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Late change at the top

Peter van Dyk | 20:27 UK time, Thursday, 9 March 2006

When reports started coming in from Iraq that the American military should be ready to begin moving detainees from the notorious Abu Ghraib prison within three months we made a late decision to start the programme with reaction from Iraq.

After that it was back to the plan: We discussed the takeover of six US ports by Dubai Ports World (DPW) but for many of our listeners around the world we may have got a bit up close to American politics, but hopefully you stayed with us.

We were joined by Dennis Lormel - the former head of the terror financing unit at the Federal Bureau of Investigation and now senior vice-president at Corporate Risk International, a security consultancy - and Dr James Zogby - founder and president of the Arab American Institute.

To finish we looked at attitudes to the communist era in Eastern Europe. Soviet journalist Vladimir Pozner, who now works on Channel 1 TV in Russia, joined us from our Berlin studio.

Also on the line was Ivan Krastev, director of the Open Society Research Centre in Hungary, and Blasco Gabric, who owns the Yugoland theme park north of the Serbian capital, Belgrade.

There was a lot of understanding for those East Europeans who miss the security of the past. As a 76-year-old man told our reporter in Hungary: "In those days, there was peace and quiet. Everyone had work. Now, nothing is certain."

But Martin, a Bulgarian living in Atlanta, Georgia, called to point out that people tend to remember the good and forget the bad.

What do you think?

When reports started coming in from Iraq that the American military should be ready to begin moving detainees from the notorious Abu Ghraib prison within three months we made a late decision to start the programme with reaction from Iraq.


The phone lines made it tough to hear our callers but Majid in Basrah, and Dr Akif Khalil in Baghdad they welcomed the news. Another caller from Baghdad, Mayada, doubted that it would do anything to restore faith in the American forces.


Port politics


For many of our listeners around the world we got a bit up close to American politics while discussing the takeover of six US ports by Dubai Ports World (DPW), but hopefully you stayed with us.


We were joined by Dennis Lormel - the former head of the terror financing unit at the Federal Bureau of Investigation and now senior vice-president at Corporate Risk International, a security consultancy - and Dr James Zogby - founder and president of the Arab American Institute.

The dispute seems to have reached some sort of resolution now, but here are some of your thoughts that came in by email or text message during the programme:




    I do not understand the problem with DPW taking over the running of the American Ports. Surely the security is the responsibility of the American Security Authorities. It is clearly posturing due to forth coming elections.
    David, Dubai


    America is blessed to have the leading role in democracy but it must remember - to allow the number one enemy, the Middle East, to control its borders is a great danger to many innocent souls out there.
    Sembatya Junior in Kampala, Uganda

    This is absolutely a case of xenophobia. No one was raising a stink when the British were running the Port security. The real debate should be about the assignment of contracts to transnational companies of whatever extraction at a time when we should be thinking about generating jobs here in the US. Furthermore, the privatization of public services needs to be considered because yes, when private corporations are in charge, their profit margin is always the bottom line, not safety or good service.
    Holly, Michigan


    I don't often agree with the position of someone that describes himself as a "diaper Democrat". I tend to lean towards the Republican platform. However, in the case of the Dubai agreement, I think your guest is on target. The brouhaha on this issue is caused by the Bush Administration's tendency towards secrecy. Had it been presented in a different light it would never had carried this much interest for so many weeks.
    Ken - Memphis, TN, USA


    Dubai seems to be a country club for the world's rich. No wonder the US elite support it.
    Anonymous in the US


    I have worked with Arabs, but it is very hard to trust them. At the end, the US will face the consequences.
    From Israel, a Ugandan in Iraq

Thanks to all of you who wrote in - there are more comments here.

Remember the Reds

To finish we looked at attitudes to the communist era in Eastern Europe. Soviet journalist Vladimir Pozner, who now works on Channel 1 TV in Russia, joined us from our Berlin studio.

Also on the line was Ivan Krastev, director of the Open Society Research Centre in Hungary, and Blasco Gabric, who owns the Yugoland theme park north of the Serbian capital, Belgrade.

There was a lot of understanding for those East Europeans who miss the security of the past. As a 76-year-old man told our reporter in Hungary: "In those days, there was peace and quiet. Everyone had work. Now, nothing is certain."

But Martin, a Bulgarian living in Atlanta, Georgia, called to point out that people tend to remember the good and forget the bad.

What do you think? Send us an email, fill out the form below or join the debate online.

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