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Wednesday’s showing of MSNBC’s “Playback” with John Gibson featured a
confrontation on the Panama Canal giveback which had Robert Pastor, Jimmy
Carter’s National Security advisor on Latin America on one side, and Mark
Braden from the Republican National Committee on the other. No mention was
made of Pastor’s Marxist background and Soviet connections as revealed after
the “fall of the wall,” but it was more balanced than recent writing about
the situation in one of the leading “mainstream” papers, the Washington
Post.

I am a dual citizen of Panama and the U.S., born and raised in the Zone
with a Panamanian mother and an American father. I have a Panamanian wife
and children who are citizens of both countries. I have been tortured and
exiled by the dictator Noriega for speaking out for both countries. It is of
great concern to me that “establishment” media such as the Post cannot be
balanced and tell the full truth, while “alternative” media such as cable
shows and Internet publications can.

I speak of a recent series of articles in the Washington Post that
are revealing not for what they say but for how they go to such lengths not
to say that which is true and necessary to get an accurate picture of what
has been going on in Panama.

On Oct. 12 the Post published an op-ed piece entitled, “Transferring the
Canal,” by Pastor, who is currently a professor at Emory University in
Atlanta. At the time of the Canal giveaway, Pastor was so closely connected
with President Carter that he called the shots on the security aspects of
the Carter effort.

What the Post didn’t tell its readers was that Prof. Pastor was also high
up in the Institute for Policy Studies, now documented, thanks to Ronald
Reagan and the fall of the Berlin Wall, as the KGB’s subsidized
institutional mouthpiece in Washington, D.C. It’s funny how the Post and
similar organs just can’t find it in themselves to look in those KGB
documents, even though they could have read them, with excellent scholarly
commentary, at the local library. MSNBC didn’t tell its viewers this
information either, but one would think that it would be important to anyone’s
getting a full picture of what is involved in the giveaway of the Canal.

What did Institute for Policy Studies’ man Pastor say we should do about
the Canal? Well, he said, the Congress should pass another resolution, this
one “reaffirming U.S. adherence to the Canal treaties.” He said Congress
should resolve also that we adhere to “helping Panama develop.” No doubt
this would be on the successful models which the KGB has implemented over
the years, particularly during its extensive operations in Latin America.
Further, he made it clear we should not seek in any way to have an actual,
deterrent military presence. “We should,” he stated, put aside for at least
a couple of years the idea of using former U.S. military bases for
counter-narcotics or other purposes (emphasis mine). This is a
controversial issue in Panama, and the two countries need first to get used
to a more balanced relationship.”

I have a correction for the Professor.

This may have been a controversial issue in Panama, but it was never the
case that any substantial portion of Panamanians wanted the Canal turned
over to the Chinese communists through a front company, or, for that matter,
to Marxist drug groups from Colombia, the drug lords, or Colombia itself.
Such anti-American sentiments as there were before the corrupt Balladares
administration started turning over the Canal ports and functions to a front
company for the communist Chinese military and the Colombian Marxist FARC
(Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia) and ELN guerrillas (who
make the “Shining Path” guerrillas of Peru look like amateurs) started
showing up regularly around the Canal with their pals the
narcotrafficantes, and the Colombian military started moving in right
behind the guerrillas. Americans may not be greatly beloved, but that’s
beside the point now. Most Panamanians prefer them to the above actors in
the Canal drama, but in the official dealings that was not the choice that
was put before the people of Panama.

You know, perhaps Pastor is not aware of it, but in the schools of
Colombia they still teach the children that Panama is but a breakaway
province of Colombia just as the Chinese communists teach their children and
their military trainees that Taiwan is but a breakaway province of communist
China. These forces are moving in to Panama now and they do not intend to
wait for “a more balanced relationship.”

I’ve got news for the professor: by far, a majority of the Panamanians
would rather have the Americans around than the communist Chinese, the FARC
and ELN, the narcotrafficantes or the Colombian military. This was
made clear when the corrupt Balladares administration, in league with the
Hutchison Whampoa communist front, passed the notorious Law No. 5 giving the
ports and Canal functions to the Chinese communist front company without
submitting it to a plebiscite of the Panamanian people as is required by our
Constitution when a law amounts to a contract with a foreign government or
its instrumentality. But then, of course, the KGB model for “development” of
countries like Panama does not allow for such things as plebiscites, as
Pastor knows.

The will of the Panamanian people was demonstrated, however, when persons
associated with Hutchison Whampoa’s Panamanian subsidiary, Panama Ports
Holdings, in partnership with corrupt Balladares officials, sought to move
in and develop the former American military airfield at Albrook as part of
the Hutchison Whampoa operations. There was a great outcry in my country.
The Panamanian people asked the logical question: What does a port company
need with a military airfield? It is interesting to note also that this
occupation would have given Hutchison Whampoa a strategic penetration
several miles into the Zone proper that would have crossed key strategic
lines of transport and communication across the Isthmus. The outcry was
sufficient, that the Chinese and their Balladares allies withdrew – at least
for now, until the Americans leave and have this “couple of years” to allow
for Pastor’s “more balanced relationship” to develop.

But, hey, the Post is not one to be seen as biased. After featuring
Pastor’s 11-paragraph op-ed piece on the Oct. 12, 10 days later they ran a
three-paragraph letter from a retired Merchant Marine officer, Joseph
Turocy, who in his Merchant Marine career had made many trips through the
Canal. Turocy noted, “As the Panamanians have assumed a greater role in the
canal operation, each trip has been increasingly beset by bureaucratic and
mechanical difficulties. The world-wide shipping industry will be pleasantly
surprised if the Panamanians are able to operate the canal at efficiency
level close to that of the Americans.” But, then, what does a Merchant
Marine officer like Joseph Turocy know?

Is he familiar with the KGB models of development for Latin America?
Probably not. Is there anyone out there getting the impression that the
Washington Post is going to tell the truth about the situation? If so, they
too may be familiar with the KGB model for development in Latin America in
general and my Panama in particular. In fact they may be even more familiar
with that model if they know that the Washington Post has no intention of
telling the truth about this matter and wish to pretend that it’s not a lie
to deceive the American people. After all, the Post could easily assign a
reporter to find out the truth of the matter, but don’t hold your breath.

So there you have a difference. The Post can really stack the deck for
ole Karl, while MSNBC gives “equal time.” Too bad neither one can bring
itself to actually point out Pastor’s actual bias and background. It could
be helpful to the American people, who, in their homegrown wisdom, have
always been suspect of assurances by Marxists about matters involving
American security. It might even be helpful to us Panamanians. But for now,
we can at least get the full story on the Internet, which transcends the
borders.



William Bright Marine is a dual
U.S./Panamanian citizen, credited with jumpstarting U.S. base talks in 1995,
and has filed suit via his attorney Laurence Elgin and U.S. Defense -
American Victory in order to block the transfer of the Panama Canal. For
more information, e-mail USD-AV about the
lawsuit.

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