Bill Ryan's presentation on the

Gulf 0il Catastrophe - and more

July 20, 2010

Bill 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.

What 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.

There’s 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.

There 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 we 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.

The 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 movie.

You’ve 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.

So, 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.

Now, 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.

This 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.

This 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.

Now, 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.

Now, 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.

And 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.

One 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.

And 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.

So, 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 it?

There 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.

It’s 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.

So 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. I’m sorry.

Ruth: That’s not clear. [Talks with questioner in the audience] Oh. 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.

And 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.

And… 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.

And 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?

Man: Yes.

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.

If 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 to learn.


[Ed Kashi’s film, ‘Curse of the Black Gold’]

Asume 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.

Fifty years ago, oil was discovered in the Niger Delta.
Nigeria's oil brings in over $180 million every day.

While the majority of Niger Deltans live on just $1 per day.

$1 per day.

Uche 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.

Nigeria has one of the world's largest oil reserves.
The country draws 80% of it's revenue from oil.

Livingstone 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.

Oronto 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.

Patterson 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.

Since 1960, Nigeria has made $600 billion in oil revenues.
$100 billion of that has disappeared via state sanctioned corruption.

Unnamed man: If the government cannot even address matters as basic as water to drink, sanitation, public education, then of course it is difficult.

Chief Inengite (Labor Chiefs Council): No water, no lights, no road. People are dying every day because of oil exploration.

Oronto 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.

In the past 50 years there has been nearly one oil spill per day.
one oil spill per day.

In the 1990s, Ken Saro-Wiwa led the Ogoni people in demanding environmental protections and a fair share of oil revenues.

Oronto 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 him.

Asume Issac Osuoka: Things have gotten worse since Saro-Wiwa was murdered.

Unnamed 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.

Oronto 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.

Unnamed man: The oil economy is killing almost every other sector that you find in the Niger Delta.

Asume 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.

Felix 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.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta [MEND] has effectively forced oil companies to stop pumping 475,000 barrels a day.

Patterson Ogon: They can shut down oil production in Nigeria. The effect of that on the federal government will be grave. The government will collapse.

Elias 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.

Oronto 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.

A MEND activist: We are the Niger Delta soldiers. We are angry that our brother has been killed.

Livingstone 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.

Click here for the video presentation
Ed Kashi's film starts at 16:27 and lasts for 8 minutes

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Bill Ryan

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