UPDATE: The photos have been enhanced and show a lot of oil. Go here to Florida Oil Spill Law to see the oil.
We cannot trust the corporate media, BP, or the US government to tell us the truth about the oil spill. On May 26th, I clearly saw oil sheen just south of the Florida Keys (closer to Florida than Cuba) while flying the Managua-Miami route. A week later, the Coast Guard finally admitted to the sheen. (You can see some of the photos of the sheen here - click on the photos for larger, higher resolution images.)
I had hoped my previous trip to Florida would be the last. I do not want the beautiful memories I have of the Gulf of Mexico and Anna Maria Island to be tarnished forever by oil-covered pelicans, dead manatees and black tar ball beaches. When the oil hit Pensacola, my sister realized that things would never be the same here, even if BP could stop the gusher tomorrow. Eighteen days later, I am back in Florida again, packing up my family's belongings. They are bugging out before there is an evacuation. Or worse. I cannot help but believe that the powers that have controlled the world for hundreds of years and who talk about the need for population reduction will use this to their advantage. They would gladly let all the people in the Gulf states die of benzene, hydrogen sulfide, and methane poisoning. Let's face it, because this is happening in the deep south, the intellectuals in California and New York have paid little attention to the ramifications of this spill. "It's so terrible," they say when confronted with subject. I know, I spend a good part of my day communicating with people all over the world. The vast majority who do not live in the affected states have an almost blase attitude about this. Of course there are exceptions, but it's hard to not just bitch slap a few of these people. I want to shake them by their necks in hopes of stimulating a few neural synapses. "Wake the fuck up!" I want to scream to the people whose expressions and actions indicate they haven't a care in the world. "It's still leaking?" one woman asked as she overheard one of the bazillion YouTube videos about the Gulf that I watch every day.
This past Wednesday, I knew that I had to get home to help my mom and sister pack up their belongings. Less than 48 hours later, I was back in Florida, full of anger, rage and sadness.
When I flew over the Florida Keys, I saw the oil slick just north of the Keys. After two months of pictures, I know that is what I saw and photographed. I hesitated a bit before posting this, as I wanted to make sure it was not an algae bloom, but this doesn't look anything like algae bloom. It's oil. The images are way too familiar by now.
These photos were taken at 27,000 feet, mas o menos (we were nearing Miami and I am assuming we had started the descent), with a 200 mm lens one minute south of the Florida mainland. They are not the greatest pictures, but I was dealing with shooting at a downward angle through two sets of plastic windows. I usually take much better photos from the plane, but it is harder to focus with the glare and the altitude.
Click on the photos for better resolution
The lighter colored streaks below the clouds are oil slicks.
You can see the oil a little more clearly in this photo.
Reddish brown streaks of oil.
You can see the slick in the lower left and the upper right corners.
As we passed over the oil, I pointed it out to the people in front of and behind me, as well as my seatmate. No one said anything as they stared at the water. I was busy snapping photos as fast as I could, but had I only been a witness, I would have been screaming obscenities at the fucker at the yacht race.. As I put my camera away prior to landing, I could feel the tears well up in my eyes. I don't know what was worse - seeing the oil for myself or experiencing the silence of the four other people on the plane staring down at the now poisoned Gulf. Looking around the plane, it appeared that no one had even bothered to look out their windows.
I did not originally have a window seat, so I asked the flight attendants if it would be okay to sit in the jump seat by the exit window in the rear so I could take pictures as we passed over Cuba. They seemed eager to accommodate my request. Fortunately, my seatmate switched seats in a game of musical chairs, of which I was the winer of the window seat. What I wouldn't do to take photos from the cockpit.
I asked the flight attendants where they were from. Miami they answered in unison, frowning. I asked them if they looked out the window as they crossed the Gulf. One said she had been fortunate to not have that route; the other said she just did her job and never looked out the window. They shook their heads in sadness. As we spoke, it became apparent that no other passenger had asked such questions of them. I have asked every pilot and flight attendant I have come into contact with on the last two trips how they felt, knowing they had to witness it while the rest of the world buries its head in the sand. I am surprised so many remain passive.
As I disembarked, I asked one pilot if he had flown over the disaster. "Five days a week. What a disaster. Aterrible disaster." He said the pilots look at the sky, averting their eyes to the sludge covered water below.
I asked how his passengers reacted. "I don't know," he answered, adding, "We can see it spread across the horizon, but most of the passengers probably see brown water." He looked like he wanted to say something else, but I thanked him for sharing that with me and exited the plane.
While waiting for my passport to be scanned upon arrival in the US, the Homeland Security official asked me how I was.
"Too be honest," I remarked, "I am really sad to be here. I am here to help my mom and sister love up north away from the oil." I mentioned that I saw the oil form the air, "Really?" Had my camera not been tucked away, I would have shown him he photos. He looked at me and shook his head, unable to say what was on his mind. But I know what he as thinking.
"Try to have a nice trip home. Good luck with the move," he said.
I expected the news magazines to be all about the oil. No. Newsweek had Sarah Fucking Palin on the cover wiht the headline "Saint Sarah". I wanted to barf. This woman doesn't get it. She was not picked because she was Vice Presidential material; she was picked so that McCain would lose. The continued assault on civil liberties, the escalation of Afghanistan, the elimination of habeas corpus and all the other crap that has transpired post-Obama could not have happened with a Republican President. That would have caused revolt. Instead, they throw this Manchurian candidate at us and because he is black and a Democrat, everyone is afraid to call him the dictator that he is. His supporters are loathe to admit they picked someone worse than Bush (WTB), hence the lack of protests in front of the White House. This didn't happen by accident. This is political and social engineering at its finest, people!
The Economist headline was "BP v Obama" - as if! It's more like The Entire World v BP and Obama. Obama received more campaign money from BP than any other candidate in the history of the Presidency - even more than George Bush. Everyone knows that Obama is just a butt boy for BP and Goldman Sachs, even if they won't publicly admit it.
Time magazine had a cover of oil covered pelicans and ways to clean up the wildlife. I just shook my head. The New York Times story was about Congressional hearings for BP officials. Left unsaid is the most important thing - the reason that I am here at this moment. The Gulf is dying. There is no solution. This oil has already made it into the loop current and will eventually hit Europe. When it hist the Gulf Stream, it will bring frigid temperatures to Europe due to the changes in salinity and viscosity of the water. If it gets bad enough, the North Sea could become permanently iced over according to the worst case scenario.
We are being told that tis is the second worst oil disaster in human history, the first being Ixtoc off the coast of Mexico, which leaked 140 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. However, much of the crude from this disaster was captured and it gushed at a slower rate. We know that according to BP, there is more than 4 million gallons of raw crude coming up (and no one knows how much methane) and the sea floor is in risk of collapsing. The oil could be gushing from an oil volcano. We don't know exactly how much oil is there. We know that oil is abiotic, meaning it doesn't come from decayed plants and dead dinosaurs; rather it a creation of various chemical process deep inside the earth. It is theoretically a renewable respurce- we just don't know how to replicate it on land. We do not now how fast the oil is generated, so it is difficult to come up with an answer as to how long it will leak. I have heard months (ha!), two to four years, and possibly decades. Every scientist seems to have his or her own idea.
So far, this is more than twenty times worse than Exxon Valdez with no end in site. Drilling the relief wells (which BP will use for commercial purposes) will only reduce the flow by 5 percent. It's also possible that by drilling a relief well, they could open another pocket of methane and/or compromise the integrity of the weakened sea floor and leaking well casing. The solutions have a high probability of exacerbating the catastrophe.
I don't know what the solution is. I commend my sister for being rational and getting out of Florida before it is too late. There are all sorts of rumors from militia groups indicating FEMA is planing something drastic. It is best to get out now before TSHTF. Where will these refugees go? What will they do for work? Obama and company are without a plan. FEMA is noticeably absent from these discussions. I think there are plenty who will seize this as an opportunity to eliminate the elderly. I am so gad my family is leaving Florida. It's sad but a relief to know that they are thinking of the worst case scenario and taking action. I hope that Gulf coast residents do the same, but so far only a few people are bugging out.