Seven years ago, angered over the mainstream media’s flawed portrayal of the Iraq War, independent journalist Dahr Jamail took it upon himself to report from the front lines of the conflict. As one of the very few unembedded journalists dispatching from Iraq, Jamail cruised the streets of cities and villages with a local interpreter, a beat-up car and a penchant for depicting the conflict for what it really was: an illegal and brutal occupation, vanguarded by the US Empire and its corporate collaborators.
Born and raised in Houston, Texas, Dahr Jamail pulled a degree in Speech Communications from Texas A&M University. Before his stretch in Iraq, Jamail’s post-college travels brought him around the world, from Chile to Pakistan, Mexico to Nepal, to climbing Denali in 1996 where he decided to be a mountain guide shortly thereafter.
Contrary to recent media reports of a quick recovery in the Gulf of Mexico, scientists and biologists are “deeply concerned” about impacts that will likely span “several decades”.”
While the devastating ecological impacts of BP’s oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico are obvious, the less visible but also long-lasting psychological, community and personal impacts could be worse, according to social scientists, psychologists and psychiatrists.
EPA Whistleblower Accuses Agency of Covering Up Effects of Dispersant in BP Oil Spill Cleanup
With BP having poured nearly two million gallons of the dispersant known as Corexit into the Gulf of Mexico, many lawmakers and advocacy groups say the Obama administration is not being candid about the lethal effects of dispersants. We speak with Hugh Kaufman, a senior policy analyst at the EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response and a leading critic of the decision to use Corexit. [includes rush transcript]
Hugh Kaufman, senior policy analyst at the EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response.
We rather be ruined than changed.
We rather die in our dread,
than climb the cross of the moment,
and let our illusions
-W.H. Auden, excerpted from “The Age of Anxiety”
Not long ago we strolled along a beautiful white-sand beach in Orange Beach, Alabama, taking photos of freshly washed ashore black and brown tar balls. We watched little boys playing in the shallow surf, trying to catch minnows, as red oil boom bobbed in the waves just offshore behind them. This is the world we have all created.
Above all of this, an oil-spotting white blimp made slow rumbling passes up and down the beach.
BP oil disaster response workers are reporting endemic problems, such as not being paid on time, low morale, rampant sickness, equipment failures and being lied to regularly.
“Yesterday was a catastrophe,” one worker, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Truthout. “People are waiting 2-3 hours for their paychecks to be brought to them and I know for a fact three people that didn’t get paid and no reason was given.”
The woman has been working as a clerk for Gulf Asphalt Contractors (GAC), a company that describes itself as “the leading provider of sitework (sic) and building construction services in the Florida Panhandle.” The company, based in Panama City, Florida, is a BP contractor.
Recently we met with Captain Louis Skrmetta who runs Ship Island Excursions out of Gulfport, Mississippi. His father Pete came to the US from Croatia in 1904, and began working as an oyster fisherman, now an endangered endeavor. From that background arose the family business of ferrying people out to West Ship Island, which is part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore, about an hours boat ride south of Gulfport.
“Normally you see a couple of hundred boats out here,” Captain Louis tells us as we take in the beautiful view from the wheelhouse of his ship. “But now you can’t fish. You can get a ticket now just for having fishing gear on your boat.”
NEW ORLEANS, United States, Jul 20, 2010 IPS/IFEJ – Shellfish in the Gulf of Mexico grow with drops of petroleum inside them, coyotes eat oil-soaked birds, and sharks suffocate when the oil coats their gills.
Oil droplets have been found beneath the shells of tiny post-larval blue crabs drifting into Mississippi coastal marshes from offshore waters, says Harriet Perry, director of the University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast Research Laboratory.
Many kinds of fish and shore birds feed on those young crabs. And this is just one of the many examples of how the crude oil that began to spill Apr. 20 from British Petroleum’s (PB) Deepwater Horizon well has already taken its toll on the Gulf’s food chain.
Gulf Coast fishermen and others with lost income claims against BP are outraged by a recent announcement that the $20 billion government-administered claim fund will subtract money they earn by working on the cleanup effort from any future damage claims against BP. This move, according to lawyers in Louisiana working on behalf of Louisiana fishermen and others affected by the BP oil disaster, contradicts an earlier BP statement in which the company promised it would do no such thing.
Kenneth Feinberg, who was appointed by President Obama as the independent administrator of the Gulf Claims Facility for the $20 billion BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster compensation fund, said yesterday that the wages earned by people working on BP’s cleanup will be deducted from their claims against the company.
For the first time in 87 days, little or no oil could be escaping into the Gulf of Mexico from BP’s Macondo well. The new capping stack was deployed on July 11 from onboard the Transocean Discoverer Inspiration.
With a new containment cap atop the damaged well, many are hopeful.
But all is not well, after all.
National Incident Commander Thad Allen said Friday that the pressure within the cap is not increasing, as was expected.
My eyes are burning as I type this. We’ve just returned from spending the day down in Barataria, located about an hour’s drive south of New Orleans. The community of fishermen is swimming in oil. Within minutes of arriving, our eyes begin to burn and we begin to feel dizzy from airborne chemicals from the oil and dispersant.
Like most of the rest of the Louisiana estuary, the further south one drives, the more one enters a culture that lives, eats, breaths and loves the water. Moss-laden oak trees, some with trunks more than four feet in diameter, line the road in places, before quickly giving way to canals, bayous and swamps that lap against the pavement.
We drive south on Louisiana Highway 55 towards Pointe-au-Chien. The two-lane road hugs a bayou, like most of the roads leading south into the marsh areas. Incredibly green, lush forest gives way to increasing areas of water the further south we venture, until the very road feels as though it is floating.
We cross over a small concrete bridge over another bayou and find ourselves square in front of the Pointe-au-Chien sign informing us this is their tribal area. We’ve come to meet Theresa Dardar, in order to learn more about how the BP oil disaster is decimating the indigenous populations of Southern Louisiana. Continue reading →
Our first full day in Louisiana finds us venturing south from New Orleans to Houma, a town about an hours drive to the southwest. It is from here we are to take a flight over the marsh to inspect the damage, thus far, caused by the ongoing BP oil catastrophe.
Walking into the office of Butler Aviation Services at the airport, the downtrodden mood, and accompanying anger, are palpable. Of course this is not assisted by the fact that Vice President Joe Biden is visiting Louisiana today.
Sylvia Earle, acclaimed oceanographer and aquanaut, testified May 19 before the U.S. Congress Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure as an expert on the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. Earle told the panel that “just about everybody on earth will be affected, one way or another, by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.” Earle’s expertise on oil spills comes from her stint as Chief Scientist of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency responding to the Exxon Valdez and Mega Borg oil spills, as well as extensive involvement with evaluation of the environmental consequences of the 1990-1991 Persian Gulf spill.
Interview with Dahr Jamail, award-winning, independent journalist and author of “Beyond The Green Zone” and his most recent book “The Will To Resist” and website “Mideast Dispatches”. Interviewed by Cindy Piester with PULSE TV. Discuss Ft. Hood, Iraq and Afghanistan, soldiers’ resistance and U.S. foreign policy including Obama administration. Produced by Maverick Media and filmed at CAPS TV Channel 6 in Ventura, CA on Nov. 9, 2009.