"No matter how paranoid or conspiracy-minded you are, what the government is actually doing is worse than you imagine." - - - William Blum

February 28, 2006

The UAE control of our ports certainly has sprouted a plethora of opinions covering the entire political spectrum. They range from full steam ahead (pun intended):

....Today, Dubai's main business is commerce, not dwindling oil. Dubai's royal family wisely invested in scores of future-oriented businesses. Dubai and the United Arab Emirates, of which it is a member, are increasingly enriched by brains and entrepreneurship rather than oil.

True, two of the 9/11 hijackers came from the UAE. A few of its citizens supported al-Qaida. But most of the hijackers came from Saudi Arabia and the Saudis have over $100 billion invested in key U.S. industries. It is preposterous to claim tiny Dubai will threaten the U.S.

American port security is run by the Coast Guard, FBI, and Homeland Security. All three agencies and the Pentagon cleared Dubai, a very close U.S. ally, to run the ports.

Congress would do far better to cease pandering to domestic lobbies and focus its intention on that yawning gap in U.S. border security – the entire southwest border with Mexico. Over one million illegal aliens flood into the U.S. each year while Congress fusses about P&O and browbeats Canada.

Why? Because, as usual, gutless Congress fears angering Hispanic voters. It's safer and easier to fulminate against Arabs....

to maybe we should reconsider this:

....But of course the issue isn't whether the UAE is a friendly government. The issue is whether the UAE is a friendly government whose subsidiary organizations are more easily infiltrated--against the government's will, presumably--by people who might not be friendly than are other organizations that might manage U.S. ports. It's hard to believe the honest answer isn't "yes." ....

to a definite nope, nada, reject:

....Joseph King, who headed the customs agency's anti-terrorism efforts under the Treasury Department and the new Department of Homeland Security, said national security fears are well grounded.

He said a company the size of Dubai Ports World would be able to get hundreds of visas to relocate managers and other employees to the United States. Using appeals to Muslim solidarity or threats of violence, al-Qaeda operatives could force low-level managers to provide some of those visas to al-Qaeda sympathizers, said King, who for years tracked similar efforts by organized crime to infiltrate ports in New York and New Jersey. Those sympathizers could obtain legitimate driver's licenses, work permits and mortgages that could then be used by terrorist operatives.

Dubai Ports World could also offer a simple conduit for wire transfers to terrorist operatives in the Middle East. Large wire transfers from individuals would quickly attract federal scrutiny, but such transfers, buried in the dozens of wire transfers a day from Dubai Ports World's operations in the United States to the Middle East would go undetected, King said....

The Neocons, who still control everything, are going to go through with this anyway so, really, it's all just an exercise in futile debate (as has been everything else during the past five years).

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