The Man Who Threw A Shoe At Bush Joins The Antichrist

Channels Television
Updated May 5, 2018

The Iraqi journalist who grabbed headlines around the world by hurling his shoes at then US president George W. Bush is pitching for a seat in parliament at upcoming elections.

“My ambition is to throw all the thieving politicians in prison, make them regret what they have done and confiscate their wealth,” Muntazer al-Zaidi, 39, told AFP ahead of the May 12 vote in his conflict-scarred homeland.

Zaidi shot to prominence in December 2008 when he leapt up at a farewell press conference Bush was holding in Baghdad and flung his shoes at the US leader.

While he narrowly missed hitting the man responsible for launching the invasion of Iraq, Zaidi was later jailed for assaulting a head of state and ended up serving nine months behind bars.

After his release, Zaidi sought refuge in Lebanon, where he settled and had a daughter.

The protest against Bush saw him hailed as a hero by many around the Arab world, and he remains unrepentant as he pushes for office.

“I don’t regret what I did, on the contrary, I just regret that at that moment I didn’t have another pair of shoes,” said Zaidi, who is running for an alliance between Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr and communists.

Placed low down on the Marching Towards Reform list in Baghdad, it appears Zaidi has little chance of actually getting elected — but he remains defiant.

“It would not be an honour to have thieves as colleagues, and my objective is to take back money that has been stolen,” he said, when asked if he feared becoming like other politicians reviled for graft.

Zaidi explained that he chose to represent Marching Towards Reform as he said it is independent and looking to shatter the country’s sectarian divide.

As for his view on US involvement in Iraq — a decade after he took aim at Bush, he remains deeply opposed and wants Washington’s troops out of the country.

He rejects the idea that the US military presence has helped Iraqi forces battle back the Islamic State group.

“The US favoured IS, how can you say that they want to get rid of them?” he asked.

AFP

The Sixth Seal Will be in New York (Rev 6:12)

Earthquakes Can Happen in More Places Than You Think

By Simon Worrall

PUBLISHED AUGUST 26, 2017

Half a million earthquakes occur worldwide each year, according to an estimate by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Most are too small to rattle your teacup. But some, like the 2011 quake off the coast of Japan or last year’s disaster in Italy, can level high-rise buildings, knock out power, water and communications, and leave a lifelong legacy of trauma for those unlucky enough to be caught in them.

In the U.S., the focus is on California’s San Andreas fault, which geologists suggest has a nearly one-in-five chance of causing a major earthquake in the next three decades. But it’s not just the faults we know about that should concern us, says Kathryn Miles, author of Quakeland: On the Road to America’s Next Devastating Earthquake. As she explained when National Geographic caught up with her at her home in Portland, Maine, there’s a much larger number of faults we don’t know about—and fracking is only adding to the risks.

When it comes to earthquakes, there is really only one question everyone wants to know: When will the big one hit California?

That’s the question seismologists wish they could answer, too! One of the most shocking and surprising things for me is just how little is actually known about this natural phenomenon. The geophysicists, seismologists, and emergency managers that I spoke with are the first to say, “We just don’t know!”

What we can say is that it is relatively certain that a major earthquake will happen in California in our lifetime. We don’t know where or when. An earthquake happening east of San Diego out in the desert is going to have hugely different effects than that same earthquake happening in, say, Los Angeles. They’re both possible, both likely, but we just don’t know.

One of the things that’s important to understand about San Andreas is that it’s a fault zone. As laypeople we tend to think about it as this single crack that runs through California and if it cracks enough it’s going to dump the state into the ocean. But that’s not what’s happening here. San Andreas is a huge fault zone, which goes through very different types of geological features. As a result, very different types of earthquakes can happen in different places.

There are other places around the country that are also well overdue for an earthquake. New York City has historically had a moderate earthquake approximately every 100 years. If that is to be trusted, any moment now there will be another one, which will be devastating for that city.

As Charles Richter, inventor of the Richter Scale, famously said, “Only fools, liars and charlatans predict earthquakes.” Why are earthquakes so hard to predict? After all, we have sent rockets into space and plumbed the depths of the ocean.

You’re right: We know far more about distant galaxies than we do about the inner workings of our planet. The problem is that seismologists can’t study an earthquake because they don’t know when or where it’s going to happen. It could happen six miles underground or six miles under the ocean, in which case they can’t even witness it. They can go back and do forensic, post-mortem work. But we still don’t know where most faults lie. We only know where a fault is after an earthquake has occurred. If you look at the last 100 years of major earthquakes in the U.S., they’ve all happened on faults we didn’t even know existed.

Earthquakes 101

Earthquakes are unpredictable and can strike with enough force to bring buildings down. Find out what causes earthquakes, why they’re so deadly, and what’s being done to help buildings sustain their hits.

Fracking is a relatively new industry. Many people believe that it can cause what are known as induced earthquakes. What’s the scientific consensus?

The scientific consensus is that a practice known as wastewater injection undeniably causes earthquakes when the geological features are conducive. In the fracking process, water and lubricants are injected into the earth to split open the rock, so oil and natural gas can be retrieved. As this happens, wastewater is also retrieved and brought back to the surface.

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Different states deal with this in different ways. Some states, like Pennsylvania, favor letting the wastewater settle in aboveground pools, which can cause run-off contamination of drinking supplies. Other states, like Oklahoma, have chosen to re-inject the water into the ground. And what we’re seeing in Oklahoma is that this injection is enough to shift the pressure inside the earth’s core, so that daily earthquakes are happening in communities like Stillwater. As our technology improves, and both our ability and need to extract more resources from the earth increases, our risk of causing earthquakes will also rise exponentially.

After Fukushima, the idea of storing nuclear waste underground cannot be guaranteed to be safe. Yet President Trump has recently green-lighted new funds for the Yucca Mountain site in Nevada. Is that wise?

The issue with Fukushima was not about underground nuclear storage but it is relevant. The Tohoku earthquake, off the coast of Japan, was a massive, 9.0 earthquake—so big that it shifted the axis of the earth and moved the entire island of Japan some eight centimeters! It also created a series of tsunamis, which swamped the Fukushima nuclear power plant to a degree the designers did not believe was possible.

Here in the U.S., we have nuclear plants that are also potentially vulnerable to earthquakes and tsunamis, above all on the East Coast, like Pilgrim Nuclear, south of Boston, or Indian Point, north of New York City. Both of these have been deemed by the USGS to have an unacceptable level of seismic risk. [Both are scheduled to close in the next few years.]

Yucca Mountain is meant to address our need to store the huge amounts of nuclear waste that have been accumulating for more than 40 years. Problem number one is getting it out of these plants. We are going to have to somehow truck or train these spent fuel rods from, say, Boston, to a place like Yucca Mountain, in Nevada. On the way it will have to go through multiple earthquake zones, including New Madrid, which is widely considered to be one of the country’s most dangerous earthquake zones.

Yucca Mountain itself has had seismic activity. Ultimately, there’s no great place to put nuclear waste—and there’s no guarantee that where we do put it is going to be safe.

The psychological and emotional effects of an earthquake are especially harrowing. Why is that?

This is a fascinating and newly emerging subfield within psychology, which looks at the effects of natural disasters on both our individual and collective psyches. Whenever you experience significant trauma, you’re going to see a huge increase in PTSD, anxiety, depression, suicide, and even violent behaviors.

What seems to make earthquakes particularly pernicious is the surprise factor. A tornado will usually give people a few minutes, if not longer, to prepare; same thing with hurricanes. But that doesn’t happen with an earthquake. There is nothing but profound surprise. And the idea that the bedrock we walk and sleep upon can somehow become liquid and mobile seems to be really difficult for us to get our heads around.

Psychologists think that there are two things happening. One is a PTSD-type loop where our brain replays the trauma again and again, manifesting itself in dreams or panic attacks during the day. But there also appears to be a physiological effect as well as a psychological one. If your readers have ever been at sea for some time and then get off the ship and try to walk on dry land, they know they will look like drunkards. [Laughs] The reason for this is that the inner ear has habituated itself to the motion of the ship. We think the inner ear does something similar in the case of earthquakes, in an attempt to make sense of this strange, jarring movement.

After the Abruzzo quake in Italy, seven seismologists were actually tried and sentenced to six years in jail for failing to predict the disaster. Wouldn’t a similar threat help improve the prediction skills of American seismologists?

[Laughs] The scientific community was uniform in denouncing that action by the Italian government because, right now, earthquakes are impossible to predict. But the question of culpability is an important one. To what degree do we want to hold anyone responsible? Do we want to hold the local meteorologist responsible if he gets the weather forecast wrong? [Laughs]

What scientists say—and I don’t think this is a dodge on their parts—is, “Predicting earthquakes is the Holy Grail; it’s not going to happen in our lifetime. It may never happen.” What we can do is work on early warning systems, where we can at least give people 30 or 90 seconds to make a few quick decisive moves that could well save your life. We have failed to do that. But Mexico has had one in place for years!

There is some evidence that animals can predict earthquakes. Is there any truth to these theories?

All we know right now is anecdotal information because this is so hard to test for. We don’t know where the next earthquake is going to be so we can’t necessarily set up cameras and observe the animals there. So we have to rely on these anecdotal reports, say, of reptiles coming out of the ground prior to a quake. The one thing that was recorded here in the U.S. recently was that in the seconds before an earthquake in Oklahoma huge flocks of birds took flight. Was that coincidence? Related? We can’t draw that correlation yet.

One of the fascinating new approaches to prediction is the MyQuake app. Tell us how it works—and why it could be an especially good solution for Third World countries.

The USGS desperately wants to have it funded. The reluctance appears to be from Congress. A consortium of universities, in conjunction with the USGS, has been working on some fascinating tools. One is a dense network of seismographs that feed into a mainframe computer, which can take all the information and within nanoseconds understand that an earthquake is starting.

MyQuake is an app where you can get up to date information on what’s happening around the world. What’s fascinating is that our phones can also serve as seismographs. The same technology that knows which way your phone is facing, and whether it should show us an image in portrait or landscape, registers other kinds of movement. Scientists at UC Berkeley are looking to see if they can crowd source that information so that in places where we don’t have a lot of seismographs or measuring instruments, like New York City or Chicago or developing countries like Nepal, we can use smart phones both to record quakes and to send out early warning notices to people.

You traveled all over the U.S. for your research. Did you return home feeling safer?

I do not feel safer in the sense that I had no idea just how much risk regions of this country face on a daily basis when it comes to seismic hazards. We tend to think of this as a West Coast problem but it’s not! It’s a New York, Memphis, Seattle, or Phoenix problem. Nearly every major urban center in this country is at risk of a measurable earthquake.

What I do feel safer about is knowing what I can do as an individual. I hope that is a major take-home message for people who read the book. There are so many things we should be doing as individuals, family members, or communities to minimize this risk: simple things from having a go-bag and an emergency plan amongst the family to larger things like building codes.

We know that a major earthquake is going to happen. It’s probably going to knock out our communications lines. Phones aren’t going to work, Wi-Fi is going to go down, first responders are not going to be able to get to people for quite some time. So it is beholden on all of us to make sure we can survive until help can get to us.

This interview was edited for length and clarity.

Save Iranian Oil and the Wine (Revelation 6:6)

The Iran nuclear deal is on the brink of collapse, yet oil traders continue to underestimate the impact of a fast-approaching supply shock.

A dramatic uptick in oil prices in recent weeks has partly been driven by mounting expectations that Donald Trump will soon pull out of the 2015 accord. The U.S. president must decide by May 12 whether to restore penalties on one of the world’s biggest oil producers.

“President Trump’s will-he-or-won’t-he antics over Iran have been dominating the oil headlines of late… (But) any lingering hopes that the agreement will be amended to suit Trump’s demands have now evaporated,” Stephen Brennock, oil analyst at PVM Oil Associates, said in a research note.

“A knee-jerk reaction can be expected whenever a formal announcement is made. After all, market participants will not want to miss the boat for a new era of Iranian sanctions,” he added.

Bringing back sanctions on Iran could wipe out up to 1 million barrels per day of Iranian crude supply, which Brennock said could be enough to “propel oil prices towards $80 a barrel.”

‘Insane’ pact

Trump, a fervent critic of the seven-party agreement, has long threatened to walk away from the landmark deal unless its European signatories and Congress reconcile his concerns.

The former New York businessman is thought to be unhappy about key aspects of the “insane” pact. He has complained the deal does not restrict Iran’s nuclear activities for long enough and fails to stop the country’s development of ballistic missiles.

In response, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has said Trump has “no right” to renegotiate the deal and accused him of “maliciously violating” its conditions.

On Thursday, Iran’s foreign minister also warned the Trump administration that it would not seek to renegotiate a 2015 nuclear deal with world leaders. In a message posted on YouTube, Mohammad Javad Zarif said Tehran would also be prepared to reject any ratification of the deal.

What next for oil prices?

Brent crude, the global benchmark, briefly surged beyond $75 a barrel at the start of the month — its highest level in more than three years.

“I think for the rest of the year we are going to see $70 a barrel. But, honestly speaking, given the fundamentals… I think that there is more of an upside in the oil price than a downside right now,” Rainer Steele, chief executive at OMV, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe” on Thursday.

When asked how he felt about the Trump administration’s upcoming Iran deadline, Rainer replied: “I’m like all the others — just sit and wait for what is coming. But, honestly speaking, it is not turning to the better.”

Alongside tensions regarding the Iran nuclear deal, another major driver of crude futures in recent months has been the ongoing international effort to try to clear a global supply overhang. The OPEC-led agreement, which came into effect in January 2017, has already been extended through until the end of this year — with producers scheduled to meet in June to review policy.

The output controls have widely been viewed as a success, with crude futures soaring in recent days to highs not seen since late 2014. Brent crude traded at around $73.65 on Friday morning, up 0.1 percent, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) stood at $68.45, unchanged from the previous session.

The Large Horn of Iran and the Small Horn of Iraq (Daniel 8)

Iran has maintained a significant interest in Iraq for many years, acting as a safe haven for dissidents from Saddam Hussain’s regime and, following the 2003 intervention, taking up a role as both a major political actor and providing support to Shiite militias who targeted coalition forces and the country’s Sunni population.

This activity has been stepped up considerably since the capture of Mosul by the terrorist organization ISIS in 2014. The then ongoing nuclear negotiations acted to deter any significant U.S. attempt to mitigate Iranian influence. In fact, it appears that the talks may have resulted in just the opposite: in September 2014, it was reported that Iran had offered to work with the U.S. in defeating ISIS in exchange for more flexibility on the number of centrifuges it could retain as part of a deal.

Although it is not possible to quantify in its entirety the impact of the proposal on U.S. behavior, it was ultimately this preferred Iranian option – that they were allowed to retain all of their centrifuges, but with only some in an operation state – which was a cornerstone of the final JCPOA.

Iran currently exerts significant political and economic powers in Iraq. Tehran’s influence is being felt at the highest level by regular visits from General Qassem Soleimani, commander of Iran’s Quds Force – a man described as “the single most powerful operative in the Middle East today” and “Iran’s viceroy for Iraq.”

Former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki was only forced out of power once Tehran withdrew their support of his premiership. But despite this fall from grace, al Maliki – the man most directly responsible for ISIS’ rise – remains Iran’s point man in the country, and continues to plot his own return to the top.

On the ground, Iranian efforts have centered on training and supplying a variety of Shiite militias under the wider umbrella of the “Popular Mobilization Forces” (PMU), a diverse 60,000 to 140,000 strong group formed in 2014 to counter the rise of ISIS and compensate for the repeated failures of the Iraqi Army.

The group’s aggressive behavior has raised concerns over their potential future role in Iraqi society, especially since a number of the militias pledged spiritual allegiance to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, including the Badr Organization and Saraya al-Khorasani. The official logo of the al-Khorsani group is an exact replica of that of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

iran-in-iraq-graphic

During the Iraqi insurgency of Abu Musab al Zarqawi’s al-Qaeda in Iraq, Hezbollah’s Iraqi branch Kata’ib Hezbollah sprang to prominence in 2007 and was involved in a series of lethal attacks against coalition forces. In the conflict in Iraq against ISIS, Kata’ib Hezbollah joined the alliance of PMU. They have also been party to a litany of human rights abuses and war crimes documented by Human Rights Watch, and yet continue to attract Iranian funding.

Reports from June 2017 claim that dozens of bodies were found in Mosul handcuffed, executed, and buried in shallow, unmarked graves. In May 2017, two aid workers found a group of 15 bodies on the side of the road between Athba and Hammam al-Alil, just outside Mosul. Armed forces reported that they saw Iraqi “security forces”, mostly likely PMU, bring the men to the site and execute them. The U.S. Department of State noted that, under the guise of fighting ISIS, Kata’ib Hezbollah is advancing Iran’s interests in Iraq, further adding: “Iranian-supported Shia militias in Iraq have committed serious human rights abuses against primarily Sunni civilians.”

Asa’ib Ahl al Haq (AAH) is another Shia paramilitary organization operating largely in Iraq in allegiance with the PMU. It was founded by Qais al-Khazali, after his split from Muqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army. Khazali was recruited in 2006 by the IRGC and AAH fighters have since received extensive training either in Iran or at Hezbollah camps in Lebanon. It has been reported that “since its inception, AAH has relied heavily on Iranian funding, training, and logistical support, and in return has acted as an Iranian proxy in Iraq, carrying out its agenda and promoting its interests.” Iraqi intelligence officials estimated that as of March 2014, AAH received $1.5-2m per month from Iran, adding that: “They see themselves as the “Soldiers of the Marjaeen” [the ultimate Shia religious authority]…their power is unchecked.”

AAH forces have also been implicated in human rights abuses including raiding Sunni homes and mosques and murdering Sunni civilians. In 2014, Human Rights Watch reported that AAH had executed at least 109 Sunni men in the villages surrounding Baghdad between March and April of that year. Two years later, Human Rights Watch described AAH attacks on Sunni civilians in Iraq as “serious violations of international humanitarian law” and “deadly abuse.”

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who has long had a strained relationship with the regime in Tehran, deserves credit for calling out the lawless behavior of Iranian-backed groups. His government’s policy has been to strengthen state institutions and to reinforce the chain of command to contain Iran’s influence in Iraq. In March, the prime minister signed a decree that formalized the PMU as a force under the command of his office, in an attempt to curb their power.

“The United States also has a crucial role to play in countering Iraq’s malign ambitions in Iraq by maintaining a military presence in the country,” Joshua S. Block, President and CEO of The Israel Project, said. “To keep Tehran in check, the United States must exert pressure on Baghdad to prevent the PMU from receiving the $1 billion allocated to the group from the Iraqi national budget. They could also put checks in place to prohibit Iranian-backed forces from profiting from the billions of dollars pledged to Iraq by the international community for the reconstruction of the country.”

Block warned: “These resources strengthen Iran’s proxies on the battlefield and help them to manipulate Iraq’s political system, social fabric, and ideological nature. With every inch of territory these groups acquire, Tehran’s influence in Iraq becomes stronger.”

As an example, he cited the assault on the former Kurdish-held town of Kirkuk in October 2017 and U.S. failure to come to the aid of Kurdish forces – the most reliable anti-Iran force in Iraq. As a result, Iranian proxies now control the oil-rich city and strategically vital towns nearby.

As Iraqis prepare to go to the polls on May 12 – the same day President Trump is set to “nix or fix” the nuclear deal – powerful Iranian-backed forces have their eyes on the election and are set to win a large chunk of seats, reinforcing concerns over Tehran’s sectarian agenda and interference in Iraq’s democratic election process.

This development has also caused concern in the United States. In March of this year, Reuters reported that U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis accused Iran of “mucking around” in Iraq’s upcoming elections. Mattis told reporters that the U.S. had what he called “worrisome evidence” that Iran is funneling “not an insignificant amount of money” into Iraq to interfere in Iraq’s democratic election process.

Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has previously warned the Iraqi government not to allow U.S. troops to remain in Iraq, after the defeat of ISIS.

In February, Qais al-Khazali, the founder and leader of AAH, vowed that Shiite groups will form Iraq’s next government and their priority will be to “expel the American forces from Iraq and terminate the strategic cooperation agreement between the two countries.” The same month, Kata’ib Hezbollah warned that its fighters will begin to attack American troops “at any moment,” if they build a permanent military presence in Iraq.

Strategically, Iran seeks to secure Iraq as part of its “corridor to the Mediterranean” – allowing them a direct route through to Syria, Lebanon and – ultimately – all the way to the Israeli border. Already, Tehran controls large elements of Iraq’s economy and political system. Blessed with both the financial windfall and political legitimacy the JCPOA has generated, Iran is well-placed to secure its goals.

This is the third in a series of reports prepared by TIP Senior Fellow Julie Lenarz looking at the consequences of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.

Before the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

See the source imageA 1.5 magnitude earthquake detected under Lake Ontario north of Wayne County

Steve Orr | @SOrr1Updated 1:52 p.m. MDT May 4, 2018

Report: New York City is overdue for a major earthquake

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

A minor earthquake under Lake Ontario early Friday morning was small enough that it should have been barely noticeable by anyone on shore.

The U.S. Geological Survey reported a 1.5-magnitude temblor under the lake about 22 miles north of the Ontario-Williamson town line in Wayne County.

The quake was detected shortly before 4 a.m. It occurred about 3¼ miles below the surface.

A quake of that magnitude would do no damage, raise zero risk of a tsunami on the lake and likely would have been felt by few people, if any, according to numerous online seismology guides.

A webpage maintained by the Geological Survey that asks for reports from people who felt the quake had no such reports as of mid-afternoon Friday.

No harm was done at the three Exelon Corp. nuclear power plants on the south shore of Lake Ontario. Two are in Oswego County and the third, the Ginna generating station, is in Ontario, Wayne County, almost due south of the epicenter.

“Today’s seismic activity had no impact on any of Exelon Generation’s three well-fortified nuclear facilities in upstate New York,” company spokeswoman Maria Hudson said in response to a query from the Democrat and Chronicle.

Small earthquakes of this nature are common in New York.

This is the ninth recorded this year, according to a list maintained by the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. The others were in the North Country or the Hudson Valley.

SORR@Gannett.com

Originally Published 7:50 a.m. MDT May 4, 2018