Dark Conspiracies of the Gulf
Around the camp fire, humans tell horror stories. About goblins, and dark conspiracies of death. Soon after the shock of the BP Oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the cranks rolled out new tales that tell us a lot about the human mind, and how we react to environmental tragedy.
While the deadly rig explosion, the oiled wild-life, and the lost jobs are no joke, I can't resist rating the wildest theories, coming from non-existent mystics, far-out blogs, right-wing radio, and even mainstream TV.
We'll start with the dumbest, and crawl up toward the surface, where time may prove a few strange stories may be too true.
Wayne Madsen warns us that a big desalinization plant providing water to the Tampa bay area may have to close down, if oil fouls it's intakes. Ditto the big nuclear plant there.
But we really dig into statements by oil investment guru Matt Simmons. Has the well casing already blown? Does that mean the "relief wells" are impossible, just more technical theatre? Simmons says this well could leak for years - unless we nuke it. With tips from other experts at theoildrum.com, I go into why this may be crazy, and why it may be true.
Starting with, the NUMBER ONE stupidest story on the Net:
The North Koreans sent a torpedo into the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig. That's right, according to "Sorcha Faal", host of the whatdoesitmean.com news site, a North Korean mini-submarine, with a suicide crew from the 17th, Sniper Corps used torpedoes to sink the big rig.
Recall, the North Koreans had just been suspected of using a torpedo to sink a South Korean navy vessel, so the public was primed for this fantastic rumor. Why did they do it? To get back at the South Koreans. You see Hyundai Heavy Industries, that South Korean giant, built the Deepwater Horizon.
But the plot goes deeper. The North Koreans knew that nothing could stop this Gulf leak short of a nuclear bomb. The Russians used nuclear bombs to stop some natural gas blow-outs on land. The Americans would be forced to use a nuke, and that would put them in a bad light when they tried to renegotiate a nuclear weapons treaty, which helps North Korea, who want to be a nuclear power. You see how it all fits, don't you.
This report supposedly comes from "Russia's Northern Fleet" - who can verify that? - and is reported by Sorcha Faal. She claims to be "Sister Maria Theresa, the 73rd Sorcha Faal of the Sorcha Faal Order, Elected as Mother Superior 3 February 2007." You need to send lots of money to find out more. Speculation on the web is that Sorcha Faal was created by the psychic and conspiracy theorist computer programmer David Booth.
Over at Boing-boing, Arthur Goldwag tears into this one.
NUMBER TWO: RUSH LIMBAUGH BLAMES THE GREENS...
A close second goes to Conservative talk show nut Rush Limbaugh. He thinks the eco-terrorists did it.
[Limbaugh clip, April 29th]
"I want to get back to the timing of the blowing up, the explosion out there, in the Gulf of Mexico, of this oil rig. Lest we forget, Ladies and Gentlemen, the carbon tax bill - cap and trade - that was scheduled to be announced on Earth Day.
The cap and trade bill was strongly criticized by hard-core environmentalist whackos because it supposedly allowed more offshore drilling and nuclear plants. What better way to head off more oil drilling, nuclear plants, than by blowing up a rig? I'm just noting the timing here."
I can just see Greenpeace loading up a zodiac with explosives, to attack the drilling rig. You can't make an omelet without breaking eggs. To save the Gulf from oil drilling, we need to wreck the Gulf.THIRD PLACE TO CONSPIRACY-IN-CHIEF, ALEX JONES
Running a close third for zany, conspiracy-theorist-in-chief Alex Jones. Alex is a long-time advocate for the oil industry, in his native Texas, claiming to have family in the oil business. >He campaigns against the idea of Peak Oil, and constantly says global warming is a plot by Al Gore and the faceless elitists to enslave Americans through the carbon tax.
For a while after the spill, Jones was uncharacteristically quiet. But finally, since that is what everyone is talking about, and since his whole radio empire depends on generating new conspiracies, Alex steps into the Octagon....
"I was on Coast to Coast AM last night, in the first hour, and George Nouri asked me what I thought about the BP spill, and I told him: that all the evidence points towards a false flag attack.
I've got Paul Watson and Steve Watson working all the past week researching the oil spill. The definitive report, now 40 plus days after, will be published in the next two hours at prisonplanet.com. We've all been working on it together.
It's not 100 percent that it's staged, but all the evidence points towards it being staged. And it is 100 percent that they are allowing it to continue, and that they want it to be a bigger disaster, as a pretext, as the Washington Post reported last week, for Obama to pass his new carbon tax, a well-head tax, a gas-pump tax, a energy tax, all levied in the name of cleaning up the Gulf."
Really, Alex? You conclude, from the "evidence" that someone purposely blew up the rig? And Obama and his dastardly crew want to make the disaster go on longer, to be worse, just to get some legislation through? (Incidentally, the Washington Post wrote nothing like this). It's pathetic to see the need Alex Jones, and so many American have, to find conspiracy in accidents, in everything. Maybe there was a conspiracy to cut corners and save money, but I doubt many people believe you, Mr. Jones, that is was all done on purpose, just to help energy legislation. Sad.
Following up on the web site, at inforwars.com, we find out more.
The rig was probably blown up on purpose, Obama and the elites, in order to .... enslave Americans through the carbon tax. Just fill in the usual suspects... the Bilderbergers, the Bankers, the Rothschilds... whoever you have been programmed to hate. They did it. It's like a conspiracy machine, ready to go, no matter what happens, or the real cause.
On Prison Planet, ranter Paul Joseph Watson and Alex Jones say the "Evidence Points To BP Oil Spill False Flag". False flag operations, they tell us, are used by the elite globalists to start wars, or delude the public into following their nefarious plots for world domination.
Exactly why BP would risk billions of dollars, or even their corporate existence, to help this plot by the world elite, we are not told.NUMBER FOUR: THE GULF VOLCANO
Moving slightly away from total improbability, we find still more strange things leaking out of the Gulf. For example, Dr. James P. Wickstrom tells us, quote:
"What US Scientists Are Forbidden To Tell The Public About The Gulf: Oil Volcano Pressure Too Strong For Containment
This was published on globalresearch.ca - a well-known ultra-conservative Canadian web site, but then suddenly removed. It still shines at rense.com - the site that always finds something Jewish to hate.
Dr. Wickstrom promises that everything in the Gulf, going 50 miles inland, will be totally wrecked. That will happen because the huge oil reserve will gush out, until finally sea water falls down into that underground cavity, miles below the Sea bed. The sea water will be turned to steam by the heat down there, leading to an explosion that caves in the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. That creates a tsunami which will wipe out the Gulf. Perfectly reasonable if you like science fiction.
Who is James P. Wickstrom? A scientist perhaps? According to his Wikipedia entry, quote:
"a far right radio talk-show host as well as a Christian Identity minister, who resides in Rhodes, Michigan. He is known for his strong opinions on racial issues, globalization, and Jews. He is also noted to be intensely anti-communist."
Again, the far right radio. Rense, Jack Blood, Alex Jones In fact, I found most of the juiciest plots come from extreme radio, where Rush Limbaugh looks like a nice guy. Jack Blood, a host on the deep-South gold-bug network GCN, gives us not one, but "10 suspects, and motives as to why the Gulf oil spill was an inside job" Conspiracy writer Victor Thorn also wonders if the Gulf Oil Spill was an "inside job."He manages to connect all the dots from the Bilderbergers, through the Rockefellers and Rothschilds, straight to Al Gore. Good job Victor!
Talk show host Mark Levin thinks Obama sent SWAT teams to the Gulf rigs as the first step toward his long-held communist goals of nationalizing the oil industry.
And there was a giant echo-chamber of right-wing bloggers Is it just coincidence that the Republicans, and those further right, support the oil industry, and blame anyone other than BP for this Gulf gusher? Who writes these talking points?THE JERSEY NUT
Take the "Right, Wing-Nut!" Please! This New Jersey blogger calls himself "...a small subsidiary of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy!"
a href="http://jerseynut.blogspot.com/2010/06/bp-oil-spill-conspiracy-what-did-obama.html">There we find breathless reporting like:
"See we 'established' yesterday that the key player in the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill conspiracy/cover-up was Rahm Emanuel, who had the cash and the contacts to make the "accident" happen. Perhaps he did it to save Obama from himself, or from the hard Left, but the question still remains: Did Obama order the explosion, or was he clueless about the entire operation?...."
Yes, we want answers! Did Obama order the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon, so he could expose himself opening up the coasts for more oil drilling? So he could help Goldman Sachs?
The Jersey Nut is building on a report from another right-wing Christian site, World Net Daily. They discovered, and this may be useful if true, that Obama's Chief of Staff, Ram Emanuel, and I quote here from the Jersey nut:
"lived for five years rent-free in an apartment owned by Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., and her husband, Stanley Greenberg, whose consulting firm was a prime architect in BP's efforts to recast itself as a "green" corporation and recipient of hundreds of thousands of dollars awarded through a committee chaired by Emanuel."
I'm not saying Obama and his staff didn't get money from BP. I'm just wondering if it suited their interests to blow up the Gulf....
Of course it all makes sense, once the Jersey nut realizes, quote:
"A Zionist plot by Israel-firsters looking to destroy America's domestic energy supply, thus making us more dependant on Mideast oil and more involved in the region's - and Israel's - security..."
It was the Jews!!! It always is, according to these twisted minds.
Even the alleged mainstream media dabbled in the oil waters. I was alarmed to hear former Bush Whitehouse spokeswoman Dana Perino suggesting the blowout was a deliberate attack. Fox News chewed on the edges for a while, of course.WAYNE MADSEN: FLORIDA'S WATER AND POWER MAY GO DOWN
But let's move on from the bizarre to slightly possible. The Wayne Madsen report combines the probable with the really far-out. He quotes "informed sources" suggesting Florida could face both water shortages and power blackouts due to Gulf oil hitting that coast. The water? That comes, quote:
"if the thick crude oil from the Deepwater Horizon disaster clogs sea water intakes at the largest seawater desalinization plant in the United States -- the Tampa Bay Seawater Desalinization Plant at Apollo Beach in Tampa, Florida."
Ditto the water intakes that cool the Crystal River Nuclear Power Plant, on the Gulf Coast just 80 miles north of Tampa. If oil hits those intakes, the nuclear plant might have to shut down, removing a major source of power to the State of Florida. Sound possible to me.
THEY DID IT FOR THE MONEY(WHY THE BIGGIES GOT OUT...)
Then we have the big money conspiracies. I expect we'll learn a lot more about the time lines, and money moving, before this disaster. We were shocked to find a BP memo, six days before the blow-out, calling this drilling project a disaster. How long did top people know there was an extreme risk on the Deepwater Horizon?
Enquiring minds are already digging into the sale of 4 million shares of BP stock by Goldman Sachs, while it was high on the market, on March 31st, 2010. It seems strange that Peter Sutherland, a long-time high ranking executive in BP, was also the Managing Director of Goldman Sachs International. Was there a pipeline between these two giant corporations?
And why did BP CEO Tony Hayward sell off millions of dollars of his shares, a third of his holdings, just one month before this disaster
We find out, from emails dug up by Congress, that BP knew they had serious trouble with the Deepwater Horizon well 6 WEEKS before it blew. Did that influence stock dumping by CEO Hayward and Goldman Sachs? Of course not. Impossible.
"In 2007, Exxon abandoned a deepwater exploration project in the Gulf called Blackbeard rather than risk a blowout. The company mothballed the project, which was designed to drill more than six miles beneath the sea floor, after repeated pressure surges indicated the well was unstable, Bloomberg reported. And BP engineers notified federal regulators at the Minerals Management Service that they were having difficulty controlling the well drilled by the Deepwater Horizon six weeks before the disaster, according to e-mails released by the Energy and Commerce Committee....."
Source: June 15, 2010 Oil Industry Leaders Try to Avoid Regulatory Fallout From BP’s Gulf Oil Spill By Don Miller, Associate Editor, Money Morning
'I don’t think this would have happened on Exxon’s watch,' Tom Bower, author of 'The Squeeze: Oil, Money and Greed in the 21st Century,' said in a June 11 interview with Bloomberg. 'They’d be much more careful and much more conscious of the need to supervise subcontractors.' About 80% of the oil and 45% of the natural gas in the Gulf comes from deepwater exploration according to the American Petroleum Institute....."
THE ENDLESS PIT OF OIL THEORY...
But I digress. How about this theory: the Gulf leak cannot be fixed because BP tapped into an underground current of oil welling up from the Earth. Yes, according to some obscure Russians, and touted by author and writer F. William Engdahl, oil is not made from compressed plant matter at all. There is an endless supply of oil, because it is a natural lubricant generated by the Earth itself. That's the so-called "abiogenic" theory.
In a June 10th article at financialsense.com, Engdahl predicts the Gulf spill "could go on for years." He cites Vladimir Kutcherov, Professor at the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden and the Russian State University of Oil and Gas. BP supposedly drilling into a "migration channel" similar in size to the fabulous Ghawar field in Saudi Arabia.
Few oil geologists (or plant biologists) buy into this exotic theory. Most believe oil is compressed plant matter. Me too.IS OIL INVESTMENT GURU MATT SIMMONS RIGHT OR CRAZY?
Now we move to a more difficult case. Is long-time oil analyst and industry investment banker Matt Simmons crazy or right?
Simmons appeared on the Dylan Matigan program on MSNBC, saying that BP was messing around with the wrecked pipes and blow-out preventer, while the real big leak was seven miles away.
We are all watching the continued gusher on ROV cameras, allegedly live. Surely Simmons couldn't keep to his idea all that oil was coming from the remains in a pipe? Yet he repeated his claim weeks later, on Bloomberg TV.
This theory depends upon the idea that the well casing and hole were severely damaged by the explosion Then oil began to leak deep down, where it would follow fractures in the loose muddy sea bottom, coming out further from the original well hole. If true, there would be no way to plug the leak, unless BP can drill very, very deep, below any leak, and plug it.
At first the Simmons theory sounded zany. I wondered if he had been drinking.
However, information has since come out, reported by Bloomberg among others, that Steven Chu, heading the government's science team, advised ending the top kill maneuver, - because so much drilling mud was leaking out from the casing another 1000 feet down, where a disk had been ruptured. We also have reasonable statements that BP gave up attempts to plug the leak at the top - expressly because the deeper damage, combined with the extreme pressure of the oil and gas coming from below, could cause the well-head and blowout preventer to blow away, leaving a gaping hole that could never be controlled.
We also know this could still happen, partly because the escaping material is eating away at all the metal in the casing and equipment. The well-head really could blow off. For a good explanation, see HERE in a detailed comment at theoildrum.com. Although, some other experts claim the writer, "dougr" - has a vivid imagination. It's up for dispute - you be the judge.
Now the government gives a new estimate: 35,000 to 60,000 barrels a day.
And so many others say much more, above 100,000 barrels a day. Is it increasing due to erosion of the well parts?
And, if you travel around the web, you can also find ROV footage, taken away from the main leak, showing what looks to be oil bubbling up from cracks in the sea bed. I've seen these myself. It is possible, even likely, that the well is leaking in other places in the surrounding area. But only BP ROV's are allowed to go down there. Film Director Cameron's pleas to put independent cameras down in the Gulf were turned down by BP and the Obama Administration. Is there something they don't want us to see?
Ooops. I'm getting into conspiracy-land myself. But it seems ludicrous to take whatever BP feeds us, with no independent eye on the scene. And until we get that, the Jury will have to stay out on the claims made by Matt Simmons.
PROBLEMS WITH MATT SIMMON’S STORY
But there are real problems with his theories. First of all, experienced drillers over theoildrum.com point out the Blow Out Preventer (BOP) is NOT supported by the muddy Gulf bottom, but stands on top of the well-head and well-casing. If those were blown away, as Simmons suggests, then what is keeping the four-story BOP upright?
Although, the BOP may be starting to lean. BP appears to have installed a guage to measure it's angle, and may have to add supports to it.
Also, if the BOP is no longer attached to the original bore hole, as Simmons says, then where is all that oil we can see pouring out below the BOP coming from? It's not just left over from the rig.
Simmons also suggests that science from the NOAA ship Thomas Jefferson has found a giant lake of dark oil well below the surface. Fair enough, but so far the reports I've seen say that oil is so thin it cannot be seen by the eye or normal camera, but only measured by sensitive instruments. That is not what Simmons is telling us. But maybe he has better info, that hasn't been released to the public yet.
Get a good take on this developing story at Washington’s Blog.
Simmons just told Bloomberg TV that the relief wells are more technical bravado, and can't work if the well casing is blown out. So there would only be two options: let this think leak out for years (perhaps more than a billion barrels of oil) or try the unthinkable: a nuclear weapon.
Note that the Russians only tried nuclear weapons to seal off GAS blowouts (not oil) on LAND (it's never been tried undersea, much less a mile down). And one of their attempts failed anyway. The Soviet government can hardly be relied on for the side-effects, or radioactivity released. It's a horrible idea, and may not work at all in the muddy Gulf bottom (much different from the hard rock the Russians had to play with).
You don't have to depend on the Russians to find experts who predict this Gulf well could leak for a very long time. Matt Simmons has also suggested this blowout could go on for years.
Respected experts suggest it could continue at least until December, and I think that is possible. After all, it took nine months for U.S. contractors hired by the Mexican government to stop the Ixtoc well in 1979. And that was only a few hundred feet deep.
CONSPIRACY FROM THE TOP: EVERYTHING WILL BE "FIXED".... REAL SOON NOW
The mainstream media keeps repeating BP predictions that the relief well will totally handle the leak by August, like a sacred mantra. Really, there should be several relief wells in progress, because it often takes several tries to hit the small target. In fact, I'm going to add BP and press to this crazy conspiracy list, when they talk about fixing this problem.
Remember when it was going to be all over by Tuesday, due to the top hat? Or top kills?
I've heard a BP executive say their newest plan would capture virtually all of the oil, even before the relief well is finished. Over and over we've heard extreme promises, parroted without question by the nightly news and the daily newspapers. That's a conspiracy theory, to calm the public waters, and the stock markets.
And when we hear BP executives, or Obama and his officials, promising to clean it all up, and restore the ecology of the Gulf, that's the most absurd claim of all. Humans don't know how.DR JACK ALPERT: BLINDNESS OF THE MIND
Dr. Jack Alpert has been a project engineer for General Motors, a lecturer at the University of Wisconsin, a training guru in Silicon Valley, and a long-time Research Director of the Stanford Knowledge Integration Laboratory, where he investigates blind spots in the human mind.
I met him in April 2010, at the Vancouver Degrowth Conference.
Back in the late '60's, Jack worked for GM, trying to get people to wear seat belts in their cars. That simple step saved lives, but lots of folks refused to use them. At the time, one in 200 drivers were killed, and one in 25 was in at least one accident. Wearing seat-belts reduced the odds to something like one in 25,000. So the question is: why will people take great steps to avoid really rare cause of death, like being killed by a bear, and not help themselves to obvious safety measures? Despite going to the funerals of their friends? All that set Jack into a lifetime of studying people's behavior, and the human mind.
At his site, at skil.org, there is a video explaining why it is a mistake for someone to put out their arm, to stop an unbelted child from hitting the dashboard, in a 35 mile-per-hour car crash. That tells us more, about weakness in human thinking.
For one thing, we are evolved to handle things like storms, or floods, but not to calculate the sudden and severe forces when hitting an obstacle at 35 miles and hour. That didn't happen in nature, and we can't think clearly about it now. But we can model it, and work our way through this type of mental blindness.
For me, there is a fundamental point coming out of that particular example. Namely, technology has taken us into areas for which our evolution in Nature, never prepared us. For example, we have no instincts or experience, dealing with thousands of pounds of pressure per square inch. Surely that's true about all kinds of technology, including drilling oil wells a mile below the surface of the sea. Is that also a case of our mental blindness?
Jack Alpert's research into the blind spots of human intelligence has so many applications. It may explain why we don't react to the obvious limitations of fossil fuels, or change our ways, when we discover climate change.
We also discuss the need for rapid population reduction - not by killing folks, but by having just one child. The good news is: once humans reach a sustainable population, we actually get more "stuff" not less. That is what happened after the population reduction in Europe in the mid-1300's after the Great Plague reduced the population by at least a third. Suddenly there were more houses, more plates, more clothing. Social mobility increased.
Whether you agree or not, Jack's discussion resets what Greens might be asking for. And it leads him to conclude that on a limited planet, violence is inevitable the way we are going. There may be a direct link between consumerism and a greater prospect of more terrorism. Jack explains why. He writes:
Each of us, by living in the developed world, is doing the same harm to our fellow humans, as if we shot someone who was 23 years old, to prevent him or her from consuming resources the rest of his potential life."
In the same essay, he says "And shamefully, each generation will have to be more ruthless, and more indifferent, in dealings with their less fortunate earth mates."Again, while we have been sold the idea of progress, this seems more like the view of the philosopher Hobbes.
It's deep and dark, but it doesn't have to be. That's the good news.
Finally, I'm not sure I totally get Jack Alpert's complete concept of "time blindness". No surprise, he is talking about a mental inability which affects Nobel laureates - as well as everyone else. It's like doing a radio program about thinking the unthinkable Fortunately, Jack does have a couple of free books on his site, skil.org, that go deeper into "time blindness".
Here is a short, bulletin point guide to the subject, from Jack's site:
"We study thought processes that:
_a) fail to motivate a search for a behavior's impacts,
_b) are too weak to create accurate predictions of a behavior's impact, and
_c) create different influences in choice of behavior when the expected conditions are personal and eminent or abstractions falling on the unknown unborn.
We study learning situations where:
_a) the injurious event has not yet happened and thus there is no
_b) transmission fails to provide a meaningful image of an event experienced by others, or
_c) the event depends not on the actor's single behavior but on a collection of similar behaviors "
Here are a few of my own further thoughts on this:
Time blindness helps us underestimate the problem, we have no image of the real future If someone else provides a better image, we take that, because we can't picture the reality. Really bright people have just as hard a time with this, as anyone else. It's a distributed blindness.
It seems we were born with a third way of learning (inference) which has been drowned out by two other modes: experience and teaching. We can't get that back, Alpert thinks, but we can duplicate it by such things as accurate modeling, and such things as testable formulae.
This inability to choose correctly now, in situations where we have no direct experience, and the time frame of arrival is uncertain and likely in a relatively distance future, mirrors directly many important decisions in life - for example whether a teenager starts smoking. It definitely hobbles public choices for slow-developing and previously unknown challenges like Peak Oil and climate change.
Likely we won't understand it all, but we can figure out models and coping skills that get us past this human disability.
What do you think? Leave a comment below.
Sign up for regular Resilience bulletins direct to your email.
This is a community site and the discussion is moderated. The rules in brief: no personal abuse and no climate denial. Complete Guidelines.