Sunday, August 30, 2009

We didn't know that Panama was bombed in 1989

This week I read for the first time that the US military (under the leadership of Colin Powell) invaded Panama on 20th December 1989. My partner was also not aware of this catastrophe. In fact, I would be surprised if any Australians in my local community know about this.

According to Webster G. Tarpley & Anton Chaitkin [1] 5,000 Panamanian civilians lost their lives, 10,000 were incarcerated in concentration camps and the cost to the Panamanian economy was then estimated to be $7 billion. Why the invasion? See below.


1986-1987 - Noriega (President of Pamana) cooperated with US law enforcement officials in a number of highly effective anti-drug operations.

1987 – June. One month after a US glowing tribute had been written praising Noriega for his anti-drug efforts the US government declared war against Panama, initiating a campaign to destabilize Noriega on the pretexts of lack of democracy and corruption.

1987 – August 10th. "The political crisis follows closely what bankers here saw as a serious breach of bank secrecy regulations. Earlier in 1987, as part of an American campaign against the laundering of drug money, the Panamanian government froze a few suspect accounts here in a manner that bankers and lawyers regarded as arbitrary." These were precisely the actions lauded by Lawn. Had Noriega shut down operations sanctioned by the US intelligence community, or confiscated assets of the New York banks?

1988 – February: Noriega was indicted on US drugs charges, despite a lack of evidence and an even more compelling lack of jurisdiction.

1988 – March 2nd. Economic sanctions, an embargo on trade and other economic warfare measures invoked by the US against Panama.

1989 – April 6th. Bush formally declared that the government of Panama represented an "unusual and extraordinary threat" to US national security and foreign policy. He invoked the National Emergencies Act and the International Emergency Act to declare a state of "national emergency" in this country to meet the menace allegedly posed by the nationalists of little Panama.

1989 – May 1st. The issue of US News and World Report revealed that Bush had authorized the expenditure of $10 million in CIA funds for operations against the Panamanian government. These funds were obviously to be employed to influence the Panamanian elections, which were scheduled for early May.

1989 – May 7th. The US-supported ‘Civic Democratic Alliance’ purchased votes, bribed the election officials, and physically absconded with the official vote tally. The Pananmanian Govt annulled the election.
US forces in Panama began a systematic campaign of military provocations which continued all the way to the December 20 invasion (Operation Blue Spoon)

1989 – Mid December. The US had 24,000 troops in Panama arrayed against 16,000 of the Panamanian Defence Forces of whom only 3,500 were organised and equipped for military combat.

1989 – December 15th. The National Assembly of Panama passed a resolution to take note of the state of affairs that had been forced upon Panama by Bush. It was designed to permit the assumption of emergency powers by the Panamanian Government to meet the crisis. "The Republic of Panama," the statement read, "has for the last two years suffered a cruel and constant harassment by the US government, whose president has made use of the powers of try to subject the will of Panamanians....The Republic of Panama is living under a genuine state of war, under the permanent hounding of the US government, whose soldiers not only daily violate the integrity of the Torrijos-Carter treaties... but trample our sovereign rights in open, arrogant, and shameless violation of the pacts and norms of international law....Therefore be it resolved that the Republic of Panama be declared in a state of war, for as long as the aggression unleashed against the Panamanian people by the US government continues." [43]

Bush Sr takes a leaf out of Hitler’s book copying the tactics Hitler employed to justify the invasion of Poland.
Black and mestizos make up the vast majority of the population of Panama. There would be only one non-white in the new endara cabinet.

Mad Max Thurman sent in the new Stealth and A-7 fighter-bombers, and AC-13 gun ships. El Chorillo was virtually razed along with the working-class district of San Miguelito and large parts of the city of Colon. The Institute of Seismology counted 417 bomb bursts in Panama City alone during the first 14 hours of the US invasion. Retaliatory fire by the Panamanians was to be answered by overwhelming US firepower without regard to the number of civilian casualties. Many civilian dead were secretly buried in unmarked mass graves at night time by US forces. Many other bodies were burned in the bombing holocausts. US official figures of Panamanian dead was 200. Other sources indicated 5,000 civilian victims.

10,000 incarcerated in concentration camps. Many political prisoners were held for months without being charged with any specific offense, a clear violation of habeas corpus.

Cost to the Panamanian economy of the bombings, invasion, and economic warfare: $7 billion. Severe poverty was the lot of most of the population. 15,000 were left homeless. Several thousand public servants purged by the Endara government. Endara and members of his Government involved in drug pushing and money laundering.

[1] George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography
by Webster G. Tarpley & Anton Chaitkin
Chapter -XXIII- The End of History


Oso said...

Hi Brenda,
The invasion was an absolute travesty.the Guardia Nacional was essentially a police force,Panama had no military.It's my understanding that Torrijos,along with being "guilty" of the Torrijos-carter treaty was also guilty of not allowing Panama to be used as a transfer point for drugs.So his plane exploded and Noriega, who was more compliant,was plugged in. But Noriega opposed the School of Americas, the torture school,returning to Panama as well as reneging on the treaty.So he had to go too but he was like Saddama in that he was hard to assasinate so went to Plan could draw the analogy with Iraq.assasinate a nationalist leader(Qassim)then plug in a dictator who won't let himself be assassinated then Plan C.

Joey giraud said...

This American remembers the whole business; the media portrayed it as a vital manhunt for the evil-doer Noriega. There was no mention of the bombing of the slums, just breathless "where's the bad guy" coverage. No questioning as to whether it made sense, if it was moral or justified, America of course had the right.

For anyone with an independent mind, it stunk like pure propaganda.

CMike said...

Webster Tarpley is not a reliable commentator. He is a LaRouche-ite kook (or poseur). Nevertheless. This clip is from:

The Panama Deception [which] is a documentary film that won the 1992 Academy Award for Documentary Feature. The film is critical of the actions of the US military during the 1989 invasion of Panama by the United States, covering the conflicting reasons for the invasion and the depicting of the US media as biased. It was directed by Barbara Trent of the Empowerment Project and was narrated by actress Elizabeth Montgomery.

In case you're interested, the documentary can be seen in its entirety here.

Myrtle Blackwood said...

Thanks for your comments.

John Perkins, in his book "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man" confirms your statements about the strategy of the US.
" "We're a small, exclusive club," she said. "We're paid - well paid - to cheat countries round the globe out of billions of dollars. A large part of your job is to encourage world leaders to become part of a vast network that promotes US commercial interests. In the end, those leaders become ensnared in a web of debt that ensures their loyalty...." Perkins mentions bribery, corruption. If that doesn't work then assassinations. If this strategy fails the next step is invasion.

Joey G:
Well, at last, the deficiencies of the Murdoch, Fairfax and other media are so glaring that they're no longer commercially viable. I see that James Murdoch is whinging that the free public news provided by the BBC is making it hard for his empire to start charging for online content.

thanks for the links. I have trouble downloading video with our limited broadband connection. Will try in town when I can.

Webster Tarpley & Anton Chaitkin draw upon plenty of other sources for their article on Panama. It frightens me that the US has evolved into such an extreme overkill machine across the planet!

On the United Nations involvement:

"Back in January, 1972, at the extraordinary session of the United Nations Security Council in Addis Ababa, the Panamanian delegate, Aquilino Boyd, had delivered a scathing condemnation of the American "occupation" of the Canal Zone, which most Panamanians found increasingly intolerable. At that time Ambassador Bush had wormed his way out of a tough situation by pleading that Boyd was out of order, since Panama had not been placed on the agenda for the meeting. Boyd was relentless in pressing for a special session of the Security Council in Panama City at which he could bring up the issue of sovereignty over the Canal Zone and the canal. Later, in March, 1973, Bush's successor at the UN post, John Scali, was forced to resort to a veto in order to kill a resolution calling for the "full respect for Panama's effective sovereignty over all its territory." This veto had been a big political embarrassment, since it was cast in the face of vociferous condemnation from the visitors' gallery, which was full of Panamanian patriots. To make matters worse, the US had been totally isolated, with 13 countries supporting the resolution and one abstention. [25]

[25] 25. Kenneth J. Jones, The Enemy Within, (Cali, Colombia: Carvajal, 1990), p. 22.

"Washington’s action was so flagrantly illegal that the overwhelming majority of world governments have felt compelled to state opposition to it. The Organization of American States, long a pliant tool of Washington’s foreign policy, condemned the invasion with only a single dissenting vote – that of the US delegate. The United Nations General Assembly went on record against the invasion by a wide margin....

Anonymous said...

Was any kind of sensible rationale for our little Panama adventure ever even offered? I remember the thing as a kind of temper tantrum on Bush the Elder's part. Also, if memory serves, the media gasbags had been insinuating that his manliness wasn't quite up to Dear St. Ronnie's sunny level -- so maybe Bush the Elder had to prove something.
-- sglover

Anonymous said...

Two of my friends were in that invasion and the PDF wasn't some "police force". One of them got wounded and it was a pretty big fight.

And even Jimmy Carter said that it was Noreiga who rigged the election and not the other way around.

Panama wants him to return to face murder and human rights violations. Even the French government is trying to extradite and imprison the guy.

Who the hell is Webster Tarpley and where did he come up with this crap? If you want to skewer the Bushes there's plenty of real stuff to use. Not this BS.

Myrtle Blackwood said...

I don't quite understand your point, Anonymous. Even if it is true that Noriega rigged the election - and the US is known for this practise as well - what did the US 'defence' forces hope to achieve by bombing a civilian population and killing thousands in the process?

Also, do you have reasons why 10,000 individuals were put in concentration camps?

Unknown said...

Brenda, you hit the nail on the head! John Perkins is now a whistle blower and once was an "Economic Hitman" If anyone knows the system and the corruption involved in U.S politics, he does. He also mentions that the U.S were trying to destroy derogatory pictures of the Bush Administration that the Panama had stored in that gov. building that was destroyed by the air strike. like you said....If the the economic hit men doesn't succeed in bribing the government, then they send in the Jekyls to assassinate them...if they fail then the last resort is to send the military in to basically blow the place up and kill the president. YOU BETTER OBEY THE U.S OR ELSE....that's what it comes down to these days. They did the same thing with Saddam Hussein. he threatened to switch his oil reserve to Euros instead of the U.S dollar...he had all the right in the world to do it, but of course that would have de-valued the US dollar which pissed off Bush...after failing with bribery and assignation attempts, it was rime for WAR!! Don't F@#K with the U.S. If you would like to see another story...check out how the U.S pulled the biggest economic scam in the history of the world when they conned Saudi Arabia into valuing their oil based on the U.S dollar rather than any other currency...even their own!! This is ultimately how the U.S has grown to be so powerful. everyone is forced to buy U.S money to purchase oil. This makes the U.S dollar very valuable. Every time a country purchases oil in the world, the U.S profits from it one way or another. The U.S government is the most corrupt in the world...the world bankers like the Rockerfellers, JP MOrgan, the Rothschilds are the most evil, corrupt, money hungry, selfish, corporations in the world. Many innocent people die in the hands of the this government and the big billionaire bankers who are behind funding these wars. The Bush family are the scum of the earth. So is Dick Chaney and Donald Rumsfeld. Do your research on those guys and you'll be furious about what they are doing to the world!! this is the real evil in the world....not Al Qaeda and surely not Pananma!!

Erwin said...

In 1991, PBS carried a story of 2 photographers who witnessed U.S. forces digging huge pits and carting burned bodies in with trucks. They took up separate vantage points and photographed U.S. troops doing their thing as shown on PBS. A guard contingement charged up to one of them and grabbed his camera pulling all the film out exposing it also shown on PBS. Proud of what they had done they looked around and saw the other photographer. They charged up to him as shown on PBS, took his camera pulling all the film out exposing it, then sauntering off. The cameramen said they looked dejected and milled around until the U.S. had done it's thing. Then they gathered up the film destroyed by U.S. troops and retreated to where they respooled the film later to be shown on was video tape!! About 25 minutes into the hour long show PBS feed went blank with jamming, and in fact the Feds had jammed the whole satellite, all channels for the rest of the hour. Every year since, then U.S. funding for PBS has been cut. Total U.S. statement of civilian deaths as a result of their invasion was 200...yeah and in April I'm the Easter Bunny!!!