Grand Isle, LA - May 29, 2010 - Moments after I talked to the young fellow on the left, this BP rent-a-thug, roared up and told him to... 'Shut the fuck up and say nothing'....
BP Oil Spill, Beach Charade
LA - May 29, 2010
The President came and went, along with most of the media. I am reminded of a toilet: the bowl filled, business was done, the handle pushed and all the flashing blue lights, black SUVs and media flushed right out of town.
The school buses return. They had to. Last night I watched a BP spokesman on CBS defend this farcical clean-up, promising they would be back. They are.
Yet, today's beach clean-up effort is the most ridiculous waste of manpower I have ever witnessed, truly unbelievable, an immense joke, funded by British Petroleum.
As you scroll through these images, I challenge you to find one spot of oil. Look hard at the pure white hazmat suits, the cute yellow or white booties. See any muck on them? Anywhere? Look hard, very hard, for any oily sheen reflecting from the pool of water, surrounded by a picnic-like atmosphere.
This beach is cleaner than it has ever been. There is nothing there at all. It is completely sterile of the usual flotsam and jetsam, of seaweed, and of oil. There is nothing on it. Yet, I estimate there are at least a thousand paid workers, making $12-18 an hour, drifting and dawdling, with no purpose or direction on roughly six miles of beach. Yet, right nearby are islands covered with oily slicks to which no one is even paying attention.
So here I am on Grand Isle, surveying this fiasco. I carry no press credentials, emblems or logos, nor pretend to be other than some white dude taking pictures.
Apart from a few brave souls, these BP hired clean-up workers are under strict instructions not to speak to the press (which I am not). Within seconds of shooting as many images as possible, I am intercepted by white, paramilitary-cop-wanna-bees, who snap and growl to the workers to, quote, "shut the fuck up and say nothing".
Personally, I say nothing at all and continue shooting, filming their fake-bullshit badges, Rent-A-Cop black t-shirts and quasi-Special-Forces logos. The badges, I note, say nothing official, no county name, no badge number, not even a reference to BP. They appear to be just internet-purchase costumery.
They turn their heads, these wanna-bees, mumbling into Walmart walkie-talkies and eventually storming off in embarrassment. They have no authority what-so-ever. This is a total BP sham. Several times I am told to leave the beach as ‘it is under military control', yet no military is present. When I politely press them about this ridiculous contradiction, they fumble for an answer.
When I do leave the beach, the local (and very real) cops just smile and wave. They know who I am and what I'm doing.
The lack of Port-a-potties for this huge work force is nauseatingly apparent. Next to the main parking lot is a private campground, where the huge work force has been forced to relieve themselves. To quote a local, "It smells like a goddamn hog pen."
I challenge you, one more time, to look for the tiniest spots of oil or any BP logo and I ask, Why, if the company is called ‘British Petroleum', are the proud and productive clean-up crews sporting stars and stripes hat-ribbons?
For a little more background information on my travels in the Gulf, you may wish to read the following newspaper article