By Dave McGowan <email@example.com>
September 2, 2004
I don't know how much press attention the story has gotten
outside of the region, so to bring the potentially uninformed up to date,
there has been a series of deaths in recent months in Southern California
that have been attributed to the dreaded 'West Nile Virus.' According to
the official party line, the virus is being spread by infected mosquitos,
which are picking up the disease from infected birds.
I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that is very unlikely
that 'West Nile Virus' actually exists as a specific, identifiable viral
agent. And if it does exist, there is no evidence that it is pathogenic.
As one illuminating post concludes, after reviewing the medical literature,
"It is quite clear that West Nile Virus has never been purified, and
that without purification not only is it impossible to say whether it is
the cause of the disease that it is associated with, but it is impossible
to say whether it even exists."
Even if the virus does exist, and even if it is pathogenic,
it seems very unlikely that it has been the cause of death in the Southern
California cases. The ten purported victims were, overall, an elderly bunch,
and most had preexisting health conditions. The oldest was 91; the average
age of the ten was 75. No offense to the surviving family members of the
deceased, but these weren't people who needed some exotic virus to finish
them off; they were people with one foot in the grave and the other on the
proverbial banana peel.
Not surprisingly, this alleged deadly outbreak has been seized
upon as a pretext to further advance the police state, and to further blur
the line between healthcare and law enforcement. Wholesale spraying of who-knows-what
has become all the rage in some parts of town, and there has been talk of
greatly expanding the police powers of county health officials, including
granting them the power to enter upon any property, at any time, in search
of any potential mosquito breeding grounds (as if it is possible to eliminate
every drop of standing water in all of Los Angeles, Orange, and San Bernadino
Counties). Next on the agenda will probably be another round of discussions
about the need for mandatory vaccinations.
This is all pretty disturbing stuff, to be sure, but in this
post-911 dystopia we live in, it is pretty much par for the course. As anyone
with eyes and ears and a few brain cells in between has probably noticed,
there are any number of disturbing things happening in the world these days.
But the West Nile Virus story took a particularly troubling turn a couple
While idling watching some of NBC's stellar prime time Olympic
coverage last Monday night, I happened to catch a brief teaser for the upcoming
evening newscast in which it was announced that the 'West Nile Virus' had
claimed another Southern California victim. The man was identified only
as a "local political activist." Details, of course, would have
So ... I patiently waited through about two hours of NBC's
"thought we were arrogant before? how do you like us now?" Olympic
coverage, only to find, much to my chagrin, that when the nightly news finally
rolled around, the story of the political activist cut down by 'West Nile
Virus' had disappeared. I guess they couldn't fit it in around all the recaps
of what they had just finished broadcasting.
So ... the next morning, I turned to the ever-vigilant Los Angeles Times
to get the inside story, and ... nothing. Not a word. So I checked again
the next day, and still found nothing. The day after that, I apparently
did not read far enough into a report carrying the headline "Woman's
Death May Be State's 10th W. Nile Fatality" to find what I was looking
for. But I did find it when I conducted a web search a few days later. It
was in the closing paragraph of the August 26 LA Times report:
Also on Tuesday, a 62-year-old Claremont man who died of
complications from the virus was honored as a Green Party activist. Walter
Sheasby, whose death from West Nile on Thursday was Los Angeles County's
fourth, ran twice for the House of Representatives.
Anyone who has been closely following these newsletters in
recent months should recognize the name Walter Sheasby. If not, then here's
a reminder: Walter Contreras Sheasby was the gentleman who, late last year,
penned a devastating exposé on the real backers of the 'Peak Oil'
scam. In March of this year, I posted Sheasby's piece as my Newsletter #55
(http://www.davesweb.cnchost.com/nwsltr55.html). Here are a few of the more
In fact the coalition that is pushing for a radical new energy policy is
largely composed of those who stand to benefit from a revival, not a phase
out, of oil and gas development.
"This much is known, Kenneth Deffeyes writes, "the loudest warnings
about the predicted peak of world oil production came from Petroconsultants."
In a late 1998 merger Petroconsultants became IHS Energy Group, a subsidiary
of Information Handling Services Group (IHS Group), a diversified conglomerate
owned by Holland America Investment Corp., IHS Group's immediate parent
company, for the Thyssen-Bornemisza Group (TBG, Inc.). In the 1920s George
Herbert Walker and his son-in-law, Prescott Bush, had helped the Thyssen
dynasty finance its acquisitions through Union Banking Corp. and Holland-American
ASPO has Associate members like Halliburton and financial sponsors like
ASPO, of course, is the Association for the Study of Peak
Oil and Gas, a group relentlessly promoted by the 'Peak Oil' crowd. Schlumberger
has been described by Ruppert himself as the "world's premier oil drilling
firm." And I think we all know who Halliburton is ... I mean, besides
being a bedmate of the 'Peak Oil' promoters.
Sheasby had much more to say in his article and anyone who
has not yet read it should definitely do so. Especially now that he's dead
... struck down by a nonexistent virus less than a year after exposing a
massive scam known as 'Peak Oil.' Hmmm ....
In completely unrelated news, Dr. Thomas Gold, for years
the West's most vocal proponent of the abiotic origins of hydrocarbons,
dropped dead two months before Mr. Sheasby had a fatal encounter with a
mosquito. One of Gold's heretical beliefs was that actual reserves of crude
oil could be up to 100 times what the oil companies and oil-producing nations
have claimed. The following is from a post-mortem published in the Telegraph
this past June:
None of Gold's theories aroused as much anger as one he first
outlined in 1980 and elaborated on in The Deep Hot Biosphere (1999): that
"fossil" fuels such as gas, oil and coal are not fossil at all,
as conventional wisdom holds, but produced by the constant upwelling of
carbon-based compounds from deep below the earth's surface where they have
been trapped since the formation of our planet 4.5 billion years ago. A
corollary of this theory was that, far from facing an energy crisis, the
world has a huge reservoir of deep non-biological natural gas that could
meet its energy needs for thousands of years, but which orthodox petroleum
geology says should not exist.
The theory earned the derision of the world's petrochemists,
some of whom refused to appear on the same platform with Gold. But in 1985,
to test his theory, Gold persuaded investors to drill for oil in an area
of granite in central Sweden. By 1990, 12 tonnes of crude oil had been extracted
- not enough to make extraction commercially viable, but an achievement
which (assuming the oil had not somehow got into the granite via cracks,
as some have suggested) ranks in the same league as getting blood from a
I seem to remember the From the Wilderness team spending
a considerable amount of time a couple years ago, in the aftermath of the
Anthrax attacks, chasing a story about the mysterious deaths of a number
of microbiologists. Since that proved so productive, I would like to suggest
a new assignment for the team: looking into the mysterious deaths of leading
'Peak Oil' debunkers just as the 'Peak Oil' scam is picking up serious momentum.
I think there might be a story there.
* * * * * * * * * *
A number of compelling 'Peak Oil' related postings have been
brought to my attention in recent weeks. The most interesting of the bunch
is reproduced here in its entirety, as it provides a good overview of the
fossil fuel/abiotic petroleum debate for those readers who have arrived
late in the game.
Abiogenic petroleum origin
The theory of abiogenic petroleum origin states that petroleum is produced
by non-biological processes deep in the Earth. This stands in contrast to
the more widely held view that it is created from the fossilization of ancient
organic matter. According to this theory, petroleum is formed by non-biological
reactions deep in the Earth's crust. The constituent precursors of petroleum
(mainly methane) are commonplace and it is possible that appropriate conditions
exist for oil to be formed deep within the Earth.
Although this theory has support by a large minority of geologists
in Russia, where it was intensively developed in the 1950s and 1960s, it
has only recently begun to receive attention in the West, where the biogenic
theory is still believed by the vast majority of petroleum geologists. Although
it was originally denied that abiogenic hydrocarbons exist at all on earth,
this is now admitted by Western geologists. The orthodox position now is
that while abiogenic hydrocarbons exist, they are not produced in commercially
significant quantities, so that essentially all hydrocarbons that are extracted
for use as fuel or raw materials are biogenic.
A variation of the abiogenic theory includes alteration by
microbes similar to those which form the basis of the ecology around deep
One prediction of this theory is that other planets of the
Solar system or their moons have large petroleum oceans, either from hydrocarbons
present at the formation of the Solar system, or subsequent chemical reactions.
That this theory is receiving increasing attention from Western
geologists is indicated by the fact that the American Association of Petroleum
Geologists scheduled a conference (http://firstname.lastname@example.org/msg00802.html)
to meet in Vienna in July 2004 entitled "Origin of Petroleum—Biogenic
and/or Abiogenic and Its Significance in Hydrocarbon Exploration and Production".
The conference had to be canceled, however, due to financial considerations.
Instead, AAPG will be holding a one-day session on the topic at the June
2005 annual meeting in Calgary, Alberta.
Comparison of theories
There are two theories on the origin of carbon fuels: the
biogenic theory and the abiogenic theory. The two theories have been intensely
debated since the 1860s, shortly after the discovery of widespread petroleum.
There are several differences between the biogenic and abiogenic theories.
* Biogenic: remnants of buried plant and animal life.
* Abiogenic: deep carbon deposits from when the planet formed or subducted
Events before conversion
* Biogenic: Large quantities of plant and animal life were
buried. Sediments accumulating over the material slowly compressed it and
covered it. At a depth of several hundred meters, catagenesis converts it
to bitumens and kerogens.
* Abiogenic: At depths of hundreds of kilometers, carbon deposits are a
mixture of hydrocarbon molecules which leak upward through the crust. Much
of the material becomes methane.
Conversion to petroleum and methane
* Biogenic: Catagenesis occurs as the depth of burial increases
and the heat and pressure breaks down kerogens to form petroleum.
o Significant advances in the understanding of chemical processes and organic
reactions and improved knowledge about the effects of heating and pressure
during burial and diagenesis of organic sediments support biogenic processes.
* Abiogenic: When the material passes through temperatures at which extremophile
microbes can survive some of it will be consumed and converted to heavier
Formation of coal
* Biogenic: Coal is organic material which was buried and
compressed but did not undergo catagenesis into kerogens.
* Abiogenic: Coal is organic material which was filled with hydrocarbons
which seeped into the deposit. This can happen on the surface, such as in
a swamp with methane and petroleum seeps.
Evidence supporting abiogenic theory
Cold planetary formation
In the late 19th century it was believed that the Earth was
extremely hot, possibly completely molten, during its formation. One reason
for this was that a cooling, shrinking, planet was necessary in order to
explain geologic changes such as mountain formation. A hot planet would
have caused methane and other hydrocarbons to be outgassed and oxidized
into carbon dioxide and water, thus there would be no carbon remaining under
the surface. Planetary science now recognizes that formation was a relatively
cool process until radioactive materials accumulate together deep in the
Known hydrocarbon sources
Carbonaceous chondrite meteorites contain carbon and hydrocarbons.
Heated under pressure, this material would release hydrocarbon fluids in
addition to creating solid carbon deposits. Further, at least ten bodies
in our solar system are known to contain at least traces of hydrocarbons.
In 2004, the Cassini spacecraft confirmed methane clouds and hydrocarbons
on Titan, a moon of Saturn.
Hydrocarbon deposits have been found in places which are
poorly explained by biogenic theory. Some oil fields are being refilled
from deep sources, although this does not rule out a deep biogenic source
rock. The White Tiger field in Vietnam and many wells in Russia, in which
oil and natural gas are being produced from granite basement rock. As this
rock is believed to have no oil-producing sediments under it, the biogenic
theory requires the oil to have leaked in from source rock dozens of kilometers
Microbial life has been discovered 4.2 kilometers deep in
Alaska and 5.2 kilometers deep in Sweden.
Evidence supporting biogenic theory
It was once argued that the abiogenic theory does not explain
the detection of various biomarkers in petroleum. Microbial consumption
does not yet explain some trace chemicals found in deposits. Materials which
suggest certain biological processes include tetracyclic diterpane, sterane,
hopane, and oleanane. Although extremophile microorganisms exist deep underground
and some metabolize carbon, some of these biomarkers are only known so far
to be created in surface plants. This shows that some petroleum deposits
may have been in contact with ancient plant residues, though it does not
show that either is the origin of the other.
* Fossil fuel
* Fuel's Paradise (Wired) (http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/8.07/gold_pr.html)
* The Mystery of Eugene Island 330 (Science Frontiers) (http://www.science-frontiers.com/sf124/sf124p10.htm)
* The Origin of Methane (and Oil) in the Crust of the Earth (Thomas Gold)
* Gas Resources Corporation collection of documents (http://www.gasresources.net/index.htm)
* Abiotic oil debate (http://www.questionsquestions.net/docs04/peakoil1.html)
Gas Origin Theories to be Studied (American Association of Petroleum Geologists)
Abiogenic formation of alkanes in the Earth's crust as a minor source for
global hydrocarbon reservoirs (Nature) (http://www.nature.com/cgi-taf/DynaPage.taf?file=/nature/journal/v416/n6880/abs/416522a_fs.html)
* Geobiology @ MIT about biomarkers
* * * * * * * * * *
Who would have guessed that there were once dinosaurs on
one of Saturn's moons?! And on a number of other bodies within our solar
system?! Those dinosaurs really got around, I guess. Apparently, they were
a little ahead of us humans in the space exploration department.
Of course, even bought-and-paid-for Western petroleum geologists
have shied away from arguing that our solar system was once teeming with
organic life forms. Indeed, it is just this sort of irrefutable evidence
that has forced Western scientists to reluctantly acknowledge the existence
of abiotic hydrocarbons:
Although it was originally denied that abiogenic hydrocarbons
exist at all on earth, this is now admitted by Western geologists. The orthodox
position now is that while abiogenic hydrocarbons exist, they are not produced
in commercially significant quantities, so that essentially all hydrocarbons
that are extracted for use as fuel or raw materials are biogenic.
What has happened, in other words, is that a huge lie perpetrated
by the West became completely unworkable, and so a new, and even more absurd,
lie was substituted in its place. Sound familiar?
What the new lie says is this: "Sure, we'll acknowledge,
if forced to, that abiotic hydrocarbons exist -- and not just here on earth,
but throughout our solar system and likely beyond it. But that really has
nothing whatsoever to do with the hydrocarbons that we actually use here
on planet earth. Those hydrocarbons are different, you see, than the more
common abiotic hydrocarbons, even though they have the exact same chemical
structure. So even though we have the more common abiotic hydrocarbons,
we don't use them because ... uhmm, that just wouldn't be economically prudent.
Fortunately then, we also have these very special hydrocarbons that are
only available here on planet Earth, because ... well, because we're special,
Those special hydrocarbons are, of course, what are commonly
referred to as 'fossil fuels' -- and what Mike Ruppert recently described
as "the oil God placed on this planet." God, being blessed with
perfect foresight, I presume, must have thought to himself: "I'm giving
them a planet awash in hydrocarbons, but I don't know if those hydrocarbons
will be economically viable, so just to be on the safe side - and because
I can, being omnipotent and all - I think I'll also give them some special
hydrocarbons. But only enough to last a century or two. After that, they're
on their own."
* * * * * * * * * *
Before closing, I am wondering if anyone else finds it curious
that the landmark "Origin of Petroleum" conference that was to
be held this past July had to be canceled due to lack of funding, unlike
both the 2003 and 2004 international 'Peak Oil' conferences, which don't
seem to have been hampered by any funding problems. I guess it's easier
to get financial backing when you are only presenting one side of the story
-- and presenting it as absolute fact. And it probably also helps to have
friends with deep pockets, like Halliburton and the Thyssen Group.
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