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There is an image burned into my conciousness that I am having a lot of difficulty comprehending. In the background of this image is a bird rescue operation on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. In the foreground is a man in U.S. Army fatigues approaching the camera that films the scene. This member of the U.S. Army tells the reporters behind the camera they are not allowed to film the facility, and the image goes dark.

So the question hangs there in the darkness: what are United States military personnel doing guarding a British Petroleum funded bird rescue operation? And why are the people they are preventing from approaching this British Petroleum bird rescue operation on American soil American journalists?

The Coast Guard’s Thad Allen announced that, contrary to the earlier promises of open access and transparency, no members of the news media would be allowed with 65 feet of any oil clean up operation: no access to booms, to water craft, or to facilities. This specifically includes the health facilities set-up to care for injured and “sickened” clean up workers.

Why? Thad Allen says it is for the journalists’ protection. Protection from what? This seems to be an obvious falsehood. The only possible reason for this media lock-down is to protect BP from the truth. Because if we knew the truth about what is being done, and especially what is NOT being done in the Gulf of Mexico, we would be even more angry than we are now.

However, in the process of denying us the truth, one extreme, strange, and disturbing truth is revealed: The government of the United States of America is cooperating with BP to hide the facts, to keep us in the dark, and to lie to us about just how bad things are in the Gulf.

Eventually this situation will unravel and the facts come out. The government and BP must know this. So what could be so bad they are willing to suffer the consequences of hiding it in the immediate situation, and take the heat that will come about later? What is so bad we can’t know how bad?