BP CEO Tony Hayward told: "you need to be charged with a crime." He says he didn't know.
Former president Bush warned that the war on terror would go on for many years. However long that war endures, the battle for resources promises to be longer. If BP CEO Tony Hayward gives us any clues, it's that the war for resources will be even more insidious than the war on terror. Its targets will move like phantoms, protected by vast wealth and the governments they undermine. The enemies in this war, like Hayward, will be brutal as they manage their own interests. They will be our worse criminals and utterly untouchable.
As oil continued to gush into the Gulf of Mexico at a newly estimated rate of 100,000 barrels a day, Hayward testified at a U.S. Congressional Hearing.
Diane Wilson, a Texas shrimper disrupted the hearing with oil smeared on her hands and face, yelling at Hayward, "you need to be charged with a crime." I agree. BP has done more to destroy the American way of life than perhaps any of its sworn enemies have ever been able to do; certainly, more than Russia did in all the years of the Cold War. Those responsible should be tried as war criminals. Oh, but who is responsible?
Hayward's testimony indicated that he's not. He didn't really have a clue about anything going on in the Gulf; he was certainly ignorant of everything that led up to the catastrophe that stole a way of life from thousands of Americans and killed 11 people instantly. Let's don't even get into what BP has done to the marine world here, but that's another form of murder.
Hayward's standard response to questions about safety and the oil spill's impact were: "I don't know." Or, "I wasn't involved in that decision." I mean, what does a CEO think about all day? We know he cares about yachting.
But all of this obscured the most frightening part of Hayward's soulless testimony and that was the number that slipped off his lips. Hayward said the oil well beneath the Gulf contains more than 50 million barrels. Personally, I had to pause a long, long time to absorb that number. He said this meant that the oil could very well keep spewing at current rates for two years.
The attack on the interests of the United States by BP, in my mind, is certainly equal to the vicious attack on the World Trade Centre and Pentagon on September 9, 2001. Al Qaeda attacked the foundations of the American way of life. BP has negligently destroyed a piece of the American way of life. A bigger piece? Less lives, more livelihoods. It's hard to judge. And yet...
But this is all about America, right? American livelihoods, beaches, marine life. The American way of life.
Here's how BP says hello on its Canada website:
BP Canada Energy Company is Canada’s leading natural gas value chain company. We primarily explore for, develop, produce, process, market and trade natural gas and its derivatives. We are also leading oil and aviation product marketers, and are Canada’s leading lubricants brand. Headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, our businesses employ over 1,500 Canadians. We are active in five provinces and two territories, while our marketing and trading activities span the nation and expand to the U.S. market. BP Canada is part of the BP p.l.c. group of companies and trades under the symbol BP on the London and New York Stock Exchanges.
Just weeks before the Gulf disaster, BP was lobbying the Canadian government to ease some of the planned rules for Arctic Ocean oil and gas exploration. The Headwater geyser shut down this idea.
Canada has called a halt to issuing more licenses for Arctic drilling. But don't imagine that fight's over. The UK Telegraph reports:
Shell, BP, Exxon Mobil, Chevron and the rest of the club have been queuing for US and Canadian licenses to extend the search in a region that could contain 50bn barrels of oil and up to 1,000 trillion cubic feet of gas. The US Geological Survey estimates there could be a quarter of the world's undiscovered oil and gas under the vast Arctic area and Russia is claiming ownership of most of it.
If the emotionally empty BP CEO is representative of directors of the world's multi-national corporations, I'm alarmed about the challenges that lie ahead.