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HILL AND KNOWLTON DENOUNCES 'UNJUSTIFIED ATTACK' ON FIRM

 HILL AND KNOWLTON DENOUNCES 'UNJUSTIFIED ATTACK' ON FIRM
 NEW YORK, Jan. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Thomas E. Eidson, president and


CEO of Hill and Knowlton, today denounced an "unjustified attack" on the firm by the publisher of Harper's magazine.
 Eidson expressed confidence that the allegations by the publisher, John R. MacArthur, would be "conclusively refuted" when The New York Times reports the views of Congressional and other experts on the issue.
 Eidson said no one checked the veracity of the allegations either with Hill and Knowlton or the experts prior to publication of MacArthur's attack on the op-ed page of The Times last Monday.
 Eidson issued the following statement:
 "John R. MacArthur's op-ed piece in The New York Times of Jan. 6, "Remember Nariyah, Witness for Kuwait?," disingenuously attacks Congressional testimony given by an eyewitness to Iraqi brutality in Kuwait and suggests that Hill and Knowlton collaborated with Congressmen to mislead the American public.
 "As Chief Executive Officer of Hill and Knowlton, I take strong exception to Mr. MacArthur's unjustified attack on our firm.
 "The evidence contradicts Mr. MacArthur's conclusion, and in the interest of fairness and clarity I wish to make these facts known:
 "Nariyah al-Sabah was, in fact, inside Kuwait at the time of invasion by Iraqi forces and, although her life was in danger, volunteered under an assumed name to work at Al-Adan Hospital. The U.S. Embassy in Kuwait City confirms that she was there at the time. We had no reason to question her veracity in recounting her experiences when she testified following her escape from Kuwait.
 "The charge that Iraqi soldiers removed newborn babies from incubators was also conveyed to the UN Security Council by Dr. Ibraheem Behbehani, head of the Red Crescent (Red Cross) in Kuwait. Citing firsthand involvement, Dr. Behbehani stated: 'Under my supervision, 120 newborn babies were buried the second week of the invasion. I, myself, buried 40 newborn babies that had been taken from their incubators by soldiers.'
 "Because neither the news media nor neutral rights organizations were permitted inside Kuwait from the time of the August 2 invasion until after the liberation, there was no way to check immediately on the stories of refugees. The fact that an American TV reporter was unable to find additional eyewitnesses many months later does not invalidate the testimony of Nariyah or Dr. Behbehani.
 "Having not endured the agonies of having his own loved ones under siege by a madman at the time, Mr. MacArthur derides the decision by Congressman Lantos (himself a refugee from another despotic regime) to protect the identity of a frightened 15-year-old girl. This practice was, in fact, adopted by many refugees interviewed at the time, not merely relatives of government officials and the royal family, so as to protect the safety and welfare of others left behind. Their terror was real and justified. And Nariyah's credibility should no more be questioned than if she had been a medical doctor or teacher.
 "Mr. MacArthur also makes spurious allegations about Hill and Knowlton's assistance to the Congressional Human Rights Foundation, a non-governmental organization which has engaged in valuable work on behalf of individual rights.
 "Our work for the Kuwaitis, as well as our long-time pro bono support of the Caucus, is consistent with Hill and Knowlton's standards throughout its 65-year history, which call for ethical and professional behavior in the public interest. In each instance, the public interest was fairly served.
 "Mr. MacArthur is entitled to his beliefs. He is out of order in attempting to undermine causes and actions with which he does not agree through character assassination and insinuation.
 "I would ask if fundamental journalistic principles were served when no one checked the veracity of Mr. MacArthur's allegations with anyone at Hill and Knowlton prior to publication of his column."
 -0- 1/10/92
 /CONTACT: Tom Ross of Hill and Knowlton, 212-697-5600; nightline, 212-210-8824; or home, 212-369-7294/ CO: Hill & Knowlton ST: New York IN: ADV SU:


KD -- NY038 -- 8624 01/10/92 12:11 EST
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Date:Jan 10, 1992
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