John Wathen is an award winning photo journalist who recently toured Aotearoa recounting his experience both on the ground and in the air documenting the catastrophic 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
As oil, sickness and contamination persist, Gulf residents and lawyers file thousands of lawsuits against the oil giant.
“If you got caught humping another woman – [if] you’re both naked and caught in the act – you’d want BP to explain to your wife how it didn’t happen.”
This colorful analogy was proposed by Dean Blanchard, a seafood distributor on Grand Isle, Louisiana, to explain oil giant BP’s continuing machinations to evade liability in the aftermath of the April 2010 disaster.
The Four Horsemen of Banking (Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup and Wells Fargo) own the Four Horsemen of Oil (Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch/Shell, BP and Chevron Texaco); in tandem with Deutsche Bank, BNP, Barclays and other European old money behemoths. But their monopoly over the global economy does not end at the edge of the oil patch.
According to company 10K filings to the SEC, the Four Horsemen of Banking are among the top ten stock holders of virtually every Fortune 500 corporation.
So who then are the stockholders in these money center banks?
This information is guarded much more closely. My queries to bank regulatory agencies regarding stock ownership in the top 25 US bank holding companies were given Freedom of Information Act status, before being denied on “national security” grounds. This is rather ironic, since many of the bank’s stockholders reside in Europe.
Security officers at BP’s shareholder meeting [on April 14] in London blocked the entrance of a delegation of four fishermen and women from the Louisiana and Texas Gulf Coast area heavily damaged by last year’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Among them was Diane Wilson, a fourth-generation fisherwoman from the Texas Gulf Coast. She was there to present BP executives with the Ethecon Black Planet award for companies who represent a danger to the planet.
Today marks nine months since the BP Deepwater Horizon offshore oil rig exploded, killing 11 workers and sending millions of gallons of crude oil pouring into the Gulf of Mexico. Though the gushing well was capped last July, oil continues to wash ashore along the Gulf Coast. BP’s oil is also washing up in people’s bodies, raising concerns about long-term health effects.
Florida Times Union reports that over the past two months, hundreds of Eastern brown pelicans have washed ashore along Florida’s northeast coast. The North Carolina University (Wilmington) Seahawk newspaper reports that an “unprecedented” number has washed ashore in North Carolina.
This is the first of many videos that we will be releasing from Project Gulf Impact’s conference at Seattle University. I choose to release this video first because of the personal impact it had on myself. This is an American citizen whose son has been poisoned by a FOREIGN Company!
Michael Collins Now what could this mean? TV crew stopped from taking samples from polluted Florida beach. Pat Gonzales, US Fish and Wildlife (to WEAR ABC 3 reporter taking a sample from polluted beach): “You can not come out here and do your own investigation if you’re looking for oil product.” WEAR ABC 3
Is the government protecting the sovereign state of BP? Is a pattern emerging?
On the eve of President Obama’s birth date, thoughts turn to his time in office. As a man, countless admire the person, Barack Obama, and yet, feel that they cannot fully celebrate his performance. Hope has all but disappeared. Audacity appears vanquished. Still, some are sure that there is reason to believe. People ponder potentials not fully realized. Prospects for change loom large. Several may be shared in the sentiments offered on this auspicious occasion. Continue reading →
A philosophical question for you. If no reporter is ever allowed to speak or meet with any of the many oil spill clean-up workers about the medical treatment they may or may not be receiving at a Federal Clinic, much less visit said clinic, do they really exist? And by that I mean oil spill clean-up workers in general, sick or not:
The latest chapter in the media’s ongoing struggle to cover the Gulf Oil Spill comes courtesy of PBS Newshour’s Bridget Desimone, who has been working with her colleague, Betty Ann Bowser, in “reporting the health impact of the oil spill in Plaquemines Parish.” Desimone reports that on the ground, officials are generally doing a better job answering inquiries and granting access to the clean-up efforts.But Desimone and Bowser have encountered one “roadblock” that they’ve struggled to overcome: access to a “federal mobile medical unit” in Venice, Louisiana: “The glorified double-wide trailer sits on a spit of newly graveled land known to some as the “BP compound.” Ringed with barbed wire-topped chain link fencing, it’s tightly restricted by police and private security guards.”
Ever hear of an American medical treatment facility masquerading as Stalag 17 before (I mean other than the one in the movie “Shutter Island“)? Of course, in Shutter Island the facility was an asylum for the criminally insane. I don’t think that’s the excuse the Feds and BP can use for the Venice, La. facility unless the toxic chemicals to which the workers have been exposed have turned them into raving zombies or serial killers. So, what gives? Continue reading →
At present, oil saturates the Gulf Stream. An official six-month cessation of permits for new drilling did not actually affect the industry or government decisions. Despite Moratorium, Drilling Projects Move Ahead. To explain such an authorization and waiver, the Department of the Interior and the Minerals Management Services Division which regulates drilling, pointed to public statements by Interior Secretary, Ken Salazar. He did not intend to forbid all first cuts in the Earth’s crust. Absolutely not. The Federal Government approved wells off the coast of Louisiana in June. Regardless of the day, or realities that are anathema to our citizenry, little has truly changed. Today, just as in yesteryear, we, the people of the United States of America, in order to form a more perfect Union, polishpolicies to appear as though our civilization would wish to protect and defend all beings, equally. Continue reading →
The big oil catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico is not the first to threaten a people’s way of life.
Just ask the Ogoni people from Nigeria’s oil rich central Niger Delta. Their experience over decades offers a model of things to come without serious changes in consumption and regulation.
Since the early 1960’s, oil spilled from Shell pipelines has fouled their region. Food and fresh water sources vanished. Their economy collapsed. While Shell and the Nigerian elite reap their rewards, the people in the polluted oil regions live with steadily declining jobs, incomes, and living standards.
The amount of oil spilled in just this region during the 1970’s far exceeds that of the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster. The problem has been continuous since then. Most of it is still sitting there. Continue reading →
British Petroleum has operated as though it were a sovereign state since its inception. When they blew the well at their Macondo Prospect in the Gulf of Mexico, it never occurred to them that they would have to take orders from anybody. But that may change largely due to their inability to stop the flow of oil after nearly sixty days of gushing.
President Obama was clear in his speech last night. If any entity is going down as a result of the catastrophe, it will be BP. Today, Obama meets with BP’s Chairman of the Board, Carl-Henric Svanberg, and the man he told the chairman to fire, Chief Executive Officer Tony Hayward.
Two sovereign states will collide. The outcome is a foregone conclusion. Continue reading →
On May 27th, more than a month into the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history, Barack Obama strode to the podium in the East Room of the White House. For weeks, the administration had been insisting that BP alone was to blame for the catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf – and the ongoing failure to stop the massive leak. “They have the technical expertise to plug the hole,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs had said only six days earlier. “It is their responsibility.” The president, Gibbs added, lacked the authority to play anything more than a supervisory role – a curious line of argument from an administration that has reserved the right to assassinate American citizens abroad and has nationalized much of the auto industry. “If BP is not accomplishing the task, can you just federalize it?” a reporter asked. “No,” Gibbs replied.
Now, however, the president was suddenly standing up to take command of the cleanup effort. “In case you were wondering who’s responsible,” Obama told the nation, “I take responsibility.” Continue reading →
For more than a century, in unison, the planet’s population proclaimed, thankfully petroleum flows. Oil powers our machines. The refined product has helped us manufacture massive quantities of clothing, aluminum sheet, and photovoltaic (PV) solar cells. “Plastics.” As was professed in a popular film decades ago, “There’s a great future in plastics.” Presently, and in the past, BP understood this and much more. The company’s Executives knew petroleum could and would provide endless profits, power, and a perpetual presence. Continue reading →
Crack house: “A place “where people make, deal and smoke crack cocaine. This could be a house, an apartment, or a shack to name a few…” Urban Dictionary
The G-20 and big oil treat the earth as though it were a crack house. They set up shop, trash the premises, without regard to the surroundings — all for the purpose of creating and selling a substance that people simply can’t do without.
That one is easy to answer. Because President Obama hasn’t fired him and Salazar refuses to resign in shame. (Image)
The real question is what is so wrong with President Obama that he keeps Ken Salazar on as Secretary of the Interior?
Salazar should have given Obama a strong heads up about the major risks of offshore drilling before any policy change was made. He should have done a thorough review of the Department of the Interior with some serious attention to the problem agency key to exploration and drilling permits. The department’s Minerals Management Service (MMS) has a long rap sheet as a problem agency. Salazar knew this.
Americans acknowledge there is a problem. Petroleum pours out from a broken pipe. Thousands of barrels of fuel flow freely through the Gulf of Mexico, just as they have for more than a month. Plants, animals, and people are affected. People express distress. Millions are dismayed. What can BP do? Indeed what can any company or citizens do? Most call upon the President. Mister Obama, the electorate pleads, please, protect us. These same citizens ignore that the protection we need is from ourselves. Our present circumstances are a reflection of our past. Many Americans have forgotten an earlier time, when another of this country’s Chief Executives attempted to avoid the nightmare we experience today. Continue reading →
There is no viable solution in sight for the out of control oil gusher in the Gulf of Mexico. The stunning failure of British Petroleum (BP) raises the question – are these oil giants too big to exist? Are they too dangerous to function in our presence? BP has four permanent deep water structures and 28 boreholes operating at a water depth of greater than 5000 feet in the Gulf of Mexico. What’s next?
British Petroleum (BP) had the resources to drill the well but lacked the planning and ability to deal with its failure. The oil giant’s performance inspired ridicule by Jon Stewart in a recent Daily Show comment (“There will be blame“). The White House was not amused, however. Nobel Prize winning physicist and Secretary of the Energy, Steven Chu, is now in Houston with a team of cutting edge scientists tasked with mentoring BP and devising a viable solution as the oil giant continues to falter. Continue reading →