Letter To My Sentator Regarding The Jamming Of "Sawt Libya"
xxx Hart Senate Office Building
United States Congress
Washington, DC 20510
Re: The jamming of International Satellite Communication by Libya
You are undoubtedly aware that Ghaddafi has a long and extensive history as a ruthless dictator who stops at nothing in order to stifle the voices of freedom and democracy. His acts of terrorism on the world stage as well as his abuse of human rights and total disregard of human lives in Libya have been well documented over the past 36 years of absolute dictatorship.
In September 2005, a number of Libyans committed to the ideals of democracy and freedom of speach launched a satellite radio station they called "Voice of Libya" (Sawt Libya). Their goal was to provide a forum for open debate and free exchange of ideas related to the present system of government as well as economic and social issues in Libya.
The "Voice of Libya" programs were planned to provide the Libyan citizen with reliable and timely news and news analysis concerning Libya's internal developments as well as Libya’s relations with the world. The "Voice of Libya" was determined to break through Ghadafi’s media monopoly with reliable and objective information that is also free and independent.
The ultimate objective of this project was and still is to promote peaceful and genuine political reform in Libya in order to facilitate the development of democracy and safeguard basic human rights.
However, within minutes of the beginning of the broadcast, which was carried on the Eutelsat Hotbird Satellite, Ghaddafi’s regime up-linked a powerful signal on the same frequency, jamming the Voice of Libya's radio signal and also knocking off the air more than 20 TV and radio stations serving European audiences. The international press documented the impact of Ghaddafi’s response, including its interference with American diplomatic, military and FBI communications. For details on this international incident, see the Guardian's article on December 3, 2005 :
( http://www.guardian.co.uk/libya/story/0,,1656914,00.html ).
The jamming stopped only after Sawt Libya went off the air and it was obviously a deliberate and malicious effort to block Libyan audiences from gaining access to truthful news and information.
Following this experience, the "Voice of Libya" , now renamed the "Voice of Hope", attempted to deliver its programming by partnering with the American Satellite company Loral Skynet, using its Telestar 12 satellite. The station managers were hoping that they would now be out of Ghaddafi’s reach. Unfortunately, after only half an hour of broadcasting, their signal was knocked off the airwaves by powerful microwave signals originating from Tripoli.
The management of the radio station has asked a number of international and national entities, including the U.S. State Department, to intervene on their behalf, so far without success.
As a Libyan American, I appeal to you as my representative to condemn this flagrant breach of international laws and raise this issue publically whenever and wherever you deem appropriate. I hope that you can use your expertise, influence, and access to get the US congress and US government to demand immediate halt to Ghaddafi's piracy of the airwaves.
If we are to succeed in advancing the cause of democracy in that part of the world, it is critical that people in Libya have access to independent news and information free from government censorship.
We hope to convince the United States government that it is in its own interest to exercise its influence to force the Libyan government to stop this illegal, malicious interference with international communication systems.
For the US to continue ignoring these grave violations of international law by Ghaddafi will be perceived by Libyans and others in the region as part of the ongoing attempt to rehabilitate the Ghaddafi regime as manifested by its growing economic and diplomatic ties with the west.
Because of Ghaddafi's long and bloody history and because like most Libyans I have gained through long experience intimate knowledge of his methods, I truly believe that this regime is not capabable of rehabilation and will respond only to a direct and strong demand by the United States government to stop interfering with our communication systems and to allow political reform to proceed peacefully in Libya.
In addition, I believe that allowing Ghaddafi to continue jamming our satellite communication whenever a free Libyan voice is broadcasting to the Libyan people will have in the long run the most negative impact on the credibility of the United States government as an advocate of democracy in the region.
Thank you in advance for whatever amout of attention you are able to give this matter. Please do not hesitate to contact me personally and I hope to have the chance to meet you in person during your next visit to our town.
You may also contact the American Libyan Freedom Alliance (ALFA) for further information concerning this matter:
P.O. Box 22262,