[Marxism] Chiquita Sues to Block Release of Files on Colombia Terrorist Payments

Dennis Brasky dmozart1756 at gmail.com
Mon Apr 8 10:24:22 MDT 2013


Chiquita is the renamed United Fruit which helped overthrow the Arbenz
government in Guatemala in 1954 -

Chiquita Sues to Block Release of Files on Colombia Terrorist Payments

Banana Giant Fears National Security Archive "Media Campaign"

Company Says SEC Should Withhold Info on Illegal Transactions

For more information contact:
Michael Evans 202/994-7000 or mevans at gwu.edu

Washington, DC, April 8, 2013 -- Chiquita Brands International last week
filed a "reverse" Freedom of Information lawsuit to block the release of
records to the National Security Archive on the company's illegal payments
to Colombian terrorist groups, according to the complaint filed in U.S.
District Court. At issue are thousands of documents the company turned over
to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) from 1998-2004 as part of
an investigation of the company's illegal transactions with leftist
insurgents and right-wing paramilitaries from the United Self-Defense
Forces of Colombia (AUC).

Two years ago, the Archive published "The Chiquita Papers," a declassified
collection of more than 5,000 pages of internal Chiquita documents turned
over to the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation
as part of a criminal investigation of more than $1.7 million in payments
to the AUC over six years, and for nearly three years after the group was
formally designated as a terrorist organization. That case resulted in a
2007 sentencing agreement in which Chiquita admitted to more than ten years
of payments to a variety of Colombian guerrilla and paramilitary groups.

The Chiquita Papers included evidence that Chiquita and its Colombian
subsidiary had received tangible benefits from those transactions,
undermining one of the key aspects of the company's defense: that it had
never received "any actual security services or actual security equipment
in exchange for the payments." Chiquita's "reverse" FOIA complaint now
claims that the news headlines based on the documents were part of "a media
campaign to publicize biased mischaracterizations of the documents."

"We strongly reject Chiquita's assertion that we mischaracterized
information found in their own corporate records," said Michael Evans,
director of the Archive's Colombia Documentation Project. "Chiquita
admitted to more than a decade of regular payments to death squads and
narcotraffickers," he added. "Now, Chiquita wants to cover up the documents
that would let us judge for ourselves whether those payments were extortion
or security for banana operations, or both."

Among the evidence that Chiquita did, in fact, benefit from its "sensitive
payments" is a 1994 legal memo indicating that Colombian insurgents
provided security at some of Chiquita's plantations in Colombia. The memo
says that the general manager of Chiquita operations in Turbo told company
attorneys that "Guerrilla Groups" were "used to supply security personnel
at the various farms." A subsequent draft of the same memo includes
annotations asking, "Why is this relevant?" and, "Why is this being
written?"

Another document published by the Archive in April 2011 shows that Chiquita
also paid right-wing paramilitary forces for security services--including
intelligence on guerrilla operations--after the AUC wrested control of the
region from insurgents in the mid-1990s. The March 2000 memo, written by
Chiquita Senior Counsel Robert Thomas and based on a conversation with
managers from Chiquita's wholly-owned subsidiary, Banadex, indicates that
paramilitaries formed a front company to disguise "the real purpose of
providing security." The unidentified Banadex official said Chiquita
"should continue making the payments," because the company "can't get the
same level of support from the military."


Check out today's posting at the National Security Archive website -
http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/news/20130408/

Find us on Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/NSArchive

Unredacted, the Archive blog - http://nsarchive.wordpress.com/



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