Three More Reasons Why The UAE Shouldn't Be Entrusted With Our Ports Of Entry
Now that the Bush Administration has decided to ram the Dubai ports deal through without regard for what Congress thinks, I suppose it is a tad bit inconvenient to point out that Dubai's commitment to tight port security is, ah, a little lax:
Reader Joe Musco points us to the following testimony just last year in front of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, in which our own Chief of Staff to the US Mission to the United Nations, told Congress that the UAE was participating in the ferrying of prohibited goods to and from Saddam Hussein in violation of the UN sanctions.
Musco also points us to the fact that the UAE allowed the Al Wasel and Babel Company to be set up as a front for Saddam Hussein, so that he could violate the sanctions by engaging in kickbacks and attempts to procure such lovely things like surface-to-air missile systems. Who said so? Why, John Snow’s Treasury Department, that’s who. Although the UAE eventually shut down the Al Wasel and Babel Company, they continue to allow its parent company the Lootah Group to operate inside the country as their version of Halliburton, a giant enterprise also named the Lootah General Trading Company, which operates among other things a container inspection business. The Lootah Group has already been identified as a front company that violated the “Oil for Food” program by the Treasury Department and as a front company for Saddam by Charles Duelfer in his report for the CIA. So how can the right wing in this country use the Oil for Food program as a whipping boy anymore against anyone if they themselves now want to turn our ports of entry over to a country that itself was complicit?
And to cap it off, reader Kim Stewart directs us to this gem, in today’s New York Post (registration required), of all places:
Al Qaeda warned the government of the United Arab Emirates more than three years ago that it "infiltrated" key government agencies, according to a disturbing document released by the U.S. military.
So Rummy's Pentagon knows all about this, and yet he allowed underlings to rubber stamp this transaction? Remember this the next time you hear Rummy attack someone else for being too soft in fighting the war on terror.
The warning was contained in a June 2002 message to UAE rulers, in which the terror network demanded the release of an unknown number of "mujahedeen detainees," who it said had been arrested during a government crackdown in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.
The explosive document is certain to become ammunition for critics of the controversial UAE port deal, who fear the Dubai-based firm could be used by terrorists to sneak money and personnel into the United States.
"You are well aware that we have infiltrated your security, censorship and monetary agencies, along with other agencies that should not be mentioned," the message said.
The document was among a batch of internal al Qaeda communications captured by U.S. forces in the war on terror. They were declassified and released earlier this month by the Center for Combating Terrorism at West Point.
"If it's real, the document shows that the UAE really is trying to cooperate with the U.S. in the war on terrorism, because they were being threatened by al Qaeda," said terrorism expert Lorenzo Vidino.
"But it also reveals that even though they [the UAE] are our friends, al Qaeda seems to have people on the inside in the UAE, just as it has in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Qatar and Kuwait."Yup, and now Bush wants them to manage our ports of entry. Bush just doesn't understand the nature of the enemy we are facing or the nature of the threat, does he?