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Monday, March 06, 2006

United Arab Emirates- The Dubai Port Deal and My Home Town

Growing up in Baltimore, Maryland was living in the security shadow of our nation's capital, in Washington DC.

In fact, throughout my formative years, we were repeatedly told how we lived inside the bulls eye of a nuclear attack on the USA. In other words, any nuclear bomb aimed at Washington DC would hit Baltimore. Imagine the impact this routine preparedness reminder had during those scary days when Americans built bomb shelters in their back yards and kids participated in "duck-and-cover" school room drills, as though anything or any exercise could possibly save us.

Although my hometown is Baltimore, Maryland, my neighborhood was an adjacent urban town named Dundalk. It turns out, the Dundalk Port Authority is one of the American ports on the for sale list, where operations would be run by a foreign company, and thereby gobbled up by the United Arab Emirates.

Yup. Within easy eye distance of the Anchor Fence closure called my urban back yard, in my Logan Village home, is a port I know very well. It is one of the American ports proposed to be operated by the United Arab Emirates.

Whoa! The Dundalk Port Authority was a security risk, even before the USA was taunted by terrorists. In Dundalk, we grew up wondering what was being delivered inside of massive shipping crates. Moreover, the Port Authority itself was a magnet of mystery because of seedy import implications - real or imagined (but, mostly, just imagined).

It's simply inconceivable for me to realize the US government now wants Americans to endorse a deal to sell access to our nation's biggest security risks - our ports. Indeed, my hometown port in Dundalk is so close to the residential neighborhood of Logan Village, you can actually walk from the neighborhood to the loading dock and back in less than an hour, to complete the round trip.

We're not talking about isolated ports - like Guantanemo Bay, in Cuba. These American ports are located in places where the homes of real people are within easy walking distance. Not to mention, the boss of these ports will become somebody from the United Arab Emirates or from the Middle Eastern Country of Dubai, a country known to terrorists who want to destroy our neighborhoods simply because they hate our way of life. Even the US government, implicit in the Dubai Deal, will not give Dubai a clean terrorist report card.

It doesn't matter one hoot if the CEOs of the ports, after the sales are final, are titular appointed Americans. This kind of meaningless security measure is ridiculous, so long as the billions of dollars passing hands in this extraordinarily unpatriotic buyout come from the United Arab Emirates.

My home town is worried about this Dubai Deal because it's a bad deal for patriotic Americans. It's a potential windfall for the one potential terrorist who figures out how close the Dundalk Port Authority is to Washington DC.

As Americans, we're asked to wave our beautiful Red, White and Blue flags while, behind the doors of US government agencies, big-wheel dealers are frothing at the thought of the $600 billion mega-big bucks at risk if this Dubai Deal happens to fall through.

How much incompetence will Americans take before the clarion wake up call resonates?

We missed the point with the September 11, 2001 suicidal sky-jackers who took flying lessons but didn't care to learn about landing an airplane.

Now, we'll just sell access into our country. Let's give terrorists the access they need to finish the job they started on September 11, 2001. Let's sell terrorists the opportunity to enter our ports through who knows what other loophole deals are in the sales agreement.

Eventually, the owners from the United Arab Emirates and their family members and their bosses from Dubai will be wandering around our US neighborhoods, indeed, in my Logan Village neighborhood, in my home town. No doubt, this kind of access has already occurred.

It appears "patriotism" has a short memory when it comes to $600 billion dollars to own American ports.

Indeed, Baltimore is totally inside the bulls eye of any threat to Washington DC.

Of course, nobody wants to be an alarmist. It's difficult to think about. Nevertheless, I grew up with the sound of the air raid nuclear warning siren going off every single Monday at 1 PM, in Baltimore - it was a "test", only recently abandoned by the City of Baltimore, to warn people of an impending attack.

I'm not an alarmist but, believe me, this stuff is impossible to make up. I lived it.

Imagine just one port security breach resulting from the Dubai Deal - just one, happening in the Dundalk Port Authority.

Now, imagine Washington DC is only a 1 hour drive from my Logan Village hometown.

Finally, you can imagine how desperately I oppose the deal concocted by money hungry bureaucrats to sell access to American port operations to the United Arab Emirates or to the country of Dubai.