Thursday, February 23, 2006

Bush, Rumsfeld, Snow Each Claim They Knew Nothing About Port Transfer Until After Deal Was Approved

Although the Bush Administration is strongly defending a deal for a state-owned Dubai company to manage major U.S. ports, key members of the administration are saying they didn't know about the deal until after it was approved.

It makes you wonder how the administration came to approve Dubai Ports World buying British company Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co., which runs six U.S. Ports.

President Bush, who has threatened to veto legislation blocking the transfer, apparently was unaware of the deal until it had already been approved, the White House said yesterday.

So if Bush wasn't behind the deal, who was?

We've been told the Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States gave the approval. But the committee chairman, Treasury Secretary John Snow, told reporters yesterday he was not involved in deliberations until after the transaction was approved.

"I involved myself in it as it came to my attention over the course of the last three or four days. I got involved in it after the approval process," Snow said.

And Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, also a member of the committee, said at a Tuesday briefing that he didn't find out about the sale until nearly a week after it was approved.

"I am reluctant to make judgments based on the minimal amount of information I have because I just heard about this over the weekend," he said.

How can this be? We've been told the committee unanimously approved the sale. How is that possible if the committee chair and a key member of the committee didn't know about it?

Can anyone in the administration take responsibility for this approval?

43 Comments:

Anonymous BlueEyedSon said...

I can't believe Snow was out of the loop on this... the others, maybe

10:45 AM  
Anonymous babylonsister said...

Snow's ignorance surprises me, but
who needs intelligence when you have an obscure intelligence agency doing the heavy lifting?


DUer deminks found this little gem!

Obscure US intelligence agency assessed ports deal

http://go.reuters.co.uk/newsArticle.jhtml?type=worldNew ...

By David Morgan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A deal that allows an Arab-owned company in Dubai to manage six major U.S. ports was scrutinized for security risks by an obscure intelligence agency that has existed for only four months, American officials said on Wednesday.

The Intelligence Community Acquisition Risk Centre, or CARC, overseen by the office of intelligence chief John Negroponte, was asked by the government committee that vets foreign investments in the United States to look into the ports deal soon after it came to its attention in early November.

But intelligence officials said CARC, which has little to do with counterterrorism activities, was formed just last October as the agency mandated to assess security risks posed by companies that do business with the intelligence community.

Only a small part of the center's resources are devoted to vetting commercial deals, officials said.

CARC's first director, William Dawson, was appointed in January, more than a month after the centre had been asked to begin work on the Dubai Ports World acquisition.

Dawson had been a senior information technology official for the intelligence community prior to his appointment.

10:46 AM  
Anonymous central scrutinizer said...

Will the highest ranking member of the administration who vetted this please raise your hand? You - over there in the corner, what is your job? Temporary-assistant-undersecretary for graft and corruption.

10:46 AM  
Anonymous froshty1960 said...

Oh, Puh-leeze
I, a private citizen with no ties to the Committee, knew about this deal in January 2006. Granted I work for a company that does business with P&O, but still...

10:47 AM  
Anonymous Tom Rinaldo said...

If you take them at their work (which I certainly wouldn't)... that puts the top levels of the Bush Administration about as in the loop on basic issues involving National Security and they were on basic issues involving disaster response while a major American City drowned. Which is about as in the loop as they were while warnings about pending Al Quada attacks on America prior to 911 were circulating.

But not to worry, they are taking care of business.

Cheney probably knew but he's been distracted recently and out of touch.

10:47 AM  
Anonymous MrBenchley said...

So who the fuck DID approve it? And how is it they outrank the Secretary of Commerce, the Secretary of Defense and the pResident of the United States in this misbegotten assministration?

10:47 AM  
Anonymous CrazyOrangeCat said...

If the Democratic Congress had any cajones--any common freakin' sense, they'd walk out of the chambers until SOMEONE admits to approving this deal. Make 'em squirm on national TV.

They could regain power.

So very frustrating to watch . .

10:51 AM  
Anonymous spindrifter said...

There must be documentation that shows who got cc'd on emails. It's time for a Congressional investigation of this crap. Someone ordered CRAC to investigate this deal. It did not happen spontaneously.

11:11 AM  
Anonymous MadMaddie said...

They will conveniently be unable
to provide the documentation when it is requested......

The crimes continue....

11:11 AM  
Anonymous KansDem said...

What is this?! The "Sgt. Schultz Administration?"

I know nothing...!

11:12 AM  
Anonymous louis-t said...

Really, "I know n-n-n-oth-ing"
Who the hell is running this country?

11:13 AM  
Anonymous Pachamama said...

So, Who the F*ck is really running this country and making decisions?
Seriously! Who the hell is making these decisions? The buck doesn't seem to stop with any of these people, yet they want all control....

Anybody seen or asked Cheney about this "deal"?

11:33 AM  
Anonymous MrBenchley said...

So the chain of command in this White House goes
John Negroponte
|
Cabinet Secretary
|
pResident

Hokay......

"The Intelligence Community Acquisition Risk Centre"....that sure sounds like Poindexter's old idiotic terrorism lottery scheme, doesn't it?

11:57 AM  
Anonymous Jet said...

Responsibility is the hot potatoe. When they find another Brownie, the music will stop.

12:04 PM  
Anonymous icoman said...

This pretty much settles the argument about who’s in charge. Many have been saying all along that Bush is just a puppet and the big corp honchos behind the curtain are really running the whole show. This answers a bunch of questions: What are we doing in Iraq? Why is Haliburton getting all these no bid contracts? How can they justify over a $trillion in corporate welfare, tax rebates for the rich, subsidies and bailouts? Why are the corporate funded Democratic leaders so damn quiet about all this?

If Bush didn’t know about this Port sale then who authorized this crazy deal? Who’s really calling all the shots? Unfortunatel, big corp owns 98% of the media in the U.S. We’ll probably never know the real answers.

12:05 PM  
Blogger thewaronterrible said...

I echo Tom Rinaldo's comment, as precisely what needs to be focused on here.
Bush's claimed strong suit is that he's tough on terror.
But like the Emperor with No Clothes, the port matter cleanly exposes him as an empty suit.
He is not involved in THE MOST SIGNIFICANT policy decisions relating to security.
So why should any one trust in Bush political rhetoric that he's taken a personal stake in protecting us?

We've previously seen examples of isolated pockets of control within the Bush Administration i.e. 9-11, Iraq and Katrina, with disasterous results. Our security is in grave danger.
Leadership is a combination of management, coordination, open-mindedness, cooperation, control, and competence.
The Bush Administration again demonstrates failing grades in all areas.
The difference is with the port matter even the red-staters can understand it.

12:51 PM  
Anonymous trinity said...

David R. Mark said....
"Although the Bush Administration is strongly defending a deal for a state-owned Dubai company to manage major U.S. ports, key members of the administration are saying they didn't know about the deal until after it was approved.

It makes you wonder how the administration came to approve Dubai Ports World buying British company Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co., which runs six U.S. Ports."


To start with, I would just say that I'm not sure that anyone in the administration would be in a position to prevent the sale of a private British company (P. & O.) to Dubai Ports World, a state-owned UAE company. Am I mistaken there?

If anything, once the purchase was completed, I suppose the U.S. could have cancelled the existing contract to manage these six port terminals, if we did not approve of Dubai taking over.

How can this be? We've been told the committee unanimously approved the sale on Feb. 13. How is that possible if the committee chair and a key member of the committee didn't know about it?

That's a really good question, one which I'd love to have answered myself. The only possibility that immediately comes to my mind is that perhaps much of this work is left to lower-level career bureaucrats in Treasury, as well as in Homeland Security and the Pentagon.

Treasury in particular is something of a rubber stamp when it comes to promoting commerce and approving transfers of U.S. assets to foreign entities. They are interested in promoting foreign investment in the U.S. more than anything else.

From what I read, it appears that since the formation of CFIUS in 1988, they have rejected only one out of some 1,530 transactions.

Another thing that might be worth revisiting is whether or not this entire interagency panel should be reconfigured, because imo, the secret nature of their work is no longer an acceptable manner under which to operate.

I would also just remind everyone that it was Congress itself that passed the legislation that now prevents them from having oversight on these acquisitions. They created the very statute that removed them from having any input, if that makes any sense.

1:17 PM  
Blogger thewaronterrible said...

Once again, some like Trinity are trying to infer blame for Bush administration incompetence on "bureaucracy" and on congress.
As far as I can tell from various media reports, responsibility for the port decision rests with the departments of Homeland Security and Treasury.
Congressional representatives have cited the failure, if it is true, of these departments to alert the heads of Defense and Treasury.
Congress' oversight role is a secondary issue here.
What is at issue is the oversight role of the Executive Branch and the coordination between various agencies in all matters involving national security, in particular significant decisions like the control of U.S. ports.
Such oversight is especially relevant in the face of repeated Bush Administration rhetoric that it is going the extra mile and applying extra scrutiny on government in the name of national security post 9-11.

ATTENTION: One other point for all those wondering why all the fuss. I think James Pinkerton of Newsday, who is a conservative and normally a huge Bush apologist, lays out an excellent
fact-based summary of the UAE's past role in supporting the Taliban, Osama Bin Laden and Al Quaida.

http://www.newsday.com/news/opinion/ny-oppin234637692feb23,0,369001.column?coll=ny-viewpoints-headlines

Now please match Pinkerton's findings with Bush's earlier statement. And I quote:

"Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists. From this day on, an nation that continues to harbor or support terror will be regarded as a hostile regime."

That is any nation but the UAE, I suppose.

3:14 PM  
Blogger thewaronterrible said...

Just to reinforce my above point, I wanted to say anyone with questions about a detailed explanation of UAE connection to the 9-11 attacks need to look no further than the 9-11 Commission report.
And Pinkerton pointed out in his essay that no one can definitively say whether relationships between UAE and Al Quaida/Taliban have truely ended.

3:30 PM  
Anonymous alias: "cutiepie" johnson said...

I would just say that I'm not sure that anyone in the administration would be in a position to prevent the sale of a private British company (P. & O.) to Dubai Ports World, a state-owned UAE company. Am I mistaken there?
>>

Trinity, I think that if the Bush Administration were to say that it didn't approve of the deal -- and I'm wondering if it has the right to terminate the contract if P&O is sold -- the value of the deal would go down, and it would have to be renegotiated or nixed.

4:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No one in the Administration has the ability to prevent the sale of a private British company to a state-owned UAE company.
But they certainly do have the ability to stop the contract for that very reason.
It is my understanding the Bush Administration entered into the contract under the full knowledge of the sale to the UAE company and that fine point is not part of the dispute.

5:00 PM  
Anonymous trinity said...

I like Pinkerton, and he makes a lot of valid observations in his article. Still, there are plenty of examples of how Dubai and the UAE have been cooperating with us on the war on terror as well. Here are some facts that James S. Robbins lays out:

James S. Robbins
"I have to wonder if the approval of Dubai Ports World is payback for recent support by Dubai and the UAE in the war on terrorism. Some data points:

December 2004: Dubai was the first government in the region to sign on to the U.S. Container Security Initiative to screen all containers heading for the United States for security risks.

May 2005: Dubai signed an agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy to bar passage of nuclear material from passing through its ports, and install radiation-detecting equipment.

June 2005: The UAE joined the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings and the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism.

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. UAE banks routinely cooperate with U.N. and international law-enforcement agencies in supplying information about suspect accounts.

November 2005: In the wake of the terror bombings in Jordan, General Shaykh Muhammad Bin-Zayid Al Nuhayyan, heir apparent of Abu Dhabi and supreme commander of the UAE armed forces, stated that “Muslim scholars who live among us must adopt a stand toward this terrorism… If they do not declare [terrorists] to be infidels, they should at least consider them as non-Muslims. …If there are no honest stands toward these non-religious and inhumane operations, these [attacks] will continue.”

December 2005: The UAE National Consultative Council called for declaration of an all-out war against terrorism and depriving any person who pledges allegiance to foreign extremist groups the right of UAE citizenship. The council proclaimed that it regarded links to such groups as high treason.

The UAE has also assisted the Coalition effort in Iraq, in particular training Iraqi security forces and sending material assistance to the Iraqi people.


So it could be that our government is satisfied with the cooperation they've gotten from the UAE post 9-11, and know that it's in our mutual interest to fight terrorism.

Still, the way this news has broadsided Congress and the rest of the American people has left us all understandably scratching our heads. I think we need a lot more information before we can even think of really getting behind this idea. Here is an interesting piece by James Carafano that I pretty much agree with:

"Foreign companies already own most of the maritime infrastructure that sustains American trade — the ships, the containers, the material-handling equipment, and the facilities being sold to the Dubai company. It's a little late now to start worrying about outsourcing seaborne trade, but congressional hearings could serve to clear the air.

Sure security is important. That’s why after 9/11, America led the effort to establish the International Ship and Port Security code that every country that trades with and operates in the United States has to comply with. And compliance isn’t optional—it is checked by the U.S. Coast Guard. And the security screening for the ships, people, and cargo that comes into the United States is not done by the owners of the ships and the ports, but by the Coast Guard and Customs and Border Protection, both parts of the Homeland Security department. Likewise overall security for the port is coordinated by the captain of the port, a Coast Guard officer.

What happens when one foreign-owned company sells a U.S. port service to another foreign-owned company. Not much. Virtually all the company employees at the ports are U.S. citizens. The Dubai firm is a holding company that will likely play no role in managing the U.S. facilities. Likewise, the company is owned by the government, a government that is an ally of the United States and recognizes that al Qaeda is as much a threat to them as it is to us. They are spending billions to buy these facilities because they think it’s a crackerjack investment that will keep making money for them long after the oil runs out. The odds that they have any interest in seeing their facilities become a gateway for terrorist into the United States are slim. But in the interest of national security, we will be best served by getting all the facts on the table.


http://nationalreview.com/symposium/symposium200602211008.asp

5:05 PM  
Anonymous trinity said...

thewaronterrible said...
Once again, some like Trinity are trying to infer blame for Bush administration incompetence on "bureaucracy" and on congress.


So what you're saying is that bureaucracy and Congress (who set up the "Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States") bears no responsibility?

I know, twot. According to you, until GWB was inaugurated, we never had acts of terrorism perpetrated against us, or potential problems with New Orleans' levees, or even poverty or homelessness probably. I get it. (yawn) You truly are a Johnny one-note. Don't you ever get bored with yourself?

5:18 PM  
Blogger thewaronterrible said...

Trinity last week your JABBS' posts reveal you were very troubled by the port contract with the UAE country for reason of terrorism concerns.
What gives?
IT NOW APPEARS YOU'VE CHANGED YOUR ENTIRE OPINION ONLY BECAUSE THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION'S CULPABILITY IN THE CONTRACT HAS COME INTO QUESTION?
Trinity, your newest argument appears to be that the Bush Administration sitting in the top executive branch of government should not be held accountable for anything that happens in government.
Then you say, Congress bears responsibility for the port contract because they set up a committee for foreign investments?
I suppose then under that theory the framers of the Constitution should bear responsibility for the contract as well because they have created a legislative branch of government.
Your arguments make no sense.

I don't care what the UAE may have done to help the U.S. on terrorism causes in recent years.
The very fact that not long ago the country has demonstrably played a substantial role IN THE LARGEST ACT OF TERRORISM AGAINST AMERICA IN HISTORY. The very fact the government still have possible connections with terrorism groups, is reason enough to defeat this contract.
I will look this up later but if my memory serves a global security organization last year listed the UAE has one of the most vulnerable countries to terrorism in the world.

Here is a question I haven't seen sufficiently addressed in the media. Isn't there a U.S. company with the ability to oversee our ports?

6:38 PM  
Blogger thewaronterrible said...

Here's a final profound thought from me on this issue.

Based on the UAE's mixed record on terrorism, there may be a tiny, tiny miniscle chance that the UAE having management of the ports, if not day-to-day management, would increase the chances of a terrorist attack on U.S. soil.
Agreed.
Because this is the case, why then should U.S. citizens allow the government to impose additional inconveniences -- if not outright restrictions on privacy -- in the form of extra security at the airports, extra precautions at the Department of Motor Vehicles, extra hassles in getting families of nationalized, foreign-born citizens a temporary VISA to visit, The Patriot Act, NSA spying, etc. for the very same purpose of preventing that very miniscle chance of a terrorist attack?
U.S. citizens are asked to take and endure extra precautions, but the U.S. government is not taking similar precautions? Why kind of example is being set in the name of protecting all of us in the "post-911 world."








Why should we allow the government to take that miniscle chance, when at the same time that same government asks us to waive privacy rights or forego inconveneience in the form of NSA spying, the Patriot Act, increased security at the airports, etc. to erase such a similiarly miniscle chance.

11:54 AM  
Anonymous trinity said...

thewaronterrible said...
"Trinity last week your JABBS' posts reveal you were very troubled by the port contract with the UAE country for reason of terrorism concerns.
What gives?


Twot, practically the entire country was troubled when this story broke, and understandably so. The way it was presented gave the erroneous impression that our ports would soon be overrun by Arab nationals, even al Qaeda types, rather than the people who were running them now. That turns out not to be the case.

I have said in other posts that my initial reaction to the sale was certainly not a positive one. I think I said that I didn't like it, and that my gut reaction was not good, or words to that effect.

I also acknowledged that I had no indepth knowledge of what such a decision might entail, and I suppose I still don't, not really. What I have done, however, is present some of the more favorable facts surrounding Dubai and the UAE, and their relationship to the U.S., just as a matter of balance.

That doesn't mean that I'm completely in favor of allowing the deal to remain in place. Certainly not "as is" in any case. It just means that I now understand, after reading all I could find on the subject, that the initial reporting on the sale left a lot to be desired in the accuracy department.

I thought I made it clear that I felt there needed to be immediate Congressional oversight to evaluate what sort of security risks might be involved in this takeover. If I left a doubt about what I said, let me make it clear now, that is what I believe needs to be done. This is a judgement call, and those making the final decision need to be extremely well-informed and aware of all aspects of the transaction.

1:46 PM  
Blogger thewaronterrible said...

Reasonable enough, Trinity.
I share in the opinion of Tom Bevan who ran a few editorials on the matter this week on his right-wing website www.realclearpolitics.com:
Most Americans have a feeling deep down in their gut that this UAE port deal poses a security threat, and no amount of posturing from the White House can change that.

3:07 PM  
Anonymous alias: "cutiepie" johnson said...

Trinity, part of the problem with this story was the fact that Bush came out adamantly in favor of the deal, and then almost immediately afterward, Americans learned he didn't know about the deal until it was announced.

That sort of thing calls into question whether the White House's approval of the deal was more political than security-minded, and I think that continues to worry a lot of Americans.

I don't think I'm going out on a limb to say that this could continue to be an issue come November, because on the surface, it seems to run counter to the entire Bush spin about keeping the homeland safe.

3:30 PM  
Anonymous trinity said...

thewaronterrible said...
"Reasonable enough, Trinity.


WHOA! Wait a moment! I can't have read that right! I almost fell out of my chair! Is it April Fools Day? No, really. Don't toy with me, twot! Wow. Give me a moment!

(a minute or two elapses)

Whew! Okay. I'm a little more composed now. ;) Back to the matter at hand.....

Most Americans have a feeling deep down in their gut that this UAE port deal poses a security threat, and no amount of posturing from the White House can change that.

Well, I agree with the first half of that statement. I'm not as sure about the second.

As more specific information comes to light, and protections and oversight to allay security concerns put in place, it is possible that public opinion might sway a little more towards accepting this transaction. An informed public is key. Most of the fear and uncertainty comes from ignorance of the facts.

Not that I want to minimize the legitimate national security concerns that we all feel, either. I'm just saying that once a greater understanding of the issue is attained, most of us will probably feel somewhat better about it than we did initially.

I think that as we learn more and more about the strategic value the U.A.E. serves to the United States, the better we will understand why this administration considers them to be our ally.

Iran's obvious intentions to develop nuclear weapons are a major cause of concern to everyone, and it may very well be that al-Dhafra airbase in the U.A.E. will prove invaluable to us in dealing with this problem.

That would explain the President's determination to save this controversial transfer of management of our ports to Dubai Ports World. He wouldn't want to jeopardize the good will that's been built up between our country and the U.A.E.

I understand that concern perfectly. I just want to insure that first, all precautions are taken to insure our nation's safety and welfare.

4:15 PM  
Anonymous trinity said...

alias: "cutiepie" johnson said...
"Trinity, part of the problem with this story was the fact that Bush came out adamantly in favor of the deal, and then almost immediately afterward, Americans learned he didn't know about the deal until it was announced."


I know, cutiepie, and I'm not sure what that might mean, other than that he has great faith in the vetting process that we use for approving such transfers of American assets to foreign entities.

That sort of thing calls into question whether the White House's approval of the deal was more political than security-minded, and I think that continues to worry a lot of Americans.

I think you're right about that being the perception, cutiepie. It's just very difficult for me to imagine that a President who has been so strong and steadfast in his efforts to do all he can to keep us from being vulnerable, would simply throw all that out the window.

I think the other shoe is about to drop, too, because I read that P & O has just renewed a contract with the United States Surface Deployment and Distribution Command to provide for the loading and unloading of military equipment at the Texan ports of Beaumont and Corpus Christi through the year 2010.

I would think that contract would also now fall to Dubai Ports World, so the Bush Administration had better have their arguments ready to go.

4:38 PM  
Anonymous trinity said...

Here, for argument's sake, is an interesting commentary by Michael Ledeen on how we should be handling matters like the Dubai Ports World purchase:

"There is a clean way to handle things such as the port operations, and it still astonishes me that it wasn't done properly. It's been done thusly for many years, actually many decades:

1. Create an American company to handle the matter (if foreigners wish to buy in, or even buy it, that's ok);

2. Wall off the foreign investors/owners. They are silent partners. They have no say in the actual operation;

3. Create a "classified Board" composed of people with security clearances and experience in sensitive matters;

4. Appoint a CEO and other top executives with experience and clearances.

We do this all the time with, say, foreigners who want to buy companies that manufacture parts for weapons sytems, etc. It seems the obvious solution here. Dubai would get prestige and whatever profits are generated. Americans run the thing and guarantee, so far as is possible, security. Looks like a win/win solution. For that matter, we should have done the same sort of thing with the British owners, and we should do the same thing with the Chinese and others who now have access to all kinds of potentially dangerous information thanks to their buy-ins."

4:53 PM  
Anonymous trinity said...

Another small detail that I just read on Mark Levin's blog. According to UPI, the UAE will be managing terminals in 21 ports, not merely 6 or even 8 ports.

http://levin.nationalreview.com/

Levin puts it all in very simple terms and challenges the Bush Administration as follows:

"If the UAE is a great friend in the war on terrorism, then convince us. If the UAE won't be handling any of the security at these ports, then show us. If this deal is in our best interests, then prove it to us."

5:26 PM  
Blogger thewaronterrible said...

I read all your posts Trinity.

The U.S. wants to show support for an "ally" in the War on Terror and demonstrate globalism and anti-racism somehow through entering into this contract with the UAE.

Consider.
The U.S. would send AN EVEN STRONGER message if it said our country simply does not do business with foreign governments that have in recent years (a)had active relationships with our enemy, Afghanistan and the Taliban (b) has operated a trading channel with Al Queda (c) runs a banking system that has assisted in the funding of the most deadly terrorist attack ever on U.S. soil (d) has housed two of the terrorists (e) has a horrible record on human rights (d) and is a teething hotbed of Arab Anti-American sentiment. I'm sure significant portions of the UAE population are rooting for the Iraq insurgents and the government of Iran.

Maybe if the U.S. took the above stand, the UAE government and its people would look at our country and our values in an even more respectful light.

All nonwithstanding, of course, the possible threat to our security posed by the UAE operating the most vulnerable entry ways for terrorism.
Imagine the outcry if the UAE was put in charge of airport security. There's really no difference.

As I said in an earlier post above, a miniscle increased risk of terrorism alone is reason enough to kill this contract.
I agree, if the U.S. cannot demonstrate convincingly, way beyond any reasonable doubt, that the UAE contract does not present even a miniscle risk, then it is time to look for a new partner.
But why are we even dealing with a company that requires such extra assurances in this so-called "post 9-11 world."

But out of respect for the 9-11 victims, the U.S. should not even had considered entering into the contract with the UAE in the first place.
The secretive deal is a slap in the face to all of the 9-11 victims. Period.

See:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060224/ap_on_go_pr_wh/ports_security

7:18 PM  
Anonymous trinity said...

thewaronterrible said...
"But why are we even dealing with a company that requires such extra assurances in this so-called "post 9-11 world."


I don't know, twot. You make a lot of points that I agree with, so it's not like we have are on opposite sides of the issue. I'm just trying to hear what everyone in the security field has to say about it, and even there you find some pros and cons.

I think that despite the fact that Dubai's own port in the UAE has, according to Stephen Flynn, a maritime security expert at the Council on Foreign Relations, a reputation for being one of the best run ports in the Middle East, as Americans, our concerns over Dubai Ports World managing maritime terminals in U.S. ports seem very valid to me.

You asked whether there are any American companies that do this work, and I'm not really sure that there are. I've heard of companies from Hong Kong that do, and I think some Dutch companies, but from what I heard or read somewhere, if true, it seems that they don't want to have the hassle of working with our unions and all our regulations.

The Dubai Ports World company is fairly new, started in 1999 I think. One thing that makes me feel a little better, should this all go through, is reading that there are a number of Americans who are well-known in the shipping industry among DPW's senior leadership.

Also, Dave Sanborn, who is supposedly this Administration's current nominee for the post of U.S. Maritime Administrator, was himself previously a top executive at Dubai Ports World, so he should be able to give us an accurate assessment of how the company works from the inside.

As we hear all the time, our ports are already vulnerable, so what's extremely important, maybe even more so than who actually owns the contracts, is the matter of what security arrangements are in place to protect the terminals from any dangerous and/or hostile elements.

I imagine that is what will be discussed right now, unless of course the whole transaction falls through by March 2.

9:37 AM  
Blogger thewaronterrible said...

Yes, Trinity the ability of a UAE to provide adequate security is an issue.
But so is my other issue you didn't address.
The perception of the UAE port security contract is fatal, especially for 9-11 victims.
What right does the government have to block the wishes of this group, anyway.
America may be sending a wrong message in entering into a security contract of all things with a government, whether wittingly or unwittingly, that had participated in the 9-11 attack,and a government that has been shown to be have been complicit with our enemies.
On top of that, the human rights record of the UAE, i.e. treatment of prisoners, torture, widespread human trafficking in particular of children for slave labor, mistreatment and abuse of migrant labor, would shudder anyone. The UAE government refuses to sign most international human rights and labor rights treaties.
And the country again is a seething hot bed of Islamic American hatred.
You can look up all this factual info for yourselves.
Why the U.S. would even choose to do business with such a government?
One simple three-letter word. OIL! I repeat OIL! OIL!
Can we agree, Trinity, Bush just made a state of the union address stating that America needs to shift away from OIL dictating its foreign policies.
So the contract with the UAE DIRECTLY CONTRADICTS HIS CLAIM.
It also acts against his earlier stated position after 9-11 that the U.S. does not do business with
countries harboring or supporting terrorism.
As pointed out in many recent media reports, no one has really seen any proof on whether the UAE's support for the Taliban and Al Quaeda has ceased.
I believe the MSM should address the UAE perception and reality issues above, as well as the security precaution viewpoint you express Trinity.
One final observation, from a political standpoint, the entire mess has blown up in Bush and the Republicans' face.
The Rasmussen poll yesterday shows that 67% of Americans said the UAE contract should be rejected on its face. Only 17% support it.
Plus for the first time, the poll shows that more of the country believes Democrates ARE STRONGER THAN REPUBLICANS ON TERRORISM.
Yes, as people become more informed, and as long as the MSM continues to somewhat ignore the perception and historical record of the UAE, it is possible this poll may reflect a change in upcoming days.
I would put my money that the findings will not change significantly, however. It is a refrain across various webblogs, Democratic and Republican alike, I reviewed at length last night that people will not vote for any politician that supports this contract. Bush supports this contract at the peril of his own party.
Many conservatives will continue to try to blame the media for creating this "uninformed" position on the UAE contract in people's minds. However, these same conservatives attribute no blame whatsoever on the media for having earlier formed people's opinions on going to war with Iraq. I think it a conservative trait to adapt the facts around its favored position at the moment. Hypocrites.

11:48 AM  
Anonymous trinity said...

thewaronterrible said...
"The perception of the UAE port security contract is fatal, especially for 9-11 victims.
What right does the government have to block the wishes of this group, anyway."


True that perception is a big part of this whole issue, twot. And the perception is without a doubt, quite unfavorable, both in the eyes of the families of the victims of 9-11, and the American public in general.

I don't know about you, but even though I didn't lose anyone directly on 9-11, I do have family members who did lose friends and co-workers, and I don't feel at all disconnected from the atrocity that was perpetrated upon our nation that day.

I am from NY originally, and spent most of my life there. Up until his retirement, my Dad used to work in the South Tower of the WTC, and I was on the phone with him as we both watched live as the second plane hit. My brother was working nearby at the Church Street Post Office at the time of the attack. My cousin is a firefighter from Brooklyn who lost many of his friends that day.

I think my point is that, as much as I acknowledge that the families of 9-11 have suffered terrible personal loses, all Americans were attacked on that day, each and every one of us. So, as much as I empathize with these families and what they have suffered, I don't believe that the U.S. government should make policy based on what they say, solely because it is they who are saying it. Just my two cents worth.

1:02 PM  
Anonymous trinity said...

thewaronterrible said...
"America may be sending a wrong message in entering into a security contract of all things with a government, whether wittingly or unwittingly, that had participated in the 9-11 attack"


I doubt that anyone in our government would be even thinking of going along with this venture, twot, if they believed for a nano-second that the actual government of the UAE either knew of, or supported, al Qaeda's 9-11 attack on our country. There is no evidence of this whatsoever.

Other criticisms we have made against the UAE are valid, and we have all listed them. I'm not denying the UAE's history, with regard to past banking practices, human rights issues or anything else for that matter. But if they are now beginning to show signs of wanting change within their country, I look at that as a positive thing.

Also, I respectfully (?) reject your baseless charge that oil is the reason for our government's support of this deal. How many times are you guys going to pull that one out of your respective butts? Talk about crying wolf. We went into Iraq for oil. (not) We're letting them manage our ports for oil. I mean, please. Stop already with the Moveon.org-like mantra. You lose me when you spout that garbage. So in response to your question, NO! We cannot agree on that one.

"It also acts against his earlier stated position after 9-11 that the U.S. does not do business with countries harboring or supporting terrorism."

State sponsored terrorism, and individual al Qaeda jihadists are two completely different entities, twot. Islamo-fascist terrorists are becoming more and more a global problem, not confined to the Middle East.

"One final observation, from a political standpoint, the entire mess has blown up in Bush and the Republicans' face."

Now that is just an undeniable fact, pure and simple. Politically, this is a potential disaster for the Republicans.

Yes, as people become more informed, and as long as the MSM continues to somewhat ignore the perception and historical record of the UAE, it is possible this poll may reflect a change in upcoming days.

Again, I have to disagree with you here. More information is a good thing, not a bad thing, and the American people are already quite well-informed as to the negative information surrounding UAE, thus the immediate knee-jerk reaction we all experienced upon hearing the news about Dubai Ports World.

If anything, they know less about how the United Arab Emirates have been cooperating with us in our efforts to combat the terrorists. And truthfully, before this story came out, how many of us even knew that so many of our ports were already foreign-owned? I had no idea that the Brits were running them before, did you?

1:43 PM  
Anonymous trinity said...

For consideration, a short piece by Glenn Reynold on the op-ed page of today's WSJ:

"When the story first appeared, bloggers were overwhelmingly negative. My own reaction, on Feb. 12, was "color me unimpressed." Other bloggers were more pungent, but the story got little attention in the national media, which were mostly preoccupied with the Cheney quail-hunting story. ... Some bloggers, meanwhile, were having second thoughts. One of them was me: Although my initial reaction was negative, I started getting emails from readers -- some of them longtime correspondents -- who had experience with the UAE. One had served alongside troops from the Emirates in Afghanistan; another had spent time in Dubai. Some had worked with UAE ports officials. All were positive. ... As I write this, it's not clear where the rest of the debate is headed, but there are already some useful lessons for the White House. First, blogs make an excellent early warning system. The White House, unaccountably, seems to have been blindsided by the furor over this deal, though most people's gut reaction was negative. As with the many bloggers like me who changed their minds, gut reactions can be overcome by evidence -- but the White House should have taken advantage of this early warning to have its arguments in order. It didn't. That's the second lesson: The White House should not only have read blogs, but responded to them with information and arguments, rather than waiting for blog readers to weigh in."

Conversely, as I go back and forth in my mind on how I view this whole Dubai deal, one very important thing to consider is that the UAE is among those nations who support a "one-state" solution in the Mid-East. That is problematic, no doubt, since Israel is a very important friend of ours, as well as a friend to democracy. I haven't heard the UAE come out and state that they believe in Israel's right to exist. Not yet, anyhow, and probably not anytime soon. :(

2:43 PM  
Blogger thewaronterrible said...

Trinity your comment that the U.S. is not in the middle east largely lacks substantiation.

Ever hear of the Project for the New American Century, Trinity, where some of the chief architects of the Iraq war within the Bush Administration had earlier cited oil as a principal reason to attack Iraq?
If you haven't heard of the PNAC, officially recognized as the most suppressed story of 2003 in light of the run-up to the Iraq War, it would demonstrate you pay attention only to that news fed through the conservative censorship machine.
Here are a few of other possible examples from the PNAC that oil PLAYED A MAJOR FACTOR as a reason to get involved in Iraq.

From PNAC 1992 documents,
Wolfowitz outlined plans for military intervention in Iraq as an action necessary to assure "access to vital raw material, primarily Persian Gulf oil" and to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and threats from terrorism.
Here is what the PNAC stated in a letter to Clinton urging an attack on Iraq in 2000.
"Such uncertainty will, by itself, have a seriously destabilizing effect on the entire Middle East. It hardly needs to be added that if Saddam does acquire the capability to deliver weapons of mass destruction, as he is almost certain to do if we continue along the present course, the safety of American troops in the region, of our friends and allies like Israel and the moderate Arab states, and a significant portion of the world’s supply of oil will all be put at hazard."

On a more personal level:
I know a good friend who has brother working as a printing contractor for the U.S. Military in Bagdhad. This individual is a staunch supporter of the U.S. efforts in Iraq. He insists the media reports of violence are overblown. He insists life goes on every day with very little violence and most of the violence in Iraq is confined in a very small area. He insists the U.S. Military is making substantial improvements in Iraq that go unreported.
He rubs shoulders and communicates with U.S. military members on a daily basis.
However, this individual affirms that the only reason the U.S. is acting in Iraq is because of the country's oilfields. "If it wasn't for the oil, we would not be in this country," he wrote in a letter addressed to my friend a few weeks ago.
Trinity, you have the habit of not putting your arguments in any context, which is why I feel like I have to forever review history with you.
One other point on the perception/9-11 victims issue: You probably would not enter into a business relationship with the brother of a man who recently raped your daughter or your sister.
If you read the 9-11 Commission report, you would see evidence that the UAE banking system run by the UAE government played a role in funneling money to the terrorists. Someone therein had to know about it. And you neglect evidences detailed in the report of the government's support of Al Quaeda and the Taliban. Don't tell me there are no evidences.

3:58 PM  
Blogger thewaronterrible said...

In first line above, I meant to say not in the middle east due to oil.

4:00 PM  
Blogger thewaronterrible said...

Trinity: Re your claim "no evidences"

The latest revelation in the UAE Port controversy should cause those expressing reasons to support the deal to pause.

A newly declassified document indicates Al Queda had warned the UAE that it had filtrated much of the UAE government
http://www.nypost.com/news/worldnews/64126.htm
This has been reported elsewhere besides the Post, but it is almost scary that I have been finding most of my support to reject this contract from conservative media sources.

1:05 PM  
Blogger thewaronterrible said...

Trinity: Re your claim "no evidences"

The latest revelation in the UAE Port controversy should cause those expressing reasons to support the deal to pause.

A newly declassified document indicates Al Queda had warned the UAE that it had filtrated much of the UAE government
http://www.nypost.com/news/worldnews/64126.htm
This has been reported elsewhere besides the Post, but it is almost scary that I have been finding most of my support to reject this contract from conservative media sources.

1:05 PM  
Anonymous trinity said...

thewaronterrible said...
"Trinity, you have the habit of not putting your arguments in any context, which is why I feel like I have to forever review history with you."


And you, twot, have the most annoying habit of being very condescending and obviously quite full of yourself. Please spare me your history review.

"If you haven't heard of the PNAC, officially recognized as the most suppressed story of 2003 in light of the run-up to the Iraq War, it would demonstrate you pay attention only to that news fed through the conservative censorship machine.

Just for the record, I cannot at this moment think of one single thing in PNAC's mission statement that I disagree with. "Peace through strength" is nothing more than a continuation of the Reagan doctrine. I am in total agreement with the concepts of military strength and moral clarity, and it's just a fact that free democracies tend not to attack other free democracies, so I am also in favor of spreading democracy throughout the world.

With regard to oil, protecting the world's oil resources and insuring our access to them is a matter of our own national security and stability. It is no more or less a concern of this administration than it was of all other administrations that came before.

And unfortunately, as long as efforts to drill for oil at ANWAR and other off-shore sites continue to be blocked, we will never be able to wean ourselves off of this dependency upon Mid-Eastern oil. That's just a fact of life.

Also, I would just say that PNAC's letter to Clinton is not the smoking gun that you, evidently, believe it to be. No more so than the 1998 "Iraq Liberation Act" which Congress passed and Clinton signed. It was our official foreign policy stance to remove Saddam Hussein from power, for a variety of reasons.

PNAC was right in their assessment of the need to force the U.N. to actually take a stand and do something other than passing yet another resolution for Saddam Hussein to thumb his nose at.

We did the right thing to oust him from power. He had broken the ceasefire agreement from the first Gulf War, and repeatedly violated how many U.N. Resolutions as well over those twelve years? Seventeen? What would your side have done? Passed some more resolutions?

5:42 PM  

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