• Latest News
  • Pitch a Story
  • Work with a Journalist
  • Join the Blog Squad
  • Afghanistan
  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Baltimore
  • Canada
  • Egypt
  • Europe
  • Latin America
  • Middle East
  • Russia
  • Economy
  • Environment
  • Health Care
  • Military
  • Occupy
  • Organize This
  • Reality Asserts Itself
  • US Politics
  • BP Coverup, Coverup

    Greg Palast: US corporate media ignoring evidence of BP foreknowledge of problems that led to Gulf disaster -   October 28, 12
    Members don't see ads. If you are a member, and you're seeing this appeal, click here


    Share to Facebook Share to Twitter

    Amongst "independent" media the only one which (so far) has served only insight and versatility. - Håkan
    Log in and tell us why you support TRNN


    Greg Palast is the author of the New York Times bestsellers, Billionaires & Ballot Bandits, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, Armed Madhouse and the highly acclaimed Vultures' Picnic, named Book of the Year 2012 on BBC Newsnight Review.  Palast also directed the U.S. government's largest racketeering case in history, winning a $4.3 billion jury award. He also conducted the investigation of fraud charges in the Exxon Valdez grounding. 


    BP Coverup, CoverupPAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Paul Jay in Washington.

    The BP gulf oil disaster has been the subject of a lot of examination, and recent examination shows that there's more of a coverup than perhaps we have known. One of the people who's done a lot of work on this is investigative journalist Greg Palast. And he now joins us from New York City. Greg's a BBC investigative reporter, author of Vultures' Picnic, and author of The Best Democracy Money Can Buy and Armed Madhouse and many other pieces of investigative work. Thanks very much for joining us, Greg.

    GREG PALAST, JOURNALIST AND AUTHOR: Glad to be with you, Paul.

    JAY: So, first of all, what is the—I mean, people know the basic story of what happened, but what is the real essence of the coverup here?

    PALAST: Yeah, they don't know the real story, not in the U.S. press. For British television, I investigated what really happened. Actually, right after Deepwater Horizon exploded on April 20, 2010, I get a message from a witness, an insider from the Caspian Sea, which is, you know, the other side of the planet, in Asia, saying, I know exactly what happened here, 'cause the exact same thing happened in the Caspian Sea two years earlier: there was another BP rig—another BP rig blew out, just like the Deepwater Horizon. And BP covered it up. BP hid it because it occurred offshore off the nation of Azerbaijan, which is what I call—in my book Vultures' Picnic, I called it the Islamic Republic of BP. They own that place.

    JAY: The point here is that the cause of the Caspian Sea blowout, you're saying, is essentially the same as what happened in the Gulf.

    PALAST: Absolutely. Same thing. In other words, what happened in the Caspian Sea is that they used a cheap, crap cement process to close up the well. It's called quick-dry cement. They put nitrogen in the cement—makes it like a milkshake. So it's easy to pour, it dries quickly. But just like any milkshake, if you put a straw in it and blow into it, you get bubbles. But if that happens in an oil well, you get methane and you blow out the rig. That's what happened in the Caspian Sea. That's what happened in the Gulf of Mexico.

    And you should understand that in most of the world and most producers would never touch this stuff for a high-pressure place like offshore deepwater drilling. It was insane, it was dangerous, and it was proven to be deadly. And I have to say, I confronted BP with this information. Was there a blowout previously in the Caspian Sea for the same reason? And all they said was, we've reported this fact to the government of Azerbaijan. Hey, thanks a lot. BP itself has said that it was a cement failure that caused the death of the 11 men on the Deepwater Horizon. But they blame Halliburton. They said Halliburton never told us that this quick-dry cement of theirs could fail. In fact, BP knew it failed because it had two years earlier. This was not an accident. This was homicide, negligent homicide.

    JAY: Now, you get a call from somebody who witnessed this, is that it? In the Caspian Sea.

    PALAST: That's correct. So I get a call—well, I don't get a call; I get a cable from the Caspian Sea, from a ship floating offshore, a witness. And, of course, it's very—he said, it's too dangerous for me to speak to you by phone or by official systems. So I have to fly into Asia with my cameraman from British TV and we sneak in. We head off across the desert, a roadless desert, to the BP terminal. And someone has ratted us out, so I get arrested. I get arrested, and they let me go, but they scare off my witnesses, who end up disappearing. So, yes, there was a blowout. But even though the witnesses were scared away, I got their statements—not on camera, but I got the most extraordinary confirmation, which was actually extraordinary and sickening as well.

    JAY: So BP has now acknowledged that this happened. But they're not drawing any link between the two things. And what about the American investigation into what happened in the gulf? How did this not come out of that?

    PALAST: Well, two things. One, BP has never admitted that there was another blowout officially, to me or anyone else. They just said that they reported the incident to the government of Azerbaijan. But here's where we found out what happened. In the WikiLeaks documents—I work with The Guardian in Britain. We have access to the WikiLeaks documents. WikiLeaks documents show a meeting of the president of BP with the United States State Department, U.S. Embassy, because Chevron said, which is a junior partner of BP, hey, where's our money? We're not getting any money from the Caspian Sea. So the State Department called in BP's president, who said, listen, man, there was a blowout, so shh, keep it quiet. So Chevron kept quiet. Exxon kept it quiet—they knew about it too. The U.S. State Department kept it quiet. BP kept quiet. MI6 in Britain, secret service, kept it quiet. They hid it from the U.S. Congress. BP, Chevron, and Exxon all went before the United States Congress and said, we've never had a problem with deepwater drilling, six months before the Deepwater blew up. They didn't mention the year earlier, Caspian Sea.

    JAY: So when did this come to light for you? When did you report this for BBC?

    PALAST: I reported it, ultimately, on British television on the one-year anniversary of the explosion, in April 2011. And I have to tell you—and then I [incompr.] the entire investigation in my latest book, Vultures' Picnic. In fact, if you want, you can go to and you can see a film of me—there it says "THE FILMS". I had a little—one of those Austin Powers pen cameras, 'cause, right, they take your film out of the cameras, but they didn't take my pen. So I had a pen camera where I still kept the information on there. So you can see me under arrest on this pen camera.

    But I put it on TV more than a year ago in Britain. It was all over the top of the nightly news all over the world, all over Europe, everywhere but the United States, where you could not get it on TV. You couldn't get it into the news here for love or money. No way. And, you know, the Petroleum Broadcast System, PBS, was the worst of all. They absolutely refused to take the information. We offered it to them.

    JAY: So we're a year later since this story broke. Has there been any change in the American investigation on this? I mean, this is obviously explosive. It means BP lied to Congress.

    PALAST: Yes, it's explosive. It's criminal. It's criminal in many ways. It's criminal negligence. But it's also that they lied to the U.S. Congress. They lied to—by the way, they lied to the Securities Exchange Commission, because BP filed papers saying—they had to explain why they weren't making any money in the Caspian Sea, and they made up a cockamamie story about some natural gas leakage somewhere. So they lied to the SEC. This is serious stuff. I'm working with Bobby Kennedy, who's the dean of environmental law at Pace University, and Kennedy has said, you know, this is—we have laws against this type of lying, besides people dying. So he's calling on the attorney general of the United States, Eric Holder, to open an investigation. But on the other hand—while on one hand, you know, Holder may be not unhappy about exposing the fact that Condi Rice and the Bush State Department knew about the explosion, I don't know what Obama's State Department also kept hidden in its files, and I'm not sure they want to open that all up.

    JAY: Now, you're saying the Bush State Department knew about what happened in Azerbaijan.

    PALAST: Yes. What happened was, remember, Chevron went to the U.S. State Department and said, we don't know why we're not making money in the Caspian Sea; something happened and BP won't tell us. So the U.S. State Department on behalf of Chevron—not on behalf of the United States, but on behalf of Chevron—went to BP and got the real story. Now, why would they do that? I would just like to remind you that the secretary of state, prior to becoming secretary of state, Condi Rice, was for 12 years on the board of directors of Chevron, and, you know, there's a tanker named the Condoleezza. And so the State Department embassy was basically acting as an investigative arm for Chevron, but hid the material from the U.S. public and the U.S. regulators.

    JAY: So this story's been out now for a year. What's the Obama administration done to follow up on this?

    PALAST: Nothing. And, in fact, what I'm very concerned about is that there won't be a trial, that they're going to cut some type of deal with BP. One of the problems is once you go to trial, not only does this open up, which makes it—I used to be a racketeering investigator for the government, and this is absolutely bog standard racketeering fraud case. And while the co-conspirators involved the Condi Rice State Department, BP, Exxon, Chevron, we just don't know what can of worms is going to open up within the Obama administration. I have no information on what happened inside the Obama administration, and I think they like to keep it that way. I think they'd like to keep a lid on the whole thing.

    JAY: Now, is there not a lawsuit where BP is suing Halliburton? And wouldn't this then also come up in some of that civil litigation that's going on?

    PALAST: Yeah. I mean, one of the—you know, I had expected, actually, to get a call from Halliburton for my information, but we haven't. I think they're not going to go to trial either. BP's blaming Halliburton, saying, you didn't tell us this cement was dangerous. Of course, Halliburton could now turn around and say, well, wait, you knew it was dangerous; you used it in the Caspian Sea and it blew out.

    But we do know also that Halliburton, for its part, had run a—. Halliburton, by the way, had no idea what happened in the Caspian Sea. I checked that out. They really didn't know. That was concealed from Halliburton. But we do know that Halliburton had a computer model showing this stuff might fail. So Halliburton has dirty hands, even blood on his hands. So does BP.

    So they have reasons to kind of work out their differences. I think you're not going to see a trial between BP and Halliburton. They're not going to open up each other's files and air their dirty laundry, because that's going to stop—if those guys open their files, it's going to stop deepwater drilling worldwide, and both of them will suffer.

    JAY: And what do you make of the American media's reaction to this story? Why aren't at least some of them covering it?

    PALAST: That's why we have you, don't we? If we didn't have The Real News Network—'cause basically they're the unreal news network. I mean, understand, I work with BBC television, Channel 4, ITV. These are the big stature international English language outlets. And, you know, so that's at the top of the nightly news. My story, by the way, also broke at the top of Arte, which is the big giant European network. The question is: why not the U.S.A.? And you're going to have to tell me.

    But that's why we actually have The Real News Network, 'cause the unreal news networks just won't take the stuff. They won't touch it. I got to tell you, Frontline, for example, was offered our material, Frontline, PBS. Instead they ran a story that the Deepwater Horizon was caused by a so-called culture of lack of safety at BP, and they said specifically—you'll love this—that if it had been Chevron, this would not have happened, the Deepwater Horizon explosion. They actually had the president of Chevron saying, we wouldn't have done this. But Chevron knew about the Caspian explosion, covered it up. I investigated Chevron. If you go, again, to or, you'll get the information from Vultures' Picnic that Chevron, you know, basically poisoned the Amazon Jungle areas, big parts of the Amazon in Ecuador.

    So PBS is basically fronting for Chevron. Why? Take a look at Chevron and at the PBS NewsHour home page. You have to go into the WayBack machine, in which you will find out that the number-one official national sponsor of NewsHour and PBS is Chevron oil. So what you're getting is Chevron news, not real news. And the best, that's PBS. I mean, you'll never get this stuff on 60 Minutes. You'll never—you know, they're not going to touch anything that—it's this, literally, explosive (and the pun is intended).

    JAY: Thanks very much for joining us, Greg.

    PALAST: You're very welcome.

    JAY: And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.


    DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.


    Our automatic spam filter blocks comments with multiple links and multiple users using the same IP address. Please make thoughtful comments with minimal links using only one user name. If you think your comment has been mistakenly removed please email us at


    Latest Stories

    The Bundy Ranch Standoff Demonstrates Values Shared by Corporations and the Far Right
    The Resegregation of American Schools
    The Modern History of Venezuela, Why Still So Much Crime? - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (7/9)
    What Role Has Russia Played in Eastern Ukraine?
    Can Johns Hopkins Afford to Pay A Living Wage? (2/2)
    University Sit-In Targets World's Largest Private Coal Company
    The Modern History of Venezuela and the Need for a Post-Oil Economy - Edgardo Lander on RAI (6/9)
    Can Johns Hopkins Afford to Pay A Living Wage? (1/2)
    One Percent of Environmentalists Killings Lead to Convictions
    Investigation Finds Former Ukraine President Not Responsible For Sniper Attack on Protestors
    The Modern History of Venezuela from 1973 to the Caracazo Massacre - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (3/9)
    Ukraine Transitional Gov't Moves Militarily To Reclaim Seized Buildings
    IPCC Report Flawed By Narrow Focus on Carbon Emissions
    The Modern History of Venezuela: The Bolivarian Revolution - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (5/9)
    Obama Signs Directives to Reduce the Gender Wage Gap
    Eastern Ukraine Lacks Political Representation in Kiev
    Demystifying the Role of Mitigation in the Most Recent IPCC Report
    Hypersurveillance State Won't Prevent Another Boston Marathon Bombing
    The Modern History of Venezuela from 1973 to the Caracazo Massacre - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (3/9)
    Univ. of Maine Faculty Reinstated After Students Protest Against Cuts
    The Modern History of Venezuela from 1908 to 1973 - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (2/9)
    IMF Will Address Global Inequality, Says Managing Director Christine Lagarde
    Raising Big Banks' Leverage Ratio Good, But Not Nearly Enough
    TRNN Replay: Austerity Road to 19th Century
    Has Palestinian Maneuvering Revived Peace Talks?
    Late Jackson Mayor Lumumba's Son Wins Primary to Replace His Father, Runoff Election Ahead
    Quebecers Reject PQ and Elect a Liberal Government Representing Big Business
    TRNN Debate: Decriminalization vs. Legalization
    The Beginning of the Chavez Era - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (4/9)
    "Off With His Head": Court Upholds Obama's Power to Kill
    Workers at Nation's Top Hospital Strike For Fair Wages
    From Exile to Radicalization in Venezuela - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (1/9)
    Rwanda 20 Years Later: Genocide, Western Plunder of Congo, and President Kagame
    Ukrainian Protesters in the East Demand More Autonomy From Kiev Government
    Hunger Strikers Demand President Obama Halt His Record 2 Million Deportations
    Indian Parliamentary Elections - A Primer With Vijay Prashad
    West Looks to Carve Up Ukraine & Privatize Industries Held by Kleptocrats
    Where Are Israeli-Palestinian Peace Negotiations Headed?
    The Multiple Kingdoms of Saudi Arabia (5/5)
    Do the Afghan Presidential Elections Signify Progress?
    Republican Presidential Hopefuls Pay Homage to Billionaire Casino Tycoon Sheldon Adelson
    Will Extremist Lieberman Become Israel's Next Prime Minister?
    Why do the Saudis Want the US to Attack Iran? (4/5)
    Immigrant Advocates and Families Tell President Obama 'Not One More'
    Elections, Pipelines, and Protests - The Canada Panel
    Chris Hedges on "Israel's War on American Universities"
    Baltimore Residents Decry Lack of Affordable Housing
    Yellen Talks the Talk But Will She Walk the Walk?
    Hopkins Hospital Workers Speak Out against "Poverty Wages"
    Will Venezuela's New Floating Exchange Rate Curb Inflation?
    The European Central Bank's War on Wages is Pushing Europe's Economy to the Brink
    Supreme Court Decision Opens Floodgates for More Campaign Cash
    Charles Keating, the Financier Behind the Savings and Loan Scandal, Dies at 90
    Saudi Arabia and the al-Qaeda Monster (3/5)
    Maryland Residents Voice Opposition to Natural Gas Fracking Export Facility
    Supreme Court Ruling Gives Wealthy Individuals More Influence Over Elections
    What are the Saudis Afraid Of? - Madawi Al-Rasheed (2/5)
    Baltimore's MICA Adjunct Professors Set to Vote on Unionization
    Boycott of Israel Moving to Next Level?
    Hypocrisy Dressed Up as "Realism" Justifies American Alliance with Saudi Dictatorship
    Immigration Reform in the Shadows of Cesar Chavez's Legacy
    Leaked Senate Report Shows Use of Torture As "Ineffective"
    UN Report Says Climate Change Will Threaten Food Production Worldwide
    The Hypocrisy of US Calling for Enforcement of International Law
    How the Ecuadorian Economy Grew in a Global Recession
    'Shadows of Liberty' Trailer
    Kristina Borjesson on Why CBS Shut Down Her investigation into Flight 800 (2/8)
    Glen Ford on Racism in the American Media (3/8)
    Paul Jay on What Drives Corporate Media and What Drive The Real News (4/8)
    Creating a New Media Paradigm After Citizens United (5/8)
    Should The Left Engage with the Mainstream Media? (6/8)
    What Is the Financial Backing For The Real News? (7/8)
    Standing up to Character Assassination (8/8)
    Oligarchs, Fascists and the People's Protest in Ukraine
    TRNN Debate: Is Obamacare In the Interest of Workers?
    Too-Big-To-Fail Advantage Remains Intact For Big Banks
    Obama and the Saudi Agenda
    TRNN Replay: Investigating the Saudi Government's 9/11 Connection and the Path to Disilliusionment - Sen. Graham on Reality Asserts Itself pt 1
    The Iraq War's Real Legacy
    Petitions with 100,000+ Signatures Call for Snowden's Passport to be Reinstated
    We Need to Harness People Power - Andy Shallal on Reality Asserts Itself (4/4)
    BC Pipeline Fight and Quebec Elections - The Canada Panel
    Jonathan Schell - 1943-2014: Board Member of TRNN on Why We Need The Real News
    Teachers on Strike from the UK to Argentina
    Connecticut Poised to Become First State with $10.10 Minimum Wage
    Oil Spill Threatens Wildlife and Local Economy
    DC School Test Scores Up, But Poor Black Kids Are Doing Worse - Andy Shallal on RAI (3/4)
    Obama's Proposal To End NSA Bulk Data Collection Won't Protect Privacy
    How Google, Apple & The Biggest Tech Companies Colluded to Fix Workers' Wages
    An American Should be One that Questions Their Government - Andy Shallal on RAI (2/4)
    What's Driving Putin & Obama's Posturing on Ukraine?
    Hundreds of Students & Faculty Occupy College Campus to Fight Cuts to Public Higher Ed
    Due Process 'Impossible' In Harsh Death Sentencing Of Over 500 Muslim Brotherhood Members
    Has Anglo-American Capitalism Run Out of Steam?
    Being the "Other" in America - Andy Shallal on Reality Asserts Itself (1/4)
    TRNN Debate: Should Baltimore 'Ban The Box'?
    How Fallujah Became the Iraqi Government's New Battleground
    Why I Decided to Blow the Whistle on the NSA
    NASA Climate Predictions Show Serious Threat To Humanity
    Professor Who Teaches Israel-Palestine Conflict Accuses College of Violating His Academic Freedom
    CIA and NSA Wrongdoing Requires Independent Investigation, Says Former Church Committee Staff
    Are Tuition Breaks Enough To Combat High Student Debt And Low Graduation Rates?
    Industries Across the U.S. Are Stealing Wages From Their Lowest Paid Workers
    Who In Ukraine Will Benefit From An IMF Bailout?
    NSA Recording All International Calls From U.S.
    Israel "Making Lives Miserable" for Africans, Hoping They 'Self-Deport' (2/2)
    BP Gets Green Light to Drill in Gulf, But Has Safety Improved?
    Residents Still Not Drinking Tap Water Two Months After West Virginia Spill (1/2)
    Libya's Descent Into Turmoil Three Years After NATO Intervention
    From Pipelines to Peladeau - Canadian Report
    Israel "Making Lives Miserable" for Africans, Hoping They 'Self-Deport' (1/2)
    Congressional Progressive Caucus Budget Strikes Back Against Austerity
    Libya Three Years Later - Chaos and Partition
    Why Was Gaddafi Overthrown?
    Should Ukraine and West Accept De Facto Crimea Joining Russia? (2/2)
    Tony Benn Saw Socialism as the Culmination of Democratization
    Why Didn't Bush/Cheney Attack Iran and Can Obama Make and Sell a Deal? - Gareth Porter on Reality Asserts Itself (3/3)
    After Late Mayor Lumumba is Laid to Rest, What's Next for Jackson, Mississippi? (2/2)
    Crimea Referendum: Self Determination or Big Power Manipulation? (1/2)
    Sen. Graham: President Must Side with Openness About CIA and 9/11
    Manufacturing a Narrative for War - Gareth Porter on Reality Asserts Itself (2/3)
    Protesters Hit the Streets of Brooklyn to Demand $15 Minimum Wage
    Hammer: 'Moral Bankruptcy' Behind Massive GM Recall
    White House Withholds Thousands of Documents from Senate CIA Probe
    I Grew Up Believing in Time Magazine's Version of America - Gareth Porter on RAI (1/3)
    Western European Banks Vulnerable to Ukrainian Sovereign Debt Crisis
    TRNN Debate: What's Driving Inflation in Venezuela? (2/2)
    CIA vs. Senate: Who Is Obama Protecting?
    Will Tipped Workers Get Excluded Again From Minimum Wage Hike?
    TRNN Debate: What's Driving Inflation in Venezuela? (1/2)
    After Late Mayor Lumumba is Laid to Rest, What's Next for Jackson, Mississippi?(1/2)
    TRNN Replay: A Look at Who's Poised to Become No.2 at the Fed
    How Right-Wing Nationalism Rose to Influence in Ukraine (2/2)
    Netanyahu Attacks Boycott As Campaign Enters New Phase
    Moving Towards a Police State - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (7/7)
    Fighting Reagan's Secret, Illegal Wars - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (6/7)
    Puerto Rican Independence Movement and Cuba Further Radicalized Me - Michael Ratner on RAI (5/7)
    The Butcher of Attica - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (4/7)
    MLK and a Radicalizing Moment in American History - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (3/7), Real News Network, Real News, Real News For Real People, IWT are trademarks and service marks of IWT.TV inc. "The Real News" is the flagship show of IWT and Real News Network.

    All original content on this site is copyright of The Real News Network.  Click here for more

    Problems with this site? Please let us know

    Linux VPS Hosting by Star Dot Hosting