Sunday 8 August 2010Posted by marisacat in DC Politics, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, The Battle for New Orleans.
A leopard cub sleeps on a water bowl in its air-conditioned cage on a warm summer day, at Shanghai Zoo [AP]
Jerry Cope, with whom I am not familiar, has an interview, text and vids, up at HuffPo, with Riki Ott, the marine biologist, Exxon Valdez clean-up worker who has been in the Gulf for weeks…
It’s a litany of horror: What if anything, do we know… It’s still an immense experiment we have been forced into.
Riki Ott: Well I have been down in the Gulf since May 3rd. It’s pretty consistent what I have heard. First I heard from the offshore workers and the boat captains that were coming in and they would see windrows of dead things piled up on the barrier islands; turtles and birds and dolphins… whales…
RO: And whales. 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. So we got four different times latitudes/longitude coordinates where (this was happening) but by the time we got to these lat/longs which is always a couple of days later there was nothing there. There was boom put around these areas to collect the animals and we know this happened at Exxon Valdez too. The rips are where the dead things collect. We also know from Exxon Valdez that only 1% in our case of the carcasses that floated off to sea actually made landfall in the Gulf of Alaska. I don’t believe there have been any carcass drift studies down here that would give us some indication that when something does wash up on the beach what percentage it is of the whole. But we 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 1/2 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 I didn’t know what he was looking but then he 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.
I love this idea pushed by some media, BP and the gubmint that masses of oil and dispersant (“no more poisonous than Dawn dish soap!”) can spew for months and there not be death and destruction.
Cope, described as an environmental activisit, has also appeared on Democracy NOW!
AMY GOODMAN: … What happened, do you believe, to the animals in the Gulf, to the marine life?
JERRY COPE: Well, there were two dramatic sequences that were described by workers that were out at the source, which is what they called the Canyon 252 site where this incident occurred. And they reported seeing, just as far as the eye could see, dead carcasses of all kinds of marine life out near the source. And then there was also—we heard numerous accounts of a large wave of marine life being pushed into shore as the dispersant and the oil, the first wave, came in and approached towards the end of June. And then, all of a sudden, it was simply gone. All of these animals disappeared. They didn’t show up in the lagoons in any large numbers. And everyone—all the scientists were questioning, where did they go?
I spoke to Hal Whitehead, who studied extensively sperm whales, specifically, the ones down in the Gulf of Mexico, and there was an unusual pod that was resident in the area of the Mississippi Canyon site, and they’ve also disappeared, the entire pod. And that was an unusual social structure there in that those particular sperm whales were not terribly nomadic. They seemed to stay there, as well as the usual whales that moved in and out with the population.