Nayirah's Testimony

The Public Relations Campaign that Helped Build U.S. Support for Intervening in the Persian Gulf War

In 1990, a 15-year-old Kuwaiti girl identified as "Nurse Nayirah" testified before the U.S. Congress that after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, she witnessed Iraqi soldiers pulling infants from their incubators at a hospital, taking the incubators, and leaving the babies to die. Nayirah's testimony was used by the Bush administration as justification for supporting Kuwait in the Persian Gulf War.

An investigation later revealed that the testimony was arranged by a U.S. public relations firm, Hill & Knowlton, on behalf of their client, Kuwaiti-sponsored Citizens for a Free Kuwait. The investigation also showed that Nayirah was the daughter of Kuwait's Ambassador to the U.S., Saud Al-Sabah.

This was all found to be coordinated by a Californian Representative, Tom Lantos, co-founder of the committee that heard Nayirah's testimony, the Congressional Human Rights Caucus. Rep. Lantos concealed all of this information from everyone—the public, Congress, the caucus, etc. It was also discovered that the caucus rented space in the PR firm's headquarters at a reduced rate, and after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, Citizens for a Free Kuwait donated money to foundations with ties to the Congressional Human Rights Caucus.