Tags: Panama | Bullies | U.S. | Group | Over | Canal

Panama Bullies U.S. Group Over Canal

Friday, 03 May 2002 12:00 AM

Exposing the truth is how the NSC operates, and now they've hit pay dirt after all these years and deserve high praise for such courage and perseverance.

The president of Panama, Mireya Moscoso, and her foreign minister, Jose Miguel Aleman, do not like this kind of truth at all. They want blood. They are now the "big boys" and they prefer bullying tactics to silence all critics.

They are demanding that the U.S. Justice Department criminally prosecute NSC President Richard A. Delgaudio; Maj. Gen. Richard Anson, U.S. Army (Ret.); Dr. Robert Selle and all members of NSC's 13th mission to Panama (March 24-28, 2002) for "destabilizing Panama" and for their "worrisome" literature.

So, what did Delgaudio & Co. do that was so bad? They told the truth in a fresh and non-threatening manner, always emphasizing their unofficial status and non-interference in Panamanian politics.

They talked with Panamanian civic, business and political leaders, and participated in television and radio programs where they discussed public opinion polls favoring a U.S. presence in Panama to defend the wide-open and unprotected Canal, still the "world's most strategic waterway," and to help interdict illegal drugs, so destructive to the people of our hemisphere.

Virtually every call-in to these programs favored a U.S. return to defend the Canal, one saying, "China NO, USA YES!" – referring to the Red Chinese agent Hutchison-Whampo, now controlling the Canal entrance ports and violating the Neutrality Treaty.

Freedom of speech in Panama is not the same as freedom of speech in the United States, where our precious First Amendment allows anyone to say anything anywhere anytime. In Panama, the Moscoso-Aleman administration prosecutes critics, including NSC friends such as labor leader Ray Bishop, Dr. Tomas Cabal and other NSC "collaborators," as they call them.

President Moscoso, as a young woman in 1968, was married to the popular Dr. Arnulfo Madrid Arias, three-time president of Panama and a friend of the United States. She was elected president in 1999. It was soon apparent that her handlers set the agenda.

For example, Phil Harman, longtime close friend of Dr. Arias and Moscoso and extremely knowledgeable in Panamanian politics, asked Moscoso to consider the Nunn Condition to the Neutrality Treaty for negotiating U.S. base rights to protect the Canal from terrorists. He was ignored. Two courteous letters, sent soon after her inauguration, remain unanswered.

Her foreign minister, Jose Aleman, is a member of one of the 13 families that run Panama. His uncle, Roberto "Chato" Aleman, was ambassador to the United States in 1968 – a real "collaborator" who helped sack Boris Martinez of Panama's National Guard for trying to set up an honest government. Aleman then helped dictator Omar Torrijos fool U.S. President Jimmy Carter with the unconstitutional Panama Canal Treaties.

The NSC has sponsored 13 missions to Panama, beginning in 1990 – all educational and all respectful of Panama and its government. Gradually, the NSC message has been understood and accepted, and polls have long proved that most Panamanians favor a U.S. presence.

Now, the Moscoso-Aleman administration demands that U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft criminally prosecute NSC officials and members of the March Mission to Panama. For what? Mainly, it appears, for listening to complaints of Panamanian citizens about corruption, censorship, lawlessness, drug trafficking and instability in Panama – where the attorney general is now investigating 71 of Panama's own congressmen.

How silly can they get? The NSC people did not

All this seems petty and silly by American standards of justice. Nonetheless, Aleman officially delivered to the U.S. Embassy in Panama, for forwarding to Attorney General Ashcroft, an 11-page complaint and list of "American citizens and Panamanian collaborators" serving as liaisons to the American "destabilizers."

The attorney general will do us a great service if he applies his usual common sense to immediately quash these senseless and unacceptable charges – all with sweet diplomacy, of course, but with finality. The same for the State Department if Secretary Powell gets into the act.

Just as our Constitution is not a suicide pact, neither must our foreign policy ever be a suicide pact.

When Americans visited the old Soviet Union, they were under surveillance by the KGB, which did the same for Russians who talked to the Americans. Panama does it better. Panama wants the U.S. to prosecute Americans who ask questions in Panama.

Panamanian citizens told the NSC delegation they want better U.S.-Panama relations and wanted U.S. help to safeguard the Canal from terrorist attacks. This was the story for NSC missions to Panama, all recorded and all reported in detail to members of the U.S. Congress, along with many briefings.

Alas, then, most senators and congressmen tell constituents that Panama doesn't want us back, don't want help and don't want the U.S. military to protect the Canal. THIS IS NOT TRUE – and the National Security Center proved it 13 times.

The entrenched Panamanian political leaders do not want the U.S. back; they are too busy riding their gravy train and resent U.S. snooping.

General Anson and Mr. Delgaudio, on this 13th mission, found the people stronger than ever in favor of U.S. protection of the Canal and with overwhelming sentiment for negotiating a deal with the U.S. Ample authority is in the Nunn Condition of the Neutrality Treaty.

However, the rich politicos of Panama don't want the gringos back. They prefer big-bucks under-the-table deals with Red China for port control and options for former U.S. defense sites, and scoff at charges of blatant violations of the Neutrality Treaty. Moreover, those they can't bribe, buy or cajole, they seek to destroy.

Once again, let us note, the NSC people did not

The National Security Center has been faithful and courageous in almost 15 years of dedication to preserving U.S. interests in the Isthmus of Panama.

Their persistence is paying off, because any lawsuit that comes to trial will burst the Panamanian bubble and expose the vital need to protect the Canal, and also the abject failure of our elected defenders in the U.S. Congress to do anything about it – including their failure to respond to the ridiculous charges made against NSC patriots.

NSC needs funds to pay defense lawyers to prepare rebuttals ahead of time against any Justice or State lawyers who come after them. How ironic to defend against our own people!*

If anyone deserves support, it is the NSC faithful, most of whom at their own expense have undertaken this crusade for "Justice for America."

Of course, all this may just be a bullying tactic by Panama to scare off the NSC. However, if a lawsuit does come to trial, it could backfire by alerting the American people and forcing the Congress and the White House into action – this time to assure "justice for the NSC" and to publicize the corruption, money laundering, graft, arms smuggling, drug trafficking and other criminal activities in Panama.

Such a lawsuit, which will probably never happen, could shame Panama into respecting fundamental rights of freedom of speech and expose the cowardly tactic of persecuting critics. Indeed, the whole episode may turn into a win-win f6r the National Security Center.

*NSC's address is

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Exposing the truth is how the NSC operates, and now they've hit pay dirt after all these years and deserve high praise for such courage and perseverance. The president of Panama, Mireya Moscoso, and her foreign minister, Jose Miguel Aleman, do not like this kind of truth...
Friday, 03 May 2002 12:00 AM
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