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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

BP Spill May Continue 'til Christmas; Global Warming Deniers; Red Cross Says Blockade of Gaza Illegal; World Cup (posted 06/14/10)

- Global Warming Deniers and Their Lies For years, free-market fundamentalists opposed to government regulation have sought to create doubt in the public’s mind about the dangers of smoking, acid rain, and ozone depletion. Now they have turned those same tactics on the issue of global warming and on climate scientists, with significant success.

- Days After BP Denies Blocking The Media From Covering The Spill, Reporter Is Harrassed On A Public Beach (video too) In response to numerous media reports that BP has been blocking journalists from covering the oil spill and speaking with clean-up workers, BP CEO Doug Suttles issued a letter on Wednesday saying that such reports were “untrue” and reporters should have full access... However, this message isn’t being strictly enforced. Yesterday, WDSU, the NBC affiliate in New Orleans, tried to speak with clean-up crews on an oil-stained portion of Grand Isle, Louisiana. Private security officials
confronted reporter Scott Walker and said he couldn’t even have access to the public beach.

- The BP oil Spill's Cruel Toll of Wildlife We can react positively to what is the largest case of cruelty to animals in US history – if it changes our behaviour as consumers...

- Red Cross: Gaza Blockade Illegal The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has described Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip as a violation of the Geneva Conventions and called on the Israeli government to lift it....

- Glenn Beck's Blues: Why the Far Right Hates Soccer Every World Cup, it arrives like clockwork. As sure as the ultimate soccer spectacle brings guaranteed adrenaline and agony to fans across the United States, it also drives the right-wing noise machine utterly insane.

- Human Trafficking And The World Cup (video) - As many as 20,000 women have been trafficked into forced prostitution for the 2010 games in preparation for the influx of visitors. Some of these women entered South Africa on the promise of regular jobs, and upon arrival were drugged and held in private homes in preparation for "customers." It's the tragic reality of a world in which millions of women are still treated as commodities to be bought, sold, and exploited at will.... as we celebrate goals, we should also take the chance to celebrate our common humanity by dedicating ourselves to fight for freedom as hard as we fight for victory.

BP Oil Spill May Not Be Capped Until Christmas, Expert Warns
'Everyone should be prepared for worst-case scenario', says the head of oil consultancy group
by Terry Macalister and Richard Wachman
Published on Monday, June 14, 2010 by The Guardian/UK
One of the world's leading authorities on oil well management has warned it could take until Christmas to cap the Gulf of Mexico spill that is devastating the southern coast of America – and BP's reputation.

[Workers clean up the oil washed ashore in Alabama from the BP Deepwater Horizon spill. (Photograph: KeystoneUSA-ZUMA / Rex Features)]Workers clean up the oil washed ashore in Alabama from the BP Deepwater Horizon spill. (Photograph: KeystoneUSA-ZUMA / Rex Features)
Nansen Saleri, a Gulf drilling expert, said he hoped BP would meet its August timetable for capping the blown-out well, but made it clear success was not certain.

"I know it is a frightening assessment but everyone should be prepared for a worst-case scenario, and that could mean a Christmas timeframe," said Saleri, chief executive of the consultancy group Quantum Reservoir Impact.
"The probable outcome is much better but the technological challenges … are enormous."

The futures of BP and of wildlife around the Gulf of Mexico are largely dependent on the rapid success of two "relief" wells that are being drilled in an attempt to halt anywhere between 20,000 and 40,000 barrels of oil a day that is flowing out of the stricken Macondo subsea hole.

Saleri, who dealt personally with four blowouts during a career with Saudi Aramco and Chevron, said the BP fire and spill was the worst he had seen. He believes it may cause more damage than the Ixtoc I blowout 30 years ago, which is regarded as the most damaging of its kind.

BP faced renewed pressure to do more to contain the Gulf of Mexico spill as the US and Britain played down diplomatic tensions over the crisis.

The British foreign secretary, William Hague, said relations between the US and UK were "outstanding at every level". He said it was up to BP – under pressure in the US to suspend its dividend to help pay for damage – to decide on its payout to shareholders. David Cameron and Barack Obama talked at the weekend, when Cameron expressed his sadness at the "human and environmental catastrophe".

Tony Hayward, the BP chief executive, will be grilled about the disaster in the US on Thursday when he appears before a special Senate hearing. On Wednesday, Hayward and the BP chairman, Carl-Henric Svanberg, will meet the president at the White House to explain BP's response.

According to reports, Obama will tell the pair he wants BP to establish a special account to meet damage claims by individuals and businesses hurt by the spill.

The prospect of a lengthy timescale to cap the well reinforces the views of Carlos Morales, the head of exploration at PetrĂ³leos Mexicanos (Pemex). The company was the operator of the Ixtoc I well in 1979, when 3.3m gallons of oil spilled into the Gulf. It took nearly 10 months to bring the blowout under control.

Morales is now sharing technical information with BP in an attempt to help it block the Macondo leak. He has warned it could take "four to five months" for a relief well to cap the spill.

Hurricanes also pose a problem. The hurricane season in the Gulf began this month, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has predicted it will be "active to very active", with up to 23 named storms and up to 14 hurricanes on the way.

Saleri said a bad storm could "really complicate" the environmental impact of spilled oil and delay relief drilling by two weeks every time a hurricane strikes.

BP is also aware that the relief wells could be as unstable as the original one. Experts admit no one can rule out another blowout such as the one that sent the original rig, Horizon Explorer, to the bottom of the ocean.

The British company has warned in a regulatory filing that a blowout on one of the relief wells could release a further 240,000 barrels of oil a day, although Hayward has since discounted the chances of this. "The relief wells ultimately will be successful," he said.