Under the Radar

Noriega Sues 'Call of Duty'


Raise your hand if you remembered that former Panamanian dictator (and object of 1989's Operation Just Cause) Manuel Noriega was still alive? President Bush launched the invasion to take down our former ally after his drug-dealing ways became too embarrassing for the United States.

After Navy SEALs destroyed Noriega's boat and jet in Operation Nifty Package, the "Panamanian Strongman" hid out in the Vatican embassy and the U.S.A. either embarked on a psy-ops terror campaign to smoke him out by turning giant speakers towards his hideout and playing Van Halen's "Panama" on an endless loop or just shared normal Armed Forces radio programming with Noriega.

The dictator surrendered after a couple of weeks, got hauled back to the United States and tried for drug dealing. He's since served time here and been extradited to France where he was tried and served time for money laundering. In 2011, Noriega was shipped back to Panama and got locked up for human rights violations.


Whether the makers of Call of Duty: Black Ops II remembered any or this (or whether they bothered to Google "Noriega") is unclear, but they made Manuel Noriega one of the bad guys in the "Suffer With Me" mission in the 2012 game.

It's almost two years later and someone finally let Noriega know. According to the Courthouse News Service, he found a lawyer to sue Activision in Los Angeles Superior Court for the "blatant misuse, unlawful exploitation and misappropriation for economic gain" of his name and likeness.

Noriega is not the only high-profile figure to be appropriated by Call of Duty: a character obviously based on General David Petraeus also shows up in the game.

Of course, he's never going to win this. The best case scenario for Noriega is that the case actually gets a hearing and he has a chance to fly to LAX and get an In N' Out Burger on his way to court. But it's not going to get that far.

Anyone with memories of Operation Just Cause should share them below. If you've also played Black Ops II and can compare real-life with the video game, that's even better.

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