Pirate Radio Comes (Back) to Libya

Pirate radio's roots run deep in the political history of modern Libya. On the first of September, 1969, more than forty years ago, an army officer not yet thirty years old went on the airwaves of Radio Benghazi to announce that he and a small band of fellow military officers had staged a bloodless coup ending the 17 year reign of the octogenarian King Idris; the young officer's reading of what was called "Communique No. 1" is captured in a recording lodged in the Internet Archive:

From the New York Times archives

As you might have guessed, that young officer was one Moammar Gaddafi. He and his cadre had cut off telephone and telegraph communications between their northern African country, but taking over the radio station gave them the ability to quickly ripple out word inside the borders of Libya that a change of power had taken place. In their 2009 book "The Nuclear Express," former U.S. government scientists Thomas C. Reed and Danny B. Stillman report that Gaddafi and his crew's mission had just two physical targets when push came to shove. The first was the military headquarters in Tripoli. And the second was the state radio stations.

Read on...