At one level, BP's cover-up of the gulf oil disaster speaks to the enormous power that giant corporations exercise in modern society, and how unable, or unwilling, governments are to limit that power. To be sure, BP has not entirely escaped censure for its actions; depending on the outcome of the trial now under way in New Orleans, the company could end up paying tens of billions of dollars in fines and damages over and above the $4.5 billion imposed by the Justice Department in the settlement last year. But BP's reputation appears to have survived: its market value as this article went to press was a tidy $132 billion, and few, if any, BP officials appear likely to face any legal repercussions. "If I would have killed 11 people, I'd be hanging from a noose," says Jorey Danos. "Not BP. It's the golden rule: the man with the gold makes the rules."
~ from What BP Doesn't Want You To Know About the Gulf Spill By Mark Hertsgaard ~
I have shared a brief snippet of this thorough investigative piece. I strongly urge readers to utilize the link to read the entire damning story. It will turn your stomach.
For those of you who merely want a capsule summary, here it is. BP utilized a chemical dispersant called Corexit to hide the amount of oil polluting the gulf. This highly toxic chemical, when combined with oil, becomes even more toxic. BP told cleanup workers, government officials and the general public that Corexit was no more dangerous than "Dawn dishwashing detergent" which, as it so happens, is a baldfaced lie. They had documentation from its manufacturer in their own hands which contradicted this lie. Despite this knowledge, they didn't provide cleanup workers with adequate safety equipment and training about Corexit's toxic properties.
BP decided to use Corexit because they believed that less oil shown on TV and in the Gulf itself would minimize their financial liability for the disaster. Sadly, this may prove to be correct. Time will tell.
One thing that was not part of BP's calculus re this disaster is the allegation that Corexit has made thousands of cleanup workers and area residents very sick. Some physicians and scientists have likened it to Gulf War syndrome. People are dying because BP's main concern was limiting their financial responsibility for their own negligence.
Even worse, with the collusion of the Obama administration, nothing much has changed. The next major US oil disaster probably will play out much the same way. Corexit will be the weapon of choice because the government and oil honchos believe in the mantra, out of sight, out of mind. Unfortunately, the mainstream media and the general public basically have proven that belief in that manta is correct.