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The Panama Deception

52 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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

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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, they’re 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

Special Features

  • Follow-up interviews with filmmakers Barbara Trent and David Kasper
  • The politics of demonization and fear, with Phyllis Bennis
  • The future of Panama and Latin America
  • Panama to Iraq: The trajectory of U.S. Militarism
  • Panama after the invasion, with Humberto Brown
  • Trailers from Goodfilm.org
  • Resource guide
  • Filmmaker biographies

Product Details

  • Actors: Elizabeth Montgomery, Abraham Alvarez, Carlos Cantú, Diviana Ingravallo, Alma Martínez
  • Directors: Barbara Trent
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Docurama
  • DVD Release Date: September 25, 2007
  • Run Time: 91 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000KJU1K0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #68,526 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Panama Deception" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

57 of 62 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 5, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
Manuel Noriega is no hero, and this film does not in any way try to apologize for him. It is, however, a well documented indictment of U.S. foreign policy in the region leading up to the 1989 invasion. As I was stationed in Panama during the time of the invasion and several months afterward, I can vouch that the allegations made in this film of which I have personal knowledge are accurate. By all means, you owe it to yourself to see this and then make up your own mind.
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68 of 77 people found the following review helpful By O. M. Suarez on June 8, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
A courageous look to yet another US invasion of a Latin American country: like Nicargua in the 20's, Dominican Republic in the 60's, and dozens more. The film clearly reflects the reality of a country led by Manuel Noriega, proud graduate of the US School of the Americas, in Ft. Benning, Ga, alma mater of dictators, torturers, murderers wearing uniforms from all over Latin America. In addition, the film uncovers the permanent collusion between the US mainstream media and the political and economic establishment. How come the decimation of Panamanian slums was not on the front pages of The Washington Post, The NY Times, etc.? You will certainly get a hint through this movie. If an invasion of a sovereign country is not outrageous enough, the massacre of countless dispossessed civilians at the hands of a brutal intervention force, certainly is. Get ready to get a shot of reality finely exposed.
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40 of 44 people found the following review helpful By A. Hart on April 2, 2005
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
I don't know what that person from Miami(below) is talking about? NO credible sources that can validate the high death toll in Panama?? MY FAMILY IS FROM PANAMA and they were there, they lived it along with all of the other PANAMANIANS and you know what else?... There are dozens upon dozens of people in the neighborhood of Chorillo with missing limbs. They are not faking it!! But it seems some people just can't fathom that just because the US has not OFFICIALLY reported it, it doesn't mean it didn't happen! OPEN YOUR EYES PEOPLE! This is not "Anti-American propaganda" It is the truth plain and simple, and if seeking the truth makes us ANTI AMERICAN then we are a truely sad lot indeed!!!
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36 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Howard Clark Jr. on September 18, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
I first saw this film in an ethics college class - I never forgot it - as a former member of the US Armed Forces, I am ashamed of the USA. We went into Panama with the 'idea' of capturing a villain, but instead, we obliterated a city, killing thousands of civilians. This film takes you through the history of the involvement of the USA in Panama, from Theodore Roosevelt to George Bush. I recommend this film to all interested in political meddling and warfare. Spread the word.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By seekerotruth on January 22, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This film helps put into perspective the importance of the Panama invasion. There appear to have been a number of reasons for the invasion, and "restoring democracy" wasn't one of them. However, we did get an opportunity to test out some high tech weapons and destroy the military of Panama and, in essence, nullify the Panama Canal Treaty.

The high death toll, the destruction, and the suffering caused by the invasion and the ulterior motives behind it, as well as the nauseating complicity of the media in hiding the truth, need to be known by every American citizen. This film should raise an alarm for everyone.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 3, 2003
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
Its a shame to say this but after watching this video I totally agree on the corporate-run US government terrorizing the poor countries in benefit of the wealthy people. The excuse for US to invade a country is vague and incidents like that can be seen in first world countries and US does not invade them, maybe they only invade the countries they know they can control.
I thing the low rank US military were doing their job, but most high rank military and government personnel knew that the invasion was more about keeping the control of the canal to let those TV's and stereos produced in china get faster and cheaper to the east coast and Europe without paying taxes.
Lets face it people, it's all about money. What a coincidence that every time you see an invasion or a military action of the US against another country you see that there's some US companies or interests established in those countries and US always says that there trying to "protect" democracy and the American people.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Rick Cain on February 21, 2008
Format: DVD
If there is any event that showed how the government & the American media controls the flow of information to the public it is definitely the reporting on the invasion of Panama. I watched the events on TV and knew nothing of what was in this documentary. It is a sobering look at how war really is and how the Bush Administration took great pains to restrict the flow of information to the American Public and substituting propaganda which the public accepted without discussion or dissent.
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31 of 39 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 1, 2001
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
I went to Panama right after the US turned over the canal in January, 2000 thanks to our recent great president. I saw the neighborhoods that the US decimated. All I can say is the least we could have done was let them have the Canal after the atrocities that George Bush committed there. There must have been a lot of unhappiness in Panama the day Bush's son took over our government here in the US. No wonder the world is terrified of the US creating Star Wars. See this film of the horrible crimes Bush is responsible for in Panama. It's absolutely disgusting what was done there. I cried.
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