Naomi Klein: “A Strange Corporate Oil State”

Author and activist Naomi Klein has been visiting Louisiana, and conducted a short on camera interview with Al Jazeera about her impressions of the disaster response to BP’s oil leak catastrophe…

Senator Dick Durbin once described Capitol Hill as being owned by the banks. He said the banks ‘own this place’ describing why it was so hard to get financial reform through in Washington, and  all I can say from having spent the week here in Louisiana is that it really feels like the oil and gas industry owns this place.

I think we’re dealing with two factors here. One is an election strategy for the Obama Administration, they want to keep some distance, they don’t want to own the disaster fully, they want to still have somebody to point fingers to. But then there’s also just this major attitude in this administration from day one really, to trust industry.

And so, even when the industry creates the disaster – I’m sorry to make these analogies with the financial sector, but we saw it with the banks as well – they melted down the economy but then we still heard from the Obama Administration as well as the Bush Administration starting with them but carried through from the Obama Administration, ‘we’re not going to tell the banks how to do their jobs, they’re the experts, we’re going to stand back’.

And now they’re doing the same thing with the response to the greatest, what looks like the greatest environmental catastrophe, or what could very well prove to be he greatest environmental catastrophe this country has ever seen. And I think people are very confused by this because this is clearly a national emergency, so why is it that BP is in charge of the whole operation?


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    • Edger on May 29, 2010 at 17:16

    Could it have anything to to with the fact that BP is the largest supplier of fuel to the US military?

    But wait: Criminal probe of Gulf oil spill seen inevitable

    With a BP well spilling oil into the Gulf of Mexico for a fifth week and President Barack Obama under pressure to act, legal experts say it is only a matter of time before his administration begins a criminal investigation into the disaster.

    The Justice Department can consider a variety of charges as it has in past cases like the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska, including violations of the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act. There could also be charges for failing to abide by drilling regulations, the experts said.

    “There’s no question that there will be a criminal investigation and it’s also a virtual certainty that there will be a criminal prosecution of at least some of the companies involved,” said David Uhlmann, a University of Michigan Law School professor and former head of the Justice Department’s environmental crimes section.

    The liability could extend well beyond BP Plc. Transocean Ltd operated the Deepwater Horizon rig drilling the well, Halliburton Co. did cementing for the well, and Cameron International Corp provided the blowout preventer that is designed to stop an uncontrolled flow of oil and gas.

    As the Obama administration grows increasingly frustrated with BP over the information it is releasing about the spill, that could create an adversarial scenario which could make reaching a settlement more difficult.

    So far, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has said only that the Justice Department is monitoring the situation to ensure that BP lives up to its pledge to pay for the damage to wildlife, the economy and the coastline.

    Lawyers who previously worked in the department said Holder was likely waiting for BP to cap the well before proceeding with an investigation to ensure cooperation in that effort. Justice Department officials declined to comment.

    • TMC on May 29, 2010 at 18:04

    BP Live Feed Shows No Progress Made in Stopping Oil

    More lies and more Photo ops. I read Pluto’s essay at FDL about nationalization of the oil. One of the comments, which I’m sure everyone laughed at, was, “First we have to nationalize the Federal government”. Truer words

  1. “Hayward gives his company’s ‘top kill’ operation a 60-70% chance of success.”  Uh-huh.

  2. Our President’s most monumental failing is that he believes in the “efficacy of the free enterprise system” at the least appropriate time in history.

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