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We've been lied to about everything else, oil too?

It appears that, unbeknownst to Westerners, there have actually been, for quite some time now, two competing theories concerning the origins of petroleum. One theory claims that oil is an organic 'fossil fuel' deposited in finite quantities near the planet's surface. The other theory claims that oil is continuously generated by natural processes in the Earth's magma. One theory is backed by a massive body of research representing fifty years of intense scientific inquiry. The other theory is an unproven relic of the eighteenth century.

introduction

Some years ago i heard about abiotic petroleum, the theory that oil is not, as we've been led to believe, a finite "fossil fuel" formed near the earths surface as a result of biological material having been compressed for millions of years. The problem with this theory is that there exists a readily available body of evidence which authoritatively contradicts it, suggesting instead that oil is constantly being produced at a much deeper level in or near the Earths magma. In other words, oil is essentially a renewable resource and all the talk about "peak oil" and scarcity may be junk science.

abiotic oil formation and deposits

Scarcity is of course translates to increased profits and if the public at large can be convinced that a resource is finite and in short supply, then those developing it will naturally demand a higher price. This is the case with diamonds for example, the supply of which was strictly controlled almost exclusively by De Beers for several decades. Here a case shall be made, backed by science, which strongly suggests that essentially the same is true in the oil industry. It should be understood that i am absolutely not suggesting that the world should continue running on petroleum, the mining, processing and burning of which has resulted in a great deal of environmental damage. There are alternative sources of energy which are clean, infinite, cheap and far easier to utilize.

suppressed alternative energy technologies

Before we get into the question of how and where oil is formed, let's first briefly address the subject of energy from a wider perspective. We have very likely not needed to rely upon petroleum for powering machinery for the past 70 years, perhaps longer. Clean and infinite sources of energy are all around us and have been developed and suppressed countless times, but the public is told that the inventors are frauds or that the technology violates the laws of thermodynamics and is therefore an impossibility. The developers of these sustainable, alternative energies are often viciously persecuted, or have their work destroyed, or confiscated due to "national security", or are prosecuted for various alleged crimes. At the extreme they are murdered, but some simply sell out to corporations who then shelve the technology. The reader might surmise that greed is the motivation for suppressing clean, alternative energy technologies and while greed is certainly a key factor, the larger answer is much more complex. I would highly suggest viewing the How & Why Big Oil Conquered The World documentary series by James Corbett if you're interested in the bigger picture.

Imagine going to your local hardware store and buying a battery for your flashlight only to discover it has just one terminal. The energy is in the battery, but how do you extract it? This is essentially how Tom Bearden described the problem of utilizing the energy in the "empty" space all around us. The vacuum is in fact saturated with energy and mainstream science acknowledges this, but by and large they fail to understand how to utilize it. According to some knowledgeable inventors, Bearden included, electrical engineers don't even understand what electricity really is. Bearden, who was an admirer of Tesla, Ohm, Bendini and other heavy-hitters in the field of electrical energy, figured out how to tap into this inexhaustible source of radiant energy using his Motionless Electromagnetic Generator (MEG) which produced more energy then it consumed, a phenomena known as 'over-unity'. Whether the MEG violated one or more laws of thermodynamics is perhaps debatable, but in the end it couldn't be any less relevant. All that matters is whether or not the device worked. Bearden died in February of 2022.

Here i've used Thomas Bearden as an example but indeed there have been many inventors who have produced over-unity energy devices. There are also many who have developed cars which run exclusively on hydrogen extracted from water and which are in use today. There are also many variations of simple hydrogen generators available which anyone can construct from plans or purchase in kit form for use with virtually any internal combustion engine. Meanwhile, western mainstream scientists tell us that extracting hydrogen from water, which is 2 parts hydrogen, is not economically viable. This same genre of western scientists tell us that oil is a finite resource and that we have reached, or are rapidly approaching, "peak oil", meaning that oil production has, or will soon reach its maximum level of output and therefore production can only decline from this point onward while demand continues to rise (virtually everything we manufacture today depends on vast quantities of oil). The theory of peak oil, as well as the untenable nonsense that human produced Co2 is causing climate warming, are two reasons why "sustainable", "green energy" programs are pushed incessantly today despite the fact that such programs are often neither green, nor sustainable, though they are certainly lucrative. Indeed the human impact upon the Earth beginning with the industrial revolution has been devastating, but human produced pollution and Co2 levels are two entirely different subjects, though mainstream "scientists", governments, and their media puppets have convinced the gullible public that they are one and the same.

evidence supporting abiotic petroleum

It seems that the key to understanding how and where oil is formed lies largely with Russian and Ukrainian scientists who have worked the problem for decades.

The overwhelming preponderance of geological evidence compels the conclusion that crude oil and natural petroleum gas have no intrinsic connection with biological matter originating near the surface of the Earth

Throughout the history of the petroleum industry, there have been written numerous articles or reports predicting an imminent demise of that industry all predicated upon assumptions that the supply of producible crude oil in the world was (supposedly) being rapidly depleted and would soon (therefore) be exhausted.(Campbell 1991; Fuller 1993; Campbell 1994; Campbell 1995) In short, the world was (if such were believed), "running out of oil." Happily, all such predictions have, without a single exception, been proven wrong.

Contrarily, the statistics of the international petroleum industry establish that, far from diminishing, the net known recoverable reserves of petroleum have been growing steadily for the past fifty years. Those statistics show that, for every year since about 1946, the international petroleum industry has discovered at least five new tons of recoverable oil for every three which have been consumed. As Professor P. Odell has put the circumstance succinctly, instead of "running out of oil," the human race by every measure seems to be "running into oil".(Odell 1984; Odell 1991; Odell 1994)

The paper continues:

The errors concerning the abundances of petroleum on Earth all obtain from a common, but fundamental, misunderstanding about petroleum itself. All the predictions about expected shortages of petroleum hang by a single, weak thread on a remnant, eighteenth-century notion which has been thoroughly discredited in this century: the hypothesis that petroleum might somehow originate from biological detritus in sediments near the surface of the Earth. That "biological hypothesis" was first published by the famous Russian scientist Mikhailo Vasilyevich Lomonosov in the year 1757 and is quoted above. That notion of an origin of petroleum from biological material has occasioned numerous misnomers concerning petroleum as, for example, "fossil" fuel, and associated, misleading phrases like "vanishing resource." Because the volume of biological matter on Earth is itself limited, the misunderstanding that petroleum might originate from such has given rise consequentially to a notion that petroleum should be similarly limited, and somehow in connection with the quantity of biogenic material observed in sediments.

The hypothesis that petroleum might somehow originate from biological detritus in sediments near the surface of the Earth is utterly wrong. It deserves note that Lomonosov himself never meant for that hypothesis to be taken as more than a reasonable suggestion, to be tested against further observation and laboratory experiment. The "biological hypothesis" of petroleum origins has been rejected in this century by scientific petroleum geologists because it is formidably inconsistent with the existing geological records "on the ground." That hypothesis has been rejected also by physicists, chemists, and engineers because it violates fundamental physical law.

Lomonosov's eighteenth-century hypothesis of a biogenic origin of petroleum has been replaced during the past forty years by the modern theory of abyssal, abiotic petroleum origins, an extensive and formidable body of scientific knowledge which has been developed in the former U.S.S.R., particularly in the countries Russia and Ukraine. The modern Russian-Ukrainian theory of petroleum has established that petroleum is a primordial material of deep origin which has been erupted into the crust of the Earth.

With the elimination of the error that petroleum might be some manifestation of transformed, but limited, biological matter originating on the surface of the Earth, the consequential errors connected with its supposed limits both of quantity and habitat vanish. Thus the errors of all the "doomsday" predictions of petroleum shortages, which have never subsequently occurred, are explained, - or, more simply, eliminated.

Because the explanation of the errors connected with the predictions about petroleum shortages obtains simply from the modern Russian-Ukrainian theory of abyssal, abiotic petroleum origins, and because that theory is little known outside the former U.S.S.R., its subject deserves at least short mention.

The modern Russian-Ukrainian theory of abyssal, abiotic petroleum origins is an extensive body of scientific knowledge covering the subjects of the chemical genesis of hydrocarbon molecules, the physical processes which occasion the terrestrial concentration, the dynamical processes of the movement of that material into geological reservoirs of petroleum, and the location and economic production of petroleum. As stated, the modern theory has determined that petroleum is a primordial material of deep origin which is transported at high pressure via "cold" eruptive processes into the crust of the Earth. The modern Russian-Ukrainian theory is almost unique among what too often pass[es] as "theories" in the field of geology (especially in the U.S.A.) in that it is based not only upon extensive geological observation but also upon rigorous, analytical, physical reasoning.

The paper continues:

The modern Russian theory of abyssal, abiotic petroleum origins is no longer an item of academic debate among persons in university faculties in the former Soviet Union. This body of knowledge is now approximately a half century old and has moved considerably beyond the stages of academic research and scientific testing. Today the modern theory is applied as a useful tool and the guiding perspective in petroleum exploration throughout the former Soviet Union. Such was exactly one of the primary points brought out in a paper delivered at an international conference held in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in May 1994, concerning the discovery of the eleven major and one giant oil and gas fields in the Dnieper-Donets Basin.(Krayushkin, Tchebanenko et al. 1994)

Because of the general lack of familiarity outside the former U.S.S.R. with the modern Russian-Ukrainian theory of abyssal, abiotic petroleum origins, several immediate facts about that body of knowledge deserve to be set forth.

  • The modern Russian-Ukrainian theory of abyssal, abiotic petroleum origins is not new or recent. This theory was first enunciated by Professor Nikolai Kudryavtsev in 1951, almost a half century ago,(Kudryavtsev 1951) and has undergone extensive development, refinement, and application since its introduction. There have been more than four thousand articles published in the Soviet scientific journals, and many books, dealing with the modern theory. This writer is presently co-authoring a book upon the subject of the development and applications of the modern theory of petroleum for which the bibliography requires more than thirty pages.
  • The modern Russian-Ukrainian theory of abyssal, abiotic petroleum origins is not the work of any one single man, - nor of a few men. The modern theory was developed by hundreds of scientists in the (now former ) U.S.S.R., including many of the finest geologists, geochemists, geophysicists, and thermodynamicists of that country. There have now been more than two generations of geologists, geophysicists, chemists, and other scientists in the U.S.S.R. who have worked upon and contributed to the development of the modern theory.(Kropotkin 1956; Anisimov, Vasilyev et al. 1959; Kudryavtsev 1959; Porfir'yev 1959; Kudryavtsev 1963; Raznitsyn 1963; Krayushkin 1965; Markevich 1966; Dolenko 1968; Dolenko 1971; Linetskii 1974; Letnikov, Karpov et al. 1977; Porfir'yev and Klochko 1981; Krayushkin 1984)
  • The modern Russian-Ukrainian theory of abyssal, abiotic petroleum origins is not untested or speculative. On the contrary, the modern theory was severely challenged by many traditionally-minded geologists at t he time of its introduction; and during the first decade thenafter, the modern theory was thoroughly examined, extensively reviewed, powerfully debated, and rigorously tested. Every year following 1951, there were important scientific conferences organized in the U.S.S.R. to debate and evaluate the modern theory, its development, and its predictions. The All-Union conferences in petroleum and petroleum geology in the years 1952-1964/5 dealt particularly with this subject. (During the period when the modern theory was being subjected to extensive critical challenge and testing, a number of the men pointed out that there had never been any similar critical review or testing of the traditional hypothesis that petroleum might somehow have evolved spontaneously from biological detritus.)
  • The modern Russian-Ukrainian theory of abyssal, abiotic petroleum origins is not a vague, qualitative hypothesis, but stands as a rigorous analytic theory within the mainstream of the modern physical sciences. In this respect, the modern theory differs fundamentally not only from the previous hypothesis of a biological origin of petroleum but also from all traditional geological hypotheses. Since the nineteenth century, knowledgeable physicists, chemists, the rmodynamicists, and chemical engineers have regarded with grave reservations (if not outright disdain) the suggestion that highly reduced hydrocarbon molecules of high free enthalpy (the constituents of crude oil) might somehow evolve spontaneously from highly oxidized biogenic molecules of low free enthalpy. Beginning in 1964, Soviet scientists carried out extensive theoretical statistical thermodynamic analysis which established explicitly that the hypothesis of evolution of hydrocarbon molecules (except methane) from biogenic ones in the temperature and pressure regime of the Earth's near-surface crust was glaringly in violation of the second law of thermodynamics. They also determined that the evolution of reduced hydrocarbon molecules requires pressures of magnitudes encountered at depths equal to such of the mantle of the Earth. During the second phase of its development, the modern theory of petroleum was entirely recast from a qualitative argument based upon a synthesis of many qualitative fact s into a quantitative argument based upon the analytical arguments of quantum statistical mechanics and thermodynamic stability theory.(Chekaliuk 1967; Boiko 1968; Chekaliuk 1971; Chekaliuk and Kenney 1991; Kenney 1995) With the transformation of the modern theory from a synthetic geology theory arguing by persuasion into an analytical physical theory arguing by compulsion, petroleum geology entered the mainstream of modern science.
  • The modern Russian-Ukrainian theory of abyssal, abiotic petroleum origins is not controversial nor presently a matter of academic debate. The period of debate about this extensive body of knowledge has been over for approximately two decades(Simakov 1986). The modern theory is presently applied extensively throughout the former U.S.S.R. as the guiding perspective for petroleum exploration and development projects. There are presently more than 80 oil and gas fields in the Caspian district alone which were explored and developed by applying the perspective of the modern theory and which produce from the crystalline basement rock.(Krayushkin, Chebanenko et al. 1994) Similarly, such exploration in the western Siberia cratonic-rift sedimentary basin has developed 90 petroleum fields of which 80 produce either partly or entirely from the crystalline basement. The exploration and discoveries of the 11 major and 1 giant fields on the northern flank of the Dneiper-Donets basin have already been noted. There are presently deep drilling exploration projects under way in Azerbaijan, Tatarstan, and Asian Siberia directed to testing potential oil and gas reservoirs in the crystalline basement.

A 2013 paper, Microbial Techniques for Hydrocarbon Exploration by Mohammed Abdul Rasheed and Am Dayal, opens with the following:

The theory of the abiogenic deep origin of hydrocarbons recognizes that the petroleum is a primordial material of deep origin [Kutcherov, Krayushkin 2010]. This theory explains that hydrocarbon compounds generate in the asthenosphere of the Earth and migrate through the deep faults into the crust of the Earth. There they form oil and gas deposits in any kind of rock in any kind of the structural position (Fig. 1). Thus the accumulation of oil and gas is considered as a part of the natural process of the Earth’s outgrassing, which was in turn responsible for creation of its hydrosphere, atmosphere and biosphere. Until recently the obstacles to accept the theory of the abyssal abiogenic origin of hydrocarbons was the lack of the reliable and reproducible experimental results confirming the possibility of the synthesis of complex hydrocarbon systems under the conditions of the asthenosphere of the Earth.

The paper continues:

The conclusion from the presented data is the following.

On the depth of 100 km temperature is about 1250 K and pressure is 3 GPa. On the depth of 150 km temperature is about 1500-1700 K and pressure is 5 GPa.

Both donors of carbon (carbon itself, carbonates, CO2 ) and hydrogen (water, hydroxyl group of minerals) are present in the asphenosphere in sufficient amounts. Thermodynamically favorable reaction environment (reducing conditions) could be created by a presence of FeO. The presence of several present of FeO in basic and ultra-basic rocks of asthenosphere is documented.

Thus, abiogenic synthesis of hydrocarbons can take place in the basic and ultra-basic rocks of the asthenosphere in the presence of FeO, donors/sources of carbon and hydrogen.

The article The West Siberian Super Basin: The largest and most prolific hydrocarbon basin in the world contains interesting information about the West Siberian Super Basin. It was authored by Sergey Khafizov, Ph.D., head of the E&A Department at Gubkin University, Moscow, Pavel Syngaevsky, is a senior petrophysicist, and John C. Dolson, director of DSP Geosciences and Associates, LLC.,:

The West Siberian Basin is the largest physical hydrocarbon basin in the world and one of its most prolific. It has proven reserves of 146 billion bbl of oil and more than 1600 TCF of gas. It contains 107 giant fields, 1 mega giant, 10 super giants, and 9 new giants discovered since 2019.

The article continues:

In 2003, the US Geological Survey cited reserves of 144 billion bbl of oil and more than 1300 TCF of gas (Ulmishek, 2003). Recent updates show the current reserve estimates are very similar to Ulmishek’s, with a modest oil reserve growth of 2 billion bbl since the 2003 paper. In contrast, gas volumes have increased by 20% and now exceed 1600 TCF (Kiselev, 2020).

The most recent geological assessment in western literature gives a "yet-to-find" for this basin as 4.1 billion bbl of oil equivalent, 662 TCF, and 20.66 billion bbl of natural gas liquids (Schenk, 2018). These numbers are substantially higher than earlier assessments (Energy Information Administration, 1997) and may be revised upward again in the future

The article Origin of organic compounds in fluids from ultramafic-hosted hydrothermal vents of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge from the Department of Geology and Geochemistry, Stockholm University, largely supports the biogenic (fossil) theory of oil formation, however some key admissions are finally made which cannot be supported by the biogenesis theory:

7.3 Oil a renewable energy?

Today, the biogenic origin of oil theory prevails and states that all petroleum found in our planet is derived from biological precursors (e.g. Forsman and Hunt, 1958; Eglington and Calvin, 1967; Albrecht and Ourisson, 1971; Moldowan and Seifert, 1979, Tissot, 1984; Summons and Janhke, 1992). The theory is well proved and supported by laboratory experiments, in which petroleum composition and distribution pattern (i.e. the relative proportions of the different hydrocarbons composing oil) are shown to reflect that of oil generated from kerogene pyrolysis (i.e. organic matter decay). Moreover, oil samples related to sedimentary rocks of a certain depositional environment and geologic age show biomarkers derived from organisms that are known to have derived from biological precursor that evolved by that time. Such proofs are considered irrefutable by the pro-biogenic origin. However, although the theory seems to be solid and well correlates field observations, it does not account for some observed natural phenomenon.

  • Oil has been discovered in the Earth's most ancient rocks, which were formed before any plants or animals existed on earth (Archeozoic rock formation) (Penner, 2006; Krayushkin, 1994).
  • Professor Thomas Gold states in his book The Deep Hot Biosphere (Gold, 1992): "We have seen oil and gas fields refilling themselves, sometimes as fast as they were being drained, and many fields have already produced several times as much as earlier estimates predicted...". The best example of this is Green Island in the Gulf of Mexico. When all the oil that could profitably be mined had been pumped out, the wells were closed. Twenty years later, those wells were found to contain more oil than before any had been removed (Penner, 2006).
  • More and more oil is discovered and the predicted peak oil at first expected in the 1990s has still not been reached (Kenney, 2006).
  • The recently discovered Tupi (The New York times, 2007) and Jupiter (BBC news, 2008) oil fields, offshore the coasts of Brazil, which comprise of unusual light oil, lay at surprisingly great depth (∼5000 m below seafloor) and under an extremely thick layer of salt (up to 2000 m). Notably, these fields are the worlds biggest oil find since 2000.
  • In terms of natural gas, thermal decomposition of organic matter does not generate products at equilibrium and thermal stress should not bring them to equilibrium over geologic time. Similarly, microbial production of methane represents a disequilibrium process. However, CH 4 , CO and CO2 have been observed in chemical and isotopic equilibrium in natural occurrences (Fiebig et al., 2007; 2009; Mango et al., 2009).

Whilst the Soviet Union faced ‘Iron Curtain’ isolation from the West during the Cold War in the 1950s, finding sufficient oil indigenously was a national security priority of the highest order for Russia that had little oil to fuel its economy. Scientists began a fundamental inquiry in the late 1940’s: where does oil come from? In 1956, Pr. Vladimir B. Porfir’yev stated that oil was abiogenic: “The overwhelming preponderance of geological evidence compels the conclusion that crude oil and natural petroleum gas have no intrinsic connection with biological matter originating near the surface of the Earth. They are primordial materials which have been erupted from great depths” (Porfir’yev, 1956). Similar conclusions were obtained later on (e.g. Chekaliuk 1971; Mogarovskiy et al., 1980; Chekaliuk and Kenney, 1991) and for half a century now scientists from the former Soviet Union have recognised that the petroleum is produced abiotically in the FSU fields (AAPG conference, 2004). That radically different Russian and Ukrainian scientific approach to the discovery of oil was used in the early 1990s, well after the dissolution of the USSR, to drill for oil and gas in a region believed for more than forty-five years to be geologically barren: the Dnieper-Donets Basin located between Russia and Ukraine (Krayushkin et al., 1994). A total of sixty one wells were drilled, of which thirty seven were commercially productive, an extremely impressive exploration success rate of almost sixty percent; and these Middle East fields could well produce oil forever (Mahfoud and Beck, 1995).

As for the association of biomarkers with oil, the presence of microbial communities in the subsurface could account for the presence of these large organic molecules (Gold, 1992; Takai, 2004). Moreover, Kenney (1995) proposed that some of these biomarkers (e.g. pristane, phytane, porphyrin) are not necessarily of biogenic origin.

Since then the theory has reached other countries and is growing importance (e.g. Szatmari, 1989; Sugisaki and Mimura, 1995; Mahfoud, 1991; AAPG conference, 2004; Glasby, 2006).

The Eugene Island Block 330 oil field off the shore of Louisiana has been the subject of controversy. The following excerpt from a 1999 article in the Wall Street Journal, Odd Reservoir Off Louisiana Prods Oil Experts to Seek a Deeper Meaning, provides some insight:

Production at the oil field, deep in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana, was supposed to have declined years ago. And for a while, it behaved like any normal field: Following its 1973 discovery, Eugene Island 330's output peaked at about 15,000 barrels a day. By 1989, production had slowed to about 4,000 barrels a day.

Then suddenly -- some say almost inexplicably -- Eugene Island's fortunes reversed. The field, operated by PennzEnergy Co., is now producing 13,000 barrels a day, and probable reserves have rocketed to more than 400 million barrels from 60 million. Stranger still, scientists studying the field say the crude coming out of the pipe is of a geological age quite different from the oil that gushed 10 years ago.

Fill 'er Up

All of which has led some scientists to a radical theory: Eugene Island is rapidly refilling itself, perhaps from some continuous source miles below the Earth's surface. That, they say, raises the tantalizing possibility that oil may not be the limited resource it is assumed to be.

"It kind of blew me away," says Jean Whelan, a geochemist and senior researcher from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts. Connected to Woods Hole since 1973, Dr. Whelan says she considered herself a traditional thinker until she encountered the phenomenon in the Gulf of Mexico. Now, she says, "I believe there is a huge system of oil just migrating" deep underground.

Conventional wisdom says the world's supply of oil is finite, and that it was deposited in horizontal reservoirs near the surface in a process that took millions of years. Since the economies of entire countries ride on the fundamental notion that oil reserves are exhaustible, any contrary evidence "would change the way people see the game, turn the world view upside down," says Daniel Yergin, a petroleum futurist and industry consultant in Cambridge, Mass. "Oil and renewable resource are not words that often appear in the same sentence."

Mideast Mystery

Doomsayers to the contrary, the world contains far more recoverable oil than was believed even 20 years ago. Between 1976 and 1996, estimated global oil reserves grew 72%, to 1.04 trillion barrels. Much of that growth came in the past 10 years, with the introduction of computers to the oil patch, which made drilling for oil more predictable.

Still, most geologists are hard-pressed to explain why the world's greatest oil pool, the Middle East, has more than doubled its reserves in the past 20 years, despite half a century of intense exploitation and relatively few new discoveries. It would take a pretty big pile of dead dinosaurs and prehistoric plants to account for the estimated 660 billion barrels of oil in the region, notes Norman Hyne, a professor at the University of Tulsa in Oklahoma. "Off-the-wall theories often turn out to be right," he says.

Even some of the most staid U.S. oil companies find the Eugene Island discoveries intriguing. "These reservoirs are refilling with oil," acknowledges David Sibley, a Chevron Corp. geologist who has monitored the work at Eugene Island.

Following is an interesting excerpt from a 1999 Search and Discovery Article article, Eugene Island Block 330 Field--U.S.A. Offshore Louisiana by David S. Holland, John B. Leedy and David R. Lammlein:

The Eugene Island Block 330 oils show abundant evidence of long-distance vertical migration. Based on a variety of biomarker and gasoline-range maturity indicators, these oils are estimated to have been generated at depths of 4572 to 4877 m (15,000 to 16,000 ft) at vitrinite reflectance maturities of 0.08 to 1.0% and temperatures of 150 to 170°C (300 to 340°F). Their presence in shallow, thermally immature reservoirs requires significant vertical migration. This is illustrated on Figure 36, which represents a burial and maturation history for the field at the time of petroleum migration, that is, at the end of Trimosina "A" time approximately 500,000 years ago. A plot of the present measured maturity values versus depth is superimposed on the calculated maturity profile for Trimosina "A" time to illustrate the close agreement between measured and predicted maturity profiles. The clear discrepancy between reservoir maturity and oil maturity is striking and suggests that the oil migrated more than 3650 m (12,000 ft) from a deep, possibly upper Miocene, source facies. Petroleum migration along faults is indicated based on the observed temperature and hydrocarbon anomalies at the surface and the distribution of pay in the subsurface. These results are consistent with those of Young et al. (1977), who concluded that most Gulf of Mexico oils originated 2438 to 3350 m (8000 to 11,000 ft) deeper than their reservoirs, from source beds 5 to 9 million years older than the reservoirs.

Though i may add more resources for study in the future (there are plenty available), for now i'll close with a 1996 interview given by Fletcher Prouty, former Colonel in the USAF and Chief of Special Operations for the JCS under President John F. Kennedy:

The Abiotic Oil Conspiracy

sources

Navigating the VPN Hellscape

Introduction

While i find it encouraging that more people are becoming concerned with their on-line privacy, i find it equally disturbing that so many are turning to highly unethical companies which have no intention of protecting the privacy of their customers and, in fact, are purposely violating and profiting from that trust.

Given the exceedingly grim nature of this article, i should say at the outset that i am in no way suggesting that one leave their network activities solely in the hands of their Internet Service Provider (ISP), some of which are quite inquisitive. I am of the strong opinion that an ISP should act as a service provider and nothing more, however that is obviously not the case in this era of surveillance capitalism and thus a VPN can act as a tunnel through your ISP in which all data is encrypted. While a VPN can provide a degree of privacy and insulate one from some of the many threats posed by ISPs and other bad actors, utilizing such a service requires a large degree of blind trust in the company. Furthermore, a VPN is only a piece of a larger threat mitigation architecture the privacy conscious person must consider.

The vast majority of Virtual Private Network (VPN) providers are, simply put, garbage. Over 100 VPN companies are owned by approximately two dozen corporations, some headquartered in China, an authoritarian, communist country with a notoriously poor track record of spying on and manipulating its people. Some of the biggest players in the market are Kape Technologies, an Israeli owned company, Ziff Davis, Nord Security, Aura, Innovative Technologies, Actmobile Networks, Gaditek, NortonLifeLock and SuperSoftTech.

Together these corporations own some of the largest VPN service providers including ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, Private Internet Access (PIA), ZenMate VPN, IPVanish, NordVPN, HideMyAss, Atlas VPN, Surfshark, Encrypt.me, SaferVPN, Perimeter 81, Buffered VPN, StrongVPN, Hotspot Shield VPN, TouchVPN, PureVPN, Ivacy VPN, Unblock VPN, JustVPN, Avast SecureLine VPN, Free VPN and many others.

Conveniently, some of these ethically challenged companies also own VPN "review" websites including SafetyDetectives, vpnMentor, Webselenese, VPNRanks.com, BestVPNService.com, Wizcase.com and BestVPN.co. A 2021 article, Former Malware Distributor Kape Technologies Now Owns ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, Private Internet Access, Zenmate, and a Collection of VPN "Review" Websites, on the Restore Privacy website provides some insight:

In another twist to the plot, Kape Technologies also purchased a collection of VPN review websites in 2021. Yes, you got that right. The parent company that owns these VPNs now also owns a few high-profile websites that "review" and recommend VPNs to users around the world.

This is clearly a conflict of interest, but that goes without saying.

In May 2021, news broke that Kape had purchased a company called Webselenese. Like Kape, Webselenese also operates out of Israel and runs the websites vpnMentor.com and Wizcase.com. Collectively, these two websites have monthly search traffic of around 6.1 million visitors according to Ahrefs traffic analysis tool (September 2021).

An article on the TechNadu website, Which Companies Own Today's Most Popular VPNs? – Hidden & True Owners Revealed!, further reveals the shady history of some of these VPN companies.

Naomi Brockwell provides an excellent introduction into the chicanery taking place in the massively profitable VPN market in her video, The DARK side of VPNs.

By the time you read this it is not unlikely that these corporations will have ingested more companies, or changed their name in order to escape their rotten reputations. Kape Technologies for example, is known for distributing malware and Ziff Davis, formerly J2 Global, Inc., was reported to be offering money to tech websites to secretly track users. Meanwhile, Nord Security, which has offices in Lithuania, the United Kingdom, Panama and the Netherlands, and which operates the widely advertised NordVPN, has been caught with their privacy and security pants down around their ankles multiple times.

According to Market Screener, Kape Technologies, with annual sales in excess of $600 million U.S., employs 850 people and "operates two reportable segments: Digital Security, Digital Privacy and Digital Content".

The Digital Security segment comprises of software and software as a service (SaaS) product offering security, endpoint protection and personal computer (PC) performance. Its Digital Privacy segment comprises of virtual private network (VPN) solutions and other privacy SaaS products. Its Digital Content comprised digital platforms which provide reviews and content. The Company's subsidiaries include CyberGhost SRL, Neutral Holding Inc, Intego SA, Intego Inc, ZenGuard GMBH and Reimage Limited.

Kape Technologies, formerly Crossrider, is owned by Israeli billionaire Teddy Sagi. In 1996 Sagi was sentenced to 9 months in jail after being convicted of bribery and fraud. According to Wikipedia Sagi was one of 565 Israelis listed in the Pandora Papers published by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. As reported by The Times of Israel, The Pandora Papers is "a trove of nearly 12 million leaked documents detailing the financial secrets of the rich and famous around the globe.".

The documents detail secretive financial transactions carried out by the wealthy individuals — many of which are legal in Israel — often aimed at hiding assets offshore or concealing their connections to businesses and other financial endeavors and holdings.

In the latest trove of documents released on Wednesday, details were revealed about transactions by the Ofer brothers, Sagi — who was allegedly the recent target of a plot to harm Israelis in Cyprus — Moshe Hogeg, an entrepreneur and the owner of the Beitar Jerusalem soccer team, and Eytan Stibbe, who is slated to become the second Israeli in space early next year.

In a 2014 article by Mail Online, Teddy Sagi, jailbird pornographer behind Britain's crack cocaine gambling machines, we learn more about Sagi's criminal activities.

While it is bad enough that Sagi has helped turn Britain into a nation of gamblers, even more ­disturbing is the fact that he learned some of the tricks of his controversial trade from the world of internet pornography.

Not only that, I have established he is a convicted criminal who comes from a family with a murderous past.

Born in Tel Aviv in 1972, Sagi became accustomed to the finer things in life. His father ran a travel agency and his parents appeared in newspaper ­gossip columns. But he and his ­family were to find far greater notoriety for their criminal activities.

In 1983, Sagi’s older stepbrother, Ronen, was convicted of the ­murder of an investment consultant. There was little doubt about his guilt — he stole his father’s gun, fitted a silencer and fired ten bullets at his victim after a disagreement believed to be about money.

Then in 1994, when Teddy Sagi was just 22, he was arrested along with seven other businessmen on suspicion of insider trading. They were charged with buying and then manipulating the value of stock in a widespread banking fraud.

Sagi, one of the youngest among those arrested, admitted grave deceit, bribery and insider trading. He was jailed for nine months.

When he was released, he became hellbent on making his fortune. He teamed up with his father trading on the stock market and buying and selling property. But he realised the internet was the means to make large sums, regardless of the ­morality of how the money is made.

Daniel Gericke, the CIO of ExpressVPN, has also run afoul of the law. The following is from a 2021 article by Restore Privacy, High-Level ExpressVPN Executive Ensnared in Criminal Surveillance Operation.

The Chief Information Officer for ExpressVPN, Daniel Gericke, has entered into a plea deal with the US government for his role in facilitating the United Arab Emirates in hacking and surveilling state dissidents. Gericke, who was formerly employed by the US military, has admitted to violating US hacking laws and facilitating the UAE in a covert cyber espionage operation called Project Raven. These activities transpired before Gericke was employed by ExpressVPN.

Based on these records, it appears that Gericke is under the thumb of the FBI “or any other U.S. government organization” that wants information from him. Given this fact, it would seem concerning to have such a person holding a high position in a VPN service that must resist government demands for user data.

Uzair Gadit, a Pakistani, is a co-founder and current CEO of PureVPN, a "no logs" VPN owned by GZ Systems Ltd.. In 2017 PureVPN turned over data to the FBI in regard to a cyber-stalking case. The article FBI uses PureVPN's 'non-existent' logs to track down internet stalker offered the following warning:

[...] a recent case shows that the FBI used the logs of PureVPN to track down a user believed to be an internet stalker. This may make PureVPN users think twice about just how anonymous they really are, particularly when the company claims: "We do NOT keep any logs that can identify or help in monitoring a user's activity."

The current Wikipedia page for PureVPN contains the following:

PureVPN stores logs containing information about what Internet service provider a customer used to access it service and which day the service was used. PureVPN does not store the exact time a customer accessed VPN. To prevent misuse and monitor quality, it records how much bandwidth customers are using. PureVPN also stores HTTP cookies for online advertising purposes as well as user account information like email address and credit card data.[4] It does not store what websites a customer is accessing.[15] Brian Nadel of Tom's Guide criticized PureVPN for requiring real names for user signups, even when users employ Bitcoin or gift cards for payment.[7] VPNs largely do not require real names.[7]

In 2017, PureVPN provided information to Federal Bureau of Investigation agents that helped result in the arrest of a Massachusetts man for cyberstalking.[15] The company concluded that the man had accessed PureVPN through two IP addresses: one from home and one from work.[15] Max Eddy of PC Magazine noted that the company's privacy policy says it will cooperate with investigators who give them a proper warrant and concluded, "In the case of PureVPN, it doesn't appear that the company breached the trust of its users".[15] TechRadar's Mike Williams disagreed, writing that PureVPN "made a big deal of its 'zero log' policy" on its website but did keep logs that enabled investigators to link the man to what he did on the service.[5]

In 2013 PureVPN customer data was obtained when its website was apparently hacked.

Customers of VPN provider PureVPN recently began receiving e-mails stating that the company was shutting down due to legal issues - but PureVPN quickly announced that the e-mails were fake, and had been sent by hackers who had accessed customers' names and e-mail addresses

Hari Ravichandran, CEO of Aura, also founded Endurance International Group (EIG), a widely disliked company which bought a plethora of up and coming web hosting companies which they made more profitable by cheapening services and outsourcing support. EIG was itself absorbed by Warburg Pincus and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners for approximately $975 million and today it apparently operates under its new name, Newfold Digital.

The above is but a brief sampling of some of the shady business practices occurring within the rapidly growing, multi-billion dollar virtual private network market, a market where criminal activity and a complete lack of ethics seems to be the norm rather than the exception.

Findings from a VPN whitepaper

The VPN whitepaper, Security and Privacy of VPNs Running on Windows 10, provides us with some valuable information regarding the state of the VPN market today. Following are some of the key findings contained in the paper.

Many people turn to VPNs in large part to either avoid risks on untrusted networks or to protect themselves from advertisers and internet service providers (ISPs) that might monitor, disrupt, or even tamper with internet traffic. Unfortunately, some people might not realize that apps and websites may be identifying them even when they’re masking their IP addresses.

Many VPNs have configured their applications to use public DNS services instead of their own DNS resolvers. Astrill VPN, Speedify, Touch VPN, and Windscribe used Cloudflare, a third-party public DNS service. Encrypt.me, Kaspersky, Steganos, Trust.Zone, and Turbo VPN used Google public DNS service. Le VPN and ZoogVPN used the OpenDNS public DNS service, and Le VPN additionally used Google public DNS.

Many of the VPNs we tested had shortcomings in build quality and reliability, security oversight, security over time, and the ways VPNs engage with security researchers and respond to vulnerability reports.

We identified some specific areas that could use improvement industry-wide.

  • We looked for WireGuard support and for IPsec/OpenVPN configurations with good primitives (P-256 with AES-256 GCM), if offered. Some VPNs are still using poor IPsec or OpenVPN configurations, while another is using PPTP.
  • Only six of the 16 VPNs had open source software and reproducible builds.
  • Three VPNs left users vulnerable to brute force attacks, and three left them vulnerable to account lockouts.
  • In many VPNs’ terms of service or privacy policy, there was no evidence of robust internal procedures for audits or for preventing unauthorized access by employees. And some VPNs that had third-party security audits did not make them available to the general public or conducted them inconsistently.
  • Given that software updates often have bug fixes and that VPNs are a security product, we’d like to see signed updates that are easy to install, if not automatic. And we’d like official documentation that VPNs will be kept up to date for security issues, with a clear period of support.
  • Though the majority of VPNs had a vulnerability disclosure program for researchers to report security issues, only one (F-Secure Freedome VPN) had a time frame to review vulnerability reports, and only three stated without stipulation that they will not pursue legal action against security researchers.

In addition to our data security evaluation, we also looked at VPNs’ data privacy. Data privacy is a measure of how the VPN and its service provider collect, share, and use a consumer’s personal data, and the user’s ability to control the flow of their data. [...] We found that every company we analyzed could do better when it comes to allowing consumers to obtain all public-facing and private user information the company holds about them.

We looked at whether the companies claimed, on their own, to either delete outdated and unnecessary personal information or render it to be reasonably deidentified.

In last place were CyberGhost, F-Secure Freedome VPN, IPVanish, NordVPN, PIA, and Surfshark, all of which claimed not to delete outdated or unnecessary user information or were vague as to what they do after they no longer need to retain personal data either internally or contractually. Faring only a tiny bit better were Betternet, ExpressVPN, and Hotspot Shield, which made vague reference to not retaining outdated or unnecessary information if they are legally obligated to do so.

We looked to see whether each company clearly discloses its purpose for collecting each type of user information. NordVPN did the worst here, storing executables (presumably indefinitely) without making it reasonably apparent that the collection justifications benefit the user. Reasons for why data were collected were vague.

Recommendations for Industry Improvement in Privacy

We identified some specific areas that could use improvement industry-wide.

  • We found that every VPN company we evaluated could do better when it comes to committing to allow users to obtain the public-facing and private user information that the company holds, including users not covered under CCPA or GDPR.
  • Many of the VPNs we tested could improve by providing specific retention periods for any data they do collect.
  • VPNs would better serve their users by explaining in detail how user data is handled in case of a merger, bankruptcy, or acquisition.
  • The industry could improve by giving specific retention periods for destroying or getting rid of outdated or unnecessary personal information. Almost every VPN, including Mozilla VPN and Mullvad, failed to state in their documentation that they will delete user information immediately and permanently in a reasonable time (in this case, 30 days) if service is terminated or inoperable.
  • We’d like to see VPNs clearly outline in their documentation which information outside parties require, provide options, and host first- and third-party tools on their own servers—something only IVPN has done.

Consumers should be aware that while many VPN providers indicate that they do not keep logs, this usually cannot be verified, and in many cases logs were found on the local Windows system that included usernames, emails, IP addresses, and other potentially sensitive information.

Some VPNs left logs that might contain sensitive information on their Windows machine in a variety of places, such as C:/ProgramData and %AppData%, that can persist even after the
program is uninstalled.

For example, in IPVanish, the username and all IP logs (with time stamps) are saved locally. This shows what IP the user came from, what IP the user connected through, and when the connection happened, as well as a username.

In the past, NordVPN was called to task in a subreddit called r/assholedesign for disabling features when users turned off auto-renewal and for a “70% off” ad with fake timer that reset if users didn’t subscribe.

Though we didn’t come across either issue, we did come across other dark patterns, where four VPNs made it difficult to stop auto-renewal or cancel.

Our testing team found that ExpressVPN had an unusual user interface to cancel a subscription, requiring a consumer to click a button to turn off automatic renewal a total of three times.

NordVPN required multiple clicks to unsubscribe, followed by accessing an email confirmation (which expired in 15 minutes) to complete the cancellation process.

PureVPN had no menu method to unsubscribe and required consumers to either use the third-party payment processor or create a support ticket to do so.

Similarly, Surfshark made it hard to cancel the subscription: A tester on our team needed to send an email to do so.

ExpressVPN is owned by Kape Technologies, which was previously named Crossrider. And Crossrider was a plugin development platform that allowed users to distribute ad injection software, which some considered malware. (Kape did not respond to a request for comment.) Kape also previously operated software called Reimage, which is said to enhance computer performance but has been reported to signal false positives on its security tests in order to sell its premium service. Teddy Sagi, the owner of Kape Technologies, was listed in the Panama Papers as a sole shareholder of at least 16 offshore companies—primarily real estate—established through Mossack Fonseca, according to Haaretz. In 1996, 16 years before he acquired Kape Technologies, Sagi was sentenced to nine months in prison for bribery and fraud, according to the Financial Times.

PIA is also owned by Kape Technologies. Before its acquisition, the company hired Mark Karpeles, who was the former CEO of Mt. Gox Bitcoin platform. According to CNN Business, Karpeles was found guilty of illegally altering Mt. Gox’s electronic records to falsely inflate the company’s holdings by $33.5 million and was sentenced to 21⁄2 years in prison, with a four-year suspension, which means he won’t have to serve time unless he commits a criminal act during that time. Karpeles was acquitted “on the more serious allegations of embezzlement and aggravated breach of trust,” according to CNN. He maintained his innocence throughout the trial and hasn’t made any recent statements to the media.

PIA founder Andrew Lee owns Freenode Limited, where there were mass resignations of staffers after a dispute over changes he imposed, according to Vice and Ars Technica.

Kaspersky Lab has faced allegations of engaging with the Russian FSB, which it has denied. In fact, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security banned Kaspersky products from U.S. government departments in 2017, and its ads were subsequently banned on Twitter, according to Reuters. There have also been news reports about allegations that hackers working for the Russian government stole confidential data from an NSA contractor’s home using Kaspersky antivirus software, and the Wall Street Journal reported on allegations that the Russian government uses Kaspersky antivirus software to “secretly scan computers around the world for classified U.S. government documents and top-secret information, modifying the program to turn it into an espionage tool.” Kaspersky denies these allegations as well. (It was found in 2015 that the antivirus software was not using security best practices.) CEO Eugene Kaspersky has worked for the Russian military, which was mandatory, and was educated in a KGB-sponsored technical college, though the company denies direct ties or engagement with the Russian government. Kaspersky Lab has committed to increased accountability, migrated some of its core infrastructure from Russia to Switzerland, and has solicited independent reviews and analysis of its source code.

VPNs often promise to not keep logs, leading privacy enthusiasts and criminals alike to falsely assume that their data is private. This idea is often dispelled in court documents, like when IPVanish handed over logs that weren’t supposed to exist. This happened when IPVanish was owned by Highwinds Network Group. Its next owner, StackPath, told TorrentFreak that the VPN under its management did not keep logs. IPVanish is now owned by Ziff Davis, previously called J2 Global. According to the site ProPrivacy, the IPVanish site itself claimed not to keep logs both before and after the incident.

ExpressVPN, on the other hand, told investigators it did not have any logs or customer data on a server in Turkey, which was raided by Turkish authorities, according to Hurriyet Daily News. According to the site, authorities said the server was used to hide details regarding an assassination of a Russian ambassador. ExpressVPN released a statement about the incident.

VPNs can offer some protection on untrustworthy WiFi networks, help circumvent some censorship blocks, keep your browsing habits away from ISPs, and limit some types of tracking—such as your IP address from websites you visit and the domains you connect to from your ISP. But masking an IP address is not the same as granting anonymity.

Not only can VPN providers see your real IP address but companies can also use many other methods to track users, such as device fingerprinting, browser fingerprinting, web cookies, tracking pixels, and more. Websites often request data that can pinpoint people’s geographic location, such as WiFi networks, device location based on GPS, cell tower identification (CDMA or GSM cell IDs), and more. Various companies collect wide-ranging data, beyond IP addresses, and sell that information to data brokers. Many of the risks that consumers use VPNs to try to protect against are already largely mitigated through the use of HTTPS. And many risks, such as social engineering, are not mitigated by using a VPN.

However, a number of VPNs do not refrain from making sweeping claims, or using potentially misleading or overly broad language to describe their tool and what it can do.

It’s worth noting that many of these VPNs are owned by the same companies, as previously mentioned. Aura (or Pango, in the U.S.) owns Betternet and Hotspot Shield. Ziff Davis owns IPVanish. (This was formerly J2 Global, which acquired Ziff Davis in 2012 and changed its name to Ziff Davis in 2021.) Kape owns CyberGhost and PIA, and recently acquired ExpressVPN.

Some of these companies have questionable histories.

TunnelBear was acquired by McAfee in 2018—and McAfee has had its own share of controversies prior to the acquisition. Without admitting wrongdoing, the company paid a $50 million penalty in 2006 when the Securities and Exchange Commission filed securities fraud charges saying the company overstated its net revenue, a type of accounting fraud that inflates revenue to investors. And in 2012, the company’s antivirus product turned off its AV protection and in some cases prevented connection to the internet—and, according to community posts, the company was slow to address the problem.

In the past, ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and Surfshark were not public about their ownership, though they have since released names.

In 2017, Hotspot Shield had an FTC complaint filed against it by the Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT). The complaint alleges undisclosed and unclear data sharing and traffic redirection. CDT claimed that Hotspot Shield intercepted and redirected web traffic to partner sites, including those belonging to ad companies, and that it monitors information about user browsing habits and transmits cell carrier data over an unencrypted connection. Hotspot Shield is owned by the same company that owns Betternet. It was formerly called AnchorFree and rebranded to Pango, and was later acquired by Aura. This complaint was filed when the VPN was owned by AnchorFree—and AnchorFree’s CEO told ZDNet that he disagreed with the complaint. We are not aware of any Federal Trade Commission investigation having been opened into this matter. The FTC declined to comment on whether it investigated.

VPN-Owned VPN Review Sites

Many publications that review VPNs use affiliate links, which doesn’t necessarily mean that these programs affect the reviews. However, there are some instances where companies that own VPNs also run the lists and do not fully disclose that they do so.

For example, Kape (which owns CyberGhost, ExpressVPN, PIA, and ZenMate) owns Webselenese, a marketing firm that runs the VPN review sites SafetyDetectives and vpnMentor.

And Ziff Davis, formerly J2 Global, which owns IPVanish, StrongVPN, and Encrypt.me (which is becoming StrongVPN, according to its landing page), also owns PCMag, IGN, Mashable, ExtremeTech, RetailMeNot, and more. However, it does not appear to be promoting its brands heavily on the sites it owns in the way that Kape does.

NordVPN received flak for failing to immediately disclose a security breach to customers and the public until after a security researcher tweeted about it, 17 months after it took place. In that breach, attackers gained access to one of its servers through a remote management system and stole encryption keys that could be used to mount decryption attacks on some users. NordVPN reportedly stated that it had planned to reveal the breach after internal audits were completed. It also terminated its rental contract with the data center involved in the incident.

As separate independent research, VPNalyzer tested a total of 80 VPN providers—that also included the 51 VPNs tested for this report—and found several previously unreported issues such as traffic leaks during tunnel failure, and in some cases DNS and other traffic leaking even with the VPN’s kill switch feature turned on. It found that a majority of VPN providers and servers do not support IPv6. VPNalyzer identifies that adoption of good security and privacy practices such as doing DNSSEC and RPKI validation, and implementing a DNS proxy, is not uniform across VPN providers. Finally, it also found that malicious and deceptive behaviors by VPN providers such as traffic interception and manipulation are not widespread but are not nonexistent. In total, the VPNalyzer team filed more than 29 responsible disclosures, 19 of which were for VPNs also studied in this report, and is awaiting responses regarding its findings.

Selecting a potentially good VPN provider

As i've stated multiple times on this website, one can never fully trust a VPN provider, but that doesn't mean that there aren't any ethical, high quality providers around. It only means that, ultimately, we don't have a comprehensive way to verify whether the claims they make are accurate. Many people will recommend using the freely available Tor network instead of a VPN, however there are valid concerns and technical limitations with Tor as well (see: Tor versus a VPN – Which is right for you?).

The previously quoted VPN White Paper provides a lot of good information for navigating the muck and mire of the VPN landscape, however i think it fails to sufficiently elaborate on the importance of physically owning and securing their hardware. An ethical VPN provider may do everything right but if they don't own and physically secure their hardware, they leave their customers open to potential threats of all sorts.

As Michael Horowitz writes in his excellent article, VPNs and Defensive Computing, "Picking a VPN provider is mind bogglingly difficult" and agree wholeheartedly. Michael provides lots of tips for weeding out the bad apples and following are some of my own for based on my research and personal experience.

  • Never, ever trust a "free" VPN provider! Some may offer a free trial period however and that's OK.
  • No proper VPN will require the installation of any software in order to use their service and those offering client applications must provide the source code.
  • Any decent VPN provider will support the newer WireGuard protocol.
  • A good VPN will provider have physical ownership of their servers and will have secured them prior to installation in the data center.
  • A good VPN will provider run the operating system in RAM only (no hard drives).
  • A good VPN will provider not require any personal information whatsoever in order to create an account.
  • A good VPN will provider accept payment anonymously using cryptocurrency or mail-in cash.
  • A good VPN will provider be transparent in their operations, including any security issues that arise.
  • Needless to say, any decent VPN provider will have a strict no-log policy and will not block any ports.

The number of VPN providers that appear to meet the above criteria is stunningly small, so small in fact that there's only 3 of which i'm currently aware, they being AzireVPN, OVPN and Mullvad, though most servers for the latter are leased (you can filter Mullvad's servers a variety of ways using their own tool). Of these i currently use AzireVPN, however i think OVPN might be a better fit for some users. I say this because some of Azire's setup guides are outdated and they don't seem to be as mature as OVPN. Having said that however, i have virtually no complaints with the Azire's service or support.

Resources used to write this article:

Recent changes to this article

  • added information about PureVPN
  • added info about Hari Ravichandran and EIG
  • corrected an error regarding Mullvad's owned vs. leased servers thanks to 'Mark'
  • added a link to Mullvad's 'Servers' page

Jessi Combs and the crash of the North American Eagle Project car

Jessi Combs"It may seem a little crazy to walk directly into the line of fire... those who are willing, are those who achieve great things.

People say I’m crazy. I say thank you ;)"

-- Jessi Combs, Twitter, August 24, 2019, 3 days before her death

I recently watched the 2022 documentary, The Fastest Woman On Earth, about the extraordinary life and heart-breaking death of 39 year old Jessi Combs while attempting to break her own land speed record. Her story really touched me.

I don't recall knowing of Jessi prior to the film, but she seems to have been quite popular and very well liked, as well as extraordinarily motivated and talented. She apparently excelled at multiple professions including fabrication, welding, mechanics and race car driving with a variety of vehicles.

Jessi lived in a world dominated by men and probably left quite a few damaged egos in her wake, but also many who respected her for her remarkable talent. She tells us that she loved going fast and being an inspiration for women around the world, made possible in part by her presence in many television shows including Xtreme 4x4, Two Guys Garage, All Girls Garage, Heels On Wheels, Overhaulin', The List and MythBusters. There was, and is, something quite magnetic about her genuine personality.

North American Eagle Project car
The North American Eagle Project car
Jessi Combs in the North American Eagle Project car
Jessi Combs, born July 27, 1980, died August 27, 2019
Jessi Combs watches crew work on the North American Eagle Project car
Jessi lies under the North American Eagle Project car as it is being worked on

If you haven't yet seen The Fastest Woman On Earth or aren't aware of her story, the short version is that Jessi died while driving a jet engine powered "car" on the Alvord Desert in Oregon on August 27, 2019. The 18,780 lb. thrust North American Eagle (NAE) Project car, first owned by Ed Shadle (deceased), was built to break the all-time land speed record of 763 mph at the time. During the build-up to a record breaking run, Jessi and others made in excess of 40 runs in the vehicle over a period of nearly 2 decades. Jessi's involvement in the project as a driver culminated with an official 522.783 mph run and a top speed in excess of 550 mph. That final run however ended in a horrific, fiery crash and an abrupt end of her life due to what appears to be a combination of a mechanical failure and a serious design flaw which prevented the vehicle from slowing sufficiently before it ran off the end of the Alvord Desert track and exploded into pieces.

The following image shows the state of the vehicle when it was first purchased from an aircraft junkyard for approximately $25,000 U.S.. During an interview Ed Shadle stated that the aircraft was "about 2 weeks away from becoming a beer can".

North American Eagle Project car, origin
The North American Eagle Project vehicle started out as an F-104 military jet aircraft

One of the better documentaries regarding how the North American Eagle land speed project took shape was produced by KBTC Public Television in 2016.

Video: The North American Eagle - KBTC Public Television (2016)

Here's the approximate specifications of the vehicle:

CHASSIS Extensively modified F-104A-10 Lockheed Skunk Works Starfighter, tail no. 56-0763
LENGTH 56 ft.
WEIGHT 13,000 lb.
ENGINE Model: General Electric LM - 1500 Turbojet
Dimensions: 17 ft. L x 3 ft. D
Weight: 3,600 lb.
Output: 18,780 lb. thrust (~52,000 hp)
Fuel consumption: 40 gal./min. @ idle, 90 gal./min. @ full afterburner
WHEELS (5) solid billet aluminum
BRAKING magnetic wheel brakes, parachutes, air/speed brakes

The The Fastest Woman On Earth documentary, while absolutely well-worth watching in my opinion, left me a bit disappointed regarding the sequence of events that led to the crash, particularly why one or both parachutes were deployed while the engine was still throttled up, causing them to burn. Considering Jessi's overall experience with racing, mechanics, safety, and this vehicle specifically, and considering the sorted mechanical history of the experimental NEP vehicle, i suspect it is supremely unlikely that Jessi intentionally or accidentally deployed the parachutes while the engine was still burning and therefore i think it's logical to surmise that a design or mechanical failure was the more likely cause of the crash. We are told by investigators that the ultimate cause of the crash was a failure of the nose wheel as a result of it hitting an unidentified object and fragmenting, however that explanation doesn't seem to account for the early deployment of the parachutes. We'll soon explore another potentially contributing factor that, based on the evidence i reviewed, may fill in some of the blanks.

The extremely violent nature of the crash transformed the vehicle into a twisted pile of junk and burning jet fuel. Thankfully Jessi appears to have died quickly of a blunt force head trauma prior to the fire. The following image was captured immediately after impact with the uneven terrain past the end of the track and in it we see a black cloud of burning jet fuel beginning to rise in the distance.

Jessi Combs - North American Eagle Project car crash - explosion
Moments after Jessi's crash black smoke can be seen rising in the distance
Jessi Combs - North American Eagle Project car, post crash - 3
Shortly after the crash, rescue and NAE team members arrive at the scene

In the following image we see an upside-down wheel near the front of the vehicle (right side). I can't be certain what wheel this is, but it seems it may be the nose wheel, as though the bottom part of the front of the vehicle had peeled back over the top of the structure. Notably a fragment of the wheel is missing.

Jessi Combs - North American Eagle Project car, post crash - 4
The wreckage is almost unrecognizable

There are several points of interest that drew me to Jessi's life, one of them being the unflinching integrity she carried to her death despite being fully aware of what she was facing. The documentary gives us a reasonably uninterrupted view from a camera mounted to the canopy behind Jessi's left shoulder and from this perspective we can observe her actions and behavior early in the run before all hell broke loose, as well as after when she almost certainly knew she was facing an abrupt and violent end to her life. What struck me about her behavior is that there was no visible change; she held her composure completely, right up to the moment of her death. In the following image Jessi is perhaps two seconds from disaster. We see she's at the end of the track where bushes begin to dot the dried desert mud. Her head is upright as she surely anticipates what is about to unfold.

Jessi Combs - North American Eagle Project car crash - 1
Seconds from disaster, the NEA vehicle exceeds the length of the track

The following sequence of images, captured from the film, occur within the space of approximately 1 second. This next image shows the first visible sign of the fuselage being breached as the cabin begins to fill with dust and dirt. Jessi's head begins moving forward at this time.

Jessi Combs - North American Eagle Project car crash - 2
Dirt and debris is forced into the cockpit as the fuselage is breached

Just milliseconds later her head slams violently forward, presumably into the console which resulted in the blunt force head trauma.

Jessi Combs - North American Eagle Project car crash - 3
Jessi's head appears to strike the console

Nearly as fast as her head was slammed forward it returns again to an upright position, but we can see that her helmet visor is apparently no longer attached as evidenced by the flailing straps that held it in place. This rapid sequence of her head slamming forward and back would occur twice before the canopy, and with it the camera, detaches from the fuselage whereupon we lose all sight of her.

Jessi Combs - North American Eagle Project car crash - 4
Jessi's body momentarily returns to an upright position

In the next image her body seems to be positioned substantially lower than normal in the vehicle. The camera perspective hasn't changed significantly and the canopy is still attached to the fuselage, thus i can only guess that it is at this moment when the fuselage is further compromised as a result of repeated impacts with the uneven terrain. From this point onward the camera view is completely obscured by dust and debris until the canopy finally detaches from the fuselage and begins tumbling through the air.

Jessi Combs - North American Eagle Project car crash - 5
The fuselage appears to be coming apart rapidly at this point

The vehicle retained the original F-104 ejection seat and some people have questioned why Jessi didn't utilize it. I believe part of the answer is that the F-104 apparently wasn't equipped with an ejection mechanism that could be activated at ground level whilst still providing a potential for survival. The other part of the answer could be that it was disabled, which would be the safe and logical choice if the first part of the answer is true. Nevertheless, it seems a bit odd to me that the seat would be retained unless it was an integral part of the vehicle or it served multiple purposes. An ejection seat is certainly much heavier than a typical racing seat, however i believe it did contain the breathing apparatus which supplied the gas to the face mask worn by the vehicles drivers.

Jessi Combs in the North American Eagle Project car - ejection seat
The F-104 ejection seat was retained in the final design of the NAE vehicle

I threw this image in only because the Microsoft branding caught my attention. I have to wonder what role Microsoft may have played in the development of the North American Eagle Project car and what it was they were researching.

Jessi Combs in the North American Eagle Project car - 2
Note the Microsoft branding

It is very apparent that a strong and unusual vibration appeared around the time Jessi throttled down the engine sometime after the 6 mile mark. In the documentary we see the camera mounted in front of her swivel in its mount as a result and we are told that the source of the vibration was the nose wheel coming into contact with an object, perhaps a rock, after which multiple pieces of it broke off which would have thrown it terribly out of balance. We are also told that the nose wheel "collapsed" at one point however this is not explained. From information available in the film it is not clear to me why wheel fragments were apparently found along the 5 mile section, yet the vibration didn't seem to surface until around the 6 mile mark after Jessie throttled down the engine.

Most disappointing from a forensic point of view is that the film provides no answer nor clue as to what caused the parachute(s) to deploy early, nor is any of the crucial telemetry data revealed even though the storage media (a Solid State Disk) on which the data resided was found unscathed, still plugged in to the computer main board.

Around the 6 mile mark, after reaching a speed in excess of 550 mph, Jessi is casually told to "shut it down" but there is apparently no acknowledgment from her. When the vehicle doesn't appear to be slowing the voice becomes distinctly agitated and forceful and Jessie is again ordered to initiate the shut-down process. A second or so later Jessi replies with "copy that" and that's the last we hear from her. Whether she received or ignored the first order is not known. Whether the film editors decided to not include further communications from her due to content, or whether she made no further attempts to communicate is also unknown, however such communications, if made, could provide vital clues as to what went so terribly wrong.

In this next image we see what appears to be one of the burned parachutes found along the track, though we don't know where other than it was apparently found miles before the crash site. Oddly no mention is made of the 2nd parachute. Pay particular attention to the red color of the tether line as this provides us with a potentially vital clue as to why the parachute was deployed early and thus why the vehicle did not slow sufficiently before reaching the end of the track.

Jessi Combs - North American Eagle Project car, post crash - parachute
One of the burnt parachutes and its tether

Indeed there were crucial design flaws with the vehicle, not the least of which was the decision to modify an F-104 Lockheed Starfighter military aircraft for surface use and not include a proper roll cage to protect the driver. Braking, steering, parachute deployment and other critical problems plagued the project. Jessi came close to catastrophe in 2016 when both parachutes failed to deploy. She also experienced problems steering the vehicle at that time which may have been due to the hydraulic fluid overheating and boiling. Jessi appeared to be shaken to the core as a result of the parachute failures and later described the incident during an interview as being her "sketchiest moment in a car". Earlier during that same session one of the parachutes failed to deploy for another driver.

The following image is from Jessi's 2016 run that nearly ended in a disaster. At the end of the track there are bushes and the ground becomes very uneven. Crossing this terrain at speed is potentially a death sentence. From the wheel tracks, as well as from the featured image of this page, we can see that the vehicle had 5 wheels; 1 nose wheel, 2 mid wheels and 2 rear wheels, all machined from solid billet aluminum. We can see the faint imprints left by the mid wheels despite being partially covered by debris scattered by the nose wheel (the imprints between the mid and outer-most rear wheel tracks are tire tracks from another vehicle).

Jessi Combs on the desert after a run in the North American Eagle Project car
Jessi stands at the end of a previous run that nearly ended in disaster

The 2 mid wheels were attached to swing arms that were forced downward by 500 lb. force springs according to the builders. The fact that these wheels existed at all reveals another questionable decision to use an aircraft fuselage as a basis for a land speed record vehicle. The load of a fixed wing aircraft is supported by its wings and without the wings the load of the fuselage had to be shifted to the nose and the tail, much further away from the strongest part of the structure. It seems quite probable that the purpose of the 2 spring-loaded mid wheels was to compensate for the missing wings, however given that the vehicle weighed around 13,000 lbs. and the mid wheels supported only about 1,000 lbs., the fuselage could have been subjected to substantial flexing and thus prone to fracturing. One possible reason for the seemingly negligible amount of weight supported by the mid wheels is that steering the vehicle might become more difficult had they supported more weight and so i suspect a compromise may have been made. The mid wheels, unlike the other wheels, appear to have been smooth along their circumference which i suspect was to help with steering by allowing them to slide sideways.

In the following image we see another crucial design flaw and possibly the one which provides us with the reason for the crash. The parachute tethers were left exposed to debris kicked up by the the nose and two mid wheels, all of which are located in front of the parachutes. We can clearly see in videos that the parachute tethers were being battered by debris kicked up by the wheels as they forged shallow trenches in the dried mud. Surely others involved in the project must have recognized this potentially fatal problem and so why no one corrected it over the approximate 20 year span of the project is unknown. Again note the two markedly different colors of the parachute tethers, the left one being red.

North American Eagle Project car, rear view
From the rear we see the parachute canisters and the tethers

In the film we learn that the aluminum nose wheel of the car fractured, presumably after contacting something along the track, perhaps an embedded rock which may not have been noticed by those responsible for clearing the track. Multiple pieces of the nose wheel were found along the 5 mile section of the track we are told.

North American Eagle Project car - wheel fragment
A fragment of one of the aluminum wheels of the NAE vehicle, found along the 5 mile segment of the track

More debris was found scattered elsewhere along the track, miles before the crash site which is well off in the distance.

Jessi Combs - North American Eagle Project car, post crash - debris
More debris from the NAE vehicle found strewn along the track

In this image we see that the parachutes were secured in their canisters by 4 straps which apparently snapped together to form a cross over the parachute canister end caps. The force from whatever mechanism was used to deploy the parachutes would cause the snaps to pop open as they were forced out of the canisters. This is not an uncommon affair for securing these types of parachutes so far as i'm aware.

Jessi Combs - North American Eagle Project car, post crash - 2
The parachutes were secured in their canisters by straps

As we noted earlier, the left-side parachute tether was red in color and part of this tether was found well before the crash site, however in the image below we see a portion of what appears to be this same red tether thus indicating it had been severed long before the crash. Unless the tether was previously compromised by desert sand and debris striking it, or by some other condition or force, it is highly unlikely that it would have broken in its midst from excessive drag of the parachute being deployed at an excessive speed. The most likely point of failure in the system would likely be where the tether terminates, or the parachute itself, and given that the parachute we see in the film is completely burned, it is probably safe to assume that it provided little or no drag force, further reinforcing that the tether was severed by other means. Also we do not hear Jessi make any mention of one or both parachutes being deployed early which indicates that she apparently wasn't aware that one or both had deployed. As previously mentioned, the film makers fail to reveal what happened to the 2nd parachute.

Jessi Combs - North American Eagle Project car, post crash - 1
Here we see what appears to be the remainder of one of the parachute tethers

As you may have surmised by now, the obvious question left unanswered and untouched by the documentary is whether one or both parachute tethers were impacted by fragments from the the nose and/or mid wheels, the force of which presumably could have both dislodged one or both of the parachutes as well as cut their tethers. Was the seemingly reckless decision to leave the tethers exposed to the air stream a contributing factor in Jessi's death, or possibly the sole reason for it? Given that presumably little or no stress was applied to the red parachute tether due to the parachute being burned, i can think of no other logical reason for it breaking as it did and that, in my mind, points to negligence as being the ultimate reason for the crash, not the failure of the nose wheel.

According to others far more knowledgeable than i regarding land speed record vehicles, this "car" would have never passed a required safety inspection in order to run at a safer site like the Bonneville Salt Flats where room is more abundant, one reason being the exposed parachute tethers, and therefore the team was forced to utilize potentially more dangerous tracks including the one in the Alvord Desert which was clearly too short for a vehicle with a history of critical problems traveling several hundred miles per hour.

In the end it isn't particularly difficult for me to place the bulk of the blame for the crash on the vehicle owners and designers for Jessi Combs' death, and i think they absolutely deserve a slice of that blame, however given her extensive experience with racing and safety, and having been warned to not drive this vehicle, and given that she apparently had a premonition of what was to happen in a dream, it is ultimately only Jessi that is to blame for choosing to undertake such a risk. Accepting that risk was entirely her decision however and as someone who has carelessly risked my own life on multiple occasions, i can understand why she choose to do so. As Jessi implied, one has not lived a full life if it was a life lived free of risk.

I don't want to undercut the people who worked on this project more than necessary. Those i have seen in various videos seem like good people and they certainly did not treat Jessi as a sacrificial lamb. Ed Shadle, the original owner and primary driver of the vehicle before he died, had gone substantially faster in the NAE than Jessi ever had. There was indeed a massive amount of thought, engineering, hardship, sweat and money that was poured into the North American Eagle project, however in my opinion they started with a very flawed concept. Aircraft are designed to be light, not to survive crashes, and given the many critical mechanical failures that were experienced over the years, you have to wonder if a catastrophic end wasn't set in stone at the outset. That said, if you remove all the risk, what's the point in going fast?

As previously mentioned, i don't believe i ever knew of Jessi until i watched The Fastest Woman On Earth and yet i'll miss the light she emanated, as will so many others. In my research for this article i ran across several people who knew and/or worked with her, or who were, or are currently involved in land speed racing and in nearly every case they wished that she rest in peace. Bullshit. I don't think Jessi will rest at all. I think she'll go faster!

Alternative Information Directory

Big Tech sucks! Search engines and social media platforms are demonetizing, delisting, demoting, deplatforming and deleting content and users left and right, including vital and life saving content. The Google's, Facebook's, Twitter's and YouTube's of the world are all willingly pushing uniform narratives in concert with the agendas of governments, intelligence communities and organizations like the United Nations and the World Economic Forum. Finding relevant information regarding sensitive or controversial topics is becoming more and more difficult each day. For an example of how this is happening, watch the video, Forget DEAD Internet: WEF & Google are DELETING It.

If you've been tooling around the web long enough, you may remember web rings and directories. A web ring is generally presented as a banner on a personal website which links to other websites in the ring, all of which generally have a similar theme with regard to the content type. A directory is a similar concept but the websites listed may or may not share a similar theme. In light of Big Tech censorship, these tools are making a comeback today.

The Alternative Information Directory aims to counter Big Tech censorship by offering a categorized collection of high quality websites containing thought provoking and relevant information that may not be readily available via mainstream platforms. High quality personal websites and blogs are especially valued.

If you have a high-quality website you'd like to submit to the directory, you can leave a comment here or submit it on the directory website.

The 'Moon hoax' cult - 5+ decades and still going

The catalyst for this article was discussions i had with two intelligent people who argue that man never set foot on the Moon. One has serious doubts and the other rejects the idea completely and it is the latter which has an extensive background in aerospace.

These recent discussions were certainly not my introduction into such claims however as i looked into this many moons ago (pun intended). There are many people who disbelieve that man walked on the Moon, some very smart and some just plain stupid, and the number seems to be growing. Smart people are just as easily fooled as is the dummy however.

If you've read some of the content on this website, especially in the history section, you'll know my beliefs are not main stream. I'm not sure they ever were. I enjoy finding fault with a given narrative and following the trail of breadcrumbs to a sound, or at least a logical conclusion. If you accused me of being a conspiracy theorist, i stand unapologetically guilty, however i'm also a conspiracy 'factist', if you will. I'm interested in truth, not confirming my own biases. Truth is not always easily discovered, however in this case there is a lot of evidence readily available and, in the end, that which is presented by the debunkers fails miserably when measured against the official claim.

My questioning of mainstream narratives began at an early age and when i delved into the validity of the Apollo Moon landings, i would not have been surprised in the least had the evidence led me to conclude that the whole thing was a big fat hoax as many believe. Matter of fact, i would have preferred such a result because it would have been yet another well deserved nail in the coffin of mainstream government bullshit.

I cannot prove beyond any doubt whatsoever that man set foot on the Moon. I wasn't there and i don't have physical access to the evidence. I've also learned to be critical of any claims i can't vet for myself, however there is indeed a wealth of evidence that strongly suggests we did, in fact, walk on the Moon and i'll lay out a tiny fraction of that evidence here. Yes, images, communications, telemetry and other evidence can be forged, however this overlooks the massive heap of evidence to the contrary as well as simple logic and reasoning. Simply put, the evidence which i've considered that the debunkers bring to the table ranges from completely retarded to inconclusive and much of it resides on the retarded end of the scale.

CLAIM: The entire Apollo 11 Moon landing was filmed using a miniature section model of the Moon hung upside down on a ceiling.
ANSWER: I don't know about this particular debunker, but personally i haven't yet been able to a) miniaturize myself to fit the scale of a model, b), managed to walk on my ceiling, or c), managed to kick up dust and drop things and have them fall up. Lastly, the morons who assembled the American Moon "documentary" in question rely on discussions about potential pitfalls that arose very early during the planning stages of the space program when a great deal of questions had no concrete answers, as though nothing further could be learned and nothing could possibly be changed during subsequent research and development.

CLAIM: Wikileaks released video showing the moon landing was shot in a studio.
ANSWER: Wikileaks never published any such information. The video is a compilation which includes behind the scenes footage from the filming of Capricorn 1 (1970) and actual footage of the Apollo 11 Moon landing. Even the "fact checking" website Snopes, founded by a criminal and staffed by prostitutes, actually gets this one right.

Alleged Wikileaks moon hoax video
Alleged Wikileaks moon hoax video
Capricorn 1 film set
Capricorn 1 film set

Links to the full videos:

CLAIM: The Apollo missions never left Earth orbit.
ANSWER: If that was the case then there should be evidence of sightings of the Command Module as it orbited Earth in the night sky due to light from the Sun reflecting off of it as is the case with satellites.

CLAIM: There can be no combustion in a vacuum.
ANSWER: Fuels that contain or produce oxygen as they burn will burn in an oxygen deprived environment.

CLAIM: There is nothing in a vacuum for a rocket engine to push against.
ANSWER: Every reaction creates and equal and opposite reaction, even in a vacuum.

CLAIM: The intense radiation level of Earths Van Allen Belts were not survivable by a human given the minimal protection offered by the craft.
ANSWER: While "minimal" is an exaggeration, the claim is not entirely without merit. That aside, the level of radiation doesn't matter if you pass through the belts quickly enough. From Apollo Rocketed Through the Van Allen Belts | Popular Science:

By February of 1964, NASA was confident that Apollo crews would be passing through the belts fast enough that the spacecraft’s skin and all the instrumentation lining the walls would be enough protection.

[...]

To monitor radiation exposure during the flights, Apollo crews carried dosimeters on board their spacecraft and on their persons. And these readings confirmed NASA had made a good choice. At the end of the program, the agency determined that its astronauts had avoided the large radiation doses many feared would ground flights to the Moon. Over the course of the lunar missions, astronauts were exposed to doses lower than the yearly 5 rem average experienced by workers with the Atomic Energy Commission who regularly deal with radioactive materials.

CLAIM: There's no blast crater or radial dispersion of material under the Lunar Excursion Module which would have resulted from its engine.
ANSWER: The Moon is a rock; gravity is 1/6th that of Earth so not as much thrust is required to land as would be necessary on Earth; in some instances the engine was apparently shut down just prior to the Lunar Module contacting the surface in order to avoid debris from damaging it; dispersion of the dust can be seen in some photographs captured from the Command Module, the Japanese Space Agency Selene probe, the Indian Chandrayaan-1 probe, all of which would have to be co-conspirators.

CLAIM: The Lunar Module was too fragile to withstand space travel.
ANSWER: This claim often seems to hinge on a "thin foil" being the only barrier to space in parts of the Lunar Module which is a gross exaggeration. This argument is then used to insinuate that the entire 36,000 lb. machine was fragile.

CLAIM: Lack of a radial disbursement of material under the Lunar Modules engine nozzle cannot be explained by shutting down the engine on the Lunar Module before touchdown since this would have risked damaging the fragile vehicle.
ANSWER: The Lunar Module had some serious shock absorption capability with the primary struts having 32 in. of compression travel; the Lunar Module could sustain a fall of approximately 40 feet; the Lunar Module weighed approximately 36,000 lbs. on Earth, but far less on the Moon; considering its Earth weight alone, much less the added load and tremendous vibration it needed to withstand during the Apollo launch, the Lunar Module was obviously not the flimsy contraption the debunkers would have us believe.

CLAIM: Stanly Kubrick confessed to filming the Apollo 11 Moon sequence.
ANSWER: "In a statement released through a spokesperson, the [Kubrick] family made it clear the film published on YouTube was a complete hoax, using an actor who was purporting to be the Clockwork Orange film director." (source)

CLAIM: The U.S. flag is blowing in the wind on the "Moon".
ANSWER: Momentum happens in a vacuum too when the pole to which the flag is attached is adjusted. And if the Apollo 11 mission was filmed in a studio, well, there's no wind there either. Lastly, this assumes those perpetrating the hoax were too stupid to recognize such a blatantly obvious oversight.

CLAIM: There's a photo of a Coke can on the Moon.
ANSWER: See the last part of the answer above. There was plenty of other equipment left on the Moon however as is evidenced in photographs captured by probes sent by several countries, as well as those captured by the Apollo Command Module, all of which the debunkers avoid. Such equipment includes 70+ vehicles, vehicle tracks, sensors, transmitters, seismometers, reflectors, Lunar Modules, payload transport pallets, solar panels, cameras, foot prints, and the Apollo 11 service module which may still be orbiting the Moon, all of which would have to be forgeries by several countries, all of which would have had to be co-conspirators. Lastly, forging this much evidence is utterly unnecessary as it only increases the risk that the hoax would be exposed.

CLAIM: Converging shadows prove that the light source was much closer to the areas being photographed than the Sun would have been, therefore the Moon photography was performed in a studio.
ANSWER: Easily debunked using a light bulb and 2 fingers to create shadows on a table. Shadows can indeed converge, especially when they are produced by irregularly shaped objects resting on an irregular surface, and this is not dependent on the distance of the light source. There is also the matter of perspective.

CLAIM: There are no stars in the photographs allegedly taken from the Moon.
ANSWER: There's no stars because the camera exposure was set to account for the bright, highly reflective surface of the Moon. Ever notice how many fewer stars you can see with the naked eye during a full Moon? Now imagine the light from the Sun as seen on the Moon with no atmosphere in between.

CLAIM: There are no stars in photographs taken from the Moon because it would have been impossible to create an accurate representation of the visible universe.
ANSWER: They couldn't have used enlarged photographs of the universe as a backdrop? Or plotted stars on a backdrop from photographs? Also see the above answer.

CLAIM: The astronauts said they didn't see any stars.
ANSWER: While some of the Apollo astronauts did in fact state they didn't recall seeing any stars from specific perspectives, some also stated that they could see stars when standing in the shadow of the Lunar Module, when orbiting the back side of the Moon, or when looking through optical devices. Also the astronauts had darkened visors to protect their eyes during the Moon walks. Also see the above answers.

CLAIM: The astronauts are too well lit in photographs when they were in shade.
ANSWER: The Moon is highly reflective; lightening of darker areas can be accomplished in the darkroom (known as "dodging").

CLAIM: Photographs taken by astronauts on the Moon are too well composed considering there was no viewfinder on their cameras.
ANSWER: Have you seen all of them? Did cropping photographs suddenly become impossible post Moon landing? Did they not practice beforehand? Is it necessary to forge 8,000+ photographs in order to perpetrate a hoax?

CLAIM: The camera crosshairs in photographs on the "Moon" are behind certain objects.
ANSWER: While that indeed appears to be the case in some of the photographs, it isn't. The crosshairs were on a glass plate in the camera so they could not possibly be behind anything in front of the camera, and if it is posited that the Hasselblad cameras never existed, then a sheet of glass or a filter with the crosshairs on it could be placed in front of the camera lens, or they could be added when printing the photographs. In either case the crosshairs can never be behind anything. The reason the crosshairs appear to be behind certain objects in some of the photographs is because they are washed out when they intersect a bright object, such as a space suit, and, in fact, the crosshairs can be seen in some of the photographs used by the debunkers.

CLAIM: Given the technical challenges it is extremely unlikely that 6 out of 7 Apollo missions could have met with success.
ANSWER: This ignores all that happened prior to Apollo 11. The space program had many failures, including the loss of at least 3 astronauts. So did the automobile industry. Do we not learn from our mistakes? NASA had to be as certain as possible that, as Kennedy stated, we could land a man on the Moon and return him safely to Earth. The space program was a massive effort that, contrary to what some of the debunkers imply, wasn't thrown together over night by a bunch of idiots. All of the debunking videos i've seen feature clip after clip of NASA failures early in the space program while omitting mention of many of the successes. The aircraft industry had many more failures, yet planes are flying today because lessons were learned and changes were made. Furthermore, why fake 6 landings? Why not quit after 1 or 2? Again, the more fakery, the higher the chance of being exposed.

CLAIM: Some of the Apollo 11 astronauts acted strange upon return, as though they had been threatened to not disclose the hoax.
ANSWER: This is another very thin claim, however assuming the astronauts actually did act strange upon return, i think this could possibly be due to having seen things they didn't expect, possibly on the way to the Moon or on their orbit around the dark side of the planet (there is some evidence of artificial structures on the dark side which is never seen from Earth). Another possible answer is their general state of fatigue after having endured such an intense and dangerous mission.

CLAIM: Given the complexity and technological limitations of the time, it would have been impossible for the Service Module to re-dock with the Command Module after leaving the Moon.
ANSWER: This is the only potentially reasonable argument against the Apollo Moon landings that i've heard and, quite interestingly, this argument was made by a friend who spent decades in the aerospace industry, much of that working with missile systems apparently. The basis of the argument is that the docking, given the equipment and technology available at that time, including very limited computing power, would have made it impossible to perform such an incredibly complex, delicate and precise maneuver. I think this argument overlooks the human-in-the-loop factor however. While re-docking was certainly a highly complex operation, which is why it was practiced successfully during the Gemini program, i suspect the automated portion of it (computer controlled burn times, vectoring, etc.) would only have to place the Service Module in the proximity of the Command Module on approximately the same course and velocity after which the pilot could take control and do what the computers may have been incapable of.

One of the most obvious shortcomings of the debunkers is that they conveniently ignore the mountainous body of convincing evidence which contradict their claims, including that provided by countries and organizations other than NASA which orbited the moon and photographed some of the equipment left there during the Apollo program. Such evidence is the result of the work of approximately 400,000 people over a ten year period. One cannot possibly ignore this evidence and proclaim to be objective and when both bodies of evidence are weighed, it is blatantly obvious on which side the credibility lies.

A massive compilation of photographs, video and information for Apollo missions 11 to 17 is contained on the Apollo Lunar Surface Journal website. It is well worth viewing.

Lastly, see the MOON HOAX: DEBUNKED! website.