Reverberate, episode 2: Rick Astley versus the dictator of Panama

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Episode notes

Christmas, 1989: the White House has sent troops to depose Manuel Noriega, but the dictator of Panama has holed up in the Vatican embassy. So the US military tries a new ‘psy-ops’ tool: it points huge loudspeakers at the embassy and begins blaring rock and pop music, with pointed titles such as Van Halen’s Panama and Rick Astley’s Never Gonna Give You Up. A young translator named Enrique Jelenszky, who was with Noriega when the music began, takes us inside the dictator’s final moments in the embassy. Combined with rare insight about psychological operations from US army historian Jared M Tracy, a new picture emerges about what really happened when the US used music as a weapon