In case you haven't heard yet: The Panamanians have seized a North Korean sugar boat that was about to sail through the Canal on its way from Cuba to Kim Jong Un's neo-Stalinist wonderland.
Soon our beloved president, the tropical Berlusconi Ricardo Martinelli, started to breathlessly twitter the findings of a search of the ship. Under the sugar, there were arms on board! Many!
We also learned from the Panamanian authorities - and not independently confirmed by any reliable source - that the captain of the ship had and a heart attack and tried to kill himself, while the crew resisted the take-over of the vessel - as if that is a strange thing if you have Panamanian pirates seizing your boat.
Regular readers of the Bananama Republic know that anything coming from the Panamanian authorities is suspicious. Always. They're usually lying, and if they're not lying they're hiding the truth. Martinelli included.
While Martinelli was parading, pretending to have made the catch of the century in some secret sanction busting arms trafficking deal, the Cuban authorities explained what was going on here. They said, this ship is carrying obsolete armament to North Korea for repair. Broken anti-aircraft missiles from half a century ago. Two MIG-21 fighter jets that won't start.
The spectacular arms catch is, in fact, a bunch of old dysfunctional Soviet junk. For good measure, and probably as a down payment on repairs, the remaining cargo space was filled with a load of sugar for the North Koreans.
Could this possibly, maybe, after all, be a case of arms being smuggled to North Korea, in violation of a UN embargo? Come on, dear reader, what do you think? That North Korea really needs two old crappy Russian jets that don't work, neglected by the Cubans and a dozen or so anti-aircraft missiles that won't launch? A country that has nuclear bombs and, with that, all the geopolitical leverage it could wish for? That just doesn't make any sense at all. But then again, nothing in this story makes any sense at all.
So how did this whole crazy affair come about?
The Panamanians say they received a "tip" that the vessel was smuggling drugs. They didn't say where this tip came from.
Of course we have our ideas. This particular ship has been tracked for some time now, it is alleged in a Guardian article. Who has the resources and capabilities needed to track the movements of North Korean ships? Right. While writing this story, we saw an AWACS plane fly over on its way to Tocumen airport.
I don't think it's far fetched to hypothesize that the US told Panama to seize the sugar boat under some flimsy pretext of a "tip". That way a direct confrontation is avoided and the tropical Berlusconi and his cunning spies get to take the heat if it turns out that there's only broken Soviet museum pieces on board.
Yes indeed. A sort of what they did when they forced European countries to close their airspace to Bolivia's presidential jet because whistleblower Edward Snowden would be on board, except that he wasn't.
Yeah, I thought the same thing. When BBC and CNN dopely pass on this crap without any real analysis it makes me realize how useless the main stream media has become. They are really the PR departments of
the US government…even the old BBC has all the tacky glitz and self congratulatory talking heads that CNN adopted after the Fox News-like Channel took off. All show and no go.
What do the Americans have on these European countries that cause them to embarrass themselves like this. Even the French kissing US butt!!!
The Captain had a heart attack and then tried to commit suicide? That part was definitely invented in Panama! Reported as such by CNN. Then the shots of the old dented billy can missiles represented as possible high tech arms…Do they expect us to believe this stuff?
The only time Martinelli would stop a drug ship is if he wasn’t getting his cut. More likely the Yanks are setting up the props for some geopolitical circus involving the perennial baddies the Cubans and North Koreans.
Somethings up…we shall see soon enough.
By the way the Fascist leader Martinelli is now neck deep in rain soaked Cuban sugar and honey bees, used M21 jet parts and engines. His no too bight security jefe and his highly trained security forces obviously do not know the difference between a jet engine, wing assemblies, and or real missiles or its components! How tragically sad the head of the Fascist security apparatus of Panama does not know or understand the difference between jet engines, engine parts, wing assemblies, missile components and parts even when the individual Parts containers are marked!
Any way the US Coast Guard forced the ship into port.
Other wise these Panamanian security Authorities(SIC) would have never had a clue!
PNP, SENAN, SENAFRONT, and the so-called anti drug prosecutor could not find a painted elephant walking down Balboa Avenue in broad daylight at high noon unless an informer pointed it out to them!
You guys realize that this was the LEAD story on the NBC Nightly News Tuesday, right? With Sr. Tropical Berlusconi El Pres. Martinelli crawling his drunken fat arse over the piles of sugar and then pointing out for the cameras all of the notoriously dangerous hidden arms. That makes it official, right? Hummm … think I’ll watch CBS from now on. BYW…When are we all going to be invited to the tropical bunga bunga parties?
Okke and his two sidekicks Faustino and DrDias forgot to mention that any vessel transiting thru the Canal MUST DECLARE AND REQUEST PRIOR AUTHORIZATION WHEN CARRYING ARMS ON BOARD. As a result, the arraisonnement of this suspicious North Korean cargo vessel was absolutely justified. The US “blowing the whistle” to the Panama Authorities is not the issue. What we should wonder about is why the Nort Korean captain did not abide by that very old and universally known obligation, pretending he was just carrying sugar when he was actually hiding military material under it?
If the Panamanians had discovered the contraband without the US involvement they would
have charged a large bribe to look the other way. Too cynical? From my 11 years in Panama
I think not. Corruption there reaches the highest levels and trickles down to the lowest ranks.
Perhaps they would have been too afraid of the US to let the ship pass . But the Panamanians take enormous risks in the name of juega vivo. Perhaps the US gave the Panamanians the heads up that they knew what was on board to prevent the Panamanians from embarrassing themselves.
Simbad, I don’t think anyone, and certainly not me, said that seizing that boat would not be justified. You’re making a strawman argument here.
I wish that were the case faustino. We shall see nothing soon enough because the whole story will disappear into another news cycle black hole with some new manufactured news story never to be heard from again.
Hopefully this story like Martinelli will be ‘obsolete’!
Martinelli in Prison for crimes against the Republic of Panama and it people!
North Korea for being that stupid again!
That this was no serious threat is obvious and we all know how these actions are overplayed and abused to make our countries more “secure”. Nevertheless, as much as I can appreciate a cynical view on things, it doesn’t do much for credibility playing down EVERYTHING to a mistermeaner.
Obsolete objects do not get transported halfway across the world to be repaired. Besides, calling a MIG 21 obsolete is calling an AK 47 obsolete, which still is one of the most used and deadly arms in the world. Old does not necessarily mean obsolete.
If this was a simple matter of transporting damaged and obsolete weapons, I’m sure both Cuba and North Korea would have used to proper means to do so. If for whatever international treaty or embargo this was not possible, well.. Whatever made this shipment so important to them they would risk an international incident over it? Obsolete, remember?
I’m the first to point out US’s fear mongering tactics or Martinelli’s clownishness while trying to impose as a president for that matter, but criticism only works in a context of facts and knowledge, which was lacking in the other party’s version to begin with. Truth seekers become conspiracy theorists otherwise…
Eazy: North Korea has about 150 of those MIG’s so logic tells me that they probably don’t really need two more that don’t work. Same with those missiles.
I don’t believe in any conspiracies here, I think the Cubans screwed up and the US is covering up its involvement in the case. There’s a big hole in this story from the moment this boat left Cuba to it suddenly being in Panama and being searched. Now rumor has it that the gringos boarded the ship and brought it here, and the captain was shot (but not killed) in the process. Yes, I said, “rumor”.