Thursday, February 23, 2006

Another view.. regarding the "Port situation"...

From a correspondent who is in the know:

I did not say that I did not have reservations with a UAE corporation owning a portion of a number of US ports. I do. However, we must look at why the anticipation. Are we simply racist in our hesitation because of the ancestral herritaige of our enemy? The UAE has been a staunch ally in the GWOT. They have consistently provided vital information regarding terrorist activities worldwide, have actively sought out and exterminated terrorists on their soil, and have paid the price with their own blood. They serve with me here in Afghanistan as a Coalition Partner. That's just the stuff the media reports. Much of the intel provided by our allys cannot be reported for OPSEC reasons.

The UAE will not have "total control". U.S. Customs Service Security Authorities, U.S. Coast Guard Security Authorities, and the relevent Port Authorities will not relinquish their control to anyone. The idea of that is just absurd.

BTW:Federal law authorizes the Coast Guard to board any vessel subject to the jurisdiction, or operation of any law, of the United States in order to make inquiries, examinations, inspections, searches, seizures, and arrests for the violations of U.S. laws. The Coast Guard may order and force any vessel to stop and may engage in land, water, and air patrols. Federal law also authorizes the Coast Guard to control the anchorage and movement of vessels in the navigable waters of the U.S.

The Coast Guard regulates the handling of dangerous cargo at all waterfront facilities, the use of dangerous cargos on inspected vessels, and the carriage of cargoes by vessels. The Secretary of Treasury, at the request of the Secretary of Transportation, may refuse or revoke the clearance to enter any port of the United States when it is believed a vessel carrying dangerous cargo or other hazardous materials has violated U.S. law. Vessels carrying dangerous cargoes are built and inspected to Coast Guard standards. Coast Guard marine inspectors conduct annual inspections to ensure these vessels meet and maintain these standards and make unannounced boardings to monitor transfers of dangerous cargos.

Further, the Customs Service physically inspects, not five, but only two percent of imported, and one percent of exported cargo. However, the majority of containers selected for inspection are not randomly chosen. The Customs Service uses information from a database on shipping and trade activities called the Automatic Manifest System (AMS). Using a targeting system that operates within AMS, the Customs Service is able to pick out cargo manifests that appear unusual, suspect, or high-risk, for further evaluation.

This person has been involved with security issues for some time now, and I consider him a most credible source on the matter...

(Filed under war on terror)