Day 17: Prosecuting Noriega for What?


Believing what we want to believe

SBNP January 7, 1990, Front Page Headlines

Panama intervention puts end

To Bush’s image as a ‘wimp’

Noriega prosecutors build case

Headline Harry: “America kicks butt! First Grenada and now Panama. That Bush is no ‘wimp’. Noriega is in jail and about to be prosecuted. Damn, it feels good to be an American. Beating up on small countries always gives me such a rise. Hey who’s next? Watch out Cuba & Nicaragua, we’re mean!”

Dune: “Jimmy Carter negotiates with the Panamanians to give them back their Canal since it runs right thru’ the center of the country. Probably the worst thing that happened to Panama, because it ultimately led to the American invasion of Panama.”

Harry: “Wait a minute! We didn’t invade Panama. Our 26,000 troops liberated the citizens of Panama from that thug and drug-runner, Noriega.”

Dune: “One of the most expensive manhunts in history. Two thousand Panamanian civilians killed, two billion dollars worth of damage done, all to catch a drug runner. Is that what you really believe?”

Harry: “Of course. I know it doesn’t make a lot of sense but it makes me feel good. And I need something to prop me up. My wife is sick and her rising medical expenses are threatening our financial security. To be honest I’m stressed out.”

Dune: “Maybe we need the government to provide health care rather than fight costly wars.”

Harry: “What are you – some kind of socialist? You know what a disaster socialized medicine is in England and the rest of the world.”

Dune: “I do?”

Harry: “You should and would if you had been watching the news on TV. It would be the fall of American independence if the government entered health care. Next step is a Communist dictatorship.”

Dune: “Really?”

Harry: “Of course. To keep abreast of current events I try to watch as much TV news as I can – even if it is disturbing. That’s the way to remain informed. You should really watch more. You seem to be out of the loop.”

Dune: “Yeah. I guess I’m a little dense.”

Harry: “Don’t worry about it. Just listen to me. I’ll keep you informed about what’s really happening.”

Dune: “Like in Panama.”

Harry: “Exactly. To be honest I really don’t care about Panama as long as I get mine.”

Why George Bush is not a Wimp


Why This Matters

SBNews Press: January 7, 1990

“Panama intervention puts end to Bush’s image as a ‘wimp’

By Tom Raum (AP) Washington - President Bush ... is reaping foreign policy and political gains from the success of a daring military operation in Panama. “Bush just knocked one out of the park,” one political analyst said. “The ‘W’ (wimp) word will not be heard again,” said another. … popularity soaring in public opinion polls... Sen. Kennedy proclaimed the surrender of Noriega “a triumph for diplomacy and a triumph for justice.” ... Lee Atwater Republican Chairman “a political jackpot.” .... Ornstein said “Bush’s popularity has gone up, praise for him is across the spectrum.”

Dune: “Excuse me. I’m about to be sick again.”

Harry: “Something you ate?”

Dune: “Right. I can’t believe that Americans are excited that George Bush and his 19-year-old teenage army devastated Panama.”

Harry: “Whatsa matter with that? They kicked butt. Shooting ‘em up Rambo-style they deposed that evil dictator and drug runner Noriega.”

Dune: “Never mind that thousands of people were left homeless and ravaged by the invasion. Never mind that 2 billion dollars worth of damage was done to the country. Never mind that thousands of men, women, & children were murdered in their sleep just nights before Xmas.”

Establishment Ed: “They were in the poor Spanish speaking part of town. Those brown skinned third world people don’t really matter anyway.”

Dune: “It doesn’t bother you that we’ve brutally invaded a small Central American country, destroyed their economy, killed their citizens, blown up their buildings with bombs, cannons, and mortar fire.”

Ed: “So negative. This is the cost of freedom.”

Harry: “Besides this police action has been good for my self esteem as an American. The Japanese have been dominating us economically. The Eastern bloc countries have been winning in the Olympics. Even the American golfers have been doing poorly in a sport they used to dominate. There are anti-American protests everywhere around the world. They just don’t appreciate what we are trying to do for them.”

Dune: “Corruption unearthed wherever I look.”

Panamanians responsible for damage?

More SB News Press January 7,1990

“US. assessing Panama damage

WASHINGTON --- With Gen. Manuel Noriega safely behind bars, the Bush administration is surveying the damage inflicted on Panama by America’s economic and military war against the former dictator and trying to decide how much of the $2 billion tab it is prepared to pick up.

...Deputy Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleberger ... said the US. would not compensate businesses for looting and other damage following the Dec. 20 invasion and declined to say whether the US. had a moral responsibility to help fund the overall recovery of Panama’s economy. Instead, he stressed his confidence that the once vibrant Panama economy, led by the banking sector, would bounce back.”

Dim Dune: “Hmmm? ‘$2 billion tab’. That seems like a lot of damage. But how much is it proportionate to their economy? Let’s check The World Almanac 1990 to get some facts.”









5.1 billion



0.1 billion



4,500 billion

1200 billion


256 billion



2300 billion

350 billion





Dim Dune: “Whoa! Two billion dollars worth of damage to Panama is almost 40% of their GNP. Nearly half of their economy was wrecked or destroyed by the invasion. One trillion dollars of damage if our economy sustained an equivalent attack. And our government doesn’t feel any need to help out. Uh Oh! My cynical side is rising again.”

Compassionate Cathy: “What a tragedy for those poor families. So much destruction, homelessness, and injury with no assistance. It make me cry.”

Sniveling Senator: “Don’t worry the banking system will take care of everything.”

Refrain: “The rich get richer.”

Bankers: “Love this system. Destroy a country then offer to loan them the money to rebuild what we’ve destroyed.”

Refrain: “And the poor get poorer. That’s the American way.”

Weeping & sobbing from women everywhere around the world for all the men that have been lost since time immemorial to the desire for power through money & war. Dead bodies, dead souls. What’s the difference?

Dune: “Amazing what you find in the Almanac. According to the figures the defense budget of the USA is almost as the big as the entire budget for the Soviet Union.”

Cynical Sam: “In fact our defense budget is bigger than all the defense budgets of all the rest of the world combined.”

Establishment Ed: “Of course. We’re the world’s police force. Enforcing justice. Righting wrongs. Protecting the weak from dictators. Just like in Panama.”

Cathy: “But what about all the poor Panamanians who lost their homes and livelihoods? Who’s going to help them?”

Redneck Ray: “Who cares about them? If God gave us guns and weaponry he meant for us to use them.”

Ed: “At least we’re not like Communist Russia where the state controls everything.”

Dune: “According to the figures from the Almanac, the Russian government accounts for one out of every six dollars in the economy.”

Ed: “See. What did I tell you? They dominate their people.”

Dune: “But the American government accounts for even more – almost one out of every four dollars spent. Seems as if our government exerts even more financial influence n our economy than theirs.”

Ray, suspiciously: “Are you one of them Communist sympathizers?”

Dune: “No. Not at all. Just curious.”

Ray: “Hope not. Else me and my friends will have to teach you something about freedom in America.”

Where’s the Evidence against Noriega?

More SB News Press Jan. 7, 1990 (Front Page)

“Noriega prosecutors build case

By Joseph B. Treaster – the New York Times

MIAMI---... Dexter Lehtinen, the US. attorney in Miami, who is leading the prosecution, has offered “a sweetheart deal” to Lt. Col. Luis del Cid, a close associate of Noriega’s and indicted in the case, in exchange for his testimony against (See Noriega Page 12) the fallen dictator, who the government says lived a life of duplicity and personal gain, spying on friends and associates for the CIA and the Drug Enforcement Agency while passing on US secrets to Cuba.

The great political investment of the Bush administration makes this a case that must not only be won but must withstand all tests of fairness. ...Federal prosecutors ... acknowledged that the indictment [Noriega’s] was handed up with little physical evidence, and relies on allegations from witnesses whose credibility is likely to be challenged.

Furthermore, the bulk of the indictment accuses Noriega ... of a drug smuggling and money laundering conspiracy that is said to have begun nine years ago, ending in 1986. [Four years ago] Veteran lawyers say recalling events that long ago would strain the memory of even the most substantial of witnesses. …

Once Noriega boldly double-crossed the Colombian traffickers. Although they had paid for permission to operate a cocaine-processing plant in Panama, Noriega’s troops moved in and shut them down. ...

His [Noriega’s attorneys] are certain to include a demand for secret government documents demonstrating that Noriega’s activities were simply in pursuit of his mission as an operative of the CIA and the DEA.”

Establishment Harry: “America is such a great country. First we liberate Panama from that drug dealer Noriega. Then after apprehending the thug we are still going to give him a fair trial, which ‘must withstand all tests of fairness’. Makes me so proud to be an American. In most countries, especially the Communist ones, he would disappear into a jail somewhere, never to be heard from again.”

Dim Dune: “But wait! The article says that the indictment is based on ‘little physical evidence’, unreliable witnesses, and that his drug dealing ended in 1986 – almost 4 years ago. Since then he actually double-crossed drug dealers. According to the article Noriega cooperated with the Colombian drug-traffickers, got their money and then destroyed their plants. If this were to happen in the USA to one of our DEA agents we would consider him a hero. What could be more in the line of public service? Further Noriega’s defense attorneys are claiming that he was only following orders from his American bosses, the CIA and the DEA.”

Ed: “But Noriega, that the dirty double crossing rat, also passed information to Communist Cuba’s Castro.”

Dune: “As a double agent Noriega also passed secrets to the CIA. I wonder who he was passing more information to – them or us.”

Cynical Sally: “Probably whoever was paying him most.”

Dune: “But I don’t understand. If Noriega is a drug dealer why did he destroy a cocaine processing plant? And if he is anti-American why is he in the employ of the American Secret Services – providing the CIA secret information about his cronies?”

Sally: “Let the highest bidders line up for the services of Manuel Noriega. He’s not biased. He will take anyone’s money for information & services rendered. His big mistake was standing up for the Panamanian people against the USA. If he had only cooperated with the rich, fat cats, America would never have invaded.”

Ed: “Wrong. Our army only retaliated after Noriega’s forces killed an American soldier.”

Dune: “The death of an American soldier justifies two billion dollars worth of damage, 2000 Panamanian deaths, and a permanent occupation force of 13,000 patrolling the streets at night, making sure no one is violating the government imposed curfew?”

Ed: “Murdering an American sets a bad precedent, which must be rectified immediately. What would happen if everyone thought they could get away with murdering Americans? What would happen to global tourism? You liberals are so biased. You never mention how important it is to the Bush Administration that Noriega gets a fair trial. This will determine his guilt or innocence once and for all.”

Sally: “Bah humbug! Bush’s aims have been realized. We have appointed an administrator of the Panama Canal of our own choosing. We have permanently silenced the Panamanian problem by permanently occupying the country ala Russia in Afghanistan. The Bush administration could care less if Noriega is ever brought to trial. It can only damage them. It will bring all the sordid dealings between Noriega, Bush & the CIA before the public eye. This is a ‘no no’. We don’t want to talk about that. The silence is deafening.”

Ed: “Noriega was an ally who went bad. Used his connections with us to establish a lucrative business dealing drugs.”

Dune: “2 billion dollars to apprehend a drug dealer, whose operations stopped 4 years ago? Seems a little expensive to me.”

Big Business: “Not really. The money we will save on the duties at the Panama Canal will more than pay for the damage that was done.”

Dune: “But will the Panamanians benefit?

Business: “Who gives a fuck? They are not stockholders. They don’t elect presidents or contribute to campaign funds. They were merely an obstruction to our desires for global domination and had to be removed. Bless George Bush for implementing this political coup.”

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