Hervorgehoben

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.

16 rioters injured outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

Demonstrator hurls rocks at Israeli troops on Gaza border

Demonstrator hurls rocks at Israeli troops on Gaza border

Reuters

16 demonstrators were injured on Friday in clashes with IDF troops on the Gaza Strip border, Channel 13 News reported, citing the Hamas-run “health ministry” in Gaza.

The victims were injured by gas inhalation and by rubber bullets fired by the soldiers.

According to the report, some 4,000 Palestinian Arabs took part in the weekly riots, a lower number compared to the last few months, likely due to the heat wave in the region.

The violent weekly riots along the Gaza-Israel border, known as the “March of the Return”, have been taking place every Friday for more than a year, since March 30, 2018.

Hamas openly admitted last year that most of the Gazans who have been killed in the border riots were members of the group.

Friday’s protests took place two days after Israel announced it would reduce the fishing zone in the Gaza Strip to a range of up to 10 nautical miles until further notice.

According to the announcement, the decision was made following the firing of incendiary balloons from Gaza into Israeli territory.

Trump Preps the Saudis for War (Daniel 7)

Trump cites Iran to bypass Congress on Saudi arms sales

(Newser) – The Trump administration on Friday invoked a rarely used provision in federal law to bypass congressional review of arms sales to Saudi Arabia, citing threats the kingdom faces from Iran. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo notified Congress of the decision to use an emergency loophole in the Arms Export Control Act to move ahead with sales of $7 billion in precision guided munitions, other bombs and ammunition and aircraft maintenance support to Saudi Arabia, along with the United Arab Emirates and Jordan, without lawmakers‘ approval. Pompeo said, the AP reports, „that an emergency exists which requires the immediate sale“ of the weapons „to deter further the malign influence of the government of Iran throughout the Middle East region.“ He said the transfers „must occur as quickly as possible in order to deter further Iranian adventurism.“
Pompeo’s move follows President Trump’s announcement that the U.S. will send 1,500 additional U.S. troops to the Middle East in response to an unspecified threat from Iran. Democratic critics of the Saudi campaign denounced Friday’s step. Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey said the administration did not cite a specific legal or practical reason for using the loophole other than Iran. Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut said the administration was only declaring an emergency because lawmakers would have blocked the transfers. „There is no new ‚emergency‘ reason to sell bombs to the Saudis,“ Murphy said. There is precedent for using the exemption for arms sales to Saudi Arabia: President Ronald Reagan and Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush invoked it.

Antichrist against Iraq becoming party to US-Iran conflict

Sadr against Iraq becoming party to US-Iran conflict

BAGHDAD: The anti-Iranian Iraqi Shiite cleric, Muqtada Al-Sadr, has called on all Iraqis to take to the streets in massive demonstrations across the country on Friday to show their rejection to be involved in the US-Iran conflict, and he threatened to consider whoever involves Iraq with war as “an enemy,” a statement said.

The tension between the US and Iran is at its peak, especially after the US withdrew from the nuclear deal, imposing economic sanctions on Iran and threatening military attacks if Iran attacks US interests in the Middle East.

Iraq has been a battleground for the great powers in the region, especially America and Iran, since 2003. Iraqi leaders believe that the country will be the first confrontation zone between the two countries in the event of a war, especially since Iran has great influence in Iraq and controls armed factions that could target US interests at any time.

Sadr, who has millions of followers and controls one of the largest Shiite factions, has publicly distanced himself and his fighters from the Iranians for years. It has criticized them on several occasions for “their blatant interference in Iraqi affairs and their quest to control the country using their armed arms.”

Despite Sadr’s hostile attitude toward Iran, he still considers the US as his first “enemy” in Iraq, and has blamed them for the killing of thousands of his followers in the years since the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq.

He has expressed his attitude toward the Americans in his speeches and directives to his followers.

“I am not backing the war between Iran and the US and I am not (supporting any situation) that involves Iraq in this war and makes it a battlefield,” Sadr said.

“We need a serious pause to keep Iraq away from this fierce war that will burn everything.”

Iran has formed, trained and equipped dozens of Shiite, Sunni, Christian and Yazidi factions over the past years.

All American interests are located within the range of these factions’ rockets.

Restraining and controlling these factions is one of the biggest challenges facing Iraqi leaders.

A rocket fired by unknown gunmen on Sunday targeting the Green Zone, the most fortified area in Baghdad that hosts most of the governmental buildings and embassies, including the US embassy, has embarrassed the Iraqi government and intensified fears that Iraqi factions
could spark a war between Iran and the US.

Sadr called on Iraqis to take part in mass demonstrations on Friday evening in all provinces — except the holy city of Najaf.

“We need to raise the Iraqi people’s voice condemning the war … it would be the end of Iraq if this war broke out,” Sadr said.

“Any party that involves Iraq in the war and makes it a battleground (for Iran and the US) will be an enemy of the Iraqi people,” the Iraqi leader said.

The History Of New York Earthquakes: Before The Sixth Seal (Rev 6:12)

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Historic Earthquakes

Near New York City, New York

1884 08 10 19:07 UTC

Magnitude 5.5

Intensity VII

USGS.gov

This severe earthquake affected an area roughly extending along the Atlantic Coast from southern Maine to central Virginia and westward to Cleveland, Ohio. Chimneys were knocked down and walls were cracked in several States, including Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. Many towns from Hartford, Connecticut, to West Chester,Pennsylvania.

Property damage was severe at Amityville and Jamaica, New York, where several chimneys were “overturned” and large cracks formed in walls. Two chimneys were thrown down and bricks were shaken from other chimneys at Stratford (Fairfield County), Conn.; water in the Housatonic River was agitated violently. At Bloomfield, N.J., and Chester, Pa., several chimneys were downed and crockery was broken. Chimneys also were damaged at Mount Vernon, N.Y., and Allentown, Easton, and Philadelphia, Pa. Three shocks occurred, the second of which was most violent. This earthquake also was reported felt in Vermont, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Several slight aftershocks were reported on August 11.

Provocation of Iran WILL cause widespread worldwide woes

President Barack Obama withdrew American combat forces from Iraq in 2011, and by 2014, they would be deployed to assist the Iraqi forces in their fight against the Islamic State in northern and western Iraq.

Iranian-supported militias were allies with the U.S.-backed Iraqi troops, and President Trump’s decision to deploy a U.S. naval carrier group and bomber planes to the Persian Gulf – because of what seems an unsubstantiated Iranian threat – has the potential to be a real game-changer in this region. Iraq is caught between Iran and the U.S. in a potential power play. This recent escalation of tensions in the Persian Gulf is transpiring in the aftermath of Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iran Nuclear Agreement.

Leaked evidence include photos of Iranian Revolutionary Guards uploading missiles, presumably to attack American and Allied shipping that passes through the Straits of Hormuz. It is no secret much of the world’s oil supplies pass through this waterway that is only 24 miles wide, and the U.S. has been down this road before regarding tensions in the Persian Gulf that threaten crude oil on the global market. In the 1980s, despite the fact that the Reagan administration knew Iraq was using chemical weapons against Iran in the Iran-Iraq War, the much larger concern was protecting Iraqi oil from attacks by Iran. Iran had felt the brunt of the American alignment with Saddam Hussein during that conflict, as Iranian patrol boats had been attacked, and Iranian oil platforms were being destroyed by U.S. forces. A U.S. warship in 1988 shot down an Iranian Airbus, killing nearly 300 civilians.

Many Iranians have a deep-seated hatred of Americans, and it goes far beyond U.S. military intervention in the Iran-Iraq War, backing out of a nuclear deal, or the deployment of U.S. forces to a region with a history of U.S. involvement. The 1953 coup that brought about the overthrow of Mohammad Mosaddegh helped to sow the seeds of resentment toward the American government when President Dwight D. Eisenhower gave the green light for CIA covert action that resulted in propping the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi as the legitimate ruler.

Once the Shah was in power, Pahlavi set out on a bold infrastructure improvement plan, and while this included transportation and irrigation systems and health care, many Iranians resented the Western influence. They saw the regime was based on U.S. power and greed, as well as what some viewed as a regime antithetical to Islam. Many Iranians rejected the authoritarian rule, and dissent was suppressed by the Savak, the secret police force. By the early 1970s, as oil revenues were increasing in Iran, many were enraged at the income disparity tied to oil wealth. Discontent among the Shiite clergy, lower classes, and students would lead to a revolution, and by January 1979, the Shah fled Iran.

Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton has said, „The U.S. is not seeking war with the Iranian regime.“ Yet Bolton has spoke of a U.S. military response in the event of an attack by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, regular Iranian forces, and proxy groups to include Iran’s renowned proxy, Hezbollah. While the U.S. military might eclipse Iran in numbers and overall military infrastructure, Iran does not require a mammoth navy to impede shipping through the Straits of Hormuz, which could paralyze the supply of oil on a global level, and ravage economies.

Brent Been is a Tahlequah educator who is currently teaching at Alice Robertson Junior High in Muskogee.

Palestinians Protest Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11:2)

Roughly 3,000 Palestinians protest along the Gaza Security Fence

IDF troops face Palestinian protesters over the border fence between Israel and the Gaza Strip on March 30, a year after they began the ‘Great March of Return’ demonstrations. (photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)

BY JERUSALEM POST STAFF
 MAY 24, 2019 18:03

 

Hamas officials are taking part in the violent clashes, which include throwing explosives on IDF soldiers and attempts to breach the fence.
A Palestinian medic was injured due to an IDF gas grenade East of khan Younis, Palestinian media reported. A yet unknown number of protesters was also injured.
The Friday protest takes place three days after Israeli media reported that an early agreement to a cease fire dealwas reached between Israel and Hamas. These reports were quickly dismissed by both parties.

Pakistan Tests Her Nuclear Horn (Daniel 8:8)

Shaheen II, surface-to-surface ballistic missile, according to Pakistan capable of delivering conventional and nuclear weapons at a range of up to 1,500 kilometers, during a training launch in this photo released by Inter Services Public Relations, May 23, 2019.
Shaheen II, surface-to-surface ballistic missile, according to Pakistan capable of delivering conventional and nuclear weapons at a range of up to 1,500 kilometers, during a training launch in this photo released by Inter Services Public Relations, May 23, 2019.

Pakistan says it has successfully conducted a “training launch” of a ballistic missile capable of carrying both nuclear and conventional warheads up to 1,500 kilometers.

The move came amid Pakistan’s heightened military tensions with neighboring rival India, and it is seen by observers as part of the efforts Islamabad is making to keep pace with New Delhi’s massive investments in military hardware and advancements.

After the indigenously produced Shaheen-II medium range rocket was fired into the Arabian Sea on Thursday, military spokesman Major-General Asif Ghafoor said that it is “a highly capable missile which fully meets Pakistan’s strategic needs towards maintenance of desired deterrence stability in the region.”

Ghafoor noted the head of the military unit that oversees the country’s nuclear program witnessed the training launch along with other senior officials, scientists and engineers.

“President (Arif Alvi) and Prime Minister of Pakistan (Imran Khan) have also conveyed their congratulations on the achievement,” he added.

Pakistani military personnel stand beside a Shaheen III surface-to-surface ballistic missile during Pakistan Day military parade in Islamabad, Pakistan, March 23, 2019.
Pakistani military personnel stand beside a Shaheen III surface-to-surface ballistic missile during Pakistan Day military parade in Islamabad, Pakistan, March 23, 2019.

Pakistan has already test-fired the Shaheen-III nuclear-capable missile with a range of up to 1,700 miles, enabling it to strike all corners of India and reach deep into the Middle East, including Israel.

Thursday’s missile launch came a day after Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi spoke briefly with his Indian counterpart, Sushma Swaraj, on the sidelines of a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization member states in Kyrgyzstan. Following what he said was an informal interaction with Swaraj, Qureshi said he conveyed Pakistan’s readiness to engage in a dialogue with India to resolve all bilateral matters through negotiations.

“We want to live like good neighbors and settle our outstanding issues through talks,” he said.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced in March the country had shot down a satellite in low orbit, making it the fourth country, after the United States, China and Russia, to have used an anti-satellite weapon.

Islamabad had criticized the move as a “matter of grave concern” and a militarization of space by New Delhi.

In the backdrop of India’s recent anti-satellite tests, Pakistan announced Wednesday it has signed a joint document with Russia on no-first placement of weapons in outer space. An official statement said the two countries have agreed to “make all possible efforts to prevent outer space from becoming an arena for military confrontation and to ensure security in our space activities.”

Analysts estimate that both the South Asian rivals possess about 100 nuclear warheads each.

Brink of war

Pakistan and India have fought three major wars since 1947 and came close to the brink of another war earlier this year.

In mid-February, a suicide bomber struck an Indian paramilitary convoy in the disputed Kashmir territory, killing 40 security personnel. The Pakistan-based militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) reportedly claimed responsibility for the bombing, fueling tensions between India and Pakistan despite Islamabad’s denial it had nothing to do with the attack.

Indian fighter planes on Feb. 26 flew into Pakistan and carried out airstrikes against what New Delhi alleged was a JeM training camp in the mountainous town of Balakot. The next day, Pakistan retaliated with airstrikes of its own, shooting down an Indian plane and capturing its pilot in an ensuing fight over the disputed Kashmir border.

The aerial clash was the first between Pakistan and India in five decades, dangerously escalating tensions to a point where both countries reportedly had mobilized their missiles. Islamabad returned the pilot two days later, and the tensions have since eased, following intervention by major powers, including the United States and China.

1,700 Amputations Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

Palestinian amputees break their Ramadan fast at a community center in Rafah, which was destroyed by Israeli warplanes.
Palestinian amputees break their Ramadan fast at a community center in Rafah, which was destroyed by Israeli warplanes.
Said Khatib / AFP / Getty Images

1,700 Youths in Gaza Face Amputation Due to Israeli Sniper Violence

Phyllis Bennis is a fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies. Her books includeEnding the US War in Afghanistan: A Primer co-authored with David Wildman.

My friend Andrew Rubin is an amputee. He’s lost his right hand, lower arm, right foot, and lower leg.

He used to be an avid runner and cyclist. He can’t do much of that anymore, although his walking is getting much better. Soon he might be able to run with his artificial leg.

Andrew is incredibly lucky.

The medical catastrophe that left his hand and foot so terribly damaged didn’t kill him. But when his limbs never healed even after a decade, he decided to undergo the amputations. It was his choice, and it was made much easier because he knew what lay ahead: the most advanced artificial limbs ever imagined. 

Andrew is lucky for another reason: He doesn’t live in Gaza.

According to the United Nations, 1,700 young Gazans are facing amputation, mainly of their legs, in the next two years. They’re among the 7,000 unarmed Palestinians in Gaza shot by Israeli snipers over the last year. 

Since last spring, thousands of Palestinians in Israeli-occupied Gaza have poured out of their teeming refugee camps and houses every Friday to join nonviolent protests, demanding an end to the siege that’s destroying their lives, and the right to return to the homes Israel displaced them from.

Even though they were nonviolent, they were met by Israeli snipers from the beginning. Children, journalists, and medics were targeted too.

International law prohibits using live fire against unarmed civilians unless the police or soldiers are in imminent danger of death. That’s not the case in Gaza. A UN investigation of 189 killings during the first nine months of the protests found that Israeli forces may have committed war crimes.

More than 220 Palestinians have been killed so far. Stunningly, more than 29,000 have been wounded — including those 7,000 by live fire. So far, 120 have had to endure amputations — including 20 children.

Anyplace else, their limbs might’ve been saved.

But Gaza has been under Israeli military siege for more than 10 years. Hospitals are massively under-equipped, many of them seriously damaged by Israeli bombing. The delicate surgery needed to save shattered bones is virtually impossible there, and the surgeons have no access to the most up-to-date methods.

Andrew had a choice about his amputations. Gazans don’t.

The UN needs $20 million to fill the immediate health funding gap in Gaza. Otherwise, those 1,700 young Gazans face the catastrophic loss of arms and legs, or risk dying of infection. They’ll have virtually no access to the advanced artificial hands, legs, and feet that my friend Andrew uses.

Unfortunately, U.S. taxpayers are funding this catastrophe.

Every year, we send $3.8 billion directly to the Israeli military — no strings attached — and American companies make the tear gas and other weapons that Israel deploys against demonstrators. Washington makes sure that no Israeli officials, political or military, are ever held accountable at the United Nations for potential war crimes.

Crueler still, the Trump administration has cut off funding for the very UN refugee agency that staffs health clinics in Gaza, even as it funds the Israeli military that’s filling them with gunshot victims.

The protests, overwhelmingly nonviolent, continue — and the killing has continued too, week after week. Meanwhile, there are so many disabled kids in Gaza now that the beleaguered territory is setting up special sports leagues for them.

Israel needs to call off its snipers, lift the siege of Gaza, and stop violating the human and political rights of Palestinians. And until they do, American taxpayers need to close their checkbook.

Russia Ups the Nuclear Ante

RUSSIA SENDS NUCLEAR BOMBERS OFF U.S. COAST TWICE IN 2 DAYS, AIR FORCE RESPONDS

A Russian Tu-95 strategic bomber and missile carrier (top) is accompanied by a U.S. F-22 fighter jet in international airspace off the coast of Alaska, on May 22. The series of intercepts was the second of its kind in two days.PHOTO: NORTH AMERICAN AEROSPACE DEFENSE COMMAND

Russia has flown nuclear-capable bombers and fighter jets off the coast of Alaska twice in two days, drawing a response from the U.S. Air Force.

The Russian Defense Ministry said Wednesday in a statement that „two Tu-95MS strategic missile carriers of the Russian Aerospace Forces carried out planned flights in the airspace over the neutral waters of the Chukotka, Bering and Okhotsk seas, as well as along the western coast of Alaska and the northern coast of the Aleutian Islands.“ The statement was nearly identical to that of the previous day, when four Tu-95MSs took a similar route and were also „escorted by F-22 fighter jets of the USAF“ at certain points.

This time the flight took 11 hours, as opposed to more than 12 last time, but Moscow again maintained that „long-range pilots make regular flights over neutral waters of the Arctic, North Atlantic, Black and Caspian seas and Pacific Ocean“ and that this was „carried out in strict accordance with the International Airspace Management System without violating the borders of other states.“

And once again, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) put out a statement that also noted the presence of Russian Su-35 fighter jets.

NORAD, which is the joint U.S.-Canadian organization that guards the skies over the northern stretch of North America that comprises the territory of the two allies, dispatched four F-22 fighter jets, accompanied by a KC-135 refueling aircraft and an E-3 airborne early warning and control aircraft. The entire incident took place in international airspace, over Alaska’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ).

Two pairs of F-22 fighter jets, each with an E-3 intercepted Tu-95 bombers Su-35 fighter jets entering the Alaskan ADIZ May 21. The bombers entered the ADIZ and were intercepted by two F-22s, exited and then re-entered the Alaskan ADIZ accompanied by two Su-35 fighter jets,“ a tweet from NORAD’s official account read.

„NORAD committed an additional two F-22s and E-3 to relieve the initial intercept aircraft. A KC-135 refueling aircraft supported both of NORAD’s intercept teams. The Russian aircraft remained in international airspace and at no time entered U.S. or Canadian sovereign airspace,“ it added.

As Newsweek noted in coverage of the previous day’s incident, such occurrences were not uncommon as the U.S. and Russian mainlands were within 55 miles of one another and the two countries actually shared a chain of Bering Sea islands known as the Aleutian Islands. In a follow-up tweet, NORAD noted that it „intercepted an avg of approx. six to seven Russian sorties entering its ADIZ since Russia resumed long range aviation patrols in 2007.“

„#WeHaveTheWatch,“ NORAD added, referring to a popular U.S. Navy slogan.

In yesterday’s series of tweets, NORAD cited Air Force General Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy, the head of the military’s Northern Command, as saying, „Our ability to deter and defeat threats to our citizens and vital infrastructure starts with detecting, tracking, and positively identifying aircraft in our airspace. We are on alert 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.“

In two separate incidents that took place weeks apart in March, Russian Su-27 fighter jets intercepted a U.S. RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft and a U.S. B-52H strategic bomber flying over the Baltic Sea, where forces belonging both to Moscow and the U.S.-led NATO Western military alliance were located.

Pentagon Has Plan to Send 120K Troops to Iran

(NEWSER) – Plans to send up to 120,000 troops to the Middle East to counter threats from Iran were unveiled at what appears to have been an exceptionally leaky meeting of national security aides last week, reports the New York Times, which cites more than half a dozen sources. The sources say Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan presented updated military plans that had been ordered by a group of administration hardliners led by national security adviser John Bolton. The 120,000 figure was the upper limit in a range of options in case Iran attacks US forces or steps up its nuclear plans, none of which included an actual invasion of Iran, the sources say.

Insiders say White House aides are divided over how to respond to intelligence reports that Iran’s proxy forces may be preparing to attack US forces in the region. The Times notes that it’s unclear whether the options were presented to President Trump, nor whether he would be willing to deploy such a large number of troops to the Middle East. Trump said Monday that Iran could face a „bad problem“ after reports that oil tankers were sabotaged in the Persian Gulf, USA Today reports. „They’re not going to be happy,“ he said. When asked what he meant by a „bad problem,“ Trump replied: „You can figure it out yourself.“ Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has discussed tensions with Iran with several European and Middle Eastern leaders over the last week and will meet Vladimir Putin in Russia on Tuesday, the Guardian reports. (Last month, Trump labeled Iran’s Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization.)