Manuel Antonio Noriega Moreno had been Panama’s de facto ruler from 1983 to 1989. His ruling was defined as a dictatorship after he abused his power, and it was discovered that he was the person behind drug trafficking operations.

During the U.S. invasion of Panama, Noriega was called to surrender by the military. However, he took refugee in the Vatican Embassy and refused to turn himself in to the military forces. Thus, the US military decided to try a very effective way to capture him; music torture.

The US Military Tortured Manuel Noriega By Using Different Metal And Rock Band’s Songs

The US military decided to start psychological warfare by creating a wall of sound to torture Noriega non-stop. They played different metal and rock band’s songs such as AC/DC’s ‘Hell’s Bells,’ Van Halen’s ‘Panama,’ U2’s ‘All I Want Is You,’ The Clash’s ‘I Fought The Law,’ Guns N’ Roses’ ‘Patience,’ and Black Sabbath’s ‘Paranoid.’

According to some rumors, the military received messages from Americans who requested a series of hard rock and metal songs. Thus, Noriega’s torture playlist became longer and longer until he surrendered to the military. The experts explained why music torture worked by saying that people can’t take loud music for too long.

Sergeant Mark Hadsell of the Psychological Operations Company shared important details about the torture saying:

“These people haven’t heard heavy metal. They can’t take it.

If you play it for 24 hours, your brain and body functions start to slide, your train of thought slows down, and your will is broken. That’s when we come in and talk to them.”

Consequently, it can be said that music torture, including songs by AC/DC, Van Halen, and Black Sabbath, was one of the most effective ways of torture during the US military’s interrogations and captures, especially when considering Panama dictator Manuel Noriega as an example.