BP oil spill: A Louisiana fisherman’s experience

Lawsuit Filed Against BP Compensation Czar

(H/T Nancy Thompson)

by Dahr Jamail, TruthOut

Tampa, Florida – A first-of-its-kind lawsuit alleging gross negligence and fraud has been filed in a Florida state court against Kenneth Feinberg, the administrator of the 20-billion-dollar compensation fund for victims of BP’s Gulf oil spill, and the Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF).

Attorney Brian Donovan of the Donovan Law Group from Tampa filed the complaint against Feinberg, his firm Feinberg Rozen, LLP and the GCCF on behalf of Pinellas Marine Salvage, Inc. and John Mavrogiannis.

The complaint alleges, in part, gross negligence, fraud, fraudulent inducement and unjust enrichment on the part of the defendants.

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Oil Spill Claims Czar, Ken Feinberg, Is a BP Employee

I wonder if he has any stock options.

The administrator of the $20 billion compensation fund for Gulf oil spill victims is not independent from BP and must stop telling potential claimants that he is, a federal judge said in a ruling Wednesday…

… Feinberg was appointed last June by BP and the White House to oversee the fund. His Washington law firm was paid $850,000 a month for its work through the middle of January, and now Feinberg is discussing with BP how much he should be paid going forward.

Barbier said: “The court finds that BP has created a hybrid entity, rather than one that is fully independent of BP.”

BP said in a statement it respects the court’s decision. Feinberg did not return a call to his cell phone. A Feinberg spokeswoman said the Gulf Coast Claims Facility would have no comment on the ruling and would move forward paying claims.”  Huffington Post

BP Hires Prison Labor to Clean Up Spill While Coastal Residents Struggle

(Remember back when the cameras were not permitted around the clean-up crews? Yeah, it’s because many of them were prisoners forced to work on the toxic clean-up for next to nothing.)

by Abe Louise Young, CommonDreams

In the first few days after BP’s Deepwater Horizon wellhead exploded, spewing crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico, cleanup workers could be seen on Louisiana beaches wearing scarlet pants and white t-shirts with the words “Inmate Labor” printed in large red block letters. Coastal residents, many of whom had just seen their livelihoods disappear, expressed outrage at community meetings; why should BP be using cheap or free prison labor when so many people were desperate for work? The outfits disappeared overnight.

Work crews in Grand Isle, Louisiana, still stand out. In a region where nine out of ten residents are white, the cleanup workers are almost exclusively African-American men. The racialized nature of the cleanup is so conspicuous that Ben Jealous, the president of the NAACP, sent a public letter to BP CEO Tony Hayward on July 9, demanding to know why black people were over-represented in “the most physically difficult, lowest paying jobs, with the most significant exposure to toxins.”

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Gulf toxicologist: Shrimpers exposed to Corexit “bleeding from the rectum”

It’s no wonder Rand Paul thinks talking about BP will harm their profit margins.

 BP: We stole Iran from the Iranians in ’53 (and we are about to get it back), we got our piece of Iraqi oil, and now we make U.S. fishermen Shit Blood to clean up OUR MESS! But HEY! Rand Paul still likes us… and the young people think he’s “cool” right?

here is some more information on Corexit

Deficit-Hawk and Libertarian Servant to the Business Class, Rand Paul, Wants you to Say Only Nice Things About BP

Libertarians are the official political party of the neoliberal IMF “Business First” wing of government. You think Rand is a political outsider? You think they are going to rig the elections to keep him OUT? Guess again. Rand is a servant to big business and a deficit-hawk oligarch who damn-well expects to get his seat in the senate that was promised to him as his birthright. He claims to have changed his position a little on open borders in order to get more inline with the mainstream of the working people in the Tea Party, but he really hasn’t. He wants those borders wide open in order to favor big business profit margins. He is no more of an “outsider” than Sarah Palin or Glenn Beck.

Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul said Thursday that harsh criticism of BP by President Barack Obama’s administration could contribute to the oil giant’s demise and harm its ability to pay for cleanup of the massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

The comments came in response to blistering criticism by Democratic opponent Jack Conway at their first appearance together. Conway blasted Paul for saying in late May that Obama’s stance toward BP was un-American and anti-business. Those and other comments by Paul led to a backlash at the time that caused the Republican to retreat from the national scene for a couple of weeks.

Paul said Thursday that BP should pay for the Gulf cleanup, but that Obama administration’s sharp rhetoric could help imperil the company.

…””I think the deficit … is such an enormous problem that it might warrant bringing things to a halt and having a discussion about it for a few days,” he said.

Paul didn’t offer any specifics about how to erase the nation’s mushrooming deficit. He said each federal program should be reviewed to determine if it can be cut, eliminated or privatizedAP

So Rand doesn’t want anyone talking bad about BP… he thinks condemning foreign companies who have screwed up the entire Gulf coast is “unAmerican”… and his big concern is the deficit which he says we have to cut and privatize programs to fix… Still think Rand Paul is anti-establishment? He’s about as anti-establishment as Hilary Clinton.

Homeland Security seizes control over BP oil spill website

(the Obama administration won’t take over control of the spill (and therefore the oil) but they WILL take over control of the SPIN (read as “propaganda”).  The Department of Homeland Security has deemed it in our nation’s interests to control the LIES being put out about the disaster in the Gulf)

by Nick Doms, HULIQ from July 5th, 2010

The Department of Homeland Security has seized control over a joint BP oil spill website, previously managed by several US Government agencies and BP and intended to inform the public about the progress made in the cleanup effort.

The joint website was managed by US agencies, including the US Coast Guard, and BP to provide daily information about the oil spill and efforts made by both in conjunction with independent contractors to proceed with the cleanup effort.

Effective immediately, the Department of Homeland Security will now control all content and distribution of information to the American and international public.

Secretary Janet Napolitano, head of the DHS, was not available for comment and her office did not immediately return phone calls.

[read the rest, here]

PROMISES BROKEN: Hundreds of fishermen don’t get their BP checks

from Perilous Nation

Hundreds of fishermen from Lake Charles to Moss Point, Miss., were supposed to get checks from BP on Wednesday but didn’t.

Wednesday night, their lawyer wanted answers. Jeffrey Briet represents more than 500 fishermen, and he said the payment system he set up with BP required his clients to be paid every 30 days. Now that process has suddenly changed without warning, Briet said.

“Not only did they spring it on us that the process has changed, but the people I’ve been dealing with for six weeks who’ve done a good job said, ‘We don’t know what the process is going to be. We’re not authorized to talk to you about it. Someone from BP will contact you,’” he said

[read the rest, here]

BP Threatens to Fire Cleanup Workers Who Wear Respirators

from The Thin Green Line, SFGate

News is breaking from the Gulf of Mexico that cleanup workers — who are really just contracted fishermen — are being told they will be fired if they wear protective gear. BP is not providing the gear, but if workers wear respirators they secure for themselves, the company says they will be fired, according to Louisiana Environmental Action Network and a local environmentalist who just returned from the Gulf

Reports of illness among the workers began almost as soon as the cleanup did. But the government-run health clinics where they are being treated are among areas the federal government has deemed off limits to reporters. The feds also barred press from oiled wildlife and booms in a move that makes them look an awful lot like the PR crew for the British oil giant.

A coalition including commercial fishermen’s groups, environmental groups and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., is petitioning the government to force BP to provide respirators for workers. In its first three hours, the petition has garnered more than 16,000 signatures.

Censorship and cover-up in the Gulf oil disaster

by Tom Eley, WSWS

The Obama administration has intensified its cover-up of the BP oil disaster. On July 1 it issued an order barring the public and the news media from coming within 65 feet of clean-up operations without permission from the Coast Guard. The transparent aim of the order, which purports to protect the safety of clean-up workers, is to prevent the population from viewing the devastation wrought by the BP oil blowout.

The gag order states that that anyone not authorized by the Coast Guard “must not come within 20 meters [65 feet] of booming operations, boom, or oil spill response operations under penalty of law.” The wording—“oil spill response operations”—could be construed as covering the entire affected region, which stretches from the Mississippi Delta to the Florida Panhandle.

Journalists who “willfully” defy the White House order could be prosecuted as Class D felons and face up to five years in prison and a $40,000 fine. Exceptions to the ban will be considered on a case-by-case basis by the Coast Guard captain of the Port of New Orleans.

In defending the order, Coast Guard Commander Thad Allen stated that the measure aims to protect clean-up workers, but he failed to cite a single incident of safety being compromised by “unauthorized personnel.”

[read the rest, here]

There is Something Very Wrong with the “Suicide” of William Kruse

by Scott Creighton 

UPDATE – (H/T to an old friend) - Go here to read about how the local county officials in various areas affected by all this BP made disaster are being co-opted by BP, the new Masters of the Gulf, and are harassing the residents with impunity just like any third-world corporate tyranny would.  BP’s head of security riding around in the taxpayer’s county patrol cars pulling over citizens and interrogating them because they filmed something, stealing their identification, intimidating them… while the deputy sits back and says nothing. This is Coca-Cola and Columbia right here in America. 

William Kruse

 

MSNBC has tried to redeem themselves. Yesterday they scrubbed out any mention of Capt. William Kruse’s death from their early morning article (which I pointed out), so today they are running with a Washington Post article devoted entirely to the subject. The Washington Post article calls Kruse’s death an “apparent” suicide.  I don’t think so.   

Here are the facts as I know them thus far… 

  • Kruse showed up in the morning to meet with his deck-hands as usual.
  • Kruse sent them to the local store to get ice and other supplies for the day’s work helping clean the oil out of the Gulf.
  • When they left Kruse was supposed to start-up his boat and meet them at the store where he would fuel it for the day.
  • As they were walking toward the store they heard a “pop” but thought it was nothing more than a firecracker.
  • After Kruse didn’t show at the store, they went back and found him in the wheel-house.
  • There is no suicide note.
  • BP owed Kruse $70,000 and Kruse was very angry about not being paid on time.
  • Kruse was an extremely vocal and outgoing man.  He was a community leader who all the other captain’s “looked up to
  • Kruse was on the board of the Orange Beach Fishing Association.
  • Other fishing boat captains came to him for advice.
  • Kruse had recently told one of them that the entire clean-up effort was a scam, it was “hopeless”, and that they had to just shut up and just do as they were told… that it was like living in “prison”.

Does that sound like a suicide to you? 

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MSNBC Deletes Mention of Oil Clean-up Capt. William Allen Kruse’s Death

by Scott Creighton

Earlier this morning, I reported on an MSNBC story about two Gulf oil clean-up workers who had been killed. One had been shot and there were no details on the other.  MSNBC has now changed their story and dropped all mention of both of the deaths.

This is what they wrote this morning and I reported on here.

… The deaths reported Wednesday were not tied to the containment operation. The Coast Guard said the workers had been involved in cleanup operations did that their deaths did not appear to be work related. 

One death was a boat captain who died of a gunshot wound, a Coast Guard spokesman said. Further details were not immediately available. MSNBC 

Now, if you follow that link, the article has been scrubbed up and there is no mention of either of the clean-up worker’s deaths. In fact, instead part of the story is about saving a dolphin.

This is a screen-shot of the link preview which still has the image capture of the original story including a headline that mentions the two deaths: “two clean-up workers die in separate events“.

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BP Labor Camps

by Scott Creighton 

UPDATE at the end of the article…  Leak is worse due to an “accident” and two clean-up workers are dead. 

Disaster capitalism is the way of the entire country right now.  Employers large and small are taking advantage of the dismal economic climate and they are padding their profit margins by rolling back pay rates and benefits for the average working man. It’s an all out assault on the standard of living of the blue-collar worker that I personally have seen growing in popularity over the past 24 years. Working Americans undermining other working Americans, literally stealing food right off their families tables, in order to achieve “just a little more” profit for themselves.  I’ve seen good men, men who refused to sell-out their workforce, have to shut down their businesses because the scourges who are competing with them can underbid them by utilizing their ‘off the books”/less than minimum wage workforce.  What has resulted is a kind of reverse natural selection where only the corrupt and morally weak survive and thrive in this new neoliberal Miracle of America.   

I thought I had seen it all… til this.   

BP is hiring contractors to come in and run the clean-up operations. BP of course is a British company but by and large, the sub-contractors in charge of all the clean-up workers are American companies. And you would be surprised what Americans will do to other Americans when the almighty dollar is involved. 

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Obama’s Oval Office speech: A cowardly cover-up of BP’s crimes

by Barry Grey, WSWS

President Obama’s Oval Office speech Tuesday night on the Gulf oil disaster was a cowardly exercise in evasion and cover-up that could have been written by the publicity department of BP.

The 18-minute speech, coming on the 57th day of the worst environmental catastrophe in US history, provided no concrete assessment of the causes of the oil spill or the dimensions of the crisis—in terms of damage either to the ecosystem or the economy.

The speech represented a complete capitulation to BP and corporate power. Anyone who expected that Obama would use the occasion to provide the American people with an honest accounting of the disaster and the culpability of BP had to be sorely disappointed.

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DC Fiddles While the Gulf Burns

Rand Paul recently stated that criticizing business is “un-American”…. well, he needs to learn – criticise in public, while in private you continue to lick their feet.

A foreign company is taking over the gulf. Why? “Because it’s BP’s oil and they are in charge” – Mother Jones – “When I tell Barbara I am a reporter, she stalks off and says she’s not talking to me, then comes back and hugs me and says she was just playing. I tell her I don’t understand why I can’t see Elmer’s Island unless I’m escorted by BP. She tells me BP’s in charge because “it’s BP’s oil.”

Federal Regulators allowed BP to fill out their own inspections (and got paid well for it)New York Times – “Federal regulators responsible for oversight of drilling in the Gulf of Mexico allowed industry officials several years ago to fill in their own inspection reports in pencil — and then turned them over to the regulators, who traced over them in pen before submitting the reports to the agency… inspectors had accepted meals, tickets to sporting events and gifts from at least one oil company while they were overseeing the industry.”

BP’s Response Plan Was A Joke, Group Charges - Huffington Post – “”This response plan is not worth the paper it is written on,” PEER board member Rick Steiner, a marine professor, said in a statement. “Incredibly, this voluminous document never once discusses how to stop a deep water blowout even though BP has significant deep water operations in the Gulf.”

Obama administration defends BP response to oil spill disaster - WSWS – “Amid growing popular anger over BP’s disastrous response to the gulf coast oil spill, the Obama administration came to the company’s defense on Monday, while again rejecting any federal takeover of the response…. “There’s no reason to make a change” to the official response to the oil spill. When asked to clarify whether BP or the US government was in charge of the cleanup, Allen said that the two were working in “partnership.”

BP ignores government order to stop using toxic oil dispersant in Gulf - Raw Story - “the oil giant has ignored the government’s deadline and was continuing to dump large volumes of Corexit into the Gulf on Monday, according to The New York Times, apparently to keep the massive sea floor oil plumes from surfacing and possibly washing ashore.”

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