Watching TV news makes you dumb. That’s what a survey of the public taken prior to the first Gulf War by the communications department of UMass, seemed to show. The more people watched TV about Mideast news the less they know about facts in that area of the world.
This diary is written by a combat-infantry scout who survived a Winter of frozen hell in the mountains of North Korea. As the lone survivor in my rifle squad, I have hated and protested all wars since. I have studied the propaganda that makes wars possible.I believe that most Americans hate wars, but constant pro-war propaganda in the corporate media alters normal common sense and opinions regarding the costs and terrorism of wars. Selling wars is like selling soaps.
Many readers may now believe all the spin demonizing Assad in Syria. Pro-war politicians and talking heads dominate TV. Anti-war voices and facts are mostly censored. This diary shows how the first Iraq war baby killing lies are being recycled for Syria. War advocate always promise easy, clean wars. Our use of DU in bombs, shells and grenades will insures that everyone, including all children in targeted countries, will be victimized by some radiation for 4.5 billion years. Nothing is clean in wars.
The USA with the most powerful military, also has an arms industry that leads the world in exports. We claim a unique interest in democracy, good deeds, and peace. Conversely, enemies are pictured as baby killers. Such distortions are the preferred way to influence public opinion. During WW II German soldiers were illustrated with bayonets piercing babies. Similar lies were used against Iraqi soldiers--especially in the first war on Iraq. In the second war on the people of Iraq we likely remember that the spin was more about the WMDs. That is not being reviewed here.
Following the August, 1990, Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, the Kuwaitis came to the US with millions of oil money, and hired the prestigious public relations firm of Hill & Knowlton. The job involved the demonizing of Saddam Hussein by fabricating a horrendous baby killing incident, to help sell war to a skeptic American public. Following the lies, the war began on January 16, 1991.
On October 1990, a group called The Congressional Human Rights Caucus held hearings on Capitol Hill that provided a platform for presentations of alledged Iraqi human rights violations. This was structured to look like official congressional proceedings. In reality, the Human Rights Caucus, chaired by California Democrat Tom Lantos and Illinois Republican John Porter, was simply an association of politicians. Lantos and Porter gave credibility to the munumental sham. The Caucus was given free space in the Hill & Knowlton’s DC office building.
John MacArthur, author of The Second Front -- perhaps the best book about the fabrication of news during the First Gulf War, noticed a number of strange details about the October 1990 hearings. The Human Rights Caucus was not really a committee of Congress. Hence, there was no concern about statutes that would punish any witness for lying. Doing so under oath in front of a Congressional committee is a crime -- lying with anonymity to this caucus was only public relations.
The most moving testimony on October 10, came from a young Kuwaiti girl, known as Nayirah, her first name. According to the Caucus, her full name was confidential to prevent reprisals against her family in Kuwait. Sobbing, she described what she had seen in a Kuwait City hospital. “I volunteered at the al-Addan hospital,” Nayirah said. “While I was there, I saw the Iraqi soldiers come into the hospital with guns, and go into the room where . . . babies were in incubators. They took the babies out of the incubators, took the incubators, and left the babies on the cold floor to die.” Her written testimony was passed out in media kits prepared by athe PR firm.
Other witnesses using false names and occupations testified. A man who called himself Dr. Ebrahim, claimed he was a surgeon. He said that he had personally buried 40 babies pulled from incubators by the Iraqis. On November 27, this false testimony was even presented to the UN Security Council. After the war, when the scam was exposed as a fraud, he admitted that he had never buried any babies, or seen any such atrocity.
Video news releases (VNRs) about the false testimonies were produced. These VNRs given to TV news directors around the world rarely (if ever) identified the Kuwait’s public relations firm as the source. TV networks fed the well-crafted propaganda to viewers, who assumed they were watching real journalism. Since the lies were consistent with pro-war media views, it all seemed believable. CNN and all major TV networks replayed this testimony over and over. Newspapers featured the HRC hearing. The pro-war Western media was easily played.
In December 1990, Amnesty International (AI) published an 84-page report using the false testimony. It stated, "Over 300 premature babies were reported to have died after Iraqi soldiers removed them from incubators, which were then looted." AI reported that a Red Crescent doctor said that 312 premature babies at Maternity Hospital in al Sabah Medical Complex died when the incubators were removed. The report quoted the moving testimony by Nayirah.
AI also quoted a woman who had quadruplets at al Razi Hospital. She had gone home, then returned to find them out of their incubators. They died a day later at home. "Of all the accusations made against the dictator," MacArthur observed, “none had more impact on American public opinion than the one about Iraqi soldiers removing 312 babies from their incubators and leaving them to die on the cold hospital floors."
President George H. W. Bush watched the spin with delight. In mid-October, he reported meeting with the Emir of Kuwait, who told him horrible tales about "newborn babies thrown out of incubators and the incubators then being shipped to Baghdad." He referred to the story during the next five weeks--once in an interview with David Frost. Bush distributed copies of these hearings to all the colleges in America. On January 8, 1991, Stephen Solarz, a leading Democrat on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, quoted verbatim the Amnesty International Report. Prior to the voting on war, hawkish senators paroted the false testimony as the top reason for war on Saddam Hussein.
Following the war reporters talked to doctors who worked at these Kuwaiti hospitals. No one could confirmed any killing of babies. AI apologized to me (as a member) and all of their supporters for their role in the promotion of this propaganda. Nayirah, the key witness was found to be a member of the Kuwaiti Royal Family. Her father was Saud Nasir al-Sabah, Kuwait’s Ambassador to the US
The coation’s cost for the first Gulf War was about $60 billions. The Saudies paid half. Egypt was paid about $500,000 per soldier as a reward for participating. The U.S. also promised future aid to Egypt equal to two third the amount given to Israel.
In November 2008, a Congressional report said that about 75,000 soldiers who served in the 1991 Iraq war suffered, long-lasting, or even permanent neurotoxic damage from exposure to DU, drugs and chemicals. The U.S. government had finally admitted to the reality of “Gulf War Illness.” The long-time care for these veterans will ad billions to the dept our children and grand children. No one has ever been tried for any of the lies that led to all the killings of everyone (including the children) in Iraq.
Heroism at command, how violently I hate all this, how despicable and ignoble war is; I would rather be torn to shreds than be a part of so base an action. It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder. -- Albert Einstein