Punchinello’s Chronicles

August 10, 2010

Did the Gulf Oil Spill Happen?

I recently read an interesting novel by David Baldacci, called “The Whole Truth.” It deals with what’s called perception management. The concept brings together social networks, blogs, forums and other Internet tools, along with the mainstream news media in order to create a perception of truth. In many ways, it’s the modern version of Wag the Dog, the movie wherein the government creates a fake war for political gains in the polls.

Consider two apparently contradictory observations. We learn that we have an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that’s spewing out (reportedly) millions of gallons of oil. At one point, I think I was reading about 50,000 barrels of oil per day hitting the water. Then there was the methane bubble, not to mention the tons of oil sitting below the surface. And yet, President Obama didn’t visit the area and went golfing.

We could accept that the oil spill was exactly as stated, but that would mean the President of the United States was both incompetent as a leader and politically stupid beyond belief. On the other hand, what if we don’t accept the oil spill? Obviously, the president would know the real facts, in which case why should he waste his time with something that’s not important?

Then there’s the apparent news blackout in the area. Very few journalists were allowed into the area, with some even being threatened with arrest if they continued their close-hand coverage. Flying over the area was prohibited, and Homeland Security was directly involved. Of course there were some tar balls that washed up on a few beaches, but that’s about all we saw.

We also saw black oil sludge washing into the marshes and onto the shorelines of Louisiana. Hard to dismiss this, especially in light of reports from ordinary folks down South of the stench of petroleum and oil in the air. And of course we did see a real explosion on the Horizon oil rig, and 11 men were killed.

Months go by, where we’re offered a live feed of a billowing plume of oil coming up from the ocean floor. We’re told this is a live feed from BP. And yet, we also know that BP routinely obfusticated and confused the issues, lied to the US congressional panels, and generally did whatever they could to avoid giving any answers about anything. Why would they simply show us exactly what was happening at the site of the leak?

We all read the stories about how both congress and the president refused to accept aid from foreign nations particularly skilled at cleaning up oil. Months went by and Louisiana was prevented from building sand berms to stop oil from coming ashore. Instead, tons of Corexit were thrown into the ocean, a highly toxic chemical dispersant with unknown long-term effects.

Then we find out that because the oil was broken up and dispersed, the consequences make it impossible for oil skimmers to collect all that oil. It could have been sucked up with the seawater, removed from the Gulf, then separated out later and used as regular crude. That would’ve been a major profit boon to BP. Nope…didn’t happen.

Finally, we now hear that there’s no oil in the water. It all disappeared. Bacteria ate it. The sun got rid of it. Wave action removed it. Someone left it in their locker. The dog ate it.  Something did something and Presto Chango, the oil is all gone. Nothin’ to see here. All gone.

Hmm….

Wouldn’t all this be explained more easily by supposing that an oil spill did take place, but that it was very small? Those “in the know” people, The Powers That Be likely would know all about it, which is why nobody in the administration much cared. The problem is…why? What would be the advantage of having a fake oil catastrophe? Especially when it would be so easy to prove it was either fake, or drastically less problematic than reported.

Going back to “The Whole Truth,” David Baldacci proposes that there’s an awful lot of money to be made by skewing the world markets. There’s an awful lot of political power to be had by manipulating various commodities. Indeed, didn’t we read about George Soros investing large sums of money in Brazil just prior to the Gulf oil “disaster?” And wouldn’t all those investments pay off if someone, like, sort of declared an embargo on offshore drilling?

My problem is a logical one: Given the nearly unbelievable amounts of oil pouring into the Gulf waters over such an extended period, how is it actually possible for it all to just…vanish? Accepting wave action and ecological healing, there’s still an incredible amount of oil that had to be cleaned up. At least there was according to what we were told, right?

It seems to me much simpler to believe that there wasn’t anywhere near that kind of spill. Perception management wouldn’t be all that difficult to accomplish. We kept hearing countless reports from people living near the Gulf coast, who told us the beaches were fine, water was fine, and nothing much was going on.

I have to say…it sure is a mystery!

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