Wednesday, June 16, 2010

BP Hires Mercs to Block Oily Beaches

BP Hires Mercs to Block Oily Beaches

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Last week, we all voted here on who should buy Blackwater now that it’s up for sale. In addition to Steve Jobs and the Salvation Army, one of the top finalists was British Petroleum. “Somebody is gonna have to keep all those sunbathers away from the beach,” one commenter noted.

Well, today we can tell you: Danger Room gets results. Kinda.

BP, in a move destined to go down as one of the bestest public relations moves ever, has apparently hired a private security company to help to keep pesky reporters from covering the unfolding catastrophe on the beaches of the Gulf Coast. The report comes via New Orleans’ 6WDSU reporter Scott Walker, who last week ran into representatives of a “Talon Security” trying to block him from interviewing cleanup workers on a local beach. Just which of the various companies named “Talon Security” is storming the (public) beaches for BP, however, remains unclear.

Of course, this wouldn’t be the first time a private security firm made an appearance in a Gulf disaster. When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, the Department of Homeland Security and a number of private firms, fearful of reported widespread violence and chaos, turned to private security contractors like Blackwater and ArmorGroup International to protect their property.

So take heart, Blackwater. BP may have opted rent the services of a rival instead of purchasing you wholesale, but disasters are fairly regular occurrences and there seems to be no shortage of companies willing to make ill-considered PR moves in their midst.

Spotter: Paul McLeary; photo: Wikimedia

UPDATE: Merc-chronicler Jeremy Scahill reminds us that this isn’t the first time BP has enlisted the aid of a private security company. The company hired Wackenhut Services to guard the joint US government-BP Unified Incident Command for the Deepwater Horizon spill response, Scahill reported in May. If Wackenhut Services doesn’t ring a bell, you may remember the scandal surrounding their subsidiary, the 101st Tequila Brigade (a.k.a Armor Group), and its drunken bacchanalia at the U.S. embassy in Afghanistan. You stay classy, British Petroleum.


Read More http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2010/06/bp-hires-mercs-to-block-oily-beaches/#ixzz0r3zKVuZG

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