Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Bush Spins While Dubai Buys

Good old Yankee common sense tells us that it is dangerous and wrong for a foreign government to be in charge of any of our seaports.

But common sense, and truthful motives, are in short supply in the Bush administration. We are now in a tornado of Dubai World Ports and United Arab Emirates spin by the Bush administration.

We are being told that Americans who object to this deal are Arab and Muslim bashing bigots. That we are destroying our trade relations with the Middle Eastern world. That Dubai Ports World used to support terrorist states, but since 9/11 they are our fast friends (see my "UAE Not US Supporter Since 9/11" and "Portsgate: Public Outrage be Damned" blogs). And most absurd, that there are more important issues.

More important than the security of our ports and borders?

According to a small article in the recent TIME magazine, there is yet another Dubai deal slipping past our radar. Inchcape Shipping Services (ISS) a British firm bought in January by a Dubai government investment vehicle. ISS has a $50 million contract with the U.S. Navy and provides maritime services at more than a dozen U.S. ports.

"ISS also arranges everything from fuel to fresh vegetables for naval vessels at Middle Eastern ports, and is believed to get Navy docking schedules in advance---data that could be invaluable to terrorists."

And, just who signed off on this deal? Why the U. S. Treasury Department although they would not tell TIME whether ISS's sale to Dubai was even reviewed!

Wouldn't tell...more high-handed arrogance from the Bush administration!

Here is the ISS website:

The ports they service in the U.S. are: Aberdeen, Alameda, Anacorts, all Alaska ports, Albany, Alexandria, all Delaware River ports and anchorages, all Texas ports and Lake Charles, LA.

"A Homeland Security official told TIME there is a 'big, gaping hole' in vetting workers--at ISS and other firms--for access to ports."

Remember what else happened in January? David Sanborn who ran Dubai Ports World European and Latin American operations was tapped by Bush to head the U. S. Maritime Administration.

Cozy little arrangements aren't they.

Don't let the Bush administration spin the life out of this ports issue. Our collective voices stopped the deal, and our continued pressure may blow the lid off of this entire can of worms.

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