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Radio Atlantico del Sur (RAdS) was the psychological operations radio station broadcast by the Ministry of Defence to Argentine troops during the latter part of the Falklands Islands Conflict. This is a draft OD(SA) interim assessment suggesting possibilities for the radio station, it dates from around 12 May 1982.
RADIO ATLANTICO del SUR
PROGRAMMING – INTERIM ASSESSMENT
This is a preliminary paper to assess current thinking about the potential of the operation as a whole, with particular reference to programming opportunities and objectives.
2. The overall objective of the project for the purpose of this paper is assumed to be purely military. It is defined as: ‘maximising the use of radio to persuade Argentinian troops (particularly conscripted troops) currently occupying the Falkland Islands to surrender with minimum resistance at the time when British troops land to re-occupy the islands’. This assessment deals only with this primary objective. It takes no account either of potential or actual secondary objectives.
3. The operation is broadly divided into two phases:
4. The objectives of the first phase would be as follows:
a. To establish the credibility of the station.
b. To build the maximum audience in the target area.
c. To increase the sense of isolation felt by the target audience.
5. The primary object of the second phase would be to use the credibility and confidence developed in the first phase to persuade Argentine soldiers to:
a. Hesitate before firing on British troops.
b. Consider positively the benefits of surrendering.
6. Several approaches have been rejected as counter-productive. These include the following:
a. Attempting to diminish or demean Argentinians loyalty to their flag.
b. Trying to convince them that their government is not justified in claiming sovereignty of the Falkland Islands.
c. Attempting to create dissension between officers and other ranks.
d. Excessive reference to hardship caused by inadequate clothing or shelter.
7. The appeal will need to be to the emotions as well as to logic. Three particular areas may be selected for positive treatment:
a. The long-standing friendship on a person level between British and Argentinian peoples.
b. The lack of training of Argentinian conscripts by comparison with British troops.
c. The physical isolation of the troops on the Falkland Islands, with particular reference to their friends and families.
8. A further list of potential pressure points has also been identified for consideration for attack later in the development of the radio service. These include:
a. The lack of medical facilities.
b. Unfavourable weather conditions.
c. Fear of British specialist units such as SAS and SBS.
d. Disillusionment with junta leaders.
9. Methods. In general it is proposed that “Radio Atlantico del Sur” should present itself as relatively neutral and not too partial. It will not however carry any Argentinian claims for losses of men and equipment unless these have been verified by British sources. It will not be feasible to conceal the station’s British connections (identification of the site of the transmitter alone will give the game away). Nevertheless it is believed that a number of techniques can usefully be employed to build a sense of confidence in the station.
10. Returning to Phase One, the ground rules for developing this essential confidence are as follows:
a. A credible news output. The station’s hard news coverage would be selective but 100% truthful (which obviously includes rejection of untruthful Argentinian claims).
b. Immediate and accurate reporting of non-political events. For instance ideally we should give them their own football results before even their own stations are able to do so.
c. Reference to actual events and conditions of which the invading troops have direct knowledge, ie bomb damage on the island or descriptions of permanent features in their own home towns.
11. The station must first build up credibility and “audience loyalty”.
12. The advantages of radio’s immediacy will be wasted if either the programming is not ‘live’; or the necessary immediate material cannot be delivered to it.
13. Broadcasts could at least persuade the Argentine conscripts to hesitate for even a fraction of a second before firing on British troops. At best they could, by keeping the hopelessness of their position in the minds of the garrison, persuade an earlier surrender than would otherwise be achieved.
[Source: TNA FCO 26/2449, transcribed by www.psywar.org]