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UAE Corp to control US ports

judge wopner

TRIBE Member
just reading about the recent aquisiion of port control by a Dubai, UAE based company, Mr. Bush has claimed he was unaware of the bid until reports in the media made a stink about it,

oddly enough, a former executive of this company was just appointed by Mr.Bush to serve as Maritime Administrator.

this smells like bullshit

Dubai, 24 January 2006: -

Global ports operator DP World today welcomed news that one of its senior executives, Dave Sanborn, has been nominated by US President George W. Bush to serve as Maritime Administrator a key transportation appointment reporting directly to Norman Mineta the Secretary of Transportation and Cabinet Member.

The White House has issued a statement from Washington DC announcing the nomination. The confirmation process will begin in February.

Mr Sanborn currently holds the position of Director of Operations for Europe and Latin America for the Dubai-based company

Mohammed Sharaf, CEO, DP World said:
"While we are sorry to lose such an experienced and capable executive, it is exactly those qualities that will make Dave an effective administrator for MarAd. We are proud of Dave's selection and pleased that the Bush Administration found such a capable executive. We wish him all the best in his new role."

Ted Bilkey, Chief Operating Officer, DP World said:
"Dave's decades of experience in markets around the world, together with his passion for the industry and commitment to its development, will allow him to make a positive contribution to the work of the Maritime Administration. We wish him well for the future."

Mr Sanborn, a graduate of The United States Merchant Maritime Academy, joined DP World in 2005. He previously held senior roles with shipping lines CMA-CGM (Americas), APL Ltd and Sea-Land and has been based, besides the US, in Brazil, Europe, Hong Kong and Dubai during his career. He has also served in the US Naval Reserve.

Mr Sanborn is due to take up his new role based in Washington DC later in 2006.
Alex D. from TRIBE on Utility Room

dig this

TRIBE Member
He says he didn't know about, but is willing to veto (first veto he's used) to ensure it happens:

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush on Tuesday defended a deal that would let a United Arab Emirates-based company run some key U.S. seaports, telling reporters that he would veto any bill to hold up the agreement.

Bush, who has yet to veto a bill during his administration, warned that the United States is sending "mixed signals" by attacking a Middle Eastern company after the ports were run by a British firm for several years.


very very fishy.


TRIBE Member
It's totally fishy.

Bush Sr. is connected through a money trail to Dubai PortsWorld.

The brilliant thing about the whole thing is, is that the American propaganda and fear-mongering machine has come full circle and is biting them right in the bag.

I mean, this is a simple international aquisition. Dubai Portsworld is buying P&O Ports, and UK company that currently operates these 8 ports. Dubai Ports takes over the operations is this aquisition. The actual people on the ground stay the same. The unions, customs and border security and Coast Guard all keep going on the same as before.

But here's where the fear mongering bites them. The US people have been fed this diet of xenophobia (broken borders, outsourcing America, trade deficit etc) and now that this is in the forefront of the media, it's being coupled with terrorism since Dubai is in that part of the world.

The ports on the west coast have been run by overseas companies for years. Hanjin and Hyundai being the biggest operators and steamship lines. Long Beach CA is the busiest container port in north America, and it's foreign run.

The big mistake, was the admin trying to sneak this one through the back door. Other than that, there really isn't that much wrong with this business deal.


TRIBE Member
Arab Co., White House Had Secret Agreement

Leave it to Yahoo! News to get to the bottom of this one...

Arab Co., White House Had Secret Agreement

By TED BRIDIS, Associated Press Writer
Thu Feb 23, 1:53 AM ET

WASHINGTON - The Bush administration secretly required a company in the United Arab Emirates to cooperate with future U.S. investigations before approving its takeover of operations at six American ports, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press. It chose not to impose other, routine restrictions.

As part of the $6.8 billion purchase, state-owned Dubai Ports World agreed to reveal records on demand about "foreign operational direction" of its business at U.S. ports, the documents said. Those records broadly include details about the design, maintenance or operation of ports and equipment.

The administration did not require Dubai Ports to keep copies of business records on U.S. soil, where they would be subject to court orders. It also did not require the company to designate an American citizen to accommodate U.S. government requests. Outside legal experts said such obligations are routinely attached to U.S. approvals of foreign sales in other industries.

"They're not lax but they're not draconian," said James Lewis, a former U.S. official who worked on such agreements. If officials had predicted the firestorm of criticism over the deal, Lewis said, "they might have made them sound harder."

The conditions involving the sale of London-based Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co. were detailed in U.S. documents marked "confidential." Such records are regularly guarded as trade secrets, and it is highly unusual for them to be made public.

The concessions — described previously by the Homeland Security Department as unprecedented among maritime companies — reflect the close relationship between the United States and the United Arab Emirates.

The revelations about the negotiated conditions came as the White House acknowledged President Bushwas unaware of the pending sale until the deal had already been approved by his administration.

Bush on Tuesday brushed aside objections by leaders in the Senate and House. He pledged to veto any bill Congress might approve to block the agreement, but some lawmakers said they still were determined to capsize it.

Dubai Port's top American executive, chief operating officer Edward H. Bilkey, said the company will do whatever the Bush administration asks to enhance shipping security and ensure the sale goes through. Bilkey said Wednesday he will work in Washington to persuade skeptical lawmakers they should endorse the deal; Senate oversight hearings already are scheduled.

"We're disappointed," Bilkey told the AP in an interview. "We're going to do our best to persuade them that they jumped the gun. The UAE is a very solid friend, as President Bush has said."

Under the deal, the government asked Dubai Ports to operate American seaports with existing U.S. managers "to the extent possible." It promised to take "all reasonable steps" to assist the Homeland Security Department, and it pledged to continue participating in security programs to stop smuggling and detect illegal shipments of nuclear materials.

The administration required Dubai Ports to designate an executive to handle requests from the U.S. government, but it did not specify this person's citizenship.

It said Dubai Ports must retain paperwork "in the normal course of business" but did not specify a time period or require corporate records to be housed in the United States. Outside experts familiar with such agreements said such provisions are routine in other cases.

Bush faces a potential rebellion from leaders of his own party, as well as a fight from Democrats, over the sale. It puts Dubai Ports in charge of major terminal operations in New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, New Orleans, Miami and Philadelphia.

Senate and House leaders urged the president to delay the takeover, which is set to be finalized in early March. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee said the deal raised "serious questions regarding the safety and security of our homeland." House Speaker
Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., asked the president for a moratorium on the sale until it could be studied further.

In Saudi Arabia, Secretary of State Condoleezza Ricesaid the agreement was thoroughly vetted. "We have to maintain a principle that it doesn't matter where in the world one of these purchases is coming from," Rice said Wednesday. She described the United Arab Emirates as "a good partner in the war on terrorism."

Bush personally defended the agreement on Tuesday, but the White House said he did not know about it until recently. The AP first reported the U.S. approval of the sale to Dubai Ports on Feb. 11, and many members of Congress have said they learned about it from the AP.

"I think somebody dropped the ball," said Rep. Vito Fossella (news, bio, voting record), R-N.Y. "Information should have flowed more freely and more quickly up into the White House. I think it has been mishandled in terms of coming forward with adequate information."

At the White House, spokesman Scott McClellan said Bush learned about the deal "over the last several days," as congressional criticism escalated. McClellan said it did not rise to the presidential level, but went through a government review and was determined not to pose a threat.

McClellan said Bush afterward asked the head of every U.S. department involved in approving the sale whether there were security concerns. "Each and every one expressed that they were comfortable with this transaction going forward," he said.

Commerce Secretary Carlos Guiterrez told the AP the administration was being thoughtful and deliberate approving the sale.

"We are not reacting emotionally," Guiterrez said in an interview Wednesday. "That's what I believe our partners from around the world would like to see from us is that we be thoughtful. That we be deliberate. That we understand issues before we make a decision."


Associated Press writers Jeanine Aversa in Washington, Anne Gearan in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and John Christoffersen in Danbury, Conn., contributed to this report.


TRIBE Member
Dubai = interesting place

My friend's parents just moved to Dubai, the U.A.E.'s "business capital", (work w/ an architecture firm) so the past few months Ive been hearing repeatedly about what a strange and fantastic place it is... there is so much money there its unbelievable. Very rapid and intesnse development... Its supposed to feature one of the world's largest concentrations of large construction cranes. Its like a hyper-luxurious and modern urban utopia, "just about 60 miles across the water from Iran"(Liberty article), safely isolated by desert and what are probably some of the most densely armed waters in the world

He spent a week or so there last summer when he emailed me this description:
[...]The elite minority natives all wear conservative white head-to-toe garbs...and drive ultra-high-end cars.
They stop in front of restaurants and honk impatiently...for the waiter to come out and take their order. I've seen some mercedes here that i've never seen before--except once in paris[...] all the cars here are mercedes or BMW--except for the slaves. Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis that do all the service jobs. The natives are a tiny minority and there are huge numbers of westerners.

Every building is a sky-scraper and everything is inside them...so you wouldn't walk down a street to go window shopping...it's fifty fucking degrees and VERY humid. Everywhere is airconditioned to the point of being unbearably cold...when you exit a building, your skin instantly catches fire like the atomic bomb scene in Terminator 2. (My glasses fog up instantly.)

A travel feature in Liberty magazine (market libertarians):
Freedom Blossoms in the Desert
by Doug Casey

"Custom-built islands and a seven-star hotel: Dubai defies conventional wisdom about democracy and the Middle East."
[...] what's happening in the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) simply beggars the imagination. I've written a lot about the boom in China, especially Shanghai, where the new national bird is the Construction Crane; Dubai exceeds it, and redefines the meaning of a boom. Words like "unbelievable" and "breathtaking" are warranted. The place is like Las Vegas multiplied by ten.

[...] Perhaps even more amazing than the development itself is its trajectory.[...]the place opened its first hotel only in 1959, and its first airport in 1960.

[...] now starting construction, [what] will be, at over 500 meters, the world's tallest building, abutting what will be the world's largest shopping center. The entire project is billed as "the most prestigious square kilometer on the planet."

Dubai has already constructed The Palm, [...] built out into the Gulf and add[ing] 120 km of shoreline, plus thousands of homes, and about 40 new luxury hotels. It's one of the world's greatest engineering projects. A second Palm is under construction, and a third — which will be about the size of Paris — is planned. The scale of all this is mind-boggling. Most spectacular of all is The World, a complex of 300 artificial islands to be built 5 km out in the gulf, resembling a map of the world. The islands range from about two to ten acres apiece, and they're all pre-sold, the cheapest at $23 million. You buy your island, and you can do whatever you wish on it or with it.

Almost all the labor is from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, or Bangladesh. The workers typically get a few hundred tax-free dollars a month plus room and board in exchange for twelve-hour days, but with no possibility of immigrating, marrying, or overstaying their contract [or unionizing, I hear]. They may resent being treated like serfs, but it's a better deal than they get at home. [...

...]This country is literally run like a corporation, with the sheikh acting as the chairman. The aristocracy are the other directors, and the 100,000 citizens the shareholders.[...
A benevolent dictatorship that's run like a profitable business, not a dictatorship, actually can work.

U.S. Has Quiet Relationship With Ally, UAE

By BARRY SCHWEID, AP Diplomatic Writer
Thu Feb 23, 3:28 PM ET

WASHINGTON - The United States considers the United Arab Emirates an ally in the war against terrorism, and maintains an important yet politically sensitive relationship with the Persian Gulf country.

[...]the country's oil riches, strategic location and willingness to cooperate with the U.S. military have made it an invaluable ally for Washington.

The two countries have worked together, even though the United States has been critical of its friend's human rights standards.[:eek:] In a report last year, the State Department said UAE citizens do not have a right to change their government and the country restricts freedom of speech and of the press.

"The UAE is a good partner in the war on terrorism," Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Wednesday in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, during a Middle East trip. "It has been a stalwart partner. And we believe that this is a deal, a port deal, that serves the interests of the United States, serves our security interests and serves the commercial interest as well."


The world's fifth-largest oil exporter, the UAE is located along the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow passage for shipping in the Persian Gulf and just a short distance from Iran's southern coast.

The U.S. has a "superb" military relationship with the country, Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters this week. He also said U.S. forces use UAE seaports and air fields for logistics support and for training of Air Force pilots.

"In everything that we have asked and worked with them on, they have proven to be very, very solid partners," Pace said.

In 2004, the UAE signed a trade and investment agreement with the United States.

At the same time, the UAE was one of three countries that recognized the Taliban government in Afghanistanbefore U.S. led-forces overthrew the regime in 2001.

...]Some terrorism specialists have said Dubai was an ideal logistical hub for Osama bin Laden's network because of its cosmopolitan lifestyle and freewheeling business rules.

"Dubai is a place with few rules, but one of the few things tightly regulated is port security, and that's why the U.S. Navy feels comfortable using Dubai more than any other port in the world," said Patrick Clawson, deputy director of the Washington Institute for Near East policy.

The U.S. relationship with the UAE is so politically sensitive in the Gulf country that the Pentagon does not openly discuss details. Among those that Pace did not mention were:

• Air Force U-2 spy planes and Global Hawk unmanned surveillance aircraft have been based at al-Dhafra air base, along with KC-10 aerial refueling planes. When a U-2 crashed in the UAE last June, killing the Air Force pilot, American officials did not publicly disclose the location "due to host nation sensitivities."

• U.S. sailors and Marines regularly make liberty calls at the port of Jebel Ali, near the UAE's largest city, Dubai.

• In March 2000 the UAE and the United States completed a sales agreement for 80 of the most sophisticated versions of the F-16 fighter jet.
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TRIBE Member
Dubi is doing well, this development is amazing and "cheap". Wouldn't be surprised to find a bunch of American military personnel retiring here.


As for the ports deal, who cares. Only 6% of container traffic is actually inspected (this is after the increase due to 9/11), and why does a WMD have to be offloaded to detonate? As soon as the loaded container is on the vessel it will be ... ah ... smooth sailing until it is well within the destructive radius for a bomb. And how huge a tactical shot would that be? Closing Long Beach or NYC would be like pulling a feeding tube from a patient.


TRIBE Member
What's wrong with this? I don't see any reason not to let a Dubai owned company run a US port as long as they comply with US law.

We already let them... This whole fiasco just seems really "OMG HEY-RABS" to me.
VANCOUVER (CP) - An Arab company at the centre of a political firestorm in the United States over control of key port facilities also leases a container terminal at the port of Vancouver.

But unlike in the U.S., Canadian authorities are not raising alarms about security concerns involving the operations of P&O Ports Canada, a subsidiary of P&O Ports, which was recently taken over by Dubai Ports World.

On Thursday, several American senators raised the spectre of terrorism, telling a Senate briefing that government officials failed when they approved the deal for the company to manage six U.S. seaports.

Vanessa Vermette, a spokeswoman for Transport Canada, said the political controversy brewing in the United States hasn't created any waves in this country.

"The facility in question is compliant with the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code and it needs to maintain the same standards regardless of who's operating it," Vermette said of the Vancouver port, where P&O Ports Canada leases rights to one of four container terminals.

Darcy Clarkson, president and CEO of P&O Ports Canada, called the uproar in the United states "a tempest in a teapot" and said it doesn't impact the operation he runs.

"The whole issue of security is absolutely separate from ownership and the responsibility for security lies outside the terminal operations," Clarkson said. "It's the port's responsibility for port security."

Duncan Wilson, spokesman for the Vancouver Port Authority - basically P&O Canada's landlord - said security at the port is the responsibility of the RCMP, the local police and the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency, whose agents inspect containers.

Terminal operators and the port control access and monitor movement within the ports.

Wilson said a review of P&O Ports Canada before the container terminal was leased to the company showed there was nothing to be concerned about.

"The Vancouver Port Authority's position is that Dubai Ports World is a reputable operator and we look forward to working with them to expand trade through our gateway," Wilson said.

"It's a business arrangement. Our other terminals are also operated by offshore companies."

Security intelligence expert Michel Juneau-Katsuya said he's not convinced that there's any security risk in Canada or even in the United States, calling the commotion over terrorism "far fetched."

"This is a concern that is out of proportion and that has no basis," Juneau-Katsuya said from Montreal.

"P&O has just been bought by a company from the (United Arab) Emirates but it doesn't mean that the containers are all going to come from the Emirates and that Arab people or Muslim radicals will have control of that situation," said Juneau-Katsuya, a retired senior intelligence officer with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.

He added there are only problems if security is ignored.

Some American politicians have said a company based in the United Arab Emirates - which they allege had significant links with the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the U.S. - raises too many risks when it comes to managing seaports.

The American government has said it spent three months reviewing the deal with the United Arab Emirates company and found no problem. But critics aren't buying such assurances.

Sen. Carl Levin (news, bio, voting record) of Michigan, a Democrat, said the United Arab Emirates backed the Taliban and allowed financial support for al-Qaida.

Levin also charged at a senate briefing that the United Arab Emirates has an "uneven history" as "one of only a handful of countries in the world to recognize the Taliban regime in

He added that millions of dollars in al-Qaida funds went through financial institutions in the United Arab Emirates.

Levin also noted that a special commission that investigated the terror attacks against the U.S. on Sept. 11, 2000 concluded "there's a persistent counterterrorism problem represented by the United Arab Emirates."


TRIBE Member
Bass-Invader said:
What's wrong with this? I don't see any reason not to let a Dubai owned company run a US port as long as they comply with US law.

We already let them... This whole fiasco just seems really "OMG HEY-RABS" to me.

Exactly. Hence the propaganda machine turning on it's master.


TRIBE Member
This is going to set of a bidding war for other ports. Dubai Ports is still number 2 in market share to Singaporean multinational Hutchison Whampoa...(who surprisingly dropped out of the P&O bidding after the stock moved 80% in three months) considering HW is still twice the size of DP

Some stuff has changed since the article deafplayer posted. Expatriates can own land in free zones and you don't need the 50% local partner as was the case when we lived there in the 90s to open a business.

On the down side, the beaches there used to be awesome. Now because of all the construction, the water smells like diesel.

judge wopner

TRIBE Member
This US senator makes a very interesting point about the current port issues in the US right now.


Sen. Ron Paul/ Texas

February 27, 2006

Many Americans are upset by the thought of a Dubai-based corporation running port operations in several major American cities. The company involved now has agreed to delay taking over those operations while the Bush administration and Congress settle their differences and address the ire of the American people.

There’s nothing necessarily wrong with a company from the United Arab Emirates being involved in U.S. port operations. After all, Islamic terrorists have lived in many European countries, and nobody suggests that E.U. corporations should be similarly disqualified.

But this is not a matter of one foreign company buying another and taking over existing operations in the United States. The Dubai company, DP World, is owned by the government of the United Arab Emirates. It is in essence an agent of a foreign government, which raises questions: Does DP World truly operate like any corporation, answering to a board of directors, serving shareholders, and working to boost profitability? Or does it serve the foreign policy and economic goals of the United Arab Emirates?

This is not a true free market transaction, but rather a marriage of multinational corporate and state interests. And surely the American people should have a say over foreign governments doing business here, especially when that business affects port security.

It's important to note the administration did not bother to consult with Congress or the state governors involved. The Treasury department approved the purchase with no congressional oversight whatsoever. While many applaud unchecked presidential authority when it comes to war in Iraq, wiretapping, and other national security matters, they now demand that Congress overturn a unilateral administration decision. The lesson learned is that everybody likes presidential power when they agree with how it’s used. When they don’t, they rediscover that the Constitution authorizes Congress to make policy after all.

There also is an important states’ rights issue involved in this controversy. Why are Treasury department bureaucrats in Washington making decisions about port security? Most American ports are owned by U.S. states, cities, or local port authorities, not the federal government. Do Treasury department personnel 1500 miles away really know what’s best for the ports of Galveston or Freeport?

I strongly support those governors who have indicated they do not intend to allow the federal government to dictate who will run their ports. I hope Texas state officials display the same determination and resist a potentially dangerous federal dictate regarding the operation of our ports.
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TRIBE Member
Dubai Ports will sell the US operations to a US entity.

The CEO was just on...he said the main part of the deal they want is still access to China and India's ports. (Hence they bought P&O) So they are prepared to sell the US port holdings.

A shipping analyst came on after him and said that this poses a problem to the US as there is no real entity to take control of it (The US govt. has outsourced the handling of its ports for so long). The Private Equity group, Blackstone is rumoured as a buyer, but as there historical method of doing business is to slash costs, employment and sell on for a profit years later, this could cause Union Problems.

The best company to do this now would be Singapore based congolomerate, Hutchison Whampoa. The world's largest Ports operator. However, if they are allowed to bid on the contract, Dubai Ports will file a protest as they too represent a foreign entity which disqualified Dubai Ports from running in the first place.
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why not

TRIBE Member
i can't believe that of all the things bush has done, this is the one people care about.



TRIBE Member

I don't even buy the "we can't have foreigners controlling our infrastructure" argument at all.

If that was the case, last week, National Grid PLC of the UK bought US electricity provider KeySpan for £6.8bn cash.

In addition to this deal resulting in a foreign company controlling the electrical supply for approximately 33% of the US, National Grid would also take over the daily operations of 3 Nuclear Power plants in the States. A foreign company! Yet this deal did not even merit a whimper amongst US politicians or the media.

why not

TRIBE Member
Gizmo said:

I don't even buy the "we can't have foreigners controlling our infrastructure" argument at all.

If that was the case, last week, National Grid PLC of the UK bought US electricity provider KeySpan for £6.8bn cash.

In addition to this deal resulting in a foreign company controlling the electrical supply for approximately 33% of the US, National Grid would also take over the daily operations of 3 Nuclear Power plants in the States. A foreign company! Yet this deal did not even merit a whimper amongst US politicians or the media.

that's because all british people are white, and the terrorists are brown.

gawd, don't you read the news?


TRIBE Member
why not said:
that's because all british people are white, and the terrorists are brown.

gawd, don't you read the news?


So, who's getting the untendered purchase/deal/whatever you want to call it:



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TRIBE Member
"This is not a true free market transaction, but rather a marriage of multinational corporate and state interests.":eek:

we cant let that happen...