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How the Washington Post helped the CIA regarding
the El Shifa tragedy in the Sudan

Recently the Washington Post (8/21/99) confirmed its role as a defender of state-sponsored terrorism in general and the CIA, specifically. In an article entitled “U.S. Wasn’t Sure Plant Had Nerve Gas Role,” the Post quoted a bevy of intelligence officials--but none by name (!) as saying the CIA recommended that more tests be conducted of soil samples around the El Shifa (or Al Shifa, as I’ve seen it elsewhere) pharmaceutical plant in Sudan that was obliterated when a deranged Bill Clinton sent 79 cruise missiles to destroy it on 8/20/98.

The Post article cites only governmental sources in its report. We are told that “CIA analysts said more testing would be needed,” and “senior [Clinton administration] officials now concede the plant did, in fact, make some medicines.” One “senior administration official” says, however, that nothing that has since been revealed would have led anyone in the Clinton White House to recommend not bombing the plant if the decision could be made again--which speaks volumes about U.S. adherence to international law.

The article cites “officials familiar” with the three-page document recommending to the President that El Shifa be bombed as believing that the presence of EMPTA, taken from a soil sample by a CIA “operative who had been carefully polygraphed and vetted by his CIA handlers,” is a “virtually sure-fire indicator that the plant had something to do with chemical weapons.”

In the Post article this writer counts 15 unique references to an unnamed source or sources affiliated with the U.S. government as believing that the CIA and the White House have each behaved properly. That is, while the CIA wanted to take more soil samples from the site, the one sample they took--which cannot be examined by the public--was sufficient proof that the El Shifa pharmaceutical plant was involved in the making of chemical weapons. No source is quoted by name; and no one is quoted who might disagree with the Official Story.

This writer commented on the El Shifa atrocity in MediaWise five months ago, discussing how the El Shifa plant was responsible for more than 50% of Sudan’s medicines.

The article reported that the mere presence of EMPTA in a soil sample is not sufficient to confirm that the plant was involved with chemical weaponry: EMPTA is also present when pesticides decompose; it is chemically quite similar to several commercial pesticides such as the weed killer Round-Up. Since it breaks down very quickly, the unnamed CIA agent who allegedly took the sample--if one exists at all--would have to have been very, very careful in his or her analysis of it; it could easily have been misidentified.

None of what has been revealed about the El Shifa atrocity since it took place troubles the Washington Post. It is not a problem to them that the Clinton administration conducted terrorism to accomplish the destruction of a facility vital to the health of millions of people in a very poor African country. If the Post were concerned they would have chosen another day for their report besides Saturday (the slowest day for readership), one year and a day after the event took place (which suggests they held the report until the anniversary). The Post could also be running editorials denouncing the atrocity and demanding accountability from CIA Director George J. Tenet--even demanding his resignation in disgrace.

Needless to say, this story has so far not merited this kind of attention.

MediaWise readers who do care about this issue are encouraged to first read the alternative media. We should then work together to apply pressure on the mainstream press. We’ve got to get them to care more about the crimes our side is committing if we are to check the growing, fascist force that is sweeping quickly across the U.S. like a cancer.

Scott Loughrey

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