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11.20 Dead fish to power cruise ships [using dead fish to ultimately kill more fish, animals and plants but at a slower rate]

11.20 Indonesia: dead whale had 1,000 pieces of plastic in stomach [We have to stop killing everything!!!]

11.18 How Extreme Weather Is Shrinking the Planet

11.18 Air pollution levels ‘forcing families to move out of cities’ [like from desertification, lack of drinkable water and rising oceans, there will also be pollution-caused immigration until humans fix things]

11.17 Policies of China, Russia and Canada threaten 5C climate change, study finds [Climate catastrophe is increasingly likely without worldwide organization, funding and commitment to winning THE WAR AGAINST GLOBAL WARMING.]

11.16 Scotland was first Industrialized Country to Run wholly on Wind in October

11.16 How pesticide bans can prevent tens of thousands of suicides a year [how many thousands more die early from eating pesticide-laced food?]

11.15 The Earth is in a death spiral. It will take radical action to save us [fossil fuel burning, un-recyclable plastic production/use and methane gas release must cease ASAP.]

11.15  The long read:  The plastic backlash: what's behind our sudden rage – and will it make a difference? [the world wants to throw-up...]

11.15 Claws out: crab fishermen sue 30 oil firms over climate change [workers are waking-up...]

11.15 Trump administration to cut air pollution from heavy-duty trucks

11.14 Backed by Ocasio-Cortez, Youth Climate Activists Arrested in Pelosi's Office Demanding Democrats Embrace 'Green New Deal'

11.13 What would a smog-free city look like?

11.13 Global report highlights Australia’s renewables potential amid mixed signals for coal

11.13 Interior department whistleblower: Ryan Zinke hollowed out the agency

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11.19 The Biggest Threat to Free Speech No One Is Talking About

Daily: FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'

11.20 New York City subway and bus services have entered 'death spiral', experts say [death spirals are the end-thing nowadays]

11.19 Last Week Tonight with John Oliver 11/18/2018 (HBO) [29:26 video]

11.19 Michael Bloomberg: Why I’m Giving $1.8 Billion for College Financial Aid

11.19 Trump’s Diminishing Power and Rising Rage

11.19 Trump Says He Was 'Fully Briefed' and Also 'Not Briefed Yet' But Either Way Saudi Crown Prince 'Absolutely' Not Involved Because Trump Knows 'Everything That Went On' Without Listening to Tape of Khashoggi Murder

11.19 'We Need New Leaders, Period': Progressive Newcomers Urge Democrats to Embrace Bold Agenda or Face Primary Challenges [Current Democrat leaders are highly compromised by corporate donations]

11.19 SNL explains Jeff Bezos and Amazon’s HQ2 strategy: trolling President Trump [2:55 SNL video]

11.18 Trump says Pelosi deserves speakership, offers Republican votes [An affirmation of Pelosi's unsuitability]

11.18 Khanna to Pelosi: Don't Just Create Green New Deal Select Committee, Make Ocasio-Cortez Its Chair [Will Pelosi earnestly change, or end her career in disgrace?]

11.18 Chuck Schumer, Feckless Hack [Neoliberal Democrats must go!]

11.18 What the State of the VA Tells Us About Trump’s War on Welfare [Privatizing often results in outright fraud and higher costs by private prisons, privatized health insurance and health care, privatized public schools and online "colleges" like Trump University]

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11.20 'He may not rewrite immigration laws': Trump's asylum ban blocked by federal judge [Has anyone thought about putting razor-wire around the White House?]

11.20 Legal Blue Wave? New Democratic AGs Could Change the Face of Climate Fight

High Crimes?

11.14 The Guardian view on Yemen’s misery: the west is complicit [WAR CRIMES]

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11.19 Bankrupt Sears wants to give executives $19 million in bonuses [blatantly immoral and sick to richly reward those who led the company into the bankruptcy]

11.18 Big Pharma Bankrolled Pro-Trump Group As Trump Pushed Pharma Tax Cut [Corruption Central!]

International & Futurism

11.18 New Evidence Emerges of Steve Bannon and Cambridge Analytica’s Role in Brexit

11.18 France demands UK climate pledge in return for Brexit trade deal [Excellent!]

11.17 Saudi crown prince's 'fit' delays UN resolution on war in Yemen

11.17 Thousands gather to block London bridges in climate rebellion [We're losing WWIII because the enemy is invisible while we're like frogs slowly cooking. We aren't informed enough to be alarmed, but must get organized and motivated to fight back. We need a War Plan to ruthlessly pursue the fight of our lives!]

11.17 CIA finds Saudi crown prince ordered Jamal Khashoggi killing – report

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  Print view: America's Gulf Disaster: Accidental or Deliberate?
TOO MANY 'TELLING' FACTS & COINCIDENCES:

America's Gulf Disaster: Accidental or Deliberate?

by Stephen Lendman
Wednesday, 29 December 2010
Was Macondo's blowout accidental or willful? Was deliberate sabotage involved? Were the Obama administration and BP complicit in the greatest ever environmental crime? If so, why?

On April 20, an initial explosion, then a larger one ignited BP's Deepwater Horizon platform. For over a day it burned before sinking, killing 11 crew members, releasing thousands of barrels of oil daily, and causing the greatest ever environmental disaster - criminal malfeasance by any standard.

Years from now, its full impact will be known, but already hundreds of thousands of people are harmed, local economies gravely impacted, and large parts of the Gulf contaminated by toxic hydrocarbons and dispersants, making seafood absolutely unsafe to eat.

Obama, administration officials, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and BP executives lied, claiming most oil disappeared, 96% of Gulf waters were safe and reopened, and seafood was safe to eat. False, according to mounting evidence confirming:

  • layers of oil residue contaminating several thousand square miles of seafloor;
  • elevated hydrocarbon levels in Gulf residents' blood, suggesting an epidemic of future illnesses, including cancer and others as lethal;
  • massive dispersants use prevented clean-up by skimming;
  • no practical way now to clean up spilled oil; and
  • dispersants bioaccumulate, making oil toxins more bioavailable to sealife, easier to absorb, and more harmful if ingested.

The effects will linger for decades, maybe generations, making critics wonder if willful intent was involved, given evidence, including:

  • Washington and BP complicity in misreporting, coverup and denying the disaster's severity from start to capping to the most recent disturbing findings;
  • virtual confirmation of the greatest ever environmental crime, contaminating large portions of the Gulf; destroying basic food chain elements that are building blocks for fisheries, birds, sea turtles and mammal populations; polluting coastal shorelines; and causing a massive public health problem with no federal aid to inform and mitigate;
  • irreparable harm to the lives and livelihoods of potentially millions of Gulf residents; and
  • BP's history of violations, exposing the industry's worst safety, maintenance, and environmental record, yet nearly always able to escape with small fines, penalties and settlements; no prosecutions; no pressure to operate responsibly; and no curtailment of government-let contracts, so no reason not to continue business as usual.

Yet after BP declared the Macondo well dead last September, the event died with it, disappearing from major media reports that were complicit with BP and Obama officials by misreporting it from the start.

No wonder critics ask: was Macondo's blowout accidental or willful? Was deliberate sabotage involved? Were the Obama administration and BP complicit in the greatest ever environmental crime with enormous global consequences? If so, why?

A November report showed BP ignored warning signs and used inadequate procedures to secure Macondo's integrity. Jointly prepared by the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and National Research Council (NRC), it said:

"failures and missed indications of hazards were not isolated events during the preparation of the Macondo well for temporary abandonment. Numerous (faulty) decisions (preceded) abandonment despite indications of hazards, such as the results of repeated negative-pressure tests, suggest an insufficient consideration of risk and a lack of operating discipline."

As a result, safety was virtually ignored, including employee warnings that Macondo was a disaster waiting to happen. Moreover, the report found BP used only six centralizers (well casing centering devices in the wellbore) even though "modeling results suggested that many more (were) needed."

BP also didn't incorporate a "float shoe" at the well casing bottom - a devise containing a check valve to automatically activate in case of emergency. It's a vital extra precaution not used. In addition, BP chose not to remove drilling mud without first installing a "lockdown sleeve" on the production casing's wellhead seals. It would have protected against shifting position built up pressure.

The Interior Department's Minerals Management Service, its regulatory arm, was also cited for "not hav(ing) formal training and certification....for its inspectors." It means incompetents, not professionals, were in charge, leaving BP unregulated despite its poor safety, maintenance and environmental record - a red flag begging for close monitoring.

Most important is that longstanding safe operating practices would have prevented disaster, yet BP ignored them. Minimally, willful negligence should be charged. However, deliberate malfeasance is more accurate, revealing a manufactured crime for corporate gain despite short-term costs. Obvious red flags included:

  • suspicious BP stock transactions;
  • CEO Tony Hayward sold about one-third of his holdings weeks before the explosion;
  • Goldman Sachs sold BP stock worth over $250 million in Q I 2010, 44% of its investment: what did they, not the public, know? - and
  • Enormous Big Oil/Wall Street pressure was exerted to enact Obama-supported cap and trade legislation; after House passage, it stalled in the Senate.
The cap and trade bill would have let corporate polluters reap huge windfall profits by charging consumers more for energy, and also create a new bubble through carbon trading derivatives speculation.

The bill would have let corporate polluters reap huge windfall profits by charging consumers more for energy, and also create a new bubble through carbon trading derivatives speculation.

It was about profits, not environmental protection, especially a potential $10 trillion market for derivatives speculation, a plum needing an environment crisis to enact, like last summer's salmonella scare. It provided impetus for lame duck session passage of the Food Safety Modernization Act - a food tyranny measure, benefitting agribusiness at the expense of small farmers and consumers.

Cap and trade is a stealth scheme to license pollution, raise energy prices, and provide a huge bonanza through carbon trading derivatives speculation. Corporate interests badly want it. It remains if the 112th Congress will oblige.

New York Times Deepwater Horizon Information

On December 25, writers David Barstow, David Rohde and Stephanie Saul headlined, "Deepwater Horizon's Final Hours," saying:

Months after the disaster, "Investigators have dissected BP's well design and Halliburton's cementing work, uncovering problem after problem." Besides attention on the failed blowout protector (BOP), the explosion "escaped intense scrutiny, as if" one problem caused the other. False.

Deepwater Horizon "had formidable and redundant defenses against even the worst blowout. It was equipped to divert surging oil and gas safely away from the rig. It had devices to quickly seal off a well blowout or to break free from it. It had systems to prevent gas from exploding and sophisticated alarms that would quickly warn the crew at the slightest trace of gas." The crew practiced responding to alarms, fires and blowouts, and "it was blessed with experienced leaders who clearly cared about safety."

In fact, Deepwater Horizon's disaster shouldn't have happened, yet it did. Why suggests willful malfeasance, given the huge profit potential involved, as explained above. Eleven lost lives, many injuries, billions in cost affecting one quarter only, a contaminated Gulf, and potentially millions of harmed coastal residents are inconsequential by comparison.

Based on interviews with 21 crew members, documents The Times obtained, sworn testimonies, and written statements from nearly all rig survivors, a disturbing picture emerges, especially a singular fact:

Crew members "died and suffered terrible injuries because every one of the Horizon's defenses failed on April 20," a near-impossibility, but it happened. "Some were deployed but did not work. Some were activated too late, after they had almost certainly been damaged by fire or explosions. Some were never deployed at all."

Everything that could go wrong did. Decisive steps weren't taken. Communications "fell apart." Warning signs were missed or weren't heeded, and "crew members in critical areas failed to coordinate a response." Paralysis, breakdown, and disaster resulted. "For many, the first hint of crisis came in the form of a blast wave."

Yet crew members weren't trained or prepared to handle worst type crises. Why not is key for Mocondo, what workers called a "well from hell," plagued by problems. "Heavy drilling fluid, called mud, kept disappearing into formation cracks. Less mud meant less weight bearing down on the oil and gas that were surging up. This set off violent 'kicks' of gas and oil that sent the (rig's team) scrambling to control the well."

In March, trouble halted operations for nine days. It was a hint of worse to come, and just a matter of time before occurring. Management should have taken extra precautions. Failure begs the question. Why not? Instead of instituting fail safe measures, they were systematically avoided. "In effect, they were daring the well to blow out." On April 20, it obliged.

What shouldn't and under safe operating conditions couldn't happen, in fact, did. Once the BOP failed, nothing stopped oil and gas from "racing up the Horizon's riser pipe. Nine minutes later came the first explosion."

The crew trained for blowouts. Procedure called for "quickly installing a special valve on the drill pipe....Only minutes before the blowout, the drill shack" got "puzzling pressure readings" and sensed trouble. "The industry (long believed) BOPs were 'the ultimate fail-safe' " device.

Transocean said Horizon's BOP couldn't prevent blowouts this extreme. However, evidence shows poor maintenance crippled it. Its problems included dead batteries, bad solenoid valves, and leaking hydraulic lines. None should have happened, and all could have easily been fixed.

Yet they were "overlooked and ignored." Willful negligence or criminal malfeasance? Either way is damning, especially for an industry major with decades of expertise. Failure was inexcusable, suggesting willful intent.

"Transocean (also) never performed an expensive 90-day maintenance inspection that the manufacturer said should be done every three to five years." So do industry and federal regulations.

Despite two explosions, Horizon still shouldn't have sunk. Disconnecting the rig from the BOP would have cut off the fire's main fuel source, giving rig and crew a fighting chance. Witnesses differ on details, but agree on one basic point: "even with Horizon burning, powerless and gutted by explosions, there was still resistance to the strongest possible measure that might save the rig."

However, Horizon's "death knell....was the emergency disconnect system itself. Like so many of the rig's defenses, it failed" for unexplained reasons. "Horizon was still handcuffed to the well from hell." Evacuating fast was essential.

Major unaddressed problems, initial explosions, subsequent small ones, intense heat, and poor evacuation drills left 11 crew members dead. Their epitaph should indict BP officials and complicit Obama officials for homicide. Justice demands holding them accountable.


Stephen Lendman

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. His blog is sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Listen to Lendman's cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

Mr. Lendman's stories are republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.



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This story was published in the Baltimore Chronicle on December 29, 2010.

 

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