Nurse Nayirah

"Nurse Nayirah" (Nayirah al-Sabah) was a 15-year old Kuwaiti girl, who alleged that she had witnessed the murder of infant children in Kuwait, in verbal testimony to the U.S. Congress, in the run up to the 1991 Gulf War. [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E0CEEDD1338F936A25752C0A964958260 Deception on Capitol Hill] , "The New York Times". January 15, 1992] Her testimony, which had been regarded as credible at the time, has since come to be regarded as wartime propaganda. The public relations firm Hill & Knowlton, which was in the employ of Citizens for a Free Kuwait, had arranged the testimony.

Incident

15-year old Nayirah, who gave testimony anonymously, testified before the Human Rights Caucus of the United States Congress in October 1990 that she was a refugee volunteering in the maternity ward of Al Adan hospital in Kuwait City, and that during the Iraqi occupation she had witnessed Iraqi soldiers dumping Kuwaiti infants out of their incubators onto the ground, and leaving them to die. The testimony came at a crucial time for the Bush administration, which was pressing for military action to eject Iraq from Kuwait. Nayirah's story was widely publicized, and Amnesty International at first seemed to corroborate the report. The story helped build domestic support for the Persian Gulf War. [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E0CEEDD1338F936A25752C0A964958260 Deception on Capitol Hill] , "The New York Times". January 15, 1992]

Nayirah was later disclosed to be Nayirah al-Sabah, daughter of Saud bin Nasir Al-Sabah, Kuwaiti ambassador to the USA. She was demonstrated to have connections to the public relations firm Hill & Knowlton, which was at that time working for Citizens for a Free Kuwait. The latter activist group was organized by the exiled Kuwaiti government, to gain support for the Kuwaiti cause.

The Congressional Human Rights Caucus, of which Congressman Tom Lantos was co-chairman, had been responsible for hosting Nurse Nayirah, and thereby popularizing her allegations. When the girl's account was later challenged by independent human rights monitors, [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E0CEFDA163AF931A25752C0A964958260 CONGRESSMAN SAYS GIRL WAS CREDIBLE] , "The New York Times". January 12, 1992] Lantos replied, "The notion that any of the witnesses brought to the caucus through the Kuwaiti Embassy would not be credible did not cross my mind... I have no basis for assuming that her story is not true, but the point goes beyond that. If one hypothesizes that the woman's story is fictitious from A to Z, that in no way diminishes the avalanche of human rights violations."

Lantos and John R. MacArthur, the foremost critic of the Nayirah issue, each had op-eds features in "The New York Times", in which each accused the other of distortion. [ [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E0CE5D61E3EF934A15752C0A964958260 Kuwaiti Gave Consistent Account of Atrocities] , "The New York Times". January 27, 1992] MacArthur suggested that Lantos may have materially benefited from his having accommodated Hill & Knowlton, the public relations firm associated with Nayirah. [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E0CEEDD1338F936A25752C0A964958260 Deception on Capitol Hill] , "The New York Times". January 15, 1992] MacArthur also suggested that Lauri Fitz-Pegado, who was then in the employ of Hill & Knowlton, coached Nayirah as to what to say at the hearing. [ [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E0CE1DF1F3EF934A15752C0A964958260 Kuwaiti Gave Consistent Account of Atrocities; Retracted Testimony] , "The New York Times". January 27, 1992] Fitz-Pegado also prepared Iraq-invasion testimony for the United Nations which was later discredited, and later promoted a book about the rescue of PFC Jessica Lynch during the 2003 Iraq War.Fact|date=January 2008

The 2002 HBO movie "Live From Baghdad" included several scenes dealing with the incubator allegations, without presenting the story as unquestioned truth. In that movie, several characters try to determine the accuracy or inaccuracy of the story, but are unable to draw any conclusions. After the final credits, a note stated that the incubator allegations were never substantiated. [ [http://www.hbo.com/films/livefrombaghdad/related.shtml Live From Baghdad] HBO: Related articles.]

References

*Brian Eno, [http://politics.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,9115,1020528,00.html Lessons in how to lie about Iraq] , "The Observer", August 17, 2003.
*Ameen Izzadeen, [http://web.archive.org/web/20060314214206/http://www.dailymirror.lk/inside/worldw/021206.html Lies, damn lies and war] , "Daily Mirror" of Sri Lanka, 2001 (no more precise date provided), archive.org mirror accessed 18 December 2006.
*Phillip Knightley, [http://www.guardian.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,4270014,00.html The disinformation campaign] , "The Guardian", October 4, 2001.
*Maggie O'Kane, [http://www.guardian.co.uk/print/0,3858,4561023-103677,00.html This time I'm scared] , "The Guardian", December 5, 2002.

ee also

*Jumana Hanna
*To sell a war
*Citizens for a Free Kuwait
*Saud bin Nasir Al-Sabah
*Saddam Hussein's alleged shredder


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