All? Or Nothing!

In our October 22nd commentary we dealt with the questionable inspection methods of imported containers and the conflicting positions held by Senator Kerry and Mr. Bonner, the U.S. Customs and Border Commissioner. Diplomatic double-talk led to a standoff, but we made our feelings known with the following parenthetical statement:

(For any policymaker to give knowingly a false sense of security to the people in this country would be nothing short of criminal.)

Without a doubt, these words brought nods of agreement from our readers, and without a doubt, the thought was quickly dismissed. There was no need to worry after all because the word we heard from those in the know assured us that all necessary steps have been taken to provide the security promised. Baloney. Read the following article appearing in the “Long Beach Press Telegram”.

“By Associated Press

“Sunday, January 16, 2005 – LOS ANGELES — Thirty-two Chinese immigrants were found inside two cargo containers aboard a ship arriving from Hong Kong, authorities said.

“They were discovered Saturday night when a crane operator at the Port of Los Angeles saw three men climbing out of a container, said Lt. Titus Smith of the Los Angeles Port Police.

“The suspected illegal immigrants, including 28 men and four male teenagers, were being questioned by federal authorities, said Virginia Kice, spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. All appeared to be in good health after the 10-day journey.

“The 40-foot containers had little more than food, water, sleeping bags and battery-powered fans and arrived aboard the Panamanian-flagged NYK Athena. Authorities don’t believe the ship’s crew knew about the stowaways.”

Now go back to our October 22nd commentary, if you will, and read the assurances we were given about the sure-fire inspection operations that were supposedly put in place overseas. It’s simply a fantasy. There’s no such system in place. Well, if satisfactory security cannot be made available in foreign ports, ( and there are a few dozen reasons why security measures on our behalf will never be reliable), and if space and time constraints allow U.S. terminals to inspect only 4%, or so, of all incoming containers … then isn’t it fair to say that a policymaker at one level or another has decided to “give knowingly a false sense of security to the people in this country”? And when you nodded your head in agreement three months ago, didn’t you also agree that such duplicity would be “nothing short of criminal”?

Somebody owes us an explanation. An honest one.

Here are some questions that must be considered:

What if the crane operator had been looking the other way and didn’t see the three men?
What if those three men had decided to lay low a little while longer?
How many other 40-footers pass “under the radar” in our hit-and-miss random inspection system?
If unsophisticated “illegals” are getting through the inspection system, as this group did, how much easier is it for sophisticated “terrorists” to circumvent our half-baked inspection systems?
Do you suppose these terrorist-types would limit their carry-on luggage to “food, water, sleeping bags and battery-operated fans”?

And the $ 64,000 question is, “Will we sit on our hands until another 9-11 awakens us?”

If you haven’t yet read Dr. Stephen Flynn’s book, “America The Vulnerable”, do yourself a favor. Read the book. Dr. Flynn makes it clear that:
• Foreign-based inspectors are not being adequately trained by Customs personnel.
• Foreign-based inspectors can inspect “only the tiniest of percentages of containers”.
• The government is fighting terrorism overseas while refusing to provide adequate protection to the vulnerable superstructure at home.
• Instead of providing a general report of our vulnerabilities, the government refuses to be candid with its citizens.
• The many millions of containers that arrive in U.S. ports each year pose the greatest vulnerability, but not enough is being done to respond to the terrorist threats in this sector.

Mr. Jay B. Grant backs up Dr. Flynn as follows:
• He called homeland security a “band-aid approach”.
• He cited the failure of Congress and the administration to make the kind of effort that is needed to protect our ports.
• He said that Washington may have overreacted on aviation security funding, and that, “Spending billions of dollars on programs making all airline passengers remove their shoes at airports … does not add any real value to fighting terrorism.”

On at least a dozen occasions in this website we’ve described the scanning/inspection aspects of our patented storage, retrieval and delivery system. Time and space constraints in conventionally-structured terminals place unacceptable limitations on scanning/inspection equipment and allow no more than an estimated 4% of incoming containers to be examined. Our patented facility guarantees that 100% of all containers will be scanned/inspected prior to being stored in designated and preprogrammed slots.

Under no circumstances could “illegals”, or “terrorists”, or contraband escape detection when our system is in place. It couldn’t happen. And because we cannot rely on foreign nationals in overseas ports for our security because of their laxity, or unconcern, or even preconceived notions toward us, we must assume for our own safety that the measure of success at those detection points is something in the 0% range. The Los Angeles stowaways justify that assumption. In contrast to that, the measure of success in our patented facility will always be 100%.