The news this morning indicates the following: “Authorities in Panama have announced the death of former military ruler Manuel Noriega. He died in Panama City on Tuesday at the age of 83, after recently undergoing a brain tumor operation.”

It is a rather inglorious end to the flamboyant Panamanian leader, pictured most often in full military regalia. What people will remember most about Noriega were the tactics that were employed against him in his capture. “Operation Nifty Package” was, according to Wikipedia,  “a United States Delta and Navy SEAL-operated plan conducted in 1989 designed to capture…Noriega. When Noriega took refuge in the Apostolic Nunciature of the Holy See (diplomatic quarter), deafening music and other psychological warfare tactics were used to convince him to exit and surrender himself.”

Using loud music as a form of distraction and a component of sleep deprivation is not uncommon. Neither would be the varied and extremely cheeky selections that would be used. Of course, there would be tons of sly taunts thrown in to “get Noriega’s goat,” as it were. The problem is that the in-jokes were likely only for the benefit of the mixtapers, not the mixtapee. I seriously doubt Noriega fully understood the words of Led Zeppelin’s “Your Time Is Gonna Come,” much less be intimidated by them. What he — purportedly a lover of opera — would take away most were volume and cacophony, and any loud, fast music could have accomplished that.

Beyond that, there’s lots of debate over what was actually played. For instance, some reports say “Welcome to the Jungle” by Guns N’ Roses was utilized while others claim it was “Paradise City.” More elaborate shade-bearing titles would be added to playlist over the years, but I suspect those are the fanciful additions of people who would be less amused if they thought the opposing forced only played Lou Reed’s “Metal Machine Music” over and over again.

From a quick glance around the Internet, here’s what may or may not have been played to drive Noriega out of the diplomats’ haven:

You Shook Me All Night Long – AC/DC
Wanted Dead or Alive – Bon Jovi
Don’t Look Back – Boston
I Fought The Law – The Clash
Iron Man – Black Sabbath
Paranoid – Black Sabbath
War Pigs – Black Sabbath
If I Had A Rocket Launcher – Bruce Cockburn
No More Mister Nice Guy – Alice Cooper
Electric Spanking of War Babies – Funkadelic
Paradise City – Guns & Roses
Welcome to the Jungle – Guns N’ Roses
Too Old To Rock ‘n’ Roll: Too Young to Die – Jethro Tull
This Means War – Joan Jett
The Party’s Over – Journey
(You’ve Got) Another Thing Coming – Judas Priest
Heaven’s On Fire – Kiss
In My Time of Dying – Led Zeppelin
Your Time is Gonna Come – Led Zeppelin
Danger Zone – Kenny Loggins
Jungle Love – Steve Miller
Dead Man’s Party – Oingo Boingo
Refugee – Tom Petty
Run Like Hell – Pink Floyd
Wanted Man – Ratt
Blue Collar Man – Styx
Renegade – Styx
We’re Not Gonna Take It – Twisted Sister
Panama – Van Halen
Judgment Day – Whitesnake

About the Author

Dw. Dunphy

Dw. Dunphy is a writer, artist, and musician. For Popdose he has contributed many articles that can be found in the site's archives. He also writes for New Jersey Stage,, Ultimate Classic Rock, and Diffuser FM. His music can be found at

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