The Panama Deception explains the untold truths behind the United States’ 1989 invasion of Panama that illuminates the complex relationship between Gen. Manuel Noriega and the U.S. government. The United States Invasion of Panama occurred during the administration of U.S. President George H. W. Bush, ten years after the Torrijos–Carter Treaties were ratified to transfer control of the Panama Canal from the United States to Panama by the year 2000. In Noriega’s book, America’s Prisoner published in 1997, Noriega repeats the charge made by critics of U.S. foreign policy that the invasion of Panama was launched primarily to circumvent the treaty. Juxtaposing interviews with experts and eyewitnesses with historical media reports, the film shows how the press helped win the American public’s approval despite widespread condemnation abroad. Ever wonder why Americans enjoy diminishing popularity abroad? This documentary will shine a disparaging light on how the first Bush Senior administration operated illegally and with impunity in garnering permanent control over Panama and its famed canal. Frankly, it’s shocking that our government can filter the truth by manipulating the media – all disconcertingly clear in this gripping political documentary. I thought this was an interesting film. I was there in the military for several months and left soon after the fighting was ended. I remember being restricted to base. I had a great deal of sympathy for the Panamanian people, who were mostly poor folks but still very kind and decent. When the lead started flying, I had the opportunity to see humans at their worst and had seen the result of heavy trigger fingers. This film made my eyes wet with tears, reminding me how monstrous our military is. The invasion that I witnessed doesn’t fill me with pride for our nation. I think this film is closer to the truth than I care to remember. The invasion of Panama provoked international outrage. Some countries charged that the U.S. had committed an act of aggression by invading Panama. On December 29, 1989, the General Assembly of the United Nations voted 75–20, with 40 abstentions, to condemn the invasion as a flagrant violation of international law. I was struck by the similarities between the US invasion of Panama in 1989 and the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. In both wars President Bush (I & II) with the help of Dick Cheney (Defense Secretary, Vice President), explained that the invasion was necessary to protect American lives. In both wars, press coverage was tightly controlled, civilian casualty counts were suppressed and the goal of spreading Democracy was touted. And in both cases the American press passively repeated the propaganda of the Bush Administration. It’s just sneaky how we do things. And those presidents sure are good at lying! This documentary should be seen if for no other reason to demonstrate the adage that those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. Documentary 1992 NR 91 minutes.
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