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Energy Debate/Actions * Terrorist Nuke Shadow * Freedom Updates* LFAS

4 March 2002

1) Declaration of Energy Independence
2) The Senate's Debate on Energy Policy and What You Can Do
3) Terrorists thought to have 10 Kiloton Nuclear Weapon
4) America sets up 'shadow government' at secret locations
5) Lori Berenson Update -- Tuesday Call for her Freedom
6) Free Leonard Peltier Update
7) Whales and sonar -- Under water, no one can hear you scream


1) Declaration of Energy Independence

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.'s letter and action proposal:

Dear Friend,

There is nothing patriotic about handing over our natural heritage to the oil industry. But that's exactly what the White House wants to do in the name of national security.

I'm asking you to join me in opposing the senseless destruction of our environment by going to and signing the Declaration of Energy Independence. The declaration calls on our government to pursue a sustainable energy future that will preserve -- not destroy -- our last, unspoiled wildlands.

We have little time to lose. With the nation's attention focused almost exclusively on the war against terrorism, the Bush administration has moved quietly but aggressively in recent months to open up fragile wildlands to giant energy corporations. In Utah, they were in such a hurry to lease millions of acres of our redrock canyonlands for oil and gas development that they skipped the environmental review that is required by law. My colleagues here at NRDC have already gone to federal court to block this illegal giveaway of redrock country.

But that's only the beginning. The Bush-Cheney energy plan -- hatched in closed-door meetings last year with Enron and other energy giants -- would pave the way for oil and gas companies to despoil an alarming number of our last wild places: the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem, Wyoming's Red Desert, and many, many more.

President Bush says we need the oil to become more energy independent. Don't buy it! Using the tragic events of September 11th as an opportunity to advance the special interests of the oil industry will not enhance America's energy security. Our nation simply doesn't have enough oil to drill our way to self-sufficiency.

If we really want to declare energy independence, then the only answer is to dramatically reduce our appetite for oil. For starters, we could increase the fuel efficiency of our cars and light trucks to 40 miles per gallon. That would save nearly two million barrels of oil a day by the year 2012 -- more than all the oil we imported last year from Saudi Arabia.

The Declaration of Energy Independence sets forth plenty of other ways to slash our dependence on oil. It proves that fighting terrorism does NOT require the destruction of our own natural heritage.

Please do your part by visiting and signing the Declaration of Energy Independence. It will take you less than a minute. Then please forward this message to your family and friends. If millions of us sign the declaration, then the White House and Congress will be unable to ignore its message.

And thank you for helping to save America's last wild places.

Sincerely yours,

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
Senior Attorney
Natural Resources Defense Council


Energy and National Security FAQ

1. How is our country's energy policy related to national security?

The United States consumes 25 percent of all the oil produced in the world, yet we control just 3 percent of the world's oil reserves. As a result of this imbalance, we've become heavily reliant on foreign oil, much of which comes from the conflict-ridden Middle East. In1974, our country imported one million barrels a day from the Persian Gulf; today, that figure tops 2.5 million. This dependence means our economy is highly vulnerable to wild swings in the price and supply of oil -- a fact that's become all the more unsettling since the Sept. 11th terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.

2. How can we make our nation less vulnerable?

By reducing our dependence on oil from all sources -- foreign and domestic. This is not only the fastest, cleanest and cheapest path to energy security, it's also the best way of keeping our planet healthy.

Figuring out how to do this isn't difficult. We already know that transportation accounts for two-thirds of all the oil we consume, so changing the way America travels can dramatically curb our use of oil. A first step should be improving the fuel efficiency of American-made cars, trucks and SUVs. Passenger cars today get only 24 miles to the gallon on average -- the lowest level since 1980 -- and nearly every model on the market today could easily and inexpensively be reengineered to get more miles from less fuel. The second should be speeding up the development of cleaner, more efficient fuels and cars for the future. Two promising technologies, ethanol made from crop wastes and hydrogen fuel cells, are already within reach.

3. But aren't these fuel-efficient technologies still years away?

In some cases. Cars powered by fuel cells, for example, probably won't reach the mass market for another decade or two. (Fuel cells run on hydrogen, which is considered the ultimate "green" energy source -- its only byproduct is water.) But if we don't fund this research now, and set goals for producing these cars, they're likely to remain the next-generation novelties they are today.

Other advances, such as a new way of making ethanol, are ready to be tested on a commercial scale. This process draws on farm waste, such as corn stalks and rice hulls, to produce ethanol, while using far less energy than the current method.

Still other energy-saving technologies are available now. Automakers have all the tools they need to boost the average gas mileage of new passenger vehicles to 40 mpg. And by increasing their production of gas-electric hybrid vehicles, they could raise the overall fuel efficiency for new vehicles to 55 mpg by 2020. But so far, Congress has failed to pass laws requiring higher gas mileage standards, giving Detroit little incentive to make the investment needed to retool their factories.

4. Will higher gas mileage standards really save that much oil?

Yes. By raising the average gas mileage of all new cars, including SUVs, to 40 mpg, our country would save more than 50 billion barrels of oil over the next 50 years. By the year 2020, this would mean a savings of more than 3 million barrels every day -- which is more than the amount of oil we now import from the Persian Gulf.

For car owners, this would translate to a savings of $3,000 to $5,000 in gas over the life of their vehicles, more than offsetting slight increases in the price of fuel-efficient cars.

5. In the short term, why shouldn't we also start drilling for oil in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and other wilderness areas that might hold oil?

Because drilling in these areas won't solve our energy problems or make our country more secure. There's no way the United States can drill its way to energy independence -- we simply don't have enough oil. While it makes sense for oil companies to increase production in existing oil fields, the real solution to our problems is to reduce our use of oil, not to destroy our last remaining wild lands in search of new places to drill.

Nowhere is this more clear than in the debate over the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, a rugged landscape of glaciers and rivers that teems with wildlife, including polar bears, Arctic wolves and caribou. After Sept. 11th, 2001, some members of Congress cited national security as a reason to begin drilling in the refuge. But if drilling started today, it would take at least 10 years for the first crude to reach refineries. And even then, the amount of oil likely to be recovered would never amount to more than 2 percent of our country's annual consumption. Such small yields would hardly make a dent in the amount of oil we import, or in the prices we pay at the gas pump.

6. Is there a connection between energy security and global warming?

Definitely. When our cars burn gasoline, they release carbon dioxide -- the primary cause of global warming and long-term changes in the earth's climate. In 2000, the production, transportation and use of gasoline for our cars and light trucks produced 1,450 million tons of heat-trapping gases -- more than a fifth of the United States' total global warming emissions that year.

The good news is that we can sharply reduce emissions of heat-trapping gases by raising gas mileage standards -- the same fix that will save Americans money at the gas pump and reduce our dependence on oil. For example, requiring vehicles to get at least 40 mpg by 2012 and at least 55 mpg by 2020 would cut carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 900 million tons per year.

= = = = = = = = = =

Dangerous Addiction: Ending America's Oil Dependence

Oil and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

A Responsible Energy Policy for the 21st Century


2) The Senate's Debate on Energy Policy and What You Can Do

From Wes Boyd, (Move-On Organization)

The Senate has just begun its debate on energy policy, and the stakes couldn't be higher. The Senate is under intense pressure from the Enron-backed White House to

- Open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling;
- Give tens of billions in taxpayer subsidies to the energy industry;
- Make no substantial increase in car or SUV fuel economy.

The House has already passed a bill that does all these things, so the Senate is our last chance to stop them. The Senate remains closely split, of course, and the Bush administration's friends in the energy business are twisting arms harder than ever. It's urgent that we make a strong show of support now for common-sense energy policies.

One of the most powerful ways to help is to send a letter to the editor of your local newspaper -- letters tell our Senators the people at home are watching.

Please take a moment now to write your letter. Be sure to include your home address and phone number. A letter will typically be under 250 words. The letters section of your paper will have the email address and fax number for submission. We've included a few sample letters below. Your own words are always better, of course.

A sensible energy policy would protect our national security, our economy, and our environment. Please send a letter today.

Thank you,

Wes Boyd
February 28, 2002



Dear Editor,

The Senate is now debating energy policy, and the stakes are huge.

We need our Senators to support an energy bill that secures our energy future while protecting our precious public lands, including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. By using more renewable energy like wind and solar power, and making America's cars and SUVs go farther on a gallon of gas, we can create more jobs and reduce our dependence on oil. With these measures we could be on the path toward a clean energy future, a healthy economy, and greater national security.




Dear Editor,

America's energy use is an integral part of our national security. As a country we use a quarter of the world's oil, but we possess only 3% of the world's oil reserves. Yet, while we rely heavily on other countries for our oil needs, we are wasteful with our oil consumption. The American fleet of cars and light trucks goes no further on a gallon of gas today than it did in 1980! We can do better. The technology exists today to make cars much more fuel-efficient.

We need our Senators to support legislation sponsored by Senators Kerry (D-MA) and Hollings (D-SC) that will make cars go farther on a gallon of gas. By raising the average fuel economy of American cars and light trucks to 35 miles per gallon by 2013, we can decrease our dependence on oil, protect our precious public lands, including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and save American families millions of dollars at the gas pump. The senate must take a stand on this issue, for the good of the economy and the country.



Please let us know you've sent your letter at


3) Terrorists thought to have 10 Kiloton Nuclear Weapon


DRUDGE REPORT -- SUN MARCH 03, 2002 09:22:37 ET --

Sun Mar 03 2002 10:40:24 ET

New York -- In October, an intelligence alert went out to a small number of government agencies, including the Energy Department's top-secret Nuclear Emergency Search Team, based in Nevada. The report said that terrorists were thought to have obtained a 10-kiloton nuclear weapon from the Russian arsenal, and planned to smuggle it into New York City, a special TIME magazine investigation reveals.

Publishing sources tell the DRUDGE REPORT, the next cover story of TIME will headline: "Can We Stop the Next 9/11?"

The report hits newsstands Monday, March 4th.


The source: a mercurial agent code-named DRAGONFIRE, who intelligence officials believed was of "undetermined" reliability, TIME reports. But DRAGONFIRE'S claim tracked with a report from a Russian general who believed his forces were missing a 10-kiloton device.

That made the DRAGONFIRE report alarming. So did this: detonated in lower Manhattan, a 10-kiloton bomb would kill some 100,000 civilians and irradiate 700,000 more, flattening everything in a half-mile diameter.

Counterterrorist investigators went on their highest state of alert, TIME reports. "It was brutal," a U.S. official told TIME.

It was also highly classified and closely guarded.


Under the aegis of the White House's Counterterrorism Security Group, part of the National Security Council, the suspected nuke was kept secret so as not to panic the people of New York. Senior FBI officials were not in the loop. Former mayor Rudolph Giuliani says he was never told about the threat. In the end, the investigators found nothing, and concluded that DRAGONFIRE'S information was false. But few of them slept better.

Counterterrorism experts and government officials interviewed by TIME say that for all the relative calm since Sept. 11, America's luck will probably run out again, sooner or later. "It's going to be worse, and a lot of people are going to die," warns one U.S. counterterrorism official. "I don't think there's a damn thing we're going to be able to do about it."

The DRUDGE REPORT has been briefed on other revelations coming from TIME's investigation:

The Coast Guard is arming itself against a possible terrorist attempt to destroy a major U.S. coastal city by detonating a tanker loaded with liquified natural gas.

The Administration has recalled old CIA hands with experience in Central Asia. Says an Administration official: "You ended up going back to retirees because the bench was so light on Afghanistan. We're still trying to get up to speed."

This week, Tom Ridge's office plans to announce a new color-coded alert system to warn local law enforcement and the public about threats within U.S. borders, sources tell TIME.

While there is a genuine debate inside the government about whether Osama bin Laden is still alive, there is far less argument about what will happen after Washington is able to confirm that he is dead. A U.S. official told TIME last week that it is widely presumed that al-Qaeda sleeper cells will take retaliatory action once the terrorist leader is killed or proven dead.

"We're as vulnerable today as we were on 9/10 or 9/12," says presidential counselor Karen Hughes. "We just know more."

= = = = = = = = = = = = =


In a recent Washington Post article, Pentagon advisers speculated that over the next year, there was a 5% probability of a nuclear attack against the US.

In the same Washington Post item, "You can go and kill every one of their terrorists and hang [Osama] bin Laden in front of the White House and you still haven't solved the problem -- and you've probably created hundreds of new terrorists," said retired Col. Richard Dunn, a former chief of the Army's internal think tank. "So you could win tactically, and lose strategically."


4) America sets up 'shadow government' at secret locations

By Andrew Buncombe in Washington
02 March 2002
Reported in Independent News

The fear of another terror strike against America has led President Bush to establish a "shadow government" that is operating at two fortified locations away from Washington.

Up to 150 senior staff were dispatched to the secret bases in the immediate aftermath of the 11 September attacks to ensure government could continue to function in the event of a crippling terrorist attack perhaps involving nuclear weapons. The bases are meant to ensure disruptions to the nation's food, water and energy supplies, and breaks in communications and transport links, will be as limited as possible.

The so-called Continuity of Operations Plan was first conceived as a Cold War precaution against nuclear attack during the Eisenhower administration in the 1950s but never put into place until last year. It was initially thought that the shadow team would only be in place for a few days but the US intelligence community believes that the threat of another terror attack from al-Qa'ida is great enough to warrant its continued operation.

Those involved who work on a rotation of up to 90 days are not allowed to tell their families where they are going, other than "on a business trip".

Mr Bush confirmed the existence of the shadow government yesterday and said: "I have an obligation, and my administration has an obligation to protect ... and put measures into place that should there be an attack on Washington DC there is an ongoing government." Vice-President Dick Cheney spends most of his time away from Washington in a secure location.

The plan put into operation in the first hours after the attacks on New York and Washington involves personnel from all of the cabinet departments. They operate from two secret locations on the east coast that use local geological features to make them extremely secure. The bases are stocked with supplies and can generate their own power.

Last week, Senator Bob Graham, chairman of the Senate's intelligence select committee, said about 100 al-Qa'ida sleepers were in America, posing an "immediate threat".


5) Lori Berenson Update -- Tuesday Call for her Freedom

Saturday March 2

To All Friends and Supporters of Lori Berenson


This past fall the National Organization for Women (NOW) passed a resolution in support of Lori's "immediate release and safe passage out of Peru." The NOW resolution appears on our website at

On February 22, NOW initiated an "Urgent Action" campaign for Lori's release. Please visit the NOW website at and under Urgent Actions on the homepage click on to Free Lori Berenson. There are two letters that you can immediately e-mail or print out, one for President Bush and the other for Secretary of State Powell. This is crucial, given President Bush's forthcoming visit to Peru.

We are very grateful to the leadership of NOW for championing Lori's case.

Note that the NOW resolution and letters can serve as a model for other organizations. If you would like more information on getting your organization involved in such actions please contact us at


Today is the 13th day of Lori's hunger protest and we have had no word as to her condition or that of other prisoners. The hunger protest began in Lima 20 days ago by political prisoners and has spread throughout the country, affecting approximately 1,000 persons. Although the Peruvian Justice Minister simply dismissed the prisoners' demands as "terrorist rhetoric," no objective person would agree that suggestions for improving human rights and justice in Peru are terrorist rhetoric. The prisoners have urged an end to impunity that started under earlier governments whereby police, military, and paramilitary units were absolved from their violent (government approved) crimes. The prisoners have demanded an end to the illegal internationally condemned anti-terrorism legislation and have asked for new trials. The prisoners have demanded that officials stop repressive acts within the prison system and to respect their fundamental rights as human beings. The prisoners have asked for transfers to be closer to their homes to facilitate visits from family members financially unable to visit at long distances. The prisoners have demanded the closing of three prisons condemned as inhumane by every international and Peruvian human rights group. The prisoners have urged the government to facilitate the work of the Truth Commission so that the Peruvian people and the world can finally learn the truth about the political violence and terrorism that affected Peru for nearly two decades.


Reminder -- Please keep up the calls to the White House "hot line" on every Tuesday in March, if possible. The number is 202-456-1111. Ask to speak to the hotline operator and tell that person that you ask President Bush to bring Lori Berenson home when he visits Peru on March 23rd -- she has suffered enough.

Many thanks,

Rhoda and Mark Berenson


6) Free Leonard Peltier Update


Dear Friends,

Please keep letters going to Congressman Burton, chair of the Government Reform Committee of the House of Representatives. We have been informed that plans to hold hearings into FBI abuses resulting in wrongful convictions are only in their beginning stages, gives us time to push, push, push for Peltier's inclusion! See the following link for more information:,22139,

This Tuesday, March 5, there will be a showing of the Leonard Peltier Congressional Briefing Video at the Common Ground Restaurant in Brattleboro, Vermont, beginning at 6:30. There's a community meal prior to the video, beginning at 5pm.

For more information on this and the video, see,22139,

And visit the Leonard Peltier website, where besides additional information on his case, you can view his beautiful artwork, oil paintings:


7) Whales and sonar -- Under water, no one can hear you scream
Feb 28th 2002 | NEW YORK
From The Economist

The American navy may soon have a whale of a problem

IT MIGHT offer a plot for a Hollywood blockbuster. The usual suspects are presentevil military types, a plucky band of environmentalists and a cast of loveable animals fighting for their survival. The story is spoilt, though, by the fact that the would-be heroes of the drama (earnest biologists trying to make the truth heard over the political fray) are still off in a corner arguing with each other over the scientific evidence.

The loveable animals in question are the world's whales. At stake is the American navy's use of a new form of sonar. For the past two years, it has been trying to get permission to deploy low-frequency active sonar (LFAS), a system designed to hunt for very quiet submarines. But the frequency range of LFAS (100-500Hz) is the same as that used by baleen whales (blue, grey, fin and humpback (the most charismatic species) in their songs. Biologists worry that LFAS might thus damage these whales in some way. That would make its use illegal under an American law from which not even the navy is exempt. In the next couple of months, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), the agency responsible for protecting the welfare of marine mammals, is due to announce whether it will let the navy deploy the new device. It's decision, one way or the other, is sure to infuriate somebody.

Sounding the depths

The reach of the proposed system is remarkable. Because of the distance that low-frequency sound waves can travel under water, a set of four ships emitting sound at 235 decibels could monitor 80% of the world's oceans for submarines. But it is precisely that reach which, from the whales' point of view, might be worrying. So, in 1997 and 1998, the navy gathered data on the response of whales to an LFAS test array. Kurt Fristrup, a marine biologist at Cornell University who helped to conduct this study, says humpback whales exposed to LFAS altered the lengths of their songs slightly, but resumed normal calling a few hours afterwards. Grey whales exposed to a test source in the middle of their migration path altered their routes to avoid it, but once the source was moved out of the migration corridor and further into the ocean, they appeared to ignore it.

That does not sound much to worry about, and in any case, the navy says the system can be made safe. It has been designed to switch off as soon as a broadcasting ship comes within 1km of a whale. At this distance the animal would hear the sonar at a volume of 180 decibels, which the navy says will cause no harm.

Some whale experts, however, disagree with the navy's boffins. Lack of alteration does not imply lack of injury, according to Naomi Rose, a marine biologist at the Humane Society, an American animal-welfare charity. The animals could have been disturbed or even partially deafened, but their mating and migrating activities may have been too important for them to change their patterns of behaviour. More pertinently, the navy's test array broadcast at a maximum level of 155 decibels. That is roughly 0.3% of the power of the 180-decibel cut-off point that the operational system would have.

Meanwhile, greens are fretting not only about the whales, but also about the vigour of the agency appointed to protect them, which they fear is the victim of "regulatory capture". According to Michael Jasny of the National Resources Defence Council, an environmental lobby group, the best available science has shown that LFAS causes "severely adverse effects" in marine mammals. "The NMFS would have to tie itself in knots to come up with a determination supporting the navy."

Dr Fristrup, though, doubts if more studies and more tests could assuage the fears of whale-lovers. Certain groups, he says, "oppose LFAS deployment on principletheir positions are clearly not susceptible to change based on any scientific evidence that can be developed."

Article from The Economist

For more information, see the link at (under "Breaking News Stories"):
"The harmful impact on Whales and Dolphins by the U.S. Navy's experimental use of active sonar systems," or following link:,37113,

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