Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Corporate Control of Ports is the Problem

Another reason to contact your elected representative and voice your concerns of this issue.  plk
Corporate Control of Ports is the Problem

The problem with the Bush administration's support for a move by a United Arab Emirates-based firm to take over operation of six major American ports is not that the corporation in question is Arab owned.  It happens to be a corporation that is owned by the government of the United Arab Emirates, or UAE, a nation that served as an operational and financial base for the hijackers who carried out the attacks of 9-11 attacks, and that has stirred broad concern.

Ports are essential pieces of the infrastructure of the United States, and they are best run by public authorities that are accountable to elected officials and the people those officials represent.

While traditional port authorities still exist, they are increasing marginalized as privatization schemes have allowed corporations -- often with tough anti-union attitudes and even tougher bottom lines -- to take charge of more and more of the basic operations at the nation's ports.

Allowing the nation's working waterfronts to be run by private firms just doesn't work, as the failure to set up a solid security system for port security in the more than four years since the September 11, 2001 attacks well illustrates.

And shifting control of the ports of New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, New Orleans, Miami and Philadelphia from a British firm, Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co., to Dubai Ports World, is not going to improve the situation.

John Nichols, The Nation's Washington correspondent, has covered progressive politics and activism in the United States and abroad for more than a decade.

Nichols is the author of two books: It's the Media, Stupid and Jews for Buchanan.

Summarized by Copernic Summarizer


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