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Thread: Republican governors oppose Arab control of ports.

  1. #1
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    Default Republican governors oppose Arab control of ports.

    WASHINGTON (AP) Two Republican governors on Monday questioned a Bush administration decision allowing an Arab-owned company to operate six major U. S. ports, saying they may try to cancel lease arrangements at ports in their states.


    New York Gov. George Pataki and Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich voiced doubts about the acquisition of a British company that has been running the U.S. ports by Dubai Ports World, a state-owned business in the United Arab Emirates. (Related video: Lawmakers express concern)

    The British company, Peninsular and Oriental, runs major commercial operations at ports in Baltimore, Miami, New Jersey, New Orleans, New York and Philadelphia.

    "Ensuring the security of New York's port operations is paramount and I am very concerned with the purchase of Peninsular & Oriental Steam by Dubai Ports World," Pataki said in a news release.

    "I have directed the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to explore all legal options that may be available to them in regards to this transaction," said the New York governor, who is still in the hospital recovering from an appendectomy.

    Ehrlich, concerned about security at the Port of Baltimore, said Monday he is "very troubled" that Maryland officials got no advance notice before the Bush administration approved an Arab company's takeover of the operations at the six ports.

    "We needed to know before this was a done deal, given the state of where we are concerning security," Ehrlich told reporters in the State House rotunda in Annapolis.

    The state of Maryland is considering its options, up to and including voiding the contract for the Port of Baltimore, Ehrlich said, adding: "We have a lot of discretion in the contract."

    Pataki is also asking the federal government to "share all critical relevant information made available to the Council on Foreign Investment during the course of the review of the purchase," a reference to the federal panel that approved the deal.

    New York's legal options could include canceling the lease for operation, effectively shutting out Dubai Ports World from port activities. P&O signed a 30-year lease with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in 2000 to operate the Port Newark Container Terminal.

    The governors are the latest elected officials from both parties to complain about the deal.

    House Homeland Security chairman Peter King, R-N.Y., has been one of the most vocal, saying secret assurances obtained by the government don't go far enough to protect the nation's seaports.

    Democratic New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez joined the chorus of complaints on Monday.

    "We wouldn't turn over our customs service or our border patrol to a foreign government," Menendez said during a Monday news conference in Newark. "We shouldn't turn over the ports of the United States, either."

    Menendez said he and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., will introduce legislation prohibiting the sale of port operations to foreign governments.

    Bush administration officials, including Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, have defended the decision.

    During a stop Monday in Birmingham, Ala., Gonzales said the administration had a "very extensive process" for reviewing such transactions that "takes into account matters of national security, takes into account concerns about port security."

    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.

    Frustration about the ports takeover put two Maryland gubernatorial candidates on the same side of an issue.

    During a campaign stop in Bladensburg, Md., Monday, Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley was adamant that the operations of his city's port not be turned over to the Arab-owned company.

    "I believe that President's Bush's decision to turn over the operations of any American port is reckless," said O'Malley, who is seeking the Democratic nomination to oppose Ehrlich in the Maryland governor's race. "We are not going to turn over the Port of Baltimore to a foreign government."
    'Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.' Ben Franklin

    "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross."
    --Sinclair Lewis

  2. #2
    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Default Re: Repug governors oppose Arab control of ports.

    Check THIS out:

    US President George W Bush says he will veto any law blocking a deal giving an Arab company control of six US ports.

    The threat came as Bill Frist, leader of the Republican Party in the Senate, said he would move a blocking law if the government did not delay the deal.

    The deal would put six of the largest ports in the hands of Dubai Ports World of the United Arab Emirates.

    Some lawmakers say the US will be more vulnerable to terrorism but officials say safeguards are in place.

    The ports are currently run by British ports and shipping firm P&O, which has agreed a $6.8bn (£3.9bn) takeover by DP World.

    The other ports are Philadelphia, Baltimore, New Orleans and Miami.

    President Bush called on opponents to explain why they opposed a Middle Eastern firm taking over when they did not oppose a British company being in control.

    "I am trying to conduct foreign policy now by saying to the people of the world, 'We'll treat you fairly'," he said.

    Hijackers

    Senator Frist, the majority leader in the Senate, said the deal "should be put on hold until the administration conducts a more extensive review of this matter".

    If it did not call a delay, he said he would introduce legislation to ensure the postponement.

    Sen Frist is the most senior Republican and the most senior figure in the Senate to oppose the deal.

    However, the deal has alarmed both Republicans and Democrats.

    Critics fear an increased risk of terrorist attacks, pointing out that the UAE was the home of two of the hijackers involved in the 11 September 2001 attacks.

    Democratic Sen Charles Schumer of New York said: "This company is coming out of a country that has had a strong al-Qaeda presence.

    "In this post 9/11 world, we cannot consider approving this contract until a much more thorough investigation takes place on this security matter."

    The administration has rejected the concerns, saying the deal was thoroughly vetted.

    Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said: "Nothing changes with respect to security under the contract. The Coast Guard is in charge of security, not the corporation.

    "We all deal with the UAE on a regular basis. It's a country that's been involved in the global war on terror."

    P&O and DP World say they are confident the deal will go ahead, the latter insisting that security was "at the forefront" of its business.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Default Re: Repug governors oppose Arab control of ports.

    What is the uproar of Arab companies having control of these ports? Is it because of the assertions this will bring another terrorist attack?And how would it if that were the case?
    Arab Americans see bigotry behind ports uproar

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Arab-Americans contended on Tuesday that bias and bigotry, not security concerns, lay behind the uproar over a deal that would place commercial operations at six U.S. ports in the hands of an Arab company.

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    The furor centers around the $6.8 billion acquisition by Dubai Ports World, owned by one of the United Arab Emirates, of London-based Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co. P&O had been running operations at shipping terminals in New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, New Orleans, Miami, and Philadelphia.

    Citing what they say are fears of lax security, politicians from both parties called on President George W. Bush to cancel the deal and several began drafting legislation to block it. The issue was also increasingly being aired on conservative talk radio stations and in Internet blogs.

    "I find some of the rhetoric being used against this deal shameful and irresponsible. There is bigotry coming out here," said James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute.

    He said politicians were exploiting fears left over from September 11 to gain advantage in a congressional election year.

    "Bush is vulnerable so the Democrats jump on it. The Republicans feel vulnerable so they jump on it. The slogan is, if it's Arab, it's bad. Hammer away," Zogby said.

    According to some industry analysts, the change in management would have no real effect on security, which would still be carried out by American workers to international standards. The UAE, whose government owns Dubai Ports World, is an international financial hub and close U.S. ally.

    "The Emirates have been very pro-active partners in helping our security. They have a solid track record of cooperation," said Peter Tirschwell, publisher of the Journal of Commerce.

    Rabiah Ahmed of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said members of her organization also believed anti-Arab bigotry was driving the debate.

    "The perception in the Arab-American community is that this is related to anti-Arab sentiment," she said.

    Despite the UAE's close ties to the United States, some critics say lax controls allowed some of the September 11 hijackers to exploit its banking sector to transfer funds to support the attacks. Others have suggested its commercial links with Iran are a cause for worry.

    "It is obviously an emotional, political and security issue, but I don't see xenophobia involved in this," said Peter Brookes of the conservative Heritage Foundation.

    CHINESE PRECEDENT

    The opposition was reminiscent of a similar controversy last year when China National Offshore Oil Company Ltd. tried to purchase Unocal, a U.S. oil services company. The Chinese company ultimately withdrew its offer in the face of fierce political opposition.

    South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsay Graham said Americans were not against foreign acquisitions as such but were suspicious when they involved security infrastructure.

    "Americans right now want free trade, but when it comes to national security issues, we want to maintain the infrastructure ourselves," he told Fox News Sunday.

    "I don't think now is the time to outsource major port security to a foreign-based company," he said.

    Daniel Griswold of the libertarian Cato Institute said opposition to the Emirates acquisition had more merit than the opposition to the Chinese energy bid.

    "Here, there are legitimate questions of port security. Experts have long warned us that U.S. ports could be an entry point for weapons of mass destruction and we can only search one container in every 20 that come in," he said.

    But Griswold conceded anti-Arab feelings were also playing a role. "It's obviously part of the mix and there's also some misunderstanding and a lot of political grandstanding going on," he said.
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20060221/us_nm/ports_bias_dc

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Default Re: Repug governors oppose Arab control of ports.

    AP graciously included this paragraph in their article -- again:

    Critics have noted that some of the 9/11 hijackers used the UAE as an operational and financial base. 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.

    Not to mention..

    Osama bin Laden's operatives still use this freewheeling city as a logistical hub three years after more than half the Sept. 11 hijackers flew directly from Dubai to the United States in the final preparatory stages for the attack.

    The recent arrest of an alleged top al-Qaeda combat coach is the latest sign that suspected members of the terrorist organization are among those who take advantage of travel rules that allow easy entry. Citizens of neighboring Gulf states such as Saudi Arabia can come to Dubai without visas, which other nationalities can get at the country's ports of entry.


    Can people please stop pretending that it's 'Anti-Islamic bias' and clue into the fact that hey.. it would be incredibly easy to infiltrate said organization (who's founding nation-state has deep running ties to crazies) that is about to be given the keys to America's busiest ports?

    I mean.. duh? If there's any bias, it's against letting a nation with problems concerning militant religious nutjobs control the entrance and egress of your main transportation and import/export hubs.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Default Re: Repug governors oppose Arab control of ports.

    Can people please stop pretending that it's 'Anti-Islamic bias' and clue into the fact that hey.. it would be incredibly easy to infiltrate said organization (who's founding nation-state has deep running ties to crazies) that is about to be given the keys to America's busiest ports?

    I mean.. duh? If there's any bias, it's against letting a nation with problems concerning militant religious nutjobs control the entrance and egress of your main transportation and import/export hubs.
    But,wouldn't these ports be owned by private companies? There is a difference with a country funding terrorism through its government and then a private company from THAT country owning ports. Now if the government which funded terrorism owned these companies then it'd be a different song to me.

    The article was mainly stating that it was not anti-islamic bias but more of an anti-arab bias. The head of the Arab American Institute, James Zogby who commented in the AP article and he released his statement about this anti-arab bias is infact a Lebanese Christian.

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    Elite Member Glasgow53's Avatar
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    Default Re: Repug governors oppose Arab control of ports.

    Since it is Dubai, does this mean Michael Jackson can slip in and out of the U.S. undetected? Eeuuuuwwww.
    Keep passing the open windows.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Default Re: Repug governors oppose Arab control of ports.

    Government or private enterprise matters not when the nation in question is stepped in militant nutjobs. In fact, a private company would probably be easier to infiltrate, by a longshot.

    I doubt you'd see this kind of reaction of the crazies weren't blowing things up and chanting 'death to (insert target du jour here)!"

    AMERICAblog:

    Bush is now saying he'll veto any legislation that stops the United Arab Emirates from taking over control of major US seaports.

    Now, think about that. Bush will use his first veto since his presidency started six years ago to defend the economic interests of not just big oil, but big foreign oil. Bush is choosing sides, and he's choosing the sides of a big rich Arab oil country over the national security interests of the United States of America.

    Why is he doing this? It would be easier for Bush to side with the Democrats and Republicans and even the religious right who are all demanding he scotch the deal. But Bush is digging in, he's gonna stick by the deal.

    The only reason you do that is because there's some secret deal that's tied to this port takeover and Bush isn't tell us about it. All that supposed "help" the United Arab Emirates is giving us by letting US ships dock there, is it being paid with extortion? Give us your harbors or we no longer accept your ships?

    It's not clear.

    But what is clear is that the United Arab Emirates has the president of the United States by the balls, they've got something on him, and that's not a good thing.

    So much for Karl Rove and the Republicans devoting this year to blasting Democrats over national security. George Bush just shot himself in the face, and didn't even need Cheney.

    And one more thing. Bush is now playing the race card - I dare anyone to explain to me why it was okay for a British company but not an Arab company to run our ports, Bush said yesterday.

    Well, Coretta, you're hardly a bastion of civil rights, so spare us the crocodile tears.

    Second, no American is going to buy the supposed equivalence between Great Britain, America's closest ally in the world, and the United Arab Emirates, a country with disturbing ties to terrorism. I'm not thrilled about any foreign government running our ports (and mind you, it was a British company running our ports before, THIS is the actual UAE itself that would be running them), but when it comes to national security and someone trying to sneak a nuclear bomb into the United States, you better believe I'm going to trust my life to England over the United Arab Emirates. And so will every American you poll.

    And finally, Bush is willing to chuck our civil rights out the window with his illegal domestic spying program, indefinite detentions at Guantanamo, and more. But suddenly we have a war-on-terror issue dealing with Bush's rich Middle Eastern oil buddies and NOW Bush is more interested in civil rights than national security.

    Nice priorities, Mr. President.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Default Re: Repug governors oppose Arab control of ports.

    But wait! It gets better. Bush NOW says he didn't know anything about the deal he's been defending for days and vowed to fight for. Check out the new thread I shall start in 1.3 seconds.
    'Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.' Ben Franklin

    "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross."
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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Default Re: Republican governors oppose Arab control of ports.

    Yeah, i know...all this guy does is stamp checks for the GOP.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Default Re: Republican governors oppose Arab control of ports.

    From what I understand, the Dubai company is buying a British company that already runs these ports, so the U.S. already didn't have "control" over them. Except that the Coast Guard is really in charge of security.

    So from what I gather,the company overseeing the port is a British company. They're being bought by the Dubai company.

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    Default Re: Republican governors oppose Arab control of ports.

    But I think the deal is subject to US government approval.
    'Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.' Ben Franklin

    "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross."
    --Sinclair Lewis

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Default Re: Republican governors oppose Arab control of ports.

    Can't they have a vote of no confidence or something? Not that I think the repukes would be honorable and do it (even though Bush is clearly insane)
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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