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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.

Antichrist Wants U.S. Forces Out

Trump Wants To Use Iraqi Base To Watch Iran. Now Iraqi Parties Want U.S. Forces Out

Jane Arraf

Khalid Mohammed / AP

U.S. Marines preparing to build a military site in western Anbar, Iraq, in November 2017, as an outpost in the fight against the Islamic State group.

With a single line, President Trump fanned the flames of a push in Iraq to expel U.S. forces, just as he declared he wanted to keep troops in the country.

“We spent a fortune on building this incredible base. We might as well keep it,” Trump said in a CBS interview on Feb. 3, referring to the Ain al-Asad military base in Iraq’s western desert. “And one of the reasons I want to keep it is because I want to be looking a little bit at Iran because Iran is a real problem.”

The Pentagon has described the mission for the several thousand U.S. troops stationed at the Iraqi base as helping Iraq fight ISIS.

Trump’s comment has raised Iraqi fears that the U.S. could draw it into conflict with neighboring Iran. It has also left U.S. officials, including the acting defense secretary, scrambling to reassure Iraqi leaders that the United States respects Iraqi sovereignty.

That wasn’t the first time the president has mentioned this alternative motive. When Trump flew into the Ain al-Asad base for a Christmas visit, he told U.S. service members he planned to keep forces in Iraq to protect U.S. interests, monitor “any potential reformation of ISIS and also to watch over Iran.” It also angered Iraqis who viewed Trump’s failure to drop by Baghdad to meet the country’s leaders as a breach of sovereignty.

But those December comments, overshadowed by the surprise visit itself, failed to elicit the media coverage or the firestorm of criticism that Trump’s later statement has drawn.

While Iraq’s prime minister maintains his country still needs U.S. military support, a number of Iraqi politicians want the U.S. out. Several opposing parties are now increasing efforts to move parliament to a vote on ending the U.S. presence when lawmakers reconvene in March.

“We have submitted a proposal to parliament to cancel the agreement with the U.S.,” Sabah al-Saedi, head of one of the biggest blocs in parliament, told NPR. “The remarks by President Trump show a lack of realization that such statements will increase mobilization to get American forces out of Iraq.”

The Trump administration has made limiting Iran a centerpiece of its foreign policy. Iraq, which has strong security, economic and political ties with Iran, has made clear that it will maintain those links. Iraq’s 2005 constitution, drafted with the help of the United States, forbids using the country’s territory to harm its neighbors.

“The recent statements by the U.S. president on reasons for the U.S. military presence in Iraq reveal the real reason behind this presence,” said a statement from Sairoon, the political coalition loyal to Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. “It has nothing to do with providing assistance to the Iraqi security forces but it is intended to use Iraq as a starting point to attack the interests of neighboring countries.”

Trump’s remarks prompted public rebukes even from pro-Western Iraqi leaders.

“Don’t overburden Iraq with your own issues,” said President Barham Salih, stepping out of his usual diplomatic phrasing. “The U.S. is a major power … but do not pursue your own policy priorities. We live here,” he said at a forum of an Iraqi think tank, the Rafidain Center for Dialogue, last week.

Salih said the troops were in Iraq on a mission to fight ISIS and any other actions were unacceptable. He made clear that Trump had not discussed with Iraqi leaders using Iraq as a watch post.

Even Iraq’s most revered Shiite religious scholar entered the fray. Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, whose words carry immense weight in the country and who normally avoids political issues, emphasized that Iraq wants good relations with all countries without interference in its internal affairs.

“Iraq rejects being a station for harming any other country,” his statement said.

Acting U.S. defense chief Patrick Shanahan tried to conduct damage control during a visit to Baghdad this week.

“I made very clear that we recognize their sovereignty, their focus on independence and that we are there at the invitation of the government,” Shanahan told reporters.

U.S. military and State Department officials have also sought to make clear that despite Trump’s having declared ISIS defeated, the militant group still poses a significant threat.

There are between 5,000 and 6,000 U.S. troops in Iraq as part of an agreement with the Iraqi government to advise, assist and support Iraqi forces in the fight against ISIS.

The issue has put Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi in a difficult position. Unlike previous parliaments, the current one has no majority coalition. Some of the most powerful of the diverse political blocs are Iranian-backed and have military wings.

One of the most vocal critics of the U.S. military presence is Qais al-Khazali, head of a prominent Iran-backed militia called Asaib Ahl al-Haq. Khazali was jailed by U.S. forces for ordering an attack that killed five U.S. military personnel in central Iraqi city of Karbala in 2007. He was released in 2009 in a swap for British prisoners held by his group.

“Trump should know that Iraq is a strong society,” Khazali told NPR last week in Baghdad. He said that between Iraq’s legislature and security forces, “they can expel those 5,000 [U.S. service members] from our country.”

Khazali and other Iran-backed Iraqi leaders, however, have said they don’t object to U.S. personnel training Iraqi security forces.

“Asaib Ahl al-Haq has 15 members of parliament and his militia has a long track record particularly during the [U.S.] occupation and the civil war of targeting American troops successfully, so it’s not an idle threat,” said Toby Dodge, a professor at the London School of Economics who advised Gen. David Petraeus and other U.S. military leaders in Iraq in 2007 and 2008.

“I think this shows the almost certainly unintended consequences of what Trump has done,” Dodge told NPR. “Parliament will almost certainly push through some form of largely symbolic law calling for American troops to go but then the devil will be in the details — are they trainers or troops?”

Even supporters of the U.S. presence want more clarity about what exactly the troops are doing.

“The U.S. helped liberate the country but there is no clear plan with the Iraqi government for what they will do after ISIS,” said Jaber al-Jaberi, a former member of parliament.

“There are still ISIS sleeper cells in the country. We had expected ISIS to reorganize themselves and prepare to be back in 2020 but they are already reorganizing themselves,” said Jaberi, who is from Anbar province. “We still need the U.S. to stay because Iraq is not yet stabilized. But we have to organize this between two independent, sovereign countries.”

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Policeman hurt by explosive as thousands riot outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

Border policeman lightly hurt by explosive as thousands riot on Gaza border

2 Palestinians injured by IDF fire, demonstrators attempting to sabotage security fence; Palestinian said seriously injured by Israeli fire in West Bank during riot near Nablus

By TOI staff15 Feb 2019, 3:32 pm

Some 11,000 Palestinians gathered near the Gaza Strip’s border with Israel Friday afternoon for weekly riots and protests against Israel, burning tires, throwing stones, explosive devices and trying to breach the fence.

An Israeli border police officer from an undercover unit was lightly wounded by shrapnel in the leg when a pipe bomb exploded next to his team, police said. He was evacuated to the hospital for treatment.

The army said 11,000 people took part in the protests and that some rioting was taking place, with demonstrators attempting to sabotage the border fence. Troops were responding with tear gas and occasional live fire to push protesters away from the barrier, it said.

The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry said two Palestinians had been injured by live fire.

Meanwhile in the West Bank, the Ynet news site reported that a Palestinian was seriously wounded by Israeli fire during a riot in a village near Nablus.

The riot began after villagers in Urief held a protest prayer session in the eastern part of the village, to challenge the army’s recent move to block a path leading to residents’ agricultural lands. It was not immediately clear why the path had been sealed off.

Last Friday three people died and 17 were wounded during protests at the Gaza border. At the time, the Israeli army said some 8,200 rioters and demonstrators had gathered along the border to throw stones and a number of explosive devices towards troops.

Palestinian protesters run toward the fence along the border with Israel, east of Gaza City, on February 15, 2019. An Israeli military vehicle is pictured on the other side of the fence. (Said Khatib/AFP)

Since last March, the Gaza border has seen large-scale weekly clashes on Fridays, smaller protests along the northern Gaza border on Tuesdays, as well as periodic flareups between the Israeli military and Palestinian terror organizations.

For the past several months, Egypt, UN special coordinator to the Middle East peace process Nikolay Mladenov and Qatar have worked to try to restore calm in Gaza and prevent flareups between Israel and terror groups in the Strip.

Israel has demanded an end to the violent demonstrations along the border in any ceasefire agreement.

In recent weeks, tensions between Israel and terror groups in Gaza rose after a Palestinian sniper opened fire on a group of Israeli soldiers. The bullet hit the helmet of an officer, lightly injuring him.

Earlier this month Israel announced that it had begun the final phase of construction of a 20-foot (some 6 meters) high galvanized steel fence that will completely surround the Strip.

The barrier will extend 65 kilometers (40 miles) miles around the enclave and sit atop the subterranean concrete wall that Israel is constructing around Gaza to block terrorist groups’ attack tunnels.

An Israeli Military Intelligence assessment released Wednesday warned that Hamas, the terror group that controls Gaza, may seek to spark a war with Israel in the near future in an attempt to elicit international sympathy and an influx of international aid money to the Gaza Strip.

The Israel Defense Forces believes Hamas or the Iran-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the second largest terror group in Gaza, could attempt to draw Israel into a war by conducting an attack along the border — an anti-tank missile strike, an ambush from an as-yet-undiscovered tunnel or a similar low-level but significant attack.

In light of this view, IDF chief Lt. Gen. Aviv Kohavi, whose tenure began last month, called for the military to update operational plans for fighting in the Gaza Strip.

AFP contributed to this report.

Authorities Expecting The Sixth Seal? (Rev 6:12)

US Raises Threat of Quake but Lowers Risk for Towers

New York Times

By SAM ROBERTS

JULY 17, 2014

Here is another reason to buy a mega-million-dollar apartment in a Manhattan high-rise: Earthquake forecast maps for New York City that a federal agency issued on Thursday indicate “a slightly lower hazard for tall buildings than previously thought.”

The agency, the United States Geodetic Survey, tempered its latest quake prediction with a big caveat.

“The eastern U.S. has the potential for larger and more damaging earthquakes than considered in previous maps and assessments,” the agency said, citing the magnitude 5.8 quake that struck Virginia in 2011.

Federal seismologists based their projections of a lower hazard for tall buildings — “but still a hazard nonetheless,” they cautioned — on a lower likelihood of slow shaking from an earthquake occurring near the city, the type of shaking that typically causes more damage to taller structures.

“The tall buildings in Manhattan are not where you should be focusing,” said John Armbruster, a seismologist with the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University. “They resonate with long period waves. They are designed and engineered to ride out an earthquake. Where you should really be worried in New York City is the common brownstone and apartment building and buildings that are poorly maintained.”

Mr. Armbruster was not involved in the federal forecast, but was an author of an earlier study that suggested that “a pattern of subtle but active faults makes the risk of earthquakes to the New York City area substantially greater than formerly believed.”

He noted that barely a day goes by without a New York City building’s being declared unsafe, without an earthquake. “If you had 30, 40, 50 at one time, responders would be overloaded,” he said.

The city does have an earthquake building code that went into effect in 1996, and that applies primarily to new construction.

A well-maintained building would probably survive a magnitude 5 earthquake fairly well, he said. The last magnitude 5 earthquake in the city struck in 1884. Another is not necessarily inevitable; faults are more random and move more slowly than they do in, say, California. But he said the latest federal estimate was probably raised because of the magnitude of the Virginia quake.

“Could there be a magnitude 6 in New York?” Mr. Armbruster said. “In Virginia, in a 300 year history, 4.8 was the biggest, and then you have a 5.8. So in New York, I wouldn’t say a 6 is impossible.”

Mr. Armbruster said the Geodetic Survey forecast would not affect his daily lifestyle. “I live in a wood-frame building with a brick chimney and I’m not alarmed sitting up at night worried about it,” he said. “But society’s leaders need to take some responsibility.”

Preparing For World War 3 (Revelation 16)

World War 3 WARNING: Russia, US and France launch nuclear-capable missiles HOURS APART

The US recently abandoned the INF Treaty sparking fears of a Cold-War era arms race (Image: GETTY)

RUSSIA, the United States and France have test-launched nuclear-capable missiles within hours of one another as fears rise of a return to a Cold War-era arms race amid the abandonment of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.

By ATHENA CHRYSANTHOU

PUBLISHED: 02:03, Thu, Feb 7, 2019

UPDATED: 14:11, Thu, Feb 7, 2019

US test Minuteman III intercontinental missile in Vandenberg

The United States test launch an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

The French military announced Tuesday its air force conducted a rare test Monday of the nuclear-capable medium-range air-to-surface missile (ASMP). The US then followed with firing a nuclear-capable Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile on Tuesday night. Shortly after, Russian armed forces fired a nuclear-capable RS-24 Yars ICBM.

None of the tests were thought to be equipped with nuclear warheads and were likely scheduled ahead of the INF treaty breakdown.

In a press release the French Ministry of Defense said the demonstration of the ASMP was “successful”.

The weapon was fired at a testing centre of the DGA Essays de missiles located near Biscarrosse, southwestern France.

The ministry said the 11-hour mission was “planned for a long time” and demonstrated “the reliability of the airborne weapons system over time”.

The Trump administration has accused Russia has acted unlawfully under the terms of the treaty (Image: GETTY)

The US Air Force described the launching as a “developmental test” of the Minuteman III at approximately 11.01pm on Tuesday.

In a statement sent to the local NBC affiliate KSBY, Global Strike Command said their representatives “assert that missile tests are scheduled months or years in advance, this test comes just four short days after the Trump administration suspended the INF-treaty. A crucial landmark treaty between the US and Russia that eliminated entire categories of nuclear weapons.”

The Russian Defence Ministry said their weapon launched was “equipped with multiple warheads” and the “purpose of the launch was to confirm the tactical, technical and flight characteristics of the advanced missile system.”

Russia, the US and France are believed to have the largest number of nuclear weapons in the world.

It is believed Russia owns the largest number of nuclear weapons in the world with an estimated 6,800 warheads.

The US is thought to possess approximately 6,000 warheads.

Tensions are high following President Donald Trump’s announcement to abandon the INF treaty with Russia.

The INF treaty has been suspended following accusations from the US that Moscow violated the deal with the new Novato 9M729 missile.

The purpose of the treaty was to avoid a potential nuclear war as it prohibited the US and Soviet Union from stationing short and intermediate-range land missiles in Europe.

Russia: Vladimir Putin claims new weapons are ‘invincible’

9 News reporter reveals that Russian President Vladimir Putin believes his new weapons are ‘invincible.’ The weapons which are in development include a ballistic missile, a nuclear warhead, underwater drones and a laser.

Russian military analyst Pavel Felgenhauer said the abandonment of the INF-treaty could bring nuclear war “much closer”.

A member of the German Parliament Manfred Weber tweeted: “The announced suspension of the INF-treaty by the United States is an urgent wakeup call for Europe.

“The consequences of scrapping this agreement could put us back decades. Russia’s noncompliance is a serious threat to security in Europe.”

Members of the Trump administration have said Russia’s noncompliance with the treaty was their reason for abandoning the deal.

When abandoning the INF treaty Trump said Russia had acted unlawfully under its terms.

The President said: “The United States will suspend its obligations under the INF Treaty and begin the process of withdrawal, which will be completed in six months unless Russia comes back into compliance by destroying all of its violating missiles, launchers and associated equipment.”

He added: “We will move forward with developing our own military response options and will work with NATO and our other allies and partners to deny Russia any military advantage from its unlawful conduct.”

Babylon the Great Calls For End To Iran Deal

Pence calls on EU to withdraw from Iran nuclear deal

WARSAW, Feb 14 (Reuters) – U.S. Vice President Mike Pence accused Washington’s European allies on Thursday of trying to break U.S. sanctions against Tehran and called on them to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal.

“Sadly, some of our leading European partners have not been nearly as cooperative. In fact, they have led the effort to create mechanisms to break up our sanctions,” Pence said during a conference on the Middle East organized by the United States in Warsaw.

Pence said a scheme set up by the EU to facilitate trade with Iran was “an effort to break American sanctions against Iran’s murderous revolutionary regime.”

“It is an ill-advised step that will only strengthen Iran, weaken the EU and create still more distance between Europe and the United States,” he said.

The Warsaw meeting was attended by more than 60 nations but major European powers such as Germany and France, part to the 2015 nuclear accord, refused to send their top diplomats. (Reporting by Justyna Pawlak, Lesley Wroughton, Agnieszka Barteczko and Alan Charlish)

One Third Dead at the Tribulation (Revelation 8)

Billions Dead: That’s What Could Happen if India and Pakistan Wage a Nuclear War

This is the real nuclear crisis the world is missing. 

Autonomous Defense: The Next Wave Of Military Technology

Armed with what they believe is reasonable intelligence about the locations of Pakistan’s strategic forces, highly accurate missiles and MIRVs to target them, and a missile defense that has a shot at cleaning up any Pakistani missiles that survived the first strike, Indian leaders might be tempted to launch a counterforce first strike.

With the world’s attention firmly fixated on North Korea, the greatest possibility of nuclear war is in fact on the other side of Asia.

(This first appeared back in 2017.)

That place is what could be called the nuclear triangle of Pakistan, India and China. Although Chinese and Indian forces are currently engaged in a standoff, traditionally the most dangerous flashpoint along the triangle has been the Indo-Pakistani border. The two countries fought three major wars before acquiring nuclear weapons, and one minor one afterwards. And this doesn’t even include the countless other armed skirmishes and other incidents that are a regular occurrence.

At the heart of this conflict, of course, is the territorial dispute over the northern Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, the latter part of which Pakistan lays claim to. Also key to the nuclear dimension of the conflict is the fact that India’s conventional capabilities are vastly superior to Pakistan’s. Consequently, Islamabad has adopted a nuclear doctrine of using tactical nuclear weapons against Indian forces to offset the latter’s conventional superiority.

If this situation sounds similar, that is because this is the same strategy the U.S.-led NATO forces adopted against the Soviet Union during the Cold War. In the face of a numerically superior Soviet military, the United States, starting with the Eisenhower administration, turned to nuclear weapons to defend Western Europe from a Soviet attack. Although nearly every U.S. president, as well as countless European leaders, were uncomfortable with this escalatory strategy, they were unable to escape the military realities undergirding it until at least the Reagan administration.

At an event at the Stimson Center in Washington this week, Feroz Khan, a former brigadier in the Pakistan Army and author of one of the best books on the country’s nuclear program, said that Pakistani military leaders explicitly based their nuclear doctrine on NATO’s Cold War strategy. But as Vipin Narang, a newly tenured MIT professor who was on the same panel, pointed out, an important difference between NATO and Pakistan’s strategies is that the latter has used its nuclear shield as a cover to support countless terrorist attacks inside India. Among the most audacious were the 2001 attacks on India’s parliament and the 2008 siege of Mumbai, which killed over 150 people. Had such an attack occurred in the United States, Narang said, America would have ended a nation-state.

The reason why India didn’t respond to force, according to Narang, is that—despite its alleged Cold Start doctrine—Indian leaders were unsure exactly where Pakistan’s nuclear threshold stood. That is, even if Indian leaders believed they were launching a limited attack, they couldn’t be sure that Pakistani leaders wouldn’t view it as expansive enough to justify using nuclear weapons. This is no accident: as Khan said, Pakistani leaders intentionally leave their nuclear threshold ambiguous. Nonetheless, there is no guarantee that India’s restraint will continue in the future. Indeed, as Michael Krepon quipped, “Miscalculation is South Asia’s middle name.”

Much of the panel’s discussion was focused on technological changes that might exacerbate this already-combustible situation. Narang took the lead in describing how India was acquiring the capabilities to pursue counterforce strikes (i.e., take out Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal in a preventive or more likely preemptive strike). These included advances in information, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities to be able to track and target Islamabad’s strategic forces, as well as a missile-defense system that could take care of any missiles the first strike didn’t destroy. He also noted that India is pursuing a number of missile capabilities highly suited for counterforce missions, such as Multiple Independently Targetable Reentry Vehicles (MIRVs), Maneuverable Reentry Vehicles (MARVs) and the highly accurate BrahMos missiles that Dehli developed jointly with Russia. “BrahMos is one hell of a counterforce weapon,” even without nuclear warheads, Narang contended.

As Narang himself admitted, there’s little reason to believe that India is abandoning its no-first-use nuclear doctrine in favor of a first-strike one. Still, keeping in mind Krepon’s point about miscalculation, that doesn’t mean that these technological changes don’t increase the potential for a nuclear war. It is not hard to imagine a scenario where the two sides stumble into a nuclear war that neither side wants. Perhaps the most plausible scenario would start with a Mumbai-style attack that Indian leaders decide they must respond to. In hopes of keeping the conflict limited to conventional weapons, Delhi might authorize limited punitive raids inside Pakistan, perhaps targeting some of the terrorist camps near the border. These attacks might be misinterpreted by Pakistani leaders, or else unintentionally cross Islamabad’s nuclear thresholds. In an attempt to deescalate by escalating, or else to halt what they believe is an Indian invasion, Pakistani leaders could use tactical nuclear weapons against the Indian troops inside Pakistan.

With nuclear weapons introduced, Delhi’s no-first-use doctrine no longer applies. Indian leaders, knowing they’d face incredible domestic pressure to respond, would also have no guarantee that Pakistani leaders didn’t intend to follow the tactical use of nuclear weapons with strategic strikes against Indian cities. Armed with what they believe is reasonable intelligence about the locations of Pakistan’s strategic forces, highly accurate missiles and MIRVs to target them, and a missile defense that has a shot at cleaning up any Pakistani missiles that survived the first strike, Indian leaders might be tempted to launch a counterforce first strike. As former Indian National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon wrote in his memoirs (which Narang first drew people’s attention to at the Carnegie Nuclear Policy Conference in March): “India would hardly risk giving Pakistan the chance to carry out a massive nuclear strike after the Indian response to Pakistan using tactical nuclear weapons. In other words, Pakistani tactical nuclear weapon use would effectively free India to undertake a comprehensive first strike against Pakistan.”

One factor Indian leaders would be forced to consider is how the other third of Asian nuclear triangle, China, would react. Although the Stimson Center event focused primarily on India and Pakistan, China has always been the primary focus of India’s nuclear program. Beijing is also a staunch if informal ally of Pakistan, with a growing economic stake in the country. It is this multipolarity that is the hallmark of the second nuclear age.

Zachary Keck is the former managing editor of the National Interest. You can find him on Twitter: @ZacharyKeck.

Image: Reuters. 

Iran nuclear ready within two years (Daniel 8:4)

Iran could get nuclear weapon within two years, intel assessments find

By ANNA AHRONHEIM,TOVAH LAZAROFF

Iran is capable of producing a nuclear weapon within two years, if it steps up work on its nuclear program and violates the 2015 deal with the West, according to a recent Israeli intelligence assessment.

The assessment was released as the controversial US-led summit against Iran opened in Warsaw, where Israel is expected to pressure the European Union against trying to prop up the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action following the American withdrawal last May.

In the Polish capital, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke openly about the possibility of war with Iran, and the possibility of a new alliance of Arab states with Israel, in the event of such hostilities.

“I am going to a meeting with 60 foreign ministers and envoys of countries from around the world against Iran,” Netanyahu said next to an outdoor skating rink in a short video clip his staff filmed for his Facebook page.

“What is important about this meeting – and this meeting is not in secret, because there are many of those – is that this is an open meeting with representatives of leading Arab countries, that are sitting down together with Israel in order to advance the common interest of war with Iran,” he said.

Israel has worked not just to block Iran’s accelerated nuclear activity, but has also attempted to stem its increased military activity along the North.

Before he boarded a plane to Warsaw Tuesday night, Netanyahu confirmed that Israel attacked Iranian targets in Syria on Monday. Prior to heading to the ministerial meeting, he said Israel is working to oust Iran from Syria.

“What we are doing is pushing and driving Iran from Syria. We are committed to doing this,” he said.

Israel considers Iran’s nuclear program as the nation’s No. 1 concern, and, according to the assessment, if the Islamic Republic does decide to renege on the agreement, it would take it one year to produce enough fissionable material to make a nuclear bomb and then another year to actually make the weapon device.

According to the assessment, Iran is contemplating how to deal with American sanctions in the hope that President Donald Trump will not be reelected in 2020 and a new and more pragmatic president would be elected, or to signal to the West that if the current status quo remains, it, too, will leave the agreement and return to enriching uranium.

Under the JCPOA, Tehran is prohibited from transferring any weapons to third countries, but Iran, which possesses more than 1,000 short- and medium-range ballistic missiles, is suspected of continuing to smuggle weapons to countries and non-state actors such as Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Nevertheless, it is believed that Iran is continuing to develop the capabilities to produce a nuclear weapons arsenal as well as produce ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads, despite new US sanctions placed on Iran meant to pressure Tehran over its military activity in the Middle East.

Iran has always denied seeking nuclear weapons, and agreed to curb its nuclear program in return for the lifting of sanctions as part of the JCPOA signed in 2015 between Iran and the US, Russia, China, the UK, France and Germany.

While US sanctions have largely succeeded in convincing Western businesses to cut ties with Iran, countries such as France, Germany and Britain have begun nondollar trade with Iran to avert US sanctions, to keep the deal with Iran alive.

Though Iran’s economy has improved since the signing of the deal, the average Iranian has not felt it, with high unemployment and growing inflation due to the sanctions, with a rise in the price of bananas over the past year by 165%, 50% in meat prices, 103% in tomato prices, and 15% for housing.

While the spark for the protests has been the economy, protesters have also taken to the street denouncing the Islamic Republic’s role in conflict zones such as Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and Gaza, burning pictures of the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force, Maj.-Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who is in charge of Iran’s policy in those countries.

US envoy Jason Greenblatt, who is in Warsaw, tweeted in advance of the conference that “Iran is the primary threat to the future of regional peace/security.”

Netanyahu is also set to meet with US Vice President Mike Pence and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on the sidelines of the conference to discuss Iran.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has dismissed the conference as a “desperate anti-Iran circus.”

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned Europe to distance itself from the US.

“Today, the Iranian people see some European countries as cunning and untrustworthy along with the criminal America. The government of the Islamic Republic must carefully preserve its boundaries with them,” he wrote. “Iran must not retreat a single step from national and revolutionary values.”

US President Donald Trump’s attorney and former mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani, called for Iranian regime change on Wednesday ahead of a US-backed Middle East summit in Warsaw.

“Everyone knows that Iran is the No. 1 sponsor of terrorism in the world. There isn’t a single government there that disagrees with that,” he said.

“The reality is, Iran should be isolated until Iran changes. If they can do what our government, American government, other governments, believe and make policy change within, I would be satisfied with that, although skeptical. If it results in regime change, I think that would be a cleaner solution,” Giuliani said.

He spoke ahead of a rally to show support for the Paris-based National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), a bloc of opposition groups in exile that seeks to end Shi’ite clerical rule in Iran.

Protesters banged drums, chanted and waved flags and placards outside the summit venue at the National Stadium. They were protesting the current regime and its human rights violations.

One Iranian protester, Mahmoud Masoudi of Germany, said they came to Warsaw to support NCRI head Maryam Rajavi.

She is “our leader and the only alternative to the dictatorship in Iran,” he said. “This is the basic reason that all of us are here today. And we think it is the time to support the NCRI… which includes the most democratic groups in Iran against the Khamenei regime, against dictatorship in Iran, the religious dictatorship.”

Reuters contributed to this report.

Israel Prepares to Attack Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11:2)

Israel preparing major new attack on Gaza

Israeli forces fire at Palestinians during the Great March of Return on 2 February 2019 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

February 14, 2019 at 12:19 pm

The Israeli military is preparing for a major new offensive in the besieged Gaza Strip.

The Israeli army’s Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi – who was sworn in last month – “has already prioritized preparations for a potential Gaza war,” Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported. “Kochavi has approved operational plans for combat and set up an administrative unit to handle the formation of a list of potential targets in the Strip”, the paper added.

Haaretz noted that Kochavi has “recently visited the Southern Command headquarters and met with top commanders in charge of operations in the area” and “also ordered two Iron Dome anti-missile batteries to be manned”.

The report claims that the army’s preparations are based on an “assessment” by the Israeli military intelligence’s research division that Hamas – which governs the besieged enclave – may seek a military confrontation “in a bid to obtain international involvement in the humanitarian situation in Gaza”.

READ: Hamas asks UN to pressure Israel to commit to truce

According to the “intelligence assessments”, Hamas has grown frustrated with the lack of progress in talks with Egyptian mediators and now believes that “only an extreme move” will lead to any change in the blockaded Gaza Strip.

The same article notes that Israeli intelligence believes a Palestinian revolt in the occupied West Bank is also more likely in light of the fact that Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas’ rule is nearing its end.

As is well known, “the relative quiet in the West Bank is maintained mainly due to Israel’s military and intelligence activities carried out by the army, police and Shin Bet”, Haaretz stated.

Another Shake Before the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

Report: New York City is overdue for a major earthquake

If a 5.0 Earthquake were to hit New York City, there could be $39 billion dollars worth of damage and 30 million tons of rubble… and experts say the city is overdue, according to the Daily Mail. Veuer’s Sam Berman has the full story.

Buzz60

At least one person in the Rochester area reporting feeling the second small earthquake to strike under Lake Ontario in the last week.

The latest temblor, which had a magnitude of 2.4,  occurred shortly before 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. It was 6.2 miles below the surface.

The epicenter was about 7 ½ miles out from the Canadian shore of the lake, roughly 23 miles east-southeast of downtown Toronto and 75 miles west-northwest of the Charlotte pier in Rochester.

Tuesday’s quake comes just four days after a 1.5-magnitude temblor was detected under the lake about 22 miles north of the Ontario-Williamson town line in Wayne County. That quake struck just before 4 a.m. Friday and occurred about 3¼ miles below the surface.

No one reported feeling that tremor, which was much too small to do damage.

But social media lit up Tuesday evening with surprised statements by people in metropolitan Toronto who felt the Earth shudder, and the U.S. Geological Survey received 20 reports from people who sensed the quake.

One report came from someone in the Victor, Ontario County, area. Another came from someone in Buffalo, a third from someone in Oceanside, Nassau County and a fourth, somewhat improbably, from a person in Columbus, Ohio. The other 16 were from residents of Ontario, Canada.

The Geological Survey releases only the location of respondents, not names.

Why one person in Victor would feel the tremor at a distance of 90 miles isn’t clear. Generally, smaller quakes tend to be felt by relatively few. People who are indoors on an upper floor and who are in a quiet environment with few distractions are most likely to sense such a quake, experts say.

According to the non-linear math of earthquake science, Tuesday’s tremor was eight times bigger than the one last week, and released 22 times more energy. At magnitude 2.4, it was near the threshold where property damage is possible. None was reported.

Small earthquakes of this nature are common in New York and eastern Ontario. Nine temblors have been measured so far this year in New York. Tuesday’s was the first in Ontario, according to a list maintained by the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

SORR@Gannett.com

The Iran Horn boosts nuclear activities

Iran to boost nuclear activities, uranium enrichment

Alfredo Boyd

Iran is ready , the spokesman for for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran said on Sunday during a visit to a park in Qazvin.

Behrouz Kamalvandi said that this would include boosting uranium enrichment to 190,000 Separative Work Units. The announcement could raise concerns in Europe about Iran’s goals under the Iran Deal and comes amid US sanctions that were put in place last year after the US withdrew from the Iran Deal.

In July 2018, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei warned that Iran would increase its uranium enrichment. “Some European governments expect the Iranian nation to both put up with sanctions and give up its nuclear activities.”

Iran constructed a new factory to create centrifuge rotors last year. French Foreign Minister Jeaan Yves Le Drian warned Iran last year about the plan to increase uranium enrichment.

SWU is a measure for work involved in separating isotopes of uranium, the aim of which, according to an article at the website of Federation of American Scientists, is to increase the concentration of “one or more isotopes… A typical enrichment process consists of a number of centrifuges arranged in the form of a cascade.”

SWUs are expressed in terms of kilograms or metric tonnes, the article notes. According to the text of the Joint Comprehensive. Plan of Action, Iran was supposed to “keep its uranium stockpile under 300 kg of up to 3.67% enriched uranium.”

In July 2018, Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the AEOI, said that Iran had constructed an advanced factory during the course of the Iran deal negotiations and that instead of taking another eight years, the factory would be ready in ten months, according to Iran’s Fars News. This raised eye brows last year, but the new announcement goes even further. Iran had asserted in 2014 that it would take eight years to get to the level of 190,000 SWUs. It now claims it might reach that level this year or next year. Compared to other enrichment programs, such as India, the figure is still quite small.

Iran is now expected to unveil new information in March or April claiming to have made “achievements in the mass production of Oxygen 18,” according to Iran’s Press TV.

This is a “major leap,” according to Kamalvandi. He argued that the isotopes developed would have medical applications, avoiding the nuclear arms issue. “Only five countries can produce Oxygen 18,” he said.

Salehi said that researchers at its Khandab site, the Arak heavy water plant, were able to produce oxygen 18 with 97 percent purity at 60kg per year.

After the Iran Deal, Tehran sought to renovate this site according to Iranian accounts. In April of 2017 Iran signed an agreement with China to modernize the heavy water reactor.

Overall the recent Iranian announcements appear aimed at showing that sanctions will not deter them and that they will increase their nuclear capabilities.