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Mullah Omar speaks
October 10, 2001 2:35 PM   Subscribe

Mullah Omar speaks to the people of Afghanistan and Muslims around the world. But Voice of Shariat was destroyed in the bombing. So a tape of his speech was delivered to Voice of America and the BBC World Service, and they both broadcast it.
posted by Steven Den Beste (28 comments total)

 
(Yup, it's my third post of the day. Deal with it.)
posted by Steven Den Beste at 2:36 PM on October 10, 2001


Are we supposed to be upset that they broadcast it? Not being snarky, just curious.
posted by ColdChef at 2:39 PM on October 10, 2001


On the contrary. VOA and the BBC have credibility around the world because they do air opinions critical of their own governments.

No, what's remarkable about this is that Omar asked. He actually expected his mortal enemies to broadcast his speech to his own people.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 2:41 PM on October 10, 2001


"America is using its most modern weapons, but we have the best weapon to defeat them, our Muslim faith," he said.

I dunno about you all, but I wouldn't want to fight the U.S.'s modern weapons with "muslim faith"...
posted by preguicoso at 2:44 PM on October 10, 2001


Then, perhaps the emphasis should have been on the fact that a tape of his speech was delivered, instead of the fact that they aired it. Pretty interesting stuff, though, thanks for the link.
posted by ColdChef at 2:46 PM on October 10, 2001


He seems to think all muslems like the Taliban.

Well with all the good work they did their, its hard to not like and agree with them. /sarcasm
posted by Qambient at 2:46 PM on October 10, 2001


On the other hand, Ari Fleischer is now dictating news content. Confirming my suspicions that he is both:

a)scum
b)lower than scum

Very rarely is someone both those simultaneously.
posted by owillis at 2:46 PM on October 10, 2001


Well, the words "media savvy" and "Taliban" don't really go together. Unlike Saddam Hussein, who's a master of spin-doctoring.

I dunno about you all, but I wouldn't want to fight the U.S.'s modern weapons with "muslim faith"...

Check back with the Red Army, perhaps?
posted by holgate at 2:48 PM on October 10, 2001


Or are we supposed to applaud them? It would look bad if they censored the guy while attempting to be the objective press.

Its interesting how little the US gets criticized for destroying media outlets, this and Yugoslavia's TV station.
posted by skallas at 2:48 PM on October 10, 2001


I dunno about you all, but I wouldn't want to fight the U.S.'s modern weapons with "muslim faith"...

Maybe they have some kind of awesome Muslim-faith-powered bomb.
posted by monosyllabic at 2:49 PM on October 10, 2001


As much as a free-speech advocate as I am, I honestly don't think that this recording should have been broadcast by the VOA/BBC, or at least not in their entirety. Your transmitters have been bombed into shrapnel? Oops, too bad for you. I thought that was the entire point of targeting their communications. Anyway, as was mentioned on NPR today (and as I've thought all along), these taped speeches could very well contain coded messages to terrorist operatives. We don't need to have our own government providing the means by which some zealot gets the cue that it's their turn to "die for Allah".
posted by tpoh.org at 2:54 PM on October 10, 2001


Absolutely right, tpoh. This isn't about censorship. This is about destroying the enemy's ability to communicate. Fleischer's a worm, no doubt, but I agree with him on this one. "At best, Osama bin Laden's messages are propaganda calling on people to kill Americans," intoned White House spokesman Ari Fleischer in the midst of an early afternoon briefing. "At worst, he could be issuing orders to his followers to initiate such attacks." Let's not provide a mouthpiece for the enemy.

(And really, he's not actually dictating content: "[Rice] stressed that she is making a request and that editorial decisions can only be made by the media," Fleischer said.)
posted by Dean King at 3:10 PM on October 10, 2001


I'm a free speech purist, too, and I say more good than harm was done by broadcasting those speeches. Running the tape tends to emphasize separation of media from government (even if both services are state-sponsored) in favor of its targeted language-based audience, reinforces a willingness to present opposing points of view, and confirms a tendency towards appreciating something for its news value rather than for its propaganda value and thus enhancing the idea of objectivity. Further, the speech run allows a link of trust to be formed: other items may now be passed down this new conduit in both directions.

Finally, from a more practical perspective: everything I wrote above could be wrong. Because, as the article says, he was slurring his words and speaking haltingly--in his native language, no less--they may have felt that would undermine trust in him. Alternately, if there was some doubt whether he was alive or not, confirming that he is still living may have the benefit of quelling future riots. If he was believed to be dead, there's no telling what kind of new, false rumor would appear accusing the West of killing him. That would be a rage-maker, wouldn't it?
posted by Mo Nickels at 3:14 PM on October 10, 2001


they're also jamming any remaining transmitters and sending out US propoganda from somewhere in Cali on those frequencies.. This is an odd war indeed. That is all.
posted by Mossy at 3:26 PM on October 10, 2001


Mo, I appreciate and respect your opinions on this matter (BTW, why no updates to World New York recently?). And I do agree with some of the points you make about the possible good done by broadcasting his comments. I hope and trust that all of us on MeFi support free speech.

I do agree with Dean King's take on this, however, and I support the request made by the Bush Admin. for the media to practice restraint with what it broadcasts. I think there may be harm done through passing along the views and comments (and, yes, possibly coded messages) of the extremists on the other side of the battle with the U.S./Rest of World.

Yes, it might be tough to walk the thin line between security and freedom. That will be the challenge for all of us.
posted by msacheson at 3:32 PM on October 10, 2001


And Mo, if I may add, from Oakland, CA: Go Yankees!
posted by msacheson at 3:37 PM on October 10, 2001


Have Rice and Fleischer also considered getting the "thought police" from the Ministry of Truth involved in this as well.

Thoughtcrime is insidious, as you know, and can well up among the proles at any damned time , even if we destroy the broadcast of any point of view except Big Brother Bush's.

Also, maybe a nice "two minute hate" would help stifle all this pesky un-American dissent, and would go over well along with Friday's planned mass pledge of obedience... *cough* ...allegiance.

Room 101, BBC and VOA.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 3:42 PM on October 10, 2001


I dunno about you all, but I wouldn't want to fight the U.S.'s modern weapons with "muslim faith"...

Check back with the Red Army, perhaps?

Muslim faith didn't do the mujahideen much good until they had the U.S.'s modern weapons to back it up. Presumably this time around the CIA won't be supplying the Taliban with stinger missiles and whatnot.

-Mars
posted by Mars Saxman at 3:50 PM on October 10, 2001


they're also jamming any remaining transmitters and sending out US propoganda from somewhere in Cali on those frequencies.

Actually, they're broadcasting from an airplane flying over Afghanistan. They're also airdropping wind-up single-frequency radios so that people can listen to them.

Broadcasts from the VOA in California (and North Carolina, and Morocco, and the Northern Marianas Islands, and...) aren't connected with the psyops propaganda efforts.
posted by geneablogy at 4:09 PM on October 10, 2001


Is there any way that I can listen to the VOA in Oakland, CA?
posted by msacheson at 4:23 PM on October 10, 2001


VOA webcasts
posted by gazingus at 4:31 PM on October 10, 2001


I dunno about you all, but I wouldn't want to fight the U.S.'s modern weapons with "muslim faith"...

Check back with the Red Army, perhaps?


I think the Gulf War proved pretty conclusively that equating American weapons with Soviet weapons is like equating a shotgun and a slingshot.
posted by ljromanoff at 4:35 PM on October 10, 2001


Thanks gazingus. Yes, I saw that at their site, but couldn't find a local over-the-air frequency to listen to them when not at a computer. That's what I'd like to find.
posted by msacheson at 5:00 PM on October 10, 2001


Thanks gazingus. Yes, I saw that at their site, but couldn't find a local over-the-air frequency to listen to them when not at a computer. That's what I'd like to find.

http://www.voa.gov/allsked.html

You will, of course, need a shortwave radio for this.
posted by ljromanoff at 5:33 PM on October 10, 2001


http://www.voa.gov/allsked.html


Working link. Sorry.
posted by ljromanoff at 5:34 PM on October 10, 2001


Here's a summary of Pashto programming.
posted by tpoh.org at 6:04 PM on October 10, 2001


Presumably this time around the CIA won't be supplying the Taliban with stinger missiles and whatnot.

One would certainly hope not. Then again, I wouldn't bet the farm on it....

Maybe the solution is to air the Taliban and bin Laden speeches, but to only broadcast them on tv, where we can make it appear that the voices are coming from a puppet named Bert.
posted by rushmc at 6:14 PM on October 10, 2001


From the report, it sounds like this speech may have done him more harm than good, what with slurring and pauses; it sounds like he may not be all together. But that's beside the point.

Because they broadcast this speech, it means that the Afghans will listen to the other things they broadcast. That's worth a lot.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 6:43 PM on October 10, 2001


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