Author's note: I wrote this paper for the Sociology 450 Sociology of the Environment course from Athabasca University in the Spring of 2001.

Best regards, Mark Munsterhjelm.

"Maya Coffee": Behind the "Mystery"?

Constructions of the Maya have been getting considerable attention recently in Taiwan (Spring 2001). The Maya Coffee Ad campaign and the recent Latin American visits by Vice President Lu being the most prominent. But really, what of the Maya? What most people know of them is mediated by the largess of the transnational communications and entertainment systems with direct contact a rare exception.

Edward Said, the prominent Palestinian American dissident in his noted book "Culture and Imperialism"  writes that "At some very basic level, imperialism means thinking about, settling on, controlling land that you do not possess, that is distant, that is lived on and owned by others." Struggles over geography "are complex and interesting because it not only about soldiers and cannons but also about ideas, about forms, about images and imaginings." [Said, pg. 7, 1994] For the Maya, Taiwan's and other Indigenous peoples these imaginings and renderings have had varied and unfortunately frequently fatal results throughout the 500 year history of the European conquest.

Environmental Movements and Capitalism
The current crisis of legitimacy that has been increasingly affecting capitalism particularly since the 1960s has been in part driven by the environmental movements and growing public environmental concerns. This has been manifested in the rise of Green parties throughout the world with the most prominent being the participation of Germany’s Greens in a national coalition government. Elsewhere the Rome Club’s "limits to growth" and other forms of recognition of the threat to capital accumulation processes has gained greater and greater currency among the transnational business elites.[Sklair, pg. 212, 1994] This rise in environmental awareness has coincided with the rapid expansion of transnational corporate production and legislative systems as manifested in for example in TNCs and the WTO. [Sklair, pg. 207, 1994]

The Australian academic Alex Carey wrote "the twentieth century has been characterized by three developments of great political importance: the growth of democracy, the growth of corporate power, and the growth of corporate propaganda as a means of protecting corporate power against democracy." [Chomsky, "World Orders: Old and New", pg. 89, Columbia, 1994] According PRWatch there are over 150,000 PR "flacks" compared to 130,000 journalists in the USA. Some 30 percent or more of these Stauber maintains are former journalists or journalism graduates. He continues that some 40 percent of news items carried on American TV actually originate in PR departments somewhere. Add to this advertising and you have massive flood of information that has been designed in one or another to mold public opinion. [Mark Dowie, from the Introduction to "TOXIC SLUDGE IS GOOD FOR YOU-Lies, Damn Lies and the Public Relations Industry"  By John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton of PRWatch, Common Courage press, 1995]

Environmentalism ideologies and practices have increasingly begun to be incorporated into transnational agendas. This has had rather mixed results. At one level it has forced corporations to accept a larger degree of environmental accountability in some areas with boycotts such as the Rainforest Action Network against Mitsubishi being a good recent example. However at another level it has seen more corporate friendly elements of environmental movements incorporated into the power structures of capitalism. This arrangement ostensibly allows them to affect change from within the system. However there incorporation into the power structures also makes it dependent on capitalism for their resources.[Yearley, pg. 157, 1994] This dependence invites compromise of principles charge which a price for co-option. [Sklair, pg. 204,  1994]  "One good thing about this is that while we're working with them, they don't have time to sue us." said Frank Boren, a board member of ARCO Petroleum [Joel Bleifuss, Covering The Earth With "GreenPR"]
Groups such as the National Audabon society have many large polluters on their corporate donor lists while Ford, a major car maker, was a major sponsor for Earthday 2000. [Bleifuss, 1995]
Vandana Shiva quite blunt in her assessment of such things stating that: "Over the past 500 years of colonialism, when this global reach has been threatened by resistance, the language of opposition has been co-opted, redefined, and used to legitimize future control." [Shiva, "Global Ecology", pg. 150, 1993]

"...Identify yourself or I'll shoot"
Sklair identifies four "factions" of what she considers to be an "more or less integrated" transnational capitalist class:
1)  "TNC executives and their local affiliates;
2)  globalising state bureaucrats;
3)  capitalist inspired politicians and professionals;
4)  consumerist elites (merchants, media)" [Sklair, pg. 211, 1994]
In parallel to this and perhaps more often then not complimenting
them are "transnational environmentalist elite (TEE)" comprised of:
1) "Transnational environmental organisation executives and their local affiliates;
2)  Globo-localising ‘green’ bureaucrats;
3)  ‘green’ politicians and professionals;
4)  ‘green’ media and merchants." [Sklair, pg. 212, 1994]
The Earth Day 2000 concert in Taipei on April 22, 2000 had several of these elements involved including The Earth Day Network, Taiwanese government agencies, Taiwanese based corporations, local Taiwanese NGOs who organised and supported a concert headlining Matthew Lien. Lien, a Yukon based musician, is an interesting example of someone who I think fits well to the transnational green media and merchants categories as well as consumerist merchants and media. His line of products depends on the mixing of environmental campaigning such as the Caribou Commons project to protect Alaskan caribou calving area threatened by oil exploration or the Chilan forest reserve in Northern Taiwan and Aboriginal land use rights in this park. Over the last 5 years Lien has sold several hundred thousand CDs in Taiwan through a skilful synergistic mixing of environmental messages, with New Age love the Earth mentality marketing and shrewd hobnobbing with Taiwanese and Canadian government agencies, NGOs and corporations.

His musical and related information products are results of transnational production chains that span several countries. He has been able to take advantage of various sorts of direct subsidies such as government grants to more indirect support such as logistical, extensive and favourable media exposure from governments in both Taiwan and the Yukon.  As well as from the corporate sector including Taiwan's Uni-President Enterprises which is Taiwan's largest food processor with annual sales of US$1 billion. President Enterprises speaks sounds proud when it says "With considerable
  investments in North America, mainland China and Southeast
  Asia, nowadays Uni-President Enterprises is indeed in the
  internationalized scope, and our products have expanded beyond
  Taiwan to the rest of the world". [From ]  Similarly  "Matthew [Lien] continues to interpret World Music in his own unique way by incorporating celtic, European folk, light jazz, classical, and traditional and aboriginal influences into his work." [ ] Both Uni-President business operation and Lien's music project themselves in respective ways as having an international scope. So Lien's participation in the Uni-President Group's Maya Coffee commercials is an interesting study of how TNC interact with TEE elements in marketing and production of interconnected information and material products in this case Maya Coffee ads and Maya Coffee canned beverages.

"Matthew Lien's music often features the voices of indigenous people. He believes that indigenous people, whether in Canada's Yukon or in Taiwan, can inspire us, because their life is so close to nature. The picture shows Lien singing with Atayal people at a bonfire in Hsinchu's Chienshih Rural Township during his August visit." [Photo and description are from Sinorama magazine November 1999].

As the above description from Sinorama, a Taiwan Government Information Office publication, shows how today Aboriginal peoples have become popular even idealized symbols for the environmental movements. This tying together has it’s roots in someways with the 19th Century’s romanticism and more ominously with the creeds of social Darwinism that also flourished in this period. For example Marx considered Aboriginal peoples worship of nature as an insult to Man. [Sayer, pg. 16, 1991] However the Green movement and New Age religions have inverted this and often made Indigenous peoples symbols of Eden.  There are several variants including:
1)  Humanity as manifested in Indigenous peoples lived in a state of blissful balance with Nature, however the coming of Judeo-Christianity with it’s "man subduing nature" thinking ended this. Neo-Pagans, Druid wannabes and numerous other crystal gazing types could be included in this. Indigenous peoples are used as symbols of this lost Eden state.
2)  The eco-feminist constructions of a golden age before the coming of patriarchal relations some 5000 to 10000 years ago. In these myths people lived in harmony but male patriarchy destroyed it. [Benton, pg. 39, 1994]
3)  The European expansion that began over 500 years ago ended the peaceful Eden that were the Americas.

In contrast there is a growing group of scientists that have been trying to theorize the collapse of the Classical Mayan civilization as a result of ecological degradation. This supposedly may have led to greater competition for resources and warfare with the final collapse occurring and the Mayan scattering into the jungle to live in small groups. [Clive Ponting, "A Green History of the World", pg. 78-83, 1991, Penguin] There a measure of plausibility however Pontings' conclusion that "By using the natural resources readily available to them, by finding ways of exploiting these more fully and in some cases by creating artificial environments, the Maya were able to build a complex society capable of great cultural and intellectual achievements, but they ended up destroying what they created." Ponting implies that the Maya ceased to exist in a way but on the contrary the Mayan continued their systems of knowledge. The Spanish destroyed almost all the Mayan's books during cultural purges that followed the conquest. The last mass book burning occurred in 1697 when the Spanish captured the final remaining Mayan city called Tayasal. Contrary to Ponting's assertion the Mayans have continued to maintain their intellectual traditions and other elements of their cultures often in secret but also by use of syncretic means including the adoption of Roman Catholic symbolism to mask Mayan religious elements.

In the post war period indigenous peoples and their resources incorporation into capitalist production systems has accelerated rapidly into once remote areas such as the western Amazon, Borneo, and Papau New Guinea. All represent the penetration of transnational capital relations which have been generally coercively imposed onto previously largely autonomous peoples. Aboriginal peoples considerations have been secondary to the necessity of capital accumulation relations, i.e. profitable returns on investment which propels more investment and so on ad absurdum. Elsewhere in the world Aboriginal peoples have long been part of the resource and/or labour providing peripheries of the capitalist system beginning as long as 500 years ago in the case of areas of Americas which provided large quantities of gold and silver for example.

Aboriginal peoples are largely marginalised terms of control in the political economies of their respective nation states. At the transnational level they are even more marginalised by virtue with no large Aboriginal owned or controlled TNCs for example. In the international media renderings of Aboriginal peoples are largely in the hands of a few large TNCs. For example National Geographic Channel is 50 percent owned by Rupert Murdoch’s media conglomerate 25 percent by General Electric with remaining 25 percent belonging to the National Geographic Society. Their webpage describes how viewers will be able to see:
"World Cultures: Meet people from intriguing and exotic locales and witness their fascinating traditions and ancient rituals."
It is not surprising perhaps that this channel carried the a Maya Coffee campaign entitled "a Taste of Maya" in April 2000.

Conflicting views of the Maya:

For tourists we have the following, rather ironic bit:
"Happy are the dead in Santiago Sacratepequez because the living remember them, honour them, and bring them offerings. Yes, in this town the ancestors are venerated and respected without limits…"
From the Guatemalan Tourism Commission pamphlet entitled "Living Cultures" from the Guatemala Tourist booth at the Taipei International Tourism Fair 2000.

For New Age escapists and other space-cadets there is this bit of incomprehensible blathering:
 "The Classic Maya was a civilization
unparalleled in its accomplishment and unique in the
self-termination of its achievement is owing completely to the
mission which was its duty to fulfil. This mission it seems, was to
place the Earth and its solar system in synchronization with a larger
galactic community. That is the meaning of the dates and their
accompanying hieroglyphs. Once the purpose had been achieved
the Maya departed-but not all of them." (Arguelles 1987 from Montejo 1999)

Similarly Matthew Lien fans can fantasize about this:
"Looking for the Quetzal from the Mayan legend. It is absolutely free and untamed. Just as the Maya are not bound by time and space." narrates Mr. Lien for a Uni-President Enterprises Maya Coffee TV ad.

New Age religious movements represent a interesting and widespread social phenomena that has arisen perhaps in the last 30 years. They have strong emphasis on esoteric religious practices particularly those that are perceived as "exotic" and hence mysterious. This has given rise to a DIY attitude that sees proponents adopting and experimenting with a wide variety of religious practices. The elements leading to this include a decline in the credibility of Western religious traditions that roughly corresponds with the rise of consumerism in the West over the last century. For example in today's marketplace an individual with the means is able to purchase no end of spiritual products at a local New Age cultural shops, weekend sweatlodges etc. (Also at the local fundamentalist Christian bookstore but that is another story). In these commodified environments side by side sit ancient religious texts such as the Dao De Jing from Chinese Daoist traditions with the visions of a motley crue of "visionaries" of one brand or another. Veteran space-cadets include the late Carlos Castaneda who spun fantastic tales of mystical encounters with no end of bizarre otherworldly beings in his spiritual adventures with Don Juan his Yaqui shaman mentor. Castaneda's later books were marked and sold as 'fiction' by his publishers and today he is scorned as a fraud by many Aboriginal activists.

This has given rise to the term "plastic medicine men". Montejo a Jakaltekan Mayan who is a professor of Native Studies at the University of California, Davis, writes about one of these: "In his book, The Maya Factor (1987), Arguelles theorized
about the "light beings," or wise Mayans, who abandoned the Maya
land after their messianic mission on earth, during the classic Maya
time, was completed and travelled to their original home, the galaxy
of Andromeda and the Pleiades constellation. According to this
pseudo-scientist, the archaeologists are wrong in their theorizing of
the so-called Maya collapse, because the abandonment of the
Mayan sites was a conscious retrieval to space, not a result of
invasion, calamities, ecological constraints and internal warfare as
proposed by other scholars." [Montejo, 1999] Lien's babbling about "the Maya are not bound by time and space" carries similar otherworldly tones.

Another popular Maya stereotype is of a mysterious lost civilization with complicated mathematics, pyramids in the jungle, hieroglyphics etc. in general emphasising the period of what has been termed "Classical Maya civilization" as constructed by Western "experts" known as "Mayanists". However comments Victor Montejo,  comments "In the construction of this history, Mayans were seen as exotic, mysterious people despite the changes either forced upon them or selectively taken from the Western world for the past 500 years." [Montejo, 1999] Montejo maintains that "For the past 500 years, Mayans have been seen as passive subjects of Western history. Even the dynamic role of our peoples in
reshaping our future has been ignored. Anthropology, the science
that claims to understand living indigenous cultures through
ethnography, has failed to support or even recognize the rights of
indigenous people to represent themselves as they are. For Mayans,
anthropology entered our world through archaeology, constructing
highly speculative "Mayan histories" that are sometimes
denigrating to contemporary Mayans...The problem is the unchallenged power and
authority of the scholars to create or invent worlds or cultures in
which they enclose indigenous people. The resultant condition of
this is the framework where indigenous cultures are transported to
a distant past in order to dehumanize them. Joannes Fabian (1983)
calls this fabrication the "allochronic" time structure that forever
places the "other" in a backward position." (Montejo, 1999) This enclosure allows for Indigenous cultural elements to be appropriated and enter "hyperreality", where symbols take on a life of their own "disconnected" from historical or present colonial contexts. [Bocock citing Baudrillard, pg. 113-4, 1993] These disconnected cultural elements form a pool of knowledge that is sanitized of colonial origins available for commercialization and commodification in new products such as books, documentaries, and tourism. These renderings rest on the academic "authority" of the aforementioned invented worlds.

Ideological indoctrination systems have played a major part in masking the sheer brutality of conquest and colonization. Central to this is propaganda which the Encyclopaedia Britannia defines as "dissemination of information--facts, arguments, rumours,
half-truths, or lies--to influence public opinion."
It has only been in the last 30 or so years there has been some limited democratic advances for the First Nations of Canada, the USA, and Australia for example. Western support of repressive "Third World" regimes has frequently meant that Aboriginal peoples in these areas have been generally subject to far greater levels of violence than those in the West in recent decades. During the Cold War this systematic violence was usually twisted by American propaganda systems to appear as part of the war against "Communism".

American Cold War representations of Aboriginal peoples varied depending upon their utility to US elite interests. In Latin America during US sponsored Contra War of the early 1980s, the Sandanista Nicaragua government fought with Miskito Indians in Nicaragua which left several dozen Indians dead while many more Miskitos were forcibly relocated. Ronald Reagan then President termed it "a campaign of virtual genocide" and the US government portrayed it as a major human rights issue. [Chomsky, "Secrets, Lies and Democracy", pg.82-3, Odonian, 1994] Meanwhile between 1980 and 1985 the US trained and supported Guatemalan army carried out the systematic destruction of over 440, mostly Mayan, villages and the massacres of literally tens of thousands of Mayan Indians without much US mass media attention. The Muskitos were "worthy victims" as Edward Herman terms it. That is they were worth the attention because of their propaganda utility to American interests. However the Mayans were "unworthy victims" because their suffering was directly caused by American policies.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt during WWII said the "Four Freedoms" that the Allies were fighting for were "freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want and freedom from fear"[Chomsky, "Culture of Terrorism", 1988, pg. 1] However the noted American political dissident and scholar, Noam Chomsky in his 1988 book the "Culture of Terrorism" describes what he terms the ""Fifth Freedom" understood crudely but with a fair degree of accuracy as the freedom to rob, to exploit, and to dominate, to undertake any course of action to ensure that existing privilege is protected and advanced." [ibid.] This Fifth Freedom has precedence over the other four.  The Fifth Freedom has always been the primary guide of American policy whether during it’s wars against it’s the North American Indians, in the Philippines, covert operations in Indonesia or elsewhere.

Guatemala is a tragic example of this Fifth Freedom at work. The United Fruit Company had dominated Guatemala since the turn of the 20th century. It owned 20% of the arable land, owned the railways and controlled the government making Guatemala one of the original banana republics. In 1944, a military coup overthrew the Dictator and in 1945 Guatemala’s first democratic government was elected. In 1951 Arbenz was elected Guatemalan President. Land reform was central to his policies at the time since 2% of the population controlled 70% of the arable land. [Blum, 'Killing Hope", 1995] He appropriated 100,000 acres of unused United Fruit lands for distribution to poor peasants offering compensation equal to the lands value as stated in United Fruit Company’s tax returns. In total by 1954, 1.5 million acres had been redistributed from rich landowners to poor landless Guatemalans including many Mayans.[Gibney, 1996]

Arbenz’s reforms were a violation of the Fifth Freedom. His social reforms threatened to put the needs of the people over those of foreign (mainly American) investors. In 1954, a US State Department official described this clearly "Guatemala has become an increasing threat to the stability of Honduras and El Salvador. It’s agrarian reform is a powerful propaganda weapon; its broad social program of aiding the workers against the upper classes and large foreign enterprises has strong appeal to populations of Central American neighbours where similar conditions prevail." [Chomsky, What Uncle Sam Really Wants, 1993, pg. 25] Guatemala had become a dangerous example which threatened the Fifth Freedom and therefore was "communist". United Fruit Company used it’s  extensive political connections in Washington and in conjunction with the CIA began large scale planning to overthrow Arbenz.

Propaganda operations played a central role in the 1954 coup. United Fruit had the services of Edward Bernays who is popularly known as the "Father of Public Relations". Bernays was the nephew of Sigmund Freud and made extensive use of his uncle’s psychology in his work. Bernays was very candid about this use of psychology. "If we understand the mechanisms and motives of
the group mind, it is now possible to control
and regiment the masses according to our
will without their knowing it"[Stauber, Rampton, direct quote of Bernays from "Father of Spin" review]
His observations about controlling democracies are worth quoting at length:
"The conscious and intelligent manipulation
of the organized habits and opinions of the
masses is an important element in
democratic society… Those
who manipulate this unseen mechanism of
society constitute an invisible government
which is the true ruling power of our country.
. . . In almost every act of our daily lives,
whether in the sphere of politics or business,
in our social conduct or our ethical thinking,
we are dominated by the relatively small
number of persons . . . who understand the
mental processes and social patterns of the
masses. It is they who pull the wires which
control the public mind." [Ibid. ]
Using this knowledge he helped plan US propaganda during WWI while commercially he was responsible for such pioneering PR as transforming cigarettes into a symbol of women’s liberation, as "torches of Liberty" for the Lucky Strike tobacco company in the late 1920s.

Image: Consumption as Liberation-Cigarettes as "Torches of Freedom". Bernays played on taboos against women smoking as a sales device. A passing similarity to Maya Coffee's claims of the Maya being "unbound" perhaps. From: PR Museum at:

Bernays efforts in the pre-coup preparation period against the Arbenz government were successful:
"Articles began appearing in the New York
Times, the New York Herald Tribune, the
Atlantic Monthly, Time, Newsweek, the New
Leader, and other publications all discussing
the growing influence of Guatemala's
Communists. The fact that
liberal journals like the Nation were also
coming around was especially satisfying to
Bernays, who believed that winning the
liberals over was essential. . .Bernays remained a
key source of information for the press,
especially the liberal press, right through the
takeover. In fact, as the invasion was
commencing on June 18, his personal papers
indicate he was giving the 'first news anyone
received on the situation' to the Associate
Press, United Press, the International News
Service, and the New York Times, with
contacts intensifying over the next several
days." [Stauber, Rampton, "Father of Spin" review article]

The US government’s propaganda efforts were massive during the pre-invasion period several secret radio stations were set up in neighbouring Nicaragua, Honduras, the Dominican Republic, as well leaflets were prepared, and over 200 anti-Arbenz stories were planted in the Latin American press by United States Information Agency [William Blum, "Killing Hope", 1995]. When the coup began the radio stations began transmitting false information that Arbenz had lost control of the country and that major battles were being fought. Arbenz was even led to believe that the Guatemalan airforce was disloyal and refused to allow any warplanes to takeoff. When Arbenz tried to broadcast his own radio messages to Guatemalan people these were jammed by the CIA radio transmitters. After only a week Arbenz fled the country the US ambassador was able to install through the use of bribes etc, Armas, a leader of it's choosing. This coup is still considered by the CIA itself as a major success in propaganda since the few hundred mercenaries trained for the operation played a relatively minor role in comparison. Within 2 months of the coup some 8000 Guatemalans were murdered many from death lists compiled by US government[Gibley, 1996] [something repeated during the 1965-66 massacres against the PKI (Indonesian Communist Party) leadership in Indonesia]. Peasants were dispossessed of lands redistributed under Arbenz. These were returned to their wealthy "owners" including the United Fruit Co.

Six years later the civil war began. During the Guatemalan civil war of 1960 to 1996 Mayans took a limited role in various guerrilla groups though many were supporters. Mayan inhabited areas were frequently jungle covered mountains which was used by various guerrilla groups. To undermine Mayan resistance support the Guatemalan army engaged, in a familiar Guatemalan historical practice, "propaganda of the deed" including massacres and dumping of the mutilated bodies of government opponents along roadsides by death squads. In the tragic 36 year civil war of 1960 to 1996 over 100,000 people died and 40,000 disappeared.[4] Most of these were Maya. According to the Guatemalan Truth Commission the Guatemalan Military was responsible for over 93% the deaths.

A group of Mayan leaders who gathered in Iximche, Guatemala in February 1980 and wrote the Declaration of Iximche:
"We the indigenous peoples of Guatemala declare and denounce before the world more than four centuries of discrimination, denial, repression, exploitation, and massacres committed by the foreign invaders and continued by their…descendants to the present day…The suffering of our people has come down threw the centuries, since 1524, when there arrived in these lands the assassin and criminal, Pedro de Alvarado." [Wright, 1992, pg. 264] The Conqueror of Guatemala, Pedro de Alvarado slaughtered and enslaved many tens of thousands of Maya beginning in the 1520s. Following in the footsteps of Alvarado, between 1980 and 1985, the Guatemalan Army systematically destroyed 440, mostly Mayan, villages, and massacred tens of thousands of Maya. Over a million Guatemalans were displaced out of Guatemala’s population of ten million during this 4 year period. [ibid.]

The massacres at the Mayan village of Rio Negro in 1982 were typical of the government’s "scorched earth" counterinsurgency policy in the early 1980s. Rio Negro’s villagers had refused to move to make way for the reservoir for the World Bank funded Chixoy Dam. A series of massacres occurred during 1982 that killed about 376 villagers. In one massacre on March 13, 1982, ten soldiers and 25 civilian patrollers arrived and rounded up women and children (the village’s men had earlier fled into the mountains) took them to a hill near the village. Survivors descriptions of the ensuing massacre are horrifying:
"They were strangling many of the women
 by putting ropes around their necks and
 twisting the ropes with sticks. They were
 also beating other women with clubs and
 rifles, and kicking and punching them. 'I
 remember one woman, ' [Jaime, a survivor
 who was ten years old at the time] relates,
 'a soldier jumped up and kicked her in the
 back. He must have broken her spine,
 because she tried to get up but her legs
 wouldn't move. Then he smashed her skull
 with his rifle…The patrollers killed the children by tying
 ropes around their ankles and swinging
 them, smashing their heads and bodies into
 rocks and trees." [5]
 Seventy women and 107 children were
 brutally murdered that day.  Eighteen surviving children were taken to serve as slaves for the patrollers while only two women escaped. Such massacres have been a frequent occurrence in the long history Mayan resistance to colonial repression.

There is a tragic historical connection between the bloody repression of the Maya and Taiwan. The US backed KMT and South Korean military dictatorships co-founded  the World Anti-Communist League (WACL) in 1966 and provided financial and organizational support for it. This international organisation included Nazi war criminals, fascists, and military dictators, including the infamous Generals of Guatemala. Many Guatemalan officers came to Taiwan to attend the KMT’s political warfare schools for training in unconventional warfare, interrogation techniques, and counter-terror tactics. This training was paid for and organised by the WACL. [GroupWatch, 1990] KMT expertise gained in part from killing and terrorizing Taiwanese during the 2/28 Uprising and the subsequent "White Terror" was exported to help slaughter the Maya.

During the war Mayans of Guatemala were targets of the full intensity of US propaganda system and horrors of it’s National Security doctrines. Throughout this period, with scant resources, Churches, Human rights organisations, and indigenous organisations have countered these efforts. However it was the winning of the Nobel Peace prize in 1992 by Rigoberta Menchu that finally focused attention on the Maya’s plight. Since then she has been the target of many efforts to discredit her by various American foreign policy apologists.
This results of this colonial legacy are grinding poverty .
-  Life expectancy for Guatamalan Indians is 45 while it is 61 for Latinos. [Wright, pg. 265, 1992]
 -In 1985, 87 percent of all indigenous households were below the poverty line of US$60 per month and 61 percent were below
the extreme poverty line of US$30. Patrinos, Harry Anthony and Psacharopoulos, George. "Indigenous People and Poverty in Latin America: An Empirical Analysis", 1993, World Bank]
- Two percent of Guatemala’s population still controls 70 percent of the arable land. [Blum, "Killing Hope", 1995]
Guatemala is thus a clear example of the use of ideological propaganda systems in the service of corporate power and privilege against Indigenous peoples.

Coffee is marketed in Taiwan and elsewhere as a symbol of social sophistication, a pleasurable beverage, or cool thing to do. Uni-President Groups Starbucks franchises and Maya Coffee products veil themselves in aires of sophistication. However according to Global Exchange:
 1) Coffee is the 2nd most valuable global commodity trade after oil.
2)11,000,000 hectares of land are under coffee cultivation.
3)Some 20 million people depend on it at least it part for income.
4) The annual world consumption of coffee is some 12 billion pounds. [1]

Coffee production frequently involves considerable ecological destruction including forest clearance and the use of pesticides, fertilisers and other chemicals. Shade grown coffees make use of trees to protect the bushes. These trees provide extensive habitat for birds and animals. However the introduction of "technified" or sun grown coffee in the 1970s resulted extensive clearance of shade trees and also required the intensified use of agrochemicals. Currently over 1 million hectares are "technified" serious diminishing local biological diversity.

As well coffee production is exploitative with small coffee farmers receiving less than 1 or 2 percent of the final retail value of the coffee grown with the other 98 to 99% going to processors, middle men, and marketing corporations. According to a recent study, Guatemalan coffee plantation workers received $2 to $3 per day with average monthly incomes of around Quetzales 1006 (US$127.37/month). Guatemala's National Institute of Statistics 1998 data puts the cost of the
Basic Food Basket at 1353.86 Quetzales per month ($171.37
based on a 7.90 Q:US$1exchange rate) for a family of five. Q2470.55 ($312.72) was needed for a family of five for the Basket of Goods and Services including food, education, healthcare, clothing, and transportation. It is not surprising that a parents often bring their children to help. An investigative report on February 4, 2000 by ABC-affiliate KGO television in San Francisco USA found children as young as 6 to 8 years old in the fields. [2]
Behind the facades of coffee house sophistication is a commodity production chain that spans the globe. It is based in large part on labour exploitation and environmental destruction.  [Statistics in this section come from the Fair Exchange's Coffee FAQ webpage]

What is in a name
"The modern assault on Maya land and labour began when Justo Rufino Barrio, a dictator came to power in the 1870s. He was a social darwinist "liberal" commited to the most ruthless forms fo modernisation, which were to financed by a miracle cash crop, coffee. The very best coffee grows on mountains, and the mountains belonged to Mayas who preferred to raise corn and other things they could eat."[Wright, pg. 264-5, 1992] The relationship between coffee growing and the Maya is not "mysterious" nor ancient but rather a recent chapter of a very tragic colonial history.  According to Louis Proyect, an American activist:
   "The introduction of coffee cultivation in
   19th century Guatemala laid the
   foundations for the semi-feudal oppression
   of the Mayan Indians… In order to free up
   land for coffee production, the communal
   lands of the Indian had to be stolen. This
   was done in 1877 when the Liberal regime
   of Juan Rufino Barrios abolished communal
   ownership of the land." [Proyect, 1999]

The theft of their lands had two purposes: to provide lands for coffee plantations and to deprive the Maya of their livelihoods so they could provide cheap labor for these plantations. This makes it similar to the enclosure that had earlier affected Scotland and England [The Ecologist, 1993]. From the 1860 until the 1890’s Maya were subjected to a neo-feudal servitude in which they were forced to supply labour to the coffee plantations under a government controlled system. In the 1890s a system of debt bondage was developed in which debts could be passed down for 3 generations. So a grandson might be working to pay off debts accumulated by a long dead grandfather. In 1934, the government ended debt bondage and instituted a systems of "Vagrancy Laws" that required landless and small land owning Maya to work 100 to 150 days a year on the coffee plantations. These and other exploitative measures were legal until 1944 when a coup overthrew of the dictator Jorge Ubico. In 1945,  Guatemala’s first democratic government came to power.

The socio-environmental effects on Guatemala of coffee production have been in short devastating:
"It was precisely the violent and oppressive manipulation of the
peasants in Guatemala that drove them from their traditional plots
to tend to the state-sponsored coffee plantations. The state wanted
to consolidate the peasants into large plantations that grew coffee
as a cash crop. The peasants, violently driven from their homes,
were beaten, tortured, and killed if they resisted and became virtual slaves to the plantation owners. Many peasants escaped to higher ground, slashing and burning the cloud forests and formerly fallow land on the sides of the mountains to farm their milpas[small holdings]. The sudden explosion in population exacerbated the deforestation that was already occurring, thereby severely threatening the habitat and food source of the Quetzal. The Guatemalan government has not recognized that the rights of the peasants are directly related to the survival of the Quetzal, the national bird of Guatemala." [Tammy Banhouse, "TED Case Studies: The Resplendent Quetzal"] Today the quetzal the very symbol of Mayan culture is endangered and projected to extinct within a decade in Guatemala due to habitat destruction and hunting. For the destruction of their traditional subsistence systems has made Mayan hunters one of the quetzal’s worst enemies for to hungry peasants the beautiful plumes represent a source of income for their families. As we will see in the fantasies of Maya Coffee however such cognitively dissonant facts are not included in the advertising since these would detract from the pleasures of consumption.

Coffee is a major international commodity subject to the whims of the international market place. In recent weeks coffee prices have hit 30 year lows which are far below production costs entrapping small plot growers in a cycle of poverty and debt ("Coffee Crisis Comes to a Boil", Financial Times, April 11, 2001) . World Bank and other development policies are partly to blame for this as they enforced commodities production as a source of foreign exchange to pay foreign loans.[The Ecologist, pg. 112-3, 1993] This has led to overproduction which has driven down prices trapping countries reliant on coffee as a source of foreign exchange in a debt spiral for to earn more money they must sell more of a good that is decreasing in price something that further pushes down the price and so on. However in the Starbucks and other mainstream venues of coffee culture such concerns are a world away.

Branding Maya Coffee and Matthew Lien
"The average Taiwanese consumer drinks only 40 cups per person per year, as opposed to the 100 cups per year the Japanese gulp down and the average 300 cups drinkers in the US and Europe
consume" [Cybil Chou, Taipei Times, Jan. 27, 2000] Thus there is significant room for potential growth. Coffee is not a traditional drink in Taiwan whereas tea is an ancient part of Chinese culture.  There was some commercial coffee production begun during the Japanese occupation but this ended by 1957 due to rising labour costs. So we can say coffee is a recently imported cultural phenomena in Taiwan. Not surprisingly coffee is frequently marketed as a sign of Western modernity and sophistication, it’s consumption becomes a means of defining identity, as being modern, cool.[Joe Wicentowski, "Starbucks in Taiwan: A Local Cafe Culture Fears McDonaldization", Harvard University, 2000].  For example in April 2000 I received two complimentary cans of Maya Coffee when I made purchase of books at a branch of the upscale urban Eslite Bookstore chain. Eslite also hosts lectures by various local authors and classical music recitals etc. and attempts to generally market itself as a intellectual kinda hip sophisticated "place to be". Some of the branches for example feature a coffee shop and fashion boutiques. Not surprisingly they also sell Matthew Lien and other New Age type CDs. Similarly a trip to one of Uni-President's quickly proliferating local Starbucks franchises has distinctively American feeling and most certainly contains not a single thread of traditional Chinese cultural elements.

Advertising attempts to influence the behaviour of targeted groups be these consumers, the electorate, or the public.  It therefore clearly comes under the earlier definition of propaganda as the "dissemination of information--facts, arguments, rumours,
half-truths, or lies--to influence public opinion" It is central means for the inculcation of consumerism to ever expanding global audiences. "Consumerism has become the practical ideology of capitalism, one which legitimates capitalism in the daily lives and everyday practices of milions...It taps into the into the unconscious desires desires of the  affluent and the poor." [Bocock, pg. 116, 1993]  The manipulation of symbols is an essential part of advertising. Bernays outlined three stages for this:
1)  Devise "overall themes for the campaign" which coincide with "fundamental motivations" of the selected groups.
2)  There must be a central symbol connecting everything together.
3)  To get public attention the PR events must be newsworthy and get attention.[Carl Kosta Savich, "War, Journalism, and Propaganda: An Analysis of Media Coverage of the Bosnian and Kosovo Conflicts", June, 2000 ] The rise of "green consumerism" is a relatively recent but an extremely profitable area. [Sklair, pg. 213, 1994] Sklair considers that "there is growing evidence that central parts of the 'green movement' are in the process of being incorporated" into transnational capitalism "and those that refuse incorporation are being marginalised." [Sklair, pg. 207, 1994]

"Protection of the global environment is an
   important issue for all countries, businesses
   and individuals. Dentsu TEC plans and manages
   various environmental businesses with the goal
   of deepening the symbiotic relationship
   between man and nature, and protecting and
   conserving our natural resources."
The Dentsu Company was founded in 1901. During WWII it was a Japanese government propaganda agency. Today it is the world’s largest advertising agency. Dentsu’s private think tank is the Dentsu Institute for Human Studies which conducts extensive market and psychological research and analysis producing numerous studies such the "Lifestyle Insight 2000" [] This institute publishes extensive reports and environmental awareness is well studied as shown by this excerpt:
"(2) 'Environment first' is becoming an established value.
Global warming and waste management pose a serious threat to the society today. As a result more people have become aware of the need for environmental conservation. In order to conserve the environment, 55.1% think that it is acceptable to share the cost in the form of extra household expenses, and 63.3% think that "if there is a doubt that something may harm the environment or one's health, it should be regulated completely". This understanding is
shared both in Asia and in the West."
[Dentsu Institute Institute for Human Studies, " Comparative Analysis of Global Values '96-'98"]
This institute like other PR firms does extensive public opinion surveys to understand changes in consumer preferences and larger social trends. This information provides is a massive database resource for use in their business operations.

One of Dentsu’ numerous joint-ventures is Dentsu, Young and Rubicam.(DY&R) The initial stage of DY&R’s branding strategy is known as product differentiation which means making the brand stand out from others. In designing marketing strategies DY&R makes use of some very sophisticated psychological tools which they describe as:
"Human Insight Study (Subconscious Consumer Attitudes Towards the Brand)".  "…Human insight study is a method to strengthen the relationship between brands and consumers
 by delving into human psychology, which is not apparent in ordinary consumer surveys. It discovers ad messages and important communication points that will induce changes in consumers' minds. Consumer values and brand perception are diversified. The method searches for these values and perceptions, and identifies the key driving force at work when consumers choose a brand. Human insight adds a new viewpoint to communications strategies that builds a strong brand image in the minds of consumers." Appropriately they title their set of 8 testing approaches as "Nugget Search: Mining for Gold in the Consumers Psyche". By understanding what subconscious motivations people have they can design marketing strategies to exploit this information. They appear to have studied Bernays quite well. [6]

Novelty Resources for Differentiation

figure: Wundt’s curve posits that maximum pleasure is derived from a moderate amount of stimulus novelty with too little being considered boring and too much being too bewildering. [Scitovsky, pg. 35, 1992]

  The Cleveland Indians, and Atlanta Braves are but two famous examples among the many business ventures that utilise Aboriginal cultures in their brand name and related symbols. Aboriginal cultures form novelty resources for product differentiation processes. Advertisements are central to any commercial broadcasting. For the primary function of the TV program is deliver an audience to the advertisers. In this exchange the advertisers purchase the exclusive rights to determine the content of that channel for a period of time, generally 15 to 60 seconds. In this time frame they attempt to maintain the audience attention long enough to impart a message generally to consume this or that product.

"'Products are made in the factory,' says Walter Landor, president of the Landor branding agency, 'but brands are made in the mind.'  "Peter Schweitzer, president of the advertising giant J. Walter Thompson, reiterates the same thought: 'The difference between products and brands is fundamental. A product is something that is made in a factory; a brand is something that is bought by a customer.'" [Naomi Klein, "No Logo", 2000, excerpt from review by Walden Bello]

With these businessmen's comments in mind in considering the term product it is advisable to adopt the broader conception of a product as being a cultural construct which incorporates physical as well as symbolic manifestations. For example a Nike Air Jordon shoes are much more than a physical objects composed of nylon, synthetic leather, and various plastics assembled by poorly-paid labourers in Indonesia or Vietnam. What differentiates these shoes is the perceptual relationship with the pop cultural superstar known as Michael Jordon. Jordon is physically a person but culturally he is global symbol constructed through the transnational entertainment complex. Similarly Nike is primarily an advertising entity that spends 1 billion dollars a year to market products that are made by subcontractors.[Jonah Peretti, the Nation, 2001] Coke-Cola physically is a beverage composed of sugar, water, a bit of caffeine, and flavourings but today it is the "Real Thing". While in some quarters it is perceived as the very symbol of American and global capitalism as evidenced in the term "Coca-Cola-isation" used by critics to describe globalisation.

Advertising therefore is very much about the manipulation of symbols which have forms of culturally recognizable meanings.
In the Maya Coffee ads there is a mixing of stereotyped "Mysterious Maya" imagery mixed with novel dramatic film footage which produces rapidly and skilfully manipulated in a visually interesting 20 to 40 second TV spot. Thus the ads play on and reinforce common stereotypes of the Mysterious Maya. A more recent spot features the Taiwanese Aboriginal singer Samingad of the Puyuma First Nation singer who is pictured on an outcrop among steep mountain side singing her voice travelling over the mountains and various people in the forest stopping their activities to listen to this "wonderful sound". This is consistent with the common stereotypes of Taiwanese Aboriginal peoples as living in the mountains and singing a lot. [See Munsterhjelm, 2001 at:]
This represents a mishmashing of Aboriginal Cultures with someone from the Puyuma First Nation paid to sell a product that exploits Mayan peoples.

Advertising frequently makes use of celebrities for their symbolic and/or credibility effects on the audience. A news release originating from Matthew Lien explains the reason for his selection in the Maya Coffee ad campaign as: "President Enterprise---which owns such chain stores as Starbucks and 7-Eleven in Taiwan---selected Matthew Lien to star in its promotional campaign due to his popularity as a recording artist and for his reputation for environmental/cultural pro-activism". ["Matthew Lien to star in Southeast Asian Coffee Promotion", March 14, 2001] Lien’s popularity and activism become part of the symbols used for selling Maya Coffee.

IMAGE;  Holy 7-11 Jpeg of my "sacred" Quetzal bookmark from a Taipei 7-11 outlet. The quetzal is severely endangered in Guatemala in part due to habitat loss caused directly and indirectly by coffee cultivation.

Case Study

Image: This photo and "locations" banner are from the preselected "Guatemala locations" section of the Omni Productions webpage

The first Maya Coffee ad is available on the Internet from Omni Productions and I have chosen to do a more detailed analysis of it.  (See: ) It is the first in a series of three that form what appears to be a loose trilogy with Lien step by step getting to know the Maya. This first one is an introduction of sorts while the later two incorporate colonial towns and include a number of Mayan people including an aged farmer and trio of pretty young girls in colourful dresses. These were produced by the Dentsu Advertising company and it’s affiliates including Kuo-Hua of Taiwan as well as Omni Productions of Mexico City and other subcontractors in Latin America. A Lien news release describes: "In mid-March, the international production crew consisting of eleven
film and advertisement companies from six countries departed for Central America to commence shooting of the commercial. The coalition of team members from Taiwan, Japan, Canada, Mexico, Venezuela and Guatemala will capture footage from pre-selected locations in the historic Guatemalan village of Antigua and the Mayan ruins at Tikal."[] It was a transnational undertaking.

Image: Quetzal bird symbol, pyramid, coffee beans, Maya Coffee.
[From Kuo-Hua magazine, #406]
The treatment of the Mayan symbols is well illustrated in the related examples of a Maya Coffee TV and Lien’s Touching the Earth CD.

Image: This is the unopened "Touching the Earth" CD as I purchased it. This same scene appears in the Maya Coffee TV ad.
The word "touch" carries a strong implications of contact while the word "Earth" is very loaded particularly in the environmental movements. In this sort of usage the Earth is at once our home, our mother, source of life etc.  So the phrase "Touching the Earth" carries images related to our relationship with the Earth.

Image: "Matthew on a TV commercial set in Guatemala" This photo shows a bit of the production process.

Lien is on a quest in this TV advertisement. It is a 3 act play [Postman, Powers, "How to Watch TV News", pg. 120-22, 1992] in miniature as Lien's monologue narrates a fast changing set of complex images woven together with 25 scene changes in this 40 second ad. "Looking for the Quetzal from the Mayan legend. It is absolutely free and untamed. Just as the Maya are not bound by time and space. Just as the coffee is not bound by any form. Choice coffee beans from the highlands above 1500 metres…" [7]:
1)  Long vista type shot: Tikal pyramid juts out in morning mists over the jungles. Lien's song "Tikal" commissioned for the ad begins.
2)  Closeup: Lien in the jungle.
3)  Long shot: Lien sitting on buttress roots of a massive tree in jungle. Same setting as CD cover.
4)  Close up: picture of quetzal bird picture in Lien’s hands.
5)  Close up: Lien’s face with eyes closed and meditative expression against dark background.
6)  panning right to left long shot: Tikals pyramid against blue sky
7)  Long shot: Lien in long coat ascending stairs of pyramid.
8)  Close up: Mayan picture glyph of a male figure in foreground with human hand in background. (I presume the hand is Lien’s)

Image: Lien plays with coffee beans.[From Kuo-Hua magazine #406]
9)  Close up: Hand.
10)  Medium Shot: top of pyramid against bright sky.
11)  Close up: Hand
12)  Long shot: Sun emerging from behind pyramid.
13)  Close up: Hand moving down.
14)  Close up: Male Mayan glyph figure imposed over hand. The Mayan figure appears to holding a serpent like animal or perhaps a quetzal in front of his face.
15)  Close up: Steaming Coffees.
16)  Close up: Hand moving towards something against dark background.
17)  Close up: Open hand dripping water.
18)  Long shot: In the chamber at the top of a pyramid Lien walks out silhouetted against the sunlit pyramid across the plaza.
19)  Long shot: Unidentified statue/figure in foreground against plaza.
20)  Close up: Hand holding can of Maya Coffee. The Quetzal symbol is prominently centred.
21)  Mixed shot: What appear to be Mayan peoples’ faces float in the foreground against a jungle covered hillside. The shot is quite dark in colour. It is possible these are the "locals" in the April 20, 2000 Taiwan News photo below.
22)  Aerial shot: Two pyramids through the clouds. Appears to be in morning or evening.
23)  Long shot: mists jungle covered mountain sides.
24)  Long shot: Lien drinks Maya Coffee on top of pyramid against bright sky.
25)  Very long vista type shot: Rays of sun through clouds over pyramids, similar to intro shot but this time with appearing with first cans of Maya Coffee in lower left hand area, then Maya Coffee logo emerging in upper right hand area, and finally the Seven-Eleven logo in the lower right hand corner.

Image: This picture appeared in the April 20, 2000 edition of the Taiwan News. I think these two people appear in scene 21.

This advertisement has a spiritual quest type storyline.
Scene 1: The opening shot sets the jungles of Tikal as the scene. Scenes 2 to 6: Lien is looking for the "quetzal" to which along with the Maya he attributes the the ability to defy time and space.
Scenes 6 to 7: Long shot as Lien ascends the pyramid's steps.
Scenes 8 to 17: Images of Mayan glyphs alternate with hands
dripping water and coffee beans with dark backgrounds in a mystical dreamlike sequence
Scenes 18 to 25: Emerging at the top of the pyramid onto the dazzling sunlight plaza. In the end he drinks a can of Maya Coffee amongst the ruins in the jungle the Mayan spirits all around him, his spiritual quest complete. Both images and dialogue attempt to define Maya Coffee as connected with freedom and the "mysterious" Maya. This is key part of the product differentiation process--making Maya Coffee stand out.  As well the reference to coffee beans coming from "over 1500" meters may be an attempt imply purity, and mystery.

Image: Self described "environmental and cultural activist" Matthew Lien drinks Maya Coffee on top of a Mayan ruin. This image is a closeup of a photo from the CD liner of his Touching the Earth CD. The same image appears in the aforementioned TV ad.

According to a March 14, 2000 news release from Matthew Lien.
"The product and commencing television advertising campaign will debut in mid-April, just prior to the release of Lien's new CD entitled "Touching The Earth". The music in the commercial will be featured on the coming album, and will be performed at Lien's Earth Day Concert in Taipei on April 22." []
The mid-April release of Maya Coffee ads ensured cross brand synergy with Lien’s Touching The Earth CD and importantly, particularly from a brand differentiation standpoint, paired both with Earthday.  Lien’s performance was central to the Taipei Earthday 2000 concert. Extensive public and mass media attention plus support from local NGOs, corporations, and governments made sure it was an "event". And it was a major news event used for launching TTE and Maya Coffee, just as Bernays would have advised.

Image: A photocopy of an ad in "Earth" Magazine, April 2000 edition. This magazine was in the Taipei City Public Library's Shihlin Branch. The original in colour looks more impressive. Lien in a meditative pose fingers together in front of picture of the Earth. All part of his "enviro-branding".

Mr. Lien even misleadingly implied that Maya Coffee was organic and fairtrade grown in a Taiwan News article dated April 20, 2000 and in a Whitehorse News article dated April 4, 2000. These misrepresentations could be interpreted as attempts to greenwash his involvement in the Maya Coffee campaign. The article "Popular Canadian musician to headline Earth Day event in Taipei" appeared in the April 20, 2000 edition of the English language newspaper the Taiwan News. Regarding his Maya Coffee endorsement Lien said  "My first thought was, 'well that's an interesting idea. However, I have some concerns here. I mean, what is the impact of coffee on the environment?' And so before I did anything, I realized I needed to do some substantial research into it," says the musician. "So I got on the horn and sent out a bunch of e-mails to friends that I have working with in the Earth Day network -- Eco-Trust Canada and a lot of other environmental groups and sustainable development organizations... After he collated all the information, and continued talks with the company, Lien was finally convinced that the product was both environmentally sound and the company didn't treat the coffee farmers like serfs." The article concludes this bit with "And there you have it. Not only can Lien assure readers that the product he was asked to endorse is environmentally friendly, but he also actually drinks the stuff. What an endorsement." A Whitehorse Star story dated April 4, 2000 states regarding Lien's endorsement "After he did his research and found out he'd be promoting organic, shade-grown coffee, he said "yes," and was off to the village of Antigua in Guatemala and the Mayan ruins in Tikal to shoot the ad last month."

I decided to attempt to verify Mr. Lien's claims.
I contacted Maggie Ko at the Uni-President beverage plant in Tainan, Taiwan. She replied that the coffee used in Maya Coffee was not organic [e-mail, Oct 25, 2000]. This was confirmed by Jackson Chu of Yeuan Yeou Enterprises [phone conversation, Nov. 9, 2000]. Neither was sure if the beans used were shade grown or technified.  As well Maggie Ko said that the beans were not "Fairtrade" so there is no guarantee of the growers receiving a fairprice or not contrary again to Lien public claims.  The Earthday network didn't reply however I contacted Ian Gill of Eco-Trust Canada regarding Lien's reference to his organisation to which he replied "I met Matthew once and receive regular e-mails from him. However, our organization has no information or competency in the field of coffee." [from e-mail, Oct. 3, 2000]  Whether Lien lied or was misinformed in this case, I have been unable to ascertain since he didn't answer any of several e-mails I sent him.

Lien in some ways matches the criteria of the what is termed a "shallow green". [Sklair, pg. 219, 1994]. Such an assessment is consistant with with his position as a businessman and his relations with governments and corporations. By endorsing Maya Coffee and attempting to put a "environmentally friendly" spin on it he is engaging in what might be considered "green consumerism". Unfortunately he sports a environmental veneer in a way since his claims frequently can not withstand even mild scrutiny before they are punctured revealing little more than an entrepreneur who may not be above outright deception.

Ripoffing off others?
The Ruta Maya Company of Austin, Texas has been marketing a line of coffees that are shade grown organically by a farmers coop in Chiapas Mexico. Ruta provides a minimum price of US$1.26 per pound which is significantly higher than the current world prices of 67 cents. The profits generated in remain with the small farmers. Ruta also invests in product improvement and other types of farmer education. In short it is an attempt to provide an ethical alternative for coffee buyers. Such "Fairtrade" products are a rapidly growing market. These tend to combine environmental and human rights concerns and are therefore a more recent development that might still be classed under the general label of "green consumerism"

The Ruta Maya coffee makes extensive use of Mayan "Classical" imagery in it's branding. Given the fact that it actually attempts to benefit Mayan farmers there could be reasonable argument that their use of Mayan cultural elements is ethical. However it's marketing and webpage seem to have been copied by the Uni-President Maya Coffee marketing efforts. The Uni-President Maya Coffee Webpage is a state of the art slick multimedia production. It has complex animations, links galore, menus abounding etc. it appears to have copied the much more lower budget Ruta Maya coffee page nonetheless. And whatever the case the Uni-President Maya Coffee and Ruta Maya Coffee efforts appear too similar to be a mere coincidence, however I can only speculate as to this since I cannot find out if this is so. But it is only a superficial resemblance since an employee of Uni-President stated that this corporation has made no contributions to the Maya peoples in any form and that the coffees used are not "Fairtrade" nor organic. The coffees used in Uni-President Maya Coffee are purchased through the Yeuan Yeou company, one of Taiwan's major coffee importers,  who in turn imports them from Japan's Tomen corporate conglomerate.

(de) Constructing the Lien Brand
        "First of all, on the
        issue of the brand name, I think you are bang on
        and some of the companies here have talked about
        it… It seemed to me…that is one of the things that we have to   do more of. That is sell the Yukon as a broader image.

        One of the people that I think has done the best job
        of it is Matthew Lien who, when he is Taiwan now,
        he is selling not just his music...I mean whether you
        like his music or not as Yukoner is kind of
        irrelevant. He is selling the whole image of pristine
        environment, the wildlife, the caribou. It is a bigger,
        broader image of the Yukon that he is selling over
        there. When he does his concerts, he shows Ken
        Madsen's (who is a local photographer) slides of the
        territory as the backdrop and it is quite haunting
        images of the territory. The are beautiful. It opens
        up a lot of doors for other products that we sell
        here whether it is beer or water or char or whatever
        it is and probably even some of the services that
        we provide." [Trade and Investment Roundtable
        Partners' Panel with Michael
        Goldberg, December 4, 1999] This comment was made by a participant in a Yukon government sponsored business forum who identifies the Yukon’s image as a marketable phenomena citing Lien as an example.

The Caribou Commons project has at least 15 corporate sponsors plus another 6 or 8 government agencies. [, October 25 2000 this section has since been dropped] A similar corporate sponsorship pattern was followed on "Touching the Earth" which featured a Canadian Airlines logo and included a 6 page brochure for Yukon Tourism. Matthew Lien was made the Yukon’s special envoy to Taiwan in part due to his business success. Economic Development Minister Trevor Harding said "To conduct business in Asia it is important to make good contacts and establish relations between governments…Matthew has solid business and export experience in Taiwan..." On his new appointment Lien commented "…I look forward to helping other Yukon businesses access this largely unexplored market." [Yukon government news release #223, September 27, 1999] In 1999 the Yukon government provided "Flying Squirrel Records -- [Cdn] $50,000 (about NT$1,200,000) to promote the music of Matthew Lien and Yukon products in Taiwan and to stage a concert tour entitled Rebuilding Formosa from Oct. 8 to 29, 1999." [Yukon government News RELEASE #314, December 21, 1999] Lien’s webpage makes much of this corporate sponsored concert and the Cdn$600,000 it raised for earthquake relief.  Again this in accordance with common stereotypes of the Aboriginal peoples being in need of help. It doesn’t challenge the fundamental roots of inequality that affects Taiwan’s Aboriginal peoples but rather is confined to that which is within the boundaries of acceptable discourse as defined by institutional goals. Mr. Lien cares about the Aboriginal in a manner that is consistant with and acceptable to good corporate citizens. He doesn’t make any moves that are not broadly corporate or governmental supported. The notions of "thin ice" and "out-on-a-limb" are not part of his PR strategies. So Lien is acceptable when the Yukon government seeks to diversify it's economy through exports to Asia. This includes exporting the image of the Yukon by subsidising Lien something that allows Yukon to stand out in peoples minds, a form of product differentiation in for example the international tourist industry. These seems to be examples of what Sklair considers as globalising bureaucrats interacting with transnational merchants.

"Many of the aboriginal musicians that played for Wind Records live in areas devastated by the earthquake. After the tremor, the company's general manager Ken Yang (first on the right) and colleagues took donations and supplies to mountain areas most lacking in provisions. Yang also took Matthew Lien to quake-stricken areas twice. "[Image and description from Sinorama Magazine, November, 1999]

The production of Touching The Earth benefited at the production level with the Maya Coffee ads providing top quality professionally made imagery thus reducing initial production costs. These production costs were further off as well by the inclusion of a six page Yukon Tourism brochure and Canadian Airlines International logos. [Bettig, pg. 180-81, 1996]  Uni-President contracted Lien to produce two songs "Tikal" and "Liberation" for the TV ads. [Kuo-Hua Magazine, #406] Uni-President provided extensive promotion for Lien through the Maya Coffee TV ads. Their shared imagery, themes, production and marketing relations ironically make it hard in some ways to differentiate Maya Coffee and Touching The Earth. It is a form of brand mixing Lien's brand is mixed with the Maya Coffee.  This is consistant with the inculcation of transnational consumerism by global mass media which involves the "systematic blurring between information, entertainment and the promotion of products lies at the heart of this practice." [Sklair, pg. 217, 1993]  As well Maya Coffee and Touching the Earth are interesting example of the processing of Aboriginal cultures through the interaction of various government agencies, NGOs, and corporate interests. The inclusion of Taiwan’s Earthday in this is also worthy of note since this important event was hijacked in some respects to further the commercial interests of Uni-President and Matthew Lien.

Chart of relationships: This flow chart shows diagrams production flows in the "Maya Coffee/Touching the Earth" multi-media and coffee products. I separate it into essentially two spheres, physical product and information used to create the brand. These are integrated into the final Maya Coffee product.

Lien shows how a small niche transnational marketing concern can effectively develop and market a strong environmental/social activist brand image to globalising government and corporate clients. It is a sort of integrated synergistic business diversification strategy that allows Lien and his company to take advantage of public product markets as well corporate and governmental sources of income and logistical and other forms of support in their commercial activities. Lien’s involvement in the corporate and government sponsored Caribou Commons project, his relationships with Aboriginal peoples, and the Chilan Forest Reserve have all been used in marketing as a source of authenticity. Lien is in turn able to sell his "environmental/cultural activism" image to governments and corporations in part due it’s utility to these institutions various goals such as tourist promotion and coffee marketing.

The imposition of capitalist relations has made Aboriginal cultures subject to commodification so it is now easy to access Taiwan and other Aboriginal peoples cultural elements through international cultural industries networks. Wind Records in the early 1990s recorded a series of CDs of traditional Aboriginal music and thus had a network of contacts among the Aboriginal peoples. These Lien incorporates into his CDs while he and Wind Records have developed a series of relationships with various Aboriginal organisations. His webpage states that: "In recognition of Matthew's work with the aboriginal peoples of Taiwan, the magistrate of Kaohsiung Province and its several aboriginal tribes appointed him "Ambassador to Aboriginal Culture." Back home, the Yukon Government recognized his important position in Taiwan by appointing him Special Envoy to Taiwan." []

The Chilan Forest Reserve seeks to protect about 46,000 hectares of reasonably intact old growth cypress forest in Northern Taiwan and was recently approved. It has attracted some corporate support for example from the I-Mei Foods corporation so it a mainstream environmental issue hardly dangerous radical territory.
 In March 2001 press release entitled "Taiwan’s aboriginal people and 3,000-year-old trees to benefit from Yukon experience" states that "Matthew Lien has been asked to assist in Taiwan’s revision of its protected areas policies, with a specific focus on aboriginal involvement. Recognizing the Yukon’s advances in the area an environmental organization in Taiwan has asked Lien to identify two Yukon First Nation representatives with experience in incorporating aboriginal concerns with the development of protected areas.
 Norma Kassi of the Vuntut Gwich’in First Nation previously served as MLA for her community and is a renowned lobbyist for the protection of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Ron Chambers of the Champagne-Aishihik First Nation served as a Kluane National Park warden for 22 years and is currently a member of several environmental boards and committees, and a Councilor for the Champagne-Aishihik First Nation’s Departments of Lands and Heritage."  Such a comment seems intended to portray Lien as the hardworking activist since "He has worked with groups in Taiwan that have spearheaded the effort, traveling with them to Okinawa, Japan for last year’s G8 Summit in an attempt to get the issue on the international agenda." However Lien is one who only jumps onto business friendly corporate and government sponsored bandwagons such as the Caribou Commons and Chilan Forest reserve. He is thus able to take advantage of these for business purposes including developing close ties with participating government agencies and corporate elements as well as gaining marketable publicly visible PR exposure. [Whitehorse News, March 5, 2001 from

Thus Lien offers a locally known brand name which incorporates elements of environmentalism and social activism that is marketable to his corporate and governmental clients. In this sense he is good example of the new transnational environmental elite’s Green merchant class filling an emergent niche area.  [] In addition the repetitive use of his "environmental" and  "humanitarian" concerns in his commercial materials casts serious doubts over the sincerity of his social activism. Lien is an example of a set of information products that encompass a locally recognizable and hence sellable brand name which is built up through association with and manipulation of legitimate public social concerns. Lien and Wind Records has succeeded in capitalizing on Taiwan’s growing environmental awareness something noted in a newspaper article entitled "Matthew is their Green Messiah" [Yukon News, November 24, 1999] which points out that Wind Records president Ken Yang thought Lien’s "environmentalism" could be commercially successful in Taiwan. "Since Bleeding Wolves' breakthrough success, all 60 of Wind's employees have worked hard to promote Lien's personable, caring image over three subsequent CDs. "There are 60 people working, literally 'round the clock' propelling this and keeping up with the demands and strategizing," said Lien of his concert tour. "They are putting out a new press release every three days."
Mr. Lien's brand image has been developed and marketed in Taiwan with not a insignificant amount of success. According to Keith Negus Leicester University with in the music industry "There is a widespread belief that the image and the music should in some way express the character and personality of an artist" [Negus,"Producing Pop", pg. 69, 1992] Later Negus continues "one senior executive who had worked in artist publicity and corporate public relations, spoke of attempting to 'brand' artists. By this he meant that the unique quality of an act would become instantly recognizable and condensed into a specific image which would be a trademark." [ibid. pg. 71] In considering these music industry situations Lien seeks to develop different sorts of authenticity depending on the situation.  To his music fans he is a environmental/cultural activist while to his business clients he is a knowledgeable businessman.  These are somewhat contradictory on the whole but given proper market segmentation in his public relations appears to work out fairly well for him.

The Tenth Edition of the Concise Oxford English Dictionary defines greenwash as:
"Disinformation disseminated by an organisation so as
to present an environmentally responsible public image" In recent years the organisation CorpWatch has expanded this definition to include false ads intended to improve a company's human rights image. This has led to the term 'bluewash' referring to
                "companies have been touting
                their commitment to humanitarian causes like
                poverty eradication, disaster relief, human
                rights and sustainable development. Drawing
                on greenwash techniques, companies from
                industries like tobacco and mining tell heart
                warming, personal stories of how their money
                has helped make a difference. The
                humanitarian-themed variant of greenwash is
                called "bluewash" - for the color of the United
                Nations flag. Classic bluewash is the
                corporate association with the UN itself as the
                ultimate symbol of human rights."
[from :]

Joshua Karliner in the book "Corporate Planet" writes that Dentsu is a major greenwash advertiser. This is possible due to Dentsu’s massive power in allocating advertising for primetime shows. As well, it’s control of the national TV rating agency which has tremendous influence over whether a show is popular or not.[Karliner, pg. 176-7, 1997] This leads to a situation in which Dentsu is able to suppress or downplay news that hurts it’s clients’ image. [S JIGOKU and LJIME, 1992] Dentsu has extensive business relationships with General Electric, Mitsubishi, and Hitachi. Of particular importance to Taiwan is the fact all three are involved in building Taiwan’s Fourth Nuclear plant.

Propaganda or "Perception Management"?
The work of Bernays, and the extensive experience of the US in Guatemala, the Vietnam War etc. in conjunction with social science research have been developed into what is now known in US military doctrine as Information Operations (IO). "Perception management involves all actions that
convey and/or deny selected
information and indicators to foreign
audiences to influence their emotions,
motives and objective reasoning; and to
intelligence systems and leaders at all levels
to influence official estimates, ultimately
resulting in foreign behaviors and official
actions favorable to the originator’s
objectives. In various ways, perception
management combines truth projection,
operations security [OPSEC] cover and
deception, and psychological operations
[PSYOP]." [Jones, 1999]
The military is quite clear in it’s assessments of perception management. Essential to perception management are attempts to manipulate people at a subconscious level. Lt. Col. Jones outlines a "12 step method that forms a template for planning,
implementing and evaluating IO." [Jones, 1999] Planning includes using all available information sources to "Obtain detailed information about the target audience", developing themes etc.
During implementation the "Focus is on co-ordinating,
adapting and achieving synergy" which means making sure the various parts of the IO work together smoothly to achieve maximum effect. This requires that the various IO sections use "feedback" from various sources "to evaluate their
individual activity’s effectiveness and fine-tune the plan and adjust to unexpected events" Evaluation requires measures
of effectiveness (MOE) using both quantitative including statistical information and qualitative criteria such as target group reaction’s psychological reactions.[Jones, 1999]

Dentsu joint venture with Young and Rubicam called DY&R says it has extensive global abilities. Begun in 1981,
"… At DY&R, we provide solutions in various domains in order to comprehensively satisfy our clients' requirements. In other words, we utilize our network to the utmost. Our inter-region and inter-business network incorporates the DY&R network in the high-potential Asian region, the global
network of Y&R and Dentsu bases, and an inter-company network made up of corporations affiliated with Dentsu and Y&R." ["DY&R Network" page at:]

Diagram: The Dentsu integrated corporate network  [from the

John Stauber of PR Watch considers these integrated corporate networks as a crucial development and comments on this as a "PR/advertising giant can now package a global campaign that includes a strategic blend of "paid media" (advertising) and "freemedia" (public relations). Add to that some of the other standard services offered by most PR firms-including "crisis management," industrial espionage, organized censorship and infiltration of civic and political groups-and you have a formidable combination of persuasive techniques available to large corporations and anyone else who can afford to hire the services of a PR firm." [Dowes, Mark from the Introduction to "TOXIC SLUDGE IS GOOD FOR YOU-Lies, Damn Lies and the Public Relations Industry"  By John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton]

The varied integrated information services available for hire can cover all phases of business operations from production to consumption and provide skilled specialists to meet any exceptional contingencies. Burston-Marsteller's "crisis management" webpage says: "Our experience in this specialized field extends from product failure to international recalls, from fraud and malfeasance to strikes and litigation, from difficult restructuring to site closings in the face of militant opposition, from product tampering to campaigns by activist groups and boycotts." []

  A particularly infamous part of the Dentsu network is the world’s largest public relations company, Burson-Marsteller, which specialises in "perception management" which Burson-Marsteller defines as: "…using communications tools to speak to
clearly defined audiences, motivating
them in a certain way. That is, to manage the perceptions of those people who allow your company to
achieve business results. Those people may be employees, consumers, stockholders or government officials." [Stupak & Stupak, 'Perception Management?: An Active Strategy for Marketing and Selling' 1997] Greenpeace sees this quite differently and has described Burson-Marsteller as "the world’s biggest anti-environmental corporate "greenwasher." [Greenpeace,] Due to it’s success in this "perception management" Burson-Marsteller is also the PR company of choice for some of the worst human rights violating regimes on the planet. It is a greenwash and bluewash specialist.

Burson-Marsteller’s methods include gathering intelligence and spying on environmental organisations by sending employees to environmental conferences. Burson-Marsteller gathers intelligence and does analysis for it’s corporate clients. A Burson-Marsteller company, Black, Kelly, Scruggs & Healy, produced a report entitled "Guide to the Seattle Meltdown: A Compendium of Activists at the WTO Ministerial" for it’s corporate clients.  It is dated January 14, 2000 about six weeks after the protests. It lists 41 social activist organisations including the following:
1)  The Abya Yala Fund a group which campaigns for the rights of indigenous peoples including the Maya!!
2)  Amazon Watch which seeks to protect the Amazon’s Aboriginal peoples from oil exploration etc.
3)  Chinese pro-democracy and human rights activists,
4)  Several other Aboriginal Rights groups,
5)  Greenpeace,
6)  Oxfam
7)  Global Exchange which campaign for labour standards. It has targeted Starbucks because of labour violations including child labour and underpayment of workers on Guatemalan plantations that supplied Starbucks coffee.

A Burson-Marsteller speciality is setting up corporate fronts that masquerade as environmental groups such as the Coalition for Clean and Renewable Energy for Quebec Hydro’s PR war against the Cree Aboriginal people. The Cree are trying to stop the James Bay II expansion which will flood 4,000 square miles of their lands. Release of mercury in other Cree territories flooded by Hydro Quebec damns has already accumulated in the local food chains making fish dangerous for the Cree to consume. Another famous Burson-Marsteller creation is the Global Climate Coalition which represents major polluters such as many of the major oil companies. It lobbied hard to greatly weaken pollution reduction provisions at both the Rio and Kyoto environmental summits including a pre-Kyoto TV ad campaign in the USA. The recent collapse of the Kyoto accord can be credited in part to the efforts of the Global Climate Coalition.

Burson-Marsteller says it has "unrivalled track record of helping corporate management handle major crises." This is certainly accurate. Burson-Marsteller:
1) Worked for Union Carbide to limit damage claims following 1984 Bhopal disaster that killed 2000 immediately and caused 15000 subsequent deaths. It managed to have murder charges removed from the criminal proceedings.
2)  Managed PR for Exxon Oil Corp following the Exxon Valdez disaster.
3)   Handled Babcock & Wilcox’s electricity company’s PR after the Three Mile Island nuclear accident in 1979.
Three of the largest environmental disasters of recent times were brought to you, in part, by Burson-Marsteller.

Burson-Marsteller has helped numerous brutal governments to improve their international image including Argentina brutal military dictatorship during the 1970’s. The founder Harold
Burson said that "We regard ourselves as working in
the business sector for clearcut business and
economic objectives. So we had nothing to do with
a lot of the things that one reads in the paper about
Argentina as regards human rights and other
activities".[Ruiz, BURSON-MARSTELLER: PR FOR

Other infamous clients include:
-Suharto dictatorship beginning in 1996.
-late communist Romanian despot Nicolae Ceaucescu.
-The Nigerian government during the Biafran war,
to discredit reports of genocide.

Perception Management, PR, advertising and military Information operations share many of the same methods and doctrines. This has broad and devastating implications for the environment, Aboriginal rights, human rights, and democracy in general. The very real efforts to manipulate public opinion are of particular importance to Aboriginal peoples because of their marginalised status in Capitalist political economy. Meaningful and significant resistance to capitalist institutions is met by a variety of responses from outright slaughter as in Guatemala initiated in part on behalf of United Fruit company by Bernay's to information warfare tactics used by Burson-Marsteller on behalf of Hydro-Quebec against the Cree First Nations.

Uni-President: Genetics etc
The perception management themes used to present new genetic technologies to the public consistently centre on reducing world hunger, protecting against disease, and general scientific "progress". Discussion of the profit motive though a primary drive is limited mostly to the business sections. However this primary motivation is well understood by many environmental activists. The interrelated concepts of biopiracy and biocolonialism are two crucial areas of conflict between some environmental movements and transnational corporations. This is termed biocolonialism by it's critics as Vandana Shiva writes: " The colonies have now been extended to the interior
 spaces, the "genetic codes" of life-forms from microbes and plants to animals, including humans. . . . The assumption of empty lands, terra nullius, is now being expanded to 'empty life,' seeds and medicinal plants . . . [and this] same logic is being used to appropriate biodiversity from the original owners and innovators by  defining their seeds, medicinal plants, and medical knowledge as nature, as nonscience, and treating tools of genetic engineering as the yardstick of "improvement." . . . At the heart of the GATT treaty and its patent laws is the treatment of biopiracy as a natural right of Western corporations, necessary for the "development" of Third World communities" [Vandana Shiva, Biopiracy: The Plunder of Nature and Knowledge (1996), citation from:]
Shiva's comments are similar to those of the Ecologist which considers this as a form of enclosure.  [The Ecologist, "Whose Common Future" pg. 55-7]

 Uni-President has invested in nine biotechnology companies. (Taiwan Economic News, June 28, 2000) In June 2000, Uni-President announced a joint venture with Celera Genomics. Celera made international news with participation in the Human Genome Project. Celera Genomics has already filed for 6,500 patents applications on genes. [Washington Techway "claiming life", April 10, 2000] Such genome research has been repeatedly sharply condemned by many Aboriginal peoples including Mayan, Taiwanese and Canadian as biocolonialism.
"We condemn all attempts to commercialize genetic material, or genetic cell lines of human beings, and in particular those of Indigenous Peoples." From Ukupseni Declaration, 1997, signed by representatives of 27 Aboriginal Organisations including the Centro Maya Saqb'e.

Genetic engineering possibly poses a wide range of serious environmental dangers. Cases of genetic pollution in crop production are well documented and the dangers of horizontal genetic transfer of GM DNA threatens to help create extremely resistant viruses and bacteria. [Open Letter from World Scientists to All Governments] But no worries for Uni-President Enterprises which according to an Environmental Quality Protection Foundation report Uni-President was making use of genetically modified ingredients in it’s instant noodles. [Chuang Chi-ting Taipei Times, Genetically modified foods need labeling, October 16th, 2000]

Information is defined as what is known about something. The very act of knowing is heavily culturally based. One person may look at 1957 Thunderbird and consider a classic car while another will see it as a polluting monster while another might consider it's name as case of appropriation of Native American cultures. How information is packaged what is included,  what is suppressed and what is distorted combine to drastically affect it's content and impact. Consider Columbus, was he a great adventurer with cities, holidays, and countries named after him in some myths or was he a diabolical greedy monster who murdered and enslaved thousands of people?

The Encyclopedia Britannia reckons:
"The propagandist has a specified goal or
set of goals. To achieve these he deliberately selects facts,
arguments, and displays of symbols and presents them in
ways he thinks will have the most effect. To maximize
effect, he may omit pertinent facts or distort them, and he
may try to divert the attention of the reactors (the people
whom he is trying to sway) from everything but his own
propaganda." The manner in which Maya Coffee and the Touching the Earth CD have used the Mayan Cultures follows this pattern well. The repetition of the same Mysterious Maya theme is done over and over. Mayan holy symbols such as the Quetzal are desecrated when made into ad props. The real history of the Maya or the devastating impact of coffee on the Maya is ignored. A completely "managed perception" of the Maya is created.

The projection of dominant cultures stereotypes onto colonised peoples and the terming of them as "exotic", "mystical" or otherwise serves as an important part of the cultural processes that support imperialism and colonialism. This type of processing of Indigenous cultures is colonial in character since governments, corporate mass media, and tourism industry tend to create representations of Aboriginal peoples to suit their purposes without or with minimal Aboriginal participation. Maya coffee’s terming of the Mayan peoples as "mysterious" implies that they are difficult to understand. However, Taiwan’s people understand full well what it means to live in fear and/or to have loved ones tortured, "disappeared", and murdered by their government. There is no Mayan "mystery" in reality.

Ward Churchill, a noted American Indian scholar and professor at the University of Colorado said in an interview "The whole thrust of my instruction goes toward re-humanizing those who have been de-humanized. Indians are either romanticized or demonized, but they're never dealt with as human beings with actual human dimensions, human frailties, human achievements." [From an interview in Z-Mag, December 1995.] Maya Coffee is the exact opposite of what Churchill and many other Indigenous scholars and activists extol. It is therefore not surprising that Victor Montejo, a Mayan and professor of Native Studies at the UC Davis described one of the Maya Coffee ads quite scathingly: "This coffee advertisement is absurd and romanticises the Mayans." [From e-mail, November 9, 2000] He further comments this sort of commercialization of Maya cultures enriches outsiders and brings little or no benefit to the Maya.

"huan xiang Maya gaoshan yuen dou ca fe" roughly "Visions of Maya high mountain original coffee" is a massive misrepresentation of the Maya perpetrated in the pursuit of profit by Uni-President with the Dentsu Group’s guidance. Lien serves as the eco-friendly authenticity ingredient.  The transnational corporate production chains involved in both the Maya Coffee brands and Matthew Lien brands provide interesting insight into the emerging relationships between the Transnational Corporate class and the transnational environmental elites and that these can generally "do business" most of the time. [Sklair, pg. 219, 1994].  It illustrates the ways in which Aboriginal peoples can be incorporated into transnational production arrangements-- in this case as peripheral commodity producers and as sources of novelty for product differentiation. As well it shows how environmentally damaging products are packaged so as to appear as "eco-friendly" and human rights friendly. This is possible because the handful of transnational communications conglomerates that dominate the increasingly globalised media systems "strive for total control in the production and marketing of what we can call the cultural-ideological goods of the global capitalist system. Their goal is to create a 'buying mood' for the benefit of the global troika of media, advertising, and consumer good manufacturers."[Sklair, pg. 217, 1994]

1)  Global Exchange Coffee FAQ page see:]
2)  ibid.
3) Statistics come from Patrinos, Harry Anthony and Psacharopoulos, George. Indigenous People and Poverty in Latin America: An Empirical Analysis
4)  100,000 dead and 40,000 disappeared is conservative figure. Some go as high as 200,000 dead and 40,000 disappeared.
5)  Descriptions come from :
NGOs Demand World Bank Investigation Into 1980s Massacres at Guatemalan Dam Report Reveals 376 Murdered After Resisting Eviction International Rivers Network/Witness for Peace, press release, Thursday 9 May 1996. Available at various webpages including:
6)  From Access date October 24, 2000
7)  From Omni -Pro webpage at:

Bettig, Ronald V. "Copyrighting Culture: The Political Economy of Intellectual Property", Westview, 1996.

Bloch, Peter H. Seeking the ideal form: Product design and consumer response. Journal of Marketing. 59(3): 16-29. 1995 Jul.

Bocock, Robert. Consumption. Routledge, 1993.

Chomsky, Noam. The Culture of Terrorism. Black Rose Books 1988, reprinted 1995.

Chomsky, Noam. Year 501: The Conquest Continues. Blackrose Books 1993. See the Chomsky archieve for a free online collection of several of his books and many articles at:

Chomsky, Noam. What Uncle Sam Really Wants. Odonian Press, 1993.

Chuang Chi-ting. Genetically modified foods need labeling. Taipei Times, October 16th, 2000.

Frideres, James. Aboriginal Peoples in Canada- Contemporary Conflicts. Prentice-Hall, 1998.

Galeno, Eduardo. Memory of Fire: Century of the Wind. Pantheon, 1988.

Negus, Keith. Producing Pop: Culture and Conflict in the Popular Music Industry. Arnold, 1992.

Said, Edward W. Culture and Imperialism. Vintage Books, 1994.

Sayer, Derek. Capitalism and Modernity: An Excursus on Marx and Weber. Routledge 1991.

Sklair, Leslie. Global Sociology and Global Environmental Change. From Redclift, Michael and Benton, Ted. Social Theory and the Global Environment Routledge, 1994.

Sachs, Wolfgang (editor). Global Ecology: A New Arena for Political Conflict. Zed Books, 1993.

Scitovsky, Tibor. The Joyless Economy: The Psychology of Human Satisfaction. Oxford, 1992.

Wright, Ronald. Stolen Continents: The "New World" Through Indian Eyes. Penguin, 1993

Yearley, Steven. Social Movements and Environmental Change. From Redclift, Michael and Benton, Ted. Social Theory and the Global Environment Routledge, 1994.

The Ecologist. Whose Common Future: Reclaiming the Commons. The Ecologist, 1993

Lien, Matthew. Voyage to Paradise. Wind Records, 1999.

Lien, Matthew. Touching the Earth. Wind Records, 2000.

Internet Sources:
Banhouse, Tammy.  "TED Case Studies: The Resplendent Quetzal" American University in Washington DC.

 Bello, Walden. 'No Logo': Flaws in the probe for weakness in contemporary capitalism. April 6-7, 2001, BusinessWorld Online (Philippines), a review of Naomi Klein's "No Logo"  HarperCollins/Flamingo, London, 2000.) originally from:

Blum, William. "Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions
Since World War II"Common Courage Press, 1995.
there is an online version of this excellent book at:

Chou, Cybil. "Starbucks aims to open 20 more stores by year-end"
Taipei Times, January 27th, 2000.

Chuang, Chi-ting "Genetically modified foods need labeling"

Costello, Patrick. "Guatemala: Historical Background"  see:


Johnson, Myke. WANTING TO BE INDIAN: When Spiritual Teaching Turns Into Cultural Theft

Jones, Craig (Lieutenant Colonel US Army, Retired). The Perception Management Process. From Military Review- The Professional Journal of the United States Army, 1999.

Montejo, Victor D "BECOMING MAYA? APPROPRIATION OF THE WHITE SHAMAN" Spring, 1999, Native Americas Journal.

Mostyn Richard "Matthew is their Green Messiah", November 24, 1999, Yukon News.

Patrinos, Harry Anthony and Psacharopoulos, George. "Indigenous People and Poverty in Latin America: An Empirical Analysis"

Peretti, Jonah. My Nike Media Adventure. The Nation, 2001. reprinted at:
This article chronicles Peretti comical but telling attempts to have a pair of Nikes customised with the word "Sweatshop".

Pinto, Monica. Report by the Independent Expert, Mrs. Mónica Pinto, on the situation of human rights in Guatemala. United Nations Social and Economic Council,  dated 5 December 1995. From:

Proyect, Louis. Class and indigenous roots of the Guatemalan revolution

Ruiz, Carmelo. "Burson-Marsteller: PR FOR THE

Stauber, John and Rampton, Sheldon. Review of Tye, Larry. "The Father of Spin: Edward L. Bernays & The Birth of PR"
PR Watch, Volume 6, No. 2 Second Quarter 1999

SHIKEN JIGOKU and LJIME. The Vocabulary of Control: The NI looks at the language and levers of power in Japan. New Internationalist, issue 231 - May 1992.

Stupak, Ronald J. & Stupak, Valeska C. Perception Management?: An Active Strategy for Marketing and Selling
Volume 15, Number 3,  May 1997, The Sales Trainer.


 Wicentowski, Joe. "Starbucks in Taiwan: A Local Cafe Culture Fears McDonaldization", Harvard University, 2000].

ARMOR- AND MECHANIZED-BASED OPPOSING FORCE OPERATIONAL ART. Chapter 2, US Army Field Manual number FM 100-61. Dated January 28, 1998.

Coffee crisis begins to boil. Financial Times,  Apr 11 2001. I received this from Deborah James as part of the Global Exchange Coffee news list

Dentsu Institute Institute for Human Studies, " Comparative Analysis of Global Values '96-'98"

Dentsu, Young and Rubicam Webpage:

"Guide to the Seattle Meltdown: A Compendium of Activists at the WTO Ministerial" A leaked report from Black, Kelly, Scruggs & Healey which is a Burson--Marsteller Company, dated January 14, 2000. This article can many places on the Internet including:

Kuo Hua Advertising Magazine article on Maya Coffee campaign and Matthew Lien From Kuo Hua Magazine #406.
access date April 17, 2001 My wife translated this for me from Chinese.

"Marketing the Myth of World Class Forestry"Greenpeace, 1997.

Matthew Lien - "an arctic musician strikes a warm chord with Taiwan" Sinorama Magazine, November, 1999

Matthew Lien to star in Southeast Asian Coffee Promotion. News release dated March 14, 2000
Please note: "Original Message-----From: Matthew Lien <>"

Matthew Lien webpage.
I obtained most of the relevant primary information on Mr. Lien from here or the Yukon government.
Taiwan’s aboriginal people and 3,000-year-old trees to benefit from Yukon experience
Matthew Lien to star in Southeast Asian Coffee Promotion
Special envoy to help develop Taiwan market
 Matthew on a TV commercial set in Guatemala photo from:
Maya Coffee advertisement From the Omni Pro webpage:

NGOs Demand World Bank Investigation Into 1980s Massacres at
 Guatemalan Dam Report Reveals 376 Murdered After Resisting Eviction. International Rivers Network/Witness for Peace, press release, Thursday 9 May 1996. Available at various webpages including:

Open Letter from World Scientists to All Governments Concerning Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) Submitted to State of the World Forum, September 4-10, 2000.

"Propaganda" from Encyclopedia Britannica, copyrights 1999-2001,5722,117330,00.html.

SPECIAL ENVOY TO HELP DEVELOP TAIWAN MARKET Yukon Government News release #223 September 27, 1999

 "Uni-President, Celera biotech venture". The Taiwan Economic News June 28, 2000

Ukupseni Declaration, Kuna Yala on the Human Genome Diversity Project (HGDP). dated 12-13 November 1997. from the Indigenous Peoples Council on Biocolonialism webpage at:

USAID Fiscal Year 1997 Congressional Presentation

 Washington Techway "claiming life", April 10, 2000 []

World Anti-Communist League. GroupWatch, October, 1990

Information requests: I made requests to the Earthday Network, Wind Records and Mr. Lien but received no response from them. However Victor Montejo of UC Davis, Ian Gill of
Ecotrust Canada, Uni-President Enterprises, Canadian Trade Office in Taipei, the Yukon Government, and Ruta Maya Coffee all provided helpful replies.