Port sparks NAFTA super-railway challenge
September 19, 2007 By Jerome R. Corsi © 2007 WorldNetDaily.com
Another national line plans 'Asian gateway' to North America
With the focused development of the port in Prince Rupert, British Columbia, as an official "Asian Gateway," Canadian National is positioned to compete with Canadian Pacific as the first truly continental NAFTA super-railroad, reaching from Canada to Mexico through the heart of the U.S. On Sept. 12, Canadian National used the opening of its new container terminal at Prince Rupert to declare the railroad the "Midwest Express," a reference to its ambition to move containers of good manufactured in China into the heartland of North America through distribution hubs in Chicago and Memphis.
James Foote, Canadian National's vice president of sales and marketing, boasted Canadian National could move containers from China into the U.S. Midwest more quickly through Prince Rupert than through any other West Coast port, including Los Angeles and Long Beach.
According to the Canadian National website, the now-completed Phase I development of the Canadian National Prince Rupert container terminal has a capacity to handle 500,000 20-foot containers per year, growing to a 2 million container capacity in 2010, when Phase II development of the 150-acre facility is completed.
A video on the Canadian National website bills Prince Rupert as "North America's Northwest Gateway," stressing the 54th parallel location as the closest connection with the Far East and China, "shaving 30 hours shipping time for the shortest, quickest route across the Pacific."
"It's all in the numbers," Canadian National boasts, pointing out Prince Rupert is 5,286 miles from Hong Kong, while Los Angeles is 6,380 miles away. Also, Shanghai is 4,642 miles from Port Rupert but 5,810 miles from Los Angeles."
Protected by the Queen Charlotte Islands, Prince Rupert is a natural deep-water tidal harbor easily capable of handling the new class of 12,500 container-capacity post-Panamax ships now being built for China.
The Canadian National route map can be conceptualized as a giant "T" that stretches across Canada from Prince Rupert and Vancouver in British Columbia to Halifax in Nova Scotia.
The Canadian National then crosses into the U.S. at Winnipeg and at Windsor, to complete the "T" through Detroit, Chicago and Memphis, ending up in the Louisiana Gulf Coast.
As WND reported, the route map of rival Canadian Pacific in the U.S. roughly parallels Interstate 35, while the Canadian National route map follows more the Mississippi River and roughly the proposed NAFTA superhighway route planned for Interstate 69.
A map on the Canadian National website shows containers from China will enter North America at Prince Rupert.
A secondary, southern route is shown on the Canadian National map, with Chinese containers traveling through the Panama Canal and linking up with Canadian National routes in Louisiana, or heading north into the Atlantic to connect with Canadian National in Halifax.
WND reported plans to build a deeper and wider Panama Canal are aimed at opening a route for Chinese post-Panamax container mega-ship from the Pacific to U.S. ports in the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean.
To complete its route map into Mexico, Canadian National has marketing agreements in place with Kansas City Southern, or KCS.
KCS's reach into Mexico qualifies it as a NAFTA railroad, but a combination between KCS and either Canadian National or Canadian Pacific is required before the configuration of a continental NAFTA super-railroad becomes apparent.
WND reported the Canadian Pacific acquisition of DM&E gives Canadian Pacific a connection with KCS at the Knoche Yard in Kansas City.
Thus, both Canadian National and rival Canadian Pacific rely on KCS to compete for the claim to be the first North American continental NAFTA railroad.
A route map on the Canadian National website shows the railroad connecting through KCS Mexican railroads down to the Mexican port Lazaro Cardenas, a port WND frequently has identified as another alternative to Los Angeles and Long Beach for containers from China to enter North America.
While the KCS marketing agreements give Canadian National the reach into Mexico, the Canadian National website emphasizes Prince Rupert as the railroad's primary gateway for containers from China to enter North America.
Through Prince Rupert, Canadian National can transport containers from China along 100 percent Canadian National lines, down into the heartland of the U.S., from Detroit and Chicago south to the Louisiana coast.
Yet, Canadian National would have to partner with KCS to reach into Mexico to transport containers from China north from Lázaro Cárdenas.
As WND previously reported, KCS operating alone can already bring Chinese containers from the Mexican ports of Manzanillo and Lazaro Cardenas to Kansas City where Kansas City SmartPort is planning to be an "inland port" for switching Chinese containers to destinations east and west on U.S. rail lines.
For a brief period, 1993-1995, Canadian National operated under a CN North America logo, even entering into negotiations to acquire the rival Canadian Pacific.
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Senate votes to kill Mexican truck demo
September 11, 2007 By Jerome R. Corsi © 2007 WorldNetDaily.com
Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-.N.D. Bush 'Open Borders' agenda dealt serious bipartisan blow
The U.S. Senate has dealt a likely death blow to the Bush administration plans to give Mexican long-haul trucking rigs free access to American roads and highways.
A bipartisan majority voted 74-24 tonight to pass an amendment offered by Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., to remove funding from the Fiscal Year 2008 Department of Transportation appropriations bill for the Department of Transportation Mexican trucking demonstration project.
Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Penn., joined Dorgan as a co-sponsor of the amendment.
"Tonight, commerce – for a change – did not trump safety," Dorgan said in a news release issued after the vote.
"Tonight's vote is a vote for safety," Dorgan said. "It also represents a turning of the tide on the senseless, headlong rush this country has been engaged in for some time, to dismantle safety standards and a quality of life it took generations to achieve."
Teamster General President Jim Hoffa praised the Senate for "slamming the door on the Bush administration's illegal, reckless plan to open our borders to trucks from Mexico."
"The American people have spoken, and Congress has spoken," Hoffa said. "Now it's time for the Bush administration to listen. We don't want to share our highways with dangerous trucks from Mexico."
A counter amendment offered by Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, was submitted in an effort to keep the truck project alive, even if on life support.
Cornyn had proposed to allow the demonstration project to go forward, while reserving the right of the Senate to pull the plug if safety problems developed in the initial phases of the program roll-out.
Cornyn's proposal was killed by a strong bipartisan 80-18 vote.
Repeatedly, in arguing from the floor of the Senate for his amendment, Cornyn mischaracterized NAFTA as having created a "treaty obligation" requiring the U.S. to allow Mexican trucks free access to U.S. roads.
Dorgan objected, pointing out NAFTA was passed in 1993 as a law, not a treaty.
The vote, taken on the evening of the sixth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, represented a strong sentiment in the Senate that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the DOT inspector general had failed to make the case in their eleventh hour reports submitted to Congress late last Thursday. Administration officials insisted adequate inspection procedures were in place to insure Mexican trucks would meet U.S. safety standards.
Dorgan argued on the Senate floor that Mexico had no national database that would permit the FMCSA or the DOT inspector general to verify accident reports or driver violations of Mexican drivers or the reliability of vehicle inspections conducted in Mexico.
Speaking in favor of Dorgan's amendment, Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said the issue really was "free trade" agreements advanced by the Bush administration that advantaged only multi-national corporations.
Brown compared the safety concerns of allowing Mexican trucks to enter freely into the U.S. with the safety risks raised by lead paint use by the Chinese on imported toys and Chinese pet and human food that contained poisonous or otherwise toxic elements.
"We need to vote for our children, for our families, for our pets, and for ourselves," Brown charged, urging in an emotional plea urging passage of Dorgan's amendment.
In May, the House of Representatives passed the Safe American Roads Act of 2007 (H.R. 1773), by an overwhelming, bipartisan 411-3 vote.
The majority in the House opposing the demonstration project makes almost certain the Dorgan amendment will survive when a conference committee reviews the DOT funding bill that will go to President Bush for his signature.
The Senate is now considered likely to finalize the DOT funding bill today, with the Dorgan amendment included.
"Because my amendment is identical to language already included in the House-passed version of this bill," Dorgan said in the statement issued after the vote, "I expect this provision will not be altered in the House-Senate conference committee and that we have, effectively, stopped this pilot program."
1st Mexican truck rolls across border under cover of darkness
Official: 'Logistical Trans-Corridor of North America' open for business
September 8, 2007 By Jerome R. Corsi © 2007 WorldNetDaily.com The first Mexican truck authorized by a Bush administration program opening U.S. highways to trucking companies from south of the border crossed into the U.S. this morning at approximately 1:50 a.m. EDT at Laredo, Texas, headed for North Carolina, according to a report from Trucker.com.
WND research indicates Transportes Olympic, the Mexican trucking firm sending this morning's tractor trailer north, was actually selected to be the first across the border nearly six months ago, despite the administration's "last-minute" announcement of the carrier earlier this week – a revelation that has been described as an example of "stealth."
The designation of Transportes Olympic actually was made at a Feb. 22, 2007, ceremony held in Apodaca, a municipality of the city of Monterrey in the Mexican state Nuevo Leon, the headquarters location of Transportes Olympic.
The government ceremony in Mexico went virtually unreported in the U.S. media.
In attendance were Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters, together with her Mexican counterpart, Luis Téllez, secretary of communications and transportation, and José Natividad Gonzáles Parás, governor of Nuevo Leon.
There Peters officially blessed Transportes Olympic as the first Mexican trucking company that would be allowed to operate freely in the U.S. under NAFTA.
That Transportes Olympic had been selected months earlier was not disclosed last Thursday when John Hill, administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Administration, announced Transportes Olympic to the U.S. public.
Hill's announcement came in a dramatic, surprise late-night telephone conference held with selected members of the U.S. media at 9:00 p.m. EDT, after many deadlines had past for filing Friday morning stories.
At the February ceremony, Gov. Gonzáles Parás took the occasion to make two other declarations that have not been reported in the U.S. media.
In speaking to the group assembled at the Transportes Olympic headquarters, Gonzáles Parás announced the Trans-Texas Corridor was not just the NAFTA Superhighway, but the "Logistical Trans-Corridor of North America," uniting Mexico, the U.S., and Canada.
Gonzáles Parás next announced that the time had arrived to declare a North American Economic Community.
Gonzáles Parás explained the Trans-Texas Corridor was more accurately known in Mexico as the "Logistical Trans-Corridor of North America."
"I want to let you know how much we in this border state of Nuevo Leon have been working with our neighbor state of Texas," Gonzáles Parás said, "making agreements which permit us to enrich what in Texas is called the 'Trans-Texas Corridor,' but what we in Mexico know as the 'Logistical Corridor of North America.'"
"We – Canada, the United States, and Mexico – have to perfect this Logistical Trans-Corridor of North America for our mutual benefit," Gonzáles Parás continued.
Gonzáles Parás expanded his vision of to include the construction of a train and truck corridor that would cut through the heart of North America.
In his speech, Gonzáles Parás confirmed what WND has previously described as a new NAFTA Superhighway, the first segment of which is the planned four-football-fields-wide Trans-Texas Corridor which the Texas Department of Transportation plans to build parallel to Interstate 35.
Explaining Nuevo Leon finds itself right at the center of this Logistical Corridor of North America, Gonzáles Parás said Mexico "must synchronize our truck and train systems of transportation and our maritime port connections" with those of the United States, anticipating the massive quantity of freight that will need to be carried from the ports in Mexico on the Pacific to the heart of North America.
A report in the Mexican press added that Téllez also used the February ceremony to announce Presidents Felipe Calderon and George Bush had agreed to create "an economically integrated North America."
On Friday, after discovering the report about the February ceremony in Mexico, WND phoned Todd Spencer, executive vice president of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, and read him the newspaper article.
"Unfortunately, I'm not surprised," Spencer told WND. "This confirms what we have long believed. You have to read what the Mexican government says in Spanish to know what the Bush administration is doing with Mexican trucks, or for that matter, anything else that affects Mexico and the United States."
"The Bush administration pursues a stealth policy in the United States when it comes to Mexico," Spencer emphasized. "The Bush administration acts like they want to hide from the American public and from the U.S. Congress what they are really doing behind the scenes to open our borders with Mexico."
"Put simply," Spencer continued, "the policy of the Bush administration is to be less than honest with the American public and Congress when it comes to Mexico."
WND has experience which confirms Spencer's comments.
WND was only able to break the news the Department of Transportation Mexican truck demonstration project was scheduled to start early this month by reading reports in Spanish on the Mexican government Department of Transportation's website.
There, in Spanish, WND read statements by Mexican Transportation Secretary Luis Téllez announcing 37 Mexican trucking companies had satisfactorily met U.S. DOT requirements for participating in the test and the start date was scheduled to be Sept. 1.
Throughout August, DOT and FMCSA worked furiously behind closed doors to craft a highly technical regulatory response to the legal requirements of Congress.
Throughout last month, DOT and FMCSA spokesmen maintained a policy of saying nothing to Congress or to the U.S. media, even when directly asked when the Mexican trucking demonstration project was scheduled to start.
Even after Thursday's FMSCA announcement that the DOT Mexican truck demonstration project was ready to launch, WND continued to experience difficulties getting any response from the Bush administration.
As recently as last Friday, WND was unable to receive return phone calls from DOT and FMCSA spokesmen.
As WND has previously reported, Congress in 2002 blocked the Mexican truck demonstration project by inserting into the FY 2002 DOT appropriations bill a prohibition against starting the project until 22 specified safety requirements had been met by FMCSA.
Last Thursday saw a flurry of activity as DOT and FMCSA bureaucrats worked to make sure they were in technical compliance with these Congressional requirements.
The inspector general's report was finally delivered to Congress, dated Thursday.
Peters wrote a sign-off letter to Vice President Cheney just hours before Hill made his evening telephone call naming Transportes Olympic as the first Mexican trucking company the agency had certified.
Spencer objected to WND that DOT and FMCSA did not file in the Federal Register the final go-ahead decision.
"What happened to the 10-day period for public comment?" Spencer asked WND. "DOT and FMCSA may have complied with the letter of the law, but they where nowhere near complying with the spirit of what Congress had required."
North American Union driver's license created
Logo intended to standardize documentation across continent
September 6, 2007 By Jerome R. Corsi © 2007 WorldNetDaily.com
"The North Carolina driver's license is 'North American Union' ready," charges William Gheen, president of Americans for Legal Immigration.
Gheen provided WND with a photo of an actual North Carolina license which clearly shows the hologram of the North American continent embedded on the reverse.
"The hologram looks exactly [like] the map of North America that is used as the background for the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America logo on the SPP website," Gheen told WND. "I object to the loss of sovereignty that is proceeding under the agreements being made by these unelected government bureaucrats who think we should be North American instead of the United States of America.
"My decision not to get a North Carolina driver's license could have very difficult consequences for me," Gheen told WND. "Without a valid driver's license, I may not be able to drive a car, fly on an airplane, or enter a government building."
Gheen told WND he does not have a U.S. passport.
In 2005, WND reported North Carolina was the state where illegal immigrants go to get a driver's license, with busloads of aliens traveling south on I-95 to get an easy ID.
The Tar Heel State's requirements to obtain a license are weaker than those of many surrounding states.
Marge Howell, spokeswoman for the North Carolina DMV, affirmed to WND the state was embedding a hologram of North America on the back of its new driver's licenses.
"It's a security element that eventually will be on the back of every driver's license in North America," Howell told WND.
Howell explained the hologram of the continent was the creation of the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, a tax-exempt, nonprofit organization that, according to the group's website, "develops model programs in motor vehicle administration, law enforcement and highway safety."
Founded in 1933, AAMVA represents state and provincial officials in the United States and Canada who administer and enforce motor vehicle laws. The government of Mexico is also a member, though the individual Mexican states have yet to join.
According to the group's website, AAMVA's programs are designed "to encourage uniformity and reciprocity among the states and provinces."
"The goal of the North American hologram," Howell explained, "is to get one common element that law enforcement throughout the continent can look at on all driver's licenses and tell that the driver's license is an official document."
Jason King, spokesman for AAMVA, affirmed the North American hologram was created by AAMVA's Uniform Identification Subcommittee, a working group of its members.
He explained the goal is to create a continental security device that could be used by state and provincial motor vehicles agencies throughout North America, including the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
King referenced a document on the AAMVA website that describes guidelines for using the North America continent hologram as an Optical Variable Device (OVD) that AAMVA has now licensed with private manufacturers to produce.
AAMVA supplies member motor vehicle agencies with a quantity of North American continent hologram OVD foils to use on their driver's licenses and ID cards as needed.
As the AAMVA guidelines document explains, each North American hologram OVD foil is embedded with a unique set of control numbers that permit law enforcement electronic scanners to identify the exact jurisdiction and precise individual authorized to hold a driver's license or ID card.
"AAMVA understands its unique positioning and the continuing role identification security will play in helping the general public realize a safer North America," King explained to WND in an e-mail. "The association believes ID security will help increase national security, increase highway safety, reduce fraud and system abuse, increase efficiency and effectiveness, and achieve uniformity of processes and practices."
Jim Palmer, press director for ALIPAC, told WND his group first became aware of the hologram when Missouri State Rep. Jim Guest held a seminar in North Carolina to protest the Real ID law.
The surprise came at a meeting July 28 on the Real ID that Palmer held in Raleigh, N.C.
"When Rep. Guest asked participants to take out their driver's license and see what was on it," Palmer explained, "one gentleman was a state employee and on his license there was this hologram with the North American continent on the back. We were all surprised to see that on a North Carolina driver's license. Right there, that stopped the show."
Guest has formed a coalition called Legislators Against Real ID Act, or LARI.
"I was astonished when I saw that North American hologram on the North Carolina driver's license," Guest told WND. "I thought to myself that the state DMV has already included this North American symbol on the back of the driver's license without telling the people of North Carolina they were going to do this.
"I thought right then that this was going to be the prototype for the driver's license of the North American Union," Guest said.
"When we called the North Carolina DMV, they hedged at first," Guest said, "but finally they admitted that, yes, there was a North American continent hologram on the back of the license.
"This is part of a plan by bureaucrats and trade groups that act like bureaucrats to little by little transform us into a North American Union without any vote being taken and without explaining to the U.S. public what they are doing," Guest argued.
King explained AAMVA's Uniform Identification Subcommittee created a number of task forces, including the Card Design Specification that developed the North America hologram.
"The Task Group surveyed and met with many stakeholders during the development effort," King wrote to WND. "The Task Force gathered information from government and non-government users of the driver's License/ID card to determine their uses for the DL/ID card and how they believe the card should function. In addition, the Task Group surveyed and met with industry experts in the area of card production and security to gather their advice, especially about the physical security of the card."
King told WND the Task Group work was repeatedly reviewed by the UID Subcommittee as a whole, with final approval coming from the AAMVA Board.
In 2006, WND reported Pastor Rios Sanchez, 55, an illegal alien, was accused of killing three people, including two North Carolina State University students and a 26-year-old, while driving drunk.
"People who think the Real ID was created to keep illegal aliens from getting driver's licenses and IDs should come to North Carolina," Gheen told WND. "What the North Carolina DMV is doing is creating the basis for a continental driver's license.
"What difference does it make to North Carolina if an illegal alien gets a driver's license?" Gheen asked. "The photo on the license creates a close face scan that can be identified by face recognition technology, whether the DMV admits it or not.
"Illegal aliens who get driver's licenses are just being scanned in advance," Gheen concluded.
"Illegal aliens who get driver's licenses or IDs in North Carolina are just being prepared for their admission into the North America Union driver pool that North Carolina is at the vanguard of creating," Gheen said. "That is the truth, whether the North Carolina DMV or the AAMVA want to admit it or not."
King told WND North Carolina is the first AAMVA member jurisdiction to use the North America hologram on a driver's license or ID card.
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