NATO warplanes bombed three Libyan state TV satellite transmitters in Tripoli overnight, targeting a key propaganda tool that the military alliance said Saturday is used by Moammar Gadhafi’s government to incite violence and threaten civilians.
A few hours ago, Nato conducted a precision air strike that disabled three ground-based Libyan state TV satellite transmission dishes in Tripoli. Source
Libya’s rebel movement, meanwhile, appeared in disarray after the mysterious death of its chief military commander in a killing that some witnesses said was carried out by fellow rebel fighters who suspected him of treason.
The rebels’ political leader sought to dispel any notions of infighting on Saturday and accused Gadhafi supporters of killing Abdel-Fattah Younis. He told reporters that the commander, who was Gadhafi’s interior minister before defecting, had not been suspected of treason but had been arrested after complaints he was mismanaging rebel forces.
The NATO strikes in Tripoli echoed across the capital before dawn. There was no comment from Libyan officials on what had been hit, but state TV was still on the air in Tripoli as of Saturday morning.
NATO said the airstrikes aimed to degrade Gadhafi’s "use of satellite television as a means to intimidate the Libyan people and incite acts of violence against them."
"Striking specifically these critical satellite dishes will reduce the regime’s ability to oppress civilians while (preserving) television broadcast infrastructure that will be needed after the conflict," the alliance said in a statement posted on its website.
It called Gadhafi’s TV broadcasts inflammatory and said they were intended to mobilize his supporters.
The coalition of NATO members participating in the air campaign against Gadhafi’s forces is also under strain as public opposition mounts in Europe to the costs of the mission — estimated at more than a billion euros — at a time of budget cuts and other austerity measures.
The United States was the first to limit its participation, deciding to only provide support to the European allies. Then Italy withdrew its only aircraft carrier and part of its air force contingent. Meanwhile, Norway has announced it will pull all of its F-16 warplanes out of the operation by Monday.
The other five nations taking part are Britain, France, Belgium, Denmark and Canada.
NATO has been increasingly embarrassed by the failure of the bombing campaign, now in its fifth month, to dislodge Gadhafi’s regime. With the fasting month of Ramadan due to start in early August, there is a growing realization within the alliance that the costly campaign will drag on into the autumn and possibly longer.
"Gadhafi’s "use of satellite television as a means to intimidate the Libyan people and incite acts of violence against them.""?
Canadian surveillance planes join propaganda war
By Murray Brewster | YahooNews.ca
Canada has joined an air war of a different kind in the skies over Libya, one where persuasion and sometimes insults are the weapons.
Canadian CP-140 Aurora surveillance planes recently started broadcasting propaganda messages aimed at forces loyal to Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi.
It’s a psychological warfare operation, or PSYOPS, initially started by the Americans but now overseen by NATO _ the kind of mission western militaries are reluctant to talk about openly.
The Canadian broadcasts are relatively benign in comparison to some of the harsher messages NATO has aimed at Gadhafi’s troops, in which women’s voices are telling them to stop "killing the children."
The Canadian messages, in English, are read hourly during patrols along the Libyan coast over AM/FM frequencies that Libyans usually monitor.
"For your safety return to your family and your home," says the message, which can be heard over unencrypted frequencies the military uses to broadcast basic information.
"The Gadhafi regime forces are violating United Nations resolution 1973."
The message goes on to urge Gadhafi’s troops not to take part in further hostilities and not to harm their fellow countrymen.
The Libyans have apparently yelled back telling the "Yankee pigdogs" to go home. On at least one occasion last week, an Arabic sounding voice challenged the broadcasts.
"Who are you talking to?" the voice asked.
"Anyone who will listen," replied the other voice who had read the message.
Gadhafi’s regime has tried to jam the transmissions.
A Canadian air force spokeswoman wouldn’t talk about the broadcasts, calling it "a NATO policy." She referred all questions to the alliance’s southern headquarters in Naples.
NATO officials were also reluctant to talk and asked not to be quoted on the record.
"Since the start of operations NATO have been encouraging pro-(Gadhafi) forces to lay down their arms," said one military official on background.
The "NATO mission is to prevent attacks and threats against civilians and we are doing it with care and precision. NATO will continue to keep up the pressure on those forces which are attacking or threatening civilians and civilian populated areas until that violence comes to an end."
The messages are part of a stepped up PSYOPS campaign which is sometimes referred to in the army as the "black art." Italian aircraft dropped propaganda leaflets over Tripoli last May as part of the increased pressure.
At the beginning of the air war, the United States dispatched its secret, specially outfitted C-130J transport plane known as "Commando Solo" to warn Libyan ships to stay in port or risk being destroyed by NATO.
Although propaganda broadcasts have been around a long time and reached their zenith during the Second World War, the use of radio and sometimes television messages broadcast from aircraft to bend the mind of enemies goes back to the Vietnam War era.
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