Friday, February 24, 2006

The Starboard Side

Justin Raimondo is one of the most powerful political writers today. His site, AntiWar has been stalwart in its opposition to the Iraq War. In his last two articles, he has blasted critics of the Dubai Ports World deal, accusing them of being anti-Muslim and anti-Arab. His views deserve to be excerpted:
From Hating Arabs (Feb 22, 2006)

I have a suspicion that the current ruckus reflects the economic interests of not only the unions, but also Eller & Company, the Miami-based business formerly a partner of Peninsular that is now suing for being forced into an "involuntary" partnership with those feelthy Ay-rabs. The suit raises the security canard, and one wonders what sort of economic interests the smear campaign is intended to mask. A press conference held Tuesday decrying the ports deal was held in Miami, and the Miami-based nature of the smear campaign tells me that something is afoot in the land of the hanging chad. In any controversy like this, the first rule is to follow the money, and this AP report hints at the stakes:

"The lawsuit represents the earliest skirmish over lucrative contracts among the six major U.S. ports where Peninsular and Oriental runs major commercial operations: New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, New Orleans, Miami, and Philadelphia. The lawsuit was filed moments before the court closed Friday and disclosed late Saturday by people working on the case."

It wouldn't be the first time a corporate entity tried to take out the competition by raising a bogus threat to "national security." Led by a disparate coalition of mindless opportunists, anti-Arab racists, and warmongering politicians, an effort to scare the American public into making a few ruthless "entrepreneurs" obscenely rich by giving them a virtual monopoly on America's port facilities shows every sign of apparent success. The victors will be laughing all the way to the bank.

Today Raimondo trains his guns on Arianna Huffington's writings in the Huffington Post. Here's an excerpt:

From Arianna Huffington, Racial Profier (Feb 24, 2006)
Huffington and her fellow Bush-haters want us to abolish the international maritime trade, introduce racial profiling into the process of deciding who can do business in the U.S., and issue a gratuitous insult to Arabs the world over, when maritime experts – and common sense – tell us that DPW is being unfairly targeted by bloviating politicians and pontificating pundits.

Parading her ignorance with all the arrogance of a wealthy dowager flashing her diamonds, Arianna doesn't even begin to realize that her polemics could have dangerous – and even deadly – consequences. By ratcheting up the atmosphere of hate and hysteria that has characterized the relations between the Arab world and the West in recent weeks, she is lining up with the War Party. In open alliance with neocons like Michael Ledeen, Frank Gaffney, and the National Review/Weekly Standard crowd, Huffington and her fellow "progressives" are poisoning American politics to the point that "World War IV" – the wet dream of every neocon – becomes a distinct possibility.

Raimondo is a limited government enthusiast, but not (I think) a free trader. The opposition should not be merely to Dubai taking over port management, but to handing over such operations to foreign companies anyway. A well-argued case for this controversy to be a mere blip in a larger patter appears in today's Counterpunch. Written by Dave Lindorff, the article points out the stupidity of the Democrats:

The port of Long Beach, California was long ago turned over to a state company owned by the Communist government of China--a country it might be recalled, whose military leaders not long ago threatened to attack the U.S. with nuclear weapons if America were to interfere with China's efforts to capture the island nation of Taiwan. Nobody's fussing about that.

Sometimes it takes a symbolic incident to crystallize attention to a larger problem. Gandhi's salt satyagraha was one such example. It would be sad if the debate deteriorated into an anti-Arab or anti-Muslim feeding frenzy. Indeed, as Raimondo pointed out brilliantly:

The worst demagoguery over this issue is coming out of Sen. Chuck Schumer's mouth. The Democrat from New York avers:

"Just as we would not outsource military operations or law enforcement duties, we should be very careful before we outsource such sensitive homeland security duties."

Yet it seems as if the security-conscious senator isn't against outsourcing when Israel is the beneficiary: Israeli companies, as well as direct input from the Israeli government, practically dominate the burgeoning homeland security industry. And the newly installed congressional phone system is franchised to an Israeli company, yet no one is making much of a stink about the security concerns raised by people like Philip Giraldi, who writes:

"One of the more intriguing aspects of the federal investigation into the activities of Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff is his Israeli connections. His large $2.2 million bail is reported to be due to fears that he would flee to Israel, as some of his business associates have already done, to avoid prosecution. Abramoff, an Orthodox Jew and ardent Zionist, set up a charity called Capital Athletic Foundation, which illegally provided $140,000 worth of weapons and security equipment to hard-line Israeli settlers.

"Abramoff also allegedly convinced Congressman Robert Ney, House Administrative Committee chairman, to award a contract worth $3 million to a startup Israeli telecommunications firm called
Foxcom Wireless. The contract was for the installation of antennas in House of Representatives buildings to improve cell-phone reception. Not surprisingly, such equipment can be designed to have what is known as a 'back door' to enable a third party, in this case Mossad, to listen in. That an Israeli firm should be given such a contract through a selection process that was described as 'deeply flawed and unfair' is inexplicable, particularly as there were American suppliers of the same equipment, and it suggests that the private conversations of some of our congressmen might not be so private after all."

When Schumer starts questioning this sweet deal, I'll listen to him when it comes to DP World.

Today's News: DWP Offers to Hold off Implementing Deal.


Anonymous said...

See also today's Washington Post Oped, "Taste of the future" by David Ignatius, where he says: What they (Congress) should do right now is begin changing the fiscal policies that are transforming the United States into a ward of the world.

The title says, "Foreign operation of ports is just a taste of what’s to come unless America changes its fiscal policies. In just a few years, we may not even own our national parks."

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