Suppression of ideas

I found this video called Empire of Noise about broadcast radio jamming. It seems to be about ten years old and is a post-cold War documentary about the jamming of radio signals by the USSR, Warsaw Pact counties, and China.  It is an interesting look into the extent and expense that governments will go to suppress counter thoughts and ideas.

The video is quite long, and there are stretches of jamming noise that can be annoying, but perhaps that is the point.  It is worth the time if interested in history and radio broadcasting.  You know what they say about history; those that do not understand history are destined to repeat it.

A few of the highlights:

  • The former Soviet Union had the most extensive jamming network of anyone on Earth.  There were groundwave jamming centers in eighty-one Soviet cities which consisted of approximately 10-15 transmitters each in the 5 KW covering the medium and shortwave frequencies.
  • Each groundwave jamming station consisted of a transmitter site and a receiver/control site.  The receiver site possessed lists of frequencies to monitor, when objectionable material was heard, the jamming transmitters were turned on.
  • There was a skywave jamming network consisting of 13 jamming stations with 10 or more 100-200 KW transmitters in each.  There were some transmitters in the 1,000 KW power range.  These were located in Krasnodar, Lvov, Nikolaev, Yerevan, Alma-Ata, Grigoriopol, Sovieck, Novosibrisk, Tashkent, Khanbarovsk, Servdlosk and Moscow (some of these names may have changed).  These operated in a similar fashion to the groundwave jammers.
  • After the sign-off of government stations, Soviet jammers sent a blanketing signal on the IF frequency (most likely 455 KHz) of receivers to effectively block them from receiving any station while USSR government stations were off the air.
  • Baltic states had 11 jamming stations with approximately 140 transmitters
  • Ukraine had approximately 300 Jamming transmitters.
  • Warsaw Pact countries had extensive medium-frequency jamming networks.
  • It is estimated it takes about 20 times the transmitted power to jam any one signal.

The entire jamming network was hugely expensive to equip and operate, costing several tens of millions of dollars per year.

It is interesting that the US position in all of this was:

Everyone has the right to seek, receive and impart information through any media and regardless of frontiers.   Jamming of radio broadcasts is condemned as the denial of the right of persons to be fully informed concerning news, opinions and ideas.

Sounds perfectly reasonable.  The free exchange of ideas and information over the internet is something that should be guarded carefully and should not be restricted or censored.  Perhaps somebody should inform Congress.

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9 thoughts on “Suppression of ideas”

  1. I was always amused with the reaction of the citizens of the Iron Curtain countries when they started to get their first glimpse of how real people lived in Capitalist countries, beautiful well stocked supermarkets like Publix and Stop and Shop, stores like Macys, Bergdorf’s or even Walmart. When you went into a store for the non ruling class you may find a few rotten fish no toilet paper. They had been told that people in the West had it worse. North Korean’s eat bark and grass. Back in the early 80’s an engineer friend once commented in an off the wall remark what if they are right and we are wrong. I put an end to any of that idiotic thinking with the retort: How come people are risking their lives to escape from being a prisoner of Communism. Billions want to come here, only disgruntled red diaper doper babies from Brooklyn want communism but where are they living…here in the good old USA never North Korea or Cuba. Sadly its spreading like wildfire, Whoopi Goldberg on the View extolling the virtues of communism and the people cheer her yet out of the other side of her mouth she wines her taxes are too high. No matter how much they try to jam word still gets through though in the case of North Korea they are all so brain damaged that they will never understand….weep and wail when their cruel dictator dies
    Look at the films of the crowds when Stalin died, only killed 50 million of them and they are crying and loosing their minds with grief
    Many of the communist dictators were and are American Express card holders…hypocrites and phonies

  2. There was a time, not so long ago, in this country, where people of certain ethnic groups had to have the shortwave band on their radios disabled.

  3. disgruntled red diaper doper babies from Brooklyn

    I really am going to have to figure out how to work that line into one of my posts.

    Regarding Stalin (or other dictator) funerals… I think some of these reactions are self preservation and some of them are related to the Stockholm Syndrome. Collectivists tend to fall into two general categories; dirt munching hippies that think if only enough people would live in a commune so they could all sit around, hold hands and sing kumbaya, the world would be much better. The second category are those that wish to dominate the dirt munching hippies.

  4. I do not think you understand but Americans have a way of seeing you as always innocent and fighters for justice, I have no hatred for anything but ee.uu (admin note: ee.uu Estados Unidos or United States) different just think like 90% of the world, or ee . uu perhaps no jamming stations, under the pretext of saving the lives of 100 people kills 100,000 people, sadam had weapons of mass destruction why they had to invade and kill many people in the village and in the end did not have such weapons and why of UN scientists were saying that they had no weapons of mass destruction, but estava bloodthirsty wolf in order so it all depends on where you look at things, I am not in favor of communism or pro-ee . uu just see how wrong they are, someone put a comment that in north Korea are wrong because the brain mourn his dicatador, yet in ee.uu not be capable to reason and are going to get a chip to be controlled by the government, I wonder who’s the bigger idiot.

  5. Our method of Jamming is much more effective: just buy out all the stations or legislate them off the air.

  6. The original post was about suppression of ideas. An idea is only dangerous if it challenges the power of the ruling authority and has merit. In other words; if the leader of North Korea came here and said “We will be implementing North Korean style government here next week,” of course, he would be laughed at. That is a ridiculous idea, nobody wants that. I only mention North Korea because it was used further up in the comments.

    Regarding the Iraq war, etc; nowhere in these pages will you find anything that condones that action or any other invasion of sovereign nations.

    No government is perfect due to the corrupting influence of power and the US certainly falls in this category. At the same time, a government is necessary because anarchy is not an option. That is why it is important to keep to our constitutional roots and the system of checks and balances therein.

    As far as a chip goes; I’ll be doing a post on tin foil hat construction in the near future.

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