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August 1998 
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"US forces flew a reconnaissance mission to test for traces of gas and reported that there were none. Nevertheless Clinton immediately authorised the attack. He was also told that the absence of gas would avoid the horrifying spectacle of civilian casualties."

London Observer - 8/23


MER - Washington - 23 August:

Think back to all those misrepresentations and distortions by the Clinton Administration about Iraq earlier this year when official Washington was eager to justify more bombing of Iraq (which still may lie ahead). The Clinton Administration, more than its predecessors, prevaricates and misleads about world affairs much as Clinton does about his personal life.

Furthermore, with so many high-ranking American Jews with close connections to Israel at the highest levels of power in this American government, it's only fair to point out that the adoption by Washington of both Israeli styles and policies is not accidental.

After decades of working, infiltrating, and intimidating the American political system and media, Israel's influence over the U.S. when it comes to matters involving the Middle East is tremendous.

Additionally, it also comes as no accident that the Assistant Secretary of State for the Middle East has been so publicly quiet and out of sight of late -- Mr. Martin Indyk. Could this be because there's some anxiety that his former Israeli intelligence background, his being brought to Washington in the mid-1980s by the Israeli/Jewish lobby to head up their "think-tank", his tasking to Clinton's Little Rock headquarters during the 1992 campaign, and his rushed through U.S. citizenship soon after Clinton was first elected so he could be appointed to the National Security Council, are all matters too sensitive for the moment?

This coming week Sudan will demand of the Arab League and of the United Nations intervention in what has been done by the U.S. In view of what is coming out, including in this important London Observer article, the Americans should indeed be held accountable. But if the U.N. failed so miserably to even stand up for its own after the Qana massacre -- and of course we all know the Arab League is little but a meeting hall these days -- its not very likely either of these institutions is going to do anything significant. We'll soon see!


American tests showed no trace of nerve gas at 'deadly' Sudan plant. The President ordered the attack anyway. By Ed Vulliamy in Washington, Henry McDonald in Belfast, and Shyam Bhatia and Martin Bright in the LONDON OBSERVER.


Sunday August 23, 1998:

President Bill Clinton knew he was bombing a civilian target when he ordered the United States attack on a Sudan chemical plant. Tests ordered by him showed that no nerve gas was on the site and two British professionals who recently worked at the factory said it clearly had no military purpose.

The disclosure will deepen the crisis, following the American attacks on Afghanistan and Sudan, in relations between the US and its Muslim allies, who have called upon Clinton to produce hard evidence that the attacks had a legitimate relevance to the war against international terrorism.

The US claims that the Al-Shifa Pharmaceuticals Industries plant in North Khartoum was producing the ingredients for the deadly VX nerve gas. But Sudan's assertion that it produced 50 per cent of the country's drug requirements is much closer to the truth.

Several vital pieces of evidence point to this conclusion. US forces flew a reconnaissance mission to test for traces of gas and reported that there were none. Nevertheless Clinton immediately authorised the attack. He was also told that the absence of gas would avoid the horrifying spectacle of civilian casualties. Sudan has said 10 people were injured, five seriously.

Belfast independent film-maker Irwin Armstrong, who visited the plant last year while making a promotional video for the Sudaneseambassador in London, said: "The Americans have got this completely wrong.

"In other parts of the country I encountered heavy security but not here. I was allowed to wander about quite freely. This is a perfectly normal chemical factory with the things you would expect - stainless steel vats and technicians."

Tom Carnaffin, of Hexham, Northumberland, worked as a technical manager from 1992 to 1996 for the Baaboud family, who own the plant. "I have intimate knowledge of that factory and it just does not lend itself to the manufacture of chemical weapons," he said.

"The Americans claimed that the weapons were being manufactured in the veterinary part of the factory. I have intimate knowledge of that part of the [plant] and unless there have been some radical changes in the last few months, it just isn't equipped to cope with the demands of chemical weapon manufacturing.

"You need things like airlocks but this factory just has doorsleading out onto the street. The factory was in the process of being sold to a Saudi Arabian. They are allies of the Americans and I don't think it would look very good in the prospectus that the factory was also manufacturing weapons for Baghdad.

"I have personal knowledge of the need for medicine in Sudan as I almost died while working out there. The loss of this factory is a tragedy for the rural communities who need those medicines."

The engineer, who has said he will be returning to Sudan in the near future to carry out more work for the Baaboud family, condemned the American attack and its resulting loss of life.

"It's a funny feeling to think that I had a cup of tea in that place and the security guard on the gate who used to say hello to me is very probably now dead. The Baabouds are absolutely gutted about this. People who they knew personally have been killed - it is very upsetting."

Meanwhile, an assurance that British targets will not be included in any retaliatory strikes has come from sources close to Osama bin Laden, the multimillionaire Saudi fundamentalist believed to be behind the twin bombings of US embassies in East Africa.

Bin Laden, who survived the American air-strikes on his training camp inside Afghanistan, telephoned the editor of the London-based Arabic daily newspaper al Quds al Arabi to declare he was only interested in hitting the US and Israel.



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