Subject WHAT REALLY HAPPENED TO PANAMA Written 422 pm Feb 25, 1991 by christic in cdpchris
Subject: WHAT REALLY HAPPENED TO PANAMA
Written 4:22 pm Feb 25, 1991 by christic in cdp:christic.news
WHAT REALLY HAPPENED TO PANAMA IS A DIFFERENT STORY
Project Censored: Nomination for the "Ten Best Censored Stories of 1990"
According to a variety of non-mainstream but authoritative sources, the
U.S. invasion of Panama on December 20, 1989, received inadequate and
erroneous news coverage. It now appears that the legal implications of the
invasion, the Bush-Noriega relationship and the actual post-invasion
conditions in Panama have all been misrepresented to the American people.
But perhaps the most fraudulent news coverage dealt with the true numbers of
civilian and combat fatalities.
Official accounts spoke of 202 dead Panamanian civilians, 314 dead
Panamanian soliders, and 23 dead Americans.
The press was oddly silent two months after the invasion when a Southern
Command official acknowledged to the L.A. Times that only 50 Panamanian
soldiers died. And, American soldiers reported that at least 60 to 70
Americans were killed, possibly many more. Apparently some combat deaths
were disguised as accidental deaths unreleated to the invasion. The new
findings indicate that the U.S. lost more soldiers than Panama. Physicians
for Human Rights (PHR) has challenged the government figure of 202 dead
civilians and former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark has put the figure
at 3,000, using the phrase "conspiracy of silence" to describe efforts to
bury the true civilian death toll. The official U.S. report was based on
unconfirmed battlefield observations and mortuary and hopital statistics.
PHR's investigation tallied burial sites, mortuaries, hospital records, and
interview with officials.
In addition to Stealth Bombers dropping 2000-pound bombs, U.S. soldiers
are reported to have directly fired upon civilian homes with machine guns,
rockets, and tanks in the barrio of El Chorillo surrounding Noriega's
headquarters. U.S. soldiers evacuated apart- ments and summarily burned
them to the ground. Witnesses reported U.S. troops killing wounded
civilians with either gunshots or rifle-butts to the head.
CBS's "60 Minutes," in a September 1990 expose, reported the existence of
at least six yet-to-be-exhumed mass graves to conclude that Panamanian
civilian deaths could run as high as 4,000. The findings of many watch
groups support the "60 Minutes" casualty report. Peace and Justice in
Panama, The Central American Human Rights Commission, Panamanian National
Human Rights Commission, Panamanian Episcopal Commision and the National
Lawyers Guild all calculate the death toll to range from two to four
The actual death toll has been obscured through U.S. military practices of
incineration of corpses prior to identification, burial of remains in common
graves prior to indentification, and U.S. military control of administrative
offices of hospitals and morgues, as well as the removal of hospital and
morgue registries from their original sites. The U.S. retained direct and
full control of Panamanian media until mid-February. And U.S. journalists
were sequestered in military barracks for the first 36 hours of the invasion
and then saw only official authorized sites.
SOURCES: Panama Delegation Report, 3/1/90, by the Central American Human
Rights Commission; SAN FRANCISCO BAY GUARDIAN, 9/26/90, "The hidden body
count," by Jonathan Franklin, p 29; CBS NEWS, "60 Minutes," 9/30/90,
"Victims of Just Cause," by Mike Wallace; WASHINGTON POST, 6/30/90, "How
Many Died in Panama, letter con't.," by Joanne Heisel; THE NATION, 6/18/90,
"The Press and the Panama Invasion," by Marc Cooper, pp 850-852.
End of text from cdp:christic.news
Source: Peacenet Via New York Transfer News 718-448-2358, 718-448-2683
[ This file has travelled through the Socialism OnLine! BBS
at +1-719-392-7781, 24 hours, 300-9600 bps HST/MNP/V42bis,
on its way to you, the reader of this file. Please share
any information you have about "big brother." Venceremos! ]
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank