About that port security thing
Strangers at the Door
By CLARK KENT ERVIN
Published: February 23, 2006
WHO could have imagined that, in the post-9/11 world, the United States government would approve a deal giving control over six major American ports to a country with ties to terrorism? But this is exactly what the secretive Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States has done.
Since 1999, the ports of New York, Baltimore, Philadelphia and other cities have been operated by a British concern, P & O Ports, which has now been bought by Dubai Ports World, a company controlled by the government of the United Arab Emirates. Defenders of the deal are claiming that critics, including the Republican and Democratic leaderships in Congress, are acting reflexively out of some bias against Arabs.
This is simply not true. While the United Arab Emirates is deemed by the Bush administration to be an ally in the war on terrorism, we should all have deep concerns about its links to terrorists. Two of the 9/11 hijackers were citizens of the emirates, and some of the money for the attacks came from there. It was one of only three countries in the world that recognized the Taliban regime. And Dubai was an important transshipment point for the smuggling network of Abdul Qadeer Khan, the Pakistani scientist who supplied Libya, Iran and North Korea with equipment for making nuclear weapons.
Most terrorism experts agree that the likeliest way for a weapon of mass destruction to be smuggled into our country would be through a port. After all, some 95 percent of all goods from abroad arrive in the United States by sea, and yet only about 6 percent of incoming cargo containers are inspected for security threats.
It is true that at the ports run by the Dubai company, Customs officers would continue to do any inspection of cargo containers and the Coast Guard would remain "in charge" of port security. But, again, very few cargo inspections are conducted. And the Coast Guard merely sets standards that ports are to follow and reviews their security plans. Meeting those standards each day is the job of the port operators: they are responsible for hiring security officers, guarding the cargo and overseeing its unloading.
Clark Kent Ervin, the inspector general of the Homeland Security Department from 2003 to 2004, is the author of the forthcoming "Open Target: Where America is Vulnerable to Attack."
Ervin was forced from his job because he actually did it.
The more that this deal is looked at,the dirtier it seems.
Bush really fucked up by playing the race card. There are real, substantial issues with DPW taking over most of the US's ports, none to do with them being Arabs or Muslims, at least not out of the LGF world. Dubai is a smuggler's paradise and the folks running DPW have major ties with the Bin Laden empire. What people forget is that Osama is like a DuPont, a child of extreme wealth and privlege, and his family is second after the Sauds in terms of influence in the region.
The Bush Administration, once again, chose image over the nation's security. The only problem is that people are so pissed that the race card is only being used by the uniformed and racists.
It's the GOP Jedi Mind Trick, but it ain't working.
Frankly I'm tired of liberals saying "what difference does it make"
Um, national security may be a mystery to you, but not to all of us. One central fact of the Gulf is that rich people paid for the Taliban, pay for AQ and pay for the Iraqi resistance. The problem with DPW is that their government bosses have been friendly to all manner of revivalist Islamic groups for decades.
One of the things which drove FBI and MI6 nuts was the level of support the IRA got
from law enforcement. If you go to 2nd Ave and 124th St, you'll see a mural dedicated to Bobby Sands and the Long Kesh hunger strikers outside a police station.
The fact was that the NYPD was often more help to Provos on the run than the SIS.
So, are we supposed to assume all of DPW's managers are honest brokers when that could not be said of the Boston and New York police forces when it came to the IRA?
The problem is that Bush is taking the word of people who have a vested interest in pulling this deal off. And by a large margin, the American people don't want to hear it.
posted by Steve @ 1:16:00 AM