“Secure cargo,” says Canadian bombing report

A REPORT into the 1985 Air India bombing has made wide-ranging criticisms of Canada’s aviation security, especially cargo.

Aside from the report into the bombing itself, the author, retired Supreme Court judge John Major, wrote: “Most cargo loaded onto passenger aircraft is still not subjected to inspection by X-ray or other means.”

Major denounced a system that allowed 90 to 95 per cent of airfreight to be sent by “known shippers” who are ‘known’ only because they have made three shipments in six months, and do not have to run employee background checks. Citing research that revealed only one in 50 airport employees is searched, compared to every passenger, he demanded the system of known shippers be discontinued immediately and only regulated agents be used.

Last month, ahead of the report’s release and obviously forewarned of its findings, the Canadian government made a surprise announcement that it was implementing an airfreight security campaign. Transport minister, John Baird, said that in future all cargo shippers, freight forwarders and air carriers in the supply chain must screen cargo. However, they must handle their own inspections.

“That’s asking the fox to take care of the chicken coop,” said Senator Kenny, the loudest critic of Canada’s lax security.

“There’s no requirement that all of their employees have background checks,” he explained. “It’s a system that’s asking for failure.”

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