There is much that connects us, events, places and time. These things draws us close and make us one together. Literature is that way, we feel a kinship with those who read and enjoy the same books. Events give us common memory, but what about when memory is wrong? What about when memory is bent or angled like a billiard bank shot?
Imagine, if you will, Bruce Wayne sitting quietly up in stately Wayne manner when the bat signal is seen up in the sky. Wayne pushes a button and begins his decent down into the bat cave. Only when he arrives he's not Batman but...Ronald Reagan! The mind revolts, no,no, that's not right. That should be Batman down in that cave!
The brain won't accept the sudden change, but the brain will accept a subtle and gradual change. Take Franklin Roosevelt for instance, he was succeeded in office by Harry Truman. Truman was considered at the time a conservative Democrat, more conservative than Roosevelt. Eisenhower was wooed by both political parties to run for the Presidency. John Kennedy also called himself a conservative Democrat, so much so that Lyndon Johnson was added to the ticket. Kennedy was more conservative than Truman. Johnson was a liberal, but also a hawk on the Vietnam war. As Martin Luther King lamented, the funding for America's social programs was siphoned off to fight a war.
Johnson's decision not to run for re-election left an open contest for the Democrats in 1968. Yet the Democratic party found itself divided by the Vietnam war. Hubert Humphrey, the tested party stalwart versus Robert F. Kennedy, but after Kennedy won the California primary the dynamic had changed. Kennedy was now the front runner almost certain to win the Democratic nomination. What was Kennedy's platform? Peace. Kennedy had promised to end the Vietnam war, and for that, he had to die.
Omar Torrijos was never officially the President of Panama, instead he held the title of "Maximum Leader of the Panamanian Revolution" and "Supreme Chief of Government." He joined the Panamanian national guard in 1952 and rose to the rank of Captain, in 1965 he took a cadet course at Fort Benning's world famous School of the Americas. One year later, Torrijos and Boris Martinez overthrew the elected government in a coup de'tat. In 1969 Torrijos ousted Martinez and banished him to exile, Torrijos then promoted himself to brigadier general.
Do you suppose, that it is at all possible that these events happened in a vacuum? That Torrijos just happened to go to the School of the America's and just happened to over throw the government one year later? Sure, just like guys who escape from prison buy late model cars and live under an alias in Mexico. But you know, fate is a cruel mistress. While Torrijos was disbanding the national assembly and shutting down the newspapers all was well. But in 1972 Torrijos began a program of land redistribution for farmers. He began an ambitious program of building schools and public works. Then he attacked the countries ruling elite, calling them rabiblancos ("white-tails"), in 1981 after naming a supporter as his successor and with plans to return Panama to civilian rule Omar Torrijos died in a plane crash.
In America, these are known as conspiracy theories and anyone who offers or dabbles in them is a called a conspiracy theorist, because our media always tells the American public the unvarnished truth, right? Can I get an Amen on that?
We do know that the Reagan administration was causing havoc in El Salvador and in Nicaragua but it is such a stretch to suppose that they had anything to do with the deaths just weeks apart of leaders whose polices might have had negative effect on US business interests?
Manuel Antonio Noriega was also a student of the School of the Americas where he took courses in intelligence, counter intelligence and psychological operations. Roberto Diaz Herrera, a colonel under Noriega claimed that Noriega had planned and carried out the bombing of Omar Torrijos airplane. Everybody needs a hobby and Manuel Antonio Noriega's hobby was acting as a contract agent for the CIA. His other hobby was laundering drug money through the bank of Panama and BCCI (Bank of Credit and Commerce International)
Remember how the Congress cut off the funds to what Ronald Reagan called "Freedom Fighters"? Remember how America's streets were soon awash with cocaine in the 1980's. Remember how the Reagan administration was illegally giving arms to supply those freedom fighters in Central America? I'm certain and I know that you are certain too, that those arms delivery aircraft all returned to the United States empty. In 1984, Noriega allowed the first Presidential elections in sixteen years but when it became clear that Noriega's candidate would not win the election Noriega ordered the vote count stopped. Have you ever heard of such a thing? Stopping a vote count or a recount?
Here's a trivia question for you, do you remember in the Johnny Depp film "Blow" when Depp's fortune earned from cocaine trafficking was seized when a Panamanian strongman nationalized the bank of Panama? For 100 points guess who else had their illegally earned drug profits in that bank? (hint) The first letter is C followed by IA. Noriega was then charged with eight counts of drug trafficking, racketeering and money laundering. He was captured after an airborne invasion of Panama by the US army which was later condemned by the United Nations as a flagrant violation of international law.
At his trial for drug trafficking Noriega attempted to introduce evidence of his activities while working for the CIA. Noriega claimed that the CIA had paid him over ten million dollars. The Federal district court ruled, "information about the content of the discrete operations in which Noriega had engaged in exchange for the alleged payments was irrelevant to his defense". That's a fair ruling, right? The court maintained that Noriega's role in the CIA would "confuse the jury." It might confuse the jury to find out its government was profiting from the sale of drugs.
It's really funny how these tidbits keep turning up, just as out of work assassins go to Mexico, or court cases that end up in Miami. Do you know what else was in Miami? One of the most important CIA stations in the country and for bonus points do you know who was President when Noriega was arrested? It is really just too easy. Yes, former CIA director George Bush was the President at the time.
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