Friday, February 24, 2006

Just when I thought it was safe...

Safe to stop talking about the Dubai Ports World situation, that is. Firstly, I have to state that I've fixed a misstatement in my last post dealing with the UAE issue. I said that Dubai is the capital of the United Arab Emirates, but that's not true. Abu Dhabi is the capital; Dubai is "just" a major port in that country (tenth largest port in the world), and probably a more familiar name in this country due to the annual golf tournament there.

In any case, there are a few more interesting tidbits relating to the Dubai Ports World deal.

Apparently, a sheik from the United Arab Emirates donated at least $1 million in the early 1990s to the foundation that would establish George H. W. Bush's presidential library at Texas A&M University. I don't really know how relevant that is to this situation, but it's certainly an interesting thickening of the plot.

Also, a story ran in my local paper about a secret pact that the Bush administration had with Dubai Ports World that would keep the US government from imposing routine restrictions on the company. Normally when a foreign company buys an American company and takes control, the business records remain on American soil where they are subject to court orders, and the company is required to "designate an American citizen to accommodate requests by the government." The Bush administration required neither of Dubai Ports World, which is highly irregular.

Lastly, apparently last year, this same company, without much in the way of ballyhoo, bought out the CSX Corporation, which runs ports here and, possibly even more importantly, trains that connect to 23 states.

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