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Sent : Friday, January 7, 2005 7:31 PM
To : arabtimes <
Subject : This is where king of Jordan likes to eat....

This is where king of Jordan likes to eat....

Machine Guns Aimed at Children (in San Francisco)

By John C. Dvorak

While the state of the media is pretty bad itís hard to imagine how bad until the King Abdullah of Jordan rolls by in his limo in downtown San Francisco surrounded by the local Police and various black SUVís including one with some character pointing a machine gun out the window at Christmas shoppers, my children included. You just might think this was a little odd Ė and disconcerting.

This was the exact situation last Thursday. Iíve been meaning to write about it but Iíve been waiting for some reporting on this visit. The only thing I initially managed to find was a short one paragraph mention in a San Jose Mercury gossip column which merely cited the fact that the King would be speaking at the Commonwealth Club on Saturday night. It was a sold out event. I thought this was peculiar since hejust spoke last April here.

So what happened? My family and I happened to be walking across the street from Union square after
visiting the St. Francis Hotel to look at the new Michael Mina restaurant. One look down Post Street and suddenly a slew of police lights went up as if all hell broke loose. We walked across the street to see what was going on and saw various limos, armored SUVís and bodyguards everywhere and machine guns! One fellowís head was out his window with a machine gun pointed at the public. Holiday shoppers. Seasons greetings folks.

It took no effort to find out who this was as I simply solicited the various valet guys on the street. It was the King of Jordan after his dinner at Mortonís on Post. Iím thinking ďMortons?Ē He comes to San Francisco to eat at a chain restaurant? He must really like Mortons.

We were on our way to pick up my car to head acrossthe Bay Bridge.

Ten minutes later, upon entering the bridge, right in front of me was a diplomatís car with consul plates Ė a black Jaguar with the oval country symbol ďAĒ meaning Austria. The guy almost hit a barrier and was swerving excessively. I know that Yassar Arafat did a lot of business with Jordan and according to reports had lots of money squirreled away in Austria. The coincidence did not go by me unnoticed. Exactly why he was headed towards Oakland or Berkeley was somewhat mysterious. At first I figured that they were headed to Reno to party. Maybe it was to meet the King and perhaps the Kingís jet was at the Oakland Airport or even Hayward, where the smart money lands. There is probably a story here somewhere but since itís not about an actress or TV show there is no newsman to report on it. I sure donít get paid to follow up on this. I wait and wait for coverage and on Sunday there is an article about the Abdullah speech that runs in the Chronicle Ė a rehash of it. Nothing more. Itís online here.

Does anyone interview him? No. Is he on TV? Not that I could tell. There are canned PR-directed celebrity andentertainment news stories to do instead.

I do decide to search some of the local papers to see what kind of news we get instead of foreign affairs
news in an age of globalization and offshoring. If Britney Spears is around that gets covered, thatís for