Thursday, July 8, 2010

BP, Governments Downplay Public Health Risk From Oil and Dispersants whilst Broome hosts oil spill response training

William Rea, MD, who founded the Environmental Health Center-Dallas, treated a number of sick Exxon Valdez cleanup workers. He once told me, "When you have sick people and sick animals, and they are sick because of the same chemical, that's the strongest evidence possible that that chemical is a problem."

It's not just skin rashes and blisters. At community forums, I commonly hear from adults and children with persistent coughs, stuffy sinuses, headaches, burning eyes, sore throats, ear bleeds, and fatigue. These symptoms are consistent across the four Gulf states that I have visited. Further, the symptoms of respiratory problems, central nervous system distress, and skin irritation are consistent with overexposure to crude oil through the two primary routes of exposure: inhalation and skin contact.

Most distressing to me are stories about sick children. "Dose plus host makes the poison," I learned in toxicology. A small child is at risk of breathing a higher dose of contaminants per body weight than an adult. Children, pregnant women, people with compromised or stressed immune systems like cancer survivors and asthma sufferers, and African Americans are more at risk from oil and chemical exposure - the latter because they are prone to sickle cell anemia and 2-butoxyethanol can cause, or worsen, blood disorders.

Public officials have failed to sound an alarm about the public health threat because three federal agencies - DHHS, EPA, and OSHA - cannot find any unsafe levels of oil in air or water. Perhaps the federal air and water standards are not stringent enough to protect the public from oil pollution. Our federal laws are outdated and do not protect us from the toxic threat from oil - now widely recognized in the scientific and medical community.

BP is still in the dark ages on oil toxicity. BP officials stress that, by the time oil gets to shore, it is "weathered" and missing the highly volatile compounds like the carcinogenic benzene, among others. BP fails to mention the threat from dispersed oil, ultrafine particles (PAHs), and chemical dispersants, which include industrial solvents and proprietary compounds, many hazardous to humans.

If oil was so nontoxic, then why are the spill response workers giving hazardous waste training? Our federal government should stop pretending that everything is okay. What isn't safe for workers isn't safe for the general public either.
On the 1st of July is was reported by the local Kimberley ABC that a pecial training sessions are to be held in Broome to help ensure local authorities know how to respond in the event of an oil spill.

The Department of Transport's oil spill response team will host three days of training this week at Broome Port for port workers, government officers and members of the private sector. Appropriately,participants will be taught how to quickly assess spills that reach the coast and how to use equipment, such as containment booms, to limit their spread.

Coordinator Matt Verney says the team is able to draw on its experiences with last year's Montara oil spill."All the training is an opportunity to get the latest information and try out new equipment, and also put in place the lessons learnt from other incidents, so we're best prepared next time we do have an incident," he said.

Redhand would like to suggest that Matt Verney reads the article in full at and if at all possible visit the Gulf of Mexico and offer them his expertise because they sure could use it. The fact of the matter is once oil flows death follows, economic, environmental and social structures disintegrates.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Coup d'état of democracy

Globalisation has seen the emergence of commercial companies that transcend nationality. Globalisation is the construction of a global capitalist economy, geared to the interests of transnational corporations that substantially reduced the powers of government.

The freedom of movement by these multinationals, their economic holds and their long and bloody history of penalising governments that seek to maintain standards of social welfare, environmental regulation or tax regimes. Many of the measures which government have used in the past to develop coherent social, environment and industrial policies for their country appears to be no longer possible.

Federal Resources Minister Martin Ferguson says the removal of Kevin Rudd as Prime Minister was the catalyst to strike a deal on the mining tax. Redhand believes that the removal of Kevin Rudd was a lesson to all of us. Not just to politicians, but a simple blunt reminder to all of us as to who actually runs the country,controls the purse strings,controls government and directs policies making.

It is not our elected representatives; it is multinational companies, the BHP, Rio Tinto and Xtrata and their intestines residue subsidiaries of the world that are involved in the destruction of the planet for profit. The last thing they want to do is pay a tax on their greed.

The controlled main stream media would have us believe that it was the Government that made significant changes to its original proposal and secured a deal on Thursday night for a 30 per cent profits tax on coal and iron ore. By the following Monday, we are told it has been reduced from 40 per cent to 22.5 per cent which is nearly half of the original figure that was first announced.

We all understand that it is the multinationals who decided what they will pay, if anything at all. Unfortunately, private individuals do not have the same persuasive dexterity to set their tax brackets.

Rudd was under the illusion that if he pulled back from imposing the Emissions Trading Scheme on these multinational cronies he could therefore, in all rights impose the mining tax, but unfortunately, the multinationals had very different ideas. They would not and did not support the Emission Trading Scheme, they would not pay the additional tax and hey, while they were on a roll, with their control (ownership) of the media and subsequent opinion polls lets exorcise the removal of a Prime Minister and they did, purely because they could.

Ferguson told the Insiders program that the leadership change was the turning point.

"When you sack a prime minister the tone is bound to change," he said.
"People suddenly put their head down and said 'geez, this really is a really difficult challenge now, we've seen a prime minister go, and it’s our joint responsibility to solve these differences in the national interest'."

What is this counterfeited call of anguish, the national interest, who does Ferguson think he is hoodwinking. The only interest they are interested in is protecting are their own, for their own because in all honestly it’s not in the national interest for these major polluters to keep poisoning our air, water, killing our environment and thieving all our national resources. It is not in the national interest to remove an elected representative just because he rightly pointed out that these resources belong to all of us and therefore as a nation we have the rights to expect some returns. It just another form of a Coup d'état.

Ferguson says no-one involved in the negotiations expected Mr Rudd to lose his job as Prime Minister. Redhand would like to know who were involved in these negotiations and why was the Prime Minister’s position on the agenda?

Apparently, these negotiations are taking place within a Committee (named the Argus Committee) chaired by Ferguson and the former BHP Billiton chairman Don Argus. Redhand believes that this is the very same Committee the Bank of America – Merril Kynch established as the Australia Advisory Board that is also being led by the same man, Don Argus.

Argus, a figure in the Australian business community, was directed to work with the Bank of America country head Craig Drummond to "develop the strategic and tactical direction" of the bank's business in Australia.

The removal of a Prime Minister who threatens to lessen the profits of both the industry players and their banking interests that supports them was a very strategic and tactile response, and put very big feathers in their conceited caps.
Argus has also been the chairman of Brambles Ltd., chief executive of National Australia Bank Ltd. and was a member of the international advisory committee to the New York Stock Exchange board of directors.

Since Bank of America bought Merrill Lynch, the firm has been adding staff and building its presence in Australia. Mr. Drummond, who left Goldman Sachs JBWere last year before taking the helm at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch, has publicly stated his goal for the firm to become one of the three biggest in Australia in the next five years.

So who are the other members of this Argus Committee? Does David Crawford, BHP director and chairman of Lend Lease Group and Foster's Group Ltd. sit on this Committee?; Ian Harper, director of business consultancy and forecasting agency Access Economics; and Megan Clark, chief executive of Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization are they also members?.

Of course this is all pure speculation on Redhands behalf, but as a nation we have only have just been informed of the existence of this Argus Committee and the fact that they are to “think through the question of exploration in the future". There is no other information readily available as to how and who formed this Committee, their Terms of Reference or its membership. There is no information on the Department’s Website.

Ferguson said "I don't think anyone expected a Prime Minister to disappear," “it sent a message to all of us - you'd better start facing up to your responsibilities and sort this out”. Who send this message?

Redhand has only gained the understanding that these tactician maneuvering by these multinationals will stop at nothing to retain their profits. Whilst spinning the Australian people around (using their own media subsidiaries) by distracting them with the romantic gender issue of the first female Australia Prime Minister, they are sitting back rubbing their hands together, patting each other on their backs, glorifying themselves with their self importance and their proven powers of political, economic and social manipulations.

Australians do not live off the sheep’s back anymore we are the sheep. Bar Bar Bar

Friday, July 2, 2010

Dodson joins protest over Kimberley LNG hub

Nicolas Perpitch From: The Australian
July 02, 2010 12:00AM

PAT Dodson has joined other law men and claimants in court action against the Kimberley Land Council over Woodside's proposed LNG project.

They have signed on to a proposed amended claim by the gas hub's most vocal opponent, Aboriginal leader Joseph Roe, challenging the land council's right to negotiate on behalf of traditional owners.

According to court documents, Mr Roe is seeking leave from the Federal Court to amend his claim to include 16 other law bosses from the northern and southern traditions of the Dampier Peninsula song cycle.

It would also include more than 300 Goolarabooloo-Jabirr Jabirr native title claimants and people linked to those groups.

They claim the KLC had no right to negotiate with Woodside and the West Australian government on the development of the gas hub because in 2005 law bosses had made a unanimous decision against the precinct being anywhere on the peninsula.

They argue the land council did not therefore have their consent to sign a heads of agreement with the Barnett government and Woodside, which would deliver $1.5 billion in compensation to Aboriginal people. And the KLC should not have entered into a heritage protection agreement either, they say.

Under the amended claim, Mr Roe would be the sole applicant as a representative of the group. But in submissions to the court, the KLC has argued Mr Roe does not have the legal standing to sue the land council on his own.

Last month, the KLC suspended all negotiations with Woodside and the state government on an indigenous land use agreement while it dealt with the legal action.

Premier Colin Barnett said he was disappointed at the lack of progress after a fourth dead-line for Aboriginal groups to reach agreement passed on Wednesday.

Mr Barnett has said he would not grant further extensions for negotiations and would now consider whether to compulsorily acquire land at James Price Point, 60km north of Broome.

A spokesman for the land council said compulsory acquisition would take away the right of traditional owners to free and informed consent on the issue.

Mr Dodson refused to comment yesterday.