General Manuel Antonio Noriega
"Manuel Noriega is not guilty of drug dealing nor murder." - Peter Eisner, award-winning journalist
“Noriega was never a major player in the drug war.” - Leon Kellner, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida
"As far as I know, Noriega had nothing to do with the drug trade.” - Juan David Ochoa, leader of the Medellin Cartel.
"Noriega's longstanding support of the DEA and Operation Pisces is greatly appreciated." - John Lawn, DEA Administrator
“The Colombians I talked to in the drug transportation business said they didn’t deal with Noriega at all.” -Greg Passic, DEA head of financial operations
“The DEA had told us that they were getting great support in Panama, and from Noriega in particular, in interdicting drugs.”-Duane Clarridge, CIA head of Latin America operations.
I’m still waiting for that fair hearing and fair trial—I haven’t seen it yet. Perhaps my words, telling my story, will give you the ability to judge me fairly, without any filter from politicians or judges. I’ll let you be the judge, because I don’t need to sell my position. These are facts that are easy to see.
It’s important to say that I don’t consider my words to be a defense. My ability to defend myself ended when the last gun was taken from my hands at the Vatican embassy in Panama City and I was imprisoned and taken to the United States.
Instead, this is a recitation of the wrongs committed in the name of the United States. I will tell you my view of what happened and how it happened. I will tell you about myself; and after it is all done, you can call me names, you can agree with me or not, or you can judge me by the size and treachery of my enemies.
Perhaps you will be persuaded that the United States has no innocence in this story, that the enemy of the story is George Bush himself, who, reasserting American colonialism in Panama and all around the world before him, invaded a country to satisfy his political agenda, killed its people and seized its leader, who dared to defy his will.
Why me? Why, after being the man the United States could count on, did I become the enemy? Because I said no.
No to allowing the United States to run a school for dictators any longer in Panamanian territory. No to the request that Panama be used as a staging base for the Salvadoran death squads and the Nicaraguan Contras.
-Lots of no’s.
Combined with my defiance was lingering colonialism in the UnitedStates from conservatives like Reagan and Bush, who could not bear giving away the Panama Canal, especially to a leader who spurned their authority. So they conspired against the man they couldn’t control; they made him into a “madman” and, what’s more, a man who dared to consort with communists! Then, when they found something even worse to call him, they used that too. They called him a drug dealer, selling drugs in North America to destroy the United States.
Three times, however, they tried to force me into an agreement in which I would get every possible personal assurance, money, protection and safe passage, as long as I would agree to exile—and to leave the road clear for their control. I refused.
How do you deal with such a man who dares defy you? You destroy him.
Finally, factor in that you are a gutless man of weak character, a hypocrite, a liar—George Bush. You not only attack the “fiend” himself and his country, but also pretend that Panama is the enemy—and you kill anybody you want. No problem with the news media: you tell them that everybody you killed was the enemy, not unarmed, defenseless men, women and children. And you pretend that the Panamanians who did fight had no right to defend their country.
You control the rules of the game. You are the establishment.