Coups R Us – American Regime Changes and Their Aftermath

Coups R Us – American Regime Changes and Their Aftermath from Hawaii to Libya

RT (2018)

Film Review

Narrated by former New York Times foreign correspondent Steven Ginzer, this documentary covers three major US-orchestrated coups: the 1954 CIA coup in Guatemala, overthrowing democratically elected Guatamalan president Jacobo Arbenz; the 2011 US/NATO military intervention to overthrow Libyan president Muamar Gaddafi;  and the 1893 US invasion of the independent nation of Hawaii.

  • 1954 CIA coup in Guatemala – relying on troops from neighboring Honduras, the CIA overthrow the Arbenz government at the behest of United Fruit Company. They objected to  land reform initiative which sought to purchase vacant United Fruit Company land to transfer to landless peasants. The aftermath of the coup was 30 years of brutal dictatorship and the deaths of tens of thousands of indigenous peasants.
  • 2011 Libyan regime change – after touching briefly on Libya’s ongoing civil war and its current failed state status, this segment follows the lives of two volunteers who devote hundreds of hours a year defusing landmines and unexploded shells left behind by ISIS militants.
  • 1893 invasion of Hawaii – few Americans aware of the illegal US invasion and occupation of Hawaii, a highly advanced constitutional monarchy that installed electric lights and telephones before the US did. This segment also explores the growing indigenous movement seeking to end the US occupation of Hawaii.

Meet Allen Dulles: Fascist Spymaster

Meet Allen Dulles: Fascist Spymaster

James Corbett (2015)

Film Review

A comprehensive biography of infamous CIA director Allen Dulles, this film is a treasure trove of hidden history. Dulles ran the CIA from 1953 until Kennedy fired him (in 1961) over the disastrous CIA invasion of Cuba’s Bay of Pigs.

Prior to watching this documentary, I was unaware of Dulles’ long time collaboration with fascists of all stripes. For example, Dulles

  • (with his brother John Foster Dulles) was a founding member of the corporate elite round table group the Council on Foreign Relations (1921).
  • collaborated with George W’s grandfather Prescott Bush and W Averell Harriman to use Union Bank Company to launder Wall Street monies that financed Hitler’s military arsenal.
  • as a member of the Office of Strategic Services (the CIA’s precursor), served as the primary architect of the program to secretly bring Nazi war criminals to the US – where they became CIA spies, military analysts and space and mind control scientists.
  • with John Foster, represented the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company and the United Fruit Company as partners in the powerful Wall Street law firm Cromwell and Sullivan.
  • instigated coups against Iran (1953) and Guatemala (1954) as a personal vendetta when their democratically elected leaders acted contrary to the financial interests of corporate clients.
  • as a Warren Commission member following the JFK assassination, demanded records destroyed relating to Oswald’s CIA employment.*

*The order was foiled by a Warren Commission staffer who secretly retained a copy.

 

The Origins of American Empire – What They Didn’t Teach You in School

Oliver Stone’s Untold History of the United States – Prequel A

Directed by Oliver Stone (2014)

Film Review

Owing to the series’ great success, Oliver Stone has produced two prequels to his  Untold History of the United States. The first traces the origins of America’s present empire-building spree at the end of the 19th Century.

Stone credits Lincoln’s Secretary of State William Seward (1861-69) for the launch of America’s imperialist ambitions. Following the US conquest of half of Mexico in 1848, Seward sought to expand US empire even further by conquering Alaska, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Canada, Columbia, the Virgin Islands, Hawaii and Midway.The US would eventually succeed in annexing all of these territories, except for Canada, Haiti and the Dominican Republic – although they only formally possessed the northern section of Columbia, which they renamed Panama.

Then, as now, the US undertook these military adventures at the behest of Rockefeller, JP Morgan, William Randolph Hearst and other Wall Street robber barons. After the severe depression of 1893 (which caused 20% unemployment), they were convinced the only way to prevent further economic instability was to conquer foreign countries for their resources, cheap labor and markets for surplus US products.

During this period, US troops also invaded Cuba, the Philippines, Honduras, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua and China for the benefit of Standard Oil, United Fruit and other US corporations. Stone quotes extensively from General Smedley Butler’s War is a Racket. Butler participated in nearly all of these invasions.

Stone goes on to trace the British, French, US and czarist designs on Middle Eastern oil that were the true basis for World War I and the invasion of Russia by British, French, US and Japanese troops following the 1917 Bolshevik revolution. I was unaware the US refused to recognize the Soviet Union until 1933, when Roosevelt took office.

My favorite parts of this film concern the brave rebels who opposed this US imperialist aggression despite a brutal federal crackdown on all protest activity: Mark Twain and other in the Anti-Imperialist League, Eugene Debs, Bill Haywood and International Workers of the World, Emma Goldman and Mother Jones (Mary Harris Jones).

Fighting (and Dying) to Reclaim the Commons in Latin America

Land of Corn

Peace Brigades International (2015)

Film Review

Land of Corn is a documentary by Peace Brigades International about four environmental and land rights activists fighting to protect the commons in Oaxca Mexico, Santa Helena Honduras, Choco Columbia and La Primavera Guatemala. In each case, activists are fighting collusion between US-backed corrupt governments and international corporations to end their communal land rights and destroy their livelihood.

In Oaxca, a multinational corporation seeks to illegally evict residents to construct a giant wind farm.

In Santa Helena Honduras, a US-backed corporate giant seeks to displace local farmers for a giant dam and hydroelectric project. This illegal eviction stems directly from the 2009 US-backed coup, in which Obama and Hillary Clinton supported the overthrow of the democratically elected Honduran president.

In Primavera Guatemala, a multinational seeks to clear cut a rain forest residents’ ancestors have fought for generations to preserve.

In Choco Columbia, land rights activists are seeking to reclaim land they lost in the 1980s and 1990s to a corrupt public-private partnership that converted their land to large scale cattle ranches and palm oil and GMO crop plantations.

It’s extremely dangerous to be a land rights/environmental activist in US-backed Latin American countries. One-hundred-sixteen were assassinated in 2014 alone. Those featured in the film face constant death threats. On March 3, 2016 Honduran activist Berta Caceres was murdered by gunmen in her sleep.

As a woman fighting to reclaim community land in Columbia bitterly observes, non-farm jobs are virtually non-existent in her country. If her family is unsuccessful in reclaiming their land, their only other option is to  illegally immigrate to the US, as so many other displaced Latin American peasants have done.

The US Colonization of Latin America

The War On Democracy

Directed by John Pilger (2007)

Film Review

The War Against Democracy is about the US colonization of Latin America, specifically the role of the CIA and the US military in systematically overthrowing democratically elected governments in Central and South America. In each case, the US installs hand picked right wing dictators who forcibly expel indigenous peasants from their land and privatize publicly owned assets and resources for the benefit of US corporations.

Australian filmmaker John Pilger begins by focusing on the US war against Venezuela’s democratically elected government, carefully debunking Washington and media lies depicting former president Hugo Chavez as a communist dictator. In addition to tracing the massive popular movement that brought Chavez to power, the documentary also features dramatic footage of the failed US-sponsored 2002 coup.

Pilger also highlights the 1954 coup in Guatemala, the 1973 coup in Chile and the Bolivian revolution that overturned Bolivia’s right wing government and bring the country’s first indigenous president (Evo Morales) to power in 2003.

Pilger’s interviews with former CIA agents who helped orchestrate some of these coups are priceless.

 

The Corporate/CIA Role in the Rise of Fundamentalism

thy will be done

Thy Will Be Done: The Conquest of the Amazon: Nelson Rockefeller and Evangelism in the Age of Oil

By Gerard Colby and Charlotte Dennett

1995 Harper Collins

I recently picked up this book again – after reading it when it first came out nearly 20 years ago. Charlotte Dennett, one of the authors, got a of media attention prior to Obama’s election in 2008, due to her her efforts to bring murder charges against George W. Bush.

Thy Will Be Done lays out the systematic economic colonization of the Amazon Basin by US corporate interests (led by Nelson Rockefeller) and the CIA – and their unscrupulous use of fundamentalist missionaries and Bible translators to indoctrinate and displace indigenous tribes who stood in the way of clear cutting for agriculture and oil and mineral extraction.

As CIA-liaison during the Eisenhower administration, Rockefeller developed close and enduring relationships at the CIA. This would lead to an ongoing collaboration in opening up Central and South America – and Southeast Asia – to U.S. corporate interests.

In addition to examining the Rockefeller/CIA campaign to introduce fundamentalist Christianity to the native tribes of Central and South America, this 960-page book also catalogs, in extensive detail, the full range of illegal CIA activities (and direct or indirect involvement of Rockefeller and the Rockefeller Foundation) under Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford and Carter.

The book also chronicles the CIA role in installing brutal genocidal dictatorships in Guatemala and El Salvador.

The material presented is from presidential libraries, declassified documents and Congressional. It’s meticulously referenced and features a comprehensive index.