Scanning The Horizon

On October 3rd, Wayne Parry had an article in “phillyBurbs”. “Foreign nuke scans could speed cargo through U.S. ports” was the title of the piece. It’s about another pilot program (another!), still in the planning stages, that could eventually “green-lane” selected cargo containers in foreign ports so that they won’t have to be screened a second time when they arrive in U.S. ports.

Think about that for a minute. We just passed the fifth anniversary of 9/11, but we’re still trying out “pilot programs”. U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff revealed the new initiative during a visit to Port Elizabeth late in September.

“This is going to be new,” he said. “Where we’re headed is to do as much of the scanning and screening and inspection overseas as we can do, so we can check containers before they even arrive on our shores.”

Modeled on a pilot program begun in Hong Kong last spring, the new initiative is designed to prevent a radiation threat from even making it onto a U.S.-bound ship. Chertoff said he traveled to Hong Kong earlier this year to learn more about the program.

“We thought, ‘This looks promising,’” he said. “We have the technologies available and we’re now working with shippers and companies and foreign ports to come up with a list of ports (where) we can start to deploy this as soon as possible.

“It may not be suitable for every foreign port, but it’s certainly something we can deploy. It’s going to create another layer of security,” Chertoff said.

Are you thinking about all this? Are you asking yourself:

• What is taking them so long to provide the security we’ve been promised? World War II was brought to a successful conclusion in less than 4 years.

• Why are they so dead-set against scanning 100% of all incoming containers … yet so adamant about scanning (and patting down) 100% of all U.S. airline passengers? Are we the ones who blew up the WTC?

• Why are we relying on foreign nationals for “pilot programs”? Aren’t they the ones who resent our way of life, etc., etc., etc.?

• Who decides which containers are to be “green-laned”? Is it possible that “terrorists” could purchase this information from disgruntled foreign workers?

• Is it possible that Paul Harris was trying to tell us something in his September 10th article appearing in “Guardian Unlimited”? [Look it up. Read it. And weep.]