Day 1 December 21, 1989: Panama’s Liberation?

The initial piece on baldheads and propaganda was written in mid-December, 1989, just weeks before the American invasion of Panama on December 21, 1989. With this real life drama unfolding my Patient shifted his attentions to exploring and exposing the unbelievable misinformation that was propagated by the National Press. This paper was the result.

More National Hysteria


Why I’m sick to my stomach

The people of the United States couldn’t be happier. President Bush’s popularity is soaring – as our Army has just liberated Panama.

Wait a minute! ‘Liberated Panama’ – doesn’t that mean to set free? Thousands of Panamanians were killed, two billion dollars of damage was done, over 20 thousand American troops landed upon Panamanian soil and are still there. Newspapers & television stations have been closed; bank accounts have been seized. Personal liberties have been suspended.

To clear up the confusion let’s examine the New York Times owned Santa Barbara News Press response to the American invasion of Panama.

Day One: December 21, 1989: SB News-Suppress Headlines:

‘Noriega eludes U.S. Troops

He promises to do battle until death’

Headline Harry: “This Noriega must be real bad, if he is trying to ‘elude U.S. troops’.”

Dim Dune, dumbwaiter at a local restaurant – brain dead by most standards: “But why is our army trying to capture him.”

“Uh … I only read headlines. Isn’t that what everybody does?” slurs Harry. “‘Promises to do battle until death’, sounds pretty mean.”

Dune: “Let’s read more. Maybe we’ll discover what this is all about.”

Harry: “Headlines are usually enough for me. I’m a busy man – what with work, sports, and keeping up with my favorite sitcoms. But if you insist.”

‘$1 million bounty for Noriega’

Headline Harry: “See! They are offering a bounty on him, just like a common outlaw. I knew he was a bad guy. What is he – a gangster or a criminal?”

“Yes, of course,” responds Corporate Business immediately. “A common thug –born on the wrong side of the tracks – a barrio boy – from the ghettos – you know, drug dealings & all that – just a high class pimp. Didn’t realize when he came up against Big Money he really had no chance. Oh no, what I meant to say was that when he came up against democracy, the voice of the powerful – Er … What is happening to my tongue? voice of the people – of course. That’s what I meant to say.”


Tight from constant lying his lips are cramping up – inadvertently revealing the truth in spasms.

Why isn’t the World singing our praises?

December 21, 1989 More Santa Barbara News Press Front Page Headlines


From the Soviet Union Cold War-style criticism

Headlines Page 16:

Lagomarsino calls invasion a major gain

Congress strongly supports

Bush’s strike against Noriega

World leaders split on invasion

Harry: “Sounds good to me! All these headlines make me feel good to be American.”

Dune: “Barf.”

Harry: “‘Major Gain’ – ‘strong support from Congress’. Sounds like everyone thought it was a good idea.

Dune: “Except the Russians.”

Harry: “With their ‘Cold War-style criticism’. Why are they always so belligerent, trying to put us on the defensive, condemning everything we do?”

Dune: “It also says ‘world leaders split on invasion’. Seems as if other countries disapprove as well.”

Harry: “I’m sure it’s those brainwashed communist puppet countries. I don’t need to read past the headlines. I can infer the rest.”

American Businessman: “Good boy! Trust in us. Believe those headlines & you’ll never go wrong – especially if you are white, male & rich. Read to know what to believe in order to climb the corporate ladder – to the top of the Establishment. Parrot the headlines propagated by the New York Times via the Washington DC propaganda machine. There is a pot of gold at the end of this rainbow. You will be rich beyond imagining. You might step on a few people on the way up. Don’t worry. It’s all part of the process.

        By the way son <this is off the record of course> we must be very discrete when dealing with the American Public. They think the Press is out for Truth & that the American system stands for Freedom. Those of us who are in charge of the System know it’s really the freedom to exploit cheap labor sources & rape third world countries of their resources. < Remember – off the record>.”

Dune: “Let’s read the article.”

“More than 20,000 troops backed by fighter jets began the assault just after 1AM under moonlit skies, pounding Panamanian military bases in and around the capital with mortar, cannon and machine gun fire.”

Harry, incredulously: “This drug runner must be some mean guy – 20,000 troops, fighter jets & everything. It sounds like an invasion.”

Dune: “It was an invasion, Harry. Listen to this.”

‘LONDON-The Soviet Union used language reminiscent of the Cold War Wednesday to denounce the US. military attack in Panama. Leaders from Europe and Latin America generally opposed the US. move but said it had to be done.’

Dune: “It says most of the leaders from Europe & Latin America oppose the move. I wonder why? The article only gives quotes from Castro: ‘disdain of the US for international law’ – Gadhafi: ‘the assault makes Hitler look like an angel’ – and the Soviets: ‘notorious ‘gunboat diplomacy’ which has been used for decades by the United States to turn Latin America and Caribbean nations into its backyard’.”

Harry: “We know all these people are bad guys – anti-US and biased. Those Commies are just trying to distort our noble cause.”

Dune: “But wait! Congressman Don Edwards says, ‘It appears to be a trigger-happy act of gunboat diplomacy that continues our mindless 100-year abuse of small Central American nations.’”

Harry: “He’s only one out of hundreds. Besides he’s a Democrat from California. Probably an idealistic first term Congressman.”

Dune: “Hmmm? He mentions ‘gun boat diplomacy’ as the Soviets do. Do you think we could be forcing something on someone against their will. He also mentions these same Central American nations. ‘Mindless 100-year abuse.’ Hmmm? What is our history with this region? The article doesn’t seem to make any reference to a larger context.”


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