08 July, 2006

Unlikely group helps Austin beat Dubai rap

Unlikely group helps Austin beat Dubai rap
BY JEFF LEEDS and SHARON WAXMAN, The New York Times

But the release of a music producer from a Dubai jail this week, quick on the heels of his conviction for drug possession, turns out to be a story of high-level string-pulling on the part of Hatch, the conservative Utah Republican and songwriter; along with Lionel Richie, the singer; Quincy Jones, the music entrepreneur; and an array of well-connected lawyers, businessmen and others, spanning cities and continents.
...
Hatch made numerous phone calls on Austin's behalf to the ambassador and consul of the United Arab Emirates embassy in Washington - Dubai is one of the seven emirates - and served as an intermediary to Austin's representatives, the producer's lawyers said.
...
"This involved multiple ambassadors, a prime minister, a prince, Lionel Richie, the senator and religious leaders in Atlanta," Reeder said.

"The uniting factor of all these people - the religious leaders, the political leaders, entertainment figures and prominent private citizens - was humanitarian considerations," he said. "Where should this man be under these circumstances?"
...
On Friday, Austin released a statement that said in part: "This unfortunate experience has had a profound effect on me, and I regret any grief caused to my family, friends and business associates."

More here

12 comments:

linken said...

Enough about this BS.

He got away because of his contacts. People here are just lame. End of story. It's unfair and it's all that but who is listening?

So shut up.

babelfishy said...

Unrelated, but has anyone tried clicking on one of those little flags that says "translate this blog to?"

It's amazingly fast and accurate.

You can learn a whole lot of new languages just this way.

bandicoot said...

Impressive "coalition" of contacts! I don't know about the others, but Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) was one of the senators who supported the DPW deal, so may be this is scratching his back in return; but I didn't know he was a song writer!

Tainted Female said...

Do any of you see the slightest bias slant in this publication?

Did they mention good or bad treatment of Austin, at all? Wouldn't treatment be of curiosity, even concern to their readers? Doesn't the idea of a foreign prison embellish misconduct and negative feelings American minds thanks to the preconceived images of pure hell thanks to movies like the one that was strategically mentioned in this article? If he wasn’t treated horrendously, shouldn’t that be considered news; a form of relieve for his local admirers & well wishers? If he was kept under inhumane circumstances, do you honestly believe that it would also be omitted from this publication?

"This involved multiple ambassadors, a prime minister, a prince, Lionel Richie, the senator and religious leaders in Atlanta," Reeder said.

A ‘prince’, or an Arab or Muslims ‘Sheikh’ that they wouldn’t want the American public to know has 'mercy'; that might just be a ruling member the country that has heinous prisons like those outlined in the heart-wrenching movie ‘Midnight Express’?

BD said...

I'm sorry tainted female I couldn't follow your position or sentiment on the matter, through what you wrote. Could you restate it in a more direct way?

I agree with linken to an extent. This guy was just lucky he had friends in high places. Have mercy on the rest of humanity who aren't so lucky. But that is only a part of the story. For the powers that be, this was not about Austin, but about Dubai and the image it wants to send. That is really what got him off the hook.

And to babelfishy, I'm glad to hear the translate links work, becasue they are blocked by Etisalat in the UAE. But you say fast and accurate. Do you know this for a fact?

Anonymous said...

bd:

with regards to your statment about 'dubai and the image it wants to send'....in my (very liberal and n.american) city the image that dubai is sending is that if you are well placed coke head then the rules don't apply to you. and this 'image' is not one that is going over well with the local population. since most folks here are of the mind 'if you do the crime - you do the time'.

everyone talks about dubai having to tread a thin line between local interests vs. good western pr. but i just might be the only person who thinks letting the coke head go is a good for pr. i actually find it bad. what self respecting law abiding person wants to go on holiday in a place where the ruler signs people out of jail on whim????

BD said...

^^^You have a point. Part of my argument is that Dubai despite its best efforts may end up sending the wrong message to the "wrong" people. (Don't ask me to define the "wrong" people.)

I'm sure it doesn't want to send a signal that drugs are OK--or that justice is metted to only the poor. In letting Austin go Dubai's rulers want to say that the "rich and famous" need not be afraid to come.

It's not that this opens the doors to druggies, but it helps dispell a false image that one might get hands and heads cut off if they happen to slip.

Keefieboy said...

"...was humanitarian considerations," he said. "Where should this man be under these circumstances?" Pretty obvious isn't it? You knowingly bring cocaine into a country where you know it is absolutely not allowed - the place for you to be is in jail! Does anyone on the planet (apart from Mr Austin and his pals) think that pardoning him was the right thing to do?

Tainted Female said...

The point bd, I was trying to make is how the US media plays a nice little role in why the American public is so uneducated, arrogant, and full of hate towards the Arab world.

‘For the powers that be, this was not about Austin, but about Dubai and the image it wants to send.’

And I couldn’t agree with you more. But you can’t see that the very aim for that image is being avoided if not misrepresented by the American press? There is no mention in his whole article about how he was treated, but there’s a strong implication that it was hell (you have seen that movie, yeah?). There is no mention which country the ‘prince’ was from.

Regardless of the reasons he was pardoned (I like the rest of the sane planet doesn’t believe he should have been…), UAE gets no appreciation from America in return despite its efforts to please them.

bandicoot said...

Once again Mr. Austin gets all the attention on this forum, and I can’t help not join the foray! My take in a nutshell: if the world was a fair place, the DPW deal would've sailed smoothly and Mr. Austin would've stayed to finish his sentence. The reverse case of fairness also would've seen the DPW deal fail for pure business/financial reasons and Mr. Austin be freed after a successful appeal. Such world however exists not.

Al Sinjab said...

Notice how he apologizes to friends and business associates but not the UAE govt?

Tainted, I also noticed the Orientalism in this article. Not just towards Arabs though, towards the ME generally.

Tainted Female said...

Well thank you Al Sinjab...

At least I'm not the only who sees it... (one way or another)...

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