Tuesday, April 8
Shock and awe on the air
US steps up propaganda war
Mika Makelainen, Camp as-Sayliyah, Qatar,

Surrender or die is the message beamed at the remaining Iraqi Republican Guard soldiers in trenches around Baghdad. Coalition propaganda is aired 24 hours a day over Information Radio, part of a sophisticated psychological warfare operation aimed at winning the war in Iraq with less fighting, less casualties - and more clever persuasion.

This article is the most comprehensive report published so far on the technical aspects of the ongoing Iraqi mission of Information Radio.

Information Radio, Radiyo al-Ma'ulumat (sample station identification: ) in Arabic, is a US military Special Operations radio station broadcasting anti-Saddam Hussein messages, which are aimed at weakening his support among the Iraqi people and military.

Radio broadcasts are transmitted 24 hours a day from several transmitter sites in the air above Iraq, on the ground in Iraq and on naval vessels in the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. Until now, these transmitter locations have remained unknown.

The programs however are well-known - or at least they should be - because that is the purpose of the mission. Each program normally lasts about an hour and contains an introduction, combinations of regional and Western music and an information message.

US Central Command has provided transcripts of only the very first transmissions in December 2002. However, the content has developed over time, and new messages can be inserted at a very short notice.

"Some of the examples of things we are saying on our broadcasts now to the Iraqi people, especially in the radio broadcasts, first, we're telling the Iraqi people for their own safety, to stay away from Baghdad International Airport," said Brigadier General Vincent Brooks at a Central Command briefing on April 6, only two days after US forces had taken control of the airport.

"We're also explaining the importance of carefully following checkpoint instructions as they approach them. There are checkpoints that they may encounter. If they follow the instructions of the people at the checkpoint, there are no problems," Brooks added. "We explain to the Iraqis the types of atrocities and criminal acts that the regime is responsible for. And we're also telling the Iraqi forces that remain, specifically the Special Republican Guard and special security forces, that they should surrender, flee, or fight and face certain destruction." [...]
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