Thursday, April 06, 2017

Amnesty International from December of 1990 in the Washington Post: a girl watched Iraqi soldiers toss babies out of incubators

"Amnesty also cited accounts from a Red Crescent physician who claimed that 312 babies died in the early days of the invasion after soldiers looted incubators from Razi, Addan and Maternity hospitals. The physician, whose name was withheld, claimed to have helped bury 72 infants at the Rigga cemetery.  Two witnesses also claimed to have seen dead bodies at Addan. One, a 15-year-old Kuwaiti girl, claimed to have watched Iraqi soldiers dump 15 babies onto the hospital floor from their incubators, while a Kuwaiti doctor said he knew of 36 dead babies at the hospital."  

Later the New York Times revealed the identity of the Kuwaiti "girl": 

"Mr. Lantos is co-chairman of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus. An article last week on The Times's Op-Ed page by John MacArthur, the publisher of Harper's magazine, revealed the identity of a 15-year-old Kuwaiti girl who told the caucus that Iraqi soldiers had removed scores of babies from incubators and left them to die.  The girl, whose testimony helped build support for the Persian Gulf war, was identified only as "Nayirah," supposedly to protect family members still in Kuwait. Another piece of information was also withheld: that she is not just some Kuwaiti but the daughter of the Kuwaiti Ambassador to the U.S. 
Saddam Hussein committed plenty of atrocities, but not, apparently, this one. The teen-ager's accusation, at first verified by Amnesty International, was later refuted by that group as well as by other independent human rights monitors. But the issue is not so much the accuracy of the testimony as the identity and undisclosed bias of the witness. How did the girl's testimony come about? It was arranged by the big public relations firm of Hill & Knowlton on behalf of a client, the Kuwaiti-sponsored Citizens for a Free Kuwait, which was then pressing Congress for military intervention. Mr. Lantos knew the girl's identity but concealed it from the public and from the other caucus co-chairman, Representative John E. Porter of Illinois."