February 22, 2006

The Ports Deal

Sean basically has this one right: there aren't a lot of good solid arguments against the DPW running our ports. I'm also hearing a lot of "ick, Arabs" stuff that's pretty offensive.

Remember, folks: if we turn into a nation of bigots, the terrorists will abso-fuckin'-lutely have won.

UPDATE: David Foster of Photon Courier and Chicago Boyz is smarter than I am (which is offensive to me, but he doesn't seem to do it on purpose) and he responds in my comments:

Remember, ports are used for export as well as import (as hard as this is to remember sometimes) What happens if we need this export capacity in support of a major military operation?...and the government in question disapproves of the operation and decides to shut down the ports? We will have just lost a huge % of our total outbound freight capacity, until we can take control and reorganize things.

This is not a theoretical objection. Already, during the current Iraq war, a European company refused to supply JDAM missile parts on grounds that its country was a neutral in that war.

At a bare minimum, the company and the government should be required to post a surety bond, forfeitable in event of nonperformance as described above, of such magnitude that its loss would bankrupt the company and take a major chunk of of the hide of the government.

And Yolanda adds:

The UAE has not done much to vociferously support America in front of its citizens, nor does it forcefully condemn acts of terrorism perpetrated by its citizens.

She suggests that deals of this magnitude should be reserved for more reliable partners in the War on Terror.

I'm still wondering, however, what the real risks are here: presumably for the DPW to stop running the ports for some reason (because we're defending those nasty Jews again, say) would cost them money they couldn't afford to lose. I'm still more concerned about our dependence on foreign oil than I am about this particular deal.

But let's keep talking.

UPDATE 2: Marshall Manson weighs in over at On Tap. He'd like us all to take a chill pill, too.

Posted by Attila Girl at February 22, 2006 04:11 PM | TrackBack
Comments

Remember, ports are used for export as well as import (as hard as this is to remember sometimes) What happens if we need this export capacity in support of a major military operation?...and the government in question disapproves of the operation and decides to shut down the ports? We will have just lost a huge % of our total outbound freight capacity, until we can take control and reorganize things.

This is not a theoretical objection. Already, during the current Iraq war, a European company refused to supply JDAM missile parts on grounds that its country was a neutral in that war.

At a bare minimum, the company and the government should be required to post a surety bond, forfeitable in event of nonperformance as described above, of such magnitude that its loss would bankrupt the company and take a major chunk of of the hide of the government.

Posted by: David Foster at February 22, 2006 05:21 PM


Telling the UAE to take a hike isn’t racism.

The UAE has not done much to vociferously support America in front of its citizens, nor does it forcefully condemn acts of terrorism perpetrated by its citizens. In fact, its government controlled Religious channel airs such shows that host:

Hamas spokesman, Sami Abu Zuhri, and Faraj Shalhoub, to discuss the recruitment and training of Palestinian suicide bombers (http://memritv.org/Transcript.asp?P1=117)

Hamas leader, Mahmoud Al-Zahhar, on Al-Arabiya TV (Dubai) and discussed the Jews and their history of destroying societies. (http://memritv.org/Transcript.asp?P1=40)

Or the all time favorite: Al-Arabiya’s TV Special on the Culture of Martyrdom and Suicide Bombers. (http://memritv.org/Transcript.asp?P1=807)

Just like the Muslim countries “take their business elsewhere” when the Danish publish a stupid cartoon, so should we “take our business elsewhere” when Muslim countries like the UAE do not do enough to discourage terrorism by its citizens.

Posted by: Yolanda at February 22, 2006 08:20 PM


Could they actually shut down the ports? I keep hearing about how we are abdicating our security to the UAE but that is not true. The Coast Guard will still be in charge of security.

And is having the British in charge really that much better. Remember Richard Reed, British and and Islamic terrorist. The British have not done that well protecting their bus and subway lines, why should we think they are better at this.

Also the liberals are total hypocrits on this. It is discrimnatory to single out and search people from the middle east getting on an airplane but it is ok to not let them run the ports?

And who would run the ports if not the UAE? There is NO american company that does this. Would it be ok with the liberals for Haliburtun to get a no bid contract for running the ports?

My first thought is that it is wrong for the UAE to run the ports.

My second thought is what do they actually control, since they run the ports on the other end and only about 5% of shipments are inspected couldn't they already ship in what they want?

Third thought is can't terrorist just off load an A-bomb at sea and bring it in on a speed boat if they wanted to.

Fourth thought, why are the liberals all of a sudden so intrested in terrorism and security when they have opposed it up to this point? Is there something else going on that the MSM has not reported yet?

I'm sorry but I reserve any opinon until further facts are presented. We are being asked to jump to a conclusion and decry Bush by liberals and some conservatives without a good explaination of the facts. I have the feeling this is much more about union contracts, lobbyists and money.

Posted by: Jack at February 22, 2006 08:30 PM


Jack,

Some concervatives?

Senate majority leader Frist (a RE-PU- BLI-CAN) is engineering the legislation to "postpone" this deal. House Speaker Dennis Hastert & Peter King, chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, (all RE-PU-BLI-CANS) have serious concerns over this deal.

Lieberman (A DE-MO-CRAT from CT) is in favor of it and supports Bush. Tom Dashcle has been hired to Loby in favor of the deal.

There's no party bondaries regarding this issue... yet.

What news are you watching?


Posted by: Yolanda at February 22, 2006 09:09 PM


Jack...a couple comments;

1)The Danish shipping company Maersk has a subsidiary that is a major port operator, and could be an alternative if we were looking for one.
2)It's true that only about 5% of inbound shipments are inspected; however, this doesn't mean people can ship in anything they want. I'm a little rusty on the process, but basically what happens is that the entity shipping the goods (or their agent) electronically sends documents describing the contents to the port operator and to Customs, describing the contents of the shipment. A decision can then be made as to who is trustworthy and who is not, and physical inspection resources allocated accordingly.

What concerns me is the possibility that a port operator (or a set of rogue employees) having *physical* access to the containers could bypass the documentation process and get something out the gate without Customs or other govenment entity being informed. THe degree to which this is a real risk is a function of the detailed flow of materials and information within the port; I wish someone who is knowledeable about current port operations would chime in on this.

See this very interesting article from a shipping trade publication, which was published before the deal was finalized.
http://www.floridashipper.com/news/article.asp?ltype=feature&sid=799

Posted by: David Foster at February 23, 2006 06:42 AM


Yolanda;

Anyone who believes the MSM is not paying attention.

Yes some Republicans are against this. But are they just giving a knee jerk reaction or have they investigated this too. Is all of the Rebulican party against this? Is all of the Democratic party agains this? Just because some of the leaders are does not make a majority.

Is this really about money and unions?

I am saying lets not make a racist judgement based on feelings. Lets make a logical judgement after waiting till all of the facts are in. And so far all we are getting is MSM propaganda. And how do I know it is propaganda, because the MSM votes to the liberal side of Berkley CA. I say yes we should look in to it, but lets not be like liberals and vote our feelings.

Posted by: Jack at February 23, 2006 10:47 AM


David;

A Danish company? Isn't that still a foriegn company? Aren't the Danes already folding to Islamic pressure because of cartoons? Don't the Danes already have a high Muslim population and high Muslim imigration? Can't terrorist infitrate the Danish company and do exactly what an UAE company could do?

And exactly where did you get the idea that a foriegn operator whould be working here? Wouldn't the local operators still be US citizens? Or did we import hundreds of workers from the UK? Would the US unions have approved that?

And do you actually think a foriegn country could shut down the ports in the US during a war? How fast would any president declare marshall law and take over the ports in the US.

And exactly which European company refused to ship JDAMS and was it a UAE controlled port?

And are you telling me that a piece of paper can't be falisfied, say a shipping manifast. How about a cargo container is shipped in which it says lawnmowers for Wal-mart from China. It is in port but BEFORE it is inspected it blows up (A-Bomb). Would we ever be able to say who shipped it or even which container blew up. A LOT of the containers that come into this country are already shipped through UAE ports and the cargo is stored in US ports before being inspected (maybe).

My answer still stands. Although I have reservations I will not allow myself to be swayed by emotionalizm based on racist fear FROM EITHER PARTY.

Give me more facts. Right now I am seeing the MSM reporting a knee jerk reaction from both parties and I don't know how real that is since I haven't seen much from the MSM gives me any confidence in what they report.

Posted by: Jack at February 23, 2006 11:07 AM


I share some of Jack's frustration that it's hard to get good information about how these processes work.

But David is not a racist merely for thinking the deal could entail risks.

Posted by: Attila Girl at February 23, 2006 11:37 AM


Jack,

You keep on falling back on that tired catch phrase of "knee jerk racist reaction"

There is nothing racist about this!

We are a country at war... are we not?

UAE hasn't completely proven itself to be on OUR side of this war.

Six years ago when China Ocean Shipping wanted to move to a former Navy base in Southern California, Capitol Hill objected on the grounds of national security concerns. And this was BEFORE 9/11!

I think America's current situation calls for more "wariness" regarding control of its ports.

Because we are at war, we can wire tap American citizens with ties to the middle east, but we'll turn around and sell management of our ports to THE MIDDLE EAST!!!
My brain's gonna explode...


Posted by: Yolanda at February 23, 2006 12:01 PM


Excuse me if David or anyone else infered that I said he was a racist.

But I am reminded of WWII and all of the Japanese that were intered. Granted some of them were spys but we did not intere the Germans on the East coast. And that is how I see this. Everyone is jumping to a conclusion because of where the company is located and who runs it and because they don't look euopean and white, I'm not sure the UK should have run this either. Supposedly they (UAE) are friendly to the US which can't be very good for them and their relationship with their neighbors. And I don't think we should just dump on anyone who is friendly to us with out proof.

Now granted if it was a 'Palastine' company I would be rushing to judgement too. But I have yet to hear how having a UAE company is any different then having a UK company run it. If it is so important why doesn't the US government run it?

I just want everyone to take a step back, take a deep breath, and wait to see if this is not just another overblown hyped up situation like Cheney's accidental shooting. I have seen too many incidents of the MSM media throwing everything they can against the wall hoping to see something stick so they can attack Bush.

What exactly does running the ports entail? I haven't seen anything yet on what exactly they do when they run this port. They certainly don't tell the unions what to do, not even our own government does that.

And to Yolanda;
Do we wire tap people with middle east connections or do we wire tap anyone in the whole world (even if in America) if they call a cell phone owned by a terrorist? I have seen nothing released from the government that says exactly what criteria NSA uses, only supposition from the MSM. I am leary of accepting anything the MSM says about anything.

And to everyone else, I dont' support the sale and I don't oppose it either, I am saying lets get the hyperventialtion out of the way and look at the facts.

Now has anyone got facts?

Posted by: Jack at February 23, 2006 01:51 PM


David;

Do you have any information on what is actually done by the current operators (UK) in their operation of the ports?

Does anyone here know what the companies actual job description is?

Posted by: Jack at February 23, 2006 01:57 PM


David;

I followed your link. I also found it interesting that a Hong Kong co. was also in the bidding.

I keep wondering if Clinton was in office would the MSM media make as much noise if the Hong Kong co. won the bid. Even though Hong Kong is now part of Communist China.

I also wonder why there is no US company in the bidding. Doesn't the US have a company capable of running our ports? If they are such a vauluable resource and so important to our security why isn't this port operation limited to US only companies?

I still think there are too many questions, too many suppositions, and not enough facts.

One of the things I would like to know is why wasn't Bush informed of this before the fact if it is so critical.

Posted by: Jack at February 23, 2006 02:06 PM


Question for the group.

Who runs the rest of the ports?

Posted by: Jack at February 23, 2006 02:18 PM


Jack

Don't listen to MSM. I don't.

Jack,

To prove I'm not racist, I would have less of a problem with a private company from UAE wanting this port deal.
But in this case it is the UAE government! Not a private company.

Yes, Many US port terminals are owned by private foreign companies. But none are owned by a foreign government.

Posted by: Yolanda at February 23, 2006 02:25 PM


I am reading a bunch of information at Michelle Malkins web site (now that is back up after a DOS attack). So far this is the best post I have seen with actual information.

Posted by: Jack at February 23, 2006 02:32 PM


"I am reading a bunch of information at Michelle Malkins web site (now that is back up after a DOS attack). So far this is the best post I have seen with actual information."

Just read it. I agree. Most infromative. Thanks!

Posted by: Yolanda at February 23, 2006 02:49 PM


Group;

China runs the other ports, at least from this article;

http://www.nationalreview.com/mccarthy/mccarthy200602231409.asp

I now think that a thorough investigation should be made on the operation of all US ports and not just the UAE's operation.

Posted by: Jack at February 23, 2006 02:50 PM


I just have a moment now, but certainly a foreign company could shut down a port (terminal) operation that it was managing. The equipment and the workers might still be there, but if local management was directed to shut the port down (or, more probably, to refuse to handle cargo destined for country "x") then those shipments would stop. For the US to restart them would be possible, but would take time, including (a)obtaining the legal right to do so (b)finding qualified managers (c)understanding the systems & procedures in place. It's also likely that there would be serious IT issues, since remote servers would probably be involved iin the process and those could be shut down.

Posted by: David Foster at February 23, 2006 03:03 PM


It could be that WRT any operation of this importance, it's important to have a "manual override"—a procedure for what to do if a decision is made to shut things down without what the DHS considers adequate reason. Otherwise, any organization (public, private, U.S., foreign) could theoretically be subject to a group of rogue operators creating this type of glitch at a critical time.

Posted by: Attila Girl at February 23, 2006 03:39 PM


"exactly which European company refused to ship JDAMS and was it a UAE controlled port?"...the House Armd Svcs Committee (see link below) said that a subsidiary of Swatch refused to ship JDAM components which were to be assembled by Honeywell and Boeing into tail kits. I doubt seriously that a UAE controlled port, or any seaport at all, was involved, as these are components that weigh ounces rather than tons and are well-suited to air freight.

Note also that delivery of grenades to British forces was apparently blocked by the Swiss government.

armedservices(dot)house(dot)gov/issues/03-07-25washtimes.htm
(had to do it this way because the content filter objected to a normal link)

Posted by: David Foster at February 23, 2006 04:25 PM


Theory FWIIW; (Subject to change with newer facts)

1. The MSM jumped on this to make Bush look bad.

2. The democrats jumped on this to make Bush look bad and to make themselves look good on defense in preperation of an election year.

3. The rebulicans jumped on this to catch up with the democrats on defense, to distance themselves from Bush (election year), and show that they are not Bush followers.

4. Neither MSM, democrats, or republicans know what running the ports entails but they are afraid to show their ignorance and they would much rather pratice partisan politics to gain an advantage as they know that the publics short memory will only remember todays headlines and not tomorrows facts.

5. The ports are an important asset, but letting any country other than the USA run them could be a risk without proper precautions. Even a USA company needs survailance and rules.

6. The UAE may or may not be a threat when operating our ports. Same caveat for China and the West coast ports (or any other country running them).

7. An independent panel should be formed to investigate this sale and whether it should go through. NO POLITICIANS should be on it.

8. The UAE should be allowed to montior the investigation and provide rebutal. They may be an innocent bidder being unjustly discriminated against.

9. The UAE has not shown outstanding support of the US but they are an Arab country surrounded by Arab countries. It is hard to be brave in that situation. But if they are to be involved in our ports and earn american money they must be more supportive of the US and must condem terrorism and help to capture and punish those in their country who don't or future contracts will not be offered and present ones will be recinded. (carrot or whip, either one to get them moving).

Posted by: Jack at February 23, 2006 05:43 PM


Yolanda;

Sorry if you infered that I thought you were racist. It was not my intent.

Posted by: Jack at February 23, 2006 05:47 PM


David;

Then would you agree that a Swiss 'company' should also not run our ports and being an Arab country should not have as much weight given to it as the MSM has?

If that is true then it is not just the UAE that should be thorougly checked but any company, even a US company.

Would anyone here feel safer if it was a US company that ran all of the US ports whose CEO was say,... George Soros? Cindy Sheehan? John Kerry? Al Gore?

Actually this whole thing has made me more suspecious of our politicians and more nervous of our security. I now feel that most of our politicians would rather play politics then really make the tough decisions.

Posted by: Jack at February 23, 2006 05:56 PM


UAE hasn't completely proven itself to be on OUR side of this war.

uh, i'm not sure what you mean by this, but UAE is listed by CENTCOM as part of the coalition in Iraq. (also on a side note, most of the water our soldiers drink over there is bottled in dubai.)

Posted by: maggie katzen at February 23, 2006 08:31 PM




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