The Weekly Google: The UEA port deal

Welcome to Bizarro World: as Iraq melts down in the wake of the Shi’a shrine bombing, Bush’s top priority appears to be making sure that some of Osama bin Laden’s best friends are given the keys to America’s ports:

From March, 2004:

The Central Intelligence Agency did not target Al Qaeda chief Osama bin laden once as he had the royal family of the United Arab Emirates with him in Afghanistan, the agency’s director, George Tenet, told the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks on the United States on Thursday.

Had the CIA targeted bin Laden, half the royal family would have been wiped out as well, he said.

I don’t see how it’s a good idea to hand over ports to Bin Laden’s pals.

Again, this is not about an “Arab company,” this is a company owned and controlled by the hereditary oligarchy of the UAE, many of whom, apparently, were Bin Laden’s jolly old pals.

To be clear, the company in question — Dubai Ports World — is literally government owned:

Frist’s move comes a day after two Republican governors, New York’s George Pataki and Maryland’s Robert Ehrlich, voiced doubts about the acquisition of a British company that has been running six U.S. ports by Dubai Ports World, a state-owned business in the United Arab Emirates.

As is often the case, the ever brilliant Digby nails the issue in a short and sweet summation:

He needs to be secretly spy on American citizens without a warrant and he needs to be able to hold them indefinitely in jail without a trial and he needs to be able to torture innocent people with impunity because we just can’t be too careful after 9/11.

But there’s no reason to go overboard by saying that we shouldn’t outsource our port management to a company owned by a state whose leaders have been known to hang out with bin Laden.

Perhaps the best way to put this is that the administration seems to trust the leaders of the United Arab Emirates more than the US congress or the secret FISA Court.

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