Thursday, 13 October 2011 13:28

BP’s “Big Fix” To Be Exposed Friday At New Orleans Film Festival

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corexitfunny that the international media at the cannes film festival got to know more details of the inner workings and corruption at the core of the BP gulf oil disaster than those of us who’ve endured it. but this Friday that score will be corrected, twice.

the north american premiere of the internationally acclaimed documentary “The Big Fix” reveals the powerful and incestuous relationship between government and global corporations that put profits before the health and safety of louisiana citizens, not to mention the devastation to the coastal environment.

this Friday afternoon at 2 pm at the contemporary arts center, key figures involved in the documentary will be speaking about the film and the information they have uncovered. sundance award winners director josh tickell and co-director rebecca hall tickell, environmental law specialist and film participant stuart smith, and local researchers, environmentalists and seafood industry representatives will discuss the film and its dramatic revelations.  later Friday evening at 8:45 “The Big Fix” will be screened at the prytania theater as the opening night film of the 22nd annual new orleans film festival.

among the many disturbing facts uncovered in the film, “The Big Fix” explores the complicit behavior of the u.s. government in the long-term use of the chemical dispersant, corexit 9527, a known hemolitic (blood thinner). in an unexpected twist of fate, co-director/producer rebecca harrell tickell became severely ill after being exposed to the oil and corexit mixture while filming. like many of the residents of the gulf south who have experienced blood in their urine, skin lesions, and other blood-related disorders, her condition persists.

stuart smith is a new orleans attorney who has championed the causes of victims of oil company pollution for over two decades. in “The Big Fix”, smith explains how local, state and federal government agencies play a shell game with the lives of our citizens by masking the true levels of pollution and the safety of the food derived from the gulf of mexico.

the BP pr machine, apologists and state and federal officials have stated, for example, that hundreds of water/seafood samples are pulled monthly to test for hydrocarbons and chemical dispersants, and say on the record that “not a single one has reached a level of concern for human health.”

to provide cover for the state to reopen the gulf for seafood harvesting, smith states “the fda sent a letter to state of louisiana and the state of mississippi, saying that we think it’s ok to reopen these fishing grounds.”

one major problem with that claim, though, is that in a massive area of southeast louisiana, of the hundreds of samples they speak about, only one sample of shrimp came from an actual massive spill infected area that was otherwise ignored by the testers. In other words, they are not testing in significant large areas directly impacted by the disaster.

smith explains further that “the fraud is that they hire laboratories who set artificially high minimum detection levels. so when the test results come in they say ‘non-detect, non-detect’. they need to detect 10 to 15 but they set the bar at 20…that’s how they do it.”  in short, the investigators” and “researchers” jack up the numbers so that the results don’t really mean anything. 

another revelation that you’ll find stunning is that area universities and the national oceanic and atmospheric administration have actually hired a team of “sniffers” to “sniff” for oil, toxins and dispersants in gulf seafood. Not only that, but apparently there are ‘levels’ of sniffers, level 1, level 2 and level 3. amazing.

smith says this practice doesn’t pass the smell test and scoffs at such practices: “that’s a joke. even at best, a smell test won’t tell you if that seafood you’re smelling has eaten contaminated fish or shrimp or crabs and absorbed those contaminants into themselves.”

these assertions only scratch the surface of a small part of this story that needs to be seen to be appreciated in all its harrowing detail.

since its origins bp has had one of the worst safety records in oil industry history. and yet, despite the gulf disaster, BP was still able to distribute $10 billion dollars to its shareholders in 2010. the obama administration announced it would start issuing permits for new gulf drilling in January 2011.  the first new permit was for a well operated in partnership with BP. To this day the u.s. department of justice forbids any vessel from approaching the deepwater horizon site.

hear what these filmmakers and their assembled researchers and witnesses have to say, and see the film before what little we have left is stolen from us and all that will remain is what’s left.

-sid arroyo



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Sidney Arroyo

Sidney Arroyo is a progressive political activist and consultant who has worked on numerous campaigns in the New Orleans area.

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