Introduction: This program analyzes the controversies surrounding the acquisition of an important seaport-management company by a Dubai firm and the publication by a Danish newspaper of cartoons portraying the Prophet Mohammed. (In Islam, it is sacrilegious to craft an image of the prophet Mohammed.) Both issues have focused attention on the question of real or alleged discrimination against Muslims. In fact, there is much more to the issues than has been popularly represented. Dubai (and the United Arab Emirates of which it is a part) have been profoundly associated with Osama bin Laden and his milieu, in addition to being the primary port of transit for the A.Q. Khan nuclear smuggling network. The fundamental issue in the Dubai Ports World controversy is one of national security versus the dictates of economic globalization. As was the case with the Axis powers of World War II, the very real malevolence of the Islamofascists toward the United States is viewed by the US corporate elite as secondary in importance to the economic ties between the Arab oil-producing nations and the American firms that benefit from contracts in this country and the Middle East.
The core issue in the Dubai ports controversy is similar to that in the Ptech investigation. The hunger on the part of the heavily-indebted US public and private sectors for investment by the petrodollar-gorged Arab economies has led to the formation of deadly relationships. Ptech is a software firm that developed the threat-assessment software architecture for the Air Force and Department of Defense. Ptech  is a company that, for all intents and purposes is run by the Muslim Brotherhood, al Qaeda and the people and institutions at the core of the Islamist financing apparatus. The anomalous performance of air-defense units on 9/11/2001 is almost certainly due to Ptech’s efforts. Nonetheless, because of the economic relationships between rich Arab oil producers and capital-hungry institutions in the U.S., the Ptech case and Operation Green Quest investigations have languished. The “Cartoongate” imbroglio has also been misrepresented. The available evidence suggests that elements associated with the Islamofascist Muslim Brotherhood deliberately distorted the issue in order to inflame Muslim public opinion. An important question is whether, perhaps, the incident was designed to further the Islamofascist agenda endorsed by the Muslim Brotherhood as outlined in FTR#537 .) It is noteworthy that European neo-fascist elements that exploited the Cartoongate controversy in order to exacerbate anti-Muslim xenophobia in Europe have maintained professional associations with the Islamofascist Muslim Brotherhood elements that have fanned the flames of opinion on the other side of the issue.
Program Highlights Include: The extraordinary secrecy surrounding the Dubai Ports World deal; Dubai’s support for the Taliban while they were sheltering Osama bin Laden; the UAE’s role in laundering money for the 9/11 attacks; Dubai’s central position in the smuggling of nuclear technology; connections between the leaders of the UAE and Osama bin Laden; the issue of the effect of the Dubai port controversy on global capital flows; Danish Muslim leader Abu-Laban’s probable membership in the Muslim Brotherhood; Abu-Laban’s distribution of deliberate lies about Denmark; Abu-Laban’s distribution of provocative cartoons of Muhammad that were not published in the Danish newspaper; the neo-Nazi Republican party’s exploitation of the Cartoongate controversy; the association between Republican party leader (and SS officer) Franz Schonhuber and Bank Al Taqwa director Achmed Huber; the links between Huber and Holocaust denier David Irving; neo-fascist and Islamofascist promotion of the “Fatherland” concept; an Iranian paper’s Holocaust denial cartoon contest.
1. In the controversy surrounding the Dubai Ports World acquisition of port managing company P&O, many have overlooked the fact that P&O is in charge of the containers that pass into the United States. Those containers would make an ideal shipping vehicle for the entry into the U.S. of a weapon of mass destruction. Although other aspects of seaport security would continue to be handled by U.S. institutions, only a very small percentage of containers entering into the United States are inspected. With the experience of Ptech behind us (see above), allowing a Dubai company to handle such a sensitive role is very unwise. As will be seen below, Dubai has been a less than reliable ally with regard to terrorism and related matters.
“ . . . P&O’s role is to manage dockside terminals, usually alongside rival operators such as Maersk. This gives the company control over the containers that pass through its facilities but all cargo is subject to security checks by the U.S. Coast Guard and Customs. . . .”
2. Exemplifying the conflict between the dictates of economic globalization and the need for security, the deal with Dubai Ports World would afford that company an extraordinary degree of secrecy and freedom from scrutiny by American officials.
“With the Bush administration, it’s important to have in mind the old carnival congame. Keep your eye on the shell with the pea under it. Among the many curious aspects of the administration’s approval of the Dubai Ports World takeover of operations at six major ports (and as many as 21) is this exemption from normally routine restrictions. The agreement does not require DP World to keep copies of its business records on U.S. soil, which would place them within the jurisdiction of American courts. Nor does it require the company to designate an American citizen to accommodate requests by the government. [Emphasis added.] So what’s that about? . . . .”
3. In addition to the extraordinary degree of secrecy afforded Dubai Ports World in the agreement, the actual negotiating process itself was conducted largely in secret. Again, the fundamental conflict between the need for national security and the dictates of economic globalization are at the core of the debate about Dubai Ports World.
“ . . . Most Americans had no idea that our government’s process of approving foreign takeovers of American companies through the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States was entirely secret. When Rep. John Sweeney, R‑N.Y., asked Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff about the Dubai Ports deal at a hearing on Feb. 15, Chertoff declined to answer because the committee’s work was ‘classified.’ Treasury Secretary John Snow told another congressional committee that he was not permitted to discuss specific transactions considered by the foreign investment panel. . . .”
4. Among the details that emerged in the controversy was the fact that the U.S. Coast Guard had profound reservations about the wisdom of the deal. There is abundant reason for that, as will be seen below.
“The U.S. Coast Guard, in charge of reviewing security at ports operated by a Dubai maritime company, warned the Bush administration it could not rule out that the company’s assets could be used for terrorist operations, according to a document released Monday by a Senate committee. Dubai Ports World plans to complete its takeover of London-based Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co. (P&O) on Thursday, assuming ownership of operations at six major U.S. ports even as it pledges to hold off on asserting control while the Bush administration reviews the national security implications of the deal. The White House has strongly argued that a preliminary review showed that the sale would pose no threat to national security.” House has strongly argued that a preliminary review showed that the sale would pose no threat to national security.”
5. The “gaps” the Coast Guard feared are noteworthy, in light of the Islamist relationship to elements of the Dubai power elite and the shipping secrecy with which Dubai prides itself.
“ . . . But in a Dec. 13 intelligence assessment of the company and its owners in the United Arab Emirates, the Coast Guard warned: ‘There are many intelligence gaps, concerning the potential for DPW or P&O assets to support terrorist operations, that preclude’ the completion of a thorough threat assessment of the merger. ‘The breadth of the intelligence gaps also infer potential unknown threats against a large number of potential vulnerabilities,’ says the document, released by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. . . .”
6. Next, the program sets forth the numerous reasons why the Dubai Ports World deal was a really, really BAD idea—a bad idea supported enthusiastically by George Bush. We should not fail to take note of the fact that Bush has numerous and profound connections to the world of big Arab capital. Dubai backed the Taliban while they were sheltering Osama bin Laden.
“ . . . Yeah, I know, to be the least bit queasy about turning over our ports to guys who supported the Taliban when that bunch of religious maniacs were harboring bin Laden is, as the Bush apologists tell us, just xenophobic. Dubai was not alone, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, did the same, and they are now trusted allies. These are crazy times, and there are some unnerving oddities in Bush’s foreign policy, but don’t worry. As soon as Hussein is tried and hanged, democracy will flower in the Arab world and the war on terrorism will be over. . . .”
7. Dubai was also a major transshipment point for Al Qaeda heroin shipments leaving Afghanistan. As we will see below, the stunningly loose regulations on the destinations of cargo going through Dubai ports facilitated this kind of illicit traffic.
“ . . . Cargo planes fly twice a week between the southern Afghan city of Kandahar and Dubai, one of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). According to the Boston Globe, 3/26/2001; these planes fly south with drugs. The Financial Times, 3/24/2001; reported a claim ‘that, at least up until six months ago, two flights a week were traveling from Dubai to Kandahar, Mr. bin Laden’s Afghan base, with boxes of dollar bills. . . .”
8. In addition to the fact that UAE leaders were associating with bin Laden as recently as 1999, that association appears to have played a role in frustrating a cruise missile strike against bin Laden.
“The United States raised concerns with the United Arab Emirates seven years ago about possible ties between officials in that country and Osama bin Laden, according to a section of the Sept. 11 commission’s report that details a possible missed opportunity to kill the al Qaeda leader. The commission’s report released last year also raised concerns UAE officials were directly associating with bin Laden as recently as 1999. The report states U.S. intelligence believed that bin Laden was visiting an area in the Afghan desert in February 1999 near a hunting camp used by UAE officials, and that the U.S. military planned a missile strike. Intelligence from local tribal sources indicated that ‘bin Laden regularly went from his adjacent camp to the larger camp where he visited the Emiratis,’ the report said.”
9. “The missile attack was never launched, and bin Laden moved on, the report said. A month later, top White House counterterrorism official Richard Clarke ‘called a UAE official to express his concerns about possible associations between Emirati officials and bin Laden,’ the report said. At a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday, Sen. Carl Levin, the ranking Democrat, asked Deputy Treasury Secretary Robert Kimmitt if he was aware of the 9/11 commission’s assertion that the United Arab Emirates represents ‘a persistent counterterrorism problem for the United States.’ Kimmitt replied that administration figures involved in the decision to approve the deal ‘looked very carefully’ at information from the intelligence community. ‘Just raise your hand if anybody talked to the 9/11 commission,’ Levin told the administration representatives at the witness table. Nobody raised a hand.”
10. Not only did some of the money laundered to finance the 9/11 attacks pass through Dubai, but that country was the conduit for much of the nuclear technology that was trafficked by the A.Q. Khan network.
“ . . . What kind of empire are we if we have to outsource our coastline to a group of sheiks who don’t recognize Israel, in a country where money was laundered for the 9/11 attacks? And that let A.Q. Khan, the Pakistani nuclear scientist, smuggle nuclear components through its port to Libya, North Korea and Iran? It’s mind-boggling that President Bush ever agreed to let an alliance of seven emirs be in charge of six of our ports. Although, as usual, Incurious George didn’t even know about it until after the fact. (Neither did Rummy, even though he heads one of the agencies that green-lighted the deal.) . . . .”
11. The laxity of the Dubai regulations on shipping and exporting are stunning! Bear in mind that the material shipped in this case was nuclear contraband!! (For more about the A.Q. Khan network, see—among other programs—FTR#395 , 450 , 524 .)
“. . . Why ship through Dubai? Because it may be the easiest place in the world to mask the real destination of cargo. Consider how the Malaysian government is making the case for the innocence of its manufacturing company. ‘No document was traced that proved’ the company ‘delivered or exported the said components to Libya,’ according to the country’s inspector general of police. The real destination, he said, ‘was outside the knowledge’ of the producer. One can be certain that if the Khan ring’s European suppliers are ever tracked down, they will offer a similar explanation. Dubai provides companies and governments a vital asset: automatic deniability. Its customs agency even brags that its policy on re-exporting ‘enables traders to transit their shipments through Dubai without any hassles.’ Next to Dubai’s main port is the Jebel Ali free trade zone, a haven for freewheeling international companies. . . .”
12. Addressing the core consideration with regard to the Dubai Ports World deal, Treasury Secretary John Snow noted the fact that the deal might very well hurt the US economy by slowing or interdicting the flow of recycled petrodollars back into the [otherwise bankrupt] US economy. As noted above, this critical aspect of economic globalization places the US between a rock and a hard place—between terror and economic destruction.
“A rejection by lawmakers of Dubai Ports World’s agreed acquisition of US container terminals would send a signal that foreign investments ‘from certain parts of the world aren’t welcome,’ John Snow, the Treasury secretary yesterday. . . .Washington insiders were left to guess yesterday whether the White House or some of the most prominent lawmakers in Congress, including top Republicans in the House and Senate, would be the first to compromise on the issue after President George W. Bush warned on Tuesday that he would veto any legislative effort to block the deal. In the meantime, DP World has been buying shares in P&O heavily this week as a show of confidence that the deal will not be derailed despite problems in Washington and the strong likelihood that the deal will face a series of local battles with port authorities. An agreement to complete the transaction is due to be approved by a London court on Monday. . . .”
(“Dubai Backlash ‘Will Deter Foreign Investors” by Stephanie Kirchgaessner, Holly Yeager and Robin Wright; The Financial Times; 2/23/2006; p. 4.)
13. Arabs have been rattling economic sabers over the rejection of the Dubai Ports World deal. In addition to the threat of reducing the reinvestment of petrodollars into the US economy, the Arabs have suggested that US business interests might not get contracts for the burgeoning infrastructure expansion being driven by the rise in oil prices.
“ . . . David Hamod, NUSACC’s president, said the DP World saga had intervened just as Arab interest in the US market was picking up again and students and businessmen, deterred by visa restrictions against Arab nationals after the 2001 attacks on Washington and New York, had begun returning in greater numbers. US companies in the region are also worried they may be penalized at a time that Arab states, flush with petrodollars, have initiated huge infrastructure projects. A group of US businesses from the Gulf took out an advertisement in the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call this week expressing solidarity with DP World. ‘My concern is that US companies may not be invited to bid or if they are invited they will be dealt with more skeptically than in the past,’ with Mr. Hamod. That concern seems to have some foundation, with government officials in the region indignant that DP World has been singled out for scrutiny because of its Arab origins. One senior official in Qatar, which like the UAE is a strong ally of the US, said the backlash in Congress’had raised a lot of questions.’ These include the possibility that American companies investing in the region might race the same kind of scrutiny as DP World in the US. Naguib Sawiris, chairman of Egypt’s telecoms multinational Orascom, said ‘This could hinder US firms who want to do acquisitions in the Middle East. You know, if you don’t allow us, we won’t allow you.’”
(“Ports Backlash Makes Arab Investors Wary” by William Wallis; The Financial Times; 3/2/2006; p. 6.)
14. One of the more disgustingly predictable derivatives of the Ports World scandal is the litany coming out of certain Arab circles that the rejection of the deal represents bigotry against Arabs. Not wanting to be killed does not represent bigotry! Those who resort to this shallow rhetorical gambit are overlooking the disturbing evidence about the Dubai/Islamist terror connection discussed above.
“The political furor over the Bush administration’s plan to have an Arab company take over operations in several U.S. ports has frustrated Arab and Muslim Americans, who fear the opposition is fueled by racism and bigotry. ‘We’re very concerned about the level of rhetoric and the way that there seems to be the assumption that because a company is Arab it can’t be trusted with our security,’ said Katherine Abbadi, head of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee of New York. . . .”
15. Making a transition to discussion of the controversy surrounding the publication of cartoons of the prophet Muhammad by a Danish newspaper, the broadcast cites a London Times editorial noting the politicization of Islam.
“It looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and flies like a duck. And yet it insists that it is not a duck. This is the image that comes to mind when watching those anti-cartoon marches in western capitals, including London, in the name of Islam. Isn’t Islam supposed to be a religion? Shouldn’t it be concerned with the broader issues of human existence rather than with a set of cartoons, a Dutch television documentary, the head-covers of French schoolgirls or a novel by a British-Indian author? Today the visible Islam, the loudest Islam, is a political movement masquerading as a religion. Many mosques in this country have been transformed into political clubs where Kashmir, Iraq and Palestine and ‘the misdeeds of Anglo-Saxon imperialism’ have replaced issues of religious faith as the principal theme. . . .”
16. A Wall Street Journal article sets forth the fundamentals of the “Cartoongate” scandal.
“ . . . The cartoon uproar has fed on wider racial and economic tension in Europe between Muslim immigrants and native citizens. Also at play is America’s policy of promoting democracy, which has helped unleash a struggle within the Arab world between largely secular regimes and increasingly powerful Islamist groups. In this volatile environment, a group of Danish Islamic clerics angered by the cartoons succeeded in enlisting help from Egypt’s secular government, which has been struggling to contain a potent Islamist opposition. Secular forces in the Arab world, eager to burnish their image as defenders of Islam, provided an important initial impetus for the protests, but now are scrambling to control the fury. From his office at the Islamic Faith Society in Copenhagen, Ahmed Abu-Laban, a fundamentalist Palestinian cleric, has been at the forefront of a campaign to force an apology from the paper. ‘This was the last drop in a cup of resentment, disappointment and exploitation,’ he says.”
(“How Muslim Clerics Stirred Arab World Against Denmark” by Andrew Higgins; The Wall Street Journal; 2/7/2006; p. A1.)
17. “Jyllands-Posten, a center-right newspaper, first waded into these treacherous waters last fall. Mr. Rose, alarmed by what he considered a rise in self-censorship relating to Islamic issues, invited Danish cartoonists to ‘draw Muhammad the way that they see him.’ Twelve submitted drawings. One mocked a far-right Danish leader, putting her in a police line-up with a turban, and another ridiculed Mr. Rose and his newspaper, labeling it a ‘reactionary provocateur.’ Others, though, poked fun at Islam. One depicted Muhammad in a turban shaped like a bomb. Another showed a turbaned figure in heaven telling ascending suicide bombers to stop because ‘we’ve run out of virgins,’ a reference to a reward said to await Islamic martyrs. The cartoons were published Sept. 30, which Mr. Rose and his colleagues were unaware coincided with the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Soon after the angry newspaper vendor called, a second-generation immigrant phoned the paper to make threats against the cartoonists. The caller, who was quickly found by police, turned out to be mentally ill. After a few days, Mr. Rose though the worst was over. Then clerics in Copenhagen and elsewhere used their sermons to denounce the paper. Ambassadors from Egypt, Saudi Arabia and nine other Islamic countries requested a meeting with Denmark’s center-right prime minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen. Mr. Rasmussen declined, saying the state had no right to interfere with the country’s free press. Angry local Muslim leaders organized rallies demanding an apology. The paper refused. . . .”
18. A brief biographical sketch of Mr. Abu-Laban suggests the distinct possibility that he is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. Note that he invited Sheikh Rahman to speak at an event in Denmark, placing Abu Laban in the Al Qaeda milieu.
“ . . . Mr. Abu-Laban, who grew up in Egypt and was arrested there in the early 1980’s after being expelled from the United Arab Emirates for his preaching, took charge of writing statements for the group and communicating with Muslim ambassadors. He denies holding extremist views, but acknowledges hosting visits to Denmark by Omar Abdel Rahman, before his arrest in New York, where the blind sheik now is serving a life sentence in connection with the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. [Emphasis added.]. . .”
19. A critical detail of “Cartoongate” concerns the fact that the cartoons and text circulated in the [largely illiterate] Muslim World were inaccurate. Many of the cartoons of Muhammad were deliberately insulting and provocative and were NOT published in Mr. Rose’s paper. Some of the cartoons may have been sent by white supremacists and neo-Nazis to deliberately inflame tensions. As will be seen below, there are operational links between elements of the Muslim Brotherhood and European Nazi and fascist elements.
“ . . . From several sources, we now know that word of the cartoons was then carried systematically through the Muslim world—to principal mosques, madrassahs, and government offices starting in Egypt. This was done by delegations sent by Ahmed Abu-Laban, the Saudi-supported Imam of Copenhagen. And in addition to the dozen cartoons that had actually appeared in that obscure provincial newspaper—most fairly innocent, and one actually satirizing opposition to Islam—the delegations’ ‘media kits’ included as many as 30 graphics that had never appeared, and by their nature would never appear, in a Western mainstream newspaper. For instance, a photo of a man dressed as a pig, over the caption, ‘This is the real Mohammad.’ The fake pictures not only outnumbered the real ones, they were much nastier. Many were in the style of anti-Semitic cartoons that appear frequently in Arab papers, but turned around to target Muslims instead of Jews. And the covering letter, which I have read in translation, was full of outrageous lies about events in Denmark, and misrepresentations of what had been said by Danish journalists and politicians. [Emphasis added.]”
20. “It is this document, and not any copy of Jyllands-Posten from Sept. 30th 2005, that is at the root of the Muslim riots, the Saudi-sponsored p[an-Arab boycott of Danish goods, and various fatwas and other acts that put Danes and other Europeans, who had never previously hears of Jyllands-Posten, in peril for their lives. . . .”
21. “ . . . For the whole point of this exercise is to enhance the power and prestige of radical Islam, over the great number of Muslims who have not been looking for trouble. Simply by recognizing the least reasonable Muslim voices as the legitimate representatives of Islam, terrible damage is done to moderate interests. It is utterly wrong to appease an Abu-Laban. Here is a man who gave an interview on Danish television, pretending great distress, and condemning the excesses of the international campaign against Danish persons, property, and products. But he also gave an interview to Al-Jazeera, in Arabic, cheerfully congratulating the world’s Muslims on putting a scare into the Danes, and gloating over the success of the boycott. Alas for him, the Danish television network, DR, has now shown excerpts from the Al-Jazeera interview, translated into Danish. This has to be spelled out very plainly to people in the West who don’t get it, including ignorant scribes in the U.S. State Department, the British Foreign Office, and the Vatican, who have added their official voices in condemnation of those irrelevant Danish cartoons. Every time we refuse a radical Muslim demand, by sticking to our sound Western principles, we strengthen reasonable Muslims against the fanatics. Every time we relent, we strengthen the fanatics.”
22. A very sage observation indeed was made by a Pakistani man—the father of an op-ed columnist in The New York Times. The extremists on both sides of the Muhammad cartoons issue should not be seen as constituting the primary element of their respective social groups. As we will see, the two extremes are working together!
“ . . . ‘Listen,’ said my father. ‘The most important thing here is not to confuse a group within an entity for the entity itself. Europeans, Muslims, European Muslims—most people just want to live in peace. For us to start believing Europe is represented by its right-wing fanatics would be as wrong as for them to believe Islam is represented by our right-wing fanatics.’ . . .”
23. The German Republikaner Partei, headed up by SS officer Franz Schonhuber, exploited the Cartoongate affair to promote racism and xenophobia.
“ . . . Highlighting the risk of escalation, the German extreme-right Republican Party said in a statement yesterday that the outrage marked ‘the beginning of open war between cultures in Europe,’ adding: ‘the door is now open for blackmail by the Mohammedans.’ . . .”
24. Next, the program revisits a point of information discussed in—among other programs—FTRs 378 , 456 . In the spring of 2002, bank Al Taqwa director (“Report on Islamists, The Far Right, and Al Taqwa” by Kevin Coogan; pp. 14–15.) 
25. Interestingly, Huber maintains close relations with Holocaust deniers like David Irving, recently convicted of Holocaust denial in Europe.
“ . . . In Germany, he [Huber] speaks often at events hosted by the neo-Nazi National Democratic Party, which publicly welcomed the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Huber also befriended British author David Irving and other Holocaust deniers while frequenting ‘Revisionist’ conclaves. . . .”
26. A telling outgrowth of the Cartoongate affair was an Iranian newspaper’s sponsorship of a cartoon contest lampooning the Holocaust. That this would be seen as an appropriate response to the publication of images of Mohammed is significant. With the Iranian president himself having called the Holocaust a myth, the Iranian response is strongly suggestive of the notion that Jews dominate and secretly run Western society. This belief is very widespread in the Muslim world. In this context, one should also note that Huber is very close to the Iranian regime.
“An Iranian newspaper’s contest for Holocaust-related cartoons has drawn entries from 200 people, with some drawings mocking the World War II slaughter: One entry shows Jews going into a gas pipeline. Most contest entrants are Iranian, but six are Americans and a few cartoons have been submitted from such places as Indonesia and Brazil, according to the Hamshahri newspaper. A few of the drawings have been posted online. Hamshahri began the contest last month as a test of the West’s readiness to print cartoons about the Nazi killing of 6 million Jews in World War II. The contest, which runs through May 15, comes in response to caricatures of the prophet Muhammad that sparked protests across much of the Muslim world. . . .”