Secret operation hid apocalyptic Gulf die-off from public

Barack Obama promised Americans “Transparency and Open Government ”. But he used our government to cover up BP’s massive crime in the Gulf of Mexico and save BP billions in fines for killing off much of the Gulf of Mexico’s sea life. We’ll never know just how devastating the oil spill and BP’s subsequent massive dumping of toxic Corexit was. And Americans will never see photos of dead animals floating on the sea surface for as far as eyes can see because the U.S. government banned journalists and citizens from going to those “death gyres” while BP confiscated all cameras and cell phones from its contractors.

According to fishermen hired by BP to clean up the Gulf, incredible quantities of dead sea life — birds, dolphins, fish, turtles, squid, even whales — collected in swirling gyres and were disposed of, often at night, while the U.S. government kept giant swaths of the Gulf off-limits, even to airplanes and helicopters.

You can read some of the gruesome stories here:

The numbers of birds, fish, turtles, and mammals killed by the use of Corexit will never be known as the evidence strongly suggests that BP worked with the Coast Guard, the Department of Homeland Security, the FAA, private security contractors, and local law enforcement, all of which cooperated to conceal the operations disposing of the animals from the media and the public.

The majority of the disposal operations were carried out under cover of darkness. The areas along the beaches and coastal Islands where the dead animals were collected were closed off by the U.S. Coast Guard. On shore, private contractors and local law enforcement officials kept off limits the areas where the remains of the dead animals were dumped, mainly at the Magnolia Springs landfill by Waste Management where armed guards controlled access….

Dauphin Island was one of the sites where carcasses of sperm whales were destroyed. The operational end of the island was closed to unauthorized personnel and the airspace closed. The U.S. Coast Guard closed off all access from the Gulf. This picture shows the area as it was prepped to receive the whale carcasses for disposal.

The article interviews Riki Ott, “veteran of the Exxon Valdez spill and renowned marine toxicologist” who says:

There would be stories from boat captains of offshore, we started calling death gyres, where the rips all the different currents sweep the oceans surface, that would be the collection points for hundreds of dolphins and sea turtles and birds and even whales floating….

[W]e know that offshore there was an attempt by BP and the government to keep the animals from coming onshore in great numbers. The excuse was this was a health problem — we don’t want to create a health hazard. That would only be a good excuse if they kept tallies of all the numbers because all the numbers – all the animals – are evidence for federal court. We the people own these animals and they become evidence for damages to charge for BP. In Exxon Valdez the carcasses were kept under triple lock and key security until the natural resource damage assessment study was completed and that was 2 ½ years after the spill. Then all the animals were burned but not until then.

So people offshore were reporting this first and then carcasses started making it onshore. Then I started hearing from people in Alabama a lot and the western half of Florida – a little bit in Mississippi – but mostly what was going on then there was an attempt to keep people off the beaches, cameras off the beaches. I was literally flying in a plane and the FAA boundary changed. It was offshore first with the barrier islands and all of a sudden it just hopped right to shore to Alabama that’s where we were flying over and the pilot was just like – he couldn’t believe it – he was like, “Look at that!” and… points at the little red line which had all of sudden grown and he just looked at me and said, “The only reason that they have done this is so people can’t see what is going on.” And what that little red line meant was no cameras on shore, and three days later the oil came onshore and the carcasses came onshore into Alabama.

…[P]eople walk beaches — and they would see carcasses like sea turtles, a bird, a little baby dolphin, and immediately they would go over to it and immediately people would approach them, don’t touch that if you touch it you will be arrested and within fifteen minutes there would be a white unmarked van that would just come out of nowhere and in would go the carcass and off it would go.

They were white unmarked vans at first. We’ve since heard many other stories from truckers who are trucking carcasses in refrigerated vans to Mexico.

Posted by James on Friday, August 06, 2010