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The Great White Hope and The Merger of Empires: Shredded Wheat and Republican Bananas merge with Railroaders and Overseas Shipping

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Army Military Intelligence, Wheat Growers, Railroaders, Shipbuilders and the United Fruit Robber Barons

joined hands at the turn of the last Century to bring you year-round enjoyment of Nabisco Shredded Wheat

and United Fruit's new delicacy, fresh Bananas from Guatamala using ocean going steamship vessels called,

ironically enough, The Great White Hope fleets because they were painted pure white to identify them.

Funny how these little cutesy ironies show up as you are doing earth-shattering historical research into internecine

relationships between turn-of-the-century Robber Barons and the ground-breaking use of the U.S. Military and

nascent Intelligence Agencies like Army Intelligence [an Oxymoron]. Army Intelligence really was the FIRST

Intelligence Agency in the History of the USA and it got its start during The Civil War. Its role was to be the strongarm

enforcers to protect the burgeoning international business interests of entrepreneurs who first ventured out

into the unknown and the uncharted waters of fruit growing, ocean going shipping and railroad infrastructures.

The railroad lines (800+ miles through jungles) had to be built across Guatamala where over 5,000 people died

during its construction, and another line had to be built from United Fruit's New Orleans headquarters to points

North in order to deliver both Norman Ream's Nabisco Shredded Wheat and what became Andrew Preston's

Chaquita Bananas to your breakfast table using Norman Ream's newly formed U. S. Steel for the Locomotives,

the Rails and the Steamships. Now I know why Norman Ream commisioned a 7,500 ton steamship from American

Shipbuilding shortly after the turn of the last century as well. I did not know that there was so much money in

Chiquita Bananas and Nabisco Shredded Wheat, plus the many other uses for both the Guatamalan and Cuban

fruits and vegetables and the American and Russian Wheat products which were Norman B. Ream's stock in trade.

Marion B. Ream was encouraged by her millionaire friends to find some way to regain the vast amount of wheat,

railroad locomotive, railroad track and ocean vessel construction business lost by U. S. Steel and Baldwin Locomotive

after the Russian Revolution. Their answer was none other than Anastase Andreivitch Vonsiastky, The Manchurian

Candidate himself, who had replaced another Great White Hope, Czar Nicholas I who failed to defeat the insurgent


Free downloadable PDF book about the turn-of-the-century Robber Barons from 1917 including Frank W. Woolworth,

John Ryan, Clendenin J. Ryan's grandfather and all the usual suspects: John D. Rockefeller, Cornelius Vanderbilt, J. P. Morgan,

Minor Keith, Charles Edison, etc. The photographs alone are worth the visit. Basically a classic puff piece but still worth it.


And how was I able to even discern that these people worked together on this massive infrastructure project?

From a little wedding announcement involving the wedding of Norman B. Ream's daughter, Marion Ream and one

Anastase Andreivitch Vonsiatsky in 1922 which involved a mention of Vonsiatsky's and Marion Ream's friends and the

business associates of her deceased father including: Samuel Vauclain (Baldwin Locomotive), Elliott Bacon (J. P. Morgan)

and J. Watson Webb (the grandson of Cornelius Vanderbilt of the Railroad empire.) Vonsiatsky worked for Vauclain

at Baldwin Locomotive in Philadelphia, as a strike busting goon and then after moving to Thompson, Connecticut

he did the same thing for Andrew Preston's cousin Wickliffe Preston Draper who developed the first Company

Town in America in Hopedale, Massachusetts. When neither Vonsiatsky nor Draper could combat Sacco and

Vanzetti's efforts to disrupt his client's business, he framed them for an armored car robbery and had them

both electrocuted.

But it took a reminder from Thomas Purvis that United Fruit Headquarters were originally in New Orleans, Louisiana

sharing the same building with the founders of an organization called The Anti-Communist League of the Caribbean,

Maurice Gatlin and Guy Bannister, which was deeply involved with the machinations surrounding not only the

Guatamala based Jacobo Arbenz coup d'etat in 1954 sponsored by the CIA and involving E. Howard Hunt, Frank Wisner,

Allen Dulles and Philip J. Corso, among others, but also with the Assassination of JFK which essentially involved the same

set of characters but only 9 years later. And it also took an informative and challenging meeting with Joel Gruhn who was

not buying into my contention that turn of the century Robber Barons like the Reams, the Vauclains, the Vanderbilts,

the Prestons and the Drapers could have possibly set the stage for the eventual assassination of JFK, about 60 years

later almost as predicted by General Smedley Butler in "War is a Racket" in the 1930's. Smedley exposed a plot

to assassinate FDR in the 1930's by a group of businessmen who wanted to install him as the Military Dictator to

replace FDR but he declined and warned that it could happen again if we were not careful. J. P. Morgan, Wickliffe

Draper, the Conservative Liberty Lobby and Gerald L K Smith were involved in both the FDR and the JFK coups.

And it took an incisive question by Tom Scully regarding the rationale for this marriage between a penniless

White Russian Fascist and former Czarist and the daughter of the 25th richest man in America at that time.

Norman B. Ream was a director of 22 major U.S. corporations when he died with an estate of $40,000,000

in 1915 and approximately $6-$7 million of that went to his favorite daughter, an ideological Red Cross nurse.

The nexus of millionaires who welcomed Anastase Vonsiatsky into their trusted circle of friends after Marion Ream

befriended him, apparently had a long history of using thugs, goons, strike busters and enforcers like Vonsiatsky

to keep their employees obedient, compliant and non-Unionized. It was almost like they could not abandon the

lifestyles and methodologies which served their fathers so well up to the Civil War through the use of Cotton

Plantation tactics that included torture and intimidation including lynchings, whippings, stocks, chains and beatings.

Vonsiatsky helped to enforce the Company Town mentality installed by the Drapers in Hopedale, Massachusetts

and duplicated up and down the Eastern Seaboard. And apparently, their Banana Republican millionaire friends, created

an impossible working environment during the construction of the United Fruit railroads and plantations in Guatamala.

Over 5,000 died while hacking through the jungles suffering from malaria, yellow fever, jaundice and sheer exhaustion.

It reminded me of Pulitzer Prize winning author Doug Blackmon's work ‘Slavery by Another Name’: the re-enslavement

of Blacks from the Civil War to World War II. These Banana Republic Republicans even brought in convicts from Alabama

to work in these Guatamalan Death Camps against their will and only about 25 of them survived to tell the story.

And Richard Condon in The Manchurian Candidate tried to warn us all about these people in his 1959 novel, The Manchurian

Candidate, to no avail.

And then the pieces really started fitting and clicking together.

It all started with a simple sentence in this story below about how someone came up with the idea in 1910 of heavily

promoting the sale of Shredded Wheat with the year-round availability of fresh bananas from the Banana Republics in Central

America especially Guatamala and Cuba. All of this happened as a result of the merger of the Boston Fruit Company of Andrew

Preston, as in the Preston-Draper family with the United Fruit Company and the Railroad (J. Watson Webb) and Shipbuilding

interests in the Philadelphia area combined with the Chicago Wheat and Steel interests of Norman B. Ream and his National

Biscuit Company (later Nabisco) plus his United States Steel company for the steel necessary to build the Steamships, Railroad

Locomotives and Rail Lines required to support the infrastructure which utilized ocean vessels called The Great White Hope

at United Fruit and Railroad infrastructures in both Guatamala and then another railroad infrastructure from New Orleans to

points North and East. The locomotives were built by Samuel Vauclain's Baldwin Locomotive Works, and the financing was

provided by Elliott Bacon of the J. P. Morgan banking empire.

Here was the innocent little note which opened up the floodgate of information tying together Vonsiatsky's robber barron

millionaire friends who were all united together in their common hatred for Communists and Communism, pro-Bolshevik Jews,

labor unions, non-believers in Eugenics and especially union organizers and meddling, incompetent Democratic presidents

like FDR, Truman and JFK who were unwilling to drop everything and call out the troops to defend their foreign investments.

"The Shredded Wheat Company featured a 1910 magazine ad promoting their cereal with bananas and cream."

Here is an example of just an amazing number of books on this exact subject especially the one about

The Banana Men: American Mercenaries and Entrepreneurs in Central America, 1880-1930,


There is a great deal of material written about The United Fruit Company and it's political and economical impact on Central America and the banana market in general. Below is a list of a few of the titles.

Bananas and Business: The United Fruit Company in Columbia, 1899-2000, by Marcelo Bucheli (2005)

Conquest of the Tropics: The Story of the Creative Enterprises Conducted by the United Fruit Company, by Frederik Upham Adams (2004)

Banana Wars: Power, Production, and History in the Americans (American Encounters/Global Interactions), by Steve Striffler and Mark Moberg (2003)

In the Shadows of State and Capital: The United Fruit Company, Popular Struggle, and Agrarian Restructuring in Ecuador, 1900-1995, by Steve Striffler (2002)

Conquest of the Tropics: The Story of the Creative Enterprises Conducted by the United Fruit Company, by Frederik Upham Adams (2001)

West Indian Workers and the United Fruit Company in Costa Rica 1870-1940, by Aviva Chomsky (1996)

The Banana Men: American Mercenaries and Entrepreneurs in Central America, 1880-1930, by Lester D. Langley and Thomas David Schoonover (1996)

The United Fruit Company in Latin America (American Business Abroad), by Stacy May (1976)

Impact of the United Fruit Company on the Economic Development of Guatemala, 1946-1954, by Richard Allen LaBarge (1960)

Empire in Green and Gold: The Story of the American Banana Trade, by Charles Morrow Wilson (1947)

Conquest of the Tropics: The Story of the Creative Enterprises Conducted by the United Fruit Company, by Frederik Upham Adams (1914)


Bananas were first brought to the U.S. by sailors on ships returning from the Caribbean. Their commercial importation into this country began around 1870. The 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition played a major role in introducing bananas to the American public.

Bananas and other tropical fruits were still considered luxury goods during this period; however, by the turn of the century the demand by American consumers for this tropical yellow-skinned fruit was growing. By 1910 bananas were available and affordable to even those with meager economic means.

Bananas were one of the first fresh fruits that were available for consumption the year round.

The United Fruit Company came about as the result of an 1899 merger between a railroad entrepreneur-turned-banana- grower/exporter and The Boston Fruit Company.

Photo: United Fruit Co. Office in Cristobal Canal Zone circa 1920's

Both Minor C. Keith and The Boston Fruit Company were in the business of growing tropical fruit in the Caribbean and Central and Latin America and exporting them to the United States for sale. Their newly created company eventually came to be the largest banana growing company in history.

In 1900 they acquired the Fruit Dispatch Company, a fruit marketing company, which assured them of control over the distribution of bananas across the U.S.

United Fruit worked vigorously to increase the demand for bananas. Targeting housewives, they distributed booklets and pamphlets highlighting the nutritional benefits of the fruit, its economical price, the year-round availability and its value as a baby food.

The Shredded Wheat Company featured a 1910 magazine ad promoting their cereal with bananas and cream. Recipes were created utilizing bananas as an ingredient in entrees, breads, cakes, cookies, pies, desserts, ice creams, sherbets, milk shakes, sauces, toppings, salads and sandwiches. They began promoting dried banana chips in 1922.

Recipe booklets and advertisements gave instructions for baking, broiling and frying the tender fruit.

The company kept creating new ways to eat bananas as a method of increasing demand for their product. The Fruit Dispatch Company created a special advertising department devoted to promoting banana consumption in 1929. This same year, they also created an Education Department that printed educational material for school classrooms promoting banana consumption.

In the years to come, schools and teachers were inundated with literature and materials from United Fruit for use in the classroom. These materials promoted the healthy benefits of eating bananas.

In 1944 the advertising character Miss Chiquita Banana was created for an ad campaign. The cartoon character, created by Dik Browne, was based on the singer/actress Carmen Miranda.

The Chiquita brand trademark was officially registered in the U.S. in 1947.

Housewives and schoolteachers weren't the only ones targeted by the advertising. United Fruit Company reached out to the foodservice industry as well with the 1954 publication of a 52 page recipe booklet called Bananas: Recipes for Institutional Service and Menus.

United Fruit began putting the individual stickers with the brand name Chiquita on the fruit in 1962. They were the first company to brand a banana. The stickers were, and still are, applied to each banana by hand.

The increased availability and consumption of more processed food led to a lesser demand for fresh fruit. To cope with this change in consumer habits the company began to diversify.

In 1970, United Fruit merged with AMK-John Morrell, the meat packing company. The new company began doing business under the name United Brands.

Sources: United Fruit Historical Society

Bucheli, Marcelo, The Role of Demand in the Historical Development of the Banana Market, Stanford University, 2001.


There is a great deal of material written about The United Fruit Company and it's political and economical impact on Central America and the banana market in general. Below is a list of a few of the titles.

Bananas and Business: The United Fruit Company in Columbia, 1899-2000, by Marcelo Bucheli (2005)

Conquest of the Tropics: The Story of the Creative Enterprises Conducted by the United Fruit Company, by Frederik Upham Adams (2004)

Banana Wars: Power, Production, and History in the Americans (American Encounters/Global Interactions), by Steve Striffler and Mark Moberg (2003)

In the Shadows of State and Capital: The United Fruit Company, Popular Struggle, and Agrarian Restructuring in Ecuador, 1900-1995, by Steve Striffler (2002)

Conquest of the Tropics: The Story of the Creative Enterprises Conducted by the United Fruit Company, by Frederik Upham Adams (2001)

West Indian Workers and the United Fruit Company in Costa Rica 1870-1940, by Aviva Chomsky (1996)

The Banana Men: American Mercenaries and Entrepreneurs in Central America, 1880-1930, by Lester D. Langley and Thomas David Schoonover (1996)

The United Fruit Company in Latin America (American Business Abroad), by Stacy May (1976)

Impact of the United Fruit Company on the Economic Development of Guatemala, 1946-1954, by Richard Allen LaBarge (1960)

Empire in Green and Gold: The Story of the American Banana Trade, by Charles Morrow Wilson (1947)

Conquest of the Tropics: The Story of the Creative Enterprises Conducted by the United Fruit Company, by Frederik Upham Adams (1914)

Edited by John Bevilaqua
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‘Slavery by Another Name’: the re-enslavement of Blacks from the Civil War to World War II

June 25, 2008

Interview with author Douglas Blackmon by Bill Moyers

A cynical new form of slavery was resurrected from the ashes of the Civil War and re-imposed on hundreds of thousands of African-Americans until the dawn of World War II. Armies of “free” Black men labored without compensation, were repeatedly bought and sold, and were forced through beatings and physical torture to do the bidding of white masters for decades after the official abolition of American slavery. As it poured millions of dollars into Southern government treasuries, the new slavery also became a key instrument in the terrorization of African Americans seeking full participation in the U.S. political system. This youngster is being punished in a forced labor camp in Georgia around 1932. – Photo: John Spivak

In the June 20 broadcast of Bill Moyers’ Journal on PBS, Moyers interviewed Douglas Blackmon, the Atlanta bureau chief of the Wall Street Journal, about his latest book, “Slavery by Another Name,” which looks at an “age of neoslavery” that thrived from the aftermath of the Civil War through the dawn of World War II.

Bill Moyers: Every time I walked downtown where I grew up in Texas, I passed the statue of Johnny Reb, facing east toward Richmond, the capitol of the Confederacy, reminding us of the bravery of gallant men who fought and died to protect a way of life . Tragically, it was a way of life built around slavery.

At one time there were thousands of slaves in our county. And after Richmond fell to Union troops, my home town became, briefly, the military headquarters of the Confederacy. But in 12 years of public schools I cannot remember one of the teachers I deeply cherished describe slavery for what it was. Nor did they, or anyone I knew, talk about how our town’s dark and tortured past in restoring white supremacy after the Civil War prevented the emancipated slaves from realizing the freedom they had been promised.

Across the South, from Texas and Louisiana to the Carolinas, thousands of freed Black Americans simply were arrested, often on trumped up charges, and coerced into forced labor. And that persisted right up into the 1940s, when I was still a boy.

Look at these pictures. Those photographs are from one of the most stunning new books you’ll read this year, “Slavery by Another Name.” The author is Douglas Blackmon, the Atlanta bureau chief of the Wall Street Journal. His articles on race, wealth and other issues have been nominated for Pulitzer Prizes four times. His reporting on U.S. Steel and the company’s use of forced labor was included in the 2003 edition of Best Business Stories, and his contribution to the Journal’s coverage of Hurricane Katrina received a Special Headliner Award in 2006. Welcome.

Under laws enacted specifically to intimidate Blacks, tens of thousands of African Americans were arbitrarily arrested, hit with outrageous fines and charged for the costs of their own arrests. With no means to pay these ostensible “debts,” prisoners were sold as forced laborers to coal mines, lumber camps, brickyards, railroads, quarries and farm plantations. – Photo: John Spivak

This is truly the most remarkable piece of reporting I have read in a long time. I honestly cannot recommend it highly enough. What you report is that no sooner did the slave owners, businessmen of the South, lose the Civil War than they turned around and, in complicity with state and local governments and industry, reinvented slavery by another name. And what was the result?

Douglas Blackmon: Well, the result was that by the time you got to the end of the 19th century, 25 or 30 years after the Civil War, the generation of slaves who’d been freed by the Emancipation Proclamation, and then the constitutional amendments that ended slavery legally, this generation of people, who experienced authentic freedom in many respects - tough life, difficult hard lives after the Civil War - but real freedom, in which they voted, they participated in government …

Bill Moyers: They farmed?

Douglas Blackmon: They farmed. They carved out independent lives. But then, this terrible shadow began to fall back across Black life in America that effectively re-enslaved enormous numbers of people. And what that was all about, what that was rooted in, was that the Southern economy and, in a way, the American economy, was addicted to slavery, was addicted to forced labor. And the South could not resurrect itself.

And so, there was this incredible economic imperative to bring back coerced labor. And they did, on a huge scale.

Besides those who were arrested, thousands of other African Americans were simply seized by Southern landowners and compelled into years of involuntary servitude. Government officials leased falsely imprisoned Blacks to small-town entrepreneurs, provincial farmers and dozens of corporations — including U.S. Steel Corp. — looking for cheap and abundant labor. – Photo: John Spivak

Bill Moyers: You said they did it by criminalizing Black life.

Douglas Blackmon: Well, and that was a charade. But the way that happened was that, of course, before the Civil War, there were Slave Codes. There were laws that governed the behavior of slaves. And that was the basis of laws, for instance, that made it where a slave had to have a written pass to leave their plantation and travel on an open road.

Well, immediately after the Civil War, all the Southern states adopted a new set of laws that were then called Black Codes. And they essentially attempted to recreate the Slave Codes. Well, that was such an obvious effort to recreate slavery that the Union military leadership that was still in the South overruled all of that. Still, that didn’t work. And by the time you get to the end of Reconstruction, all the Southern legislatures have gone back and passed laws that aren’t called Black Codes but essentially criminalized a whole array of activities, that it was impossible for a poor Black farmer to avoid encountering in some way.

Bill Moyers: Such as?

Douglas Blackmon: Vagrancy. So, vagrancy was a law that essentially, it simply, you were breaking the law if you couldn’t prove at any given moment that you were employed. Well, in a world in which there were no pay stubs, it was impossible to prove you were employed. The only way you could prove employment was if some man who owned land would vouch for you and say, he works for me.

And of course, none of these laws said it only applies to Black people. But overwhelmingly, they were only enforced against Black people. And many times, thousands of times I believe, you had young Black men who attempted to do that. They ended up being arrested and returned to the original farmer where they worked in chains, not even a free worker, but as a slave.

Bill Moyers: And the result, as you write, thousands of Black men were arrested, charged with whatever, jailed and then sold to plantations, railroads, mills, lumber camps and factories in the deep South. And this went on, you say, right up to World War II?

Children were not exempt from the re-enslavement of Blacks, as can be seen in this photo of a prisoner stockade in the 1930s. – Photo: John Spivak

Douglas Blackmon: And it was everywhere in the South. These forced labor camps were all over the place. The records that still survive, buried in courthouses all over the South, make it abundantly clear that thousands and thousands of African-Americans were arrested on completely specious claims, made-up stuff, and then, purely because of this economic need and the ability of sheriffs and constables and others to make money off arresting them and providing them to these commercial enterprises and being paid for that.

Bill Moyers: You have a photograph in here - I have literally not been able to get this photograph out of my mind since I saw it the first time several weeks ago when I first got your book - it’s a photograph of an unnamed prisoner tied around a pickaxe for punishment in a Georgia labor camp. It was photographed some time around 1932, which this is hard to believe was two years before I was born.

Douglas Blackmon: Well, that picture was taken by a journalist named John Spivak, who took an astonishing series of pictures in these forced labor camps in Georgia in the 1930s. He got access to the prison system of Georgia and these forced labor encampments, which were scattered all over the place. Some of them were way out in the deep woods. There were turpentine camps. Some of them were mining camps. All incredibly harsh, brutal work. He got access to these as a journalist, in part, because the officials of Georgia had no particular shame in what was happening.

Bill Moyers: That’s a surprising thing.

Douglas Blackmon: Well, but what the picture also demonstrates was the level of violence and brutality, the venality of things that were done. And so, this kind of physical torture went on, on a huge scale. People were whipped, starved. They went without clothing. There were work camps where people reported that they would arrive looking for a lost family member, and they would arrive at a sawmill or a lumber camp where the men were working as slaves naked, chained, you know, whipped. It’s just astonishing, the level of brutality.

Bill Moyers: You have a story in here of a young man, a teenager, who spilled or poured coffee on the hog of the farmer he was working for. He was stripped, stretched across a barrel, and flogged 69 times with a leather strap. And he died a week later. But that’s not a unique story in this book.

Douglas Blackmon: No, that was incredibly common. And there were thousands and thousands of people who died under these circumstances over the span of the period that I write about in the book. And over and over again, it was from disease and malnutrition and from outright homicide and physical abuse.

Bill Moyers: You give voice to a young man long dead, whose voice would never had been heard, had you not discovered it, resurrected it and presented it. He’s the chief character in this book: Green Cottenham, that is.

Douglas Blackmon: Yes, that’s right.

Bill Moyers: Tell me about Green Cottenham.

Douglas Blackmon: Green Cottenham was a man in the 1880s born to a mother and a father, both of whom had been slaves, who were emancipated at the end of the Civil War. Imagine, a young man and a young woman who’ve just been freed from slavery. And now they have the opportunity to break away from the plantations where they’d been held, begin a new life. And so they do. They marry. They have many children. Green Cottenham is the last of them.

He’s born in the 1880s, just as this terrible curtain of hostility and oppression is beginning to really creep across all of Black life in the South. And by the time he becomes an adult, in the first years of the 20th century, the worst forces of the efforts to re-enslave Black Americans are in full power across the South.

And in the North, the allies, the white allies of the freed slaves, have abandoned them. And so, right before the 20th century, whites all across America have essentially reached this new consensus that slavery shouldn’t be brought back. But if African-Americans are returned to a state of absolute servility, that’s okay.

And Green Cottenham becomes an adult at exactly that moment. And then, in the spring of 1908, he’s arrested, standing outside a train station in a little town in Alabama. The officer who arrested him couldn’t remember what the charge was by the time he brought him in front of the judge.

So he’s conveniently convicted of a different crime than the one he was originally picked up for. He ends up being sold three days later, with another group of Black men, into a coal mine outside of Birmingham. And he survives there several months and then dies under terrible circumstances.

Bill Moyers: You write, 45 years after Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, Cottenham was one of thousands of men working like a slave in these coal mines. Slope 12, you call it.

Douglas Blackmon: Slope Number 12.

Bill Moyers: What was Slope Number 12?

Douglas Blackmon: Slope Number 12 was a huge mine on the outskirts of Birmingham, part of a maze of mines. Birmingham is the fastest growing city in the country. Huge amounts of wealth and investment are pouring into the place.

But again, there’s this need for forced labor. And the very men, the very entrepreneurs who, just before the Civil War, were experimenting with a kind of industrial slavery, using slaves in factories and foundries, had begun to realize, hey, this works just as well as slaves out on the farm.

The very same men who were doing that in the 1850s come back in the 1870s and begin to reinstitute the same form of slavery. And Green Cottenham is one of the men, one of the many thousands of men who were sucked into the process and then lived under these terribly brutalizing circumstances, this place that was filled with disease and malnutrition. And he dies there under terrible, terrible circumstances.

Bill Moyers: And you found the sunken graves five miles from downtown Birmingham?

Douglas Blackmon: It’s just miles away. In fact there are just two places there, because all of these mines now are abandoned. Everything is overgrown. There are almost no signs of human activity, except that if you dig deep into the woods, grown over there, you begin to see, if you get the light just right, hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of depressions where these bodies were buried.

Bill Moyers: You say that Atlanta, where you live now, which used to proclaim itself the finest city in the South, was built on the broken backs of re-enslaved Black men.

Douglas Blackmon: That’s right. When I started off writing the book, I began to realize the degree to which this form of enslavement had metastasized across the South and that Atlanta was one of many places where the economy that created the modern city, was one that relied very significantly on this form of coerced labor. And some of the most prominent families and individuals in the creation of the modern Atlanta, their fortunes originated from the use of this practice.

And the most dramatic example of that was a brick factory on the outskirts of town that, at the turn of the century, was producing hundreds of thousands of bricks every day. The city of Atlanta bought millions and millions of those bricks. The factory was operated entirely with forced workers. And almost 100 percent Black forced workers. There were even times that on Sunday afternoons a kind of old-fashioned slave auction would happen, where a white man who controlled Black workers would go out to Chattahoochee Brick and horse trade with the guards at Chattahoochee Brick, trading one man for another, or two men. And …

Bill Moyers: And yet, slavery was illegal?

Douglas Blackmon: It had been illegal for 40 years. And this is a really important thing to me. I was stunned when I realized that because the city of Atlanta bought these millions and millions of bricks, well, those are the bricks that paved the downtown streets of Atlanta. And those bricks are still there. And so these are the bricks that we stand on.

Bill Moyers: Didn’t this economic machine that was built upon forced labor, didn’t these Black Codes, the way that Black life was criminalized, didn’t this put African-Americans at a terrific economic disadvantage then and now?

Douglas Blackmon: Absolutely. The results of those laws and the results of particularly enforcing them with such brutality through this forced labor system, the result of that was that African-Americans, thousands and thousands of them, worked for years and years of their lives with no compensation whatsoever, no ability to end up buying property and enjoying the mechanisms of accumulating wealth in the way that white Americans did. This was a part of denying Black Americans access to education, denying Black Americans access to basic infrastructure, like paved roads, the sorts of things that made it possible for white farmers to become successful.

And so, yes, this whole regime of the Black Codes, the way that they were enforced, the physical intimidation and racial violence that went on, all of these were facets of the same coin that made it incredibly less likely that African-Americans would emerge out of poverty in the way that millions of white Americans did at the same time.

Bill Moyers: How is it, you and I both Southerners, how is it we could grow up right after this era and be so unaware of what had just happened to our part of the country?

Douglas Blackmon: Well, I think there are a lot of explanations for that. The biggest one is simply that this is a history that we haven’t wanted to know as a country. We’ve engaged in a in a kind of collective amnesia about this, particularly about the severity of it.

And the official history of this time, the conventional history tended to minimize the severity of the things that were done again and again and again and to focus instead on the idea, on a lot of false mythologies. Like this idea that freed slaves after emancipation became lawless and sort of went wild and thievery and all sorts of crimes being committed by African-Americans right after the Civil War and during Reconstruction. But when you go back, as I did, and look at the arrest records from that period of time, there’s just no foundation for that. And the reality was there was hardly any crime at all. And huge numbers of people were being arrested on these specious charges, so they could be forced back into labor.

Bill Moyers: Another reason - I just think, as you talk - another reason is that anybody who raised these allegations or charges or wrote about them when I was growing up were dismissed as Communists. If it had been from The Wall Street Journal, it might have been a different take.

Douglas Blackmon: Well, I think there’s some truth to that. Anyone who tried to raise these sorts of questions was at risk of complete excoriation among other white Southerners. But that’s also what’s remarkable about the present moment. And one of the things I’ve discovered in the course of talking about the book with people is that there’s an openness to a conversation about these things that I think didn’t exist even 10 or 15 years ago.

Bill Moyers: What has been the response to it? Americans don’t like to confront these pictures, these stories.

Douglas Blackmon: They don’t. But over and over and over again I’ve encountered people who’ve read the book, who e-mailed me or they come up to me after I talk about it somewhere, particularly African-Americans - African-Americans know this story in their hearts. They may not know the facts. They may not know exactly what the scale of things were. But they know in their hearts that this is what happened.

And so, people come up to me and say, “Gosh, the story that my grandmother used to tell before she died 20 years ago, I never believed it. Because she would describe that she was still a slave in Georgia after World War II or just before. And it never made sense to me. And now it does.”

Bill Moyers: It is amazing that this was happening at a time when many of the African-Americans retiring today were children.

Douglas Blackmon: Were children, exactly. Exactly. And so, again, these are events unlike Antebellum slavery. These are things that connect directly to the lives and the shape and pattern and structure of our society today.

Bill Moyers: Does it explain to you why there might be so much anger in the Black community among, let’s say, African-Americans who are my age, 73, 74, who were children at the time this was still going on?

Douglas Blackmon: Well, there’s no way that anybody can read this book and come away still wondering why there is a sort of fundamental cultural suspicion among African-Americans of the judicial system, for instance. I mean, that suspicion is incredibly well-founded.

The judicial system, the law enforcement system of the South, became primarily an instrument of coercing people into labor and intimidating Blacks away from their civil rights. That was its primary purpose, not the punishment of lawbreakers. And so, yes, these events build an unavoidable and irrefutable case for the kind of anger that still percolates among many, many African-Americans today.

Bill Moyers: If people want to know more about not only your book, but about all of this, for research and so forth, where do they go?

Douglas Blackmon: Go to my website, or the book’s website, www.slaverybyanothername.com.

Bill Moyers: Douglas Blackmon, thanks for being with me.

Douglas Blackmon: Thank you for having me.

Visit www.pbs.org:80/moyers/journal/06202008/watch2.html to watch the broadcast - or get a podcast - of this interview.

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A lot can be traced back to the Republican domination of the White House between Andrew Johnson's Reconstruction and the Wilson admin.

Grant and Sheridan were on top even before Grant was Prez, and whenever there was a calamity that threatened capital - such as the Pullman strike of 1894, or the Black Hills gold rush/Custer's Last Stand and the following Indian persecution - their Joynny-on-the-spot enforcer was their old Civil War crony Gen. Phil Sheridan. Meanwhile, Southern voting cooperation was gained by throwing out de facto Reconstruction and abandoning Southern Blacks to the states' Jim Crow laws.

Why should anything be different after this 30-odd years' start of a solid bloc of business and military? Creation of the Fed on Jekyll Island under Wilson, coupled with WW's secret committment and public lies about the US entering WW I, only strengthened the military-industry-banking nexus, as did weapons improvements.

Note that Wilson was the first in a long Democratic Party tradition of plucking from obscurity some quasi-liberal quasi-intellectual, re-creating him as a savior figure, then letting his secret conservatism and business-friendly policies bloom. Throw Zbig B.'s anti-Soviet, Muslim-playing geopolitics into the mix, and you've got a certain former Illinois senator...

Edited by David Andrews
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A lot can be traced back to the Republican domination of the White House between Andrew Johnson's Reconstruction and the Wilson admin.

Grant and Sheridan were on top even before Grant was Prez, and whenever there was a calamity that threatened capital - such as the Pullman strike of 1894, or the Black Hills gold rush/Custer's Last Stand and the following Indian persecution - their Joynny-on-the-spot enforcer was their old Civil War crony Gen. Phil Sheridan. Meanwhile, Southern voting cooperation was gained by throwing out de facto Reconstruction and abandoning Southern Blacks to the states' Jim Crow laws.

Why should anything be different after this 30-odd years' start of a solid bloc of business and military? Creation of the Fed on Jekyll Island under Wilson, coupled with WW's secret committment and public lies about the US entering WW I, only strengthened the military-industry-banking nexus, as did weapons improvements.

I tried to make these connections in detail to young people when I taught US History II. I believe it is impoirtant for educators to continue to do so.

Note that Wilson was the first in a long Democratic Party tradition of plucking from obscurity some quasi-liberal quasi-intellectual, re-creating him as a savior figure, then letting his secret conservatism and business-friendly policies bloom. Throw Zbig B.'s anti-Soviet, Muslim-playing geopolitics into the mix, and you've got a certain former Illinois senator...

All good points, Dave. But the point I have not quite completed yet is that the nexus of characters surrounding Anastase Vonsiatsky at his wedding

in 1922 represented the cream of the crop of New England's main contributors to what some serious historians called "The Banana Wars" by "The Banana Men" as corny as it sounds. There are 2 books at books.google.com describing the early days of these Banana Robber Barons who created Draper styled company towns throughout Central America as strange as that may seem. Andrew Preston, a Draper cousin owned The Boston Fruit Company which merged with United Fruit later, and Norman B. Ream, the father of Vonsiatsky's wife, and his friends owned most of U.S. Steel and most of the National Biscuit Company (Nabisco) plus major interests in Railroads, like J. Watson Webb (Vanderbilts) and Samuel Vauclain and Minor C. Keith part owner of United Fruit as well.

By the 1950's Allen Dulles and John Foster Dulles, the family of Eisenhower's personal secretary and the friends of the Dulles brothers like the Cabots and the Forbes and the Prestons (The Boston Fruit Company) and the Drapers were in the aggregate, essentially the majority stockholders of United Fruit during both the 1954 coup in Guatamala deposing Jacobo Arbenz and at the time of the "attempted coup d'etat" in Cuba during the Bay of Pigs invasion which failed. Kennedy, Rusk and Acheson probably figured out what the Dulles brothers were up to and they fired Allen for attempting to

use his personal offices at the CIA to advance his financial interests, which today would be a classic conflict of interest. That is why blind trusts

should be created for any high level CIA or military officers or White House occupants.

So I am wondering if you have been reading all my postings about Anastase Vonsiatsky and if you are also wondering why he was befriended

by these United Fruit and Railroad and Wheat interests in the 1920's first owned by the Prestons and the Drapers then later owned by the Dulles brothers, the Cabots and the Forbes crowd? My thesis says that the Dulles brothers were only interested in regaining the banana plantations owned by United Fruit, which were taken by Jacobo Arbenz in Guatamala in 1954 and the banana and sugar plantations taken by Castro in 1959-1960 as selfish and short-sighted as that may seem. They used the standard communist tentacles arguments, as if they were only altruistically concerned

with the "spread of Communism as a philosophy" when in fact they were only interested in shoring up the price of United Fruit stock which had dropped

precipitously whenever Arbenz or Castro or anyone else moved to nationalize United Fruit interests in the Caribbean. Guy Bannister and Maurice Gatlin even had their offices for the Anti-Communist League of the Caribbean just around the corner from United Fruit headquarters in New Orleans but in the same building.

"The United Fruit Company was a major United States corporation that traded in vegetables like carrots, potatoes, beans & tropical fruit (primarily bananas and pineapples) grown in Third World plantations and sold in the United States and Europe. The company was formed in 1899 from the merger of Minor C. Keith's banana-trading concerns with Andrew W. Preston's Boston Fruit Company. It flourished in the early and mid-20th century and came to control vast territories and transportation networks in Central America, the Caribbean coast of Colombia, Ecuador, and the West Indies. Though it competed with the Standard Fruit Company for dominance in the international banana trade, it maintained a virtual monopoly in certain regions."

One of the authors of the 2 books mentioned above flatly states that the Banana was "the fruit that changed the world" after you consider its storied

history from 1890-1990 in Nicaragua, Guatamala, El Salvador, Costa Rica and Cuba in causing almost a constant succession of ongoing "Banana Wars" or revolutions for most of these 100 years. Quite frankly I totally agree with that assessment and was wondering if you think that JFK was marked for death by the Dulles brothers and the anti-Castro exiles after the failed Bay of Pigs and the firing of Dulles, on one hand, and if you feel that one could conclude that these "Banana Wars" fought against "banana dictators" in the Caribbean resulted in the death of JFK, courtesy of this United Fruit and CIA alliance organized by the Dulles brothers? One week ago, I would have said, not highly probable, today I am absolutely convinced that it happened that way. The MK/ULTRA crowds including E. Howard Hunt, Frank Wisner, Philip J. Corso, Ray S. Cline and Willoughby were involved in both Guatamala

and in Cuba. Why they needed Manchurian Candidates in Guatamala is beyond me but that is the crew they called in to do their dirty work. When

Frank Wisner, James Forrestal, Clendenin J. Ryan and George de Mohrenschildt all eventually came to the realization that they had contributed to 20 years of constant OSS and CIA wars and battles over something as stupid as selfish U.S. business interests overseas in sweat shop "banana republics" that resulted in plots against FDR, the deaths of hundreds of thousands of peasants in the Caribbean and then finally JFK's death they all decided to call it quits and buy the farm. E. Howard Hunt had no conscience at all and he once said "Deaths, what deaths?" when asked about Guatamala.

Are you buying into this United Fruit "banana dictator" and "banana wars" concept or not?

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Almost by accident I was able to correlate a list of Vonsiatsky's associates from a NY Times article on 2/4/1922 about his wedding to Marion Ream with the persons who had already started the Boston Fruit Company which became United Fruit Company with extensive holdings in both Guatamala and Cuba. The Dulles brothers, the Cabots and the Forbes who owned large positions in United Fruit stock, later organized CIA sponsored coup attempts against the communist leadership of both countries in 1954 and 1959 with the assistance of E. Howard Hunt, Philip J. Corso, Frank Wisner and others. United Fruit's U.S. headquarters were in New Orleans starting in the 1930's in the same building occupied by Guy Bannister and Maurice Gatlin where they had incorporated their private lobbying organization called The Anti-Communist League of the Caribbean which had actively lobbied for CIA coup d'etats in both Arbenz's Guatamala and Castro's Cuba. Marion's father, Norman B. Ream, had died in 1915 but he was on the Board of Directors of the National Biscuit Company (later known as Nabisco the makers of Shredded Wheat) and the U.S. Steel Company which sold steel for the locomotives and rails used by United Fruit to Samuel Vauclain owner of the Baldwin Locomotive Works where Vonsiatsky was first employed as a strike busting thug. Ream also provided steel for J. Watson Webb's and Minor C. Keith's United Fruit railroad requirements. Elliott Bacon, also in the NY Times article was a partner with J. P. Morgan, the investment banking firm used by both Wickliffe Preston Draper and Norman B. Ream. United Fruit had been formed in 1899 from the merger of Minor C. Keith's railroad operations with the Boston Fruit Company owned by Andrew W. Preston who was Wickliffe Preston Draper's 1st cousin. The item which made me notice this relationship referred me to a most unique advertising campaign in 1910 sponsored jointly by Andrew Preston's United Fruit bananas later called Chiquita bananas and Norman B. Ream's (National Biscuit Company) Nabisco Shredded Wheat cereal. It was apparently the first time that the products from two disparate companies were featured together in the same jointly sponsored newspaper and radio advertising campaigns. Ream's Baltimore and Ohio railroad carried both wheat for Nabisco and bananas for United Fruit across the Eastern Seaboard. The only other common things that were shared by United Fruit and Nabisco were their memberships in either Bannister's Anti-Communist League of the Carribean (via United Fruit) or the Prestons and Drapers later sponsorship of Anastase Vonsiatsky's chosen delegates from OUN and ABN in the World Anti-Communist League.

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Maurice Gatlin's Obituary from 1965 He also died like Guy Bannister from a somewhat suspicious heart attack in 1965-1966

where he fell over a railing six stories up, after suffering the heart attack.

Gatlin was a political associate of Huey Long and opposed Hale Boggs in a Senatorial election. His offices were

in the same building as the United Fruit Company of the Guatamala Arbenz coup and the Castro Cuba coup attempts

organized by the Dulles Brothers.

From: jpshinley@my-dejanews.com

Subject: Maurice Gatlin's Obituary

Date: 29 Dec 1998 00:00:00 GMT

Message-ID: <769j03$ooq$1@nnrp1.dejanews.com>

New Orleans Times-Picayune May 31, 1965 S1-P1 [Front page!]

Heart Attack Kills N. O. Attorney in Puerto Rico

M. B. Gatlin Then Falls 6 Stories From Hotel


New Orleans attorney Maurice B. Gatlin Sr. died in San Juan Puerto Rico, Friday [May 28] night after suffering a heart attack which resulted in his falling six stories from a hotel there, his son said Sunday.


A coroner's report, said Maurice B. Gatlin Jr., attributed his death to the heart attack. Mr. Gatlin fell over a sixth floor railing at the hotel to the ground, Gatlin Jr. stated.


Mr. Gatlin, 62, was attending a meeting of the Inter-American Bar Associtaion in San Juan.


He had been decorated with the Ruben Dario medal July 22, 1961, for his efforts in fighting communism. It was presented to him by Nicaraguan Consul General Reynaldo Chavez on behalf of Nicaraguan President Luis Somoza.


At the time, Chavez said the medal was for "Mr. Gatlin's efforts against communism and for helping to stop the flow of arms shipments from New Orleans to Fidel Catro's forces in Cuba."


In addition to the Inter-American Bar Association, he was also a member of the Louisiana State Bar Association and the Criminal Courts Bar Association.


A political ally of the late U.S. Sen. Huey P. Long, Mr. Gatlin had once served as attorney for the collector of revenue of Louisiana.


In 1954, he opposed U.S. Rep. Hale Boggs in the Democratic primay for the party nomination for the House of Representatives and was [soundly] defeated.


He had also served for a time as the New Orleans representative of the Anti-Communist Committee of the Americas.


Born in Century, Fla., Mr. Gatlin was graduated from Loyola University and Tulane University Law School. He had practiced law since 1931.


Survivors include his widow, the former Miss Bernadette C. O'Dowd, his son, of Waveland Miss. and a daughter, Mrs. Robert Evans...


[end of excerpts]


June 1, 1965 S1-P9

Remoulade by Howard Jacobs

Late Attorney was Man of Wit, Whimsy


A decade ago we obtained from attorney Maurice B. Gatlin a story about his new device which he was just putting on the market. It was called VEND-A-CHECK, and it was more than a business venture. It was an affirmation of human nature.


"Vend-A-Check" was an apparatus which dispensed $5 checks on a coin machine basis. The 'borrower' placed 50 cents in the slot and out came a certified cashier's check for $5. The proprieter had to endorse the check for the patron, where upon he could cash it. The $5 principal was to be paid back in two weeks.


Gradually, "Vend-A-Check" went into limbo, and after several months attorney Gatlin ruefully conceded that "collections weren't as good as I anticipated." But he never lost his confidence in his fellowman and his trust in their ultimate integrity. "Nobody is born bad," he once philosophized. "Sometimes circumstances make them that way."


Some years ago he initiated the practice of listing his own telephone in his name, and a second one captioned "children's phone." Eventually, this became the vogue in many families with multiple teenagers.


Attorney Gatlin was a man of many parts, a blithe spirit despite near-blindness and other infirmities he bore cheerfully over the years.


[end of article]


Jerry Shinley

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Maurice Brooks Gatlin and the Anti-Communist League of the Carribean

In a Ramparts Magazine article by William Turner titled "The Garrison Commission" that is reprinted in The Assassinations, an anthology edited by Peter Dale Scott, Paul L. Hoch and Russell Stetler (Random House, 1976), there appears a reference to a man who happened to know the address of Guy Banister's office next to the drugstore where Slim and I waited that day when Brother-in-law ran his quick and mysterious "errands."

Ordinarily, the fairly common last name, "Brooks," would not seem more than coincidental. In this instance, however, I received additional information from a personal contact indicating that perhaps this individual mentioned in Turner's article resembled the man I knew as Roderick R. Brooks both in appearance and mannerisms.

My lack of certainty is due to my inability to determine the reliability and intent of my informant. That Slim Brooks might actually have been one Jerry Milton Brooks is a nagging possibility I cannot ignore, since Slim never used what he told me in private was his first name in the company of others, always preferring to be called "Slim."

Here is what Fred Turner says in "The Garrison Commission," first published in January of 1968, about Jerry Milton Brooks:

"The dilapidated building at 544 Camp Street is on the corner of Lafayette Place. Shortly after news of Garrison's investigation broke, I went to 531 Lafayette Place, an address given me by Minutemen defector Jerry Milton Brooks as the office of W. Guy Banister, a former FBI official who ran a private detective agency.

"According to Brooks, who had been a trusted Minutemen aide, Banister was a member of the Minutemen and head of the Anti-Communist League of the Caribbean, assertedly an intermediary between the CIA and Caribbean insurgency movements. Brooks said he had worked for Banister on 'anti-Communist' research in 1961-1962, and had known David Ferrie as a frequent visitor to Banister's office.

"Banister had died of an apparent heart attack in the summer of 1964. But Brooks had told me of two associates whom I hoped to find. One was Hugh F. Ward, a young investigator for Banister who also belonged to the Minutemen and the Anti-Communist League. Then I learned that Ward, too, was dead. Reportedly taught to fly by David Ferrie, he was at the controls of a Piper Aztec when it plunged to earth near Ciudad Victoria, Mexico, May 23, 1965.

"The other associate was Maurice Brooks Gatlin Sr., legal counsel to the Anti-Communist League of the Caribbean. Jerry Brooks said he had once been a sort of protégé of Gatlin and was in his confidence. Brooks believed Gatlin's frequent world travels were as a 'transporter' for the CIA.... The search for Gatlin, however, was likewise futile: in 1964 he fell or was pushed from the sixth floor of the El Panama Hotel in Panama during the early morning, and was killed instantly."

Guy Banister is claimed by another researcher, as I previously mentioned, to have been undercover for Division Five of the FBI at the time he ran the detective agency in New Orleans. As Turner goes on to note, 531 Lafayette and 544 Camp are two entrances to the same building. Located next to Waterbury's Drugs, at the corner of Camp and Canal, it stands at the other end of a very short block at Camp and Lafayette.

As for David Ferrie who, according to Jerry Brooks, frequented Banister's office, I met him very briefly and casually once at a party and, as I've mentioned already, I met Guy Banister one evening in the Bourbon House.

What of Maurice Brooks Gatlin, though? Notice that Jerry Brooks claimed this man trusted him and also seemed unaware of his death four years earlier in Panama. Going with my assumption that Jerry Milton Brooks could have been Slim Brooks, and with my further assumption would be that Gary Kirstein, Slim's alleged brother-in-law, was actually E. Howard Hunt using another man's name, a fascinating hypothesis suggests itself.

According to Torrbit's thesis, the CIA's Double-Check Corporation of Miami was on loan to Division Five for anti-Castro activities, and both were involved in the Cuban Revolutionary Council headquartered in Banister's office. In that case, Banister almost certainly would have known and could have been working with E. Howard Hunt.

Suppose that with Brooks, Hunt was using a false identity -- that of Maurice Brooks Gatlin. Then it is easy to imagine how Slim could have become involved in the assassination plot. Moreover, Slim continued to meet with Brother-in-law in the years that followed, which would explain why Jerry Milton Brooks seemed unaware of the death of Gatlin.

Either the real Gatlin, whose name Hunt was using, or another individual on assignment with the Gatlin I.D., could have been murdered in Panama shortly after the John Kennedy murder in order to dispose of an identity Hunt no longer needed.

Banister is dead. Ward, whoever he was, is dead. And Maurice Gatlin is dead or never existed and is presumed dead. E. Howard Hunt's tracks are covered perfectly. There is almost no way to connect him with the crime of Kennedy's assassination.

As for the real Gary Kirstein, Tom Lutz of The National Tattler discovered his name connected with the Minutemen. Phillip Emmons Isaac Bonewits, a Berkeley occultist, wrote me that he found it repeatedly in his investigations of "snuff films" and other illegal Satanist activities.

Could Gary Kirstein have been someone Hunt was attempting to set up in advance for the crime of murdering John Kennedy? Obviously, this theory makes a number of assumptions that are possibly unwarranted.

But then again, multiple levels of cover are standard for intelligence agents, and Brother-in-law warned me that the simplest solution was not always the correct one.

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United Fruit Company

Article ID: 167538

Table of Contents

* 1 Corporate history

* 2 History in central america

* 3 Further reading

* 4 External links

The United Fruit Company ( 1899 - 1970 ) was a corporation prominent in the import-export trade of tropical fruit (notably banana s and pineapple s) coming from Third World plantation s and sent to the United States and Europe . The company is notorious as an archetypal example of multinational influence extending deeply into the internal politics of so-called banana republic s and is frequently cited as an example of exploitative neocolonialism .

The United Fruit Company was known as la frutera (the fruit company) or Mamá Yunay ( "Mommy United") in Central America. It established a monopoly on the production and distribution of bananas in Latin America in the early 20th century , a monopoly which lasted until the end of the company in 1970, and arguably, through the company's successors, during the rest of the 1970s had long lasting ramifications for the economic and political development for the region. This monopoly was predicated on the fact that between 1920 and 1994 the United States purchased 60-90 percent of the region's exports, thereby ensuring the ongoing dependence on the United States. In turn this enabled the UFCO to penetrate the political and economic fabric of Central American societies and influence economic and political outcomes for its own gain.

Corporate history

United Fruit was established on March 30 , 1899 in Boston, Massachusetts , by the merger of two banana companies. The Boston Fruit Company was established by Lorenzo Dow Baker, a sailor who in 1870 had bought his first bananas in Jamaica, and Andrew W. Preston . The other company was founded by Minor C. Keith , who had built railroad s in Costa Rica and then went into the fruit business.

In 1899 railroad entrepreneur Henry Meiggs won a contract in Costa Rica to lay track along the Caribbean coast in exchange for land. Meiggs had two nephews, Minor Keith and Henry Keith. Minor Keith had already begun his own business shipping bananas to New Orleans in 1878 , so when Meiggs decided to give his nephews the railroad contract the decision was made to make one company out of the two ventures and call it the United Fruit Company.

In 1930 , Sam Zemurray ( nickname d "Sam the Banana Man") sold his Cuyamel Fuit Company company to United and retired. But in 1932 , he returned because he felt the company was mismanaged. In June 1970 , it merged with AMK Corporation, which owned the John Morrell meat company and was controlled by Eli H. Black , to become the United Brands Company . After Black's spectacular suicide on February 3 , 1975 â he jumped out of the window of his New York City office on the forty-fourth floor of the Pan Am Building â Cincinnati -based American Financial, one of millionarie Carl H. Lindner, Jr. 's companies, bought into United Fruit. In August 1984 , Lindner took control of the company and renamed it Chiquita Brands International . The headquarters was moved to Cincinnati in 1985 .

History in Central America

The United Fruit Company owned vast tracts of land in the Caribbean lowlands. It also dominated regional transportation networks and owned a major railroad corporation called International Railways of Central America. In addition, UFCO branched out in 1913 by creating the Tropical Radio and Telegraph Company. By the end of the decade there would be virtually no aspect of the economic infrastructure of Latin American banana production untouched by the UFCO. The UFCO was so large that at the time of World War I it had no serious challengers or competiton for control of the banana trade. The huge number of ships that it used for transportation were referred to as the "great white fleet".

One of the company's primary tactics for maintaining market dominance was to control the distribution of banana lands. UFCO claimed that hurricanes, blight and other natural threats required them to hold extra land or reserve land. But in practice what this meant was that UFCO was able to prevent the government from distributing banana lands to peasants who wanted a share of the banana trade.

The fact that the UFCO relied so heavily on manipulation of land use rights in order to maintain their market dominance had a number of long term consequences for the region. For the company to maintain its unequal land holdings it had to have government concessions. And this in turn meant that the company had to be politically involved in the region even though it was an American company.

If a particular government or a particular leader disagreed with UFCO tactics and refused to give them what they wanted, UFCO usually took steps to have the government undermined, discredited, or removed altogether. As a result, the UFCO became a political force opposing democratic social and political reform whenever and wherever it developed in order to preserve its dominant place in the banana trade.

The Company overthrew governments which they considered insufficiently compliant to Company will. For example, in 1910 a group of armed toughs were sent from New Orleans to Honduras to install a new president by force when the incumbent failed to grant the Fruit Company tax breaks. The newly installed Honduran president granted the Company a waiver from paying any taxes for 25 years.

The Company had a mixed record of encouraging and discouraging development in the nations it was involved in. For example, in Guatemala the Company built school s for the people who lived and worked on Company land, while at the same time for many years prevented the Guatemalan government from building highway s, because this would lessen the profitable transportation monopoly of the railroads, which were owned by United Fruit.

The Guatemalan government of Colonel Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán was toppled by covert action by the United States government in 1954 at the behest of United Fruit. This was in opposition to Arbenz's plans to purchase uncultivated land from United Fruit at the price the company had deemed it worth on their taxes and redistribute it among Native American peasant s. The UFC and the bankers that supported the company convinced the CIA and President Dwight Eisenhower that redistributing uncultivated land was the first sign of a Communist takeover in Central America. The American Secretary of State John Foster Dulles was an avowed opponent of Communism whose law firm had represented United Fruit. His brother Allen Dulles was the director of the CIA. The brother of the Assistant Secretary of State for InterAmerican Affairs John Moors Cabot had once been president of United Fruit. Arbenz's government was overthrown by Guatemalan army officers invading from Honduras in what was known as Operation PBSUCCESS . As many as 100,000 people may have died in the ensuing civil war .

Today, successor companies of United Fruit have interests in:

* Costa Rica

* Guatemala

* Honduras

* Panama

The impact of the United Fruit Company has inspired the poet Pablo Neruda to write a poem (in Spanish ) with the company's name as the title. The 1929 strike of Colombian banana workers against United Fruit also inspired part of Gabriel García Márquez ' One Hundred Years of Solitude . Little Steven released a song called "Bitter Fruit" about the company's misdeeds.

Further reading

* Aviva Chomsky . West Indian Workers and the United Fruit Company in Costa Rica, 1870-1940 . Louisiana State University Press.

* Pablo Neruda , "La United Fruit Co." (in his poetry collection Canto General ).

* Stephen Schlesinger and Stephen Kinzer . Bitter Fruit: The Untold Story of the American Coup in Guatemala . 1982.

* Thomas P. McCann. On the Inside . Beverly, Massachusetts: Quinlan Press, 1987 . Revised edition of An American Company ( 1976 ).

* Cameron McWhirter and Michael Gallagher . "How 'el pulpo' became Chiquita Banana". The Cincinnati Enquirer . May 3 , 1998 .

* Jon Lee Anderson . " Che Guevara : A Revolutionary Life" Bantam Books. 1997 .

* Gabriel García Márquez , One Hundred Years of Solitude , 1967 .

External links

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John - Sure, and it's the Roosevelt-Taft years, the last of the Republican domination since the Civil War, that opened the Caribbean for corporate domination by United Fruit, big sugar, et al. Business-military imperialism is the legacy of the post-Civil War Republican-corporate cooperation.

I was just trying to take the imperialist connections you make back a bit into the patterns that US government fell into in the rise of industry and the military after the Civil War, and their connections to the Republican domination.

Edited by David Andrews
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United Fruit Company

In 1930 , Sam Zemurray ( nickname d "Sam the Banana Man") sold his Cuyamel Fuit Company company to United and retired.

Perhaps Allen Dulles should have been known as "Allen the Banana Man".

It just blows me away to think that Allen Dulles and his brother John Foster Dulles, would use the "smokescreen"

or the "reality", take your choice, of the perils from the spreading tentacles of Communism, to enlist the support

of the entire CIA and the military, merely to buttress or support the sagging price of their shares in United Fruit.

Gen. Smedley Butler was just spot on when he wrote "War is a Racket!" His article was all about the coup d'etat

against FDR which had just occurred.

I mean did the Dulles brothers and their buddies, not have a diversified portfolio of stocks and bonds? Didn't United Fruit

have about a dozen Central American and Caribbean nations where they did business? Was there not another alternative to a

violent or threatened coup d'etat? I mean these "banana republic" dictators came and went like the hurricanes which blew

over these nations. The point was made that a hurricane at that time caused the stock price of United Fruit to drop more

precipitously than when Arbenz came in or when Castro appropriated the United Fruit sugar, pineapple and banana properties.

The irony is that many people postulated that when "the Mob" lost valuable gambling, prostitution and resort

properties in Cuba it was a good reason that they should be suspected as the "perps" in the JFK hit. Guess again, bucko.

They lost nothing in Guatamala or Haiti or the Dominican Republic, did they?

I will find and post Butler's article later today. Read it and send it to Dick Cheyney and his Schlumberger buddies, too.

Then Dulles pulled a power play on JFK and tried to force his hand to let the military help out the stranded Bay of Pigs

invaders. And that gamble was lost. And he SHOULD have been fired or made to retire and my guess is that E. Howard

Hunt really was canned at the same time, but no one can prove it right now.

The question then remains exactly WHO was contracted to eliminate JFK? Was the plot by Hunt, Sturgis, and Hemming

ONLY supposed to occur in Miami? Was Robert Emmett Johnson from Interpen involved ONLY with the Dallas plot? Did

the Miami to Dallas motorcade occur with only an INTENTION of being the successful shooters? It is possible. The fact that

Roy Hargraves and Gerry Hemming always seemed to be hinting and pointing fingers at the Emmett Johnson, Mitchell

Werbell III (whose father was a Czarist cavalry officer, too), Robert F. Baird crowd leads me to consider that as a realistic

possibility and to believe much of what Hargraves had to say and very little of what Hemming had to say.

I mean just the fact that they "went" to Dallas was so incriminating... Who would really believe them that they were only sitting

at JFK'S final destination (the Trade Mart) just waiting to shoot him there and then all hell broke loose in Dealey Plaza? OK, call

us irresponsible, we only plotted and planned to kill JFK, someone else got him and then blamed it all on us. What do you

want us to do? So they ratted out those who really did it. I mean after all the people who got paid off were GLK Smith (Christ

of the Ozarks), Vonsiatsky (his wife had just died 10-12 days before the JFK hit) and Draper (Rockwell buyout on the day

Gordon Novel moved to Columbus, Ohio). And E. Howard Hunt might have been working both sides of the issue, acting as

both the Miami plot co-ordinator and then setting up the Miami crew as the Dallas patsies, which is the version I beleive right

now. Or he and Hemming and Sturgis could have been themselves targeted as the patsies both in Miami and Dallas or just

Dallas as well, along with Oswald and Ruby, too. I think E. Howard Hunt was going to patsy Hemming, Sturgis and Hargraves

in Miami, then he was told to move the patsies to Dallas and set them up there because a new, bigger and better set of plotmasters

had stepped up to the plate. The real deal. Robert J. Morris and Charles A. Willoughby with their cast of neo-Nazi and fascist

bastidges including help from Draper and The Pioneer Fund. And that is the version that I can poke no holes in whatsoever

because even Jack Ruby made his statements about: (paraphrasing him) "...those in power here in Dallas who were part of the

Impeach Earl Warren campaigns who were rabidly anti-Semitic" but using different wording. Go check it out for yourself.

What group does that describe? The Dallas John Birch Society, GLK Smith's Silver Shirts and America Firsters and Fellers For America

group as well as Morris's "Ten Million Americans Mobilizing for Justice" "...or Tomorrow."

I mean call Ruby whatever you want... a little crazy, a pipsqueak mobster, a tool of the John Birch Society, a programmed assassin,

a schmuck, a fool, someone who "had" to kill Oswald just to hide how much of a stupid, schmuck and either a participant or a

patsy he really was in fact. Ruby was probably ALL of THESE things and more, which is why Oswald had to die and it had to

be Jack Ruby to do it. Self preservation and reputation defense.

If you accept all of those terms and facts about Ruby, then of course, you have to accept the fact that he knew Morris and Willoughby

and he knew they were anti-Semites and he knew that they were the ones who hired him to either work the plot or to be another

patsy in the plot and they were the ones who pulled it all off. And they were the ones who did pull it off. Just watch the videos and

read his testimony. What reason would Jack Ruby have to lie, at that point? He just wanted out of Dallas where they could kill

him in a heartbeat and then he was going to rat them out back in Washington, DC.

Case Closed.

Edited by John Bevilaqua
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Turns out that even Walter Beddell Smith, director of the CIA, like Dulles

was on the Board of Directors of United Fruit and Gen. Robert E. Wood

formerly of the islolationist America First Committee, and very close to

Rev. Gerald L K Smith, was a United Fruit Board Member...

These "Banana Men" used slave labor conditions to enrich themselves

and they protected their investments by using the U.S. Military and the CIA...

United Fruit Company


Once the single largest owner of banana plantations in Central America (circa 1899). After merging with AMK Corporation, changed its name to United Brands in 1970, and to Chiquita Brands in 1989.




Name Occupation Birth Death Known for

Thomas Dudley Cabot


1-May-1897 8-Jun-1995 CEO of Cabot, 1922-60

Walter Bedell Smith


5-Oct-1895 9-Aug-1961 CIA Director, 1950-53


Name Occupation Birth Death Known for

Allen W. Dulles


7-Apr-1893 29-Jan-1969 CIA Director, 1953-61

Walter Bedell Smith


5-Oct-1895 9-Aug-1961 CIA Director, 1950-53

Robert E. Wood


13-Jun-1879 6-Nov-1969 Chairman of Sears, 1939-54

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Just how important were Anasatase Vonsiatsky's important

contacts like Samuel Vauclain of Baldwin Locomotive and

Elliott Bacon from the J.P. Morgan banking interests and the

man who would have been his father-in-law had he lived,

Norman B. Ream? Very. Either they or their representatives

were among the 10 richest Republicans who helped pick the

Republican candidate for President in 1920, 2 years before

Vonsiatsky's marriage to Norman B. Ream. Samuel

Vauclain was just huge and you can see how anti-Union

they all were, just like the Drapers.

Chapter iv


I. The Making of a President

The Republican National Convention, which took place in June

1920 in Chicago, Illinois, was a most extraordinary affair.

"The Presidency was for sale," writes Karl Schriftgiesser in This

Was Normalcy, "The city of Chicago, never averse to monetary

indecencies, was jam-packed with frenzied bidders, their pockets

bulging with money with which to buy the prize. The Coliseum

became a market place, crowded with stock gamblers, oil pro-

moters, mining magnates, munition makers, sports promoters, and

soap makers . . . The lobbies and rooms of the Loop hotels were in

a turmoil as the potential buyers of office scurried about lining up

their supporters, making their deals, issuing furtive orders, passing

out secret funds."

Among the captains of industry and finance who had flocked

into the Windy City to make sure the Republican Presidential can-

didate was a man to their taste were Harry F. Sinclair, head of the

Sinclair Oil Company, who had already invested $75,000 in the

Republican campaign and was to put up another $185,000 before

the campaign was over; Judge Elbert H. Gary, Chairman of the

Board of Directors of U.S. Steel, whose name had figured promi-

nently in the smashing of the 1919 steel strike; Samuel M. Vauclain,

president of the Baldwin Locomotive Company; Thomas W.

Lamont, partner in the firm of J. P. Morgan and Company; Ed-

ward L. Doheny, president of the Pan-American Petroleum Com-

pany; and William Boyce Thompson, the copper magnate, who had

recently returned from Soviet Russia, where as head of the Ameri-

can Red Cross mission he had staked $1,000,000 of his own money

in an effort to stem the tide of the Russian Revolution.

For conducting the devious, backstairs negotiations among the

different delegations, and for keeping things in general under con-

trol at the open sessions of the Convention at the Chicago Coliseum,

the renowned industrialists and financiers were relying on a small,

select group of Republican polticians. These "political deputies of

wealth," together with their connections, as named by Ferdinand

Lundberg in his book, America's 60 Richest Families, were

Senators Henry Cabot Lodge (Morgan), Medill McCormick (Chi-

cago Tribune-International Harvester Company), James E. Watson of

Indiana (Klan), Reed Smoot (Utah sugar interests), James W. Wads-

worth of New York (Morgan) and Frank Brandages of Connecticut


Shortly after dinner on the sweltering hot night of June 9, with

the Convention balloting for the Presidential candidate deadlocked

between General Leonard Wood and Governor Frank O. Lowden

of Illinois, the junta of Senators met in the three-room suite of the

Republican National Chairman, Will Hays, at the Blackstone Hotel.

Present at the secret meeting, in addition to the Senators, was

George B. M. Harvey, the eccentric, influential publisher of Har-

vey's Weekly, who had close connections with J. P. Morgan and

Company and was frequently referred to as the "President-maker."

Periodically, as the evening wore on, Nicholas Murray Butler,

president of Columbia University and a key figure in the inner

circles of the Republican Party, drifted in and out of the smoke-

filled room in which the private, animated conference was taking


Around midnight, the decision was reached as to who should

be the Republican candidate for President . . .

Senator Warren Harding of Ohio, tired, disheveled and slightly

intoxicated, was summoned to Will Hays' suite.

"Senator, we want to put a question to you," said George

Harvey. "Is there in your lie or background any element which

might embarrass the Republican Party if we nominate you for


The meaning of this question was to be later interpreted in

various ways. One interpretation was that Harvey and his colleagues

wanted to be certain that Harding was not part Negro, as had

been claimed in some scurrilous racist propaganda then circulating

in Chicago. Harvey's own subsequent explanation was that the

Senator was being asked to seek Divine guidance regarding his fit-

ness to become President. Another version was that Harding was

being given the opportunity to inform his backers whether his

relationship with Nan Britton, the mother of his illegitimate daugh-

ter, might be disclosed and become an embarrassing issue during

the Presidential campaign.

At any rate, Harding retired to an adjourning room, remained

there a short while, and then came back and solemnly assured the

others that there was nothing in his past to preclude his becoming

President . . .

On the following afternoon, Senator Warren G. Harding was

nominated as the Republican candidate for President of the United

States. Selected to be his running-mate, as candidate for Vice-

President, was Governor Calvin Coolidge of Massachusetts, best

known for his role in suppressing a police strike in Boston in 1919.

Commenting editorially on Harding's nomination, the New York

Times stated:

. . . the Chicago convention presents a candidate whose nomination

will be received with astonishment and dismay by the party whose

suffrages he invites. . . . Senator Harding's record at Washington has

been faint and colorless ...

The nomination of Harding ... is the fine and perfect flower of the

Senatorial cabal that charged itself with the management of the Repub-

lican Convention . . .

As for principles, they have only hatred of Mr. Wilson and a ravening

hunger for the offices.

According to the Nation, Harding was a "colorless and platitu-

dinous, uninspired and uninspiring nobody" who had been trotted

out by the Republican Old Guard "like a cigar store Indian to

attract trade."

Warren Harding's own succinct comment on the fact he had been

selected to run for President of the United States was: "We drew

to a pair of aces and filled."

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