22 June 2013

EXCLUSIVE: Oil industry, US govt, inflating shale gas reserve estimates fueling unsustainable economic bubble that could crash in five years

My latest Guardian report dissects the US Energy Information Administration's (EIA) latest estimates of global oil supplies, particularly shale gas, based on three little known reports published in the last few months and exclusive interviews with independent, former government, and current government experts. 

Shale gas won't stop peak oil, but could create an economic crisis

Overinflated industry claims could pull the rug out from optimistic growth forecasts within just five years
A new report out last week from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) has doubled estimates of "technically recoverable" oil and gasresources available globally. The report says that shale-based resources potentially increase the world's total oil supplies by 11 per cent.
Acknowledging fault-lines in its new study, contracted to energy consulting firm Advanced Resources International Inc. (ARI), the EIA said:
"These shale oil and shale gas resource estimates are highly uncertain and will remain so until they are extensively tested with production wells."
The report estimates shale resources outside the US by extrapolation based on "the geology and resource recovery rates of similar shale formations in the United States." Hence, the EIA concedes that "the extent to which global technically recoverable shale resources will prove to be economically recoverable is not yet clear."

14 June 2013

EXCLUSIVE: Edward Snowden's employer, NSA Prism contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, ran Pentagon war games on civil unrest due to climate, energy, economic shocks

Photo taken by U.S. Airforce Tech. Sgt. Brian E. Christiansen, North Carolina National Guard at Vigilant Guard training exercise Ft. Richardson, Alaska — April 2010

As questions are being asked about the NSA's global surveillance programmes exposed by whistleblower and former CIA IT analyst Edward Snowden, new evidence has emerged that the NSA's Prism and other domestic spying operations are linked to decades of Pentagon planning for the eruption of domestic dissent against government authority triggered by a range of potential environmental, energy or economic disasters.

In my exclusive article for the Guardian today, I report on how Snowden's employer, giant US defence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton - where Snowden accessed the NSA's IT systems including the Prism surveillance programme - has for more than a decade run US Army war games on extraordinary emergencies that might afflict the US, both at home and abroad, but particularly at home. Since 2010, these war games have focused increasingly on the potential for massive disruptive shocks in the US homeland, and their potential to galvanise widespread dissent, if not "insurgency" against US authorities.

This revelation fits into a trendline of Pentagon planning over the last decade which has highlighted the danger of extraordinary emergencies which might provoke political dissent and civil unrest - as well as an escalating targeting of peaceful protest groups and environmental activists by the intelligence community on behalf of corporate interests.

Booz Allen Hamilton's involvement in both administering the NSA domestic spying operations against US citizens as well running the Pentagon's Unified Quest programme of war games designed to help US military leaders "envision the future" - consisting of heightened complex threats to domestic order - raises urgent questions about the unconstitutional shift toward the militarisation of the US state.

This also, of course, provides hard evidence that the NSA surveillance programmes are less about terrorism, than they are about tracking and pre-empting, to quote one US Army document, the rise of "anti-government ideologies." The chorus of punditry that has attempted to defend the surveillance programmes ignores such evidence.

Please help counter such disinformation by spreading the word on this exclusive.


Also in 2010, the Pentagon ran war games to explore the implications of "large scale economic breakdown" in the US impacting on food supplies and other essential services, as well as how to maintain "domestic order amid civil unrest."
Speaking about the group's conclusions at giant US defence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton's conference facility in Virginia, Lt Col. Mark Elfendahl - then chief of the Joint and Army Concepts Division - highlighted homeland operations as a way to legitimise the US military budget:
"An increased focus on domestic activities might be a way of justifying whatever Army force structure the country can still afford."
Two months earlier, Elfendahl explained in a DoD roundtable that future planning was needed:
"Because technology is changing so rapidly, because there's so much uncertainty in the world, both economically and politically, and because the threats are so adaptive and networked, because they live within the populations in many cases."
The 2010 exercises were part of the US Army's annual Unified Questprogramme which more recently, based on expert input from across the Pentagon, has explored the prospect that "ecological disasters and a weak economy" (as the "recovery won't take root until 2020") will fuel migration to urban areas, ramping up social tensions in the US homeland as well as within and between "resource-starved nations."
NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was a computer systems administrator for Booz Allen Hamilton, where he directly handled the NSA's IT systems, including the Prism surveillance system. According toBooz Allen's 2011 Annual Report, the corporation has overseen Unified Quest "for more than a decade" to help "military and civilian leaders envision the future."
The latest war games, the report reveals, focused on "detailed, realistic scenarios with hypothetical 'roads to crisis'", including "homeland operations" resulting from "a high-magnitude natural disaster" among other scenarios, in the context of:
"... converging global trends [which] may change the current security landscape and future operating environment... At the end of the two-day event, senior leaders were better prepared to understand new required capabilities and force design requirements to make homeland operations more effective."

Read the full article at the Guardian here.

7 June 2013

Peak Soil: Industrial Civilisation is on the Verge of Eating Itself

To celebrate the official launch today of the Guardian's new team of environment bloggers, here's my latest post on why the party's well and truly over. I report on the latest research, much emerging in just the last week - across issues encompassing land, oil, bees and climate change - which points to an impending global food apocalypse well within the next 10 years, if we don't, as a civilisation, change course now.

It's an important piece which draws together quite a bit of solid science, so... if you're human, and eat food, you need to read this, and share it.

Thank you!

Peak soil: industrial civilisation is on the verge of eating itself

New research on land, oil, bees and climate change points to imminent global food crisis without urgent action
A new report says that the world will need to more than double foodproduction over the next 40 years to feed an expanding global population. But as the world's food needs are rapidly increasing, the planet's capacity to produce food confronts increasing constraints from overlapping crises that, if left unchecked, could lead to billions facing hunger.

Read the rest here.

Guardian officially launches new international team of environment bloggers - and I'm one of them

Today, the Guardian officially launched its new international team of environment bloggers - including yours truly. Hooray!

Editor of the Guardian Environment online, Adam Vaughan, announced the launch with a post titled 'Meet the world's best new environment bloggers' featured on the Guardian's front page.

I'm of course really chuffed to be part of such a cracking team - made up of leading journalists reporting from the cutting edge of environmental shenanigans from every continent. And of course, somewhat flattered to be declared by the Guardian to be among the "world's best new environment bloggers." Awww shucks.

While other mainstream news outlets like the New York Times are busy slashing their environment desks, it's pretty cool that the Guardian is leading the pack, quite uniquely, in aggressively expanding their digital environmental journalism. 

So it really is important for you to support this initiative by reading and sharing our work! You can follow the Guardian's new environment blog team via this twitter list here, as well as by keeping an eye on the Guardian's new environment blog network homepage here

Thanks for all your support.

5 June 2013

Shock UK Ministry of Defence report warns of energy, environmental crises to destabilise UK: "imminent peak oil", food, water shortages, and "sustained recession" through to 2040 will create "internal unrest" from UK to China

For my latest Guardian post, I unearthed a shocking UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) report published to a completely media blackout in January this year, warning of a whole range of global crisis impacts that the government formally and officially denies.

Here you go:

Rising energy prices will challenge western way of life – MoD report

South-east Asian economies' growing demand for energy and resources could lead to long periods of recession in the UK
A little-known Ministry of Defence (MoD) report published earlier this year warns that converging global trends will dramatically affect UK economic prosperity through to 2040.
The report says that depletion of cheap conventional "easy oil", along with shortages of food and water due to climate change and population growth, will sustain rocketing energy prices. Long-term price spikes are likely to lead to a long recession in Western economies, fuelling internal unrest and the rise of nationalist movements.
The report departs significantly from the conservative and relatively optimistic scenarios officially adopted by the British government, as exemplified in the coalition's new Energy Security Strategy published in November last year by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc).

1 June 2013

MI5 Woolwich Failure Due to Geopolitical Alliance with Islamist Extremists: banned group Al Muhajiroun fostered by govt strategy to support al-Qaeda abroad to feed oil addiction

My extended, 2,000 word, feature on the counterproductive British geostrategy over the last decade which has bound us with al-Qaeda affiliated terrorists, from the Balkans to Syria, and beyond....

Published in Asia Times

UPDATE - also published on OpenDemocracy

The brutal murder of an off-duty British soldier in broad daylight in the southeast London district of Woolwich raises new questions about the government's national security strategy, at home and abroad. Officials have highlighted the danger of 'self-radicalising' cells inspired by internet extremism, but this ignores overwhelming evidence that major UK terror plots have been incubated by the banned al-Qaeda linked group formerly known as Al Muhajiroun.

Equally, it is no surprise that the attackers surfaced on MI5's radar. While Al Muhajiroun's emir, Syrian cleric Omar Bakri Mohammed - currently self-exiled to Tripoli in northern Lebanon - has previously claimed "public immunity" due to murky connections with British intelligence, compelling evidence suggests such connections might still be operational in the context of foreign policy imperatives linked to oil and gas interests.

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