The government-owned television network tonight showed an 80-minute film of last weekend's battle in the Falklands, carefully edited and narrated to whip up patriotic sentiment here and embarrass the British government abroad.
The film, which was brought to the mainland despite Britain's air and sea blockade, showed the bombing of the airport at Stanley and a burned-out hulk of a British Sea Harrier jet, which Argentina says was downed at Darwin May 1.
The film, apparently designed to reinforce the conviction here that the British were the first to use armed force and kill people, pictured Harriers swooping down, dropping incandescent missiles, setting fire to hangars and prefabricated shelters.
Nine men were killed and more than 20 wounded in the airport attack, the narrator asserted, when a bomb hit a tent full of sleeping soldiers. Previously, Argentina had denied there were casualties during the May 1 battle.
The film was shown immediately following a two-day auction and telethon that the station has been airing to raise money for the war. About 2,000 Argentines, angered by reports of the British strafing of an Argentine fishing boat today, gathered in a driving rain on the streets around the station, clenching fists, waving Argentine flags and shouting "Long live the Fatherland" and "Yankee traitors support the invaders."
While the film showed in detail the remains of a single Harrier, scattered widely over the island's barren hills, it did little to clear up the confusion over how many British jets have been lost. Argentina claims it downed two Harriers at Stanley on May 1 and that possibly another six crashed into the sea.
Britain says no Harriers were downed May 1, but one was lost Tuesday. Argentina claims two more Harriers were destroyed in Tuesday's fighting.
The film also pictured a surface-to-air missile launcher fitted with four antiaircraft missiles--a weapon not previously known to be part of the Argentine defense on the island.
A funeral service for the British pilot who died in the downed Harrier was conducted with 50 Argentine soldiers standing at attention near the grave, marked by a simple white cross in a boulder-strewn meadow.
The film went to great pains to show that the airstrip at Stanley was still functioning despite the bombing, and the dropping of delayed-fuse bombs, which were shown on camera. A Hercules C130 was pictured taking off, carrying wounded soldiers to the mainland.
Mysteriously, the film also showed a lifeboat and a lifejacket stamped "Hermes 554," which the narrator said had washed ashore. "Is this a British plot?" he asked, questioning whether the lifeboat was "evidence of a landing of Marines or an indication of the sinking of the Hermes," two rumors that Argentine military men have been circulating here and that have been flatly denied by Britain.