Deepwater Horizon Update - BP's Rope-a-Dope Legal Strategy

During last year's Super Bowl Clint Eastwood made a big stir saying, "It's halftime in America". At that time Obama was riding high, and he and his thugs (e.g. Ken "Boot on the Neck" Salazar), AKA Oli-Bama and his Forty Thieves, were salivating at the prospect of destroying BP and other American oil companies. My how things have changed in just one year! BP has come to a comprehensive settlement agreement with the private sector plaintiffs' attorneys, which has just been approved in federal court in New Orleans. Phase One of the sequence of trials is now complete. The consequences for BP of the Deepwater Horizon accident for harm to the affected citizenry have been met. It cost BP a LOT of money! But, then again, BP did a LOT of Harm. But true to Tony Hayward's word, BP has paid or agreed to pay all legitimate claims.

So we approach the start of Phase Two, the subsea intervention phase. Obama's gang has made a lot of big promises to voters both nationally and locally that they will deliver a windfall of BP's cash to all levels of government. The captive media have boldly predicted that BP will pay huge fines for violations of environmental laws, such as the Clean Water Act. The figure most often bandied about has been $21.5 billion derived by a simple calculation (the only kind media types have a prayer of getting right) based on a flow of 5 million barrels of oil and a fine of $4,300 per barrel. Bipartisan visions of sugar plums dance in the heads of the Ruling Class.

To substantiate the government's claims, they need to document the size of the spill. To get at that information, Obama and crew have unleashed the FBI to indict BP employees to force them to tell the truth (short of waterboarding them)! Not only has the government indicted the two BP employees directly in command (the "company men") Donald Vidrine and Robert Kaluza, but they have indicted two more men for testimony regarding the flow rate. The more senior of the two, BP VP David Rainey, figures prominently in the news stories. The other, our hero Kurt Mix, is a non-person. To quote the report in the New Orleans Times Picayune by Mark Schleifstein

At the same time the charges filed against the company in November, three employees also were charged with criminal acts. Two BP well-site leaders, Robert Kaluza and Donald Vidrine, each face 22 manslaughter charges in the deaths of the workers killed in the explosion. And David Rainey, a former BP executive who was the company's second-highest ranking representative at the Unified Command office during the spill response, was charged with obstruction of Congress and making false statements to law enforcement officials.

What is Kurt Mix, a potted plant?? We might infer some insight as to why Mr. Mix is being kept incommunicado as a government hostage by another article in the Times Picayune, Justice Department asks judge to require BP to produce documents showing how it low-balled oil flow.

In support of its motion, the government appended portions of a June 2011 deposition of former BP vice president for exploration David Rainey, who has been separately charged with obstruction of justice for allegedly providing Congress with the low-ball estimates. Rainey testified that he prepared several internal memoranda providing more accurate estimates in April and May 2010 that were reviewed by Doug Suttles, who was then chief of BP's exploration and production activities and who oversaw the company's oil spill response. Suttles retired at age 50 in January 2011 after 22 years with the company.

During the deposition, Rainey said he prepared the memos at the request of BP's counsel, who reviewed the drafts.

The names of the BP counsel are not in the government documents, some of which have blacked-out passages. But according to the BP plea agreement, the company's counsel also requested Rainey to prepare a memo submitted to the House Subcommittee on Energy and Environment in May after U.S. Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., questioned the company's earlier assertion before the committee that only 5,000 barrels of oil a day were flowing from the well.

That memo "falsely stated that BP's worst case discharge estimate was raised from 60,000 (barrels of oil per day) to 100,000 BOPD after subsequent 'pressure data was obtained from the BOP stack'" -- a reference to the blowout preventer equipment stack atop the well -- BP admitted in the factual basis accompanying its guilty plea. Instead, the factual basis said, Rainey knew the 100,000-barrel estimate wasn't the result of the pressure data, but instead had been prepared as a worst-case estimate as early as April 21, a day after the blowout.

That last little detail, April 21, 2010, will cause Obama and crew a few headaches! Have you noticed how many Cabinet level officials have been throwing themselves under the bus lately? Steven Chu is only the latest.  He has been preceded by the EPA's Lisa Jackson, "Boots' Salazar, USGS' Marcia McNutt of the Flow Rate Technical Group (FRTG), Jane Lubchenco of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Energy Czarina Carol Browner to name a few. Even USCG Admiral Thad Allen has been seen doing damage control.

So why is that specific date relevant? The Deepwater Horizon blowout occurred on April 20 and the rig did not sink until April 22. On April 21, there was no way to know what flow rate would result after the rig sank because it had not yet sunk, That gasp you hear is the lapdog media realizing they have been had! Ed Markey's mouthpiece, Anderson Cooper, is right now probably wishing Kathy Griffith was nearby to help hide his surprise.

So Mr. Eastwood, stay tuned to watch the fourth quarter. It will be a doozy!

Bruce Thompson