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Six Minutes to Freedom
Libya Jams Western Broadasts
December 5, 2005

Article originally posted at: http://www.worldtribune.com/worldtribune/05/front2453709.9972222224.html

LONDON Libya has waged a jamming war against the West in a successful effort to stop an opposition radio station.

So far, British and U.S. officials said, Libya has succeeded in disrupting U.S. military communications in the Mediterranean Sea.

The jamming also blocked dozens of television and radio stations in Europe, Middle East Newsline reported.

"We need a full explanation of what has happened and whether Britain has insisted as part of its trade talks with the Libyans that it respected international law," British parliamentarian Andrew Mackinlay, a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, told the House of Commons on Dec. 2.

Officials said the confrontation began in September when a British-based opposition radio station began to broadcast to Libya. The station, Voice of Libya, was meant to be a commercial enterprise that reported human rights violations by the regime of Col. Moammar Khaddafy.

Within minutes of its launch, the radio station as well as other broadcast networks were jammed. Officials said the jamming ended when the Voice of Libya went off the air.

Weeks later, the Libyan opposition reappeared with Sawt Al Amal, or the Voice of Hope. The station was broadcast through the Telstar-12 satellite, operated in the United States.

Officials said Libya again sought to jam the opposition station. The effort failed, but other European-based stations were disrupted. They included BBC, CNN and at least 23 radio stations.

The British Foreign Office has confirmed the jamming. Officials said both London and Washington have discussed the issue with the Libyan government.

At one point, an anonymous e-mail was sent to Sawt Al Amal's satellite provider. The e-mail said the disruption of satellite service stemmed from the opposition broadcasts.

"This channel broadcasts terrorist propaganda, intended to spread terrorist ideas amongst the listeners minds," the e-mail read.

In November, Sawt Al Amal agreed to suspend service. The station's director told the Guardian newspaper that the company has lost about $500,000 in advertising revenues.

The Libyan jamming effort, which has not been acknowledged by Tripoli, represents the latest tiff between Washington and the Khaddafy regime. Over the last few months, U.S. officials said Tripoli has reduced cooperation with the United States regarding intelligence on insurgency movements and nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
(WorldTribune.com Dec 5)
Sowt Alamel (Voice of Hope)
Sowt Alamel (Voice of Hope) originally began as Sowt Libya (Voice of Libya). It was launched shortly after a June 2005 conference of seven Libyan opposition groups in London. Programming initially launched on satellite in September 2005 but was jammed off the air by the Libyan regime. Returned to the airwaves in January 2006 on short wave and also suffered from intense jamming.
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