Saturday, September 25, 2010

Criminalizing oil spill observation

I'm ashamed to be an American when my government makes it a felony to do what Carl Safina did (take pictures of oil booms in the Gulf of Mexico).

There can be reasons to keep people away from booms, but this is ridiculous. Here's the story, in his own words:

You’d think that, with an ongoing environmental disaster caused by a foreign corporation, the U.S. government would be OK with letting the public see what’s going on. Land of the free, right?
Well, not necessarily.

Among the latest and most enraging developments in the ongoing Gulf oil blowout catastrophe is that on June 30, the Coast Guard suddenly decided that something we’ve been doing for weeks—getting near booms deployed ostensibly to deter oil (because you really can’t avoid them)—is a felony.

A felony.

This, after weeks of people screaming for transparency and complaining about interference, the Administration promising transparency, and journalists (and myself) complaining of petty bullying on public roads and beaches by people now getting paid by BP. [For plenty of other reporting on the news strangle, do a Google search with the words: media access gulf oil]
A felony.

Here it is:


So, in the spirit of Independence Day, honoring the Revolution and all, I decided to be willful, thus commit a felony, and record it photographically. I report it here, patriotically and unrepentantly. Shame on BP, and shame on the Coast Guard. Shame, indeed, on us all, for letting our own government drift so deep into corporate territory, so far from allegiance to We, the people.

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