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BP, Government Blocking Press from Reporting Their "Ballet at Sea"

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"As high tourist season approaches, there will be people who 'come on down to Alabama' regardless of the oil spill. A delicate balance between preparation for the worst and the pleasure of tourists is in the making."

"At first glance, the process looks chaotic, but after a minute of watching the orchestration a brilliant concert plays out. One of the young men of the Alabama National Guard is from a town not far from the work on Dauphin Island's west end, as are many others in his outfit. He says that being on active duty in the place he calls home is something state guards hope for. Though they go wherever and whenever they are deployed, often overseas, working to protect home surf and turf is always a welcome assignment""

"A ballet at sea as mesmerising as any performance in a concert hall, and worthy of an audience in its own right."

Anderson Cooper, host of "Anderson Cooper: 360" on CNN, has been tracking BP's obstruction of freedom of the press. Cooper is in his element when covering the Gulf coast. Having earned respect and credibility through coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Cooper has no problem with publicly challenging attempts by BP to keep journalists or reporters away from the damaged areas of the Gulf.

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COOPER: "the Coast Guard today announced new rules keeping photographers and reporters and anyone else from coming within 65 feet of any response vessel or booms out on the water or on beaches -- 65 feet.

Now, in order to get closer, you have to get direct permission from the Coast Guard captain of the Port of New Orleans. You have to call up the guy. What this means is that oil-soaked birds on islands surrounded by boom, you can't get close enough to take that picture.

Shots of oil on beaches with booms, stay 65 feet away. Pictures of oil-soaked booms uselessly laying in the water because they haven't been collected like they should, you can't get close enough to see that. And, believe me, that is out there.

But you only know that if you get close to it, and now you can't without permission. Violators could face a fine of $40,000 and Class D felony charges.

What's even more extraordinary is that the Coast Guard tried to make the exclusion zone 300 feet, before scaling it back to 65 feet"

The order comes just days after the ACLU of Louisiana wrote the following letter urging an end to blocking of the press and censorship of information:

"We have learned from several sources that law enforcement officers have prevented members of the public from filming activities on the beaches affected by the BP oil spill. We have learned of the following incidents, among others:

Several reporters have been told not to film at spill sites in Louisiana. Incidents include attempts to film on a beach in Grand Isle and near Venice. Reporters are told that they are not allowed to record because BP doesn't want filming there.

Elmer's Island Wildlife Refuge, off of Grand Isle, is blocked by Jefferson Parish deputies. Deputies told one reporter not to photograph them blocking the road.

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Kevin Gosztola is a writer and curator of Firedoglake's blog The Dissenter, a blog covering civil liberties in the age of technology. He is an editor for and a former intern and videographer for The Nation Magazine.And, he's the (more...)

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when are we gonna wake up and start to retaliate?... by Bob Gormley on Saturday, Jul 3, 2010 at 10:59:06 AM
You are correct. While there are many good solutio... by Beverly Prather on Sunday, Jul 4, 2010 at 10:31:36 AM
It's ironic, isn't it, that several hundred plus y... by Mac McKinney on Saturday, Jul 3, 2010 at 1:32:16 PM
Why am I not surprised by this media blackout exte... by Andy_Pandy on Saturday, Jul 3, 2010 at 3:36:10 PM
Mac, as a conservative I believe it's time we real... by Recce1 on Sunday, Jul 4, 2010 at 12:53:49 AM
In 1989 Exxon told the cleanup workers the same st... by Merle Savage on Saturday, Jul 3, 2010 at 1:38:13 PM
Thank you. You're probably aware of this direct li... by GLloyd Rowsey on Saturday, Jul 3, 2010 at 7:45:52 PM
Barking up the wrong tree there.The White House wa... by Beverly Prather on Sunday, Jul 4, 2010 at 10:51:12 AM
"It's just the latest tactic from a government tha... by Aurora on Saturday, Jul 3, 2010 at 3:06:10 PM
"People in areas nearby the damaged areas of the G... by Aurora on Saturday, Jul 3, 2010 at 3:24:32 PM
If congress is run by corporate money, then then t... by Dave Kisor on Saturday, Jul 3, 2010 at 4:43:29 PM
The Coast Guard is filled with men of honor, proud... by Beverly Prather on Sunday, Jul 4, 2010 at 2:58:00 PM
This article is one of three on OEN today thatdisc... by Aurora on Saturday, Jul 3, 2010 at 6:03:16 PM
Whether our government, a priest, a CEO, or any "b... by boomerang on Saturday, Jul 3, 2010 at 6:14:01 PM
Wherever inquiry is subjugated...something "below ... by boomerang on Saturday, Jul 3, 2010 at 11:17:34 PM
The people do need to take a stand.... by Kevin Gosztola on Sunday, Jul 4, 2010 at 8:01:39 AM
Suppression of the press, in violation ofthe First... by Beverly Prather on Sunday, Jul 4, 2010 at 10:21:03 AM
My brother is American born and lives in NC and I ... by Andy_Pandy on Sunday, Jul 4, 2010 at 3:07:53 PM
Hi Kevin! Kudos to you as you stand up to tyranny.... by boomerang on Sunday, Jul 4, 2010 at 10:33:58 AM
"Any people that would give up liberty for a littl... by boomerang on Sunday, Jul 4, 2010 at 10:37:32 AM