WORSE THAN 9/11? YOU BET! YOU SHOULD BE FRIGHTENED!
The attacks of September 11, 2001 killed 3000 people, shut down the airline system and the securities markets for a week, and made traveling on an airplane go from a Greyhound bus experience to something akin to being processed for admittance to a concentration camp.
So, short of Russia or Iran nuking us, what could possibly be worse?
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is currently ignoring a law passed by Congress in 2007 which was to be implemented by July 1, 2012. This negligent inaction is exposing us to something which would make 9/11 seem like someone threw a cherry bomb at the family picnic.
How bad could it be?
For starters, loss of life in the tens of thousands and loss of property in the billions.
The property can eventually be replaced, the lives obviously can’t. But what I’m talking about would permanently affect our lives going forward by causing a global economic depression which could take us back to the bread lines of the 1930’s.
Many Americans are not aware of something called the Global Supply Chain. We take for granted the constant availability of the products and food delivered to our stores and our homes. Many of these goods come from abroad. Likewise, those of us who work for companies, large and small, take for granted the ability to ship our products to markets abroad therefore assuring our jobs with those companies.
Most of the flow of these goods comes in and out of our container ship ports. In fact, almost 15 million containers come through our ports each year.
What’s inside these containers? Everything from hair dryers to Doritos.
At least, that’s what we hope is inside.
But do we really know? Heck, no.
How could we? Only one half of one per cent of these containers are inspected!
Now, back to that 2007 law. It stipulated that by July 1, 2012 every single container entering our country shall be inspected. Inspected means scanned.
Scanned for what?
Oh, how about nuclear bombs, dirty bombs, weapons of mass destruction? Stuff like that. It doesn’t even have to be that fancy. Enough conventional explosives near the fuel tanks of a container ship would get the job done nicely.
Each container is a potential Trojan Horse!
So how does blowing up a few ships and sending a few million Doritos to the harbor bottom cause so much trouble?
Well, if you want some details on this, read my novel, Catch a Falling Knife, which dramatizes this issue. I did a lot of research but my book presents just enough detail to acquaint you with the problem. (Beyond that, it’s a fast moving, entertaining thriller).
Just think about 9/11. The country basically shut down for a week. No planes flying, no markets open, couldn’t find a rental car.
This was despite the fact that 100% of travelers were being scanned for weapons on 9/11. Think of the impact if only a half of one per cent (like shipping containers now) were being scanned then and we’d had to go from there to 100%! Air travel? You could have forgotten it for months, maybe longer.
After 9/11, things got back to normal fairly quickly but that would not be the case if one of our ports went down. Instead, the government would have to do what they’ve had five years to do and haven’t: begin inspecting every single container.
If one of our ports gets hit, no U.S. (or other first world) port would unload freight that has not been scanned. The Brookings Institute estimates the economic impact in the trillions. Others see a resulting global economic depression worse than the 1930’s.
We know what this is like: The 2002 Port of Los Angeles lockout caused economic losses of $1 billion per day. And that’s just one port which does not include its sister port of Long Beach.
To imagine what it would be like, just consider the way the Transportation Security Administration conducts itself at our airports. Simply think of how many million fingernail clippers have been confiscated, how many water bottles have been thrown away, how many grandmothers in wheel chairs have been strip searched.
Congress, municipalities, and shipping labor would rightfully insist that 100% of containers be scanned ahead of arrival in U. S. ports (in other words, finally comply with the law of the land). Since no preparations for such an event have been made, chaos would result and throughput at ports worldwide would slow to a crawl. Ships would be lined up at sea, waiting to be unloaded. The flow of goods would become a trickle. Shortages of almost everything would occur, causing retailers like Wal Mart with just-in-time inventory systems to quickly run completely out of merchandise!
The estimates of economic loss in the trillions are almost academic. Why? Because the economic impact would cause a life-changing, worldwide depression, a return to bread lines, and probably civil unrest right here in America on a level exceeding Greece or even the Middle East.
Folks, it could come down to who has the most ammo gets food to eat and survives. A shuddering thought to be sure.
So why is the government dragging its feet? Why is Department of Homeland Security saying 100% scanning can’t implemented “at this time” because that, in itself, would degrade the throughput of our ports?
Well, if you can figure out why our government does some of the things it does, then you should be writing books, not me.
I can tell you that the DHS argument does not hold water. Why? Because there is technology available which will allow immediate inspection of 100% of all containers without slowing anything down! It’s a new scanner which is imbedded in, and integral to the cranes which unload containers.
Like many inventions, you may wonder why you didn’t think of it. Here’s what the company that developed it figured: Since 100% of shipping containers are unloaded with cranes, why not put the radiation detector on a part of the crane known as the spreader bar that lifts every container?
That’s what they did, and it works. It’s supported by Congress, U. S. Customs, and the shipping industry. Check their technology out, if you like: www.veritainer.com. And, of course, if you haven’t read my novel which dramatizes this problem, check it out too at www.frankfoster.com.
So why is DHS ignoring this new technology and putting our safety and way of life in jeopardy?
That question, my friends, is one I hope you will ask your representatives in Congress.
You might immediately assume that my goal here is sell as many books as possible. Sure, I want to sell books, but mainly I’m frightened by this exposure our country has.
So are at least some of our Members of Congress. You can confirm this by checking out this New York Times column by some Democratic congressmen criticizing their own administration: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/27/opinion/the-dangerous-delay-on-port-security.html?_r=0
My own congressman, Dennis Ross of Florida is concerned, too. www.dennisross.house.gov.
The Washington Post recognizes the problem: Check out their story:
The prime minister of Israel is worried about it, too. He talks about it on page 8 of his recent speech to the United Nations:
And my publisher in New York, which also owns a film company, plans a short documentary film on this topic to raise awareness. (I think they’re frightened, too).
So, what do I want you to do after you read this post?
First, forward it to everybody you know.
Next, call or write your member of Congress and your Senator and demand that our government enforce the law it passed! Tell them we’re exposed, that you are frightened, and that you demand action!
And finally, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this critically important topic.
Blessings to you all.