The Bug That Ate Our Civil Liberties : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Will Y2K be remembered as the bug that ate our civil liberties?

Petro Gate 2000:The Truth Untold

Can you keep a secret? The petro chemical industry can that's for sure. During the last two years special interests rammed legislation through the Congress allowing the industry to keep the details of its Y2K preparations under wraps and to prevent us from knowing the truth about all those chemical plants that are located within 5 miles of 85 million Americans.

What we don't know can hurt us. Many of the plants contain toxic substances similar to the lethal poisons that killed thousands as they slept in Bhopal, India over a decade ago. But the new law, Public Law 106-40 makes it harder than ever for journalists and researchers to reveal the details of what can actually happen if an accident occurred in any of the most lethal among the 66,000 or so such plants in America.

The oil companies must love secrets though. Just a year earlier, their Christmas came early when Congress gave them The Year 2000 Readiness Information Disclosure Act which prevents government agencies and others from disclosing the facts about their Y2K remediation plans.

Oh, did you think Y2K was a big non event? Think again. According to CNNfn, Internet "glitch tracking" sites like "Bugbite 2000" and "Glitch Central" have had their virtual hands full trying to keep up with the hundreds of acknowledged Y2K problems that have been wreaking havoc on business since the start of the New Year.

Still, they say you can't fight City Hall but with the ever rising price of heating oil, diesel fuel, and gasoline, many American's are wondering aloud exactly what they can do. Since the beginning of January, consumers have watched helplessly as the price for many refinery products has reached prices not seen in this country since the Gulf War.

The signs of trouble are everywhere. Truckers report of fuel shortage so severe that many operators have already experienced waiting times in fuel lines of over 8 hours. Many long distance drivers converged on the Nation's Capital last month to protest the increasingly intolerable shortages. In case that's not bad enough, home owners in the Northeast are hard pressed to find home heating oil in the face of severe winter weather and the U.S. Department of Energy is now warning that the end may be nowhere in sight.

The good news? At least one man is trying to make a difference. According to Jim Bell of San Diego, an advocate of sustainable growth, and founder of the twenty two year old Ecological Life Systems Institute (ELSI);

"A crisis has come upon the people of our nation. The skyrocketing price of home heating oil and other petroleum byproducts is threatening the health and financial well being of millions."

No doubt about it. Published reports from the private sector news services document record setting prices, shortages, ongoing accidents and outages this year throughout the nation's refineries at a time when many Americans are most in need of their products. Among last month's published headlines:

"Gasoline down over 430,000 bbls and heating oil off just over 1 million bbls"

"Surprising 2.9-million bbl gasoline decline, decline in supplies, at a time when the industry was expecting a build"

"Average nationwide street values surpassing $1.40 gal for the first time ever"

"Refinery problems reducing supply"

"Exxon has taken down an FCC"

"Truckers Converge on D.C. To Protest Fuel Prices"

"Huge Oil Price Increases Imminent for Truckers, Airlines, and Homeowners"

"Clark had a problem at its Port Arthur refinery"

"Crude oil prices hit 9-year high"

"Refinery unit shut down after it developed 'control problems' "

"Clinton Worried on Heating Oil Costs"


"Maintenance or other problems at midwestern refineries"


"World oil stocks reaching extremely low levels"


"East Coast stocks of distillate at 32-million bbl, some 34-million bbl below last year"

"Industry will see uncomfortably tight stocks of fuel well into the future.

recent 'cracks' of $30-$40 bbl"




"Lines lasting up to eight hours for loading"


This most recent oil crisis is of course but the latest in a series of oil shocks afflicting the country since the oil embargo of the seventies. At that time, America made a commitment to work towards energy self sufficiency, to explore alternative fuels and develop renewable resources. In an open letter to President Clinton calling for swift Federal intervention to get to the bottom of the industry's latest woes, Mr. Bell adds,

"America made a commitment to work towards energy self sufficiency, to explore alternative fuels and develop renewable resources. Today however, millions are again in crisis in large part because we have fallen short in achieving those goals."

The problem is real and unmistakable. Statistics available from the U.S. Energy Information Service show that capacity utilization at our nation's refineries is down markedly from the similar period a year ago.

The specific source of the current crisis is said to be the rising price of crude oil. This development is said to have its roots in the decision last year by the oil producing nations to cut production in the hope of raising profits. Domestic petroleum stocks were low as we entered the winter, and refineries were faced with low profit margins and little incentive to increase the supply of end products for consumers.

Efforts to mitigate the crisis through the use available petroleum stocks were stalled by a seeming endless stream of unplanned refinery outages and breakdowns. A bad situation was made worse by the untimely mishaps which, according to some reports, seem to be occurring at a rising rate of frequency. Speculative commodities trading rose and fell with reports of each incident but rarely was a full accounting ever offered for the underlying cause of the outages.

Although accidents involving hazardous materials or injuries must be reported by law, no fully adequate public database exists to evaluate the significance of the refinery problems and their relationship to the overall problem facing those who rely on the dependability of the infrastructure. In fact, efforts to determine the reliability and safety of the petroleum industry's aging and complex infrastructure are hampered by a reluctance to report incidents that might otherwise escape public detection. However, the problems seem to be increasing at an accelerated rate since the New Year.

ELSI is not alone in voicing concerns. Prominent national leaders including Governor Pataki of New York, Senator Dodd from Connecticut and others, have been calling for Federal action to diffuse the crisis and to determine its cause. But Mr. Bell underscores the issues,

7 How reliable is our petro chemical infrastructure and how much confidence should the public invest in it? 7 What are the causes for the reason spate of unplanned refinery outages affecting the price and delivery of critical fuel supplies to homes and business? 7 What can be done to assure compliance by the petro chemical industry with existing laws for reporting accidents and making that data available freely to the public? 7 What can be done to lessen our dependence on imported oil and increase our use of renewable alternatives in our most vulnerable areas of need?

Bell adds, "The time has come for answers, Mr. President." Bell's organization, ELSI, is mounting a grassroots signature drive from their website at demanding that the President address these concerns to the appropriate agency of government.Will the industry and its supporters love of a good secret derail Bell's efforts?

Hard to say. However, a determined hacker defaced the ELSI petition page last Friday,February 25,tying it up and denying service to disgruntled petitioners for over three hours before ELSI finally was forced to pull the plug on the unrelenting intruder.The petition process was disrupted for nearly a day. Many frustrated visitors wondered what was behind the attack and whether it might be an effort to cover up for the effects of Y2K. Has the voracious bug found a new way to take still another bite out of America's civil liberties?

for more info contact: Stuart H. Rodman

-- Stuart H. Rodman (, March 02, 2000


I agree with you completely. When push comes to shove, there will be millions of shocked (make that horrified) citizens in this country who had no idea that our liberties were being drained away. Our government has literally been bleeding us of our democratic rights in preparation for our transition to One World Socialism. Unfortunately, there are many other rights that we have lost in the name of Y2K. Much legislation has also been written to "protect" those industries partaking in the One World process that are vulnerable to the Y2K and leap year effect. Here is an excerpt from my essay: "The Why in Y2K". It was previously printed here, but, I'd like to refresh all our memories by re-listing the most blantant examples of this phenomenon.


1. To form a Secret Infrastructure Protection Committee, which includes top officials from the government and major US corporations. IMPACT: A secret liaison between government and industry exists which controls the lifeblood industries in our country: banking, media, telecommunications, electricity, gas, water, raw materials, and chemicals

2. To protect banks, power, gas and water companies, telecommunications companies and chemical companies from having to disclose the truth. Terrorists or hackers might take advantage of the vulnerable situation Y2K (was supposed to) put us in. IMPACT: Many industries are now shrouded in secrecy and protected from disclosing the truth about dangers they may pose to our economy, health and environment.

3. To legally discourage an employee in an Infrastructure related Industry and/or the chemical industry to disclose damaging information about that industry. And, to do the same with the media. Everyone was expected to remain silent for national security reasons since Y2K would make us so very vulnerable. IMPACT: Employees in infrastructure related industries and the media are legally discouraged from telling the truth.

4. So the police forces would be heavily armed and trained to prevent major riots during power outages. IMPACT: A much more militant Police Force which, now uses black, riot uniforms, more potent tear gas, rubber bullets, and in some locations, armored vehicles

5. So the military could come to the aid of the police forces (bypasses Posse Comitatus Act) IMPACT: Military can be called in for use against the civilian population when major rioting occurs, or terrorism or drug dealing is suspected.

6. So money could be allocated to refurbish nuclear bunkers in case riots or terrorist attacks required government leaders need someplace to hide. And, to allocate over 50 million dollars for "the main" communications bunker in Washington, DC. (Note: Although it was reported that every major city built or refurbished a bunker, not one cent was spent on protective structures for the public) IMPACT: Members of government will be protected, in case of major rioting, terrorist attack or war

7. So money could be allocated at the State and local level to train emergency personnel from the police departments, fire departments, hospitals, National Guard, Red Cross and other agencies in how to respond to chemical and biological attack. These multi-agency mock attacks were practiced in secret all over the country. Participants were told they could not reveal information about the practices for national security reasons. (Note: no information was disseminated to the general public informing them of what to do in these emergencies) IMPACT: Federal and local agencies are trained for chemical and/or biological attack

8. To allocate huge amounts of money for military expenditures such as a state-of-the-art, military telecommunications system that would bypass current systems should they be taken off line by outages, or terrorists, or war. To provide for a plan where the military, via this system, is directly linked to industries that uphold our infrastructure. IMPACT: The US military could communicate with all units of the National Guard and keep control of infrastructure related industries if the US was under siege either from riots, terrorists attacks or war.

9. To create International teams of specialists that would be ready to descend upon an infrastructure-compromised help them out. IMPACT: Teams of international specialist are ready for deployment to countries under siege either from riots, terrorist attack or war. If the problems arise in the U.S.; foreign teams could come here.

10. To allow hundreds of thousands of immigrants into the United States to help solve the computer code problems. (Note that this initiative was rushed through so fast that it was later disclosed that many immigrants allowed into the US did NOT have background checks) IMPACT: Possible terrorist-connected entries into US. The US becomes more internationalized. More voters for Democrats?

11. To empower FEMA with legislative backing, money and materials enough to oversee the control of the United States in case of black out induced catastrophe. (Note: many people are critical of the secrecy that is prevalent in the FEMA organization) IMPACT: FEMA now has the power to take total control of the United States public infrastructure under emergency conditions including: massive riots, terrorists attack, war or natural disaster)

12. To justify the issuance of an extra $50 billion dollars into the United States monetary system. IMPACT: The stock market was bolstered making the economy appear far more stable then economic fundamentals portray. This added liquidity has, in turn, increased the instability of the markets to a point where a severe crash and recession are more likely than ever.

13. To Justify many more potentially restrictive Executive Orders that would put all of the above in motion. IMPACT: The person holding the position of United States President now has the power to suspend the Constitution, nationalize all industry, confiscate all property, and direct the military WITHOUT input from Congress, simply by declaring a national emergency.

NOTE: During the Y2K preparation scare, Congress was lobbied by concerned citizen groups, to top off the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and to make sure that fuel companies were prepared for the uncertain outcome of the rollover. It is interesting to note that four weeks after the rollover, the United States has the lowest level of petroleum and natural gas reserves in 10 years. Furthermore, petroleum imports were reduced by 26% between 1/01/2000 and 1/31/2000. This reduction is far greater than any cutbacks that may have affected us through OPECs reduced production policy. Some States are calling for President Clinton to declare a State of Emergency. If government and big business REALLY believed Y2K was a threat, why did they reduce rather than increase our oil and gas supplies? Perhaps its time the American people asked, What is going on?

-- meg davis (, March 02, 2000.

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