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by Cheryl Seal
Thursday, Feb. 23, 2006 at 3:02 PM
Bush claims he knew nothing of the sale of US port operations to a Saudi company. But all of the evidence suggests he not only KNEW - he helped make sure the deal went through unchallenged.
The REAL Story Behind the Port Sale:
US Ports were Handed to Dubai Government with Bush's Knowledge Three Months Ago
By Cheryl Seal
So now Bush claims he had no clue that the operation of six US ports was being sold to the government of Dubai, d.b.a Dubai Ports World (DPW). Yeah, right, and Tinkerbelle ain't a fairy. The sale of US port operations by British company P&O to DPW was far from a sudden development. The company began having serious financial problems in 2002 and has been selling off assets and laying off workers for the past three years. It has been a major and ongoing story in the European news sources, including the BBC. Last fall, P&O even initated a highly publicized (in Europe, anyway!) bidding war over its ports! The deal between P&O and DPW was inked in November, 2005. One hopes that when such a major development occurs affecting US ports that SOMEONE in the US government is notifed.
Yet on Feb 21, Bush claimed he didn't know anything about the sale until the rest of us did.
This means one of two things, neither of them good:
1. That Bush is lying through his teeth and thus intentionally deceiving the American public.
2. That Homeland Security is so incompetent, clueless, and ineffectual that who is in control of US ports is a "detail" that is not even on their radar! I.e., in Homeland Security's twisted playbook, "fightin' terrorism" means rounding up bloggers and Muslims, but has nothing to do with securing US ports, America's primary gateways to the world!
In any case, ya can't have it both ways! If Bush is telling the truth, then Homeland Security is a joke. If he is lying, then that means he knowingly gave away control of US ports to a foreign entity that is not just connected to terrorism in general, but specifically to the Bin Laden family. And, he withheld that info from the American public until it was nearly too late.
The mainstream media and Bushies are now arguing that the DPW purchase of port operations is "no different" from foreign ownership of other business interests. But this is like saying there's no difference between renting out a spare room and renting out your own bed - with you in it. The reality is, some US entities should NOT be owned and operated by foreign interests. For example, private US tax information should not be processed (as much of it now is) by companies in India. And US ports should definitely not be operated by ANY foreign power. That the US did not seize on this opportunity to take control of her own ports is incomprehensible.
And, btw - the argument that any objections to handing over US ports to the DPW is somehow "racist" and "anti-Muslim" doesn't hold any more water than a leaky Swiss cheese. This argument requires us to believe that profiling and/or rounding up people because they are swarthy and probably Muslim and holding them under horrific conditions for years at a time without charge is NOT racist, but objecting to handing our ports to a nation known to have harbored and/or funded terrorists IS?
The evidence is overwhelming that Bush is lying. The primary smoking gun? On January 17, 2006, Bush nominated a senior executive at DPW, David C. Sanborn, to serve as the US Maritime Administrator of the US Dept. of Transportation. The White House press release mentioning the appointment is strategically designed so that Sanborn's appointment appears two-thirds of the way down the page, and is worded so that the connection to DPW is very much veiled: "The President intends to nominate David C. Sanborn, of Virginia, to be Administrator of the Maritime Administration of the Department of Transportation. Mr. Sanborn currently serves as Director of Operations for Europe and Latin America at DP World." "DP World? The use of the abbreviation of course removes any mention of "Dubai.." So we are supposed to believe that the DPW sale and Sanborn's appointment were all just a big fat coincidence?
Then, of course, there is that little issue of conflict of interest, with a senior exec of DPW ALSO the guy in charge of regulating marine transport! If Bush REALLY didn't know about the port deal, then he ought to immediately fire Sanborn for 1. failing to inform the White House of the DPW deal at the time of his appointment and 2. having an appointment that represents an outrageous conflict of interest. But the reality, of course, is that Bush appointed Sanborn KNOWING that the latter was a DPW exec.
Dubai Port Company formed as Front Company for the Dubai Government
The US media and Bush administration are also trying to portray the Dubai Port company as an independent commercial entity, when in fact it is not. Even the rightwing WorldNetDaily felt compelled to expose this misleading portrayal: "DPW (Dubai Port World) was formed by a September 2005 merger of Dubai Port Authority and Dubai Port International. DPW is 100 percent owned by the government of the Emirate of Dubai via a Dubai government holding company called the PCFC."What this means is that DPW was formed as a front company through which the Dubai government could acquire US ports - which it did just one month after the front company's creation.
During the P&O bidding war, had the US public and Congress realized what was happening, American could have acquired control of her own ports, either by subsidizing a bid by a private US company or by nationalizing the operation of the ports, which would have been an excellent move in terms of homeland security. But instead, Americans were never given the chance. In short, a chance to insure that America had complete control over her own ports - not to mention port jobs - was stolen.
But no spin is needed to make the case against Bush abundantly clear. The facts speak for themselves:
TIMELINE of Port Control Change
2002: P& O has bad year, losing considerable profits due to loss of ferry tourism
2003: P&O draws fire for misleading customers in effort to pump up profits
2004: P&O slashes job force in Europe
October 2004: P&O sells off Ferry routes in Northwestern Europe. A French company takes this opportunity to take over routes originating in France.
March, 2005 (pdf file): Bush enters into free trade negotiations with the United Arab Emirate, of which Dubai is the hub
August 2005 - P&O has sharp dip in profits, restructures, cuts jobs
September 2005: Dubai Port Authority and Dubai Port International merge, and are now owned 100% by the Dubai government via a holding company called the Ports, Customs, and Free Zone Corporation.
Early October 2005: P&O seeks to initiate bidding war over ports
Late October, 2005: P&O has preliminary takeover talks with DPW
November 2005: P&O agrees to bid offered by DPW This news is in all the international newspapers, including Asia. But no mention is made of this development by the Bush administration for over two months, nor does the US media mention it, even though its international wire sources without doubt transmitted this story.
January, 2005: Bush appoints DPW senior exec David Sanborn US Maritime Administrator
Second week of February, 2005: Sale of US Port operation to DPW announced to US public
Third week of February, 2005: Bush denies he knew anything about the sale.
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