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.

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).

Resisting Monsanto’s Occupation of Hawaii

Aina: That Which Feeds Us

Living Ancestors (2015)

Film Review

Aina is a short documentary about the Waipa Foundation, an organization run by native Hawaiians to restore traditional farming practices to Kauai (Hawaii). The group’s primary focus is to encourage a return to traditional organic farming practices. At the moment their main goal is the taro plant, a traditional staple, by giving the poi (the underground corm of the taro plant) away free to community members. They’re also working to reduce obesity by encouraging a return to the traditional diet (fish, pork, greens and poi).

Prior to seeing the film, I had no idea the extent to which the Hawaiian islands have been “occupied” by Monsanto and other multinational corporations engaged in GMO research. One of the group’s biggest concerns is the massive amount of Roundup, a known carcinogen and neurotoxin, sprayed adjacent to schools. In one highly publicized incident, 50 children had to be hospitalized following exposure to Roundup.

The Waipa Foundation is intent on returning Kauai (Hawaii) to 100% sustainability in food and energy production. With a present population of 1.2 million, the state imports 90% of its food and energy. One hundred years ago, one million Hawaiians lived in abundance without importing anything.