by Greg Palast for Buzzflash.com
Friday, May 28 2010
With the Gulf Coast dying of oil poisoning, there’s no space in the press for British Petroleum’s latest spill, just this week: over 100,000 gallons, at its Alaska pipeline operation. A hundred thousand used to be a lot. Still is.
On Tuesday, Pump Station 9, at Delta Junction on the 800-mile pipeline, busted. Thousands of barrels began spewing an explosive cocktail of hydrocarbons after “procedures weren’t properly implemented” by BP operators, say state inspectors “Procedures weren’t properly implemented” is, it seems, BP’s company motto.
Few Americans know that BP owns the controlling stake in the trans-Alaska pipeline; but, unlike with the Deepwater Horizon, BP keeps its Limey name off the Big Pipe.
There’s another reason to keep their name off the Pipe: their management of the pipe stinks. It’s corroded, it’s undermanned and “basic maintenance” is a term BP never heard of.
How does BP get away with it? The same way the Godfather got away with it: bad things happen to folks who blow the whistle. BP has a habit of hunting down and destroying the careers of those who warn of pipeline problems.
(from Rawstory.com citing NY Times 2009 article) Elena Kagan, President Barack Obama’s latest nominee to the Supreme Court, helped protect the Saudi royal family from lawsuits that sought to hold al Qaeda financiers responsible in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. The suits were filed by thousands family members and others affected by the Sept. 11 attacks. In court papers, they provided evidence that members of the Saudi royal family had channeled millions to al Qaeda prior to the bombings, often in contravention of direct guidance from the United States. But Kagan, acting as President Obama’s Solicitor General, argued that the case should not be heard even if evidence proved that the Saudis helped underwrite al Qaeda, because it would interfere with US foreign policy with the oil-rich nation. She posited “that the princes are immune from petitioners’ claims” because of “the potentially significant foreign relations consequences of subjecting another sovereign state to suit.”
Good quotes from the movie:
+ Jack Abramoff was the “perfect marriage of idealism and corruption.”
+ “Campaign finance is a system of legalized bribery.” What also comes to mind is Danny Schecter saying “I used to think of Wall Street as a financial center, now I think of it as a crime scene.”
One interesting part of the movie mentioned a court order that was issued just to force the Bush administration to hand over copies of photos of Bush & Abramoff in Malaysia. Video clips of George W Bush show him lying about not knowing Jack Abramoff.
Corruption has become normal in Washington DC politics. Parasitic behavior of lobbyists such a Abramoff (despite him being “one of a kind” as far as his deceptive charismatic mastery was concerned) are the result of relationships with “willing hosts,” politicians open to bribery and betrayl of public service, perpetually seeking more money and more power.
On an interesting note, this documentary has a segment on the Mariana Islands when they were a loophole for textile manufacturers. Abramoff had links to their government and industry and became a bridge between them and US politicians willing to deny inhumane treatment of workers. The day I saw this documentary (May 7) I received a text message from the twitter feed of the Government Accountability Office mentioning the Mariana Islands immigration issue.
I’ve seen this movie before. In 1989, I was a fraud investigator hired to dig into the cause of the Exxon Valdez disaster. Despite Exxon’s name on that boat, I found the party most to blame for the destruction was … British Petroleum (BP).
That’s important to know, because the way BP caused devastation in Alaska is exactly the way BP is now sliming the entire Gulf Coast.
More Than Espionage: Open-source intelligence should be part of solution
Washington Times January 27, 2010 Pg. B3
By Andrew M. Borene
Here’s some food for thought: White House policymakers and Congress can help develop an increasingly robust national intelligence capacity by investing new money in the pursuit of a centralized open-source intelligence (OSINT) infrastructure.
Phi Beta Iota: In 1992 it was the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and The MITRE Corporation that destroyed the emergent Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) movement. CIA refused to deal with OSINT unless everyone associated with it was a U.S. citizen with a SECRET clearance (we do not make this stuff up), and MITRE misled the US Government in such a way as to promote their Open Source Information System (OSIS) that ended up providing analysts mediocre high-side access to six open sources (LEXIS-NEXIS, Oxford Analytics, Jane’s Information Group, Predicast and two other non-memorable sources). The US Marine Corps, which was the proponent for OSINT based on the lessons learned in creating the Marine Corps Intelligence Center (MCIC), argued for an outside the wire center of excellence that would have access to all sources in all languages (in part because the “experts” flogged by contracting firms may have been expert once, but are not “the” expert on any given topic for any given day–for that we prize European and Chinese and Latin American graduate students about to receive their PhD).
During his tenure as Director of the Community Open Source Program Office (COSPO), Dr. Joe Markowitz, the only person ever to actually understand OSINT within CIA, closely followed by Carol Dumaine, founder of the Global Futures Partership, tried four years in a row, with the support of Charlie Allen, then Deputy Director for Collection (DDCI/C), to get an OSINT program line established. Four years in a row, Joan Dempsey, then Deputy Director for Community Management (DDCI/CM) refused. The secret IC is incapable of creating an Open Source Agency (OSA) as called for by the 9-11 Commission, and any money it puts in that direction will be wasted unless the Simmons-Steele-Markowitz recommendations briefed to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) are respected.
Dr. Markowitz is also the author of the OSINT portions of vital Defense Science Board reports such as Transitions to and from Hostilities, and is unique within the CIA alumni for understanding both the needs of defense and the possibilities of OSINT. COSPO was an honest effort–CIA/OSC is not.
CIA and LEXIS-NEXIS still do not get it–they both want a monopoly on a discicpline they do not understand and cannot monopolize. The US Government is a BENEFICIARY of OSINT, not its patron, and any endeavor that is not outside the wire, transparent, and under diplomatic and civil affairs auspices, is destined to fail, just as CIA/OSC has failed all these years, just as LEXIS-NEXIS, Oxford Analytica, and Jane’s Information Group have failed on substance all these years. They profit from government ignorance, they do not profit from actually connecting the government to sources that are largely free, not online, and not in English.