Tuesday, February 28, 2006

More! Ports!

Probably the most persuasive explanation yet for why the US shouldn't sell its ports to the UAE-owned Dubai Ports World, courtesy of Daily Kos. It's the idea that access to shipping manifests constitutes useful terrorist intelligence. Which could be true, although I'm vaguely sure that toxic chemicals are usually handled at separate facilities. The nub of the agreement is here:

Would that kind of precise marine intel be easier to come across if your pals in the UAE or Saudi Arabia or Egypt happened to be managing the shipping traffic? Might it be easier to find some mid-level shipping clerk to bribe or persuade in the local area into handing over info, as opposed to port personnel speaking another language on the other side of the world?

Which assumes that these manifests would be held, at least at a time when they could be exploited, by head office in Dubai. Which we don't know. Moreover, it still constitutes a Victor Kiam theory of global terrorism - "I liked the small bit of actionable intelligence so much I bought the company."

Blackmail, bribery, or extortion are still cheaper and quicker ways to achieve this. Look at the spate of UK bank raids. These were achieved through the old-fashioned means of taking people hostage. Terrorists have hostage-taking down pat. Operating ports? Not so much.

Still equal opportunity blog-poking is paramount. Check out this weird threat-like, but also world-weary judgment-like sentence from the Insta-Sith-Lord:

I'm afraid that it's going to come to open military action against Iran, sooner rather than later.

Yeah, Mullahs, you 'eard.


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