Friday, March 17, 2006

Blog source for port security issues

Port Security, Maritime Security, and Homeland Security Blog
Blog from Wave Dispersion Technologies, Inc



Thru out my research travels, I found and bookmarked the above blog by WDT. Wave Dispersion Technologies is a firm that manufactures sundry port security devices, such as floating breakwaters, buoys and barriers for port security, even swimming pool lane dividers for competative meets.

In short, they are no strangers to a port security issue. I highly recommend anyone interested in following port security should keep their blog bookmarked as well.

The blog's author,
JB Smith has provided a plethora of links to articles on the P&O/DP World ports PR fiasco. Indeed, by the nature of his brief postings, he is one business insider left scratching his head at the who-ha, diplomatically stating that "I am a bit saddened that the 45 day review process was not able to run its course."

His link today is to
Robert J. Samuelson's op-ed on MSNBC, "Save Us From Our Politicans". Personally, that headline was as complete an article as I need.

March 20, 2006 issue - The idea of letting an Arab-owned company, Dubai Ports World, run container terminals at five U.S. ports struck many Americans as an absurdity. Why not just turn control directly over to Al Qaeda? In late February, a CBS News poll found that 70 percent of respondents were against the deal and only 21 percent in favor. The company's withdrawal last week can be seen as a triumph of public opinion. Or it can be acknowledged for what it is: a major defeat for the United States, driven by self-indulgent politicians of both parties who enthusiastically fanned public fears.

Leadership in a democratic society requires a willingness and ability to challenge and change public opinion when it is based on misinformation, no information, prejudice or stupidity—as it was in this case. There never was a genuine security problem. The Dubai company wouldn't have "taken over" the U.S. ports. It simply would have run some terminals. Cargo would still have been handled by American, unionized longshoremen. The Coast Guard and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency would still have been responsible for port security.



Indeed. Were our leadership functioning as they should, they should have been challenging misinformation on the issue. Instead, they were the sources for the misinformation, passed on to the public fanning widespread fear via the support of a willing press who shared Congressional desire to thwart the port ops sale.

Samuelson goes on to suggest what could be a viable and worrisome attack. A trucker scheduled to up a cargo container who stops at his terrorists buds' long enough to load explosives onto the truck enroute to the port.

This is where the issuance of port IDs is so important to our national security, and
why the Port of Miami's illegally issued IDs back in 2004 is an example of how little the port op's role in security can play. Since, in fact, the Port of Miami was utilizing British/American port ops at the time of the deal, it is factual that the port ops played no part in Miami's security breach and was, in fact, a potential victim at the port employees and ID issuers' mercy.

Samuelson continues, citing some of the damage the political posturing played in America's WOT, as well as economic consequences.

As political theater, the posturing might be harmless. But all the grandstanding—precisely because the criticisms were overblown—damages American interests. It's a public-relations disaster in the Middle East.

snip

The ports furor also hurts the United States in another way. It weakens confidence in the dollar as the major global currency. The U.S. trade deficit now spews more than $700 billion into the world annually. To some extent, global economic stability depends on foreigners' keeping most of those dollars. Mass dollar sales could trigger turmoil on the world's currency, stock and bond markets. People outside the United States hold dollars because they believe the currency maintains its value and offers a wide menu of investment choices. The message from Congress is that the menu is shorter than people thought. Once any investment is stigmatized—rightly or wrongly—as a "security problem," Congress may act against foreigners.



Worthy of a read in it's entirety - at link above.

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