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Dubai Firm Blinks On U.S. Port Deal
March 9, 2006 12:28 PM   Subscribe

L. A. Times Story Dubai Ports World announced today that it would divest itself of operational roles in U.S. port facilities.
posted by BillyElmore (100 comments total)

 
Good.
posted by keswick at 12:29 PM on March 9, 2006


Good.
posted by Scoo at 12:29 PM on March 9, 2006


Didn't they just buy a U.S. based company and transfer "operations" of the ports to that company? Sounds like a bunch of hand-waving to me.
posted by crawl at 12:31 PM on March 9, 2006


Maybe good. Let's just say that if the "U.S. entity" taking over DPW operations in the US isn't somehow connected to Dick Cheney, I owe you a Coke.
posted by rxrfrx at 12:32 PM on March 9, 2006


In a related story, Halliburton Inc announced today...
posted by sfts2 at 12:34 PM on March 9, 2006


Hooray! Racism conquers all!
posted by Plutor at 12:36 PM on March 9, 2006


That'll teach those Arabs!
posted by chunking express at 12:37 PM on March 9, 2006


Finally our ports will be safe.
posted by cell divide at 12:37 PM on March 9, 2006


what Plutor said.
posted by b1tr0t at 12:38 PM on March 9, 2006


I thought Jesus wanted an Arab state to control them.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 12:38 PM on March 9, 2006


Dear Plutor,

There is no overlap of survival and racism.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 12:41 PM on March 9, 2006


Jesus wants a Jewish state, duh.
posted by rxrfrx at 12:41 PM on March 9, 2006


Can someone explain what Dubai has done that's any worse than our Erstwhile Ally Against Terror Saudi Arabia?

I mean really, who cares if Dubai does logistics for American shipping?
posted by Richard Daly at 12:46 PM on March 9, 2006


China next!
posted by Artw at 12:46 PM on March 9, 2006


Right! We should not be racist, said the Bush crew. Question: does Dubai (country owns the company) recognize the right of Israel to exist? Do they boycott things from israel? So we ought not be racist against a nation which is racist?
If you are curious about why Bush so caught up in Dubai $$$
try this: http://tinyurl.com/oewgq
posted by Postroad at 12:47 PM on March 9, 2006


Dear Jesse Helms,

I don't understand what you mean by "There is no overlap of survival and racism." Like a venn diagram? A set theoretic interpretation of your comment would suggest that racists or racism cannot survive. A noble thought, but one that is sadly unsopported by the historical record.

Perhaps you do not mean "overlap" in this technical sense? Implying perhaps that "there is no overlap between questions about racism and questions about survival"? This leaves a lot of ambiguity - if your implication is that sociological questions cease to be relevent when survival is at stake, we are left with the question of when exactly that occurs. Surely, someone somewhere in the world always means us harm?

Deeper, of course, is the question of who and what, exactly, is to survive. Theoretically, one could imagine a society which took issues of race as a core part of it's identity. If said culture was forced to abandon this in the face of a threat, could it be said to have survived at all?

I hope you will clarify these confusions I am experiencing,
Thanks.
posted by freebird at 12:50 PM on March 9, 2006


So we ought not be racist against a nation which is racist?

That's what Israeli business thinks. Israeli shipping companies seem to be perfectly fine with Dubai Ports World. A lot of M-East trade on both sides works pragmatically around politics. Both sides know that intra-regional trade is in their best interests.
posted by carter at 12:54 PM on March 9, 2006


Both sides know that intra-regional trade is in their overall best interests - regardless of whatever politicians try to whip up, I should have added.
posted by carter at 12:55 PM on March 9, 2006


I mean really, who cares if Dubai does logistics for American shipping?

I don't know whether I should be concerned or not. The way the administration has handled the deal from the very beginning, however, gives me no confidence in the process. First it was announced as a surprise fait accompli, then the administration really went to the mat for this company, which is owned by a foreign government. Who votes for them, us or the UAE? Why would the executive department of the United States engage its energies in defense of this deal? What is their stake? They didn't give us a straight answer on that; it wasn't a trade agreement announced at the White House, it was slipped through committees, and then we find out that lawful requirements were not followed, and the agencies tasked with US security were overruled in their objections. If you aren't thinking something's seriously squirrelly by this point, you're not fucking paying attention.

Basically, like much else that this administration does, it may be perfectly benign -- but their obtuse devotion to secrecy and aggressive opposition to transparent governance (of the people, by the people, for the people) resembles a Nigerian 419 scammer more than honest, concerned administration of the country. The more vehement they defend it, the more I worry.

What's their goddamn stake?

(And it can't be only that Dubai Ports World executive who was waved into the Commerce Department last month -- that seems like another quid pro quo, where both deals are our quid. What's the quo?)
posted by dhartung at 12:56 PM on March 9, 2006


Thank heavens. I was worried Bush was actually going to veto something.
posted by Remy at 12:57 PM on March 9, 2006


Right! We should not be racist, said the Bush crew. Question: does Dubai (country owns the company) recognize the right of Israel to exist? Do they boycott things from israel? So we ought not be racist against a nation which is racist?

It is telling that DP World was advised to divest the US operations by the UAE's prime minister. Clearly the UAE could understand our racist motivations for blocking the deal, so they knew exactly how to placate us. What better way to stop racism than to continue to demonstrate racist behavior?

Also, don't post tinyurl links.
posted by b1tr0t at 1:00 PM on March 9, 2006


Hooray for stupidity!!!!!!!!!!
posted by b_thinky at 1:01 PM on March 9, 2006


I don't think it's good. I was really hoping this could be the one issue that might rip the Republican party apart.

Or at least get people thinking about port security.
posted by fungible at 1:01 PM on March 9, 2006


What I'm saying, is like, if I was driving through the Bronx at like 4:30 in the morning in my Dad's convertible BMW, top down, creeping through dimly lighted streets and suddenly 7 Latin Kings surround my car, I don't think, in this instance, racism is the motivation for red lining the car. I think, you know, maybe it has to do with survival. But, that's a lot for a college freshman to take. Racism has such a broad, general evilness to it, it easily fills out your limited canvas with just a few wide strokes. Racism is bad!
posted by The Jesse Helms at 1:02 PM on March 9, 2006


Next issue on the table: Iran!
posted by NationalKato at 1:05 PM on March 9, 2006


Hooray for stupidity!!!!!!!!!!
posted by b_thinky at 1:01 PM PST on March 9


Unintentional hilarity.
posted by EarBucket at 1:08 PM on March 9, 2006


"Rep. Peter King, applauded the decision but said he and others would wait to see the details. 'It would have to be an American company with no links to DP World, and that would be a tremendous victory and very gratifying,' said the New York Republican, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee." [source]
posted by ericb at 1:11 PM on March 9, 2006


"If you saw today's White House briefing, none of us could believe that Scott McClellan was backing off the President's threat to veto any attempt to derail the ports deal -- allowing Dubai Ports World to assume management of major U.S. seaports. But he was, and minutes later we find out there is a deal: DPW will transfer management of the U.S. ports to a U.S. entity, thus giving the White House some cover.

The White House says they only knew of 'rumors' of a deal, but one wonders whether there was coordination between the White House, DPW and Sen. John Warner, R-Va., who announced the agreement. It's clear the White House knew, especially after meeting with congressional leaders this morning, that Congress was prepared to buck him on this.

No one here wanted the President to veto his own party, so leave it to DPW, the state-run company no one apparently trusts to manage U.S. ports, to be the great peace broker in Washington! [NBC Nightly News | March 09, 2006]
posted by ericb at 1:14 PM on March 9, 2006


I have no real problem with Dubai doing their thing. Security, I am led to believe, is not in their hands but in American hands. But another issue: on tv last night some dude familiar with NY ports noted that some 50% (!) of those employed at the ports in NY had criminal records, many of which were for serious crimes, and that job applicants were seldom if ever vetted.

On the other hand, Dubai recognized the Taliban as legitimate. Dubai has a record of allowing money to get transferred for use to questionable groups and has refused a US request to halt this. To say that Dubai is our ally in a war on terror is toput them then in an rather questionable group: Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.
posted by Postroad at 1:14 PM on March 9, 2006


At this point I'm knee-jerk against anything Bush is for just as a matter of instinct. So far this instinct has paid off.

If you raise a dog by beating it, it flinches or bites every time you reach out to it even when you're holding a nice piece of flank steak.
posted by tkchrist at 1:14 PM on March 9, 2006


There is no overlap of survival and racism.

But, there is plenty of overlap between trying to survive and being racist, if you mortally fear other races.
posted by delmoi at 1:18 PM on March 9, 2006


Race is not ethnicity.

That said, the Republican cry of "Racist!" is funny on a number of levels. My own hope is that Americans will wake up and realize that for all of the free-trade rhetoric, this administration is a hyper-protectionist in Milton Friedman's clothing.
posted by bardic at 1:34 PM on March 9, 2006


That said, the Republican cry of "Racist!" is funny on a number of levels. My own hope is that Americans will wake up and realize that for all of the free-trade rhetoric, this administration is a hyper-protectionist in Milton Friedman's clothing.

Is that really true? Didn't Bush advocate DPW completing this deal? It was the Senators and Congressmen (Republican and Democrat) playing to their know-nothing constituents who where hyper-protectionist on this issue.
posted by b_thinky at 1:53 PM on March 9, 2006


What a silly hooha. Having worked in the area, as well as with DP World itself, I have been astonished by the jingoistic and blinkered attitude exhibited by some Americans in this matter.

Given the trillions invested by Middle Eastern companies in the US it isn't surprising that George Bush is trying to facilitate the deal. Or should these investments all be pulled for security reasons?

Looking at Saudi Arabia alone, where almost all of the 9/11 terrorists were apparently from. The National Shipping Company of Saudi Arabia already has the rights that DP World would obtain in 9 or 10 major US ports (which, incidentally, are terminal rights and not security rights). Where's the hooha over that? Should they be made to give up their investment?

If you look around, you'll find that the majority of US port terminals are run by foreign companies in this manner - including companies from such fun places as China. Do some research, check it out.

The UAE is possibly one of the most US friendly places in the Middle East and they get treated thus? I know American investors in Dubai who are disgusted by this reaction and I can't help but agree with them.
posted by Mossy at 2:00 PM on March 9, 2006


Yup, Bush did advocate for DPW. Unfortunately for him, the years of neo-con rhetoric concerning evil A-rabs came round and bit him on the ass.
posted by carter at 2:01 PM on March 9, 2006


Richard Reid (the shoe-bomber) was a U.K. citizen ... over a dozen of the Gitmo incarcerees are British citizens ... when P&O was still in British hands, why did no one think about the vulnerability of the ports?

If anyone wants to fool themselves into thinking that this country's jingoistic reactions to both Chinese and Emirati investment are not racist (as distinct from ethnically discriminatory, though not sure why that is less offensive?), they can choose to do so. After all the majority fooled themselves into agreeing with their President that Iraq had WMD's contrary to what the UN inspectors had said.

The Washington Post has a story confirming that the majority of Americans are prejudiced against Muslims and Islam.

Frankly, this merely sends a signal to the Arab and Muslim countries that they should start divesting or refrain from investing here in the U.S. With a rising deficit and the Chinese owning a major portion of American debt, I'm not sure that is desirable. It is very shortsighted and reeks of weakness and insecurity, not strength or fortitude.
posted by Azaadistani at 2:06 PM on March 9, 2006


How white is the board of the new company? Dammit, we need Ozzie and Harriet White here! Did HR get the list to purge all darkies yet? Or with ethnic sounding names?

I mean, now that the racists have won (and with support from everyone it seems), they might as well continue to do a bang-up job.
posted by skallas at 2:07 PM on March 9, 2006


Mossy, it's always been about the superficial image. Bush's reasons for going to war in Iraq, the 'Mission Accomplished' photo shoot, and now Congress' blocking of the ports deal.

However, don't act like it's a surprise. Bush's own policy's bit him in the ass on this deal and after all his 'security' rhetoric (which, as Katrina proved, was just PR) this is the only solution that could've happened. It's an election year. 'Terror' is still the hot button topic. UAE has ties to known terrorists. Save your disgust for a country operating on all cylinders.
posted by NationalKato at 2:12 PM on March 9, 2006


They promised George his own harem and that they'd call him "Prince George" when he's not presidenting anymore. ; >

This is fake--they're just going to set up a shell thing, like Halliburton did with Iraq and Iran and ...

The fact is we have almost no security at all at any of our ports, and that needs to be fixed--the GOP has voted time and time again against funding or fixing port security or years, and still doesn't want to be reminded of it, so are finding a solution to make it go away, and off the news each night.

... But another issue: on tv last night some dude familiar with NY ports noted that some 50% (!) of those employed at the ports in NY had criminal records, many of which were for serious crimes, and that job applicants were seldom if ever vetted.
...

posted by amberglow at 2:17 PM on March 9, 2006


Yup, Bush did advocate for DPW. Unfortunately for him, the years of neo-con rhetoric concerning evil A-rabs came round and bit him on the ass.

Bingo.

The constant drumbeat of "the war on terror," "either you're with us or against us," "we'll fight this war on terror over there before it arrives here," etc. has lead to many to view issues in the world today as either "black" or "white"; as Manichean.

The Bush Administration (particularly Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld) is responsible for the divisive rhetoric of the past few years. They shouldn't be surprised that 70% of Americans opposed the Dubai port deal. After all they have sown the seeds of isolationism and protectionism over the past few years.
posted by ericb at 2:58 PM on March 9, 2006


Responding to NationalKato stating "The UAE has links to known terrorists." First, to which groups and what are the links? Second, which govt, including the American and the British does not have such links? A terrorist can be anybody. Both the U.S. and U.K. govts have given sanctuary to members of terrorist groups from different countries on the theory that they are being persecuted, because often one country's terrorist is another's freedom fighter. The US maintains a changing list of terrorist organizations. Groups are added. Groups are taken off. A group that is taken off does not typically forsake violence. It is usually taken off because of a political decision. All intelligence organizations and operatives are also terrorists. They often have the backing of their govts and sometimes, they don't. If they are caught, even their govts won't defend them. Watch Munich and Syriana and you'll get the picture.

The Sheikhs of Dubai just bought the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan. Should they be allowed to? If they have 'links to the terrorists', doesn't that mean they could smuggle in a bomb there and destroy FAO Schwartz, the Pierre, the Paris theater and kill a few thousand? How come no one protested that sale? They also own large chunks of countless financial organizations (Citibank, to name one). Should the administration freeze their assets because "everyone knows they have ties to terrorists"?

Where does this jingoism end? Sure, Bush has whipped up anti-Islamic hysteria, and now it has sort of bit him in his rear, but why should the Dems sink to that level? Does Bush's complicity on this issue mean that all Muslims and Muslim govts be blatantly discriminated against, without protest?

Protesting this deal is like saying that no one who has any ties to the Islamic faith should be able to work in the dept of Homeland Security. Well, by that logic, after Timothy McVeigh and the Unabomber, nor should any white Christian man. That disqualifies both Tom Ridge and Chertoff.
posted by Azaadistani at 3:07 PM on March 9, 2006


Racism is a laughable talking point in reference to the Dubai ports deal. It’s funny that people try to fly such nonsense here when that puppy couldn’t even dupe Republicans.

Fact is, the ports deal simply made no sense. It did serve to illustrate how the Bush administration has helped accelerate the selling off of America. It was also fun to watch Republicans eat their own.
posted by BillyElmore at 3:07 PM on March 9, 2006


Dubai.....Dubya

viva la difference

even if it's just one letter
posted by timsteil at 3:13 PM on March 9, 2006


Well at least we finally get to see Bush eat a turd sandwich.
posted by 2sheets at 3:15 PM on March 9, 2006


Racism is a laughable talking point in reference to the Dubai ports deal.

I'm sure racist fear mongering had absolutely NOTHING to do with this becoming an issue.
posted by Artw at 3:19 PM on March 9, 2006


Azaadistani, for many millions of us who live near these ports, it's security that's the main issue, not who owns it or who operates it--those of us on the East Coast have been fighting for more attention and money to be put to port security for years---it wasn't done, and it's still not being done. This is not about the UAE or Arabs--this is about our security. Anything that makes our lack of security a news topic again is a good thing.

Many millions of Americans are terribly racist, and they've been totally encouraged to be that way by the GOP and their talk of "evildoers", "either you with us or you're with the terrorists", and their "crusade" shit--they're reaping what they sowed. Let them choke on the blowback.
posted by amberglow at 3:19 PM on March 9, 2006


The Washington Post has a story confirming that the majority of Americans are prejudiced against Muslims and Islam.

Actually, the article states:
"The poll found that nearly half of Americans -- 46 percent -- have a negative view of Islam.
Not quite a majority.

Valid points made in the article:
"James J. Zogby, president of the Washington-based Arab American Institute, said he is not surprised by the poll's results. Politicians, authors and media commentators have demonized the Arab world since 2001, he said.

'The intensity has not abated and remains a vein that's very near the surface, ready to be tapped at any moment,' Zogby said. 'Members of Congress have been exploiting this over the ports issue. Radio commentators have been talking about it nonstop.'

...'You're getting a constant drumbeat of negative information about Islam,' [Ronald Stockton, a professor of political science at the University of Michigan at Dearborn] said.

Michael Franc, vice president of government relations for the conservative Heritage Foundation, said that the survey responses 'seems to me to be a real backlash against Islam' and that congressional leaders do not help the problem by sometimes using language that links all Muslims with extremists."
posted by ericb at 3:21 PM on March 9, 2006


for many millions of us who live near these ports, it's security that's the main issue, not who owns it or who operates it

Exactly.

"[T]he contents of only 5.6 percent of containers headed into the United States are checked by the gamma-ray machines or manual inspections."
[New York Times | February 26, 2006]

Ports lacking radiation-detecting equipment instead use more than 12,000 hand-held detectors issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) -- many of which "have an error rate of 50 percent."
[U.S. News & World Report | March 06, 2006]
posted by ericb at 3:28 PM on March 9, 2006


What ericb and amberglow said--any racism in this came pre-packaged from five years of Republican fear-mongering. To try and blame Democrats for this because they're racist is laughable. The mentions of KSA involvement and dependency on the US economy, and the US's dependence on Saudi oil proves the point that Bush has no logical nor moral base for his "Doctrine" on terror. The US bases its alliances primarily on economic concerns. This is not the best defense against radical Islam, or terrorism of any stripe. This whole snafu made lots of pro-Bush Americans realize what many of his detractors have know for years--Bush places economic expediency over the security of the Amerian people.
posted by bardic at 3:37 PM on March 9, 2006


And also an issue beyond racism or ethnocentricity is the fact that this isn't a private company, but a wholly-government owned entity--i think many of us were surprised by that as well. It's one thing for a money-hungry capitalist pig corporation to own something here--something really important to our economy and everything, and another thing for the government of a different country to own something. I don't think any piece of our infrastructure, whether it's ports or bridges or highways or trains or airports or power plants, etc, should at all ever ever be owned by a foreign government--any foreign government--their priorities are necessarily different from ours, and their goals are not even as base and simple as "profit".
posted by amberglow at 3:49 PM on March 9, 2006


Arab Ally Senses Bush No Longer Has Control in Washington
"...with his public approval ratings at record lows and his Republican party abandoning him, one of the US’s closest allies in the Arab world [the United Arab Emirates] concluded that [Bush] was no longer in control in Washington....Bush, who still has nearly three years to go in his second term, has become perilously weak.

...More than four years after the September 11 attacks, [the port deal] brought together a toxic combination of anxieties over America’s place in the world. Traditional protectionists, worried by foreign acquisitions of US assets and the outsourcing of jobs to distant and little-understood countries, lined up alongside security hawks who warned that even a close Arab ally such as the UAE was vulnerable to terrorist infiltration."
[Financial Times | March 09, 2006]
posted by ericb at 3:52 PM on March 9, 2006


heh. Associating with Bush gave the UAE a bad name.
posted by Cranberry at 3:57 PM on March 9, 2006


Rep. Duncan Hunter is proposing legislation that "would require that all 'critical infrastructure[s]' in the United States 'be operated by Americans and ... be owned by Americans.'"
posted by ericb at 3:57 PM on March 9, 2006


Amberglow, ordinarily I agree with you and am a fan, but this time I must disagree. First, I live in New York, and statistically, am far more likely to be killed on the street by a mugger or get run over by a car, than by an attack through the port. Not a single person that I have come into contact with is worried about this deal; and certainly no one ever mentioned to me in the past, their insecurity about living near the port and it being insecure. People are far more concerned about walking home alone at night.

Second, this security stuff is nonsensical and irrational. Emirates, the UAE airline, started flying to JFK to Dubai non-stop as recently as last year. How come no one flipped out then? [Because it somehow escaped the national security radar, or because it would not be as appealing an issue for elections.] Why is security not an issue there? After all, airliners are far more likely to carry terrorists nowadays ... and guess who owns Emirates Airlines : the same brown-skinned, Islamic-looking, rag-head wearing A-rabs. Further, as stated before, a UK company ran the ports before. Plenty of Brits are capable of being terrorists. Heck, many Americans are too and have done so. Damn, we're really screwed. Whom can we trust? Half the Americans that work at the ports are former criminals. Those A-rabs are all terrorists. Dem Brits got too many brownies in their midst. The Chinks are all Commies. The Japs already tried to destroy one of our ports. Perhaps, we can outsource the work to some peace-loving race of people that have no blood on their hands.

Last, I am anything but a fan of the current administration, but am not going to sit there and hope that Cheney starts lynching blacks down south instead of shooting people inadvertantly so that it makes him look worse, or start gassing Jews instead of wearing inappropriate attire at concentration camp memorials, because then he won't be invited by AIPAC to be their keynote speaker.

Encouraging or tolerating jingoistic or racist behavior to achieve a short-term goal is reprehensible. Those who bear the brunt of it are not people like Bush; it is the ordinary American or non-American Muslim.
posted by Azaadistani at 3:59 PM on March 9, 2006


Airline security is an issue too--that cargo is not inspected either.

I worry about the ports and about the tunnels/trucks...i live right by the Lincoln Tunnel. Call me odd, but i know many many people who cannot believe that they have to take their shoes off at airports while cargo comes and goes without even a look--by sea, by air, by truck, etc--many many people. We've watched money pour out to stupid states without any terror risk while we got shit. We've watched theater things like shoes in airports while real things were neglected. I know i'm not alone in feeling this way. I'll dig up polls if you want. It's not about bigger daily risk, but the fact is that we are a target so what can be done should be done, instead of nonsense, or giving funds to Utah.
posted by amberglow at 4:06 PM on March 9, 2006


HongKong checks 100% of their cargo--we check 5% or less. That's unacceptable, and if you think that makes me racist, you're tragically mistaken. It is Bush and his crowd that have been fanning the flames of racism, of anti-Arab feeling, and of hatred (as well as anti-gay, anti-woman, and anti-everyone who's not a straight white christian)--It's no one else.
posted by amberglow at 4:09 PM on March 9, 2006


Scotching this deal gives James Dobson time to get Family Ports Ltd. up and running for the next round of bidding. No safe harbor for ships carrying abortifacients or contraceptives, but SS. Abu Ghraib floating gulag ships welcome.
posted by planetkyoto at 4:09 PM on March 9, 2006


It wasn't because it wasn't an election year that Emirates Air wasn't stinkworthy--it was because it didn't matter. It wasn't a security issue nor any other issue. They just fly in and out.

If any foreign government was going to take control of all the operations of JFK, it'd be an issue in a heartbeat, election year or not--ANY foreign government--white, brown, black or purple.
posted by amberglow at 4:17 PM on March 9, 2006


i think it'll be Halliburton, which might have been the plan all along.
posted by amberglow at 4:18 PM on March 9, 2006


Amberglow: None of the people going hysterical over the DPO purchase are saying that the UAE company must check more containers; or even that if such a sale is restricted to a US entity, that such an entity will inspect more containers. So, I'm not sure why you're pleased. You're not getting what you want, regardless.

All that is happening is that Congress, a bi-partisan Congress, is jumping on the anti-Muslim and anti-Arab bandwagon. How you benefit personally from that, I'm not sure. And frankly, even if you personally do benefit, it is still racist, jingoistic and represhensible.

I believe firmly that if you think that by whipping up jingoism and racism is going to make you safer, or the Lincoln Tunnel safe, then you are mistaken.
posted by Azaadistani at 4:26 PM on March 9, 2006


Exactly, amberglow. That's my objection.
posted by brundlefly at 4:29 PM on March 9, 2006


It wasn't because it wasn't an election year that Emirates Air wasn't stinkworthy--it was because it didn't matter. It wasn't a security issue nor any other issue. They just fly in and out.

... and into buildings!

If any foreign government was going to take control of all the operations of JFK, it'd be an issue in a heartbeat, election year or not--ANY foreign government--white, brown, black or purple.

Sure, but not if JFK was already run by a foreign-owned company, which was the case here. P&O is the same company that will run the ports. It is just that DPO (which is Emirati-owned) bought P&O (which was British-owned). So foreigners ran the ports to begin with.

You cannot change the issue here from a domestic versus foreign-ownership issue when the issue blatantly is UK-ownership vs UAE-ownership.
posted by Azaadistani at 4:34 PM on March 9, 2006


Good. I'm glad the deal bit the dust. Thank you Senator Schumer
posted by bim at 4:43 PM on March 9, 2006


But we didn't know that, did we? Did you? Did anyone know that our ports already are being run by foreign companies? (note that they were foreign companies--not foreign governments)

I would have been pissed if i had known. I don't think even a million people in the whole country knew.

And i don't care if you paint us all as anti-foreigner--fine. We are, to some extent. That's not at all the same as anti-Arab or anti-Muslim, or racist.

I know the biggest threat to me is domestic, whether it's the GOP with their anti-gay shit, or sickos like Rudolph and McVeigh and neo-Nazis. The biggest threat to me is not anyone of a different color, but people who don't think i should exist, or if they tolerate me existing, will legislate my rights away. I've posted it about it here and stated it here many times---that's why i'm broadening this out to cover tunnels and all sorts of things--we can't stop everyone who might want to hurt us--no matter where they come from or what they look like, but we can do things here at home so that it's harder--the ports thing is just one of those things. I know one day a McVeigh type will drive his truck to Times Sq. or the village and set off something--i don't want it to be easy for that to happen. I know only an infinitesmal part of cargo coming in and out of our ports here is even looked at--that makes it too easy. I know Indian Point Nuclear Plant is not at all secure, and we die if it's attacked--that's too easy too. This is just part of a bigger failure to protect us here at home. Ascribe it to whatever darker impulses you like, but don't you dare absolve Bush and the GOP of their part in whipping it up. That's where you're the most mistaken.
posted by amberglow at 4:59 PM on March 9, 2006


And don't you dare absolve Bush and the GOP for their failure to even attempt making security at home any better--he ran overseas to make us tons more enemies, and he'll rot in hell for that--i just don't want the rest of us to rot as well.
posted by amberglow at 5:02 PM on March 9, 2006


Bush and Company are dirty liars. They'd like nothing better than for us to forget about all this Dubai port deal now. A few sound bites and photo ops, the dust settles then Bush will try sneaking the UAE back in the house.
posted by chance at 5:37 PM on March 9, 2006


You're on a roll amberglow. Keep it coming.

And I just wish we'd get the hell out of places that don't want us there. Declare victory and leave --just like Vietnam. Then take all that money we're spending on this"war" and use it to help those people in New Orleans who got screwed over by Bush and Co.

Bush flies in for his photo ops, dispenses some platitudes, then flies out and does nothing. What an utter disgrace.
posted by bim at 5:38 PM on March 9, 2006


You cannot change the issue here from a domestic versus foreign-ownership issue when the issue blatantly is UK-ownership vs UAE-ownership.

Fine. The royal family of the UK didn't host Osama bin Laden on hunting trips. If they, or the Chinese, or the Purple Grugalox from Alpha Centauri did, I'd want an investigation into them as well.

I'll join you on the "banning all foreign companies is ludicrous" bandwagon, but to say the UAE company didn't deserve being investigated is nonsense to me.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:48 PM on March 9, 2006


Wow, people around here were actually worried about the Dubai ports deal? I thought that was only rednecks with confederate flags on their trucks.

I know Indian Point Nuclear Plant is not at all secure, and we die if it's attacked--that's too easy too.

What are you talking about? How would you die? Do you think there will be a huge mushroom cloud like in the movies? Please.
posted by delmoi at 6:28 PM on March 9, 2006


Wether the crown prince once golfed with Bin Laden is irrelevant. The security would still have been done by the US Coast Guard, and all the work would have been done by Americans.

This pathetic fear-mongering is just as bad when it's done by the left as the right.
posted by delmoi at 6:31 PM on March 9, 2006


And I just wish we'd get the hell out of places that don't want us there. Declare victory and leave --just like Vietnam.

General William E. Odom, director of the National Security Agency from 1985 to 1988, compares Iraq and Vietnam:
"The Vietnam War experience can’t tell us anything about the war in Iraq – or so it is said. If you believe that, trying looking through this lens, and you may change your mind."

[Nieman Watchdog | March 08, 2008]
posted by ericb at 6:32 PM on March 9, 2006


"Only by getting out of Iraq can the United States possibly gain sufficient international support to design a new strategy for limiting the burgeoning growth of anti-Western forces it has unleashed in the Middle East and Southwest Asia." -- General William E. Odom
posted by ericb at 6:34 PM on March 9, 2006


Quote from above: What are you talking about? How would you die? Do you think there will be a huge mushroom cloud like in the movies? Please

Regarding Indian Point, a mushroom cloud isn't needed to cause a disaster. It's the radiation that will do folks in. The 1983 Witt Report addresses this issue. The executive summary details the reports major findings regarding the insufficiency of existing plans to deal with a disaster at Indian Point. See especially point #1:

1. The plans are built on compliance with regulations, rather than a strategy that leads to structures and systems to protect from radiation exposure.

2. The plans appear based on the premise that people will comply with official government directions rather than acting in accordance with what they perceive to be their best interests.

3. The plans do not consider the possible additional ramifications of a terrorist caused event.

4. The plans do not consider the reality and impacts of spontaneous evacuation.

5. Response exercises designed to test the plans are of limited use in identifying inadequacies and improving subsequent responses.

posted by bim at 7:18 PM on March 9, 2006


Correction -- that should say the 2003 Witt report.
posted by bim at 7:19 PM on March 9, 2006


...and nice links, ericb. :)
posted by bim at 7:21 PM on March 9, 2006


actually, i am watching The Day After, and the bomb just hit...it still gives me chills. There doesn't have to be a mushroom cloud--just a truck bomb or some material stolen.

...over 20 million people live within the 50-mile radius of the plants. Long before the tragic events of 9/11 and the tremendous population growth to the region, Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff member, Robert Ryan, commented in 1979, Indian Point is "one of the most inappropriate sites in existence" for a nuclear plant.
Please join 400 elected officials from the tri-state region, including 11 members of Congress, who have called for Indian Point's shutdown due to the plant's unworkable emergency plan -- there is no radiological evacuation plan for New York City, its poor safety record, security flaws, and its continued vulnerability to terrorist attack. ...


You know we have no realistic evacuation plans for Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, or Long Island.
posted by amberglow at 7:23 PM on March 9, 2006


What are you talking about? How would you die? Do you think there will be a huge mushroom cloud like in the movies?

There were no mushroom clouds at Chernobyl 20 years ago this April 26th.

A 2005 IAEA report attributes 56 direct deaths; 47 accident workers and 9 children with thyroid cancer, and estimates that as many as 4,000 people may ultimately die from long term accident-related illnesses.
posted by ericb at 7:49 PM on March 9, 2006


Not to mention the contamination of the soil and water in the north of Ukraine, the south and east of Belarus and in the western border area between Russia and Belarus.

The catastrophe involved the evacuation and resettlement of 350,400 people. Beyond the environmental and health damage, there was/is significant economic damage.
posted by ericb at 7:57 PM on March 9, 2006


AEI scholar Norm Ornstein: Dubai Ports World Is Considering Selling U.S. Operations To Halliburton
"If this is done now through the backdoor, where D.P. [Dubai Ports World] has any role at all, Congress is going to go ballistic, and it’s going to be a disaster, I think, for the administration.

They have got a dilemma now, because there simply aren’t American companies that have the know-how and the breadth to do this. Interestingly, and perhaps ironically, what I had heard earlier in the day, as they were looking at those that have the — the kind of resources, Halliburton was a name that came up."
But, of course!
posted by ericb at 8:09 PM on March 9, 2006


Margaret Warner's interview with Norm Ornstein (PBS/NewsHour) here.
posted by ericb at 8:10 PM on March 9, 2006


So far, it looks like Halliburton and the Carlyle Group are in the running--both Bush/Cheney operations--we'll know then it was all a game to help the GOP in the elections--absolutely just a game-- the billions and billions they've made so far isn't enough apparently, or getting all that virgin blood for Cheney's continued survival is getting more expensive or something.
posted by amberglow at 10:34 PM on March 9, 2006


Anything that makes our lack of security a news topic again is a good thing.

Wrong, because security isn't the issue- it's anti-foreigner (code for Muslim in this case) hysteria. No one is talking about security, they're talking about Dubai and UEA. So what if some foreign countries own huge businesses? That's just the norm all over the world. Venezuela owns Citgo. KSA owns Aramco. That's just how it is.

Our overall national security is hurt more by not allowing foreign investment. If you can't see that, it's because you're not paying attention to our economic system.

Of course, the whole process and political mistakes Bushco made during this thing are the real culprits. They should have realized well in advance this would be an issue and figured out some complicated shell-company way to pull the eyes over the racist Americans and opportunistic Congresspeople.

You think Chuck Schumer really gives a shit about your security? About as much as Bush does-- whatever will get him votes.
posted by cell divide at 1:15 AM on March 10, 2006


That's just the norm all over the world. Venezuela owns Citgo. KSA owns Aramco. That's just how it is.

Near where I used to live in west London in the 80s there was a petrol station owned by the Soviet Union ('Nafta' - no relation to NAFTA).
posted by carter at 5:18 AM on March 10, 2006


You think Chuck Schumer really gives a shit about your security? About as much as Bush does-- whatever will get him votes.

I can't believe how late I am to this discussion, but this attitude is what's so irritating. Bush and the Republicans run everything. Yet they get most of their votes from places that have no major ports (except Texas). So why should they care about port security?

You would think that a black smoking hole where Manhattan used to be would be something everyone would oppose. You would think that a feasible port security program that costs a tiny fraction of the Iraq war would be sensible to everyone.

Apparently not. The only Republican who seems to care (because it gets votes, or because he lives here?) is Mike Bloomberg. (Even Pataki seems like he'd rather let the city drop into the ocean.)
posted by fungible at 6:19 AM on March 10, 2006


UAE postpones free trade talks amid ports row
"Free trade talks between the United States and the United Arab Emirates were postponed Friday, a day after a Dubai company succumbed to pressure and backed out of a deal to take over operations at six major American ports."
[Associated Press | March 10, 2006]
posted by ericb at 9:31 AM on March 10, 2006


Schumer's proposed bill after bill to fund and enhance port, air and nuclear and other security for years and been talking about it all for years--many Senate and House Democrats have--they've also tried repeatedly to fix DHS funding so that more goes to ports.

It's a crock to disregard security and blame it all on racism. And many of us in the world are using this whole thing to start those conversations about security--many of us simply didn't know how very little cargo actually was inspected, or that ports already were owned by foreign companies, etc--now they do, and polls have shown they really care about it--it's not all racism and fear of Muslim terrorists. We've been taught well how to be scared by this administration--and it's obvious even to a 3-year-old that security here at home has been tragically neglected these past 5 years.

If it coincides with fear of terror, or fear of Muslim terror, or fear of white Christian terror, or fear of outsourcing, or xenophobia, or whatever, so be it. That still doesn't take away the fact that security measures here at home are pathetically lacking.
posted by amberglow at 9:45 AM on March 10, 2006


"White House Asked Dubai Ports to Pull Out
The White House asked Dubai Ports World, a company owned by the United Arab Emirates, to give up its management stake in U.S. ports, to save President Bush from the politically difficult position of vetoing a key piece of legislation to protect America's ports, ABC News has learned."
[ABC News | March 10, 2006]

And...
"CBS News senior White House correspondent Bill Plante reports the announcement came about after the company's consultations with White House political strategist Karl Rove."
posted by ericb at 9:56 AM on March 10, 2006


It's so reassuring to know that Rove, a criminal, is running our entire foreign policy--so very reassuring.

Bush today says it hurts us in the region, at the same time the UAE is "consulting" with Rove? this is a crock of shit--entirely.
posted by amberglow at 2:03 PM on March 10, 2006


Three questions that have not been asked by the Corporate Media throughout this whole flap:
1. How much, if any, stake does the Bush family have in the Carlyle Group?
2. Did the Carlyle group stand to benefit from the P&O sale?
3. Why did President Bush take such a “risky” stand on this issue (threatening a veto)?

...
About the Racism/Xenophobia/Isolationism meme: if you look at it from a class standpoint, the Administration’s position becomes clearer. The Bushies have no problem using fear of Arabs “as a club” (John Murtha’s words) over the heads of US citizens, and they have no problem sending the US Army across the world to murder thousands of economically poor brown people whose only guilt is racial/religious commonality with the 9-11 terrorists. But when you dare to be suspicious of fantastically wealthy Arab sheiks whose government has real connections to 9-11, well then you’re a racist.
The last-minute concession by Dubai Ports World was touted on yesterday’s nightly news shows as a “stunning defeat” for President Chimpy. Really?
Let’s look at who benefits or loses from yesterday’s events. ...
posted by amberglow at 10:03 PM on March 10, 2006


Surprise, surprise, surprise--- Carlyle forms infrastructure investment team --... Carlyle Group, a private equity group, said on Friday it was setting up an infrastructure investment team focused on investing in projects in the United States.
...
Carlyle said the team begins work next Monday and will look at investing in transportation and water facilities, airports, bridges, ports, stadiums and other public infrastructure. ...

posted by amberglow at 10:20 PM on March 10, 2006


So...the government still doesn't inspect most shipping containers, Bush wanted to give control of port security to the UAE, yet we have this today.

I don't know whether to laugh or cry at the absurdity of homeland security and such. Nero fiddles while Rome burns.
posted by bim at 10:48 PM on March 10, 2006


Nero fiddles while Rome burns.

Or he sits, stunned, reading 'My Pet Goat'.


posted by ericb at 9:31 AM on March 11, 2006


In related news -- Federal lawsuit alleges mob infiltration at U.S. ports.
posted by ericb at 1:55 PM on March 11, 2006


that's who it should be, like in the old days ; >

(it's better than some other mob)
posted by amberglow at 4:07 AM on March 12, 2006


Kucinich is demanding that the White House and the Department of Homeland Security turn over to Congress:
1. All documents in their possession regarding the December 13, 2005, Coast Guard Intelligence Coordination Center document – materials which could show that the Bush administration had been informed of security concerns regarding the UAE firm.
2. All documents in their possession regarding discussions between the White House and Dubai Ports World relating to the Committee on Foreign Investment process for approving the acquisition – materials which could show that the administration worked with the UAE firm to help advance the deal.
3. All documents in their possession regarding discussions between the White House and the Carlyle Group between October 1, 2005, and March 2, 2006 – materials which could shed light on whether the president's enthusiasm for the port deal might have been stoked by contacts with international business interests with which his father remains closely associated.

posted by amberglow at 1:45 PM on March 12, 2006


"Lynne, I think you're doing a heck of a job. Although I have to say you dropped the ball big time on that Dubai deal," he said, in a joke about the controversial ports deal.
posted by amberglow at 8:10 PM on March 12, 2006


"Oh my -- who can we get to go on-the-record for supporting my UAE port deal?

Ah, yes -- my nephew, Pierce!"
posted by ericb at 8:51 PM on March 12, 2006


hey, Azaadistani : Top US evangelist targets Islam

(and: Robertson: God says it's Bush in a 'blowout' in November--this is who's been fomenting anti-Muslim sentiment--Bush and his close friends)
posted by amberglow at 1:27 PM on March 14, 2006


E-Mail Casts Doubt on DP World's Plans.
posted by ericb at 2:47 PM on March 14, 2006


all the amendments today rejected by the GOP on port security
posted by amberglow at 9:18 PM on March 16, 2006


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