Video Shows Officer Working For BP and Preventing Filming of Headquarters

There has been considerable controversy over BP preventing journalists and activists to film in public areas — showing the damage of the recent spill on animals and the environment. BP has no authority to do so, but it continues (as in this video) to prevent filming at various locations.

The video shows Drew Wheelan, the conservation coordinator for the American Birding Association, was filming himself across the street from the BP building/Deepwater Horizon response command in Houma, Louisiana. He is approached by an officer (who we learn later is working for BP):

Wheelan: “Am I violating any laws or anything like that?”

Officer: “Um…not particularly. BP doesn’t want people filming.”

Wheelan: “Well, I’m not on their property so BP doesn’t have anything to say about what I do right now.”

Officer: “Let me explain: BP doesn’t want any filming. So all I can really do is strongly suggest that you not film anything right now. If that makes any sense.”

Wheelan says that he was later pulled over by the same officer and another officer named Kenneth Thomas with a badge reading “Chief BP Security.” He was allegedly questioned and Thomas confiscated his Audubon volunteer badge.

The deputy was off-duty at the time and the story below reports that Major Malcolm Wolfe of the sheriff’s office insisted that there was nothing wrong in an officer working for a private company to use his police car to pull over citizens. The story says Wolfe thought it was a proper use of a vehicle because Wheelan could be a “terrorist.” He should rest assured. With the possible exception of the 9-11 attacks, no terrorist in history has caused the type of property and environmental damage as BP.

If BP contests these facts, it should do so clearly and publicly. As it stands, this is a truly frightening story.

Source: Mother Jones

108 thoughts on “Video Shows Officer Working For BP and Preventing Filming of Headquarters”

  1. AY,

    It’s important that it be mentioned that the last incident you’re referring to happened also due to BP’s negligence and scofflaw attitude toward safety.

  2. Buddha,

    If memory serves me correctly, Texas City, near Beaumont, Texas has been “Blown” off of the map a few times with refinery explosions. The last one that I recall was in 2005 where 15 or 17 people died with more than 170 injured seriously.

    More people in Texas City die of cancer than any other disease other than liver failure. You can figure that one out.

  3. I feel I at least, have reached the end of any fruitful argument. I will leave this topic with a report of what happened to protesters at the G-20 in Toronto. This is one of the clearest examples of the naked aggression of ruling elites towards the citizens of the world. Canada suspended its own Constitution at the request of a handful of powerful people. In its treatment of the protesters the ruling elites were behaving outside the rule of law.

    This is the type of lawlessness western nations have visited upon Iraq and Afghanistan. In the US there has been a great deal of denial about how lawless and ruthless our own govt. is towards the “lesser nations” of the world. I would hope this police state action in Toronto would be a wake up call about how dangerous many govts., especially the US, have become towards their own people.

    “…The stealthy side of this process revealed itself on Thursday, when police arrested an individual under the ‘Public Works Act’, a provision passed in secret by Ontario cabinet officials earlier this month that allowed police to question, search and potentially detain anyone within five meters of the G20 security fence.

    In the weeks months leading up to the summit, protesters were under surveillance by the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service (CSIS). One of those protesters targeted by CSIS, Stefan Christoff, called this part of a broader “chill effect” and “culture of fear” that the security forces were allegedly seeking to foster in advance of the largest, most expensive, and most heavily secured meeting of global leaders in history.

    Arbitrary and sometimes preemptive arrests became the norm as the weekend progressed, drawing denunciations from several prominent human rights organizations. Amnesty International decried the “curtailment of civil liberties” that accompanied “high fences, new weaponry, massive surveillance, and the intimidating impact of the overwhelming police presence”.

    The Canadian Civil Liberties Association, some of whose members were swept up in the arrests, decried police tactics, and expressed concern about the conditions of those being detained. “It would appear that the presumption of innocence has been suspended during the G20,” they said in a statement.”

    Wake up before it’s too late.

  4. mespo,

    I think we simply view the key features of fascism differently. You see the statist aspect as primary and I see the corporatist aspect as primary. In addition, since the advent of the Patriot Act and usurpation of the rule of law by the Executive, I think there is a very strong argument that we have as much of an overbearing state as those in power can create without blatantly inviting revolution. Also witness our rights being further eroded by degree. A rush to power like what happened with the fascists in Germany would not be tolerated in the information age. As a tactical matter, moving slowly assures less resistance. Still, I get your point. That is why I like the term Corporate Feudalism better. I think it’s more accurate and every bit as damning as straight traditional fascism.

  5. My point is simply if the state is not supreme the system cannot rightly be referred to as fascism.

  6. And how about that Wall St. reform that doesn’t end “too big to fail”?

    Or the Insurance Bailout disguised as “Health Care Reform”?


    The illusion that the state is reigning in the corporations is just that: an illusion.

  7. mespo,

    “There is no doubt however that the State is firmly ensconced at the top of the hierarchy in this model.”

    I think the response to BP belies that assertion as do the actions in not arresting members of the previous administration for treason based in part on their business connections.

  8. Jill,

    I think Corporate Feudalism covers that as under the feudal systems of both England and Japan, the Lords (Daimyo) used the military knights (Samurai) to enforce their will. What are Blackwater/Xe but private military?

  9. BIL:

    Though subject to some debate, the term “corporatism” does not simply refer to increasing the powers of the business corporations. Instead, it refers to the view that all individuals and businesses serve as constituent parts of an organic society. The root of the term “corpus” refers to the body politic, and not just the businesses so organized. Ideally, the system prefers cooperative efforts between capital, labor, and consumers over the market based competition model. These entities, organized as “corporations,” are subservient to the State but control the individuals working in pre-defined areas of commerce, professional services, and industry. There is no doubt however that the State is firmly ensconced at the top of the hierarchy in this model.

  10. Warthmore mom,

    I am simply writing about things Obama has openly admitted to. These are things such as: imprisonment of the innocent, the right to kill an American citizen overseas if he, and he alone determines they are a terrorist, the illegal use of drones which has resulted in the death of so many civilians, the refusal to follow both our nation’s and international law on war crimes. These are actions that should alarm our nation’s citizens.

    My motive’s have stayed consistent. When Bush engaged in illegal and immoral actions I opposed him. It is people who criticized Bush for taking dictatorial powers as president while accepting them under Obama who are not showing intellectual and moral consistency or honesty.

  11. You make Obama sound like a strong dictator when he is actually being viewed by many as little bit on the weak side. I am going on a bike ride. I don’t want to get into an intense discussion with you. I have no idea about anyone’s motives on a blog.

  12. So when the people on this blog point to authoritarian, dictatorial actions on Obama’s part, actions that cannot be denied because he has admitted to them himself, are we just pointing them out to be his enemy? Would you allow that we are actually concerned about our nation and its’ people, in other words, that our motives are good and spring from a true concern for the welfare of the common good?

  13. The term “fascist” is used loosely to describe one’s political enemies currently. People from different political persuasions find it useful to call Obama “Mussolini” for altogether different reasons. In any case the trains don’t run on time here.

  14. Buddha,

    I like that term also but I still think we are missing the police state aspect of the govt. Some of the most disturbing aspects of the govt. are it’s militarization against its own citizens as well as the rest of the world. Maybe Corporate Feudalism covers that? It certainly is an excellent description of the economic conditions that prevail. I think we need something that shows the raw aggression of the govt. towards the people of this nation and the rest of the world! These are people utterly without conscience. They will literally do anything to get and keep power.

  15. Swarthmore mom,

    May I ask why you point to right wing jack asses like Beck and Limbaugh calling Obama a “liberal fascist” or “Mussolini”? I was wondering what that meant to you.

  16. I suggested the term Corporate Feudalism elsewhere on the blog.

    I think it combines the corporatist elements of fascism with the stratification they (the multinationals) are creating in society.

    But make no mistake, mespo. What’s happening now is indeed a form of fascism.

  17. mespo,

    I have been thinking about what you wrote. Perhaps it is a mistake to use the term fascist because there is a great deal of contention about what fascism means. That is likely because Mussolini himself said privately that “fascism was not s system of immutable beliefs but a path to political power” (from a very interesting biography of Mussolini by Denis Mack Smith) Fascism took several forms in Italy alone. It has taken other forms in yet other countries. If we go for the straight OED definition: ” • noun 1 an authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system of government.” I would have to say that describes our current govt.

    Now you feel I am making up meanings and misstating history to make my points. I am not and I would ask that those who doubt this look up definitions and accounts of the many forms of fascism that have taken place historically. But let me address what I feel is the most important point. You write: “Fascism has at its core principle an uber-nationalism in which every entity in a society (and most especially the economic interests) works and sacrifices on behalf of the government…” I actually believe this is exactly what is happening. Where we seem to disagree is that you feel the govt. is a govt. answering to the will of a free people while I feel the govt. is an entity composed of corporations and the economic elite. This entity, as far as I can tell, has little or nothing to do with representing ordinary people. (I thought others argued this point very well in their posts above.) We no longer live with a govt. that can honestly be called a representative democracy. But we do live in a system where the people are required to serve the govt. That is how the enormous transfer of wealth shown in the posts above has been and continues to occur. Our taxes, our labor goes to the govt. But the govt. does not represent us. It is now an increasingly privatized entity be it in war, health care, education, “security”–name your function and you will see the attempt or actuality of privatization.

    This govt. takes our taxes and the bodies of our poor, working and middle class for its wars of empire. The wars of empire bring wealth to the ruling elite beyond their dreams of avarice. At the same time, social services are eliminated or reduced (such as just happened with desperately needed unemployment insurance). So yes, just as in the definition you gave of fascism, the people are subverted to the use of the govt. It’s just that the govt. is more a collection of private entities than anything else. It takes from the public and gives to the private.

    As to this statement: “but to advocate, what you now contend, are non-violent means to combat this problem is a tad naïve. Sit-ins and boycotts will have no effect against private multi-billion dollar enterprises…” First of all, I have been on this site for several years. I have never advocated the use of violence and I’m certain you must know that, so I do resent your statement, “what you now contend”. What I now contend is exactly what I contended earlier each and every time: forceful, peaceful resistance. I must ask you, do you advocate the use of violence? I ask this because you state, …to advocate…non-violent means to combat this problem is a tad naive.”? What do you mean by that statement? You may believe that non-violence is inadequate to the task, but I do not. You evidently believe non-violence consists of “sit-ins and boycotts”. I urge you to look much more deeply into non-violent resistance.

    I like the term corporate oligarchy but I do not think it goes far enough in describing the current govt. For example, it does not deal with the increasing militarization of our society, the autocratic actions of our president and the complete failure of our legislature and much of our judiciary to act as a co-equal branches of govt. Fascism, in every case involves a militarized society. But again, there is likely a better term than fascism. It would be a good idea to find that term and use it because naming something accurately would help combat the injustice we face.

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