|"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
|"The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
Recent reports in the German media suggest that the United States may be preparing its allies for an imminent military strike against facilities that are part of Iran's suspected clandestine nuclear weapons program.
It's hardly news that US President George Bush refuses to rule out possible military action against Iran if Tehran continues to pursue its controversial nuclear ambitions. But in Germany, speculation is mounting that Washington is preparing to carry out air strikes against suspected Iranian nuclear sites perhaps even as soon as early 2006.
According to Ulfkotte's report, "western security sources" claim that during CIA Director Porter Goss' Dec. 12 visit to Ankara, he asked Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to provide support for a possibile 2006 air strike against Iranian nuclear and military facilities. More specifically, Goss is said to have asked Turkey to provide unfettered exchange of intelligence that could help with a mission.
According to DDP, during his trip to Turkey, CIA chief Goss reportedly handed over three dossiers to Turkish security officials that purportedly contained evidence that Tehran is cooperating with Islamic terror network al-Qaida. A further dossier is said to contain information about the current status of Iran's alleged nuclear weapons program. Sources in German security circles told the DDP reporter that Goss had ensured Ankara that the Turkish government would be informed of any possible air strikes against Iran a few hours before they happened. The Turkish government has also been given the "green light" to strike camps of the separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in Iran on the day in question.
The DDP report attributes the possible escalation to the recent anti-Semitic rants by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose belligerent verbal attacks on Israel (he described the Holocaust as a "myth" and called for Israel to be "wiped off the map") have strengthened the view of the American government that, in the case of the nuclear dispute, there's little likelihood Tehran will back down and that the mullahs are just attempting to buy time by continuing talks with the Europeans.
Federal prosecutors and lawyers for Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff consulted briefly Friday with a federal judge in Miami as they put the finishing touches on a plea deal that could be announced as early as Tuesday, according to sources familiar with the negotiations.
The plea agreement would secure the lobbyist's testimony against several members of Congress who received favors from him or his clients.
For months, prosecutors in Washington have focused on whether Abramoff defrauded his Indian tribe clients of millions of dollars and used improper influence on members of Congress.
In a five-year span ending in early 2004, Indian tribes represented by the lobbyist contributed millions of dollars in casino income to congressional campaigns, often routing the money through political action committees for conservative members of Congress who opposed gambling.
Abramoff also provided trips, skybox fundraisers, golf fees, frequent meals, entertainment and jobs for lawmakers' relatives and aides.
Kidan and Abramoff bought SunCruz from Konstantinos "Gus" Boulis, who was slain in 2001 in a gangland-style hit in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Investigators say Boulis and Kidan were fighting for control of SunCruz; Kidan has denied any involvement in Boulis' death.
Three men were arrested in September on murder charges in Boulis' killing and are awaiting trial.
Michael Scanlon, another former Abramoff associate, pleaded guilty in November in a separate case in Washington.
Scanlon said he helped Abramoff and Kidan buy SunCruz by persuading Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, to insert comments into the Congressional Record that were "calculated to pressure the then-owner to sell on terms favorable" to Abramoff and Kidan.