PR Perversion, Or: BP Translated

In this overview by Tracey Barnett of The New Zealand Herald, she uncovers a list of recent and blatant lies by the BP PR team, made directly to the American public. Do not be deceived. Watching BP (and many government officials, for that matter) is like watching a carefully choreographed rendition of Lord of the Dance. Speaking about what BP did to oil rig workers immediately after the Deepwater Horizon explosion, Tracey says:

…survivors would be held in isolation for 40 hours before they were allowed off their ship, reports The Guardian. For that period, crewmen were denied access to call their families. Some were furious, others just numb.

Lawyers for the survivors say the crew was told they had to sign statements denying they were hurt or had witnessed the explosion before they were allowed to go onshore. Davis had been awake for 50 hours at that point. He signed. Most men did. That was only the first lesson of containment.

And on clean up efforts:

BP-employed clean-up workers have been specifically told not to talk to media, though many have.

Some angry ones reported that BP initially told them the crude they were swimming around in to move barriers early on was red tide or dishwashing-liquid runoff, reports Mother Jones.

The current leak, like so many others, was not unplanned by BP. In fact, in a recently leaked memo we see how BP conducted a cost-benefit analysis to put a price on each of their employees lives, to calculate which would cost them more – ensuring workers safety, or paying settlement claims on their deaths.  This is BP’s way of calculating the cost of cutting safety and taking risks. If it’s cheaper to pay the settlement on employees who die in an explosion than to implement the safety measures, then BP simply considers that good business. Making this practice more egregious, BP actually used the Three Little Pigs analogy to conduct their analysis, wherein the employees were the “pigs”:

And the bottom line comes with the expense of an employees life, and the chance that they’ll lose it (but more importantly, the money they lose if that chance occurs). And how do you figure that out? You place a value on the worth of a human life. Like this:

Coon says that during the discovery process, he found another email from the BP Risk Management department that showed BP put a value on each worker when making its Three Little Pigs calculation: $10 million per life.

Now you tell me where BP’s priorites are.  Do not be fooled by “slick” talking executives and PR people who are far too practiced at responding to these situations (because their business policies actually create them). And while you are at it, hold your government accountable for being paid off by BP, and allowing them to operate in this way. Demand that we take over the clean up efforts and that BP cease and desist from dumping any more toxic Corexit into our waters. Demand that all BP drilling licenses in US territory be pulled immediately. No more questions. No more lies. Because if you buy the current story that BP has “fundamentally changed the culture of BP” since the previous disaster, well you better hold on.  Tony Hayward is huffing and puffing and he’s blowing your house down, right under your nose.

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