Et tu, Libya?

Thumbing through my weekly copy of Space News, I spotted a fascinating Peter de Selding article. For six months in 2006, the satellite comunications service provided by Thuraya of Abu Dhabi was jammed. Thuraya executives believed the source was the US or Israel, both of whom at the time were waging warfare against insurgents and militants in the Middle East.

But the real source of the jamming signal is now revealed to be (drum roll …) Libya: one of Thuraya’s shareholders!!! Quoting an unnamed source, the article says:

"Those doing the jamming were apparently concerned that smugglers carrying Marlboro cigarettes or other contraband from Chad or Niger into Libya were using Thuraya satellite phones. They wanted to disrupt their operations and throught this was a way to do it. I don’t know whether they even realized the effect this was having on the Thuraya signal way beyond the borders of Libya."

The article, perhaps betraying the identity of the source as someone inside the Thuraya company (note the term ‘we’) , also quotes the source saying:

"Having a shareholder do this was certainly not what we expected."

I’ll bet.

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