POSTED: 28 FEBRUARY 2006 - 10:00am HST

Bush Family, Dubai Ports World & Carlyle Group

image above: Container ship at Dubai Ports World targeted operation in Florida

[Editor's Note: The Carlyle Group is a supporteer right-wing political actions thoughout the world and recently, through its subsidiary Hawaiian Telecom,bought Verizon's operation of local phone service in Hawaii, that serves Kauai]

More incest than a village in Appalachia,
“…than a cocktail party in Westport, Connecticut”
or “..than a dinner with the Saudi Royal Family”

by shystee on 24 February 2006 at
Via Randi Rhodes, the Goddess of Progressive Talk Radio. BTW: Air America is a great way to keep up on things if you can’t read blogs at work. But keep the volume down or you might get questions from co-workers like “what is she bitching about now?”.

The Lou Dobbs show, CNN, 22 February 2006:

The oil-rich United Arab Emirates is a major investor in The Carlyle Group, the private equity investment firm where President Bush’s father once served as senior adviser and is a who’s who of former high-level government officials. Just last year, Dubai International Capital, a government-backed buyout firm, invested in an $8 billion Carlyle fund.

But there’s much more:
Another family connection, the president’s brother, Neil Bush, has reportedly received funding for his educational software company from the UAE investors. A call to his company was not returned.

Snow: Who knew?
Then there is the cabinet connection. Treasury Secretary John Snow was chairman of railroad company CSX/. After he left the company for the White House, CSX sold its international port operations to Dubai Ports World for more than a billion dollars.
In Connecticut today, Snow told reporters he had no knowledge of that CSX sale. “I learned of this transaction probably the same way members of the Senate did, by reading about it in the newspapers.”

It just doesn’t stop
Another administration connection, President Bush chose a Dubai Ports World executive to head the U.S. Maritime Administration. David Sanborn, the former director of Dubai Ports’ European and Latin American operations, he was tapped just last month to lead the agency that oversees U.S. port operations.

Conspiracy theory? Let’s follow the gagillions of dollars and let the players speak for themselves:

December 2002 - February 2003:
Carlyle Group Purchases CSX Lines, LLC
CSX and The Carlyle Group Complete Conveyance of CSX Lines
Jacksonville, FL, and Washington, DC - CSX Corporation (NYSE: CSX) and The Carlyle Group, a global private equity firm, announced today that they have completed the conveyance of CSX Lines, LLC, from CSX to a venture formed with The Carlyle Group. CSX received $300 million, consisting of $240 million in cash and $60 million of securities issued by the venture.

As part of the transaction announced December 17, 2002, former CSX Lines President and CEO Charles G. (Chuck) Raymond and his management team will lead the Charlotte, N.C.-based ocean carrier, now named Horizon Lines, LLC.
- Carlyle Group Website/Press Release

January 2003:
Bush Nominates John Snow, Chairman and CEO of CSX to be Treasury Secretary
President George W. Bush nominated John William Snow to be the 73rd Secretary of the Treasury on January 13, 2003 . The United States Senate unanimously confirmed Snow to the position on January 30, 2003 and he was sworn into office on February 3, 2003 . As Secretary of the Treasury, Snow works closely with President Bush on a broad array of economy policy issues.

Before coming to Treasury, Snow was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of CSX Corporation, where he successfully guided the global transportation company through a period of tremendous change.
- Treasury Dept. Website

December 2004:
DP (Dubai Ports) World announces agreement to purchase CSX’s shipping terminals

December 2004:
DP World - International made it’s most ambitious move to-date, with the announcement that it had signed a definitive agreement with CSX Corporation to acquire the international terminal business conducted by CSX World Terminals and other related interests for a cash consideration of US$ 1.15bn, completion of this transaction is expected to take place in the first quarter of 2005.

The CSX World Terminals container terminal portfolio consists of interests in 9 terminals with 24 berths and a combined future capacity of 14.6 million TEU across operations in Asia, Europe, Australia and Latin America.
- DP World Website

December 2005 - Early 2006:

DP World makes bid to purchase Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company (“P&O”), a UK company that operates some US ports. The increased recommended cash offer is a revision to the terms of the original recommended proposals in respect of the Deferred Stock (the “Revised Proposals”).
- DP World Press Release

To sum it all up, Lou Dobbs lays the smackdown on the Chimp:

President Bush has put forth a challenge tonight that I simply can’t ignore. The president yesterday said he wanted those who are critical and questioning of this port deal to “step up and explain why all of a sudden a Middle Eastern company is held to a different standard than a Great British company.”

Well, first of all, Mr. President, to equate any country to your principal partner in the coalition ignores that special relationship this country’s enjoyed with the United Kingdom for decades and decades. This also is not just a British company and an Arab company, as I think you well know.

Peninsula and Oriental Steam Navigation is a British privately owned company. Dubai Ports World is a UAE government controlled and owned company. You see the difference, of course.

And furthermore, the money used to fund the 9/11 attacks, most of it, in fact, was sent to the hijackers through the UAE banking system. In fact, two of the hijackers were originally from the UAE.

The UAE stonewalled U.S. efforts to track al Qaeda bank accounts after 9/11. In addition, the Emirates does not recognize Israel as a sovereign state. And the UAE was a transfer point for shipments of nuclear technology to Iran, North Korea and Libya.

And if those aren’t good enough reasons, I would just suggest I’m at a complete loss to offer what might be considered good reasons.

James Baker: Former Secretary of State, Bush Florida Vote Fixer and Carlyle Group rep

Carlyle Covers Up
15 November 2004 in The Nation

Less than twenty-four hours after The Nation disclosed that former Secretary of State James Baker and the Carlyle Group were involved in a secret deal to profit from Iraq's debt to Kuwait, NBC was reporting that the deal was "dead." At The Nation, we started to get calls congratulating us on costing the Carlyle Group $1 billion, the sum the company would have received in an investment from the government of Kuwait in exchange for helping to extract $27 billion of unpaid debts from Iraq.

We were flattered (sort of), until we realized that Carlyle had just pulled off a major public relations coup. When the story broke, the notoriously secretive merchant bank needed to find a way to avoid a full-blown political scandal. It chose a bold tactic: In the face of overwhelming evidence of a glaring conflict of interest between Baker's stake in Carlyle and his post as George W. Bush's special envoy on Iraq's debt, Carlyle simply denied everything. The company issued a statement saying that it does not want to be involved in the Kuwait deal "in any way, shape or form and will not invest any money raised by the Consortium's efforts" and, furthermore, that "Carlyle was never a member of the Consortium." A spokesperson told the Financial Times that Carlyle had pulled out as soon as James Baker was appointed debt envoy, because his new political post made Carlyle's involvement "unsuitable." Mysteriously, there was no paper trail--just Carlyle's word that it had informed its business partners "orally."

You have to hand it to them: It was gutsy. In the leaked business proposal from the consortium to the Kuwaiti government--submitted almost two months after Baker's appointment--the Carlyle Group is named no fewer than forty-seven times; it is listed first among the companies involved in the consortium; and its partner James Baker is mentioned by name at least eleven times. In interviews, other consortium members, including Madeleine Albright's consulting firm, the Albright Group, confirmed that Carlyle was still involved, as did the office of the Prime Minister of Kuwait. Shahameen Sheikh, the consortium's CEO, told me that when Baker was named envoy in December, Carlyle was "very clear with us that they wanted to restrict their role to fund managers," but she said the firm was very much still a part of the deal.

That was exactly what Carlyle spokesman Christopher Ullman had told me. He also admitted that Carlyle would land a $1 billion investment if the proposal was accepted. After I reported these facts, Ullman even called to thank me for quoting him accurately.

So when I heard about Carlyle's about-face, I called Ullman to see what was up. I felt like I was talking to one of the brainwashed characters in The Manchurian Candidate, the Jonathan Demme remake about a Carlyle-esque company that conspires to put a mind-controlled candidate in the Oval Office. "We learned today that we did not even join the consortium," Ullman told me, drone-like. "When I spoke to you yesterday, I did not know that."

Amazingly, it worked. The story--which made front-page news around the world--vanished almost as soon as it had appeared in the press at home. The New York Times has not printed a word about Baker's conflict, despite the fact that when Baker was first appointed envoy, it published an editorial calling on him to resign from Carlyle in order to "perform honorably in his new public job." The Kerry campaign has been equally silent, apparently for fear that any criticism would boomerang onto the Democrats because of Albright. This was Carlyle's stroke of genius: When Baker was appointed, the consortium recruited Albright to front the deal; when they got caught, Carlyle denied all involvement in this "unsuitable" activity and left a prominent Democrat holding the bag.

As the story disappeared under Carlyle's spell, it was as if the entire US media had been implanted with Manchurian memory chips. Here was hard evidence that the Carlyle Group--the "ex-Presidents' club," run so much like a secret society that Charles Lewis of the Center for Public Integrity once described researching the firm as "shadowboxing with a ghost" --had participated in a scheme to use Baker to undermine US policy, possibly in violation of multiple conflict-of-interest regulations, including criminal statutes. Yet Carlyle was slipping out of reach once again.

Crucially, the central question remains unanswered by the White House: Have James Baker's business interests compromised his performance as debt envoy? That question does not go away simply because $1 billion will stay in the coffers of a wealthy oil emirate rather than in a Carlyle equity fund. The week after losing the deal, Carlyle handed a record-breaking $6.6 billion payout to investors. "It's the best 18 months we ever had," boasted Carlyle chief investment officer Bill Conway to the Financial Times. "We made money and we made it fast."

In Iraq, the last eighteen months have been markedly worse, and the stakes for Baker's job performance there are considerably higher. This was underlined on October 13, when Iraq's health ministry issued a harrowing report on its post-invasion health crisis, including outbreaks of typhoid and tuberculosis and soaring child and mother mortality rates. A week after the report came out, Iraq paid out another $195 million for war reparation debts, mostly to Kuwait. Meanwhile, the State Department announced that $3.5 billion for water, sanitation and electricity projects was being shifted to security in Iraq, claiming that, according to Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, debt relief is on the way.

Is it? In fact, Iraq is being plunged deeper into debt, with $836 million in new loans and grants now flowing from the IMF and the World Bank. Meanwhile, Baker has not managed to get a single country to commit to eradicating Iraq's debts. Iraq's creditors know that while Baker was asking them to show forgiveness, his company was offering Kuwait a special side deal to push Iraq to pay up. It's not the kind of news that tends to generate generosity and good will. And the timing couldn't be worse: The Paris Club is about to meet to hash out a final deal on Iraq's debt.

But that doesn't happen until November 12. And if 2000 is any indication, by then Baker could be on to bigger deals. Look out for him in swing states, if another election needs stealing.