DEAL: OVERTURE IN DECEIT
By Jon Christian Ryter
March 1, 2006
When word leaked that the Executive Branch Committee on Foreign Investments (controlled by the Treasury Department and greatly influenced by the National Security Agency) approved the sale of the British ports-management company, Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company to Dubai Ports World International, the American people greeted the news with shock and anger. The port sale deal became a bipartisan uproar with Democrats and Republicans alike equally upset at what they believed was the stupidity of the White House. They began to wonder just who's docking the Ship of State�at what port, for what reason.
During the Clinton years, the CIA tracked bin Laden to a hunting expedition in the Saudi desert put together by the UAE emirs. Clinton denied the CIA's request to take him out because one of bin Laden's hunting partners was an UAE emir. Clinton couldn't risk an international incident with the Arab world�even to kill bin Laden. Throughout the Clinton years the UAE remained the mercantile banking center for al Qaeda. And, all that time, the Clinton Administration knew it. Two of the 19 WTC skyjackers were from Dubai. Eleven of them used Dubai passports to get into the United States for their date with destiny. It was not until post-September 11 that Dubai and Abu Dhabi became America's best friend in the Mideast. They're now cashing in on that newfound friendship. Why? Because on September 12, 2001, UAE Crown Prince Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan realized the Emirates was going to be on the wrong side in the fray that was about to start between the most powerful nation in the world and a few thousand terrorists. America was going to avenge the 3,000 Americans and about two thousand foreigners who died in the World Trade Center a day earlier.
The Crown Prince suspected that George W. Bush was not cut from the same cloth as Bill Clinton. Clinton was all talk. Bush, it seemed, was going to put wings on his words�and bombs would fall from the skies over the desert lairs of al Qaeda and the Taliban. The Emirates needed to change sides before the bombs began to fall..
In 2002, UAE authorities arrested Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri�the mastermind of the Cole bombing�and turned him over to the US government. In 2004 the UAE seized Qari Saifullah Akhtar, a Pakistani terrorist who trained thousands of al Qaeda fighters in Afghanistan. They gave Akhtar to the FBI as well. Is the UAE a friend? The 9-11 Commission described the UAE as "...both a valued counterterrorism ally of the United States and a persistent counterterrorism problem." And, this is the universal problem with the Arab world�the two faces of Islam. Or rather, the two faces of the radical Islamist. The Wahabbi Islamic is trained from birth to master the diplomacy of welcoming his enemy into his tent for dinner, break bread with him in peace, provide him safe haven through the night�and then kill him the morning.
As he threatened to veto any attempt by Congress to kill the port deal, President George W. Bush was shocked to discover that a majority of the American people�67% at last count�logically opposed turning control of any of our ports over to an Arab nation, or for that matter, any foreign power�even one that our government viewed as a close ally in the War on Terrorism. The reason is obvious to most Americans even if it eludes the president. The Islamic entity that is waging war against the United States are not the secular heads of the Arab nations who are politically aligned with America and are more interested in money than theology. Rather, our enemies within those nations are Islamic radicals who are protected by extremist Wahabbi clerics whom the leaders of those Arab nations fear�and fund.
When the port deal story broke, even the New York Times and Los Angeles Times and most of the liberals on Capitol Hill were opposed to the notion of surrendering the "management" of our ports to the UAE. Although they have reverted to Clinton-era political correctness which values diversity more than national security, they initially saw the stupidity in turning our ports over to an ethnic group that has pledged to destroy us. Most radio and talk show personalities were likewise opposed to the notion since, clearly, placing the fox in charge of the hen house is not exactly the best way to protect the chickens.
While the Bush Administration insisted that those in charge of the ports controlled by Dubai World International would be properly vetted before assuming their role as the "keeper of the keys" of six seaports in the United States, it is important to remember that it was going to be the UAE, not the American FBI, CIA, DIA, NSA, US Coast Guard or Homeland Security, that did that vetting. That means the UAE was going to tell the US government that they "...checked out the help and, take our word for it, they're okay." That changed in the last few days as partisan foes on Capitol Hill changed the rules, demanding a review of all security procedures to make certain the vetting is done by Americans, not Muslims.
Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff�whose fingerprints�like Treasury Secretary John Snow and Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice�were all over it, first said that the Commission on Foreign Investments thoroughly vetted the deal. Then the Homeland Security czar said he was unaware that a Dubai-owned company was seeking control of the British company Peninsular & Oriental until after the deal was approved.
Snow, who heads the Commission and is the final authority outside of the White House on whether deals pass muster, pretty much claimed the same thing. So, initially, did Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. However Snow, who was the former CEO of CSX was leading that company when America's rail giant was purchased by Dubai Ports World. Since he had a relationship of trust with Crown Prince Shaikh Mohammad, Snow was the honest broker Rice needed to talk�one-on-one�with the Crown Prince. In the modern Muslim world, the anti-female emirs will grudgingly sign a treaty brokered by a female American Secretary of State only because the treaty must be signed by a male president and ratified by a male-dominated US Senate before it becomes official.
However, in the shady Muslim world of backroom deals that always take place in isolated areas in the cool desert night where nothing is ever written down and a man's word is his bond, an emir will not make bond by shaking hands with a woman since�in the Muslim world�a woman's word has no bond because a woman is still an inferior citizen whose word is not legally binding on a man. Snow and Rumsfeld were the backroom brokers Rice needed to close Bush's deal with the UAE.
Rice told the media she believes the deal "...serves the interests of the United States." It does only if the president says it does. The Commission on Foreign Investments does not make decisions�it makes recommendations to the President. And, it is the President of the United States who makes the final decision.
For that reason its hard to believe that President Bush was not aware that the transfer of the management of the operations at six major US ports from a privately-owned British company to a UAE state-owned company was about to take place. And based on the anti-Muslim sentiment of the American people since Sept., 2001, Bush's advisors should have been able to predict the potential firestorm and political backlash that was going to result when the deal for an Arab company to take over the stevedore activities at the shipping terminals of the ports of Baltimore, Miami, New Jersey, New Orleans, New York, and Philadelphia became public. Tragically, they didn't. Now they are forced to deal with backlash from our allies in the Muslim world. And, while the Republicans are now moving closer to Bush's position, the Democrats are drifting farther away�closer to the majority of the American people who see no sense in this deal. Bush may be losing his core appeal to his constituents. He doesn't get it. It's not about the economy, its about security, stupid. I guess Forrest Gump was right: stupid is as stupid does.
The White House position that the President first learned that his agency heads approved the Dubai-owned company's bid to purchase the privately owned Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company without his knowledge or consent, from newspaper reports, is actually more frightening that the contemplation that the Bush Administration misjudged where his constituents stood on this issue. Or that Bush�in making a deal with the devil�inadvertently not only provided terrorists with the means to surreptitiously enter the country, but that he also gave them the means to get a suitcase nuke (which is actually about the size of three standard footlockers) or a dirty bomb into the country without being detected. White House spokesman Scott McClellan distanced the president by stating the decision to approve the ports deal was made by the 12-member Committee on Foreign Investments because none of the president's agency heads raised concerns about the Dubai deal. Yes, stupid is as stupid does. You can't shoot the messenger if he refuses to deliver the message.
It appears that the major blunder made by Bush's senior advisors was that when they were trying to calculate the consequences of this deal, they appear to have used the ramifications of Clinton's handover of the Port of Long Beach to the People's Republic of China as the yardstick by which they measured the potential fallout�and wrongly concluded that the Dubai deal would be met with only token "election year" resistance that would quickly evaporate since the UAE was now a fully-vested partner in the war on terrorism.
It now appears that Secretary of State Rice, Bush's former National Security director asked Crown Prince Shaikh Mohammad for at least two things. First, Bush needed accurate intel about several suspected al Qaeda leaders being held at Gitmo, as well as several that were still at large in Iraq, Afghanistan and points unknown. Second, Bush needed a friendly Muslim voice selling the need for Arab unity against Iran's nuclear aspirations�and someone willing to pump whatever oil Iran withholds from the world market if the UN places sanctions on the Persians. Even before the brokered deal hit the press in the United States the Crown Prince was building support for an anti-Iranian coalition in the Mideast. "The presence of nuclear capabilities in the Middle East region in harmful," the Crown Prince said in a meeting with French President Jacque Chirac at the Elysee Palace in February 11. "We are against Iran acquiring that capability. The presence of such power in the region is not useful. Any nuclear program will pose a threat to the Gulf region."
A Chirac spokesman said that Chirac briefed Shaikh Mohammad on efforts by France, Germany and Britain regarding Iran with Chirac saying that each nation agreed that it would not fare well for the region�or the world�if Iran became a member of the nuclear club. It's unclear if the American people appreciate what the UAE emirs have done for the United States, but al Qaeda does. They have issued a fatwah on all of the crown heads of the Emirates. For part 2 click below.
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Jon Christian Ryter is the pseudonym of a former newspaper reporter with the Parkersburg, WV Sentinel. He authored a syndicated newspaper column, Answers From The Bible, from the mid-1970s until 1985. Answers From The Bible was read weekly in many suburban markets in the United States.
Today, Jon is an advertising executive with the Washington Times. His website, www.jonchristianryter.com has helped him establish a network of mid-to senior-level Washington insiders who now provide him with a steady stream of material for use both in his books and in the investigative reports that are found on his website.