Mike Ruppert's "Crossing the Rubicon" describes the horrendous crisis our civilization is headed into because of the coming end of the age of oil. I found the book refreshing. A slice of truth--or at least honest speculation to explain the very bizarre behavior of some in our government, which the media and (according to polls, reliable or not) the public seem to be accepting with few questions.

Oil, gas, and other petroleum products power our transportation, help grow our food (as raw materials for pesticides and fertilizers), heat us in the cold, cook our food, supply us with plastics--in short, they enable our economic system to be as successful as it is. Unfortunately, petroleum is a finite resource, and we have now used up about half of all known reserves. At the same time, the world's population keeps expanding, and less developed countries are developing, including the giant China. Thus, as petrol product demand is rising, the oil itself will be more and more difficult to get out of the ground. This means oil will become increasingly expensive, which will put a huge brake on economic growth. We can look forward to the time when $2 a gallon for gas will sound cheap!

Also unfortunately, our capitalist system depends on unlimited, never-ending growth. In other words, our economic system, on which our political system is based, is doomed. This, according to Ruppert, is what 9/11 was all about. Ruppert, a former LAPD cop and one of the first voices questioning the official storyline on 9/11, lays forth his evidence in this 600-page tome of how Peak Oil (the end of abundant supply and beginning of decline) gradually entered the consiousness of "elite" decision-makers, including politicians and the very wealthy, in the 1990's. Wanting to keep their advantage through to the very end, these low-down "elites" made plans. These include Zbigniew Brzezinski's 1997 book "The Grand Chessboard: America's Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives" and the Project for a New American Century's 2000 report "Rebuilding America's Defenses", among others. The gist of these documents are that the US must press its international advantage now while it is still the world's superpower, in order to ensure its access to valuable resources, particularly oil. This will ensure the primacy of the US in the future.

Again unfortunately, the secure future being sought is only for those low-down "elites", not for the majority of Americans or other people of the world. Remember the reports a couple years ago about how a few trillion dollars of taxpayer money was strangely unaccounted for at the Pentagon? Ruppert and Catherine Austin Fitts, a former Assistant Secretary at HUD, describe how trillions were looted from the Departments of Housing and Urban Development and Defense, Social Security, and other government accounts.

Around the same time, corporate executives, thanks to their criminal behavior, walked away with billions of dollars of small-investor money.

This money has been used to play the system to the thieves' advantage, for instance by their investing in elections, media companies, CIA "assets", etc. In fact, Ruppert, who has been studying the CIA for over two decades, finds the CIA heavily involved in the financial world. He details connections between high-ranking CIA officials and Wall Street. He describes how an estimated $500 billion in drug money is laundered through finanacial markets every year. He explains how the CIA helps fund itself by being the world's biggest illegal drug concern. This, for example, is why the Taliban stopped Afghan poppy farming (only) in 2000 (to deprive the CIA of that money--the Afghan war was expected even before 9/11), and why the heroin production has again risen now that the Americans are in control in Afghanistan (and why heroin is now found for the first time in Baghdad).

The low-down plans to gain US access to the world's resources had to involve military force. Not all countries with those resources would be willing to hand them over. In order to begin and continue these wars, the "elites'" plans required putting their team in the White House--thus the rigged 2000 elections, which brought Iran/Contra criminals back to the Executive branch, as well as energy and defense industry big shots. To moblize Americans behind these wars, a modern-day "Pearl Harbor" was needed--thus the 9/11 attacks. Ruppert doesn't just present us with his theory. He shows us the same evidence he's looking at. Again and again, I had to put the book down to refocus in light of the explanations Ruppert offers for previously inexplicable mysteries, such as why 7 WTC collapsed.

Because "Crossing the Rubicon" relies heavily on original documentation, and because it was written in at least two installments, there are times when different information and explanations are given for the same thing.

For example, considering the time fighter jets were scrambled to intercept the 9/11 hijackers, and the time the jets arrived at their destinations, too late to stop the attacks, Ruppert writes they must have been crawling at well below their top speeds. Later, he explains the pilots heading out hadn't been told why they were scrambled or where they were to go, so they started off east over the Atlantic, as per their generic training missions, to stop incoming missiles.

Now, according to Cheney, we can expect wars which won't end in our lifetimes. (And Ruppert claims Cheney played a central role on the critical morning of 9/11.) However, even while acknowledging the natural cycle of growth, decline and death applies to the human-made capitalist system as well as to humanity, Ruppert remains hopeful. If we can realize what is really happening, we can come up with a solution. As Austin Fitts quips: if we can face it, God can fix it. This amazing book puts forth the evidence Ruppert believes incriminates those who would save the future only for themselves. While the rest of us still retain some political power and material resources, Ruppert pleads, let's wake up and take responsibility.

This may well be our last chance.