Adam Dillon used to be a pretty good BP contractor.
As a media liason, he manned the oil giant’s police state operations on Grand Isle, turning local reporters away from the front line of the oil’s onshore assault. During a run-in with reporters from New Orleans’ WDSU station, the former U.S. Army Special Operations soldier used his best authoritative voice to say: “You cannot talk to the workers, you are interfering with their jobs right now. You cannot talk to anybody there. Sir, you cannot interview the workers.” This was just after BP denied interfering with media interviews with said workers. Dillon was so good at this that BP promoted him to their command center operations.
Ironically, just like the journalists he tried to block, he later took photos of cleanup operations that concerned him. When he expressed these concerns, he didn’t exactly make BP superiors happy. Twelve hours later he was a goner. So on Friday, he went back to WDSU and told his whole story. His insider testimony really tells us just how bad it is inside that command center.
He believes his actions threatened BP, and he told the station, as Think Progress notes, “There are some very great, hardworking individuals in there. But the bottom line is just about money. There are some very cutthroat individuals. They’re not worried about cleaning up that spill as it is…” (The station will air more of the interview tonight, and apparently discuss how Dillon was confined and interrogated for an hour.)
He became a whistle-blower out of a feeling of patriotism because he believes what the company is doing to this country is “just wrong.” He says his loyalty to his country comes before his loyalty to BP.
Dillon’s patriotism is in stark contrast to the “patriotism” displayed by BP’s political supporters. The Democratic National Committee, with its new site BPRepublicans.com, has been nice enough to round up five recent examples of the Republican brand of patriotism: Rep. Joe Barton (the Ultimate BP Apologizer), Rep. Steve King (the ultimate Joe Barton defender), Senate candidate Sharron Angle ($20 billion relief money = “slush fund”), Rep. Michele Bachmann ($20 billion relief money = “redistribution of wealth”), Senate candidate Rand Paul (Obama is “un-American” for holding BP accountable).
What the country needs now is a little more of Dillon’s brand of patriotism and a little less of Joe Barton’s. Dillon is clearly not a rabid environmentalist-type many Republicans like to mock. He saw up close how the oil is destroying a way of life and an economy and realized how important it is to get the story out. As BP works to get a final cap on the well today, and hopefully stem the flow of the biggest oil spill in U.S. history for good, we cannot let the spill become a second or third page story in a few weeks.
Hopefully real patriots like Dillon will help keep the nature of BP’s complacency fresh for the top of the news cycle. The fight over cleanup, compensation and future offshore drilling is sure to continue long past the time the spill is contained.