Thursday, February 23, 2006

Bush, The Carlyle Group, and the UAE: Who Really Benefits from this Deal?

I have been waiting to weigh in on the controversy revolving around the outsourcing of management of 6 ports to a firm from the United Arab Emirates until I had more information. I certainly didn’t want to confirm accusations that I am blindly anti-Bush, so I wanted to make sure that I had a fair amount of information before weighing in on an issue that raises very serious security concerns to me. Well, now even more information is in, and I can keep quiet no longer.

When Bush first made the announcement that, should congress object to this sale he would use his power of veto to protect the arrangement I became skeptical. The use of the veto power is a big thing, and normally reserved only for extremely important issues. Presidencies have changed drastically over intelligent or unwise use of the veto power. So why use it for a business deal? To my knowledge Bush has not wielded the stamp before, why now, over an issue that does very little for the US, other then earning us money, but that has very real concerns attached to it. I figured there must be something more.

My gut told me that this was another Bush business deal, and that he and his family are probably was making big bucks somehow in this deal. But here we go again, the anti-Bush sentiment clearly showing through. And of course the telltale signs of the underhanded Bush dealings were not present. If this was “one of those deals”, I would have expected to see two articles in the press, seemingly mutually exclusive, but both protecting Bush’s backside: one stating that Bush didn’t know about the deal and another saying Bush had already put measures in place to protect the nation.

This morning I woke up to both articles. It was Knight Ridder’s Washington Bureau, a news outlet which takes the term “right wing” to a whole new dimension, who first reported that Bush didn’t know about the transaction.

While defending the deal, McClellan acknowledged that the president didn't know that his administration's interagency task force had approved it until the media began reporting the growing political reaction to it last week. Bush wasn't informed earlier because the interagency review found nothing to raise it to the presidential level, McClellan said.

So now I knew I was looking for a second piece for the classic Bush model one saying that there was an agreement in place, Bush brokered, which protects the US. I found that on Breitbart.

The Bush administration secretly required a company in the United Arab Emirates to cooperate with future U.S. investigations before approving its takeover of operations at six American ports, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press. It chose not to impose other, routine restrictions.

As part of the $6.8 billion purchase, state-owned Dubai Ports World agreed to reveal records on demand about "foreign operational direction" of its business at U.S. ports, the documents said. Those records broadly include details about the design, maintenance or operation of ports and equipment.

Breitbart being a more central publication goes on to say that the ‘secret deal” did not only protect the US, but also helped the UAE push the deal through.

The administration did not require Dubai Ports to keep copies of business records on U.S. soil, where they would be subject to court orders. It also did not require the company to designate an American citizen to accommodate U.S. government requests. Outside legal experts said such obligations are routinely attached to U.S. approvals of foreign sales in other industries.

OK, first a few major points. If the Bush administration did not know about the deal before it was reported, how did they broker a deal in advance of the negotiations? And what makes this agreement any different than the agreement Iran made with the IAEA before originally beginning their nuclear enrichment program? What is to stop this company from, somewhere down the road, decided not to comply with this deal, and stop providing records to the US of foreign operational direction? The real answer is that it won’t be Bush’s problem, probably, because he’s only in office another 2 years.

Perhaps the best point raised was by my friend James, who pointed out the connection between the Bush family, the UAE, Tony Blair, and seemingly everyone else in favor of this deal: the Carlyle group. James ties the incident in with Bush’s allegiance to this group and the players within it, and I agree. This is exactly the type of arrangement that has made this group billions of dollars over the years, and put many players in the grouping positions of power throughout the world. And it’s the type of arrangement that can provide the Bush family and other Carlyle members with access to the office of the presidency again in upcoming years.

The Carlyle group was founded in 1987, and is named after the Carlyle Hotel, where they first met to discuss their idea, which some say is a plan for world domination. The current chairman is Lou Gerstner, Former CEO of IBM, and the group includes such notables as both Bush’s, Colin Powell, James Baker, Alice Albright, Tony Blair, and Arthur Levitt, to name a few. The group has often been accused of political arbitrage, and all have retained amazing wealth from various political investments, raising a conflict of interest in many cases that should be irreconcilable. Craig Unger said that Saudi Arabian interests have given $1.4B to the Bush family through the group. Cha-ching!

It should be noted that both the group and the UAE have strong ties to the bin Laden family, and while the family maintains that Osama is the black sheep of the family and not communicated with any more, blood is thicker than water. And Osama bin Laden definitely still has ties to the UAE, ties which led bin Laden to escape once already while on UAE soil, as Bush wanted to show respect to the UAE.

Folks, if there is any action more fraught with danger than giving management of these ports, including Baltimore, New York, and my Philadelphia, over to a group which our own president tells me is our #1 enemy, please tell me what it is. In the mean time, the fact that Bush would stand so firm behind this horrible deal tells us that we need to question his motives. Hopefully, before the deal is done, and it’s too late to prevent a serious breech in our nation’s security.

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Posted by Scottage at 1:39 PM / | |