The Center for an Informed America

NEWSLETTER #71
  November 24, 2004
Belated Election Commentary ... and
More Stuff to Piss Off the Peak Oil Crowd

 
So ... I suppose you are expecting some kind of pithy commentary on the election, right? But to tell you the truth, I got nothin'. I have been sitting here staring at my monitor for a few weeks now, trying to figure out exactly what it is that I want to say. What can I possibly say now that wasn't said four years ago?

I guess I could say that the outcome is not what I expected. Since my last prediction, in August, my money has been riding on a disputed electoral win for Kerry coupled with a fraudulent popular vote victory for The Hunchback. And for much of the day, it looked very much like that might indeed be the final outcome. That’s how Zogby called it at 5:00 PM eastern time (49.4% of the popular vote for Bush, versus 49.1% for Kerry, but a 311 to 213 electoral vote victory for Kerry).

It wasn’t the early forecasts though that convinced me that Kerry was the chosen one. I had thought (obviously quite mistakenly), that the 'powers that be' needed Kerry in the hot seat. After all, you would think that someone is going to have to take the blame for the massive fallout from the first four years of Plan Bush. With the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the federal government all firmly controlled by the Republican Party, along with the majority of statehouses, and with no preceding administration to blame, where is the finger going to point?

The economy cannot possibly be kept afloat on a sea of governmental and consumer debt for too much longer.  There is every indication that a military draft will be instituted. As has already been demonstrated, the war in Iraq can only grow bloodier and more unpopular. New frontiers in the ‘War on Terror’ will likely open up. An unpopular tax increase seems inevitable, to finance endless wars and corporate giveaways. Millions of seniors, already robbed by Medicare 'reform,' will be robbed yet again through Social Security 'reform.' None of this will prove very popular with the American people, so you would think that there will be much blame to throw around.

Does this mean then that it is actually a good thing that Bush 'won'? Will his administration now be held accountable for the true costs of its policies?

Of course not. What the hell are you thinking? If you should find yourself entertaining fantasies of a massive backlash, with public opinion turning solidly against the Bush mob, just remember that they are only that: fantasies. Public opinion will not turn for at least two reasons: (1) in case you haven't noticed yet, 'public opinion' is whatever Washington and its media whores say it is; and (2) the Bush regime is no doubt counting on - indeed, has already planned for - another fundamental change in the political landscape -- something that will cast everything in a new light.

So what could that big change be? Another 'terrorist' attack is certainly a possibility that should never be ruled out. But there is another possibility as well: playing the 'Peak Oil' card. Consider that with 'Peak Oil' on the table, endless war becomes, in the minds of many, a necessary evil. Despite their protestations, the 'Peak' pitchmen are well aware of that fact. Greatly increased militarism and military spending (along with massive cuts in domestic spending), and the institution of a military draft, become necessary for survival. The 'panic over the end of oil' becomes a handy scapegoat for the economic meltdown.

I have seen 'Peak Oil' referenced in several election post-mortems. I guess then that it must be time to once again take an alternative look at what the 'Peak' team is selling. And I have a lot of stuff here that I want to get through, and not much time to get through it all, so let's get started.

* * * * * * * * * *

I happened upon an interesting post the other day entitled "The End of Fossil Fuels," written by Thomas J. Brown in 1998. It seems that Mr. Brown was ahead of the curve in catching on to the 'fossil fuel' myth, because, as it turns out, the title of his article refers not to the purported end of the oil era, but rather to his "attempt to describe the inadequacy of the term 'fossil fuel' and to prevent its further usage in the English language through education in the mysteries of the hydrocarbon structures in the earth."
(http://www.borderlands.com/archives/arch/endfos.html)

There is much of interest in Brown's must-read missive, but what I would like to focus on here is the graphic to the left -- a composite map of Indonesia. What can be seen quite clearly in Brown's graphic is that oil and gas fields, as well as oil and gas seeps, follow a well defined arc that is also, strangely enough, marked by persistent earthquake and volcanic activity.

Being the naturally curious sort of guy that I am, and being also a native Californian, I thought it might be interesting to see if this same correlation holds true on my own home turf, so I did a little searching on the Internet and came up with two maps of the state of California -- one depicting the state's oil and gas fields and seeps, and the other depicting the location of the notorious San Andreas Fault. And - lo and behold - it turns out that pretty much the entire length of the San Andreas Fault, site of countless earthquakes, is marked by oil and gas seeps. And along both sides of the fault lie enormous oil and gas fields.

Weird, isn't it? I mean, you wouldn't expect 'fossil fuel' deposits to have any correlation with tectonic plate activity, would you?

   

What are we to make of this? You don't need an advanced degree in geology to draw the conclusion that earthquakes and volcanic activity both appear to be manifestations of the pressures created by the buildup of abiotic hydrocarbons generated in, and rising from, the earth's mantle. In other words, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are natural relief valves that operate when oil and gas seeps alone are not enough to ease the constantly building pressure. You could say, I suppose, that earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are just planet Earth's way of passing gas.

Speaking of oil and gas seeps, I was admiring the new, and very cool, National Geographic "Earth at Night" composite satellite photo the other day, and I couldn't help but notice that in addition to the bright white lights of sprawling urban centers, there are also a number of bright red lights visible. According to the photo legend, the red lights represent natural gas burn-off: "A lot of valuable fuel is going up in smoke. More than 100 billion cubic meters of natural gas (a by-product of petroleum extraction) are burned off annually, enough to power both France and Germany for a year. Why the waste? Some countries find the gas too challenging and expensive to transport long distances to population centers. Nigeria alone emits up to 20 percent of the world's flares, which add to atmospheric pollution."

So it seems that in addition to the tens of millions of tons of coal that are burned off every year in underground coal fires (as discussed in Newsletter #64), and the massive amounts of oil and gas that seep out every year into the planets land, air and water, more than 100 billion cubic meters of natural gas are burned off every year. As previously discussed, much of this activity has been occurring for hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of years. If you do the math on that you will probably find that the numbers don't jibe with a theory that postulates that oil, gas and coal are all 'fossil fuels' deposited in finite quantities at a specific time in the earth's history.

Notice, by the way, that the natural gas flares in Nigeria are overshadowed by the natural gas flares around the Persian Gulf, which in turn pale in comparison to the natural gas flares up in a place called Russia. Apparently, there is a lot of petroleum extraction going on up there. Maybe they're on to something with that nutty abiotic oil theory.

Returning to the oil and gas field map of California, notice that about 2/3 of the way down the state, at the south end of the San Joaquin Valley, lies a large concentration of oil fields. That happens to be, as it turns out, the area around Bakersfield, California -- site of the notorious Shell refinery discussed in a previous newsletter. The Bakersfield area's vast oil fields can be seen in more detail on the oil field map below (which you can click on for an even more detailed version).

The Shell refinery was back in the news in September, when the company was working diligently to sabotage any potential sale of the facility: "Several buyers are interested in Shell Oil Co.'s Bakersfield refinery, but an acquisition could be thwarted by the company's refusal to sell on-site storage tanks, pipelines and other key parts of the facility, according to people familiar with the situation ... Shell first decided to shutter the refinery without trying to sell it and then, under pressure from state Atty. Gen. Bill Lockyer and others, earlier this year began to entertain offers. The company warned at the time that it intended to keep the refinery's crude oil contracts, reducing the pool of possible buyers to those that could secure a new source of oil for the landlocked facility. Now, according to the people close to the negotiations with potential purchasers, Shell has put up the additional roadblocks. It has offered to lease the storage tanks and pipelines to a buyer but 'at extraordinarily high rates,' one source said. This source called the situation 'pretty much unprecedented in a refinery transaction.'"
(Elizabeth Douglas "New Obstacles to Refinery Deal," Los Angeles Times, September 15, 2004)

Included in the Times article was a litany of excuses offered by Shell for the closure of the refinery: "Shell, the U.S. unit of Anglo-Dutch company Royal Dutch/Shell Group, said it decided to close the Bakersfield refinery because of dwindling supplies of crude oil in the San Joaquin Valley. In addition, the company said, the refinery is old, inefficient and not profitable enough."

The excuses were, of course, patently false, as the Times and Ms. Douglas were well aware. Douglas is, after all, the very same journalist who previously reported that the Bakersfield refinery's "profit of $11 million in May [2004] was 57 times what the company projected and more than double what it made in all of 2003." Nevertheless, Shell's claims went unchallenged in the September report.
(Elizabeth Douglas "Shell to Cut Summer Output at Bakersfield Refinery, Papers Say," Los Angeles Times, June 21, 2004)

Judging by the latest oil field maps, there doesn't appear to be any shortage of crude at the south end of the San Joaquin Valley. In fact, the company's own actions refute that claim, for if the local crude oil contracts are soon to be worthless, then why would Shell insist on keeping them?

On September 23, the Times revisited the Bakersfield story once again, revealing that, contrary to Shell's patently bogus claims, dozens of companies are interested in purchasing the wildly profitable facility: "Shell initially made no effort to sell the facility, and repeatedly told lawmakers and others that no one would want it, especially because the company intended to keep the refinery's crude oil contracts. On Wednesday, Shell said more than 70 parties had expressed interest in the Bakersfield refinery, and that 20 signed confidentiality agreements so they could dig deeper into the plant's books."
(Elizabeth Douglas "Shell Studying Offers for Its Bakersfield Site," Los Angeles Times, September 23, 2004)

There has been no further word from the Times on the progress of any possible negotiations. The last word from Shell was that the refinery would be closed either at the end of the year or on March 31, 2005, "if no deal is reached." Despite the intense interest in the facility, I wouldn't bet the family farm on a deal being reached.

I am still waiting, by the way, for someone - anyone - from the 'Peak Oil' crowd to explain the pending closure and demolition of a wildly profitable refinery sitting atop vast reserves of oil, at a time when refinery capacity in the nation as a whole, and in California in particular, is already woefully inadequate. Despite the fact that the 'Peakers' have carefully avoided any mention of the controversial refinery closure, I know that they are aware of it, because the newspaper that has been providing commentary on the story is the local paper of the Grand Poobah of the 'Peak' spokesmen.

Elsewhere in the news, Astrobiology Magazine says that, on the planet Mars, there is an "intriguing connection between methane and water vapor found in three broad geographic regions, a result that may suggest looking further for past or dormant microbial life." I guess then we should start looking for signs of past or present life on Saturn's moon Titan as well, since it contains, according to NASA, "lots of hydrocarbons." Those dinosaurs really racked up the frequent flyer miles, apparently.

Something else I recently stumbled across was a post by Mike Ward, on Alternet, in which he lists what he claims are the "Top 10 Conspiracy Theories of 2003-2004." (http://alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=18735) Number 9 on that list was "Peak Oil and the End of the World."

"One would hope peak oil is a hand-wringing fantasy on a par with the survivalist craze that accompanied Y2K," writes Ward, "But there are some facts in favor of the peak oil agitators." One of those "facts," according to Ward, is "the otherwise inexplicable war in Iraq – which, though a political liability in the short run, is likely in the long haul to yield the U.S. virtually unending supplies of oil just when the peak oil theorists claim it's going to start getting quite scarce."

Ahh, yes ... providing an explanation (and a backhanded justification) for what is claimed to be an "otherwise inexplicable war." That, as I recall, is almost exactly what I initially posited about the 'Peak Oil' theory, thereby thoroughly pissing off any number of 'Peakers.' Of course, I left out the fable about the war being otherwise inexplicable.

"If the peak oil theory is right," added Ward, "the Iraq war, terrible though it is, will be remembered – like the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand or the Nazi invasion of Poland – as a mere prelude to a much bloodier affair ... Many oil-peakers speak of a coming 'die-off,' as the world population adjusts to the resources available to it – by perishing in the billions from war, famine, exposure, and civil unrest."

But wait! As it turns out, it doesn't have to be an apocalyptic future after all, at least according to the BBC. On April 19, correspondent Alex Kirby concluded that, "there is every reason to plan for the post-oil age. Does it have to be devastating? Different, yes - but our forebears lived without oil and thought themselves none the worse. We shall have to do the same, so we might as well make the best of it. And the best might even be an improvement on today."
(http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/3623549.stm)

So there is nothing to fear, you see ... well, other than that whole "die-off" thing ... but if you happen to be among the survivors, then things will be looking pretty rosy, apparently. And that is certainly nice to know.

While the BBC has been busily pitching the 'Peak Oil' scare, The Scotsman has been rather skeptical of the scam. On May 21, correspondent James Reynolds focused on a new report by Dr. Leonard Magueri in the journal Science. In the report, Magueri argued "the world is not running out of oil, and the reality is that there are abundant supplies for years to come." Magueri pointed out that estimates of proven reserves have been increasing since the 1940s, and, "thanks to new exploration, drilling and recovery technology, the worldwide finding and development cost per barrel of oil equivalent has dramatically declined over the last 20 years, from an average of about $21 in 1979-81 to under $6 in 1997-99. At the same time, the recovery rate from world oilfields has increased from about 22 percent in 1980 to 35 percent today."
(http://news.scotsman.com/index.cfm?id=578462004)

On June 16, The Scotsman openly ridiculed the 'Peak Oil' concept (and various other end-of-the-world scenarios that have been pitched over the years). After recounting numerous predictions of imminent demise that never came to pass, the authors conclude with this tongue-in-cheek assessment of 'Peak Oil': "But perhaps the most often repeated catastrophe predicted is the exhaustion of the world's oil reserves. As early as 1919 the head of the US geological survey forecast that the end would come in nine years. Since then things have improved and the latest estimate is 2043."
(http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/international.cfm?id=683192004)

Meanwhile, Lyndon LaRouche (Lyndon LaRouche? How did he get into this discussion? Oh yeah, I remember now -- I decided to include him after I read a recent interview in which the great Mike Ruppert said, and I quote, "I share a near universal respect of the LaRouche organization's detailed and precise research." So, like I was saying, Lyndon LaRouche) "called on May 28 for the price of oil to be set at a target price of $25-26 per barrel, by nation-to-nation contracts, in order to bankrupt and take away the power of the speculators, and restore order to the oil market." According to the LaRouchians (who, let's face it, make a hell of a lot more sense on this issue than their admirers, the Ruppertians), "Some fools will insist on buying the Brooklyn Bridge, no matter how many times you tell them it's already been sold. The same is true with the story that there is an oil shortage. The truth: No oil shortage exists. Figures from the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA), the central collection point for world oil information, show that for the first quarter of 2004, world oil supplies were in the range of 82.3 million barrels a day (mbd), with consumption lower, in the range of 80.5 mbd to as high as 81.5 mbd. Thus, the world was in surplus during the first 90 days of the year, during the very period that world oil prices leapt by $7 per barrel." Furthermore, say the LaRouchians, "there is no relationship between the price of oil and the amount of oil being produced. Over the past several decades, oil production has increased slowly and predictably." True enough.
(http://www.larouchepub.com/other/2004/3123oil_speculation.html)

In September, the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published an interesting study by a distinguished group of academics (as opposed to the oil industry spokesmen that the Peakers routinely cite): "We present in situ observations of hydrocarbon formation via carbonate reduction at upper mantle pressures and temperatures. Methane was formed from FeO, CaCO3-calcite, and water at pressures between 5 and 11 GPa and temperatures ranging from 500°C to 1,500°C. The results are shown to be consistent with multiphase thermodynamic calculations based on the statistical mechanics of soft particle mixtures. The study demonstrates the existence of abiogenic pathways for the formation of hydrocarbons in the Earth's interior and suggests that the hydrocarbon budget of the bulk Earth may be larger than conventionally assumed."
(http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/abstract/0405930101v1?view=abstract)

What?!?! Hydrocarbons can be produced without biological matter? Right here on Earth? Just like on Mars? But New Scientist just said a couple weeks ago that "Methane is of great interest because on Earth, almost all of it comes from living things - everything from rotting plants to bovine flatulence. But there are other possible sources of methane on Mars." And they have, like, real scientists working there at the offices of New Scientist. But I guess they somehow missed the PNAS study -- and the decades of Soviet research that preceded it.
(http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99996669)

The study even found its way into the mainstream media, by way of the San Francisco Chronicle: "Oceans of fossil fuel-like gases and fluids, enough to support a high-tech society for many millennia to come, might exist far deeper inside the Earth than we've ever drilled before, researchers speculate. Since the mid-19th century, a small but enthusiastic minority of scientists have argued that petroleum and other fuels are formed by purely chemical, or abiogenic, processes hundreds of miles inside Earth. An early champion was the great Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleyev, pioneer of the periodic table that hangs on the wall of virtually every high school chemistry classroom."
(http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2004/09/14/MNG048ODH01.DTL)

Who knew that the distinguished Dr. Mendeleyev was, in reality, a "Flat-Earther"?

Physics Web picked up the story as well: "Scientists in the US have witnessed the production of methane under the conditions that exist in the Earth's upper mantle for the first time. The experiments demonstrate that hydrocarbons could be formed inside the Earth via simple inorganic reactions -- and not just from the decomposition of living organisms as conventionally assumed -- and might therefore be more plentiful than previously thought."
(http://physicsweb.org/articles/news/8/9/9/1)

The Peakers, predictably enough, got their panties in quite a collective wad over this scientific debunking of their scam. By October 4, the Portal of Peak Propaganda had up a post that attempted, rather pathetically, to 'debunk' abiotic oil 'theory.' The piece was penned by a Ugo Bardi, a member of ASPO, shockingly enough, and the author of an Italian language "The Sky is Falling" book.
(http://www.fromthewilderness.com/free/ww3/100404_abiotic_oil.shtml)

Bardi makes one remarkable admission in his rant -- quite likely the truest statement to ever appear in a 'Peak Oil' post on Ruppert's website: "The concept of 'oil peak' is strictly limited to a view that sees oil as a finite resource." So here we have, from the portal of all things 'Peak,' an admission that if oil is not a finite resource, then 'Peak Oil' is an inherently fraudulent theory. That, of course, has been my position all along. It is precisely why the Peakers must necessarily begin their arguments by first establishing that oil is, in fact, a nonrenewable 'fossil fuel.' Thus far, they have studiously avoided doing so, probably because their arguments are not founded in any known body of scientific research.

Here is how Bardi approaches the idea of abiotic oil: "Here, I will try to discuss the origin of oil without going into ... details. I will do this by taking a more general approach. Supposing that the abiogenic theory is right, then what are the consequences for us and for the whole biosphere? If we find that the consequences do not correspond to what we see, then we can safely drop the abiotic theory without the need of worrying about having to take a course in advanced geology. We may also find that the consequences are so small as to be irrelevant; in this case also we needn't worry about arcane geological details."

What Bardi is saying here, amazingly enough, is that we shouldn't be concerned whether we have been deliberately lied to for decades about the source and availability of the substance that is the very life-force of modern industrial society, because that is, in reality nothing more than an "arcane geological detail." I mean, honestly now, who has time to bother with such trivialities?

Bardi then proceeds to 'debunk' the abiotic 'theory' (which was actually proven, once again, by the PNAS study) by claiming that if oil was abiotic in origin, then the planet would be drowning in oil, and the planet is not drowning in oil, so therefore oil cannot be abiotic. After devoting exactly two paragraphs to that amazingly specious argument, Bardi then states authoritatively: "At this point, we can arrive at a conclusion. What is the relevance of the abiotic theory in practice? The answer is 'none.'"

Wow! That was easy, wasn't it?

Interestingly, Bardi associates the abiotic petroleum theory specifically with Dr. Thomas Gold, noting only in a footnote that the theory actually "had its origin in the work of a group of Ukrainian and Russian scientists." Also interesting is that Bardi repeatedly refers to Gold in the present tense, implying that the doctor is still alive and able to defend his work, although Bardi is certainly aware of Dr. Gold's untimely demise just a few short months ago (just as 'Peak Oil' stories were popping up all over the mainstream media).

Bardi ends his post on this particularly repellent note: "So, the abiotic theory is irrelevant to the debate about peak oil and it would not be worth discussing were it not for its political aspects. If people start with the intention of demonstrating that the concept of 'peak oil' was created by a 'Zionist conspiracy' or something like that, anything goes. In this case, however, the debate is no longer a scientific one."

It has never been the position of this website that 'Peak Oil' is a "Zionist conspiracy" or a "Zionist Scam." And, contrary to what some people seem to believe, the fact that an easily-discredited disinformation-peddler like Joe Vialls has suddenly inserted himself into the 'Peak Oil' debate, on the anti-'Peak' side, is not a welcome development (http://joevialls.altermedia.info/wecontrolamerica/peakoil.html). Rather, it is an indication that with the 'Peak Oil' scam under fire, a new line of defense has kicked in: linking the abiotic, anti-'Peak' position to virulent anti-Semitism. That is precisely why, close on the heels of the Vialls' piece, we now find Bardi completing the one-two punch.  Nice tag-team work, guys. You should be very proud of yourselves.

Bardi's post was followed a couple weeks later by another 'debunking' post, this time by Jean Laherrere, one of the High Priests of the Cult of Peak. The Laherrere post, however, is only for the eyes of those very special people who pay good money every year to be lied to by Ruppert and Co. (and for certain critics who may or may not be supplied user names and passwords by disgruntled subscribers). As it turns out though, all you really need to know about the piece can be found in the first two paragraphs of the introduction by Dale Allen Pfeiffer:

The following paper is a critique of the writings of Thomas Gold, written by Jean Laherrere. It is a scientific dialogue and contains many technical terms and references which may be nearly unfathomable to the layperson. However, it is a very important discussion because it lays bare many of the errors in Gold's arguments. Unfortunately, Thomas Gold is no longer with us to respond to these criticisms. However, this critique has been floating around in one form or another for a few years now, and it is not unreasonable to assume that Thomas Gold was aware of it.

Jean Laherrere has told me that he sent a copy of this critique (along with materials critical of abiotic theory) to V.A. Krayushkin, the main Russian proponent of abiotic oil, in 2001, shortly before a conference where both men were to present papers. Dr. Krayushkin canceled his appearances and has since gone out of his way to avoid addressing Jean Laherrere's criticism. Jean's comments on the Dneiper-Donets Basin will be presented in the second part of this series. If a scientist cannot or will not defend his theory against fair scientific scrutiny, then his argument is immediately caste into doubt.

Incredibly enough, Pfeiffer has, in just two brief paragraphs, established himself as the single most reprehensible player on the entire 'Peak' team (an impressive feat, considering the competition). After avoiding any mention of Gold's work for, oh, the last three years or so, even while feverishly pitching the 'Peak Oil' line, Pfeiffer actually has the fucking nerve to post a critique of Gold's work now, just a few months after the doctor conveniently dropped dead.

Pfeiffer's claim that Laherrere's post, specifically entitled "A Critique of Thomas Gold's Claims for Abiotic Oil," circulated for three years without a response from Gold, is undoubtedly a gross misrepresentation, as is evident from Pfeiffer's careful choice of words: "floating around in one form or another," and "not unreasonable to assume that Thomas Gold was aware of it."

Pfeiffer follows that claim with another that is an obvious lie -- so much so that it could only be passed off as good coin to an audience that is woefully ignorant of the other side of the debate. The truth of the matter is that Dr. Krayushkin has been, for quite some time, one of the late Dr. Gold's harshest critics. Krayushkin, along with the rest of the Soviet and Ukrainian scientists who developed modern abiotic petroleum theory, consider Dr. Gold to have been a plagiarist -- and not a particularly good plagiarist, but rather one who got the basic theory right, but the actual science wrong. (http://www.gasresources.net/Plagiarism(Overview).htm)

Krayushkin's opinion of Gold is quite evident in a letter sent by the doctor to a Professor John Briggs, which can be found here: http://www.gasresources.net/VAKreplytBriggs.htm. It is pretty clear that Krayushkin would not be at the head of the line to defend Dr. Gold's work, which he considers to be a stolen and bastardized version of his own work. Why then would Laherrere send Krayushkin a paper entitled "A Critique of Thomas Gold's Claims for Abiotic Oil"? Perhaps Laherrere's time would be better served sending Ricky Martin a critique of William Hung's performance of "She Bangs."

My own feelings about the late Dr. Gold are decidedly mixed. On the one hand, he was almost certainly the plagiarist that he was accused of being. And the possibility exists, I suppose, that he may have deliberately misrepresented the science, thereby making abiotic petroleum theory infinitely easier to discredit and marginalize. On the other hand, however, Gold undeniably did more than anyone else to bring the notion of abiotic petroleum origins to the Western world. And the timing of his death was certainly suspicious, to say the least -- especially now that it is being followed by appalling post-mortem attacks by the likes of Bardi and Laherrere.

Strangely enough, even as they are busily savaging one dead guy who can't defend himself, Team 'Peak' is simultaneously claiming to be following in the footsteps of another dead guy, who also can't defend himself.

In Ruppert's recent "We Did It!" post, he wrote the following: "We have studied and learned from the lessons given us by great authors like L. Fletcher Prouty ..."
(http://www.copvcia.com/free/ww3/100404_we_did_it.shtml) On the From the Wilderness website (on the "Recommended Reading" page), Ruppert lists what he describes as "seven of the most important books that I would recommend as teaching books about 'How things really work.'" At the very top of that list is The Secret Team, Third Edition by L. Fletcher Prouty. (http://www.copvcia.com/book_list.shtml) Elsewhere on the site, Ruppert provides links to other sites that he has found to be "sources for reason and reliable information." (http://www.copvcia.com/links.shtml) Here is a portion of that list of links:
Again we see Col. Prouty being touted as a voice of reason, along with, curiously enough, some website known as the Center for an Informed America. Huh? Who knew that this site provided reliable information? I guess Ruppert's been too busy with other things to update his links page, since we all know that this website stopped being a "source for reason and reliable information" the minute that I opted not to toe the 'Peak' line. But here I digress.

The point here is that Prouty was, as near as I can tell, something of a hero to Mr. Ruppert. And the funny thing about that is that Prouty was, as it turns out, a vocal supporter of the notion that oil is abiotic in origin. According to the late Colonel, "petroleum is not a 'Fossil' fuel with a surface or near surface origin. It was made to be thought a 'Fossil' fuel by the Nineteenth [sic] oil producers to create the concept that it was of limited supply and therefore extremely valuable. This fits with the 'Depletion' allowance philosophical scam." Prouty also wrote that the notion that petroleum is a 'fossil fuel' came "Right out of the Rockefeller bible."
(http://www.prouty.org/oil.html)

Who would have ever guessed that if the guy that Ruppert claims as a mentor were alive today, his would be the loudest voice raised to denounce what Ruppert is selling as a Rockefeller-scripted scam?

Moving on then, let's see what else is happening in the world of 'Peak Oil.' Oh yes, before I forget, I need to, regrettably, hand out a couple of Hall of Shame Awards. The first goes to the Centre for Research on Globalisation, for posting, among other things, a repellent piece by F. William Engdahl entitled "Iraq and the Problem of Peak Oil." The second goes to Online Journal, for posting too many 'Peak Oil'-themed pieces to list here (including a number of articles penned by Larry Chin, who doesn't seem to be able to write on any subject without tying it in to 'Peak Oil'). Both of these websites were, at one time, among the best at providing alternative news and commentary. Both are now pitching 'Peak Oil' without offering any hint that there is another side to the debate. And that, I'm afraid, is absolutely shameful.

I can read 'Peak Oil' stories in my morning newspaper. I read one just the other day in the November edition of Playboy. And there is something seriously wrong when you can't even flip through a friggin' Playboy without being assaulted with 'Peak Oil' propaganda. So my question to webmasters Chossudovsky and Conover is this: If you are running websites that purport to be 'alternative' sources of news and information, and yet you are selling the very same story as the Los Angeles Times, Playboy, and scores of other widely read, mainstream media sources, while at the same time denying your readers a truly alternative point of view, and one that happens to be actually backed by science, are you really still doing your jobs?

Just a few more links and we're all done for this outing. First up is a must-read post by Rod Allison, entitled "Reply to Certain Biogenic/Peak Oil Lobbyists." You'll never guess which lobbyists Allison is referring to. Next up is a post that we'll refer to as "Confessions of a Reformed True Believer." For the scientifically minded, we have an offering entitled "Hydrocarbon Production From Fractured Basement Reservoirs." From Chris Bennett comes a piece entitled "Sustainable Oil?," which is a decent overview of modern abiotic oil theory, except that it leaves out the fact that the theory was forged in the former Soviet Union. I guess that's to be expected though for a post that originally appeared on WorldNetDaily. Lastly - and this one is truly shocking - oil company profits continue to soar, as do oil producer profits: "Exxon Mobil Profit Soars" and "The $300 billion bonanza."

For those hungry for yet more anti-'Peak' news and commentary, Kelly Cooke has tackled the subject on several occasions on her blog at reSearched. Scroll through and you will find commentary and a number of interesting links. Also check the Peak Oil page on Brian Salter's website. Many of the links there are to my newsletters, but there are a number of other good links as well.

Next up will be additions to the 9-11 Revisited series, and maybe more 'Peak Oil' stuff. Until then, have a great Thanksgiving, because, you know, we have so much to be thankful for and all ...

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