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21 Ports Much More Than 6

UAE terminal takeover extends to 21 ports By PAMELA HESS
UPI Pentagon Correspondent   www.upi.com
WASHINGTON, Feb. 24 (UPI) -- A United Arab Emirates government-owned company is poised to take over port terminal operations in 21 American ports, far more than the six widely reported.

The Bush administration has approved the takeover of British-owned Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Co. to DP World, a deal set to go forward March 2 unless Congress intervenes.

P&O is the parent company of P&O Ports North America, which leases terminals for the import and export and loading and unloading and security of cargo in 21 ports, 11 on the East Coast, ranging from Portland, Maine to Miami, Florida, and 10 on the Gulf Coast, from Gulfport, Miss., to Corpus Christi, Texas, according to the company's Web site.

President George W. Bush on Tuesday threatened to veto any legislation designed to stall the handover.

Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y. said after the briefing she expects swift, bi-partisan approval for a bill to require a national security review before it is allowed to go forward.

At issue is a 1992 amendment to a law that requires a 45-day review if the foreign takeover of a U.S. company "could affect national security." Many members of Congress see that review as mandatory in this case.

But Bush administration officials said Thursday that review is only triggered if a Cabinet official expresses a national security concern during an interagency review of a proposed takeover.

"We have a difference of opinion on the interpretation of your amendment," said Treasury Department Deputy Secretary Robert Kimmitt.

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, comprised of officials from 12 government departments and agencies, including the National Security Council and the Department of Homeland Security, approved the deal unanimously on January 17.

"The structure of the deal led us to believe there were no national security concerns," said Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Michael P. Jackson.

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.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John Warner, R- Va., said he will request from both the U.S. attorney general and the Senate committee's legal counsel a finding on the administration's interpretation of the 1992 amendment.

Adding to the controversy is the fact Congress was not notified of the deal. Kimmitt said Congress is periodically updated on completed CFIUS decisions, but is proscribed from initiating contact with Congress about pending deals. It may respond to congressional inquiries on those cases only.

Iowa Republican Sen. Charles Grassley stated in a letter to Bush on Feb. 21 that he specifically requested to be kept abreast of foreign investments that may have national security implications. He made the request in the wake of a controversial Chinese proposal to purchase an oil company last year.

"Obviously, my request fell on deaf ears. I am disappointed that I was neither briefed nor informed of this sale prior to its approval. Instead, I read about it in the media," he wrote.

According to Kimmitt, the deal was reported on in major newspapers as early as last October. But it did not get critical attention in the press until the Associated Press broke the story Feb. 11 and the Center for Security Policy, a right-leaning organization, wrote about it Feb. 13. CSP posited the sale as the Treasury Department putting commerce interests above national security.

Kimmitt said because the 2005 Chinese proposal had caused such an uproar before it ever got to CFIUS, the lack of reaction to the Dubai deal when it was reported on last fall suggested it would not be controversial enough to require special notification of Congress.

Central to the debate is the fact that the United Arab Emirates, while a key ally of the United States in the Middle East, has had troubling ties to terrorist networks, according to the Sept. 11 Commission report. It was one of the few countries in the world that recognized the al-Qaida-friendly Taliban government in Afghanistan; al-Qaida funneled millions of dollars through the U.A.E. financial sector; and A.Q. Khan, the notorious Pakistani nuclear technology smuggler, used warehouses near the Dubai port as a key transit point for many of his shipments.

Since the terrorist attacks, it has cut ties with the Taliban, frozen just over $1 million in alleged terrorist funding, and given the United States key military basing and over-flight rights. At any given time, there are 77,000 U.S. service members on leave in the United Arab Emirates, according to the Pentagon.

Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England warned that the uproar about the United Arab Emirates involvement in U.S. ports could risk alienating the very countries in the Middle East the United States is trying to court as allies in the war on terrorism.

"It's very important we strengthen bonds ... especially with friends and allies in the Arab world. It's important that we treat friends and allies equally around the world without discrimination," he said.

The security of port terminal operations is a key concern. More than 7 million cargo containers come through 361 American ports annually, half of the containers through New York-New Jersey, Los Angeles and Long Beach, Calif. Only a small percentage are physically searched and just 37 percent currently screened for radiation, an indication of an attempt to smuggle in nuclear material that could be used for a "dirty bomb."

After the September 11 terrorist attacks, the government began a new program that required documentation on all cargo 24 hours before it was loaded on a ship in a foreign port bound for the United States. A "risk analysis" is conducted on every shipment, including a review of the ship's history, the cargo's history and contents and other factors. Each ship must also provide the U.S. government 96 hours notice of its arrival in an American port, along with a crew manifest.

None of the nine administration officials assembled for the briefing could immediately say how many of the more than 3,000 port terminals are currently under foreign control.

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."

"All a terrorist organization needs to do is find a single weak link within a 'trusted' shipper's complex supply chain, such as a poorly paid truck driver taking a container from a remote factory to a port. They can then gain access to the container in one of the half-dozen ways well known to experienced smugglers," CFR wrote.

Paper: Coast Guard Has Port Co. Intel Gaps

http://apnews.myway.com/article/20060227/D8G1MIJ00.html

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Rick Stanley
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OPINION RELEASE: Dubai Deal Is Dumb

----- Original Message -----
From: "Chuck Baldwin"
Subject: Chuck Baldwin's Feb. 21 Food for Thought: Dubai Deal Is Dumb


Dubai Deal Is Dumb
By Chuck Baldwin
February 21, 2006


Let me get this straight. We are engaged in a war against Iraq and Afghanistan. We might be planning a war against Iran. We are fighting a war against terrorism. In order to effectively fight the war on terrorism, our federal government must spy on American citizens. This includes tapping our phone lines, capturing our emails, opening our mail, and seizing our bank and medical records. Furthermore, none of this federal spying and eavesdropping should be subject to court oversight, as it might jeopardize "national security."

However, while the Bush administration is telling the American people that they need not be afraid their personal liberties are disappearing, it is giving its approval for the transfer of six major U.S. ports to a United Arab Emirates government-owned and operated company.

President Bush assures the American people that the UAE is our ally in the war on terrorism. However, he fails to mention that at least two of the 9/11 hijackers were from there. He also doesn't mention the fact that the UAE was one of only three countries in the entire world to formally recognize the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. Neither does he mention the fact that "investigators have found signs that money used to finance terrorism flowed through Dubai banks." (Source: New York Daily News)

If Congress doesn't intervene, the UAE-owned company will soon take control of facilities in the ports of New York, New Jersey, New Orleans, Miami, Philadelphia, and Baltimore. To which Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma said, "Handing the keys to US strategic ports to a regime that recognized the Taliban is not a sound next step in our war against terror." That's putting it mildly.

Coburn also warned that the Dubai Ports World agreement "could seriously undermine our national security." Indeed it could. Consider the fact that less than 5% of goods received at our nation's ports are inspected.

A New York Representative was even more direct. Vito Fossella said, "We cannot cede control of strategic assets to foreign nations with spotty records on terrorism." He added, "The lack of transparency has left many questions unanswered as to why the UAE would be granted control of United States strategic assets." Amen.

Add to the Dubai deal an outlandishly ludicrous policy regarding legal and illegal immigration and one must question not only the strategies of this White House but also the motives!

For example, what has Bush done to deport the thousands of potential terrorists from known terrorist nations that currently reside in the United States? Nothing. Instead of subjecting the American people to unconstitutional abridgements of their liberties, he should be using the power of his office to rid America of people from terrorist nations that are walking freely in our country!

It is a fact that Middle Eastern Muslims are living and working in the United States in gigantic numbers. Thousands of them are working in hi-tech, governmental, and manufacturing jobs. They are also found in our military and law enforcement agencies in large numbers. Thousands more are here on student visas, and many more are using marriages to American women to gain entry. In fact, only Hispanic numbers are growing faster.

Walk just about anywhere in downtown Detroit, Michigan, and one will hear the bells of Mosques ringing out loudly and often. The same could be said for parts of many large American cities. One published report I read said that there are more Mosques currently being built in the United States than churches! This has long been true in Great Britain. Now it's occurring in America.

Can you imagine the United States allowing Japanese and German people unrestricted access to America during World War II? In light of this, how can President Bush look the American people in the eye with a straight face and tell us he is fighting a war on terror? If it wasn't so serious, it would be hilarious!

Furthermore, what has Bush done to stop the deluge of illegal aliens that are pouring across our borders? Nothing. Not only has he done nothing to stem the tide of illegal immigration, he has advanced policies that have induced the rapid expansion of illegal immigration!

Instead of asking the American people to surrender their liberties, he should be doing everything he can to stop the entrance of potential terrorists into our country! It is absolutely ludicrous to send an army half way around the world to fight terrorists and leave our own borders wide open!

And now President Bush wants to turn American ports over to Middle Eastern control. This is dumb. No, this is insane!

I can already see Washington's response to the next terrorist attack: martial law declared against American citizens or actions to the same effect. But, of course, the welcome mat will still be out for illegal aliens and Middle Eastern Muslims.

Never mind that it was Bush's policies and inactions (along with those of his predecessors) that allowed the 9/11 hijackers to legally enter and live in the United States. Never mind that it is his policies and inactions that continue to make America vulnerable to our enemies.

It seems the only thing people in Washington, D.C., know how to do is squander tax dollars and expunge constitutional liberties. They seem inept at doing anything else!

When will the American people wake up to what politicians of both parties are doing to them? At this point, I'm not sure they ever will.

© Chuck Baldwin

Posted by: impeach bush | Feb 27, 2006 3:07:39 PM

The Lou Dobbs show, CNN, 2/22/06:

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The oil-rich United Arab Emirates
is a major investor in The Carlyle Group, the private equity investment firm where
President Bush's father once served as senior adviser and is a who's who of former
high-level government officials. Just last year, Dubai International Capital, a
government-backed buyout firm, invested in an $8 billion Carlyle fund.

But there's much more:

Another family connection, the president's brother, Neil Bush, has reportedly
received funding for his educational software company from the UAE investors. A call to his company was not returned.

Snow: Who knew?

Then there is the cabinet connection. Treasury Secretary John Snow was chairman of
railroad company CSX/. After he left the company for the White House, CSX sold its
international port operations to Dubai Ports World for more than a billion dollars.

In Connecticut today, Snow told reporters he had no knowledge of that CSX sale. "I
learned of this transaction probably the same way members of the Senate did, by
reading about it in the newspapers."

It just doesn't stop:

Another administration connection, President Bush chose a Dubai Ports World
executive to head the U.S. Maritime Administration. David Sanborn, the former
director of Dubai Ports' European and Latin American operations, he was tapped just
last month to lead the agency that oversees U.S. port operations.

Conspiracy theory? Let's follow the gagillions of dollars and let the players speak for themselves:

December 2002-February 2003: Carlyle Group Purchases CSX Lines, LLC

February 27, 2003
#2003-07
CSX and The Carlyle Group Complete Conveyance of CSX Lines

Jacksonville, FL, and Washington, DC - CSX Corporation (NYSE: CSX) and The Carlyle
Group, a global private equity firm, announced today that they have completed the
conveyance of CSX Lines, LLC, from CSX to a venture formed with The Carlyle Group.
CSX received $300 million, consisting of $240 million in cash and $60 million of
securities issued by the venture.

As part of the transaction announced December 17, 2002, former CSX Lines President and CEO Charles G. (Chuck) Raymond and his management team will lead the Charlotte, N.C.-based ocean carrier, now named Horizon Lines, LLC.

- Carlyle Group Website/Press Release

January 2003: Bush Nominates John Snow, Chairman and CEO of CSX to be Treasury
Secretary

President George W. Bush nominated John William Snow to be the 73rd Secretary of the
Treasury on January 13, 2003. The United States Senate unanimously confirmed Snow
to the position on January 30, 2003 and he was sworn into office on February 3, 2003
. As Secretary of the Treasury, Snow works closely with President Bush on a broad
array of economy policy issues.

Before coming to Treasury, Snow was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of CSX
Corporation, where he successfully guided the global transportation company through
a period of tremendous change.

- Treasury Dept. Website

December 2004: DP (Dubai Ports) World announces agreement to purchase CSX's shipping terminals

In December 2004, DP World - International made it's most ambitious move to-date,
with the announcement that it had signed a definitive agreement with CSX Corporation
to acquire the international terminal business conducted by CSX World Terminals and other related interests for a cash consideration of US$ 1.15bn, completion of this transaction is expected to take place in the first quarter of 2005.

The CSX World Terminals container terminal portfolio consists of interests in 9
terminals with 24 berths and a combined future capacity of 14.6 million TEU across
operations in Asia, Europe, Australia and Latin America.

- DP World Website

December 2005 - Early 2006: DP World makes bid to purchase Peninsular and Oriental
Steam Navigation Company ("P&O"), a UK company that operates some US ports

The increased recommended cash offer is a revision to the terms of the original
recommended proposals in respect of the Deferred Stock (the "Revised Proposals").
With the exception of the price and the timetable, the Revised Proposals are subject
to the same terms and conditions which apply to the Deferred Scheme as set out in
the document posted to P&O Stockholders on 20 December 2005 (the "Scheme Document").

- DP World Press Release

"Scheme Document"? You really can't make this shit up.

To sum it all up, Lou Dobbs lays the smackdown on the Chimp:

DOBBS:

President Bush has put forth a challenge tonight that I simply can't ignore. The
president yesterday said he wanted those who are critical and questioning of this
port deal to "step up and explain why all of a sudden a Middle Eastern company is
held to a different standard than a Great British company."

Well, first of all, Mr. President, to equate any country to your principal partner
in the coalition ignores that special relationship this country's enjoyed with the
United Kingdom for decades and decades. This also is not just a British company and
an Arab company, as I think you well know.

Peninsula and Oriental Steam Navigation is a British privately owned company. Dubai
Ports World is a UAE government controlled and owned company. You see the difference, of course.

And furthermore, the money used to fund the 9/11 attacks, most of it, in fact, was sent to the hijackers through the UAE banking system. In fact, two of the hijackers
were originally from the UAE.

The UAE stonewalled U.S. efforts to track al Qaeda bank accounts after 9/11. In
addition, the Emirates does not recognize Israel as a sovereign state. And the UAE
was a transfer point for shipments of nuclear technology to Iran, North Korea and
Libya.

And if those aren't good enough reasons, I would just suggest I'm at a complete loss
to offer what might be considered good reasons.

Shrill!

Posted by: joe citizen | Feb 27, 2006 3:54:55 PM

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