Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Dec 23, 2008 -- About a year and a half ago a landmark conference was held at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. which -- for the first time -- linked the obviously related crises of climate change and Peak Oil. I was one who celebrated that belated bridge as I boarded a train from Manhattan to DC with my right thumb aching from six externally fixated pins holding shattered bones in place, my arm in a sling. (The thumb works fine now.) While the conference was a great milestone it was, in my opinion, a checkpoint that should have been passed much earlier. At the time I was convinced that the milestone was a bit like the French army in 1939 which was perfectly prepared to fight the First World War. Already the clear cracks were emerging that signalled the start of economic collapse. As I had said in my speech at NY's Cooper Union in May of 2006, there was a clear possibility, even a likelihood, that economic collapse would trump everything... and indeed it has. Throughout 2005 and 2006 I warned as
loudly as I could that all eyes needed to be first on the economy. Peak Oil would remain the ultimate cause of collapse but the first blows striking at the legs of a three-legged stool would be economic ones, rendering effective response to address the other two legs, extremely difficult and possibly impossible.

In my last public interview in early July of 2006, just weeks before I left for Venezuela, I made clear statement that I thought the economy would get us first and that it might be a death blow. This is almost certainly the best interview -- out of maybe 200 TV, film, radio and print interviews I have ever given. It was certainly the most comfortable and relaxed, even though FTW's office computers had been smashed just a week before. I spoke as clearly and unguardedly as I ever have. A great deal of credit went to my comfort with the interviewer, Janaia Donaldson, and the fact that Megan Quinn (now Megan Quinn Bachman) of Community Solutions was sitting just a few feet away. I had flown her into Ashland for a presentation on
sustainability at Southern Oregon University that day.

I just watched this 27-minute interview on YouTube again and it was so compelling in terms of recent events that I thought I'd recommend it.

It is now abundantly clear that the economic collapse is a global one and occurring much faster than almost anyone anticipated. There just isn't going to be any one region that escapes.


More pieces of the landscape are emerging with respect to piracy. It's not possible yet to say that I have the full landscape but I am very concerned. One of the alternative futures that all of us in the Peak Oil movement saw was that economic and social tensions arising for the effects of Peak (the loss of cheap energy) would result in nuclear war. It's not a stretch to say that a nuclear exchange would render issues of climate change and Peak Oil moot. Recent development vis a
vis piracy have my antenna extended to the max. I cannot draw any conclusions yet but there are clear grounds for worry and to keep our eyes fixed on the Gulf of Aden.

It was just announced that Iran is also sending warships to the Gulf. Apparently an Iranian ship has been seized also. (It's very helpful to look at a map while analyzing this.) That makes the U.S., Russia, India, China and Iran (along with NATO countries) heavily deployed in a relatively small body of water which lies just outside the Straits of Hormuz (Iranian and international waters) through which about 30% of the world's oil passes. Now if you go back and look at this blog's main page you see the quote that if there's a gun on the table in Act One of a play it's a sure bet that someone's going to get shot. Either the involved powers have agreements for safe operations in these waters or they don't. If they have an agreement we do not know either how solid or shaky it may be. I do strongly see that a rapprochement of sorts is already underway between the U.S. and Iran but have no idea how solid it is. Like George W. Bush, Ahmadinejad is on his way out. His tenure was guaranteed by having the enemy of Bush to rally his domestic base. For years I have been (correctly) saying that there was never going to be either a U.S. or Iranian attack on Iran. And, in another one of those far-forward looking pieces, I predicted a
rapprochement between the two countries. Here's the link:

I'm no Polyanna on this. We have no idea what kinds of communications exist between the major powers. I would like to think that concentrating this much naval power in a relatively small and totally strategic body of water can be done without incident. But as the economic collapse continues, desperation will increase in like measure. So, the nightmare scenario is that with all those tankers and all those warships in a small body of water, it might be only a matter of time...


I've written so much about Saudi Arabia. I recommend all of FTW's older writing on the subject but especially this one called "Saudi Arabia: The Sarajevo of the 21st Century:
Of course you should go to "Rubicon"

In an historical context I think back to the fact that the U.S. engineered and forced the collapse of the USSR by absolutely destroying oil prices in the mid and late 1980s. Oil was the main staple for Soviet forex revenue and as the oil price collapsed (OPEC magically increased reserves with a pencil and eraser, allowing glut-production under its quotas), the Soviet Union was doomed. Without forex cash the Soviets could not compete with a massive U.S. arms buildup and military expansion. Well it looks like the same thing is happening to Saudi Arabia (whether by intent or as an unforeseen consequence). The Saudi monarchy is hopelessly corrupt. There are more princes on the dole there than raisins in a box of raisin bran. For several years I reported on how the financial corruption was so severe that, even as oil prices climbed rapidly between 2001 and 2006, the Saudi government was borrowing money to keep its social welfare programs afloat while the toyals skimmed everything else off the top.

Those social welfare programs were essential because between that carrot and the stick of a Saudi police state the undereducated, largely unemployed masses, almost all influenced by Wahabi extremism, were kep under control. Now that the price of oil has collapsed it's one of those Wile E. Coyote off-the-cliff moments. After the recent 2 mbpd OPEC production cut oil prices are still plummeting and OPEC is begging Russia to cut production as well to stabilize and raise oil prices. I think it's likely that Russian will cut production because they too are experiencing sharp declines as they pass their second peak. (The first was engineered by the collapse of the USSR and was "artificial".) This Russian peak is geologic. So is Saudi Arabia's which is standing in the middle of the town square, stark naked, just waiting for someone to "see" it and gasp.

Then just yesterday I clipped a story (thanks Rice Farmer) the said that the Saudi government will have a budget deficit in 2009.

Now I seriously doubt that all those corrupt Saudi princes have stopped their insatiable looting. As dinosaurs in the old paradigm they have the same exposure and liquidity positions as all the other dinosaurs. Consequently I am anticipating some serious upheavals throughout the Kingdom next year. We took great pains at FTW to document how the U.S. and much of the region had positioned itself starting back in 2002 to deal with an ultimately inevitable Saudi
collapse. The answer: when in doubt, Balkanize!

If this scenario is correct then my best case would be that key players might be positioning themselves to respond to such an event with some kind of coordination. Iran, by virtue of its location and critical importance would -- of necessity -- be an essential player. Saudi Arabia's life expectancy as a unified kingdom is now less than three years IMO. The instability which might follow that would be life-threatening for all of us. That threat would magnify if Pakistani warships, also close by, decided to express a vital national interests in the Gulf of Aden.

Again, these are only working hypotheses at the moment. But they are very worrisome. While I am seeing grounds for some optimism with apparent US/Sino/Russian naval cooperation in the area, Iran must be involved. But I keep going back to my analogy of a bunch of wet cats being tied in a burlap sack.


JO adds:

Lugar Urges Quick Action in 2009 on US-Russian Nukes
US Wants Details of Russian Purchase of Israeli Made Drones
Oligarchs Seek $78 Billion as Credit Seizure Empowers Putin
US Sets Up Diplomatic Mission in Crimea
Protests in Russia

“The authorities are like a person who has been diagnosed with cancer who refuses to believe that it’s terminal,” said Yevgeny Kiselyov, a political analyst who was ousted as director general of NTV during Putin’s presidency. [FTW Admin adds: See December 13 entry for this blog.] “Russian leaders and the media have tried to convince the public that there is no crisis at all.”

On Dec. 12, a bill was submitted proposing to expand the definition of treason to “a deed aimed against the security of the Russian Federation, including her constitutional order, sovereignty, territorial and state integrity.”

Kiselyov said these moves reminded him of 1937, the start of Josef Stalin’s Great Purge, when any public criticism of the authorities could be interpreted as high treason.

Forward Thinking on Backwardation
Article on the recent unprecedented backwardation in the gold market signifying, according to the author, drastic reductions in availability.

By the renegade (let's have a moratorium on the word 'maverick') Professor Antal Fekete.

In this article I want to enumerate the reasons why I believe that permanent backwardation in gold would bring about the descent of our civilization into lawlessness similar to that following the collapse of the Western Roman Empire.

Death of Pollster Mike McConnell
Reported in mainstream media, finally, albeit in the UK.
Neo-Mercantilism and the Politics of Economic Integration
US Trade Rep Supported NAFTA Freeway
Limits To Growth and Greenwashing


v said...

Dear Mike & Jo,

I want to thank you for your posts and comments you shared with us this past year.
Good you are back to inform us with your words of wisdom.
Hope all goes well with your new book and many people will buy and read it.

Wish you a Merry Christmas and lot's of love, health and happiness for 2009!!


Mike said...

I have a somewhat off-topic question for anyone who may know more or have thought more than me about this:

I was recently listening to an audio adaptation of Torturing Democracy, documenting America's seemingly increasing policy of torturing its prisoners, many of whom have since been released back into their respective home countries without charge. These policies are coming from the highest level of government.

In light of the Globalcorp post from FTW and TPTB preparing for the current endgame, does it seem like these policies of torture are simply the product of extreme amounts of power gone mad, or could these policies be an intentional effort to seed hatred and mistrust throughout the world to aid in whatever conflict/die-off scenarios are being envisioned, as cooperation is the enemy of the current power structure?

malware said...

Fabulous analysis .... Wish you a merry christmas and a happy new year...

wxdude714 said...

Thank for the article on Ron Kirk! I had an idea that he could help motivate any legal hurdles to get the NAFTA superhighway in place quickly. My intution was the same as Sarah Palin and oil, Kirk and Texas, he knows Texas politics and once the NAFTA highway comes through Texas it will be too late to stop it's completion. I think this is the signal that the TPTB are expecting the Chinese Govt to fall. Happy Holidays!

FTW admin said...

agape wins said:

Marry Christmas,
Or whatever Old year/NEW DAWN celebration you respect!
It's not about a baby or a pagan celebration, to and through the
Chinese New Year, but the renewing
that each of us looks for!
At this time, within TIME, we look at/to those around us, reflect on those we have lost, or left behind, favorably, that is what giving is about.
We all are in a better position to advance into the Future, because of whatever brought us together, & brings us back.
We have supported, consoled, advised, & Enlightened one another, becoming stronger, each one of us and the Community we make up!

We have our Differences, have disagreed, been distracted, come to verbal blows,some have refused to stay active, for what they see as slights, or censorship.
Some have been banned, may they learn to behave more civilly, as they did have some positive input, & would be welcomed back.

Here are some links to look up, read slowly, and Think!
May the Future be bright!




I own a retail store, & received this advice, mostly self Interest, & Greed:

Ten Thing Retailers Can Do Now

By Rick Ferrell


FTW admin said...

guys PLEASE put LINKS instead of copying whole articles.

EOMONROE said...

anyone know of good sites to get saudi news, from the middle east maybe, or saudi dissident bloggers?


AndyA said...

Dear Mike & JO:

Back in 2002, it cost my career to question the partners of the CPA firm that I worked for regarding some extraordinary amount of undocumented investments and profits of two major clients. The partners have done everything possible to make sure I can’t work in the public accounting field for the rest of my life. Not only income was lost, but also health insurance, I put my family in hard water.

Mike, you are a real man. What I have done is nothing compared with what you have been doing for us. But I have learned to shut up because the price for speaking up is just too high for me. I feel like a little man with no balls. Thank you for everything, from the bottom of my heart.

sunrnr said...

"U.S. Military Preparing for Domestic Disturbances"


It's a shame that all the energy and resources being put into planning the take down of the economy and the world as we know it isn't being put towards survival of the human species and the plant we're all living on.

Don't The Elite and TPTB realize that ultimately they'll share the same fate as the rest of us pawns?

From the same article above - "Gen. Tommy Franks, who led the U.S. military operations to liberate Iraq, said in a 2003 interview that if the U.S. is attacked with a weapon of mass destruction, the Constitution will likely be discarded in favor of a military form of government."

I think the answer to Mike's question about releasing hatred and mistrust with the tortured "non combatants" is part of the plan to "seed hatred and mistrust" so someone can be blamed for whatever happens.

Just great, eh? They must fear us enough that they have to resort to all this subterfuge and not just overthrow the government and be done with it.

I still feel like I'm living in a John Clancy novel ...


DarkNetz said...

In reference to an earlier post by me, regarding the need for this community to use a new system to continue the great dialogue...

I think we can all agree that the Blogger software is not really adequate for this community; it's too simple.

I propose that MCR consider the creation of a new site, something like "FTW 2.0" (Social Version) where we can all participate in discussions.

I took the task of researching the best cms (content management systems) for this community to migrate to if they wish to do so. I found that the best combination is with Drupal+SMF for it simplicity and extended functionality.

The Drupal system will be like the portal to the site while the SMF system will take care of the Forums.

A back-end administrative demonstration of the Drupal system can be seen here

using the following credentials...
login: admin
password: demo

A front-end (what the visitors and guests will see) demonstration of the SMF system is here.

While the back-end administrative section is here

using these credentials...
login: admin
password: demo

An example of the integration of both systems is available here:

FTW admin said...

from Mark Robinowitz

re: wxdude714 comments on the NAFTA highways.

One of the great myths about the NAFTA superhighway is that it is a single project through Texas to Mexico (just one route). In reality the NAFTA highways are a network of many north-south highway upgrades from coast to coast, with upgraded and new east-west connectors between them. Some ultra right wingers who deny Peak Oil, promote Swift Boats and run anti-environment internet radio shows pretend that a new highway through Texas to Mexico, but the plan is considerably
bigger than a particular new highway. One example: Virginia and Tennessee are planning a parallel truck only highway next to I-81, a major east coast route, that would be a NAFTA highway type project, but the xenophobes ignore it because it wouldn't go all the way to the international border. Moral of the story: those who are aggressively anti-environmental or help Bush's re-election through Swift Boats are not accurate sources about the NAFTA superhighway issues.

The best information I've seen about NAFTA and related topics are through the experts associated with the International Forum on Globalization (which sponsored the Sept 2007 conference Mike referenced in the posting). Their website is www.ifg.org In Canada, the Council of Canadians is probably the best source - www.canadians.org
- on "deep integration." Canadians.org has material en francais, aussi. Sorry I don't know who would be a good source in Mexico (I don't speak Spanish).

There's not really a great source on the NAFTA Superhighway projects, "Road Scholar" is my modest effort but in no way is it comprehensive. Sadly, the environmental groups are too controlled by association with
the Democratic Party and foundation grants to really make a stink about highway expansions beyond complaining about a particular project or two, few of them are interested in the national expansion plans for
the interstate system (since those plans have bipartisan support).
The effort to find the truth is a two front war between he "limited
hang outs" of the Democratic Party front groups (most of the
environmental movement) and the disinformation promoters (who expose some truths but in ways that most people find discrediting). The Nation magazine has run a story claiming there's nothing to the NAFTA
Superhighway stories, and there are xenophobes wanting to get people opposed to it on thinly veiled racist reasons.

Note: the "Peak Traffic" article at

was first published at From the Wilderness.

Peak Traffic: the Achilles Heel of highway expansion plans
Planning NAFTA Superhighways at the End of the Age of Oil
Troubled Bridges Over Water: time for transportation triage

sambahdi said...

Just want to post this:

The G-20’s Secret Debt Solution
by Larry Edelson 11-13-08


I think it's been mention here before but just in case.

In terms of creating an Amero and the UK joining the EU, if the economies are going broke then there might be less opposition from the people.

A bit like creating a cause to go to war.

Looking forward to the book Mike.

Merry Christmas to you and Jenna.

FTW admin said...

eyeballs writes:

New pic for energy sec looks positive...

What about other energy sources? Big Coal won’t be very happy if Dr. Chu gets confirmed as head of the DOE—he’s really, really not a big fan. “Coal is my worst nightmare,” he said repeatedly in a speech earlier this year outlining his lab’s alternative-energy approaches.

If coal is to stay part of the world’s energy mix, he says, clean-coal technologies must be developed. But he’s not very optimistic: “It’s not guaranteed we have a solution for coal,” he concluded, given the sheer scope of the challenge of economically storing billions of tons of carbon dioxide emissions underground.

Worried about radioactivity? Coal’s still your bogeyman. Dr. Chu says a typical coal plant emits 100 times more radiation than a nuclear plant, given the flyash emissions of radioactive particles.

That doesn’t mean nuclear power is much better. “The waste and proliferation issues [surrounding nuclear power] still haven’t been completely solved,” he said. A big part of the Department of Energy’s job is to oversee nuclear weapons and waste storage. And the Obama campaign made clear that increased reliance on nuclear power will require finding a “safe” way to dispose of radioactive waste.

Also please look for a forward from me. It's a cartoon by a friend of mine and he would love for others to see it. Check with him first, of course.

And finally, here's Rickover for Mark's Rickover (very good radiation article - double the previous background??? - but I've never heard of Thorium reactors):

On May 14, 1957, Admiral Hyman Rickover gave a speech to the Minnesota State Medical Association called "Energy Resources and our Future."

which was linked to on

(a valuable site).

John said...

Japan Should Scrap U.S. Debt; Dollar May Plummet, Mikuni Says

By Stanley White and Shigeki Nozawa


"..."Japan’s economic model has been dependent on external demand since the Meiji Period” that began in 1868, Mikuni said. “The model where the U.S. relies on overseas borrowing to fuel its property market is over. A strong yen will spur Japanese domestic spending and reduce import prices, thereby increasing purchasing power.”

F.Kamilov said...

As to what is going on in Russia: Russia is readying herself for the coming disaster of capitalism - to play a new, and leading world role in it, and to seize the golden chance to defeat and destroy the inimical and greed-ridden Anglo-American imperialist forces and their allies that have wrought disorder and chaos in the world, and have now brought it to the brink of destruction. Out of this will come a new, fairer and yes - a modern, industrial and technological order. So there is hope. People from "democratic" societies like yours (the West and US) may be reviled by and be shocked at Putin's "dictatorial" measures, but these are perfectly normal, especially in crisis situations, and it is actually the expectations of liberal democracy that are unreal and exaggerated - being built as they are on a surfeit of resources, most of which are plundered. I agree with Michael Ruppert that the world population HAS to be reduced to 2 billion, and all these must consist of developed and civilised people. I don't wish to comment any further on this issue and the methods whereby such population reductions can be achieved. Such things are easily apparent to realistic people with even a modicum of common sense, bereft of course, of diseased political correctness and sentimental liberalism. I leave it open to the reader to decide what I mean. While saying this I also frown upon the different strains current in Western socio-political outlooks such as the vast assortment of bohemians calling themselves "greens", who mainly expect us to return to jungle "Indians" style living or advocate tribal "approaches". I am not at all against nature; I have a sizeable country retreat of my own. But to see just how damned and inhuman tribalism is, I suggest people visit the Pashtun tribal areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan - the largest such tribal agglomeration on earth, and see how they live...

duma said...

Dear Mike, Jenna and FTW Team,

I have followed your writing on and off for a few years now. I'm not much of a writer so I feel my words won't begin to do justice to how deeply I respect your courage and your tenacity. The fact that all this insanity "got to you" for a while (my interpretation) only serves to increase my respect, for what feeling person could stare into the void for so long without that utter blackness being as blinding as the sun.

If I had the money, I would pay to have cast a set of brass ones as big as your own Mike and I'd send them to you as a small token of my esteem. Unfortunately, the Fed would have to double the money supply (again) just to cover the shipping costs and you'd have to take the roof off your house just to get them inside.

To Jenna and to all the other writers and researchers who have helped you over the years and who continue to do so - the same goes. Mike is always the first to say that it is a team effort and you guys are our voices of sanity in an insane world. I cannot begin to tell you how much your investigation and writing means to me. Well actually I can, it means my sanity to me. You prove to your readers that we are not crazy. We (yes, like Neo in the Matrix) who have long sensed that things are not what they seem but who could never have connected the dots without you and who would be wandering ITW if not for you. You are our beloved Red Pill.

What more can I say besides "Thank You!" and please keep speaking to us. You are the true American Heroes.

With the greatest respect and deepest affection.

Yours truly,


FTW admin said...

thank you martin "duma"!!

sambahdi said...

Pennys are starting to drop.

CNN-Lou Dobbs- Obama Backing North American Union Agenda


Jeff said...

What timing,this is big news on the piracy front.

francis said...

A question - I read and enjoy your blog very much - I have been aprticuarly mindful of your comments about the collapse of the dollar and more recently the fact that the dollar may be dumped..I have not seen any mention of the so-called AMERO which first reared its head in 1999. Is this a planned demolition of the dollar to give way to the North American Union?

individual said...

I don't agree with you all on most of what you say but you might be interested in this.

Apparently Al Gore is a peak oiler

From his Huffington Post blog at

"Moreover, as the demand for oil worldwide grows rapidly over the longer term, even as the rate of new discoveries is falling, it is increasingly obvious that the roller coaster is headed for a crash. And we're in the front car."