Monday, April 29, 2013

Still Controversial After All These Years

The SBS World News bulletin at 6:30 tonight ran an item on Syria by ABC America. In reporting the reluctance of US officials and politicians to put 'boots on the ground' there, despite the Syrian opposition "begging" for this, the reporter, Reena Ninan*, sought to explain the US administration's reluctance to get more heavily involved in Syria by referencing the US response to the al-Qaeda bombing of its embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998:

"Following the US embassy bombings in Africa, a cruise missile strike was launched on an alleged Sudanese chemical weapons factory in 1998 after soil samples came back positive for chemicals used in VX [nerve agent] but that intel. turned out to be controversial..."

Rubbish! There is no controversy regarding this episode whatever:

"On August 17, 1998, Clinton went on national television and admitted that he had had a sexual relationship with [Monica] Lewinsky. Three days later, Clinton ordered the cruise missile attack against al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan and against the pharmaceutical plant in Khartoum, where the CIA believed al-Qaeda might be running a chemical weapons factory based on a soil sample scooped up by an agent that tested positive for a chemical component of VX nerve gas. Much of the 'actionable' intelligence that Clinton had relied on in these strikes proved to be faulty. The CIA was not able to establish that a high-level al-Qaeda meeting had in fact taken place at Khost. And the Al-Shifa Pharmaceutical factory proved to have no connection to either al-Qaeda or VX. It had been, however, a vital facility for producing desperately needed drugs for Sudan's civilian population and its destruction resulted in further deprivation for the Sudanese." (A World of Trouble: America in the Middle East, Patrick Tyler, 2009, pp 479-480)

It seems to be that, for corporate talking heads such as Ninan, USraeli terrorism is always and forever controversial but never the Arab variety.

[*Middle East correspondent for Fox News, 2007-20012]

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