Monday, February 20, 2006

UAE Company Tapped to Operate Six Major U.S. Ports.


In a move that I hope will make Bush supporters wake up to the fact that he is owned and operated by the Saudi Arabians, the Preznit Flight Suit Fantasy regime has tapped a company owned by the United Arab Emerates (UAE) to operate six major United States ports. Yahoo News AP Wire story:

WASHINGTON - Two Republican governors on Monday questioned a Bush administration decision allowing an Arab-owned company to operate six major U. S. ports, saying they may try to cancel lease arrangements at ports in their states.

New York Gov. George Pataki and Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich voiced doubts about the acquisition of a British company that has been running the U.S. ports by Dubai Ports World, a state-owned business in the United Arab Emirates.

The British company, Peninsular and Oriental, runs major commercial operations at ports in Baltimore, Miami, New Jersey, New Orleans, New York and Philadelphia.

"Ensuring the security of New York's port operations is paramount and I am very concerned with the purchase of Peninsular & Oriental Steam by Dubai Ports World," Pataki said in a news release. "I have directed the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to explore all legal options that may be available to them in regards to this transaction," said the New York governor, who is still in the hospital recovering from an appendectomy.

Ehrlich, concerned about security at the Port of Baltimore, said Monday he is "very troubled" that Maryland officials got no advance notice before the Bush administration approved an Arab company's takeover of the operations at the six ports. "We needed to know before this was a done deal, given the state of where we are concerning security," Ehrlich told reporters in the State House rotunda in Annapolis. The state of Maryland is considering its options, up to and including voiding the contract for the Port of Baltimore, Ehrlich said, adding: "We have a lot of discretion in the contract."

Pataki is also asking the federal government to "share all critical relevant information made available to the Council on Foreign Investment during the course of the review of the purchase," a reference to the federal panel that approved the deal. New York's legal options could include canceling the lease for operation, effectively shutting out Dubai Ports World from port activities. P&O signed a 30-year lease with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in 2000 to operate the Port Newark Container Terminal.

The governors are the latest elected officials from both parties to complain about the deal. House Homeland Security
chairman Peter King, R-N.Y., has been one of the most vocal, saying secret assurances obtained by the government don't go far enough to protect the nation's seaports.

Democratic New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez joined the chorus of complaints on Monday. "We wouldn't turn over our customs service or our border patrol to a foreign government," Menendez said during a Monday news conference in Newark. "We shouldn't turn over the ports of the United States, either." Menendez said he and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., will introduce legislation prohibiting the sale of port operations to foreign governments. Bush administration officials, including Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, have defended the decision.

During a stop Monday in Birmingham, Ala., Gonzales said the administration had a "very extensive process" for reviewing such transactions that "takes into account matters of national security, takes into account concerns about port security."

Critics have cited the UAE's history as an operational and financial base for the hijackers who carried out the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. In addition, they contend the UAE was an important transfer point for shipments of smuggled nuclear components sent to Iran, North and Libya by a Pakistani scientist.

Frustration about the ports takeover put two Maryland gubernatorial candidates on the same side of an issue. During a campaign stop in Bladensburg, Md., Monday, Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley was adamant that the operations of his city's port not be turned over to the Arab-owned company. "I believe that President's Bush's decision to turn over the operations of any American port is reckless," said O'Malley, who is seeking the Democratic nomination to oppose Ehrlich in the Maryland governor's race. "We are not going to turn over the Port of Baltimore to a foreign government."

The fact that the biggest noise-makers are Republicans means two things: 1. That the Democrats are still too chickenshit to attack a chief executive who is both extremely unpopular AND uneffective, and 2. That the Bush Administration's chickens may finally be coming home to roost.

Just to give you an idea of how big a fuck-up this is for Prez FSF, my Dad, a staunch conservative and Bush supporter, wondered aloud this weekend at his 72nd birthday dinner, whether Bush had lost his frigging mind. Since it was Dad's birthday I let the remark pass and simply took in the moment. Is the realization that our President is a bumbling idiot who is wholly owned and operated by the House of Saud finally dawning on Dad? Maybe not, but at least the fact that there is some doubt on that side is good enough for me.

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1 comment:

Ken Kaniff from Connecticut said...

Excellent article. While I suspect that we are only marginally less safe with a UAE-owned megacorp running these ports vs, say, a UK-owned megacorp, it is unbelievable that we would be OK with a state-owned company of any type buying these assets. I was equally as PO'd about the attempt to buy Unocal by China - not a chinese -owned business, but a state of China-owned business. Whatever happend to free trade? While some would say this is the ultimate in free trade (sacrificing national security interests by allowing a muslim - yes I said it - muslim nation to run these ports) I consider it an obscenity. How about rewarding privately held corporations and not goverments masquerading as private entities.

Or, is it OK everywhere in the world to follow a socialist model of government ownership of private firms, so those governments (both friend or foe) can fund the acquisition of our assets, but not right for the same process to apply in America, where a business has to round up its own capital independent from the US government (yet still competing for capital against foreign businesses AND nations acting as businesses).

Of course, the focus on this blog is poli-tricks and opposition to the current administration, rather than general macro-economic musings, so I will finish by saying that there will be a bill stopping this sale, there will be a veto, the veto will not be overridden, and the republicans who are standing up now will find well-funded primary challengers in 06 and 08 to teach them a very important lesson. Its Party, then Country, stupid. And the boss of the party tells you what is up, not you telling the boss. Get with it plebes.

News flash: Bush's biggest backer is Carter in this discussion? Yikes.

However, any of the Dems complaining about this makes me laugh. I mean, they gave the Panama Canal away and said it was good for America. Now a hostile China runs it. So what differnce would it be if hostile Muslims ran our ports here? We still have more to worry about in the long term from China than we do Islam.

In the end, the big sell-out continues unabated. Any belief in the political process sorting this out, be it by Democrats or Republicans is misguided. Things are progressing exactly as those in power would like it to do. Just like this diatribe of cynicism!

Keep 'em coming Lister, this is a great topic!