Posts Tagged ‘BP’

VIDEO: BP Coverup of Environmental Catastrophe in the Gulf: Dead Birds, Fish, Turtles, and Mammals

By Washington’s Blog

VIDEO: BP Coverup of Environmental Catastrophe in the Gulf: Dead Birds, Fish, Turtles, and Mammals

BP has been trying to hide dead birds and other sealife.

Fox News reports that BP is trying to keep animal carcasses away from public view:

Local Gulf Coast residents and those monitoring turtles say that BP is removing carcasses at night to hide them from the public:

Jerry Cope and Charles Hambleton report:

The numbers of birds, fish, turtles, and mammals killed by the use of Corexit will never be known as the evidence strongly suggests that BP worked with the Coast Guard, the Department of Homeland Security, the FAA, private security contractors, and local law enforcement, all of which cooperated to conceal the operations disposing of the animals from the media and the public.

The majority of the disposal operations were carried out under cover of darkness. The areas along the beaches and coastal Islands where the dead animals were collected were closed off by the U.S. Coast Guard. On shore, private contractors and local law enforcement officials kept off limits the areas where the remains of the dead animals were dumped, mainly at the Magnolia Springs landfill by Waste Management where armed guards controlled access. The nearby weigh station where the Waste Management trucks passed through with their cargoes was also restricted by at least one sheriff’s deputies in a patrol car, 24/7.

Robyn Hill, who was Beach Ambassador for the City of Gulf Shores until she became so ill she collapsed on the job one morning, was at a residential condominium property adjacent to the Gulf Shores beach when she smelled an overwhelming stench. She went to see where the odor was coming from and witnessed two contract workers dumping plastic bags full of dead birds and fish in a residential Waste Management dumpster, which was then protected by a security guard. Within five minutes, a Waste Management collection truck emptied the contents and the guard departed.

Independent biologists are also being blocked from investigating wildlife.

What’s the reason for this cover up?

I had assumed that all such shenanigans were just to keep the dead wildlife away from public view.

But as the Christian Science Monitor pointed out in June:

Federal laws makes BP liable for up to $50,000 per dead animal on the endangered species list, such as a Kemp’s Ridley turtle.

It’s not just the Kemp’s Ridley. Sperm whales and hawksbill turtles are also endangered animals living in the Gulf.

So are Brown pelicans, which have been hit hard by the oil spill.

In fact, the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service lists 29 endangered species in the Gulf which could be harmed by the spill.

You already know that BP is trying to hide the amount of oil which has leaked into the Gulf in order to reduce the amount of fines it has to pay under the Clean Water Act (see this and this).

Similarly, BP is also trying to secretly dispose of endangered animals killed by the spill in order reduce its fines under the Endangered Species Act.

Washington’s Blog is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Washington’s Blog

© Copyright Washington’s Blog, Washington’s Blog, 2010


Censorship and cover-up in the Gulf oil disaster

Sign on Your Beach

July 6, 2010: By Tom Eley

Censorship and cover-up in the Gulf oil disaster

The Obama administration has intensified its cover-up of the BP oil disaster. On July 1 it issued an order barring the public and the news media from coming within 65 feet of clean-up operations without permission from the Coast Guard. The transparent aim of the order, which purports to protect the safety of clean-up workers, is to prevent the population from viewing the devastation wrought by the BP oil blowout.

The gag order states that that anyone not authorized by the Coast Guard “must not come within 20 meters [65 feet] of booming operations, boom, or oil spill response operations under penalty of law.” The wording—“oil spill response operations”—could be construed as covering the entire affected region, which stretches from the Mississippi Delta to the Florida Panhandle.

Journalists who “willfully” defy the White House order could be prosecuted as Class D felons and face up to five years in prison and a $40,000 fine. Exceptions to the ban will be considered on a case-by-case basis by the Coast Guard captain of the Port of New Orleans.

In defending the order, Coast Guard Commander Thad Allen stated that the measure aims to protect clean-up workers, but he failed to cite a single incident of safety being compromised by “unauthorized personnel.”

The real concern the White House has is that clean-up workers might reveal something about the dangerous conditions under which they work and the real scale of the environmental devastation—defying a gag order imposed by BP. An unknown number of these workers—likely hundreds, perhaps thousands—have become sick from exposure to oil and toxic dispersants and may well face a lifetime of chronic ailments.

The new effort to gag the media continues a campaign launched three weeks ago by the administration to reach what Obama adviser David Axlerod called an “inflection point” in the Gulf crisis. In a string of public relations events from June 11 through June 17, President Obama visited the Gulf for two days, gave a nationally televised Oval Office speech on the blowout, and met in the White House with BP CEO Tony Hayward and Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg.

That meeting resulted in the announcement that BP would finance a $20 billion settlement fund, which would be “independently” administered. This was presented by Obama as a major concession wrenched from the oil company and a boon to the many thousands of Gulf residents whose livelihoods have been destroyed as a result of BP’s actions.

In reality, the deal was a boon to BP, effectively placing a cap over its major liabilities—for a disaster whose total costs will be reckoned in the hundreds of billions of dollars—and shielding it from lawsuits and damage claims.

“Investors in BP should know that there’s now an alternative to the litigation system in place,” Independent Claims Facility administrator Kenneth Feinberg told CNBC. “I think that’s a really helpful sign if you’re an investor.”

Feinberg has already declared that the fund will be off limits to the majority of those affected by the blowout—people in the tourism industry, fishermen who operate on a cash basis, Gulf coast homeowners whose property values will plunge.

The carefully scripted and orchestrated series of events in mid-June was meant to signal a halt to the anti-BP posturing by the government and begin a tamping down of media coverage of the catastrophe. In effect, the American people were told the poisoning of the Gulf, with all of its consequences, would continue at least until BP completed its relief wells some time in August—and they should get used to it!

The latest move to censor coverage of the Gulf crisis is in keeping with this strategy and is in line with the Obama administration’s policy ever since the Deepwater Horizon rig blew up on April 20, killing 11 workers. The primary concern of both BP and the White House has been to cover up the gravity of the pollution of vast parts of the Gulf of Mexico and beaches and wetlands in at least four US states.

At stake is not only the population’s right to know what is happening to the seas, shores and wildlife that are now treated as the private property of BP, it is quite simply impossible to formulate an adequate response outside of an independent assessment of the extent of the damage.

There are by now countless reports of journalists and citizens being ordered away from beaches or blocked from viewing the spill from the land, air and sea by BP, the Coast Guard and hired security agents. In mid-June, the White House banned airplanes from flying over the spill zone at altitudes below 3,000 feet, and helicopters below 1,500 feet, without a special exemption from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

CNN’s Anderson Cooper reported last week that journalists have been repeatedly barred from a government mobile hospital in Venice, Louisiana that is treating clean-up workers.

BP and its supplier Nalco, have even refused to reveal to scientists the chemical composition of Corexit, the dispersant that has been dumped by the hundreds of thousands of gallons into the Gulf to break up the oil, because, they say, it is a trade secret. BP simply defied an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) order issued one month ago, to cease use of Corexit pending further testing. Obama decided not to pursue the matter.

For nearly two months, BP and government stonewalling made it impossible even to assess how big the blowout was. Insisting from the first that BP was “in charge” of the clean-up, the administration colluded with the oil giant to block independent analysis of the gusher one mile beneath the surface of the Gulf. Only under steady criticism from scientists did the administration repeatedly revise upward the rate of the oil erupting from the sea floor. The spill is now, by all accounts, the largest in history.

All of this underscores the necessity to take the response to the oil disaster out of the hands of BP and the Obama administration.

The Gulf disaster requires a mass response. It is first of all necessary to bring together the best scientists and engineers in the world, give them full and unfettered access to all information related to the disaster, and place them in charge of hundreds of thousands of well-trained, well-equipped and well-paid workers.

The resources necessary for this undertaking can be realized by nationalizing BP and the entire oil industry and converting the industry into a public utility, democratically run by the working population in the interests of society as a whole.

This, in turn, requires the mass mobilization of the working class, independently of both parties of big business, based on a socialist program that rejects the “right” of corporations and financiers to unfathomable wealth at the expense of the people and the environment of the planet.

America Can’t Solve Crises Because It’s a Company-Owned Town

© unknown

By Glen Ford

America Can’t Solve Crises Because It’s a Company-Owned Town

The United States can no longer engage effectively in “nation-building” in the one place on Earth it has a right and duty to do so: at home. These are the lessons of the 2010 Gulf oil catastrophe, the 2008 financial meltdown and the 2005 Katrina horror – disasters that history will rightfully conflate as symptomatic of the fundamental crisis of the rule of Capital. The U.S. has become a company town of speculative and extraction enterprises whose social and physical geography the rulers relentlessly appropriate, monetize and despoil – all with obscene abandon.

At the core of the 100 or so activists that gathered in New Orleans for an Emergency Summit to Stop the Gulf Oil Catastrophe, last weekend, were veterans of the ravages of Disaster Capitalism following Hurricane Katrina. They had seen up close how Capital and its servants at all levels of government organized themselves as a public-private mob to drive Black and poor people from the city. They were witnesses to the crafting of a corporate consensus that the exiled poor should have no rights that conflicted with the imperatives of Capital – no right to return, no right to reclaim their lives, no rights that cannot be superseded by the claims and ambitions of the oligarchs. They had watched as finance Capital’s urban gentrification agenda was near-instantaneously put on fast-forward in New Orleans to ensure the permanent purging of the poor. A kind of perverse anthem seemed to rise from each corporate celebration of the city’s imminent and profitable rebirth: “Free the land – of Black people!”

Now the land and bayous and sea are made hostile to all life by the depraved indifference of voracious extractors who monetized, securitized and derivitaized the Gulf’s most deeply buried oil deposits years before the accursed Deepwater Horizon rig made its last, fatal thrust. The super-deep reservoirs of the Gulf were sold and their oil futures already leveraged to finance yet more assaults on man and nature, even before President Obama’s flip-flop on off-shore drilling in August, 2008, when he had the Democratic nomination in the bag.

Such world-shaping dealings have nothing to do with you and me, nothing to do with notions of democracy, because democracy does not exist in the United States, where finance capital and its extracting, hoarding, manipulating energy cousin, rule. There is no evidence of democracy anywhere that counts – not in the $14-plus trillion transferred directly to Wall Street, mostly by the quasi-public Federal Reserve, while the real economy in general and Black America in particular were stripped and gutted. No notions of an American social compact could deter the ruling class from acting out its pathologies on its own citizens when Katrina presented the opportunity. And no amount of public disgust at BP has moved Obama to behave as if he is beholden to the majority that elected him – for the simple reason that he is not.

Every element of the American political process is firmly in the hands of the oligarchy. The public only became aware of Barack Obama’s existence after he had been thoroughly vetted by corporate mechanisms of all kinds, including but by no means limited to the corporatist Democratic Leadership Council (see Bruce Dixon, Black Commentator, June 5, 2003). Obama’s informal – but quite binding – “contracts” with the oligarchs were concluded before he set foot in the U.S. Senate. The public was the last to know that the obscure politician Obama had become a “viable” prospect by corporate acclimation in the only “race” that counts – the early, business fund-raising contest. (The corporate consensus included BP, which gave Obama more money than any other candidate, and Wall Street, which was even more generous to the Nation’s First Black President.)

The U.S. government is divorced from the people because it is a creature of Capital. The three recent mega-crises are both the products and the illuminators of that wholly corrupt relationship. It is, therefore, quite logical that the activists of the Emergency Summit to Stop the Gulf Oil Catastrophe appear to direct their demands to both BP and Obama:

  1. Stop oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Full compensation, retraining and new employment, including public works, for all affected,
  2. The government and entire oil industry must allocate all necessary resources to stop and clean up the spill, prevent oil from hitting shore, protect wildlife, treat injured wildlife, and repair all devastation. Full support, including by compensation, must be given to peoples’ efforts on all these fronts and to save the Gulf.
  3. No punishment to those taking independent initiative; no gag orders on people hired, contracted, or who volunteer; those responsible for this crime against the environment and the people should be prosecuted.
  4. Full mobilization of scientists and engineers. Release scientific and technical data to the public; no more lying and covering up. Immediately end use of dispersants; full, open scientific evaluation of nature and impact of dispersants. Fund all necessary scientific and medical research.
  5. Full compensation for all losing livelihood and income from the disaster.
  6. Provide necessary medical services to those suffering health effects of the spill. Protect the health of and provide necessary equipment for everyone involved in clean up operations. Full disclosure of medical and scientific studies about the effects of the oil disaster.

No Nation-Building, Here

We are living in the late stages of overwhelming dominance (hegemony) of finance capital – and, secondarily, the oil and gas money-machines. It is a period characterized by destruction of the domestic manufacturing base and frenzied predation of the public sector. The mission of Capital’s servants in government is, therefore, to assist Wall Street and the energy sector in the fastest possible conversion of natural and social resources to private exploitation.

Those among the public and media that still harbor the illusion that government is there to serve the people, despite seeing so much evidence to the contrary, speak of a national “malaise,” a loss of purpose, a temporary failure or flaw in the national character. What nonsense! What we are witnessing is the destructive behavior of a predatory class that sees its future in trillion-dollar derivative bets; commodification of every conceivable resource (food, water, air?) and manipulation of every commodity market; privatization of every possible state function (schools, safety nets); constant expansion of the “market” in the maintenance of empire; and the “primitive accumulation” of the spoils of war.

For such a class, there is no room, rhyme or reason for anything resembling domestic nation-building, and they will not assign their servants in government to any such project. Worse than simply being on their own, the people face the same oligarchic enemy at the commanding heights of both the public and private sectors: the Democrat and the banks, the Republican and Big Oil, and vice versa – and all of them aligned with the military complex.

The pace of disaster-making is quickening in America, which indicates something very much like “the end is near.”

Maybe these overlapping pyrotechnics of horror – Katrina, the Crash of 2008, the Great Gusher in the Gulf – are necessary to teach Americans the nature of class war, that it is, indeed, hell. At any rate, the oligarchs can be counted on to accelerate the processes of their own demise. It is up to the people to save themselves, through organizing; there are no guarantees.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at

America, Apartheid or Apocalypse?

By Gordon Duff

America, Apartheid or Apocalypse


To millions of Americans, the “end times” seem to be on us.  The BP disaster in the Gulf may leave 25% of America virtually uninhabitable, eco-systems destroyed for sure but maybe much more, a destroyed sea floor, toxic gas clouds moving inland and warnings of something worse, a geological disaster of biblical proportions sitting offshore like a ticking time bomb.  Millions of American believe the president is a foreign born Muslim, a puppet of the terrorists while millions believe he is working for Israel.  Every speech, every state visit, everything done is seen to support one side or another, sometimes both.  The destruction of the American presidency is only part of it, part of a program of racial division, fear, hate and a descent into class warfare and violence.

The end result of the disasters, political infighting, religious extremism, the total collapse of trust in America’s system of government and the infiltration of terrorist elements into every institution, America’s military and political core, financial terrorists working to destroy America’s standard of living, its industrial base, its currency and, eventually the last of its freedoms will be the division of America, starting with an apartheid state and ending in “Balkanization” and the world’s largest nuclear arsenal being unleashed on the world.  This has been heard before, it is a story that faith based broadcasting has been sending out to the American people for the past thirty years.  The biblical flood began when the money disappeared.


The serious side is the economic meltdown.  Even with the hundreds of billions Americans borrowed to give to our “banksters” who our ”congress critters” decided were too big to allow to fail, we have no banks, simply depositories for stolen money while it waits to be shipped overseas.  Money is taken in, none loaned out, not for jobs in America anyway.  All the government did was to push the burgeoning debt left us by the Bush/Cheney failures even higher, topping $13 trillion dollars this month, money we owe to pay back money we never got from people who had no right to print it in the first place.

More and more Americans are becoming aware of the fact that our system, the Federal Reserve, is nothing but a racket where foreign bankers, all thinly disguised Rothschilds, sell us our own money while maneuvering us into debt, really a massive mortgage on America’s future, we can never keep up the payments on.  America has been systematically destabilized, the most powerful nation in the history of the earth, living on borrowed money and, frankly, borrowed time.


When Americans look at television and see half their politicians crying about BP, a company that laid waste to more of the planet than any in history, they see a world upside down.  They know their politicians take money, everyone knows this, but to think they would be brazen enough to scream out “yes, we are crooks, what are you going to do about it?” is more than that.  It is an announcement that anyone in government can do anything they want, anything, and never answer for it, not even face reelection problems.  The more crooked a politician, the more favorable press he gets, the more the Israel lobby supports him, the more the Tea Baggers support him, the more “heroic” he is portrayed by the pundits and fear mongers.

Things have gotten so bad that Senator Josef Liebermann (I-srael) has introduced a bill that would allow the internet to be closed down in case of “emergency.”  Liberman talks about terrorism or espionage but the real problem was that the ”corporate press” got caught lying over the Freedom Flotilla massacre and millions of Americans have turned to the internet for the news, news sometimes bizarre, conspiratorial and fringe, often however, much more accurate and truthful than the newspapers and TV networks.  His bill, written in Tel Aviv, is designed to make Americans who depend on the internet for news and communication feel helpless, isolated and ready to turn to violence.

Picture yourself going to the computer.  Your email is blocked, nothing in, nothing out.  You are looking at one screen, the same thing on every computer in the country.  The logo, a simply, DHS, Department of Homeland Security.  In the middle of the screen is a new search engine, “Safety Friendly Family Approved Searches.”  Below that are approved news stories, linking you to ABC, CNN, FOX, CBS, MSNBC, the WSJ, NYT, WP and Family Security  Below that is a warning:

“Your microphone and webcam are in active mode.  Do not attempt to mute, shield or disable under penalty of law.”

Senator Lieberman is trying to start a civil war, more than just planting the seeds, this is a provocation, a clear and present danger to American freedom.


Let’s talk about “social cohesion.”  Israel has shipped their five million Palestinians to Jordan, Lebanon or Gaza to have social cohesion, one country, one race, one religion, no room for outsiders, no matter how long they have been around.  America did the same thing with the Indians (Native Americans), eventually wiping most of them out in a series of wars, treaties and resettlement programs.  However, America’s problems with social cohesion are far greater than Israel’s or even those of America during the pioneering years.  Today, we are a society divided on, not only race and ethnicity but region, religion and, worst of all, extremist political views.  The government that is supposed to join us together and the constitution that is meant to guarantee our belief in equal justice for all have been ground into the dust, twisted, bought, obliterated and disfigured.

America is heading for a meltdown.  Another civil war is possible, even likely.  40% of states are bankrupt.  This means they can’t pay police or teachers or fix roads except with borrowed federal money.  It also means their pension plans, all that is meant to keep millions of Americans out of dire poverty in retirement, are gone.  The states lost their pension plans in the 2007  collapse.  Only federal bail outs, which aren’t going to happen, will cover this massive shortfall.  Eventually, workers, hundreds of thousands of families who worked and saved for financial security will be told it isn’t there anymore.  This isn’t the future, it happened, its real and it can’t be hidden very long.

There is no federal government to step in and carry the load.  Wars have left it drowning and political corruption has crippled America to where it is no more stable than many of the nations of Africa.  Hiding behind years of scare tactics, terrorism, tiny countries with nuclear weapons, or the real problem of Mexico’s collapse under the rule of drug lords and the millions flooding into our country, financial criminals have looted America and a worldwide criminal conspiracy of financial criminals, headquartered in Tel Aviv and New York, protected by congress and Mossad death squads traveling the world with German passports.  The press, something we generously call either the “mainstream media” or “corporate controlled press” isn’t just a mechanism for censorship, its part of a long term effort to destroy the faith Americans have in their own ability as people to rule themselves and trust, not the criminals presented to vote for in elections, but their own ability to reject the lot of them.


Radicalization of America has been the goal all along.  Who would have ever believed that internet conspiracy theory would end up being, not only more believable, but more fair and certainly more balanced than traditional media sources that have been discredited to such a degree in recent months.  A key area of division in America has been religion.  For awhile, financed by the Israeli lobby and the “bankster” criminal elements, the “neo-cons” were able to build a bridge uniting Evangelical Christians with Christian Zionists, groups that are, from a scriptural standpoint light years apart.  To this, the abortion/women’s rights issue drew many Catholics to abandon their traditional values and join with these groups which had shared little in common with them.  Catholics are urban, typically well educated with a Euro-centric culture, while Evangelicals shun higher education for religious instruction.

The first American Taliban may have been the Puritans but they have been eclipsed in American history by the atavism of the Mormon Church, whose beliefs deeply parallel the most frightening and profound heresies of Islam, church over state, no rights for women and an undercurrent of violence unrivaled by any sect seen in a western society since the Albigensians.  Mormons, chased across America, seized much of the Southwest and set up a defacto government, one with little in common with the rest of America.  As the Mormon regions of America come into conflict with the massive Hispanic Catholic population, the roots of dissolution, border wars, draconian race laws and eventually full apartheid will take hold.  It will start in Arizona and spread through the American West.

Perhaps the largest threat is the religious theory of Zionism.  Originally a race theory based on Jewish racial superiority and political supremacy, offshoots of Zionism have entered Evangelical Christian belief systems creating the heresy known as Christian Zionism.  Original Zionism, a violent and radical offshoot of Judaism is more racial than religious or political in nature.  Though a minority of American Jews practice Zionistic beliefs, most are coerced into either financial support or even into sending children into military servitude in Israel in order to avoid social ostracism.

As the result of the founding of Israel in Judea or Palestine, a slow decline in social,cultural and intellectual traditions has infected the Jewish community in America, one known for the advancement of social causes and broad advocacy of American freedoms.  With the increased radicalization of America and her economic decline, many Jews have looked to Israel as an anchor, failing to take into account the role Israel has played in the onset of the entropy they fear.  This situation could be equated with burning down your home to save your garage.

Christian Zionists have only anecdotal similarities with the Judaic variety.  They tend to be rural, poorly educated, envious and resentful, not only of what they call “elites” but many other groups as well but primarily African Americans.  The basis of Christian Zionism is hatred of African Americans.  All other monikers or descriptions are a subterfuge to escape the labels these same groups had been associated with in the past, Klan, racist or bigot.

Hiding behind tortured and obscure biblical references and using bizarre stories of disaster and apocalypse, stories oddly well supported by current times, these simple rural people unable to grasp much of the complex modern world.  They have been melded into a political front serving the interests of Israel, a state they understand poorly, and the class of economic criminals, many associated with Israel but also with the movement in America called “conservatism.”  Their political role has been to serve as a vocal and sometimes violent front for the economic oligarchy, a very real monied elite, that has assumed broad control over America’s poliitical and social life.


America’s security has been tied, for 65 years, to NATO.  Today, our newspaper and TV gurus are telling us to dissolve NATO.  With the breakdown of the alliance between Israel and Turkey, Israel, who controls 444 members of congress and 50% of America’s wealth has demanded that America either throw Turkey out of NATO or leave herself.  As yet, Israel is allowing the United States to remain in the United Nations because America’s security council veto, used hundreds of times to save Israel from sanctions for war crimes or nuclear proliferation violations, is vital to the welfare of Israel.

This week, Israel was discovered on the verge of bombing Iran.  Little real damage would have been done.  Iran has no nuclear infrastructure tied to weapons manufacture.  The intent would be, as Israel had planned it, to enter Iran from the north where there are few defenses, bomb useless and remote targets, safe targets so all planes could return and claim a major victory, destroying that which did not exist.  As Saudi Arabia has already been set up as the fall guy, said to have allowed the attack in advance, something the Saudis deny, they would become hated among Muslim nations.

Israel’s plan is to force Iran to attack Saudi Arabia, close the Straits of Hormuz and push America and Western Europe into total collapse.  With 60% of the world’s oil supply eliminated, world financial and currency markets would collapse and the world’s armaments industry would explode with orders.  Israel is the third largest exporter of weapons.  Israel prides itself as the inventor of “game theory,” the method of strategic planning making use of deception, manipulation, “false flag attacks,” assassinations, bribery and blackmail in a complex chess match meant to bring the world to a chaotic state subject to their mathematical models.  Israel is filled with Nobel Prize winners.  This is what they work on.

The apocalypse that Christian Zionists prayed for, the “end times” though to begin with a series of natural disasters has been hurried along.  Pushing for a nuclear war has always been a part of it but the possibility, not yet proven, that the BP disaster in the Gulf could eventually turn the Gulf Stream and leave Europe uninhabitable is a continual subject of discussion with America’s religious broadcast community.


With collapse in the trust in America’s institutions, a Supreme Court with five neo-Fascist judges, congress with 444 “Israeli-firsters,” and millions of Americans believing the president is the Anti-Christ, one more economic disaster, the one Israel is attempting to stage right now, would make the 2007 collapse seem like a joke.  With the broadcast media having worked the country into fear, distrust and ready to pick up weapons to use against their neighbors, all carefully staged, the scripts have been passed out.

You will know when you see the face of Sarah Palin on every network, perhaps in a pantsuit with a military cut.  Do you think she will be wearing a beret?  There will be a flag behind her and the Star Spangled Banker will fade to silence as she makes the announcements.

Nuclear arsenals will be seized by patriotic groups from within our military, led by Israeli commandos and helped by our armies of private defense contractors.  Those secret “FEMA/UN” prisons will suddenly turn out to be real, with local police in riot gear, American flags on their cars and uniforms, hunting down journalists, activists and, eventually, the educated.

Senator Lieberman will pull the plug on the internet.  Private logins will carry arrest lists.

After the educated classes and politially progressive groups are rounded up, then the African Americans and Hispanics will be cataloged, given travel restrictions.  Pass laws will be enacted.

Then, surprise of surprises, they will start rounding up Jews.

Welcome to the hell of your own making.

Obama cuts deal to shield BP assets

By Tom Eley

Obama cuts deal to shield BP assets

President Barack Obama reiterated his defense of oil giant BP after a White House meeting with the company’s CEO Tony Hayward and board chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg.

After the meeting, Obama and BP announced the establishment of an independently operated escrow account, the Independent Claims Facility, funded by up to $20 billion paid out over the next four years. BP said it would delay dividend payouts over the remainder of the year estimated at $10 billion. Other details of the escrow account remain vague.

The US media presented the meeting and announcement as a humbling of BP. It was nothing of the sort.

In fact, the meeting was a choreographed event with two purposes: to diffuse popular anger against both BP and the Obama administration, and to assure the financial markets that BP is in no danger of bankruptcy or criminal prosecution. There will be no serious consequences for the disaster that killed 11 workers on April 20 and has since pumped upwards of 60 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

Even were it clear that the $20 billion will really be made available to the blowout’s many economic victims—and it is not—this is a preposterously small sum for a catastrophe whose real cost will run into the hundreds of billions, if not trillions. All the costs of environmental cleanup are to be paid out of this fund, according to the Financial Times. There can be no doubt that this alone will far surpass $20 billion.

The deal ensures that the overwhelming burden of the costs of the disaster will be borne by the government, and ultimately the working class.

“I’m absolutely confident BP will be able to meet its obligations to the Gulf Coast and to the American people,” Obama said in a short press conference after the meeting. “BP is a strong and viable company and it is in all of our interests that it remain so.”

With these words, the Obama administration indicated that it would not seek to force a BP bankruptcy, let alone seize the company, and its goal is that BP continue to be a profitable concern, paying out dividends and gargantuan executive salaries for years to come.

The financial markets were cheered by Obama’s comments. In the hours after the press conference BP’s share price increased sharply, then finished the day up about 22 cents.

Though the administration had done nothing to punish BP, Obama had been under pressure from financial circles to throw it a lifeline. The preceding weeks had seen BP shares tumble by half and on Tuesday Fitch downgraded the company’s credit rating by six notches.

The escrow account is meant to shield BP from potentially hundreds of billions, or even trillions, in damages. While both Obama and BP promised that the account did not mean a $20 billion cap on liability had been put in place, the Independent Claims Facility is a preemptive blow against the tens of thousands of lawsuits BP is likely to face over the coming years.

While it remains extremely vague, the escrow account will be BP’s first line of defense in determining what are “legitimate claims,” a phrase both Obama and company executives have repeatedly used. Those claimants deemed “illegitimate” might turn to the court system for redress, but having been ruled unfounded by a supposedly neutral observer, they will have a black mark hanging over them, and US courts are already notorious for defending corporate privilege.

This is the fate that awaits the blowout’s financial victims. Millions of Gulf Coast residents are likely to suffer financially through layoffs which will ripple through the economy far beyond the fishing and tourism industries, through declining home values in a region already devastated by the real estate collapse, and through, in all probability, an epidemic of health problems.

If there are 10 million such victims—less than the combined population of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, the three states hardest-hit so far—the miserly $20 billion escrow account would mean a mere $2,000 per person.

The oil blowout’s victims on the Gulf Coast can take little comfort in Obama’s selection to oversee the fund, Kenneth Feinberg. Over the past ten years, Feinberg has become a favored “fixer” of the US government.

Feinberg was selected to distribute funds from an escrow account for the US victims of the September, 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. This financial settlement was viewed as a crucial component of a broader effort to block any inquiry into the still unexplained stand-down of the US military-intelligence apparatus leading up to the attacks.

And it was Feinberg who was given the role of Obama administration “pay czar,” tasked with putting on a show of limiting pay and bonuses for the multi-millionaire executives at Wall Street firms that had received Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) bailout funding. The limits set by Congress on pay restrictions meant that Feinberg’s role was purely symbolic.

Obama’s statement that he intends to see to it that BP remain a viable company puts the lie to the claim that the escrow fund will be independent. Feinberg’s real task will be to protect BP and deny the just demands of the people. As an unelected appointee, Feinberg will be free from “political pressure”—i.e., he will face no consequences from popular anger when he turns down claims.

Like his Oval Office speech from the evening before, Obama’s remarks at Wednesday’s press conference might as well have been written by BP’s public relations department. There was nothing said that the firm could possibly have found objectionable.

Even his own rendering of the conversation with Svanberg—Obama did not meet privately with the widely-hated Hayward—revealed that this was no “showdown,” as it was presented in the US media.

Obama said in his press conference that he told Svanberg to remember those who have been devastated by the blowout. “Keep in mind those individuals, that they are desperate, that some of them, if they don’t get relief quickly, may lose businesses that have been in their families for two or three generations,” the president said, quoting his own plea. “And the chairman assured me that he would keep them in mind.”

In other words, Obama met with Svanberg, not as an advocate for an outraged population demanding justice, punishment or compensation, but as a supplicant, pleading with the chairman of the oil giant. It was, incredibly, Obama’s first meeting with any high-ranking BP official in the 58 days since the blowout took place. Perhaps it was the earliest he could get on their appointment calendar.

Obama also said that BP would put in place a $100 million fund to compensate oil rig workers who lost their jobs as a result of Obama’s six-month moratorium on deep-sea drilling, which BP had indicated last week it would oppose. Announcement of the measure was a political boost for Obama, who has been attacked by Republicans over the moratorium, which in fact applied to only a tiny share of the rigs operating the Gulf.

Svanberg was even allowed to present BP as a caring company. “I hear comments sometimes that large oil companies are—are greedy companies or don’t care, but that is not the case in BP,” said the Swede, known in his homeland for eliminating tens of thousands of jobs at the mobile phone company Ericsson. “We care about the small people.”

In fact BP’s criminal disregard for the health and safety of “small people” and the environment is richly documented, before and after the blowout. Even as Svanberg was uttering these words, new reports were emerging from the Gulf Coast of private security guards and Coast Guard soldiers preventing media from visiting public beaches and waters.

Related stories:

Blog Editor Note: The figures being quoted for the amount of oil leaking into the Gulf have seemingly been inaccurate, so a word of caution is advised on believing those figures. It is more likely that these figures are under estimated.

June 17, 2010: Kick Ass or Buy Gas? How Taxpayers Are Subsidizing BP’s Disaster Through the Pentagon

June 17, 2010: US expands Gulf of Mexico no-fishing area

June 17, 2010: “You Should Be in Prison”: Protester Interrupts BP Hearing

June 17, 2010: BP’s $20 Billion Spill Fund Echoes in Bhopal Justice Cry

June 17, 2010: Four Ways BP and Officials Are Working to Suppress the Outrageous Facts About the Gulf Disaster

June 16, 2010: BP bows to Obama and cancels its dividends

The Gulf oil spill and the case for socialism

By Jerry White

The Gulf oil spill and the case for socialism

The ongoing disaster in the Gulf of Mexico and the US government’s complicity and impotence in relation to energy giant BP reveal in the most striking manner the irrationality and socially destructive character of the capitalist system.

Even as the world reels from the consequences of the financial crisis and the spread of Wall Street’s toxic assets, the same mad drive for profit, this time by the multinational oil conglomerates, has produced an ever-spreading toxic mix of crude oil and chemical dispersants in the Gulf that threatens to go up the eastern seaboard and travel as far as Europe.

Scientists are only beginning to calculate the long-term consequences of the catastrophe, which is ruining precious wetlands and beaches, threatening entire species with extinction and destroying the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of workers in fishing, tourism and other industries.

Seven weeks after the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig which killed 11 workers and set the catastrophe into motion, and after repeated failures to stem the torrent of oil leaking from the seafloor, BP and Obama administration officials claim a new containment cap is having success. One can only hope the gusher is contained as soon as possible, but the record of BP and the government suggests that nothing they tell the public should be accepted at face value.

On the contrary, from the beginning the overriding concern of BP executives and the White House has been to conceal from the public the extent of the disaster and protect the revenue and profits of the corporation. Last week, the Interior Department’s Minerals Management Service (MMS)—which was complicit in ignoring the safety and environmental violations prior to the blast—deliberately distorted the findings of the scientific team commissioned to estimate how much oil was leaking into the Gulf.

In a press release, the government claimed the estimated range was between 12,000 and 19,000 barrels per day, even though scientists had concluded that “at least” 12,000 to 25,000 barrels per day were being released in what they called the “lower bounds” of their estimate. The maximum figure still needed to be determined, the scientists said, and it could very well be “significantly larger” than 25,000 barrels per day (See “BP and White House continue cover-up of oil spill”).

The Obama administration has consistently downplayed the extent of the spill not just to cover up for BP and its own responsibility. Most fundamentally, in the aftermath of the devastating economic meltdown caused by the financial speculators and other events such as the death of 29 coal miners in the April 5 explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia, the White House senses a growing anti-corporate and anti-capitalist sentiment that it is determined to deflect.

During the weekend news shows, the point man for the administration’s response to the oil spill, Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, again downplayed the extent of the disaster, claiming that after a “final fix” was implemented in August with the completion of a relief well, “there will be oil out there for months to come. This will be well into the fall.”

Allen was later forced to backtrack from his ridiculous claim during a White House briefing Monday, admitting, “I agree with you, long-term issues of restoring the environment and the habitats and stuff will be years.”

As oil and dead animals washed up over 140 miles of spoiled coastline, Obama also downplayed the scope of the catastrophe, saying, “This is a resilient ecosystem” and there are “resilient people” in the Gulf. “I had a chance to talk to them, and they’ve gone through all kinds of stuff over the last 50, 100 years. They’re going to bounce back.”

The president’s complacency and indifference is not simply a personal trait. It reflects the hostility and contempt that the political representatives of big business have for the masses of working people who are the victims of the profit system.

The well-paid politicians, journalists and academics have long defended capitalism by claiming that the “market” is the most efficient and rational means of organizing the economy and allocating society’s resources. But the BP disaster has revealed to the world the terrible consequences of the anarchy and unplanned character of capitalism, and its subordination of human life to private profit.

Like his Republican predecessor in the White House, Obama identifies not with the plight of the victims of this disaster but with the corporate criminals responsible for it. Less than three weeks before the Deepwater Horizon explosion, Obama promoted his plan for the expansion of offshore drilling, telling a North Carolina audience, “oil rigs today generally don’t cause spills. They are technologically very advanced.”

In fact BP and other oil corporations were totally unprepared for what BP CEO Tony Hayward called “low-probability risk” of a leak one mile below the surface of the ocean. Like the Wall Street banks, the Big Oil companies are not driven by long-term and socially necessary considerations—including preserving the planet. Their overriding concern is ensuring the largest and quickest quarterly results and returns for their shareholders. How else can one explain the haste with which BP sought to wrap up operations on the Deepwater Horizon—ignoring and covering up the warnings of an impending disaster—and move on to the next multi-billion dollar drilling site.

Even in the midst of the disaster a central focus of the company has been to keep its stock value from falling. BP’s share price actually rose 2.7 per cent on Monday morning, reportedly in response to statements by its Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg late last week that the company executives “fully understand the importance of our dividend to our shareholders.”

The most logical and necessary response would be to requisition the dividends and all of the productive and financial resources of BP—which made a $17 billion profit last year—to effectively deal with the consequences of the spill and compensate those being devastated by it.

However, the Obama administration has steadfastly defended the private property and profits of BP, presenting these as sacrosanct and inviolable. In the White House press conference Monday, Admiral Allen said the government had to “work in parallel, in a cooperative manner” with BP to “get things done, because they own the means of access” to the underwater drill site. This was a variation on his comments on May 24, when he said that the government could not push BP aside because the company “owned the means of production.”

The question is why should a gigantic corporation—whose single-minded goal of augmenting the personal wealth of top executives and big shareholders has produced such a catastrophe—be allowed to maintain control of the means of production? Moreover, why should vast natural resources, such as petroleum and natural gas, “belong” to any private corporation? Instead, the assets of BP should be commandeered in the interests of society as a whole and utilized to address this emergency.

But the nationalization of the oil industry, no less than the nationalization of the banks, will not be carried out by a government—whether led by the Democrats or Republicans—which is owned lock, stock and barrel by the corporations themselves. The transformation of the energy conglomerates into publicly owned utilities and the establishment of a democratically, planned socialist economy, can only be achieved if the working class takes political power in its own hands.

Related stories:

June 8, 2010: Gulf Oil Spill: BP To Go Ahead with $10 Billion Shareholder Payout

June 8, 2010: Gulf Oil Leak Causing Huge Upheaval In Marine Ecology

The Psychopathic Criminal Enterprise Called America


By Prof. John Kozy

The Psychopathic Criminal Enterprise Called America

The Government uses the Law to Harm People and Shield the Establishment

Most Americans know that politicians make promises they never fulfill; few know that politicians make promises they lack the means to fulfill, as President Obama’s political posturing on the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico makes perfectly clear.

Obama has made the following statements:

He told his “independent commission” investigating the Gulf oil spill to “thoroughly examine the disaster and its causes to ensure that the nation never faces such a catastrophe again.” Aside from the fact that presidential commissions have a history of providing dubious reports and ineffective recommendations, does anyone really believe that a way can be found to prevent industrial accidents from happening ever again? Even if the commissions findings and recommendations succeed in reducing the likelihood of such accidents, doesn’t this disaster prove that it only takes one? And unlikely events happen every day.

The president has said, “if laws are insufficient, they’ll be changed.” But no president has this ability, only Congress has, and the president must surely know how difficult getting the Congress to effectively change anything is. He also said that “if government oversight wasn’t tough enough, that will change, too.” Will it? Even if he replaces every person in an oversight position, he can’t guarantee it. The people who receive regulatory positions always have ties to the industries they oversee and can look forward to lucrative jobs in those industries when they leave governmental service. As long as corporate money is allowed to influence governmental action, neither the Congress nor regulators can be expected to change the laws or regulatory practices in ways that make them effective, and there is nothing any president can do about it. Even the Congress’ attempt to raise the corporate liability limit for oil spills from $75 million to $10 billion has already hit a snag.

The President has said that “if laws were broken, those responsible will be brought to justice” and that BP would be held accountable for the “horrific disaster.” He said BP will be paying the bill, and BP has said it takes responsibility for the clean-up and will pay compensation for “legitimate and objectively verifiable” claims for property damage, personal injury, and commercial losses. But “justice” is rendered in American courts, not by the executive branch. Any attempts to hold BP responsible will be adjudicated in the courts at the same snail’s pace that the responsibility for the Exxon-Mobile Alaska oil spill was adjudicated and likely will have the same results.

The Exxon Valdez oil spill occurred in Prince William Sound on March 24, 1989. In Baker v. Exxon, an Anchorage jury awarded $287 million for actual damages and $5 billion for punitive damages, but after nineteen years of appellate jurisprudence, the Supreme Court on June 25, 2008 issued a ruling reducing the punitive damages to $507.5 million, roughly a tenth of the original jury’s award. Furthermore, even that amount was reduced further by nineteen years of inflation. By that time, many of the people who would have been compensated by these funds had died.

The establishment calls this justice. Do you? Do those of you who reside in the coastal states that will ultimately be affected by the Deepwater Horizon disaster really believe that the President can make good on this promise of holding BP responsible? By the time all the lawsuits filed in response to this disaster wend their ways through the legal system, Mr. Obama will be grayed, wizened, and ensconced in a plush chair in an Obama Presidential Library, completely out of the picture and devoid of all responsibility.

Politicians who engage in this duplicitous posturing know that they can’t fulfill their promises. They know they are lying; yet they do it pathologically. Aesop writes, “A liar will not be believed, even when he speaks the truth.” Perhaps that’s why politicians never do.

Government in America consists of law. Legislators write it, executives apply it, and courts adjudicate it. But the law is a lie. We are told to respect the law and that it protects us. But it doesn’t. Think about it people! The law and law enforcement only come into play secundum vitium (after the crime). The police don’t show up before you’re assaulted, robbed, or murdered; they come after. So how does that protect you? Yes, if a relationship of trust is violated, you can sue if you can afford it, and even that’s not a sure thing. (Remember the victims of the Exxon-Valdez disaster!) Even if the person who violated the relationship gets sanctioned, will you be “made whole”? Most likely not! Relying on the law is a fool’s errand. It’s enacted, enforced, and adjudicated by liars.

The law is a great crime, far greater than the activities it outlaws, and there’s no way you can protect yourself from it. The establishment protects itself. The law does not protect people. It is merely an instrument of retribution. It can only be used, often ineffectively, to get back at the malefactor. It never un-dos the crime. Executing the murderer doesn’t bring back the dead. Putting Ponzi schemers in jail doesn’t get your money back. And holding BP responsible won’t restore the Louisiana marshes, won’t bring back the dead marine and other wildlife, and won’t compensate the victims for their losses. Carefully watch what happens over the next twenty years as the government uses the law to shield BP, Transocean, and Halliburton while the claims of those affected by the spill disappear into the quicksand of the American legal system.

Jim Kouri, citing FBI studies, writes that “some of the character traits exhibited by serial killers or criminals may be observed in many within the political arena.;” they share the traits of psychopaths who are not sensitive to altruistic appeals, such as sympathy for their victims or remorse or guilt over their crimes. They possess the personality traits of lying, narcissism, selfishness, and vanity. These are the people to whom we have entrusted our fate. Is it any wonder that America is failing at home and world-wide?

Some may say that this is an extreme, audacious claim. I, too, was surprised when I read Kouri’s piece. But anecdotal evidence to support it is easily cited. John McCain said “bomb, bomb, bomb” during the last presidential campaign in response to a question about Iran. No one in government has expressed the slightest qualms about the killing of tens of thousands of people in both Iraq and Afghanistan who had absolutely nothing to do with what happened on nine/eleven or the deliberate targeting of women and children by unmanned drones in Pakistan. What if anything distinguishes serial killers from these governmental officials? Only that they don’t do the killing themselves but have others do it for them. But that’s exactly what most of the godfathers of the cosa nostra did.

So, there are questions that need to be posed: Has the government of the United States of America become a criminal enterprise? Is the nation ruled by psychopaths? Well, how can the impoverishment of the people, the promotion of the military-industrial complex and endless wars and their genocidal killing, the degradation of the environment, the neglect of the collapsing infrastructure, and the support of corrupt and authoritarian governments (often called democracies) abroad be explained? Worse, why are corporations allowed to profiteer during wars while the people are called upon to sacrifice? Why hasn’t the government ever tried to prohibit such profiteering? It’s not that it can’t be done.

In the vernacular, harming people is considered a crime. It is just as much a crime when done by governments, legal systems, or corporations. The government uses the law to harm people or shield the establishment from the consequences of harming people all the time. Watch as no one from the Massey Energy Co. is ever prosecuted for the disaster at the Upper Big Branch coal mine. When corporations are accused of wrongdoing, they often reply that what they did was legal, but legal is not a synonym for right. When criminals gain control, they legalize criminality.

Unless the government of the United States changes its behavior, this nation is doomed. No one in government seems to realize that dissimulation breeds distrust, distrust breeds suspicion, and suspicion eventually arouses censure. Isn’t that failure of recognition by the establishment a sign of criminal psychopathology?

John Kozy is a retired professor of philosophy and logic who blogs on social, political, and economic issues. After serving in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, he spent 20 years as a university professor and another 20 years working as a writer. He has published a textbook in formal logic commercially, in academic journals and a small number of commercial magazines, and has written a number of guest editorials for newspapers. His on-line pieces can be found on and he can be emailed from that site’s homepage.

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