Friday, June 11, 2010

BP's rules

BP's control of media access to affected areas, and the silencing-through-intimidation of their employees seems to be significantly under-reported.

Rachel continues to emphasize the disaster that all that oil in the water, on the beaches, and in the wetlands is and will continue to be for a very long time.
This is a good thing - she's focused not on the really cool videos of oil spewing out of the pipe (at a rate of... what's the current guess? 40,000 bbls/day???)... She's been diligently concentrating on the stuff that's already in the water, and on the beaches, and in the wetlands... that know one knows how to clean up.

But, no one seems to be talking too much about BP's complete control of media access to the affected areas - even when these areas are PUBLIC!

A few weeks ago I noted:
... When CBS tried to film a beach with heavy oil on the shore in South Pass, Louisiana, a boat of BP contractors, and two Coast Guard officers, told them to turn around, or be arrested.

"This is BP's rules, it's not ours," someone aboard the boat said.
"BP's rules"???

I don't know if the beach was public or private.
AND I acknowledge that govt has a right to keep folks away when imminent danger threatens.

BUT: keeping news crew off a beach because "these are BP's rules"???
What the fuck?!?

Mr. Obama, tear down this wall!
Since then there've been occasional stories of workers refusing to talk with media, citing "BP's rules".

Today my friend Woody over at Well-Armed Lamb writes:
Dr. Riki Ott: "BP Censoring Media, Destroying Evidence""... Even worse, as my latest week of adventures illustrate, BP is using federal agencies to shield itself from public accountability.

For example, while flying on a small plane from New Orleans to Orange Beach, the pilot suddenly exclaimed, "Look at that!" The thin red line marking the federal flight restrictions of 3,000 feet over the oiled Gulf region had just jumped to include the coastal barrier islands off Alabama.

"There's only one reason for that," the pilot said. "BP doesn't want the media taking pictures of oil on the beaches. ..."
Who controls access to airspace? FAA? - Whatever the agency, I KNOW it's part of MY Federal Government.
So, first the Coast Guard, now the FAA - conspiring with BP to deny media access.

Today C&L asks:
Why Are Media Blocked In The Gulf?
... a post that includes hints at what might otherwise sound like wild conspiracy theories... "might otherwise" IF we didn't have clear evidence of a Fed/BP collaboration to silence the media.

This particular post notes that even Anderson Cooper is getting ticked. Here's an excerpt of a CNN transcript:
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: ... but few here believe that BP has been transparent about much of anything.

Now, here is a letter that we obtained today, this is sent from BP's Chief Operating Officer, Doug Suttles to BP employees in the Gulf. It wasn't sent to us because we don't actually get direct communication with BP. He writes, "BP has not and will not prevent anyone working in the cleanup operation from sharing his or her own experiences or opinions with the media." He says he has not and will not.

Now, I can tell you the first part, has not, is simply not true. BP has hired security people who -- to keep journalists away from cleanup teams. They have workers -- workers over and over have told us, have told me over and over, that they can't talk because BP told them they would lose their jobs.

BP made fishing crews early on sign non-disclosure contracts until the fishermen's association took the company to court.

So BP is saying it has not tried to muzzle people, that's simply -- I mean that dog just won't hunt. Now, whether they will not, that remains to be seen and we'll be "Keeping Them Honest."

They promised transparency as you know numerous times in the past. But I mean, let's be real here. Let's remember, they didn't make video pictures of a leak available for weeks and even then it was a 30-second clip and not until forced to do that by Congress. They didn't make these high resolution HD pictures available to flow rate scientists, at least one of the scientists we've talked to -- until yesterday and only after lawmakers pressured them. We didn't even know these pictures existed.

They didn't tell the public or even
[Coast Guard Admiral] Thad Allen they'd suspended the "top kill" operation until 16 hours later. And for weeks we know, they have low-balled the amount of oil gushing into the Gulf. I mean they did this along with the Coast Guard, until the Coast Guard stopped doing joint briefings with them?
[emphasis added]
Maybe now that Anderson Cooper is getting riled, more MSM will start paying attention to the issue of BP's control of media access... and OUR GOVERNMENT's collusion in this restriction on media.

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