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« Bloggasm | Main | Blondies »

Feb 21, 2006

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Bubba

Here are some differing points of view:

http://news.ft.com/cms/s/dcf9cd5e-a27e-11da-9096-0000779e2340.html

http://strata-sphere.com/blog/index.php/archives/1375

Jon Lowder

Man what a strange turn of events. We need to do everything we can to prevent another attack and part of that might be doing end-runs around niceties like warrants for searches, but we certainly can support the sale of the operations of vital ports to a regime with known financial ties to terrorists?

And is it truly racist? How would we feel if Russia were the buyer? Or Chechnya? Or, God forbid, France? Or Japan? Or Germany? Or even Great Britain?

The question is should the management of ANY port, airport or other critical piece of American infrastructure be owned by a foreign entity? I think not.

bubba

Jon, the Brits already ARE involved. This whole situation got started when the UAE bought the UK company that were running the port operation.

The other point to consider is that there appears to be NO US companies capable of doing this job at this point.

Maybe Haliburton can handle it LOL!

Bubba

Error of omission in my last post: Insert "company" after "UAE".

Glenn C Jordan Jr

Bubba, your point that there are doubts about American companies being capable of managing these large ports leads to this question: How many companies are there internationally that can handle it? I would be surprised if it's a large number.

Bubba

I don't know for sure how many there are, Glenn, but my guess would be very few.

I have a passing interest in this subject based on my last real Navy experience over 30 years ago. In my last year of duty in the Ready Reserves, I was assigned to a Naval Control of Shipping unit, under the Military Sealift Command. In the event of recall to active duty in a national emergency, I would have been assigned to security duties in Buenos Aires, of all places.

Billy The Blogging Poet

Here's the answer to your question.
The Bush Administration caught red handed.

Billy The Blogging Poet

I've got more. Turns out this is a far bigger issue than we first thought.

Bubba

Oh please, spare us the conspiracy theories, Billy. We're getting VERY tired of the paranoia on those topics.

Ed Cone

I agree that it's not a linear equation, where this guy plus this guy equals this enormous deal, Bubba -- but is it wholly unproductive to consider the interlocking interests involved in this situation, and the way our government does business in general?

Jon Lowder

What I should have written more clearly in my first comment is that I don't think any foreign-based company should control management of any piece of critical infrastructure in the U.S. If there isn't an American company that can do it then the government should do it.

One of the reasons I was surprised by this story was that I was totally unaware that foreign entitities of any kind were managing our ports. It doesn't make any sense when you consider that today's ally can be tomorrow's enemy and vice versa.

And to argue that it's a private company doesn't hold water with me. Forget in this particular case that this is a UAE company and pretend that it's from Israel. Ask yourself the question: if the government of the country that the management company is based in takes exception to the US for whatever reason would it be able to exert pressure on that company to assist in intelligence gathering or some other nefarious activity? The Israelis have been caught spying on us in the past so it isn't too much of a stretch. Would you really want to make it easier for anyone to do that?

Bubba

"....but is it wholly unproductive to consider the interlocking interests involved in this situation, and the way our government does business in general?"

No, but conspiracy theory should be left in the hands of people like Oliver Stone, and others of his ilk on both sides of the politcal equation.

Bubba

"One of the reasons I was surprised by this story was that I was totally unaware that foreign entitities of any kind were managing our ports. It doesn't make any sense when you consider that today's ally can be tomorrow's enemy and vice versa."

Perhaps the question we need to ask is this: Why are there no American companies qualified (and willing) to do this work?

Jim Caserta

-There isn't a real difference between the UAE and DPW, as DPW is controlled by the UAE govt.
-At least for the port of NY and NJ, most of the 6 terminals are serviced by foreign countries: 2 Chinese, 2 US, 1 Danish, 1 - UK/Danish. It is only the 1 UK/Danish terminal that is in question, for this particular port.
NPR story
The story also notes that there are little/no foreign workers at the port, and any untoward activity would have to include help from American citizens.
The real problem is that the UAE exports about $55Bln worth of oil every year, accounting for most of their trade surplus. What are they going to do with that money - buy strategic businesses. Dubai has been a naval trading post for a lot longer than any US port, so shipping is a logical business for them to get into.

This issue is along the same lines as CNOOC's (China) attempted purchase of UNOCAL, which, btw, was blocked. As long as we run huge (> $500Bln/yr) trade deficits, govt. budget deficits, and household deficits, we are at risk for foreign entities legally taking control of our businesses. This is a symptom, not the root disease.

Jim Caserta

Who cares if Bush threatens to veto, he threatened to veto the McCain torture amendment, and see where that got him.

Bubba

Revisionism starts, regarding previous opinions on the port deal.

http://tks.nationalreview.com/

Bubba

Regarding port security:

http://www.radioblogger.com/#001406

Bubba

Myth and Reality about the port deal:


http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/02/22/opinion/meyer/main1335531.shtml

This story is going to disappear faster than the Cheney hunting ACCIDENT!

Ed Cone

Bubba, you linked to a story that says Bush only found out about this deal after it was done. Are you saying that will lessen the political heat he is taking?

If so, I would have to disagree -- seems like it makes him look out of touch on what is being played as a major security issue.

Note that I say "played as"...I'm willing to say that I don't know enough to judge this thing on its merits vis a vis port management and security.

But as a political situation, it looks FUBAR for Bush, and the out-of-the-loop-but-willing-to-veto part seems unlikely to help him on that.

Billy The Blogging Poet

Okay Bubba, let me explain it even so you can understand the problem.

When it comes to national security our ports are and always have been wide open. I've spent 28 years in and out of US ports so I know what I'm talking about. What country owns or leases the ports is of no difference.

Here's the real problem. Oil is imported from the Middle East and South America through ports owned by a Dubai company. That oil is hauled on ships owned by the same Dubai company to ports in the USA, Europe, China, and elsewhere that are owned by the same Dubai Company. That oil is then shipped across the country on trucks, trains, and pipelines all owned by the same Dubai company. That equals total control of the oil from well head to gas pump by one company that just happens to be owned by the foreign government of an oil producing country. That, my friend, is the definition of a monopoly.

And that isn't conspiracy theory, I linked to the websites of the companies involved and they all admit to being owned by the same company owned by the government of Dubai.

Bubba

Call Stone or Mikey Moore, Billy......you've got a hell of a script in there somewhere.

Billy The Blogging Poet

Bubba,
I dug up a few facts. Perhaps you'd like to Google them too?

Bubba

The Truth Is Out There, Billy.....keep on posting.

Jim Capo

Mr. Caserta is the one on the right track here. We are on pace to require $2 billion a day of foreign investment in our country for our citizens and governments to maintain their profligate ways.

Even if this deal was not simply a transfer of assets between two foreign entities it would only cover about 3 days worth of our needed cash flow.

The current amount of our foreign IOU's is over 3 trillion USD's...nominally petro based dollars which our federal government continues to debase in value as fast as it imagines it can.

It is only good business that those holding these debt instruments seek to convert them into physical assets of intrinsic value.

To those who are outraged by this deal, "Get out of debt."

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