So, what the hell happened with Bananama Republic?

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In August of last year, we received an email from our web host, 1984.is, that they had closed down Bananama Republic. Why? Apparently there was a court order from the Netherlands. We got a copy of that, and sure enough, Patrick Visser, of Silva Tree fame, as well as his wife, Keren Visser-Katz, had filed a civil case against your author, made sure we didn’t know about it, and won. They claimed that they had been unjustly labeled as frauds on this blog and, because I wasn’t there to contest that allegation, the judge decided that the offending articles had to be taken down, by me. Not by my web host, who wasn’t even a party to the case. Also, the judge awarded the Vissers unspecified “damages.”

Several things then happened. First was that I hired a good lawyer and then obviously appealed the decision. That’s still pending but this reporter did win a preliminary injunction prohibiting the Vissers from trying to cash the money I would have to pay them as “damages.”

In the process of preparing the appeal, I found TONS of new — and very damning — information about the activities of Patrick Visser, Keren Visser-Katz and their business partner Maurice Sjerps in both Costa Rica and Panama. More on that later.

Then, of course, this reporter was arrested and detained in Panama as a result of a “crimes against the honor” case brought by a good friend of the Vissers, the Canadian career criminal Monte Friesner. All the information you’d need about the arrest, my stay in prison and the subsequent presidential pardon that had me released again is on the freeokkeornstein.org website.

The “original” Bananama Republic website is still down, but people have been asking for article copies and so on, so I decided to make a copy of everything available here on Medium. Only the most recent few articles have the images that went with them, and the internal links (to other Bananama Republic articles) obviously don’t work. But at least all the written content is available again!

All this does not mean that this blog will be regularly updated. I have a kind of had it with the Panamanian hostility towards journalism and transparency. There is still yet another case pending in the courts — despite a presidential pardon, mind you — that the aforementioned Monte Friesner filed as well, for example. Of course that’ll be dealt with, but it’s impossible to publish on a blog like this in a country where everybody and his brother can file a bogus criminal defamation complaint and where the public ministry will in 99% of the cases then run with it.

That said, thanks for stopping by, and feel free to comment or contact!

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