Nayirah Al-Ṣabaḥ, dubiously dubbed “Nurse Nayirah,” was a 15-year-old Kuwaiti actress who alleged that she had witnessed the murder of infant children by Iraqi soldiers in Kuwait. Providing only her first name, Nayirah gave false testimony on Oct. 10, 1990, to a sycophant assembly, the Congressional Human Rights Caucus of the U.S. Congress, that completely failed to vet her beforehand.
In her emotional performance, Nayirah stated that after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, she had witnessed Iraqi soldiers take babies out of incubators in a Kuwaiti hospital, take the incubators and leave the babies on the floor to die.
Here’s her testimony.
It was later revealed that Nayirah was in fact the daughter of Saud Al-Sabah, the Kuwaiti ambassador to the United States. Her testimony, which was regarded as credible at the time, is now regarded as lying wartime atrocity propaganda.
Her story was initially corroborated by Amnesty International, a British NGO that published several independent reports about the killings. However, following the liberation of Kuwait, reporters were given access to the country.
An ABC report found that “patients, including premature babies, did die, when many of Kuwait’s nurses and doctors … fled,” but Iraqi troops “almost certainly had not stolen hospital incubators and left hundreds of Kuwaiti babies to die.”
Amnesty International reacted by issuing a correction, and executive director John Healey accused the Bush administration of an “opportunistic manipulation of the international human rights movement.”
In 1992, human rights organization Middle East Watch (MEW), a division of Human Rights Watch, published the results of their investigation of the incubator story.
MEW Director Andrew Whitley told the press, “There is no truth to the charge which was central to the war propaganda effort that they stole incubators and callously removed babies allowing them to die on the floor. The stories were manufactured from germs of truth by people outside the country who should have known better.”
One investigator, Aziz Abu-Hamad, interviewed doctors at the hospital where Nayirah claimed she witnessed Iraqi soldiers pull 15 infants from incubators and leave them to die. The Independent reported, “The doctors told him the maternity ward had 25 to 30 incubators. None was (were) taken by the Iraqis, and no babies were taken from them.”
The Kuwaiti government hired Kroll Associates to undertake an independent investigation of the incubator story. During its nine-week investigation, Kroll conducted more 250 interviews. Eventually, Nayirah tried to backpedal her story and claimed she had actually seen only one baby outside its incubator for “no more than a moment.” She also told Kroll that she was never a volunteer at the hospital and had “only stopped by for a few minutes.”
The public relations firm Hill & Knowlton Strategies, which was in the employ of Citizens for a Free Kuwait, had arranged the subterfuge. Hill & Knowlton is owned by WPP plc, a London-based marketing and communications holding company and the largest ad and PR firm in the world.
Hill & Knowlton (H&K) conducted a $1 million study to determine the best way to win broad U.S. support for strong action in Kuwait. H&K had the Wirthington Group conduct focus groups to determine the best strategy that would influence public opinion. The study found that an emphasis on atrocities — particularly the incubator story — was the most effective. H&K is estimated to have pocketed $12 million from the Kuwaitis for their public relations campaign.
H&K filmed the Congressional hearing featuring Nayirah and immediately sent out a video news release to Medialink, a firm that served about 700 American television stations. That night, portions of the testimony aired on ABC’s “Nightline” and NBC’s “Nightly News,” reaching an estimated audience between 35 and 53 million viewers.
Seven senators cited Nayirah’s testimony in their speeches backing the use of force in the Middle East, and President George H.W. Bush repeated the story at least 10 times in the following weeks.
Lauri Fitz-Pegado was the acting Vice President of H&K at the time of Nayirah’s testimony. It was later confirmed that Pegado was responsible for coaching Nayirah in her false testimony. It was reported that H&K “provided witnesses, wrote testimony and coached the witnesses for effectiveness.”
Notably, Fitz-Pegado, who headed the Kuwait propaganda campaign, had also previously worked with super-lobbyist Ron Brown in representing Haiti’s Duvalier dictatorship.
Sam Zakhem, former U.S. ambassador to the oil-rich Gulf state of Bahrain, also funneled $7.7 million in advertising and lobbying dollars through two warmongering front groups: the Coalition for Americans at Risk, and the Freedom Task Force. The Coalition, which began in the 1980s as a front for the Contras in Nicaragua, prepared and placed T.V. and newspaper ads, and kept a stable of 50 speakers available for pro-war rallies and publicity events
The Congressional Human Rights Foundation is a non-governmental organization that allegedly investigates human rights abuse. At the time, it was headed by U.S. Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.) and U.S. Rep. John Porter (R-Ill.). It rented space in H&K’s Washington, D.C. headquarters at a “reduced rate” of $3,000.
Lantos was a close friend of President Bush at the time, and he failed to notify the Congressional caucus of his involvement within the Nayirah case or of her true identity. In an interview, Lantos stated that he had concealed Nayirah’s identity at the request of her father in order to protect her family and friends.
Since the fake testimony was not to an official session of Congress or Congressional committee but instead to a caucus, this deceit was not legally pursued.
The mockingbird Lugenpresse, such as NPR on Sept. 9, 1990, reported that “in a ward for premature infants, soldiers had turned off the oxygen on incubators and packed the equipment for shipment to Iraq.”
The Washington Post (aka The Compost) jumped into the fray on Sept. 25, 1990, writing that “Kuwait City’s hospitals are being stripped of incubators.”
According to the Los Angeles Times, “Refugees reported that incubators for premature babies were confiscated by Iraqi troops and the babies inside were piled on the floor and left to die.”
The San Jose Mercury News also reported the same allegation that day, adding that Western diplomats thought “this is the kind of thing that some people call genocide;” and, “if people wanted to construe it as such, it could be cause for some kind of military intervention.”
On Sept. 30, 1990, lugenpresse at U.S. News & World Report reported that it had obtained secret U.S. government cables based on eyewitness accounts that revealed “shocking acts of brutality inflicted by the Iraqis against innocent citizens at Kuwaiti hospitals.” The cables stated that on the sixth day of Iraqi invasion, Iraqi soldiers “entered the Adan Hospital in Fahaheel looking for hospital equipment to steal,” and that “they unplugged the oxygen to the incubators supporting 22 premature babies and made off with the incubators,” thus killing the 22 children.
For more details on this conspiracy fact, see the following 28-minute episode “To Sell A War — Gulf War Propaganda” (1992) from the CBC program “The Fifth Estate.” It’s an excellent example of real investigative journalism so rarely seen in television news anymore.
The man running H&K’s D.C. office was Craig Fuller, one of Bush’s closest friends, his former chief of staff and inside political advisers. The news media never bothered to examine Fuller’s role until after the war had ended. If America’s editors had read the PR-trade press, they might have noticed this announcement, published in O’Dwyer’s PR Services before the fighting began: “Craig L. Fuller, chief of staff to Bush when he was vice president, has been on the Kuwaiti account at Hill & Knowlton since the first day.”
Other “jobs” handled by the hacks at H&K include representing the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) during its money laundering scandal during the late 1980s. H&K’s work was investigated by a U.S. Senate subcommittee and allegations were made that the firm had pressured regulators to not investigate the bank. Then the hidden hand some how made the issue go away. After BCCI was convicted of money laundering, H&K severed its relationship with the bank.
In recent years, H&K — now known as Hill+Knowlton Strategies (H+K) — is the leading firm engaged by fracking interests. In the 1970s, H&K co-founded the Asbestos Information Association, which denied the health risks of asbestos or its responsibility for the loss of thousands of lives. H&K was also involved in similar practices concerning lead, vinyl chloride and CFC.
Today, H+K hasn’t missed a beat, and its clients reportedly represent 50 percent of Fortune 500 companies.
Winter Watch Takeaway
In a Crime Syndicate kakistocracy, such behavior and deceit is almost universally rewarded or just dismissed. Ultimately, the wider population becomes indifferent to such psychopathy and even accepts and buys into it as “normal.” The term for this is “evil,” and it allows psychopaths to rule unhindered with zero checks and balances to prevent a wash, rinse, repeat of criminal conduct in the current global situation.