informationliberation
The news you're not supposed to know...




An Introduction to Austrian Economics: Understand Economics, Understand Everything
The Century of the Self: The Untold History of Controlling the Masses Through the Manipulation of Unconscious Desires
The Disappearing Male: From Virility to Sterility

The Obama Deception: The Mask Comes Off
Operation Gladio: The Hidden History of U.S. Sponsored False Flag Terrorism in EuropeThe New American Century: The Untold History of The Project for the New American Century
(more)
Article posted Mar 24 2006, 2:56 PM Category: Politics/Corruption Source: AP Print

U.S. Hiring Hong Kong Co. to Scan Nukes: ''Li Ka-Shing is pretty close to a lot of senior leaders of the Chinese government and the Chinese Communist Party''

By TED BRIDIS and JOHN SOLOMON, Associated Press Writers

WASHINGTON - In the aftermath of the Dubai ports dispute, the Bush administration is hiring a Hong Kong conglomerate to help detect nuclear materials inside cargo passing through the Bahamas to the United States and elsewhere.

The administration acknowledges the no-bid contract with Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. represents the first time a foreign company will be involved in running a sophisticated U.S. radiation detector at an overseas port without American customs agents present.

Freeport in the Bahamas is 65 miles from the U.S. coast, where cargo would be likely to be inspected again. The contract is currently being finalized.

The administration is negotiating a second no-bid contract for a Philippine company to install radiation detectors in its home country, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press. At dozens of other overseas ports, foreign governments are primarily responsible for scanning cargo.

While President Bush recently reassured Congress that foreigners would not manage security at U.S. ports, the Hutchison deal in the Bahamas illustrates how the administration is relying on foreign companies at overseas ports to safeguard cargo headed to the United States.

Hutchison Whampoa is the world's largest ports operator and among the industry's most-respected companies. It was an early adopter of U.S. anti-terror measures. But its billionaire chairman, Li Ka-Shing, also has substantial business ties to China's government that have raised U.S. concerns over the years.

"Li Ka-Shing is pretty close to a lot of senior leaders of the Chinese government and the Chinese Communist Party," said Larry M. Wortzel, head of a U.S. government commission that studies China security and economic issues. But Wortzel said Hutchison operates independently from Beijing, and he described Li as "a very legitimate international businessman."

"One can conceive legitimate security concerns and would hope either the Homeland Security Department or the intelligence services of the United States work very hard to satisfy those concerns," Wortzel said.

Three years ago, the Bush administration effectively blocked a Hutchison subsidiary from buying part of a bankrupt U.S. telecommunications company, Global Crossing Ltd., on national security grounds.

And a U.S. military intelligence report, once marked "secret," cited Hutchison in 1999 as a potential risk for smuggling arms and other prohibited materials into the United States from the Bahamas.

Hutchison's port operations in the Bahamas and Panama "could provide a conduit for illegal shipments of technology or prohibited items from the West to the PRC (People's Republic of China), or facilitate the movement of arms and other prohibited items into the Americas," the now-declassified assessment said.

The CIA currently has no security concerns about Hutchison's port operations, and the administration believes the pending deal with the foreign company would be safe, officials said.

Supervised by Bahamian customs officials, Hutchison employees will drive the towering, truck-like radiation scanner that moves slowly over large cargo containers and scans them for radiation that might be emitted by plutonium or a radiological weapon.

Any positive reading would set off alarms monitored simultaneously by Bahamian customs inspectors at Freeport and by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials working at an anti-terrorism center 800 miles away in northern Virginia. Any alarm would prompt a closer inspection of the cargo, and there are multiple layers of security to prevent tampering, officials said.

"The equipment operates itself," said Bryan Wilkes, a spokesman for the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration, the agency negotiating the contract. "It's not going to be someone standing at the controls pressing buttons and flipping switches."

A lawmaker who helped lead the opposition to the Dubai ports deal isn't so confident. Neither are some security experts. They question whether the U.S. should pay a foreign company with ties to China to keep radioactive material out of the United States.

"Giving a no-bid contract to a foreign company to carry out the most sensitive security screening for radioactive materials at ports abroad raises many questions," said Sen. Charles Schumer (news, bio, voting record), D-N.Y.

A low-paid employee with access to the screening equipment could frustrate international security by studying how the equipment works and which materials set off its alarms, warned a retired U.S. Customs investigator who specialized in smuggling cases.

"Money buys a lot of things," Robert Sheridan said. "The fact that foreign workers would have access to how the United States screens various containers for nuclear material and how this technology scrutinizes the containers all those things allow someone with a nefarious intention to thwart the screening."

Other experts discounted concerns. They cited Hutchison's reputation as a leading ports company and said the United States inevitably must rely for some security on large commercial operators in the global maritime industry.

"We must not allow an unwarranted fear of foreign ownership or involvement in offshore operations to impair our ability to protect against nuclear weapons being smuggled into this country," said Sen. Norm Coleman (news, bio, voting record), R-Minn., a member of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. "We must work with these foreign companies."

A former Coast Guard commander, Stephen Flynn, said foreign companies sometimes prove more trustworthy and susceptible to U.S. influence than governments.

"It's a very fragile system," Flynn said. Foreign companies "recognize the U.S. has the capacity and willingness to exercise a kill switch if something goes wrong."

A spokesman for Hutchison's ports subsidiary, Anthony Tam, said the company "is a strong supporter in port security initiatives."

"In the case of the Bahamas, our local personnel are working alongside with U.S. customs officials to identify and inspect U.S.-bound containers that could be carrying radioactive materials," Tam said.

However, there are no U.S. customs agents checking any cargo containers at the Hutchison port in Freeport. Under the contract, no U.S. officials would be stationed permanently in the Bahamas with the radiation scanner.

The administration is finalizing the contract amid a national debate over maritime security sparked by the furor over now-abandoned plans by Dubai-owned DP World to take over significant operations at major U.S. ports.

Hutchison operates the sprawling Freeport Container Port on Grand Bahama Island. Its subsidiary, Hutchison Port Holdings, has operations in more than 20 countries but none in the United States.

Contract documents, obtained by The Associated Press, indicate Hutchison will be paid roughly $6 million. The contract is for one year with options for three years.

The Energy Department's National Nuclear Security Administration is negotiating the Bahamas contract under a $121 million security program it calls the "second line of defense." Wilkes, the NNSA spokesman, said the Bahamian government dictated that the U.S. give the contract to Hutchison.

"It's their country, their port. The driver of the mobile carrier is the contractor selected by their government. We had no say or no choice," he said. "We are fortunate to have allies who are signing these agreements with us."

Some security experts said that is a weak explanation in the Bahamas, with its close reliance on the United States. The administration could insist that the Bahamas permit U.S. Customs agents to operate at the port, said Albert Santoli, an expert on national security issues in Asia and the Pacific.

"Why would they not accept that?" said Santoli, a former national security aide to Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (news, bio, voting record), R-Calif. "There is an interest in the Bahamas and every other country in the region to make sure the U.S. stays safe and strong. That's how this should be negotiated."

Flynn, the former Coast Guard commander, agreed the Bahamas would readily accept such a proposal but said the U.S. is short of trained customs agents to send overseas.

Contract documents obtained by the AP show at least one other foreign company is involved in the U.S. radiation-detection program.

A separate, no-bid $4 million contract the Bush administration is negotiating would pay a Manila-based company, International Container Terminal Services Inc., to install radiation detectors at the Philippines' largest port.

The U.S. says the Manila company is not being paid to operate the radiation monitors once they are installed. But two International Container executives and a senior official at the government's Philippine Nuclear Research Institute said the company will run the detectors on behalf of the institute and the country's customs bureau. U.S. officials said they will investigate further how the Filipinos plan to use the equipment.

Related: Bush Administration Gives No-Bid Contract To Communist Connected Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. To Scan For Nukes





Latest Politics/Corruption
- Justice Stevens Proposes Gutting The 2nd Amendment
- Sen. Harry Reid: Bundy Dispute 'Not Over'
- Eric Holder Suggests Restricting 2nd Amendment Using "Gun Bracelets"
- Al Sharpton Has No Idea What Anyone's Talking About
- State Senator's Response to Second Amendment Concerns: "Go F**k Yourself"
- Fox News Guest Calls for Edward Snowden to Be Executed
- Ellen Tells Obama 'Everyone's Very Grateful' For ObamaCare
- Prosecution: A Despicable Profession









Comments Add Comment Page 1 of 1
kimmijo

Posted: Mar 24 2006, 6:53 PM

Link
I believe this is the end of us.


Add Comment
Name
Comment

* No HTML


Verification *
Please Enter the Verification Code Seen Below
 


PLEASE NOTE
Please see our About Page, our Disclaimer, and our Comments Policy.


FAIR USE NOTICE
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which in some cases has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such material is made available for the purposes of news reporting, education, research, comment, and criticism, which constitutes a 'fair use' of such copyrighted material in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. It is our policy to respond to notices of alleged infringement that comply with the DMCA and other applicable intellectual property laws. It is our policy to remove material from public view that we believe in good faith to be copyrighted material that has been illegally copied and distributed by any of our members or users.

About Us - Disclaimer - Privacy Policy



Advanced Search
Username:

Password:

Remember Me
Forgot Password?
Register

North Carolina Deputy Snatches Two Phones, Fails to Snatch Third, as she Handcuffs Man for no Reason - 04/22Chinese Citizens Beat Government Bureaucrats During Mass Riot - 04/21Police Beat Up Entire Wedding Party, Ruin Pro Baseball Player's Career - 04/21Cop Swerves His SUV Into Longboarders To Enforce $35 Bylaw Violation - 04/14Bunkerville Was Not the BLM's First Rustler's Roundup - 04/22The Disturbing Truth Behind Your Next Income Tax Return - 04/07Man Attacked By Cop For Asking Question - 04/22With Government Roads, the Customer Is Always Wrong - 04/22

Rialto, CA Police Made to Wear Cameras, Use of Force Drops by Over Two-ThirdsCop Who Karate Chopped NY Judge In Throat Gets Off Scot-FreeFlorida Cop Smashes Compliant Woman's Face Into Car -- "Maybe Now You Can Understand Simple Instructions"VIDEO: Lapel Cam Reveals A Day In The Life Of A U.S. Police Officer (Tasing, Beating, Breaking & Entering, Stomping On Heads... and Laughing About It)Caught On Tape: Officer Sucker Punches Inmate In Face, Files Report Claiming 'Self Defense'Insult Person On Twitter, Go To JailSWAT Team Brings TV Crew To Film Raid Against Threatening Internet Critic -- Raids Innocent Grandma InsteadCop Karate Chops NY Judge In The Throat
(more)

 
Top