Saturday, February 25, 2006

Everybody Hates the Port Deal; Was It Bought and Paid For?

Tom Kean (former head of the 9/11 Commission, former governor of New Jersey):
Former Sept. 11 commission chairman blasts ports deal

WASHINGTON -- The former chairman of the Sept. 11 commission blasted the offer by a United Arab Emirates company to run operations at six major U.S. seaports, saying it should never have been brokered in the first place.

"It shouldn't have happened, it never should have happened," Thomas Kean said Friday during a telephone interview with The Associated Press.

Kean, who also is a past governor of New Jersey, said the quicker the Bush administration can get out of the deal, the better. He also criticized the administration, saying "somebody has a tin ear over there."

"We're in a no-win situation," Kean said, referring to the United Arab Emirates. "There's no question that two of the 9/11 hijackers came from there and money was laundered through there."

Clark Kent Ervin, the inspector general of the Homeland Security Department from 2003 to 2004 (and a great name!):

NYTimes: Strangers at the Door

WHO could have imagined that, in the post-9/11 world, the United States government would approve a deal giving control over six major American ports to a country with ties to terrorism? But this is exactly what the secretive Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States has done.

Since 1999, the ports of New York, Baltimore, Philadelphia and other cities have been operated by a British concern, P & O Ports, which has now been bought by Dubai Ports World, a company controlled by the government of the United Arab Emirates. Defenders of the deal are claiming that critics, including the Republican and Democratic leaderships in Congress, are acting reflexively out of some bias against Arabs.

This is simply not true. While the United Arab Emirates is deemed by the Bush administration to be an ally in the war on terrorism, we should all have deep concerns about its links to terrorists. Two of the 9/11 hijackers were citizens of the emirates, and some of the money for the attacks came from there. It was one of only three countries in the world that recognized the Taliban regime. And Dubai was an important transshipment point for the smuggling network of Abdul Qadeer Khan, the Pakistani scientist who supplied Libya, Iran and North Korea with equipment for making nuclear weapons.

Most terrorism experts agree that the likeliest way for a weapon of mass destruction to be smuggled into our country would be through a port. After all, some 95 percent of all goods from abroad arrive in the United States by sea, and yet only about 6 percent of incoming cargo containers are inspected for security threats.

It is true that at the ports run by the Dubai company, Customs officers would continue to do any inspection of cargo containers and the Coast Guard would remain "in charge" of port security. But, again, very few cargo inspections are conducted. And the Coast Guard merely sets standards that ports are to follow and reviews their security plans. Meeting those standards each day is the job of the port operators: they are responsible for hiring security officers, guarding the cargo and overseeing its unloading.

The Port Authority of New York has filed a lawsuit against the deal. A US company at the Port of Miami, Eller & Co., has filed lawsuits in Miami and in the High Court of London claiming that the deal will make it an 'involuntary partner' of the UAE:

Lawsuits Filed to Stop Ports Takeover, Deal on Hold

The UAE gave $100 billion to the US for Katrina aid, weeks before the port deal. Coincidence? Right:

UAE gave $100 million for Katrina relief

The administration said the request for U.S. approval of the $6.8 billion ports deal and the UAE contribution were not related.

"There was no connection between the two events," said Adam Ereli, the deputy State Department spokesman.

The U.S. government the money it received from the United Arab Emirates was nearly four times as much as it received from all other countries combined.
Other nations, including some in the Middle East, also pledged large contributions but have not yet sent the money.

Previous posts:
UAE Company to Run Six Ports? Try Twenty-One Ports.

Bush's Blink

What's The Big Secret?

Why Take That Chance?

Bush Prepares for Blink on UAE/Port Deal

UAE Port Security Takeover Update

So Who Did Review the UAE/Ports Deal?

Terrorist Funders Would Control US Military Equipment Shipments As Well As US Ports

If Terrorist Funders Run Our Ports, Terrorists Win

Privatization Gone Wild - Bushco Puts Terrorist Funders in Charge

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How much of the money on this deal is going into the Bush families pockets? From what I heard from one interviewer on the radio one of his brothers is also involved in the deal and will stand to make millions from it. That seems like he is once more willing to sell us out.