Lloyd’s List – TWIC ‘US security rule is a curse on seafarers’

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April 21, 2011

I am certain that there are no shortage of TWIC card ‘victims’ out there. Back in February, I posted a commentary by Dr. John A.C. Cartner (website), published in Lloyd’s List. you can read my post here: Lloyd’s List – TWIC ‘Identity card is US’ maritime hobgoblin

Well, Dr. Cartner is back again with another hard hitting commentary on the disaster that is the TWIC program.

THE maritime hobgoblin rears its head again. Work in maritime America is meted out to the worthy by the organs of state security. The Transportation Security Administration is the gatekeeper, with the detested Transportation Worker Identification Credential. If unworthy, no TWIC, no job. The TSA airport voyeurs, frotteurs and X-irradiators say who can be chosen. These are the maritime hobgoblin’s puppet-masters.

As I have written in this journal, the TWIC premise is based on a bizarre expensive fallacy and control ju-ju. John Pistole, former FBI deputy hack, is the head ju-ju man of the hobgoblin — incredible, nefarious, bizarrely self-justifying, comically combative, a pompous caricature risible if he were not dangerous. TSA managers work to transfer abuse from passengers to seafarers. The grounds are specious, questionable legally, morally scurrilous. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, former empress of the Arizona dunes and self-appointed maritime expert, wants to spread further the TWIC rat’s nest to anyone vaguely related to commercial transportation. Take heart, though. If denied you can likely get a TWIC — if you can afford American legal fees. No money, no TWIC; no TWIC, no job.

The TSA has posted a list of sins delaying or denying a TWIC: violent felonies, for example. Of course it does not matter that the US Coast Guard and the states screen before issuing their documents. The TSA has money to burn and contractor Lockheed Martin to tell it how. Three cases tell how the TSA-DHS hobgoblin keepers are arbitrary, capricious, and wholly self-righteous.

Case 1: An unrestricted master mariner, commanding ships of the Land of the Free for 30 years, was denied a TWIC. He had been vetted by the US Coast Guard for decades, issued continuous certificates, had nothing on the list, was entrusted with lives and ship and cargo, enforced flag state laws on board, held a naval reserve commission and security clearance. He was not born in the US. The conclusion: if a birth certificate does not meet a TSA factotum’s concept of Americanism then no TWIC, no job — no matter how unspotted or shriven.

After appeal, delay and legal fees the master got the gatepass. Now there is a new secret criterion for Americanism. One supposes that the TWIC twits feel that he should be grateful.

Case 2: Another US master was assaulted and battered by a TWIC contractor employee. He seriously erred in command judgement when he pointed out that his name was stated wrongly on the face of the TWIC. The investigation was whitewashed; the criminal complaint was “lost”.

The government issues criteria for things such as TWICs. One rule even makes sense: the name on the card must match the name on the credentials presented for the issuance. The TSA and its contractor exempt themselves from any rules for national security (read TSA and Lockheed job security). Name hyphenated? More than one middle initial? Apostrophes? Cedillas? Umlaut or accent grave? Spelled uniquely? What kind of name is that? Un-American. No TWIC. No job.

One marvels at the rodent TSA mind: The maritime hobgoblin punishes with unemployed time while the jobless and voiceless await the decisions of the polyester-suited twits. This TWIC victim was told by an arrogant DHS faceless voice: “If that is your name you do not get a TWIC.” Any fool except a DHS one can see that the TWIC issued with a TSA made-up name is false identification. What good is an unconfirmable TWIC except on its face when the database cannot be accessed by a card reader?

The foundational fallacy strikes again in this wholly corrupt programme. Where do they get these bully-boy oafs minding the hobgoblin? Answer: from the line of otherwise unemployable wannabees, poseurs and PhD-lites.

Case 3: A lorry driver vetted for commercial and hazardous materials service delivered goods to ports for 25 years with no blemish. He was denied for a three-decade-old second-order misdemeanour conviction. He had paid a fine.

How does that relate to port or national security? It does not. He cannot get a TWIC to ply his trade. He was punished as a sinner by the hobgoblin true believers for his Americo-Adamic fall from grace and the shortcomings of his soul three decades earlier. Conclusion: the TSA hive is now morally perfected — in its internal view. To quote : “The other was a softer voice, As soft as honey-dew: Quoth he, “The man hath penance done, And penance more will do.” The maritime hobgoblin’s voice is as also as soft as honey-dew: No money, no TWIC and no job — for an unworthy you.

The maritime job listings in America are an education. If you drive by a port you will one day need a TWIC, hopes the hobgoblin.

The TSA abuses the maritime industry. In each case a person otherwise qualified and with security vetting by governments could not earn a maritime wage temporarily or permanently. Each was denied by secretive desk-warmers not meeting payrolls or working productively and wrapping themselves in the American flag to cover their intellectual, moral and judgmental bankruptcy.

The question arises, always begged by the TSA: How does this panic-driven billion-dollar TWIC opera buffa increase port security? It does not. It cannot. It will not. The hypocritical pseudo-moralism is disgusting and ethically and economically wrong. It reminds one of the US Attorney General draping naked statues.

Who controls these farceurs? Clearly not Secretary Napolitano. Her underling lackey Pistole was too yellow to attend and explain himself and his failed agency to Congress last week.

Answer, Mr Pistole: How are port security – a matter of property right and trespass – and the denial of a TWIC and a wage on parochial, idiosyncratic, chauvinistic and pseudo-moralistic grounds to otherwise qualified maritime people related? Do not try. You will make a further fool of yourself, your misguided and misconceived bureau, the farcical hobgoblin for which you are shaman.

John AC Cartner is a UK solicitor, a maritime lawyer in Washington, DC, and an unrestricted Master Mariner. – Lloyds List

There were a couple comments on the last post. Please comment below your own TWIC horror stories.

Surely this is not the end of this issue.


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