Last Minute Drive to Keep U.S. Forces in Panama

Hearings are Called, but Unbalanced Witness List is Evidence of a Whitewash

October 21, 1999

Congress was warned twenty years ago that American security interests would be placed in jeopardy if we gave away the Panama Canal. Those warnings have come back to haunt Congress and now there is a mad scramble to plug the hole before the December 31, 1999 deadline.

The evidence is chilling. Corrupt Panamanian politicians pocketed Communist Chinese money for leases on the two crucial ports on each end of the Canal (which sources say the bidding process was fixed), U.S. military bases are up for sale, drug trafficking will escalate under the less-policed area, and the possibility exists that Chinese missiles (built from stolen U.S. documents) can now be placed in Panama within range of U.S. cities. This is just the beginning of the list! And yet Bill Clinton, beneficiary to questionable campaign funds from Chinese sources, continues to insist that there is no danger in relinquishing U.S. control of the Canal.

The situation is grim indeed. But not hopeless.

Finally Congress seems to be awakening from its Clinton-induced slumber. Majority Leader Trent Lott has sounded the alarm and has demanded hearings to investigate the events surrounding the release of the Panama Canal. Hearings have been scheduled to begin Friday, October 21 at 9:30 a.m. Unfortunately, according to the Virginia Taxpayers Association, Senate Armed Services Chairman John Warner is said to have rigged the hearing so as to minimize the threat that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army will take over the Canal. Five witnesses will be called to testify that Chinese control of the ports of the Canal poses no threat to the U.S. Only one speaker, former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger, will have an opportunity to address concerns over the Chinese military aims for the Canal.

It is imperative that these hearings are allowed to address and investigate all questionable affairs involving the Panama Canal. It is of dire importance that the United States Congress and the American public be alerted to the grave situation that has escalated to the Panama Canal crisis.

We have only two months before we lose possession of the Panama Canal—a canal that was born of great American treasure and blood. The U.S. military must be allowed to remain stationed in the Canal region to protect our lives and our interests. It is now up to us to create the pressure needed to persuade Chairman Warner to hold fair and complete hearings, allowing all necessary evidence to be presented. This is no time to allow a whitewash of the Red Chinese. Congress must learn the truth about the peril that threatens the Panama Canal.

ACTION TO TAKE

Call Sen. John Warner (202) 224-3871, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Sen. Trent Lott (202) 224-3135 and demand that the hearings allow testimony from such experts as Adm. Thomas H. Moorer (Ret.), former chairman of the Joint Chiefs and Capt. G. Russell Evans, USCG (Ret.). They know first hand of the growing Chinese military presence in Panama and the corrupt bidding process of key ports controlling the Canal. There must be an immediate call to negotiate a new treaty which would ensure a dominant U.S. military presence at the Canal.

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Tom DeWeese
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Tom DeWeese is one of the nation’s leading advocates of individual liberty, free enterprise, private property rights, personal privacy, back-to-basics education and American sovereignty and independence.