Yawning of the Age

In the past two days, news media in the Northeast region have been taking a break from their usual impending-heat-wave stories to keep viewers/readers up-to-date with a dramatic and compelling life-and-death/race-against-time narrative. All the better if it’s a theme that pushes some major ideological/cultural hot buttons in an election year:  illegal immigration.  This story has nothing to do with Arizona or the Supreme Court, however.

  • A Coast Guard inspection team boarded the 850-foot container ship Ville D’Aquarius outside New York Harbor early Wednesday as the ship prepared to dock, spokesman Charles Rowe said. The officers were knocking on a bulkhead of the ship as a routine security check and heard knocks back, but couldn’t pinpoint the source of the sound. The return knocks –which ended after about two hours– suggested that stowaways might be inside one of the shipping containers.  The team followed protocol and didn’t open containers at sea in order to control the situation, Rowe said.
  • The ship docked in Newark at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday and [longshoremen] crews began the long process of offloading stacks of containers to reach the section from where the knocking emanated.  By late Wednesday, officers and agents had searched 150 containers [of 2,000 containers aboard ship].


  • Twelve ambulance crews were standing by while federal and state authorities searched the ship.  Agencies on scene included the US Coast Guard, FBI, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Port Authority police and State Police.

Most knee-jerk online reaction to this story was pretty predictable:  the usual Bunkeresque anti-immigrant rhetoric dashed off by paid trolls and unemployed mortgage brokers.  That’s because most of these dupes took the story at face value, as if those phantom stowaways actually existed.  Sorry,boys and girls –it looks as though you don’t recognize a [flimsy] cover story when you see one.

Why invite the Marines and Army to a stowaway party?

  • The ship began its voyage May 30 in the United Arab Emirates, then made one stop in Pakistan and two stops in India. Its last port before Newark was in Egypt on June 15.

As far as Lunghu is concerned, the principal unanswered question in all this affair is whether faulty MASINT or HUMINT (and inadequate evaluation of same) are at the bottom of this expensive ‘homeland security’ exercise.  Did an offshore radiation scan of the ship come up a little bit too hot?  Was the review of freight consignors listed on the cargo manifest somewhat shoddy and overly hasty? Or did a bogus report from an imaginative intell source receive more credence than its R&V warranted?  Disinformation from Chapo Guzman or Comrade Bear?  At this stage, dozens of fingers are aimed at all points of the compass, and the search for fallguys and scapegoats is undoubtedly well underway.

Just the way Sun-Tzu would want it.



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