The UAE port deal: I support it

Posted by: ST on February 23, 2006 at 12:51 am

The more this UAE port management story is being reported, examined, and discussed in the MSM, as well as on opinion pages and in the blogosphere, the more I find myself believing that the issue has bas been overhyped unecessarily. Even with saying that, I know that the concerns put forth by many of our fellow conservatives are genuine and heartfelt. Issues pertaining to national security have long been our strength, especially in the aftermath of the 9-11 attacks. We want to remain strong on that front because, unlike some in the opposition party, we realize that showing weakness – especially in a time of war – is something on which our enemies can and will try to capitalize. We don’t want anyone to forget 9-11 happened, so when it’s reported that the US has made a deal of this nature with the UAE, a country from where two of the 9-11 hijackers came, the first inclination is to say “what the he!! was the administration thinking here?” I know I was saying that, too, initially.

What persuaded me to change my mind? A number of pieces I printed out today to look over later this evening when I had some time to read and digest them. Dick Meyer’s opinion piece at CBS.com was one. In it, he lists what he believes are the myths being reported about this story and counters them (effectively, I think). Instead of listing them here, I recommend that you read the article in full. Jim Geraghty over at NRO’s Kerry Spot says: “My fellow bloggers …. we’ve been snookered.” Time Magazine, surprisingly, has been one of the few voices of calmness out there as far as the reporting and research on the UAE port deal goes (see here and here). From the latter article, which I referenced previously:

But to call the United Arab Emirates a country “tied to 9/11” by virtue of the fact that one of the hijackers was born there and others transited through it is akin to attaching the same label to Britain (where shoe-bomber Richard Reid was born) or Germany (where a number of the 9/11 conspirators were based for a time). Dubai’s port has a reputation for being one of the best run in the Middle East, says Stephen Flynn, a maritime security expert at the Council on Foreign Relations. And Dubai Ports World, which is a relatively new venture launched by the government of Dubai in 1999, has a number of Americans well known in the shipping industry in its senior leadership. It operates port facilities from Australia through China, Korea and Malaysia to India, Germany and Venezuela. (The acquisition of P&O would give them control over container shipping ports in Vancouver, Buenos Aires and a number of locations in Britain, France and a number of Asian countries.) “It’s not exactly a shadow organization for al-Qaeda,” says Flynn. Dubai, in fact, was one of the first Middle Eastern countries to join the U.S. Container Security Initiative, which places U.S. customs agents in overseas ports to begin the screening process from a U.S.-bound cargo’s point of departure.

[…]

In the talk-show furor over the transfer of P&O to Dubai Ports World, there has been little reference to the mechanics of port management in the U.S. Over 80 percent of the terminals in the Port of Los Angeles, for example — the biggest in the U.S. — are run by foreign-owned companies. U.S. ports are owned by state authorities, and the workers who actually offload the ships that dock there are the same unionized Americans who belong to the International Longshoremen’s Association, regardless of which company hires them. Dubai Ports will not “own” the U.S. facilities, but will inherit the P&O’s contracts to run them, with no changes in the dockside personnel or the U.S. government security operations that currently apply to them.

Reuters, surprisingly, has been a wealth of information on the UAE port deal:

No risk to US from Arab port takeover: experts

LONDON (Reuters) – U.S. security is not at risk if Arab firm Dubai Ports takes control of major U.S. seaports, shipping experts said on Wednesday, pointing to the firm’s flawless record and protection from maritime treaties.

Under a $6.8 billion deal Dubai Ports World will take over UK firm P&O operations that include six top U.S. ports. The sale has caused a storm in the United States.

U.S. President George W. Bush on Tuesday rejected congressional pressure to step in and suspend the UAE firm’s takeover and vowed to veto any legislation to block the deal. Several members of Congress have expressed concerns over security if the ports were run by Dubai Ports.

Maritime security experts sided with the president.

“They are professionals and they operate in a market and a market provides discipline,” said Professor Geoffrey Till, head of defense studies at King’s College University in London.

“There is a real incentive for them to demonstrate that something like this is not a security threat and rather more so than an English-based consortium,” Till, a naval expert, told Reuters at a maritime security conference in London.

The world’s big ports are protected by numerous conventions and treaties designed to prevent the shipment of illegal arms.

Dubai has signed up to two major maritime security laws, the U.S.-led Container Security Initiative and the global International Ship and Port Security code, experts noted.

They also pointed to Dubai Ports’ fine security record.

“They really do know and appreciate how much they are at risk,” Till said.

More here:

* The U.S. State Department says the UAE provides “staunch assistance and cooperation” against terrorism. It has praised the UAE for new laws to fight terrorism and protect its financial sector from abuse, for increasing sea and land border security measures, and for Dubai’s membership in the anti-terrorism Container Security Initiative which vets cargo shipments headed for the United States.

* U.S. officials also praise the UAE for encouraging religious moderation while condemning terrorism and extremism.

* The UAE has been involved in several al Qaeda arrests. Key al Qaeda operative Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, one of the men charged with the 2000 attack against the U.S. destroyer Cole that killed 17 sailors, was captured in the UAE in late 2002 and handed over to the United States. Other al Qaeda figures arrested in the UAE include Qari Saifullah Akhtar, who was with Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan during the U.S.-led war after Sept. 11 and has been linked to assassination attempts against Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf.

Even more:

U.S. warships regularly dock at Dubai’s Jebel Ali Port, which is also managed by DP World, and the emirate became the first Middle Eastern port city in 2004 to sign a U.S. pact aimed at deterring the use of shipping containers for terrorism.

The UAE provides logistical support for some U.S. military operations in the region, including Afghanistan. The Gulf Arab state, an OPEC oil producer, is negotiating a free trade agreement with the United States.

Mansoor Ijaz:

A metropolis already, it [Dubai] is rapidly becoming the prototype city-state that could serve as an important example for the future in Muslim societies bedeviled by high unemployment, low literacy rates, bad trade policies, and authoritarian political structures. It is managed and led by a cadre of young, highly educated Arab and Muslim professionals who seek to transform the world’s stereotype of Islam by developing and running businesses transparently, with integrity and with an increasingly democratic and accountable corporate culture.

Whatever the UAE’s policies in the pre-9/11 world (whether as home to A. Q. Khan’s illicit nuclear network, one of three Taliban embassies, questionable banking practices, or as an alleged repository for Iranian-terror funds), Dubai’s record under these young leaders in the post 9/11 world reflects serious and structural change in national strategy. As Jim Robbins noted Tuesday, in December 2004, Dubai was the first Middle East government to accept the U.S. Container Security Initiative as policy to screen all containers for security hazards before heading to America. In May 2005, Dubai signed an agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy to prevent nuclear materials from passing through its ports. It also installed radiation-detecting equipment — evidence of a commitment to invest in technology. In October 2005, the UAE Central Bank directed banks and financial institutions in the country to tighten their internal systems and controls in their fight against money laundering and terrorist financing.

These are not the actions of a terror-sponsoring state.

The Dubai port deal could also serve to increase the depth and breadth of people-to-people contacts between America and important Muslim countries in the Reaganesque “trust but verify” mold. It is useful in this regard to remember the example of the U.S. International Military Education and Training (IMET) program, which for decades has trained foreign armies in unstable countries to stay out of politics and improved U.S. understanding of complex societies. It seems patently hypocritical that America wants democracy in the Middle East, champions capitalism and global integration, pushes for reform, transparency, and anti-corruption practices in business, and then turns around and tells those who are practicing what America preaches, Sorry, we think you folks are a bunch of terrorists, so we don’t want you on our shores and don’t trust you running our ports.

Two popular liberal blogs (Think Progress and Washington Monthly – Kevin Drum) are waving the caution flag on the frenzy surrounding this story – both of those posts are well worth reading. You won’t agree with everything said, but the sentiment behind both – and that is that this story has been distorted and misrepresented in the press by both the mediots and Congresscritters alike and as a result the deal that looked horrible on its surface actually isn’t what it’s been made out to be – I agree with.

As I noted in my prior post, this debate over the UAE port management reminds me (and alot of others) of the controversy surrounding the Harriet Miers USSC nomination. There was a lot of hyperventilating and hot tempers with regards to that issue, but in the end, I ended up not supporting the administration’s nomination of Harriet Miers. The admin was wrong on that one, but on the UAE port deal, I think they got it right.

Of course, the Senate and House preeners are lining up to look tough on national security in an election year – on BOTH sides of the aisle. I should have smelled a rat when the media reported Sens. Hillary Clinton’s and Robert Menendez’s displeasure with the deal – after that, the story snowballed and soon everyone was lining up before the microphones and cameras on both sides of the aisle in firm opposition to the port deal – and the factual errors some of these politicians (who should know better) are too numerous to mention and have confused the issue all the more. Rep. Sue Myrick (R-NC 9th District), who I have an immense amount of respect for, disappointed me greatly on Wednesday with this stunt which didn’t help matters and only served to cloud the issue even further:

Dear Mr. President:

In regards to selling American ports to the United Arab Emirates, not just NO – but HELL NO!

Sincerely,
Sue Myrick

I’m with John J. Miller on that one.

There’s much more out there to be read on this once you cut through the hysteria and hype – stepping back from this issue on Wednesday for a few hours while it raged in the blogosphere and reading articles I’d printed on it later in the evening helped me see this issue in a different light. Again I’d like to say that while I respect and understand – and share some of – the concerns most of those who are against this deal have, I’m siding with the admin on this one. And if it comes to a veto, yes, I hope the President does exactly that.

Sidenote I: Where was the media on this when this story first broke back on the 11th? Until Hillary, Frist, and company decided to make political hay out of it, this story floated out there in neverland, Oh, that’s right. THIS was the story the MSM found was worth 24-7 coverage.

Sidenote II: I should also point out that the admin’s PR on this has been horrible – claiming that the people (including the President) who I believe should have known about this didn’t know does not exactly advance the argument that our the ‘in the know’ folks in our gov’t are on top of issues involving our national security in a post 9-11 world.

Other bloggers who’ve either had a change of heart on this or who are considering it: Glenn Reynolds, Brian at Iowa Voice (more here), California Conservative, Anchoress, Cranky at Six Meat Buffet, DJ Drummond at Polipundit

Others blogging that they are ok with the port deal include: Varifrank, Daniel Drezner, Glittering Eye, AJ Strata, Mark in Mexico (must-read!), OxBlog, Argghhh! , Atlas Shrugs, Thomas P.M. Barnett

AM Update: Joe Gandelman has a link roundup of the latest from the opinion media and the blogosphere, all of which he notes are showing some signs of softening. ST reader Dana R. Pico takes an in-depth look at the media and blogosphere swarm surrounding this story and comments thoughtfully on them.

PM Update I: Comical. (For background, see this post on the bogus ‘mindless Bush follower’ accusations that have been thrown around by the usual suspects and how the claim was thoroughly debunked … accusations that Daou seems to want to keep fresh even though he’s smart enough to realize that conservatives are not marching en masse alongside the President on this one.)

PM UPDATE II/Related: Tom Maguire responds to the ‘conservative cultist’ accusations once again. Tom, you rule!

PM UPDATE III: Hugh Hewitt, once staunchly against this deal, has changed his mind. I’ll post the transcript of the interview he did with Robert Kaplan when it gets posted at Radio Blogger. (Hat tip: ST reader Baklava)

FRI PM UPDATE: Here’s the interview Hewitt did with Robert Kaplan that went so well Hugh changed his stance on the port deal.

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  • 53 Responses to “The UAE port deal: I support it”

    Comments

    1. Baklava says:

      ST,

      I want to APPLAUD you for your stance. I think you have tremendous courage.

      I am against the deal still but only slightly and it goes along with my feeling that ALL ports should be completely controlled/managed/leased/owned by United States companies. This IS NOT happening now so there is no way my “feeling” matches up with reality.

      I also wish for no “illegal” immigration but my “feeling” doesn’t match up with reality.

      I also wish that we’d stop giving so much aid to Middle Eastern and African nations due to the lack of appreciation. Over 25 BILLION per year (from what I understand) and nothing to show for it. That is over $200 per American family per year (96% of that from the upper 50% of income earners so you might as well call that $400 per year per upper 50% income earner family ) and what do we get? Spat in the face from people who hate our country and our prosperity because all they are taught is hate and no FACTS.

      Let me just say this. And that is that while I am not READY to trust an UAE company, there were many people devoted to doing a job that are ready. And while I’m not happy about “illegal” immigration… This country is rising to the challenges (somewhat) and hasn’t been attacked again and has a less than 5% unemployment rate which is lower than the average unemployment rate for the last 40 years even with the workers that are “illegal”…. So who am I Joe six pack (code named Baklava) to speak?

    2. sanity says:

      :o
      Baklava, I am beginning to think one of us have been cloned!!!

      =))

      We believe in the US **== first, especially in protecting ourselves.

      It’s funny, what Baklava just wrote matches what I have been talking and feeling for a long time.

      While not much may change during that time, I still feel this is a bad idea. But as Baklava stated, I am not as ‘disturbed’ as some of the Democrats that seem to be tryin gto use this to gain political foot hold in the protection of the US.

      I understand our ports have been controlled by outside influences and this is just a buy and sell between the two outside influences. Some of hte following are what bother me about this:

      * What does bother me is that government did not know about it till the last minute.

      * That we have stated we will not support or be associated with those organizations and/or countries that have terroists ties or train terrorists and there is some questions in that dept. for he UAE.

      * Like Baklava, I think our ports should be in the control of the US. I realize it hasn’t been in some time, but that is still my feeling that we should be in control of all aspects of entry and departure from the US.

      * The British held control of the ports before we were in a state of war with terrorism. Well, President Bush just finally came out and said it during his time as President where Presidents before seemed ot fail to recognize this. As I was saying, the British held control before we were attacked and began taking security of the US more seriously, and then to have the ports being sold ot the UAE strikes even more doubts on just how secure we would be.

      It is my understanding that the ports will still be secure (I hope) and all traffic will be inspected and all personnel will be checked (I hope), I have a couple of question…..

      1) How far out is international waters from these ports?

      2) Our coast guard only patrols within the US waters, correct?

      3) What is the maximum range of of saftey for a Nuclear Weapon that is set off, even if it is set off in international waters. Say on the way to one of these ports?

      This is not a consiracy theory. I feel this is an actual scenario that could happen. Even a Nuclear weapon that is set off our coast would do massive damage and hard the US in ways unimaginable.

      Read a little here:
      EFFECTS OF NUCLEAR EXPLOSIONS

      There has already been threats by terrorists of a nuclear bomb being used against the US. What we have ot ask ourselves is just how far do we want to go to allow this risk to be a reality?

      There is no way to control every aspect of entry in the US, I realize that. But we should not make it easier to have something like this happen. We can only search those that come to our shores, by hen, if they feel they can come no closer, they can detonate and still cause massive damage to the US.

      Unfortunately in the world we live in today these are very real fears on alot of peoples minds. I would rather we don’t make it any easier for a terrorist to get to our shores than it already is.

    3. Jim M says:

      Sanity to answer your first question we control every thing with in 12 miles of our coasts. To answer your second question I believe the answer is yes but if there is someone in distress outside the 12 miles I believe the Coast Guard would respond. A nuclear bomb could be transported across either one of our porous borders via a truck and we don’t have a 12 mile grace period. It wouldn’t have to be transported in one piece it could be a little at a time we know that terrorists will take their time if it means they can take out a lot of people. Just think a truck could be driven into any one of our major cities parked and set it off during rush hour. It doesn’t matter who runs our ports the security is still up to our Government Federal State and City/Port. I have to go along with Rush; why would the UAE spend 8 billion dollars just to sneak a bomb into the United States when there are so many other less costly ways? I have to go along with our President on this one and thank you Sister T for all the information it helped in my decision.

    4. PCD says:

      I read the long post by Brian over at Iowa Voice. Limbaugh has a point about the Longshoreman’s Union being the instigator of the trouble over this deal.

      After reading ST’s and Brian’s post, I’m on board with this deal.

    5. Bandar Bush says:

      If we REALLY want to let the arabs see we trust them we should setup a child care system here in America and we let the Pakistanis and the Saudis run it. I mean what could happen to our children?

    6. Joe says:

      Thank goodness that more sensible heads are starting to prevail…honestly, I agree with the statement that I would rather have all posts in the hands of US companies, and if there is a buck to be made at our ports by a Dubai owned company, why are we not making it for ourselves?!!! Anyway, I saw a funny statement on the Daily show, saying that no matter what happens, 5 years after 9/11 and the start of the War on Terror, Americans can rest assured that the ports will still have only 5% of the incoming cargo inspected. Compared with that, what can a company owned by one of the richest countries in the world possibly threaten us with? This is a distraction from the real problems at our ports.

    7. sanity says:

      One thing that struck me as odd and just a little bit disturbing is this:

      President Bush was unaware of the pending sale of shipping operations at six major U.S. seaports to a state-owned business in the United Arab Emirates until the deal already had been approved by his administration, the White House said Wednesday.

      Makes me think they are not up on security as much as we think they are.

      Yes, I understand that Bush does not make every single decision, that just like a business it is deleated to managers and people farther down and they are expected to do thier jobs but just as with my work, we would have our butts handed to us if we kept the boss out of the loop on what was going on with his business. And that is what seems to have happened here. That is not a comforting though in itself.

      – The UAE was one of three countries in the world to recognize the Taliban as the legitimate government of Afghanistan.

      – The UAE has been a key transfer point for illegal shipments of nuclear components to Iran, North Korea and Lybia.

      – According to the FBI, money was transferred to the 9/11 hijackers through the UAE banking system.

      – After 9/11, the Treasury Department reported that the UAE was not cooperating in efforts to track down Osama Bin Laden’s bank accounts.

      Things like the above still bother me also. Especially in light of the President talking about not having any delaing with those who associate themselves with terrorists.

      Try to anticipate a problem and deal with it ahead of time or this could very well end up biting us in the butt. Complacency will get us killed, but vigilance will at least keep us safer.

      Saying that all they want to do is make money is fine, but considering thier past involvements we should at least be concerned.

      The fact that this last minute notice and the barely any notice to the public on what is going on has helped fuel this. The lack of information coming to the President on this till the last moment, and the aggressive stance on this he has taken on this last minute information has me worried. Alot of people are worried over the security of te US, and the lack of any information until just recent has let the fears of the people go on and no helpful information coming out of the whitehouse on this. So that doesn’t help much.

      Now that there is information, people have been reacting on thier own and once a mindset has been developed it is hard to change, especially when people still have very real fears of another 9/11 happening again. It may seem irrational, but some people including myself are worried about sudden acquisitions of major ports of the US by Arab conglomerates.

      No this is not racism, but practicality and a healthy dose of paranoia tends to keep you aware *chuckles*

      Sighs.

      I read over this and feel like a moonbat in looking through some of this, but there are real worries to this deal and to pass it off like nothing could happen just makes it a bit more worrisome that some people do not take our security as serious as they should be.

      From the 9/11 Commission Hearings; William Cohen, Former Secretary of Defense:

      “During the winter of 1998-99, intelligence reported that bin Laden frequently visited a camp in the desert, adjacent to a larger hunting camp in Helmand Province of Afghanistan, used by visitors from a Gulf state… Public sources have stated that these visitors were from the United Arab Emirates. At the beginning of February, bin Laden was reportedly located there, and apparently remained for more than a week.”

      “Intelligence… showed the nearby presence of an official aircraft of the UAE. The CIA received reports that bin Laden regularly went from his adjacent camp to the larger camp where he visited with Emiratis…”

      “On February 10th, [Terrorism Czar Richard] Clarke reported that a top UAE official had vehemently denied that high-level UAE officials were in Afghanistan.”

      “Evidence subsequently confirmed that high-level UAE officials had been there.”

      Link

      From the 9/11 Commission’s report:

      “Early in 1999, the CIA received reporting that Bin Ladin was spending much of his time at one of several camps in the Afghan desert south of Kandahar.”

      “On February 8, the military began to ready itself for a possible strike. The next day, national technical intelligence confirmed the location and description of the larger camp and showed the nearby presence of an official aircraft of the United Arab Emirates… No strike was launched…”

      “According to CIA and Defense officials, policymakers were concerned about the danger that a strike would kill an Emirati [UAE] prince or other senior officials who might be with Bin Ladin or close by…”

      “The United Arab Emirates was becoming… a persistent counterterrorism problem… UAE [was]… one of the Taliban’s only travel and financial outlets to the outside world.”

      Shelton is therefore revealing that Prince bin Zayid was the high level UAE official visiting bin Laden at his hunting compound.

      Mohammed Bin Zayid is the very person Richard Clarke called (some would say tipped) on February 10th regarding UAE officials at Bin Laden’s hunting compound. Small World.

      But did bin Zayid’s ties to al-Qaeda end after September 11th? Some habits are hard to break.

      From The Boston Herald, October 7, 2001:

      “Saif Salem al-Mehairbi… [is wanted] in connection with the probe of the terrorist hijackings. Al-Mehairbi’s name is one of more than 300 contained on a list compiled by FBI and intelligence agencies that has been sent to banking officials in Europe…”

      Why would the UAE’s Ambassador in D.C. visit someone in jail who was al-Qaeda’s ‘drop box location’ for 9/11, and then bail him out?

      Why would Prince bin Zayid, who has been linked to bin Laden, take a ‘personal interest’ in al-Mehairbi’s case?

      Why would an immigrant from the UAE who lives in Boston have so ‘many friends’ in Washington D.C.?

      Why go to D.C. in the first place?

      Link to this story
      Something I ran across while searching for links between UAE and terrorism.

      OK, for some sanity on the issue though, these are some of the checks in place:

      First of all, after this sale, DP World won’t suddenly become our only recourse for port security. There is in fact a layered set of security checks that operates independent of DP World. These checks include the following:

      * A 24-hour Manifest Rule that requires sea carriers to provide U.S. Customs with detailed descriptions of the contents of containers bound for the U.S. a full 24 hours before the container is loaded onto a vessel. This allows U.S. Customs officers to assess risks and scan the containers in overseas ports before they enter the U.S.

      * The Coast Guard remains responsible for port security regardless of who manages the ports, while Customs and Border Protection maintains responsibility for container and cargo security.

      * As containers enter the U.S., officers on the ground screen the containers using imaging and radiation detection technology.

      These security procedures will not change even if DP World takes over port operations. Whether or not one believes that these security procedures are sufficient, the fact remains that we won’t be left any worse off.

      Just as the security procedures and those who are charged with carrying them out will remain the same, we are unlikely to witness a change in the composition of the workforce at the six ports that DP World would run. Robert Palaima, the president of Delaware River Stevedores, pointed out that when the British company P&O Steamship Navigation Co. ran the ports, there wasn’t a sudden infusion of British workers. He doesn’t expect that this will change once the partner is based in Dubai rather than Britain. (My colleague Victor Comras noted DP World’s rapid expansion; this makes it more likely that they will simply use American employees.)

      A third reason that security concerns are overblown is that DP World isn’t exactly a fly-by-night operation that came out of nowhere to buy up P&O. Rather, it is a multi-billion-dollar operation that bought up the British company for a whopping $6.8 billion. DP World operates ports around the globe. If a terrorist attack came through one of its ports, its entire business could be shattered. That is a high price to pay, and means that DP World has at least the same kind of incentive that any other company would — indeed, perhaps more of an incentive — to ensure strong port security.

      Link

      It seems on the outside to be ok.
      But the lack of forth coming information, and the “trust us” attitude coming from the Whitehouse doesn’t inspire me to leap blindly on trust. I support the President, but even I think this does’t look as rosey as everyone paints it to be. Is it enough to kill the deal, probably not, but I would like it if the administration shared a healthy dose of worry on it too, instead of seemingly passing it off as nothing. Again, not happy that the President found out about it at the last minute.

      This probably would not be so bad if the President was informaed of this, and this was put out to the public so we have a gretaer understanding and knowledge of this whole thing. Instead it allowed for the imagination to take over and the brain when left without true facts or guidance can come up with much on its own…including paranoia.

      I still am on the fence about this. When something looks to good to be true, alot of times it is. I am wary of the lack of information till the last minute. It would be helpful if the President woudl come forward and state why this is not a problem, and give some details on why, and how this will not affect the US and the security of the US.

      If they relieved the fears and cropping questions of the public this would not have had the impact it has.

    8. stranger says:

      George Tenet, told the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks on the United States on March 24, 2004. The Central Intelligence Agency did not target Al Qaeda chief Osama bin laden once as he had the royal family of the United Arab Emirates with him in Afghanistan.Had the CIA targeted bin Laden, half the royal family would have been wiped out as well, he said. How is it a good idea to hand over AMERICAN ports to Bin Laden’s pals?

    9. Robin Boyd says:

      EXCELLENT post Sister! I will definitely forward this info to my friends! It’s nice to get the facts without all the hype!

    10. sanity says:

      It just seems rushed, and I am not the only one that feels that way:

      Separately, U.S. Rep. Ted Poe, R-Humble, said he is concerned about Texas ports where military cargo is handled by London-based Peninsular and Oriental, the company to be purchased by the UAE’s Dubai Ports World.

      Poe said ports in Beaumont and Corpus Christi move military goods, materials and records of which he would not want UAE employees to have access.

      The administration also said that it should have briefed Congress sooner about the transaction, which has triggered a major political backlash among Republicans and Democrats.

      Senate and House leaders urged the president to delay the takeover, which is set to be finalized in early March. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee said the deal raised “serious questions regarding the safety and security of our homeland.” House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., asked the president for a moratorium on the sale until it could be studied further.

      “I think somebody dropped the ball,” said Rep. Vito Fossella, R-N.Y. “Information should have flowed more freely and more quickly up into the White House. I think it has been mishandled in terms of coming forward with adequate information.”

      At the White House, spokesman Scott McClellan said Bush learned about the deal “over the last several days,” as congressional criticism escalated. McClellan said it did not rise to the presidential level, but went through a government review and was determined not to pose a threat.

      McClellan said Bush afterward asked the head of every U.S. department involved in approving the sale whether there were security concerns. “Each and every one expressed that they were comfortable with this transaction going forward,” he said.

      Link

      This probably would not have been so overblown if the information was put out. Congress adn House members are specifically up in arms on both sides, especially since they were not informed of this till the last moment. The public also was kept in the dark until it literally hit the fan, and without proper information out there, got overblown.

      Still, it does not seem like this is being taken seriously enough.

    11. traderrob says:

      I believe that when all the dust settles on this thing, there will be alot of egg on alot of faces both Republican and Democrat. Political expediency underpinned by a dubious rational generally comes back to bite the person(s)involved. Expect some major crayfishing especially from Republicans in the coming days.

    12. delen says:

      This episode if nothing else has shown the basic lack of “truthyness” in the GOP. If you only read the RNC approved (and funded?) blogs one would get the idea that Mr.s Frist, Hastert, and Weldon are Dems or the opposition, but then, now that they have gone out of lock-step I would suppose they are.

    13. eddie says:

      Do you really think that this is about the truth?

      Is the war in Iraq really about freedom?

      This is unabashedly a completely political story. And yet where shall we place the blame.

      In “trivializing” the importance of the substance of the story, you would blithely accept that because in fact there is nothing to worry about, submitting the process to any critical analysis is simply sour grapes and grandstanding.

      Yet:

      If on the one hand this is so damn important to the country and the president, why is his first “excuse” that he did not know about it. And what was not knowing about it say with respect to any trust I should put in the leadership of this man. Frankly, the president has just proved that he does not have a clue about his own supposed war on terrorism, except to the extent he can cite national security as a reason for his not being able to say anything and for dismissing any questioning as being detrimental to our security. It seems to me you should at least know what’s going on in your own government. This man is worse than a fool, because at least the fool has no pretensions to knowledge, authority or correctness.

      Where were the proscribed legislated procedures?

      Oh yes and of course let’s blame the unions on this one.

      This is about the hypocrisy of the stated policy of this administration:

      If you are a foreign country that we need something from, it does not matter if you have ties with any terrorists because you will be our ally in the GWOT. However, if you are an American citizen voicing one’s disagreement with current policy you are a traitor because you are aiding and abetting the enemy.

      We support authoritarian monarchies in this region because of our addiction to oil and need for strategic ports and turn a blind eye to one of the main the sources for terrorism (e.g. the repressive nature of these monarchies) and undoubtedly an actual and continuing source of funding for such organizations.

      What was all that talk about the friend of my enemy?

    14. solitaire says:

      Why is the country’s security taking a back seat to the need for other countries to make money off of us?

    15. steve says:

      The UAE does not recognize the right of Israel to exist. After reading Sisters post, that fact seems not to trouble her or many of you. Also why is a small group of white men making decisions about what American assets will be sold and nobody else gets a voice? bush said he “knew nothing about it”, and Snow said he “learned” of the deal in the New York Times. Focus on Neil Bush and The Carlyle Group. This deal is troubling on many levels. Peace

    16. PCD says:

      Steve Edited. –ST, I’ve done something you haven’t done, RESEARCH! This is not ownership of the ports that Dubai Ports World is buying, but a British company that already has contract authority to load and unload ships at these 6 ports.

      You wouldn’t know about the Longshoremen’s unions threatening their bought and paid for Democrats with withdrawing their financial contributions unless the deal is blocked, would you?

      The Longshoreman is fighting automating the tracking of shipments in and out of the ports. They don’t even want barcoding on the containers for record keeping.

    17. solitaire says:

      PCD, you are quick to call people idiots but I didn’t see any links on your post to prove what you said, and you had a lot of general and extreme statements about what Longshoremen and Democrats want. I saw the word “research” but I didn’t see any research. SO.. prove it.

    18. Baklava says:

      delen wrote, “This episode if nothing else has shown the basic lack of “truthyness”

      It’d be nice delen if you added to the conversation by letting us know what has been said that wasn’t the truth. There is nothing to respond to in your comment.

    19. Baklava says:

      eddie wrote, “why is his first “excuse” that he did not know about it.

      I never heard that as an excuse. He gave information in response to a question. There is a committee that researches and approves all of these acquisitions and purchases. Your mindset is displayed by I’ll stand corrected if you are ableyour comment more than anything. It seems you don’t like information you are presented with.

      eddie wrote, “This man is worse than a fool

      Name calling isn’t adding to the debate or informative.

      eddie wrote something about which he has no evidence:

      This is about the hypocrisy of the stated policy of this administration:

      If you are a foreign country that we need something from, it does not matter if you have ties with any terrorists because you will be our ally in the GWOT. However, if you are an American citizen voicing one’s disagreement with current policy you are a traitor because you are aiding and abetting the enemy.

      I could be wrong eddie. So… Please show us where the administration has called someone a traitor for “voicing one’s disagreement with current policy”. I’ll stand corrected if you are able.

    20. PCD says:

      Solitaire, steve has been here a very long time, and I am not quick to challenge his statement and such.

      As for research, try reading the posts at Iowa Voice. Just click on my name to go there.

      Try reading all the posts on the first and second pages. You might try to dispute my post on the Minnesota DFL (Democrat Farmer Labor) party demanding that broadcasters not air ads by troops who fought in Iraq and from parents of those fallen in Iraq saying that our actions in Iraq are right and just.

      Now, do your research.

    21. Nick the Guy says:

      You are completely correct!
      Opening up Free-Trade markets like the deal with the UAE is priority number one!
      This is a key agreement, reflective of the way the American and world economy is structured.
      In order to proceed with further completive moves such as moving high-volume and other manufacturing to low cost areas like China and India, we need agreements like this!

      Security will be compromised a little. But what about the economic future of great American companies like IBM and Motorola? Without deals like this margins drop! The public must learn to suck it up a little! The people in charge know what they’re doing!

      A little risk, for big gains; a permanent re-structure of the economy that puts US companies on top no matter where they operate. If Motorola only has a sales force in the US and all their ops in China, a great American company will be on top and all Americans can be proud!

      Its only the losers, the bottom feeders of the economy who are crying about security.

    22. peteathome says:

      The underlying issue is that our ports are still very vunerable 5 years after 9/11. People are projecting their concerns about this onto the Dubai deal. Maybe it’s not a good idea to have critical ports owned by ANY foreign company.

      If we must allow such ports to be foreign owned, I’d prefer ownership by Britain rather than Dubai. It’s not becuae the UAE was one of only three countries to recognize the Taliban. The citystate of Dubai, while run by a heriditary sultan, is a very open society by Arab standards and has tried to reform their security after 9/11. But they have poor control of the very heterogenous population under them and the port owners will have access to some very sensitive information. I feel the Brits would be safer.

      On the other hand, is this any worst than the fact that communist China owns some of the ports?

    23. Baklava says:

      peteathome wrote, “The underlying issue is that our ports are still very vunerable 5 years after 9/11.

      I think we can ALL agree to that. It takes an act of Congress (pun intended) to get solutions implemented. While border guards have been increased for the borders – conservatives say it isn’t enough. While inspections of containers have been increased – conservatives and liberals say it’s not enough.

      Peteathome wrote, “People are projecting their concerns about this onto the Dubai deal. Maybe it’s not a good idea to have critical ports owned by ANY foreign company.

      You and I agree on this. But how do we get from point A to point B without using eminent domain and seizing the business and operations that entrepreneurs/corporations have risked and paid good money for. We are a free nation with a LARGE government that is too slow and with too many layers of beaurocracy. Even eminent domain implementations take years to facilitate.

    24. Maimonides says:

      After spending 5 years stoking national sentiment towards the Middle East into a paranoid furor, the Bush Administration has nothing left but to sleep in the bed they made.

      “A man who invites trouble into his own house shall inherit the wind.”

    25. ViVi says:

      Port Operations: The Truth Behind the Rumor

      The fact is, the UAE is the epitomy of a moderate muslim state and they are in fact our allies in the GWOT. They are perhaps the only muslim state actively helping the US in the GWOT.

      To deny the port operations purchased by the UAE just on the basis that they are an Arab state IS racist; it would be tantamount to out-and-out discrimination against ALL muslims–something for which the dems have tried to condemn the Bush administration.

      Many conservatives should have done their homework before jumping on board blindly.From what I’ve read, Dan is the only conservative blogger who has gotten it right from the outset. He has excellent analyses here, here and here. 6MB appears to be coming around to this point of view as well.

      Update: Sister Toldjah has also come around to this point of view and has a very good discussion of the issues…

      I tried to send you a ping, but it doesnt seem to have gone through. In any event, excellent discussion.

    26. ViVi says:

      Um, ooops. Sorry for that, I see that the ping is now showing up. Apologies for the redundant post.

    27. steve says:

      Neil Bush and the Carlyle Group are getting a big fat finders fee for this deal. And Neil Bush bankrupted the Silverado Bank so if this deal falls through it will make him a laughing- stock. And how about forcing the UAE to recognize Israels’ right to exist before the deal is allowed? Peace

    28. Beth says:

      “Bandar Bush”:
      If we REALLY want to let the arabs see we trust them we should setup a child care system here in America and we let the Pakistanis and the Saudis run it. I mean what could happen to our children?

      Ignoring the idiocy of the concept of a federally-run child care system for the moment…for your information, my daughter’s babysitter when we lived in the DC area was Afghani, and she babysat for her in HER home. With other Afghanis around the house! Shortly after 9/11, at that–and if you think I’d entrust my daughter’s safety with anyone BUT the most trustworthy, you’re a friggin’ moron.

      You have just given the perfect example of a false analogy. Congratulations! =d>

      Based on some of the obnoxious comments here, I’d say the leftards are having a lot of internal anguish when being forced to admit their own views on Islam.
      Or could it be that (brace yourselves!) Islam is actually NOT a Religion of Peaceâ„¢? Have you just overnight realized what we knew all along?

    29. solitaire says:

      pcD, I read Limbaughs post and it didn’t have anything but unsubtantiated guesses and conspiracy theory either. Just ’cause he says it…
      Nick the Guy wrote:
      In order to proceed with further completive moves such as moving high-volume and other manufacturing to low cost areas like China and India, we need agreements like this!

      Security will be compromised a little. But what about the economic future of great American companies like IBM and Motorola? Without deals like this margins drop! The public must learn to suck it up a little! The people in charge know what they’re doing!

      You’re kidding right? We need to “suck it up” and accept security holes so that corporations can continue to outsource our industries and jobs to foreign countries? You have to be kidding.

    30. Evil Progressive says:

      :x

      For once, I agree with ST, albeit not for the same reasons.

      The reckless fiscal policies (or lack thereof) of the current administration have led to the largest twin deficits — in real terms — of the last two decades. It is not surprising that the foreigners who finance our debt by buying T-bonds are now investing in our capital assets: the return is better.

      So, instead of getting all hysterical about the ports’ deal, people would be well advised to question the policies that have led — and will continue to lead — to foreign acquisition and control of our infrastructure.

    31. PCD says:

      solitaire, I don’t believe you are a far leftie. You haven’t chided steve once about his unfounded slanders.

      The ILW, Longshoremen’s union, has a long history of corruption and huge donations to the Democrat party. What is so unfounded that they’d demand something for their money and “boots ong the ground on election day”?

    32. PCD says:

      Excuse me. Make that “aren’t a far leftie”.

    33. Clay says:

      This story says that US intelligence believes that bin Laden was visiting with UAE government officials in 1999. I guess if your government has no ties to al Qaeda you get invaded. If you have ties to al Qaeda you get to run US ports.

      http://www.salon.com/wire/ap/archive.html?wire=D8FUV97O9.html

      “The report states U.S. intelligence believed that bin Laden was visiting an area in the Afghan desert in February 1999 near a hunting camp used by UAE officials, and that the U.S. military planned a missile strike.

      Intelligence from local tribal sources indicated “bin Laden regularly went from his adjacent camp to the larger camp where he visited the Emiratis,” the report said.

      “National technical intelligence confirmed the location and description of the larger camp and showed the nearby presence of an official aircraft of the United Arab Emirates. But the location of bin Laden’s quarters could not be pinned down so precisely,” the report said.

    34. PCD says:

      Clay, If Bill Clinton was doing his job instead of doing Monica, Bin Laden would never been free in 1999 to do anything. Since Clinton wouldn’t file and “police charges” against Bin Laden, why would any nation not treat Bin Laden like anyother free citizen? Your and salon’s myopic 20/20 hindsight is so great now, but you are out of context.

      Woulda, shoulda, coulda are bla, bla, bla, to quote a ceertain lib lady lawyer.

      I don’t Bin Laden would dare go near the UAE. I think Saudi is iffy for him, too.

      But, your outrage seems selective. It you are so outraged by an entity having Al Qaeda contacts, why so quiet on CAIR and the ACLU?

    35. sanity says:

      Clay I had posted exact same thing yesterday 2/23 09:49 post in talking about this.

      Not sure what kind of information is out on salon, but you can check the complete 911 commissioned report Here. looks like they may have taken excerpts from there as I had.

    36. forest hunter says:

      Early on I voiced my concerns of what things seemed liked and wanted to know the perspectives of any PHD packin’ Economists. Evil Progressive touched on the logic of it a bit. I’m still waiting for an analysis that gets into that issue more, perhaps it has and I missed it somewhere.

      Jim D has pointed out continuously some of the security in place, which seems to go unheard. Somewhat to that point, “ownership of ports” should be accurately described as what it actually is.

      PCD stated what I read and heard in the transcripts from Rush. The longshoremen and teacher unions both reflect the types and depths of problems of anyone having absolute “control” over more than just our infrastructure. Solitaire, if you think Rush says something just to rattle your chain, you’re mistaken. He’s got an extensive staff of fact finders and readers of history. That’s the difference between him and the incoherent conspiracist rambling chatter from people like steve.

    37. forest hunter says:

      Jim M not Jim D, sorry about that Jim.

    38. sanity says:

      Dubai Ports – Strategic Implications.

      An interesting take on this that many may not have taken into account.

      From the Canada Free Press, read on LFG:

      The goal of Islamists, following in the footsteps of Muhammad is to create the Islamic kingdom of God on earth. The strategy to obtain this goal in our lifetime includes the control of the world’s energy infrastructure, the transportation systems, currency, media, elections, immigration and education. The control of the port facilities is hence a critical element. Foreign ownership, in and of itself, although important, is not as significant as the strategy and goals of the owner. In the case of DP World ownership, my hypothesis is that their plan for utilization of these strategic infrastructure resources is to accomplish the ultimate goal of world domination of the sea borne transportation infrastructure. In similar moves, a newly-formed Dubai consortium unveiled plans to bid for the development and operation of airports in China, India and the Middle East, a market they estimate to be worth $400 bln. The consortium comprises DAE Airports and six other top companies in the United Arab Emirates.

      DAE Airports is a subsidiary of Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE), a recently launched holding firm that aims to invest $15 bln in manufacturing and services in the aviation sector. Its partners are real estate-based Emaar, air services supplier DNATA, aviation industry technology firm Mercator, Emirates National Oil Co, Amlak Finance and Dubai Airports Free Zone Authority (DAFZA).

      In the case of DP World’s acquisition, the prices paid for acquisition cannot be justified based on strictly economic factors. The implications of Islamists creating global port control have strategic, security and religious implications.

      Read the rest here

      Should this be a cause for alarm?

      Definately concern, if what they say is correct.

      We have already seen the education system slowly bending.

    39. – For all the moonbats visiting. Sooooo then, now I take it from what you’ve posted here, that “suddenly” profiling is no longer rascist, but “prudent”. Is that your position of the week on Islam?

      – Bang **==