Two years before the Deepwater Horizon blow-out in the Gulf of Mexico, another BP off-shore rig suffered a nearly identical blow-out, but BP concealed the first one from the U.S. regulators and Congress.
5 years ago, we located an eyewitness with devastating new information about the Caspian Sea oil-rig blow-out which BP had concealed from government and the industry.
The witness, whose story is backed up by rig workers who were evacuated from BP’s Caspian platform, said that had BP revealed the full story as required by industry practice, the eleven Gulf of Mexico workers “could have had a chance” of survival. But BP’s insistence on using methods proven faulty sealed their fate.
One cause of the blow-outs was the same in both cases: the use of a money-saving technique—plugging holes with “quick-dry” cement.
By hiding the disastrous failure of its penny-pinching cement process in 2008, BP was able to continue to use …more
Wednesday, my colleague Khadija Ismayilova was released from an Azerbaijan prison. Her crime was investigative reporting. She helped me get out the story of the Islamic Republic of British Petroleum—and get out safe to report it. Her courage is more than the human mind can comprehend.
Getting the hell out of the Islamic Republic of BP with the Deepwater Horizon evidence
From Vultures’ Picnic: In Pursuit of Petroleum Pigs, Power Pirates and High-Finance Predators. A tale of oil, sex, shoes, radiation and investigative reporting – get it now.
by Greg Palast
[Based on a tip from some guy floating in the Caspian Sea in Central Asia, we take off for Baku, Azerbaijan, the “Islamic Republic of BP.” Stopping in London, the deathly ill MI6 double-agent Leslie the Bagman lays out the history of the coup d’etat, hooker-bait and the $30 million “sweetener” paid by Lord Browne to the oil nation’s “president”––and suggests we find his old spy-mate, Natasha.
Only 17 months before BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig suffered a deadly blowout in the Gulf of Mexico, another BP deepwater oil platform also blew out.
You’ve heard and seen much about the Gulf disaster that killed 11 BP workers. If you have not heard about the earlier blowout, it’s because BP has kept the full story under wraps. Nor did BP inform Congress or US safety regulators, and BP, along with its oil industry partners, have preferred to keep it that way.
The earlier blowout occurred in September 2008 on BP’s Central Azeri platform in the Caspian Sea.
As one memo marked “secret” puts it, “Given the explosive potential, BP was quite fortunate to …more
This clip is from Greg Palast’s film Vultures and Vote Rustlers which you can download for FREE this week
Six years ago today, 11 members of the Deepwater Horizon Crew were still alive. The Gulf of Mexico, thanks to decades of dredging by the oil companies was a slowly growing disaster – but it was still a tourist destination and a source of jobs for thousands of fishermen.
All this week we’ll be sharing the investigations that we did on British Petroleum’s disaster and its international fallout – including the one that could have foretold the April 20th blowout in the Gulf of Mexico.
A RUBBER DINGHY OFF THE GULF COAST, MISSISSIPPI, OCTOBER 2010
This was my first investigation of fish homicide, so I figured Rick and I needed a boat because Professor Steiner’s submarine had just cleared the Panama Canal and wouldn’t arrive in time for our filming.
However, Badpenny couldn’t hook up a canoe, let alone a skiff, because BP had put every Coon-Ass captain on its payroll for the oil clean-up, which mostly involved floating around looking busy when CNN showed up. BP would have to OK our taking one of their indentured boats, and BP never said OK unless they controlled the fish story. …more
The Governor of Alabama has decided that instead of using BP’s cleanup money for restoring the lives of those affected by one of the worst man-made disasters in history, he’s using it to rebuild a mansion.Owned by the State of Alabama the million dollar beach residence of the Governor has been closed for 18 years since Hurricane Danny damaged it. The fix-up is “estimated at $1.5 million to $1.8 million” and will be done by May according to the Associated Press.
A million and a half bucks could pay for a lot of beach cleanup, something that’s still needed in the Gulf. But as with everything associated with this deal the money goes to the top – and then trickles down to the bottom. Just like the oil in the Gulf.
The BP settlement has been a disaster since the beginning, as I reported back in 2012:
The lawyers for 120,000 victims of the Deepwater Horizon blow-out cut a deal with oil company BP PLC which will save the oil giant billions of dollars. It will also save the company the threat of a trial that could expose the true and very ugly story of the Gulf of Mexico oil platform blow-out.
I have been to the Gulf and seen the damage — and the oil that BP says is gone. Miles of it. As an economist who calculated damages for plaintiffs in the Exxon Valdez oil spill case, I can tell you right now that there is no way, no how, that the $7.8 billion BP says it will spend on this settlement will cover that damage, the lost incomes, homes, businesses and boats, let alone the lost lives — from cancers, fetal deformities, miscarriages, and lung and skin diseases.
In 2010, President Barack Obama forced BP to set aside at least $20 billion for the oil spill’s victims. This week’s settlement will add exactly ZERO to that fund. Indeed, BP is crowing that, adding in the sums already paid out, the company will still have spent less than the amount committed to the Obama fund.
There’s so much corrosion, mendacity and evil covered up by this settlement deal that I hardly know where to begin.
The military whistleblower’s 2010 Wikileaks dump included information that could have saved the 11 BP workers who died that spring in the Gulf of Mexico oil rig disaster.
Five years ago Monday, 11 men died on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig — despite Chelsea Manning’s effort to save their lives.
Let me explain.
The BP drilling rig blew itself to Kingdom Come after the “mud” — the cement used to cap the well — blew out.
The oil company, the federal government and the industry were shocked — shocked! — at this supposedly unexpected explosion in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
But BP knew, and Exxon and Chevron knew, and the U.S. State Department knew, that just 17 months earlier another BP offshore rig had suffered an identical, disastrous blow-out halfway across the planet in the Caspian Sea.
In both the Gulf and Caspian blow-outs, the immediate culprit was the failure of the cement, in both cases caused by the use — misuse — of nitrogen in the cement mix, a money-saving but ultimately deadly measure intended to speed the cement’s drying.
The cover-up meant that U.S. regulators, the U.S. Congress and the public had no inkling that the cost-saving “quick-dry” cement process had failed on an offshore rig only a year before the Deepwater Horizon blew.
You can watch the Deep Water Horizon report in Palast’s documentary compilation film,Vultures and Vote Rustlers, which will be available as aFREE downloadfor the next two days courtesy of the not-for-profit Palast Investigative Fund.
But Pvt. Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning tried to warn us. The details of the Caspian Sea blow-out off the coast of Baku, Azerbaijan, were revealed in the secret …more
By Greg Palast forTruthdig Forget Stephen King. If you want scary, read U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier’s 150-page Findings of Fact released Thursday in the Deepwater Horizon case.
Although the judge found BP liable for “gross negligence,” some U.S. media failed to mention that Barbier let BP off the hook on punitive damages. And that stuns me, given that the record seems to identify enough smoking guns to roast a sizable pig.
Here’s a standout example:
Every rig operator knows that, before a rig can unhook from a drill pipe, the operator has to …more
[Lower Ninth Ward, New Orleans]Nine years ago this week, New Orleans drowned. Don’t you dare blame Mother Nature. Miss Katrina killed no one in this town. But it was a homicide, with nearly 2,000 dead victims. If not Katrina, who done it? Read on.
The Palast Investigative Fund is making our half-hour investigative report available as a free download – Big Easy to Big Empty: The Untold Story of the Drowning of New Orleans, produced for Democracy Now. In the course of the filming, Palast was charged with violation of anti-terror laws on a complaint from Exxon Corporation. Charges were dropped, and our digging continued.
It wasn’t an Act of God. It was an Act of Chevron. An Act of Exxon. An Act of Big Oil.
Take a look at these numbers dug out of Louisiana state records: …more
From his investigation for Channel 4 Television in the newly released film, Vultures and Vote Rustlers.
There was CIA involvement through a company called Mega Oil. They were shipping in arms under the cover of oil tools.
The BP executive was explaining to me how the CIA, MI6 and British Petroleum engineered a coup d’état, overthrowing an elected president of a nation who was “not favorable to BP.” The corporation’s former Vice-President, Leslie Abrahams, is pictured here, holding an AK-47 in front of BP headquarters in Baku, Azerbaijan. Like most of the other BP executives I spoke with, he proudly added that while he was working for BP, he was also an operative for MI6, British intelligence.
The conversation was far from the weirdest I had in my four-continent investigation of the real story of the Deepwater Horizon.
The BP oilrig blew out on April 20, 2010, four years ago this Sunday.
Earlier this month, the Obama Administration officially OK’d BP’s right to resume drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. And two weeks ago, just to assure the company that all is forgiven, …more
Two decades ago I was the investigator for the legal team that sold you the bullshit that a drunken captain was the principal cause of the Exxon Valdez disaster, the oil tanker crackup that poisoned over a thousand miles of Alaska’s coastline 25 years ago today, on March 24, 1989.The truth is far uglier, and the real culprit—British Petroleum, now BP—got away without a scratch to its reputation or to its pocketbook.
Just this month, the Obama administration authorized BP to return to drilling in the Gulf.
It would be worth the time of our ever-trusting regulators to take a look at my Exxon Valdez files on BP. They would see a decades-long pattern of BP’s lies, bribes and …more
By Greg Palast | reposted – Originally for Vice MagazineFive years ago this month, on the 20th of April, 2010, the BP Deepwater Horizondrilling rig blew itself to kingdom come. Soon thereafter, a message came in to our office’s chief of investigations, Ms Badpenny, from a person …more
“The first thing that the military police say is, ‘Give us your film.’ They had real weapons and I had a fake press pass, so it was an easy choice. They let me keep my pen — but they didn’t know it was one of those Austin Powers jobs with the video camera hidden inside.”
In an extraordinary talk mixed with live, undercover footage from his investigations from around the globe, Palast rips the sheets off the One Percent, exposing the Koch Brothers, Chevron, BP, Goldman Sachs, the IMF, WTO—the bribers and billionaires in stories that grip you, scare you—and make you laugh.
On the 20th of April 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oilrig blew out in the Gulf of Mexico, killing eleven men instantly, then destroying 600 miles of coastline. On 9 September 2010, a natural gas pipeline exploded in San Bruno, California, burning eight to death, one of several recent pipeline explosions in the USA. In 1992, in Chicago, a gas pipe leaked and 18 houses exploded, incinerating three people.
What do these deaths have to do with plans for “fracking” for natural gas in Ireland?
Everything. It was my job to investigate these three explosions, the Deepwater Horizon and California explosions as a reporter for the UK Channel 4’s Dispatches, the earliest as a US government investigator. In all three cases, the deaths were preceded by the same reassurances about the safety of drilling and piping that I read now in the debate about fracking in Ireland.
First, the Deepwater Horizon. Eleven men died when the ‘mud’ – drilling cement meant to cap the wellhead – failed and methane gas blew out the top of the pipes and exploded. The Shannon Basin is not the Gulf of Mexico, but your safety will be just as dependent on Halliburton’s mud. …more
Palast’s book Vultures’ Picnic will be released in Britain June 26. Catch Palast with Special Guest Warren Ellis.
Will “Beyond Petroleum” oil giant BP pick the winner of the Eurovision Song Contest today in Baku, Azerbaijan? If so, I wouldn’t be surprised.
When I was arrested by the military police of Azerbaijan during my investigation of BP for Channel 4′s Dispatches in 2010, one of the cops who surrounded our crew in the desert told us, with great pride:
“BP drives this country.”
Indeed it does.
In 1992, the newly independent former Soviet republic of Azerbaijan elected a kindly Muslim Professor, Abulfaz Elchibey, as President.
The Justice Department went big game hunting and bagged a teeny-weeny scapegoat. More like a scape-kid, really.
Today, Justice arrested former BP engineer Kurt Mix for destroying evidence in the Deepwater Horizon blow-out.
I once ran a Justice Department racketeering case and damned if I would have ‘cuffed some poor schmuck like Mix––especially when there’s hot, smoking guns showing greater crimes by BP higher ups.
Last week, I released evidence we uncovered that BP top executives concealed evidence of a prior blow-out. Had they not covered up the 2008 blow-out in then Caspian Sea, then the Deepwater Horizon probably would not have blown out two years later in 2010. [Watch the film and read the stories.]
I urge you to read the affidavit of FBI agent Barbara O’Donnell which the government filed in arresting Mix. His crime is deleting texts from his phone indicating that the blown-out Macondo well was gushing over 15,000 barrels of oil a day, not 5,000 as BP told the public and government. If true, it’s a crime, destruction of evidence. But Mix is a minnow. What about the sharks? The texts were obviously sent to someone (named only “SUPERVISOR” by the FBI). If “Supervisor” knew, then undoubtedly so did BP managers higher up. Presumably, even CEO Tony Hayward would have gotten the message on his racing yacht.
Destruction of evidence is not nice, but concealment of evidence and fraud by corporate bigs, is the bigger crime. I hope, I assume, I demand that we find out what Supervisor’s supervisors knew and when they knew it––and didn’t tell us.
And far, far, far more important: when is the Justice Department going to go after the greater wrongdoing? Let’s begin with the cover-up before the spill that the drilling methods used on the Deepwater Horizon had led to a blow-out nearly two years earlier.
Let’s face it: to go after the bigger crime means going after the entire industry. The earlier blow-out was concealed by BP as well as its partners Exxon and Chevron and, by the US State Department under Condoleezza Rice. [If you want to get that story, please check out Part II: BP Covered Up Prior Oil Spill at Ecowatch.org.]
One point in Mr. Mix’s defense. During my investigation of the Deepwater Horizon, I found that employees who provide evidence against BP find their careers floating face down in the Gulf.
BP and other oil companies punish troublemakers by writing “NRB” on their record. That means “Not Required Back”––and the worker is banned from the offshore rigs. No doubt, Mr. Mix thought long and hard about what would happen to his career if his texts came to light. Not an excuse for crime, but it’s a fact. It’s the guys on top putting on this kind of pressure that should be doing the perp walk: the Big Bad BP Wolves, not their mixxed-up scapegoat.
Re-prints permitted with credit to Greg Palast
Greg Palast is the author of Vultures’ Picnic, which centers on his investigation of BP, bribery and corruption in the oil industry. Palast’s, reports can be seen on BBC-TV and Britain’s Channel 4.
You can read Vultures’ Picnic, “Chapter 1: Goldfinger,” or download it, at no charge: click here.
by Greg Palast – Exclusive for EcoWatch.org Friday, 20. April, 2012
Evidence now implicates top BP executives as well as its partners Chevron and Exxon and the Bush Administration in the deadly cover-up – which included falsifying a report to the Securities Exchange Commission.
Yesterday, Ecowatch.org revealed that, in September 2008, nearly two years before the Deepwater Horizon explosion in the Gulf of Mexico, another BP rig had blown out in the Caspian Sea––which BP concealed from U.S. regulators and Congress.
Had BP, Chevron, Exxon or the Bush State Department revealed the facts of the earlier blow-out, it is likely that the Deepwater Horizon disaster would have been prevented.
Days after the Deepwater Horizon blow-out, a message came in to our offices …more