Palast on C4’s Dispatches: BP = “Bribery & Pollution PLC”?

Greg Palast on Dispatches Monday, 28 March – 8pm GMT – Channel 4 UK

“And how much went to paying off officials?”
“Probably at least two or three million…”

“I was to keep an eye on troop movements, photograph it,” the spy service BP provided MI6.

“They don’t want us to dig.” One year after the Deepwater Horizon spill, Dispatches exposes BP’s “clean-up theatre” that has left hundreds of miles of beach still poisoned with oil.

An insider: “Damage could have been identified… [but] it costs them money.”

On Monday night, I’ll be taking the viewers of C4’s Dispatches along with me on a world-wide investigation of the oil giant.

First, to the Gulf of Mexico. One year after BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig blew apart and spewed a quarter billion barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, BP claims victory, announcing that most of the oil is gone.

Just take a walk with me down a petroleum slimed beach and judge BP’s “success” for yourself. One clean-up worker tells me he’s not allowed to actually dig for the spilled oil. He may only skim the top quarter inch with a pet-litter scooper. Dr. Rick Steiner, marine biologist, helps me expose what he calls “BP’s clean up theatre” as “superficial” and cosmetic. He shows us the oil the clean-up crew is not allowed to touch. It goes to nearly a foot below the surface, and still lies on top of and under 600 miles of Gulf coastline.

BP: ‘Broken promises’?

From the Gulf, I fly to the Alaskan Arctic and discover that BP has spilled a quarter million gallons of oil. The problem: BP had not tested 400 miles of pipe for eight years. The reason? In shadow, the man who programmed the testing equipment, called the PIG, says it costs $1 million per mile to test pipes. BP’s failure to test saved it hundreds of millions of dollars, at the cost of poisoning America’s last pristine wilderness.

Then, it’s a flight half-way across the planet to the police state of Azerbaijan in Central Asia, where my Dispatches crew is busted by the state security police for attempting to film BP’s operations. On an insider tip, I’d discovered that BP had a blow-out suspiciously similar to the one that killed 11 men when the BP rig in the Gulf of Mexico exploded 2 years later. BP has never admitted to the Caspian blow-out, and the strongmen who control this former Soviet state have effectively blocked the investigation. How convenient for BP. How deadly for its workers.

Just after Azerbaijan’s ruling family took control in a coup, BP took the nation’s oil in a deal called, “the Contract of the Century.” Former MP, BP consultant and MI6 operative Harold Elletson tells Dispatches how the dictatorship made sure the sweetheart deal with BP would “stick,” unlikely in a democracy.

Also helping to make BP’s position “stick” was the oil company’s one-time representative in Azerbaijan who tells me that, to win favours from the petro-state, BP authorised his paying over $2 million in bribes.

And, as part of his duties for BP, he was recruited as a spy for MI6, providing military intelligence to Moscow station chief John Scarlett.

All for BP: Bigger Profits.

Pass this notice of the programme on to friends, list-serves, environmental campaigners and anyone who gives a damn about the polluting of the planet and the polluting of the British government by BP.

Post your comments on the film on my Facebook page.

~ by fredfelleman on March 28, 2011.

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