Tuesday, February 21, 2006

United Arab Emirates - Should they control our ports?

I've been following this story for about a week but I don't think it's really caught the publics attention. The UAE state owned company 'Dubai Ports World' have purchased London-based Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co., the fourth largest port operator in the world. So now, if unchallenged, the UAE are in charge of operations of the ports of NY, NJ, Baltimore, New Orleans, Miami and Philadelphia. There is no question that Dubai Ports World is capable of operating the ports. So why wouldn't we want UAE in charge of some of our major port facilities?

– The UAE was one of three countries in the world to recognize the Taliban as the legitimate government of Afghanistan.

– The UAE has been a key transfer point for illegal shipments of nuclear components to Iran, North Korea and Lybia.

– According to the FBI, money was transferred to the 9/11 hijackers through the UAE banking system.

– After 9/11, the Treasury Department reported that the UAE was not cooperating in efforts to track down Osama Bin Laden’s bank accounts.

How could this possibly happen? Well as you might expect some Bush cronies are involved. According to the NY Daily News:

One is Treasury Secretary John Snow, whose agency heads the federal panel that signed off on the $6.8 billion sale of an English company to government-owned Dubai Ports World - giving it control of Manhattan's cruise ship terminal and Newark's container port.

Snow was chairman of the CSX rail firm that sold its own international port operations to DP World for $1.15 billion in 2004, the year after Snow left for President Bush's cabinet.

The other connection is David Sanborn, who runs DP World's European and Latin American operations and was tapped by Bush last month to head the U.S. Maritime Administration.

The Bush administration contends the UAE is a key ally in the war on terror. Congress apparently disagrees. At least it's not Pakistan or Egypt that bought the company. Isn't there a company in the USA capable of operating our ports?

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