80 YEARS AFTER THE NAZIS INVADED POLAND

SEPTEMBER 1, 2019 — Eighty years ago today the Nazis invaded Poland. As pretext, they rounded up concentration camp victims from Dachau, drugged them, and stuffed them into Polish army uniforms. Nazi officers also dressed in Polish army uniforms and shot them dead as “casualties” in an invented simulated attack on a German radio station. The “Polish attack” at Gleywitz was used by Hitler as justification for the Nazi invasion of Poland.

A week earlier, the Soviet Union signed a non-aggression pact with Germany, and two weeks later the USSR’s army swept into Poland as well. Under the terms of the “Hitler-Stalin pact” the USSR ordered all Communist Parties around the world to desist from actions directed against the Nazis, and portrayed the Pact to the Communist parties as “defense of the Soviet Union.”

The New York Times propagandized the Gleywitz incident as Polish aggression (when there were no Polish soldiers involved at all — it was a false flag operation from the start), marking the official beginning of World War 2.

Sound familiar?

Virtually every “intervention” by U.S. forces involve similar deceptions (from the “Boston Tea Party” on down the line), aimed primarily at confusing and demobilizing the U.S. public. Dan Kovalik points out many such deceptions in his book, The Plot to Overthrow Venezuela: How the U.S. Is orchestrating a Coup for Oil (SkyHorse 2019). White House officials claimed that Venezuela President] Maduro’s security forces “set fire to humanitarian aid at the Venezuela-Colombian border on Feb. 23. … [These] proved later to be false.” In actuality, the aid trucks were lit ablaze by pro-Guaido forces (funded by John Bolton, the U.S. State Department, and the CIA) and not by those loyal to Maduro.

Glenn Greenwald writes: “Every major US war of the last several decades has begun the same way: The U.S. government fabricates an inflammatory, emotionally provocative lie, which large U.S. media outlets uncritically treat as truth …. thus enflaming primal anger at the country the U.S. wants to attack. That’s how we got the Vietnam war (North Vietnam attacks U.S. ships in Gulf of Tonkin); the Gulf war (Saddam ripped babies from incubators); and of course the war in Iraq (Saddam had WMDs and formed an alliance with Al-Queda).”

From the Nazis to the U.S. over the last 80 years, only the insignias on the uniforms have changed.

 

HOW THE DEMOCRATS PROMOTED THE LIES THAT ENABLED GEORGE H.W. BUSH TO BOMB THE HELL OUT OF IRAQ

“The U.S. has a new credibility. What we say goes.”

President George H.W. Bush, NBC Nightly News, Feb. 2, 1991

In October, 1990, a 15-year-old Kuwaiti girl, identified only as Nayirah, appeared in Washington before the House of Representatives’ Human Rights Caucus. She testified that Iraqi soldiers who had invaded Kuwait on August 2nd tore hundreds of babies from hospital incubators and killed them.

Television flashed her testimony around the world. It electrified opposition to Iraq’s president, Saddam Hussein, who was now portrayed by U.S. president George H.W. Bush not only as “the Butcher of Baghdad” but — so much for old friends — “a tyrant worse than Hitler.”

Bush quoted Nayirah at every opportunity. Six times in one month he referred to “312 premature babies at Kuwait City’s maternity hospital who died after Iraqi soldiers stole their incubators and left the infants on the floor,”(1) and of “babies pulled from incubators and scattered like firewood across the floor.” Bush used Nayirah’s testimony to lambaste Senate Democrats still supporting “only” sanctions against Iraq — the blockade of trade which alone would cause hundreds of thousands of Iraqis to die of hunger and disease — but who waffled on endorsing the policy Bush wanted to implement: outright bombardment. Republicans and pro-war Democrats used Nayirah’s tale to hammer their fellow politicians into line behind Bush’s war in the Persian Gulf.(2)

Nayirah, though, was no impartial eyewitness, a fact carefully concealed by her handlers. She was the daughter of one Saud Nasir Al-Sabah, Kuwait’s ambassador to the United States. A few key Congressional leaders and reporters knew who Nayirah was, but none of them thought of sharing that minor detail with Congress, let alone the American people.

Everything Nayirah said, as it turned out, was a lie. There were, in actuality, only a handful of incubators in all of Kuwait, certainly not the “hundreds” she claimed. According to Dr. Mohammed Matar, director of Kuwait’s primary care system, and his wife, Dr. Fayeza Youssef, who ran the obstetrics unit at the maternity hospital, there were few if any babies in the incubators at the time of the Iraqi invasion. Nayirah’s charges, they said, were totally false. “I think it was just something for propaganda,” Dr. Matar said. In an ABC-TV News account after the war, John Martin reported that although “patients, including premature babies, did die,” this occurred “when many of Kuwait’s nurses and doctors stopped working or fled the country” — a far cry from Bush’s original assertion that hundreds of babies were murdered by Iraqi troops.(3) Subsequent investigations, including one by Amnesty International, found no evidence for the incubator claims.

It is likely that Nayirah was not even in Kuwait, let alone at the hospital, at that time; the Kuwaiti aristocracy and their families had fled the country weeks before the anticipated invasion. Some defended their country at the gaming tables in Monte Carlo, where at least one member of the ruling family was reported to have gambled away more than $10 million as his fellow rulers called for economic and military assistance from abroad.

As invasions go, Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait was relatively — I stress the word “relatively” — bloodless. Despite the heart-rending testimonies TV viewers in the U.S. were subjected to night after night, fewer than 200 Kuwaitis were killed. Compare that to such “peaceful” ventures as the U.S. invasion of Panama the year before, which killed an estimated 7,500 Panamanians; or, a year after the Gulf war, the 10,000 Somalis killed by [U.S./U.N] troops in what was portrayed as a “peace mission” to bring food aid to the allegedly starving region.(4)

How did Nayirah first come to the attention of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus, which put her before the world’s cameras? It was arranged by Hill & Knowlton, a public relations firm hired to rally the U.S. populace behind Bush’s policy of going to war. And it worked!

Hill & Knowlton’s yellow ribbon campaign to whip up support for “our” troops, which followed their orchestration of Nayirah’s phony “incubator” testimony, was a public relations masterpiece. The claim that satellite photos revealed that Iraq had troops poised to strike Saudi Arabia was also fabricated by the PR firm. Hill & Knowlton was paid between $12 million (as reported two years later on “60 Minutes”) and $20 million (as reported on “20/20”) for “services rendered.” The group fronting the money? Citizens for a Free Kuwait, a phony “human rights agency” set up and funded entirely by Kuwait’s emirocracy to promote its interests in the U.S.

“When Hill & Knowlton masterminded the Kuwaiti campaign to sell the Gulf War to the American public, the owners of this highly effective propaganda machine were residing in another country” — the United Kingdom — writes Sharon Beder and Richard Gosden in PR Watch. “Should this give pause for thought? Does it demonstrate a certain potential for the future exercise of global political power — the power to manipulate democratic political processes through managing public opinion,” which Hill and Knowlton demonstrated 10 years ago?(5)

All of this is concealed in a new HBO “behind-the-scenes true story” of the Gulf War, which is being released at this crucial political moment. As Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting writes, “HBO’s version of history never makes clear that the incubator story was fraudulent, and in fact had been managed by an American PR firm, not Iraq. Curiously, however, the truth seems to have been clear to Robert Wiener, the former CNN producer who co-wrote ‘Live from Baghdad.’As he explained to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer (11/21/02), ‘that story turned out to be false because those accusations were made by the daughter of the Kuwaiti minister of information and were never proven.’ Unfortunately, HBO viewers won’t know that when they see the film.”(6)

In 1998, Hill and Knowlton found a new client — President Clinton — who hired them to advise him and to polish his image. The last time they were involved, by the time their lies were exposed TV newscasters were waxing ecstatic over the rockets’ red glare, computerized “smart-bombs” bursting in air, and 250,000 people were dead.

NOTES

1. Doug Ireland, Village Voice, March 26, 1991.

2. The use of the Big Lie to manipulate public opinion and neutralize opposition to a particular war was not invented by Bush. See, for instance, James Laxer, “Iraq: US has match, seeks kindle: American leaders have often falsified reasons to attack other countries,” (ActionGreens, Mar. 31, 2001). Laxer is a Political Science Professor at York University, Toronto.

3. ABC World News Tonight, 3/15/91.

4. In actuality, people in only certain areas of Somalia were starving — those that had been subjected to IMF structural adjustment programs. See, MITCHEL COHEN, “Somalia & the Cynical Manipulation of Hunger,” Red Balloon Collective, 1994.

5. Sharon Beder and Richard Gosden, “PR Watch,” Volume 8, No. 2, 2nd Quarter 2001. The PR firm has since been working at the behest of the pharmaceutical industry to ban over-the-counter vitamin and nutritional supplement sales in Europe.

6. Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, “HBO Recycling Gulf War Hoax?” December 4, 2002.

 

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  • DAVID SCHWARTZMAN says:

    DAVID SCHWARTZMAN WRITES:
    The mainstream media is of course blaming WWII on both the Nazis and Soviets.
    They ignore the intense efforts made by the Soviets (foreign minister Litvinov) for collective security against the Nazis, with opposition from the UK etc.
    Here is an analysis:
    https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/08/26/the-hitler-stalin-pact-of-august-23-1939-myth-and-reality/

    However, not mentioned in the Counterpunch article:
    “Shockingly, Stalin also handed back a substantial number of German communists who had taken refuge in the Soviet Union after the Nazi seizure of power; some of them, arrested during the purges, were taken directly from the Soviet Gulag to a German concentration camp.” (https://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/aug/06/devils-alliance-hitlers-pact-stalin-1938-1941-roger-moorhouse-review)

    Further, Pauwels cites Grover Furr’s highly problematic denial that the Soviets killed the Polish soldiers in the Katyn Massacre, to prettify Stalin’s role. Stalin ignored several warnings of imminent Nazi invasion, from the Red Orchestra, and Richard Sorge apparently trusting Nazi compliance with the Pact.

    And in the interests of finding the truth in the whole (Richard Levins’ favorite phrase), I recommend two books:

    1) The Tukhachevsky Affair by Victor Alexandrov. 1964, (how the Nazi fabricated evidence that Stalin willingly accepted leading to the great purge of the Red Army before WWII)

    2) The Maisky Diaries: The Wartime Revelations of Stalin’s Ambassador in London, edited by Gorodetsky, 2015.

    Stalin’s role is an essential part of the truth in the whole.

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