It took a news outlet half a world away to gather together obscure reports, connect the dots, amd expose the shocking truth. In case you have not yet seen it, do make sure to watch the video and read the story that Al Jazeera started running this week. Then ask yourself why virtually no American broadcasters or newspapers have picked it up, and why the United States government is belching a big "No Comment."
Tune in any time to MSNBC or CNN or Fox, and interspersed with the manufactured outrage stories of presidential politics, you will see those flashy, happy, slick, ubiquitous BP commercials. They lead you believe that the oil spill was actually good for the Gulf -- the water is clearer than ever, the seafood more abundant and tastier, the sand is whiter, tourism is booming, wildlife is thriving, and the mildly inconvenienced business owners have been handsomely compensated. The spots usually feature African-American actors, thus delivering the message that BP is socially liberal as well as environmentally responsible. (Ironically, the latest $100 million ad inadvertently includes a shot of some anti-BP protesters in the distance!)
The TV networks are obviously raking in the profits from these greed-washing spots. Do you really think they are going to bite the BP hand that feeds them? President Obama and the rest of the political elite class are not about to offend the corporate interests on whom they depend either, especially in an election year. They have been complicit in covering up the magnitude of this disaster from day one. Why should they rock the boat now, by admitting that the tragic effects will be playing out long after we have all faded away? The president, desperate to prove to independents that he is no environmental softie, has actually expanded drilling in the Gulf, allowing operations in even deeper water than that in which the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded.
The truth exposed by Al Jazeera is the polar opposite of the BP public relations assault. Tar balls are still washing up on beaches and getting caught in fishing nets.There are reports of third generation eyeless shrimp, hardshell crab that have devolved into softshell crab, rotting from the inside out, and fish and crabs with lesions and burns believed to be caused by the chemical dispersants used to break up the oil. From the Al Jazeera report:
Keath Ladner, a third generation seafood processor in Hancock County, Mississippi, is also disturbed by what he is seeing.
"I've seen the brown shrimp catch drop by two-thirds, and so far the white shrimp have been wiped out," Ladner told Al Jazeera. "The shrimp are immune compromised. We are finding shrimp with tumors on their heads, and are seeing this everyday."
While on a shrimp boat in Mobile Bay with Sidney Schwartz, the fourth-generation fisherman said that he had seen shrimp with defects on their gills, and "their shells missing around their gills and head".
"We've fished here all our lives and have never seen anything like this," he added.
Ladner has also seen crates of blue crabs, all of which were lacking at least one of their claws.
Darla Rooks, a lifelong fisherperson from Port Sulfur, Louisiana, told Al Jazeera she is finding crabs "with holes in their shells, shells with all the points burned off so all the spikes on their shells and claws are gone, misshapen shells, and crabs that are dying from within … they are still alive, but you open them up and they smell like they've been dead for a week".Al Jazeera gleaned much of its information from poring through esoteric scientific journals not easily accessible to the general public. When its journalists asked the the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration for comment, they were referred to NOAA (the National Aeronautics and Space Administration). NOAA, in turn, declined to comment because of "ongoing lawsuits".
Rooks is also finding eyeless shrimp, shrimp with abnormal growths, female shrimp with their babies still attached to them, and shrimp with oiled gills.
"We also seeing eyeless fish, and fish lacking even eye-sockets, and fish with lesions, fish without covers over their gills, and others with large pink masses hanging off their eyes and gills."
Rooks, who grew up fishing with her parents, said she had never seen such things in these waters, and her seafood catch last year was "ten per cent what it normally is".
Meanwhile, if you rely on the Paper of Record (the N.Y. Times) for all the latest BP disaster news, the only thing you learned this week is that lawyers hammered out their fees in the civil case, and that BP CEO Bob Dudley echoed his rosy TV commercial talking points. And there was this bland editorial about Congress being the opposite of Progress. Oh yeah, a criminal investigation by the Obama Justice Department is "continuing".
And continuing and continuing and continuing. The second anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon explosion is tomorrow. Halliburton is still in business and more profitable than ever. Dick Cheney still has a new heart. Ann Romney is still fabulously rich. BP is still here, and so is the oil spill.
|Cancerous and Eyeless Shrimp from the Gulf (Al Jazeera)|