The Nuances of the Port Deal

23 02 2006

I have read and listened quite a bit on this Dubai Port World port deal and I have found several nuances regarding this deal.

  1. Bin Laden did not have to buy the WTC to blow it up. If the UAE wanted to “let Al-Qaida” sneak a container in with biological / chemical weapons or a bomb, they could have done so well before now, and quite easily I might add since they have become a key ally.
  2. The UAE will not be running our ports. They are doing a land transfer title. I hear many lawmakers (as I heard Congressman Harold Ford Jr. say today) expressing a lack of trust in an Arab company to run our ports. They will not be running it. It will still be our unions and workers running it. Besides, the U.S. has zero companies that do this type of work. Once the British sell the land, they will no longer be in this line of work either.
  3. The largest port company is from Hong Kong. They don’t want to have to deal with our unions. The second largest is from Singapore who has no interest either. DPW is the third largest or very close. They are the only other bidder who will deal with our strict security laws and unions.
  4. DPW has spent a great deal of money and time upgrading and moderninzing ALL their ports, worldwide, and doing so with less union workers in other parts of the world. That is the real reason Schumer and Hillary oppose this deal. They don’t want the union workers’ companies losing contracts to a more efficient company.
  5. Many lawmakers, journalists, and citizens just want the administration to take a closer look. That is what I am gathering from reading and listening. But I would expect Dems to be demanding a halt to the entire deal. Instead they are setting up for Kerry II: “I supported this deal before I opposed it!” or vice versa.

I am like most of you on this: A little trigger-shy since we have no immediate say in the review process.

On Tuesday, President Bush made some remarks on this issue.

I really don’t understand why it’s okay for a British company to operate our ports, but not a company from the Middle East, when our experts are convinced that port security is not an issue; that having worked with this company, they’re convinced that these — they’ll work with those who are in charge of the U.S. government’s responsibility for securing the ports, they’ll work hand in glove. I want to remind people that when we first put out the Container Security Initiative, the CSI, which was a new way to secure our ports, UAE was one of the first countries to sign up.

In other words, we’re receiving goods from ports out of the UAE, as well as where this company operates. And so I, after careful review of our government, I believe the government ought to go forward. And I want those who are questioning it to step up and explain why all of a sudden a Middle Eastern company is held to a different standard than a Great British company. I’m trying to conduct foreign policy now by saying to people of the world, we’ll treat you fairly. And after careful scrutiny, we believe this deal is a legitimate deal that will not jeopardize the security of the country, and at the same time, send that signal that we’re willing to treat people
fairly.

Shouldn’t we have held Britain to a higher standard after Richard Reid, an Al-Qaida operative from Great Britain, tried to blow up an U.S. jetliner in December 2001? While the UAE might have a different relationship to Al-Qaida than Britain to Reid, it is somewhat the same principle. We are trying to trust our allies and treat others fairly.

It seems that today, we have learned that the White House Required UAE to disclose records for the sale.

As part of the $6.8 billion purchase, state-owned Dubai Ports World agreed to reveal records on demand about “foreign operational direction” of its business at U.S. ports, according to the documents. Those records broadly include details about the design, maintenance, or operation of ports and equipment.

Officials say the company has made available sensitive trade secrets, documents and other concessions as part of the deal. White House spokesman Scott McClellan discussed the extra miles DPW was required to go to win approval from the Committee on Foreign investment in the U.S. (CFIUS).

Rep. Peter King of New York, the Republican chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee and a leading critic of the sale, said the conditions are evidence the Bush administration was concerned about security.

We are not giving everyone a free pass to our top secret documents nor are we an open door to allow anyone who wishes to blow us up by providing some credentials. The President is trusting in his administration to do their jobs. I hope that a little more scrutiny will result and if red flags come up, then let’s put it on hold, but if not, let’s move forward.

Linked with Argghhh!, Don Surber, Freedom Watch, Is It Just Me?, Conservative Cat, Right Wing Nation, Evangelical Outpost, Expose The Left

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