In order to send in the bombers and introduce the sort of carnage in Syria the US and NATO inflicted on Libya, the propaganda war needs to be dialed up. Allegations of child abuse usually do the trick. Journalists call it “the hook.”
Prior to the first invasion of Iraq in 1991, the Congressional Human Rights Caucus held a hearing on Capitol Hill showcasing Iraqi human rights abuses. The media event allowed a 15-year old Kuwaiti girl known as Nayirah to claim Saddam’s invaders threw babies out of incubators at the al-Addan hospital in Kuwait City.
It turns out the girl was a member of the Kuwaiti Royal Family. Her father was Saud Nasir al-Sabah, the Kuwaiti ambassador to the United States. The testimony was a lie cooked up by Hill & Knowlton, a public relations group. Despite this, the lie was repeated over and over again. Bush Senior told the story. It was recited as fact in congressional testimony, on TV and radio talk shows, and at the UN Security Council.
On Friday, a United Nations human rights panel “expressed alarm” at reports claiming Syrian security forces are torturing children.
The Committee Against Torture said it had received “numerous, consistent and substantiated reports” of widespread abuse in the country, MSNBC reports today. The chair of the panel, Claudio Grossman, told reporters in Geneva that the reports referring to the abuse of children were of “particular concern.”
It was less of a concern when George W. Bush’s legal adviser, John Yoo, argued there is no law that could prevent the president from ordering the torture of a child.
Syria’s neighbor, Israel, has detained and tortured Palestinian children at the infamous al-Jalame Interrogation and Detention Center near Haifa, but the United Nations is not talking about sanctions against the country. The Arab League is not issuing ultimatums and neocons and presidential candidates are not talking about attacking Israel.
The United Nations report is a prized piece of propaganda released at precisely the right time. It will be mentioned repeatedly by the establishment media in the weeks ahead as the stage is set for an attack on Syria. Like the Nayirah and baby incubator lie, there will be little effort to find out if Syrian security forces are indeed torturing children.