Guest Post: Gulf Chemist Says Mercenaries Hired By BP Are Now Applying Toxic Dispersant – at Night and In an Uncontrolled Manner – Which BP Says It No Longer Uses

Washington’s Blog

(videos embedded at WashingtonsBlog.com)

Bob Naman is an analytical chemist with almost 30 years in the field, based in Mobile, Alabama.

When WKRG News 5 gave Naman samples of water from the Gulf of Mexico, Naman found oil contamination, and one of his samples actually exploded during testing due – he believes – to the presence of methane gas or Corexit, the dispersant that BP has been using in the Gulf:


WKRG.com News
But the story only starts there.

A few days ago, Naman was sent a sample of water from Cotton Bayou, Alabama.

Naman found 13.3 parts per million of the dispersant Corexit in the sample:

That’s a little perlexing, given that Admiral Thad Allen said on August 9th that dispersants have not been used in the Gulf since mid-July:

We have not used dispersant since the capping stack was put on. I believe that was the 15th of July.

***

But I would tell you, there are no dispersants being used at this time.

More imporantly, Naman told me that he found 2-butoxyethanol in the sample.

BP and Nalco – the manufacturer of Corexit – have said that dispersant containing 2-butoxyethanol is no longer being sprayed in the Gulf. As the New York Times noted in June:

Corexit 9527, used in lesser quantities during the earlier days of the spill response, is designated a chronic and acute health hazard by EPA. The 9527 formula contains 2-butoxyethanol, pinpointed as the cause of lingering health problems experienced by cleanup workers after the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, and propylene glycol, a commonly used solvent.

Corexit 9500, described by [Nalco’s spokesman] as the “sole product” Nalco has manufactured for the Gulf since late April, contains propylene glycol and light petroleum distillates, a type of chemical refined from crude oil.

Moreover, Naman said that he searched for the main ingredient in the less toxic 9500 version – propylene glycol – but there was none present. In other words, Naman found the most toxic ingredient in 9527 and did not find the chemical marker for 9500.

Since BP and Nalco say that no dispersant containing 2-butoxyethanol has been sprayed in the Gulf for many months, that either means:

(1) BP has been lying, and it is still using 2-butoxyethanol. In other words, BP is still Corexit 9527 in the Gulf

or

(2) The dispersant isn’t breaking down nearly as quickly as hoped, and the more toxic form of Corexit used long ago is still present in the Gulf.

Naman told me he used EPA-approved methods for testing the sample, but that a toxicologist working for BP is questioning everything he is doing, and trying to intimidate Naman by saying that he’s been asked to look into who Naman is working with.

I asked Naman if he could rule out the second possibility: that the 2-butoxyethanol he found was from a months-old applications of the more toxic version of Corexit. I assumed that he would say that, as a chemist, he could not rule out that possibility.

However, Naman told me that he went to Dauphin Island, Alabama, last night. He said that he personally saw huge 250-500 gallon barrels all over the place with labels which said:

Corexit 9527

Naman took the following picture of the label:

(The A version of the dispersant – 9527A – contains 2-butoxyethanol).

Naman further said he saw mercenaries dressed in all black fatigues, using gps coordinates, applying Corexit 9527 at Dauphin Island and at Bayou La Batre, Alabama. The mercenaries were “Blackwater”-type mercenaries, and Naman assumed they must have been hired either by BP or the government.

Naman also told me that Corexit 9527 is being sprayed at night, and that it is being applied in such a haphazard manner that undiluted 9527 is running onto beach sand. For confirmation of many of Naman’s claims, see this, this and this.

Naman sent me the following additional pictures showing Corexit pollution, use and storage (none show the mercenaries dressed in fatigues; apparently, such photos would have been too risky):





A bird eating a fish right next to the area where Corexit is handled:

Naman also sent me the following picture showing a strange oil mixture in the Gulf:

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About George Washington

George Washington is the head writer at Washington’s Blog. A busy professional and former adjunct professor, George’s insatiable curiousity causes him to write on a wide variety of topics, including economics, finance, the environment and politics. For further details, ask Keith Alexander… http://www.washingtonsblog.com

28 comments

  1. readerOfTeaLeaves

    If true, this is more ‘explosive’ than the chemist’s sample.
    Eerily, this fits the the thesis sometimes described as ‘disaster capitalism’ (or ‘shock doctrine’) to a ‘t’: profiting from disasters, but doing so in a shrouded, secrecy-enabled fashion.

    1. DownSouth

      It’s all just a continuation of this, no?:

      The famous credibility gap, which has been with us for six long years, has suddenly opened up into an abyss. The quicksand of lying statements of all sorts, deceptions as well as self-deceptions, is apt to engulf any reader who wishes to probe this material [The Pentagon Papers], which, unhappily, he must recognize as the infrastructure of nearly a decade of United States foreign and domestic policy.

      Because of the extravagant lengths to which the commitment to nontruthfulness in politics went on at the highest level of government, and because of the concomitant extent to which lying was permitted to proliferate throughtout the ranks of all governmental services, military and civilian—-the phony body counts of the “search-and-destroy” missions, the doctored after-damage reports of the air force, the “progress” reports to Washington from the field written by subordinates who knew that their performance would be evaluated by their own reports—-one is easily tempted to forget the background of past history, itself not exactly a story of immaculate virtue, against which this newest episode must be seen and judged.
      –Hannah Arendt, Crises of the Republic

  2. chad

    “mercenaries dressed in all black fatigues” ?? Color me skeptical. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

    Why doesn’t Yves hold her guest bloggers to higher standards? They do so much damage to this site.

  3. Ishmael

    I too am rather sceptical. Over the years I have become more and more convinced that the only way 2 people can keep a secret is if one of them is dead.

    I just came back from lunch and a person was telling me a story about a company doing something incorrectly and a whistle blower ratted them out to a government agency.

    1. Ming

      Ishmael, secrets can last a long time, especially when powerful and rich people are involved. Look at the recent tax evasion issue with UBS… Use of Swiss accounts for tax evasion is well known, but not unto recently did a whistleblower step forward to expose it. And even them, the ‘hidden power’ was still not defeated…. There was a substantial time delY beofre UBS has to expose the Tax evaders( which gives them time
      to move their money out of UBS), the managers and directors of the ‘tax evasion facillitation division are neiher exposed or punished, the company pays a fine(of course bonuses are not reduced),
      and only the whislteblower goes to jail. A beautiful outcome, unless your concern is for justice and the American taxpayer.

      There one thing ‘fishy’ about the blogger… If hecreally wants to make a difference, he should bring this information to the attention of Greenpeace and the New York times and Rolling stone(Matt taibbi would love this)…all of whom still carry more clout than any individual.

      1. George Washington Post author

        “If he creally wants to make a difference, he should bring this information to the attention of Greenpeace and the New York times and Rolling stone(Matt taibbi would love this)…all of whom still carry more clout than any individual.”

        If someone can interest Greenpeace, the New York Times or Matt Taibbi to write about it, that would be great!

        I’ve tried to interest Huffington Post – which publishes some of my essays – and haven’t gotten any interest.

        If any of you want to get the MSM to write about it, that would be great!

        I linked to this recent post on Corexit from NRDC: http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/rkistner/down_a_winding_road_that.html . But that doesn’t deal with 9527.

    2. Doug Terpstra

      “…a person was telling me a story about a company doing something incorrectly and a whistle blower ratted them out to a government agency.”

      And if that agency is the Ministry of Truth, Justice or Peace, rest assured the whistleblower will be taken care of and the record properly rectified.

  4. Jim the Skeptic

    The “mercenaries dressed in all black fatigues” is irrelevant. There is no law against dressing in black while working for an oil company or the government. But if I saw men in black with these chemicals I would have mentioned it, perhaps less dramatically.

    A source is named and he has pictures.

    Sure looks like a good post to me.

  5. anonymous

    Private contractors is clearly more accurate and less loopy. BP is bound to dispute the evidence and contest the credibility of Naman. The use of the term “mercenaries” is particularly unfortanate, as is the reference to Blackwater.

    The article and evidence have to be able to stand on merit. The clumsy editorial style and transparent efforts to link the story to a VAST RIGHT-WING CONSPIRACY are off-putting to say the least and seriously undermine the credibility of this author.

    If you can’t sell this to Huffpo, that should tell you enough. Two final points:

    The story requires a second scientific source to verify the original claim.

    Photos are the worst form of “evidence.” That may come as a shock to some, but that’s the fact. A second independent source who verifies the substance of Naman’s claims take a story stripped of hyperbole international.

    If the author wants the story to get more press, he’ll give remove the un-necessary adjectives and get a second corroborating source.

  6. M. Samuel

    Naman’s story is corroborated by Ann McClintock’s over at counterpunch which Yves linked to in today’s links.

  7. rossmoyer@comcast.net

    While some of you are busy expressing your reservations about this story not adhering scrupulously to Marquis of Queensbury rules of journalism, BP, whose track record would’ve made Enron execs wince, continues to pummel the bejesus out of The Gulf using every dirty technique they can muster, which, given that Obama and Co. are functionally a bought and paid for ring ref, is just about everything. Get a grip.

  8. Stan

    I have to agree with Ross here. Although the blackwater and mercenary word choices don’t lend credibility BP and the fed gov’s response haven’t earned them the benefit of the doubt on any of this. The federal government has shown no interest in regulating the oil industry or taking over the direction of this cleanup. The idea that BP would use a toxic and expedient solution without fear of a fed crackdown is very consistent with their past behavior and the negligent federal response. Obama can sound tough but it is and has always been mostly talk. Where is that 10 billion dollar independently managed clean up downpayment? I heard they funded 1.5 bil, not sure thats even deposited yet.

  9. Ishmael

    Flying a helicopter across these areas at night sounds a little over the top and very dangerous just to spray some dispersant.

    Helicopters are dangerous to begin with. A guy I know who works for a very large consulting firm was one time hired by a big helio manufacturer to help reduce their liabilities from crashes through improved processes. One of the end products from his work which circulated to everyone in the firm was a memo which basically said, “Don’t fly in helicopters.”

    Add night flying to it and you have a very dangerous situation.

    I could see someone flying during the day and doing this and really not having any questions asked.

    Hey could they be doing it. Yeah, maybe, but just sounds a little too James Bondy for me. Anyway, if you really wanted to be discreet would you run around in black overalls. Worked far better to have a couple of good old boy types fly out in the middle of the day.

    1. Doug Terpstra

      Ishmael,

      Your objection is weak. Police, military, and medical helos fly at night routinely, with only marginal safety issues. Stats show about a 10% greater accident rate in night-flying, reduced to near par with NV goggles.

      http://www.cnn.com/2008/TECH/science/09/30/ems.choppers/index.html

      And: “While the FAA encourages use of NVGs where appropriate, they are not a one-size-fits-all magic bullet. Flying at night is not inherently dangerous if rules and procedures are followed. In fact, many operators who do not use NVGs have never had an accident at night.”

      http://www.faa.gov/news/fact_sheets/news_story.cfm?newsId=6763

      Most pilots, given their druthers, would fly in daylight, but when you have something to hide, the cover of darkness offers a significant advantage.

      “..men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.”

  10. AmericaninChina

    It’s entirely credible that BP having told Obama that the oil’s gone and Obama having told the Country that the oil’s gone, is now steathily working to make the oil “disappear”. It’s very distressing that corruption has become so pervasive and deep in American society. The morals of it’s business and political leaders are as bankrupt as its economy. Gee, maybe there’s a relationship here?

  11. doom

    They’ll still be attacking the evidence and facts when the Gulf Coast is one big March of Dimes. This is Minamata factorial, but they think that you’ll get used to it in time.

  12. Thanatos Savehn

    I used to be a regular but the rate of my visits are inversely proportional to the number of nutty, easily refuted black helicopter conspiracy posts on this site and thus my increasingly rare appearances.

  13. Lachrimos Sagthing

    Oh, no! Thanatos is exerting the fearsome power of his pseudonymous disapproval! We cower in humiliating fright. What are we going to do without the highly influential influence of some internet loser?

  14. Conrad

    I always sigh when I encounter people denigrating somebody as a conspiracy theorist. It is a lazy and thoughtless expression with the tone of condensation added to it. Yes, the above blog went to far with the black helicopter blackwater mercenary stuff but it is totally irrelevant. The picture of the Corexit 9527A is the whole point. If true then one more lie told us. As for the the sanctimonious anti-conspiracy cult. A couple of things to consider. Why do you think humans formed the word conspiracy in the first place? Guess what Einstein’s some people and organization’s will work together in a conspiratorial way to do harm to other people. Case in point the financial fraud that finally blew up in 2008. And how about those WMD?

  15. David

    Perhaps this is obvious to others, but what would the motivation be to use a banned dispersant clandestinely?

  16. Oliver South

    Naman sounds credible, what evidence is there to discredit him? Corexit was being used in the early, panic driven stages of this mess. We should just accept that they have stopped using it, …because they said so?

    Let independant laboratory testing confirm whether it is (or isn’t) in the gulf coastal water system. I don’t know about the clad in black types, but if this were indeed an honorable clean up effort, my guess is everyone would be wearing crisp, clean, bright BP attire letting all of humanity know who was on the scene.

  17. Doc Holiday

    Get a grip, the oil is all gone and BP is ready to make a profit … and all the sea creatures are safe and tasty, Corexit is safe and can easily be used to wipe baby asses, Yves is off her rocker (by not linking to Fox News) and the approval rating for Bush as he left office was TOTALLY incorrect. If (for any reason) there are choppers flying missions with Corexit payloads, this must be either God’s work or Goldman’s — but what therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

    I’m not sure I buy the black thong or monokini in the grass stuff, but I do believe with all my heart that Thad is full of shit and that BP is full of shit and that the fish that will be on dinner plates next year, will be toxic and I also believe the beaches all across the Gulf are toxic and I think the people that live there re idiot retards to not be more concerned about the pollution around them; if they fail to speak up and protect themselves ……… what can be said, other than, don’t let your kids marry into families from that area, unless you want deformed offspring….. duh….

  18. steveo

    I cant read the actual version of dispersant from the low quality picture presented, therefore I am annoyed that it is presented as “evidence”

    My first read through I skipped by and was convinced…however, the low quality evidence makes me upset.

    1. bystander

      Take another look – the picture where you can’t read the dispersant version is immediately followed by a closeup of the same label, which you should be able to read just fine.

  19. charles

    It was previously reported that the Coast Guard used
    Hercules planes for the same purposes, also at night…

  20. Moses Dowland

    Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your site with more information? It is extremely helpful for me..

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