STUDIO: New Video Group/Docurama
MSRP: $23.99
RATED: Not Rated
RUNNING TIME 91 minutes
• 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; Resource Guide
• Filmmaker Biographies

The Pitch

“A Bush actually overthrows a dictator and it turns out decent.”

The Humans

George H.W. Bush, Manuel Noriega, Elizabeth Montgomery and the United States as the taxpayers

The Nutshell

The December 1989 U.S. invasion of Panama was George Bush I heading into a foreign country and throwing a little American military muscle around. In a change of pace, it worked and we left relatively unscathed. This Award-Winning documentary follows what led up to the invasion, the results and the long-term effects on the Geo-Political stage.

The Lowdown

The Panama Deception covers a period of time that I never really paid a lot of attention. At the time, I was a young kid that was obsessed with the Tim Burton Batman and finding a new way to beat Mega Man 2. I never watched the news and I had no idea about Bush wanting to destroy the Panamanian drug flow that ran its way through Central America and into the heart of the United States. But, as the documentary states…that was all bullshit. So, I guess that it’s beneficial that I had no idea about it.

The documentary takes the hard-line International stance that former CIA/then current U.S. President George H.W. Bush used his former powers in the CIA to help U.S. advantages in the Canal Zone. But, Carter got in after Bush’s Republican buddies got thrown out of the White House. That’s when Carter did something that ultimately set the stage for what’s to come. Carter signed an agreement to give the Panama Canal back to Panama by the year 2000. When your business buddies help to pay for your presidential campaign, you’ve got to get kick a little favor back their way. So, Bush decided to liberate Panama and that precious Canal.

A look back at other third world nations America trashed. It’s a Kodak moment that only a G8 nation could bring you.

We came, saw and conquered and then told the Press that only 250 casualities were the result. Then, the United Nations came out with the fact that we killed 2500 people and most of them were civilians. But, we never cared about what the UN had to say or continues to say. We were helping Panama become a drug-free country that didn’t have to fear a dictator that we installed to drive out the commies. Now, they’ve got a new benevolent puppet leader that always makes sure to put America first. Everything was right in the world.

If you can’t tell what’s going on, join the club. The film shifted stock so much that I thought I was watching Oliver Stone in the mid 90s "Let’s see how much shit I can steal from Tarantino" phase.

But, that was until the truth started to leak out. Noriega came out of the Schools of the Americas. Hell, he was one of the most successful graduates. The man followed orders and he repelled all outside agitation. Sure, he took drug money and used the country’s banks as a laundering service for drug kingpins such as George Jung and Pablo Escobar, but he never hurt American interests. That was until he became a roadblock between America’s control of the Canal.

It’s the same old story that’s been told before and will continue to be told until the end of time. The larger nations control the world and shape the perception of the information that is received by the masses. Any attempt to shoot holes through the controls is met with disgust and laughter by the powers that be. Through the main feature and the special features, we learn that the process has never ended. Even with a new Bush.

The Beetle Bailey live-action movie wasn’t as fun as most filmgoers expected.

The Package

The DVD is a surprisingly packed affair from a smaller production company. You get some follow-up interviews with the filmmakers that help to bridge the Panama discussion to current American military actions. There are also a complete of documentaries and a resource guide to help paint an educational picture of the political climate of the region. The viewer is given a look at the climate of fear and how military reshaped the area during the 20th Century and how we enter this century with the after-effects of such despotical rule.

80% of American Teens can’t find Panama on a map. 90% of American Teens will probably never see this documentary outside of a Social Studies class led by a balding socially-conscious teacher that’s trying to change the world one gluesniffer at a time.

The main feature shows some damage spots on the print coupled with thin audio that doesn’t serve the dialogue well at points. But, that’s to be expected from an independent documentary of this age. The special features fare a little better, as most of them are new and better shot at cleaner equipment. I can’t recommend this DVD enough to all political minded individuals out there. If you’re of the Right-Wing slant, this might not be the film for you.

9.1 out of 10