Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 25, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

MORE PORTS....In principle, this doesn't really change anything, but it is disconcerting to learn at this late date that P&O actually runs operations at 21 U.S. ports, not six. Sure enough, though, if you go to "P&O Ports North America," rather than to the main P&O corporate site, you'll find descriptions of operations at ports from Freeport, Texas, to Portland, Maine.

The story about the acquisition of P&O by Dubai Ports World has been bubbling for a couple of weeks now, and has been in high gear for several days. Did no one really see fit to correct the media's misimpression that only six ports would be affected by the deal?

Kevin Drum 12:50 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (97)

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Comments

Maybe we could do worse than having the UAE government running our ports. If we don't give them the contract, Bush will cut a sweeheart deal with some fly-by-night charter bus company from East Bumfuck, texas. I'll take the Arabs.

Posted by: swamp thing on February 25, 2006 at 12:54 AM | PERMALINK

17% of Americans are on your side, Kevin.

You sure know how to pick 'em.

Posted by: IOKIYAR on February 25, 2006 at 1:03 AM | PERMALINK

It's not just 6, but 21 according to the UPI.

Posted by: Lucky on February 25, 2006 at 1:03 AM | PERMALINK

Here is the link to the UPI story:

http://www.upi.com/SecurityTerrorism/view.php?StoryID=20060223-051657-4981r

Posted by: Lucky on February 25, 2006 at 1:04 AM | PERMALINK

This administration survives on the media's misimpressions. Why would it want to commit suicide now by telling the media the real truth about anything?

Posted by: Brian Boru on February 25, 2006 at 1:05 AM | PERMALINK

Islamofascists!!11!!1one!1!

All Arabs are, deep down, criminal holy warriorin' homo-bombers. Some just have more money. All terrorists are Muslim! All Arabs are Muslim, all Muslims are Arabs. We need to show resolve and attack the terrorists in their lands instead of in America.

You don't want the smoking gun to appear in the form of a mushroom cloud over an American (port) city.

Posted by: Judy Miller on February 25, 2006 at 1:06 AM | PERMALINK

Did no one really see fit to correct the media's misimpression that only six ports would be affected by the deal?

It doesn't matter how many ports Dubai Ports World will take over. It doesn't change the fact it's racist to oppose them taking over American ports. The British control dozens of American ports but no liberal complained about the British controlling them even though both the British and the UAE are American allies. The only reason liberals are against Arabs controlling American ports is racism. If Martin Luther King was alive today, he'd be one of the first ones standing along side George W Bush denouncing liberal racism. This act of racism is spitting on King's grave just as Joseph Lowery did when he politicized King's funeral.

Posted by: Al on February 25, 2006 at 1:07 AM | PERMALINK

ohferchrissakes, al.

drop that racist crap. you got a problem with profiling arabs at the airport? you hypocrite.

and if martin luther king were alive today, he'd be clawing desperately at the inside of his coffin.

Posted by: mike on February 25, 2006 at 1:17 AM | PERMALINK

IOKIYAR: I'm also an atheist. Even fewer than 17% of Americans agree with me about that, but I think I'll stick with it anyway.

It's one thing for politicians to be poll driven, but bloggers?

Posted by: Kevin Drum on February 25, 2006 at 1:24 AM | PERMALINK


The fact is, we attacked a country that had nothing to do with 9/11, purely on the basis of unfounded bullshit and lies.

The UAE has FAR more ties to 9/11 than Iraq, by the bushco avowed "logic" we should have attacked them also.

This is not about security, it's about money, control and lies (like Iraq).

Posted by: jay boilswater on February 25, 2006 at 1:26 AM | PERMALINK

Actually I will cease to be an atheist if I found out that GWB was one, polls or not.

Posted by: lib on February 25, 2006 at 1:42 AM | PERMALINK

OT, but anyone else think this is very bad news? I suppose it was already obvious to anyone who's really been thinking about terrorism, but if the terrorists really wanted to hit us economically they wouldn't even have to enter the US.

If attacks like this became the norm it could finally make the whole "addiction to oil is a national security risk" argument alot clearer to people (although, I think they're starting to get it).

Posted by: mk on February 25, 2006 at 1:52 AM | PERMALINK

If Martin Luther King was alive today, he'd be one of the first ones standing along side George W Bush denouncing liberal racism.

I have to admit, this one is pretty funny. Well done.

Fellow threadfiends, you do know there's a fake Al, right?

Posted by: Irony Man on February 25, 2006 at 2:13 AM | PERMALINK

Isn't one enough?

Posted by: G Spot1 on February 25, 2006 at 2:15 AM | PERMALINK

For heaven's sake, who do you think would point that out, Scott McClellan?

Posted by: secularhuman on February 25, 2006 at 2:27 AM | PERMALINK

Isn't one enough?

Only if it's the funny one.

Posted by: Irony Man on February 25, 2006 at 2:30 AM | PERMALINK

the fake Al is brilliant. If the real Als made their arguments half as coherently as he fakes his there might actually be a worthwhile debate once in awhile.

Posted by: secularhuman on February 25, 2006 at 2:32 AM | PERMALINK

Cheney:
You're right. We didn't know that port operations had been turned over to foreign coporations to the degree that we have come to find out that they are. We find it disturbing! whether its British or Singaporean, or UAE.

I still cant figure out Kevin and your take on UAE - it's a coallition of "royal" families. Basically time-entrenched warlords. I'm supposed to feel better when I'm told that the coporation running these port operations is controlled/owned by a single emir in Dubai and he's really a good guy, really?

We should run our own infrastructure, plain and simple.

Posted by: ChetBob on February 25, 2006 at 2:46 AM | PERMALINK

I've seen this Al before. If he's still awake it's because he's still looking for MLK quotes "relevant" to the sheik port ownership question.

Posted by: B on February 25, 2006 at 2:53 AM | PERMALINK

We should run our own infrastructure, plain and simple.

The problem is that we can't afford our own infrastructure and our creditors are less and less likely to defer to our managerial skills.

Posted by: B on February 25, 2006 at 2:59 AM | PERMALINK

[i]If Martin Luther King was alive today, he'd be one of the first ones standing along side George W Bush denouncing liberal racism. This act of racism is spitting on King's grave just as Joseph Lowery did when he politicized King's funeral.[/i]
--

Al you are beyond hopeless. At this point, you have earned the status of "Bush crony". Congrats and FU.

Posted by: Jay in Oregon on February 25, 2006 at 3:11 AM | PERMALINK

Haven't we already had too many "slam dunks"? I posted on the "Dealing With Dubai" thread that I personally think taking the time to thoroughly investigate the DP deal is prudent and worthy of congressional oversight. I don't like the secret plan that waives DP from keeping business records on U.S. soil, and thus, avoiding court orders, plus exempting them from other SOP requirements that are routine for U.S. approvals of foreign sales in other industries. What makes DP so special? Revamping Exon-Florio would be a good thing, too. I would also like to uncover any conflicts of interest in the Administration to see whose pockets are being lined by DP if any. The Carlyle Group has already benefitted from an $8 billion investment made last year from Dubai. Inquiring minds wanna know.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on February 25, 2006 at 3:15 AM | PERMALINK

ChetBob: We should run our own infrastructure, plain and simple.

I say amen to that. I don't have a problem with Dubai investing in other American non-infrastructure interests. For example, Louisiana and Mississippi needs to rebuild its casino hotel resort industry post-Katrina and Dubai seems like a good fit as investors seeing how Dobson & Friends were opposed to Americans investing in such vices. LOL!

Posted by: Apollo 13 on February 25, 2006 at 3:33 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

I posted the below at Steve Gilliard's News Blog as one possible reason for why this deal may make some sense (looking at maritime security from a big-picture, global sense as part of the whole maritime logistics chain - point of origin, point of embarkation, en route, point of debarkation, point of destination).

"I haven't yet heard a good argument why this deal is such a good idea."

Well, I'll take stab (and, no, I am not a Bush supporter).

A major concern regarding port security is that the US has little control at the port of embarkation as to what actually goes on a container vessel. Since 9-11, the US government has been working with countries where the bulk of shipments originate to comply with improved US security measures. But there is only so much the government can do absent a much stronger US physical presence (in the form of inspectors and high-tech inspection technology) in those countries (and at the ports in question).

One of the things that this deal may do is assist in the problems associated with the cargo that does pass through the UAE. In other words, by having a much greater presence in the UAE (and at the ports specifically), we would be helping to ensure that those shipments bound for the US are much more secure. The P & O deal may be part of a much broader objective in overseeing shipments from UAE to US, as well as DPW port operations in other countries (we would have a much stronger security foothold in the shipping chain from start to finish).

Absent this deal, then the US would still be vulnerable at the point of embarkation and would need to rely more on the point of debarkation (US ports) to catch any suspect cargo. Which, as we all know, still has problems (not all cargo is inspected).

The government has taken a layered approach to security issues regarding maritime transportation. And I suspect a key objective in this layered approach is to deal with any problems that may arise with suspect cargo well before that cargo has a chance of making it to a US port.

Of course, this objective requires the cooperation of those countries where the shipments originate. To the degree that we can get countries to cooperate to our security objectives, the better (especially if they allow us to maintain a stronger physical presence in their country as part of this layered approach to security).

Mind you, I have no idea if this is what Bush is attempting to do.

Posted by: eponymous on February 25, 2006 at 3:43 AM | PERMALINK

With trillions of dollars of outstanding debt, Americans aren't really able to object when our foreign creditors choose to buy something.

The fact that our enormous trade and budget deficits are externally held means that we don't own as much of our own country as we'd like to think.

Posted by: bad Jim on February 25, 2006 at 3:48 AM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: viagra on February 25, 2006 at 3:49 AM | PERMALINK

Chuckles/Charlie?Cheney: ...none ready to take over these terminal on March 2nd - let's all get with this reality-based thinking, you know.

Here's some reality for you, Chuckles. The DP takeover has been delayed at U.S. terminals. Miss that, did you? Plus lawsuits have been filed, which would have dragged down the takeover as well.

Let the congressional investigation fully vet the DP deal. No more slam dunks.

Scrutiny for shoring up port security will now get the top priority that it deserves as result of this story. And that's long overdue.

eponymous,

Good points. I had pondered whether there was a possibility of a quid pro quo at the point of embarkation. The only thing is if we don't have the resources to inspect more than 5% of containers now in the U.S., I wonder how it would work at the departure port? Lots to investigate and glad there will be a long look into it now.


Posted by: Apollo 13 on February 25, 2006 at 4:25 AM | PERMALINK

Good Catch!!!
I know it has been wrighten off
as a Movie with Views to far to
the Left.
But Fahrenheit 911 would shine
some light on this Port Deal for
many people.
Amazing how far down the river
Some leaders will sell the
American people.
While he was busy selling us fear
of terrorist. He has been just as
busy lineing the pockets of his
family and friends with terrorist
money. While terrorist have made just
as much money holding stock in Companys
that supply our troops with Armored
Military Supplies.
Why must we have wiretapping?
When him and his daddy talk to
them every day.

Posted by: Honey P on February 25, 2006 at 4:29 AM | PERMALINK

"The British control dozens of American ports "

And the Brits generate more Islamo-fascists than the UAE.


Since the Arabs give us our oil, the Chinese give us our goods and we just mainly moan about not having a big enough government, what's to discuss?

Posted by: Matt on February 25, 2006 at 4:41 AM | PERMALINK

Leasing terminals at a port is hardly the same as running a port, you alarmist sub-literate git.

If the US wishes to preserve some kind of reputation as a country where foreign investors can expect reasonable, law-abiding treatment, one rather hopes the xenophobic hysteria will be brought under control.

Posted by: collounsbury on February 25, 2006 at 4:58 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin, is this how YOU slowly save face? "Hmm, well y'know, there are a few troubling issues...". Tomorrow it will be more and more issues. Because Bush is utterly corrupt, this deal stinks to high heaven, and no sane person would be defending it.

Posted by: reef the dog on February 25, 2006 at 5:29 AM | PERMALINK

hi im als bro.
used to worked at that place makin polystyrene 36 lb hollow blocks. my job was two paint red stripes around blocks.
they strung all these there hollow blocks acrost a Port see? an they anchor it see. its just hollow plastic see? whispr wave. they called it some fancy name. Wave AttenuAYshun device. Wooo!
Praise it to be! a plastic box rope! Looks real purty.
still only whut some 17% of the freight even gits looked at? sheet. Some poor suckers gonna be freezing his librul azz off out there on some plastic box rope..Screw that.
yew eber seen one o them ships up close like from a plastic box fickin to run your ass smooth over? hellfire, them terrorists according to that there guy al told me about, wolfie, they might have subs, he says wolfie saw it in the plan b kissinger mental masterbation exercise, whuteber that is. I guess its
a bunch of people sittin around asking each other
hey what is is? is? isnt? you know that deeeeeeep thinking tanker stuff.
Anydamnhow those damn libruls in the white house
handing out the greenbacks, where you think I can get some o' this gravy double speak easycertainty trough feed?
I was thinking of creating a 'high tension linear passage detection system' to string along the Beaches. Yeh, like tin cans, we will take this fish string, real strong like polystyrene blocks like, with them purty red stripes, and when sumpin hits the
DeeVice and now hold up yer fingers like,
"High Tension BeachHead Detection System"
patent pending will start a shaking and Attenuating. Modern Physics Stuff WOOOO!! purty good huh?
them their stoopid libruls will surely spend some more money on that eh? Sheet monkeys could operate the system, just train to start hootin n hollerin when the string goes to a shakin, hell fire dunt need no electricity, no worry about emp type bomb thingies and hell its a money maker!!
Wee Hoo Im a Neo-Con!!

my mom is gunna be so durn proud o' me.
Sheet fire n save matches! I dun hit the gubbernment lott-a-ree!
WoooWeeeeHahhh!!

Kablammmm!! [shotgun Blast]
WooooOOOooO!!
Kablammmmm!! [another blast]
Sheeeeeet Dammmm Sonnn!
Kablammmmmm!! [its a texas thang 1 wooo or weee or hahhhh shhheeet Damm is always answered with a shotgun blast thats the librul law right al? like when we wuz kids right al? you tell'm al.
yew can mail my money to;
als bro
lot 13
als moms trailer park
ala a bama U.S.A

Posted by: als bro on February 25, 2006 at 5:37 AM | PERMALINK

Not everyone can write dialog.

Posted by: bad Jim on February 25, 2006 at 5:44 AM | PERMALINK

OK, so Kean, head of the 9/11 Commission, says it's a definite security risk that "never should have happened." And AFAIK, he's not even running for office.

Kevin, how can you possibly maintain your ludicrous position on this? Do you have access to information the 9/11 Commission did not?

How is it that in this one area, facts can have so little purchase upon your judgement?

Posted by: q on February 25, 2006 at 5:53 AM | PERMALINK

If, as eponymous suggests, this is to get better container inspection at the ports of departure, why not skip the UAE and turn the ports over to the Chinese military?

Posted by: focus on February 25, 2006 at 6:03 AM | PERMALINK

Why isn't anyone talking about the fact that UAE is a GOVERNMENT ACTING AS A CORPORATION, while the British company was not a government enterprise? To say that allowing one means you must accept the other is a LIE!

Not only is UAE a GOVERNMENT hiding behind a corporate structure, in the past, chimpy and gang would have called this SOCIALIST OR COMMUNIST. I think we fought a quagmire in Viet Namm to prevent the spread of this and now the neocons want to sell our ports to a governemnt.

Of course, when their US buddies expect paybacks, these same folks want to sell federal assets off to private companies while chanting "government is bad, private sector good"

Get real -- at least the british are official allies -- we fought with them in WW1 and 2. Suads have ties to bin laudin and the money to 9/11 and we WERE NEVER TOLD WHO MADE FORTUNES OFF THE STOCK OPTIONS IMMEDIATELY BEFORE THAT TERRORIST ATTACK.

And to those that proclaim they take the "high road" - that this is about racial justice (not taht you can show me equity and democracy among the Saudi), what about the blatant lies behind this whole thing:

*six ports, no 21
*chimpy didn't know - well he know last week
*rummy and company, "we were'nt asked"
*white house souse -- "we thoroughly investigated this, jsut didn't tell anyone or follow the law...
*the "committee" only met 1 time
*head of homeland security says, "I wasn't asked"

I could go on and on -- just pray that those seeking positive change will not allow the issue to be framed as "ARAB COMPANY INSTEAD OF BRITISH COMPANY" that is a lie and it the way they are hoping to cram this down our throats...

Just wait til you see what they do to Social Security after 2006. Chimpy proclaims there IS NOT TRUST FUND and he will do his damnest to "prove" that to us be destroying the fiscal integrity of the federal government.

Then he will say, "see, I told you so!"

Posted by: anonymous on February 25, 2006 at 7:23 AM | PERMALINK

There's also the little matter of this UPI story detailing the involvement of port operators in port security:

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Port facility operators have a major security responsibility, and one that could be exploited by terrorists if they infiltrate the company, said Joe Muldoon III. Muldoon is an attorney representing Eller & Co., a port facility operator in Florida partnered with M&O in Miami. Eller opposes the Dubai takeover for security reasons.

"The Coast Guard oversees security, and they have the authority to inspect containers if they want and they can look at manifests, but they are really dependent on facility operators to carry out security issues," Muldoon said.

The Marine Transportation Security Act of 2002 requires vessels and port facilities to conduct vulnerability assessments and develop security plans including passenger, vehicle and baggage screening procedures; security patrols; establishing restricted areas; personnel identification procedures; access control measures; and/or installation of surveillance equipment.

Under the same law, port facility operators may have access to Coast Guard security incident response plans -- that is, they would know how the Coast Guard plans to counter and respond to terrorist attacks.

"The concern is that the UAE may be our friend now ... but who's to say that couldn't change, or they couldn't be infiltrated. Iran was our big buddy," said Muldoon.

In a January report, the Council on Foreign Relations pointed out the vulnerability of the shipping security system to terrorist exploitation.

Since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the U.S. customs agency requires shippers to follow supply chain security practices. Provided there are no apparent deviations from those practices or intelligence warnings, the shipment is judged low risk and is therefore unlikely to be inspected.

CFR suggests a terrorist event is likely to be a ,one-time operation on a trusted carrier "precisely because they can count on these shipments entering the U.S. with negligible or no inspection."

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Based on this, as well as this Walter Pincus story in yesterday's WaPo, I'd say it's pretty clear that port operators are up to their necks in port security, and that it damned well matters who's running our ports.

Unless there's a counterargument that I'm missing here, I'd say that pretty much settles it.

Posted by: RT on February 25, 2006 at 7:48 AM | PERMALINK

Surely any of these port authorities can abrogate the contracts with P&O, since its changed ownership would be ample grounds to do so. I don't see why Federal legislation is even necessary, or why the Feds need be involved at all.

Posted by: bob h on February 25, 2006 at 7:54 AM | PERMALINK

Gee-- it looks like there are bunch of those ports in TEXAS and in the Gulf Coast region.... Could this be meaningful???

Posted by: pol on February 25, 2006 at 7:54 AM | PERMALINK

I'd say it's pretty clear that port operators are up to their necks in port security, and that it damned well matters who's running our ports.

Posted by: RT

Paste this also on your fucking forehead, Drum, so it informs the rest of your posts on this matter.

Posted by: Econo Buzz on February 25, 2006 at 8:30 AM | PERMALINK

bob h,
The Port Authority of NY/NJ has already sued because the deal violates the terms of P&O's lease:
http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/politics/politics-security-ports-newjersey.html

pol,
Yes, the ports in Texas are meaningful - 40% of military equipment destined for Iraq goes through there (specifically Beaumont and Corpus Christi):
http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0PAI/is_4_36/ai_n6130212

What I find bizarre in the UPI article that Kevin cites is the following:
"The same day, the White House appointed a DP World executive, David C. Sanborn, to be the administrator for the Maritime Administration of the Department of Transportation. Sanborn had been serving as director of operations for Europe and Latin America at DP World."
The day in question is Jan 17, when the deal was approved by CFIUS (mentioned a couple of sentences earlier in said article). Now - obviously GWB does not personally vet all WH appointees, but did not someone whisper in his ear who David Sanborn was about when GWB certainly signed off on this? And - next question - would that not imply that GWB had some inkling about what was going on several weeks before the WH is 'fessing up about knowing about this?

Posted by: RB on February 25, 2006 at 8:35 AM | PERMALINK

Most of the media also failed to note that DPW would be taking over military loading operations for the US Army at Beaumont and Corpus Christi, TX. (See http://thinkprogress.org/2006/02/20/uae-military-equipment/ and
http://www.renewamerica.us/columns/gaffney/060220/ for opposition from "both sides of the political spectrum.")

The media are really doing a crappy job - they take a certain stereotype framing and keep replaying it over and over.

***The military part of the deal may be illegal.*** Thanks to cmdicely for giving us a heads up on that:

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/search/display.html?terms=2170&url=/uscode/html/uscode50a/usc_sec_50a_00002170---a000-.html
with excerpt below, and compare http://www.softinfusion.com/gpoaccess/Bill_103-s1337es


2170a. Prohibition on purchase of United States defense contractors by entities controlled by foreign governments

Release date: 2005-03-17

(a) In general

No entity controlled by a foreign government may merge with, acquire, or take over a company engaged in interstate commerce in the United States that

(1) is performing a Department of Defense contract, or a Department of Energy contract under a national security program, that cannot be performed satisfactorily unless that company is given access to information in a proscribed category of information; or

(2) during the previous fiscal year, was awarded

(A) Department of Defense prime contracts in an aggregate amount in excess of $500,000,000; or

(B) Department of Energy prime contracts under national security programs in an aggregate amount in excess of $500,000,000.

(b) Inapplicability to certain cases

The limitation in subsection (a) shall not apply if a merger, acquisition, or takeover is not suspended or prohibited pursuant to section 721 of the Defense Production Act of 1950 (50 App. U.S.C. 2170).

(c) Definitions

In this section:

(1) The term entity controlled by a foreign government includes

(A) any domestic or foreign organization or corporation that is effectively owned or controlled by a foreign government; and

(B) any individual acting on behalf of a foreign government,

as determined by the President.

(2) The term proscribed category of information means a category of information that

(A) with respect to Department of Defense contracts

(i) includes special access information;

(ii) is determined by the Secretary of Defense to include information the disclosure of which to an entity controlled by a foreign government is not in the national security interests of the United States; and

(iii) is defined in regulations prescribed by the Secretary of Defense for the purposes of this section; and

(B) with respect to Department of Energy contracts

(i) is determined by the Secretary of Energy to include information described in subparagraph (A)(ii); and

(ii) is defined in regulations prescribed by the Secretary of Energy for the purposes of this section.

Posted by: Neil' on February 25, 2006 at 9:45 AM | PERMALINK

Always bet on the this administration and the MSM to be more dishonest than you you thought possible. Obviously, this story was not meant to ever be revealed let alone corrected. We need to take our country back one port at a time.

Oh, and Katherine Harris accepted bribes from Duke Cunningham's source it looks like. Quite an upstanding gal. Add that to her resume beneath callous, unfeeling, unthinking, and thwarter of democracy.

Posted by: Sparko on February 25, 2006 at 9:48 AM | PERMALINK

All the regulations that Neil cited seem a little complex.

This is all about racial and religious profiling. We don't like the UAE because they are islamo-fascist camel jockeys. But if we thought about that before we spent all our money on government, then maybe a good old red-blooded Yankee group coulda bought the ports.

Posted by: Matt on February 25, 2006 at 9:53 AM | PERMALINK

I learn more from the insights of commentors of this blog than anything Mr. Drum posts.

Too bad the same doesn't hold true for Kevin.

Posted by: Lutherman on February 25, 2006 at 9:55 AM | PERMALINK

To answer Kevin's question, obviously the Administration didn't want us to know about the other 15 ports. Any more than they wanted us to know about the original six.
I live in Houston, and this gives me the creeps.
But what I want to know is, why are there no American companies that do this kind of work? Sounds like there's plenty of demand for it.

I wonder if the belated disclosure that we're about to give Dubai Ports the entire Gulf Coast will cause Congress to hang tough?

Posted by: BWR on February 25, 2006 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

Most Americans think we should be in charge of running our ports, that's the bottom line here...not some foreign government. cleve

Posted by: cleve on February 25, 2006 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

After having secured Corpus Christi, the Sheikh can then buy the Armstrong Ranch - stock the ranch with bustards, a rapidly diminishing specie caused by over hunting. As Kandahar may present a problem, the emirs can simply fly to Corpus to inspect their holdings, and play in the "free fire" zones with Dead-Eye Dick.

But they "Gave" $100 million for the Katrina Fund - A whole lot of grease.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on February 25, 2006 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK

It's not just 6, but 21 according to the UPI.

Here is the link to the UPI story:

http://www.upi.com/SecurityTerrorism/view.php?StoryID=20060223-051657-4981r

Posted by: Lucky on February 25, 2006 at 11:10 AM | PERMALINK

There should be a high level ivestigation on who leaked all the information about the deal between the two companies for the UAE port operator to take over the operations of the US ports. The dissemination of this information has clearly damaged our national security interests, and now the terrorists all over the world know that they can win without killing a single person just by buying the multinationals operating in the US.

Whoseover leaked this information has done a great damage to our national security.

Posted by: lib on February 25, 2006 at 11:22 AM | PERMALINK

Mr. Drum has been dead wrong on matters of international trade all along. He is not a reliable opinion maker in this area.

Posted by: la on February 25, 2006 at 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

Chuckles/Charlie/Cheney makes the point that Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...

Posted by: Apollo 13 on February 25, 2006 at 12:04 PM | PERMALINK

It doesn't matter how many ports Dubai Ports World will take over. It doesn't change the fact it's racist to oppose them taking over American ports.

The fact that Republican and neo-cons have spent the last 5 years fanning the flames of anti-Arab sentiment doesn't even puncture your consciousness, does it?

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on February 25, 2006 at 12:07 PM | PERMALINK

Racist? God helps us if Arabs hear a Rush Limbaugh broadcast.

Chuckles,
You have hit your 6-post limit. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on February 25, 2006 at 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

It seems that the majority of the 21 ports handle US oil - either at the source of our production or at our major refineries. That Dubai and the Carlyle Group would like this arrangement is unsurprising, but I can't believe that there aren't US firms that can do the job. And if not, that should be a major topic of discussion at the national level. And most importantly, we now need to ask ourselves what the globalization of the world's economies has brought home.

Posted by: FoothillGuy on February 25, 2006 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

You know, it's really interesting to feel so on the fence about an issue like this after so much time absorbing the arguments.

On the one hand, it's kinda grotesque to read the arguments of Cheney -- who never met a Bush decision he could oppose -- and not be able to just dismiss them.

On the other hand, it pains me to see my usual side make a lot of weak arguments -- although there is an *extremely strong* case that this is just more Bush crony capitalism and the deal demands greater oversight than it's received. Certainly the documents must remain on American shores and accessible to our courts if needed.

But here's a stunning irony in the Bigger Picture:

Bush is promoting democracy in the Arab world. Although I'm not sure of the specifics of UAE society, it's probably fair to say that if they held a free election, Islamists would win it -- as they have won everywhere in the Mideast. And that would mean in Bush's scenario, sometime down the road as the Iraq domino brings electoral "freedom" to the region, that Islamists -- not global capitalist princes -- would own our major ports.

Really kinda makes you go hummm ... , doesn't it.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 25, 2006 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

This is really going to get in your knickers...SAUDI ARABIA ALSO RUNS SOME PORTS...

AND HAVE SINCE THE CARTER ADMINSTRATION.

Posted by: Patton on February 25, 2006 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

eponymous wrote:
One of the things that this deal may do ...
.. In other words, by having a much greater presence in the UAE (and at the ports specifically), we would be helping to ensure that those shipments bound for the US are much more secure. The P & O deal may be part of a much broader objective in overseeing shipments from UAE to US, as well as DPW port operations in other countries (we would have a much stronger security foothold in the shipping chain from start to finish).

Good theory re a single-link supply chain, wrong on the facts.

1. "We" would not be having "a much greater presence in the UAE." DPW already controls the ports there.

DPW would be having a much greater presence in the US. You invert the situation. How, I don't know.

2. "We" would not be "helping to ensure that those shipments bound for the US are much more secure." DPW would be doing that, from whichever port of origin.

3. When only 4-6% of containers are inspected this does nothing to improve that.

4. Once infiltrated, a single-link supply chain is just an express lane. Quicker, easier, more devastating fast lane to delivery of smuggled goods of any kind.

Absent this deal, then the US would still be vulnerable at the point of embarkation and would need ...

1. Since it's the same company, DPW, at the point of embarkation before and after the deal, then the deal changes nothing. DPW controls ports at the point of origin NOW, and since they're SOooo trustworthy, then there's no problem to be fixed by your explanation.

2. Your purpose makes sense -- taken at face value. BUT security is still badly fragmented among agencies and corporations at US ports, regardless of DPW's purchase of P&O.

3. That's why the US had to establish ISACs (more on that later) to integrate sharing of info and coordinate security. The DPW deal would not do anything towards that goal. In FACT, if you wanted a route capable of cutting through the ISAC gate, the first thing you'd do is establish a single-link supply chain. Get into that, and you know how to evade the checks -- and you have the means to do so.

4. Let's stop pretending that operations have nothing to do with security (Kevin?). They have everything to do with security. If you want to hide/discover something you control/examine the auditing, receiving, and inventorying procedures. Remember: it wasn't the FBI or CIA or even the police that caught the Watergate burglars. It was a lowly security guard performing routine checks that noticed the tape that held the door unlocked.

So ask yourself: Who hired that security guard? In the case of ports -- it'll be DPW. And if they want something to get through -- it will. Even if it's "just" routine smuggling. Because they'll know the ins and outs of inspections, audits, and receiving.

5. Bush required decreased security obligations from DPW -- not greater. He got "pledges" and "promises" -- but the contractual language locks in NO accountability at all, relative to other firms and deals. DPW does not have to appoint a US citizen who's obligated to turn over accounting records.

So just what will those accounting practices be used to hide?

6. The contradictions here are really overwhelming. Illegal wiretapping, torture, suspension of civil liberties -- all in the name of the "post-9/11 mindset." Oooh, but all that's out the window if there's money to be made. By selling off critical national assets to assist -- not American economic prowess -- but your overseas pals. It's just poor asset management.

It's just another way to turn the US into a third world country, the colonized rather than a sovereign nation, and degrading a free nation into nothing more than a "resource" for the profit of corporations accountable to no one. America comes last: no power relative to American corporations, and American business has no leverage or power relative to foreign corporations who have literally bought off Bush pals, the Carlyle group, etc. It's about corruption and decadence.

Posted by: SombreroFallout on February 25, 2006 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

It's either the UAE or Halliburton.

Posted by: cld on February 25, 2006 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

There are a lot of interesting points made but the deal has been approved. I haven't seen any information as to how Congress intends to pass a law prohibiting a done deal. The Schiavo example makes a good parallel because Congress was passing an unconstitutional law to undo a done deal. Same thing here. The UK press has reported that the P&O shareholders approved the deal and the P&O spokesperson is quoted as saying all regulatory approvals have been received.
Bush will veto any legislation because some authorized signatory has in fact signed off.

Posted by: TJM on February 25, 2006 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

Matt Yglesias on Tapped:

A LITTLE FLASHBACK. Sometimes it's fun to just Google around a bit. Did you know this story from December 2000?

Harvard Divinity School has agreed to return a $2.5 million gift from the president of the United Arab Emirates after 18 months of controversy over the donor's alleged connection to anti-Semitic and anti-American propaganda, Harvard officials said yesterday.

While not unprecedented, the university's return of a major donation is rare. It followed a campaign by some students and faculty members to protest the inflammatory activities of a think tank named for the UAE's unelected leader, Sheik Zayed bin Sultan Nahayan. . . .

Seven of the divinity school's 39 faculty members and hundreds of students and alumni had signed petitions urging Harvard to reject the gift. The petitions cited the activities of the Abu Dhabi-based Zayed International Center for Coordination and Follow-Up, which sponsored lectures and publications claiming that Zionists -- rather than Nazis -- were responsible for the Holocaust and that the U.S. military staged the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Obviously, you'd have to be some sort of racist -- at a minimum, a borderline racist -- to think there was any risk that an entity affiliated with the UAE government might be tied in with some al-Qaeda sympathizers or whatever. It's all clearly on the up-and-up over there. Just more demagoguery from the Harvard Divinity School. Also, "Like other tax-free business hubs, Dubai has also become a haven for money laundering a reputation government officials have sought to shed by tightening banking laws."

Posted by: q on February 25, 2006 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

another view: http://online.wsj.com/article_email/SB114083733126683342-lMyQjAxMDE2NDIwNDgyMzQ3Wj.html

The deal will proceed. P&O, a British company operates the ports already (it isn't the total number that matters); a government monopoly of the UAE, which already services American naval vessels, is buying P&O; port security needs to be improved, but doesn't depend on who the parent company of P&O is (after all, 911 was not caused nor abetted by employees of American Airlines or the Logan Airport.)

This was nothing more than an alliance of transient knee-jerk Bush-bashing, knee-jerk Arabophobia, and knee-jerk Islamophobia. The Bush administration has paid another penalty (rightly so) for its insistence on keeping too much secrecy where it isn't required, but neither Bush nor his administration is Arabophobic or Islamophobic -- he always distinguishes between the minority of terrorists and the majority.

It may be an embarrassment to some that the US has to hire foreign compnies to operate its ports; on the other hand, Halliburton and other large multinationals do well for the US, and the US pharmaceutical industry continues to lead the world in using published and proprietary science to develop new drugs.

I suppose this will be an issue in some congressional election in South Carolina; but then the employees of Daimler-Chrysler will say that they are quite happy with whoever it is that ships their cars oversees; naval personnel will share their experiences of Dubai; and the issue will be a non-issue.

The real lesson is that the Bush administration causes itself too much trouble by being secretive.

Posted by: republicrat on February 25, 2006 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

DPW is a lot squirrelier a company than people are thinking it is.

It's staffed almost exclusively by Americans and British, people who are democratic people, from democratic socieities and who find themselves working for a medieval monarchy, all the representatives of which regard them as serfs at best, literally. They're not citizens, they have no rights, they're only there for the money. And the UAE wants them there for no reason but to put forward a caucasoid face. The Emiratis must dislike them as much as they dislike being there.

This brings up a different security problem. All these Americans and British have families and background in the US and England and are compromisable outside the purview of the UAE security system.

All it takes is one guy saying, "OK, that thing you're talking about won't be installed until tuesday, now never talk to me again."

Posted by: cld on February 25, 2006 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

Cheney wrote something clever: is there anyone left who CAN run the terminals if having 1 or 2 terrorists from there disqualify the entire country?!

Timothy McVeigh proves that we can't let Americans run the ports.

Posted by: republicrat on February 25, 2006 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

OT, but anyone else think this is very bad news? I suppose it was already obvious to anyone who's really been thinking about terrorism, but if the terrorists really wanted to hit us economically they wouldn't even have to enter the US.
Posted by: mk on February 25, 2006 at 1:52 AM | PERMALINK

Hell, I'm suprised that this kind of attack hasn't been happening constantly for the past 10 years. (then again, there have been a number of high-profile refinery and chemical plant fires and explosions in the US in the past 5 years - notably, the HUGE terminal fire in New York City about a week after 9/11, the BASF plant in Texas, etc. Lax safety? Or coverup of real terrorism so as not to panic markets?)

On the other hand, if I owned a huge oil refining and storage facility in the Middle East, I would blow shit up myself every couple of years:
1. Get rid of obsolete equipment that needs replacing - bill the Insurance Company for "demolition".
2. Keep oil markets nervous, and prices high, and profits high.
3. Get US Govt. $$$ to fund my security "needs". (my physical security problem is your economic security problem, right?)

But then maybe those House of Saud guys aren't as sneaky and underhanded as I am, huh? They must be real stand-up guys to not be doing stuff like this on a regular basis.

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on February 25, 2006 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

FTR, I'm not xenophobic. I'm Bushphobic. This DP deal was approved by CFIUS, a committee of the deputies of Bush's cabinet. And we know how little we can trust the competency of this Administration. If after a full vetting by Congress with assurances put in place, DP is approved, then welcome aboard. However, concurrently, I would still like to see some American entrepreneurship in port operations. Maybe Fluor, which is a highly respected Fortune 500 company, can compete, and/or companies like them could step up. I dunno. But I'm dismayed that American companies have lost their edge in this industry. What's up with that?

What is the best solution long-term for America's seaports? Wrap our brains around that challenge. I lean toward fostering a whole bunch of the little guys and job creation. The biggest guy already has plenty of bling.

We are still too early into this story to say this or that is the best solution. More facts, please.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on February 25, 2006 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

OT, but anyone else think this is very bad news? I suppose it was already obvious to anyone who's really been thinking about terrorism, but if the terrorists really wanted to hit us economically they wouldn't even have to enter the US.

If attacks like this became the norm it could finally make the whole "addiction to oil is a national security risk" argument alot clearer to people (although, I think they're starting to get it).
Posted by: mk on February 25, 2006 at 1:52 AM | PERMALINK

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on February 25, 2006 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

If operating these ports makes any difference to security, it's worth knowing that if you take 10 random members of the Dubai oligarchy, the chance that one will have a close friend or brother that's an Al Qaeda sympathizer is 100%. If Great Britain or Singapore were running the show, the chance would be 100 times lower.

But paying attention to the relative probabilities of trouble would be racism.
Better to die.

Posted by: gcochran on February 25, 2006 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

Perhaps you've never heard the President say we are not at war with Muslims or Islam is the religion of peace? Not all Arabs are Muslims, did you know that?

Perhaps you didn't read what I wrote. The President, in his feckless way, says all the politic things while his thugs keep the heat on elsewhere. Ann Coulter, bless her pointy little head, keeps making Republicans laugh with her raghead jokes and right wingers keep fanning anti-Muslim sentiment by trying to capitalize on the cartoon controversy. Not a peep of discouragement from the White House on either score. And that's just recently! So, why don't you go do what Mr. Goodbar suggests. And do it today!

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on February 25, 2006 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK


Somehow, I don't think that disallowing a commercial deal with a foreign country is a whole lot like putting someone in prison who has committed no crime. There would be a lot of potential commercial deals with Dubai that wouldn't raise any security issues: the vast majority, surely; those could go ahead.
In much the same way, the correct way of dealing with Japanese Americans in WWII would have been, first, _not_ to put them in relocation camsp - because J. Edgar Hoover, who knew the score , though there was not much threat - but continue to monitor them, as the FBI had been before the war. At the same time, you wouldn't have put one in the basement at Hypo decoding JN-25, where a single leak could blow a secret vital to the war effort. This leaves plenty of civilian and military jobs open: probably 99%.
This kind of approach would give good results with minimal impingement on individual freedoms: I can see why nobody would like it.

Posted by: gcochran on February 25, 2006 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

Now Ann Coulter is a Bush employee, or "thug" as you claim?! LOL - so it was a grand Rove conspiracy to nominate Roberts and Miers then, just to fake out the Left, and Coulter was in on the whole thing.

When Coulter amuses Republican gatherings with her raghead jokes, where's the hand winging about racism, eh? Not from Republicans. (The issue under advisement.) Republicans claiming that opposition to Dubai managing American ports is racism doesn't pass the "pull the other one" test.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on February 25, 2006 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

The Bushies created the monster by lying and hyping the Uber-terrorism, and now it's biting them in the ass.

THE WORM HAS TURNED.
.

Posted by: VJ on February 25, 2006 at 6:55 PM | PERMALINK

How much is a contract covering 21 ports worth? Probably a lot, I'd guess.

If UAE control all the ports, isn't that some sort of insurance against terrorist bombings or other disruptions?

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Posted by: phentermine on February 25, 2006 at 8:41 PM | PERMALINK

When Coulter amuses Republican gatherings with her raghead jokes, where's the hand winging about racism, eh? Not from Republicans.

When Coulter gets to translate her mad ravings into, you know, actual policies that substantively effect the real world, you'll have a point. But sadly this isn't about a someone uttering controversial words in an effort to sell books or get speaking engagements. This is about American politicians chasing votes with the most vile and simple-minded sort of racist pandering, and in doing so abandoning basic tenents of fairness. Their actions, if they're successful, will actually hurt real people. But, what the heck, you have a point: a little more anti-Arab racism won't be the end of the world. And they are a rather tiny and uninfluential group in this country, after all.

Posted by: jacqui on February 25, 2006 at 10:20 PM | PERMALINK

right wingers keep fanning anti-Muslim sentiment by trying to capitalize on the cartoon controversy

I disagree there. It is important to stand up for free press and free speech, and to assert that Moslems, like everyone else, have to learn to live with being criticised and lampooned. The cartoons attack the subset of Moslems who think that killing Theo van Gogh was the correct way to defend the reputation of Islam. Or those Moslems who really believe that they'll enjoy 72 virgins if they kill some poor Iraqis in order to embarass America.

Posted by: republicrat on February 25, 2006 at 11:06 PM | PERMALINK

SombreroFallout wrote:

"1. "We" would not be having "a much greater presence in the UAE." DPW already controls the ports there."

Are you know this - how? Granted, what I proposed was conjecture, but given the circumstances surrounding the deal (and relative to what the US government is trying to achieve regarding greater security measures in maritime transportation), it would make sense to make demands of the UAE government (specifically Dubai and, by implication, DPW) requiring a greater US physical presence in country. Security personnel and equipment that would be involved in port security.

"DPW would be having a much greater presence in the US. You invert the situation. How, I don't know."

No - the deal is quid pro quo - DPW gets access to ports in US. US gets greater security presence in UAE (and at port controlled by DPW) as part of the security aspects negotiated involving the US.

"2. "We" would not be "helping to ensure that those shipments bound for the US are much more secure." DPW would be doing that, from whichever port of origin."

Again, and you know this how? Again, conjecture on my part, but with a greater US presence involved in UAE directly (and with DPW specifically), US is better able to ensure our security concerns are dealt with at point of origin.

In addition, with greater US physical presence in UAE, it would also make it easier to deal with DPW port operations that are conducted in other countries (via security personnel working with home office executies who are in contact with DPW port operations in other countries.

"3. When only 4-6% of containers are inspected this does nothing to improve that."

So it's better to throw up one's hands and not make any attempt at all? A 4-6% inspection at port of embarkation coupled with a 4-6% inspction at port of debarkation raises the probability of catching something suspect.

Granted, the security issues surrounding the martime logistics chain needs to be improved substantially. But a critical component of this improvement is the layered approach that's been proposed by the government.

"4. Once infiltrated, a single-link supply chain is just an express lane. Quicker, easier, more devastating fast lane to delivery of smuggled goods of any kind."

Right, and the US is already vulnerable in this area, regardless of who does the shipping. All I've suggested is that the US may be working to have a greater security presence in the UAE to limit this scenario.

"1. Since it's the same company, DPW, at the point of embarkation before and after the deal, then the deal changes nothing. DPW controls ports at the point of origin NOW, and since they're SOooo trustworthy, then there's no problem to be fixed by your explanation."

As mentioned above - the deal is quid pro quo for a greater security presence in UAE (and with DPW at port of Dubai).

"2. Your purpose makes sense -- taken at face value. BUT security is still badly fragmented among agencies and corporations at US ports, regardless of DPW's purchase of P&O."

Which is true - HOWEVER, if one is trying to make aspects of the shiping chain more secure (by requiring a greater US security presence in UAE), then the UAE is obviously going to ask for something in return. That something in return is making the P & O deal go through with no problems. UAE gets assets and diversfy their economy; in return, US gets greater security presence and oversight in UAE (and also within DPW).

Absent this (admittedly) hypothetical, how would YOU propose working with the UAE/DPW in making the maritime supply chain more secure? Rely exclusively on assurances from UAE/DPW at face value? Does it not make sense to have a greater US physical presence in UAE and with DPW to make certain that our security measures are being implemented and managed properly? (and, yes, I'm not comforted by the fact that the Bush administration would screw this up anyway).

"3. That's why the US had to establish ISACs (more on that later) to integrate sharing of info and coordinate security. The DPW deal would not do anything towards that goal. In FACT, if you wanted a route capable of cutting through the ISAC gate, the first thing you'd do is establish a single-link supply chain. Get into that, and you know how to evade the checks -- and you have the means to do so."

Right - I'm aware of of ISACs. But absent any increased physical US presence in UAE (or with DPW), the US is still vulnerable. The US would still have to deal with UAE (and DPW) in this regards whether or not this deal goes through (or would have been proposed to begin with; just imagine the scenario where this whole P & O/DPW never came about).

"So ask yourself: Who hired that security guard? In the case of ports -- it'll be DPW. And if they want something to get through -- it will. Even if it's "just" routine smuggling. Because they'll know the ins and outs of inspections, audits, and receiving."

While what you say is true, this would be the case (and is the case already) regardless of who actually conducts port operations. In any event, current people who are employed by P & O will remain in place at the ports. Likewise, much of the managemnt of DPW will be conducted by Americans and Brits.

Yes, I know - why tempt fate? Well, we are already tempting fate as there are other foreign companies that conduct port operations in the US?
I certainly do not necessarily feel that a state-owned Chinese company (COSCO), managed by Chinese, is any more "trustworthy" than a state-owned Arab company (DPW) managed by Brits and Americans.

"5. Bush required decreased security obligations from DPW -- not greater. He got "pledges" and "promises" -- but the contractual language locks in NO accountability at all, relative to other firms and deals. DPW does not have to appoint a US citizen who's obligated to turn over accounting records.

So just what will those accounting practices be used to hide?"

As I understand it, there were GREATER security obligations imposed on DPW by US govnerment, in return for less stringent requirements on financial records and accounting.

I agree that this part of the agreement is hinky and should rightly be examined by more people (especially Congress).

"6. The contradictions here are really overwhelming. Illegal wiretapping, torture, suspension of civil liberties -- all in the name of the "post-9/11 mindset." Oooh, but all that's out the window if there's money to be made. By selling off critical national assets to assist -- not American economic prowess -- but your overseas pals. It's just poor asset management.

It's just another way to turn the US into a third world country, the colonized rather than a sovereign nation, and degrading a free nation into nothing more than a "resource" for the profit of corporations accountable to no one. America comes last: no power relative to American corporations, and American business has no leverage or power relative to foreign corporations who have literally bought off Bush pals, the Carlyle group, etc. It's about corruption and decadence."

AS I stated, I don't know whether my conjecture was any where near what was part of the thinking/decision process involved in all of this. As to your last part, I agree completely...

Posted by: eponymous on February 25, 2006 at 11:32 PM | PERMALINK

eponymous --

Please! You can't just throw a bunch of questions up and substitute them for actual facts.

Get real. The points I posed are facts, on their face, drawn from the situation. Deal with it.

You're asserting greater security, without ANY hard information to back that up. Specifically, Bush acceded to lesser security measures than are routinely applied in these kinds of deals. Bush settled for "pledges," "promises," and "asked" DPW to cooperate. NO legal language that demanded cooperation or guaranteed accountability. From Josh Marshall:

"The administration did not require Dubai Ports to keep copies of business records on U.S. soil, where they would be subject to court orders. It also did not require the company to designate an American citizen to accommodate U.S. government requests. Outside legal experts said such obligations are routinely attached to U.S. approvals of foreign sales in other industries.

Under the deal, the government asked Dubai Ports to operate American seaports with existing U.S. managers "to the extent possible."

It promised to take "all reasonable steps" to assist the Homeland Security Department, and it pledged to continue participating in security programs to stop smuggling and detect illegal shipments of nuclear materials.

That's a recipe for -- an invitation -- for abuse and s virtual guarantee that intentional or reckless violations will not result in prosecution or punishment.

It is a wholesale degradation of security standards. You DO NOT ask for pledges and promises, or incorporate language like " all reasonable steps" unless you're a) an indigent beggar and not a national govt; or b) you're transparently begging the UAE to violate the law.


If the purpose is to increase security, you make demands and codify the obligation and consequences. You DON'T beg and plead.


ALSO, aside from all your other speculation...

... there has been NO indication that the US has gotten increased security at hte point of origin, in return for this deal with DPW.

I appreciate the speculation re "chain of custody" -- but there is NO basis for saying the US got increased security elsewhere in exchange for lowered security at US ports.

Frankly, control of port operations are more important to national security than the presence of the Coast Guard. It's the audits, receiving protocols, and inventories that matter -- they're the lifeblood. The folks who handle those duties are far more likely to notice something wrong than Coast Guard vessels offshore or rent-a-cops on-site. Adn guess who'll be doign the hiring?

I appreciate your point. But DO NOT presume to make claims that have no basis.

There's no reason to think we got something in return for this deal.

There's no reason we should trust DPW or the UAE.

Are they "modern" or progressive? That's irrelevant as hell. So what?!?

Posted by: SombreroFallout on February 26, 2006 at 12:18 AM | PERMALINK

eponymous --

Ahh , I'm rereading your last post again. Thanks for hte points of agreement.

I just haven't heard anything to sugges the US has gotten anything in return in terms of security, ... that's all.

R

Posted by: SombreroFallout on February 26, 2006 at 12:21 AM | PERMALINK

Sombrero,

I agree with you that we haven't heard anything in return in terms of security. We (US public) have been given assurances, but you're right, the language of the agreement isn't one that I would feel comfortable with (and I apologize for not being fully imformed on the agreement - I was under the impression that the "hinkiness" was in the accounting and financial records, not the likely increased security stipulations).

In any event, I was trying to give the administration some benefit of doubt (however slight that may be) as to the likelihood of an increased security presence in the UAE (which is one of the things I would do if I were in charge of maritime security).

Thanks for the vigorous (and enlightening) exchange...

Posted by: eponymous on February 26, 2006 at 3:56 AM | PERMALINK

White House and Congress Trade Away American Security

The United Arab Emirates ports management deal finally exposes our economic and trade policies for what they are: a government's pursuit of money (for a select few) over the interests of most Americans.

The ports management deal is not an isolated mistake. Far worse has happened, but perhaps nothing as nakedly blatant. For example, how does it benefit Americans when:

Drug companies are allowed to write a new Medicare prescription drug benefit that keeps prices artificially high for seniors by forbidding government-negotiated prices based on volume?
The American-funded Import/Export Bank subsidizes Chinese nuclear power development? Is it possible we are not sending enough money to Communist China?
Congress has repeatedly neglected our national and economic security:

The majority of our oil comes from abroad, much of that from countries with unstable, unfriendly populations
The majority of our computer equipment is manufactured overseas
The majority of our food in imported from foreign countries
Over two-thirds of the products sold in major retailers is imported from countries like Communist China and Mexico
Our soaring budget deficit leaves deeply indebted to foreign countries like Communist China, to whom we owe $1 trillion
Illegal immigration is acceptedand legal immigration is abusedto secure cheap labor (exposing us to unknown security risks)
Congress sees the results of these unhealthy dependencies (declining American wages, record trade and budget deficits, national security vulnerabilities) and just pours fuel on the fire. It passed CAFTA after NAFTA. It refused to crack down on widespread illegal Chinese trade practices by threatening to withdraw from the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Most in Congress have demonstrated that they will not change course; they are simply too indebted to big-money campaign donors and lobbyists. We must replace them.

Posted by: johnkonop on February 26, 2006 at 8:07 AM | PERMALINK

Frankly, I am getting a little tired of the xenophobic and racist statements about these people being untrustworthy, clannish and back stabbers.

Hell, Bush was born in Connecticut and Cheney in Wyoming - So do not tar all Texans with the same brush.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on February 26, 2006 at 10:24 AM | PERMALINK

Cheney:
It's possible. But the only facts we have indicates decreased security arrangements by DPW. The contractual language includes only "promises" and "pledges" of cooperation -- and zero legal accountability.

So there "may be" security measures we don't know about -- but what WE DO know says the opposite is true.

Second, the national security state with its fetish for classified info has eaten itself alive. In many ways its done more harm than good. If the general public had known about alQuaeda's intent to fly planes in to buildings, then Bush would have had to pay some real attention to it -- as well as the field offices in Florida, Phoenix, and Minneapolis -- who all had details and raised questions, but were ignored by higher-ups.

Most important, the secrecy fetish has precluded a rational debate about common-sense security solutions.

CLASSIC case is the Committee on Foreign Investment (CFIUS) and this very decision.

They're acting like the aristocracy or like some high priests in some voodoo religion, invoking "classified" status for the info on which they based their decision. Bullshit. They're vain, smug, scared -- and stupid as hell.

There's no way they've got the acumen to make this kind of decision! It's a fundamentally political decision, not an economic one. That it was conducted in secret, when it should have been openly debated in a country whose source of pride is its status as THE original democracy is a betrayal of everything this country is about.

Any average citizen takes two seconds to know that you don't outsource port functions to foreign companies -- whether they're British or Cuban. Anyone who doesn't get that is an idiot.

If the deal had been debated in public, we wouldn't have the pre-9/11 mindset of these corporate Benedict Arnolds dragging their feet on national security.

So P&O was losing money and dragging its feet on enhanced security measures? So what! Cancel their lease, nationalize their assets, and kick their ass back to Gloucestershershire or Derbershyreshire or Worcestershirer or Noaorthhamptonshyreshire or wherever they came from. Fuck 'em. The Brits never live up to their own self-assigned stature, nor to the standards they presume to impose on those around them -- so if they can't make a buck, and won't obey the laws of the country in which they are operating as guests and not as the besotted, spoiled princelings they and their UAE buyers habitually indulge themselves as...
... shut down their operations, overnight, all of 'em, impose a surcharge to cover the costs of increased security measures they've refused to make --+ 20% interest, rescind their lease, and if they don't like it, give 'em a cardboard box and tell 'em to clean out their desk by 4:00pm -- that day.

Operations have EVERYTHING to do with security. The FBI didn't break Watergate -- it was a security guard! So P&O & DPW will hire the security guards, program the cameras, inspect the containers, and will be responsible for security at their terminal. They will have access the Coast Guard's security measures, plans, techniques, and inspection schedules.

They will control shipping manifests, receiving protocols, accounting audits, and inventories.

Managing operations means you have access to every aspect of security -- not that someone else controls it. When you're in operations, you have your hand on the pulse, the lifeblood, and the throat of security itself -- and everything you're trying to protect.

Managers who operate apartment buildings don't say, "Well, the police are responsible for city security, therefore I don't have anything to do with building locks or apartment locks or security alarms.

They also have an enormous amount to do with security -- and so do port terminal operators.

Posted by: SombreroFallout on February 26, 2006 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

Keith Olberman actually did point this out this on "Countdown."

Posted by: Rob on February 26, 2006 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

Cheney:
Re the Port of Houston: So what?

This does exactly zero when only 6% of containers are inspected.

DPW's deal includes contractual languages that explicitly allows them to evade ANY legal accountability under US law. Your post fails, and fails utterly, to respond to that point.

The fragmentation of responsibility among agencies and companies (port authorities, feds, leaseholders, shipping companies, and the Coast Guard) -- only puts the lie to the claim that terminal operators have nothing to do with security.

Further, inspecting containers at the point of origin is incredibly naive. To offshore customs/security functions is to guarantee at some point the loss of our control over them. It's equivalent trusting someone else to do the job for you. The inspections must be done, obviously, but it can in no way substitute for inspections here at home.

What's more, the UAE is notorious as a center for smuggling, money laundering, and as a nexus for terrorists exploiting those businesses. And one thing has always been true about smuggling, smugglers, and nations/peoples that are successful at it. It can't be stopped. They never give it up. Whether Albania, Greece, or England -- or the UAE.

So don't think the UAE is gonna install security measures that they intend to live by. They're glad to go along -- only because increased security and increased customs excise merely raises the value of every commodity that's smuggled through the pipeline.

The Port of Houston example merely underscores the wholesale stupidity of 1) allowing any foreign corporations to operate terminals; and 2) the fundamental and blatant wrongheadedness of privatizing both security and operations -- at all.

Ceding leases or ownership of such a critically important component our economic engines more self-indulgent than it is mindless, if such a thing were possible.

As you amply demonstrate, reality of ports precludes the possibility of maintaining security while turning over operations to foreign corporations or govts.

Outsourcing governmental functions will never be a competent move, as it cannot be done efficiently, nor can it be done right, by a foreign corporation.

Outsourcing and/or privatizing our national assets is a form of economic suicide it's a spear aimed right at the heart of our national security. Economic security IS national security.

Those who don't realize that not everything in this world is reducible to economic terms -- and not everything can be resolved by another business deal -- are in for a rude awakening.

The huge and fundamental error by CFIUS was in their fallacious presumption that this very political decision was an economic question. Instead, as has become very clear, it must be decided in the political arena.

ALSO - re the British-owned P&O: I forgot to say that if the measures I listed above don't work: slap an exorbitant tax on their damn tea. And dare them to flout American law, on American soil, again.

Posted by: SombreroFallout on February 26, 2006 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK
1 or 2 terrorists from there disqualify the entire country?! Posted by: Cheney
When Cheney claimed that Saddam was allied with one or two al Qa'ida guys, it was reason enough or you. When every Democratic effort to increase port security was defeated by Frist/Bush, it was fine with you.
one rather hopes the xenophobic hysteria will be brought under control. Posted by: collounsbury
You need to explain that to Bush/Cheney/Rove and their supporters. Nativism, jingoism, and anti-Arabic propaganda fuel their war and spying policies.
Do you want to spark a global trade war? Posted by: Cheney
You need to tell Der Bush about trade wars because time and time again, he has sparked retaliation and huge fines for promoting unfair trade practices.
Cheney was born in Nebraska.Posted by: Cheney
He received his two DUI's in Wyoming. Posted by: Mike on February 26, 2006 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

EVEN neoconservative superhawk Frank Gaffney knows this UAE/DPW terminal port operations deal is rotten to the core.

Sez Gaffney:
"How would you feel if, in the aftermath of 9/11, the U.S. government had decided to contract out airport security to the ...country where most of the operational planning and financing of the attacks occurred?" he asked in his weekly column in the right-wing Washington Times Feb. 14.

"It seems a safe bet that you, like most Americans, would think it a lunatic idea, one that would clear the way for still more terror in this country," he argued, concluding that, "If the President will not, Congress must ensure that the United Arab Emirates is not entrusted with the operation of any American ports"

Posted by: SombreroFallout on February 26, 2006 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

Cheney! You are, Cheneyed again!

Get this!
http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2006/2/25/124918/452

If anyone still believes Bush & the UAE/DPW port deal will improve and not harm port security -- just follow that link.. and read this:

Bush recess appointed Juli Myers and Tracy A. Henke, not long ago.

Julie L. Myers, of Kansas, to be Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security (Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement).

Tracy A. Henke, of Missouri, to be Executive Director of the Office of State and Local Government Coordination and Preparedness at the Department of Homeland Security

Bush couldn't get the nominations through Congress because -- like Michael Brown of Katrina fame, they have no qualifications in national security. From the WaPo:

"Myers, a niece of former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Richard B. Myers and the wife of the chief of staff to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, had been criticized by Republicans and Democrats who charged that she lacked experience in immigration matters."

What does ICE do? (Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement)

"ICE plays a critical role in protecting U.S. borders and ports of entry while restoring integrity to the nation's immigration system.

About ICE
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is one component that completes Border and Transportation Security (BTS), which is underneath the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The mission of the entire BTS is to secure the nation's air, land, and sea borders. As an organization that is part of BTS, ICE also strives to achieve a more specific mission.
ICE's Mission
To prevent acts of terrorism by targeting the people, money, and materials that support terrorist and criminal activities.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the largest investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), is responsible for identifying and shutting down vulnerabilities in the nation's border, economic, transportation and infrastructure security.

So Bush just put a Michael Brown-like political appointee in charge of port security. Good job!

As for Tracy Henke...she's in charge of cutting funding for port security.

Before the Dubai deal was even on the national radar, Mayor Martin O'Malley was complaining publicly that Ms. Henke was not responding to the security needs of Baltimore, one of the cities slated to be taken over by DP World.


O'Malley said the department "had no answers again" when he asked two homeland security directors in attendance about the top three priorities of the department.

The pair -- Office of Grants and Training Executive Director Tracy Henke and Coordination and Preparedness Acting Director Chet Lunner -- did not directly answer the question, but promised O'Malley they would work to get local governments appropriate resources.

"It's the same assurances we receive every year," O'Malley said. "I believe if you continue to cut funding at the current rate, it'll be eliminated."


So all the bullshit we're hearing about how Homeland Security will protect our ports is just that, bullshit.

Funding cuts.


Baltimore received $11.4 million from the Urban Area Security Initiative in 2005, down from $15.8 million in 2004. Total funding for the initiative, which is a part of the Homeland Security Grant Program, was cut from $855 million in 2005 to $765 million in 2006. Funding for first-responder block grants was cut this year from $1.1 billion to $550 million. The overall budget for DHS increased by $2.6 billion for fiscal year 2006.


So for all you UAE/DPW/Bush/Carlyle Group apologists out there who think security will be increased, take a good, looong look.

In the very depts and offices charged with coordinating security, investigating gaps & risk, and delivering grant funding to PORTS, Bush has brought us...

Unqualified appointees.

Funding cuts.

Read it and weep. Your speculation that security would be improved, that the deal had no significance.. and that sufficient security measures were in place by the Coast Guard and other existing agencies ....

... is as baseless and bankrupt as is your allegience to Bush and his fellow travelers.

Posted by: SombreroFallout on February 26, 2006 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

Cheney:

Way to miss the point -- but it's no surprise.

If you bothered to absorb any of the issues I raised and evidence I provided, I could understand investing the energy to meet you halfway. But you aren't willing to engage facts, principle, sound reasoning -- not unlike rdw, Al,... so why bother.

After all, as long as you think our glorious leader has chosen the "requisite 'acemen'" I'll stick with my position.

Do you have the "requisite 'acemen'"? You obviously don't have the integrity or courage ot face up to the smackdown on this thread. Read up on the evidence supplied. Mike above just handed you your ass. The port issue is about common sense -- not hysteria. Bush whipped up all the hysteria we need.

Posted by: SombreroFallout on February 26, 2006 at 7:22 PM | PERMALINK

Cheney wrote:
Why is Senator Clinton so dead-set against this NOW when, as co-President for 8 years, she and Bill had no problem with China, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and all those other FOREIGNERS controlling U.S. port terminal operations?

It must be your pre-9/11 mentality kicking you in the ass there, Cheney. Obviously Senator Clinton has learned that, in the post-9/11 world, a common sense approach to national security is called for that does not coddle foreigners in general, inviting them to feast upon the bountiful American land.

Obviously, Cheney, you are weak on defense and have not learned the lesson that terrorists hate your freedoms to make money, and are horning in on the profit to be made off of American infrastructure and American ports, that was paid for with American tax dollars. If any corporation is to suck the profits out of public assets, shouldn't it be an American one?

Also, those nations hadn't assisted Osama bin Laden, (yet, in the case of Saudi Arabia).

So what's your point?? Shouldn't you be crediting and congratulating Hillary Clinton for seeing the light??? Admiring her for learning, thinking, and adapting?

Of course, you're forgetting that Tom Ridge admitted the Bush administrations demanded that DHS increase the color-coded terrorist threat-level warnings -- when there was no intel or evidence there was an actual threat of terrorism. Go figure. Hysteria for no cause. Pandering to our fears.

Posted by: SombreroFallout on February 26, 2006 at 11:19 PM | PERMALINK

Heh, heh, heh.

Whatever you do, don't try to grapple with the debating points -- wouldn't want to get burned.

I'm amused.

It didn't take 9/11 to teach me this stuff. I merely mocked the crap rhetoric Repuglicans/Rove uses to routinely politicize national security issues.

I've always been practical about that -- and likely more conservative, in the true sense, than yourself.

As for politics -- it was BUSH that elevated the color-coded terror warning levels -- without the evidence necessary to substantiate or justify increased danger. So said Tom Ridge himself. Very telling.

Bush politicized national security, exploited fear, and cranked up the hysteria. YOu can point the finger back at yourself, demagogue. Since scapegoating is all you got, pal, you're bankrupt -- politically, morally, patriotically. It betrays a total lack of accountability on Bush's part, and a total lack of personal responsibility on your part. We all know what scapegoating led to in the 20th century, so you can eat sh!t.

Scapegoating is for fascists. The method is to kill the other side verbally, but never engage the debate in good faith. Funny how they never stop with the verbal attacks... move right on to rendition...

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