THE uncertainty surrounding the fates of 13 workers trapped inside a coal mine in West Virginia, Jack Abramoff, a high flying Republican lobbyist who is facing charges of conspiracy, fraud and tax evasion agreeing to be an approver and President Bush convening a meeting of the former Secretaries of State and Defence Secretaries were the highlights of a day packed with the unfolding of events bearing great political significance.
The anguish and dismay gripping the close kins of the 13 workers trapped inside a coal mine who were once taken to be all dead turned into joy and happiness when it was disclosed that 12 of the 13 miners were alive. This led even the New York Times (NTY) to proclaim in a three column first page news that 12 miners have survived and been rescued. But oh! it was not to be .In a subsequent sombre announcement it was said that all 13 trapped inside the coal mine have in fact died inhaling highly poisonous carbon monoxide.
The entire episode was a huge embarrassment for the officials of the state of West Virginia and the media. It is absolutely inconceivable that mines could become a death trap in the most developed nation of the world. The mines lacking emergency measures to rescue the workers in such gruesome accident as one that occurred in West Virginia have come as a big surprise and shock.
The unfolding of events in the Jack Abramoff case have sent tremors in the capital Washington DC and made many lawmakers, federal government officials and people on the Capitol Hill to pass sleepless night. Abramoff, the most aggressive Washington lobbyist who charged $750 per hour as fee, could reach without much hassle the people who responded to his influence peddling.
Abramoff pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy, fraud and tax evasion used campaign contributions, lavish foreign trips and other perks to influence lawmakers and their aides. He spent 65 per cent of money on greasing the palms of the Republican lawmakers and rest on the
Democrats. As the news of Abramoof turning an approver spread nervous lawmakers of both the parties and even the White House began to distance themselves from him.
Tom DeLay, who was forced to step down as the house majority leader, following his indictment on charges of money laundering and campaign related case was a close friend of Abramoff. In a city which is no stranger to monetary and political scandals, the turn of events in Abramoff investigation could pale the records of all previous scams. The outcome will have disastrous impact on the political prospects of the Republican party with mid-term Congressional polls due in September.
The former house majority leader Tom DeLay who took in thousands in campaign fund from Abramoff and accompanied the lobbyist on a lavish golf trip to Scotland denied any wrong doing. The level to which Abramoof enriched himself is evident from the fact that he netted $20 million from tribes in five states to lobby on their behalf.
Abramoff had ties with David Safavian who was head of White House procurement office. Safavian was arrested on charges briefing in advance Abramoff of the big deals that were in the offing. An aide of Abramoff once worked with Carl Rove, political guru of President Bush.
President Bush under pressure to withdraw troops from Iraq has convened a meeting of all the former Secretaries of State and the Defence Secretaries to solicit their views on Iraq. Most of the former Secretaries of State and the Defence Secretaries including Colin Powell have not concealed their fear that Bush has dangerously mishandled Iraq and ignored other looming crises. North Korea, Iran and public diplomacy will figure prominently in the discussion.
Former Secretaries of State and Defence Secretaries will be briefed by General Casey, the top US General in Iraq and Zalmay Khalilzad, a Muslim and US ambassador to Baghdad The White House Press Secretary described the meeting as a part of President Bush's broader effort for outreach on the strategy.