Photographer Detained For Taking Pics Of BP Refinery As Up To 100% Of Pensacola Area Reservations Canceled

Tyler Durden's picture

Courtesy of BP, and everyone cutting corners wherever possible, it is becoming increasingly clear that the economic impact to the gulf economy will be devastating, particularly in the tourism industry, with “some condos and hotels reporting 100 percent cancellations.” And we have still to find someone who will willingly eat shrimp without a gun at their heads... and it is not just the surging price for the crustacean as the supply plummets. Imagine just how ugly it would get if Americans were allowed to have an idea of just how bad it truly is: it appears that the recently instituted "Beyond" First Amendment, where freedom of the press now carries a $40,000 fine and/or incarceration, has seen its first casualty: "A photographer taking pictures of a BP refinery in Texas was detained by a BP security official, local police and a man who said he was from the Department of Homeland Security." Who would have thought change you can believe in referred to the amendments to the constitution, starting with the first.

The Daily Reveille reports:

As more oil has spilled, fewer people have been willing to spend their summers at the beach.

Cancellations came in waves. One hundred cancellations were made around the second week of the spill, according to Schroeder. June 10 ­— the day the first tar balls hit the beaches — saw 1,000 more cancellations.

In addition, the phones have stayed ominously silent as new reservations have dried up. It’s been a week since the heaviest batch of oil hit the area, but the damage has already been done to the industry.

“It’s pretty safe to say about 75 percent of our reservations that have been on the books are gone,” Schroeder said. “Some condos and hotels are 100 percent cancelled.”

Oil cleanup has been a day-to-day process with cleanup crews working around the clock. Night cleanup has been the most effective because of the cooler weather.

“With every change of the tide, the impact is different,” said Sonya Daniel, public information manager for Escambia County. “It’s like a windshield wiper effect. There are good days and bad days. As long as the oil is still flowing, we’re going to have a chance for oil.”

Alex has been a major impact on the cleanup efforts, covering as much as 20 percent of Pensacola Beach and 40 percent of Perdido Key with tar balls. On Tuesday alone, workers collected 166,926 pounds of tar balls, oil material and sand.

The beaches remain open but under a health advisory to swim at one’s own risk.

“In the last two days, we’ve seen it impact the majority of our beaches,” Schroeder said. “We’d like to hope that after this hurricane spins through the Gulf and gets out of the way, this stuff stops coming on shore for a little while and gives us a chance to clean it up.

Yet it is becoming increasingly impossible to actually witness this, since as we reported, there is now a legally imposted distance barrier of 65 feet between any reporter and locations with oil booms, which are rapidly becoming virtually all. And not 24 hours after first reporting on this, did some reporter already find just how serious the administration is in withholding this brand new rule.


A photographer taking pictures of a BP refinery in Texas was
detained by a BP security official, local police and a man who said he
was from the Department of Homeland Security, according to ProPublica,
a non-profit news organization in the U.S.

The photographer, Lance Rosenfield, said he was confronted by the
officials shortly after arriving in Texas City, Texas, to work on a
story that is part of an ongoing collaboration between PBS and

Rosenfield was released after officials looked through the pictures
he had taken and took down his date of birth, Social Security number and
other personal information, the photographer said. The information was
turned over to the BP security guard who said this was standard
procedure, ProPublica quoted Rosenfield as saying.

Rosenfield, a
Texas-based freelance photographer
, said he was followed by a BP
employee after taking a picture on a public road near the refinery, and
then cornered by two police cars at a gas station. The officials told
Rosenfield they had the right to look at the pictures taken near the
refinery and if he did not comply he would be "taken in," the
photographer said according to ProPublica.

Elsewhere confused people were celebrating the [birth|death] of American democracy.

h/t Kyle and S

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LeBalance's picture

Your papers, please!

russki standart's picture

Birth Certificates excepted...

TBT or not TBT's picture

And university papers too, nevermind grades or transcripts.  Memory hole.   Poof.

jeff montanye's picture

imo the silver lining in the obama administration is that it is both ineffective and very similar in many ways to the bush administration.  thus in gathering opposition to it from conservatives/republicans it can make acceptable opposition to policies that were allowed even admired when originated by the bush administration.  

but obama admittedly has taken the bush template of corporatism and constitutional abuse and put his own unique stamp on it.  i wonder how many liberals/democrats he's seduced to policies they opposed when bush's.

pan-the-ist's picture

Probably quite a few democrats as can be expected, just like the big government Republicans that thought spending was a good idea under Reagan, Bush and Bush and who think that Scotty Brown is 'Change.'

WaterWings's picture

Meanwhile the Joint Terrorism Task Force is doing a heckuva job!

BP gave ProPublica the following statement after the incident:

"BP Security followed the industry practice that is required by federal law. The photographer was released with his photographs after those photos were viewed by a representative of the Joint Terrorism Task Force who determined that the photographer's actions did not pose a threat to public safety."

What the frack! Public safety! "Don't worry, these handcuffs are for your safety."

In other news, crops all over the south mysteriously have low self-esteem (must watch):

grunion's picture

For what it's worth, I worked in a tankn farm on the Houston Ship Channel in the early seventies when in high school. While security at the time was pretty lax, there was a hard and fast rule, "No Photographs".

Cameras were held at the guard gate until one left the premises.

I was not aware of any penalties if caught.

knukles's picture

If you liked W, ya' gotta love O, and vice versa.  Same game, double down, all in.

doggings's picture

"what's this? no no no the Constitution is not the papers we're talking about here.."

Moonrajah's picture

Birth Certificates are so pre-spill.

Now Death Certificates will be just fine. If you don't have it the BP security team will be happy to issue you one.

Muir's picture

But the dead are happier dead. They don't miss much here, poor devils.

Rusty Shorts's picture

 - i heard that they also accept birth certificates.

Sqworl's picture

Do you think they will let me live in Montana and raise rabbits?

papaswamp's picture

No papers are needed...except a drivers license..and social security card...and proof of insurance..and......

FrankIvy's picture

You will also have to obtain a specific rabbit license, and, for the protection of the food supply, a national security interest, you will have to have each rabbit individually tagged and tested on a monthly basis . .  .

nonclaim's picture

Except if for export, when the importer is forced to take whatever is in the container.

[alluding to the Japan beef testing rights]

knukles's picture

Lemme see, how this works?  Ain't right to ask for an ID in Arizona, but is around a BP facility anywhere?  

Have we discerned something of a minor inconsistency?

Sudden Debt's picture

America land of the free where you can walk from Checkpoint C to Checkpoint D like you please! If you have a security clearence and your papers with you of course.

And now a little DNA test, Iris check, some fingerprinting and your free to go.

cossack55's picture

Don't forget the BioMetric National ID Card.  Read DAEMON.

pan-the-ist's picture

Look - if they were going to go to that extreme as a police state they would RFID everyone, much easier to track.

knukles's picture

That's the whole point...the BioMetric ID as proposed at the press conference reported last week, will include a handy dandy RFID chip.  Just like many new drivers licences and passports.   Are you a troll?

Kali's picture

I am not a Christian, but mark of the beast?  They will start implanting chips at birth.  For health outcome tracking, you see, to study the effects of the oil rain, corexit, etc. Feh.

Cathartes Aura's picture

had to renew my drivers license last month. . . it's a handy-dandy new biometric drivers license.

imagine my joy.

*waves sparkler*

Hephasteus's picture

I didn't renew mine. Fuck em.

RichardENixon's picture

Also, feel free to protest in our conveniently located Free Speech Areas.

Betty Swallsack's picture
First Amendment suspended in the Gulf of Mexico as spill cover-up goes Orwellian (July 3, 2010 - Natural News)

As CNN is now reporting, the U.S. government has issued a new rule that would make it a felony crime for any journalist, reporter, blogger or photographer to approach any oil cleanup operation, equipment or vessel in the Gulf of Mexico. Anyone caught is subject to arrest, a $40,000 fine and prosecution for a federal felony crime.


equitymadness's picture

Let's all celebrate the freedom to save face

barkingbill's picture

obviously this is a real threat. this rosenfield guy could be working for bin laden...he could take down our way of life with that liberal camera of his. god damn liberals. if only reagun was here. he would make everything good again. 

papaswamp's picture

yes but there are still some al qaeda left (<50)....a force far larger than the Afghan Army can handle.

King_of_simpletons's picture

Fascist Republic of America

russki standart's picture

Change you can believe in...what a fraud! 

juwes's picture

"said he was followed by a BP employee after taking a picture on a public road near the refinery, "

Nolsgrad's picture

how does Obummer define "public* these days?

Sudden Debt's picture

Public :  every place you take a crap

zhandax's picture

Anyone who isn't bribed....

NoControl's picture

......after taking a picture on a public road near the refinery......

CD's picture

The photographer claims to have been on a public road (e.g. OUTSIDE refinery premises) and was chased down by BP security, assisted by local cops and (evidently) DHS personnel. As he was released without being charged with trespassing, it seems to me he might be telling the truth. That being said, does BP security really have a right or need to know his address, SSN, home number, next of kin, etc.? Do you think this event would encourage or discourage journalists from trying to find out more about said 'standard operating procedures' in the industry?

Also, as one closer to the industry than I, what do you think of the subject of why the hapless photographer was there in the first place:

Wondering's picture

Huh. Yeah, giving your ID is what it takes to get in facilities, especially regulated, unsafe, hazardous material or competitive industries.

Thats been true for quite awhile.

Now, I do not know the exact particulars (and none of us know the truth of a self reported event...from either a reporter or a company or the Texas City police) but if you take pictures of someones facility where they make vital or competitive products (Like do you think you can take pictures at the production facilities of Coke or Pepsi or Frito Lay or Nabisco? cannot) you may well get challenged or followed and asked what you are doing.

Nor can you hang around outside facilities taking pictures or get into one without giving ID.

Same is true of your house.

It may be a hassle...but it is not evidence of a cover up.

The BP Texas City facility has been an open mess since before they bought it...thats not a mystery to any of the locals since the 1990's

CD's picture

Aye, digging for actual malfeasance rather than the mere appearance of malfeasance is indeed needed. And not too much happened here.

This does little episode does seem to suggest however that some industries are now equivalent partners and members of the 'national security' apparatus -- however common and 'accepted' that practice may be, I still find it disturbing. The whole entanglement of interests thing, the whole 'public servant' vs. 'corporate employee' distinction seemed important to me. Naive thoughts, I know...

Wondering's picture

Me too

And 9/11 gave more wiggle room for Directors of Security at all kinds of facilities to wield their bureacratic instincts.

Nevertheless, until we have another source, John and Jane do depend on facilities which are safe and none of us want erosion of American know how to go elsewhere

You and I agree that armed with those banners all kinds of greater suppression of right to know muckraking can be hassled as well.

But that same incident could have happened outside a water bottling plant.

My goal is not to lower appropriate attention on BP, or freedom of the press....but to provide information that would direct our attention to other incidents as more insightful in those fights.

take care


Cistercian's picture

The cooperation of corporations with the FBI and homeland security has been going on for a while.This is supposed to help secure strategic facilities.

  It looks a LOT like Fascism to me.

 But then again, I don't like in some freaking homeland.I live in America.

 Many facilities cannot be photographed by ordinary it would stop spies or terrorists for a second.Be afraid when they ask for your papers.We all know how that story ends.

shargash's picture

Back when America was a free country, it was sufficient for a member of the press to show his press badge as a form of ID. He would not have been detained, and he would not have had to give his SSN. And I can stand outside your house and take all the pictures I want. If a police asks me what I'm doing, I'm not required to provide any identification; identification has never been required in this country to be in a public space, and citizens are within their rights to refuse to provide identification to anyone, including a police officer.

Of course, given that we're now a quasi-fascist police state, a citizen's rights only go so far as a police officer says they go. And that's kind of the point of people complaining about this incident. It used to be only blacks and young people who were illegally harrassed by police officers. Now we all subject to it.

Taking pictures in a public place is within the rights of everyone. Only in a police state do you get harrassed for normal exercise of your rights.

Cursive's picture

It used to be only blacks and young people who were illegally harrassed by police officers. Now we all subject to it.

Unfortunately, this is true.  Formally oppressed groups have not gained freedoms, we've collectively lost freedoms.

Stupid Donkey's picture

Arrest every tourist visiting Washington D.C. and taking pictures.


You never know which ones might be conducting targeting recon for Al Qaeda.

sushi's picture

I'm amazed that the American film companies are not up in arms about this. Where is Kodak protecting its film sales? Ooops. I forgot no one uses film anymore.

Well, why are not the American camera companies rising up to fight this? Ooops. Forgot there are no American camera companies any more.

What about the American press. Were are those guys? Oh yeah. T&A and reading Defense Dept handouts on the great job being done to pacify Marjah, or Guljamabedinit, or whatever.


Well I guess since it is July 4th all Americans can celebrate a foreign company dictating what they can and cannot do in public.

ColonelCooper's picture

As someone who has worked in the industry a long time, this smells like a rat. (On BP's part.  Or more likely on the part of the guard.)  It is completely normal for you to have to have "papers" to enter a facility.  It isn't unusual to have to be escorted, even to the bathroom, once inside.  It would seem perfectly normal for BP security to ask the photographer what he was up to. 

What is incredibly unusual was for the rent-a-cop to have done anything other than to alert authorities to the man's presence.  My instinct is that the mall ninja security guard overstepped his bounds, and perhaps was not following accepted procedure. 

I'm not taking anyone's side on this, just sayin'.