Have you noticed how the opposition to the DP World buyout, in claiming Dubai has ties to terrorism, has centered around 3 basic claims? 1. The United Arab Emirates recognized the Taliban as the legitimate government of Afghanistan. 2. "Some" (actually it was only 2) of the 911 hijackers came from the UAE. 3. Terrorists funneled funds through UAE banks. Now, there was a fourth, that a UAE prince was visiting with Osama Bin Ladden in Afghanistan when we had planned an attack. What they leave out on that issue is that the UAE was acting as double agents for our own CIA and providing them with intelligence information on al Qaeda.
Let's look at these claims one at a time:
1. "The United Arab Emirates recognized the Taliban as the legitimate government of Afghanistan."
I'm not sure what conclusion we are supposed to draw from this but as I've stated before, when you're in the shipping business, who else are you going to talk to in Afghanistan for commerce if not the Taliban? If this is supposed to represent a tie to terrorism, then perhaps we should consider that America recognizes Moammar Gadhafi’s administration, who brought down Pan Am flight 103, as the legitimate government of Libya. We recognized Saddam Hussein as the legitimate government of Iraq. We recognized the Ayatollah Khomeni as the legitimate government of Iran, and we recognize President Bashar Al-Assad and the Baath party as the legitimate government of Syria. If that doesn't represent recognizing terrorist governments, I don't know what does.
2. "Many" of the 911 hijackers came from the UAE."
Actually, non of them did and only 2 actually lived in the UAE for a period of time. As we already know, 17 of the hijackers were Saudis and 2 were Egyptians. If we use this as an argument against DP World, then we must also recognize that at least 5 of the 911 hijackers were from Florida, two from San Diego, and several more from New York, before they crashed 757s into the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon. The 911 pilots were trained in American flight schools. American visas were granted to terrorists who traveled freely to and from, and within the Untied States. Hijackers used American built airliners for their attacks. Therefore, America supported terrorists.
3. "Terrorists funneled funds through UAE banks."
This is an interesting one because some of those UAE banks used for terrorist money transfers were owned by Britain. Did a nation's government have control over the financial transactions of terrorists prior to 911? Does this mean that Dubai supports terrorism? Well, let's see. Money from American Islamic charities was being used to support terrorist groups in the Middle East, it went through American banks. The 911 hijackers had accounts in American banks. The bin Ladden family, including Osama, had investments in American commerce, their money was in some American banks. So then it looks like terrorist's money was channeled through American banks as well.
In conclusion, if you believe that these claims against UAE are valid arguments for support of terrorism, then you must also believe that America supports Islamic terrorism. If your intent is to use these connections to oppose the Dubai Ports World deal, then you'll find evidence that America has had more support for terrorists than has Dubai.
For that matter, Germany also supports terrorism. Putting their links to Iraq aside, a variety of German banks were used in money transfers to al Qaeda operatives. Some of the 911 hijackers were schooled in Germany and the 911 attacks were planned by an al Qaeda cell in Hamburg. Denmark, Sweden, France, Britain, and most all European countries harbor Islamics with connections in some way to terrorist groups and use European banks, so why do we single out Dubai for finding themselves in the same situation? It's simply a lame argument that lacks any credible support.
Some in Congress say this was a "secret" deal and they can't get any answers from the Administration. It was no more secret than any investigation by the Committee on Foreign Investment, which operates independently from the Whitehouse. The president didn't even know about it until he read it in the press. Why do they have to wait for answers from the administration anyway? They're acting like displaced refugees from New Orleans waiting for government handouts. Why can't they request information from the Committee on Foreign Investment, or just log onto the internet and look up the answers themselves as I have? Do you want to see the DP World/P&O contract proposal? It's right here Wouldn't you think that elected officials and their staff could find it as well?
Note that on page 14, item 13, it states that DP World is maintaining the P&O management and employees, safeguarding all their existing employment rights. "DP World regards the management and employees of P&O as key to the ongoing success of the combined entity. DP World confirms that following the Scheme becoming effective, the existing employment rights of all P&O employees will be fully safeguarded". Sr. Vice President of Dubai Ports World, Michael Moore, (yes, an American, and no - not that one), has also stated publicly that "no personnel changes will take place at American ports". Kind of kills the idea that turban wearing Arabs might slip something through customs at our docks, doesn't it.
The Whitehouse on Feb. 22, released a fact sheet to address all the concerns about the DP World purchase but I doubt many in Congress have bothered to read it, but you can at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2006/02/20060222-11.html Why is Congress always the last to learn about these things? I suppose they're all just too busy trying to assure their own reelection and finding more ways to spend our money in their local districts, instead of doing the work they were hired to do.
For Congressional Democrats, and a few Republicans, this is all about political posturing in an election year. They all know that the number one issue with the American people is our national security. They are using the knee jerk reaction and fear of Arabs to try to make themselves look strong on security for the coming election campaign. They're just hoping that their constituents don't learn the truth in time, that the DP World deal is no threat to our security and may even enhance it along with our progress in the war on terror. As I see it, being on the wrong side of the issue once again is not going to help them in the election, but only hurt them when Americans know the truth and take it to the ballot box.
Isn't it interesting how the American Left strenuously objects to racial profiling at our airports, but now insists on it at our seaports? Now that we have Democrats firmly behind Arab profiling at our seaports, Republicans should take advantage of this golden opportunity to introduce legislation in Congress in support of Arab profiling at our airports as well. How could Dems support one but not the other? This would be a perfect time to call them on their double standards and hold their feet to the fire. Just think of it, no more granny searches, but if you're Arab looking, wearing a turban and a bulky coat, you might get a second look-over.
Many are still saying that only 5% of the containers are inspected, implying that this is a huge security risk. I have even heard some say that 95% of containers come through our ports "unchecked". This of course is utter nonsense, nothing comes through our ports "unchecked". When they talk about containers not being inspected, they are talking only about the receiving end of the shipping and the actual opening, unloading, physical inspection, and reloading of the cargo. They don't tell you that 100% of the containers are inspected before leaving the foreign ports by US Customs inspectors. They simply hide the fact that security inspections on containers are done primarily on the departure end, not the receiving end.
When cargo leaves our ports for a foreign destination, 100% of the containers are inspected to the degree required for each container. Most go through radiation scanners while still on the trucks, some also go through gamma ray inspections which work like x-rays. It's the same with cargo coming into our country, it's been inspected in the same way before it ever gets here. Doing it this way only makes good sense. There is plenty of time for cargo inspections while the containers are sitting at the port awaiting the arrival of the ship. But when ships arrive, the cargo must be unloaded and shipped out of the port as fast as possible to meet shipping deadlines for customers. There is no time for comprehensive inspections of all cargo when it arrives at the dock.
Still, some politicians don't have a clue about shipping and port security. "I take a back seat to nobody when it comes to fighting terrorism and standing up for national homeland security. Our port security is too important to place in the hands of foreign governments. I will be working to introduce legislation that will prohibit the sale of ports to foreign governments" says Sen. Hillary Clinton of Arkansas, now transplanted to New York for political gain. What has Clinton done to fight terrorism? When was she ever NOT in the back seat? Probably only when Bill was there with an intern. Someone tell Hillary that no US ports are for sale before she spends too much time writing her useless legislation. Tell her she better stick with the renaming of post offices and channeling federal tax money to union special interests.
"We cannot cede sovereignty over critical infrastructure like our ports. This is a job that America has to do," Clinton told about 600 people at a breakfast sponsored by the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce. "Our port security is too important to place in the hands of foreign governments,” Clinton said, in a statement posted to her web site. "Cede sovereignty over our ports"? "Place port security in the hands of foreign governments"? These statements from what the Left likes to call "the smartest women in the world"? These are the statements of a moron. The DP World deal has noting to do with port security which remains in US control, as does the sovereignty of the ports. Clinton has been shooting off her foot filled mouth with her pea sized brain devoid of any knowledge of the issue. Either she is deliberately trying to mislead the people, or she's just too dumb for the responsibility of the office of Senator. My sympathies to the good people of New York who voted for someone else, anyone else.
Clinton endorsed the comments of Sen. Menendez, who complained: "Our ports are the front lines of the war on terrorism... We wouldn’t turn the border patrol or the customs service over to a foreign government, and we can’t afford to turn our ports over to one either.” Is it appropriate to put "LOL" in an op-ed article? Pardon me for laughing, but who is turning our ports over to a foreign government? Allowing DP World to operate a few docks in 6 US ports is hardly "turning our ports over to a foreign government". And when did the war on terror move to our shores? "Our ports are the front lines of the war on terrorism"? If there were any "front lines" in the war on terrorism, which there aren't, I would think they were in Iraq and Afghanistan for the time being. I haven't noticed any military action going on at, or anywhere near any of our ports, have you?
Union members protesting the proposed takeover echoed that same sentiment. This is probably where Hillary got her rhetoric and felt compelled to repeat it to keep those special interest union contributions coming into her campaign fund.
"We believe American companies who are willing to bid on the port operations in the U.S. should be given that opportunity," said Mike Scott, president of Teamsters Local 769. About 30 union members rallied Friday at the Port of Miami with signs that read "Goodbye Dubai - Secure America's Ports." Scott added; "The president is constantly talking about how tough he is on terrorism, yet he's willing to outsource one of our most vulnerable areas, the ports, to a country with known ties to terrorism."
It's hard to tell just who's been listening to who. Did Hillary get it from the union leader, or did the union leader get it from Hillary? Both are wrong, both are spreading falsehoods, both should check their facts before going public with their ignorance. What American company does Scott have in mind that is in the business of port operations? If there are some such small companies still in existence, could they afford to compete with DP World for the contract? Why is Scott blaming Bush for "outsourcing our ports"? Bush didn't do it, he was barely out of the National Guard when that was done. Britain's P&O company selling their contract for port operations is quite another issue. If Scott has proof of Dubai having "known ties to terrorism", perhaps he should submit it to Congress for use in their coming 45 day investigation. It might be useful. I would also be interested in knowing how he came by this information when no one else seems to have it.
And then we have our beloved Sen. Chuck Schumer adding to the pack of lies and misconceptions. "Outsourcing the operations of our largest ports to a country with a dubious record on terrorism is a homeland security and commerce accident waiting to happen," Schumer said, adding; "America's busiest ports are vital to our economy and to the international economy, and that is why they remain top terrorist targets. Just as we would not outsource military operations or law enforcement duties, we should be very careful before we outsource such sensitive homeland security duties." He sounds just like Scott. Schumer seems to be another uninformed Democrat who doesn't know that port operations do not include "port security" and they were outsourced in his New York home port decades ago.
"Should we be outsourcing our own security?" Schumer said on the Fox News Channel. "We have to have hands-on control of things. And to have United Arab Emirates – I mean, they are a country that's allied with the U.S., but at the same time a whole bunch of the (September 11) hijackers came from the United Arab Emirates." Continued Schumer: "I think there ought to be a full and public review before this company is allowed to control security up and down the East Coast." Ok, you can laugh now too, but is Schumer saying this nonsense to mislead his constituents or does he really believe it? "A whole bunch of the 911 hijackers", two represents a "whole bunch"? And if you buy what Schumer is saying then you must believe that security of the entire East Coast of the United States will be in the hands of the government of UAE. Memo to Chucky: Do your homework before coming back to class.
It's difficult to understand how some people can go before national tv cameras and spew this kind of dribble without loosing credibility in the eyes of the public. Of course for some of us, they lost that a long time ago. But don't they ever look back with utter embarrassment at how wrong they were with their statements and actions? Wouldn't you want to try to be accurate in your public statements, unless it was your intention to mislead the public on important issues? That seems to be what is going on here. I can't believe that a United States Senator would go on national tv to discuss a major issue without knowing any of the facts behind what he's advocating. Schumer is either incredibly stupid, lying for political posturing, or a mouthpiece for the union to keep the special interest campaign funds coming in. In any case, this is just too typical of Democrat politicians today and why I could never consider voting for one. They represent the special interests, not the American people who vote for them.
But Democrats aren't the only ones not comfortable with the DP World takeover. A few Republicans have been speaking out against it as well. Whether this is political posturing in an election year, or just more cases of Islamophobia is uncertain. Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) says; "We don't want Arab countries owning land on our shores and in our ports." He also states that Americans cannot own companies in the UAE. He's wrong on both counts. Nobody is selling land to the UAE or anyone else in this deal. This is a lease for operational rights and has nothing at all to do with land ownership. He is also wrong about Americans owing companies in the UAE. "Foreign companies must maintain a partnership with a local (UAE Citizen) business person. But, this is just for general companies. Corporations and American businesses which seek to be 100% foreign-owned simply put their legal apparatus in the UAE Free Zones. This allows them operation over the entire country as well.", one American blogger and business owner operating in the UAE writes, adding; "In addition to everything else, I have my own company here. It is a US corporation. My business partners are from Pakistan and we have no UAE involvement in our company. Let's get the facts straight Congressman!"
In spite of a 3 month investigation into the DP World proposal for buyout of P&Os port interests in the United States, some feel the investigation by the Committee on Foreign Investment isn't enough and wasn't done thoroughly enough. A Washington Times editorial stated; "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." The article goes on to say that only one foreign investment request has been refused in the past 4 years.
Treasury Secretary John Snow, Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Investment told Fox News that it simply isn't true that the committee is a rubber stamp for the Whitehouse. He goes on to say that it's true that only one foreign investment request in the past 4 years has been refused, but that is because when the committee has objections to an investment request, the contracts are modified to remove the objectionable conditions so that the investment can go through without risk to our security. It's not a rubber stamp, it's called negotiating to arrive at an acceptable agreement.
Over the next 45 days, the Congress will be reviewing and conducting their own investigation into the DP World buyout proposal. For that period of time, DP World has made an official request that the portion of the larger P&O purchase proposal concerning US ports be put on hold and they have not only agreed to the investigation, but encouraged it. Perhaps when our elected representatives learn all the facts and understand the implications of this deal on the war on terror, they will feel more comfortable with it and their concerns will have been satisfied. Public opinion on the outcome of this issue is split but my personal feeling is that in the end, the deal will go through and we will be better off for it in the long run, both in the financing of our port needs and in the war on terror. We just have to give elected Senators and Congressmen a little more time, they're kind of slow to grasp big concepts like this one.
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