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.