Late last week, Joy Landaluce of the The Cordova Times, interviewed photojournalist Rob Stapleton. He was in Cordova, covering the town's reaction to the U.S. Supreme Court hearing of the class action suit against Exxon over the oil spill that all but destroyed Cordova and Prince William Sound.
Stapleton's photographs at the time of the spill, taken for the Associated Press, were some of the most evocative images of that great and unnecessary tragedy. In the interview, which is well worth a read, he says, reminiscing about the atmosphere in Cordova in the first week of the spill, "I remember many things about the spill, but the response to oil company officials and state DEC officials .... were particularly vivid to me. Folks quietly holding up signs, when you could tell they were busting at the seams to scream, "Liar" to Alyeska officials. It was pretty strong stuff."
Another of his statements to Landaluce is interesting. "[Hazelwood] kept ducking me as Gov. Steve Cowper was questioning him."
Cowper made it from Juneau to the tanker long before Hazelwood left the ship. That's Democratic Party Governor Cowper, who now works for a Texas oil company. He followed in that office Democratic Party Governor Bill Sheffield, the man who hosted last summer's Don Young Veco pig roast, because Veco was - at the time - otherwise occupied. Since then, Veco has become extinct. But Sheffield and Cowper are still sucking in big pig bucks for the efforts they made on behalf of big oil back then. But - hey! - Tony Knowles stood up to big oil and cleaned up our Democratic Party image for eight straight years, didn't he. Heh...
Yesterday, Robert Dillon linked to Greg Palast's post-Supreme Court article on the Exxon Valdez case. I think Dillon has had some sort of an awakening. Maybe it was seeing all those Alaskans lined up to get into the courtroom the morning of the hearing.
I have very high regard for Dillon, and a high regard for Palast. But Greg's an opportunist. He's no Seymour Hersch. On the other hand, he's no Geraldo Rivera, eh?
Palast's chapter on the spill in his book, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, is the low point of that great book. His take on the spill in that chapter pales in comparison to the coverage in Art Davidson's In The Wake of the Exxon Valdez and Rikki Ott's Sound Truth and Corporate Myths: The Legacy of the EXXON Valdez Oil Spill. A lot of Palast's weakness came from his lack of local knowledge, and his polemics about Alaskans in general. It still reeks almost as badly as the leaking crude on Sphinx Island.
Palast's recent article is a lot better, and also worth a read.
Shannyn Moore, at KUDO, has tried to dissuade fishers in Cordova and Valdez from closing Port Valdez or Valdez Narrows to tanker traffic if the Supremes go against the humans in favor of the corporate machine in their June decision. I'm not sure she's right on this.
Her take is that given the current so-called National Emergency - on anything the Bushistas can call a National Emergency - such a blockade could put the protesters into the category of ENEMY COMBATANTS.
Shannyn has a point. But, if the Supremes screw this up - (I'm predicting a 4-4 tie) - and enough people choose a time to work together peacefully, yet stridently and overtly, in various places around Alaska and elsewhere to act up, there will be nothing, absolutely nothing the fascists can do.