Speculation has been running rampant among certain sectors of the web world lately about the true origins of the massive oil spill that has engulfed the Gulf and threatens marine, plant, animal and human health in a region already beset by natural disasters and toxic industries. Unwilling to accept the mainstream media version of the story (namely that it was the result of offshore drilling activities) and suspicious of the timing of the calamity (namely that it occurred right on the cusp of Earth Day and during a period of political contentiousness over drilling), this faction has surmised that the “trigger event” in this instance may have been (choose your favorite): an attack by the North Koreans; an act of homegrown eco-terrorism by left-wing environmentalists; or something to do with Venezuela, China, and/or other Communist (machi)nations. With little more than a hint from an online Russian source, the theory of a North Korean attack in particular has been gaining virulence among certain fox trotters.
Here’s a great overview of the argument from the self-avowedly conservative Dakota Voice:
“Rush Limbaugh pointed out that the explosion occurred on April 21st, the day before ‘Earth Day.’ He also reminded us that Al Gore had previously encouraged environmental nut jobs to engage in civil disobedience against the construction of coal plants that don’t have carbon capture technology. ‘Eco-terrorists’ exist and have done millions of dollars worth of criminal damage. Fire is one of the main tools of their evil trade. I’m not claiming the Deep Horizon was bombed by eco-terrorists, although I don’t believe it’s out of the realm of possibility. But, it would take some serious money and ability to pull off an attack like that, so I would tend to think much bigger than college hippie eco-wackos with some money-backing – a foreign government, perhaps. Of course, before I could finish writing my thoughts here, I just heard Michael Savage posing the same questions. He also said there is a theory on a Russian website that claims North Korea is behind this. The article claims that North Korea torpedoed the Deepwater Horizon, which was apparently built and financed by South Korea. Torpedoes would make sense for the results we see…. There are a number of international ‘suspects’ who might want to do something like this. They range from Muslim terrorists to the Red Chinese, Venezuela and beyond. Remember that China and Russia are drilling out there, as well and they would benefit from America cutting back on our own drilling.”
The article at the root of this savagery appears on the site WhatDoesItMean.com and is titled “US Orders Media Blackout Over North Korean Torpedoing of Gulf of Mexico Oil Rig” – which pretty much eliminates any suspense about the gist of it. The piece is attributed to one “Sorcha Faal,” who either exists or does not depending upon whether you believe the link arguing a bit too strenuously that she in fact does. The article cites as its source, without further attribution, “a grim report circulating in the Kremlin today written by Russia’s Northern Fleet,” and argues, “the reason for North Korea attacking the Deepwater Horizon, these reports say, was to present US President Obama with an ‘impossible dilemma‘ prior to the opening of the United Nations Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons set to begin May 3rd in New York. This ‘impossible dilemma’ facing Obama is indeed real as the decision he is faced with is either to allow the continuation of this massive oil leak catastrophe to continue for months, or immediately stop it by the only known and proven means possible, the detonation of a thermonuclear device.”
In other words, all of this was designed to force Obama to use a nuclear device to seal the leak ahead of an upcoming conference on nonproliferation. Ingenious! James Bond is alive and well, apparently. Missing from the calculus (along with good sense, credibility and verifiability) is any explanation of why the logic of this scenario will automatically result in Obama deploying a nuke and what exactly would be gained by him doing so except (by implication) making the US look like hypocrites at the negotiating table. Those dastardly cowards! Everyone knows that we don’t need any help from foreign entities to hypocritically attempt to force others to hold to international standards that we will ourselves proceed to flagrantly ignore. I mean, duh.
Hey, I’m all for a good conspiracy theory as much as the next guy/gal. We certainly ought to question the “consensus reality” version of any major event communicated back to us by the corporate media. And we can logically surmise that the government keeps us on a “need to know” basis under the rubric of a closely-held “national security” ethos. So, there’s always reason to dig deeper, ask hard questions, check with non-US sources and formulate one’s opinion independent of the herd. But in this case, the impetus for the tale is so vague and thinly rendered that it strains the limits of credulity, yet, it still seems to be gaining traction each day. In fact, there are even more solid reasons to suspect that this miserable episode – which will inflict more suffering on an already battered region – was contributed to by the activities of a certain homegrown corporation and not any eco-nuts or commies. While the premise is thus wholly wrong, the conclusion that this was a putative act of war might actually hold water. To wit:
Oil and War: Are there any two concepts in the realm of geopolitics more closely associated than resources and warfare? Oil in particular, as the primary lubricant of the global economy, earns special status as a sine qua non of our profligate lifestyles and simultaneously as an overt security interest that triggers our military mobilizations. We know about Iraq of course and Afghanistan to a lesser extent for its strategic pipelining location, but don’t overlook places such as Venezuela, Central Africa and the Caribbean shelf around countries like Haiti as potential sites of future conflict over Black Gold. Indeed, it might be said that wherever there’s oil, there’s war – or at least the seeds of conflict over a dwindling commodity that draws the interest of governments and corporations alike. The past decade has shown and our national security documents reflect, that the US will essentially do anything in its power to control as much of the world’s remaining oil supplies as it possibly can, either through direct intervention or by proxy. There’s nothing light or sweet about any of this; it is almost wholly crude.
Drilling and the “War on Terra”: Without overly editorializing the point, since at least the advent of industrialization, it appears that humanity has made a Faustian bargain that renders us the enemies of the earth in order to survive. Notions of complementarity and sustainability have been supplanted by consumption and separation instead. The cruel joke is that our willingness to continually flout nature’s laws leaves us in a perpetual state of scarcity and requires a regular doubling-down on the very same logic that made things scarce in the first place. Thus, in order to extend the life of the petroleum economy and provide the massive energy inputs that we rely upon, we have to drill deeper and deeper to procure the substance at ever-increasing energy costs in the process. This literal sense of “diminishing returns” is compounded by the attendant toll exacted on our collective health via fossil fuels, as well as the concomitant stratification of wealth and power that subverts any pretense we still hold of democracy. Massive spills and other calamities are part and parcel of this normalization of a warlike attitude toward nature (and, thus, ourselves) and are blithely considered little more than business as usual by the ruling elites, as intimated in an article on care2.com: “All this is the result of dangerous and unnecessary offshore drilling, yet, in a statement Friday, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the explosion was no reason to give up plans to expand offshore drilling. ‘In all honesty I doubt this is the first accident that has happened and I doubt it will be the last,’ Gibbs told reporters.”
Halliburton IS the War Machine: Finally, we come to the most likely culprit in all of this, and a sure sign that indeed this is an act of war. Wherever Halliburton goes, so goes the war machine and vice versa. From no-bid and no-account contracts in Iraq (and post-Katrina New Orleans, by the way) to a massive corporate presence in the Gulf region, these folks seem to have an acute capacity for making a buck on cataclysms of all sorts. Perhaps more to the point, they appear to be at the nexus of most disaster zones, including the erstwhile Bush presidency and now the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. As a recent article in The Huffington Post noted:
“Giant oil-services provider Halliburton may be a primary suspect in the investigation into the oil rig explosion that has devastated the Gulf Coast, The Wall Street Journal reports. Though the investigation into the explosion that sank the Deepwater Horizon site is still in its early stages, drilling experts agree that blame probably lies with flaws in the ‘cementing’ process – that is, plugging holes in the pipeline seal by pumping cement into it from the rig. Halliburton was in charge of cementing for Deepwater Horizon.”
The Los Angeles Times subsequently reported that members of Congress have called on Halliburton “to provide all documents relating to ‘the possibility or risk of an explosion or blowout at the Deepwater Horizon rig and the status, adequacy, quality, monitoring and inspection of the cementing work’ by May 7.” A YouTube video (which is actually mostly audio) more bluntly asserts that “Halliburton Caused Oil Spill,” and noted the fact – confirmed by Halliburton’s own press release – that its employees had worked on the final cementing “approximately 20 hours prior to the incident.” Interestingly, one commenter on the YouTube video noted how “that would conveniently explain the North Korean story; [Halliburton] may have leaked this story to the press to divert attention away from alleged negligence.” Wouldn’t that just be the ultimate? Halliburton spawns the calamity, but pins it on North Korea and then the nation goes to war whereby Halliburton “cleans up” through billions in war-servicing contracts. It’s almost too perfect and might be funny if it didn’t seem so plausible. (The only thing funnier is picturing Dick Cheney in the role of Exxon Valdez fall guy Joseph Hazelwood.)
But, hey, there’s no need to get conspiratorial about all of this. And what’s happening in the Gulf – now spreading into the Atlantic – isn’t funny at all. Indeed, war hardly ever is and that’s what we’ve got on our collective hands here, in one form or another. As Isaac Asimov once said, “It is not only the living who are killed in war.” Cherished ideals, future generations, hopefulness, the earth itself – all are among war’s many casualties. The sooner we recognize the sense of pervasive warfare in our midst, embedded in the flow of our everyday lives, the sooner we can intentionally turn that essential corner toward peace, as Martin Luther King Jr. alluded to in his Nobel speech:
“I refuse to accept the idea that man is mere flotsam and jetsam in the river of life, unable to influence the unfolding events which surround him. I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality.”
Waking up to war may in fact be the first genuine step toward peace, both among ourselves and with the environment.