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Comments by YACCS
Sunday, February 26, 2006

You know, research is a good thing

Dubai, home to smugglers

Nick Kristoff joins the "it's Arabs" crowd, which proves one thing, he's allergic to research.

The Arabs Are Coming!

Published: February 26, 2006

Let's be blunt: this fuss about ports is really about Arabs.

Port terminals have been managed, without alarm, by companies from Britain, China, Japan, Singapore and Taiwan. So let's look at the arguments of those who believe we should discriminate against Arabs. ...

Look, Kristof, if this is discrimination against Arabs, that's because it was Arabs who attacked us on 9/11 and still threaten us today. If Singaporeans were plotting to set off nuclear explosions in American cities, then we'd scrutinize them, too.

Even if you believe in racial profiling, you have to look beyond the profile. Senators talk about Dubai in dark tones that suggest they've never been there. Dubai is the Disneyland of the Arab world — it's the place people go to relax, to shop, to drink. It is staunchly pro-American and pro-business, and its vision of the Arab future is absolutely the opposite of Osama bin Laden's. If we want to encourage Arab modernization, we should be approving this deal — not engaging in quasi-racist scaremongering.

Critics of the deal seem to suggest that swarthy men in black turbans are going to be arriving to provide port "security" in Newark. But Dubai Ports World is run mostly by Western executives, under an American chief operating officer. Nothing is going to change on the ground in Newark.

The only problem is that the more you dig, the more you find and none of it is good.

"But the year-old mystery of the truck-bomb assassination of Hariri also has wound its way through the UAE’s port facilities. United Nations investigators tracked the assassins’ white Mitsubishi Canter Van from Japan, where it had been stolen, to the UAE, according to a Dec. 10, 2005, U.N. report.

At that time, UAE officials had been unable to track what happened to the van after its arrival in Dubai. Presumably the van was loaded onto another freighter and shipped by sea through the Suez Canal to Lebanon, but the trail had gone cold in the UAE.

Security Skills

While not spelling out the precise status of the investigation in the UAE, the Dec. 10 report said U.N. investigators had sought help from “UAE authorities to trace the movements of this vehicle, including reviewing shipping documents from the UAE and, with the assistance of the UAE authorities, attempting to locate and interview the consignees of the container in which the vehicle or its parts is believed to have been shipped.”

The UAE’s competence – or lack of it – in identifying the “consignees” or the freighter used to transport the van to Lebanon could be the key to solving the Hariri murder. This tracking ability also might demonstrate whether UAE port supervisors have the requisite skills for protecting U.S. ports from terrorist penetration."

But then you get this:

Homeland Security Objected to Ports Deal

By TED BRIDIS, Associated Press Writer Sat Feb 25, 6:12 PM ET

Homeland Security Department objected at first to a United Arab Emirates company's taking over significant operations at six U.S. ports. It was the lone protest among members of the government committee that eventually approved the deal without dissent.

The department's early objections were settled later in the government's review of the $6.8 billion deal after Dubai-owned DP World agreed to a series of security restrictions.

On Saturday, congressional leaders, the company and Bush administration officials appeared to move closer to a compromise intended to derail plans by Republicans and Democrats for legislation next week that would force a new investigation of security issues relating to the deal. Discussions underway Saturday were to continue through the weekend.

The company's surprise decision Thursday to indefinitely postpone its takeover of U.S. port operations did little to quell a political furor or appease skeptical members of Congress that the deal does not pose any increased risks to the U.S. from terrorism.

Among the proposals being discussed is a new, intensive 45-day review of the deal by the government — something the White House had refused to consider as recently as Friday.

Rep. Peter King (news, bio, voting record), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said discussions among some congressional leaders centered on that issue. "It's my understanding that they are trying to build support for a deal involving a new 45-day investigation," he said.
I guess they hate Arabs, too.

Look, if a Taiwanese company was as problem-ridden as this, people would object as well. Dubai has real security issues that DHS noticed and objected to. This bigotry shit has to stop. It endangers people, like New Yorkers, who plan to break the lease if it comes to that.

posted by Steve @ 1:05:00 AM

1:05:00 AM

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