Hidden Truths BP and The White House are Hiding from the American Public
A conversation with Peak Oil Investigator Michael Ruppert
Gary Null & Richard Gale
Progressive Radio Network, June 27, 2010
When Aldous Huxley put a spin on a Gospel quote and wrote, “Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you mad,” he could not have better had in mind the Obama administration, British Petroleum and our elected officials in their handling the oil catastrophe in the Gulf. There is plenty for Americans and the global citizenry to be fuming about, incensed at the trails of deception, lies and erroneous propaganda and rhetoric issuing from our corporate and government leadership.
Investigative journalist and author Michael Ruppert knows this story all too well. For the past decade he has been researching and writing on peak oil and its contribution to the future collapse of the nation’s economy and the American of life. In 1998, he founded From The Wilderness, a newsletter and website devoted to disseminating reports and analyses about government corruption and cover-ups, the CIA’s narcotics operations—which he brought to light in the mid-1970s during his stint as a narcotics investigator for the LAPD—and the politics and science of peak oil and the energy industry. Among Michael’s most recent books are The Presidential Energy Policy and Confronting Collapse: The Crisis of Energy and Money in a Post Peak Oil World, both released in 2009.
Last week on a live radio broadcast over the Progressive Radio Network, Ruppert presented his overview of the Deep Water Horizon oil spill crisis, with some new insights gleaned from his investigations that are deeply disturbing.
GARY NULL: In 2004, you wrote a book about peak oil called Crossing The Rubicon: The Decline of the American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil. People denied it. You’ve spoken about our confronting collapse, a crisis in energy and money in the post-peak oil world. When I filmed you for a new documentary about Wall Street, you said, “the average American does not want to accept the fact that their way of life is no longer going to be maintained.” You said we’re still going to fly airplanes but the average person won’t be able to fly, only the wealthy. We’ll drive cars but we won’t be able to take long uninterrupted trips for a week as we once did because of the cost of gasoline. We take for granted the 90 percent of petrochemical products from hair dryers to toasters, televisions to computers. Every day our lives are impacted by petroleum. You are not going to easily wean someone off that. You said it would be like weaning an addict off in one day. It is not going to happen. Now that said, we’re going to go to some exclusive and new insights that you have about what you discovered about the Deep Horizon catastrophe in the Gulf and what the oil industry and our government has not been telling us. The forum is yours.
MICHAEL RUPERT: Thank you. It is kind of interesting times for veterans like us who have been at this for a long time, and I am witnessing a real quickening and changing in human consciousness because people are becoming aware of the fact that the human paradigm we’ve been living in is not sustainable and it is changing.
With regard to Deep Water Horizon, I think there’s one lesson that’s abundantly clear: it is the fact that mankind in its quest, its hunger, its addiction, its craving for energy to support an infinite growth paradigm is taking more and more dangerous risks in order to obtain the energy necessary to support something that’s not sustainable. It’s a bit funny to put it that way but that’s probably the biggest lesson.
This well, Deep Water Horizon, which has ruptured, is the single well that never wanted to be drilled. There are many stories from people who were on the rig saying this was the well that Mother Nature didn’t want to give up. The earth was resisting and this is very clear now.
It’s been confirmed from a number of sources, one of them is a friend and colleague of mine, Matthew Simmons, who was formerly the world’s largest energy investment banker, that they were drilling on BP’s orders without a casing. They were drilling some 12 to 16 thousand feet below the surface of the seabed. And the casing is probably the most critical thing because they were drilling at that depth into sedimentary sandstone, limestone rock that’s quite soft and porous. So you need that casing in order to allow the drilled mud to circulate down through the drill bed and then bring up the debris to prevent the bore hole from collapsing on itself. And that is exactly what happened in this case.
Apparently, they had tried two or three drills earlier and this created, as it were, a pimple, an infection on Mother Earth’s skin at that level. And without the casing, what happened? I pieced together from 70 to 80 sources from both the mainstream as well as professional journals, such as Oil and Gas and The Oil Drum, that when the bore hole collapsed on itself, it was a temporary plug, but it was a softer porous rock full of fissures that was only going to last for a short period of time. But what happened was that the oil, and especially the natural gas–the methane we are hearing about, which is very deadly–exerted enormous pressure and then spread out laterally over a number of square miles creating, if you will, a boil on the sea surface.
And this is where I’m very angry with President Obama, the government, the Coast Guard, and everybody involved. They are still leading people to believe that there’s only one leak from a single wellhead when in fact we have a multitude of leaks. Several leaks, one three or four miles west, have been confirmed. So what happened is that this boil exploded and there is more than just the single leak from the wellhead. You have other leaks, and Senator Bill Nelson of Florida has asked about them. These are confirmed but nobody is addressing them.
There is little or no hope of containing all the oil. And what’s particularly offensive to me is that apparently the White House has caved in and when President Obama recently made his speech he basically confirmed peak oil without saying the words. He said we’re running out of reserves on land–that’s the classic definition of peak oil. Everything that’s happening in the Gulf now is designed to capture oil so that they can sell as much of that oil as possible.
In the meantime I think a million gallons of Corexit has been used. It’s a deadly substance – banned in Europe. This dispersant when applied on the surface of warm water evaporates quickly into the atmosphere. It changes from a liquid into a gas, and we have many reports now and photographs showing up on the internet of unexplained crop damage. Leaves are wilting, turning colors all over the region as a result of the Corexit. So you have three separate toxins that are flooding into the Gulf. I and a few others were a month ahead of people saying this leak is not 5,000 barrels a day. It’s closer to 100,000, and of course we finally confirmed that. So now you have the oil at an unknown rate, let’s say 100,000 barrels which is safe at this point. You have methane. This is a very high volume methane well and methane at those depths deoxygenates the water. It reacts with the water and creates huge dead zones from seabed to sea surface killing all life because ocean life still needs oxygen to survive. And then you have the Corexit.
What’s happening in the Gulf now Gary is that this is an environmental disaster that makes the World Trade Center pollution pale in comparison, and by God that’s hard for me to say because I saw some of the after effects and I’ve met some of the people from 911.
The US government should be providing protective gear and getting people out of the area. Every pregnant woman should be moved out of that region. We should be moving young children, the elderly and the infirm out because this is a catastrophe that is going to lead not only to dramatic ecological damage and the poisoning of people but to a total economic collapse for the region because the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association charts now show very clearly this oil spill is going to continue. It might continue for as long as two years, and that whole region is dead economically.
You’re going to see foreclosure rates the highest in history. I should note parenthetically that US foreclosure rates are now higher than they were in 2008 and 2009. More troubled banks. So we’re going to see millions, perhaps five to 10 million displaced people having to leave the area and the US government is doing nothing. And I think this is a paradigm issue in that I don’t think the US government or BP or anybody is even capable of comprehending what has been unleashed in the Gulf.
GARY NULL: Well let’s back up and go over a few of these details a little more carefully. We’ve been led to believe that the only problem is getting this single well capped. You and several others are now suggesting that underneath that seabed, which we cannot see, there are fractures in the existing pipe that with 100,000 pounds per square inch of pressure there is no way to put a cap on it. If you do then it’s just going to cause a rupture further down and they don’t know how many gallons or barrels of oil are in that reservoir. I’ve heard estimates of 2.5 billion and I’ve seen estimates of 400 billion. And so we don’t know. I’ve heard it said from a qualified source that this is one of five interlinked reservoirs.
So it’s not as if it’s just one well. This also could bring in others. Now if we have multiple ruptures, at least as far as I understand, then the two other wells that they’re drilling now will not be able to solve the problem because they’re not going to be able to stop the additional cracks.
MICHAEL RUPPERT: That’s right.
GARY NULL: Which means that until such time this would actually create a rise in the sea level in that immediate area and then implode back down upon itself from pressure and seal itself hopefully. I don’t see how we’re going to be able to seal this.
MICHAEL RUPPERT: There is none.
GARY NULL: And I would then estimate that we could have 100,000 gallons per well. But we may have many other gallons coming from these other fissures, which means that we could have double or triple the amount of oil flow. Is that accurate or not?
MICHAEL RUPERT: That’s fairly accurate. You know, this is like tracking down numbers on Wall Street, Gary. People lie here too, and you really don’t know until it’s too late. But I think it’s very clear from all of the stuff I’ve read from journals and geologists and oil experts I’ve spoken with is that this leak could conceivably flow for two years. Or one story said yesterday if those reservoirs interlink up to 24 years unabated. That is a cataclysmic event. That is a danger to all life on the planet, and of course until somebody can tell the truth you really don’t know what you’re dealing with down there.
But that goes back to one issue that has been on the table and I believe is still on the table, which is the use of a thermal nuclear device down in the bedrock. You have to go and find the right place and you probably couldn’t. You can’t use a nuke in softer stone because all you’re going to do is just turn this boil into an open raging wound. The Russians have done this but in less deep water. They’ve done this three or four times, where you place a small nuclear device into the bore hole and much deeper into the granite or basaltic rock. And you can literally with those temperatures melt a plug that will work. I don’t know if that’s possible, but it’s clear that President Obama had sent nuclear experts down there right after the spill began. But I’m just aghast that the US government is not warning people. He is not telling pregnant women to get out of there. It’s very shortsighted now to even try to focus on a return to drilling so that these people can go back to work. This is much bigger than that.
GARY NULL: And that brings up other issues. I certainly am empathetic when it comes to 200,000 people working in the oil industry being out of work. We’ve had all these years and tens of billions of dollars to only add a total of seven inches to the dike and nothing with Mr. Big, which is the canal that caused Katrina to become so bad. Now we’re told don’t worry about the fumes and you’re saying, and I’m absolutely endorsing it: worry about the fumes. They could be putting monitors up on the beaches. They’re not. They should be completely damming up the estuaries. They’re not. They should be immediately building in the short term a soft city, meaning a tent city. They do it in Iraq. They do it in Afghanistan. In Haiti. They could have enough where at least families would have their own private living quarters, a general dining area, latrines, medical facilities, a school. They could put these people out of harm’s way now. It would take maybe a week for the Army Corps of Engineers to go in, clear fields that are an hour back and level it out. Put in all the infrastructures so at least they have a transition place. They’re not doing any of this.
MICHAEL RUPERT: But you know Gary in order to do that, they would have to do what they didn’t do in lower Manhattan after 9-11. They would have to admit how serious the crisis is, and that’s what they seem to be incapable of doing. I just launched Collapsenet.com as a sign of the changing of consciousness. We had members in 45 countries within three weeks. So the world is waking up to some of these issues, and we’re going to focus on the Gulf. We have a number of members who are in Florida and the Gulf area and we’re going to start cycling in authentic eyewitness reports about what’s going on in the region so that we can begin to get good information out. I just shudder when I think at what you and I might be talking about on the air in two or three months. That just frightens me.
GARY NULL: I think that Obama should do the right thing and simply be honest and trust that the American public, when given the full facts he has been given, would then be able to create a national awareness and bring the best minds in America together to look for solutions. Right now there’s only a small hand picked group of people–who are not the ones I would have picked–and it’s all being done under British Petroleum’s supervision, which is wrong.
MICHAEL RUPERT: That’s a big point, Gary. Here’s what I’ve come to. I just put an essay on Collapsenet basically entitle “He Who Has The Energy … Makes The Rules.” We are living in peak oil. It has been acknowledged not only by the White House a couple of times but by Lord Hunt in Britain, the Energy Minister. I mean it’s all come out. The world is running out of oil, and I’m pretty sure that when Tony Hayward and President Obama were sitting down, Tony was saying: look Mr. President, you want to keep your economy going? Of course the economy is about to implode at a much deeper level anyway. We need this oil and we need to keep this oil so we’ve got to do what we have to do to recover 60,000 barrels a day to get that to the refinery to avoid an oil price spike otherwise we shut down your whole economy.
He who has the energy makes the rules, and that’s the great trap of the infinite growth paradigm where there’s a 96 percent correlation between greenhouse emissions and GDP growth. And it is so sad to watch this involuntary suicidal attempt. It’s almost hard to fathom that the whole region is pretty much doomed and it hurts to say that. But for God’s sake, somebody’s got to tell those people the truth.
And as I said in the movie Collapse, I said President Obama is a prisoner of a system that only gives him a very narrow range of options because the system is controlled by an infinite growth economic paradigm. The corporations own Congress and what we’re seeing especially in the Gulf is this real disconnect between BP, which is a corporation, and the government which can’t deal legally with a corporation.
GARY NULL: We’re out of time. Michael Rupert, thank you for your input. We look forward to our next conversation.
MICHAEL RUPERT: Always a pleasure, Gary. Thank you so much.
Dr. Gary Null is the host of the nation’s longest running public radio program on nutrition and natural health and a multi-award-winning director of progressive documentary films, including Prescription for Disaster (2008)and Gulf War Syndrome: Killing Our Own (2007). Richard Gale is the Executive Producer of the Progressive Radio Network and a former Senior Research Analyst in the genomic industry.