Monday, May 31, 2010

Seize BP Days of Action: Demonstrations in 50 cities June 3-5

I am printing in full a copy of a letter I received today from the Seize BP campaign. I fully support this action taking place to seize BP. Clearly this company is just making it up as they go along; each attempt to stop the oil spill failing for close to 5 weeks now. When will the U.S. government realize that this company is completely negligent (to say the least), incompetent, and full of lies? How many more failed attempts must we endure? How many more times must we listen to them give false hope that they know what they are doing? While we sit and watch the Gulf of Mexico die before our very eyes. Seize BP!
From Seize BP Campaign:

The greatest environmental disaster with no end in sight! Eleven workers dead. Millions of gallons of oil gushing for months (and possibly years) to come. Jobs vanishing. Creatures dying. A pristine environment destroyed for generations. A mega-corporation that has lied and continues to lie, and a government that refuses to protect the people.


When the bill comes due, BP will pick up and leave town. The corporation will be “reorganized” or dissolved with its assets handed over to some other conglomerate before it has to pay out. Its executives will be paid handsomely; the people whose lives it has destroyed will be left to suffer.


From Thursday, June 3 to Saturday, June 5, actions will take place across the country to demand: Seize BP! We will be organizing demonstrations in more than 50 cities to protest the mounting economic and environmental damage from BP’s offshore oil drilling and to demand that BP’s assets be immediately seized and put in trust.


The much-hyped “top kill” has failed. For several days, BP continued to build up the belief that the operation might be working when it already knew it was doomed. The Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen spoke like a true BP company man repeatedly telling the public that the operation was succeeding.


The reality is that, faced with a preventable crisis for which it had no contingency plan, BP is now trying to buy time by spewing lies to cover up the spewing oil. The “lower marine riser package cap” about to be tried actually risks increasing the flow of oil. The drilling of a relief well will be completed no sooner than August, and it may not be successful then.


BP has no intention of picking up the tab for the destruction it has caused. The communities of the Gulf region whose livelihoods have been destroyed cannot rely on BP to come to the rescue. The Seize BP Campaign is demanding that the government seize BP's assets and place them in a trust to be used to provide for compensation and damages.


Actions are taking place in Fort Lauderdale, New Orleans, Austin, Washington D.C., Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and many more. We will be posting the Thursday – Saturday actions on SeizeBP.org, so please click here and let us know your plans so we can help get the word out on the website.


NO CAP – No Immunity for BP!


Just over a week ago, Seize BP launched the No Cap on Damages campaign, which is having a major impact. More and more in Congress are moving to support lifting damages—but we are not there yet. Take a moment now to send a letter to your elected official telling them that BP must not be granted immunity from damages.


The Oil Pollution Act of 1990 caps damages for oil companies responsible for offshore drilling accidents at $75 million on top of recovery costs. Some in Congress have suggested creating a higher cap—but there should be no immunity at all! They caused the damage, they must pay for it. BP rakes in over $90 million dollars a day in pure profit—that’s money after all their “expenses” including their wealthy executive salaries and perks.


Click here to send a letter and take action now!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Seaga Speaks: Former Jamaican PM speaks out on Coke affair

The Times Online reports today that Coke may seek political asylum abroad as he fears for his life if he is caught in Jamaica.  There have been several reports like this so who knows. We only know he's still not caught.  However, several other wanted men have been turning themselves into the authorities. WOW! Now there's a change - when did you ever hear of Jamaican gunmen turning themselves into the police???? Heavy rains are falling across the island.  Sounds fitting for the somber aftermath of last week. See the last video in this post for last night's JNN news broadcast.

On Thursday May 27, 2010, Former Jamaican Prime Minister Edward Seaga spoke on TVJ's program Impact on the Coke affair. There are a lot of people who are as critical of Mr. Seaga as he is of Mr. Golding. While I am posting these videos as I think there are people, particularly in the Diaspora (many readers of this blog) who would be interested, I am also posting some links to the opposite position:

Share the Blame, Mr. Seaga
Seaga, Golding, Tivoli
Seaga's Dilemma in the Jamaica Gleaner
JDF dismisses claims by Seaga

Seaga Interview Part 1


Seaga Interview Part 2:


Seaga interview Part 3


Last night's JNN News:

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Good news for Jamaica: Calabash Literary Festival May 28-30

Good news that the fabulous Calabash Literary Festival in Treasure Beach, Jamaica will kick off Friday May 28 to Sunday May 30, 2010. Wish I could be there!
From the Festival website:
Calabash is a festival in the truest sense — earthy, inspirational, daring and diverse. The selection of authors and performers for 2010 includes Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka, Colson Whitehead, Cristina Garcia, Russell Banks, Sharon Olds, Billy Collins and Nami Mun.
The mission of the Calabash International Literary Festival Trust is to transform the literary arts in the Caribbean by being the region's best-managed producer of workshops, seminars and

performances. We will achieve these goals by focusing on our audiences, managing our budget, creating a community of supporters in the media, government, business, the performing arts, philanthropic organizations and publishing, and by becoming the festival of choice for the world's most gifted authors.


New Poetry Anthology available: So Much Things to Say: 100 Poets from the First Ten years of the Calabash Literary Festival

Jamaica Crisis: News May 27, 2010

Tonight's JNN news cast from Jamaica

Jamaica Crisis: Voices of Tivoli Today

Official death toll now stands at 73.  
May 27, 2010 - A tour of Tivoli Gardens escorted by armed security forces lead The Gleaner to capture the voices of the community. 

Maddow nails it: Oil industry learns NOTHING in 31 years

While we wait to see whether BP's latest attempt to stop the hemorrhaging of oil in the Gulf will work, Rachel Maddow's segment from last night's show is incredible. It shows how this oil industry has learned NOTHING in 31 years. The Ixtoc I well blew up in the Gulf of Mexico in 1979. It was not plugged for 9 months. It had the exact same circumstances as the BP well disaster today. And in 31 years, they have not advanced any technologies to deal with any possible disaster. Unbelievable. 



Rachel says:
The oil companies keep talking about how technologically advanced they are, but what they have gotten technologically advanced at is drilling deeper. They haven't gotten any more advanced on how to deal with the risks attached to that. They haven't made any technological advances in the last 30 years when it comes to stopping a leak like this when it happens.

All they've gotten better at is making the risks worse, by putting these leaks further out of our reach. Wow, hey, congratulations. Now the thing you can't stop is a full mile underwater. That and making themselves the most profitable industry the universe has ever seen, and I am not exaggerating.

Jamaica Crisis: Kingston breathing easier today

I'm listening to Nationwide Radio for updates as news is still very fluid this morning. 

Journalists are being allowed into Tivoli Gardens for the first time this morning. This photo has the caption "We want some food."  See more photos here.
Overnight, the security forces conducted a raid on a house in Sterling Castle with some disastrous results:
From GO-Jamaica website:
A police operation aimed at capturing alleged crime lord Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke went awry this morning, ending with the slaying of Keith Clarke, the brother of former Commerce Minister for Jamaica, Claude Clarke.

In their relentless pursuit of the reputed Shower Posse leader, the security forces apparently entered a house. Clarke was reportedly slain after members of the security forces forced their way inside.

The operation reportedly began at about 2:30 a.m. with the security forces cordoning off the Plantation Heights community. Residents reported hearing shots being fired. There were also reports of flares being dropped from helicopters hovering above the premises.

The disastrous mishap occurred as the security forces continued their search for Coke, who was believed to have barricaded himself inside Tivoli Gardens where the state’s forces had invaded earlier this week.


Read Mark Wignall in the Observer: You Still there Prime Minister?

WHO among us have slept through this nightmare visited on us and who are the few among us who did not see this coming, this manifestation of the vile nexus between politics and criminality?

At whose feet must we lay blame for the lives of the many innocents slain in this battle between armed criminals and the state? Must we not rise up and stare down those who have supported criminals, made a sham of leadership, bastardised it and continue to pretend as if their faces, their voices and the fickleness of their words are representative of our own faces, our voices and our fears and concerns and say to them, "Depart from us, we no longer know you, no longer desire your presence."
Who are these people who came to us with sober words and suits to match to con us and make us buy into the belief that they were real leaders? By their actions they deserve nothing more from us - no ear to listen to them so that they can continue to poison our souls. Damn you, you "honourables".

In 1972 when Michael Manley had captured the hearts, the ears and eyes of most Jamaicans, he was the most loved leader in the post-Independence period. By the late 1970s when widespread violence was visited on this land of ours and then Opposition leader Eddie Seaga had convinced many of us that Manley was the spawn of Satan, there were times when Manley's face appearing on the television made me want to hurl a rock at it just to get rid of him.

I am at that place now with Bruce Golding.

Three days ago on Labour Day at a time when the nation was gripped with raw fear and our people needed a leader to address the problem of criminals threatening the state, the prime minister appeared on television to give his Labour Day message. I was totally blown away!

The prime minister's message indicated a man and a speech writer who had taken some flight of fantasy far from the realities of Jamaica - land we love - but also land of guns, criminality and nasty politics. I have not had the stomach to listen to him or to hear his voice since Monday because anything he says now must be taken with more than a pinch of salt. Has he not demonstrated that?  ~ Mark Wignall - Read Full Column

Here is last night's news from JNN:

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Jeff Farias Radio Show on Jamaica Crisis

It was a surprise and an honor to be invited on to the Jeff Farias Show yesterday to chat with Jeff about the situation in Jamaica. Thank you Jeff and Blueberry for your concern for Jamaica! Podcast of the show is below.




Link to the show here.


Full podcast of Jeff's show on May 25, 2010 is here.
To listen to my audio segment, allow the file to fully load and then advance to the 121.00 minute mark. 


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Jamaica Crisis Day 4


Dudus is still at large, gunfire still being heard, security forces still working to get control of Tivoli.  Plane circling over Kingston. Blood Bank needs blood and KPH doctors are stretched thin to cope with the injured. More conflicting reports of how many have died in this crisis that continues to grip Jamaica. The Jamaican newspapers are saying 44 dead. The Canadian Globe and Mail say at least 60 are dead. Spanish Town has been hard hit. It is heart breaking to read of children, a 14 year old and a 3 month old baby being victims to this violence. Read that story here.

The Prime Minister is "outraged" over the foreign press reports from ABC and the Independent in the UK that links him with ties to criminal gangs. See the Independent article from the UK and the ABC News report that are causing all of this consternation.

There is no doubt that exposing and releasing dark secrets is a way to cleanse and unshackle ourselves from self-destructive patterns that sabotage our progress. This crisis is exposing all of Jamaica’s political shadow in a big way. That is a good thing. As so many are saying: hopefully, this is a wake up call. Jamaica deserves a fresh start with honest public servants who put the interests of the people ahead of the interests of their personal bank account, and ahead of their ego driven desire for power. Interesting article in the Gleaner today on Tivoli’s “doomed” history from the time of Independence.

Read a very good blog report from Chez Hsia here on the "long simmering garrisons."

Annie Paul writes a great article here for Channel 4 news on the rise of the Dons in Jamaica.

Some more foreign press articles:
Front page on New York Times today.
The Christian Science Monitor
The Globe and Mail


Resources for keeping track of the events:
Facebook: On the Ground News Reports.
Twitter: Good sources.
The Jamaica Observer.
The Gleaner Online.
Power FM Radio.

Live streaming from Jamaica Live TV - TV news and Radio reports:

Free TV : Ustream


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Jamaica Crisis Day 3 Update

A couple of startling reports that struck me from today that are getting a lot of attention. See this link to a ABC News report that stated that a US government report referred to Bruce Golding as a “criminal affiliatee” of Dudus Coke.  From the report:
As official reports surface of accused drug lord Christopher Coke's escape from his barricaded Kingston, Jamaica neighborhood, where Jamaican authorities have been attempting to arrest him for extradition to the U.S., ABC News has learned that a U.S. government report refers to Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding as a "criminal affiliate" of Coke.
Golding, who led resistance to Coke's extradition before public opinion forced him to reverse himself, is described in a document read to ABC News as a "known criminal affiliate" of Christopher "Dudus" Coke. According to official U.S. accounts , Golding's Jamaican Labour Party (JLP) was voted into power through "Coke's murderous and strong-arm tactics."
Recently, Golding and other senior Jamaican officials have been electronically intercepted talking to Coke inside his fortified redoubt, US authorities say.

Wow. Pretty damning words. 

And then there was the laughable report in the Observer that the government was upset by everybody on Facebook and Twitter giving “misleading” information. Weeellll, aahhmmm, let’s see now: if you as a government had been on top of things and willing to inform your frightened public of the goings on of the most dramatic and violent crisis in Jamaica’s history, then perhaps people wouldn’t flock to Twitter and Facebook!!!!! Come on. So the government responds by setting up a media center. GOOD. About time. We were wondering where you were!! Twitters and Facebookers can take pride that they flushed the government hands into being more open and forthcoming about the developments.

Then there's this BBC News Video Report with the flak jacket, helmeted reporter hunkered down with the police as they dodge sniper bullets downtown.  It ain't nearly over yet.  See link here.

Jamaica Crisis Day 3


It’s hard to find out how many people have died, and whether the security forces efforts are gaining the upper hand. The government seems strangely silent. Absent almost. It's amazing that in these worst days of crisis for Jamaica there isn't more official reporting of what's going on. So we have to rely on Facebook. And Twitter. RJR was threatened yesterday. These journalists are working in a war zone trying to get hard news. Unconfirmed reports I’m seeing on Twitter indicate that over 80 men, women and children were killed in Tivoli yesterday. There have been reports of people trapped, and bodies in the street. More reports of gunfire today and more downtown roads being blocked. All Kingston schools closed until further notice. Several offices in Kingston and Spanish Town are closed. There is a report that a truckload of bodies was taken to KPH and that the hospital is in a tense area with gunshots being heard. Again, not a lot of hard information is coming from official sources. The Gleaner and Observer have some reports but the best sources for info seem to be Twitter and Facebook.

Here is a list of resources for keeping up on the developments:

Facebook: On the Ground News Reports. I must commend this strong group on Facebook for their amazing work in bringing us information that is not being reported elsewhere. They also give Twitter updates.

Twitter: Good sources.

The Jamaica Observer.

The Gleaner Online.

Power FM Radio.


Live streaming of TVJ newstation:



Free TV : Ustream

Monday, May 24, 2010

Jamaica Crisis

Update 5 p.m. PDT May 24
CVM PRIME TIME NEWS LIVE STREAMING FOR NEXT 2 HOURS:
Free TV : Ustream

Who didn’t know that Jamaican politicians were playing with fire with their garrison politics for the past 40+ years? Now that fire has exploded and it seems like Kingston is descending into a near anarchy in places. From the Observer:
A dumb-founded Jamaican nation remained transfixed to radio and television sets yesterday as marauding gunmen openly challenged security forces for control of the streets of downtown Kingston.

The news is conflicting this morning. The Observer saying Kingston is ‘calmer’, yet over on Twitter, I’m still hearing about gunfire and more areas being blocked. 2 policemen killed and 6 injured in a shootout last night on Mountain View. 4 police stations set on fire yesterday, police cars stolen, shots being heard from Red Hills Road to Mountain View Ave. The gangs have united in a front against the police. The pictures are unbelievable. I sat up late last night glued to Twitter which is the most up to date source. I watched Bruce Golding’s tepid little short address to the nation last night and wondered “Is this man for real? How long does he think he can hang on to his job?” He has made a mess out of things. I agree with those Jamaicans who think that he should resign and the GG should appoint an interim/unity government with the best people of both parties.

The problems go way back. If you arm ghettos with guns for decades, using them to be the deliverers of votes in your pursuit of political power, then you will have generations growing up knowing nothing other than the gun. You will have what is happening in Jamaica today. This cartoon today in the Observer shows a sad reality of who is partly responsible for this. Sadly, this news overshadows some positive news of peace being made between some formerly rival communities. 

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Gulf Oil Spill one month later: Calling on the Spirit of Gaia


A month into this Gulf oil spill and the news seems to get grimmer and grimmer each day: Thick gobs of oil washing into the Louisiana marshlands, the absolute and abhorrent corruption that BP displays on a daily basis – from their CEO characterizing the spill as being “tiny” to the allegations that they have been deliberately preventing people from getting onto beaches to witness what is going on, and preventing scientists from accurately measuring the spill. And then there is the tepid and impotent government response, “lackadaisical and na├»ve” as James Carville calls it, hampered by the culture of years and years of Big Oil being in the driver’s seat in this country for way too long.

The only good thing I see from this is perhaps people will really wake up. Maybe Obama will wake up and stop being a wuss. And take control. In my wildest dreams he would listen to those who say we should SEIZE BP.

For God’s sake. When is enough enough here? How many more dead dolphins, turtles, fish, manatees, sea birds, oceans, shorelines, beaches, estuaries, deltas, fisheries, coastlines, rivers, marshlands and islands must be ruined before we rise in the streets and say enough. How many more people must get sick from the highly toxic chemicals BP has been dispersing in the Gulf? There is a damn good case to be made for BP to be seized. It is criminal negligence what is going on in the Gulf.    This accident did not have to happen. Read about it here if you haven't seen this yet.

Maybe enough government scientists and the people in regulatory agencies will no longer allow their jobs to be controlled, or undermined by these slick criminals in companies like BP and Halliburton and Shell and Goldman Sachs and (___fill in the blank with your favorite corrupt corporation that cares not for the earth or for the well being of others, but only to line their pockets with as much money as possible, damn the consequences.)   In the words of Chris Hedges, "The corporate state is a runaway freight train. It shreds the Kyoto Accords in Copenhagen. It plunders the U.S. Treasury so speculators can continue to gamble with billions in taxpayer subsidies in our perverted system of casino capitalism. It disenfranchises our working class, decimates our manufacturing sector and denies us funds to sustain our infrastructure, our public schools and our social services. It poisons the planet."

Will it take the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history to recognize that a sea change is needed in government, in how politicians run their political campaigns - so that they are not bought by these goons, in who gets to control things, and in how business is done on this earth? Or will we just have no oceans left within twenty years – polluted beyond recognition, only dead zones remaining. When the only seafood left is jellyfish and algae. When we say to our grandchildren “No Johnny, you can’t go in the water.” Or “No, Sally, we no longer have any fish left like the ones in those pictures.”

I wasn’t going to rant. I’ve been ranting for four weeks. It is getting to be too much. But I know that we are all ranting, some more vocally than others. Some just feel enormous despair.

What I really wanted to share was this prayer, an invocation really, from one of my dear teachers, the Deep Ecology rainforest activist John Seed. This invocation is contained in his book Thinking Like A Mountain that he wrote with Joanna Macy, Pat Fleming and Arne Naess. It has been a treasured possession of mine for the past 17 years and I turn to its wisdom now to feel my connection with the earth and to call on the spirit of Gaia to see us through these perilous times:









Invocation: We Ask for the Spirit of Gaia
by John Seed

We ask for the presence of the spirit of Gaia and pray that the breath of life continues to caress this planet home.

May we grow into true understanding — a deep understanding that inspires us to protect the tree on which we bloom, and the water, soil and atmosphere without which we have no existence.

May we turn inwards and stumble upon our true roots in the intertwining biology of this exquisite planet. May nourishment and power pulse through these roots, and fierce determination to continue the billion-year dance.
May love well up and burst forth from our hearts.

May there be a new dispensation of pure and powerful consciousness and the charter to witness and facilitate the healing of the tattered biosphere.

We ask for the presence of the spirit of Gaia to be with us here. To reveal to us all that we need to see, for our own highest good and for the highest good of all.

We call upon the spirit of evolution, the miraculous force that inspires rocks and dust to weave themselves into biology. You have stood by us for millions and billions of years — do not forsake us now. Empower us and awaken in us pure and dazzling creativity. You that can turn scales into feathers, seawater to blood, caterpillars to butterflies, metamorphose our species, awaken in us the powers that we need to survive the present crisis and evolve into more eons of our solar journey.

Awaken in us a sense of who we truly are: tiny ephemeral blossoms on the Tree of Life. Make the purposes and destiny of that tree our own purpose and destiny.

Fill each of us with love for our true Self, which includes all of the creatures and plants and landscapes of the world. Fill us with a powerful urge for the well-being and continual unfolding of this Self.

May we speak in all human councils on behalf of the animals and plants and landscapes of the Earth.
May we shine with a pure inner passion that will spread rapidly through these leaden times.
May we all awaken to our true and only nature — none other than the nature of Gaia, this living planet Earth.
We call upon the power which sustains the planets in their orbits, that wheels our Milky Way in its 200-million-year spiral, to imbue our personalities and our relationships with harmony, endurance and joy. Fill us with a sense of immense time so that our brief, flickering lives may truly reflect the work of vast ages past and also the millions of years of evolution whose potential lies in our trembling hands.

O stars, lend us your burning passion.
O silence, give weight to our voice.

We ask for the presence of the spirit of Gaia.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Jeremy Jackson on the State of the Oceans, Jamaica's Reefs, Overfishing, Dead Zones


This TED talk from last month is not easy to watch, however it is a sober view from a marine scientist on the state of the world's oceans. He begins with talking about the reefs off of Discovery Bay in Jamaica and the overfishing that caused the demise of Jamaica's reefs. He shows stark photos of the dead zones in the Gulf of Mexico which will of course now dramatically increase with the ongoing BP oil spill. Worth watching. We won't have any more fish within 20 years. Can you imagine?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Shell Ad by Amnesty UK pulled by FT

I'm responding to a Twitter campaign today to get this ad published on blogs as widely as possible. Read below Amnesty's press release about the circumstances.



Amnesty UK Press Release:

Amnesty 'disappointed' by FT's decision to pull ad targeting Shell

Posted: 18 May 2010

Financial Times’ late call thwarts Amnesty’s campaign

Amnesty International UK expressed its immense disappointment today at the Financial Times’ decision to pull a new hard-hitting advertisement at the last possible moment. The ad was due to appear today as Shell held its London AGM.

The advertisement focused on the appalling human rights record of Shell in Nigeria. It compared the company’s $9.8bn profits with the consequences of pollution caused by the oil giant for the people of the Niger Delta.

Numerous oil spills, which have not been adequately cleaned up, have left local communities with little option but to drink polluted water, eat contaminated fish, farm on spoiled land, and breathe in air that stinks of oil and gas.

Tim Hancock, Amnesty International UK’s campaigns director, said:

“The decision by the Financial Times is extremely disappointing. We gave them written reassurances that we would take full responsibility for the comments and opinions stated in the advertisement.

“Both The Metro and The Evening Standard had no problems with running the ad.”

Tim Hancock added:

“The money to pay for the advertisements came entirely from more than 2,000 individuals online, who we’d asked to fund an ad campaign targeting Shell’s AGM – and it really caught their imagination. And I am sure these supporters will share with us our sense of deep disappointment.”

Amnesty International also today launched a new hard-hitting online video focusing on Shell’s illegal practice of gas flaring (the burning of gas produced as part of oil extraction) in the same region. Gas flaring is only serving to add to environmental impact on the people of the Niger Delta.
Follow the campaign online here.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Whale Sharks in danger at Ground Zero of Gulf Oil Spill

The following post is by Patric Douglas of Shark Divers:

We spent some time with Dr. Eric Hoffmayer, shark biologist at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory and Dr. Joe Griffitt, aquatic toxicologist to discuss the current oil situation in the Gulf of Mexico.

Dr. Hoffmayer has tracked close to 300 whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) in the Gulf since 2002. He is the preeminent whale shark biologist of the region and has concerns for the seasonal migration of these animals, some of which have come from as far away as the Caribbean.
 As many as one third of his tracked animals are estimated to be at "ground zero" the very place upwards to 70,000 barrels of oil are pouring into the Gulf and 500,000 gallons of COREXIT, a toxic dispersant, is being sprayed.

This map is an overlay of where the Gulf whale sharks most likely are and where the oil slick and dispersant is now.


"Most people have no idea we have whale sharks in the Gulf; it has been a terrific success story, we have just realized there are more animals out there then we originally thought, said Dr.Hoffmeyer, "Because the public is unaware of that, the issue of this oil spill and these animals is just not on the front burner. This is critical whale shark habitat."

"We're hoping that these whale sharks might sense the oil and move out of the area, we have seen other species of sharks closer to shore under a sheen of oil, but until we get out there and tag a few sharks we just do not know what's happening, or even if they are moving."

Dr.Hoffmeyer confirmed "This is the peak season for whale sharks in the Gulf: May through September."

Meanwhile, we asked Dr.Griffitt to comment on COREXIT a dispersant being widely used by BP and it's effects. "This stuff is designed to break up the oil into micro dropletts, the concern is where it goes from there through the water column. Smaller oil particles get taken up through the food chain very quickly. The fact is we're in uncharted territory, no one knows what these amounts of dispersed oil and COREXIT will do to bio accumulation."

"No one is talking about pelagic species right now in the media," said Dr.Hoffmeyer "or what this shower of smaller oil particles and dispersant might be doing to the wildlife - it will have a tremendous impact."

Dr.Hoffmeyer plans to have his team attempt to tag and track whale sharks this season. "We are linked with people doing aerial surveys right now and they report whale shark activity to us."

Dr.Griffitt pointed out "These smaller globules of oil will spend a lot of time in the ocean and once it mixes with dispersant this combo can be more toxic than the original substances, more study is needed."

Dr.Hoffmeyer is currently seeking funding from all sources to get an expanded tagging and tracking program in place for 2010. Those seeking to help can contact him directly at:

Dr.Eric Hoffmayer PhD
Gulf Coast research Laboratory
228.872.4257
Eric.Hoffmayer@usm.edu

His website will be updating whale shark activity as it comes in and as the 2010 migratory paths are known. We will keep you updated. ~ Patric Douglas at Shark Divers.

See also Shark Divers post on the 2010 Hurricane Oilmageddon looming for this hurricane season in the Gulf.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Shaggy Defense

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

BP = Beyond Pathetic

It is hard to reconcile the Gulf Oil Spill. In the words of a friend of mine who sent an email today, “Mother Earth is hemorrhaging badly.” There are no words to express how deeply this staggering catastrophe is affecting people on a mental/emotional level. When an oil tanker spills, there is a known quantity of oil and even though it takes decades to clean up as in the Exxon Valdez case, at least you know how much oil is out there. In this latest Big-Oil-Screw-Up, we have no idea how long this hemorrhaging is going to last. Dolphins are washing up dead on shore, fisheries are ruined and as Ed Shultz brilliantly showed on his television show a couple of days ago, this is what we are dealing with in the case of the engineers not knowing what the hell to do to stop the daily flow of oil. Watch about 40 seconds into the video clip:

The utter hubris and entitlement of Big Oil, along with complete lack of responsibility was on full display in Washington, D.C. at the Senate hearings yesterday where each executive from the companies involved blamed the other. No one willing to take responsibility. As Dana Milbank said in the Washington Post today: "Lamar McKay, the BP official who visited Capitol Hill on Tuesday, couldn't have been any more slippery if he had just bathed in the Gulf of Mexico." And then today, new revelations from a whistleblower that BP deliberately and willfully cheated by falsifying their blowout preventer tests. When. Will. It. End. The horror continues to unfold each day. Beyond Pathetic.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Seize BP Campaign

Seize BP Petition buttonFrom the Seize BP Campaign:
Seize BP!
National Day of Action
Wednesday, May 12 - Join a protest in your area

The government of the United States must seize BP and freeze its assets, and place those funds in trust to begin providing immediate relief to the working people throughout the Gulf states whose jobs, communities, homes and businesses are being harmed or destroyed by the criminally negligent actions of the CEO, Board of Directors and senior management of BP.

200,000 gallons of oil a day, or more, are gushing into the Gulf of Mexico with the flow of oil growing. The poisonous devastation to human beings, wildlife, natural habitat and fragile ecosystems will go on for decades. It constitutes an act of environmental violence, the consequences of which will be catastrophic.

BP's Unmitigated Greed

This was a manufactured disaster. It was neither an “Act of God” nor Nature that caused this devastation, but rather the unmitigated greed of Big Oil’s most powerful executives in their reckless search for ever-greater profits.

Under BP’s CEO Tony Hayward’s aggressive leadership, BP made a record $5.6 billion in pure profits just in the first three months of 2010. BP made $163 billion in profits from 2001-09. It has a long history of safety violations and slap-on-the-wrist fines.

BP's Materially False and Misleading Statements

BP filed a 52-page exploration plan and environmental impact analysis with the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Minerals Management Service for the Deepwater Horizon well, dated February 2009, which repeatedly assured the government that it was "unlikely that an accidental surface or subsurface oil spill would occur from the proposed activities." In the filing, BP stated over and over that it was unlikely for an accident to occur that would lead to a giant crude oil spill causing serious damage to beaches, mammals and fisheries and that as such it did not require a response plan for such an event.

BP’s executives are thus either guilty of making materially false statements to the government to obtain the license, of consciously misleading a government that was all too ready to be misled, and/or they are guilty of criminal negligence. At a bare minimum, their representations constitute gross negligence. Whichever the case, BP must be held accountable for its criminal actions that have harmed so many.

Protecting BP's Super-Profits

BP executives are banking that they can ride out the storm of bad publicity and still come out far ahead in terms of the billions in profit that BP will pocket. In 1990, in response to the Exxon Valdez disaster, Congress passed and President Bush signed into law the Oil Pollution Act, which immunizes oil companies for the damages they cause beyond immediate cleanup costs.

Under the Oil Pollution Act, oil companies are responsible for oil removal and cleanup costs for massive spills, and their liability for all other forms of damages is capped at $75 million—a pittance for a company that made $5.6 billion in profits in just the last three months, and is expected to make $23 billion in pure profit this year. Some in Congress suggest the cap should be set at $10 billion, still less than the potential cost of this devastation—but why should the oil companies have any immunity from responsibility for the damage they cause?

The Oil Pollution Act is an outrage, and it will be used by BP to keep on doing business as usual.

People are up in arms because thousands of workers who have lost their jobs and livelihoods as a result of BP’s actions have to wait in line to compete for lower wage and hazardous clean-up jobs from BP. BP’s multi-millionaire executives are not asked to sacrifice one penny while working people have to plead for clean-up jobs.

Take Action Now

It is imperative that the government seize BP’s assets now for their criminal negligence and begin providing immediate relief for the immense suffering and harm they have caused.