Radio Tikrit and Twin Rivers Radio Tied to Opposition Group
By Nick Grace
February 24, 2003
with reporting by Andy Sennitt, Radio Netherlands Media Network and Robert Petraitis, CRW Lithuania
Radio Tikrit and Twin Rivers Radio (Wadi al-Rafidayn), Clandestine Radio Watch (CRW) and Radio Netherlands Media Network can exclusively report, are "sister" stations of the London-based exile group Iraqi National Accord's own program, al-Mustaqbal (The Future).
A representative of the Accord, which encourages regime change through a coup d'etat, responded to an inquiry about the three radio stations with an invitation for listeners to send e-mail for all three programs to the main Accord e-mail address.
The Accord and its station, al-Mustaqbal, have long been known to receive funding and assistance from the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. Multiple sources within the Iraqi opposition have independently confirmed that al-Mustaqbal broadcasts from a 50kW Harris transmitter located in Kuwait from a facility also used by the Voice of America. The transmitter broadcast Radio Hurriah (Freedom) programs on behalf of the Iraqi National Congress between 1992 and 1997.
Radio Tikrit's appearance in January 2003 on a frequency once used by a CIA/Accord station Voice of the Brave Armed Forces surprised most Iraq watchers since its initial broadcasts appeared to denigrate U.S. foreign policy. Subsequent programs monitored by BBC Monitoring, however, blast the regime in Baghdad and attempt to win over the hearts and minds of Ba'ath Party bureaucrats and Republican Guard troops.
Interestingly, a recurring segment of the program called "Signs of the Zodiac" reads astrological forecasts. Although not uncommon in the Arab world Radio Netherlands Media Network's Andy Sennitt suspects the forecasts may, in fact, serve as surreptitious messages to foreign intelligence assets operating within Iraq.
A source contacted today in Iraqi Kurdistan said "Here in northern Iraq people are completely mystified that anyone would name a station Radio Tikrit. I have asked several Sunni Arabs what they think when they hear there is a new station called Radio Tikrit and every one of them said 'CIA.'"
The stations monitored schedules:
Twin Rivers Radio 1600-1900 UTC on 1566 kHz
Radio Tikrit 1900-2100 on 1584 kHz
al-Mustaqbal 2100-2400 on 1575.3 kHz