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Monday, February 20, 2006

So Where Are the Strong? And Who Are the Trusted? 

Courtesy of Zemblan patriot J.D.: Outsourcing America's port security to the United Arab Emirates -- good idea or bad idea? Let's ask the man in the street:
Peter Gadiel just doesn't get it.

How, asks Gadiel, whose son James died in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, can a company owned by a terror-linked country get control of our nation's ports?

"I'm a lifelong Republican and I think the President's gone insane," said Gadiel, 58, who heads 9/11 Families for a Secure America.

Two of the 19 9/11 hijackers were citizens of Dubai, the Arab emirate whose bid to run ports in New York, New Jersey and four other cities was okayed by the White House even though investigators have found signs that money used to finance terrorism flowed through Dubai banks.

"How the hell could this happen?" fumed Bill Doyle, 58, a retired Staten Island stockbroker whose son Joseph also died when the Trade Center fell.

"We're not securing our country in any way by selling our ports to foreigners," he said.
UPDATE: Our esteemed colleague RJB at Words Have Power lists a few more jobs the Bush administration is hoping to farm out, if the price is right.

UPDATE II: Republican governors and legislators, including Bill Frist, are lining up against the port deal. Mr. Bush, meanwhile, has said that if Congress passes legislation to block the deal, he will use the veto for the first time since he took office.

Which leads Zemblan patriot J.D. to wonder: what does the UAE have on George W. Bush?

UPDATE III (courtesy of our august colleague grannyinsanity): David Sirota explains it all for you:
The Bush administration is in the middle of a two-year push to ink a corporate-backed "free" trade accord with the UAE . . . . The Inter Press Service highlights exactly what's at stake, quoting a conservative activists who admits that this is all about trade:

"The United States' trade relationship with the UAE is the third largest in the Middle East, after Israel and Saudi Arabia. The two nations are engaged in bilateral free talks that would liberalise trade between the two countries and would, in theory at least, allow companies to own and operate businesses in both nations. 'There are legitimate security questions to be asked but it would be a mistake and really an insult to one of our leading trading partners in that region to reject this commercial transaction out of hand,' said Daniel T. Griswold, who directs the Center for Trade Policy Studies at the Cato Institute, a Washington-based libertarian think tank.

"Look, we've seen this before. Just last year, Congress approved a U.S. taxpayer-funded loan by the Bush administration to a British company to help
build nuclear technology in Communist China. Despite major security concerns raised - and a legislative effort to block the loan - Congress's "free traders" (many of whom talk so tough on security) made sure the loan went through so as to preserve the U.S.-China free trade relationship that is allowing lawmakers' corporate campaign contributors export so many U.S. jobs.

There is no better proof that our government takes its orders from corporate interests than these kinds of moves. That's what this UAE deal is all about - the mixture of the right-wing's goal of privatizing all government services (even post 9/11 port security!) with the political Establishment's desire to make sure
Tom-Friedman-style "free" trade orthodoxy supercedes everything. This is where the culture of corruption meets national security policy - and, more specifically, where the unbridled corruption of on-the-take politicians are weakening America's security.

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