morphs into “rebels” or “insurgence” and is often associated with left-wing or Communism. Todays mantra is “terrorist” and “Muslim fundamentalist”. And the only way this can happen is through propaganda and its dissemination using the controlled media. But the tragedy is that many people consider every war, occupation and attack as a new and justified “crusade” in the name of democracy. However, the sick joke is that the current US Attorney General, Eric Holder, with all his bluster of democracy and justice, comes from a dubious background of abuse and betrayal as he was the legal counsel for Chiquita Banana, meaning the United Fruit Company, a CIA front engaged in subversive and clandestine warfare throughout multiple “Banana Republics” and thus responsible for genocide of the peasant-class.
“…But in the case of Colombia, where U.S. firms have made payments to right- and left-wing death squads to protect their interests, it also seems to indicate an abandonment of human rights principles – and inadvertently placed the spotlight on Attorney General Eric Holder, formerly Chiquita’s top legal counsel.” -“Free Trade, Obama, and Colombia’s Death-Squad Killings” by Roger Bee
Here is more proof that it is all a fraud and that mass-murder in the name of “freedom” or “democracy” is a euphemism for “profit and control”. However, they only way to get away with this is to repackage the abuse as democracy and freedom using the techniques of public relations as perfected by Edward Bernays. -The Warrior
“American firms operating in Colombia, most notably Chiquita, have made payments to both right-wing death squads and the fanatical left-wing guerrilla group FARC…In most cases those executed were union leaders or members or individuals seeking to hold or reclaim land that Dole or Chiquita wanted for banana cultivation…”
“Other U.S. corporations charged with making similar arrangements have been Coca-Cola (which had a close relationship in Guatemala with anti-union death squads, as Business Week exposed), Occidental Petroleum, ExxonMobil, and Drummond Co., an Alabama-based mining firm.”
“…the Chiquita case is of huge significance not just because of the collusion between corporations and death squads that it exposes. It also leads up to America’s top cop – US Attorney General Eric Holder.” -“Banana Land and the Corporate Death Squad Scandals” -Posted by Charlie Cray on February 25th, 2010 – corpwatch.org
The attached documentary “Century of the Self” first appeared on BBC TV in 2002. It is the definitive explanation of Public Relation and the work of Edward Bernays and others. As described by Wikipedia:
The Century of the Self is a 2002 British television documentary series by filmmaker Adam Curtis. It focuses on the work of psychoanalysts Sigmund Freud and Anna Freud, and PR consultant Edward Bernays. In episode one, Curtis says, “This series is about how those in power have used Freud’s theories to try and control the dangerous crowd in an age of mass democracy.”