It's rather creepy what has happened with information control and all of the dead animals that resulted from the BP Oil Spill Disaster. When Katrina happened - there were dead people all over and thousands of body bags - but the official number did not seem to reflect the catastrophe shown in the news.
In the Gulf - BP, and the Coast Guard along with it, seem to have been working to keep the magnitude of the disaster a secret. Are they worried that people would get more serious about using less oil if they saw the extent of the damage to wildlife? Journalists have been kept far away in many places - with fines if they ventured too close. And there have been reports that a lot of activity happened at night.
The well is capped. Recent reports are that the oil is mostly gone - "evaporated", or something or other.
From Jerry Cope at the Huffingpost:
Dauphin Island was one of the sites where carcasses of sperm whales were destroyed. The operational end of the island was closed to unauthorized personnel and the airspace closed. The U.S. Coast Guard closed off all access from the Gulf. This picture shows the area as it was prepped to receive the whale carcasses for disposal.
In May, Mother Nature Network blogger Karl Burkart received a tip from an anonymous fisherman-turned-BP contractor in the form of a distressed text message, describing a near-apocalyptic sight near the location of the sunken Deepwater Horizon -- fish, dolphins, rays, squid, whales, and thousands of birds -- "as far as the eye can see," dead and dying. According to his statement, which was later confirmed by another report from an individual working in the Gulf, whale carcasses were being shipped to a highly guarded location where they were processed for disposal.
CitizenGlobal Gulf News Desk received photos that matched the report and are being published on Karl's blog today. Local fisherman in Alabama report sighting tremendous numbers of dolphins, sharks, and fish moving in towards shore as the initial waves of oil and dispersant approached in June. Many third- and fourth-generation fisherman declared emphatically that they had never seen or heard of any similar event in the past. Scores of animals were fleeing the leading edge of toxic dispersant mixed with oil. Those not either caught in the toxic mixture and killed out at sea, or fortunate enough to be out in safe water beyond the Source, died as the water closed in, and they were left no safe harbor. The numbers of birds, fish, turtles, and mammals killed by the use of Corexit will never be known as the evidence strongly suggests that BP worked with the Coast Guard, the Department of Homeland Security, the FAA, private security contractors, and local law enforcement, all of which cooperated to conceal the operations disposing of the animals from the media and the public.
The majority of the disposal operations were carried out under cover of darkness. The areas along the beaches and coastal Islands where the dead animals were collected were closed off by the U.S. Coast Guard. On shore, private contractors and local law enforcement officials kept off limits the areas where the remains of the dead animals were dumped, mainly at the Magnolia Springs landfill by Waste Management where armed guards controlled access. The nearby weigh station where the Waste Management trucks passed through with their cargoes was also restricted by at least one Sheriff's deputies in a patrol car, 24/7.
From the Examiner.com:
During the height of the oil spill in mid June, the Coast Guard under direction of Ret. Adm. Thad Allen issued a directive to all news media outlets, constituting a large “no-fly” zone over the Gulf.
Major media outlets such as the NYT and scientists with top government clearance were prohibited from accessing or fly over large areas of the Gulf of Mexico.
One of the researchers, Edward E. Clark from the Wildlife Center who had previously been invited to study the impact of the oil spill on wildlife was refused access to conduct his study.
The immediate reaction among journalists and scientists was one of bewilderment and disbelief and raised the question of what could possibly be so bad that the Government would issue a ban on June 10th not only for the media but also their own appointed scientists.
The first sign of a possible but horrific explanation cam through a text message from one of the BP cleanup workers on June 10 (see article above for the complete text message).
The second sign was a firsthand report from an individual working in the Gulf who reported military like staging areas in Shell Beach and Hopedale, Louisiana where sperm whales, whale sharks and blue fin tuna were processed under huge white tents for further disposal by waste trucks.
Two other reports followed suit, one from a rig operator in Alabama and another from Grand Isle, who reported semi-military and highly secured posts that had been converted to processing plants.
Official reports indicate that the BP oil spill has resulted in the death of 4,100 birds,670 turtles, 70 sea mammals and 1 snake, according to the US Fish and Wildlife Service report.
The numbers are astonishingly low when compared to the official numbers after the Exxon Valdez disaster in 1989 which killed 200,000 birds, 3,000 sea mammals and 20 whales while this oil disaster pales in comparison to the Macondo BP oil spill.
Whatever the reasons may be to hide the removal or processing of dead maritime wildlife in the Gulf of Mexico or whatever justification BP and/or the US Government has, the reality still remains the same. Maritime wildlife will be affected for at least a decade to come and human life has been impacted to such an extent that it cannot be measured in data, money, compensation or restitution.
What is important to conclude is that if BP would have opted to clean up the oil spill in a more acceptable and readily available way by using non-toxic dispersants that the impact on maritime life would have been far less reaching and far less toxic then what it we witness today and for many years to come.
Hiding the devastating impact from the general public, the media and committed marine biologists and scientists is a crime against humanity in and of itself.