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Voice of the Libyan People
By Nick Grace C., February 11, 1998.
The Voice of the Libyan
People had a four year career with broadcasts against Muammar Qadhafi
and Libya between 1984 and 1988. It was proclaimed as the voice for
the National Front for the Salvation
of Libya (NFSL), a group consisting of exiled opponents of Qadhafi's
regime headed by Aly Abuzaakouk that was founded in 1981. This group,
according to Perry Shultz,, established ties with the CIA which saw the
organization as the most potent opposition against Tripoli (Perry, p.165).
The station began broadcasting from the Sudan
in March 1984 as a psychological warfare tool, just two months before the
NFSL attempted a coup. The coup was crushed and an estimated 75 exiles
were killed by the Libyan government, resulting in strained relations between
Libya and the Sudan. As tensions heightened, Qadhafi supported a
successful revolution in the Sudan and the US-friendly government was overthrown
in 1985. The Voice of the Libyan People
was immediately taken off the air by the new Sudanese leadership in April
of that year (Soley, p.134).
The CIA planned another covert action, called
Flower / Rose, which consisted of an armed NFSL rebellion based in Egypt,
Algeria and Chad in 1986 while the US military failed to knock out Qadhafi
with its airstrikes, and the Voice of the Libyan
People resumed its transmissions. By late 1988, however, Secretary
of State George Schultz stopped the plans and CIA funding for the NFSL
was effectively yanked. As a result, the station was no longer broadcast
from Egypt and Chad and the station disappeared from the airwaves.
The Voice of the Libyan
People was nearly a textbook case of Cold War covert broadcasting
action. It was a "gray" clandestine that was on to engage in psychological
war and to prepare Libya for an invasion. The loss of support from
Sudan came as a setback for both the NFSL and the CIA, but separate contingencies
were developed and the station continued its work. But after the
failure of multiple attempts for covert action, its own value collapsed
and the station fell into oblivion.
An interesting endnote, the Voice
of the Libyan People was reported to be broadcasting again in March
1994 via Turkish satellite transponders. The use of a satellite to
broadcast was done because "Qadhafi cannot jam this radio in any way."
According to reports, it used a 7.38 MHz audio subcarrier of the Turkish
commercial HBB TV transponder on the Eutelsat-II-F2 satellite with 11617
MHz vertical polarization. Renown clandestine radio expert George
Zeller correctly notes that "It seems obvious that this is a USA-financed
operation. I do not think that the grassroots Libyan opposition has the
cash to finance a satellite feed for their clandestine programming" (Zeller,
The NFSL maintains a webpage that is mostly in
Arabic but is interesting nonetheless: http://www.nfsl-libya.com/,
and their newspaper "Al
Should the Voice of the
Libyan People return to shortwave, listeners may try Al Inqad's
address in the US: 4444 Cane Run Road, Suite 118, Louisville, KY
Perry, Mark. Eclipse: The Last Days of
the CIA. William Morrow & Company. New York: 1992.
Soley, Lawrence C. and John S. Nichols.
Clandestine Radio Broadcasting. Praeger. New York: 1987.
Zeller, George. "Clandestine Profile."
The ACE, May 1994.
QSL courtesy of Nick Grace C.