US forced to admit that El Shifa plant was not a weapons factory

Empowering Weak & Oppressed

Crescent International

Muharram 30, 1420 1999-05-16

Occupied Arab World

by Crescent International (Occupied Arab World, Crescent International Vol. 28, No. 6, Muharram, 1420)

The US suffered what should have been a major international humiliation on May 3, when it was obliged to unfreeze the assets of Salah Idris, the Sudanese owner of the El Shifa pharmaceutical plant in Khartoum which the US bombed in August. At the time, the US claimed that the factory was a chemical weapons plant run by Shaikh Osama bin Laden.

The $24 million worth of assets were released on the day that the US government was required to respond to a suit filed by Idris for illegally freezing them. Washington’s decision was widely interpreted as implicit acknowledgement that it had no evidence to back up its claims, even though the Washington said that it could not defend the case because its intelligence information was too sensitive to be revealed in court.

Idris’s victory came after a sustained legal effort to clear his name. Among other things, he commissioned independent investigations by Washington lawyers, a major Washington detective agency, and the chemistry department of Boston University to examine the allegations against him. All concluded that the allegations were baseless.

The US decision not even to try to defend Idris’s case confirms that their claims were total fiction, and vindicates those who said from the outset that their murderous actions in Sudan and Afghanistan - and so many other countries in other cases - were undertaken for ulterior motives. This should have been a major news story across the world; instead it was barely reported, reflecting the western media’s and intelligensia’s de facto acceptance of the western governments’ murderous amorality.

It is also worth noting also that Isris was able to bring his case only because he is a wealthy businessman, who made tens of millions dollars as a banker in ‘Saudi’ Arabia before investing some of his wealth in the El-Shifa factory. Many more Muslims who suffered far greater losse than Idris - of lives and livelihoods - have no prospect of any sort of justice.

Meanwhile, the press - instead of highlighting the exposure of the US’s perfidy - were after Osama bin Laden again. On April 30, perhaps timed to coincide with the concession of the Idris case, US officials planted stories suggesting that bin Laden was in Somalia, as a guest of the Islamic Ijtihad group in Raas Camboni. He is allegedly to have left Afghanistan on February 13 after falling out with the Taleban. At the time he was thought he had travelled to Sudan, Yemen or Somalia.

Sources in Somalia strenuously deny the reports, saying that bin Laden is too famous to hide there without the news spreading. This is hardly surprising in view of the US’s threats against anyone suspected of helping him. Nobody expects that the fact their bombing of Idris’s factory was exposed will prevent Washington killing more Muslims when it suits them.

Muslimedia: May 16-31, 1999

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