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Outsourcing U.S. security to China? The Bush administration is granting Hutchison Whampoa, a Hong Kong company with ties to China's military, the right to screen U.S.-bound cargo for nuclear devices.

The National Nuclear Security Administration in the Bush administration is granting a Hong Kong company, Hutchison Whampoa, the exclusive right to screen U.S.-bound cargo containers for nuclear devices at the Freeport Container Terminal in the Bahamas. A Beijing-friendly billionaire, Li Ka-shing, owns Hutchison. This port security deal shines a bright light upon a pattern of ownership and operation by the People's Republic of China (PRC) of strategic maritime assets inside the U.S.A. and worldwide.

Congress Daily reported, and C-SPAN showed, Clark Kent Ervin, former inspector general of Homeland Security, telling a Senate panel called by Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) that Hutchison's ties to China compromise national security. Meanwhile, according to the Wall Street Journal, on April Fools Day, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff was touring a Hutchison port in Hong Kong.

Beijing's Secret Agent Man?

So what is there not to like about Li? He is closely tied to Jiang Zemin, former PRC president and Communist Party boss. Security and technology analyst Charles Smith of SOFTWAR.com answered THE NEW AMERICAN, "Li Ka-Shing [and] Jiang Zemin's son [are] developing real estate in Tiananmen Square. Li is ... a business partner of the Chinese military. Li discourages democracy and is developing ports inside North Korea."

The late Admiral Thomas Moorer, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and commander of the Atlantic and Pacific fleets said, "The Chinese military forces are affiliated with Mr. Li, who ... runs Hutchison." Mr. Li's connection to the Chinese government is well known in intelligence circles. The Defense Intelligence Agency reported: "Li Ka Shing ... is willing ... to further the aims of the Chinese Government."

Civilian sources confirm Li's involvement with China's government. "Li Kashing is to the Chinese army intelligence HQ what Howard Hughes was for the CIA," says William C. Triplett III, co-author of Red Dragon Rising. Industrialist inventor Howard Hughes, although a private businessman, was an extraordinary asset to U.S. intelligence and military agencies.

Australian journalist Peter Zhang explained, "Hutchison Whampoa is an arm of the Chinese government.... Li Ka Shing, is an unofficial government minister.... Just as British imperialism followed trade, Chinese military intelligence always follows Li" and "Not every Chinese civilian company is an instrument of the Ministry of State Security or the PLA [China's People's Liberation Army]. But Li is."

When Li received an honorary degree from Beijing University, China's former military chief Jiang Zemin bestowed it. A Shantou University video shows Li saying, "My only true purpose is to contribute ... [to] my motherland. It is my life purpose."

Freeport, the port in the Bahamas where the security inspections would take place, has been described by Hutchison as "the closest offshore port to the east coast" and "the cross-roads" of Europe, the Americas, and the Panama Canal. The U.S. Southern Command warned: "Hutchison's ... facilities in the Panama Canal, as well as the Bahamas, could provide a conduit for illegal shipments ... to the PRC, or ... the movement of arms ... into the Americas."

Even without the upcoming security deal, Li has his companies poised to aid China in any type of conflict with the United States. In Canada, Hutchison has port operations in Vancouver, B.C., and soon Halifax, Nova Scotia. In Mexico it operates in Ensenada, Manzanillo, and Veracruz and soon Punta Colonet. And in Lazaro Cardenas it has a rail link, Kansas City Southern Railroad de Mexico, a backdoor to the U.S.A. through a customs back office in San Antonio. Li has shares in the Tung family's Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL), with double-stack trains and container terminals in the U.S.A. (Long Beach, New York).

COSCO--Hutchison's PLA Partner

Li is also a director of the China Ocean Shipping Company, COSCO, a PRC-owned shipping company and the merchant marine of the PLA. The Chinese navy identifies COSCO ships as "zhanjian," or warships, and boasts that COSCO is "ready for battle." COSCO has carried Chinese missile and biological technologies to North Korea, Pakistan, Iraq, and Iran. It has shipped nuclear weapon components and rocket fuel to Pakistan, tanks to Myan mar (Burma), heroin to Canada, illegal immigrants into the United States, and weapons to Cuba.

COSCO ships have used missile launchers. And according to Ming Pao, some COSCO ships ferry troops and armored vehicles and are equipped with artillery, rocket launchers, anti-aircraft guns, guided missiles, anti-ship mines, submarine detection and electronic-deception. Signals intelligence capacity has long been suspected.

PRC's PR Machine

Even with Li Ka-shing's dubious background, he has garnered many supporters in the United States. The Financial Times (London) reported on March 28 that Senators Charles Schumer of New York and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina "praised screening technologies introduced by the ... port operations of tycoon Li Ka-shing." The Times characterized the two senators as "security hardliners." According to the Times, Schumer and Graham said, "more aggressive checks of containers were now technically and economically feasible." But it is also indisputable that turning over inspections to this communist China-linked company makes PRC threats to national security also feasible.

Roger Canfield, Ph.D., the author of China's Trojan Horses, is an associate editor for Military Magazine.
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Title Annotation:ON THE HOME FRONT
Author:Canfield, Roger
Publication:The New American
Geographic Code:9HONG
Date:May 15, 2006
Words:853
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