February 20, 2006

Safe Harbor For Terrorists

“If you harbor terrorists, you are a terrorist.”
-President George W. Bush, addressing 101st Airborne Division, 2001
"You're either with us or against us in the fight against terror."
--President Bush, Nov. 6, 2001

The Bush Administration has announced its approval, after a SECRET REVIEW PROCESS that bypassed Congress, of a deal to turn over control of 6 of America's largest and busiest ports (Baltimore; New York; Newark; New Orleans; Miami and Philadelphia) to Dubai Ports World.

DPW is a government-owned company from Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, a loose federation of 7 emirates on the Saudi Arabian Peninsula. The UAE is a major oil and gas producer, and its population is 96% Muslim.

Here's the current state of port security in the U.S.:
--Of the 7 million cargo containers shipped into U.S. ports each year, less than 5 percent are examined. This is years after Tom Clancy published his 1991 book "The Sum of All Fears" (later to become a lame movie starring Ben Affleck), about terrorists who smuggle a nuclear bomb into the U.S. aboard a ship.
--The 2004 9/11 Commission Report stated that "major vulnerabilities still exist in cargo and general aviation security."

Here's a partial record regarding the UAE and terrorism:

--In 1996, when Osama Bin Laden left Sudan for his new base in Afghanistan, Bin Laden's airplane refueling stop was in the UAE.
--Marwan Al-Shehhi of the UAE co-founded and maintained an al-Qaeda terrorist cell in Germany in the late 1990s. Al-Shehhi later became one of the 19 9/11 hijackers, crashing the plane into the South Tower of the World Trade Center.
--The last known address of another of the 9/11 hijackers, Satam Al Suqami, was in the UAE (source: FBI Press Release, "FBI Announces List of 19 Hijackers," Sept. 14, 2001).
--From 1996 to 2001, top UAE officials, including Sheik Mohammed ibn Rashid al Maktum, UAE Defense Minister and Crown Prince for the emirate of Dubai, visited, hunted and went falconing with Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan. Some of these officials developed ties with and gave money to the Taliban (source: MSNBC.com, 9/5/03).
--Osama Bin Laden underwent surgery in a Dubai hospital in July 2001.
--UAE banks provided most of the cash for the 9/11 hijackers.
--Many of the 9/11 hijackers travelled through the UAE.
--The UAE refuses to formally recognize the State of Israel, and participates in the Arab League's longstanding economic boycott of Israel. The UAE did, however, recognize the Taliban as the legitimate government of Afghanistan, one of only three nations to do so.
--In Feb. 2004, Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, considered the father of Pakistan's nuclear program, confessed to selling nuclear technology to North Korea, Libya and Iran. His clandestine meetings took place in Dubai, and his shipments of the nuclear components, including centrifuge tubes, originated in Dubai.

Meanwhile, 75% of the U.S. population lives within 200 miles of the coastline. It is estimated that, by 2010, 75% of the U.S. population will live within 50 miles of the coast.

Feeling any safer yet?


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