PANAMA CITY -- The government controlled by military strongman Gen. Manuel Antonio Noriega has escalated its campaign of political attacks on Washington with a series of actions to harass U.S. diplomats, servicemen and other citizens in Panama, U.S. spokesmen said.

On Friday, in the latest incident, Panama deported a recently retired U.S. colonel, Charles Stone, who headed the U.S. Embassy's military group until he retired July 31.

Stone is married to a Panamanian and served 14 years in different military posts in Panama. His wife is active in the opposition, and he accompanied her to at least one recent march where the couple was searched by police.

The government said Stone conspired in planning the protests. He was the third U.S. citizen expelled during a four-month political crisis. Two American journalists earlier were ordered to leave the country.

There has been no love lost between Washington and Noriega since the Senate passed a resolution on June 26 calling for the general to step aside as commander in chief of the Panamanian Defense Forces pending an investigation into allegations by the opposition that the general was involved in crimes, including assassination and election fraud. Four days after the resolution, 5,000 Noriega followers attacked the U.S. Embassy here with red paint and rocks.

Noriega also responded by mobilizing every government official, from the president to the consul in New York, to blame the crisis on a U.S. conspiracy to destabilize Panama with the goal of rolling back the 1977 Panama Canal treaties that will give control of the waterway to this nation in 2000.

The chief U.S. administrator of the Panama Canal, D.P. McAuliffe, denied in a recent interview that there have been any U.S. efforts to stall compliance with the treaties.

"Frankly, I think these charges are pure political smoke," McAuliffe said.

In September, the progovernment press gave front-page play to a letter on State Department stationery dated March 26 and purported to be from Assistant Secretary of State J. Edward Fox to Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.), a staunch opponent of the canal treaties.

In the letter, Fox appeared to reassure Helms that the United States would leave troops in Panama beyond Jan. 1, 2000, the date mandated by the treaty for their withdrawal. U.S. Embassy officials said the letter is a fake.

Last week Noriega said U.S.-Panamanian relations have reached their "lowest point."

In a rare public statement, U.S. Ambassador Arthur Davis said he still sees top government officials but noted that the U.S. Embassy cannot present its case to Panamanians because the independent press is closed.

The deputy chief of mission, John Maisto, has been a preferred target of the Noriega-controlled media, where his picture often appears adorned with a swastika. In early August, Panamanian Defense Forces agents went on an unannounced nighttime prowl of his yard, U.S. diplomats said.

On Sept. 13, the U.S. Embassy's economic counselor, David Miller, was detained at the scene of an antigovernment demonstration and held for eight hours, in what U.S. officials charged was a violation of his diplomatic immunity.

Ambassador Davis said Miller was sent to observe and report on the protest. The daily Critica, a Noriega mouthpiece, reported in bold red print that Miller instigated it.

Two weeks later, on Sept. 23, 27 unarmed, blue-uniformed airmen visiting from the Air War College in Montgomery, Ala., were taken by bus from an American base on the outskirts of Panama City to the downtown U.S. Embassy for what a U.S. Southern Command spokesman said was a routine introductory briefing on Panama.

The Noriega-controlled television reported that day that the city was under invasion by more than 200 U.S. troops in full combat gear.

Foreign Minister Jorge Abadia denounced the incident before the United Nations as a "stupid provocation." The government also protested that U.S. military personnel rented apartments in downtown Panama City, saying they have "habits and health conditions that do not conform to the Panamanian way of life." At least 1,500 soldiers and their families live in the city.

Meanwhile, on Sept. 24, the U.S. Senate, in a new resolution, gave Panama 45 days to open an independent investigation into Noriega's alleged crimes and to begin a transition to civilian government, or the United States would halt economic and military aid and suspend Panama's sugar quota.

The pace of events quickened. On Sept. 29, police raided the residence of Anel Beliz, a Panamanian who works closely with U.S. officials in his role as chief spokesman for the Panama Canal Commission.

When protests erupted the night of Oct. 7, the Panamanian Defense Forces police picked up nine out-of-uniform U.S. servicemen.

Under a treaty-mandated arrangement between the military forces of the two countries, Panama must notify U.S. military representatives of the arrest of a U.S. serviceman within two hours, but U.S. authorities were not informed of the identities of the nine Americans or where they were being held until six hours after they were arrested.

According to a U.S. military spokesman, on Oct. 11 two out-of-uniform servicemen were roughed up and robbed at dawn by Defense Forces police while waiting for a bus outside the Ancon Inn, a bar popular with U.S. soldiers. One soldier's ankle was broken when he was shoved to the pavement, and a prostitute tried unsuccessfully to plant marijuana on the other soldier.

Since U.S. aid was frozen in August, embassy personnel have removed U.S. computers and other equipment from government offices that house joint U.S.-Panamanian projects. The newspaper Critica last week accused the embassy of taking water coolers, and even toilet paper, out of some offices.

{In Panama's latest accusation aimed at the United States, the government-controlled daily La Republica charged on Sunday that the opposition is hiring U.S. advisers and mercenaries from neighboring countries to launch an urban guerrilla war, starting on Thursday, to overthrow the government, Reuter reported. Thursday is the date of a scheduled nationwide opposition protest.

{An opposition spokesman said the charges were absurd.}

Yesterday, the House approved a resolution calling for the suspension of all U.S. aid to Panama unless a nonmilitary government replaces Noriega.