Bombing of Sudanese Pharmaceutical Plant

The bombing of the Al Shira (also referred to as El Shira) pharmaceutical factory took place on August 20, 1998, per various newspaper articles from the succeeding months.

From the WSJ (viewed in subscription database ProQuest Direct):

"U.S. officials say the main argument for making El Shifa a target was and remains a soil sample, obtained in January, which they say was taken "a stone's throw" from El Shifa, by a CIA-trained agent as another agent looked on. The officials say three separate tests on the soil turned up strong "hits" for a substance known as EMPTA, which can easily be turned into deadly VX nerve gas."

"AFTER THE BOMBINGS -- THE DIFFICULT SEARCH FOR `TRUTH' --- BLASTING FLAP: IN SUDANESE BOMBING, `EVIDENCE' DEPENDS ON WHO IS VIEWING IT --- DISSIDENT FANS TERROR LINKS, BUT FACTORY OWNER SAYS THE U.S. GOT IT WRONG --- WORM MEDICINE IN THE RUBBLE." By Daniel Pearl. Wall Street Journal. (Eastern edition). New York, N.Y.: Oct 28, 1998. pg. A.1

From the NYT (viewed in subscription database LexisNexis Academic):

"Hours after they launched cruise missiles at the factory on Aug. 20, senior national security advisers described Al Shifa as a secret chemical weapons factory financed by Mr. bin Laden. But a month after the attack, those same officials concede that they had no evidence directly linking Mr. bin Laden to the factory at the time the President ordered the strike."

"DECISION TO STRIKE FACTORY IN SUDAN BASED ON SURMISE INFERRED FROM EVIDENCE." By TIM WEINER and JAMES RISEN. New York Times, Late Edition - Final. September 21, 1998, Section A; Page 1; Column 6.

From the Chicago Tribune (viewed in subscription database ProQuest Direct):

"Since the attack, however, the Clinton administration has altered its arguments, sometimes in the face of ambiguous evidence. Officials now admit that the plant produced medicines sold commercially in Sudan. Scientists in the U.S. and Europe maintain that the chemical EMPTA has potential commercial applications as well as being a precursor for VX nerve gas. New reports also raise questions about the plant's links to bin Laden's financial empire."

"SMOKING GUN' FOR SUDAN RAID NOW IN DOUBT." By Terry Atlas and Ray Moseley. Chicago Tribune. North Sports Final Edition. Aug 28, 1998. pg. 1

This bill is interesting. As far as I can tell it hasn't been passed.
http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c106:H.R.5290.IH
: 106th CONGRESS, 2d Session
H. R. 5290, "To provide private relief for Salah Idris of Saudi Arabia and El Shifa Pharmaceuticals Industries Company relating to the bombing and destruction of the El Shifa Pharmaceutical plant in Khartoum, Sudan, and for other purposes."

I found the above bill and other interesting materials by doing an Internet search on SHIFA and "AUGUST 20" and limiting to .gov sites. There are results from .mil and .us searches, as well.

Right now the Democracy Now site is a little funky, so I can't give you great URLs. If you go to http://www.democracynow.org and type "shifa," you'll find transcripts and audio files to some shows of potential interest: "Look Back at Sudan Bombing," "Sudan Sues the United States," "Empta," and the subtly titled, "U.S. Changes Explanation of Sudan Bombing."

Please contact me directly if you need any follow up [email protected].