Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The Dubai Deal: American Security at Risk

Some call it an overreaction that people think that the Dubai Ports World deal taking over control of ports in the United States "dangerous". I do not think it is an overreaction in any sense of the word, neither is it an issue of discrimination against the Muslim world. To think that is simplification of the issue by people with simple minds, wanting only to line their pockets and continue their blind faith in the fearless leadership of George W. Bush.

But let’s have a reality check, shall we?

Security Risks:
The Coast Guard and Homeland Security claim that “100%” of containers entering the United States are screened. Well, I guess that is true based on your definition of screened. There definition of screened is scrutinizing the manifests and documentation of all incoming ships (which must be submitted before they leave the port they are originating from). However, ACTUAL screening, hands on like at all of our airports, is more like 1% of all containers entering the United States.

Now we would be allowing a company owned by a non-democratic state to operate these port terminals. There’s the point: The company is STATE-OWNED. This means that the government, which has been in many ways extraordinarily uncooperative in the so-called “War on Terror”, will be, essentially, in control of these ports.

The United Arab Emirates was one of only three countries to recognize the Taliban regime as the legitimate government of Afghanistan. The UAE prevented an assault (according to testimony given in Congress by both Richard Clarke and former CIA chief George Tenant) on Osama Bin Laden when we knew where he was, because “we’d have taken out half the royal family (of the UAE)” in the strike. That’s right; half the royal family of the UAE was at a hunting camp in Afghanistan with Osama that day.

Dubai Ports World, in the deal worked out, were allowed to get through without some of the standard restrictions placed on most other foreign countries. They will also be privy to Homeland Security Department briefings on Port Security in the United States. Yes, they will have more security clearance than you or I. They will be able to choose whether or not former involvement in a terrorist organization will prevent someone from being hired. They will decide whether or not to even begin or complete security clearance checks on all employees. They will not have to keep business records on US soil as most foreign businesses doing business within the US are required to do. This prevents those records from being subpoenaed by US courts.

Dubai Ports World also appears that their desire is to control the ports after they have control of the reporters. Their threat to CNN yesterday (refusing interviews, refusing filming of operations in UAE or Hong Kong, if they would be aired on Lou Dobb’s show) just goes to show that their used to state-owned media, and desire the same thing here.

Don’t you think there’s enough of a security risk already? Don’t you think that we should be mindful of the fact that the Coast Guard was unable to make a determination on whether or not Dubai Ports World would be a safe company to do business with? Don’t you think we should be mindful of the fact that it appears that the only people benefiting from this deal in the United States are the Bush Administration, George Bush Sr., Neil Bush, Jeb Bush, and the Carlyle Group?

Is America going to wake up? Or is America going to wake up when it’s too late, and a dirty bomb goes off in Baltimore, in the White House’s backyard, because port security had so severely been eroded? Remember, as citizens in a democracy, we are ultimately responsible for the actions of our government. Including torture, violating the Geneva Conventions, and our total disregard for human rights in the “war on terror”. I do not want the torture of human beings being my responsibility. That is why I say strongly: Not in my name. Not in my country’s name.

Mr. Bush: Ditch the Port Deal. Or Resign.
I, personally, would prefer the latter.

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