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Gulf War: Truth or propaganda?

The Story


It is a story that's both shocking and horrific. It is also a lie, a propaganda piece meant to rally the masses. In this clip, CBC Radio dissects the multi-layered public relations disaster. The story, that had been told by a young woman named "Nayirah" to the U.S. Congress in the fall of 1990, was that she had witnessed Iraqi troops storming a Kuwait hospital, ripping babies out of incubators and leaving them to die on the cold floor. It has since been revealed that Nayirah is in fact the daughter of the American ambassador to Kuwait. Her heartfelt story, told through tears, had been a fabrication developed by a public relations firm in order to build support for the war. Alexander Cockburn, a columnist for The Nation, explains how the story was exposed as a lie.

Medium: Radio
Program: Prime Time
Broadcast Date: Dec. 14, 1992
Guest(s): Alexander Cockburn
Host: Geoff Pevere
Duration: 16:57
Photo: Murad Sezer/Associated Press

Did You know?


• Nayirah's story was developed by the public relations firm Hill & Knowlton. Hired by a group named Citizens for a Free Kuwait, the company was paid $11.5 million to boost support for the American intervention in the Iraq occupation of Kuwait.

• Investigators later found that some premature babied did die in the tumultuous war environment, but none were pulled from their incubators.


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