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Wayne Madsen

Wayne Madsen

Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist, author and syndicated columnist. He has written for The Village Voice, The Progressive, Counterpunch, Online Journal, CorpWatch,…

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BP Committing Ecocide on Islands in Gulf

From environmentalists and wildlife specialists to fisherman and businessmen along the Gulf Coast the message is the same: BP is not only strangling the news of what is actually occurring in the Gulf of Mexico with the oil disaster but has co-opted key federal regulatory and oversight agencies to advance its agenda and that of its oil partners, including Halliburton, Anadarko, and Transocean.

The logistics of the oil clean-up is being criticized because of the over-dependence on deepwater oil skimmer boats. No procedures are in place for using skimmers that can operate in shallower waters of 1 1/2 to 2 feet. There are a number of boats that could be used for shallow water skimming being tied up in port and not being used by BP.

Fishermen who have experience in rescuing sea turtles enmeshed in fishing nets are not being used in turtle rescue operations. In fact, they face arrest if they even touch an endangered turtle. Some 3,000 fisherman have remained idled by the oil disaster and most have not been hired by BP. Idled fishermen were told by BP that they would be called when their help was needed. However, later BP told them that many would probably never be called.

BP has hired an army of contractors and sub-contractors who are spending plenty of "flash money" to assuage some local businesses. However, WMR noticed while driving to Louisiana a large number of seafood distributors and restaurants that were shuttered.

Those hired by BP to clean up beaches and waters are not permitted to wear respirators and many are becoming sick, even coughing up blood. This editor, while driving to Venice, began to experience burning and watering eyes, a condition that lasted hours after returning to the west bank of New Orleans.

The disinformation being promulgated by BP is being accentuated by a number of local TV reporters being "embedded" with Coast Guard units in the waters off the coast and in the marshland and estuaries. Furthermore, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), accused by many local environmentalists and fishermen of being complicit in the cover-up of bad news, has issued a report claiming that tests of 600 fish caught in waters "near the edge of the oil" have proven negative for chemical toxins. Fishermen interviewed by WMR said the claim is ludicrous since there are no fish in the waters in the oil zone or near it.

Gone from the waters of the Gulf off Louisiana are grouper, snapper, amberjack, tuna, and even the small colorful blenny, which normally feeds at oil rig pylons in the Gulf and is found only in the Amazon basin, in addition to the Louisiana Gulf waters. The Gulf waters are slowly being turned into a hydrocarbon soup of dispersed oil bubbles that is translucent black in color.

Fishing boat owners whose boats have been used for clean-up efforts are suffering fiberglass hull damage from hydrocarbon penetration and BP has informed the owners that their boats will have to be destroyed afterwards and their hulls ground up. However, even boats not being used for clean-up will be destroyed with no assurance that BP will compensate the owners.

NOAA is also reportedly sitting on bathymetric maps of the Gulf sea floor that shows a massive fissure on the sea floor that is located 7 miles from the Deepwater Horizon site. The fissure is leaking 120,000 gallons of crude a day, along with methane gas. The Corexit-dispersed oil has seeped under booms set up to protect Lake Ponchartrain, which lies north of New Orleans. Dead fish and tar balls have now turned up in the lake.

Further out in the Gulf and along sensitive refuges like Elmer's Island, massive fish kills are being reported by local residents. The Coast Guard and BP have established a no-fly zone over Elmer's Island, a major bird sanctuary.

In addition, local fishermen said that nurseries in the Gulf, responsible for producing 40 percent of America's seafood, are being destroyed by the oil and the chemical soup created by the mixing of oil dispersant Corexit 9500. Corexit is breaking down the crude oil into small oil bubbles and a watery oil mixture that is seeping under the booms set up to protect sensitive fish nurseries, oyster beds, and other pristine areas. Many Atlantic fish species also spawn in the Gulf and they are also threatened by the oil disaster. Even barnacles, one of the most resistant sea creatures to extreme situations, are dying in vast numbers, along with sponges and coral.

Near Venice, Louisiana in Plaquemines Parish, is the old Civil War fort of Fort Jackson. A national historical site and park, Fort Jackson has been turned into a major base for joint BP-Coast Guard dumping of Corexit on oil in the Gulf. WMR witnessed five helicopters carrying suspended white bags of Corexit out over Gulf waters.

Hastily-erected signs at the entrances to Fort Jackson warn that the site is closed to visitors because of "construction." Fort Jackson actually serves as a major base of operations for BP and Coast Guard activities. The Obama administration, which has stated its commitment to "open government," is engaged in what amounts to semi-covert BP-Coast Guard operations in the Gulf.

WMR has also been informed by a reputable source that BP has been engaged in night time spraying of a bleaching agent on Louisiana beaches to make it appear that the beaches are being cleaned up. The planes, which fly at night, disregard flight regulations by flying with their lights out. The operations have been approved by the Coast Guard and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Also coming in for criticism is the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which has remained silent as federal incident commanders have ordered home wildlife rescue workers from Texas and other states. One group that was told to pack its bags was the non-profit Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation, Inc. from Texas, which has 20 years of experience in handling animal rescues from oil spills. BP hired the O'Brien Group, a subsidiary of SEACOR Holdings of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, as its wildlife rescue coordinator. Local environmentalists view O'Brien as a shill for BP.

The EPA is also remaining mute on air quality reports from Venice that show that on May 7 hydrogen sulfide in the air was measured at 1192 parts per billion. Five parts per billion is considered hazardous to human health. In addition, the May 7 reports show that benzene levels in the air were measured at 5000 parts per billion, again in the health danger zone. Propylene glycol, a major component in Corexit 9500, is being measured in Gulf waters at 150 times its lethal concentration.


BP has hired the same firm that performed air quality monitoring in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina's Murphy oil spill in Chalmette to perform monitoring for the current oil disaster. Thefirm has been called a "proven liar" in both incidents by environmentalists and emergency planners.

BP clean-up workers have also been found dumping tar balls from the water and beaches in land-fills in Mississippi and St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana. The oil from the sludge is seeping into the local water tables.

The corporate news media, particularly the local New Orleans television stations, are embedding their reporters with Coast Guard and BP teams in the Gulf. The corporate media reports essentially serve as public relations outreeach for BP. A number of New Orleans and Louisiana groups are trying to get the actual news about the disaster out but face limited resources.

To call the Gulf oil disaster the worst environmental disaster in the history of the United States is an understatement. And with the connivance of the Obama White House, the Gulf of Mexico is being turned into the Gulf of Death.

By Wayne Madsen for Oilprice.com - the no.1 source for oil prices

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Leave a comment
  • Anonymous on July 13 2010 said:
    BP is committing eco-cide?BP wanted all that money to be wasted by letting it flood all over the gulf?It was the government that prevented foreign flagged industrial skimmers when the crisis started. It was the government that failed to get the US Navy's industrial skimmers involved.This crisis is about, and only about, pushing up the price of oil in an oversupplied market. This crisis is about re-inflating the dollar to bubble up the equities market so the banksters that own this government can continue to tread on us. This crisis is about pushing up the jobs numbers by hiring laid-off roughnecks to use teaspoons to pick up tar balls when there have been none had the government waived the Jones Act and let industrial skimmers in.This crisis is about pushing cap and trade taxation, weakening the dollar, pushing up the price of oil. This is your brain on disaster economics.
  • Anonymous on July 13 2010 said:
    Yes, their actions have already killed thousands of animals, with undoubtedly thousands more to follow. The ecology in the Gulf region will never be the same, so I think ecocide is a good description.Hopefully they didn't plan for all the oil to escape, since that could elude to an even more troubling question. But they certainly ignored all expert analysis which clearly stated to avoid digging as far as they did.
  • Anonymous on July 13 2010 said:
    I agree with your questioning of the governments role, and I think you have very valid points. I can only hope the financial gains that arise in the wake of such a disaster, had no involvement in the creation of this crisis. While I believe the price of oil will continue to rise, I do feel this may have also brought more attention on the plausibility of the abiotic oil theory. Not only are there massive amounts of methane in the Macondo area, but some believe it may also harbor abiotic oil. Your thoughts? Peak oil theory gonna take a hit? If so,what does that lead to?
  • Anonymous on July 13 2010 said:
    @Thob I must agree with everything you said but you failed to miss one more culprit. The everyday American citizens for allowing a vicious criminal(s) in Congress to manufacture these catastrohpies. The power is in our hands to control whatever is done to our home and borders...it's time to wake up as a nation and restore our Republic!
  • Anonymous on July 13 2010 said:
    This is all very distressing. My question is? Did some humans have hands in causing this disaster, in the first place.?? I agree with nowheretorun. WAKE UP FELLOW AMERICANS. WE MUST PRAY FIRST AND THEN GO TO THE POLLS IN NOVEMBER,2010. I believe this was a manufactured catastrophy. Everyone must wake up, join a TEA PARTY MOVEMENT, TAKE OUR COUNTRY BACK.
  • Anonymous on July 13 2010 said:
  • Anonymous on July 14 2010 said:
    Regarding the GOM 'dead zone' issue. The GOM has historically been the largest dead zone on the planet. Industrial and agricultural run off dumped into the Mississippi have been flowing into the GOM for more than a century. The effect, according to NOAA, is especially noticeable after seasonal floods flush out the Mississippi. Regarding an inside job. Well look at what has happened. Oil was heading towards 60/BBL, so much so that GS was shorting the oil futures market. Instead of a spill contained by industrial skimmers that would have prevented most of the oil hitting the beaches, we are seeing the rise of a politically nurtured crony class spillionaires. The spill is the poster boy for cap and trade. The weak dollar is a bona fide bonanza for market makers. It's the Gulf Spill GOld Rush!Inside job? Around the time of the spill some Floridian fisherman reported a small submarine. Google Dolphin Class Submarines and German Torpedoes.
  • Anonymous on July 14 2010 said:
    BP executives ordered the explosion. Oil rig engineers refused to pump seawater into the well when oil was struck. The normal procedure is to pump concrete into the well to plug it until they can prepare the cap and other measures are taken for safety. The engineers refused to pump seawater into the well because it would cause and explosion. Someonone at BP ordered the wrong procedure to cause an explosion. Eventually someon on the rig did as ordered. This is all in Florida Court testimony by survivors on the rig. BP is run by globalsist genocidal maniacs who are not even human. Their record can only be described as CRIMINAL. Obama is a piece of globalist filth. He is a schill for wallstreet and the globalist eugenicists.
  • Anonymous on August 14 2010 said:
    You don't need to kill the GOM to create an oil price spike. Have you been paying attention? That is beyond retarded. This wasn't planned. I think there is a massive cover-up going on however, and big-media whitewashing of GOM conditions.

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