The Sixth Seal Long Overdue (Revelation 6)

ON THE MAP; Exploring the Fault Where the Next Big One May Be Waiting


 The Big One Awaits


Published: March 25, 2001

Alexander Gates, a geology professor at Rutgers-Newark, is co-author of ”The Encyclopedia of Earthquakes and Volcanoes,” which will be published by Facts on File in July. He has been leading a four-year effort to remap an area known as the Sloatsburg Quadrangle, a 5-by-7-mile tract near Mahwah that crosses into New York State. The Ramapo Fault, which runs through it, was responsible for a big earthquake in 1884, and Dr. Gates warns that a recurrence is overdue. He recently talked about his findings.

Q. What have you found?

A. We’re basically looking at a lot more rock, and we’re looking at the fracturing and jointing in the bedrock and putting it on the maps. Any break in the rock is a fracture. If it has movement, then it’s a fault. There are a lot of faults that are offshoots of the Ramapo. Basically when there are faults, it means you had an earthquake that made it. So there was a lot of earthquake activity to produce these features. We are basically not in a period of earthquake activity along the Ramapo Fault now, but we can see that about six or seven times in history, about 250 million years ago, it had major earthquake activity. And because it’s such a fundamental zone of weakness, anytime anything happens, the Ramapo Fault goes.

Q. Where is the Ramapo Fault?

 A. The fault line is in western New Jersey and goes through a good chunk of the state, all the way down to Flemington. It goes right along where they put in the new 287. It continues northeast across the Hudson River right under the Indian Point power plant up into Westchester County. There are a lot of earthquakes rumbling around it every year, but not a big one for a while.

Q. Did you find anything that surprised you?

A. I found a lot of faults, splays that offshoot from the Ramapo that go 5 to 10 miles away from the fault. I have looked at the Ramapo Fault in other places too. I have seen splays 5 to 10 miles up into the Hudson Highlands. And you can see them right along the roadsides on 287. There’s been a lot of damage to those rocks, and obviously it was produced by fault activities. All of these faults have earthquake potential.

Q. Describe the 1884 earthquake.

A. It was in the northern part of the state near the Sloatsburg area. They didn’t have precise ways of describing the location then. There was lots of damage. Chimneys toppled over. But in 1884, it was a farming community, and there were not many people to be injured. Nobody appears to have written an account of the numbers who were injured.

Q. What lessons we can learn from previous earthquakes?

A. In 1960, the city of Agadir in Morocco had a 6.2 earthquake that killed 12,000 people, a third of the population, and injured a third more. I think it was because the city was unprepared.There had been an earthquake in the area 200 years before. But people discounted the possibility of a recurrence. Here in New Jersey, we should not make the same mistake. We should not forget that we had a 5.4 earthquake 117 years ago. The recurrence interval for an earthquake of that magnitude is every 50 years, and we are overdue. The Agadir was a 6.2, and a 5.4 to a 6.2 isn’t that big a jump.

Q. What are the dangers of a quake that size?

A. When you’re in a flat area in a wooden house it’s obviously not as dangerous, although it could cut off a gas line that could explode. There’s a real problem with infrastructure that is crumbling, like the bridges with crumbling cement. There’s a real danger we could wind up with our water supplies and electricity cut off if a sizable earthquake goes off. The best thing is to have regular upkeep and keep up new building codes. The new buildings will be O.K. But there is a sense of complacency.


Photo: Alexander Gates, a Rutgers geologist, is mapping a part of the Ramapo Fault, site of previous earthquakes. (John W. Wheeler for The New York Times)

Japan is NOT a Nuclear Horn

Analysis Interpretation of the news based on evidence, including data, as well as anticipating how events might unfold based on past events

By Mike Mochizuki

Monkey Cage


Analysis Interpretation of the news based on evidence, including data, as well as anticipating how events might unfold based on past events

November 6 at 6:00 AM

President Trump is visiting Tokyo on Monday at a time of renewed national security debates within Japan. North Korea’s recent missile launches and nuclear tests have again prompted discussion in Tokyo on Japan’s policy against becoming a nuclear state.Although Japan has long had the technical ability to develop nuclear weapons — its “nuclear hedge” — it has refrained from doing so. Japan instead remains firmly committed to its 1967 Three Non-Nuclear Principles of not developing, not possessing and not introducing nuclear weapons.

This is not the first time that Japan has reexamined those principles. Similar debates transpired after China’s hydrogen bomb test in 1967, the Soviet Union’s deployment of medium-range nuclear missiles in Siberia during the 1980s and North Korea’s first nuclear test in 2006.

Is this time different? Reacting to North Korea’s threatening behavior, former Japanese defense minister Shigeru Ishiba stated in September that Japan should at least debate the decision not to permit the introduction of nuclear weapons on Japanese territory. Ishiba implied that Tokyo should consider asking Washington to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Japan.

President Trump spoke to the press after arriving in Japan and meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Nov. 5. President Trump spoke to the press after arriving in Japan and meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Nov. 5. (The Washington Post)

President Trump spoke to the press after arriving in Japan and meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Nov. 5. (The Washington Post)

[This is what Shinzo Abe’s election victory means for Japan’s national security policy.]

This latest debate is likely to end in the same way as previous debates, however. Japan will continue to adhere to its Three Non-Nuclear Principles and forswear nuclear weapons. Here are three reasons for that:

1) Staying non-nuclear is part of Japan’s national identity

The Three Non-Nuclear Principles are a clear part of Japan’s national identity, not simply a policy preference. Repeated polls indicate overwhelming popular support for the three principles in Japan. A 2014 Asahi newspaper poll revealed that support for the principles had risen to 82 percent, compared with 78 percent in a 1988 poll. Despite growing concerns about North Korea’s nuclear program and China’s military power during this period, Japanese support for remaining non-nuclear actually increased.

Even after the provocative North Korean missile launches over Japan in August and September, a Fuji News Network poll showed that nearly 80 percent of the Japanese population remained opposed to Japan becoming a nuclear weapons state. And nearly 69 percent opposed having the United States bring nuclear weapons into Japan.

The legacy of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings leave many Japanese convinced that their country has a moral responsibility to promote global nuclear disarmament — as well as to forgo nuclear weapons of its own. The 2011 Fukushima nuclear plant disaster has reinforced this view.

In fact, increasing numbers of Japanese believe that the U.S. “nuclear umbrella” is unnecessary for Japanese security. A June 2010 NHK survey revealed that 20.8 percent felt that U.S. nuclear deterrence is necessary for Japan’s security in both the present and future, while 34.8 percent believed it unnecessary. The June 2015 NHK poll showed that only 10.3 percent thought the U.S. nuclear umbrella is necessary for both the present and the future — 48.9 percent responded that it is unnecessary now and later.

[Here are 5 takeaways from Trump’s startling nuclear threats against North Korea]

2) Powerful players in Japanese politics can block nuclear acquisition

In addition to public opposition to nuclear weapons, Japan has significant “veto players” — crucial political or economic actors that are likely to block efforts to develop nuclear weapons.

Japan has a robust nuclear energy industry. But public acceptance of nuclear energy in the 1950s resulted from a fundamental political bargain: nuclear energy, but no nuclear weapons.

As security scholar Jacques Hymans argues, the development of nuclear energy in Japan boosted the number of Japanese government agencies and private-sector actors that are committed to the peaceful use of nuclear power — and can serve as a formidable opposition to any political move toward acquiring nuclear weapons. These veto players include powerful economic ministries, regulatory commissions, industrial groups and prefectural governments.

The international nonproliferation regime and public opposition to nuclear weapons give these veto players leverage in Japan’s policy process. The International Atomic Energy Agency has closely monitored Japan’s reprocessing programs, for instance. Japan’s nuclear energy program is also tied to bilateral agreements and multilateral bodies such as the Nuclear Suppliers Group that embody nonproliferation principles.

 3) Japan has good national security reasons to stay non-nuclear

There’s also a realist security calculation to consider. North Korean nuclearization is alarming, but it does not pose such an acute danger that Japanese leaders will be motivated to pay the high political costs necessary to weaken, much less revoke, the Three Non-Nuclear Principles.

North Korea acquiring the ability to deliver a nuclear weapon against the United States may weaken the protective U.S. nuclear umbrella somewhat, but U.S. nuclear and conventional military capabilities should be adequate to deter a North Korean nuclear attack on Japan.

North Korean test missiles flew over northern Japan in September, prompting Japanese government alerts telling citizens to seek shelter underground or in a building. (Courtesy of Kate Whitcomb)

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump criticized several U.S. alliances and mused that it might be desirable for Japan to develop nuclear weapons. But after assuming office, President Trump and his foreign policy team have repeatedly confirmed the U.S. defense commitment to Japan. The continuing presence of U.S. military forces in Japan, South Korea and the Western Pacific makes this commitment credible to deter potential aggressors and to reassure Japan.

[Did Trump and Abe just launch a new chapter in U.S.-Japan relations?]

Given the powerful U.S. nuclear arsenal, including ballistic missiles deployed on nuclear submarines, any U.S. tactical nuclear weapons in Japan itself would constitute a marginal increase in deterrence. But the political cost of rescinding the third non-nuclear principle would be high.

Japanese defense policymakers are more likely to focus on other ways to respond to the North Korea threat, such as acquiring the Aegis Ashore missile defense system and perhaps a conventional strike capability.

A realistic review of Japanese security requirements is likely to conclude that the best way to counter the North Korea threat is to promote defense cooperation with the United States, invest in conventional defense capabilities and increase pressure on North Korea — while looking for an opportunity for constructive negotiations with Pyongyang.

And there’s a final consideration: A Japanese bomb would probably destabilize the country’s relations with China and South Korea. At a time when North Korea is making the international politics of the region complicated, Japan is likely to stay its non-nuclear course rather than make a disruptive nuclear move of its own.

Mike Mochizuki holds the Japan-U.S. Relations Chair in Memory of Gaston Sigur at the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University. He is co-editor of “Nuclear Debates in Asia: The Role of Geopolitics and Domestic Processes.”

The Iraq War and the Antichrist 

This is the real Iraq War battle behind ‘The Long Road Home’

By Blake Stilwell Nov. 06, 04:11 PM

In April 2004, a convoy from the US Army’s 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division was on a routine escort mission. The Baghdad neighborhood they were operating in – Sadr City – would become notorious among American and Coalition forces for at least the next four years. What happened to 1st Cav that day came to be known as “Black Sunday,” a battle then- Maj. Gen. Martin Dempsey called “the biggest gunfight since the fall of Baghdad.”

Soldiers from B Co., 3/15 Infantry hand out hard candy to kids in Sadr City, Iraq, Feb. 28, 2003. An ominous stencil of Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr looms in the background.

The mission started like any other escort mission. Soldiers in a convoy escorted sewage trucks, known as “honey wagons,” to locations inside the Sadr City area of the Iraqi capital. Though times were tough for the Iraqi people, lawlessness was on the rise throughout Baghdad. Still, everything was for the most part peaceful…until Palm Sunday 2004.

The neighborhood now known as Sadr City housed three and a half million people in five square miles – roughly half of the city’s entire population. Built by Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, it was full of mostly Shia muslims who were persecuted under Saddam’s rule. As a result, this densely populated area – smaller in size than most American cities, but with a population higher than Houston or Chicago – was deeply impoverished.

A U.S. Army soldier assigned to Company B, 1st Battalion, 12th Calvary Regiment, armed with a 5.56mm Colt M4 carbine, provides security during a patrol near Forward Operating Base Camp Eagle, Sadr City, Iraq, during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The area came under control of the anti-American Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who took the citizens’ distrust of the occupying Americans and turned in into full-fledged anger. His militant followers formed the formidable Mahdi Army, which attracted fighters from other countries as well as Iraqis. By the time the U.S. was ready to take down al-Sadr, he had grown too powerful. When American shut down his newspaper for inciting violence, Sadr City residents were outraged.

They protested peacefully in the streets at first, but that outrage soon boiled over.

American troops raided al-Sadr’s house and arrested one of his senior aides on the order of Paul Bremer, head of the Coalition Provisional Authority. That same day, unbeknownst to the Coalition, al-Sadr’s militia captured Iraqi Police stations across the city.

April 4, 2004 was the day 2-5 Cav was escorting honey wagons as they worked in Sadr City. They had just deployed to Camp War Eagle, on the edge of Sadr City, allegedly the “safest place in Iraq.” They were ambushed by the Mahdi Army as they made their way out of the city. Unable to move all their men out of the area, 19 soldiers holed up in a civilian house, awaiting rescue amid hundreds of enemy fighters.

They had only been in country for a few days.

Siege of Sadr City

Gary Volesky, commander, 2-5 Cav., addresses Soldiers of Task Force Lancer in April 2004 at Camp War Eagle, shortly after the unit’s arrival in Sadr City. Volesky is portrayed by actor Michael Kelly in “The Long Road Home.”

Relief columns were mounted by 1st Cavalry but those were unable to use the heavy guns on their Bradley M-2A3 Infantry Fighting Vehicles due to the rules of engagement. The rescuers were themselves ambushed by the forces hidden in Iraqi Police stations and, unable to bring firepower to bear, were pushed back.

Eventually, the superior firepower was authorized against the Mahdi Army’s superior numbers. 1st Cav’s use of the Bradleys’ main turret was complimented by a force of 1st Armored Division M-1A2 Abrams tanks.

Eight soldiers were lost in the initial ambush and rescue of those trapped and surrounded in Sadr City that April Day. The fight to rescue the platoon from 2-5 Cav is dramatized in National Geographic Channel’s miniseries The Long Road Home, which begins Nov. 7, 2017.

But the fighting for Sadr City didn’t end in April 2004. The fighting in the Baghdad neighborhood would rage on in the streets between American forces and Muqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army for another four years. It ended with a ceasefire agreement that allowed Iraqi government troops to enter the area.

The Antichrist Orders the Withdrawal of his Men (Revelation 13:18)

Iraqi Shia leader Sadr orders withdrawal of Saraya al-Salam fighters in Kirkuk


SULAIMANI – Iraqi Shia political leader Moqtada al-Sadr ordered the fighters of Saraya al-Salam, a military wing of his party, to withdraw from Kirkuk.

Sadr released a statement on Tuesday (November 7) ordering Shia paramilitary from Saraya al-Salam to close its bases and leave the city of Kirkuk in 72 hours.

“Kirkuk province and all other provinces must be only under the control of the Iraqi security forces,” Sadr added.

The order came two days after twin blasts went off near a Shia Saraya al-Salam base in Kirkuk city. Six people were killed and 18 others were wounded due to the blasts.

The first attacker blew up an explosives-rigged car, followed by the second, who used an explosive belt, a security official said.

Saraya al-Salam is the military wing of the Iraqi Shia Sadr Front led by the Iraqi leader Moqtada al-Sadr.

Sadr’s force, formerly known as the Mahdi Army, is part of the Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitary alliance that has battled the Islamic State (ISIS).

Iraqi security forces backed by Hashid al-Shaabi in mid-October seized oil-rich Kirkuk province from Peshmerga forces in the wake of a Kurdish independence vote held in defiance of Baghdad.