The Power of Music

August 24, 2017 • By

In 1989, U.S military marched into Panama with the intention of capturing Manuel Noriega who was a military dictator and wanted for drug trafficking. Manuel Noriega was soon out of options and decided to hide in the Vatican Embassy situated in the city of Panama. He knew that by staying here he would be protected by the U.S diplomatic procedures which deterred the U.S forces from entering the embassy.

Despite these restrictions they did not give up instead, they came up with a plan to get Noriega out of the premises. The plan involved, the use of blasting music especially rock and heavy metal set at very high volumes. Also, the music was to be played continuously without stopping and was aimed at irritating and sending messages to Noriega. Some of the songs in the playlist include ”No More Mister Nice Guy” by Alice Cooper,” ”Give It Up,” by K.C. and ”Paranoid” by Black Sabbath. From the themes you could clearly tell Noriega was in deep trouble and no one was ready to let it go. To make matters worse, the Central America U.S military radio station only played what the troops requested and during this period, most request were deliberately directed to Noriega. Later on, the U.S Southern command stated in a report that, as the number of troops increased the requests become more creative. Some favorites were ”Wanted Dead Or Alive.” by Bon Jovi, ”The End,” by The Doors and ”Welcome to the Jungle” by Guns N’ Roses.

During Christmas Eve and Christmas day Noriega was allowed into the Vatican Embassy and the radio was only permitted to broadcast Christmas songs. However, after Christmas the theme went back to smoking out Noriega. On 27th December, a member from a Psychological Operations team called and informed the military how they make use of their speakers. What followed was an order from U.S General Maxwell who instructed that the loud speakers be placed around Vatican. According to reports, Noriega partially liked opera so the playlist included ”Danger Zone,” by Kenny Loggins, ”Refugee,” by Tom Petty, ”Never Gonna Give You Up,” and ”Panama” by Van Halen. The trend continued for days without any success and most people were not so pleased with the militaries approach. White House was not happy and the music stopped after some days. Bret Scowcroft who was president George H.W Bush security adviser, termed the use of loud volumes as ”undignified”Finally, Noriega surrendered on 3rd January 1990, he was taken to Miami where he underwent trial and was convicted for drug trafficking. He spent almost two decades in prison and recently died on May 29, 2017.