Sunday, February 01, 2009

The Curious Case of Landmark Aviation & Standard Aero

Should Americans be worried about planes flying to the U.S. from the United Arab Emirates? Consider the following facts:

1. When President Bush allowed the Treasury Secretary to approve foreign investment in U.S. companies, he removed a provision that would have required CFIUS to "monitor the effects of foreign investment in the United States."

2. Congress is concerned over a Bush agreement to share nuclear technology with the United Arab Emirates. They identified lax export control laws as a major concern.

3. Dubai Aerospace purchased two U.S. companies with North American airport operations. The Carlyle Group sold Landmark Aviation and Standard Aero to the UAE firm in 2007. The deal closed between the Dubai Ports World brouha and the NASDAQ Borse controversy. It got no U.S. newspaper coverage.

4. Landmark Aviation is rumored to be a rendition carrier. Dubai Aerospace promised to sell the terminal portion of Landmark, only keeping its aircraft maintenance division. Standard Aero maintains military and business aircraft.

5. Rahm Emanuel's mentor, the head of GTCR Golder Rauner, purchased part of Landmark Aviation. President Barack Obama kept rendition on the list of CIA tools.

6. In a radio interview Frances Townsend told Brian Lehrer that al Qaeda would keep any WMD's in their control and not send them through the general commercial system. That means access to trusted planes with U.S. landing rights.

What's entering the U.S. from our oil rich friends in the Persian Gulf? What are the odds a $1.5 billion payday for The Carlyle Group greased the skids for the next attack? Probably low, but stay tuned.

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