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Dubai Ports World, CSX Corporation

Port puzzle links Secretary of the Treasury John Snow

By Judi McLeod
Wednesday, February 22, 2006

President George W. Bush's appointed U.S. Secretary of the Treasury John Snow has a direct link to Dubai Ports World, the state-owned company in the United Arab Emirates poised to take over shipping operations at six major U.S. seaports in early March.

Snow was chairman and chief executive officer of CSX Corporation when nominated by Bush to serve as U.S. Secretary of the Treasury on December 9, 2002.

On December 8, 2004 Dubai Ports International (Dubai Ports) purchased CSX for US$1.15-billion. The transaction, underwritten by Deutsche Bank, was expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2005.

Michael J. Ward was appointed chairman, president and CEO of CSX in January of 2003.

And the plot, as they say, thickens. International law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer--which advised CSX Corporation on the sale of its global container terminal to Dubai Ports–was also doing work for CNOOC, which made a failed bid on the U.S. oil firm Unocal takeover last year and also worked on the United Nations Oil-for-Food brouhaha.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer was "investigating" corruption by Compass Group PLC, the world's largest catering company, which said it had suspended two executives while it investigates a contract between one of its subsidiaries and the United Nations.

How can the international law firm investigate corruption by Compass and the UN when it is already conducts other legal work for the UN?

With its $1-billion stake, Dubai Ports is the third largest shareholder in Daimler Chrysler, which may have provided the trucks used to send the WMD to Syria.

In this story of never ending twists and turns, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has also represented Daimler Chrysler.

In the face of Congress concerns that a Dubai Ports in charge of American seaports in New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, New Orleans, Miami and Philadelphia would increase the risk of terrorism in a post 9/11 world, Bush has vowed to veto any bill Congress might approve to block the agreement.

"If there was any chance that this transaction would jeopardize the security of the United States, it would not go forward," Bush said.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee plans to introduce legislation to put the plan on hold if the White House does not delay the takeover, saying the deal raised "serious questions regarding the safety and security of our homeland."

Who is the company with designs on American ports?

One that has a lot of money to spend on any acquisition within its sight.

On a buying spree that veers from the colourful to the powerful, Dubai Ports has already netted world renowned status symbols like Madame Tussauds Wax Museum in London.

With significant marine acquisitions like six American harbors in their back pocket, the Arab conglomerate poured $15-billion into the creation of a global aerospace manufacturing and services corporation that puts it into the driver's seat in the development and operation of airports around the world.

The six American ports can be added to Dubai Ports' portfolio of harbors it already operates in the Middle East, Asia, Europe, Australia and Latin America.

Dubai Ports is not coming ashore with its acquisition of American ports in early March. It already has a presence in Manhattan, having purchased the Essex Hotel last September and operated by Jumeirah Group, its hospitality arm.

As Donald E. Wildmon of the American Family Association Online points out, "the purchase (of American ports) was cleared by an obscure federal panel, The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States with little fanfare."

"The United Arab Emirates government is generally pro-U.S., but the September 11 hijackers traveled easily through the country, and Al-Qaeda-linked groups have used its banking system."

Internet conspiracy theorists have long lamented what they claim are the close ties that link the Bush dynasty to Saudi Arabia's Royal House of Saudi, a theory echoed by documentarian Michael Moore in Fahrenheit 911.

Meanwhile, now that United Arab Emirates is taking over America's ports, where is Michael Moore?

Canada Free Press founding editor Most recent by Judi McLeod is an award-winning journalist with 30 years experience in the print media. Her work has appeared on Newsmax.com, Drudge Report, Foxnews.com, Glenn Beck. Judi can be reached at: [email protected]

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