British Airways Flight 149, which was due to stop at Kuwait International Airport on August 2, 1990, had both its passengers and crew held captive by Iraqi forces. While the plane was in the air, Saddam Hussein’s forces invaded Kuwait, and the passengers were held for up to five months while being used as “human shields” against Western attacks during the Gulf War.
Now, those captives claim that although British Airways and the British government were aware that the invasion had already started, they still permitted the plane to land in Kuwait because the government wanted a black operations group of former special forces and security services to be there.
The revelations followed years of study by New Zealand journalist Stephen Davis and the National Archives release of supporting documentation. The victims’ legal team said in a statement that they are taking steps to ensure that the whole truth is revealed, those accountable are held liable, and just compensation is given.
According to attorneys for the claimants, “evidence exists” that the jet was permitted to land because it was being used to transport a team to Kuwait “for a special military operation.” This claim was never accepted by the government.
An official from the administration claimed that the country “always condemned the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, the suffering that ensued, and the mistreatment of those aboard BA149.” The Iraqi government at the time bears sole responsibility for the occurrence of these events and the treatment of those passengers and crew.
BA said: “Our thoughts go out to all those who were affected by this tragic act of violence just over 30 years ago and who had to go through an extremely horrifying ordeal. “British Airways was not warned about the invasion, according to UK government records released in 2021.”