March 24, 2006 - Remember the Dubai Ports deal? Remember the controversy erupted when a British owned contractor sold out to the UAE owned Dubai Ports World and the contract for ports operation in the US was part of the deal. The Bush Administration was barbequed over it seemingly perfunctory approval of the sale. It wasn’t a deal that the American people would stand for. They called it outsourcing our security and they thoroughly disapproved. The Bush Administration backed down in the face of a political uprising within its own party. Well they have gone themselves one better.
Have you ever heard of Hutchinson – Whampoa Limited? It is the Hong Kong based Chinese company that raised such a furor in 1998 when it entered into a deal with the government of Panama to operate the container ports at both ends of the Panama Canal. President Clinton was excoriated by the Congressional Republicans for not having stopped the deal. Among the concerns the Republicans expressed was that control of the ports could facilitate smuggling of secret technology to China and smuggling arms and worse into the United States.
That was Pre-911 thinking at its finest but this is Post-911 and the Bush Administration has its own way of thinking about national security. The President and his spokespersons continually reminds us that we have to put national security first, ahead of such niceties as any Constitutional guarantee of privacy. After all when compared to being secure from telephoned plots was it the Constitution any way? The President says it is just a scrap of paper.
In this Post 911 era the Bush Administration is spreading the security dollar around. When it started the Iraqi War the Defense Department hit upon the no-bid contract to guarantee that the war on terrorism dollar would end up in the right hands – Halliburton’s. Well it seems that the Department of Homeland Security has discovered the same dodge. It has awarded a no-bid contract to screen cargo containers at the major transshipment point located at the container port in Freeport, Bahamas. Who did that contract go to? Dubai Ports World? No. Halliburton? No. Then who?
You got it on the first try. Under the contract Hutchinson – Whampoa Limited will be paid $6M annually to screen containers for nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction. There it is, the Bush Administration is outsourcing our security yet again – this time to China. Sleep soundly America. The Chinese are on guard.
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