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James Cameron: BP Are “Morons” Who Told Him “We’ve Got This”

Filmmaker and undersea expert James Cameron, who has twice now offered his assistance to BP, also convoked an impressive set of experts for the US government to listen to about how to attack the Gulf wellhead catastrophe. It seems like BP is treating Cameron like a lightweight, without regard for his serious undersea expertise.

"Avatar" and "Titanic" director James Cameron on Wednesday evening criticized those responsible for stopping the geyser of oil flowing into the Gulf of Mexico and again offered the assistance of the private team of deep-sea experts with whom which he has worked on several underwater films and exploration efforts.

"Over the last few weeks I’ve watched, as we all have, with growing horror and heartache, watching what’s happening in the Gulf and thinking those morons don’t know what they’re doing," Cameron said at the D: All Things Digital conference sponsored by The Wall Street Journal near Los Angeles.

Cameron developed expertise in deep sea robotic vehicles and submersibles over a period of 22 years, he said. That’s led to the filming of two documentaries about the Titanic, as well as the feature film of that name, which at the time was the highest-grossing feature film ever. He also directed "The Abyss."

It was during his Titanic efforts that Cameron came to know a number of deep sea experts, and became one himself. He thought he could help with the current crisis. He’s right, but BP doesn’t seem to want the assist.

Cameron told the audience that on Tuesday he had gathered 23 people — a "who’s who" of the deep sea robotics community — together through the auspices of the Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, though no one from the EPA attended the meeting at the agency’s headquarters.

Four other federal agencies also took part in the "listening session," a spokesperson for the EPA said, including the Department of Energy, the United States Coast Guard, the White House Council on Environmental Quality and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration.

Lots of ‘pip-pip-tallyho, thanks so much for asking’ but eventually all of Cameron’s offers to BP were met with a ‘no thanks, James:’

Cameron said he has not been in touch with anyone from the White House, and that earlier proffers of assistance he had made to BP were rebuffed.

"They could not have been more gracious but they basically said, ‘We’ve got this,’" he said.

Cameron said one reason he hoped his offer of access to private film-equipped deep-water vehicles would be taken up was to more accurately convey what was happening under water.

"The government really needs to have its own independent ability to go down there and image the site, survey the site and do its own investigation and monitor it," Cameron said. "Because if you’re not monitoring it independently, you’re asking the perpetrator to give you the video of the crime scene."

That’s exactly the right characterization of what is happening, and what Americans want to hear from Barack Obama: this is a crime scene, why is the criminal in charge of mitigating it?

No one really believes O.J. Simpson was ever looking for the real killer, do they?

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Teddy Partridge

Teddy Partridge

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