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Brace Yourselves for the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6)

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Brace Yourselves, New Yorkers, You’re Due for a Major Quake

A couple of hundred thousand years ago, an M 7.2 earthquake shook what is now New Hampshire. Just a few thousand years ago, an M 7.5 quake ruptured just off the coast of Massachusetts. And then there’s New York.

Since the first western settlers arrived there, the state has witnessed 200 quakes of magnitude 2.0 or greater, making it the third most seismically active state east of the Mississippi (Tennessee and South Carolina are ranked numbers one and two, respectively). About once a century, New York has also experienced an M 5.0 quake capable of doing real damage.

The most recent one near New York City occurred in August of 1884. Centered off Long Island’s Rockaway Beach, it was felt over 70,000 square miles. It also opened enormous crevices near the Brooklyn reservoir and knocked down chimneys and cracked walls in Pennsylvania and Connecticut. Police on the Brooklyn Bridge said it swayed “as if struck by a hurricane” and worried the bridge’s towers would collapse. Meanwhile, residents throughout New York and New Jersey reported sounds that varied from explosions to loud rumblings, sometimes to comic effect. At the funeral of Lewis Ingler, a small group of mourners were watching as the priest began to pray. The quake cracked an enormous mirror behind the casket and knocked off a display of flowers that had been resting on top of it. When it began to shake the casket’s silver handles, the mourners decided the unholy return of Lewis Ingler was more than they could take and began flinging themselves out windows and doors.

Not all stories were so light. Two people died during the quake, both allegedly of fright. Out at sea, the captain of the brig Alice felt a heavy lurch that threw him and his crew, followed by a shaking that lasted nearly a minute. He was certain he had hit a wreck and was taking on water.

A day after the quake, the editors of The New York Times sought to allay readers’ fear. The quake, they said, was an unexpected fluke never to be repeated and not worth anyone’s attention: “History and the researches of scientific men indicate that great seismic disturbances occur only within geographical limits that are now well defined,” they wrote in an editorial. “The northeastern portion of the United States . . . is not within those limits.” The editors then went on to scoff at the histrionics displayed by New York residents when confronted by the quake: “They do not stop to reason or to recall the fact that earthquakes here are harmless phenomena. They only know that the solid earth, to whose immovability they have always turned with confidence when everything else seemed transitory, uncertain, and deceptive, is trembling and in motion, and the tremor ceases long before their disturbed minds become tranquil.”
That’s the kind of thing that drives Columbia’s Heather Savage nuts.

New York, she says, is positively vivisected by faults. Most of them fall into two groups—those running northeast and those running northwest. Combined they create a brittle grid underlying much of Manhattan.

Across town, Charles Merguerian has been studying these faults the old‐fashioned way: by getting down and dirty underground. He’s spent the past forty years sloshing through some of the city’s muckiest places: basements and foundations, sewers and tunnels, sometimes as deep as 750 feet belowground. His tools down there consist primarily of a pair of muck boots, a bright blue hard hat, and a pickax. In public presentations, he claims he is also ably abetted by an assistant hamster named Hammie, who maintains his own website, which includes, among other things, photos of the rodent taking down Godzilla.

That’s just one example why, if you were going to cast a sitcom starring two geophysicists, you’d want Savage and Merguerian to play the leading roles. Merguerian is as eccentric and flamboyant as Savage is earnest and understated. In his press materials, the former promises to arrive at lectures “fully clothed.” Photos of his “lab” depict a dingy porta‐john in an abandoned subway tunnel. He actively maintains an archive of vintage Chinese fireworks labels at least as extensive as his list of publications, and his professional website includes a discography of blues tunes particularly suitable for earthquakes. He calls female science writers “sweetheart” and somehow manages to do so in a way that kind of makes them like it (although they remain nevertheless somewhat embarrassed to admit it).

It’s Merguerian’s boots‐on‐the‐ground approach that has provided much of the information we need to understand just what’s going on underneath Gotham. By his count, Merguerian has walked the entire island of Manhattan: every street, every alley. He’s been in most of the tunnels there, too. His favorite one by far is the newest water tunnel in western Queens. Over the course of 150 days, Merguerian mapped all five miles of it. And that mapping has done much to inform what we know about seismicity in New York.

Most importantly, he says, it provided the first definitive proof of just how many faults really lie below the surface there. And as the city continues to excavate its subterranean limits, Merguerian is committed to following closely behind. It’s a messy business.

Down below the city, Merguerian encounters muck of every flavor and variety. He power‐washes what he can and relies upon a diver’s halogen flashlight and a digital camera with a very, very good flash to make up the difference. And through this process, Merguerian has found thousands of faults, some of which were big enough to alter the course of the Bronx River after the last ice age.
His is a tricky kind of detective work. The center of a fault is primarily pulverized rock. For these New York faults, that gouge was the very first thing to be swept away by passing glaciers. To do his work, then, he’s primarily looking for what geologists call “offsets”—places where the types of rock don’t line up with one another. That kind of irregularity shows signs of movement over time—clear evidence of a fault.

Merguerian has found a lot of them underneath New York City.

These faults, he says, do a lot to explain the geological history of Manhattan and the surrounding area. They were created millions of years ago, when what is now the East Coast was the site of a violent subduction zone not unlike those present now in the Pacific’s Ring of Fire.

Each time that occurred, the land currently known as the Mid‐Atlantic underwent an accordion effect as it was violently folded into itself again and again. The process created immense mountains that have eroded over time and been further scoured by glaciers. What remains is a hodgepodge of geological conditions ranging from solid bedrock to glacial till to brittle rock still bearing the cracks of the collision. And, says Merguerian, any one of them could cause an earthquake.

You don’t have to follow him belowground to find these fractures. Even with all the development in our most built‐up metropolis, evidence of these faults can be found everywhere—from 42nd Street to Greenwich Village. But if you want the starkest example of all, hop the 1 train at Times Square and head uptown to Harlem. Not far from where the Columbia University bus collects people for the trip to the Lamont‐Doherty Earth Observatory, the subway tracks seem to pop out of the ground onto a trestle bridge before dropping back down to earth. That, however, is just an illusion. What actually happens there is that the ground drops out below the train at the site of one of New York’s largest faults. It’s known by geologists in the region as the Manhattanville or 125th Street Fault, and it runs all the way across the top of Central Park and, eventually, underneath Long Island City. Geologists have known about the fault since 1939, when the city undertook a massive subway mapping project, but it wasn’t until recently that they confirmed its potential for a significant quake.

In our lifetimes, a series of small earthquakes have been recorded on the Manhattanville Fault including, most recently, one on October 27, 2001. Its epicenter was located around 55th and 8th—directly beneath the original Original Soupman restaurant, owned by restaurateur Ali Yeganeh, the inspiration for Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi. That fact delighted sitcom fans across the country, though few Manhattanites were in any mood to appreciate it.

The October 2001 quake itself was small—about M 2.6—but the effect on residents there was significant. Just six weeks prior, the city had been rocked by the 9/11 terrorist attacks that brought down the World Trade Center towers. The team at Lamont‐Doherty has maintained a seismic network in the region since the ’70s. They registered the collapse of the first tower at M 2.1. Half an hour later, the second tower crumbled with even more force and registered M 2.3. In a city still shocked by that catastrophe, the early‐morning October quake—several times greater than the collapse of either tower—jolted millions of residents awake with both reminders of the tragedy and fear of yet another attack. 9‐1‐1 calls overwhelmed dispatchers and first responders with reports of shaking buildings and questions about safety in the city. For seismologists, though, that little quake was less about foreign threats to our soil and more about the possibility of larger tremors to come.

Remember: The Big Apple has experienced an M 5.0 quake about every hundred years. The last one was that 1884 event. And that, says Merguerian, means the city is overdue. Just how overdue?

“Gee whiz!” He laughs when I pose this question. “That’s the holy grail of seismicity, isn’t it?”

He says all we can do to answer that question is “take the pulse of what’s gone on in recorded history.” To really have an answer, we’d need to have about ten times as much data as we do today. But from what he’s seen, the faults below New York are very much alive.

“These guys are loaded,” he tells me.

He says he is also concerned about new studies of a previously unknown fault zone known as the Ramapo that runs not far from the city. Savage shares his concerns. They both think it’s capable of an M 6.0 quake or even higher—maybe even a 7.0. If and when, though, is really anybody’s guess.

“We literally have no idea what’s happening in our backyard,” says Savage.

What we do know is that these quakes have the potential to do more damage than similar ones out West, mostly because they are occurring on far harder rock capable of propagating waves much farther. And because these quakes occur in places with higher population densities, these eastern events can affect a lot more people. Take the 2011 Virginia quake: Although it was only a moderate one, more Americans felt it than any other one in our nation’s history.

That’s the thing about the East Coast: Its earthquake hazard may be lower than that of the West Coast, but the total effect of any given quake is much higher. Disaster specialists talk about this in terms of risk, and they make sense of it with an equation that multiplies the potential hazard of an event by the cost of damage and the number of people harmed. When you take all of those factors into account, the earthquake risk in New York is much greater than, say, that in Alaska or Hawaii or even a lot of the area around the San Andreas Fault.

Merguerian has been sounding the alarm about earthquake risk in the city since the ’90s. He admits he hasn’t gotten much of a response. He says that when he first proposed the idea of seismic risk in New York City, his fellow scientists “booed and threw vegetables” at him. He volunteered his services to the city’s Office of Emergency Management but says his original offer also fell on deaf ears.

“So I backed away gently and went back to academia.”

Today, he says, the city isn’t much more responsive, but he’s getting a much better response from his peers.

He’s glad for that, he says, but it’s not enough. If anything, the events of 9/11, along with the devastation caused in 2012 by Superstorm Sandy, should tell us just how bad it could be there.

He and Savage agree that what makes the risk most troubling is just how little we know about it. When it comes right down to it, intraplate faults are the least understood. Some scientists think they might be caused by mantle flow deep below the earth’s crust. Others think they might be related to gravitational energy. Still others think quakes occurring there might be caused by the force of the Atlantic ridge as it pushes outward. Then again, it could be because the land is springing back after being compressed thousands of years ago by glaciers (a phenomenon geologists refer to as seismic rebound).

“We just have no consciousness towards earthquakes in the eastern United States,” says Merguerian. “And that’s a big mistake.”

Adapted from Quakeland: On the Road to America’s Next Devastating Earthquake by Kathryn Miles, published by Dutton, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC. Copyright © 2017 by Kathryn Miles.

Israeli Airstrike Flattens Buildings Outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

Israeli Airstrike Flattens Building Housing AP And Other Media In

Gaza City
Dustin Jones

A ball of fire erupts from a building housing various international media, including The Associated Press, after an Israeli airstrike on Saturday in Gaza City. AP staffers and other tenants safely evacuated the building after the Israeli military telephoned a warning that the strike was imminent.
Mahmud Hams/AP
In the latest in a series of attacks, an Israeli airstrike Saturday leveled a high-rise building after the military ordered occupants to evacuate. Inside were the offices of several media outlets — including The Associated Press and Al-Jazeera— and residential apartments.

An AP statement said all employees and freelancers safely evacuated the building. AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt said the company is looking to the Israeli government for answers.

“We are shocked and horrified that the Israeli military would target and destroy the building housing AP’s bureau and other news organizations in Gaza,” he said. “They have long known the location of our bureau and knew journalists were there.

“We narrowly avoided a terrible loss of life. A dozen AP journalists and freelancers were inside the building and thankfully we were able to evacuate them in time.”

White House press secretary Jen Psaki announced via Twitter that Washington has expressed concerns for journalists’ safety to Israeli officials.

There was no immediate explanation for the attack that brought down the 12-story building.

The strike came only hours after another air assault killed at least 10 Palestinians, mostly children, in a densely populated refugee camp. The attack on the camp was the deadliest offensive in the recent conflict between Israeli and Arab forces, AP reported.

The most recent escalation of conflict began a week ago, with combat and rioting erupting throughout Israel. Israeli forces shot and killed 11 people Friday during Palestinian protests in the West Bank.

This week, Hamas has fired hundreds of rockets into Israel, which has hit Gaza with aerial and artillery fire. At least 139 people have been killed in Gaza and eight people have been killed in Israel, the AP reports.

Nuclear material for sale in Pakistan: Revelation 8

Nuclear material for sale!
May 12, 2021
Amid the raging pandemic in the southern Indian state of Maharashtra, the anti-terrorism squad arrested on May 6, two persons (Jagar Jayesh Pandya and Abu Tahir Afzal Hussain Choudhry) for attempting to sell seven kilograms of highly radioactive uranium for a price of about Rs 210 million. The “gentlemen” had advertised the proposed sale online.

As such, the authorities initially dismissed the advertisement as just another hoax. They routinely detained the “sellers-to-be” and forwarded a sample of their goods to the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre. They were shocked when the Centre reported that “the material was natural uranium”. As such the squad was compelled to book the duo under India’s Atomic Energy Act, 1962, at Nagpur police station.

The event, though shocking, is not one of its kind. Earlier, in 2016 also, two persons were arrested by the Thane (Maharashtra) police while they were trying to sell eight to nine kilograms of depleted uranium for Rs 240 million. It is surmised that sale of uranium by scrap dealers in India is common. But, such events rarely come in limelight.

According to Anil Kakodar, former chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, `Factories using uranium as a counterweight in their machines are mandated to contact the Atomic Energy agencies and return uranium to them. They however resort to short cuts and sell the entire machine with uranium in scrap’.

The Indian media scarcely reports such incidents. However, the Indian government sometimes reports such incidents to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to meet disclosure requirements. According to international media reports on 25 February 2004, India reported 25 cases of “missing” or “stolen” radioactive material from its labs to the IAEA. Fifty-two percent of the cases were attributed to “theft” and 48 percent to the “missing mystery”. India claimed to have recovered lost material in 12 of 25 cases. It however admitted that 13 remaining cases remained mysterious.

India reports such incidents to the IAEA to portray itself as a “responsible state”. It is hard to believe that radioactive material could be stolen from nuclear labs without operators’ connivance.

Nine computers, belonging to India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation establishment at Metcalfe House, New Delhi, were stolen. India communicated 25 cases of ‘stolen or missing’ uranium to the IAEA. In different incidents, uranium in varying forms and quantities continue to be recovered from scrap dealers and others by Indian authorities. The recoveries include 57 pounds of uranium in rod form, eight kilograms in granular form, two hundred grams in semi-processed form, besides 25 kilograms in radioactive form, stolen from the Bibi Cancer Hospital.

The ‘thieves’ also stole three cobalt switches, worth Rs. 1.5 million, from the Tata Steel Company laboratory at Jamshedpur (Jharkhand). A shipment of beryllium (worth $24 million), was caught in Vilnius, on its way to North Korea. Taiwanese authorities had intercepted a ship carrying dual-use aluminum oxide from India to North Korea. New Jersey-based Indian engineer Sitaram Ravi Mahidevan was indicted for having bypassed US export procedures to send blueprints of solenoid-operated valves to North Korea.

The Taiwanese authorities had intercepted a ship, carrying dual-use aluminum oxide from India to North Korea. It is an essential ingredient of rocket casings and is, as such, prohibited for export to “rogue” countries.

Despite recurrent incidents of theft of uranium or other sensitive material from Indian nuclear labs, the IAEA never initiated a thorough probe into the lax security environment in government and private nuclear labs in india. However, the international media has a penchant for creating furore over uncorroborated nuclear lapses in Pakistan. A US magazine had reported that some uranium hexafluoride cylinders were missing from the Kahuta Research Laboratories. Pakistan’ then information minister and foreign-office spokesman had both refuted the allegation..

Similarly, Professor Shaun Gregory in his report The Security of Nuclear Weapons contends that those guarding about 120 nuclear-weapon sites, mostly in northern and western parts of Pakistan, have fragmented loyalties. As such, they are an easy prey to religious extremists.

The ‘research work’ by well-known scholars reflects visceral hatred against Pakistan. The findings in fresh ‘magnum opuses’ are a re-hash or amalgam of the presumptions and pretensions in earlier-published ‘studies’. It is time that the West deflected its attention to India where movements of nuclear materials, under the 123 expansion plan, are taking place between nuclear-power plants sprawling across different states.

Frederick W. Kagan and Michael O’Hanlon, also draw a gloomy portrait of the situation in Pakistan. In their article in The New York Times in November 2007, and predicted that extremists would take over, if rule of law collapses in Pakistan. Those sympathetic with the Taliban and al-Qaeda may convert Pakistan into a state sponsor of terrorism. They pointed to Osama bin Laden’s meeting with Sultan Bashiruddin Mahmood and Chaudhry Abdul Majeed, former engineers of Pakistan’s Atomic Energy Commission (having no bomb-making acumen).

They claimed that US military experts and intelligence officials had explored strategies for securing Pakistan’s nuclear assets. One option was to isolate the country’s nuclear bunkers. Doing so would require saturating the area, surrounding the bunkers, with tens of thousands of high-powered mines, dropped from air, packed with anti-tank and anti-personnel munitions. The panacea, suggested by them, was that Pakistan’s nuclear material should be seized and stashed in some “safe” place like New Mexico.

The pilloried Pakistani engineers had no knowledge of weaponisation. The critics mysteriously failed to mention that Pakistan is a party to the UN Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials. The steps taken by Pakistan to protect its nuclear materials and installations conform to international standards. The National Command Authority, created on 2 February 2000, has made failsafe arrangements to control development and deployment of strategic nuclear forces.

Pakistan’s nuclear regulatory authority had taken necessary steps for safety, security, and accountability of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, facilities, and materials even before the 9/11 incident. These controls include a functional equivalent of the two-man rule and permissive action links (PALs). The indigenously-developed PALs are bulwarks against inadvertent loss of control, or accidental use of weapons. So far, there has been no security lapse in any of Pakistan’s nuclear establishments.

Abdul Mannan, in his paper titled “Preventing Nuclear Terrorism in Pakistan: Sabotage of a Spent Fuel Cask or a Commercial Irradiation Source in Transport”, has analysed various ways in which acts of nuclear terrorism could occur in Pakistan (quoted in Pakistan’s Nuclear Future: Worries beyond War). He has fairly reviewed Pakistan’s vulnerability to nuclear terrorism through hypothetical case studies. He concludes that the threat of nuclear terrorism in Pakistan is a figment of imagination, rather than a real possibility.

There are millions of radioactive sources used worldwide in various applications. Only a few thousand sources, including Co-60, Cs-137, Ir-192, Sr-90, Am-241, Cf-252, Pu-238, and RA-226, are considered a security risk. The Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority (PNRA) has enforced a mechanism of strict measures for administrative and engineering control over radioactive sources from cradle to grave. It conducts periodic inspections and physical verifications to ensure security of the sources. The Authority has initiated a Five-Year National Nuclear-Safety-and-Security-Action Plan to establish a more robust nuclear-security regime. It has established a training centre and an emergency-coordination centre, besides deploying radiation-detection-equipment at each point of nuclear-material entry in Pakistan, supplemented by vehicle/pedestrian portal monitoring equipment where needed.

Fixed detectors have been installed at airports, besides carrying out random inspection of personnel’s luggage. All nuclear materials are under strict regulatory control right from import until their disposal.

Concluding remarks

Nuclear controls in India and the USA are not more stringent than Pakistan’s. It is not understood why the media does not deflect their attention to the fragile nuclear-security environment in India. It is unfortunate that the purblind critics fail to see the gnawing voids in India’s nuclear security.

The ‘research work’ by well-known scholars reflects visceral hatred against Pakistan. The findings in fresh ‘magnum opuses’ are a re-hash or amalgam of the presumptions and pretensions in earlier-published ‘studies’. It is time that the West deflected its attention to India where movements of nuclear materials, under the 123 expansion plan, are taking place between nuclear-power plants sprawling across different states.

Above all, will the international media and the IAEA look into open market uranium sales in India?

Biden’s Decisions This Year Will Determine US Nuclear Weapons Policy for the END: Revelation 16

Biden’s Decisions This Year Will Determine US Nuclear Weapons Policy for Decades

Nuclear weapons policies and the trillions of U.S. dollars proposed to fund them come into sharp focus this month and through next year as Congress and the Biden Administration engage the nuclear weapons threat.

A threat viewed as existential by bombmakers, presidents, and arms control activists since the first nuclear weapons were detonated over Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, nuclear weapons deployed today have a capacity to destroy all life on Earth.

Salvaging U.S. nuclear policy from the wreckage left by the Trump Administration, President Biden quickly renewed for five years the New START Treaty which limits the number of deployed nuclear warheads at 1,550 each for the U.S. and Russia

President Biden has also entered negotiations with Iran to rejoin the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA or the Iran nuclear deal) which Trump abrogated in 2017. The JCPOA had been negotiated by the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council — China, Russia, France, Great Britain, the U.S. plus Germany –all of whom remain committed to it.

All this is a good beginning on the nuclear front for the new Administration, but historic leadership will be required of Biden and members of Congress in the coming months, as Appropriations Committees consider spending up to $1.5 trillion on “modernizing” the U.S. nuclear arsenal. The Fiscal 2022 budget scheduled for presentation May 24 will include provision for a newly designed Intercontinental Ballistic Missile, the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent, GBSD—which could wind up costing more than $140 billion, and $250 billion over three decades.] The GBSD, would replace the Minuteman III ICBM’s currently deployed in silos in Colorado, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota and Wyoming

Democratic Senator Ed Markey (Massachusetts) and Representative Ro Khanna (17th District, California) have filed bills in Congress to transfer funds from the new ICBMs toward research for universal vaccines against the Novelcorona virus. The Investing in Cures Before Missiles (ICMB) Act, according to Markey, “makes clear that we can begin to phase out the Cold War nuclear posture that risks accidental nuclear war while still deterring adversaries and assuring allies, and redirect those savings to the clear and present dangers posed by coronaviruses and other emerging and infectious diseases. The devastation sown by COVID-19 would pale in comparison to that of even a limited nuclear war. The ICBM Act signals that we intend to make the world safe from nuclear weapons and prioritize spending that saves lives, rather than ends them.”

Proponents of GBSD including its general contractor Northrop Grumman and major sub-contractors have spent at least one hundred nineteen million dollars of lobbying Congress in 2019-2021; the military industrial complex on parade.

Other initiatives would remove from “hair trigger alert” status controlling the four hundred Minuteman III missiles currently deployed in western States. “Hair trigger alert” and “launch on warning” are relics of the Cold War which give decision makers at most ten minutes to evaluate the validity of the warning of a nuclear attack, and to launch hundreds of the U.S. ICBMs before the enemy’s missile reach their targets.

Dozens of false warnings have scrambled B-52 jets loaded with megatons of nuclear bombs, raised Minuteman missiles to highest alert, roused sleeping presidents out of bed, or caused low ranking military personnel to disobey command and control orders to defuse a frantic but false alarm.

Such false warnings consist of flocks of flying swans, a bear climbing a missile pad security fence, the rising moon, the sun’s reflection on an unusual cloud formation, a defective computer chip costing twenty-five cents, and practice tapes of a nuclear attack unwittingly communicated in Hawaii as “This is Not a Drill”.

China has removed “launch on warning” status from its three hundred nuclear armed missiles. China’s Director of Arms Control, Fu Cong, in 2019 called for all nuclear armed nations to remove their nuclear armed missiles from hair trigger alert, which China considers too risky. The consequences of an accidental launch of nuclear weapons would be catastrophic. Standing down thousands of nuclear weapons from “launch on warning” makes all the sense in the world and could bolster the U.S.’ bona fides in nuclear weapons reduction negotiations going forward.

George Schultz, former Secretary of State, and editor of “The War That Should Never Be Fought”, advised that our adversaries are not always wrong, the U.S. is not always right, and verifiable nuclear weapons treaties are the only alternative to escalating nuclear weapons competition and eventual calamity. Nuclear weapons negotiation can bridge intractable geo-political conflicts, build mutual trust, and save taxpayers trillions of dollars.

American administrations rejected Soviet President Gorbachev’s offer to eliminate all nuclear weapons. President George Bush abrogated the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2001, spawning a new nuclear arms race, and Trump withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty and the Open Skies Treaty, returning Europe to a no man’s land vulnerable to tactical nuclear weapons.

No First Use (NFU) of nuclear weapons, could provide a logical first step away from the fifty- year policy of “deterrents” and mutually assured destruction, universally referred to by the most appropriate of acronyms — MAD. MAD is designed to discourage adversaries from attacking by assuring that the aggressor, principally the Soviet Union/Russia, or vice versa the U.S. would suffer devastating retaliation. In his inimitable style Robert McNamara calculated the level of assured strategic destruction to be thirty percent of Russia’s population, and seventy percent of Russia’s economic capacity, ie. one hundred million Russian dead etc. QED, Quite Easily Done.

No First Use of nuclear weapons eliminates the need or rationale for a significant part of the U.S. nuclear arsenal. Much of the huge cost associated with the U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal pertains to the survivability and retaliatory response to a nuclear attack. Yes, NFU means the U.S. is taking a pre-emptive nuclear first strike “off the table”

No First Use is also the subject of legislation filed in this year’s Congress (117th) by Senator Elizabeth Warren MA and Representative Adam Smith, WA. Smith chairs the influential House Armed Services Committee and describes the NFU bill as, “The United States should never initiate a nuclear war. This bill would strengthen deterrence while reducing the chance of nuclear use due to miscalculation or misunderstanding. Codifying that deterring nuclear use is the sole purpose of our nuclear arsenal strengthens U.S. national security and would renew U.S. leadership on nuclear nonproliferation and disbarment.”

Following Trump’s perverse logic: “Why have nuclear weapons if you cannot use them?”, the Sea Launched Cruise Missile-Nuclear, and low yield submarine launched cruise missiles- nuclear were created. The SLCM-N is considered redundant, provocative, and costs more than ten billion dollars. Senator Chris Van Hollen, Md, and Representative Joe Courtney, CT, have recently filed bills to defund the SLCM-N. “Installing so-called ‘tactical’ nuclear warheads on Virginia-class attack subs is a money drain that will hinder construction of three Virginia-class attack submarines per-year—which both the Obama and Trump shipbuilding plans endorsed,” said Courtney.

Literally and figuratively at the core of the plan to “modernize” the U.S. nuclear arsenal are projects to manufacture new plutonium pits for the next generation of nuclear weapons. Tens of billions of dollars would initially fund construction of plutonium bomb plants at Savannah River Site, S.C., and Los Alamos, N.M. These funds flow through the Department of Energy’s semi-autonomous National Nuclear Security Administration. NNSA FY 2021 budget request of nearly twenty billion dollars is more than one-half the entire Department of Energy budget request. Whether new nuclear bombs take precedence over new clean energy technologies should be questioned in Congressional committee hearings in the coming weeks.

Regarding plutonium pit production, the DOE estimates the legacy clean- up cost of plutonium manufacture since the Manhattan Project during WWII at one trillion dollars. Some sites like Hanford WA and Rocky Flats CO are deemed polluted beyond remediation and are ruined forever.

Were Congress and the Biden Administration to pause, review or even defund any or all of the nuclear weapon programs they would also pause the nascent nuclear arms race stalking future generations. President Biden could and should send a clear signal to his deputies who will soon write the Nuclear Posture Review issued every five years. Quoting Ronald Reagan, “A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought” should be the mantra of the Biden Nuclear Posture Review.

By introducing the American public to taboo issues such as “No First Use” of nuclear weapons, taking ICMB’s off “hair trigger alert”, debating the “sole authority” of the President to order a nuclear attack, and working for the eventual verifiable elimination of nuclear weapons, the Biden Administration would enhance its standing in the world’s arms control community–standing squandered by Trump. Biden could save hundreds of billions of dollars by transferring funds from nuclear armed missiles to research to prevent the next pandemic, or cybersecurity. And maybe, if our luck still holds, he could avoid destroying human civilization and much of life on Earth.

Another arena for Biden administration action is the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) — the cornerstone of nuclear arms control. Signed in 1968, it is reviewed every five years, this year in Vienna in August. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and U.S. arms control negotiators will bring enhanced credibility to the table if they eschew Trump’s jingoistic nuclear weapons policies.

Article VI of the NPT commits all signatories to reduce and eventually eliminate nuclear weapons from their arsenals. The massive nuclear arms build-up the U.S. is considering defies the spirit and letter of NPT’s Article VI.

Since the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, eminent scientists like Albert Einstein and Robert Oppenheimer, philosophers like Bertrand Russell, religious leaders like the Dalai Lama and many Catholic Popes, Quakers and Imams—in fact, the great majority of the world’s nations and peoples–have demanded that international treaties curtail and eliminate nuclear weapons from the Earth.

Their efforts have led to decreasing nuclear weapons from 70,000 to the current 16,000, ninety percent of which are held in Russian and U.S. arsenals Forty percent of the world’s population now live in the five Nuclear Weapons Free Zones established under Article VII of the NPT. And nuclear weapons are now illegal in the fifty- four countries that have ratified the U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, TPNW, entered into force February 2021.

Still ominous warnings about the renewed nuclear arms race are rising. “The likelihood of a nuclear catastrophe is greater today than during the Cold War, and the public is completely unaware of the danger,” says former Secretary of Defense William Perry. The Biden Administration has quickly reached an inflexion point for U.S. nuclear weapons policy: either double down on new weapons for decades into the future or seek verifiable consequential nuclear weapons treaties.

According to Rutgers Professor Alan Robock, even a fraction of the nuclear weapons currently deployed–one hundred–could create a nuclear winter dispersing high in the atmosphere enough soot to block sunlight and make agriculture impossible, leading to famine for billions of people.

Corresponding with Albert Einstein in 1932, Sigmund Freud remarked that humans have a propensity for violence, and an instinct to kill and destroy. Only multi-lateral laws could abate man’s “death wish,” the two agreed. Such laws do exist in the form of nuclear treaties, like New START, the NPT and TPNW.

Ridding the world of these horrific weapons is not fantasy but is an imperative for world leaders. Biden stated as Vice-President, “The spread of nuclear weapons is the greatest threat facing the country and, I would argue, facing humanity. And that is why we are working both to stop their proliferation and eventually to eliminate them”.

The next few weeks and months will determine the course of nuclear weapons policy for the U.S. and the world. There are only two choices: expand the U.S. nuclear arsenal or reduce it, agree on verifiable nuclear weapons treaties with Russia and China or threaten catastrophic war, spend trillions of dollars on demonic weapons or on medicine, schools and art… life or death.

East Coast Still Unprepared For The Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

East Coast Earthquake Preparedness
By By BEN NUCKOLS
Posted: 08/25/2011 8:43 am EDT
WASHINGTON — There were cracks in the Washington Monument and broken capstones at the National Cathedral. In the District of Columbia suburbs, some people stayed in shelters because of structural concerns at their apartment buildings.
A day after the East Coast’s strongest earthquake in 67 years, inspectors assessed the damage and found that most problems were minor. But the shaking raised questions about whether this part of the country, with its older architecture and inexperience with seismic activity, is prepared for a truly powerful quake.
The 5.8 magnitude quake felt from Georgia north to Canada prompted swift inspections of many structures Wednesday, including bridges and nuclear plants. An accurate damage estimate could take weeks, if not longer. And many people will not be covered by insurance.
In a small Virginia city near the epicenter, the entire downtown business district was closed. School was canceled for two weeks to give engineers time to check out cracks in several buildings.
At the 555-foot Washington Monument, inspectors found several cracks in the pyramidion – the section at the top of the obelisk where it begins narrowing to a point.
A 4-foot crack was discovered Tuesday during a visual inspection by helicopter. It cannot be seen from the ground. Late Wednesday, the National Park Service announced that structural engineers had found several additional cracks inside the top of the monument.
Carol Johnson, a park service spokeswoman, could not say how many cracks were found but said three or four of them were “significant.” Two structural engineering firms that specialize in assessing earthquake damage were being brought in to conduct a more thorough inspection on Thursday.
The monument, by far the tallest structure in the nation’s capital, was to remain closed indefinitely, and Johnson said the additional cracks mean repairs are likely to take longer. It has never been damaged by a natural disaster, including earthquakes in Virginia in 1897 and New York in 1944.
Tourists arrived at the monument Wednesday morning only to find out they couldn’t get near it. A temporary fence was erected in a wide circle about 120 feet from the flags that surround its base. Walkways were blocked by metal barriers manned by security guards.
“Is it really closed?” a man asked the clerk at the site’s bookstore.
“It’s really closed,” said the clerk, Erin Nolan. Advance tickets were available for purchase, but she cautioned against buying them because it’s not clear when the monument will open.
“This is pretty much all I’m going to be doing today,” Nolan said.
Tuesday’s quake was centered about 40 miles northwest of Richmond, 90 miles south of Washington and 3.7 miles underground. In the nearby town of Mineral, Va., Michael Leman knew his Main Street Plumbing & Electrical Supply business would need – at best – serious and expensive repairs.
At worst, it could be condemned. The facade had become detached from the rest of the building, and daylight was visible through a 4- to 6-inch gap that opened between the front wall and ceiling.
“We’re definitely going to open back up,” Leman said. “I’ve got people’s jobs to look out for.”
Leman said he is insured, but some property owners might not be so lucky.
The Insurance Information Institute said earthquakes are not covered under standard U.S. homeowners or business insurance policies, although supplemental coverage is usually available.
The institute says coverage for other damage that may result from earthquakes, such as fire and water damage from burst gas or water pipes, is provided by standard homeowners and business insurance policies in most states. Cars and other vehicles with comprehensive insurance would also be protected.
The U.S. Geological Survey classified the quake as Alert Level Orange, the second-most serious category on its four-level scale. Earthquakes in that range lead to estimated losses between $100 million and $1 billion.
In Culpeper, Va., about 35 miles from the epicenter, walls had buckled at the old sanctuary at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, which was constructed in 1821 and drew worshippers including Confederate Gens. Robert E. Lee and J.E.B. Stuart. Heavy stone ornaments atop a pillar at the gate were shaken to the ground. A chimney from the old Culpeper Baptist Church built in 1894 also tumbled down.
At the Washington National Cathedral, spokesman Richard Weinberg said the building’s overall structure remains sound and damage was limited to “decorative elements.”
Massive stones atop three of the four spires on the building’s central tower broke off, crashing onto the roof. At least one of the spires is teetering badly, and cracks have appeared in some flying buttresses.
Repairs were expected to cost millions of dollars – an expense not covered by insurance.
“Every single portion of the exterior is carved by hand, so everything broken off is a piece of art,” Weinberg said. “It’s not just the labor, but the artistry of replicating what was once there.”
The building will remain closed as a precaution. Services to dedicate the memorial honoring Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. were moved.
Other major cities along the East Coast that felt the shaking tried to gauge the risk from another quake.
A few hours after briefly evacuating New York City Hall, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the city’s newer buildings could withstand a more serious earthquake. But, he added, questions remain about the older buildings that are common in a metropolis founded hundreds of years ago.
“We think that the design standards of today are sufficient against any eventuality,” he said. But “there are questions always about some very old buildings. … Fortunately those tend to be low buildings, so there’s not great danger.”
An earthquake similar to the one in Virginia could do billions of dollars of damage if it were centered in New York, said Barbara Nadel, an architect who specializes in securing buildings against natural disasters and terrorism.
The city’s 49-page seismic code requires builders to prepare for significant shifting of the earth. High-rises must be built with certain kinds of bracing, and they must be able to safely sway at least somewhat to accommodate for wind and even shaking from the ground, Nadel said.
Buildings constructed in Boston in recent decades had to follow stringent codes comparable to anything in California, said Vernon Woodworth, an architect and faculty member at the Boston Architectural College. New construction on older structures also must meet tough standards to withstand severe tremors, he said.
It’s a different story with the city’s older buildings. The 18th- and 19th-century structures in Boston’s Back Bay, for instance, were often built on fill, which can liquefy in a strong quake, Woodworth said. Still, there just aren’t many strong quakes in New England.
The last time the Boston area saw a quake as powerful as the one that hit Virginia on Tuesday was in 1755, off Cape Ann, to the north. A repeat of that quake would likely cause deaths, Woodworth said. Still, the quakes are so infrequent that it’s difficult to weigh the risks versus the costs of enacting tougher building standards regionally, he said.
People in several of the affected states won’t have much time to reflect before confronting another potential emergency. Hurricane Irene is approaching the East Coast and could skirt the Mid-Atlantic region by the weekend and make landfall in New England after that.
In North Carolina, officials were inspecting an aging bridge that is a vital evacuation route for people escaping the coastal barrier islands as the storm approaches.
Speaking at an earthquake briefing Wednesday, Washington Mayor Vincent Gray inadvertently mixed up his disasters.
“Everyone knows, obviously, that we had a hurricane,” he said before realizing his mistake.
“Hurricane,” he repeated sheepishly as reporters and staffers burst into laughter. “I’m getting ahead of myself!”
___
Associated Press writers Sam Hananel in Washington; Alex Dominguez in Baltimore; Bob Lewis in Mineral, Va.; Samantha Gross in New York City; and Jay Lindsay in Boston contributed to this report.

Religious violence spreads outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

Religious violence spreads across Israel as death toll from Gaza airstrikes mounts

Updated on: May 13, 2021 / 1:45 PM
/ CBS News

Bat Yam, Israel — Religious violence unlike anything seen in decades has spread across Israel. CBS News correspondent Imtiaz Tyab reports that Jewish and Arab neighbors who’ve lived side-by-side for generations have started to turn on each other.

On Wednesday night an Arab-Israeli man was pulled from his car in the Tel Aviv suburb of Bat Yam and beaten unconscious by dozens of far-right Jewish Israelis.

The brutal attack, labelled a “lynching” by Israeli media, was broadcast live on TV. It was condemned by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the country’s chief rabbi.

“I think this is different from anything I’ve seen, and I’ve been living here for 24 years,” Tel Aviv resident Dahlia Scheindlin told CBS News. “I just want to point out that we’re all Israelis, so Jews, Arabs — we’re all Israelis.”

Violence escalates in Israel-Gaza conflict
Images of a horrifyingly similar scene were posted on social media from Acre, in northern Israel, showing a Jewish-Israeli man allegedly being attacked by a group of young Palestinian Arabs.

“We had a nightmare of a night, a real riot by hundreds of Arab youths,” said Avraham Sagron, the rabbi of a nearby synagogue. “They came in masses, torched car after car, trash bins, broke windows and it was really dangerous to leave the house.”

People, homes, businesses and places of worship have all been targeted.

Just a few days ago the violence sweeping across towns and cities with mixed populations of Jews and Arabs was unthinkable, but the fear now across the region is that there may be much more to come.

Israel-Gaza Conflict

The nightmare is being felt nowhere more acutely than in the Gaza Strip. The tiny, densely populated Palestinian territory controled by the Hamas group has been pummelled by Israeli airstrikes for four days.

The strikes are wreaking havoc, while Hamas’ military wing and other Palestinian groups continue to fire rockets at Israel. More than 1,000 were let loose on Wednesday night alone.

Israel strikes kill Hamas commanders
Since Monday, more than 80 Palestinians have been killed, including 17 children, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. Israel says many of those killed have been Palestinian militants. Seven Israelis have died so far in the tit-for-tat war, including one soldier.

Israel’s military said two infantry units and an armored unit had been sent to the Gaza border, and that plans for a theoretical ground incursion had been prepared and could be submitted to military chiefs for consideration as soon as Thursday. Any such invasion would require approval by Netanyahu’s government, and mark a hugely controversial escalation in the conflict.

But with mounting calls by the U.S. and other countries to step back from the cross-border hostilities, it was the widespread civil unrest inside Israel causing the most immediate concern across the region, stoking fears that the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict could be headed into new, deeply dangerous territory.

There was, however, merciful calm on Thursday morning at one flashpoint in particular — the al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City, where this latest round of violence began.

Thousands of Muslims offered Eid prayers there on Thursday, marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan. There were no reports of violence, but the normally joyous celebration was undeniably on edge.

Threat to air travel

There was yet another worrying sign on Thursday that the tension and the violence could get worse before it gets better. Hamas’ armed wing in Gaza warned that civilian flights in and out of Israel should be halted, because they could be hit by the group’s rockets.

“We call on international airlines to stop their flights to Israel,” a spokesman for the al-Qassam Brigades said in a statement posted to the group’s website. “We tell the enemy that all your airports, and every point from north to south Palestine, are within range of our missiles.”

Streaks of light are seen as Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepts rockets launched from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, as seen from Ashkelon
Streaks of light are seen as Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepts rockets launched from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, as seen from Ashkelon, Israel May 10, 2021. AMIR COHEN / REUTERS
Already Israel’s civil aviation authority had diverted all incoming passenger flights headed to Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport, the main air hub in Israel, to the secondary airport called Ramon. But the Qassam Brigades claimed it had specifically targeted Ramon airport on Thursday, and there were reports in Israeli media that a rocket did land about 7 miles away.

Spokespeople for United Airlines and American Airlines told French news agency AFP that they’d already cancelled all their flights from the U.S. to Israel at least until Saturday.

Appeals for calm

United Nations and Egyptian officials have said that efforts to establish a cease-fire are underway, and an Egyptian delegation arrived Thursday in Israel, but there have been scant signs of progress yet, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government has vowed to widen the offensive.

President Joe Biden called Netanyahu to support Israel’s right to defend itself, and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he was sending a senior diplomat to the region to push for a truce.

Blinken also spoke on Wednesday with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, whose Fatah faction governs the West Bank but holds little sway in Hamas-controlled Gaza. The top American diplomat “expressed his condolences for the lives lost as a result” of the violence in Israel and the Palestinian territories, according to a readout of the call provided by the State Department.

“The Secretary condemned the rocket attacks and emphasized the need to de-escalate tensions and bring the current violence to an end. The Secretary also expressed his belief that Palestinians and Israelis deserve equal measures of freedom, dignity, security and prosperity,” the readout said.

CBS News’ Pamela Falk reported on Thursday that Israel’s U.N. delegation had asked the rest of the Security Council member states to clearly voice support for the country’s right to defend itself from attack.

Tunisia, China and Norway’s U.N. delegations had requested that the Council hold an open, emergency meeting on the Mideast crisis on Friday, but a source familiar with U.S. policy told Falk that the American delegation would prefer an open meeting next Tuesday to give space for diplomacy at the highest levels.

By late Thursday, the U.S. and other nations agreed to hold an emergency open virtual meeting on Sunday.

The source said the U.S. was working behind the scenes to de-escalate the situation, but wanted “to ensure that Security Council action de-escalates tensions,” and that officials were hoping for a ceasefire.

First published on May 13, 2021 / 3:06 AM

© 2021 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

India more likely to start the first nuclear war: Revelation 8

India more likely to respond with military force against Pakistan, reveals US report

Report states there are minimal chances of general war between India and Pakistan but the crises between the two are likely to become more intense, risking an escalatory cycle
The prospects of striking a peace deal in Afghanistan during the next year remain dim: report
Fahad Zulfikar Updated 16 Apr 2021

(Karachi) India is more likely to respond with military force to “perceived or real” provocations from Pakistan under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a report released by US intelligence revealed.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) in its Annual Threat Assessment report to the US Congress, stated that there are minimal chances of general war between arch-rivals, India and Pakistan. However, the crises between the two are likely to become more intense, risking an escalatory cycle.

The report said, “Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India is more likely than in the past to respond with military force to perceived or real Pakistani provocations, and heightened tensions raise the risk of conflict between the two nuclear-armed neighbours, with violent unrest in Kashmir or a militant attack in India being potential flashpoints.”

The ODNI report transpired that tensions between the two nuclear states are a concern for the world.

It stated that the fighting in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, violence between Israel and Iran, the activity of foreign powers in Libya, and conflicts in other areas including Africa, Asia, and the Middle East have the potential to escalate or spread.

About the Afghan peace process, the report assessed that the prospects of striking a peace deal during the next year remain dim.

“The Taliban is likely to make gains on the battlefield, and the Afghan Government will struggle to hold the Taliban at bay if the coalition withdraws support. Kabul continues to face setbacks on the battlefield, and the Taliban is confident it can achieve military victory, it said.

“Afghan forces continue to secure major cities and other government strongholds, but they remain tied down in defensive missions and have struggled to hold recaptured territory or reestablish a presence in areas abandoned in 2020,” the report highlighted.

Regarding Iran’s role in Afghanistan, the report said: “Iran will hedge its bets in Afghanistan.” It added that Iran publicly backs Afghan peace talks, but it is worried about a long-term US presence in Afghanistan. As a result, “Iran is building ties with both the government in Kabul and the Taliban so it can take advantage of any political outcome,” the report mentioned.

Report notes the Iranian Horn’s higher uranium purity

Report notes Iran’s higher uranium purity

BERLIN — Iran has enriched uranium to slightly higher purity than previously thought because of “fluctuations” in the process, the United Nations’ atomic watchdog said Wednesday.

The report underscores the challenges diplomats face in ongoing talks, that began in April, to bring the United States back into the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran, which is supported by President Joe Biden.

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The initial announcement from Iran that it would start enriching to 60% — which is not weapon’s grade but its highest purity yet — was made just as the talks were to begin in Vienna. Rafael Grossi, director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, reported to member agencies Tuesday that the latest inspections confirmed Iran continues to enrich uranium at up to 60% purity in its Natanz plant.

Additionally, samples taken April 22 “showed an enrichment level of up to 63% … consistent with fluctuations of the enrichment levels experienced in the mode of production at that time,” the agency said.

The agency added that on Monday inspectors had “verified that Iran had again changed the mode of production” by which it was producing uranium enriched to 60% purity.

Iran has been steadily violating the restrictions of the landmark 2015 deal after then-President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out unilaterally in 2018 and reimposed crippling sanctions. The deal promised Iran economic incentives in exchanges for curbs on its nuclear program.

Iran has intended the violations to pressure the other nations involved — Germany, France, Britain, China and Russia — into finding ways to offset the U.S. sanctions, so far unsuccessfully.

The U.S. is not at the table for the talks that began in April, but the other members of the nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, have been shuttling between an American delegation also in Vienna and the Iranian delegation.

The pact is meant to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear bomb, something the country insists it does not want to do. The government in Tehran has said that it is prepared to reverse all of its violations but that Washington must remove all sanctions imposed under Trump — including measures imposed over issues not related to its nuclear program.

In addition to exceeding the purity of uranium enrichment past the 3.67% allowed, Iranian violations of the nuclear deal have included installing more advanced centrifuges and stockpiling more enriched uranium than permitted.

The U.S. has insisted that Iran must return to full compliance, but just how that would be carried out is still being discussed.

Despite its violations of all major restrictions of the nuclear deal, the other countries involved have insisted that it has been worth preserving, if nothing else because it has meant atomic-agency inspectors have been able to continue monitoring Iran’s nuclear program.

That access may be further restricted soon, however.

Iran in February began restricting international inspections of its nuclear facilities, but under a last-minute deal worked out on Feb. 21 during a trip to Tehran by Grossi, some access was preserved.

Under the agreement, Iran said that it no longer would provide surveillance footage of its nuclear facilities with the U.N. agency but promised to preserve the tapes for three months.

It then will hand them over to the agency if it is granted sanctions relief. Otherwise, Iran has vowed to erase the recordings.

May 21 represents the end of that three-month window, though there has been some suggestion Iran may extend the deadline if it is satisfied with the progress of the Vienna talks.

Information for this article was contributed by Amir Vahdat of The Associated Press.

FILE – This Jan. 15, 2011 file photo shows Arak heavy water nuclear facilities, near the central city of Arak, 150 miles (250 kilometers) southwest of the capital Tehran, Iran. The United Nations’ atomic watchdog says Iran has enriched uranium to slightly higher purity than previously thought due to “fluctuations” in the process in a report that underscores the challenges diplomats face in ongoing talks to bring the United States back into the nuclear deal with Tehran. (AP Photo/ISNA, Hamid Foroutan, File)
FILE – This Jan. 15, 2011 file photo shows Arak heavy water nuclear facilities, near the central city of Arak, 150 miles (250 kilometers) southwest of the capital Tehran, Iran. The United Nations’ atomic watchdog says Iran has enriched uranium to slightly higher purity than previously thought due to “fluctuations” in the process in a report that underscores the challenges diplomats face in ongoing talks to bring the United States back into the nuclear deal with Tehran. (AP Photo/ISNA, Hamid Foroutan, File)

More Than 30 Dead Outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

More Than 30 Dead in Gaza and Israel as Fighting Quickly Escalates
Hamas fires rockets at Israeli cities. Israel hits Gaza with airstrikes. Civilians suffer the most casualties, but leaders on each side may reap political benefits.

Published May 11, 2021Updated May 14, 2021
The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

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Fighting between Israelis and Palestinians intensified on Tuesday to the highest levels seen in seven years, as militants fired rockets into Israel and the Israeli military responded with airstrikes in Gaza.Mahmud Hams/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
ASHKELON, Israel — The worst fighting between Israelis and Palestinians in seven years intensified on Tuesday night, as Israeli airstrikes began targeting Hamas offices in Gaza City and militants in Gaza fired rockets at the metropolis of Tel Aviv, the southern city of Ashkelon and Israel’s main airport.

In Gaza, at least 35 Palestinians, including 10 children, had been killed by Tuesday night, and 203 others were wounded, according to health officials. In Israel, five people were killed in strikes on Tel Aviv, Ashkelon and Lod, and at least 100 were wounded, according to medical officials.

Away from the military conflict, a wave of civil unrest spread across Arab neighborhoods as Palestinian citizens of Israel expressed fury at the killings in Gaza and longstanding complaints of discrimination inside Israel itself.

While the surge in strikes, the worst since 2014, brought fear to millions in Gaza and Israel, they nevertheless bolstered an unlikely pair: Hamas, the Islamist militant group that runs the Gaza Strip, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel.

For Hamas, the conflict has allowed it to revitalize its claims to the leadership of Palestinian resistance. It framed its rockets as a direct response to a pair of Israeli police raids on the Aqsa Mosque compound, a religious site in East Jerusalem sacred to both Muslims and Jews. In the process, the group presented itself as a protector of Palestinian protesters and worshipers in the city.

Israeli forces and

Palestinian militants

exchanged hundreds

of strikes at multiple

locations in

Gaza and Israel.

Police raided Al Aqsa

Mosque on Monday to disperse crowds and protesters.

For Mr. Netanyahu, the distraction of the war, and the divisions it creates between the disparate opposition parties currently negotiating a coalition to topple him from power, have given him half a chance of remaining in office, just days after it seemed like he might finally be on the way out.

“It is the story of every previous war between Israel and Hamas,” said Ghassan Khatib, a politics expert at Birzeit University in the occupied West Bank. Both governments “come out of it victorious, and the public of Gaza comes out of it as losers.”

Both sides seized on the charged symbolism of the holy city. The Israeli military code-named its operation Guardians of the Walls, a reference to the ancient ramparts of the Old City of Jerusalem. The militants had their own code name: Sword of Jerusalem.

For the victims of the violence, the first 36 hours of the renewed conflict brought little but terror and loss. The Palestinian militants and Israeli military are unevenly matched — the former armed with rockets, the latter with fighter jets and a sophisticated antimissile defense system, the Iron Dome, partly financed by the United States.

Israel’s sophisticated antimissile defense system, the Iron Dome, is partly financed by the United States.
Israel’s sophisticated antimissile defense system, the Iron Dome, is partly financed by the United States. Amir Cohen/Reuters
Israeli airstrikes aim for strategic targets in densely populated Gaza, killing civilians even as Israel insists it takes measures to avoid them. Hamas’s rockets, on the other hand, aim for civilian population centers but often miss the mark.

Osama Soboh, a 31-year-old civil servant in Gaza City, lost his mother, Amira, and brother, Abdelrahman, when an Israeli strike on their apartment block — aimed at a militant leader — also took out his family.

“This is my mom,” Mr. Soboh said by phone on Tuesday afternoon. “It’s a very hard thing to say farewell to the most precious person you have on earth.”

Mr. Soboh questioned why Israel had targeted a civilian building. “It’s not a military barracks, it’s not posing any danger to Israel,” he said. “This was an old woman with a child with cerebral palsy.”

Thirteen miles to the north, in a sleepy suburb of Ashkelon, in Israel, a grandmother trod across the shards of glass and detritus left by a Hamas rocket that had sliced through her apartment block.

“What have I done wrong?” asked Maria Nagiv, 61, a former soldier who was born in Ukraine. “I didn’t do anything and they still send us bombs.”

Ms. Nagiv understood little about the events at the Aqsa compound that had preceded the attack.

“What happened in Jerusalem?” she asked as shards crunched beneath her feet. “I haven’t been following anything about that.”

Taking cover in Ashdod, Israel, on Tuesday as sirens warned of incoming rockets from Gaza.Abir Sultan/EPA, via Shutterstock
Later that day, an Ashkelon City Council member, Amichai Siboni, ran through the city’s streets, searching frantically for a bomb shelter, while bomb sirens sounded overhead.

“There is a siren right now,” Mr. Siboni said as he narrated his experience to an Israeli broadcaster. “I am looking for a safe room in a supermarket. I see around me elderly shoppers getting down to the floor. They are anxious and holding on to each other on the ground.”

In Gaza and Israel, the rockets and airstrikes reached an intensity considered rare for this early stage in a conflict here.

In Gaza, Israeli pilots quickly moved on from solely military targets, turning Tuesday to an apartment block said to house the home of a leading militant, and a tower block housing offices of several Hamas officials.

An Israeli military spokesman, Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, said early Tuesday that 15 militants had been killed in strikes by jets and unmanned drones.

As multiple salvos of rockets streaked out of Gaza in rapid succession, one hit a school in Ashkelon. The school was empty because the Israeli authorities had ordered all schools within 25 miles of Gaza closed in anticipation of rockets.

A giant fire raged on the outskirts of the city, where an oil facility was hit.

An oil facility in Ashkelon was hit by rockets fired from Gaza.Mohammed Abed/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Unrest also broke out among Palestinian citizens of Israel, who were angered by the strikes on Gaza, the raid on the Aqsa compound and the looming expulsion of several Palestinian families from their homes in Jerusalem. Protesters waving Palestinian flags gathered in several Arab towns across Israel, some of them burning cars and Jewish properties.

Palestinians rampaged in the mixed city of Lod, where a state of emergency was declared early Wednesday. Protesters set fire to a synagogue and dozens of cars. One Palestinian man was fatally shot.

A municipality office that was burned during a night of violence between Israeli Arab protesters and the Israeli police in the town of Lod.Heidi Levine/Associated Press
A popular, Jewish-owned fish restaurant went up in flames in Acre, and television images showed a Jewish mob stoning Arab vehicles in Ramla.

In a speech recorded in Qatar and aired on a Hamas-affiliated television channel, a senior Hamas political leader, Ismail Haniya, struck a triumphant tone.

“We have managed to create an equation linking the Jerusalem and Gaza fronts,” he said. “They are inseparable. Jerusalem and Gaza are one.”

For Hamas, analysts said the new round of fighting gives the group the chance to reclaim some of the luster it had as a resistance movement that had faded after years of governing the Gaza Strip. Since coming to power in 2007, Hamas has lost popularity because of what many Gazans see as its authoritarian approach and poor governance.

Evacuating a building in Gaza City on Tuesday. The cross-border military conflict escalated rapidly.Mahmud Hams/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
But its self-presentation as the defender of Jerusalem has allowed the group to piggyback on widespread anger at Israeli police behavior at the Aqsa compound. And it has also allowed the group to ride the coattails of a grass-roots campaign to prevent the eviction of the Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah, a neighborhood in East Jerusalem.

The families’ plight resonated widely because it embodied the broader effort to remove Palestinians from parts of East Jerusalem and of the past displacements of Arabs in the occupied territories and within Israel.

“The events in Jerusalem became very popular among Palestinians,” Mr. Khatib said. “They wanted to move in support of that, in order to get credit.”

The rocket fire also allows Hamas to outmaneuver President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, which exerts partial autonomy in parts of the West Bank. Mr. Abbas recently canceled what would have been the first Palestinian elections in 15 years, denying Hamas the chance to legitimize itself through electoral success.

Now Hamas wants to prove its relevance through other means, said Mkhaimar Abusada, a political scientist at Al Aqsa University in Gaza.

“Definitely what is happening is an indirect message to the Palestinian Authority and to Abbas,” said Mr. Abusada. “If he is not willing to reorganize the Palestinian internal house, that’s another reason why Hamas is escalating.”

Palestinian demonstrators during anti-Israel protests near the Jewish settlement of Beit El near Ramallah.Abbas Momani/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
The war also gives Mr. Netanyahu political breathing space.

Mr. Netanyahu’s opponents have three weeks to cobble together an unlikely coalition — and their success depends on far-right Jewish politicians and Arab Islamists putting aside fundamental differences to join forces in government.

But a war with Gaza makes that less likely, since it becomes far harder for Arab politicians, who oppose confrontations with Gaza, to find common cause with right-wingers who firmly back military action.

Mansour Abbas, an Islamist politician whose party holds the balance of parliamentary power, canceled coalition talks on Monday, as military escalation appeared inevitable. And Defense Minister Benny Gantz, who has pledged to oust Mr. Netanyahu, is now distracted by the war effort.

“It won’t work,” said Yaakov Amidror, a former Israeli national security adviser. “Abbas can’t justify to his public supporting a government that is fighting in Gaza.”

Mr. Netanyahu, also sounding a note of defiance, suggested the hostilities might not end any time soon.

“Hamas and Islamic Jihad have paid, and will pay, a very heavy price for their aggression,” he declared in a late-night address. “This campaign will take time.”

But among civilians left grieving by the conflict, these political questions meant little.

Carrying the body of an 11-year-old, Hussain Hamad, during his funeral in Beit Hanoun, Gaza, on Tuesday. He was killed in an explosion during the conflict.Khalil Hamra/Associated Press
In Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza, the al-Masri family buried two young boys who were killed on Monday evening.

Ibrahim, 11, and Marwan, 7, had been playing outside their home when a missile struck, according to their uncle, Bashir al-Masri, 25.

For Mr. al-Masri, the attack showed that Israel had no concern for civilian life.

“They target buildings with children, they target ambulances, they target schools,” he said by telephone. “And all the world, beginning with America, says that people in Gaza are terrorists. But we are not terrorists. We just want to live in peace.”

On Tuesday night, it was impossible to predict when that would come. The rapid escalation to high-value targets could mean that each side was ramping up for a major conflict.

It could also mean that each is trying to make a powerful final statement before the fighting ends.

But Colonel Conricus said Tuesday that the military’s air campaign was still in its “early stages.”

Reporting was contributed by Iyad Abuhweila from Gaza City, Myra Noveck and Irit Pazner Garshowitz from Jerusalem, and Gabby Sobelman from Rehovot, Israel.

Israel steps up Gaza offensive outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

Nuclear,jerusalem,revelation 11,Israel,jihad,andrewtheprophet,plague,Netanyahu,

Israel steps up Gaza offensive, kills senior Hamas figures

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israel on Wednesday pressed ahead with a fierce military offensive in the Gaza Strip, killing as many as 10 senior Hamas military figures and toppling a pair of high-rise towers housing Hamas facilities in airstrikes. The Islamic militant group showed no signs of backing down and fired hundreds of rockets at Israeli cities.

In just three days, this latest round of fighting between the bitter enemies has already begun to resemble — and even exceed — a devastating 50-day war in 2014. Like in that previous war, neither side appears to have an exit strategy.

But there are key differences. The fighting has triggered the worst Jewish-Arab violence inside Israel in decades. And looming in the background is an international war crimes investigation.

Israel carried out an intense barrage of airstrikes just after sunrise, striking dozens of targets in several minutes that set off bone-rattling explosions across Gaza. Airstrikes continued throughout the day, filling the sky with pillars of smoke.

At nightfall, the streets of Gaza City resembled a ghost town as people huddled indoors on the final night of Islam’s holiest month of Ramadan. The evening, followed by the Eid al-Fitr holiday, is usually a time of vibrant night life, shopping and crowded restaurants.

“There is nowhere to run. There is nowhere to hide,” said Zeyad Khattab, a 44-year-old pharmacist who fled with a dozen other relatives to a family home in central Gaza after bombs pounded his apartment building in Gaza City. “That terror is impossible to describe.”

Gaza militants continued to bombard Israel with nonstop rocket fire throughout the day and into early Thursday. The attacks brought life to a standstill in southern communities near Gaza, but also reached as far north as the Tel Aviv area, about 70 kilometers (45 miles) to the north, for a second straight day.

The military said sirens also wailed in northern Israel’s Emek area, or Jezreel Valley, the farthest the effects of Gaza rockets have reached since 2014. The Israeli army also shared footage showing a rocket impact between apartment towers in the Tel Aviv suburb of Petah Tikva early Thursday, apparently sparking a large fire. It said the strike left people wounded and caused “significant damage.”

“We’re coping, sitting at home, hoping it will be OK,” said Motti Haim, a resident of the central town of Beer Yaakov and father of two children. “It’s not simple running to the shelter. It’s not easy with the kids.”

Gaza’s Health Ministry said the death toll rose to 69 Palestinians, including 16 children and six women. Islamic Jihad confirmed the deaths of seven militants, while Hamas acknowledged that a top commander and several other members were killed.

Rescuers pulled the bodies of a man and his wife from the debris of their home that was hit by rockets in the latest Israeli airstrikes early Thursday, relatives said.

A total of seven people have been killed in Israel, including four people who died on Wednesday. Among them were a soldier killed by an anti-tank missile and a 6-year-old child hit in a rocket attack.

The Israeli military claims the number of militants killed so far is much higher than Hamas has acknowledged.

Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, a military spokesman, said at least 14 militants were killed Wednesday — including 10 members of the “top management of Hamas” and four weapons experts. Altogether, he claimed some 30 militants have been killed since the fighting began.

More raids conducted early Thursday were aimed at several “strategically significant” facilities for Hamas, including a bank and a compound for a naval squad, the military said.

While United Nations and Egyptian officials have said that cease-fire efforts are underway, there were no signs of progress. Israeli television’s Channel 12 reported late Wednesday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Security Cabinet authorized a widening of the offensive.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the “indiscriminate launching of rockets” from civilian areas in Gaza toward Israeli population centers, but he also urged Israel to show “maximum restraint.” President Joe Biden called Netanyahu to support Israel’s right to defend itself and Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said he was sending a senior diplomat to the region to try to calm tensions.

The current eruption of violence began a month ago in Jerusalem, where heavy-handed Israeli police tactics during Ramadan and the threatened eviction of dozens of Palestinian families by Jewish settlers ignited protests and clashes with police. A focal point was the Al-Aqsa Mosque, built on a hilltop compound that is revered by Jews and Muslims, where police fired tear gas and stun grenades at protesters who threw chairs and stones at them.

Hamas, claiming to be defending Jerusalem, launched a barrage of rockets at the city late Monday, setting off days of fighting.

The Israeli military says militants have fired about 1,500 rockets in just three days. That is roughly one-third the number fired during the entire 2014 war.

Israel, meanwhile, has struck over 350 targets in Gaza, a tiny territory where 2 million Palestinians have lived under a crippling Israeli-Egyptian blockade since Hamas took power in 2007. Two infantry brigades were sent to the area, indicating preparations for a possible ground invasion.

In tactics echoing past wars, Israel has begun to target senior members of Hamas’ military wing. It also has flattened three high-rise buildings in a tactic that has drawn international scrutiny in the past.

Israel says the buildings all housed Hamas operations centers, but they also included residential apartments and businesses. In all cases, Israel fired warning shots, allowing people to flee, and there were no reports of casualties.

The fighting has set off violent clashes between Arabs and Jews in Israel, in scenes unseen since 2000. Netanyahu warned that he was prepared to use an “iron fist if necessary” to calm the violence.

But ugly clashes erupted across the country late Wednesday. Jewish and Arab mobs battled in the central city of Lod, the epicenter of the troubles, despite a state of emergency and nighttime curfew. In nearby Bat Yam, a mob of Jewish nationalists attacked an Arab motorist, dragged him from his car and beat him until he was motionless.

In the occupied West Bank, the Israeli military said it thwarted a Palestinian shooting attack that wounded two people. The Palestinian Health Ministry said the suspected gunman was killed. No details were immediately available.

Still unclear is how the fighting in Gaza will affect Netanyahu’s political future. He failed to form a government coalition after inconclusive parliamentary elections in March, and now his political rivals have three weeks to try to form one.

His rivals have courted a small Islamist Arab party. But the longer the fighting lasts, the more it could hamper their attempts at forming a coalition. It could also boost Netanyahu if another election is held, since security is his strong suit with the public.

Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since the Islamic militant group seized power in Gaza from rival Palestinian forces in 2007.

The International Criminal Court has launched an investigation into possible war crimes by Israel and Hamas. In a brief statement, ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said she had noted “with great concern” the escalation of violence and “the possible commission of crimes.”

The ICC is looking into Israeli actions in past wars in Gaza. Israel is not a member of the court, does not recognize the ICC’s jurisdiction and rejects the accusations. But in theory, the ICC could issue warrants and try to arrest Israeli suspects while they are traveling overseas.

Conricus, the military spokesman, said Israeli forces respect international laws on armed conflict and do their utmost to minimize civilian casualties. Israel blames Hamas for civilian casualties because the group fires rockets from residential areas.

Emanuel Gross, a professor emeritus the University of Haifa law school, said Israel should “take into consideration the concerns of the ICC.” But he said he believes the military is on solid legal ground while rockets are striking Israeli cities.

“That’s the real meaning of self defense,” he said. “If you are attacked by a terrorist group, you defend yourself.”


The Federman reported from Jerusalem. Associated Press writer Ilan Ben Zion in Jerusalem contributed to this report.

Columbia University Warns Of Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

   Earthquakes May Endanger New York More Than Thought, Says Study
A study by a group of prominent seismologists suggests that a pattern of subtle but active faults makes the risk of earthquakes to the New York City area substantially greater than formerly believed. Among other things, they say that the controversial Indian Point nuclear power plants, 24 miles north of the city, sit astride the previously unidentified intersection of two active seismic zones. The paper appears in the current issue of the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America.
Many faults and a few mostly modest quakes have long been known around New York City, but the research casts them in a new light. The scientists say the insight comes from sophisticated analysis of past quakes, plus 34 years of new data on tremors, most of them perceptible only by modern seismic instruments. The evidence charts unseen but potentially powerful structures whose layout and dynamics are only now coming clearer, say the scientists. All are based at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, which runs the network of seismometers that monitors most of the northeastern United States.
Lead author Lynn R. Sykes said the data show that large quakes are infrequent around New Yorkcompared to more active areas like California and Japan, but that the risk is high, because of the overwhelming concentration of people and infrastructure. “The research raises the perception both of how common these events are, and, specifically, where they may occur,” he said. “It’s an extremely populated area with very large assets.” Sykes, who has studied the region for four decades, is known for his early role in establishing the global theory of plate tectonics.
The authors compiled a catalog of all 383 known earthquakes from 1677 to 2007 in a 15,000-square-mile area around New York City. Coauthor John Armbruster estimated sizes and locations of dozens of events before 1930 by combing newspaper accounts and other records. The researchers say magnitude 5 quakes—strong enough to cause damage–occurred in 1737, 1783 and 1884. There was little settlement around to be hurt by the first two quakes, whose locations are vague due to a lack of good accounts; but the last, thought to be centered under the seabed somewhere between Brooklyn and Sandy Hook, toppled chimneys across the city and New Jersey, and panicked bathers at Coney Island. Based on this, the researchers say such quakes should be routinely expected, on average, about every 100 years. “Today, with so many more buildings and people, a magnitude 5 centered below the city would be extremely attention-getting,” said Armbruster. “We’d see billions in damage, with some brick buildings falling. People would probably be killed.”
Starting in the early 1970s Lamont began collecting data on quakes from dozens of newly deployed seismometers; these have revealed further potential, including distinct zones where earthquakes concentrate, and where larger ones could come. The Lamont network, now led by coauthor Won-Young Kim, has located hundreds of small events, including a magnitude 3 every few years, which can be felt by people at the surface, but is unlikely to cause damage. These small quakes tend to cluster along a series of small, old faults in harder rocks across the region. Many of the faults were discovered decades ago when subways, water tunnels and other excavations intersected them, but conventional wisdom said they were inactive remnants of continental collisions and rifting hundreds of millions of years ago. The results clearly show that they are active, and quite capable of generating damaging quakes, said Sykes.
One major previously known feature, the Ramapo Seismic Zone, runs from eastern Pennsylvania to the mid-Hudson Valley, passing within a mile or two northwest of Indian Point. The researchers found that this system is not so much a single fracture as a braid of smaller ones, where quakes emanate from a set of still ill-defined faults. East and south of the Ramapo zone—and possibly more significant in terms of hazard–is a set of nearly parallel northwest-southeast faults. These include Manhattan’s 125th Street fault, which seems to have generated two small 1981 quakes, and could have been the source of the big 1737 quake; the Dyckman Street fault, which carried a magnitude 2 in 1989; the Mosholu Parkway fault; and the Dobbs Ferry fault in suburban Westchester, which generated the largest recent shock, a surprising magnitude 4.1, in 1985. Fortunately, it did no damage. Given the pattern, Sykes says the big 1884 quake may have hit on a yet-undetected member of this parallel family further south.
The researchers say that frequent small quakes occur in predictable ratios to larger ones, and so can be used to project a rough time scale for damaging events. Based on the lengths of the faults, the detected tremors, and calculations of how stresses build in the crust, the researchers say that magnitude 6 quakes, or even 7—respectively 10 and 100 times bigger than magnitude 5–are quite possible on the active faults they describe. They calculate that magnitude 6 quakes take place in the area about every 670 years, and sevens, every 3,400 years. The corresponding probabilities of occurrence in any 50-year period would be 7% and 1.5%. After less specific hints of these possibilities appeared in previous research, a 2003 analysis by The New York City Area Consortium for Earthquake Loss Mitigation put the cost of quakes this size in the metro New York area at $39 billion to $197 billion. A separate 2001 analysis for northern New Jersey’s Bergen County estimates that a magnitude 7 would destroy 14,000 buildings and damage 180,000 in that area alone. The researchers point out that no one knows when the last such events occurred, and say no one can predict when they next might come.
“We need to step backward from the simple old model, where you worry about one large, obvious fault, like they do in California,” said coauthor Leonardo Seeber. “The problem here comes from many subtle faults. We now see there is earthquake activity on them. Each one is small, but when you add them up, they are probably more dangerous than we thought. We need to take a very close look.” Seeber says that because the faults are mostly invisible at the surface and move infrequently, a big quake could easily hit one not yet identified. “The probability is not zero, and the damage could be great,” he said. “It could be like something out of a Greek myth.”
The researchers found concrete evidence for one significant previously unknown structure: an active seismic zone running at least 25 miles from Stamford, Conn., to the Hudson Valley town of Peekskill, N.Y., where it passes less than a mile north of the Indian Point nuclear power plant. The Stamford-Peekskill line stands out sharply on the researchers’ earthquake map, with small events clustered along its length, and to its immediate southwest. Just to the north, there are no quakes, indicating that it represents some kind of underground boundary. It is parallel to the other faults beginning at 125th Street, so the researchers believe it is a fault in the same family. Like the others, they say it is probably capable of producing at least a magnitude 6 quake. Furthermore, a mile or so on, it intersects the Ramapo seismic zone.
Sykes said the existence of the Stamford-Peekskill line had been suggested before, because the Hudson takes a sudden unexplained bend just ot the north of Indian Point, and definite traces of an old fault can be along the north side of the bend. The seismic evidence confirms it, he said. “Indian Point is situated at the intersection of the two most striking linear features marking the seismicity and also in the midst of a large population that is at risk in case of an accident,” says the paper. “This is clearly one of the least favorable sites in our study area from an earthquake hazard and risk perspective.”
The findings comes at a time when Entergy, the owner of Indian Point, is trying to relicense the two operating plants for an additional 20 years—a move being fought by surrounding communities and the New York State Attorney General. Last fall the attorney general, alerted to the then-unpublished Lamont data, told a Nuclear Regulatory Commission panel in a filing: “New data developed in the last 20 years disclose a substantially higher likelihood of significant earthquake activity in the vicinity of [Indian Point] that could exceed the earthquake design for the facility.” The state alleges that Entergy has not presented new data on earthquakes past 1979. However, in a little-noticed decision this July 31, the panel rejected the argument on procedural grounds. A source at the attorney general’s office said the state is considering its options.
The characteristics of New York’s geology and human footprint may increase the problem. Unlike in California, many New York quakes occur near the surface—in the upper mile or so—and they occur not in the broken-up, more malleable formations common where quakes are frequent, but rather in the extremely hard, rigid rocks underlying Manhattan and much of the lower Hudson Valley. Such rocks can build large stresses, then suddenly and efficiently transmit energy over long distances. “It’s like putting a hard rock in a vise,” said Seeber. “Nothing happens for a while. Then it goes with a bang.” Earthquake-resistant building codes were not introduced to New York City until 1995, and are not in effect at all in many other communities. Sinuous skyscrapers and bridges might get by with minimal damage, said Sykes, but many older, unreinforced three- to six-story brick buildings could crumble.
Art Lerner-Lam, associate director of Lamont for seismology, geology and tectonophysics, pointed out that the region’s major highways including the New York State Thruway, commuter and long-distance rail lines, and the main gas, oil and power transmission lines all cross the parallel active faults, making them particularly vulnerable to being cut. Lerner-Lam, who was not involved in the research, said that the identification of the seismic line near Indian Point “is a major substantiation of a feature that bears on the long-term earthquake risk of the northeastern United States.” He called for policymakers to develop more information on the region’s vulnerability, to take a closer look at land use and development, and to make investments to strengthen critical infrastructure.
“This is a landmark study in many ways,” said Lerner-Lam. “It gives us the best possible evidence that we have an earthquake hazard here that should be a factor in any planning decision. It crystallizes the argument that this hazard is not random. There is a structure to the location and timing of the earthquakes. This enables us to contemplate risk in an entirely different way. And since we are able to do that, we should be required to do that.”
New York Earthquake Briefs and Quotes:
Existing U.S. Geological Survey seismic hazard maps show New York City as facing more hazard than many other eastern U.S. areas. Three areas are somewhat more active—northernmost New York State, New Hampshire and South Carolina—but they have much lower populations and fewer structures. The wider forces at work include pressure exerted from continuing expansion of the mid-Atlantic Ridge thousands of miles to the east; slow westward migration of the North American continent; and the area’s intricate labyrinth of old faults, sutures and zones of weakness caused by past collisions and rifting.
Due to New York’s past history, population density and fragile, interdependent infrastructure, a 2001 analysis by the Federal Emergency Management Agency ranks it the 11th most at-risk U.S. city for earthquake damage. Among those ahead: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Portland. Behind: Salt Lake City, Sacramento, Anchorage.
New York’s first seismic station was set up at Fordham University in the 1920s. Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, in Palisades, N.Y., has operated stations since 1949, and now coordinates a network of about 40.
Dozens of small quakes have been felt in the New York area. A Jan. 17, 2001 magnitude 2.4, centered  in the Upper East Side—the first ever detected in Manhattan itself–may have originated on the 125th Street fault. Some people thought it was an explosion, but no one was harmed.
The most recent felt quake, a magnitude 2.1 on July 28, 2008, was centered near Milford, N.J. Houses shook and a woman at St. Edward’s Church said she felt the building rise up under her feet—but no damage was done.
Questions about the seismic safety of the Indian Point nuclear power plant, which lies amid a metropolitan area of more than 20 million people, were raised in previous scientific papers in 1978 and 1985.
Because the hard rocks under much of New York can build up a lot strain before breaking, researchers believe that modest faults as short as 1 to 10 kilometers can cause magnitude 5 or 6 quakes.
In general, magnitude 3 quakes occur about 10 times more often than magnitude fours; 100 times more than magnitude fives; and so on. This principle is called the Gutenberg-Richter relationship.