Saturday, September 15, 2007

The strange case of Hillary's Sheik

The New York Sun reports that a senior Dubai government official with ties to the Clintons is facing a class-action lawsuit. The accusation? Facilitating enslavement of thousands of boys for use as jockeys in camel races throughout the Middle East.

[The] deputy ruler of the United Arab Emirates and leader of Dubai, Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, ...was [previously] named in the suit, [which] was thrown out on jurisdictional grounds. [A new] suit has now been refiled in Kentucky, where Sheik Hamdan bin Rashid al-Maktoum has extensive horseracing interests, including livestock and stables...

In documents filed... in U.S. District Court in Lexington, Ky., Sheik Hamdan bin Rashid al-Maktoum and unnamed others are accused of "obtaining boys through abduction, false inducement, or agreement" from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Mauritania, and Sudan... "These boys would then be trafficked across international borders by traffickers and smugglers posing as the boys' parents," the documents say. "Once these individuals arrived in the United Arab Emirates (‘ U.A.E.') … they would then sell these boys into slavery to individuals in the camel-racing industry where the boys would, among other forced tasks, serve as jockeys."

..."The children … work long hours in temperatures exceeding 100 degrees Fahrenheit, live in unsanitary conditions, receive little food, and are deprived of sleep so that they do not gain weight and increase the load on the camels they race... They are trained and kept under the watchful eyes of handlers, who employ abusive control tactics, including threats and beatings. Some are reportedly abused sexually. Many have been seriously injured and some have been trampled to death by camels..."

The Clintons' ties to the Sheik

About this time last year, the New York Post reported on the web of connections between the Emir of Dubai, Sheik Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and the Clintons.

Clinton's former press secretary, Joe Lockhart, is said to have denied he works for the emir. But it now turns out that the Emir's Dubai International Capital Corp. (DICC) hired Lockhart's Glover Park Group (GPG) to help with its U.S. takeovers. Among the takeovers: two U.S. defense firms. Besides Lockhart, GPG's partners include Hillary's chief advisers: Howard Wolfson and Gigi Georges. DICC paid $100,000 for GPG's services.

The Post article questions whether Hillary knew that the emir provided funding to her senior-most campaign consultants. But it seems hard to believe that Hillary, a notorious "control freak", wouldn't have insight into these potentially damaging relationships.

The Clinton family's swelling coffers

Senator Clinton's office claims that GPG never lobbied her on the Dubai ports issue. But, tellingly, Newsday has reported that other New York officials (including Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Peter King) were contacted.

The Post article reports that the Clintons' net worth has increased quite dramatically in only two short years. In 2003, Hillary disclosed assets of between $352K and $3.8 million.

Only two years later, she declared assets of between $10 million and $50 million. In the past, observers could have pointed to suspect commodities trading practices, but this time no one is quite sure what's behind the Clintons' swollen assets. The Post posits that Dubai may be the answer to the question of what caused Hillary's assets to explode:

* Clinton is a top advisor to Yucaipa, an investment company run by billionaire Ron Burkle, which, through a subsidiary, [manages] the emir's investment portfolio shortly after Clinton joined the firm.

* Clinton gets a flat fee from Yucaipa and a share of the profits on the foreign investment fund it manages. (Hillary's Senate disclosure form notes only that Bill gets more than a $1,000 a year in compensation from this.)

* The emir gave an undisclosed donation to the Clinton Presidential Library -- but it must have been hefty: The library set up a Clinton Scholars program for young people from the Arab nation, the only such program it runs.

* Bill Clinton has twice given speeches in Dubai for close to $500,000.

What are the real ties between Dubai and the Clintons?

The true relationship between the Clintons and the Emir should be fully and fairly disclosed.

Given Bill Clinton's bizarre attenuation to the Chinese military, these questionable links to Dubai merit utter transparency. Anything less is a continuing stain on what little remains of the Clinton "legacy."

Update: Welcome, Instapundit readers and thank you, sir, for the link. Still contemplating voting for Hillary? Make sure you read the disclaimer... heh!

Hat tips: Atlas and Larwyn. For more information on the camel jockey slave trade, see this BBC report from 2005.

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