Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. USA/United Kingdom, 1992. Empowerment Project, Channel 4 Television Corporation, Rhino Home Video. Screenplay by David Kasper. Cinematography by Manuel Becker, Michael Dobo. Produced by Joanne Doroshow, David Kasper, Nico Panigutti. Music by Chuck Wild. Film Editing by David Kasper.
Shocking expose by Barbara Trent about one of the most horrific cover-ups in recent history: America’s invasion of Panama, and the North American populace’s blissful ignorance of the real facts as smothered up by government-controlled media. Panama’s treaty with the United States, signed in the late seventies by Jimmy Carter, stated that the American government would remove its troops from Panama and relinquish control of the controversial canal by the year 2000. In 1989, President Bush (Sr.) sent in waves of military troops to invade the country in order to protect American lives that were reportedly under threat from Manuel Noriega. While the U.S. government issued statements that military targets were being focused upon and that very few civilian lives were lost, the reality, as seen in this prejudiced but still searing documentary, is that thousands of civilians were killed in a broadly fought invasion that was meant more as a way to change the particulars of the treaty than to save any lives. Villainizing Noriega was a red herring that allowed the media to sway people’s attention away from what was really going on, while this documentary reveals (without ever truly backing up all of its facts, it must be pointed out) that Noriega was actually an accomplice of the Bush administration. Trent relies on too much hearsay evidence and emotional bias in the telling of this story, but she also provides a lot of unforgettable footage of a country devastated by a larger nation’s greed for power. Elizabeth Montgomery narrates.