Editorials: Ricky’s wannabe revenge; and Denazification

Former president Ricardo Martinelli Berrocal, flanked by his two sons Ricardo Martinelli Linares on his right and Ricardo Enrique Martinell Linares on his left. Both sons are in Brooklyn awaiting sentencing by a US federal district judge for laundering millions of dollars in bribes from the thuggish Brazilian Odebrecht construction company. The Martinelli Linares brothers, AND Odebrecht, have admitted in US courts that large kickbacks from public construction contracts were paid to the senior Martinelli. Yeah, the once and would be again president of Panama might sneer that he can prevent things that come up in US courts from being introduced before Panamanian judges, and that if he’s president again he can pardon all of his cronies and accomplice. But he can’t get his sons out of US prisons and he faces the prospect of a campaign wherein he will be the sort of guy who gets people close to him in the troubles of their lives and then abandons them. Archive photo by the Presidencia.

Martinelli beat the rap — and might again

How Godlike! The Christian faith holds that God sacrificed his only son to be crucified by the Romans. Ricardo Martinelli, whose true believers plead that he stole but got things done, is sacrificing HIS two sons to the Americans.

The Supreme Court has definitively thrown out the illegal eavesdropping charges against Ricardo Martinelli.

NOT that he didn’t do it. It was just that the Supreme Court sent the proofs down to the lower courts, which threw them out on procedural grounds.

NOT that there was no list of 150 people whose computers and communications were compromised by Martinelli’s people using the Israeli Pegasus spy system — nor that the thousands who exchanged emails with those on the list didn’t also have OUR privacy invaded. It was just a matter of procedural law.

The disappearance of the Pegasus programs and hardware when Martinelli left office? A country that takes pride in a legal system with roots in Roman law conveniently omits the ancient Latin legal adage of res ipsa loquitur — the thing speaks for itself.

That, after losing his proxy re-election bid Martinelli threatened members of his party’s caucus that they had to do what he says because he has a dossier on everybody? Just a figure of speech — nothing to investigate.

That, in addition to the contract with Israel’s NOS to get the Pegasus apparatus, Martinelli also dealt with the Italian company, The Hacking Team? Not worthy of question.

That confidential files from government databases made their way into the 2014 Martinelli campaign canvassing lists? We were told that these were available on the black market, so nothing was there to investigate.

That so many online media that Martinelli didn’t own getting hacked in the run-up to the 2014 elections? Nothing to investigate there.

That during the Varela administration compromising presidential WhatsApp messages were intercepted? No call for police and prosecutors to investigate just how those communications were hacked.

That four members of Spain’s Guardia Civil are currently under arrest for spying, in mid-2020, on an ex-mistress of Martinelli on the Balearic island of Mallorca, and that at least seven others are implicated by prosecutors there, who show online orders where Martinelli is referred to by the code name “Zeus?” The stuff of jokes, not direct answers, from Martinelli.

How Godlike!

But there is no god but God, and that isn’t Ricky Martinelli.

Now were are told that Martinelli is running again, and that he’s going to take civil and penal revenge against everyone who says that he’s a crook.

If an out-of-jurisdiction ruling by the Electoral Tribunal allows Martinelli to avoid this fall’s mass trials for Odebrecht bribery and the theft and laundering of public funds to buy the EPASA newspaper chains, let the trials go on without him. The accomplices are also criminals, and there have already been confessions from a bunch of them. Let justice run its course as to the accomplices, and Martinelli wax his reputation as someone who gets people into trouble and then abandons them, as a rich thug who games every system he can buy.

And let the many Panamanians who find those things nauseating set aside a lot of our differences, frustrate his ambitions and break all his toys.


Vladimir Putin hobnobs with Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill. The holy man, along with billionaire backers a major player in global religious right networks, says that the COVID epidemic was caused by same-sex marriages. Does he think that Hitler’s massacre of homosexuals, which was also part of The Holocaust, was a good idea? Kremlin press pool photo by Alexei Druzhinin.

Denazification? Hell, yes!

Vladimir Putin gives as his reason for invading Ukraine “denazification.”

Indeed, fascist intolerance is on the rise in many spots around the planet, and it really ought to be opposed.

Like in Russia, where the state-backed Russian Orthodox Church, oligarchs in Putin’s entourage and Putin himself give money and political cover to an international network of the religious right and neofascist parties – the gay-bashing CitizenGO organization, Spain’s Vox party, racist and xenophobe movements across Europe, Nigel Farage and the Brexit campaign he ran, Donald Trump and all the intolerant bile that he spews across the USA and in American communities overseas.

Like in Ukraine, where the neonazi element in the Azov Battalion really does need to be rooted out of the military force of which the country’s Jewish president, Volodymyr Zelensky, is commander-in-chief.

Like in the USA, where the job of dismissing right-wing anti-democratic militias like the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers from the armed forces needs to be continued and completed. In the United States the far more daunting task of eliminating white supremacy from the nation’s state, local and federal law enforcement agencies – and from the ranks of prosecutors and from the judicial benches – needs to be seriously discussed and undertaken.

Like in worldwide media and culture, when on Fox we see the steady barrage of white racism punctuated by Lara Logan suggesting that evolution is a hoax funded by Jews. And when those who call that stuff for what it is getting dragged through the coals for “cancel culture,” by those who support Florida’s “Don’t say gay” law and the prohibition of discussion about slavery in US schools.

Yes, denazify. But don’t leave that job to the Russian Army or to stormtroopers of any sort. And don’t censor discussion about the Nazis and their legacy, because reducing them to bogeyman legends cripples the world’s defenses against what they did, which was the incitement of an advanced, highly cultured nation into a lynch mob.


Sculpture at the Confucius Temple in Nanjing. Photo by Dickson Phua.


                Wherever you go, go with all your heart.



Bear in mind…


Fetters of gold are still fetters, and the softest lining can never make them so easy as liberty.

Mary Astell


Another lover hits the universe. The circle is broken. But with death comes rebirth. And like all lovers and sad people, I am a poet.

Allen Ginsberg


You may not be able to alter reality, but you can alter your attitude towards it, and this, paradoxically, alters reality. Try it and see.

Margaret Atwood



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