Bill Ryan's presentation on the
Gulf 0il Catastrophe - and more
Ryan (BR): This is Bill Ryan speaking. Just saying a few words
before this presentation which you’re just about to see, that was
given on the 10th of July, 2010, before a non-English speaking
audience, about the situation in the Gulf of Mexico and some of the
learning that I felt was available to us all about the bigger picture
of some of the things that are happening in the world.
I didn’t know at the time – nobody knew – was that two days
after that, on the 12th of July, BP were going to unveil a giant
device that they built on top of the blowout-preventer. With no
warning whatsoever, they were going to do this to conduct pressure
tests with the intention of capping the flow, if they possibly could
do, ahead of the action of the relief wells that I refer to in the
presentation, and who knew this was happening.
been an enormous amount of speculation and guesswork in the
alternative media, and I contributed to that to some small degree
before I really realized what was happening, or possibly before there
was a change in the ethers in some strange way, because at the
beginning of June, I was extremely anxious, and a little while
afterwards, I realized that it was going to be okay.
are no giant cracks in the seafloor. There is no asphalt volcano.
This is not the illusion of a false spill. There’s not going to be
a huge tsunami that’s going to wipe out half of Florida. Nothing
like this is going to happen, and the problems are in a different
area. The problems are connected with toxicity, with corruption, with
incompetence, with the way that big business interacts with the
media, with the citizens of the planet and with planet Earth itself.
BR: There are a lot of things that happen in the physical world which
don’t get to hear about, at all. Many people don’t know, for
example, that over the last 40 years, there has been an enormous oil
catastrophe in Nigeria. It’s actually much more serious and has had
a much worse effect on the environment.
Ruth: Is this for-ty, or fourteen?
BR: For-ty, four zero. And nobody knows about it and nobody cares about
it, because it’s not happening to us. It’s happening to those other
people in Africa. So what’s happening in the Gulf of Mexico at the
moment is a good
thing, because it’s happening, as we say in English, it’s
happening in our back yard, and it may be happening in our front
door. And so a lot of people are waking up to this, because the
cameras are there. And the Americans are the greatest communicators
on the planet, so they’re communicating about this a lot.
Nigerians don’t have YouTube accounts. They don’t have Facebook.
They don’t have responsible media, and there are still hundreds of
thousands of people in Nigeria who have never made a telephone call.
So, what’s happening here is a little bit of a wake up call,
because this situation in the Gulf of Mexico is not unique, but it’s
bringing the problems to our attention. And those of you who have
seen the movie Avatar
will understand that what we’ve got here in the Gulf of Mexico is
an exact analogy of what James Cameron was talking about in the
got the greed and the corruption, and the self-interest of big
business that do not care what happens to the natural environment.
And if we need to be reminded of that, this is a good thing, because
you know all about the story of the frog in the saucepan. The human
race is a little bit like the frog in the saucepan. It’s slowly
getting hotter but we’re not jumping out of the pan. We just think,
‘Well, it’s a little bit hotter and maybe it will be okay.’ So,
if the temperature suddenly gets a little bit hotter, then that’s
good, because the frog wakes up and starts thinking it needs to pay
attention and do something. And we’re all the frogs here. We’re
all in this big pan.
in the next few minutes – and this isn’t going to be a long
presentation – I just want to show you some images. The first image
behind me here, as you can see, is the size of what is called the oil
spill, which is, in English, it’s a very, very bad word for this in
the Gulf of Mexico. So, I just want to show you how large this thing
is, how big this is. So I’m just zooming in on it now. Okay. That’s
it. But here it is in Europe. It’s much larger than Switzerland.
And I’m English, so I have to put it on a different map, but that’s
a different shape, because that’s the way it was on the 13th of
June, which was three-and-a-half weeks ago. That’s the way it is
now. That’s the size of it in three-and-a-half weeks.
what are we looking at here? What we’re looking at is the oil, and
the oil that is mixed with what in English is called ‘dispersant,’
which goes by the trade name of ‘Corexit.’ And this is [a]
satellite photograph, okay? The
oil is in red. The dispersant is in turquoise. What you see here,
this color here, is red. You see the streaks of oil. The rest of it
is the dispersant, and this is the problem. This is very, very toxic,
and one of the reasons why they are spraying the dispersant on the
oil is to make it look like the problem is smaller. It’s broken up
into little pieces and it doesn’t look like oil anymore.
is connected with one of the things that Ruth will mention today,
that the oil is a natural substance. It’s part of the planet.
There’s a lot of it, and it shouldn’t be there, but it’s still
a natural substance. The rest of it is not
a natural substance, and there’s quite a big problem here.
is a picture which you may well have seen on the television or on
YouTube. It’s a big pipe which is leaking a lot of oil. But you
can’t see how big it is. That’s how big it is. That’s how big
it is. We’re looking at the same thing, and there you see the size
of the men. That’s another picture, and here, this thing which is
called ‘the blowout-preventer.’ Can you see this clearly? Yeah,
you can see how big the thing is. Look at the wheels on the truck at
the bottom. It’s enormous. And this thing here which we’re
looking at is at the very, very top of that picture. Now, this isn’t
particularly important, but I just wanted to emphasize the fact that
the problem is large, not small.
there’s another thing which is worth looking at. This is a
photograph of a white board that was in a meeting-room in NOAA. NOAA
is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. And here it
says, ‘Estimated 64,000 to 110,000 barrels per day.’ They knew
this on day two. Officially, BP have now admitted that the rate of
the leak is 60,000 barrels per day. Officially they’ve admitted
that now. But the only reason why they haven’t given a higher
number is because the experts couldn’t agree what the maximum
possible number might be. So I’m just underlining the, like, the
reality of the problem.
there’s another aspect to the reality of the problem. About three
weeks ago, Ruth translated a little document that came from an
interview from Lindsey Williams with Alex Jones, I think it was.
Since then, I’ve been following the situation very closely, and I’m
pretty sure that the person who is giving Lindsey Williams his
information is lying to him. And I’m not going to speculate why,
because I actually don’t know. There are all kinds of possible
reasons. But what’s been happening in the last month, is that on
the internet there is a lot of crazy stories going around with very
large numbers and very frightening scenarios.
I’m not going to go into huge detail here, but I want to tell you
that I’ve really spent a lot of time looking into this, and a lot
of the things that people are worried about are not going to happen.
The problem is the toxic environment. It’s a metaphor for the
spiritually toxic environment that there is on planet Earth. The
whole thing is a metaphor. It’s a valuable metaphor. Planet Earth
is a very beautiful place, and we have sort of come into this planet
and we’ve really messed it up.
of the problems at this level of the game is that spiritual beings
have come down to this level and they’ve messed it up. The things
that won’t happen, there’s not going to be a big tsunami, there’s
not going to be a collapse of the ocean-floor, there’s not going to
be a methane explosion. Lindsey Williams is wrong about the pressure
in the well. It’s not nearly as large as he said. It’s large, but
it’s not that large.
there’s something that’s going on here that’s trying to make
people scared, but they’re focusing on the wrong issues. The real
issues are all the issues that are shown in the Avatar
movie. And next month the problem will be solved, in my personal
opinion. These are the guys who are going to fix it. The man on the
left, whose name is John Wright, he has a 100 percent success-record
of solving problems like this. His record is 40 successes out of 40,
and he’s going to do the job. And I invite those of you who have
the ability to do so, to look into that man’s consciousness and
check out his intentions.
that’s really what I wanted to say, and I just wanted to… This
is, of course, only a tiny amount of what’s really happening in the
world, but it’s a good example of the sort of thing that’s
happening. It’s an example. And, the question, which then I hand
over to Ruth and Stefan, and I mean, to discuss for the rest of the
day, is what can we do about
seems to be an intention to make people feel helpless and powerless.
And just the last thought I want to leave you with, which is very
interesting to me, is that the alternative media community, which
includes myself, has a kind of neurosis. It’s almost like they want
something bad to happen so they can really get excited and talk about
it. It’s not the same thing as being negative. It’s not the same
thing as trying to make people frightened.
an interesting question, but my personal opinion is that a lot of
people who are talking and writing about these things, people are,
get very excited about these situations, but because they know that
there’s something wrong. But sometimes they don’t know exactly
what it is that’s wrong, and so they pick on the wrong thing.
the situation on planet Earth is [that]
we are in trouble, and there is a problem, but we got to know what
the problems are, and there is
something we can do about it, and this is where I hand the microphone
over to you.
Ruth: About bringing deep water down, do you know anything about this?
BR: Do you mean the principle of… I don’t understand the question.
Ruth: That’s not clear.
with questioner in the audience]
He said that he can go out with this, to drill deep down. It’s just
a question of the cleaning practice.
BR: Mmh. It’s connected with what I was saying at the beginning, that
this is an important thing to have happened, because we are now more
aware than we were before that we’re absolutely at the limit of
human technology. And the risks that are taken are… need to be
considered in the context of whether we are able to solve the
problems if something goes wrong.
I think that what happened in the Gulf of Mexico was an accident, but
it was an accident that was compounded by a lot of very bad decisions
that were made by people who were motivated by greed and
self-interest. And we’ve always had greed and self-interest on this
planet, but what’s changed now, is that the focus of the greed and
self-interest is on very large projects where we may not be able to
solve the problem if something goes wrong. So, they take the risk,
but we pay the price.
I mean, I could talk about this for a long time. So could you. It’s
about responsibility, and one of the important definitions of
responsibility is the willingness to see something right to the end
and clean it up, whatever happens. That’s what responsibility is.
So we’re being taught a lesson in responsibility, here. And I am
actually confident that they will solve this problem, but I referred
to it as a wake up call. And it’s like the alarm clock in your bed
in the morning which has a snooze alarm on it. If you don’t wake up
the first time, then it will go off later and it will be louder next
time, and it will keep on happening until you get up.
this is, I think, the situation that we’ve got here, and the
relevance to your question is that the greed and the self-interest is
causing these enormous companies to take these huge risks and they
don’t necessarily always have the technology to solve the problem.
Is that at least one answer to your question?
BR: For me, personally, it’s all about balance. Because right now, if
we didn’t have oil, if we didn’t have mines to get the minerals
out of the earth, you wouldn’t be here, you wouldn’t be wearing
any clothes, you wouldn’t hear what I was saying. We’d all be
living in caves. And the challenge is to advance technologically in
balance with nature, and this goes back again to what I was saying
about the Avatar movie.
I had the ability to make a decision, I would make this kind of
deep-water drilling illegal until we knew that we had the technology
to handle absolutely everything that could possibly happen. But there
are a lot of people now who are asking those questions, not just us
in this room, and I think that’s another reason why I think it’s
a valuable experience for us, as human beings, to learn what there is
Kashi’s film, ‘Curse of the Black Gold’]
Isaac Osuoka (Oil Watch Africa Network): I come from a community of
farmers and fishermen. People were fishing to survive. As a child
growing up, there was no fish being brought from outside the
community. Today, there is not a single person in our community who
you can describe as a professional fisherman, because there is no
fish to depend on.
years ago, oil was discovered in the Niger Delta.
oil brings in over $180 million every
the majority of Niger Deltans live on just $1
Abalogu: (reading the poem ‘Delta Blues’ by Tanure Ojaide) This
share of paradise, the delta of my birth, reels from an immeasurable
wound. Barrels of our chemical droughts flow from this earth to the
unquestioning world that lights up its life in a blind trust. The
inheritance I sat on for centuries now crushes my body and soul.
has one of the world's largest oil reserves.
country draws 80% of it's revenue from
Membere (Niger Delta Youth Activist): We have enough wealth. How
many thousand barrels of oil are they siphoning from our land every
day? And how much is coming to us? Nothing.
Douglas (Environmental Human Rights Lawyer): The oil companies
themselves are not willing to come and sit down. At this moment they
make fantastic profit that nobody, nobody knows about. They produce
the oil. They report to government. They sell the oil. And government
sits down in Abuja only to receive the profit.
Ogon (Niger Delta Development Commission): A lot of the money that
has been generated from the oil revenue has been shared by people who
are in power and their cohorts. At the moment there is too much of
official corruption that is going on.
1960, Nigeria has made $600 billion in
billion of that has disappeared via state sanctioned
man: If the government cannot even address matters as basic as water
to drink, sanitation, public education, then of course it is
Inengite (Labor Chiefs Council): No water, no lights, no road.
People are dying every day because of oil exploration.
Douglas: In the Niger Delta people have been denied their rights to
property. No Niger Delta person can lay claim that that piece of land
given to him by his ancestors is his as of right. Because the
government had put in place a decree that says that property, that
land, that forest, that river, no longer belongs to the person
because they want to take control of oil and gas.
the past 50 years there has been nearly one oil
spill per day.
oil spill per day.
the 1990s, Ken Saro-Wiwa led the Ogoni people in demanding
environmental protections and a fair share of oil revenues.
Douglas: Ken Saro-Wiwa had mobilized his people to say NO to
pollution, to say NO to degradation, to say NO to injustice. It is
that shout of ‘NO,’ that resistance, that the federal government
would not want to tolerate. And that was why they hanged
Issac Osuoka: Things have gotten worse since Saro-Wiwa was murdered.
man: The law doesn’t say that because you have the permission of
the federal government to exploit for oil, it still does not permit
you to pollute my environment.
Douglas: If Shell, Agip, Elf, Chevron are allowed to be businesses,
and we hold them accountable for any ecological violence or moral
interruption, the communities can go to court and get justice. Right
now, they cannot.
man: The oil economy is killing almost every other sector that you
find in the Niger Delta.
Isaac Osuoka: We have witnessed a clear destruction of a sense of
community as we had in our villages and town. Communities have been
basically robbed of their means of survival.
James Harry (Niger Delta Fisherman): We are tired of this situation.
You go out looking for job. No job. You go out for fishing. You don’t
get fish. A hungry man is an angry man. So any moment from now, a
dangerous thing can happen.
Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta [MEND]
has effectively forced oil companies to stop pumping 475,000
barrels a day.
Ogon: They can shut down oil production in Nigeria. The effect of
that on the federal government will be grave. The government will
Courson (Our Niger Delta): Niger Deltans have been talking for
years. But when MEND carried its own weapons, the government is
checking everywhere. So that means that the government respects
violence, not dialogue.
Douglas: We have a very repressive government. We have a military
that is out to kill. Such a military will go to any length in wiping
out communities that occupy a platform, and they have it closed down.
MEND activist: We are the Niger Delta soldiers. We are angry that
our brother has been killed.
Membere: The average Niger Deltan is not afraid of death. And if he
must die, he must die a hero, not a coward. There are different
phases of struggle. We are still using dialogue. Let us see if these
people will look at this in our view. But if they do not, everybody,
even the women, not only the men, even the women, will carry weapon.
And when it starts, until we have our freedom, we won’t stop.
here for the video presentation
Ed Kashi's film starts at 16:27 and lasts for 8 minutes