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Tag: Gulf of Mexico

BP Could Have the Stopped
The Disaster in the Gulf

Greg Palast 

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

Alabama Gov. Fixing Mansion with BP Fund Money

Greg Palast 

 

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.Alabama_Governor's_MansionOwned 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.

Read the rest: BP Settlement Sells Out Victims – Deal buries evidence of oil company willful negligence

Download the investigation, Vulture’s and Vote Rustlers here.

Big Oil Threatens Academia, Again

Greg Palast 


This week on Democracy Now, 350.org’s Bill McKibben was on the program to discuss Exxon’s “thuggish” attempt to threaten Columbia journalism students after they published an investigation into Exxon’s climate lies.

It’s not news to anyone who follows my work that big oil likes to use their financial sway in higher education. Back in 2009 I wrote about the Deputy Director of the Louisiana State University Hurricane Center, Ivor Van Heerden who was pushed out of his job when he started talking too much about how Big Oil helped drown New Orleans.

I don’t get to use the word “heroic” very often. Van Heerden is heroic. It was van Heerden who told me, on camera, something so horrible, so frightening, that, …more

Chelsea Manning
and the Deepwater Horizon Killings

Greg Palast 

By Greg Palast  |  for Truthdig

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 a FREE download for 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

Lap Dancers, the CIA, Pay-offs, and BP’s Deepwater Horizon

Greg Palast 

By Greg Palast | for Truthdig

Originally published April 17, 2014

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, …more

Crime Scene – New Orleans

Greg Palast 

By Greg Palast for Reader Supported News

[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

Lap Dancers, the CIA, Pay-offs, and BP’s Deepwater Horizon

Greg Palast 

By Greg Palast | for Truthdig

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

How Bain Capital helped BP
blow up the Deepwater Horizon

Greg Palast 

A Book Review by Greg Palast, for FireDogLake.com
on Poisoned Legacy: the Human Cost of BP’s Rise to Power (St. Martin’s Press) by Mike Magner.

Here’s my bead on Magner’s book….

I almost fell off the barstool when I read that it was Bain Capital (Mitt Romney, former CEO), that told oil giant BP it was a good idea to cut costs. …more

BP Cover-up
Part 2: Bribery, George Bush and WikiLeaks

Greg Palast 

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

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

Where is the Sea Devil?

Greg Palast 

The two-grand-a-night call girls are wandering lonely and disconsolate through the Wynn casino, victims of the recession. Badpenny, dressed full-on Bond Girl, is losing nickels in the slots and humming Elvis tunes.

Badpenny’s assigned job here is to look good and get information. She’s good at her job. A tipsy plaintiffs’ lawyer is telling her, “A woman as beautiful as you should be told she’s beautiful every five minutes.” His nose dips slowly toward her cleavage…

Introduction by Razorcakes’ Chris Pepus

If you don’t read Greg Palast’s investigative reports, you don’t know what’s going on in America. Palast is the journalist who discovered election thefts in the U.S., the real reason behind Bush II’s invasion of Iraq, and other vital information on the class war that the rich wage every day.

In his new book, Vultures’ Picnic, Palast presents the inside story of how the financial elite loots public treasuries and passes the bill on to you. He also writes about recent and upcoming environmental catastrophes. In this excerpt for Razorcake, the Palast team starts investigating the 2010 British Petroleum disaster …more

Bush Rushes to Flood Site
Orders Emergency Tax-Cuts

Greg Palast 

New Orleans - Reminding the residents of Gulf Coast that, if can they can find their missing loved ones, they will qualify for the new higher exemption on inheritance taxes. "Don't think of them as lost, think of them as floating tax deductions!" ...more