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[casi] HBO Adds Disclaimer to Gulf War Movie


   HBO Adds Disclaimer to Gulf War Movie

   January 3, 2003

   Responding to a FAIR activism campaign, HBO recently added a message to
   the end of its movie "Live From Baghdad," clarifying the scenes that
   seemingly endorsed the fraudulent stories about Iraqi soldiers removing
   Kuwaiti babies from incubators.  The film, a fictionalized account of
   CNN's coverage of the Persian Gulf War, leaves viewers with the
   that these events actually happened. (See FAIR Action Alert, 12/4/02.)

   HBO's message, which appears after the end of the credits, reads:

   "While the allegations of Iraqi soldiers taking babies from incubators
   were widely circulated during the run-up to the Gulf War (the time frame
   of the drama of our film), these allegations were never substantiated."

   Since most TV viewers don't watch the entire end credits, it is doubtful
   that many people will ever see the clarification.  And while it's helpful
   that HBO has acknowledged a problem in its film, to say that the claims
   were "never substantiated" is an understatement.  It would be more
   accurate to note that attempts to confirm the story after the Gulf War
   uncovered evidence that it was a fabrication; for example, a senior
   Kuwaiti health official told ABC's World News Tonight (3/15/91), "I think
   this is something just for propaganda."  The main source for the atrocity
   report, presented in a congressional hearing as a Kuwaiti war refugee,
   turned out to be the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the U.S.; she
   had been coached in her account by the public relations agency Hill &

   HBO has also posted on its website a New York Times op-ed by John R.
   MacArthur (1/6/92) that sheds considerable light on the incubators hoax:

   While it is encouraging that HBO has taken steps to clarify the story, a
   more prominent and forthright correction would have gone further to
   the myth perpetuated by the misleading dramatization.

~ Anai Rhoads

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