Dec 23, 2008 9:39 am


Michael Ledeen actually has a sensible solution.

Ganesh brought to my attention the availability of the South Asia Analysis Group report on the yet to be discussed security concerns related to DPW's take over of US ports. It is a must read. These points should put to rest the notion that the opposition is based on ignorance or that Dubai has been a model citizen since 2001:

Dubai is an important hub of hawala money transactions in the Gulf area. The informal money transfers through the hawala method without leaving any paper trail are used by heroin smugglers and other international criminal mafia groups for money-laundering and terrorist groups for funding their operations.

Dubai has always been a safe haven for the trans-national criminal mafia gangs of South Asia, which invest their ill-gotten wealth in the real estate and other business activities in the UAE. For many years, the trans-national criminal gang of Dawood Ibrahim used to operate from Dubai, without the UAE authorities taking any action against him and his gang members.

. . . In October 2003, the US Treasury designated Dawood Ibrahim as an international terrorist following evidence of his links with Al Qaeda, but even then no action has been taken against him and his business empire in the UAE and Pakistan by either the UAE or Pakistan.

In December 1999, some Pakistani terrorists belonging to the HUM hijacked an aircraft of the Indian Airlines and took it to Dubai. Instead of terminating the hijacking, arresting the hijackers and handing them over to India, the UAE authorities allowed the aircraft to fly to Kandahar, the then headquarters of the Taliban and Al Qaeda. During the negotiations conducted from Kandahar, the hijackers forced the Government of India to release Omar Sheikh, who subsequently masterminded the kidnapping and murder of Daniel Pearl, the US journalist, and Maulana Masood Azhar, who subsequently formed the Jaish-e-Mohammad, which has joined the IIF.

In December 2001, a group of terrorists attacked the security guards posted outside the US Consulate in Kolkata. After the commission of the offence, the leader of this group fled to Dubai, where he was arrested by the local authorities and handed over to the Indian Police. During the investigation, it came out that in the past he had been frequently traveling to Pakistan via Dubai for meeting officials of the ISI and terrorist leaders based in Pakistan.

In August 2004, Qari Saifullah Akhtar, the Amir of the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI), one of the members of bin Laden's IIF, was found to be operating from Dubai. He was arrested by the UAE authorities and handed over to the Pakistani police. He was a close adviser to Mulla Mohammad Omar, the Amir of the Taliban. Before 9/11, the HUJI was running a number of training camps in Pakistan and Afghanistan for training terrorists from India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, southern Thailand, the Central Asian Republics, the Xinjiang region of China and Chechnya in Russia.

The Lashkar-e-Toiba of Pakistan has active branches in the UAE and Saudi Arabia for co-ordinating its activities in India, South-East Asia and Australia and for transmitting money through the hawala channel.

Mr. Raman (Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai) ends the report with these most pertinent questions:

There is so far no evidence to suspect that the DPW may have links with criminal and terrorist elements. Presumably, for its commercial operations in the US ports, it would be deputing staff recruited in the UAE, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and other countries. In view of the past tainted record of the intelligence and security agencies of the UAE, would the US authorities like to depend on their security vetting to prevent the penetration of its staff deployed in the US by Al Qaeda and the IIF? If not, would it be feasible for the American authorities to impose a condition that all the staff of the DPW deployed on its US operations would be recruited only in the US after security vetting by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)?

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