9/11 families blast proposed port sale to Dubai company as "betrayal"

NEW YORK - Charging the White House with rewarding a country that was a focal point in planning and financing the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the 9/11 Families United to Bankrupt Terrorism blasted the administration's decision to allow Dubai Ports World to operate commercial port operations in Baltimore, Miami, New Jersey, New Orleans, New York and Philadelphia.

"The United Arab Emirates provided two of the 9/11 hijackers and much of the money that paid for the murder of our loved ones," said Elizabeth and Stephen Alderman, parents of Peter Alderman who died at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. "It is a betrayal of their memories for the administration to permit America's ports to be operated by a UAE state-owned corporation."

"The owners of Dubai Ports World did not prevent Dubai from being a conduit for the flow of people and money in the 9/11 conspiracy," said Bill Doyle, father of Joseph Doyle who died at the World Trade Center. "How can anyone trust them to prevent terrorists from using our ports to smuggle weapons of mass destruction into the U.S.?"

"The United Arab Emirates' support of al Qaeda is no accident," said Joan Molinaro, mother of Carl Molinaro, a New York City firefighter who died at the World Trade Center. "It was one of only three countries to recognize the Taliban. And it was a conduit for the illegal shipment of materials to Iran's and North Korea's nuclear weapons programs. This is a rogue state, not an ally."

Doyle charged the administration with a conflict of interest in supporting the deal, noting that the White House's nominee for administrator of the U.S. Maritime Commission is David Sanborn, a top executive of Dubai Ports World. "Cronyism in the war on terror is no better than surrender," he said.

"The 9/11 Families urge Congress in the strongest possible terms to immediately pass legislation blocking this dangerous port deal and to override any veto by President Bush," the Aldermans said.

In charging that Dubai Ports World should not be permitted to operate the six ports, the 9/11 Family members noted that the U.S. government's indictment of Zacarias Moussaoui cited more than a dozen wire transfers between UAE banks and 9/11 hijackers and conspirators. They also cited the following excerpts from the 9/11 Commission's report:

  • From 1999 through early 2001, the United States pressed the United Arab Emirates, one of the Taliban's only travel and financial outlets to the outside world, to break off ties and enforce sanctions, especially those related to air travel to Afghanistan. These efforts achieved little before 9/11. [Emphasis added.]
  • From Pakistan, the operatives transited through the UAE en route to the United States. In the Emirates they were assisted primarily by al Qaeda operatives Ali Abdul Aziz Ali and Mustafa al Hawsawi. Ali apparently assisted nine future hijackers between April and June 2001 as they came through Dubai. He helped them with plane tickets, traveler's checks, and hotel reservations; he also taught them about everyday aspects of life in the West, such as purchasing clothes and ordering food. Dubai, a modern city with easy access to a major airport, travel agencies, hotels, and Western commercial establishments, was an ideal transit point. [Emphasis added.]

The 9/11 Families United to Bankrupt Terrorism represents 6,161 survivors and family members of those who died in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The 9/11 Families are seeking to hold al Qaeda's financiers accountable for their central role in these atrocities and to make America safer by cutting off the financial pipeline fueling global terrorism.