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BP Cover-up ‘They Knew.’
Part 1

Greg Palast 

by Greg Palast – Exclusive for EcoWatch.org
Thursday, 19. April, 2012

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.

This week, EcoWatch.org 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 the dangerous methods in the Gulf of Mexico—causing the worst oil spill in U.S. history. April 20 marks the second anniversary of the Gulf oil disaster.

There were several failures in common to the two incidents identified by the eyewitness. He is an industry insider whose identity and expertise we have confirmed. His name and that of other witnesses we contacted must be withheld for their safety.

The failures revolve around the use of “quick-dry” cement, the uselessness of blow-out preventers, “mayhem” in evacuation procedures and an atmosphere of fear which prevents workers from blowing the whistle on safety problems.

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Robert F. Kennedy Jr., president of Waterkeeper Alliance and senior attorney for Natural Resources Defense Council, said, “We have laws that make it illegal to hide this kind of information. At the very least, these are lies by omission. When you juxtapose their knowledge of this incident upon the oil companies constant and persistent assurances of safety to regulators, investigators and shareholders, you have all the elements to prove that their concealment of the information was criminal.” …more

BP Settlement Sells Out Victims – UPDATE
Deal buries evidence of oil company willful negligence

Greg Palast 

by Greg Palast
for TheMudflats

See Greg Palast on Democracy Now! with Amy Goodman on the BP Settlement.

Following the Deepwater Horizon explosion, Greg Palast led a four-continent investigation of BP PLC for Britain’s television series Dispatches. From 1989-91, Palast directed the investigation of fraud charges in the Exxon Valdez grounding for Alaska Native villages.

Some deal. BP gets the gold mine and the public gets the shaft.

On Friday night, 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 …more

XL Keystone – The Pig in the Pipeline
The GOP is pushing a pipeline
that could blow you to pieces

Greg Palast 

Special to TruthOut.org

Palast conducted a five-continent investigation of Big Oil for British TV’s premier current affairs program, Dispatches, and for BBC Worldwide. This report is based on the broadcast seen prime-time worldwide—but not yet in the USA.

Whistleblowers have told Britain’s “Dispatches” that the safety software on major US pipelines contains deliberate errors—and so pipelines can — and have — busted, leaked, exploded …and killed.

Congressional Republicans are holding extended unemployment benefits hostage until President Obama agrees to speed up approval to build the XL Keystone Pipeline. XL Keystone will slice down through the entire width of the USA, moving tar-sands oil from Canada to Houston.

The oil industry promises that the Pipeline will be safe. But the pipe is only safe if the PIG inside it can squeal.

Federal law requires the industry to run a diagnostic robot PIG, a Pipeline Inspection Gauge, that will squeal when something is wrong: a crack, dangerous corrosion, anything that might lead to a spill or explosion.

But PIGs are only as good as the software that tracks and analyzes their signals. And the software used by Big Oil has been compromised—deliberately. …more

Ma Nature, the Happy Toilet
BP on Trial at the Occupation

Greg Palast 

For Greenpeace.org
Palast is the author of Vultures’ Picnic: in Pursuit of Petroleum Pigs, Power Pirates and High-Finance Carnivores.

[Occupy Wall Street Climate Trial, New York. Sunday, Nov 27.]

This is not the first courtroom where I’ve faced off against BP, British Petroleum. But this time, I was outdoors, with a patrol car’s red lights spinning.

OWSTrialOccupy Wall Street asked me to act as “prosecutor” in the Climate Court in their relocated locale in a New York park.

I have the cold, hard, documentary evidence in my hand, gathered with the help of Greenpeace and their submarine (no kidding) in the Gulf of Mexico, in the Caspian Sea, in Alaska. …more

Before the Beginning

Greg Palast 

Raven, that Lying Little Bastard
by Greg Palast for TheMudflats.net

“If I had a machine gun, I’d kill every one of them white sons of bitches.” Makarka didn’t say, “white.” He used the unkind Alutiiq phrase, isuwiq-something, bleached seal.

As a bleached seal myself, I couldn’t blame him, not if you saw what I saw, the documents that British Petroleum buried deep as they could.

In my investigation of the blow-out on BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig, I knew key evidence could only be found in the files in the hands of the Chugach Natives of Alaska. The story involved the usual mix of big oil, suicide, murder, rock and roll, and fish. Whatever, I had to get from Asia to Alaska. To understand the full story, how America went, in two centuries, from British colony to British Petroleum colony we have to go way back to … …more

Escape from Lady Baba-land

Greg Palast 

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.

[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.

In the middle of this Byzantine maze, I’m looking for the real reason for the Deepwater Horizon explosion, not the bullshit seen on CNN. I get the goods, film it, get arrested for filming it, get film confiscated …except for the film in the little Austin Powers camera-in-a-pen that has to find its way out of the country.]

From Chapter 2: “Lady Baba-land.”

But we’re not leaving. …more

The 1% who get the gold mine
(we get the shaft)

Greg Palast 

[Wall Street, New York] No one here in Zuccotti Park is protesting “Wall Street.” Wall Street is just an address, just a street sign on a post.

The 99% Movement is about Them: the 1%. The 1% who own Wall Street and all our
streets and have posted a foreclosure notice on the entire planet.

The 1% who get the gold mine while we get the shaft.

For five years, I’ve been quietly working on a four-continent investigation about Them, the 1%.

I’ve put it all in a new book. I could have called it Lives of the Rich and Shameless, but I’ve chosen this: Vultures’ Picnic—in Pursuit of Petroleum Pigs, Power Pirates and High-Finance Carnivores.

Vultures’ Picnic hits book stores on November 14. Click on the images to see the films, the slideshow, the excerpts—and order it right now. …more

Not Another Ransom Note
from Congressman Boehner

Greg Palast 

 

It was quite upsetting to find our President blindfolded and tied to a chair at the GOP Tea Party headquarters, but I’m sure the $2.2 trillion ransom we paid to the hostage-takers is worth it.

Well, now that the Obama presidency is over, we can move on to more serious matters.

Look out your window.  What you’ll see is that, while the debt-ceiling hostage crisis played out on cable TV, the planet has been burning down.

You haven’t heard a lot from me this year—because the normally-noisy Palast investigations team has chosen to spend these months quietly digging into unreported cases of economic and environmental arson.  It will all hit the presses and TV when we launch a new book and films later this year.

But the investigations continue at full tilt:

#1. Too Far Beyond Petroleum. …more

BP’s Secret Deepwater Blowout

Greg Palast 

Exclusive for Truthout/Buzzflash

Greg Palast investigating BP’s blowout in the Caspian, Baku, Azerbaijan 2010.

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 have been able to evacuate everyone safely and to prevent any gas ignition.” The Caspian oil platform was a spark away from exploding, but luck was with the 211 rig workers.

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Palast Arrested

Greg Palast 

Post from Monday, December 20, 2010

BP’s Azeri police arresting Palast for filming BP oil rig – Baku, Azerbaijan, December 2010

“Here in Azerbaijan we believe in human rights. PLEASE GIVE US YOUR FILM.”

Oh, no, no, not good.

The enforcers here come in three colors:  the military police still wearing their old Russian puke-green uniforms, the MSN (the dictator’s secret police) in windbreakers without ID, and BP’s own corporate police force in black tunics, sashes and full hats who look like toy soldiers from the Nutcracker ballet. They weren’t dancing.

I showed all three flavors of police our press credentials in both English and Azeri, neither of which could be read by the officers. (The dictator had suddenly changed the Azeri alphabet, making most of the nation illiterate overnight.)

The dictator made everyone call him, “Baba,” Grandpa.

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BP In Deep Water: The Making Of the Channel 4 Investigation

Greg Palast 

FEATURES

For two decades, investigator Greg Palast has been on BP’s trail. In BP: In Deep Water, Palast takes Dispatches viewers along on his world-wide investigation of the oil giant. (Sorry, UK only).

One year after BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig blew apart and spewed 170 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, BP claims victory – that most of the oil is gone.

Palast walks across one still-slimed beach with a marine biologist who describes ‘BP’s clean up theatre’ as ‘superficial’ and ‘cosmetic’. He shows us the oil still coming ashore, and the oil still deep beneath the beach surface.

From the Gulf, Palast flies to the Alaskan Arctic and discovers that BP has spilled over 200,000 gallons of oil. The problem: BP had not tested the integrity of pipeline for eight years. The reason? A prosecuting attorney said: ‘BP cut corners with disastrous consequences.’ Palast meets an insider In shadow, a man who programmed the type of testing equipment oil companies can use, called the PIG, says it can cost up to $1 million per mile to test pipes. BP’s failure to test could have saved it millions of dollars, but failure to check the pipeline was at the cost of poisoning the last pristine wilderness.

Palast, who years earlier led an investigation of the Exxon Valdez disaster reveals that, despite the name ‘Exxon’ on the tanker, it was a company called Alyeska, in which BP had a majority share, that was responsible for containing the oil spill. Their response was so slow that oil devastated 1,300 miles of Alaskan shores. The company failed to have the equipment and crews required to deal with the spill. Palast shows viewers the oil still on the beaches, 22 years after the spill.

Then, it’s a flight half-way across the planet to the police state of Azerbaijan, in Central Asia, where the Dispatches crew is detained by state security while attempting to film BP’s operations. Just after Azerbaijan’s ruling family took control after a coup, BP , with other oil companies, took the nation’s oil in a deal called the ‘Contract of the Century.’ Former MP, former BP political advisor and MI6 operative Harold Elletson tells Dispatches how the dictatorship made sure the deals with BP would ‘stick’.

Also saying he helped to make BP’s position ‘stick’ was the oil company’s one-time Deputy Representative in Azerbaijan who tells Dispatches that, to win favour from the petro-state, BP authorised his paying over $2 million in bribes.

And, while working for BP, that he was approached by MI6 to spy for Britain, providing military intelligence to Moscow station chief John Scarlett.

About Greg Palast

A fraud investigator turned journalist, Palast is best known in the US for his discovery of how Katherine Harris fixed the Presidential election of 2000 for George W Bush and, in the UK, for his Observer investigation, ‘Lobbygate: Cash for Access’ about New Labour and lobbyist influence. Palast investigated the Exxon Valdez grounding for the Natives of Alaska, owners of the state’s coastline; and for the government, directed investigations of fraud in the energy industry.

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Palast’s investigations are supported in part by the Puffin and Cloud Mountain Foundations and the Palast Investigative Fund, a 501c3 charitable trust.

Subscribe to Palast’s Newsletter and podcasts.

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www.GregPalast.com

The Petroleum Broadcast System
Owes Us an Apology

Greg Palast 

For Truthout/Buzzflash

Tonight, my dog Pluto and I watched the PBS ‘Frontline’ investigation of BP, “The Spill.”

PBS has uncovered a real shocker:  BP neglected safety!

Well, no shit, Sherlock!

Pluto rolled over on the rug and looked at me as if to say, Don’t we already know this?

Then PBS told us — get ready — that BP has neglected warnings about oil safety for years!

That’s true.  But so has PBS.  The Petroleum Broadcast System has turned a blind eye to BP perfidy for decades.

If the broadcast had come six months before the Gulf blow-out, after the 2005 BP Refinery explosion in Texas, or after the 2006 Alaska pipeline disaster, or after the years of government fines that flashed DANGER-DANGER, I would say, “Damn, that Frontline sure is courageous.”  But six months after the blow-out, PBS has shown us it only has the courage to shoot the wounded.

But hey, at least PBS is now on the case.

Or is it?   …more

Shoot BP:
The Amazon to Arctic Investigation

Greg Palast 
Alaska Native Henry Makarka©1997James Macalpine-PIF

At Tatitlek Village, Alaska Native Henry Makarka told me, “If I had a machine gun I’d shoot every one of them white sons of bitches.”

Makarka was talking about the executives who came to him and his tribe 40 years ago to purchase their land at Valdez.  They were from the companies now known as Exxon and BP.

The Tatitlek were paid the handsome price of $1 for Valdez, which the companies knew was worth billions.

Yes, Henry, we want to shoot BP too.  And Exxon.  With cameras – which corporations fear more than bullets.

We have launched the multi-national Amazon to Arctic investigation of BP and its oily sisters.

But frankly, we need the cash to do it; for the small charter planes, the detective agencies, the camera batteries and, frankly, our nourishment.

If you have ever considered supporting us, or adding to your prior support, believe me, this is the moment.  Please donate here and I’ll send you, signed, your choice of thank you gifts: my films on DVD and bestselling books.

For 21 years, I have been hunting BP, Exxon, Chevron and their sisters.

But I simply can’t continue.  We are, no kidding, dead out of funds for this work.

The result will be a feature-length documentary (a major network has indicated it will distribute), major print investigative pieces and a series of video-enhanced internet news reports for major sites.  (As always, our reports are given to Democracy Now! and other not-for-profit broadcasters without charge.)

But the preliminary work and deep investigation which they can’t cover must start now.

* $579 buys my ticket to Alaska, BP’s latest drilling target.

* $1100 gets me to a meeting with a BP insider.

* $200 buys us a new concealable mini-recorder.

We need your help. If you believe the issue of oil’s global reach deserves the type of serious, deep investigation the Palast team uniquely provides, then now is the moment to show you support us.

Please, make it at least $100 and I’ll send you my three latest DVDs.

Better yet, become our producer. I mean it. Instead of million-dollar moguls, we are looking for a group of twenty-four “mini-moguls” to launch our films (news report length and feature length). Donate at least $1,000 and we’ll list you as a co-Producer for our next film (with a dozen DVDs of the film when complete).

Here’s what YOU get:

Palast flying over the Prince William Sound, Alaska©1997James Macalpine-PIF

BP insiders have contacted us from the Caspian to London.  We need your tax-deductible donation right away.  If ever there was a journalistic emergency, this is it.

We need to get back up to Alaska, BP’s next offshore target, pay the bills from hunting Chevron in the Amazon, then return to the Gulf where we have more inside information already gleaned that needs verification and publication.

I really don’t want to shut down such an important investigation.  If you have ever considered supporting us, or adding to your prior support, believe me, this is the moment.

Our special thanks to Mike Papantonio, Bobby Kennedy and their Ring of Fire Radio for supporting our Arctic to Amazon campaign.

On top of this obligation, we have also begun an investigation of nuclear power which has recently arisen from its corporate crypt.  I know this is a lot to take on, but we must – and we will, with your commitment to join us.

With gratitude,

Greg Palast

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Greg Palast investigated charges of fraud by BP and Exxon in the grounding of the Exxon Valdez for Alaska’s Chugach Natives.

Palast’s investigation of Chevron’s oil drilling operations in the Amazon for BBC Television Newsnight is included in the DVD compendium Palast Investigates.

Palast’s investigations are supported in part by the Puffin and Cloud Mountain Foundations and the Palast Investigative Fund, a 501c3 charitable trust.

Subscribe to Palast’s Newsletter and podcasts

Follow Palast on Facebook and Twitter.

www.gregpalast.com

Smart Pig:
BP’s OTHER Spill

Greg Palast 

For Buzzflash.com

Oil spill residue, Chenega, Alaska©1997James Macalpine-PIF

With the Gulf Coast dying of oil poisoning, there’s no space in the press for British Petroleum’s latest spill, just this week: over 100,000 gallons, at its Alaska pipeline operation.  A hundred thousand used to be a lot.  Still is.

On Tuesday, Pump Station 9, at Delta Junction on the 800-mile pipeline, busted.  Thousands of barrels began spewing an explosive cocktail of hydrocarbons after “procedures weren’t properly implemented” by BP operators, say state inspectors. “Procedures weren’t properly implemented” is, it seems, BP’s company motto.

Few Americans know that BP owns the controlling stake in the trans-Alaska pipeline; but, unlike with the Deepwater Horizon, BP keeps its Limey name off the Big Pipe.

There’s another reason to keep their name off the Pipe:  their management of the pipe stinks.  It’s corroded, it’s undermanned and “basic maintenance” is a term BP never heard of.

How does BP get away with it?  The same way the Godfather got away with it:  bad things happen to folks who blow the whistle. BP has a habit of hunting down and destroying the careers of those who warn of pipeline problems.
…more

Slick Operator: The BP I’ve known too well

Greg Palast 

 For Truthout.org
May 5, 2010

I‘ve seen this movie before. In 1989, I was a fraud investigator hired to dig into the cause of the Exxon Valdez disaster. Despite Exxon’s name on that boat, I found the party most to blame for the destruction was … British Petroleum. That’s important to know, because the way BP caused devastation in Alaska is exactly the way BP is now sliming the entire Gulf Coast.

The deepwater horizon taken soon after the explosion in the Gulf.Deepwater Horizon in flames before sinking. Photo provided by D.Becnel

Tankers run aground, wells blow out, pipes burst. It shouldn’t happen but it does. And when it does, the name of the game is containment. Both in Alaska, when the Exxon Valdez grounded, and in the Gulf over a week ago, when the Deepwater Horizon platform blew, it was British Petroleum that was charged with carrying out the Oil Spill Response Plans (“OSRP”) which the company itself drafted and filed with the government.

What’s so insane, when I look over that sickening slick moving toward the Delta, is that containing spilled oil is really quite simple and easy. And from my investigation, BP has figured out a very low cost way to prepare for this task: BP lies. BP prevaricates, BP fabricates and BP obfuscates.

That’s because responding to a spill may be easy and simple, but not at all cheap. And BP is cheap. Deadly cheap.

To contain a spill, the main thing you need is a lot of rubber, long skirts of it called “boom.” Quickly surround a spill or leak or burst, then pump it out into skimmers or disperse it, sink it or burn it. Simple.
…more

British Petroleum’s “Smart Pig”

Greg Palast 

The Brilliantly Profitable Timing of the Alaska Oil Pipeline Shutdown

alskapipelineFor The Guardian (UK)

Is the Alaska Pipeline corroded? You bet it is. Has been for more than a decade. Did British Petroleum shut the pipe yesterday to turn a quick buck on its negligence, to profit off the disaster it created? Just ask the “smart pig.”

Years ago, I had the unhappy job of leading an investigation of British Petroleum’s management of the Alaska pipeline system. …more