If anyone questions that BP is a sleazy, disgusting, corrupt corporation, he has only to look at the attempt by BP to worm their way out of responsibility at this early date for the ongoing disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.
They tried to lay the costs on the backs of the fishermen, the fishermen whose livelihoods BP has destroyed, the fishermen who are volunteering to do everything they can to mitigate the effects of BP’s corrupt negligence.
The story, in full, from the Bayou Buzz:
What is being called “offensive language” in a charter contract between Louisiana fishermen and BP has been nullified and struck down by U.S. District Judge Ginger Berrigan.
According to attorney for the fishermen, Stuart Smith, British Petroleum mandated the Fishermen who were volunteering to respond to the oil-spill to sign the agreement.
District Judge Berrigan, after hearing from counsel for the fisherman and BP, indicated the language in question in the MCA was overbroad. Legal counsel for BP agreed to enter into a stipulated judgment holding that the provisions are without effect.
Commercial fisherman George Barasich stepped forward asking for emergency relief from the federal court to stop British Petroleum from forcing the volunteer corps of oil-spill responders to enter into [contracts] which seriously compromised the existing and future rights and potential legal claims of these volunteers, said Mr. Smith.
Attorney Smith said especially egregious provisions within the Agreement were:
– BP, which is mandated to take 100 percent responsibility for the oil clean-up, is demanding that the volunteers IMDEMNIFY IT for any accidents that might occur from the volunteers’ efforts (Art. 13(F));
– BP demands that the volunteers WAIVE their First Amendment constitutional free speech rights about the volunteer’s participation in the clean-up efforts of the disaster; for example, if a commercial fisherman signed this agreement he or she could not then speak to anyone about the disaster or clean-up efforts until BP first “approves” of what the volunteer wants to say (Art. 22);
– BP demands a FREE-RIDE on the volunteers’ insurance policies so that if there is damage to a volunteer’s vessel or other injuries, such as to a crew member, BP will be an “additional insured” and the financial responsibility for the damage will rest on the volunteer’s insurance carrier, NOT BP; quite obviously, the volunteers paid good money for this insurance and BP should not be allowed after-the-fact to worm their way into that contract so that it can attempt to avoid further legal responsibility for the very volunteers it is asking for aid and assistance; (Art. 13(A)); and
– BP demands 30 days of notice before any volunteer is allowed to pursue legal claims against BP, and there are no exceptions made for emergencies (Art. 13(I) [sic (G]).
The Lion firmly believes that BP probably spent thirty minutes since the well blew out allocating assets. Easy enough. Send the best engineers, mechanics, and so on. And the rest of the time the execs have likely been closeted with lawyers and PR people figuring out how to spin things in their favor and how to avoid paying the full freight for the disaster for which they are morally, ethically, and legally responsible.
What they tried to do to the fishermen is sleazy and disgusting and true corporatism. Having bought off the Congress and having bought off the regulators over the years so that they could get away with poor safety practices, they now try to lay the cost of their crime on the backs of the victims of their crime.
The people who run BP belong in jail, sooner rather than later, and for a long time. They should have cells right next to the Senators and Representatives they bought off with campaign cash and sweet talk. Let them bugger each other for the rest of their misbegotten lives instead of screwing over the working people and the environment and the economy.
Those people in the big offices at BP, and all the other oil companies, should have to run scared for the rest of their lives for what they’ve brought down on us.
But they won’t. They’ll just raise oil prices and buy new limousines and new fancy whores and new mansions.
Expect to see more actions like the one they tried against the fishermen. That’s how corporate slime thinks. That’s how corporate slime acts. They polluted our political system with the money they ripped from working people so that they could pollute the environment with impunity.
In America, sleaze profits and scum rises to the top.
Update: TPM reports that BP has been offering $5,000 payments to people living in coastal Alabama if those people will give up their right to sue BP for damages resulting from BP’s massive and ongoing oil spill. BP suits get slimier by the hour.
One might have to think that not only is BP run by sleazy scummy bastards in suits, but that they are scared of what this mess is going to cost them. And if they’re so scared that they are making the kind of stupid moves like they did with the fishermen and with the people of Alabama, one might wonder just how bad they believe this spill will ultimately be and how much faith they have in their ability to stop it.