Jerry Moran and Georgianne Nienaber are in trouble, because they took pictures that BP wouldn’t like. What particularly irks me is that they are in trouble with the US Government, the Coast Guard specifically, and are facing felony charges for photographing scenes like a doomed dolphin swimming in oil (Moran) or a pelican wading in crude (Nienaber).
This stinks to high heaven, but you don’t have to tell poor Flipper here that.
I am assuming that some legislation regarding operating procedures for at-sea disasters somehow gives BP authority to tell the Coast Guard what to do. I’ve seen contractors on boats including Coast Guard employees apologize because they have to do what BP dictates. I’m even willing to believe that the laws involved were intended to have some positive impact on the management of such disasters – I leave it to the experts to explain all that. But BP seems to have found a way to use these laws to limit the Fifth Estate and therefore limit awareness of the realities on the ground.
We know the pattern with these folks by now: it’s whatever-the-least-amount-we-can-get-away-with barrels per day; it never crossed our minds that anyone would want to see the video of the leak (oh, you mean you want the HD feed, too? really??).
There is something about the rules running this situation, though, that seems to have given control of civil forces to this (foreign national) corporation, and that corporation is using that control to limit the public knowledge of events in – and the condition of – public lands.
This has to change.
Right now we have our free press facing charges for performing a service so essential it was recognized by the founding fathers. The free press is in our culture what the shaman or monk or priest has been throughout history – a voice asking us to look beyond our daily lives and see ourselves in context.
Healthy cultures don’t jail their monks.