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[casi] FoGIS: viewers beware of HBO'S 'incubator lie'

(FoGIS = [a German] research group for the information
society and security politics.)

Dear List,

On Monday (Feb 24) HBO'S propaganda film based on the phoney
'incubator story' was shown in Germany by ZDF. On their
website, ZDF had a gushing review mostly, it seems, a rehash
from the Washington Post. Not one word that this so-called
docu-drama was based on H&K's inventions. (It's probably
been shown in other countries too.)

But earlier that day, FoGIS issued a press statement to
warn viewers that they are being shown a lie. They also
asked, in the manner of FAIR, that viewers write or email
to ZDF to protest against this falsification of history.
Not sure if did any good. Still, it shows that the story
is well known everywhere.

Here are some (translated) excerpts from FoGIS' press

"Today at 22:15 ZDF will show the feature film 'Live aus
Bagdad', depicting the work of CCN reporters in Iraq during
1990-91. The film is based on a fictional account by
Robert Wiener, former head of the CCN team.

"We think it is important to point out that this film
presents as real event a propaganda lie, known for
eleven years as the 'incubator story'. It is an established
fact that this story was invented and produced by the public
relations firm Hill & Knowlton (H&K) prior to the Gulf War
of 1991. At that time, H&K and members of the US Congress
spread the horror story that looting Iraqi soldiers had
stolen incubators in Kuwait and left about 300 newborn
babies on the floor to die. This propaganda lie was meant
to convince undecided politicians and especially the public
in the US and in countries of the 'anti-Hussein-coalition'
that military action was called for.

"In a CNN interview, Robert Wiener, co-author of 'Live
from Baghdad' admitted that he had worked on the film
script against his better judgment: The [incubator] story
turned out to be a lie.... 'Live from Baghdad' is a feature
film, not a documentary, but it creates the impression that
the events portrayed in the film had actually happened.

"It is incomprehensible that ZDF would now, as a new Gulf
war is looming, commit its broadcast time to the airing
of this production, which is highly controversial in the
US, for obvious reasons. Furthermore, people here and in
other countries are overwhelmingly opposed to a new Gulf
war. So it can hardly be in the public interest to present
as fact, once again, the fictional horror story that helped
to legitimize the war in 1991. Nor can this fiction serve
any useful purpose when reconciling serious debate with war
propaganda, and the dubious role played by the media."

FoGIS gives the background of the H&K story, and reminds
people of John MacArthur's article in the New York Times
"Remember Nayirah, Witness for Kuwait?" (Jan 6/92).

German viewers didn't even get to see HBO's half-hearted,
half-true, and belated disclaimer in the credits.

Elga S.

P.S. In his book, _Second Front_: Censorship and Propaganda
in the Gulf War_, John MacArthur (publisher of Harper's) has
given a whole chapter to the incubator lie: "Selling Babies".
(Hill and Wang, New York, 1992. Or: University of California
Press, 1993.)

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