This story dates back to July when an American CIA official, wanted by the Italians for participating in the Rendition programme and accused of snatching a man off the streets of Milan was arrested in Panama. There was an international warrant for his arrest issued by the Italians.
The agent Robert Lady was picked up at the Panamanian border and presumably would have been extradited to Italy. But then suddenly, he's released and put back on a plane for the United States.
Panama obeys its master and has found in the past what happens when it fails to do so. Omar Torrijos died in a mysterious plane crash in 1981. Formerly an American ally and famous for signing the Canal Zone treaties with the United States he had earned a great deal of hostility within certain American circles and there's no doubt many American elites wanted him gone.
And of course Manuel Noriega who took over not long after Torrijos and was a longtime CIA asset was overthrown just after the Berlin Wall came down in 1989. The misnamed Operation Just Cause was far more vicious than people remember. The American media didn't report it very well at the time. It was very destructive and despite the lowball numbers put out by the Pentagon, many acknowledge that at least few thousand people were killed.
The release of Robert Lady came not long after the United States was flexing its muscle with regard to their hunt for Edward Snowden and had recently forced European airspace to close and Bolivia's Evo Morales was forced to land his plane and perhaps even be boarded and searched. In order to save face no one is talking.
Americans sometimes get upset when NATO and other allies don't fully cooperate with American designs and desires. This tension became very apparent in the 2002 build-up to invade Iraq.
Why should they? The relationship with Western Europe has always been complicated and the United States has not always proved to be a loyal friend. The American attitude is, 'We liberated you from the Nazis and saved you from the Soviet Union, not be quiet and do what we want.'
Of course the Europeans are grateful for the American invasion though not a few are a little cynical with regard to the timing. It is known that some American leaders wished to hold back and let the USSR and Nazi Germany destroy each other and then (much like in WWI) the United States could sweep in and mop up. As I've said before, I don't mean to totally diminish the Western Front and some of the battles that took place, but the Germans lost almost 10 times as many men on the Eastern Front where the bulk of the war was fought. Though many will find it hard to believe, the English and French actually lost more people in World War I than in World War II.
Also if the goal was liberation, then many Europeans resent the way in which the United States proceeded to virtually occupy Western Europe. The Soviets are always viewed as the aggressors and the last thing I wish to do is to defend Stalin, but as the Soviet army marched into devastated Eastern Europe it stayed and established governments... not all that different from what the Americans were doing. The Soviets manipulated and took control. True. But so did the Americans even if to a lesser degree. The CIA's activities during the 1948 Italian election are well known, but what is not known is that the CIA acted in many elections and not just in Italy.
And then there's the long record of mysterious and shadowy CIA activities in Europe during the subsequent years. Employing the Strategy of Tension the United States backed both Left and Right wing extremist groups and did all they could to spread fear and tension in European society.
The American narrative is that the United States kept Western Europe safe from imminent Soviet invasion throughout the Cold War. But others have argued that though victorious and tough the Soviet army was pretty decimated by 1945 and it would have been unthinkable to take on the Anglo-American alliance.
In addition, the United States possessed nuclear weapons which the Soviets did not get until 1949. Eastern Europe was unstable for many years as the Communist governments were established. An invasion of the West would have also meant more warfare in the East.
The archives which were opened after 1991 seem to support the notion that Stalin had no plans to invade Western Europe. For most of the Cold War the Soviets were afraid of the United States and they were quite eager to sit down with Nixon and work on establishing stability and peace based on Detente. At that point, the Soviet economy was already in trouble. Soviet power and might were more or less painted rust.
After Stalin, neither Khrushchev nor Brezhnev would have considered an invasion or open war. Obviously it would have triggered a nuclear war but did this supposed threat justify the large American presence, the so called trigger? Did it justify American dominance through NATO and other mechanisms? Were the European governments obligated to give the CIA carte blanche in their territories?
In the end counterfactual history provides no answers, but there are many who look at the history of the Cold War through cynical eyes and see it as a fool's errand, unnecessary and mostly generated by propaganda on both sides. At several points the situation could have changed but there were hardliners on both sides that wished it to perpetuate and not a few point to the massive military-industrial establishment as having the most to lose by the ending of the Cold War. Only a decade later the Defense Establishment had not only recovered but under George W. Bush they would receive perhaps the biggest windfall imaginable... a nebulous never-ending war for global domination.
Returning to the Cold War, there are many untold stories and unexamined angles in the American narrative. Our news and our establishment histories won't open these doors and to be honest, most of the American public isn't interested.
But the rest of the world watches and learns, and many have long memories. These little incidents are noted. The United States is in some ways an object of envy, for others a force to be resented. Everyone except the American public views it as a moral hypocrite, a two-faced and very dangerous power. For most foreign governments, it's something of all these things. For many leaders it's a necessary evil, the murderous Mafia Don that you're forced to business with in order to survive. And like a Mafia Don, it puts on airs, feigns a moral code and protests its actions are virtuous and necessary in an evil world.
Once again, my concern is as a Christian. America is just another Babylon or Rome and operates with the same Imperial calculus and ethics. There's nothing particularly shocking about America's behaviour. What is shocking is that the vast majority of Christians worship it as an idol, and believe the government narrative and mythology. The leaders of the American Christian Church have failed to teach their people either the Word of God or how to apply it and discern the world around them. To much of the world, American culture and American policy are directly tied to a perception of Christianity. This has in many cases directly led to Christians in other parts of the world being persecuted as a potential Fifth Column.
I don't expect America to cease and desist. It will die the ugly death that comes to all empires. But the Church has to be told the truth. There are still a few within the American Church structure who are actually regenerate and they need to be warned and exhorted to forsake this perilous idol.