As the surgical airstrikes against Saddam were beginning last night Iraqi state radio suddenly broadcast this:
- “The facilities of the Iraqi regime have started to be hit… This is the day we have been waiting for… The attack on Iraq has begun,” the United States jammed and then obliterated Baghdad Radio with its own psychological war programming, Reuters reports, in a remarkable move to control the airwaves over Iraq.
The sudden announcement occurred at approximately 0230 GMT. Contrary to early reports that Iraqi state radio was seized by U.S. troops, its signal appears to have been drowned out from broadcasts over the airborne Commando Solo EC-130E psyop fleet. Its signal, according to multiple wire reports, disappeared from the airwaves after the surgical airstrikes.
….Radio Baghdad, Al-Shabab, and Sawt al-Jamahiriyah, Iranian radio reports, are responding to the psywar assault by shifting transmissions to new frequencies.
Sawt al-Jamahiriyah, which is run by Uday Hussein, broadcast martial music and, according to Reuters, announced “This is our day. Let us start the fight. We will be victorious. We will all die as faithful martyrs… Our brother martyrs will die defending our great Iraq. Today is our day. Rise up our brothers for the jihad. Hit the enemies and prove that we are sons of freedom and honor… Rise up like lions. Saddam is our beloved leader and God is our great Allah. Rise up, rise up and attack the foreigners. Victory with God’s help is near…defeat the infidel enemy.”
Information Radio, which is the only known program broadcast from Commando Solo, broadcast a mix of psyop messages and Arab music as anti-aircraft fire lit up the skies over Baghdad. Clandestine Radio Watch monitored the radio station on 9715.1 kHz between 0250 and 0345 GMT when its signal faded out. A station identification was heard at 0337 GMT over traditional flutes.
During President Bush’s address to the American public at 0315 GMT Information Radio broadcast an announcement about al-Qaeda and the regime of Saddam Hussein. A more complete analysis of the announcements will be forthcoming. [Clandestine Radio Watch]
Clandestine Radio.com has a remarkable recording of the Information Radio broadcast, garbled but fascinating.
- in the most explicit warning to date, an Air Force mobile broadcasting aircraft beamed a message in Arabic to the Iraqi people saying that “The days of Saddam’s regime are over” and asserting that the Iraqi leader had personally issued orders to destroy Iraq’s richest southern oil fields.
The broadcast, monitored and translated by The New York Times, said:
“You will face complete destruction if you comply with these orders to sabotage the oil wells. He can’t destroy them himself. He will need your help. Follow the instructions of the coalition. You have two choices: listen to Saddam and face the consequences, or refuse to follow his orders and save yourself for a post-Saddam Iraq.”
….American warplanes dropped about two million leaflets on southern Iraq during the day, telling Iraqi troops how to surrender and how “to avoid destruction.” They were instructed to drape white flags on their tanks and military vehicles, move away from them, throw down their weapons and wait for allied forces to round them up for processing. [NY Times]
Do what we say and we won’t blow you up – very sporting of us.