Feb 24 2006

The Damage We Have Done

Published by at 1:19 pm under All General Discussions,UAE-DPW

I have lost a lot of new ‘friends’ over this DPW port issue I fear (hard to call someone a friend you meet over the internet ether without feeling like you are being too forward). Too many people I admired and who I enjoyed bloggin side-by-side with have gone to a place I cannot follow. I will not follow.

These bloggers admit the key element in the Port debate is Arab ownership of the company. When on the other side, my side, of the debate illustrate how the rationales to stop the deal make the UK and Germany look equally as good (to show where The UAE fits in the bigger world picture of allies and foes) – we come back to Arab ownership. People have made it clear, if not for Arabs in the mix there would be no problem.

Unfortunately, lashing out at a people because of the acts of a few who share tenuous ties to the broader group is a place I cannot go. I wrote this to Rick Moran, who I admire greatly, on his post where he lashed out at those of us who have been somewhat repulsed by the backlash against The UAE and Bush. It applies to all the people I had the pleasure to get to know in this wonderful world of blogging, but who now stand in a place alien to me. So I decided to re-post my comment (#13 at Rick’s site) for all:


the fact is if you take the arab ownership out of the equation you would not be so worried.

Arab does not equal Al Qaeda, or even Al Qaeda leaning.

There is no getting around this fact about your side of the debate.

You and Michelle are afraid to take the risk of trusting an Arab owned company. Don’t get on Bush’s case or anyone else’s because we cannot share your fear. Bush did not expect a large sector of America to lash out against this deal because Arabs were involved.

Don’t kid yourself or us. Since the status quo of a British Company is not an issue it is therefore the Arab ownership. Bush believed we were beyond this visceral, emotional reaction to an unspecified fear.

You may not feel comfortable about how we see this issue, but no one made you react the way you did. Fear did that.

I am afraid your side has gone where too many of us, who stood side-by-side with you, cannot go now. That is not our fault that we resist your choice, and are somewhat taken aback and repulsed by it. Maybe that is not a sign of how awful we are, possibly?

It has been a pleasure blogging with you over the last months. I fear this issue has created a divide too deep to cross for a lot of us. Good luck on the path you have chosen.

This is not easy. Most issues are not important enough to lose relationships over. But occasionally things happen and people do something that makes you take a step back and question what this means to who you are, what your life represents.

When 9-11 happened I was on the side of those who walked with Muslims to make sure no emotional reactions would harm them as targets of reprisals. It is that time again it seems, and there has been no additional attacks to warrent the need to stand by Muslims and Arabs who are guilt free off Al Qaeda and terrorist associations (at least by the laws of this land they are – until proven otherwise). I know I am losing readership to these stances as well.
So be it. This is were I stand.

34 responses so far

34 Responses to “The Damage We Have Done”

  1. smh10 says:

    AJ: I admire you greatly for standing up for your beliefs and convictions. I believe that those who read you every day will not abandon you because of a difference of opinion.

    It is sad that there are those who “attack” rather than discuss when they have differences on issues. This seems to be a rational which is becoming commonplace in our society.

    The knee jerk reactions we see today in all walks of life are a bit frightening and I hope individuals like you who tend to do their homework before posting their opinion continue to provide us readers with this service.

    For the record I agree with you on the issue of the ports and hope the President stands his ground once again. Thanks again for all you do.

  2. AJStrata says:




  3. gcotharn says:

    Coalition of the chillin! You will not lose friends. You will lose those who masquaraded as friends.

    That said, I do not think nefarious racism or prejudice is much involved in the opposition to the UAE managing of the ports. Profiling is involved, and I do not believe profiling is racist. I believe profiling is logical. However, I do support the UAE management of those ports, b/c I judge the upside to outweigh the risks.

    PS: thanks for jumping into your comments to clarify my NSA/FISA question a couple of days ago. My brain had frozen up!

  4. BIGDOG says:

    I just want to echo SMH10, although i disagree with you on the port issue. AJ, its not that we disagree and it ends there. I respect people who stand up for what they believe in. I also expect the same respect in return. Thats honest debate IMHO. You have caught my loyalty because of your honesty and well researched manorism. If that falls off i will leave your blog. However i dont see that happening in the future. I have foretold that your blogsite will reap the rewards of honesty and value to those who seek out intelectual honesty in their blogs they visit. So far i have seen your blog grow in recognition and posters. you actually was sitting in on a Able Danger conference call, (did you expect that to happen?) and i have seen you grow personally in your columns. I bet if you examined yourself you will see that you have grown personally.

    Its all good and you have my support AJ. We disagree on things and respect each other. Your blog will explode into a great place to share info. I love this blog AJ, dont change a thing my friend and you dont change either.

    A friend with get you out of jail, a real friend will be sitting next to you in the jail cell…:)

  5. AJStrata says:


    Many thanks for the kind words. And you got me laughing good on that last line. A friend of mine once reminded people not to ‘jump in jail’ by commenting more than necessary or adding information not asked for. Too funny.

  6. BIGDOG says:


    Keep up the good work.

  7. vadkins says:

    I don’t have a clue about ports, how they’re run or the port/shipping industry. I gather it’s really complex. So I haven’t posted on the issue.

    Based on my personal values, I tend to side with AJ on this. How is AJ wrong? Aren’t folks who are against the port issue against it solely because the company is Arab owned? If this is a racist attitude it does pose a serious problem. I’m all for legitimate debate but in the past our country has set certain debate boundaries and set apart certain attitudes that have almost universally been seen as outside the legitimate scope of honest debate. David Duke, a known racist, and his ilk are not considered part of any legitimate debate for good reason.

  8. Snapple says:

    The ports topic is very complicated. I would like to hear the government tell us that they have checked this out. I trust Bush, but I want to know this didn’t just slip under the radar. Bush seems to have been sandbagged by the announcement. There was no advance warning from the White House that this was coming and that it had been checked out.

    If we want good relations with these Arab countries, we have to let them invest their petro-dollars somewhere.

    We have American terrorists who could infiltrate and damage our ports, too. Here is a story about an American terrorist who was just arrested for teaching bomb-making hours after a huge apartment complex was burned up by arson. His incendiary words scared people to death. He is using his free speech to intimidate people and terrorize people. He was arrested on a seldom-used charge of “distribution of information relating to explosives, destructive devices and weapons of mass destruction.” The Toledo terrorists were also arrested on this charge.

    Environmentalist faces charge of teaching arson
    Associated Press writer Friday, February 24, 2006

    SAN DIEGO — Federal prosecutors on Wednesday unsealed an indictment charging an environmental activist with teaching others how to start an arson fire during a 2003 lecture in San Diego, where the costliest act of ecoterrorism in U.S. history had just occurred.

    Prosecutors said Rodney A. Coronado gave the lecture 15 hours after a $50 million fire destroyed a massive apartment complex in a north San Diego neighborhood. The indictment, however, does not link Coronado to that fire.

    Coronado, 39, was arrested Wednesday in Tucson, Ariz., on a charge of distribution of information relating to explosives, destructive devices and weapons of mass destruction. He will be arraigned there Thursday.

    His attorney did not return a message left seeking comment.

    Coronado previously served four years in federal prison for a 1992 blaze at a Michigan animal research facility.

    Daniel Dzwilewski, agent in charge of the San Diego FBI office, alleged that Coronado was a national leader of the radical Earth Liberation Front. ELF is an underground movement with no public leadership, membership or spokesperson, according to its Web site. An e-mail sent to the Web site didn’t elicit an immediate response.

    The 2003 fire destroyed a five-story apartment complex, an underground parking garage and a construction crane in San Diego. No one was injured. A banner found at the scene read “If you build it, we will burn it” with the initials of the ELF…….

    Authorities said the charge on which Coronado was indicted has been used only four times since it was written in 1997, most recently in an Ohio case unsealed Tuesday against three men charged with attempting to wage terror attacks against the United States. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.


  9. ama055131 says:

    I have 2 problems with the U.A.E getting control of ops at the ports.

    1. The company is a wholly owned Corp by the U.A.E.

    2. If they are a ally of ours the must recognize our other allies

  10. clarice says:

    Ledeen has offered a reasonable compromise on the UAE ports issue:

  11. mary mapes says:

    I’ve always admired your independent style and the courage to say what you believe (even if that means disagreeing with others you mostly find much common ground with). It’s hard to do.

    And surprise, I totally agree with you here!

    (I’ve also appreciated the attention you’ve shown to your readers – even when we over do it with the tons of prodding and pasting! David Gregory is not my proxy, YOU ARE – hee hee)

    Thanks for keeping the tent big!

  12. retire05 says:

    AJ, I have to say that in some respects I agree with your assertion that this is a “fear” factor driving the anti-port agreement train.

    I personally think this is a case of “racially” profiling a whole nation.
    If a person who was speaking Arabic, wearing typical Muslim dress, was in an airport and was profiled, many, MANY policiticans, especially the Democrats would be screaming to the heavens.

    Now, considering that the 9-11 hijackers trained at Florida flight schools, used Florida banks, rented from Florida land owners, frequented Florida businesses, should we now determine that Florida is a security risk and we can no longer allow Florida to do any business in the United States?

    Personally, I would be happy if we did not need the DubaiPorts. I would be happy if there was an American firm who could do the same job with the same amount of expertise. But that does not seem to be the case.
    One other point: our ports are a mess. Only 10% of cargo is examined. The congress has chosen to ignore that issue. Is Bush wiser than we give him credit for being? If he wants the Democrats to do something, what better way to acheive that goal than to make the Democrats think they are working against him? If nothing else, this hub-bub has brought the situation of our ports to the forefront. And the media is looking at them. Perhaps now, the Congress will act on port security the way they should have in October, 2001.

  13. clarice says:

    Reason also has a sensible position:

  14. nsiMichael says:

    I was one of the many who at first reacted negatively, albeit tentatively to the news about UAE. The more I read, the more I realized that this was hysteria.

    After 4 days of reading I was back on track, trusting Mr. President and telling everyone in my circle why I had come to believe this deal was a much better fit than the news and political microphones were letting on.

    Intelligence was horrid during the 90’s. We finally get a President with a spine and a common sense approach to the world view and the people that have worked for 30 years for just this result have become the sheep again.

    It takes a lot of self control to not be suspicious and angry at Muslims. Everyday we see reasons not to trust them. However, I can see the level headed business and common sense intel approach that partnering with UAE brings to the table.

    I am on your side. Don’t give up on the sheep. They need a little more time to digest this paradigm.


  15. AJStrata says:


    I won’t give up if people like you feel there is progress. I will miss the comeraderie I had recently achieved with some big name bloggers.

    But that is my personal problem.

  16. MaidMarion says:


    Wonder if the Pentagon utilized Able Providence to help them coordinate on the Dubai contract…


  17. Larwyn says:

    Hey A.J,
    Even during our cartoon kerfluffel, I never gave up on you.
    Hope this helps some to understand how containerized ocean
    shipping works and why having a look at complete ships manifests
    from each port of call of any particular ship is vital.

    I do have expertise in important aspects of containerized
    shipping and hope this explains how we are using ship’s manifests
    to preemptively identify “problem containers” and most importantly
    “problem STOWAGE MOVEMENTS of any container”.

    Some are refering to :
    Wasn’t this covered recently on “24”?

    EXPORTING of WMD was the plot line – NOT IMPORTING into the USA.

    We are checking cargo at Points of Origin, at Ports of Origin and we must have eyes on any stowage movements of suspect containers at interim port en route.

    FYI – Container ships must be stowed (loaded) to insure safety or the
    balance of the ship – so it does not list to port starboard bow or stern.
    Your don’t put all of Allegheny Ludlum’s specialty stainless on one
    side of the ship and PPG’s fiberglass on the other.

    We need friends at each and every port along the route of any ship so we know why of every stowage move that takes place enroute to the USA.

    EXAMPLE: A container coming from a shipper originating
    from across the pond is addressed to Hugo Chavez. The container is
    originally stowed at low level – ship is going to stop at European ports,
    then U S A Ports before heading south to Venezula. At each port,
    containers will off loaded/on loaded and at each port pure “stowage”
    /balancing container moves will be made.

    Now we see that at Felixstow U K -the last stop on “other side of the pond” with Port of New York the next stop – we see the operators moving the”Hugo Chavez” container and placing on a the top tier, when access to it is not neccessary until after stops in Baltimore,Charleston, perhaps Miami and even the Dominican Republic before getting to Venezula.

    That is what they are talking about when telling the American public
    about checking manifests. Manifests provide the stowage
    plan – or you’d have a very tough, time consuming and costly effort to find any specifice container. You cannote eye ball the container numbers painted on the actual containers.

    All the ports with Dubai Ports were immediate cooperators in the identification of containers at Ports of Origin and in supplying immediate ship manifests (that map that tells you where each container is located)

    Perhaps we will have to dig up the container ship models I used
    to give to my best customers as they included Lego- like containers
    that International Traffic Mangers could play with in their spare time.

    But then we don’t want to give the whole game away.

    Hope this makes very clear why terrific relationship with DP is so necessary.

    And I do not put past the DEMS that they do want an incident in
    a port – they can easily justify the sacrifice of a few – and so
    hope to win the HOMELAND SECURITY by building thick walls and deep moats tactical battle – versus the “Raid the bastards while they are preparing for an attack”

    They also want to make GW look as impotent regarding Iran as the Clinton/Albright/Carter and the gang look on North Korea. So check your Atlas and you see how important the UAE is in making that “stick” really big, really strong and really efficient.


    We not only have the UAE’s return address
    It is one our own addresses for USA airbases.
    There will never be a need to invade the UAE,
    in reality we already sorta have it occupied

    Why would AQ press Allah’s will by going thru the rigaramold of
    having a ship actually dock at a port to be off loaded?

    Much simpler to put warhead on missle and just get little
    ship within range of target – while way off the shore.

    Robert Godwin recently had a great essay at OneCosmos
    about the “Ghost Dancers” – Read it and you will hear the drums
    every time Schummmy et all show their face.
    Click here: One Cosmos: End-Time Panic and The Liberal Ghost Dance

  18. ivehadit says:

    Hang in there topdog.
    This is a defining moment and I think the Highest and Best will prevail. George Bush, in his wisdom, has called some to look within, imho. And you have pointed this out very well.

    An old scuba mantra: Fear Kills.

    I personally believe that, while you may have lost some comrades, you will gain many more.


  19. Retired Spook says:

    AJ, you may have lost some friends over this, but rest assured you’ve gained some new friends. I discovered your blog as a result of your reporting on Able Danger and enjoy it immensely. (I spent 24 years in Signals Intelligence) I know of at least two others whom I’ve linked to you, including this Bloggerwho’ve had the same reaction. BTW, we all happen to agree with you on the ports issue. Hang in there.

  20. spna says:

    Been lurking here for a while. This issue has compelled me to registor so that I can add my words of support.

    Thanks AJ.