Thursday, June 03, 2010

British Plantation

If you'd really like to know what's going on with the BPocalypse in Louisiana, it's helpful to tap into the experiences of people like Richard Shephard.

Shephard is an aerial photographer who has been teaming up with other grassroots types to document exactly what the hell is going on with the oil spill and cleanup. Or, rather, lack of cleanup.

IN A PHOTO GALLERY from last weekend, Shephard documents the breadth and depth of the public-relations farce BP is trying to perpetuate on the American public. As much as anything, this hearkens back to the South's sad past of slavery, racism and brutality, with the scene described below perhaps giving rise to yet another more-appropriate name for the United Kingdom-based oil spiller -- British Plantation:
So here I am on Grand Isle, surveying this fiasco. I carry no press credentials, emblems or logos, nor pretend to be other than some white dude taking pictures.

Apart from a few brave souls, these BP hired clean-up workers are under strict instructions not to speak to the press (which I am not). Within seconds of shooting as many images as possible, I am intercepted by white, paramilitary-cop-wanna-bees, who snap and growl to the workers to, quote, "shut the f*** up and say nothing".

Personally, I say nothing at all and continue shooting, filming their fake-bullshit badges, Rent-A-Cop black t-shirts and quasi-Special-Forces logos. The badges, I note, say nothing official, no county name, no badge number, not even a reference to BP. They appear to be just internet-purchase costumery.

They turn their heads, these wanna-bees, mumbling into Walmart walkie-talkies and eventually storming off in embarrassment. They have no authority what-so-ever. This is a total BP sham. Several times I am told to leave the beach as ‘it is under military control', yet no military is present. When I politely press them about this ridiculous contradiction, they fumble for an answer.

When I do leave the beach, the local (and very real) cops just smile and wave. They know who I am and what I'm doing.

The lack of Port-a-potties for this huge work force is nauseatingly apparent. Next to the main parking lot is a private campground, where the huge work force has been forced to relieve themselves. To quote a local, "It smells like a goddamn hog pen."
READ the whole thing. See all Shephard's photos.

Go here and here, too.

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