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News Control of US ports: Bush selling out on US security?

  1. Feb 17, 2006 #1

    Ivan Seeking

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    http://www.abqtrib.com/albq/nw_national/article/0,2564,ALBQ_19860_4475139,00.html

    This is simply beyond belief!!!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 22, 2017
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  3. Feb 17, 2006 #2

    loseyourname

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    You know, even if these senators are right, they sound awfully racist in now trying to block acquisition by foreign companies, considering the ports before were under the control of a British company and they didn't seem to care then.
     
  4. Feb 17, 2006 #3

    Ivan Seeking

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    Well, whatever the past, this is clearly a matter of national security today. In fact securing our ports is one of the biggest and most difficult problems that we face. And we want to hand over control to a foreign entity?
     
  5. Feb 17, 2006 #4

    loseyourname

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    It just caught my eye. How can we be handing over control to a foreign entity when they were already under the control of a foreign entity? It's not like national security just now became a concern. The only difference now is that an anglo-saxon entity is selling to an arabic entity, and the senate doesn't trust arabs.

    Anyway, that's certainly the way it looks.
     
  6. Feb 17, 2006 #5

    Ivan Seeking

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    You seem to be worried about the past. The issue is national security today. Should we throw out all other post-911 considerations as well?

    http://www.house.gov/shays/news/2006/february/febports.htm [Broken]

    And I think this should absolutely be done by a US owned and based company.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  7. Feb 17, 2006 #6

    Ivan Seeking

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    I would like to know how Bush is acting in our best interest here; how is this a good idea wrt our national security? And since this is clearly not in our best interest, whose interests are his priorety?
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2006
  8. Feb 17, 2006 #7
    The same UAE company, Dubai Ports World, is taking over South Koreas newest and largest port.

    http://www.khaleejtimes.com/Display...business_January272.xml&section=business&col=

    I think The Bush administration is in favor of this because UAE holds billions of dollars worth of T bills. Plus Bush seems to have a great hand holding kinship with wealthy Arabs.

    Dick Cheney is most likely the real point man here.

    http://www.alternet.org/waroniraq/26660

    edit:
    And last year the same company bought American owned CSX World Terminals.

    What the Hell is going on? Islamics will now own the worlds largest dirty bomb delivery network.

    And we can't forget this:

    http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0108074.html
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2006
  9. Feb 18, 2006 #8

    russ_watters

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    Yeah, it looks like a politician blustering over nothing to me.
    How is it a matter of national security? How is it not in our best interes. Heck, how is it even a chang from previous policy? It isn't like the Coast Guard is being disbanded. The Coast Guard still has primary responsibility for port security now, previously when the operations were under British corporate control, and still will later if the UAE takes over. The analogy made by the senator about turning over border control or customs is not correct. In fact, it's not really an analogy, since customs is one of the relevant agencies for securing our ports and it isn't(wasn't) being turned over to foreign control.

    This isn't like the Panama Canal where the land itself used to be ours and when our lease was up it went to someone else. These companies are just running the day-to-day operations and they still have considerable government oversight.
     
  10. Feb 18, 2006 #9

    loseyourname

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    But the ports were all British-owned post 9/11, which is really my point. This isn't about the past; it's about the present. In fact, until the sale is complete, the ports are still under British control. I just can't see the reason for concern arising now and not at some previous time unless the concern is solely over the new owners being Arabs.

    I understand your concern, but why voice it now when the ports have been under foreign control for a long time? Something tells me the senators do not honestly believe that a multinational based in the UAE is more likely to sell secrets to terrorists on how to bypass security and customs (if the company that owns the ports even has such secrets, which I also doubt) than a multinational based in the UK. They're just trying to get headlines and playing off of national anti-Arab xenophobia in the wake of a terrorist attack carried out by Arabs. I would even be willing to bet that some of these were the same people crying out over not approving the sale of Unocal to the chinese company.
     
  11. Feb 18, 2006 #10
    I can't believe the total lack of knowledge of national security that I see in the last several posts.

    Do you remember the words in the final sentence of the 911 commission??

    As best as I can rememer it was:

    "The final result is that it was a lack of imagination."

    Nothing has changed.
     
  12. Feb 18, 2006 #11

    russ_watters

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    Show us some imagination then, edward - just saying we're wrong is not an argument.
     
  13. Feb 18, 2006 #12
    You only have to read the links. They now own both ends of shipping control. The especially dangerous area is shipping from southeast asia to the USA. If you can not see a potential danger there you are not really looking.

    You mentioned the Coast Guard:

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/07/25/60minutes/main565180.shtml
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2006
  14. Feb 18, 2006 #13

    loseyourname

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    How does who owns the ports make any difference to what's in the containers? The companies that are importing and exporting goods have not changed either location or ownership, and the people who do whatever inspecting goes on will not change, either. We're reading the same things you are, and all I see is guilt by assocation. People in the UAE were involved in 9/11, and this multinational is based in the UAE. Should we have stopped Chicago from being the nation's center of meatpacking because it was also the center of Al Capone's operations?

    If you can show me how an ownership change for the ports will also result in a change in what is being shipped, where it's being shipped from, or how security is handled, then I'll follow your concerns. As of right now, all I've seen is innuendo. Even if you're trying to implicate the UAE government as being complicit in Al Qaeda attacks, is this multinational state-owned or controlled?
     
  15. Feb 18, 2006 #14

    russ_watters

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    Or maybe you're seeing something that isn't there. If there is something there, tell me what it is!
     
  16. Feb 18, 2006 #15

    SOS2008

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    http://www.cfr.org/publication/9901/uae_port_purchase_raises_fears.html

    So it's not just an issue of Homeland Security, but national security in general regarding U.S. independence from foreign control of infrastructure vital to our country. It's bad enough we depend on other countries for oil, stability of our currency, and national debt. Terrorism is the least of my worries in comparison.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 18, 2006
  17. Feb 18, 2006 #16

    Ivan Seeking

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    Well this won't stand and it will be obvious to most of us why: This is inherently a ludicrous idea and Bush will rightly look a bit like a traitor to most people.

    This is an issue of access and control - access and control create opportunity. It is really very simple.

    One really starts to wonder who is on what side here: Spy on US citizens without oversight for reasons of national security, but hand over the ports to foreign agencies; and to a company from a nation with a dubious record on terror, no less.
     
  18. Feb 18, 2006 #17

    russ_watters

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    Ivan, none of that is an argument for why you think this idea is "inherently ludicrous". Just saying it is is not an argument.
     
  19. Feb 18, 2006 #18

    russ_watters

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    Don't make that erroneous assumption (and personal attack). Where do you think I got the quote I posted from the article if I didn't read the article?
    That's fine, but that is not what the Senator was talking about.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2006
  20. Feb 18, 2006 #19

    SOS2008

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    It was a general comment about behavior in many threads.
    The Senator and what he said is only part of the issue. I don't see why that is all that should be considered if there are additional important ramifications involved.
     
  21. Feb 18, 2006 #20
    What is being shipped dosen't matter until the possiblity of a little something extra being put aboard the ship enters the picture.

    Under current law the foreign companies can employ security workers from anywhere and no U.S. citizenship or background check is required. I wasn't worried much about the British security at the British owned ports in the USA.
    But with the possiblility of Islamic security personnel working the U.S. ports, especially since they will now be working on both ends of the supply system, yea I have a big problem with that.

    http://www.startribune.com/587/story/256503.html

    I post the above link in lieu of tracking down the location of the exact law.
    I presume what I stated about the law is correct, otherwise the congressman would not be wanting such a requirement.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2006
  22. Feb 18, 2006 #21

    loseyourname

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    Okay, I see that concern. Then I ask why you think this is going to happen. I do not have the official payroll slips, but I can only imagine that US port security (that which is not carried out by the Coast Guard or Port Authority polices or other state organizations) is staffed by Americans, not by people that are either Brits or Arabs, the reason being that the ports are located in the US, and staff is presumably not going to commute across an ocean to work. Also, why do you think the staff is likely to change at all? This UAE-based multinational is something of a holding company, right? They'll probably install new management, but why would they layoff all of the currently employed security personnel only to hire and train new staff? And why would they hire Arabs? How many Arabs even live in these port cities and are both qualified for these positions and in need of employment?

    And isn't it a little racist to imply that, just because someone is an Arab, he is more likely than previous personnel (who, as you stated above, were not screened and did not have to be citizens) to be involved in a terrorist plot? Heck, it even seems to me, with the racial profiling now occuring in the HSD, that an Arab involved in a terrorist plot would be more likely to be red-flagged and caught than a non-Arab involved in a similar plot.

    As to the concern with what is being placed in the shipping containers: again, a legitimate concern, but why is that increased now? The ships are still going to go from point A to point B, correct? They're not now being rerouted through the UAE before being sent on to the US, are they? If the concern is that the security personnel themselves are going to place a device of some sort in the containers, why would they do that? Devices are placed in containers to be smuggled in. If the security personnel already possessed these devices/materials/whatever, they wouldn't need to smuggled in again. Once these things are in the country, it's best to just transport them by automobile.

    I agree with this concern. It is, however, a good reason to change the law, not to disallow the acquiring of British holdings by Arab companies.
     
  23. Feb 18, 2006 #22

    Moonbear

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    One thing is certain, there's a lot of politic-ing involved in this acquisition. A U.S. company currently in partnership with the British-based firm is fighting this with regard to the port in Miami.

    http://apnews.excite.com/article/20060219/D8FRT6F00.html

    Since the question was raised earlier (unless I've misunderstood), at least according to this article, and contained within the quoted portion, this company is state-owned by the UAE.

    I have to admit ignorance on this issue, as I was unaware that our ports were run by foreign companies already. What is the reasoning for putting our ports under management of foreign companies rather than keeping them controlled by the U.S.? Do we just have a lack of U.S. companies willing to take control of them, or is there some financial reason or foreign-relations incentive to handing the profits being made at our ports over to companies based in other countries?

    Another somewhat naive question on this issue...if our ports are controlled by foreign companies (this could apply to the ports of any nation I suppose, unless we have substantially different laws and regulations regarding this), and for some reason, any reason, diplomatic relations with that foreign entity went kablooey (not even necessarily war or anything that extreme, but let's just say we were no longer allies with the country where that company was based), does that give that company, if aligning with the politics of their home country, the power to shut down our ports and not permit the ships in or out? I'm not talking about what happens to the containers in getting through customs or security issues, but simply allowing ships to dock and unload. If they could refuse to allow ships in to our ports, what protection is there if that were to happen? Does the US government, or state or local government of the port cities, have the ultimate right to toss the management company out and take over control of the ports if such a dire circumstance should ever take place? So, I guess the overall question for me is, what exactly does this company, any company running our ports, have responsibility over, and what safeguards are in place to ensure they don't have the power to shut down our ports and cut off our supplies? Without knowing this, I can't form any kind of informed opinion on this issue.
     
  24. Feb 18, 2006 #23
    The US government can take over the Port company if it comes to it. They could not shut down our ports whenever they felt like it, nor would they. They would loose so much money that they would go bankrupt.
     
  25. Feb 18, 2006 #24

    Moonbear

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    Do you know that and have a source to back it up, or do you just think that's the case?
     
  26. Feb 18, 2006 #25
    No but would you have stopped the meatpacking operations had Al Capone been incharge of it?
    I don't think it is practical and moral in the long run to support a people who are out to murder us.
     
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