Feb 21 2006

‘Operations’ Is Not ‘Control’

Published by at 9:02 am under All General Discussions,UAE-DPW

I am so disappointed in how this Port-Dubai issue is playing out. Incorrect statements that derive from lazy writing, or worse a paraniod prejudice of all things Arab. The inaccuracies are always inflammatory. And the undercurrent is all irrational fear based on nothing concrete.

I see phrases like this (emphasis mine):

the sale of control over several American sea ports

It simply confuses ‘operations’ with ‘control’, the latter still in the hands of the Port Authorities and the Coast Guard. Or comments like these, which all misinform the public and smear a group of people without any solid proof a threat (except nationality of the people):

“It’s particularly troubling that the United States would turn over its port security not only to a foreign company, but a state-owned one,” said western New York’s Rep. Tom Reynolds

Rep Reynolds, you are an idiot. For one, the curent port operations are already in the hands of a foreign company. It just happens to be British (you know, white anglo-saxon). But port security is not part of operations. And people who say this simply demonstrate that a serious amount of ignorance is supporting the prejudicial worries.

The article referenced talks about connections to the Dubai company with Snow – which means someone has worked with them before.

Snow was chairman of the CSX rail firm that sold its own international port operations to DP World for $1.15 billion in 2004, the year after Snow left for President Bush’s cabinet.

The other connection is David Sanborn, who runs DP World’s European and Latin American operations

This is made out to be some sinister conspiracy theory. It is truly disgusting how this story is turning out (note: I have been struggling all morning with the word ‘disgusting’ here because I do not want to be too harsh and inadvertantly label people I admire – but I have yet to find a good replacement). It is sad to wake up in the morning and all this disinformation is being promulgated as fact just to scare Americans.

This is the first sign I have seen Bin Laden is winning the war against the West. He will never win militarily – he must push us to make mistakes if he has any hope. He tried the Vietnam trick with the peace activists. Now they are trying to create anger and distrust world wide – the ‘us’ verses ‘them’ he needs for a confrontation.

He wants the West to lash out at Arabs and Muslims so they return to his side. That is why Al Qaeda is sponsoring all these riots. All our bravado apparently seems for naught, since we have abondened our core principle of ‘innocent until proven guilty’. The administration has investigated this deal. No one is being replaced with faceless Arabs from Dubai here in the states. Regulations for key positions call for US citizens or resident aliens. All positions need background checks. And security and authority are still in the same hands as before: Coast Guard and Port Authorities.

So to place people in positions where they can risk our security will take the same effort it does now. Some stock changes hands on the London Stock exchange and brave America rises up in fear. Nothing has changed, except too many let fear take over for informed logic.

Bill Kristol said it best. We still allow Saudi Arabian airplanes to fly into our country, as we do for all nations of that region. Why is this any different? In fact, how is this more dangerous?


Don’t get me wrong, there are some legitimate concerns to address. But we did not sell our ports to the UAE.


As is always the case, some politicians are possibly making noise for reasons other than what they claim:

Still, the deal has been opposed by a Miami based port operator, Continental Stevedoring & Terminals Inc., which has gone to court to challenge the measure on security grounds. And politicians from both parties have amplified that complaint, despite the assurances by the Bush administration that the company’s record checks out, and that the UAE is an ally in good standing in the war on terror.

Note that the Miami based port operator stands to possibly acquire very, very lucrative contracts by outing their British competitor and barring the UAE company on the grounds of security. Money seems to always be at the heart of these grand standing issues.

9 responses so far

9 Responses to “‘Operations’ Is Not ‘Control’”

  1. BurbankErnie says:

    While it is known that this Company was British owned for many years, all it will take is ONE incident, of ANY kind, at ANY port they have ANYTHING to do with, and it will end up as POLITCAL DEATH to the Repubs for many, many years.

    I agree with Sen. Schumer spit, Halliburton can do the job.

  2. AJStrata says:


    You and I agree on a lot, and you one of the first readers of this little ‘ol blog – but so what if Reps take a hit? It’s the right thing to do. And I still maintain the UAE company (with many Americans in its leadership) will do more to protect the ports given this visibility.

    If you have something concrete bring it forward. If not – forget it. The Dubai company controls major ports all over the world.

    What you don’t know (and never will know) is what deals the US made for transparency at those overseas ports – where threats will originate. We need partners in the sending ports to help stop threats even getting in the ships. The Dubai company has a great security record.

    Sorry – Haliburton is not up to the job. We need smart answers on this one.

  3. vadkins says:

    But this is what the media does-spins, spins, spins. Many conflicting spins (spin=lies) are put out there to blur the news. Same thing happened with the Terri Schiavo story and the Able Danger story. For years the media lied about Schiavo-she was in a coma, on a respirator, etc. Then when the whole thing came to a head, there were plenty of folks who took up for one side of the issue (starve her to death) or the other (let her live and her family take care of her). With the Able Danger story, because of the media coverage some people believe since there’s no chart so there’s no story that matters, others know that the story is hugely important-that we need to know who stopped the information about a Mohammad Atta terrorist cell in Brooklyn in 2000 from getting to the FBI.

    So because of different spins from the media the country ends up with groups that each believe the different spins. And voila, the media gets its ready made, automatic contraversy. And it doesn’t even require many reporters’ boots on the ground, just a few phone calls to find someone who says something that supports the spin. Much cheaper than reporters’ boots on the ground. Seems to me that the same thing is happening now with the port story.

  4. BurbankErnie says:

    I have nothing concrete, and I don’t towe the Repub line; hell, half of ’em make me as sick as a Dem does.
    I was reading over at Malkin’s site regarding the buyout of P&O and the battle between UAE and Singapore over the takeover, and it just doesn’t sit well with me that a Country WITH TIES to Terrorism will be in charge of ANYTHING in the U.S. Forget the Political fallout, I bring that up only as a reminder of repurcussions should anything happen in a port, related or unrelated to this Company.
    I agree with many Dems (sure they are posturing as Strong Defenders of our Country) that a U.S. Based Company be in Charge of ANY and ALL Security of our Country ON OUR SHORES.
    If this drives away those precious Muslim hearts we are trying to win over, tough.
    BTW, your Blog is recommended by the biggest players on the Right. I am always humbled when you speak directly to a comment I make.
    Hope I don’t piss you off and get banned…. 🙂

  5. Your feelings on the UAE port deal (TUE PM UPDATE AND BUMP)

    There’s lots of rumbling going on in conservative AND liberal circles over the Bush-admin approved deal that would turn over control of port operations in six US ports to a company owned by the United Arab Emirates. Story via FoxNews:

  6. AJStrata says:

    I would never ban you Ernie!

    Not over this, at least.

  7. MerryJ1 says:

    I’ve only heard one (often, maybe even ‘usually’) reasonable voice nay-saying this UAE buyout, and that was Krauthammer on Brit Hume’s panel at the end of (I think yesterday?) a “Special Report With …”

    His main point of contention was that the UAE group would be fully and thoroughly briefed on all Port Authority security measures; and his related concern is that if even one UAE-group principle is sympathetic to the terrorists’ goals, they would be handed our entire security blueprint in one tidy little bundle.

    He also stated that the legal provisions behind this move leaves the Bush Administration with no legitimate option to oppose it, because the laws governing the whole transaction were/are based on Cold War circumstances and assumptions, and do not address realities of the GWOT. His view is that the underlying laws, regulations or whatever should be scrapped and rewritten.

    As to the validity of his comments, I plead general ignorance but I’d like to hear some thoughtful responding views.

    AJ? You’re my Guru on this one. Any thoughts?

  8. […] My posts on the UAE port debate are here, here and here. In these posts I tried to call for reason. But the mob left the station and burned down the town. […]

  9. No Safe Harbor From Swirling Controversy

    As for the odd political bedfellows, I noted yesterday that much of the current outrage stems over parochial and home rule issues – the municipalities where these ports are located wanted a say in the decision, and that cuts across party lines. That’…