Two Centuries Before The Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

Image result for 1755 massachusetts earthquakeThe worst earthquake in Massachusetts history 260 years ago

It happened before, and it could happen again.

By Hilary Sargent @lilsarg

Boston.com Staff | 11.19.15 | 5:53 AM

On November 18, 1755, Massachusetts experienced its largest recorded earthquake.

The earthquake occurred in the waters off Cape Ann, and was felt within seconds in Boston, and as far away as Nova Scotia, the Chesapeake Bay, and upstate New York, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Seismologists have since estimated the quake to have been between 6.0 and 6.3 on the Richter scale, according to the Massachusetts Historical Society.

While there were no fatalities, the damage was extensive.

According to the USGS, approximately 100 chimneys and roofs collapsed, and over a thousand were damaged.

The worst damage occurred north of Boston, but the city was not unscathed.

A 1755 report in The Philadelphia Gazette described the quake’s impact on Boston:

“There was at first a rumbling noise like low thunder, which was immediately followed with such a violent shaking of the earth and buildings, as threw every into the greatest amazement, expecting every moment to be buried in the ruins of their houses. In a word, the instances of damage done to our houses and chimnies are so many, that it would be endless to recount them.”

The quake sent the grasshopper weathervane atop Faneuil Hall tumbling to the ground, according to the Massachusetts Historical Society.

An account of the earthquake, published in The Pennsylvania Gazette on December 4, 1755.

The earthquake struck at 4:30 in the morning, and the shaking lasted “near four minutes,” according to an entry John Adams, then 20, wrote in his diary that day.

The brief diary entry described the damage he witnessed.

“I was then at my Fathers in Braintree, and awoke out of my sleep in the midst of it,” he wrote. “The house seemed to rock and reel and crack as if it would fall in ruins about us. 7 Chimnies were shatter’d by it within one mile of my Fathers house.”

The shaking was so intense that the crew of one ship off the Boston coast became convinced the vessel had run aground, and did not learn about the earthquake until they reached land, according to the Massachusetts Historical Society.

In 1832, a writer for the Hampshire (Northampton) Gazette wrote about one woman’s memories from the quake upon her death.

“It was between 4 and 5 in the morning, and the moon shone brightly. She and the rest of the family were suddenly awaked from sleep by a noise like that of the trampling of many horses; the house trembled and the pewter rattled on the shelves. They all sprang out of bed, and the affrightted children clung to their parents. “I cannot help you dear children,” said the good mother, “we must look to God for help.

The Cape Ann earthquake came just 17 days after an earthquake estimated to have been 8.5-9.0 on the Richter scale struck in Lisbon, Portugal, killing at least 60,000 and causing untold damage.

There was no shortage of people sure they knew the impretus for the Cape Ann earthquake.

According to many ministers in and around Boston, “God’s wrath had brought this earthquake upon Boston,” according to the Massachusetts Historical Society.

In “Verses Occasioned by the Earthquakes in the Month of November, 1755,” Jeremiah Newland, a Taunton resident who was active in religious activities in the Colony, wrote that the earthquake was a reminder of the importance of obedience to God.

“It is becaufe we broke thy Laws,

that thou didst shake the Earth.

O what a Day the Scriptures say,

the EARTHQUAKE doth foretell;

O turn to God; lest by his Rod,

he cast thee down to Hell.”

Boston Pastor Jonathan Mayhew warned in a sermon that the 1755 earthquakes in Massachusetts and Portugal were “judgments of heaven, at least as intimations of God’s righteous displeasure, and warnings from him.”

There were some, though, who attempted to put forth a scientific explanation for the earthquake.

Well, sort of.

In a lecture delivered just a week after the earthquake, Harvard mathematics professor John Winthrop said the quake was the result of a reaction between “vapors” and “the heat within the bowels of the earth.” But even Winthrop made sure to state that his scientific theory “does not in the least detract from the majesty … of God.”

It has been 260 years since the Cape Ann earthquake. Some experts, including Boston College seismologist John Ebel, think New England could be due for another significant quake.

In a recent Boston Globe report, Ebel said the New England region “can expect a 4 to 5 magnitude quake every decade, a 5 to 6 every century, and a magnitude 6 or above every thousand years.”

If the Cape Ann earthquake occurred today, “the City of Boston could sustain billions of dollars of earthquake damage, with many thousands injured or killed,” according to a 1997 study by the US Army Corps of Engineers.

US Companies Fund Antichrist’s Terrorism

Federal lawsuit alleges Big Pharma firms funded Iraq terrorist organizations


[JURIST] US veterans filed a lawsuit [complaint, PDF] in federal court on Tuesday against five big pharmaceutical firms for funding terrorist organizations in Iraq.

The suit was brought by more than 100 US veterans and their families for injuries sustained in combating terrorist forces in Iraq. The lawsuit, filed in the US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website], accuses defendants AstraZeneca, GE Healthcare, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and Roche of violating several provisions of the federal Anti-Terrorism Act and intentionally inflicting emotional distress by giving medicine, medical devices and the like to Sadrists to sell in Iraq through the corrupt Iraqi Ministry of Health (MOH).

The MOH was led by the Mahdi Army, a group known for attacking US soldiers and working with known terrorist group Hezbolla [WP report]. According to the plaintiffs, the “Iraqi healthcare system offered the Sadrists several advantages, including the ability to raise funds for terrorism through the medical-goods contracting process,” which the defendants are deemed principal parties to. The plaintiffs describe this process in part as:
Defendants’ corrupt transactions with MOH also aided and abetted terrorism by supplying Jaysh al-Mahdi with the means to pay its rank-and-file terrorist fighters. Some U.S. government personnel in Iraq called Jaysh al-MahdiThe Pill Army,” because Sadr and his Jaysh al-Mahdi commanders were notorious for paying their terrorist fighters in diverted pharmaceuticals, rather than cash. Those fighters—most of whom were poor, uneducated, young Shi’a men—accepted such payment because they could re-sell the free drugs on the street or could consume the pills themselves as a form of intoxication.

In the 203-page complaint, the plaintiffs present findings on the financial impact the defendants allegedly had on the healthcare market. For instance, the MOH procurement budget “skyrocketed from $16 million per year under Saddam to an average of well more than $1 billion after 2004, when the Sadrists controlled MOH. As a result, the market for Defendants’ products in Iraq increased substantially, providing an additional motive for Defendants to engage in corrupt transactions with MOH.”

The plaintiffs alleged these pharmaceutical companies violated the Anti-Terrorism Act because although they did not engage in terrorism through actual harmful force, they are accused of aiding terrorist organizations, which also violates the Act.

The Iranian Horn Continues to Grow 

Iran’s missile programme will grow despite pressure


TRT World

Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards say the country’s ballistic missile programme would accelerate despite pressure from US and EU to halt it, local media reports.

Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards said on Thursday that the country’s ballistic missile programme would accelerate despite pressure from the United States and European Union to suspend it, the semi-official Tasnim News Agency reported.

Iran’s ballistic missile programme will expand and it will continue with more speed in reaction to Trump’s hostile approach towards this revolutionary organisation,” the Guards said in a statement.

In a major US policy shift, President Donald Trump last Friday refused to certify Tehran’s compliance with a landmark 2015 nuclear deal, signalling he would take a more aggressive approach to Iran over its ballistic missiles programme.

Defensive missile capability

The Trump administration has imposed new unilateral sanctions targeting Iran’s missile activity.

It has called on Tehran not to develop missiles capable of delivering nuclear bombs. Iran says it has no such plans.

Tehran has repeatedly pledged to continue what it calls a defensive missile capability in defiance of Western criticism.

Earlier on Wednesday, Iran’s religious leader Ali Khamenei rejected suggestions, notably from French President Emmanuel Macron, that more negotiations were needed on Iran’s ballistic missile programme and regional operations.
Europe “must refrain from entering into our defence issues,” Khamenei said.

Meanwhile, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov has told Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi that Moscow remains committed to the Iran nuclear deal, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

Russian Uranium Courtesy of Clinton and Obama

Bill Clinton sought State’s permission to meet with Russian nuclear official during Obama uranium decision



October 19, 2017 – 07:56 PM EDT

By John Solomon and Alison Spann 14,898

As he prepared to collect a $500,000 payday in Moscow in 2010, Bill Clinton sought clearance from the State Department to meet with a key board director of the Russian nuclear energy firm Rosatom — which at the time needed the Obama administration’s approval for a controversial uranium deal, government records show.

Arkady Dvorkovich, a top aide to then-Russian President Dmitri Medvedev and one of the highest-ranking government officials to serve on Rosatom’s board of supervisors, was listed on a May 14, 2010, email as one of 15 Russians the former president wanted to meet during a late June 2010 trip, the documents show.

“In the context of a possible trip to Russia at the end of June, WJC is being asked to see the business/government folks below. Would State have concerns about WJC seeing any of these folks,” Clinton Foundation foreign policy adviser Amitabh Desai wrote the State Department on May 14, 2010, using the former president’s initials and forwarding the list of names to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s team.

The email went to two of Hillary Clinton’s most senior advisers, Jake Sullivan and Cheryl Mills.
The approval question, however, sat inside State for nearly two weeks without an answer, prompting Desai to make multiple pleas for a decision.

“Dear Jake, we urgently need feedback on this. Thanks, Ami,” the former president’s aide wrote in early June.

Sullivan finally responded on June 7, 2010, asking a fellow State official “What’s the deal w this?”

The documents don’t indicate what decision the State Department finally made. But current and former aides to both Clintons told The Hill on Thursday the request to meet the various Russians came from other people, and the ex-president’s aides and State decided in the end not to hold any of the meetings with the Russians on the list.

Bill Clinton instead got together with Vladimir Putin at the Russian leader’s private homestead.
“Requests of this type were run by the State Department as a matter of course. This was yet another one of those instances. Ultimately, President Clinton did not meet with these people,” Angel Urena, the official spokesperson for the former president, told The Hill.
Aides to the ex-president, Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation said Bill Clinton did not have any conversations about Rosatom or the Uranium One deal while in Russia, and that no one connected to the deal was involved in the trip.

A spokesman for Secretary Clinton said Thursday the continued focus on the Uranium One deal smacked of partisan politics aimed at benefiting Donald Trump.

“At every turn this storyline has been debunked on the merits. Its roots are with a project shepherded by Steve Bannon, which should tell you all you need to know,” said Nick Merrill. “This latest iteration is simply more of the right doing Trump’s bidding for him to distract from his own Russia problems, which are real and a grave threat to our national security.”

Current and former Clinton aides told The Hill that the list of proposed business executives the former president planned to meet raised some sensitivities after Bill Clinton’s speaker bureau got the invite for the lucrative speech.
Hillary Clinton had just returned from Moscow and there were concerns about the appearance of her husband meeting with officials so soon after.

In addition, two of the Russians on the former president’s list had pending business that would be intersecting with State.

The first was Dvorkovich, who was a chief deputy to Medvedev and one of the Russian nuclear power industry’s cheerleaders. He also sat on the supervisory board of Rosatom, the state owned atomic energy company that was in the midst of buying a Canadian uranium company called Uranium One

The deal required approval from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), an intergovernmental panel represented by 14 departments and offices that approve transactions and investments by foreign companies for national security purposes. Approval meant that control of 20 percent of U.S. uranium production would be shifting to the Russian-owned Rosatom’s control.

CFIUS approved the transaction in October 2010, saying there was no national security concerns. Hillary Clinton has said she did not intervene in the matter and instead delegated the decision to a lower official, who said he got no pressure from the secretary on any CFIUS matters. Any one of the participating offices and departments could have sought to block the deal by requesting intervention by the president.
The Hill reported earlier this week that the FBI had uncovered evidence that Russian nuclear officials were engaged in a massive bribery scheme before CFIUS approved the deal, raising new questions in Congress and drawing attention from President Trump. Uranium “is the real Russia story,” he told reporters, accusing news media of ignoring the new developments reported in The Hill.

The second person on the list that caught attention was Russian businessman Viktor Vekselberg.

Two days after Hillary Clinton’s visit to Russia, Vekselberg was named by Medvedev to oversee a new technology investment project called Skolkovo, designed to be Russia’s new Silicon Valley, according to media reports.
Hillary Clinton had directly discussed the Skolkovo project with Medvedev, and her State Department was whipping up support for it among U.S. companies, creating the potential appearance for a conflict. She even attended a major event with the Russians in 2010 to promote the project.

“We want to help because we think that it’s in everyone’s interest do so,” she was quoted as saying at the time.

A third issue that emerged was Renaissance Capital, a Russian bank that actually paid the $500,000 speaking fee to the former president for his 90-minute June 29, 2010, speech, one of the largest one-day fees Bill Clinton ever earned.

Renaissance Capital had ties with the Kremlin and was talking up the Uranium One purchase in 2010, giving it an encouraging investment rating in Russia right at the time the U.S. was considering approval of the uranium sale, according to reports in The New York Times in 2015.

The Hill was alerted to Bill Clinton’s attempted meeting with Dvorkovich from a nonpolitical source involved in the FBI investigation into Russian nuclear corruption. The Hill then scoured through thousands of pages of documents released under Freedom of Information Act requests over the past four years and located the Bill Clinton emails in a batch delivered to the conservative group Citizens United.

The head of that group, David Bossie, said Thursday the documents forced into the public by federal lawsuits continue to shed light on new questions arising from Hillary Clinton’s time at State, and that Citizens United still gets documents released almost every month.
“Citizens United continues to unearth important information about the relationship between Hillary Clinton’s State Department and the Clinton Foundation through our ongoing investigations and litigation,” he said.
A source familiar with that FBI investigation says an undercover informant that Congress is currently trying to interview possesses new information about what Russian nuclear officials were doing to try to win approval of the Uranium One deal.

The importance of CFIUS’s approval was highlighted in Rosatom’s annual 2010 report that listed Dvorkovich as one of its supervisor board directors. The report crowed the U.S. approval was one of its most “striking events” of the year and allowed Russia to begin “uranium mining in the United States.”

The head of Rosatom boasted in the report that the Uranium One deal was part of a larger Putin strategy to strengthen “Russia’s prestige as a leader of the world nuclear industry.”
Inside the Clintons’ inner circle, there also was a debate in 2010.

A close associate of Bill Clinton who was directly involved in the Moscow trip and spoke on condition of anonymity, described to The Hill the circumstances surrounding how Bill Clinton landed a $500,000 speaking gig in Russia and then came up with the list of Russians he wanted to meet.

The friend said Hillary Clinton had just returned in late March 2010 from an official trip to Moscow where she met with both Putin and Medvedev. The president’s speaker’s bureau had just received an offer from Renaissance Capital to pay the former president $500,000 for a single speech in Russia.

Documents show Bill Clinton’s personal lawyer on April 5, 2010, sent a conflict of interest review to the State Department asking for permission to give the speech in late June, and it was approved two days later.

The Clinton friend said the former president’s office then began assembling a list of requests to meet with Russian business and government executives whom he could meet on the trip. One of the goals of the trip was to try to help a Clinton family relative “grow investments in their business with Russian oligarchs and other businesses,” the friend told The Hill.

“It was one of the untold stories of the Russia trip. People have focused on Uranium One and the speaking fees, but opening up a business spigot for the family business was one only us insiders knew about,” the friend said.
Conservative author Peter Schweizer, whose 2015 collaboration with The New York Times first raised questions about the Uranium One deal and Clinton donations, said Thursday the new emails were “stunning they add a level of granularity we didn’t have before.”

“We knew of some sort of transactions in which the Clintons received funds and Russia received approvals, and the question has always been how and if those two events are connected,” he said. “I think this provides further evidence the two may be connected.”

South Korea About to Become a Nuclear Horn (Daniel 8:8)

An expert at a leading Seoul-based think tank says South Korea should advance its capacity to make pre-emptive strikes, adding to opposition party calls to bring nuclear weapons back to check the North’s belligerence.

South Korea “needs to actively pursue … various pre-emptive strike capabilities,” Choi Kang, vice president of research at the independent think-tank Asan Institute for Policy Studies said Thursday, the Korea Herald reports.

Choi bemoaned South Korea’s “insufficient defense capabilities,” pointing to the pace at which Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile development programs are advancing. “Redeployment of tactical nuclear arms along with deployment of strategic assets,” would produce “meaningful” results, he said.

The U.S. maintained a cache of nuclear weapons in South Korea until 1991. During the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, Trump voiced support for the redeployment of U.S. nukes on the peninsula, CNN reports, and in September Senator John McCain said their redeployment was something Washington should consider.

South Korea’s government officially favors non-proliferation and denuclearization and has dismissed the idea of a redeployment.

In August, however, President Moon Jae-in called for an overhaul of military spending that would better equip Seoul to check Pyongyang’s threats, boost its retaliatory capability, and enable it to take offensive action against the North.

Choi’s comments come amid growing domestic clamor for more militarization.

The leader of the conservative Liberty Korea Party, South Korea’s main opposition party, has said Seoul needs to break Pyongyang’s “nuclear monopoly” and pursue a “nuclear balance of power” with the North. “Only by deploying tactical [nuclear] weapons on South Korean territory can we negotiate with North Korea on an equal footing,” party leader Hong Joon-pyo told CNN Thursday.

In September South Korean protesters clashed with thousands of police as the U.S. missile defense system known as THAAD was deployed in a village 135miles south of Seoul.

The Sixth Seal Is Overdue (Revelation 6:12)

Image result for new jersey earthquake 

Is New Jersey overdue for major earthquake?

Devin Loring, @DevinLoring

17 hours ago

One of the most noticeable earthquakes in New Jersey measured a 5.30 on the Richter scale — a moderate quake – and was felt throughout Pennsylvania and New Hampshire.

But that was in 1783, before colossal bridges connected New Jersey and New York, and cities were pre-skyscraper and modern infrastructure.

What would happen if New Jersey was rocked by a strong, or even moderate, earthquake today?

New Jersey may well soon find out. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection said 10 years ago that we’re due for at least a moderate earthquake.

The region is not really well prepared for any level of shaking,” said Vadim Levin, an associate professor in the earth and planetary sciences department at Rutgers University. “The population density is so extremely high. … Look at earthquake-related disasters. They don’t link to the large size of earthquakes, but the confluence of how close they are to people.”

There are earthquakes in Jersey?

It has been over 200 years since New Jersey experienced that historic quake in 1783, and almost 100 years since Asbury Park experienced a quake – in 1927 – that toppled chimneys and knocked items off shelves

That means New Jersey is overdue for an earthquake, at least according to a brochure published by the NJDEP, in 2005.

The agency’s data indicates that intense quakes are likely to happen in New Jersey every 100 years or less.

“Long overdue for how long, that’s the question,” said Levin. “Once in ten generations is very difficult to study. That’s the biggest challenge (because) we live inside a stable plate.”

A “stable plate,” describes New Jersey’s tectonics. Here, the Earth’s crust “fits together and doesn’t deform very much,” Levin said.

Despite the stability of New Jersey’s crust, earthquakes are felt throughout New Jersey frequently.

In fact, earlier this month, a light earthquake was very noticeable to residents in and around Morristown. It was felt as far south as Jackson, and as far north as Suffern, New York.


The big one

Researchers don’t really understand why earthquakes happen on the East Coast, especially because in New Jersey, small earthquakes happen over a diffuse area and do not form an easily identifiable zone of action, Levin said.

“What makes us slightly more nervous these days is the recent Virginia earthquake,” Levin said. “That event was rather large, there was serious damage, and of course, no prior history of such events recorded.”

In 2011, the 5.8 magnitude earthquake in Virginia was felt from Georgia to Maine, in Michigan and Illinois, and in Canada according to the United States Geological Survey.

“That (2011 earthquake) damaged a nuclear power plant — not severely, only to the extent that it had to shut down operations,” said Arthur Lerner-Lam, deputy director of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University.

It points out the issue of fragility on our infrastructure,” Lerner-Lam said. “The resiliency or vulnerability of our bridges, tunnels, power lines, pipelines, is a very important feature of the overall vulnerability of the metropolitan region.”

What makes East Coast quakes all the more unpredictable is that quakes here differ from those on the West Coast, where they are more frequent. Because the earth on the East Coast has different properties than the west, shakes from quakes are transmitted farther here than they are in California, Levin said.

Getting protection

Standard homeowner, renter, and business insurance policies typically do not cover earthquake damage, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

Only 7 percent of homeowners that responded to an Institute survey in 2014 said they had earthquake insurance.

Only about 2 percent of homeowners in the Northeast have earthquake coverage, the survey revealed.

Levin said he declines to have earthquake coverage, saying hurricanes and flooding are a much greater risk in New Jersey.

“If an event is extremely unlikely, how much money is worth investing in safeguarding from it?” Levin said.

Although there is no reliable way to predict a major earthquake, let’s just say experts don’t think whole cities will crumble or be consumed by the ocean, as depicted by Hollywood.

“I’m planning to take my class to see ‘San Andreas.’ Oh my God, that’s such overkill,” Levin said.

Devin Loring; ; dloring@gannettnj.co

The Obvious Source of Chaos: Iran (Daniel 8:4)

 

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Iran is at the centre of many of the problems in the Middle East, including during the ongoing confrontations in Kirkuk, said the director of the CIA. Despite acknowledging Iran’s influence on Baghdad, a goal of the US is to see the survival of the current Iraqi government, according to the intelligence chief.

  “The president has come to view the threat from Iran is at the centre of so much of the turmoil that bogs us down in lots of places in the Middle East,” said CIA Director Mike Pompeo, speaking at the National Security Summit put on by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) on Thursday.

With a long list of transgressions, Iran has influence with many groups, including the Lebanese Hezbollah, Houthis in Yemen, and Shiite militias, said Pompeo. “You can see the impact that they’re having today in northern Iraq. The threat that they pose to US forces. We had an incident last week.”

A US soldier was killed in Iraq by an Iranian-designed roadside bomb earlier this month.

A senior member of Iran’s Expediency Council, Ali Akbar Velayati, rejected that the Islamic Republic assisted Baghdad in their takeover of Kirkuk from Kurdish forces.

“Iran has no role in the Kirkuk operation,” Iran’s Tasnim news reported Velayati as telling reporters after meeting with a French diplomat in Tehran on Tuesday.

When interviewer Juan C. Zarate raised reports that Iranian Quds’ commander Qassem Soleimani was in Kirkuk this week, Pompeo interjected, “I’m aware of that.”

A senior member of Iran’s Expediency Council, Ali Akbar Velayati, rejected that the Islamic Republic assisted Baghdad in their takeover of Kirkuk.

“Iran has no role in the Kirkuk operation,” Iran’s Tasnim news reported Velayati as telling reporters after meeting with a French diplomat in Tehran on Tuesday.

Iran’s perceived role in Iraq is a part of its adventurism in the Middle East, a threat Pompeo said is of concern aside from the nuclear threat. The JCPOA nuclear deal has not curtailed this aggression, he said, and now the US needs to reconfigure its relations with Iran, Gulf states, and Israel to address this threat.

Pushing back against these non-nuclear activities is something President Donald Trump is keen on doing, Pompeo asserted, adding that there is “global consensus” over the need for this push-back against Iran.

As ISIS is defeated in Iraq and Syria, the US needs to shift focus to a post-ISIS Middle East, which for Trump is an unconditional commitment to defeating the threat of radical Islamic terrorism, said Pompeo.

He emphasized that non-state and first-world order problems, such as the situation in northern Iraq, aren’t being ignored “from the intelligence perspective.”

“We are well-positioned to deliver information” to senior US officials, said the CIA head when asked about the recent events like those in Kirkuk, which he called “challenging” and “complex.”

Pompeo iterated the need for intelligence relationships surviving “bad diplomatic relations.”

“We have to be there every day even if there are disputes,” he said.

His role, as the US intelligence chief, is to deliver to the president an understanding of the situation so Trump can develop his policies in Iraq and Syria.

In Syria, that policy is to push back against Iran and the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, said Pompeo.

And in Iraq, it is to “ensure that the Abadi government in Iraq is successful.”

Big Pharma Supported the Antichrist


Followers of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr chant anti-government slogans and waved Iraqi flags during a protest in Basra on March 19, 2012. (Nabil al-Jurani/AP)

In the first years following the defeat of Saddam Hussein, there were few dark corners of battle-scarred Iraq less hospitable to Americans than the country’s ministry of health.

The walls of the ministry, headquartered in a dilapidated high-rise in eastern Baghdad, were covered with hundreds of photos of scowling Shiite clerics. Banners proclaimed “Death to America and Israel” and “we must destroy the occupiers.” Death squads commandeered the ministry’s ambulances for missions to hunt Sunnis. Assault rifles were stacked in offices. The morgues were used for torture. Everywhere flapped the flag of the Jaysh al-Mahdim, also known as the Mahdi Army, the Shiite militia controlled by the radical anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

The government office was so thoroughly infested that in 2007 Gen. David Petraeus, then in command of U.S. forces in Iraq, admitted Sadrists had “effectively hijacked the Ministry of Health.”

And yet at the same time, American and international pharmaceutical companies were regularly doing business with it.

A lawsuit that has just hit the federal court system claims that these drug giants were not only filling purchasing orders but offering substantial kickbacks and free medication, all while knowing they were in business with a group of terrorists engaged in violence against U.S. interests and Americans. Such payments, the lawsuit claims, were violations of the Anti-Terrorism Act.

The 203-page suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on behalf of 108 plaintiffs, seeks to hold the corporations responsible for the deaths and injuries of U.S. service members between 2005 and 2009.

The corporate defendants include subsidiaries of the largest medical brands in the world: AstraZeneca, General Electric, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and Roche. The businesses “obtained lucrative contracts from that ministry by making corrupt payments to the terrorists who ran it,” the complaint argues. “Those payments aided and abetted terrorism in Iraq by directly financing an Iran-backed, Hezbollah-trained militia that killed or injured thousands of Americans.”

The complaint is heading into uncharted legal territory. Last year, Congress expanded the provisions of the Anti-Terrorism Act to allow for such suits. The updated statute specifies that the violence must have been committed by a group specifically designated by the secretary of state as a “foreign terrorist organization.” The Mahdi Army was not so designated, but Hezbollah was and still is.

The lawsuit claims a corrupt relationship between Big Pharma and Iraq stretches back to Saddam Hussein’s iron rule.

The fall of the Hussein regime created a scramble within the country between sects vying for a foothold in the new government. By early 2004, Sadrists had grabbed key positions in the ministry’s bureaucracy. “Sunnis and secular technocrats alike were purged in what one percipient witness describes as a widespread ‘occupational cleansing,’” the lawsuit says. “Doctors who exhibited insufficient loyalty to the Sadrists were killed or forced to flee.”

One Iraqi hospital worker told CBS News in 2006 that more than 80 percent of the original health care staff in one Iraqi hospital had been removed and replaced with Sadr loyalists.

“It’s going to get worse because there is no control and no accountability,” the worker told the network. “No one can stop them.”

A year later, Kenneth Katzman, a Middle East expert, testified at a congressional hearing that Sadrists were attempting to segregate the health care system by gender, “with doctors treating only patients of the same gender.”

At the same time, there was a great amount of money at stake in the post-Hussein Iraq for companies. The lawsuit points to one study showing that between 2006 to 2011, the “Iraqi pharmaceutical market experience a 17 % compound annual growth rate — making it the fastest-growing market in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.”

In 2004, the ministry’s Sadrist leaders “implemented a requirement that medical goods suppliers seeking” contracts with the ministry pay a religious tax “worth at least one-fifth the contract’s value.” One way companies paid the tax, according to the lawsuit, was by offering the ministry “free goods,” or “additional batches of in-kind drugs and equipment, free of charge, on top of the quantities for which MOH had actually paid.”

These extras, in turn, were sold by Sadrists on Iraq’s black market at a considerable markup. The Mahdi Army, in fact, became known among U.S. government personnel as the “Pill Army.” The cleric often paid his fighters in medical supplies and pharmaceuticals, which they either resold or ingested as intoxicants, the lawsuit says. These included antipsychotic drugs, birth control medication and cancer drugs.

Both the bribes and resales provided a cash flow feeding “directly into Jaysh al-Mahdi’s coffers and helped the militia buy weapons, training, and logistical support for its terrorist attacks,” the lawsuit claims, attacks that “likely killed more than 500 Americans and wounded thousands more.”

In 2011, Johnson & Johnson entered into an agreement with the Department of Justice to pay $70 million to resolve allegations of unlawful payments in a number of countries, including Iraq. General Electric resolved allegations leveled by the Securities and Exchange Commission involving Iraq kickbacks with a $23 million payment in 2010.

Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca and Roche have yet to publicly comment on the lawsuit. A spokesperson with General Electric told the Financial Times the company was reviewing the lawsuit. A Pfizer representative denied any wrongdoing to the Times as well.

The Approaching Nuclear Holocaust (Revelation 8)

 

PARIS — Dozens of experts and former senior officials from around the world met in the French capital last week to discuss the threat of nuclear proliferation, something they believe is ignored despite the dire situation and — according to some — worse than it was during the Cold War.

The Iran deal, the risk posed by North Korea and the ever-present potential that the two atomic powers India and Pakistan will go to war were deemed the most pressing threats at the 10th anniversary conference of the International Luxembourg Forum on Preventing Nuclear Catastrophe.

But they were not seen as the most dangerous. That distinction belonged to the deteriorating ties between United States and Russia, which possess more nuclear weapons than every other country combined, several times over. (The US and Russia each have approximately 7,000 warheads. France, with the next largest stockpile, has about 300, according to the Federation of American Scientists.)

The Luxembourg Forum, led by Russian Jewish magnate Viatcheslav Moshe Kantor, was founded a decade ago and meets each year in world capitals to discuss how best to advance its cause of nuclear disarmament. The group, made up of experts in the field of nuclear physics, diplomacy and security, met on October 9 and 10 in Paris’s Four Seasons hotel.

These experts — many of the former officials from the US, Russia, Israel, the UK and South Korea — warned that unlike during the Cold War, when the threat of nuclear war was immediate and apparent, world leaders and their constituents are less cognizant of the risk today and do not have the mechanisms in place to prevent such a conflict.

In particular, William Perry, who served as US secretary of defense under Bill Clinton and held a number of security-related positions in the decades prior, stressed that today there was a significant threat of nations “blundering” into nuclear war.

“Have we forgotten the Cuban missile crisis?” Perry rhetorically asked the conference.

The former defense secretary recalled a number of near misses between the US and Russia during the Cold War, when human or machine error nearly set off nuclear war.

We could have the same number of casualties as all of World War II, only these would happen in six hours instead of six years

He warned that today the same could happen again between the US and Russia, India and Pakistan, or North and South Korea.

“We could have the same number of casualties as all of World War II, only these would happen in six hours instead of six years,” he said.

Comments reportedly made by US President Donald Trump about dramatically increasing the number of nuclear weapons in the American arsenal also raised concerns about the status of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, a decades-old international agreement meant to curb the development, testing and use of nuclear bombs.

Yet the meeting in Paris was overshadowed by discussion over the Iran nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, ahead of US President Donald Trump’s decision last Friday to not recertify it, a move that potentially imperils the agreement.

This recertification process is required by a provision in a 2015 US law according to which the president needs to inform Congress every three months if the Islamic Republic is adhering to the terms of the agreement in exchange for broad international relief from oil, trade and financial sanctions. By refusing to do so, Trump allows the US to pass new sanctions on Iran, though there have not yet been moves to do so.

The international forum was unanimously opposed to dissolving the deal, with some members acting thoroughly flabbergasted by the notion, seeing no value whatsoever in scrapping it.

“No one pays and all gain” from the JCPOA, said Hans Blix, the former director-general of the International Atomic Energy Association.

Tony Blair, who spoke on the first day of the conference, acknowledged that there was some legitimate criticism of the deal, but said the “sensible thing to do” was to uphold it.

Kantor, who is also president of the European Jewish Congress, similarly argued in favor of the agreement, saying that scrapping it would be “unforgivable.”

Trump says he believes that the US can renegotiate the deal to make it last longer and give the IAEA easier access to Iranian military sites. But not everyone shares that belief.

“It is a fallacy that a better agreement can be negotiated. It is a misunderstanding on the part of the president,” Perry said.

Speaking to The Times of Israel on the sidelines of the conference, former Israeli national security adviser Uzi Arad said that he suspects the overwhelming support for the deal is not necessarily because of its merits, but due to the drawn-out fight for it.

After such an extended battle for the JCPOA, its proponents now have to stand behind it fully, even if it’s not necessarily optimal, Arad said.

The ongoing spat between the United States and North Korea — or, more specifically, US President Donald Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un — was another frequent topic of conversation at the two-day conference.

Perry said he was “appalled” by the level of discourse between the two heads of state, with Trump derisively referring to Un as “rocket man,” and Un firing back by calling Trump a “dotard.”

There was general consensus that the tension between North Korea and the US needed to be resolved diplomatically, due to the tremendous potential cost of life that would come from a military exchange. There was, however, disagreement over what the terms and goals of these talks should be.

Some advocated an exchange in which North Korea would halt all nuclear and ballistic missile tests, after which the US would stop sanctions. But James Acton, of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, argued against this “all or nothing” approach in favor of a “less for less” model, under which Pyongyang would scale down its tests and military exercises and the US would decrease the sanctions proportionally.

Most of the attendees saw Beijing, North Korea’s main trading partner, as being the key to these negotiations.

Turn off the gas for three months, make it hurt. Then turn it back on, and they’ll come to the negotiating table

Byungki Kim, a South Korean professor of international relations, said if China were to put pressure on the country, it would force them to enter talks with the United States.

“Turn off the gas for three months, make it hurt. Then turn it back on, and they’ll come to the negotiating table,” Kim told the Forum.

However, the lone Chinese representative — Zhenqiang Pan, an analyst with no official government — said that the general view in his country is that the conflict is between the US and North Korea so China does not have direct responsibility for it.

“China can be a mediator. It has some leverage [over North Korea], but it’s limited,” Pan said.

In India and Pakistan, two nuclear armed nations engaged in an extended, simmering conflict over territorial and ethnic disputes, the Luxembourg Forum saw the most feasible chance for atomic warfare.

The two countries have maintained tense relations for decades. This comes, in part, from both nations claiming the Kashmir region as their own, as well as from differences in the countries’ religions — Pakistan is majority Muslim, while India is majority Hindu.

Perry, the former US defense secretary, showed the forum a video that his foundation produced about a scenario in which the two countries fire atomic weapons at one another.

In the animated video, a group of Pakistani terrorists carry out an attack in India, prompting an Indian army retaliation. The military exchanges escalate quickly, culminating in the launching of nuclear weapons.

While the Forum was unanimous in identifying India and Pakistan as being likely locations of a future nuclear war, no specific proposals were made to disarm the two countries or resolve the conflict between them.

At the close of the conference, the delegates set to work writing a document with their proposals.

Once this document is prepared, it will be published by the Luxembourg Forum and the attendees are meant to present the findings to their home countries.

The Ramapo Fault Line of the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

A Look at the Tri-State’s Active Fault Line

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Ramapo Fault is the longest fault in the Northeast that occasionally makes local headlines when minor tremors cause rock the Tri-State region. It begins in Pennsylvania, crosses the Delaware River and continues through Hunterdon, Somerset, Morris, Passaic and Bergen counties before crossing the Hudson River near Indian Point nuclear facility.

In the past, it has generated occasional activity that generated a 2.6 magnitude quake in New Jersey’s Peakpack/Gladstone area and 3.0 magnitude quake in Mendham.

But the New Jersey-New York region is relatively seismically stable according to Dr. Dave Robinson, Professor of Geography at Rutgers. Although it does have activity.

“There is occasional seismic activity in New Jersey,” said Robinson. “There have been a few quakes locally that have been felt and done a little bit of damage over the time since colonial settlement — some chimneys knocked down in Manhattan with a quake back in the 18th century, but nothing of a significant magnitude.”

Robinson said the Ramapo has on occasion registered a measurable quake but has not caused damage: “The Ramapo fault is associated with geological activities back 200 million years ago, but it’s still a little creaky now and again,” he said.

“More recently, in the 1970s and early 1980s, earthquake risk along the Ramapo Fault received attention because of its proximity to Indian Point,” according to the New Jersey Geological Survey website.

Historically, critics of the Indian Point Nuclear facility in Westchester County, New York, did cite its proximity to the Ramapo fault line as a significant risk.

In 1884, according to the New Jersey Geological Survey website, the  Ramapo Fault was blamed for a 5.5 quake that toppled chimneys in New York City and New Jersey that was felt from Maine to Virginia.

“Subsequent investigations have shown the 1884 Earthquake epicenter was actually located in Brooklyn, New York, at least 25 miles from the Ramapo Fault,” according to the New Jersey Geological Survey website.