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.

Antichrist Calls For “Justice” (Revelation 13:18)

Tensions between Shia factions rise after killing of finance director Tensions between Shia factions rise after killing of finance director

Hadi al-Amiri, Head of the al-Fatih (Conquer) electoral coalition and Moqtada al-Sadr (right). (Photo: Archive)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The murder of Hashd al-Shaabi’s finance director has created tensions among various Iraqi Shia factions as well-known Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has called on the Hashd al-Shaabi to distance itself from politics, London-based al-Hayat newspaper reported.

On Monday, Iranian-backed Shia Hashd al-Shaabi’s Finance Director Qassim al-Zubaidi died in hospital after being severely injured in an assassination attempt in Iraq’s capital of Baghdad.

In a statement on Tuesday, Sadr said Zubaidi was killed by “the hands of treachery and sin.”

“We pray to God to distance evil from the rightful voices, and distance the Hashd al-Shaabi from politics,” he added, calling all sides “to break their silence over this heinous crime.”

Sadr also called on the Iraqi government to complete their investigations and bring the perpetrators to justice immediately.

No side has yet claimed responsibility for the death of the Hashd al-Shaabi official.

Zubaidi’s death has raised tensions among Shia parties and militia groups as Ali Sistani, an influential Iranian cleric in Iraq, is expected to make a statement about the elections where he might call on Hashd al-Shaabi factions not to participate in the polls, al-Hayat reported.

Meanwhile, during a speech at an elections rally in Babil, Hadi al-Amiri, Head of the al-Fatih Coalition—which consists of Shia militia groups—denied using the Hashd al-Shaabi’s name for election purposes.

“Hashd al-Shaabi did not fight for the sake of elections, and they do not expect any rewards from anyone,” he stated.

Responding to Sadr’s statement, Liyth al-Adhari, a political representative of Asaib Ahl al-Haq, said, “Being proud of Hashd al-Shaabi’s achievement does not mean it should be used as elections propaganda. But we always support and defend them.”

According to the Shia militia official, the best example of an electoral coalition using the fight against the Islamic State as propaganda for their elections campaign is Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s al-Nasr (Victory) Coalition.

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany

The Iranian Horn is a Serious Risk (Daniel 8)

 

Israel’s discovery of Iran’s secret nuclear archive is extraordinary. Even more amazing is that Israel says it managed to smuggle out 55,000 pages of documents and another 55,000 files on 183 CDs. Explaining it during a televised news conference in Tel Aviv on Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu underscored one simple point: Iran has lied. Though he did not cite it, clearly the line in the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — “Iran reaffirms that under no circumstances will Iran ever seek, develop or acquire any nuclear weapons” — is nonsense, if Israel’s documentation is accurate.

Many articles will dissect Iran’s diplomatic duplicity. Some pundits may even examine a religious angle, arguing that Iranians can justify telling lies for a higher purpose. Its opponents will call for tossing out the JCPOA; others will urge its repair. Few will attempt to scrutinize the technical details that formed the basis of Netanyahu’s case. That’s a pity; it’s challenging to comprehend, but not impossible.

What Netanyahu revealed suggests that Iran was much closer to a deliverable nuclear weapon than many experts — even those, including me, who previously were skeptical of its denials — may have imagined before the JCPOA was signed.

To understand this, here is a guide to some of the jargon and key details of Netanyahu’s presentation:

Project Amad: In English, this translates to being Iran’s Organization for Planning and Special Supplies; Netanyahu gave its dates as 1999 to 2003, but its work began earlier. Project Amad consolidated all of Iran’s previous military-related nuclear activities. Iran is thought to have decided on the need for nuclear weapons after seeing Saddam Hussein in neighboring Iraq pushed out of Kuwait so easily by U.S.-led forces in 1991.

Kiloton: An explosion achievable by 1,000 tons of TNT, or its nuclear equivalent. Iran was hoping to produce a weapon with the power of 10 kilotons; Netanyahu labeled it as being the size of the American nuclear bomb that flattened the Japanese city of Hiroshima in 1945, although that bomb exploded with the energy of about 15 kilotons. The Iranian nuclear device would have fit in a missile warhead, making it about three feet in diameter.

Uranium-235: This isotope of uranium can be used in a nuclear bomb. Normal uranium, known as U-238, won’t work. U-235 makes up just 0.7 percent of normal uranium. It has to be enriched, therefore, typically by being spun in gaseous form in high-speed centrifuges, so that the U-235 becomes 90 percent of the metal.

Casting a nuclear core: A core is made up of two hemispheres of enriched U-235. Each hemisphere is cast as molten metal separately in a mold. Netanyahu did not say how much U-235 is needed, although it is probably around 20kg, or 44 pounds.

Implosion system: To cause a nuclear explosion, a core must be physically squeezed so that a chain reaction happens. This squeezing is achieved by conventional high explosive surrounding the core exploding in an inward direction — an implosion. It’s extremely difficult to achieve symmetrically; think in terms of squeezing a grapefruit so that it becomes the size of a lemon without squirting any juice in your eye.

Nuclear test sites: Theoretically, a good design will work without testing but there is only one way to be sure. Iran apparently had identified five different potential locations; it would be interesting to know whether it had prepared any tunnels or infrastructure.

Shahab-3 missile: Shahab is Persian for “meteor.” This missile design is from North Korea, where the missile is known as the Nodong. Pakistan uses the same missile, using the name Ghauri. Both the North Korean and Pakistani versions are nuclear-capable.

2003: This was when Iran notionally stopped its nuclear weapons work, although it continued the work covertly and continued to enrich uranium, claiming it needed the enriched product for a peaceful civil nuclear program.

Mohsen Fakhrizadeh: The leader of Iran’s nuclear weapons program, then and now.

SPND: The organization that continues to carry out Iran’s nuclear weapons research. The initials translate as Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research. It is based near Malek Ashtar University in Tehran. According to Netanyahu, many of Project Amad’s key personnel work today for SPND.

Fordow: The initially-secret uranium enrichment facility that Iran built under a mountain near the city of Qom. It not only was hidden but also would have been difficult, if not impossible, to destroy even using the most advanced bunker-busting bombs. Netanyahu said it was planned during Project Amad, but its existence was not revealed until 2009.

IAEA: The International Atomic Energy Agency, the Vienna-based organization that inspects nuclear facilities across the world, was tasked with giving a “Final Assessment on Past and Present Outstanding Issues Regarding Iran’s Nuclear Program.” In December 2015, Iran denied to the IAEA “the existence of a coordinated program aimed at the development of a nuclear explosive device.”

MPI technology in hemispherical technology: MPI stands for multipoint initiation; an implosion is caused by the simultaneous detonation of separate charges of conventional high explosive. The greater the number of separate explosive charges (the “multipoint”), the better chance of a perfect implosion, causing, in turn, a nuclear explosion. Hemispherical technology relates to the spherical core of highly-enriched uranium being made up of two halves.

Metallurgical work: This refers to the need for the hemispheres to be exactly the same size and fit together perfectly, requiring a very high standard of casting and polishing.

Hydrodynamic modelling: Perfecting the implosion shockwave so that it is exactly uniform and of sufficient power that it forces the outer metal casing of the bomb, known as the tamper, to accelerate into the core. Think of metal being under such forces that it behaves like a liquid.

In sum, making an atomic bomb is as much an engineering challenge as anything else, provided the fissile material such as Uranium-235 is available.

Simon Henderson is the Baker Fellow and director of the Gulf and Energy Policy Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. He is the co-author, with Olli Heinonen, of “Nuclear Iran: A Glossary,” published in 2015 by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.

Cheney Continues to Haunt the US and Iraq (Revelation 13)

Former Vice President Dick Cheney Says Iraq War and Controversial Interrogation Techniques Were ‘Right Things to Do’

By Meredith Liu

Michael Wenye Li / Sun Photography Editor

Dick Cheney defended the U.S. government’s decision to deploy troops in Iraq in a talk at Call Auditorium on Tuesday. “We did change the regime in Iraq,” he said.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney voiced his concern about the Trump administration’s ability to handle national security issues in a talk at Cornell on Tuesday night while defending the George W. Bush administration’s decision to deploy U.S. military to Iraq and the controversial use of waterboarding on detainees at the time.

Despite rumors of students allegedly hoarding tickets, Call Auditorium, where the event took place, was packed with only a few seats empty. Students, parents and guests gathered to hear Cheney, who was hosted by the Cornell Republicans, discuss the issues of national security and his views on the current president.

Cheney said that sending the U.S. military to Iraq was “the right thing to do” after the events of 9/11. The decision to act, he said, was based on the intelligence — which suggested that former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was supporting terrorists and hoarding weapons of mass destruction.

Cheney said that the Central Intelligence Agency had been providing this information to the White House “for years.” “A lot of what we did was based on the intelligence that we received,” he added.

Cheney recalled that George Tenet, then-CIA director, responded that the intelligence was as reliable as a “slam dunk” in a meeting at the Oval Office that then-President George W. Bush and Cheney himself attended.

Cheney said the confirmation from the head of the CIA led the administration to believe the intelligence was reliable and that “there [was] a serious problem” in Iraq.

According to him, the International Atomic Energy Agency, an international organization that reports to the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council, also concluded after conducting an independent investigation that Hussein had plans to develop nuclear weapons.

“We looked at [the intelligence] in 47 different ways, and in the end, I’m convinced that we did the right thing that needed to be done,” he said, also insisting that U.S. involvement in the area produced good results.

“We did change the regime in Iraq,” Cheney said. “We went in, we took down Saddam Hussein. I think the world is a better place without Saddam in it, I think the president had all the justification he needed.”

He added that one of the “byproducts” of the Iraq war was getting “Libya out of the nuclear business,” as former Libyan Prime Minister Muammar Gaddafi, who ruled Libya for more than 42 years, publicly surrendered Libya’s nuclear materials “five days after we dragged Saddam out of his hole.”

Cheney said that unlike Libya, North Korea would not be willing to give up its nuclear weapons, and he said he was unsure about what the upcoming U.S.-North Korea talks will lead to.

“I’m hopeful like everybody else, but I find it hard to believe [North Korean leader Kim Jong Un] would give it up,” Cheney said, warning that North Korea has “turned their back on whatever commitment they made” before. “You’ll have to come up with circumstances to get North Korea to buy off, but I cannot foresee a situation where they’ll give up the nukes.”

Besides external forces like North Korea, which cannot be controlled, Cheney also expressed doubt on whether the current administration is able to handle future crisis, referring to the the recent White House staffing turmoil, which involves a record-breaking turnover rate of 34 percent, according to The New York Times.

“Trump has good people around him, but they don’t last very long,” Cheney — who voted for President Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election —  said. “Numerous ambassadorships are still empty … I think he is ignoring one of the most important responsibilities now.”

Regarding the other recent events, such as the Justice Department’s investigation into Trump’s alleged collusion with Russia, Cheney said these situations have distracted the president from governing the country.

“When you are focused on stuff that doesn’t really advance the cause … who’s going to run the store? Who’s going to put together … talks with North Korea?” Cheney asked. “When we look back on this period, especially when we encounter major crisis down the road and we lack the talent that can cope with it … I think it’ll be potential tragedy.”

According to Cheney, the controversy around Trump himself also prevented him from receiving support from experienced staff and experts.

“The controversy was so great during the campaign that an awful lot of our most capable people — generals, intelligence specialists, staff from the previous administrations — all signed a letter saying that under no circumstances would they work for President Trump,” Cheney said.

In response to the criticism that waterboarding, an interrogation technique used by the U.S. government on detainees during the Bush administration, was no different than torture, Cheney said the practice did not violate any laws and was necessary to obtaining crucial intelligence on terrorist organizations following the events of 9/11.

“We decided … in fact, we needed to know, especially after we captured Khalid Shaik Mohammed, the mastermind behind 9/11,” Cheney said. “We needed the ability to say more than just ‘please, please, pretty please.’”

“We went to the Justice Department and we had them tell us where’s that line out there, and the answer was, waterboarding was inside the line,” Cheney went on to say, adding that waterboarding was “one of the techniques that we used on our own people for training” and is not “something that we reached out to the dark side” to get as some people said.

Cheney said Mohammed, who went through the most extensive waterboarding, did “ultimately cooperate” and became a “premiere source” on information about al-Qaida, which eventually led the U.S. military forces to Osama Bin Laden.

“On that basis, I think we did the right thing,” he said. “A lot of people call it torture, ‘Cheney is the vice president for torture,’ etc., but we did what needed to be done. I am comfortable that we proceeded in a very careful, cautious manner. I believed in it, I worked hard to defend it, because I know we did the right thing.”

The event, which lasted around one and half hours, was interrupted three times by individual protesters. The first one occurred soon after the event started, when a college-aged female repeatedly shouted “arrest the war criminal” — to which Cheney responded, “thank you.”

Michael Wenye Li / Sun Photography Editor

A protester interrupts Cheney’s speech while displaying a banner.

She also displayed a banner that included “@codepink,” although it is unclear whether her action officially represents CODEPINK, a women-led grassroots organization working to end U.S. wars and militarism, according to its website.

The second protester paused the event by accusing Cheney of invading Iraq even though reports on weapons of mass destruction were false. The third one said Cheney was “guilty of felony” for “asking for the assistance of the Cornell Police” in this event.

All three individuals stopped protesting at the request of Mary Beth Grant J.D. ’88, senior associate dean of students, and were escorted out by Cornell University Police. Austin McLaughlin ’18, outgoing Cornell Republicans president, told The Sun that he thinks the event “went pretty smoothly” and that “CUPD has done a great job.”

The Iran Deal Is Obama’s Greatest Lie

The Iran Deal Is a Lie

May 1, 2018

A portrait of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, at a military parade in Tehran on April 18.Atta Kenare/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

“The sanctions lifting will only occur as Iran takes the steps agreed, including addressing possible military dimensions.”

That was State Department spokesman John Kirby in June 2015, speaking just as negotiations for the Iran nuclear deal were wrapping up. But Tehran did not “take the steps agreed.” The deal was founded on a lie.

Two lies, actually. The first was Iran’s declaration to the International Atomic Energy Agency, prior to the implementation of the deal, of the full extent of its past nuclear work. This was essential, both as a test of Tehran’s sincerity and as a benchmark for understanding just how close it was to being able to assemble and deliver a nuclear warhead.

The second lie was the Obama administration’s promise that it was serious about getting answers from Tehran. In a moment of candor, then-Secretary of State John Kerry admitted “we are not fixated on Iran specifically accounting for what they did at one point in time or another” — but then he promised Congress that Iran would provide the accounting.

That was when the White House still feared that Congress might block the deal. When it failed to do so, thanks to a Democratic filibuster, the administration contented itself with a make-believe process in which Iran pretended to make a full declaration and the rest of the world pretended to believe it.

“Iran’s answers and explanations for many of the I.A.E.A.’s concerns were, at best, partial, but over all, obfuscating and stonewalling,” David Albright and his colleagues at the nonpartisan Institute for Science and International Security wrote in December 2015. “Needed access to sites was either denied or tightly controlled as to preclude adequate inspections.”

So much, then, for all the palaver about the deal providing an unprecedented level of transparency for monitoring Iranian compliance. So much, also, for the notion that Iran has honored its end of the bargain. It didn’t. This should render the agreement null and void.

That’s the significance of Benjamin Netanyahu’s show and tell on Monday of what appears to be a gigantic cache of pilfered Iranian documents detailing Tehran’s nuclear work. The deal’s defenders have dismissed the Israeli prime minister’s presentation as a bunch of old news — just further proof that Iran once had a robust covert program to build a bomb. They also insist Iran has complied with the terms of the agreement since it came into force in January 2016.

Yet it’s difficult to imagine that the I.A.E.A. can now square Iran’s 2015 declaration with what the Israelis have uncovered. Iran’s mendacity is no longer the informed supposition of proliferation experts such as Mr. Albright. It is — assuming the documents are authentic, as the U.S. has confirmed — a matter of fact that the I.A.E.A. chose to ignore when it gave Iran a free pass under political pressure to move to implement the deal. If the agency cares for its own credibility as a nuclear watchdog, it should decide that Iran’s past declaration was false and that Iran’s retention of the documents obtained by Israel, with all the nuclear know-how they contain, put it in likely breach of the agreement.

As for Iran’s current compliance, of course it’s complying. The deal gave Iran the best of all worlds. It weakened U.N. restrictions on its right to develop, test and field ballistic missiles — a critical component for a nuclear weapons capability that the Iranians haven’t fully mastered. It lifted restrictions on Iran’s oil exports and eased other sanctions, pumping billions of dollars into a previously moribund economy. And it allows Iran to produce all the nuclear fuel it wants come the end of the next decade.

Yes, Iran is permanently enjoined from building a nuclear weapon, even after the limitations on uranium enrichment expire. But why believe this regime will be faithful to the deal at its end when it was faithless to it at its beginning?

Netanyahu’s revelations were plainly timed to influence Donald Trump’s decision, expected later this month, on whether to stay in the Iran deal. Trump is under pressure from the French, British and Germans to stay in it, on the view that, if nothing else, the agreement has kept Iran from racing toward a bomb.

But the deal now in place allows Iran to amble toward a bomb, even as it uses the financial benefits of the agreement to fund (in the face of domestic upheaval and at a steep cost to its own economy) its militancy in Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen and especially in Syria. And Iran’s own nuclear history suggests the country’s leaders have always been cautious in the face of credible American threats, which is one reason they shelved much of their nuclear program in 2003 after the U.S. invaded Iraq.

“When the Iranians fear American power, they either back down or they stall,” says Mark Dubowitz, an expert on Iran sanctions at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. “When they don’t fear American power, they push forward. With Trump, the question is: Are they going to feel American power, or American mush?”

I opposed the Iran deal, but immediately after it came into effect, I believed that we should honor it scrupulously and enforce it unsparingly. Monday’s news is that Iran didn’t honor its end of the bargain and neither need the United States now. Punitive sanctions combined with a credible threat of military force should follow.