Friday 7 January 2011

BP benefits from 'get untough on corporate crims' policy

by Grant Morgan

Let us be clear: the real criminals are those who steal or wreck assets worth $50 or $500 or $5,000 or even $50,000 or, very occasionally, $500,000.

Those who steal or wreck assets worth $5 million or $50 million are treated far more leniently, usually escaping most of not all criminal charges.

Those who steal or wreck assets worth $500 million or more are almost never treated as criminals at all, but as victims of circumstance, and are often bailed out by governments of all colours and their central banks.

So it is with BP, gross polluter of the Gulf of Mexico, perhaps the world's single biggest corporate environmental disaster to date.

Yet BP has been a consistent violator of even America's ridiculously lax environmental laws, inveterate briber of environmental officials and state and federal politicians, and uncaring employer of oil rig workers continually put in harm's way to save a few miserable dollars for company bosses.

It is now clear that the scene is being set for BP to get off with a verbal tongue-lasging coupled with the proverbial slap on the wrist with a wet bus ticket (or should that be oil-soaked handkerchief?).

Justice is certainly blind when you are a "too big to fail" corporate.

The Guardian article, Gulf oil spill: BP set to avoid gross negligence charge, gives the petty details of how this "get untough on corporate crims" policy is being applied to BP.

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