Thursday, February 23, 2006
Congress and the Bush Administration have apparently agreed to a delay in the Dubai Port takeover of 6 busy ports,pending a review. I received a slew of disturbing new information today.
First of all, according to the London Times, US Secretary of State Condi Rice, who is enroute to Abu Dhabi in the Emirates today revealed that the UAE and the US have been in the process of negotiating a free trade agreement, and Condi was quoted as saying that the ports deal "had been vetted by the Bush Administration for three months". America, United States, Times Online, The Times, Sunday TimesSo much for President Bush being unaware of this until it was already a done deal!
Also of interest was the fact that The United Arab Emirates has long-standing ties to the Bush family. Records show the UAE and one of its sheikhs contributed at least $1 million before 1995 to the Bush Library Foundation, which established the George Bush Presidential Library in College Station, Texas.
Another interesting bit concerns the President's brother Neil Bush, who last surfaced as a defendant in the Silverado Trust Savings and Loan scandal.
Neil Bush is a frequent visitor and paid speaker in Dubai, and a friend of Dubai's Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid al-Maktoum and Information Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan. He was there right after 9/11 trying to get investors for an educational software company he owned that later went under. Arab-American BusinessBush was a frequent vistor to Dubai and actually e-mailed his wife of his desire for a divorce from his Dubai hotel room!
Bush's relationship with the Saudi and UAE royals was also bolstered by his employment by his Syrian-American multimillionaire boss, Jamal Daniel, who is well connected to the royal families. Daniel reportedly paid Neil Bush a $60,000 a year salary for only a few hours work. Bush's marriage to his second wife was held at Daniel's palatial Houston mansion.
At onespeech in Saudi Arabia, Neil Bush encouraged conferees to expand lobbying and PR efforts to change "perceptions" about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Aside from Neil Bush's paid speaking engagement engagements throughDubai's Datamatrix, he's prominently displayed on the company's website (and listed as "Brother of US President George Bush"), as are Al Gore and Sandy Berger. Datamatix - The Power of Trust
Neil Bush has also made paid speeches to the Zayed Center, which was funded by UAE's President, Sheik Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan, who recently died. Some of you may recall that the Zayed Center is known for funding some of the most outrageous Jew hatred, Holocaust denial, anti-American conspiracy theories and hate speech to be found anywhere on the planet.
In August 2002, the Los Angeles Times quoted Mohammed Murar, the executive director of the Zayed Center, saying about Jews that "the truth is they are the enemies of all nations." His comment came on the heels of a Zayed Center report stating that "the Zionists are the people who killed the Jews in Europe."
Sheik Zayed also funded the Abu Dhabi-based Zayed Center for Coordination and Follow-Up, a prominent think tank of the Arab League, founded in 1999. The Zayed Center, described on its Web site "as the fulfillment of the vision of Sheikh Zayed," promotes Holocaust denial, anti-American conspiracy theories and hate speech in its lectures, symposiums and publications. In August 2002, the Los Angeles Times quoted Mohammed Murar, the executive director of the Zayed Center, saying about Jews that "the truth is they are the enemies of all nations." His comment came on the heels of a Zayed Center report stating that "the Zionists are the people who killed the Jews in Europe."
The Zayed Center has a history of giving Holocaust deniers like David Irving a forum to promulgate their ideas. In 1998, Sheik Zayed's wife donated $50,000 to finance the defense of infamous Holocaust denier Roger Garaudy in a French court.
In April 2002, the Zayed Center hosted Thierry Meyssan, the French author of "The Appalling Fraud," which claims that the U.S. military staged the 9/11 attacks. The center translated Mr. Meyssan's book into Arabic, hailed its publication and widely advertised the work.
The Center has also proudly hosted Umayma Jalahma, a professor of Islamic Studies at King Faisal University, who declared: "The Jewish people must obtain human blood so that their clerics can prepare for holiday pastries."OpinionJournal - Taste
It's one thing for the President's brother to take money and cozy up to people like this. But are these the sort of people we want managing our ports in a post 9/11 atmosphere?
Even more disturbing is the security problems associated with the reorganization of the former INS and U.S. Customs Service into ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The agency is already stretched to the limit, given the problem with illegal immigration in the US. Since Immigration is now the main focus of the ICE, investigations into smuggling from foreign countries and monitoring port security has fallen by the way-side.
While Customs and Border Protection does inspections, the investigations are still supposed to be conducted by ICE, who agents are already overloaded and who's budget for this year already spent. ICE is also burdened with a political appointee,Julie L. Myers,running ICE who has no law enforcement experience or Customs experience.
One of the Administrations' selling points on this deal is that he security is `taken care of'. Let's just say I have my doubts and need a lot more reassurance.
A shout out to Debbie Shlussel who provided some of the info on this post.