February 17, 2006

Portgate, the Sale of U.S. Security

A storm is brewing over V's decision to sell the rights to run six major east coast ports to DP World, a state sponsored company run by the United Arab Emirates, a nation whose banks were the source of a great deal of financing for Al Qaeda and other trerrorist organizations. Michelle Malkin does some exensive reporting here.

I did some quick internet searches and came up with a couple of curious information. It seems like as part of the deal to run the ports in the United States, they had to acquire U.K. container ports operator, Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company. To finance the acquisition they had to issue a bond known as a Sukuk, which apparently is a, ho-hum, Sha'ria compliant bond which stands as the largest Sukuk ever issued. The initial bond issue was slated for $2.5 billion but due to strong demand was increased to $3.5 billion with Dubai Islamic Bank and Carclays Capital as the lead issuers. Apparently the Muslim world is excited about getting a piece of the company that will run some U.S. ports. See here for more information about the bond offering.

A little more research led me to this little tidbit of information. A search of Dubai Islamic Bank led me to this article in Business Week:

For regulators tracking bin Laden's funding, the task is hugely complex. For starters, the money originates from abroad. Take those wealthy merchants, construction magnates, or bankers who donate directly to the Islamic militant groups. Security specialists believe they wire funds to bank accounts in places like London, Hong Kong, or Dubai that are held by Islamic charities, businesses, or individuals who front for the militant Islamic groups. In 1999, U.S. intelligence agents reported that Dubai Islamic Bank in the United Arab Emirates was a conduit for bin Laden funds. The bank declined to comment. On Sept. 19, Barclays Bank froze a suspicious account, although the bank says the account was long inactive. Thousands of such accounts could exist.

What does any of this prove? Nothing. But, in the least, it shows that the questions so many have been raising by this deal have some merit and the administration needs more extensive disclosure about how this deal won't affect the security of our nation.