United States invasion of Panama

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Event.png United States invasion of Panama (invasion,  military operation,  war) Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
DateDecember 20, 1989 - January 31, 1990
DescriptionUS war of aggression in 1989
The Panama Deception also available on Rumble[1][2][3]

The United States Invasion of Panama - hypocritically codenamed Operation Just Cause - lasted over a month between mid-December 1989 and late January 1990. It occurred during the administration of President George H. W. Bush


Full article: Document:The Man Who Sold the War
An intense media campaign to demonize the Panamanian leader was started, "turning him into the worst monster since Attila the Hun"[4].

In 1989, shortly after his election, President George H.W. Bush signed a highly secret "finding" authorizing the CIA to funnel $10 million to opposition forces in Panama to overthrow Noriega. Reluctant to involve agency personnel directly, the CIA turned to the Rendon Group. Rendon's job was to work behind the scenes, using a variety of campaign and psychological techniques to put the CIA's choice, Guillermo Endara, into the presidential palace. Cash from the agency, laundered through various bank accounts and front organizations, would end up in Endara's hands, who would then pay Rendon.[5]

Noriega foiled a two coup attempts[6] and declared the May 7, 1989 civilian elections invalid.[4]

As part of the preparations, Noriega was now - very hypocritically - declared wanted by the United States justice system for racketeering and drug trafficking, despite having for a long time worked with the Central Intelligence Agency with among other things drug trafficking and arms smuggling.[7]


In the months beforehand, U.S. military forces were instructed to begin maneuvers and activities within the restrictions of the Torrijos-Carter Treaties, such as ignoring Panama Defence Force roadblocks and conducting short-notice "Category Three" military exercises on security-sensitive targets, with the express goal of provoking PDF soldiers.[8]

The U.S. launched its invasion of Panama on December 20, with the ostensible reason being the killing of a US Marine that was shot at a road block a few day earlier[9], although the operation had been planned for months before his death.[10]


Full article: Panama Canal

The invasion functioned as an important warning to the world just as the Cold War was ending. Rather than an era of peace and reduced military budgets, the military planners intensified their expansion of global hegemony.[8]

A purpose of the invasion was secure continued absolute control the Panama Canal, which had been signed back to Panama in 1977 by the Torrijos–Carter Treaties, to the deep resentment of a faction of the deep state. The canal and the Canal Zone was supposed to be handed from the U.S. to Panama partially in 1990 and fully by January 1, 2000. The overthrow also, according to Noam Chomsky "restored power to the rich white elite that had been displaced by the [1968] Torrijos coup".[4]

Following the operation, the Panama Defense Forces were dissolved (another objective) and a more obedient government under President-elect Guillermo Endara was sworn into office. The United Nations General Assembly and the Organization of American States condemned the invasion as a violation of international law.[11]

Seizing blackmail material

Full article: Contadora Island

In 1988, Noriega declared:

I’ve got Bush by the balls[12]

An article from the British Sunday Correspondent alleged that Noriega had compiled a stash of sex tapes featuring top-ranking US officials. Noriega, the article explains, ran a well-known 'honey trap': inviting diplomats to his home filled with alcohol, drugs, beautiful women, and beautiful men - and covertly filming their antics.[13]

According to John Perkins, son George W. Bush and other high ranking US leaders had been secretly videotaped while having sex with prostitutes and and doing drugs on Contadora Island in Panama. According to Perkins, one of the reasons President George HW Bush invaded Panama was in order to seize the incriminating tapes.[14] There might also have been blackmail material from the Iran-Contra affair. George HW Bush had been CIA director when the Agency collaborated with Noriega and Colombian drug smugglers.[15]

A marine who was part of the invasion said, when interviewed by Robert Wenzel:

You know there was something else going on when that invasion took place. We had some target buildings we were given to destroy. The buildings weren't any type of military threat to us and we kind of looked around at each other and said 'What the hell is this all about?', but we followed orders and blew the buildings up. I really think that grabbing Noriega was a secondary reason for the invasion. There was something else going on.[16]

Hollywood script writer Gary Devore died or disappeared in 1997. He was researching a script about the invasion, where the real motivation, covering up for sexual blackmail, was mentioned, and he might have come across highly compromising material.[17]

Weapons tests

Full article: Weapon/Testing#Panama

The United States military tested new advanced weaponry in Panama during the invasion.

The military operations

The military incursion into Panama began on December 20, 1989, at 1:00 a.m. local time. The operation involved massive overkill, with 27,000 U.S. troops, over 300 aircraft and enormous amounts of advance hardware, against 2,500 members of the Panamanian Self-Defence Forces and some militias. Those troops quickly secured all important strategic installations, including the main airport in Panama City, various military bases, and ports.[18] The poor neighborhood of El Chorillo, seen as a bastion of Noriega, was set for a particularity brutal treatment.

An anonymous witness in the documentary The Panama Deception told how "The North Americans began burning down El Chorillo at about 6:30 in the morning. They would throw a small device into a house and it would catch on fire. They would burn a house, and then move to another and begin the process all over again. They burned from one street to the next. They coordinated the burning through walkie-talkies."[19]


The number of civilian casualties have been consistently minimized in the official narrative. According to official Pentagon figures, 516 Panamanians were killed during the invasion, including 314 soldiers and 202 civilians.[20] The government they installed set the official Panamanian casualties at 300 civilians and 63 military personnel.[21][22]

During a trip to Panama, Former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark heard varying estimates of death tolls ranging from 4,000 to 7,000 Panamanian citizens. The estimates came from hospitals, Red Cross and human rights officials and U.S. and Panamanian citizens, said Clark.[23]

Deliberate effort to hide evidence

Dr. Saturnino Solís was head of the mourge at the Santo Tomás Hospital in Panama City at the time[24]. He told how:

Cars carrying corpses began to arrive, gringo cars, dump trucks. They brought lots of corpses. We were writing down in a book that we have from the start. Corpses continued to arrive, mainly Panamanians, the occasional foreigner". Solís says that there were so many deaths that control was lost, but he mentions other reasons why there is no record of an average number of deaths in Panama. "The second day I did not find the book. It seems that the gringos had seized it. Later we found the book without pages, it was missing about 10 or 12 pages where we were writing down the bodies. They are large books, about 100 names fit on each sheet....We were placing the corpses in a row, one by one until we finished the space of the morgue, which was about 50 feet wide. Then one on top of the other because they didn't fit any other way. The fridges only held about 35. It's hard to remember all this. I try to forget and I can't.[25]


The newly installed government disbanded the armed forces, only retaining a small paramilitary security force.[26]

In the ensuing occupation, Central American Human Rights Commission claimed that "the US has not respected fundamental legal and human rights” in Panama. The violations occurred on a “massive scale” and included "illegal detentions of citizens, unconstitutional property searches, illegal lay-offs of public and private employees, and … tight control of the Panamanian media."[8]

Alexander Cockburn, in his book Whiteout, told how "The greatest irony of all is that, under the US-installed successor to Noriega, Guillermo Endara, Panama became the province of the Cali cartel, which rushed in after the Medellin cartel was evicted along with Noriega. By the early 1990s, Panama’s role in the Latin American drug trade and its transmission routes to the US had become more crucial than ever."[27]


Related Document

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
Document:The Man Who Sold the WarWikispooks Page17 November 2005James Bamford


  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Panama_Deception saved at Archive.org saved at Archive.is
  2. https://www.c-span.org/video/?467566-1/the-panama-deception
  3. video is archived, buffering may take a while - https://web.archive.org/web/20170305191724/https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zo6yVNWcGCo
  4. a b c https://chomsky.info/unclesam06/
  5. https://wikispooks.com/wiki/Document:The_Man_Who_Sold_the_War
  6. https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1989-10-10-mn-258-story.html
  7. https://www.aljazeera.com/opinions/2011/9/22/drugs-and-justice-in-panama
  8. a b c https://truthout.org/articles/the-invasion-of-panama-and-the-proclamation-of-a-lone-superpower-above-the-law/
  9. https://articles.latimes.com/1990-12-22/news/mn-6183_1_hard-chargers
  10. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-16966007
  11. https://web.archive.org/web/20071213081648/http://www.idrc.ca/openebooks/963-1/
  12. https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/the-dirty-secrets-of-george-bush-71927/
  13. Sunday Correspondent, Noriega's sex trap shackles United States quoted in https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2905392/Hollywood-screenwriter-mysteriously-killed-20-years-ago-working-CIA-hands-sent-autopsy-200-years-old.html
  14. see Contadora Island
  15. https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/the-dirty-secrets-of-george-bush-71927/
  16. https://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2005/07/invasion-of-panama-there-was-something.html
  17. The Writer with No Hands, 2014 documentary https://www.bitchute.com/video/NHbIFih3kbYR/
  18. https://tomdispatch.com/greg-grandin-how-the-iraq-war-began-in-panama/
  19. Documentary film The Panama Deception, 1992.At 37 minutes.
  20. https://www.nytimes.com/1990/04/01/world/panama-and-us-strive-to-settle-on-death-toll.html
  21. https://www.washingtonpost.com/history/2019/12/23/rotting-cow-tongue-evil-sorcery-how-us-invasion-panama-led-literal-witch-hunt/
  22. https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1990/01/07/accounting-for-panamas-dead-uncertainty-and-confusion/e009cf1b-bc93-45a0-866a-2b391ae2d42a/?itid=lk_inline_manual_53
  23. https://www.upi.com/Archives/1990/04/02/Clark-Panama-invasion-deadlier-than-reported/9738639028800/
  24. In the 2014 documentary film Invasión by Abner Benaim, at 18:00 minutes, Solís told: "More and more corpses kept coming in, continuously. I remember on that first night we counted more than 480. And they kept coming and coming. I estimate that there were over 800 or more.People talk about the number of dead.
    We wrote down the numbers. I might have missed one or two, but when I went looking for our registry book, the pages were gone. All those pages had been ripped out. But not the rest of the pages, from before, because it was a used book. It wasn't as though it were a new book. But those pages were gone. I thought, "Maybe they took them in order to keep records?"
  25. https://www.tvn-2.com/nacionales/registro-invasion-desaparecio-santo-tomas-video_1_1217015.html
  26. Pérez, Orlando J. (2010). Political Culture in Panama: Democracy after Invasion.
  27. Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair, Whiteout, page 290.