February 23, 2006, - 10:07 am
By Debbie Schlussel
Something’s rotten in Dubai. And it’s not just the deal to control six of America’s ports.
The approval of Dubai-owned DP World to run the ports has brought out a lot of security issues that should have been raised at least 4.5 years ago, after 9/11. But there are a lot of issues associated with this that HAVEN’T come to light.
First, there’s the President’s refusal to re-examine the deal, despite the fact that he admittedly didn’t know about it until the public furor. What you don’t know is about the President’s brother, Neil Bush, and his ties to Dubai.
I’m not saying the President’s brother had anything to do with this absurd deal. He probably did not. But we don’t know for sure, and even the appearance of impropriety is unacceptable in the War on Terror. Certainly, this is a huge conflict of interest. Does President Bush really want to give Michael Moore the grounds to make “Fahrenheit Ports 911“?
Remember Billy Carter, Jimmy Carter’s brother, and his couple hundred-thousand dollars “loan” from Libya’s Muammar Ghaddafi?
If you liked Billy Carter, you’ll love Neil Bush. No beer products and advertising or redneck wit and wisdom. But the situation’s the same. Neil Bush is in bed with Dubai and its confederation, the United Arab Emirates (UAE). He’s getting money for it solely because he’s the President’s brother. And it’s disturbing.
Neil Bush is a frequent visitor to and paid speaker in Dubai, showing up there right after 9/11 trying to get investors for his failed Ignite! educational software company. While there, “[Neil] Bush held talks with Dubai’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid al-Maktoum [DS: who now rules Dubai] and Information Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan on the ‘world economy in light of recent events, as well as higher education in universities,” Arab American Business reported. Bush was in Dubai so much that he e-mailed his wife of his desire for a divorce from his Dubai hotel room.
(Bush’s relationship with the Dubaian and UAE royals has a lot to do with his Syrian-American Ba’athist boss, Jamal Daniel, who paid him $60,000 a year for only a few hours work. Bush’s marriage to his second wife was held at Daniel’s palatial Houston mansion.)
At a Saudi speech, he encouraged conferees to expand lobbying and PR efforts to change “perceptions” about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. One wonders if the content is similar at his meetings and speeches in the Emirates. At least Billy Carter was a lot more aw-shucks honest. (“The only thing I can say is there is a hell of a lot more Arabians than there is Jews.”)
It’s not just Bush’s paid speaking engagements courtesy of Dubai’s Datamatrix. While Neil Bush is prominently displayed on the company’s website (and listed as “Brother of US President George Bush”), so are Clintonistas Al Gore and Sandy Berger (he of document pants-stuffing fame).
It’s also Neil Bush’s paid speeches to the Zayed Center, which was funded by UAE’s President, Sheik Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan, who recently died. As my friend, Rachel Lea Fish of The David Project, wrote in the Wall Street Journal:
Sheik Zayed also funds 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. A month later, Lyndon LaRouche, the fringe political figure who has made disparaging remarks about Judaism, was an honored guest. Just last month, the center 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.”
It’s bad enough the President’s brother took money from this organization. It’s much worse that the confederation, whose leader funded, this despicable group will be rewarded with controlling OUR ports. This is what they think, and we are going to trust them with our valuable points of entry for goods?
Then, there is the Homeland Security hype in support of this deal. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff made the rounds of the Sunday political shows praising the deal and defending it. His predecessor, Tom Ridge, also touted the deal on FOX News. Ridge is the same man who signed a Memorandum of Understanding with John Ashcroft, taking away ALL terrorism investigations away from Homeland Security and giving them to the bureaucracy that bungled 9/11, the FBI.
Finally, there is the other problem with port ship and shipment investigations associated with the creation of Homeland Security and the reorganization of the former INS and U.S. Customs Service into ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement). When two huge tasks that don’t jibe are foisted on one agency in a merger, as happened with ICE, one falls by the wayside. Since Immigration is now the primary–but far from diligently enforced–focus of ICE, former Customs investigations into smuggling from foreign countries has fallen by the way-side.
As ICE agents have pointed out, who will be investigating the ports controlled by Dubai? While Customs and Border Protection does inspections, the investigations are still supposed to be conducted by ICE. Don’t hold your breath for any degree of thoroughness for an agency already stretched to the limits and its budget for this year already spent. It doesn’t help that the unqualified Julie L. Myers, with no law enforcement experience–let alone Customs experience, is “running” ICE.
As one career ICE agent wrote,
I am at a loss to explain this administration’s blind allegiance to the Port takeover deal with a company owned by the Arab terrorist-supporting country of the United Arab Emirates. . . . I am amazed that Sec. Chertoff is blindly supporting this as well.
Doesn’t our military ships use these Ports??? For that reason alone this deal should be scrapped! Let alone the vulnerability to smuggle in weapons and contraband that will harm this country. What are they thinking????
Allowing the UAE to take over these important Ports is akin to allowing Michael Jackson to baby-sit your children, or allowing Bill Clinton to take your wife along on a business trip!!!!
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