February 20, 2006
I Think This Stinks
Arab-owned American ports?
Some of the country's busiest ports -- New York, New Jersey, Baltimore and three others -- are about to become the property of the United Arab Emirates. Do we really want our major ports in the hands of an Arab country where al Qaeda recruits, travels and wires money?
The Bush administration calls the United Arab Emirates an ally in the war on terror. But the UAE plays the same game Saudi Arabia does of quelching terrorists at home and turning a blind eye everywhere else.
We should be improving port security in an age of terrorism, not outsourcing decisions to the highest bidder. The ports are thought to be the country's weakest homeland-security link, with good reason. Only a fraction of the nation's maritime cargoes are inspected.
The root question is this: Why should the United States have to gamble its port security on whether a subsidiary of the government of the United Arab Emirates happens to remain an antiterrorism ally?
The Committee on Foreign Investment is the wrong place for this decision to be made; it appears to be little more than a rubber stamp.
Sen. Chuck Schumer, New York Democrat, among others, is asking tough questions about this deal. For once, we agree with him: President Bush should overrule the committee to reject this deal. If that doesn't happen, Congress should take action. The country's ports should not be owned by foreign governments; much less governments whose territories are favored by al Qaeda.
Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff on Sunday defended the government's security review of an Arab company given permission to take over operations at six major U.S. ports.
"We make sure there are assurances in place, in general, sufficient to satisfy us that the deal is appropriate from a national security standpoint," Chertoff said on ABC's "This Week."
London-based Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co., was bought last week by Dubai Ports World, a state-owned business from the United Arab Emirates. Peninsular and Oriental runs major commercial operations in New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, New Orleans, Miami and Philadelphia.
U.S. lawmakers from both parties are questioning the sale, approved by the Bush administration, as a possible risk to national security.
"It's unbelievably tone deaf politically at this point in our history," Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C. said on "Fox News Sunday."
United Arab Emirates track record — it was the transfer point for nuclear components to Iran, North Korea and Libya, and the UAE's history as an operational and financial base for the hijackers who carried out the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
And look at this, in the 9/11 Commission report: ( thank you to the Captain's Quarters for this)
Page 138: "Even after Bin Ladin’s departure from the area, CIA officers hoped he might return, seeing the camp as a magnet that could draw him for as long as it was still set up.The military maintained readiness for another strike opportunity.160 On March 7, 1999, [Richard] Clarke called a UAE official to express his concerns about possible associations between Emirati officials and Bin Ladin.Clarke later wrote in a memorandum of this conversation that the call had been approved at an interagency meeting and cleared with the CIA." [This involved Clarke blowing a cover on a covert operation.]
Page 167: "In early 2000,Atta, Jarrah, and Binalshibh returned to Hamburg. Jarrah arrived first, on January 31, 2000.97 According to Binalshibh, he and Atta left Kandahar together and proceeded first to Karachi, where they met KSM and were instructed by him on security and on living in the United States. Shehhi apparently had already met with KSM before returning to the UAE.Atta returned to Hamburg in late February, and Binalshibh arrived shortly thereafter. Shehhi’s travels took him to the UAE (where he acquired a new passport and a U.S. visa), Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and one or more other destinations."
Page 171: "Bin Ladin relied on the established hawala networks operating in Pakistan, in Dubai, and throughout the Middle East to transfer funds efficiently."
Page 216: "On June 20, Hanjour returned home to Saudi Arabia. He obtained a U.S. student visa on September 25 and told his family he was returning to his job in the UAE. Hanjour did go to the UAE, but to meet facilitator Ali Abdul
Page 224: "The Hamburg operatives paid for their flight training primarily with funds wired from Dubai by KSM’s nephew,Ali Abdul Aziz Ali. Between June 29 and September 17, 2000,Ali sent Shehhi and Atta a total of $114,500 in five transfers ranging from $5,000 to $70,000."
Page 236: "After training in Afghanistan, the operatives went to a safehouse maintained by KSM in Karachi and stayed there temporarily before being deployed to the United States via the UAE. ... Ali apparently assisted nine
future hijackers between April and June 2001 as they came through Dubai. He helped them with plane tickets, traveler’s checks, and hotel reservations; he also taught them about everyday aspects of life in the West, such as purchasing clothes and ordering food. Dubai, a modern city with easy access to a major airport, travel agencies, hotels, and Western commercial establishments,was an ideal transit point."
Wild Thing's comment.....
This just does not make sense to me. It is a huge security risk. Remember when Clinton tried to sell the Communist Chinese a port in California? This should be stopped as well. This is not about owning a 7-11 and that is bad enough. This is about our security, our safety. I do not agree with this happening at all, not at all!!
Posted by Wild Thing at February 20, 2006 12:05 AM
I just posted this at Vilmar’s place because another commentator was blaming Bush and the greedy Republicans for this. I’m posting it here in case anyone thinks Bush is responsible for this.
Unfortunately it wasn’t the Republicans who sold the ports, all the ports but Baltimore were sold to P&O, a foreign based company during the Clinton Administration beginning in 1999. Here is a list of P&O’s acquisitions and timeline.
United States — Acquired ITO – multiport stevedore/terminal operator, June 1999.
New Orleans — May, 2000
New York / New Jersey – November, 2000
Baltimore – May, 2001
Since Clinton already sold the ports to foreigners, their may be nothing Bush can do to prevent the sale of a foreign business to another foreign business or country. The Free Enterprise we hold in such high esteem is taking place even though in this case, I don’t like it. Since Daubi Ports World is a state controlled company, if radical Muslims get control of the government, we could be in big trouble.
It seems Clinton got us into another mess and GW's going to have to take the heat.
Posted by: BobF at February 20, 2006 12:44 PM
Hi Bob, thank you so much. Great information and the link too.
Posted by: Wild Thing at February 20, 2006 03:08 PM
If we can eminent domain private Americans property, why can't we eminent domain foreign owned American property.
BTW, when did ports become private property? How about airports, military bases, police stations!!
Posted by: TomR at February 20, 2006 09:21 PM
Hi Tom,good point! Yikes can you imagine all those things you mentioned having this happen to them as well.
Posted by: Wild Thing at February 20, 2006 11:12 PM
I think it's a very bad idea to let this happen. I like Tom's idea. Take it away and tell the buyers too bad so sad MF's. Clinton strikes again, the ding bat could have had Bin Laden.... Stupid moron.
Posted by: RightToCarry at February 21, 2006 07:31 PM
LOVE your reply RightToCarry, well said!
Posted by: Wild Thing at February 21, 2006 08:04 PM