Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: [prezveepsenator] Tom Friedman on Bush Port DB Issue

Expand Messages
  • Greg Cannon
    Thank you for the column, I agree with him. My congressman, Democrat Silvestre Reyes, has now joined in attacking the port deal. Here s a letter signed by him
    Message 1 of 4 , Feb 24, 2006
    • 0 Attachment
      Thank you for the column, I agree with him. My
      congressman, Democrat Silvestre Reyes, has now joined
      in attacking the port deal. Here's a letter signed by
      him and a few dozen other Democrats, and independent
      Bernie Sanders.

      http://www.newshorn.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=884&Itemid=120

      Melancon to Bush: Stop the Port Deal
      Contributed by Alexander James Outhuse
      Thursday, 23 February 2006


      MELANCON TO BUSH: STOP THE PORT DEAL

      U.S. Rep. Charlie Melancon today joined nearly
      two dozen of his colleagues in a letter to President
      George Bush, asking him to halt the pending deal with
      the United Arab Emirates-owned company, Dubai Ports
      World.

      "Though I've only been in Washington for just over a
      year, I've seen very few issues that are truly
      bipartisan. The opposition to this port deal is one
      of those and I am sure that Democrats and Republicans
      in Congress are going to come together quickly on
      this," said Melancon.

      "Though initial reports focused only on six ports,
      including New Orleans, I am very concerned about the
      effects this deal would have on the Ports of Baton
      Rouge and Lake Charles as well. They are two of
      twenty American ports whose operations would be
      affected if this deal goes through."

      Following is the text of the letter:

      Dear Mr. President:

      We are writing to urge the Administration to halt
      the pending deal for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to
      gain control of significant operations at 20 major
      U.S. ports on the East and Gulf Coasts of the United
      States - in the post 9-11 world in which security is
      paramount. Since September 11th, our national port
      security is of vital interest; and a contract to a
      foreign national company over the operation of our
      nation's major ports is an inherently bad idea at this
      moment in time.

      The decision by the Committee on Foreign
      Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to allow the
      sale of port operations to a foreign government raises
      serious security concerns. We understand CFIUS did
      not include background checks of senior managers of
      Dubai Ports World or a study of how the company
      screens its workers. The failure to conduct such
      basic evaluations during this time of heightened
      national security concerns demands a more thorough
      vetting. This seems particularly easy to understand
      given at least two of the 9/11 hijackers lived in the
      United Arab Emirates prior to the attacks on the World
      Trade Center and the Pentagon, and that money that
      helped to finance the attacks on American soil came
      from the UAE.

      This is not a trade issue, as the Administration
      has claimed; and far more ports are involved than has
      been reported. If the UAE wants to buy from us, they
      are welcome to do that. The 20 ports include the
      major East Coast ports and those along the Gulf
      coasts, through which the nation's food and oil pass
      daily. Having a foreign government in control of
      critical port functions like securing cargo and the
      hiring of security personnel is too high of a risk for
      the American people at vulnerable U.S. ports.

      We expect Congress to act on this at the first
      opportunity; on Monday or Tuesday of next week. We
      believe bipartisan legislation will have the support
      of nearly all members of Congress. And we hope you
      will cease the talk of vetoing any legislation
      Congress will pass in the national interest. Congress
      and the President are co-equal branches of government.
      It is important to note that 270 members of the House
      of Representatives and 67 Senators can override a veto
      we determine to be opposed to the national interest.

      This is unquestionably not in the national
      interest, and most certainly cannot be done beyond the
      public eye. We respectfully request you stay the
      decision on this matter and conduct a more thorough
      review of this particular purchase with such
      gargantuan access to vulnerable infrastructure and
      insights into our port security.

      END OF LETTER

      Other signatories to the letter included: Chet Edwards
      (D-TX), Ed Markey (D-MA), Charlie Gonzalez (D-TX),
      Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Ed Towns (D-NY), James
      McGovern (D-MA), Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Silvestre Reyes
      (D-TX), Mike Ross (D-AR), Mike McNulty (D-NY), Neil
      Abercrombie (D-HI), Robert Brady (D-PA), Bernie
      Sanders (I-VT), Chaka Fattah (D-PA), Gene Green
      (D-TX), Jim Marshall (D-GA), Ruben Hinojosa (D-TX),
      Solomon Ortiz (D-TX), Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX),
      Robert Andrews (D-NJ), Joe Baca (D-CA), Jerry Nadler
      (D-NY), and Bill Clay (D-MO).

      --- Gregory <greggolopry@...> wrote:

      > This is the second half of an amazing column by Tom
      > Friedman. I
      > think he nailed it right on the head. I copied only
      > the lower half
      > for quicker reading and this is where the tire meets
      > the road.
      >
      > ####
      >
      > But while I have zero sympathy for the political
      > mess in which the
      > president now finds himself, I will not join this
      > feeding frenzy. On
      > the pure merits of this case, the president is
      > right. The port deal
      > should go ahead. Congress should focus on the N.S.A.
      > wiretapping. Not
      > this.
      >
      > As a country, we must not go down this road of
      > global ethnic
      > profiling � looking for Arabs under our beds the
      way
      > we once looked
      > for commies. If we do � if America, the world's
      > beacon of pluralism
      > and tolerance, goes down that road � we will take
      > the rest of the
      > world with us. We will sow the wind and we will reap
      > the whirlwind.
      >
      > If there were a real security issue here, I'd join
      > the critics. But
      > the security argument is bogus and, I would add,
      > borderline racist.
      > Many U.S. ports are run today by foreign companies,
      > but the U.S.
      > Coast Guard still controls all aspects of port
      > security, entry and
      > exits; the U.S. Customs Service is still in charge
      > of inspecting the
      > containers; and U.S. longshoremen still handle the
      > cargos.
      >
      > The port operator simply oversees the coming and
      > going of ships,
      > making sure they are properly loaded and offloaded
      > in the most cost-
      > effective manner. As my colleague David E. Sanger
      > reported: "Among
      > the many problems at American ports, said Stephen E.
      > Flynn, a retired
      > Coast Guard commander who is an expert on port
      > security at the
      > Council on Foreign Relations, 'who owns the
      > management contract ranks
      > near the very bottom.' "
      >
      > What ranks much higher for me is the terrible trend
      > emerging in the
      > world today: Sunnis attacking Shiite mosques in
      > Iraq, and vice versa.
      > Danish caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, and
      > violent Muslim
      > protests, including Muslims killing Christians in
      > Nigeria and then
      > Christians killing Muslims. And today's Washington
      > Post story about
      > how some overzealous, security-obsessed U.S. consul
      > in India has
      > created a huge diplomatic flap � on the eve of Mr.
      > Bush's first visit
      > to India � by denying one of India's most
      respected
      > scientists a visa
      > to America on the grounds that his knowledge of
      > chemistry might be a
      > threat. The U.S. embassy in New Delhi has
      > apologized.
      >
      > My point is simple: the world is drifting
      > dangerously toward a
      > widespread religious and sectarian cleavage � the
      > likes of which we
      > have not seen for a long, long time. The only
      > country with the power
      > to stem this toxic trend is America.
      >
      > People across the world still look to our example of
      > pluralism, which
      > is like no other. If we go Dark Ages, if we go down
      > the road of
      > pitchfork-wielding xenophobes, then the whole world
      > will go Dark Ages.
      >
      > There is a poison loose today, and America �
      America
      > at its best � is
      > the only antidote. That's why it is critical that we
      > stand by our
      > principles of free trade and welcome the world to do
      > business in our
      > land, as long as there is no security threat. If we
      > start exporting
      > fear instead of hope, we are going to import
      > everyone else's fears
      > right back. That is not a world you want for your
      > kids.
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
    • THOMAS JOHNSON
      I just happened to read this AP report before seeing these posts. It was all over Air America today (so consider the source) that the UAE banking system is
      Message 2 of 4 , Feb 24, 2006
      • 0 Attachment
        I just happened to read this AP report before seeing
        these posts. It was all over Air America today (so
        consider the source) that the UAE banking system is
        renowned for it propensity for money-laundering and
        that the country itself is heavily into slave-trading.
        Please don't take this as any type of debate or
        position on the issue... I just thought it was germane
        to the discussion. Excerpted from an AP report late
        Fri. night:


        Thomas Kean, a former Republican governor of New
        Jersey who led the bipartisan probe of the Sept. 11
        attacks, said the deal was a big mistake because of
        past connections between the 2001 hijackers and the
        UAE.

        "It shouldn't have happened, it never should have
        happened," Kean said in a telephone interview with The
        Associated Press.

        The quicker the Bush administration can get out of the
        deal, the better, he said. "There's no question that
        two of the 9/11 hijackers came from there and money
        was laundered through there," Kean said.

        Kean acknowledged the UAE is now being helpful by
        allowing the United States to dock ships in its
        country's waters, and helping the U.S. with
        intelligence.

        "From our point of view, we don't want foreigners
        controlling our ports," Kean said. "From their point
        of view, this is a legitimate company that had a
        legitimate bid and won, and here are all these
        congressmen saying all these things about not wanting
        this company. It looks to them like it's anti-Arab."

        "I think this deal is going to be killed," Kean said.
        "The question is how much damage is this going to do
        to us before it's killed."

        Kean's comments threatened to overshadow moves by the
        company and the White House to appease critics by
        delaying the takeover.

        "Governor Kean knows as much as anyone how risky it is
        to deal with the United Arab Emirates," said Rep.
        Peter King (news, bio, voting record), R-N.Y.,
        chairman of the House
        Homeland Security Committee and a leading opponent.

        "This just proves that no real investigation was ever
        conducted, and it's unfortunate that he and the other
        9/11 commissioners were not contacted before the
        government approved this."

        The former head of the
        CIA's
        Osama bin Laden unit joined in the criticism.

        "The fact that you are putting a company in place that
        could already be infiltrated by al-Qaida is a silly
        thing to do," said Mike Scheuer, who headed the CIA
        unit until 1999.

        The U.S. operations generating the protests represent
        about 10 percent of a global $6.8 billion acquisition
        by the state-run company.

        Republicans and Democrats in Congress have denounced
        the Bush administration for approving the deal through
        a secretive review process designed to protect
        national security in big corporate mergers.

        Lawmakers led by King and Sen. Charles Schumer (news,
        bio, voting record), D-N.Y., plan to introduce
        legislation next week that would put the deal on hold
        while the government conducts further investigation.

        Hoping to forestall such legislation, Dubai Ports said
        Thursday night it would postpone its action
        indefinitely to give Congress more time to look at the
        deal.



        --- Greg Cannon <gregcannon1@...> wrote:

        > Thank you for the column, I agree with him. My
        > congressman, Democrat Silvestre Reyes, has now
        > joined
        > in attacking the port deal. Here's a letter signed
        > by
        > him and a few dozen other Democrats, and independent
        > Bernie Sanders.
        >
        >
        http://www.newshorn.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=884&Itemid=120
        >
        > Melancon to Bush: Stop the Port Deal
        > Contributed by Alexander James Outhuse
        > Thursday, 23 February 2006
        >
        >
        > MELANCON TO BUSH: STOP THE PORT DEAL
        >
        > U.S. Rep. Charlie Melancon today joined nearly
        > two dozen of his colleagues in a letter to President
        > George Bush, asking him to halt the pending deal
        > with
        > the United Arab Emirates-owned company, Dubai Ports
        > World.
        >
        > "Though I've only been in Washington for just over
        > a
        > year, I've seen very few issues that are truly
        > bipartisan. The opposition to this port deal is one
        > of those and I am sure that Democrats and
        > Republicans
        > in Congress are going to come together quickly on
        > this," said Melancon.
        >
        > "Though initial reports focused only on six ports,
        > including New Orleans, I am very concerned about the
        > effects this deal would have on the Ports of Baton
        > Rouge and Lake Charles as well. They are two of
        > twenty American ports whose operations would be
        > affected if this deal goes through."
        >
        > Following is the text of the letter:
        >
        > Dear Mr. President:
        >
        > We are writing to urge the Administration to
        > halt
        > the pending deal for the United Arab Emirates (UAE)
        > to
        > gain control of significant operations at 20 major
        > U.S. ports on the East and Gulf Coasts of the United
        > States - in the post 9-11 world in which security is
        > paramount. Since September 11th, our national port
        > security is of vital interest; and a contract to a
        > foreign national company over the operation of our
        > nation's major ports is an inherently bad idea at
        > this
        > moment in time.
        >
        > The decision by the Committee on Foreign
        > Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to allow the
        > sale of port operations to a foreign government
        > raises
        > serious security concerns. We understand CFIUS did
        > not include background checks of senior managers of
        > Dubai Ports World or a study of how the company
        > screens its workers. The failure to conduct such
        > basic evaluations during this time of heightened
        > national security concerns demands a more thorough
        > vetting. This seems particularly easy to understand
        > given at least two of the 9/11 hijackers lived in
        > the
        > United Arab Emirates prior to the attacks on the
        > World
        > Trade Center and the Pentagon, and that money that
        > helped to finance the attacks on American soil came
        > from the UAE.
        >
        > This is not a trade issue, as the
        > Administration
        > has claimed; and far more ports are involved than
        > has
        > been reported. If the UAE wants to buy from us,
        > they
        > are welcome to do that. The 20 ports include the
        > major East Coast ports and those along the Gulf
        > coasts, through which the nation's food and oil pass
        > daily. Having a foreign government in control of
        > critical port functions like securing cargo and the
        > hiring of security personnel is too high of a risk
        > for
        > the American people at vulnerable U.S. ports.
        >
        > We expect Congress to act on this at the first
        > opportunity; on Monday or Tuesday of next week. We
        > believe bipartisan legislation will have the support
        > of nearly all members of Congress. And we hope you
        > will cease the talk of vetoing any legislation
        > Congress will pass in the national interest.
        > Congress
        > and the President are co-equal branches of
        > government.
        > It is important to note that 270 members of the
        > House
        > of Representatives and 67 Senators can override a
        > veto
        > we determine to be opposed to the national interest.
        >
        > This is unquestionably not in the national
        > interest, and most certainly cannot be done beyond
        > the
        > public eye. We respectfully request you stay the
        > decision on this matter and conduct a more thorough
        > review of this particular purchase with such
        > gargantuan access to vulnerable infrastructure and
        > insights into our port security.
        >
        > END OF LETTER
        >
        > Other signatories to the letter included: Chet
        > Edwards
        > (D-TX), Ed Markey (D-MA), Charlie Gonzalez (D-TX),
        > Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Ed Towns (D-NY), James
        > McGovern (D-MA), Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Silvestre
        > Reyes
        > (D-TX), Mike Ross (D-AR), Mike McNulty (D-NY), Neil
        > Abercrombie (D-HI), Robert Brady (D-PA), Bernie
        > Sanders (I-VT), Chaka Fattah (D-PA), Gene Green
        > (D-TX), Jim Marshall (D-GA), Ruben Hinojosa (D-TX),
        > Solomon Ortiz (D-TX), Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX),
        > Robert Andrews (D-NJ), Joe Baca (D-CA), Jerry Nadler
        > (D-NY), and Bill Clay (D-MO).
        >
        > --- Gregory <greggolopry@...> wrote:
        >
        > > This is the second half of an amazing column by
        > Tom
        > > Friedman. I
        > > think he nailed it right on the head. I copied
        > only
        > > the lower half
        > > for quicker reading and this is where the tire
        > meets
        > > the road.
        > >
        > > ####
        > >
        > > But while I have zero sympathy for the political
        > > mess in which the
        > > president now finds himself, I will not join this
        > > feeding frenzy. On
        > > the pure merits of this case, the president is
        > > right. The port deal
        > > should go ahead. Congress should focus on the
        > N.S.A.
        > > wiretapping. Not
        > > this.
        > >
        > > As a country, we must not go down this road of
        > > global ethnic
        > > profiling � looking for Arabs under our beds the
        > way
        > > we once looked
        > > for commies. If we do � if America, the world's
        > > beacon of pluralism
        > > and tolerance, goes down that road � we will
        > take
        > > the rest of the
        > > world with us. We will sow the wind and we will
        > reap
        > > the whirlwind.
        > >
        > > If there were a real security issue here, I'd join
        > > the critics. But
        > > the security argument is bogus and, I would add,
        > > borderline racist.
        > > Many U.S. ports are run today by foreign
        > companies,
        > > but the U.S.
        > > Coast Guard still controls all aspects of port
        > > security, entry and
        > > exits; the U.S. Customs Service is still in charge
        > > of inspecting the
        > > containers; and U.S. longshoremen still handle the
        > > cargos.
        > >
        > > The port operator simply oversees the coming and
        > > going of ships,
        > > making sure they are properly loaded and offloaded
        > > in the most cost-
        > > effective manner. As my colleague David E. Sanger
        > > reported: "Among
        > > the many problems at American ports, said Stephen
        > E.
        > > Flynn, a retired
        > > Coast Guard commander who is an expert on port
        > > security at the
        > > Council on Foreign Relations, 'who owns the
        > > management contract ranks
        > > near the very bottom.' "
        > >
        > > What ranks much higher for me is the terrible
        > trend
        >
        === message truncated ===
      • greg
        I heard some of the same reports on Air America, particularly about the UAE royal family being friendly with Osama bin Laden in 1999. That is worrisome. A
        Message 3 of 4 , Feb 24, 2006
        • 0 Attachment
          I heard some of the same reports on Air America, particularly about
          the UAE royal family being friendly with Osama bin Laden in 1999. That
          is worrisome. A friend of mine on another list sent in this article,
          which argues that corporate control of the ports is a bigger problem
          than foreign control.

          http://www.thenation.com/blogs/thebeat?bid=1&pid=62081

          BLOG | Posted 02/21/2006 @ 08:46am
          Corporate Control of Ports Is the Problem -- UPDATED

          The problem with the Bush administration's support for a move by a
          United Arab Emirates-based firm to take over operation of six major
          American ports -- as well as the shipment of military equipment
          through two additional ports -- is not that the corporation in
          question is Arab owned.

          The problem is that Dubai Ports World is a corporation. It happens to
          be a corporation that is owned by the government of the the United
          Arab Emirates, or UAE, a nation that served as an operational and
          financial base for the hijackers who carried out the attacks of 9-11
          attacks, and that has stirred broad concern. But, even if the sale of
          operational control of the ports to this firm did not raise security
          alarm bells, it would be a bad idea.

          Ports are essential pieces of the infrastructure of the United
          States, and they are best run by public authorities that are
          accountable to elected officials and the people those officials
          represent. While traditional port authorities still exist, they are
          increasing marginalized as privatization schemes have allowed
          corporations -- often with tough anti-union attitudes and even
          tougher bottom lines -- to take charge of more and more of the basic
          operations at the nation's ports.

          In the era when the federal government sees "homeland security" as a
          slogan rather than a responsibility, allowing the nation's working
          waterfronts to be run by private firms just doesn't work. It is no
          secret that federal authorities have failed to mandate, let alone
          implement, basic port security measures. But this is not merely a
          federal failure; it is, as well, a private-sector failure. The
          private firms that control so many of the nation's ports have not
          begun to set up a solid system for waterfront security in the more
          than four years since the September 11, 2001 attacks. And shifting
          control of the ports of New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, New Orleans,
          Miami and Philadelphia -- along with control over the movement of
          military equipment on behalf of the U.S. Army through the ports at
          Beaumont and Corpus Christi -- from a British firm, Peninsular and
          Oriental Steam Navigation Co., to Dubai Ports World, is not going to
          improve the situation.

          Unfortunately, the debate has been posed as a fight over whether Arab-
          owned firms should be allowed to manage ports and other strategic
          sites in the U.S. Media coverage of the debate sets up the
          increasingly ridiculous Homeland Security Secretary, Michael
          Chertoff -- who babbles bureaucratically about how, "We make sure
          there are assurances in place, in general, sufficient to satisfy us
          that the deal is appropriate from a national security standpoint" --
          against members of Congress -- who growl, as U.S. Rep. Peter King, R-
          New York, did over the weekend about the need "to guard against
          things like infiltration by al-Qaida or someone else,"

          There are two fundamental facts about corporations that put this
          controversy about who runs the ports in perspective.

          First: Like most American firms, most Arab-owned firms are committed
          to making money, and the vast majority of them are not about to
          compromise their potential profits by throwing in with terrorists.

          Second: Like most American firms, Arab-owned firms are more concerned
          about satisfying shareholders than anything else. As such, they are
          poor stewards of ports and other vital pieces of the national
          infrastructure that still require the constant investment of public
          funds, as well as responsible oversite by authorities that can see
          more than a bottom line, in order to maintain public safety -- not to
          mention the public good of modern, efficient transportation services.

          --- In prezveepsenator@yahoogroups.com, THOMAS JOHNSON <AVRCRDNG@...>
          wrote:
          >
          > I just happened to read this AP report before seeing
          > these posts. It was all over Air America today (so
          > consider the source) that the UAE banking system is
          > renowned for it propensity for money-laundering and
          > that the country itself is heavily into slave-trading.
          > Please don't take this as any type of debate or
          > position on the issue... I just thought it was germane
          > to the discussion. Excerpted from an AP report late
          > Fri. night:
          >
          >
          > Thomas Kean, a former Republican governor of New
          > Jersey who led the bipartisan probe of the Sept. 11
          > attacks, said the deal was a big mistake because of
          > past connections between the 2001 hijackers and the
          > UAE.
          >
          > "It shouldn't have happened, it never should have
          > happened," Kean said in a telephone interview with The
          > Associated Press.
          >
          > The quicker the Bush administration can get out of the
          > deal, the better, he said. "There's no question that
          > two of the 9/11 hijackers came from there and money
          > was laundered through there," Kean said.
          >
          > Kean acknowledged the UAE is now being helpful by
          > allowing the United States to dock ships in its
          > country's waters, and helping the U.S. with
          > intelligence.
          >
          > "From our point of view, we don't want foreigners
          > controlling our ports," Kean said. "From their point
          > of view, this is a legitimate company that had a
          > legitimate bid and won, and here are all these
          > congressmen saying all these things about not wanting
          > this company. It looks to them like it's anti-Arab."
          >
          > "I think this deal is going to be killed," Kean said.
          > "The question is how much damage is this going to do
          > to us before it's killed."
          >
          > Kean's comments threatened to overshadow moves by the
          > company and the White House to appease critics by
          > delaying the takeover.
          >
          > "Governor Kean knows as much as anyone how risky it is
          > to deal with the United Arab Emirates," said Rep.
          > Peter King (news, bio, voting record), R-N.Y.,
          > chairman of the House
          > Homeland Security Committee and a leading opponent.
          >
          > "This just proves that no real investigation was ever
          > conducted, and it's unfortunate that he and the other
          > 9/11 commissioners were not contacted before the
          > government approved this."
          >
          > The former head of the
          > CIA's
          > Osama bin Laden unit joined in the criticism.
          >
          > "The fact that you are putting a company in place that
          > could already be infiltrated by al-Qaida is a silly
          > thing to do," said Mike Scheuer, who headed the CIA
          > unit until 1999.
          >
          > The U.S. operations generating the protests represent
          > about 10 percent of a global $6.8 billion acquisition
          > by the state-run company.
          >
          > Republicans and Democrats in Congress have denounced
          > the Bush administration for approving the deal through
          > a secretive review process designed to protect
          > national security in big corporate mergers.
          >
          > Lawmakers led by King and Sen. Charles Schumer (news,
          > bio, voting record), D-N.Y., plan to introduce
          > legislation next week that would put the deal on hold
          > while the government conducts further investigation.
          >
          > Hoping to forestall such legislation, Dubai Ports said
          > Thursday night it would postpone its action
          > indefinitely to give Congress more time to look at the
          > deal.
        Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.