A riveting Academy Award-winning documentary, made all the more timely by recent U.S. invasions and the current war on terror, THE PANAMA DECEPTION documents the untold story of the December 1989 U.S. invasion of Panama, the events which led to it, the excessive force used, the enormity of the death and destruction and the devastating aftermath.
Acclaimed filmmakers Barbara Trent and David Kasper uncover the real reasons for this internationally condemned attack, and reveal General Manuel Noriega s longstanding relationship with the C.I.A., the D.E.A., and George Bush, Sr. Utilizing devastating footage, expert commentary, and eyewitness testimony, the film shines a spotlight on this pivotal moment in U.S. history. Network news clips and media critics contribute to a staggering analysis of media control and self-censorship used to deceive the American public--a film hauntingly relevant today.
An example of documentary journalism at its best, THE PANAMA DECEPTION is ...tough, provocative, highly opinionated... an answer to the official United States Government line about the 1989 invasion of Panama. (The New York Times)
DVD Features: Follow-up interviews with filmmakers Barbara Trent & David Kasper; Panama to Iraq: The Trajectory of U.S. Militarism; The Future of Panama & Latin America; The Politics of Demonization and Fear, with Phyllis Bennis; Panama After the Invasion, with Humberto Brown; Trailers from GoodFilms.org; Resource Guide; Filmmaker Biographies
Years before the US went after Saddam Hussein, the White House had Manuel Noriega, another former ally, in its sights. In their Oscar-winning documentary, director Barbara Trent and writer/editor David Kasper (Cover Up: Behind the Iran Contra Affair
) contrast media coverage of the 1989 invasion with expert testimony. The filmmakers backtrack to America's turn-of-the-century takeover of the Panama Canal--and volatile aftermath--before flashing forward to the reform-minded Carter era. When the CIA-supported Noriega comes to power, reform gives way to repression, and Reagan calls for the dictator's ouster. His successor, Bush, brings in the troops. It would be one thing if they only targeted military facilities, but witnesses claim soldiers also fired on civilians and residential property (a Pentagon spokesman denies the accusation). Depending on the source, casualties ranged from 250 to 4,000. Narrated by Elizabeth Montgomery, Panama Deception
was shot on video--and looks it--but content is king. To some, the film will play like conspiracy theory as a few speakers are unidentified (probably to protect their identities). Trent and Kasper also suggest that General Torrijos's 1981 death by plane crash may not have been accidental, though they offer no proof. More often, however, theyre persuasive in their case against the intervention--and they have extensive audio-visual evidence to back it up. Incidentally, the 1989 operation was dubbed "Just Cause." It seems unlikely many Panamanians would agree with that description. DVD extras include filmmaker profiles and interview updates on the impact of the invasion. --Kathleen C. Fennessy