What have we learned from this little collection of essays on ‘Panama and the Politics of Greed - a Lesson in Propaganda’.
On the first level we learned that the Media is not telling us what is really going on in Panama. Under close examination it was evident that the media deliberately used omission, distortion, and misleading headlines to confuse and trick the Public.
The implication from the newspaper articles generated by the supposedly ‘liberal’ New York Times via the Santa Barbara News Press was that the US Military had aided Panama in ridding itself of a drug dealing dictator, Noriega. America the Beautiful under George Bush the Great with the American military as the cavalry had come in to rescue the Panamanians from corruption. In the process Bush transcended himself as a wimp and proved himself a man by taking decisive action to save the poor Panamanians from miserable leadership. According to the implications of the headlines the Panamanians were praising the American soldiers as their liberators. Of course the bad guys behind that drug-dealing thug Noriega had proved stronger than we suspected and so we had to send in more troops and stay much longer to free the poor Panamanians from their evil rulers.
Applying just the minimum of analysis to the established news media - no controversial sources - it was seen that this was no police action, but instead was a downright invasion of Panama. It seems that the US Government as the tool of Big Business was attempting to maintain control of the Canal Zone in Panama, as a strategic military and economic sector that bridged North and South America, and the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. We didn’t ‘liberate’ Panama from suffering instead we inflicted massive deaths and economic hardships. We bombed the heart of the city in the middle of the night killing thousands of citizens and making many more homeless. We eliminated their police force and closed down newspapers unfriendly to American interests. This caused widespread unemployment and lawlessness - a general social breakdown. The international community universally condemned our move as an illegal use of our military against an autonomous nation. Further Bush had never been a wimp but was instead the ex-head of the CIA, known for their brutally violent subversive tricks.
How and why did events in Panama spiral out of control? It seems that in the late 1970’s that President Carter signed a contract with the Panamanians to gradually give them control of the Panama Canal. He was attempting to liberate Panama from the control of Americans. Unable to back out of this legal contract Big Business interests fronted by George Bush decided to use military force to regain control. This was also illegal so they used their propaganda machine to turn the President of Panama into a thug and drug dealer. Then they made it seem that this military action to seize control of the Canal Zone was done to liberate the Panamanians rather than subjugate them.
In the old days the King didn’t need to create propaganda because he was not subject to the will of the people. In the case of democracy the ruling powers have deep respect for the power of the will of the people. They knew how powerful the People were from recent history. The People, not the Politicians, stopped the wars in Southeast Asia through massive social protests. Smaller disturbances designed to wake up the Public culminated in a national protest called the Moratorium, which crossed all socio-economic categories.
Due to the Power of the People the Government has resorted to a massive Propaganda campaign to trick the American people. Propaganda was needed to confuse and fragment the Public. Their need to mislead the Public reflects the power of the People. However if the People fragment into competing groups we will not be able to assert our power. When united we, the People, are invincible. However divided we fell.
From this in depth examination it was obvious that the media is a tool of the Government, which is a tool of Big Business. What actions, if any, need be taken?
The invasion in Panama was already old history a few months after it happened. As each month goes by it drifts further back in the memory replaced by new issues. Obviously nothing can be done to rectify our invasion of Panama. The damage has already been done. On the first level the Writer is just hoping to dispel some of the illusions deliberately created by the Government propaganda machine. On the second level the Writer attempted to expose some of the techniques by which the Big Media/Business/Government/Military complex attempts to mislead us. On more fundamental levels he tried to make the Reader aware of the collusion of the Media, Big Business, Government, and the Military to confuse and mislead the Public.
If we are aware of their techniques the Government Propaganda won’t mislead us as easily and we will naturally tend to do the right thing. As such the purpose of these words is to evoke greater Awareness, which will lead naturally into Social Action, which might manifest as stubborn Resistance to their manipulative directives. If we can separate their agenda from ours – their goals from ours, we can more easily wend our way through the landmines that they sprinkle everywhere. Instead of jumping through the hoops based in Power and Materialism due to a Pavlovian response based upon cultural conditioning by our Media, with awareness we reside in the values of Love and Compassion for all humans regardless of race, sex, creed or nationality.
Through the techniques of common underlying assumptions or implicit beliefs they trick us into limited tribal thinking, where our mistaken identification with our country’s agenda justifies atrocities of all kinds. Conflict and War based in Greed will be the consequence as long as we consider ourselves Americans first and humans second. Furthering our American tribe’s interests over the rest of humanity leads inevitably to competition, dissension, fighting, war and endless destruction. Identifying with the needs of humanity leads to cooperation, kindness and caring. As humans we do not think that only 10 Americans died, but instead that 2000 human beings died.
Unfortunately unpleasant emotions accompany the greater compassion. How sad, how unfortunate, how unnecessary. What a tragic interruption for the family, friends and greater community. What a disaster for their whole country. The question arises: Is the good of America as seen through the greedy, power-hungry filter of our leaders really worth so much suffering?
Even if the American control of the Canal would keep our grocery bills down because American interests are in control, would it be worth the human suffering we have caused? Wouldn’t we rather pay a little more for gas, for fruit, whatever, than to have bombed and totally obliterated an entire city block in the capital of downtown Panama? Was any infraction that Noriega might have caused worth the cost?
Guilt, the second unpleasant emotion associated with increased Awareness, spontaneously emerges due to our innate identification with the American tribe combined with the awareness of the atrocities perpetrated in our name by our government. “This is not fair!” we scream to the great outdoors. “We don’t want to participate in the barbarism in any way.” Sometimes the guilt gives way to a sense of helplessness and futility. This is what they want.
Instead realize that although we are American humans that our government is separate from us. Although their Media has programmed us from birth to believe that as our Representatives they are acting in our best interests – that they are the Head and we the Body, this is patently false – part of the Propaganda – as we shall see in the coming articles. Instead of feeling paralyzed or guilty by their actions resist their directives when they run counter to a compassion for all of humanity. Instead of the guilt of participation feel disgust and anger. Use these powerful emotions to resist and counter their intent with positivity based in compassion.
Until we, as Americans, can have compassion for the humans of the planet, we as a culture are going to be separated from the global community with the resultant paranoia and anxiety the Us/Them mentality inevitably spawns. As long as we as a culture value money over humanity, we are going to continue to be led and tricked by the propaganda, because we want to believe it. As long as we are tricked by the Politics of Greed we are doomed to violent, greedy leaders. When we come to grips with our own collective humanity and the compassion this entails, then and only then will the propaganda be ineffective and then and only then will we get peace in the world and in our heads.
It is much less disturbing to believe that ‘only’ 2000 Panamanians died, because they are somehow less human than we are as they are not part of our tribe. However because we are separate from them we are also separate from ourselves. If we are separate from ourselves there is no integration. Because we are internally divided there is no peace of mind. With no peace of mind there is only agitation and aggravation, which feeds ambition and greed, and vice versa. There is no end.
True bliss arises when the inside and outside merge – the moment when integrity leads to internal peace. However this bliss also entails the pain of compassion. The mother realizes that her children’s happiness is her happiness. If they suffer, then she suffers. As such she makes it her business to relieve their suffering, for only then will she be happy. Enlightened self-interest. The vow of the Bodhisattva of Compassion. With this realization everyone works for good of humanity rather than the isolated tribe. This will be the most fulfilling, because we are all one.
Home Fairy Tale is Over Panama Previous Next Comments