Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The Ports Deal (2)

This just gets worse. The company aiming to take over management of US ports is owned by the Government of Dubai, and boycotts Israel (that's against US law). This mess looks like a set-up of the administration by State, which should never have authorized the deal.

Here's the JPost:
The parent company of a Dubai-based firm at the center of a political storm in the US over the purchase of American ports participates in the Arab boycott against Israel, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

The firm, Dubai Ports World, is seeking control over six major US ports, including those in New York, Miami, Philadelphia and Baltimore. It is entirely owned by the Government of Dubai via a holding company called the Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation, which consists of the Dubai Port Authority, the Dubai Customs Department and the Jebel Ali Free Zone Area.

"Yes, of course the boycott is still in place and is still enforced,"...a staff member of the Dubai Customs Department's Office for the Boycott of Israel, told the Post in a telephone interview.
Under US law, the Arab boycott of Israel is illegal:
On at least three separate occasions last year, the Post has learned, companies
were fined by the US government's Office of Anti-boycott Compliance, an arm of
the Commerce Department, on charges connected to boycott-related requests they had received from the Government of Dubai.

US law bars firms from complying with such requests or cooperating with attempts by Arab governments to boycott Israel.
I once (pre-9/11) experienced an audit by a team from the The Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States (CFIUS), in connection with a sale of a US company to a company owned by a foreign (but democratic) state. The audit was thorough and competent and covered both target and buying companies.

It's inconceivable that the CFIUS team would have failed to spot that the intended buyer was owned by the government of one of the least free nations in the world, and that its parent was in breach of US law.

It looks like a setup.