Chemical and biological weapons factories have to have certain safeguards involved with level four handling of extremely toxic materials, if for no other reason than to keep their staffers alive long enough to complete their tasks, and not poison the people living and working next door.
Note the following.
This is the front of the facility with a sign identifying it as a pharmacuetical company. I know the sign is meaningless, as a chemical weapons plant operated in Florida was covered as an artificial cherry flavoring plant. But note the slightly ajar windows on the balcony behind the sign. Where are the sealed windows and filtered ventilation systems found in hazmat facilities?
Cited as "proof" of chemical weapons preparation, this image actually proves that whatever was being prepared in this vat was not toxic and did not need to be isolated from the workers mixing it up.
Note the absence of clean room style doors or airlocks.
Note the absence of clean room style doors or airlocks.
In short, there is nothing in the photos to indicate that this is anything other than what the Sudanese claim i is, a pharmaceutical factory, and I am not inclined to accept, on faith, the assurances of our government to the contrary without some hard proof.
Did Bill Clinton commit mass murder as a "wag the dog" distraction?
The CIA claimed that they had taken a soil sample from the factory site which contained a chemical precursor to VX gas. It turns out that prior to the arrival of the bombs, the Sudanese factory was sitting on paved ground. The only open soil was in a flowerbox.
Here is the AP article on the VX, followed by the reply I posted to the internet.
> >Soil Linked Sudan Plant to VX Gas > > >By JOHN DIAMOND Associated Press Writer > >WASHINGTON (AP) -- Traces of a manmade chemical found in a sample of >Sudanese soil formed the basis of the U.S. decision to launch a cruise >missile strike on a purported pharmaceuticals plant in Khartoum, >according to U.S. intelligence. > >A soil sample obtained clandestinely by U.S. intelligence led the >Clinton administration to conclude that the Sudanese plant was secretly >developing a key ingredient in deadly VX nerve gas, a U.S. intelligence >official said Monday. > >The Shifa Pharmaceuticals plant was destroyed last Thursday in a U.S. >cruise missile attack at the same time Navy-launched cruise missiles >struck at a suspected terrorist base in eastern Afghanistan. In an echo >of the controversy over the bombing of what Iraq claimed was a baby milk >factory during the Persian Gulf War, Sudanese officials have protested >to the United Nations that the plant made medicine, not weapons. > >Under pressure to back up its claim, the Clinton administration let U.S. >intelligence officials Monday discuss some of the evidence that led to >the decision to strike. > >A U.S. intelligence official who spoke on condition of anonymity said >the physical evidence being cited repeatedly by Clinton administration >officials is a soil sample ``obtained by clandestine means'' from the >Sudan plant property. The sample showed traces of a manmade chemical >called EMPTA, or O-ethylmethylphosphonothioic acid -- a material with no >commercial uses that is a key ingredient of VX. > Left unmentioned are a few key facts. The world's largest manufacturer of VX gas, or methylphosphonothionic acid, S-[2-[bis(l-methylethyl)amino)ethyl] )-ethyl ester, is the United States. While it is claimed to be in the hands of terrorists, the largest stockpiles of it (like those of anthrax) are in the United States (which makes faking a terrorist attack pretty damned easy). VX gas is hardly found outside the United States. Usually, what is being called VX gas is usually a somewhat simpler compound developed by the former Soviet Union called simply V-gas, or Methylphosphonothioic acid, S-[2-(diethylamino)ethyl] O-2-methylpropyl ester. EMPTA, or O-ethylmethylphosphonothioic acid, is itself highly toxic, and had it really been present in significant quantities at the Khartoum plant, would have resulted in the deaths of hundreds of people in the surrounding areas when the plant was bombed. Given the extreme difficulty in discriminating EMPTA from it's isomers (one of which is as a pesticide on flowers) along with the assumption that it would not have reacted with the soil compounds (it reacts with almost anything, making decontamination fairly easy with common household bleach), I would have to rank the CIA's claim of having found EMPTA in a soil sample as dubious at best, ranking on a par with that silly cartoon they made up trying to "prove" that noseless 747s can maintain stable flight. This is, after all, the same agency that lied to John F. Kennedy about the Bay of Pigs, cannot seem to keep it's retired leadership alive, and swore for a decade they had no operations at Mena, only to finally admit (grudgingly) that they had been running operations there all along. Since the above story came out, it has been revealed that the factory sat on a totally paved lot in the middle of a totally paved neighborhood. There was no open soil from which a sample could be taken.
Clinton knew target was civilian 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 BrightSunday 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 authorized 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 Sudanese ambassador 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 doors leading 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. Copyright Guardian Media Group plc.1998
Jordan Times (News Section) 'Bombed factory was incapable of making chemical arms' By Tareq Ayyoub AMMAN; Jordanian experts who supervised the construction of a pharmaceutical factory in Sudan, destroyed by U.S. missiles Thursday, said Saturday that the site had no capability to produce chemical weapons. Ahmad Salem, the engineer who put together the construction plan for Al Shifa plant in Khartoum in 1993, said the factory was designed to produce more than 50 types of medicine for malaria, tuberculosis, antibiotics and other diseases in addition to veterinary drugs. “There is no chance this factory could be used to produce chemical weapons, it was designed to produce medicine for people and animals,” Salem told a press conference on Saturday. Salem was among three Jordanians who were involved in the establishment of the factory which was inaugurated on July 1997. The other two are Eid Abu Dalbouh, a pharmacist, and Mohammed Abdul Wahed, the engineer who designed the equipment used to produce the medicines. The U.S. claimed that the plant, built at a cost of more than $32 million, was engaged in making chemical weapons and was partly financed by Ossama Ben Laden, the Afghan-based Saudi millionaire whom Washington accuses of being responsible for the attacks on the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania earlier this month. Salem said the factory was financed by the Sudanese businessman Bashir Hassan, who later sold it to another businessman named Salah Idris following financial difficulties. “During the construction of the plant, over a period of four years, we have never seen or met with Ben Laden and he had nothing to do with the factory,” Salem said. “What I know for sure is that he was not linked to this factory neither financially, nor administratively. He has never seen or visited the plant,” he added. He noted that the factory was opened in the presence of the British ambassador in Khartoum at the time and other foreign dignitaries. Salem noted that an American expert, named Henry Jobe, participated in the construction of the plant turned to rubble by U.S. missiles. He said that the plant exported medicines to African nations and was planning to send medicines to Iraq in line with the oil-for-food agreement reached between Baghdad and the U.N. in December 1996. Abu Dalbouh, who completed his work at the plant in November 1997, said that it was difficult to produce nerve gas as “alleged” by the U.S. “because the plant was designed to produce medicine and nothing but medicine.” “Any plan to produce toxic (gas) needs a separate line in the plant, separate ventilation, separate building and special pipes. Our facilities were not fit for such production,” Abu Dalbouh stressed. He said that an expert representing the World Health Organisation (WHO) inspected the plant in December 1997. He added that on Friday he telephoned a Jordanian expert, Ali Jaber, who is still working at the factory “who confirmed to me that no changes were introduced to the plant to enable it to change its production in the past few months.” “If the factory was producing nerve gas as stated by the Americans, why is it that it did not cause massive damage in the area which was heavily populated?” Salem asked. “This is enough evidence that the plant was not producing nerve gas as claimed by the U.S.,” he added. He noted that some of the equipment used at the factory were supplied by Swedish, American, Danish, Belgium and other foreign firms. Salem said that the reconstruction of the plant would take three years, “if financial support was available.” He added that a Jordanian team had been selected to supervise the construction and production activities of the plant “because the owner had connections with Jordanian pharmaceutical firms which used to export medicines to the east African nation.” “The factory's plan was designed in Jordan and Jordanian experts supervised its construction. From a technical point of view it is difficult to produce other than medicines in Al Shifa factory,” said Abdul Wahed.
FBI Mum on Embassy Bombing Clues By Karin Davies Associated Press Writer Saturday, August 22, 1998; 2:42 a.m. EDT NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) -- Searching for clues in the East Africa embassy bombings, authorities staged a pair of raids but were tight-lipped about what evidence, if any, was uncovered. Investigators were still describing their probe into twin bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania as being in the preliminary stages, even two weeks after the Aug. 7 attacks -- and even after the United States launched cruise missile strikes it said were in response to the embassy bombings. Neither the Kenyan nor Tanzanian governments has made any public comment about Thursday's U.S. strikes on targets in Sudan and Afghanistan, which the Clinton administration said were tied to terrorist activity. Instead, American and Kenyan investigators widened their net. On Friday in the Indian Ocean coast town of Malindi, five glove-clad FBI agents and two Kenyan police officials made a three-hour search of a slum house. Witnesses said the homeowner, a driver for the Labor Ministry, was taken into custody. That came on the heels of another raid, this one in the Kenyan capital. The FBI and Kenyan police raided the Nairobi offices of a Saudi Arabian charity, the Mercy International Relief Agency, in connection with the bombing, hauling away documents, computers and cash, an employee said Friday. A Kenyan employee, Shaban Hassan, remained in custody a day after Thursday's raid, said Abdullah Ahmed, a charity secretary. The Sudanese director, Mohammed Abdullah, has been missing for three weeks, Ahmed said. The FBI and Kenyan police refused to comment on either raid. A Sudanese and a Saudi were arrested at the Afghan border Saturday. Both were still being questioned, and have not been identified. The embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam were the targets of car bombings in which 257 people died, all but 10 of them in Kenya. Twelve of the dead were Americans. FBI Director Louis Freeh, who flew back to Washington on Friday after visiting the two bombed-out embassies and conferring with field agents, said he had made ``no final conclusions'' about who carried out the bombings. Freeh would not say whether evidence developed during U.S. inquiries at the bomb scenes led to Thursday's American missile strikes. © Copyright 1998 The Associated PressBack to the top
Muslim Fury, Suitcase Nukes In NYC Soon? http://www.smh.com.au/news/9808/29/text/world2.htmlAug 29 98 CHRISTOPHER KREMMER, Herald Correspondent in Islamabad MUSLIM FURY "War of future" claims first victims Date: 29/08/98 By CHRISTOPHER KREMMER, Herald Correspondent in Islamabad GENERAL Hamid Gul, a former chief of Pakistani intelligence, fastened his seatbelt as a Pakistan International Airways plane began its descent into Lahore this week. The flight had been bumpy, but not as rough as General Gul believes the war against terrorism will be. "It's not that difficult to obtain a suitcase-size nuclear weapon," the urbane former military officer reminded a fellow traveler. "Just the thing for retaliation against London or New York." Such is the Muslim world's anger over the United States's cruise-missile attacks on August 20 against terrorist camps in Afghanistan and an alleged chemical weapons factory in Sudan that such a scenario is now receiving serious thought in governments and think-tanks around the world. Since President Bill Clinton decided direct action was the best response to the August 7 twin bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, which killed 257 people, the reaction so far has been lethal, if limited. In the Afghan capital, Kabul, the day after the attacks, an Italian military observer working with the United Nations, Lieutenant-Colonel Carmine Calo, died after an ambush by gunmen linked to the ruling Taliban Islamic movement. Outside the Ugandan capital, Kampala, grenades and bombs exploded on three buses, killing 29 people. In the South African city of Cape Town, a bomb blast killed one person at a Planet Hollywood American theme restaurant, while in Tel Aviv, Israel, a bomb concealed in a rubbish bin near the city's main synagogue injured 19 people. In all three cases, police have not ruled out retaliation as the motive. The "war of the future" described by the US Secretary of State, Dr Madeleine Albright, has already claimed its first victims. But the basis for the blood feud - the evidence provided by a key suspect in the Kenyan embassy bombing - is now being questioned. Palestinian Mohammed Sadiq Odeh was arrested at Karachi airport the day after the embassy blasts, while traveling on a fake Yemeni passport. The photograph in the passport bore no relation to Odeh's appearance. Under interrogation, Odeh confessed to helping plan the bombing, which he said was ordered by the exiled Saudi millionaire Osama bin Laden. He also gave details linking bin Laden, who lives under the protection of the Taliban in Afghanistan, to some of the most notorious terrorist attacks of the decade, including bombings at US military targets in Saudi Arabia and an attempt on the life of Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak. General Gul, the former intelligence boss who knows something about false travel documents, believes Odeh is an imposter, planted by a foreign intelligence agency - probably Israel's Mossad or the US's Central Intelligence Agency - to provide a justification for the cruise-missile attacks on bin Laden's Afghan bases. "It costs 1,000 rupees [about $30] to buy any passport officer at Karachi airport. Odeh's millionaire backer bin Laden hadn't given him that much money, nor even a reasonable forgery of a passport? This man wanted to be caught," says General Gul. A leading defence analyst, Dr Shireen Mazari, agrees. "It just doesn't make sense. Hard-core political terrorists do not volunteer information the way Odeh has done. It's a set-up." Odeh, and another suspect, Khalid Salim, were flown to New York on Thursday to face formal charges relating to the embassy bombing. The stated aim of the US attacks was to destroy terrorist "infrastructure" being used to plan more major strikes against US interests around the world. US officials with access to satellite photographs of the camps, near the eastern Afghan town of Khost, said the damage caused by scores of Tomahawk cruise missiles fired from warships cruising in the Arabian Sea was significant. In the eight days since the strikes, the Afghan authorities have blocked efforts by journalists to visit Khost. They said only 27 people were killed at the Zhawar Kili al-Badr complex of camps. At least six of them were Pakistani citizens receiving weapons training to fight in the separatist war in Kashmir. IN Pakistan's hospitals, the bodies of the trainee terrorists were pockmarked by shrapnel and burn marks, stark evidence of America's lethal intent, enforced with the use of anti-personnel cluster bomblets showered from the cruise missiles. "We knew we were under attack and we wanted to hit back, but we could do nothing," said Maaz Ali, 19, of Bahawalpur, in Pakistani Punjab, tears of frozen rage brimming in his eyes, as he recalled the night the sky lit up over Khost. Even educated Pakistanis, like Dr Mohammed Imdad, who treated some of the survivors at Rawalpindi's Civil Hospital, felt similar rage. "The Jews have turned the Christians against the Muslims," Dr Imdad said, "but the price for America and its allies will be high." All but a handful of non-Muslim foreign aid staff have been withdrawn from Afghanistan, ensuring further hardship for a people who have already suffered grievously due to a 19-year civil war. Kabul's hospitals are heavily dependent on foreign aid. Neighbouring Pakistan is also close to falling off the international map. The US has told its citizens to seriously consider leaving the country, and Britain and Australia are advising their nationals not to visit at least two of its four provinces. Washington's remote-control war against terrorism has suddenly transformed Pakistan from a busy base for international organizations and aid groups into a tense place where not much can be done. In the antiseptic capital, Islamabad, UN staff now observe a nightly eight o'clock curfew and restrict unnecessary movement in the city. Business people, diplomats and aid workers of other countries, including Australia, have become unwilling front-line soldiers in a war declared by a US president who, according to his critics, took up the cudgels merely to distract a domestic audience from his much-publicized sexual indiscretions. Some, but not all, of Osama bin Laden's Afghan bases were destroyed by the US strikes, but he retains the capability to retaliate through his International Islamic Front, unveiled in Khost in May this year. "His followers in the Middle East can act without any clear orders from bin Laden," said the editor of the Pakistani Urdu-language daily newspaper Ausaf, Mr Hamid Mir, who is writing a biography of the militant Muslim leader. Mr Mir believes bin Laden will continue to enjoy Afghanistan's hospitality under the Taliban's supreme leader, the one-eyed recluse Mullah Mohammed Omar. "They share similar ideas about America and the international situation. In fact, Mullah Omar is even more extreme than bin Laden," he says. Efforts by the Taliban leader to placate Saudi Arabia, which bank-rolls his movement and wants bin Laden silenced, by gagging his turbulent "guest" were overruled by Afghanistan's Shariat court, based in the southern city of Kandahar, Mr Mir said. Pakistan's moderate Islamic Government is also walking a tightrope, condemning the American air raids to outflank rising fundamentalist outrage. Defence analysts say the time when a Muslim fundamentalist assumes control of the armed forces is not far off. "All the younger officers have been radicalized by the Afghan war, and every time the Government chooses a new army chief, the pool of educated, Westernized officers from which to choose gets smaller," a former defense attache in Islamabad said. A former Pakistan Army chief, General Mirza Aslam Beg, believes the US air strikes can only accelerate the process. "Ultimately there will a convergence of views in Afghanistan and Pakistan that we are facing one common enemy: the US and its allies," he said. MEANWHILE, Osama bin Laden - deprived of his Saudi citizenship but now elevated to the status of folk hero in the minds of many Muslims - appears secure in his Afghan fastness, promising to answer Mr Clinton "in deeds, not words" and keeping in touch with his international network by satellite fax and phone. He remains a tempting but dangerous target for the long arm of the US. "If the US military strikes continue, the fire will spread in the whole Islamic world. Even if they kill bin Laden, 100 others will rise to take his place," said Mr Mir, the renegade millionaire's biographer. But others believe America's new international enemy number one can be stopped. Professor Ehud Sprinzak, a professor of political science at the Hebrew University in Israel, told a meeting of the US Institute of Peace in Washington this week: "If the Taliban and the Pakistanis decide tomorrow that the fellow hurts their interests significantly, they can solve the problem in a very, very short time."
U.S. Wanted Excuse To Bomb Sudan Factory - Clark ReutersSept. 21, 1998 wire service U.S. Wanted Excuse To Bomb Sudan Factory - Clark Reuters 7.32 p.m. ET (2333 GMT) September 22, 1998 NEW YORK — Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark said Tuesday the U.S. government had wanted an excuse to strike at Sudan last month and the decision to bomb a pharmaceutical plant there was strictly political. Clark made the accusations to reporters after returning from Sudan, where he led a delegation from the International Action Center on a fact-finding mission to the El Shifa pharmaceutical factory, which was destroyed by U.S. cruise missiles on Aug. 20. According to some administration officials, the factory was attacked in the belief that a soil sample taken from outside the plant revealed the presence of EMPTA, a key ingredient in deadly VX nerve gas. "It is absolutely absurd to believe that they scooped up some dirt and found nerve gas on the outside of the plant,'' Clark said, adding there were some four million people living in the Khartoum area and that any nerve gas would have affected local residents. The plant was destroyed a week after bomb blasts at U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania killed 260 people. Clark said the factory had produced 90 percent of Sudan's major pharmaceutical needs. "This was a pharmaceutical plant. There was no nerve gas. It would have been absolutely maniacal for them to put it there,'' he said. Instead Clark said the United States "merely wanted an excuse to hit Sudan. The way the target was chosen was purely a political decision.'' The New York Times Monday quoted unnamed senior administration officials as saying the U.S. government had relied on inferences to conclude the factory produced chemical weapons. The paper reported that some State Department and CIA officials believed Washington could not justify its actions. It quoted one official saying he was "not convinced of the evidence'' and that the United States may have made a mistake. Clark produced documents from the United Nations Security Council approving the shipment from the factory in Sudan to Baghdad of antibiotics and medicines used in the treatment of malaria, tuberculosis and diarrhea. He said that all workers at the factory had been doing was ''mixing up (medicinal) powder into tablet or capsule form and packaging it into bottles or foil.'' "It is a crime under international law'' to deprive a populace of medications required to meet its health needs, he said, arguing the United States should compensate Sudan for the damage caused by the strike. "You can't expect them to become whole without compensation from Washington,'' Clark said. "You can't expect them to become whole without compensation from Washington,'' Clark said.
London Independent via WordNetDaily US admits Sudan bombing mistake
By Andrew Marshall in Washington
In an admission that last year's missile attack on a factory in Sudan
was a mistake, the US has cleared the man who owned the plant of any links
The embarrassing reversal means that the US has virtually no evidence to
support its claim that the missile attack was a strike against terrorism. Most of those
who have investigated the case have concluded that the US acted on faulty intelligence and that key procedures were overridden by
officials in the White House. The affair is already the subject of congressional inquiries and may result in the departure of some
senior White House officials.
America launched cruise missiles against targets in Afghanistan and Sudan in August last year after bomb attacks on it embassies in
Nairobi and Dar es Salaam. It blamed the bombing on Osama bin Laden, the former Saudi who it accuses of backing many attacks
on US targets. It said that the pharmaceutical plant in Khartoum was linked to Mr. bin Laden and was used to produce chemical
The US was forced to admit within hours that the plant was not a Sudanese government facility, but a private factory belonging to
Salah Idris, a Saudi businessman. But it then said that Mr. Idris was himself linked to terrorism and to Mr. bin Laden. It froze all of
his bank accounts, including money held at Bank of America in London. Yesterday, with no public announcement or fanfare, it
unfroze accounts, admitting that no evidence existed to accuse Mr. Idris.
Mr. Idris hired Akin, Gump Strauss, Hauer & Feld, a top Washington law firm, to press his case. He sued Bank of America and the
US government, and hired Kroll Associates, the top private investigators, to clear him. Kroll found no evidence of any links between
Mr. Idris and Mr. bin Laden. Yesterday, the US was due to reply to Mr. Idris's law suits, but instead chose to retreat and unfreeze
the accounts. "Today's order lifting all restrictions on the Bank of America accounts also effectively removes any suggestion that
Mr. Idris has, at any time, maintained a relationship with Osma bin Laden or any terrorist group or organization," said Akin, Gump in
Spokesmen for Mr. Idris said they were "jubilant" but that there could still be a law suit to recover compensation.
"I am grateful that the United States has taken the honourable course and has corrected, in part, the serious harm that has been done
to my family and our good name," said Mr. Idris yesterday from Sudan. "While I understand that the United States must wage a
vigorous fight against terrorism, in this case a grave error has been made."
Britain never supported the idea that Mr. Idris had links to Mr. bin Laden, and he was permitted to enter and leave London (where he
maintains a flat) freely.
The widespread view outside the US was that the White House had insufficient evidence for the attack.
May, 1999 Andrew Marshall
US admits Sudan bombing mistake
By Andrew Marshall in Washington
In an admission that last year's missile attack on a factory in Sudan was a mistake, the US has cleared the man who owned the plant of any links to terrorism.
The embarrassing reversal means that the US has virtually no evidence to support its claim that the missile attack was a strike against terrorism. Most of those who have investigated the case have concluded that the US acted on faulty intelligence and that key procedures were overridden by officials in the White House. The affair is already the subject of congressional inquiries and may result in the departure of some senior White House officials.
America launched cruise missiles against targets in Afghanistan and Sudan in August last year after bomb attacks on it embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam. It blamed the bombing on Osama bin Laden, the former Saudi who it accuses of backing many attacks on US targets. It said that the pharmaceutical plant in Khartoum was linked to Mr. bin Laden and was used to produce chemical weapons.
The US was forced to admit within hours that the plant was not a Sudanese government facility, but a private factory belonging to Salah Idris, a Saudi businessman. But it then said that Mr. Idris was himself linked to terrorism and to Mr. bin Laden. It froze all of his bank accounts, including money held at Bank of America in London. Yesterday, with no public announcement or fanfare, it unfroze accounts, admitting that no evidence existed to accuse Mr. Idris.
Mr. Idris hired Akin, Gump Strauss, Hauer & Feld, a top Washington law firm, to press his case. He sued Bank of America and the US government, and hired Kroll Associates, the top private investigators, to clear him. Kroll found no evidence of any links between Mr. Idris and Mr. bin Laden. Yesterday, the US was due to reply to Mr. Idris's law suits, but instead chose to retreat and unfreeze the accounts. "Today's order lifting all restrictions on the Bank of America accounts also effectively removes any suggestion that Mr. Idris has, at any time, maintained a relationship with Osma bin Laden or any terrorist group or organization," said Akin, Gump in a statement.
Spokesmen for Mr. Idris said they were "jubilant" but that there could still be a law suit to recover compensation.
"I am grateful that the United States has taken the honourable course and has corrected, in part, the serious harm that has been done to my family and our good name," said Mr. Idris yesterday from Sudan. "While I understand that the United States must wage a vigorous fight against terrorism, in this case a grave error has been made."
Britain never supported the idea that Mr. Idris had links to Mr. bin Laden, and he was permitted to enter and leave London (where he maintains a flat) freely.
The widespread view outside the US was that the White House had insufficient evidence for the attack.
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