ANOTHER colonial scheme to fleece foreigners and gin up bribes for locals

The Republic of Panama and its maritime exclusive economic zones. While our territorial seas extend only 12 miles from the coasts, our oceanic economic zones go out 200 miles, except where they run into other countries’ zones and then the boundaries get negotiated. Now we have a bitcoin hustler announcing that he will establish a floating city in the Gulf of Panama, without regard to any Panamanian authority. Two things that are alarming: the lack of an immediate Panamanian government warning; and those Americans who live here and think it’s a good idea.

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money than brains

by Eric Jackson

Gold stock swindles. Own a miracle fruit plantation, not with title to the land but with shares in a company that you don’t control and which doesn’t own the land. An investment fund run by a former right-wing militia radio personality who did time for fraud in Colorado. Multi-level marketing with a former Klansman who did time for a plot to invade a small Caribbean country. Your very own chain of offshore shell companies organized by the most politically connected of lawyers. Ponzi schemes hiding behind names and logos similar to those of  the rich and famous. Welcome to Panama.

The idea of setting up a cruise ship and satellite boats as a floating city in the Gulf of Panama that claims immunity from Panamanian sovereignty? It may be looked at as just another gringo fraud, and seen as not the Public Ministry’s concern if only foreigners are defrauded. BUT…

1. If the European Union has financial sanctions against Panama NOW, consider what happens to Panama if we have this crypto-currency city that declares itself beyond all nations’ laws in our midst. It might trump the Panama Papers furor.

2. There is a new colonial mentality in Panama, mostly among gringos but with some South Africans, Europeans, Canadians and others who buy into it. How many people in Coronado think it unimportant that they learn Spanish but important to teach English to local kids? One example.

3. “Sovereign citizens,” “patriot” militia organizers, the religious right colonization attempt by Rick Wiles followers — lots of gringos have come over the years who have absolute contempt for Panamanian sovereignty. If Trump loses a new batch says it’s coming here.

4. There has been a gringo community here since the 1840s, with good and bad moments and a great colonial experiment that united Panamanians around ending it. Foreign residents of the US persuasion and the whole range of panagringo dual citizens — we don’t need this.

A fellow journalist and one-time co-defendant weighs in from The Netherlands.


Editor’s note: As Okke can also tell you, these fraud artists also corrupt the press, or try to do so. So much of what some of my detractors “know” about me is disinformation spread by a guy who had a website and was quite the right-wing rival until about five years ago he fled Panama when prosecutors started asking questions about a pump and dump stock swindle for which he was the shill. A more subtle but just as serious form of corrupting the press is the criminal element’s penchant for filing criminal defamation charges and civil lawsuits, which in turn causes the corporate mainstream media to mostly ignore the national sport of fraud, especially when practiced by foreigners here.

The case in which Okke and were co-defendants? The accuser is out of prison now, and into a new crypto-currency scheme. Back then, on the run from a more garden-variety swindle in Atlanta, he passed through Costa Rica to promote an island “kingdom” with no drug laws or taxes — in Tico territory — for which our neighbors kicked him out. Then he landed in Bocas del Toro to run a noni plantation scheme. Okke wrote about his prior exploits and over a few years both of us covered the developing story. The guy deployed multiple lawyers, politicians and prominent individuals against us. As in at the time vice president of Panama Arturo Vallarino endorsing his scheme. As in at the time mayor of Bocas town Eladio Robinson endorsing not on the noni swindle but also a “business association” scheme that promised to have the power to determine which foreigners could or could not open businesses on the archipelago. As in University of Panama journalism professor Tomás Cabal. As in attorney Barry Miller, who tried to set me up for a classic sting at the Hotel El Panama where there were undercover cops waiting a few tables over for me to touch the envelope so that they could make the bust. As in attorney Michael Pierce, husband of an American Society bigwig, who represented the sender of this extortion note by offering to drop charges if I altered the content of The Panama News. One long-running example.

So what would I want Nito to do about it? I want him to denounce this at the outset, to declare that any person in any way promoting this scheme is ineligible for a visa to come to Panama, to order SENAN to arrest this ship and its crew if ever they come into any part of Panamanian waters


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