Despite the announcement two day ago by BP Exec Doug Suttles that "No one is to prevent the media from access" -
Recent media reports have suggested that individuals involved in the cleanup operation have been prohibited from speaking to the media, and this is simply untrue. BP fully supports and defends all individuals rights to share their personal thoughts and experiences with journalists if they so choose.
BP has not and will not prevent anyone working in the cleanup operation from sharing his or her own experiences or opinions.
Then why did BP Security - on a Public Beach - respond this way to a reporter?
OFFICIAL 1: Every single security guard here has given the instructions to every single news crew that you can be outside of 100 yards of the workers or along the boom.
WALKER: And who’s saying that? Because no one can tell me that, unless you’re the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, you’re the Coast Guard, or you’re the military, can you tell me where to go on this public beach.
OFFICIAL 1: I can tell you where to go because I’m employed to keep this beach safe. And right now, those are my instructions. I’d like to keep the workers safe as well.
WALKER: I’m going to try to talk to the worker under the tent. Can I do that?
OFFICIAL 1: No, no.
WALKER: He’s on break.
OFFICIAL 1: You are not allowed to interview any workers.
WALKER: The workers can talk to the media, according to the BP CEO two days ago. Still hasn’t trickled down to you all?
OFFICIAL 2: We already heard that one too.
WALKER: What do you mean you’ve “heard that one”? It’s true.
OFFICIAL 1: The e-mail did not explicitly give you permission to do that.
Can you believe the NERVE of these Lying Rat-Bastard Fucker-heads?
From DAY-ONE BP has been Bullshitting Us about how much oil was coming out of the well, about how safe the dispersant Corexit 9500, they've used and manipulated the Coast Guard to keep the Press and even NOAA away from the Underwater Death Plumes.
The sad part is that there isn't a lot the local or federal authorities can do. Even after Sherrif's finally escorted these reporters over to the workers They refused to Talk (because they most likely knew there would be reprisals) Legally their silence can be contractually maintained and mandated.
Work and Shut Your Mouth - Or Starve!
American Freedom in operation.
Update 1 This isn't the first time this has happened as shown by ABC News. Via Thinkprogress. This report does a good job of pointing out how the workers are essentially terrified of BP, trapped in a situation where their normal jobs are gone - and this is all they have left. It's like a Slave Labor Force. Also note in this video - NO RESPIRATORS!
ABC News reporter Matt Gutman “was hassled by the manager of a nearby crew, asking Gutman why he was on the beach.” Gutman captured the interaction on video, and said “several people” had asked him “not to talk to any of the workers here”:
Here's another example with Alabama Firefighters complaining that BP is keeping them from HELPING, when they actually have the training to do this job.
Update 2 I've been meaning to write this as a separate diary, but I think making this point here - since this is now Rec'd will probably have more impact. Obama is not Dumbledore!.
We'd all like to wish that Obama was Dumbledore and could solve this with a wand flourish and a loud - Expelliarmus Shout, but that's not the case.
If we want to avoid putting this spill fix and clean up on the public dime as John Beohner suggested (and has already walked back) we have to recognize some practical realities.
The US Military does not possess a Fleet of Oil Tankers or Fishing/Skimming Vessels. The Ships needed to clean the oil from the water have to come from private companies. Either BP is going to pay for it and hire those ships as sub-contractors, or the government will. The problem is if the government takes this over, exactly how long will it take to get the funds appropriated with people like Jim Bunning in the Senate running around saying - "But it has to be PAID FOR"?
Tax payers are not footing the bill for this. Not. Gonna. Happen. Unfortunately if BP is passing out the checks, then BP Calls the Shots! It's a total Catch-22.
It may make Obama "look weak", but really the reality is that International Corporations have become This strong. We saw it during the Housing Crisis and Bank Bailouts and we're seeing it now. These people are modern day King's, with their own private armies of thugs and serfs to do their bidding. Governments are just an inconvenience to them, which they can simply buy off in time.
I think what needs to happen is that we need to allow the EPA and OSHA to contract out the cleanup and skimming crews and then directly BILL BP for the costs. Don't let BP decide how things should be cleaned up, where, or what protective gear should be used since - they're LIABLE for it all, and it's in their corporate interest, and their share-holders interests to minimize and limit their liability as much as possible.
Right now a mechanism to actually TAKE THIS AWAY FROM BP and "Commandeer their ships" as Michele Bachmann insanely suggested - doesn't really exist without declaring Martial Law and seizing the assets of BP and all the other ships involved - we'd have to have the Coast Guard and Navy become PIRATES in international waters. And after that the really bad stuff happens, we'd have to start placing the workers into Forced Labor without compensation. Nobody wants to see anything like that happen.
This isn't Obama's problem to fix, not all by himself. He doesn't have that kind of authority over private companies, but Congress could create it with some amendments to the Clean Water Act to allow this kind of Ad Hoc Clean-Up Crew Contracting and Billing to ensure BP stays on the hook, but not in the driver's seat.