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This is an old CIA recipe on how to topple democratically elected government. The participants, ex-CIA agents, now in their late seventies, used the last chance to tell us what they were doing almost half a century ago in Guatemala. The model was so successful that it is used, with minor changes, even today. You will find striking similarities in what have happened in Guatemala in early 1950's - with what is happening today in Kosovo. Notice the use of "Human Rights" pretext.

PBS Series on history of CIA

Before we get to word-by-word transcript portion of this text, let us briefly retell you the introduction part of the Guatemala story:

CIA made the first steps soon after the end of WWII. One of the first tasks was to fend off possible win of Communists in the elections in Italy. Next was to topple democratically elected President of Iran, Mossadegh, who dared nationalize the main asset of Iran - OIL. Britain and USA worked together to put hand-picked candidate, a figure head - Shah Resa Pahlavi - a person who would reverse the nationalization. The cue was successful. Soon, western news reels, presented in theaters before a show would brag: "Iranian oil may again flow - Westward!"

One of the participants in undoing Iranian democracy was Roosevelt's grandson Kermit Roosevelt.

The next task was Guatemala.

In American news reels, the country was presented as a happy Banana Land. Local folks were working hard for profit to the American United Fruit company. Democracy is at its peak when money flows into pockets of the American super rich.

Then - disaster! In second democratic elections in Guatemalan history Guatemalans elected Jacobo Arbens (spell?)

Aired on PBS: The history of American intelligence


Narrator: "Arbens was trying to nationalize his country's greatest economic asset - plantations of United Fruit. The company lobbyists, well positioned in the government, started lobbying Eisenhower's Administration to intervene."

Diagram showing people who were connected to United Fruit has among others: John Foster Dulles - American Secretary of State, Allen Dulles - Director of CIA...

News reel shows Allen Dulles, Director of CIA saying: "A Communist influence has come into position to dominate militarily a Central American area. All the way - Guatemalan has made gestures against its neighbors which they deemed to be threatening and which lead them to APPEAL FOR AID."

Philip Roettinger, former CIA officer: "Arbens wanted Guatemala for Guatemalans. He was no Communist..."

Narrator: "Philip Roettinger was CIA officer assigned to the case of Guatemala."

Philip Roettinger: "They knew they could not convince Eisenhower to topple Arbens just for United Fruit - so they told him Arbens was a Communist... And Eisenhower was a dedicated anti-Communist. The word was: go!"

Narrator: "The agency's plan for Guatemala: Select a new leader acceptable for Washington. Device a strategy of PSYCHOLOGICAL WARFARE. Back it up with a small rebel army and airforce. Then - invade!."

Philip Roettinger: "Then we went to Tegucigalpa (Honduras) and set a little office, our little safe-house, to train a group of Guatemalan exiles who were discontented with their lot in Guatemala and who have left Guatemala and went to Honduras. I had a sneaking idea, at that time - our little army would certainly NOT be the key to this whole thing. There must be something else that is going on - which I, of course, would have found out later...

We also had there, in Tegucigalpa, our hand-picked candidate for new President of Guatemala. When I have first met this little guy - I was staggered. I said: 'You mean to make this little fox-faced guy, nervous little fellow - President of Guatemala!?"

A photograph on the screen shows American hand-picked "democrat" in typical Hitleresque pose, with chin up and hands crossed on the chest. If one briefly looked at the photograph - the person would be convinced that it was Adolf Hitler himself. Only the copy of the mustache was not so good: Instead of looking as a perfect bar - from the bottom angle of the photographer - it looked as a letter M.

Narrator: "CIA's choice to run Guatemala was Castillo Armas. Three years earlier, Armas had unsuccessfully tried to overthrow Guatemalan government. Now, with CIA backing he was ready to try again."

Philip Roettinger: "And off they went. We send these guys into Guatemala and they run into Guatemalan army patrol and quit - right on the spot."

Narrator: "With rebel troops stalled on the border the cue was in danger of collapsing. It was then that CIA turned to Eisenhower for additional air support. What was President Eisenhower's reaction?"

Philip Roettinger: "Of course he authorized the operation at a crucial point when we needed 3 or 4 aircraft. He personally authorized their movement to Guatemala. We had three old U.S. fighters: two P37s and a P38. They had American pilots which was not to be revealed, of course. And they flew to Guatemala city and straffed the military playground, dropped leaflets and few bombs. I do not think they hurt anybody but they surely scared bunch of people and gave impression of that there was a military attack against the government of Guatemala - which, of course - there was not."

Narrator: "Crucial to the success of the CIA engineered attack was PROPAGANDA. Signs have appeared threatening death to supporters of President Arbens.

At the same time CIA officers beamed deceptive radio reports of war and upheaval in the country."

Radio recording (translated from Spanish): "The Liberation movement commanded by Colonel Castillo Armas has one great historic mission to fulfill: To serve the nation by fighting vigilantly to maintain HUMAN RIGHTS." (sic)

A CIA operative: " In overall environment my principal job was that of a chief of propaganda force, i.e. creating broadcasts, the leaflets. Creating a climate of fear and apprehension that would precede a small scale invasion that was run by Colonel Castillo Armas."

David Atlee Phillips, former Chief CIA Western Hemisphere: "In the beginning, at least, all propagandists know Mr. Goebbel's rule: If you gonna tell me Big Lies - wait until the time comes.

In the beginning this radio station gained credibility. They never broadcasted anything untrue. It would say, for instance: "We can not confirm the report that there had been a battle at Escipuplos and that there were 5,000 dead. We do not have facts one way or another"... But there would be a word spread that there must have been a tremendous battle." The radio would say to the commander "Please send us 500 soldiers." Commander X would reply: "I cannot send you 500 soldiers. All I can spare is 300 soldiers."...

In fact - there was NO commander X and there were NOT EVEN 3 (THREE) soldiers..." (end of Mr. Phillips' quote)

Narrator: "Isolated in the national Palace and shaken by CIA campaign against him, Arbens, the legally elected President of Guatemala resigned and fled the country...

Castillo Armas was flown by the CIA to Guatemala city to replace the remnants of the Arbens government... Castillo Armas has spoken to the people (recording of American news reel showing Castillo Armas with American narrator saying): "The aim of his government will be to restore the CIVIL RIGHTS to the people, to re-establish true DEMOCRACY based on principles of his movement of national liberation: Truth, Justice and HONEST LABOR!"

David Atlee Phillips: "Eisenhower was elated. In his own words, said in my presence: "It was dandy!"

End of transcript.

The show continues by participant ex-CIA employees saying that from this perspective - it was WRONG what was done to the Guatemalan people and their democracy... But Stalin was still alive, one added - and we (definitely!) were the guys with the white hats.

Of course - here the point was missed. The toppled legally and democratically elected President of Guatemala had NOTHING to do with Stalin or Communism. He was toppled because USA had to have more open hand in exploiting, LOOTING Central America.

And here was the price of the bananas - cheaper for United Fruit - but the SAME for the American people. (The narrator does NOT miss to utter the facts): "After Castillo Armas, there was a succession of military regimes. Guatemala suffered 30 YEARS of civil war! More than 150,000 Guatemalans were killed and additional 40,000 are "missing." Guatemala got to have one of the WORST HUMAN RIGHTS RECORD in the world."

"It is on our COLLECTIVE CONSCIENCE." says ex-CIA officer Philip Roettinger.

What was? The bananas? Why on COLLECTIVE conscience? Is it one of those things when the ROTTEN FEW do horror and then idiotic masses should repeat: "WE have done it!"

I say - Not me!

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Last revised: June 29, 1998