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Thread: This Is Nuts

  1. #1
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    This Is Nuts

    This is nuts

    http://pittsburghlive.com/x/tribune-.../s_425012.html

    Sunday, February 19, 2006

    The Bush administration is defending a $6.8 billion private transaction giving control of six major American ports to a company controlled by the United Arab Emirates (UAE). How big is that hole in the administration's head?

    Dubai Ports World is buying Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co. of London. The former would take over ports in Philadelphia, New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, Miami and New Orleans. The UAE had ties to the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackers.

    Incredibly, this deal was rubber-stamped by the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States. It is composed of representatives from the U.S. Departments of Treasury, Defense, Justice, Commerce, State and Homeland Security.

    The United States' official position is that the UAE is an important ally in our war on terrorism. But this loose federation of seven states on the Saudi peninsula was an operational and financial base for the 9/11 attackers.

    This country stood idly by as Hutchison Whampoa, with direct ties to China's military, gained control of port operations on the Panama and Suez canals -- shipping links vital to worldwide commerce and choke points quite strategic militarily. Now, we're welcoming with open arms, and on our own shores, those who aided and abetted our enemy.

    This nutty deal is a risk to our national security. Everything that can be done should be done to scuttle it.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


  2. #2
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    Fear Escalates on Foreign Control of Ports

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060218/.../port_security

    By TED BRIDIS, Associated Press Writer Sat Feb 18, 5:29 PM ET

    WASHINGTON - A New Jersey congressman said Saturday he wants to require that security officials at U.S. ports be American citizens to prevent overseas companies operating shipping facilities here from hiring foreigners in such sensitive positions.

    Republican Frank A. LoBiondo, chairman of the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee, cited "significant" security concerns over a $6.8 billion sale that gives a company in the United Arab Emirates control over operations at six major American ports.

    LoBiondo said he wants the new mandatory citizenship requirements approved by Congress and President Bush before state-owned Dubai Ports World completes its pending purchase of London-based Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co.

    The British company, the world's fourth-largest ports company, runs major commercial operations at shipping terminals in New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, New Orleans, Miami and Philadelphia.

    The Bush administration earlier approved the deal, which has drawn escalating criticism by lawmakers who maintain the United Arab Emirates is not consistent in its support of U.S. terrorism-fighting efforts.

    Caught by surprise over the breadth of concerns expressed in the United States, Dubai Ports World is cautiously organizing its response. The company quietly dispatched advisers to reassure port officials along the East Coast, and its chief operating officer — internationally respected American shipping executive Edward "Ted" H. Bilkey — was expected to travel to Washington soon for meetings on Capitol Hill and elsewhere.

    Meanwhile, the Bush administration is defending its approval of the sale, and strongly resisting demands by Congress to reconsider.

    State Department spokesman Sean McCormack described the United Arab Emirates on Friday as "a long-standing friend and ally" and said the United States and UAE had a good relationship.

    Bush visited the port in Tampa, Fla., on Friday but did not mention the dispute. Bush said an important element of defeating terrorism was taking precautions domestically and working with local officials.

    "We've got to protect ourselves by doing smart things in America," Bush said. "I appreciate working with the mayors on homeland security issues."

    But one of those mayors, Martin O'Malley of Baltimore, criticized Bush's approval of the ports deal as an "outrageous, reckless and irresponsible decision" and urged the president to reconsider.

    O'Malley, co-chairman of the U.S. Conference of Mayors' Task Force on Homeland Security, also is seeking the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in Maryland.

    "I think that they did not take into account the vulnerability of America's ports," O'Malley said Saturday in a telephone interview. "I think Congress needs to have further hearings on these things."

    He said only 5 percent of the shipments into the nation's ports are inspected, calling that a stark contrast to Hong Kong, which inspects 100 percent of shipments.

    Dubai Ports World declined through a spokesman to respond to O'Malley's remarks.

    In New York, families of some victims from the September 2001 terror attacks planned to criticize the deal Sunday during a press conference with Sen. Charles Schumer (news, bio, voting record), a leading critic of the sale. Schumer, D-N.Y., said he is dubious any assurances can justify the UAE's involvement in American ports.

    Schumer and others have cited the UAE's history as an operational and financial base for the hijackers who carried out the attacks against New York and Washington.

    "A lot of families are incensed by this, because you're talking about the safety of the country," said William Doyle, whose son Joseph died at the World Trade Center. "We have a problem already in our ports because all of our containers aren't checked, but now they want to add this unknown? It's not right."

    LoBiondo's legislative proposal would amend federal maritime laws to require facility security officers, which operate at terminals in every U.S. port, to be American citizens. LoBiondo said there now are no citizenship requirements, which he said permits foreign companies with a stake in U.S. terminal operations to employ security officers who are not Americans.

    "We cannot be lax about our nation's security nor fail to recognize that our ports are realistic targets of terrorists," LoBiondo said.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


  3. #3
    Good Doctor HST Guest
    Just further proof that truth is stranger than fiction. Somebody that knows somebody is making out financially in this deal. There's no other explanation.

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    Our Government is "occupied".
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


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    Senator urges Bush to intervene in Dubai contract award

    http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/news...nes-local-wire

    Associated Press
    Published February 19 2006

    NEW YORK -- U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer joined some family members of Sept. 11 victims Sunday to urge President Bush to personally intervene to block a port security contract with a Persian Gulf state.

    "This is a deal that was approved in the dark of night and needs to see the light of day," Schumer told a news conference on a Manhattan pier on New York Harbor. The president "should override the agreement and conduct a special investigation into the matter," Schumer said.

    The senator also called for a 90-day inquiry into all port contracts involving foreign governments.

    "In a post 9-11 world we can't be too careful. We cannot slide into complacency," said Schumer, who has contended for years that U.S. cargo ports remain the nation's most vulnerable targets for terrorism.

    He said the Committee on Foreign Investment, which approved the $6.8 billion agreement allowing Dubai Ports World to oversee operations at six U.S. ports including New York and New Jersey, had "proven itself unreliable" on issues of national security. Currently only 5 percent of cargo containers entering U.S. ports are subjected to security inspection, Schumer said.

    Earlier Sunday, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff defended the agreement, saying the United Arab Emirates company had met "assurances" that it was "appropriate from a national security standpoint."

    Schumer noted that banks in Dubai had laundered terrorist money and that the country had links to two Sept. 11 hijackers.

    Peter Gadiel, of Kent, Conn., whose son, James, was killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, World Trade Center attack, said he was deeply disturbed by the ports deal.

    "I'm a lifelong Republican and I think the President's gone insane," said Gadiel, director of a group called 9/11 Families for a Secure America.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


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    Lawmakers Decry Ports Takeover

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060219/.../port_security

    By WILL LESTER, Associated Press Writer 1 hour, 32 minutes ago

    WASHINGTON - U.S. terms for approving an Arab company's takeover of operations at six major American ports are insufficient to guard against terrorist infiltration, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee said Sunday.

    "I'm aware of the conditions and they relate entirely to how the company carries out its procedures, but it doesn't go to who they hire, or how they hire people," Rep. Peter King (news, bio, voting record), R-N.Y., told The Associated Press.

    "They're better than nothing, but to me they don't address the underlying conditions, which is how are they going to guard against things like infiltration by al-Qaida or someone else, how are they going to guard against corruption?" King said.

    King spoke in response to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff's comments Sunday about conditions of the sale. King said he learned about the government's terms for approving the sale from meetings with senior Bush administration officials.

    Chertoff defended the security review of Dubai Ports World of the United Arab Emirates, the company given permission to take over the port operations. Chertoff said the government typically builds in "certain conditions or requirements that the company has to agree to make sure we address the national security concerns." But Chertoff declined to discuss specifics saying that information is classified.

    "We make sure there are assurances in place, in general, sufficient to satisfy us that the deal is appropriate from a national security standpoint," Chertoff said on ABC's "This Week."

    London-based Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co., was bought last week by DP World, a state-owned business. Peninsular and Oriental runs major commercial operations in New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, New Orleans, Miami and Philadelphia.

    A Miami company, Continental Stevedoring & Terminals Inc., has filed suit in a Florida court challenging the deal. A subsidiary of Eller & Company Inc., the Miami company maintains it the suit disclosed Saturday evening that it will become an "involuntary partner" with Dubai's government under the sale.

    "We are aware of the lawsuit, but cannot comment until our legal teams have a chance to review it," Michael Seymour, president of the North American arm of Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation, said Sunday in the company's initial response to the lawsuit.

    He noted that his company "is itself a foreign-owned terminal operator that has long worked with U.S. government officials in charge of security at the ports to meet all U.S. government standards, as do other foreign companies that currently operate ports in the United States."

    "We are confident that the DP World purchase will ensure that our operations continue to meet all relevant standards in the U.S. through ongoing collaboration between the port operators and American, British, Australian and port security officials throughout the world," Seymour said in a statement telephoned to the AP.

    Lawmakers from both parties are questioning the sale as a possible risk to national security.

    "It's unbelievably tone deaf politically at this point in our history," Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., said on "Fox News Sunday."

    "Most Americans are scratching their heads, wondering why this company from this region now," Graham said.

    Sen. Barbara Boxer (news, bio, voting record), on CBS' "Face the Nation," said, "It is ridiculous to say you're taking secret steps to make sure that it's OK for a nation that had ties to 9/11, (to) take over part of our port operations in many of our largest ports. This has to stop."

    Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told Arab journalists in an interview Friday at the State Department, that it was "the considered opinion of the U.S. government that this can go forward." She pledged to work with Congress because "perhaps people will need better explanation and will need to understand some of the process that we have gone through."

    At least one Senate oversight hearing is planned for later this month.

    "Congress is welcome to look at this and can get classified briefings," Chertoff told CNN's "Late Edition." "We have to balance the paramount urgency of security against the fact that we still want to have a robust global trading system," he added.

    Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., who is working on legislation to prohibit companies owned or controlled by foreign governments from running port operation in the U.S., said Chertoff's comments showed him that the administration "just does not get it."

    Sen. Charles Schumer (news, bio, voting record), D-N.Y. joined some family members of Sept. 11 victims at a news conference Sunday to urge President Bush to personally intervene. The president "should override the agreement and conduct a special investigation into the matter," Schumer said.

    Dubai Ports World should not be excluded automatically from such a deal because it is based in the UAE, Chertoff said.

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

    Dubai Ports World has said it intends to "maintain and, where appropriate, enhance current security arrangements." The UAE's foreign minister has described his country as an important U.S. ally in fighting terrorism.

    "I would hope that our friends in Abu Dhabi would not be offended by the fact that in our democracy, we debate these things," Rice said in the interview with the Arab journalists.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


  7. #7
    PhilosophyGenius Guest
    I'd love to see a Saudi company take over airport security. That would be hilarious!


    (exept if I'm on the plane)

  8. #8
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    'President's gone insane' – 9/11 dad

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/loca...p-333284c.html

    BY JIMMY VIELKIND
    DAILY NEWS WRITER
    2/20/2006

    Peter Gadiel just doesn't get it.

    How, asks Gadiel, whose son James died in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, can a company owned by a terror-linked country get control of our nation's ports?

    "I'm a lifelong Republican and I think the President's gone insane," said Gadiel, 58, who heads 9/11 Families for a Secure America.

    Two of the 19 9/11 hijackers were citizens of Dubai, the Arab emirate whose bid to run ports in New York, New Jersey and four other cities was okayed by the White House even though investigators have found signs that money used to finance terrorism flowed through Dubai banks.

    "How the hell could this happen?" fumed Bill Doyle, 58, a retired Staten Island stockbroker whose son Joseph also died when the Trade Center fell.

    "We're not securing our country in any way by selling our ports to foreigners," he said.

    Gadiel and Doyle stood with Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) yesterday at the harbor to express their outrage.

    Bruse DeCell, 55, whose son-in-law died in the attacks, said that homeland security should be the highest concern when approving the activities of foreign business interests.

    "This administration is putting the selling of our country on a fast track," he said. "There are a lot of loose ends that caused 9/11 to happen. I'm trying to close them."

    Only 5% of the cargo containers entering U.S. ports are inspected, said Schumer, who has called for upgrades in port security for years.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


  9. #9
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    Lawmakers at odds over Arab control of ports
    Members of Congress, Bush administration disagree on security question

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11188272/

    Updated: 11:21 a.m. ET Feb. 20, 2006

    WASHINGTON - Members of Congress and the Bush administration are at odds over whether security is compromised by an Arab company’s takeover of operations at six major American seaports.

    Some lawmakers expressed concern Sunday that the safeguards are insufficient to thwart infiltration of the vital facilities by terrorists.

    At issue is the purchase last week of London-based Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co., by Dubai Ports World, a state-owned business in the United Arab Emirates, or UAE. Peninsular and Oriental runs major commercial operations in New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, New Orleans, Miami and Philadelphia.

    Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff defended the U.S. security review of DP World in various television interviews Sunday.

    “We have a very disciplined process, it’s a classified process, for reviewing any acquisition by a foreign company of assets that we consider relevant to national security,” Chertoff told Tim Russert on “ Meet the Press .”

    The government typically builds in “certain conditions or requirements that the company has to agree to make sure we address the national security concerns,” he said, but added that details were classified.

    Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said later he wasn’t as sure.

    “I’m aware of the conditions and they relate entirely to how the company carries out its procedures, but it doesn’t go to who they hire, or how they hire people,” King told The Associated Press.

    “They’re better than nothing, but to me they don’t address the underlying conditions, which is how are they going to guard against things like infiltration by al-Qaida or someone else? How are they going to guard against corruption?” King said.

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

    A Miami company, Continental Stevedoring & Terminals Inc., has filed suit in a Florida court challenging the deal. A subsidiary of Eller & Company Inc., Continental maintains it will become an “involuntary partner” with Dubai’s government under the sale.

    Michael Seymour, president of the North American arm of Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation, said in a statement that company lawyers would have to examine the lawsuit before he could comment on it.

    He noted, however, that his company “is itself a foreign-owned terminal operator that has long worked with U.S. government officials in charge of security at the ports to meet all U.S. government standards, as do other foreign companies that currently operate ports in the United States.”

    “We are confident that the DP World purchase will ensure that our operations continue to meet all relevant standards in the U.S. through ongoing collaboration between the port operators and American, British, Australian and port security officials throughout the world,” Seymour said.

    Lawmakers from both parties questioned the sale as a possible risk to national security.

    “It’s unbelievably tone deaf politically at this point in our history,” Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., said on “Fox News Sunday.” “Most Americans are scratching their heads, wondering why this company from this region now,” he said.

    Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., told CBS’ “Face the Nation”:

    “It is ridiculous to say you’re taking secret steps to make sure that it’s OK for a nation that had ties to 9/11, (to) take over part of our port operations in many of our largest ports. This has to stop.”

    Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told Arab journalists Friday at the State Department, that it was “the considered opinion of the U.S. government that this can go forward.” She pledged to work with Congress because “perhaps people will need better explanation and will need to understand some of the process that we have gone through.”

    At least one Senate oversight hearing is planned for later this month.

    “Congress is welcome to look at this and can get classified briefings,” Chertoff told CNN’s “Late Edition.” “We have to balance the paramount urgency of security against the fact that we still want to have a robust global trading system.”
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


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    US move to block takeover of P&O on security grounds

    http://business.guardian.co.uk/story/0,,1713400,00.html

    David Teather in New York and Cosima Marriner
    Monday February 20, 2006
    The Guardian

    A Miami ports company has taken legal action to block the takeover of Britain's P&O by a state-owned business from the United Arab Emirates, citing national security concerns. The suit has been filed amid a growing political storm in Washington about the takeover.

    On Friday, Democratic senators Hillary Clinton and Robert Menéndez introduced legislation aimed at preventing the sale. Their bill would ban companies owned or controlled by foreign governments from acquiring US port operations.

    "We wouldn't turn the border patrol or the customs service over to a foreign government, and we can't afford to turn our ports over to one either," Mr Menéndez said in statement.

    P&O, the world's fourth largest ports company, runs commercial operations in New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, New Orleans, Miami and Philadelphia - some of the busiest shipping terminals in the US.

    The Miami port is a hub for cruise ships carrying more than six million people a year and more than 1m cargo containers. The local company Continental Stevedoring & Terminals works alongside P&O in the city. In its suit filed in a Florida court, the firm said the sale of P&O to Dubai Ports World was prohibited under its partnership agreement. It is also seeking more than $10m (£5.7m) in damages from P&O.

    A spokeswoman for P&O and DP World refused to comment on the specifics of the lawsuit. She said: "Clearly, change of control was a key focus of the due diligence process for both P&O and DP World. We're confident all issues have been satisfactorily addressed."

    The Bush administration has approved the P&O takeover. Defending the decision, state department spokesman Sean McCormack on Friday described the UAE as a "long-standing friend and ally".

    But opposition to the takeover is growing. Jersey congressman Frank LoBiondo on Saturday proposed a mandatory requirement that all security officials at US ports be American citizens. Mr LoBiondo, chairman of the coast guard and maritime transportation subcommittee, said the rule would prevent foreign nationals from holding potentially sensitive jobs.

    Baltimore mayor Martin O'Malley said the federal administration's approval was an "outrageous, reckless and irresponsible decision" and urged the president to reconsider.

    Democratic senator Charles Schumer was scheduled to hold a press conference yesterday with family members of victims in the September 11 terrorist attacks to lobby against the deal.

    A senate oversight hearing on the takeover is planned for this month. A debate over perceived lax security standards at US ports had been rumbling since the September 11 attacks. Only about 5% of containers are examined on arrival in the US.

    DP World has sought to calm nerves and sent advisers to meet port officials along the US east coast. It also plans to send its chief operating officer, the American shipping executive Edward Bilkey, to meet important figures in Washington this week. In a statement to Bloomberg News, the UAE foreign minister, Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan, said concerns in Washington were "understandable", but added: "We want to make clear we have also worked very closely with the US in a number of issues especially when it comes to combating terrorism, prior to and post September 11."

    DP World's victory after a three-month battle for Britain's most famous maritime company also provoked controversy in the UK.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


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