#50 – The Panama Model For Regime Change

Coming Soon to Venezuela?

This, I submit, is the Panama Model for overthrowing a foreign regime. It’s pretty simple; Step 1) change the law to suit your purpose, 2) charge a leader with a drug crime, step 3) demand he removes himself from power, (it’s understood that they won’t) 4) create a terror/security incident, 5) send in the troops to seize the criminal, 6) murder civilians or military (does not matter), 7) install your guy and viola there you have it – overthrow Panama style.

This is the strategy that Attorney General William Barr used in 1988-89 against former CIA asset and Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega. The Noriega indictment resulted in a US invasion of Panama that left hundreds – possibly thousands dead Panamanian civilians in its wake. We are watching the Venezuelan version, of the Panama Model, unfold before our eyes.

Last week, the US Justice Department unsealed an indictment on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and other government officials, accusing him of a drug crime. (step 2) The charge, Narco-Terrorism, Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Criminal Charges. That puts us in a holding pattern, waiting for Step 4, a terror/security incident.

Washington has tried, unsuccessfully, to create the spark needed to start an incident. However, Maduro has remained peaceful during Washington’s provocative actions like; recognizing Juan Guaidó as president, attempts to break thru the Tienditas Bridge blockade, calling for the Venezuelan military to defect and demonstrations like “Operation Freedom.”

Up-Close – The Panama Model

Chess players have favorite opening moves. Bobby Fischer’s favorite opening strategy was the Ruy Lopez. Regime change advocates also have their favorite strategies. Attorney General William Barr appears to have found his favorite overthrow strategy, the Panama Model.

Is it a coincidence that Barr just happens to be the same person who gave the first Bush administration the legal justification to invade Panama just over 30 years ago?

Step 1) Change the Law

in 1980, President Carter’s head of the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) ruled the FBI does not have international authority to arrest a person in another nation if that nation does not consent. The opinion written under Carter said, “US agents have no law enforcement authority in another nation unless it is the product of that nation’s consent.”

When Bush came into the White House in January 1989, he appointed William Barr the head of the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC). Barr asked then-Attorney General Dick Thornburgh to author a legal opinion memo on the 1980 Carter Administration’s decision.

June 21st, 1989, the response was, “At the direction of the President or the Attorney General, the FBI may use its statutory authority to investigate and arrest individuals for violating United States law, even if the FBI’s actions contravene customary international law.”

This was a game-changer, it said that the FBI could carry out arrests in other nations, even if it violates international law. Barr wrote, “the 1980 (Carter) Opinion was clearly wrong in asserting that the United States is legally powerless to carry out actions that violate international law by impinging on the sovereignty of other countries. It is well established that both political branches — the Congress and the Executive — have, within their respective spheres, the authority to override customary international law.” How convenient!

2) Charge a Leader With a Drug Crime

In February 1988, under the Reagan administration, the US indicted Noriega on charges of Drug trafficking and racketeering, and he was taken off the CIA’s payroll. Over the next year, the US placed economic sanctions on Panama in an effort to pressure Noriega to step down.

3) Demand He Removes Himself From Power

On June 21st of 1989, the plot to sell the Panama Model and mobilize for the invasion began. The U.S. government had already entered into negotiations with Noriega seeking his resignation. The talks proved lengthy and inconclusive and the negotiations collapsed. It was clear that Noriega had no intention of ever resigning. That was the final attempt for a “diplomatic” removal of Noriega.   

4) Create a Terror/Security Incident

The only thing missing for a full-out invasion was a spark to ignite the invasion phase. The spark came with a December 16, 1989 incident, when four U.S. personnel were stopped at a roadblock outside Noriega’s Panamanian Defense Forces (PDF) headquarters in the El Chorrillo neighborhood of Panama City.

The United States Department of Defense said that the servicemen were traveling unarmed in a private vehicle and that they attempted to flee the scene only after their vehicle was surrounded by a crowd of civilians and PDF troops. Robert Paz of the United States Marine Corps was shot and killed in the incident.

5) Send in the Troops to Seize the Criminal

Four days later, on December 20, 1989, the U.S. launched its invasion of Panama. Although the killing of the Marine was the stated reason for the invasion, the operation had been planned for months before his death. The move was the largest military action by the U.S. since the  Vietnam War and included more than 27,000 soldiers, as well as 300 aircraft.

6) Murder Civilians or Military

The number dead from this model is widely disputed. Some human rights groups say the number of the civilian death toll is in the thousands. Victims claim many bodies were buried in mass graves and never counted, and to this day, families of the dead are still searching for the bodies of their loved ones. In 2019, Panama made December 20th an official day of mourning.

7) Install Your Guy

Operation Just Cause was initiated with a US Justice Department indictment. Back then it took about 20 months from the indictment to invasion. This mobilization should take less time this thanks to the nefarious work of Eliot Abrams, ex-National Security Advisor John Bolton and the money that the US has funneled to fraud leader Juan Guaidó.

Update Venezuela – Waiting for Step 4

On March 24, Colombian authorities seized a truck full of weapons and military equipment, including 26 assault rifles, worth $500,000. Venezuelan intelligence services linked the weapons to three camps in Colombia where paramilitary groups of Venezuelans and U.S. mercenaries are training to carry out attacks against Venezuela.

According to Venezuela’s Communication Minister Jorge Rodríguez, these groups were planning to take advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to attack military units and plant bombs. These groups are linked to Alcalá Cordones, a former General in the Venezuelan armed forces.

Alcalá retired in 2013 when Maduro was elected after Hugo Chávez had died. Alcalá Cordones fled to Colombia from where he supported the U.S. chosen clown Juan Guaidó as self-proclaimed president of Venezuela.

Another *Elliott Abrams Moment

Part of the Maduro charges included a $10 million reward on the head of Clíver Antonio Alcalá Cordones. Yes, the one man that was willing to help Guaidó and join the U.S. in their plot. By the way, it appears that the Justice Department did not inform him about indictment because he freaked out and blew the whistle on the operation.

On Friday Alcalá Cordones decided it was unsafe for him to stay in Colombia. He ‘called up’ the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and gave himself up. He was extradited to New York and will now become a ‘witness’ against Maduro who he has publicly opposed in the first place. 

Alcalá Cordones admitted that the weapons were under his command. This may threaten the plan that the U.S. concocted with Guaidó and the men behind him. Alcalá further admitted that the weapons were purchased with funds given to him by Juan Guaidó, with whom he allegedly signed a contract.  Alcala claimed that the operation was planned by U.S. advisors, with whom he had met with at least seven times.

Most of us with “non-essential jobs” get to stay at home, blinded by “The Weapon of Mass Distraction” as men like Elliot Abrams and William Barr roam free and are allowed to go to work. Does that make regime change, in the United States, an essential job? 

 

*Elliot Abrams – On January 25, 2019, he was appointed as Special Representative for Venezuela. He is best known for his involvement in the Iran-Contra scandal during the Reagan administration, which led to his conviction in 1991 on two misdemeanor counts of unlawfully withholding information from Congress. He was later pardoned by George H.W. Bush.  In the George W. Bush administration, as Deputy National Security Advisor for Global Democracy Strategy, in charge of promoting Bush’s strategy of “advancing democracy abroad.” Abrams was a key architect behind the 2003 Iraq War.

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