War and Information – Cont’d

A while back I wrote about the new methods of propaganda and discourse at work in the most recent conflagration between Israel and Lebanon. One of Israel’s, let’s say major annoyances in this latest iteration of a long conflict, was its inability to get Hezbollah’s satellite TV station, al-Manar, off the air.

Now, via Defensetech, comes word that where bombing physical installations failed, Israel is looking at a technical fix: blocking al-Manar’s frequency. But it’s not quite so simple as just getting Hezbollah off the air – from Defensetech:

…according to [an Israeli] executive, jamming a communications satellite is “like interfering with civil aviation. You can do it, but it’s against international law and you’ll be subject to all kinds of lawsuits.”

It is technologically impossible, he said, to selectively jam only those satellite signals that carry enemy broadcasts.

“Everything goes out as a single beam, and it is impossible to jam only those channels viewed as a threat,” the executive said. “If you make the decision to interfere with one [satellite signal], then you must be prepared to face the consequences of the collateral damage incurred to the many other legitimate users of the signal.”

Robert Ames, chief executive of the Satellite Users Interference Reduction Group… said it is relatively easy to jam a specific satellite transponder.

“Transponders are separated by frequency,” he said. “All you have to do is know the frequency which it operates on and then put up a signal that is stronger than the programming carrier of the satellite…

Talk about asymmetric warfare. Hezbollah lobs Ketushyas at northern Israeli towns – Israel takes out the sat feed for al-Manar…and, oops, guess you can’t watch the latest football matches, either.


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