T Nation

Arab Owned Ports?


#1

Seriously, does anyone else see a problem with this?

If this goes through, this will be a major failure in our border/port security. If Bush is serious about homeland security, he will not let this happen and get off his ass to secure the borders and ports.


http://www.washtimes.com/op-ed/20060214-102147-5104r.htm

Arab-owned American ports?
TODAY'S EDITORIAL
February 15, 2006

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 U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment, a Treasury Department-dominated group which reviews foreign investments, allows such purchases. The committee approved a $6.8 billion transaction between the ports' current British owners and Dubai Ports World, a government-owned United Arab Emirates firm. The United Arab Emirates was home to Marwan al-Shehhi, a September 11 hijacker; the country is a transit point for al Qaeda, including several other September 11 hijackers; al Qaeda's financing activities have involved the UAE; al Qaeda finds sympathizers there with ease, as it does in other Arab countries.
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.
It would be easy to caricature this sale: The purchase doesn't entail young Arab firebrands replacing longshoremen, nor would it displace American ownership. The storied British firm that currently owns them, the Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Co., probably isn't much better equipped against terrorist infiltration than Dubai Ports World. But then, the poor state of port security is precisely the point.
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.
This deal appears to be all about money. Dubai Ports World is "a business and its money is the same color as everyone else's, only it's got more of it," one banker told the Baltimore Sun. Where does the money come from? As a private company, Dubai Ports World's claim of 20 percent annual growth since 2001 is all but unverifiable, and its inner workings opaque. For all we know, Dubai Ports World is an undeclared arm of a foreign government.
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.


#2

Damn bro, I don't want them anywhere in this country, let alone owning our ports


#3

Port security should be handled indepenently from whomever runs the ports themselves.

If done right, this should not be a problem. Of course how likely is it that they will do it right?


#4

I don't like this one bit. Even the fact that Brits were running it before kind of pisses me off. I like the "look after your own" policy.


#5

Youre right to be pissed off. Newsflash : There are potentially as many terrorists in Britain as any Arab country. 7/7 was carried out by British citizens not people who'd infiltrated.


#6

Fuck being PC in this day and age.Bush doesn't need to sell us out for profit like he does with our southern borders,which are a joke.You can probably count on one hand the politicians who actually care about this country and its citizens more than padding their wallets or purses.


#7

Exactly.

As long as Customs and Homeland Security does its job we will be OK.

If they don't this is meaningless.

It does look bad on the surface but that doesn't mean this is a bad thing.


#8

"Damn bro, I don't want them anywhere in this country, let alone owning our ports"

Redneck alert. Some of you guys are really something else.


#9

and you are rascist.

hypocrite


#10

How the hell am I a racist??


#11

I don't think getting in to the US is a problem for many potential terrorists. Most of them can do this legally if they do not have a shady past. I don't see why UAE owned ports would make this threat worse. What exactly is it that people are worried about with this. Seriously, am I missing something?


#12

Several people have all ready hit on the fact that getting people into the US is easy enough without complicated conspiracies.

My worry is that people with terrorist links in the company could use their position to hire sleeper cell operatives in the USA to work at the ports. Unlikely? Probably. Make for a good Tom Clancy novel though. Just like attacking America with hijacked planes...

I'm going to go wear my tin foil now :slightly_smiling:


#13

This isn't doesn't increase the threat as much as it seems. The threat is already high. Port security is seperate from port operations and ownership, as previously posted, so physical security at the ports wont' be breached. There is a significant threat to the ports, and I am sure if you were to talk to port security guys, they could tell you about active intelligence gathering activities occuring around and in any particular port in the country all of the time.
The UAE company is going to hire some other company to actually operate the port, that company is going to hire sub-contractors to operate cranes, provide longshoremen, clean buildings, pump out porta-potties, ect...ect. There is a threat possibility from any of those companies. The threat is so large, and so difficult to manage, that a UAE owned company isn't going to make things worse. It might make things easier, because it gives the intel guys identified individuals to target with collections. If a terrorist organization knows that the UAE company is actively tracked by the United States, it will make it too much of risk for them to directly contact anyone in that company. Sort of a "keep your friends close and your enemies closer" mentality.


#14

You said you don't want arabs in your country. So you are racist. And use the r button on your keyboard. Its ster not sta.

And anyone named gunitgangsta is not a redneck. Anyone even slightly redneck would never connect themselves to G Unit.


#15

that's what happens when you spend all your money. this whole Iran thing is gonna be costly. oooops, bushy went a little spend crazy on Iraq. besides he need's all the allies he can get in that part of the world. although it is more likely they will smile to his face and stab him in the back. fukin' towel heads. haha


#16

WTF?


#17

Here's your answer Flamer... Bush says F U

Bush Shrugs Off Objections to Port Deal
WASHINGTON - Brushing aside objections from Republicans and Democrats alike, President Bush endorsed the takeover of shipping operations at six major U.S. seaports by a state-owned business in the United Arab Emirates. He pledged to veto any bill Congress might approve to block the agreement. [would be his first ever veto BTW]
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060222/ap_on_go_pr_wh/ports_security

So how wacky does the 9/11 conspiracy theory seem now?

There aren't too many choices here -- given the following, either this administration has absolutely no regard whatsoever for America's safety OR the decision was based on the fact that Arabs were never really involved with 9/11 in the first place.

Classified Section of Sept. 11 Report Faults Saudi Rulers
New York Times
Saturday 26 July 2003
WASHINGTON, July 25 - Senior officials of Saudi Arabia have funneled hundreds of millions of dollars to charitable groups and other organizations that may have helped finance the September 2001 attacks, a still-classified section of a Congressional report on the hijackings says, according to people who have read it.

The 28-page section of the report was deleted from the nearly 900-page declassified version released on Thursday by a joint committee of the House and Senate intelligence committees. The chapter focuses on the role foreign governments played in the hijackings, but centers almost entirely on Saudi Arabia

Some people who have read the classified chapter said it represented a searing indictment of how Saudi Arabia's ruling elite have, under the guise of support for Islamic charities, distributed millions of dollars to terrorists through an informal network of Saudi nationals, including some in the United States.

The report quoted several senior government officials, who were not identified, expressing contradictory views. One government official told the panel "that he believed the U.S. government's hope of eventually obtaining Saudi cooperation was unrealistic because Saudi assistance to the U.S. is contrary to Saudi national interests."
http://www.truthout.org/docs_03/072703A.shtml

Lawmakers Accuse Administration of Protecting Saudi Sentiment with Secrecy
Associated Press
Sunday 27 July 2003
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Bush administration should make public the facts about Saudi Arabia's complicity with terrorists rather than worry about offending the kingdom, lawmakers said Sunday.

One senator said 95 percent of the classified pages of a congressional report released last week into the work of intelligence agencies before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, was kept secret only to keep from embarrassing a foreign government.
http://www.truthout.org/docs_03/072803B.shtml

Saudi Government Provided Aid to 9/11 Hijackers, Sources Say
The Los Angeles Times
02 August 2003
One U.S. official who has read the classified section said it describes "very direct, very specific links" between Saudi officials, two of the San Diego-based hijackers and other potential co-conspirators "that cannot be passed off as rogue, isolated or coincidental."

Said another official: "It's really damning. What it says is that not only Saudi entities or nationals are implicated in 9/11, but the [Saudi] government" as well.
http://www.truthout.org/docs_03/080303A.shtml

Riggs Bank fined $25M for Saudi transactions
USA Today
5/14/2004
WASHINGTON (AP) - Federal regulators fined Riggs Bank a record $25 million on Thursday for allegedly violating anti-money laundering laws in its handling of tens of millions in cash transactions in Saudi-controlled accounts under investigation for possible links to terrorism financing.
http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/banking/2004-05-14-riggs-fine_x.htm

Bush's Uncle Is Executive At Bank Fined for Laundering Saudi Money
Washington Post
May 15, 2004
President Bush's uncle, Jonathan J. Bush, is a top executive at Riggs Bank, which this week agreed to pay a record $25 million in civil fines for violations of law intended to thwart money laundering.


#18

[quote]I don't think getting in to the US is a problem for many potential terrorists. Most of them can do this legally if they do not have a shady past. I don't see why UAE owned ports would make this threat worse. What exactly is it that people are worried about with this. Seriously, am I missing something?/quote]

Yup. First of all, our ports are a strategic military target. Taking out a major port would be like taking out a major bridge... worse, probably.

Second, there is a worry that a major weapon (nuke, bio weapon) could be placed in cargo hold of a ship or in a shipping container overseas, and then be detonated over here. It might even be hard to trace, in some cases (as far as point of origin) after the fact.

Third, major military equipment and supplies are passed through our ports. The way I understand it, a port could be a vantage point for tracking or spying on US military activities.

The idea of a port being a point-of-entry for a terrorist agent, is not really one of the issues.


#19

OK, first of all, allowing our ports to be run by ANY foreign corporation is in my opinion a foolish move - that's allowing a CRUCIAL part of our economy to be controlled DIRECTLY by someone else's interests.

The UAE HAS been a pretty solid ally, and one of the safest and most stable countries in the M.E. I certainly respect the idea of garnering goodwill with such an important ally, but again, the idea that a foreign corporation is going to continue to run our ports is just asking for trouble on multiple levels. The fact that it's the UAE, well, I suppose that's a slight increase of risk from a British company, but as was mentioned, port security is a different matter and run by someone else.

The thing is, the company running the port is going to know the security measures INSIDE AND OUT. If there's any way to sneak something into the country, the port authority is going to be the one who knows how. I agree that getting terrorists INTO the country isn't hard to do, it's the WMD that they're having trouble with.

...on the other hand, there are so many EASY PEASY ways to make conventional weapons that are exceptionally deadly using standard household items, I'm surprised they're even bothering to try for some big huge attack when they could cripple our entire economy with a few select truckstop attacks, rail attacks, and of course, hitting malls during the Christmas shopping season. That's what they'd do if they REALLY wanted to wipe us out. :wink:

...but they don't want to destroy us - they want to weaken us enough to the point where we'll bugger off and leave them to their business, and I suspect this is going to happen economically.

....ust my .02


#20

We know it is all part of a vast Jewish conspiracy. So was the Holocaust.

Go spread your poison elsewhere.

People are trying to have an intelligent discussion.