A Lack Of Vigilance Before The Sixth Seal (Revelation 6)

http://dmna.ny.gov/home/storyimages/NYSfaultsnoearthquakesforNG.jpgFaults Underlying Exercise Vigilant Guard

Story by: (Author NameStaff Sgt. Raymond Drumsta – 138th Public Affairs Detachment

Dated: Thu, Nov 5, 2009

This map illustrates the earthquake fault lines in Western New York. An earthquake in the region is a likely event, says University of Buffalo Professor Dr. Robert Jacobi.

TONAWANDA, NY — An earthquake in western New York, the scenario that Exercise Vigilant Guard is built around, is not that far-fetched, according to University of Buffalo geology professor Dr. Robert Jacobi.

When asked about earthquakes in the area, Jacobi pulls out a computer-generated state map, cross-hatched with diagonal lines representing geological faults.

The faults show that past earthquakes in the state were not random, and could occur again on the same fault systems, he said.

“In western New York, 6.5 magnitude earthquakes are possible,” he said.

This possibility underlies Exercise Vigilant Guard, a joint training opportunity for National Guard and emergency response organizations to build relationships with local, state, regional and federal partners against a variety of different homeland security threats including natural disasters and potential terrorist attacks.

The exercise was based on an earthquake scenario, and a rubble pile at the Spaulding Fibre site here was used to simulate a collapsed building. The scenario was chosen as a result of extensive consultations with the earthquake experts at the University of Buffalo’s Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research (MCEER), said Brig. Gen. Mike Swezey, commander of 53rd Troop Command, who visited the site on Monday.

Earthquakes of up to 7 magnitude have occurred in the Northeastern part of the continent, and this scenario was calibrated on the magnitude 5.9 earthquake which occurred in Saguenay, Quebec in 1988, said Jacobi and Professor Andre Filiatrault, MCEER director.

“A 5.9 magnitude earthquake in this area is not an unrealistic scenario,” said Filiatrault.

Closer to home, a 1.9 magnitude earthquake occurred about 2.5 miles from the Spaulding Fibre site within the last decade, Jacobi said. He and other earthquake experts impaneled by the Atomic Energy Control Board of Canada in 1997 found that there’s a 40 percent chance of 6.5 magnitude earthquake occurring along the Clareden-Linden fault system, which lies about halfway between Buffalo and Rochester, Jacobi added.

Jacobi and Filiatrault said the soft soil of western New York, especially in part of downtown Buffalo, would amplify tremors, causing more damage.

“It’s like jello in a bowl,” said Jacobi.

The area’s old infrastructure is vulnerable because it was built without reinforcing steel, said Filiatrault. Damage to industrial areas could release hazardous materials, he added.

“You’ll have significant damage,” Filiatrault said.

Exercise Vigilant Guard involved an earthquake’s aftermath, including infrastructure damage, injuries, deaths, displaced citizens and hazardous material incidents. All this week, more than 1,300 National Guard troops and hundreds of local and regional emergency response professionals have been training at several sites in western New York to respond these types of incidents.

Jacobi called Exercise Vigilant Guard “important and illuminating.”

“I’m proud of the National Guard for organizing and carrying out such an excellent exercise,” he said.

Training concluded Thursday.

The Sneaky Russian Nuclear Horn

Russia’s Su-57 Might Have a Sneaky Little Trick Up Its Sleeve: Nuclear Weapons

June 4, 2018

Many Russia experts such as Olya Oliker have cast doubt upon the notion that Moscow has lowered its nuclear threshold. Oliker notes that Russian military strategy documents from 2010 actually tighten the Kremlin’s policies on the use of nuclear weapons. Indeed, most experts on Russian nuclear weapons such a Nikolai Sokov—a former Soviet and Russian arms control negotiator—believe that Russia is reducing its dependence on non-strategic nuclear arms.

Russia’s Sukhoi Su-57 PAK-FA fifth-generation stealth fighter is listed in the Trump Administration’s new Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) as a developmental dual conventional and nuclear capable strike aircraft. If the NPR is correct, the Su-57 could potentially supplant the Su-34 Fullback bomber—which is Russia’s current nuclear-capable strike aircraft—for intermediate range missions against heavily defended airspace.

Indeed, the NPR contends that Russia is continuing to modernize its arsenal of non-strategic nuclear arsenal of roughly 2000 nuclear warheads.

“Russia is modernizing an active stockpile of up to 2,000 non-strategic nuclear weapons, including those employable by ships, planes, and ground forces,” the NPR reads. “These include air-to-surface missiles, short range ballistic missiles, gravity bombs, and depth charges for medium-range bombers, tactical bombers, and naval aviation, as well as anti-ship, anti-submarine, and anti-aircraft missiles and torpedoes for surface ships and submarines, a nuclear ground launched cruise missile in violation of the 1987 INF Treaty, and Moscow’s antiballistic missile system.”

The NPR posits that the Russians place a premium of nuclear weapons due to Moscow’s “de-escalation” doctrine, which is why the administration is seeking to build new types of American non-strategic nuclear arms.

“These supplements will enhance deterrence by denying potential adversaries any mistaken confidence that limited nuclear employment can provide a useful advantage over the United States and its allies,” the NPR states. “Russia’s belief that limited nuclear first use, potentially including low yield weapons, can provide such an advantage is based, in part, on Moscow’s perception that its greater number and variety of non-strategic nuclear systems provide a coercive advantage in crises and at lower levels of conflict.”

Many Russia experts such as Olya Oliker have cast doubt upon the notion that Moscow has lowered its nuclear threshold. Oliker notes that Russian military strategy documents from 2010 actually tighten the Kremlin’s policies on the use of nuclear weapons. Indeed, most experts on Russian nuclear weapons such a Nikolai Sokov—a former Soviet and Russian arms control negotiator—believe that Russia is reducing its dependence on non-strategic nuclear arms.

Nonetheless, it is true that Russia maintains a significant non-strategic nuclear arsenal and a significant portion of those weapons can be delivered by air—even if not specifically by the Su-57 as posited in the NPR. “We do have nuclear bombs for tactical aircraft and air launched tactical nuclear missiles as well. And there are ALCMs [air-launched cruise missiles] under development that will be used by tactical aircraft,” Vasily Kashin, a senior fellow at the Center for Comprehensive European and International Studies at Moscow’s Higher School of Economics told The National Interest. “But I do not remember Su-57 being specifically mentioned.”

Russia’s X-50 air launched cruise missile might fit into the Siu-57’s weapons bays, Kashin said. However, there is no official word from the Russian Defense Ministry. “It is possible, even likely but not confirmed yet,” Kashin said.

Right now, however, the main Russian threat nuclear air delivery platform is the Sukhoi Su-34. That will probably remain the case for some time to come.

Dave Majumdar is the defense editor for The National Interest. You can follow him on Twitter: @Davemajumdar.

Image: Creative Commons. 

Korea Prepares to Make a Nuclear Deal

North Korea sacks top three military officials, as nuclear summit nears

US officials believe there was dissent over Kim Jong-un’s approach to foreign diplomacy

Benjamin Haas in Seoul, and agencies


Mon 4 Jun 2018 02.22 EDT

First published on Sun 3 Jun 2018 19.27 EDT

North Korea’s top three military officials have been removed from their posts, a senior US official said on Sunday, a shakeup that could signal the North’s leader, Kim Jong-un, is working to silence dissent ahead of a summit with Donald Trump in Singapore next week.

The US official, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity, was commenting on a report by South Korea’s Yonhap news agency that all three of the North’s top military officials were believed to have been replaced.

Trump on Friday revived the proposed 12 June summit after cancelling it a week earlier. The US is seeking a negotiated end to North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.

US officials believe there was some dissent in the military about Kim’s approaches to South Korea and the US. Kim likely wants to ensure any deal struck in his meeting with Trump will not face opposition at home.

Since coming to power in 2011, Kim has conducted several purges in an effort to consolidate power. The young leader was just 27 years old when he took power in a society that reveres older cadres.

Mintaro Oba, a former US diplomat who focused on North Korea policy, said Kim might be using the upcoming summit “as leverage to get rid of internal hardliners”. It was also possible the “summit created such a risk to his internal power he felt he had to protect himself by moving people around”.

“It’s worth considering whether this round of summit diplomacy has given Kim Jong-un an opportunity to get a more favourable group of people at the top,” Oba said.

Kim had his uncle and potential rival for control, Jang Song-thaek, tried and executed in 2013. Kim’s older half-brother, Kim Jong-nam, was assassinated last year in an operation widely believed to have been directed from Pyongyang.

The US official did not identify the three military officials. Yonhap identified them as defence chief Pak Yong-sik; chief of the Korean People’s Army’s (KPA) general staff, Ri Myong-su and Kim Jong-gak, the director of the KPA’s General Political Bureau.

Trump wants North Korea to “denuclearise,” meaning to get rid of its nuclear arsenal, in return for relief from economic sanctions. North Korea’s leadership is believed to regard nuclear weapons as crucial to its survival.

Citing an unnamed intelligence official, Yonhap said No Kwang-chol, first vice minister of the Ministry of People’s armed forces, had replaced Pak Yong-sik, while Ri Myong-su was replaced by his deputy, Ri Yong-gil. It said army general Kim Su-gil’s replacement of Kim Jong-gak was confirmed in a North Korean state media report last month.

The White House, State Department, CIA and Office of the Director of National Intelligence did not immediately respond to requests for official comment.

Lower-level US-North Korean talks to prepare for the summit are continuing but have made only “halting progress,” according to a second US official briefed on the discussions.

In a remarkable shift in tone eight days after cancelling the summit, citing Pyongyang’s “open hostility,” Trump welcomed North Korea’s former intelligence chief Kim Yong-chol to the White House on Friday, afterward exchanging smiles and handshakes

The Not-So-Secret Truth About Iran

Secret Files Prove Iran Tried to Build a Nuclear Bomb, Israeli Spy Agency Claims

By Jason Lemon On 6/4/18 at 11:33 AM

Israel’s intelligence agency Mossad shared top secret files with European governments on Sunday night, purporting to prove Iran’s efforts to build a nuclear weapon, claims which the regime in Tehran has always denied.

The Israeli agents managed to snatch a trove of 100,000 documents from a Tehran warehouse in January. One of the files reportedly reveals that Iran’s defense ministry was given responsibility to produce weapons-grade enriched uranium, according to The Times.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has just embarked on a three-day tour to meet with European leaders, hopes the files will help convince Germany, France and the United Kingdom to follow the United States and step back from the nuclear agreement with Iran.

Netanyahu will argue that the secret files make the deal invalid, as it was based on the understanding that Iran’s nuclear program was only for peaceful purposes, not weapons.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a speech at the defense ministry in Tel Aviv on April 30. JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images

“I will stress the unchanging truth: Israel will not let Iran acquire nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu told reporters ahead of his tour, The Jerusalem Post reported.

The prime minister has long been a harsh critic of the Iran deal, arguing that it will embolden Israel’s major regional rival and won’t halt the country’s nuclear ambitions. At the same time, several Israeli military and intelligence leaders have said the deal appears to be working and will keep Iran from creating a nuclear weapon.

General Gadi Eisenkot of the Israel Defense Forces said in March that “with all its faults [the deal] is working.” Efraim Halevy, the former director of Mossad, argued following the pact’s signing in 2015 that it is a “credible answer to the Iranian military threat, at least for a decade, if not longer.”

Although the administration of President Donald Trump has chosen to side with Netanyahu, European leaders, as well as China and Russia, have remained firm in their stated commitment to support the agreement. Meeting in Brussels on Friday, China’s foreign minister and the EU’s foreign policy chief said they would continue to work toward fully implementing the pact.

“We will be unswerving in upholding it,” China’s Wang Yi said. Wang explained that the United Nations supported the agreement, arguing that “every party has the duty to implement it.”

President Donald Trump holds up a memorandum that reinstates sanctions on Iran after he announced his decision to withdraw the United States from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal in the Diplomatic Room at the White House May 8 in Washington, D.C. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

While Europe currently aims to ease economic sanctions and encourage investment in Iran, the U.S. has decided to implement even stricter regulations and sanctions, while calling for stringent investigations of Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Whether the Mossad files and Netanyahu’s diplomatic efforts change the minds of European leaders remains to be seen. However, David Albright, a former nuclear inspector in Iraq, said the documents corroborate his understanding of Iran’s efforts.

“They would parallel my understanding of the decision to build the Fordow underground enrichment plant that I have assessed a few years ago was likely designed to make weapon-grade uranium, based in part on inspector findings when they first visited the plant,” Albright said, according to Express, calling for international inspectors to closely monitor Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Iraq Helps the Iranian Horn (Daniel 8)

Middle East


The oil from Kirkuk province hasn’t been flowing to Iran for some time after Tehran helped Baghdad reclaim the territory from the Kurdish forces. It’s unclear how long the deal is going to be afloat since a political bloc led by Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr secured a large number of seats in the Iraqi parliament.

Iraq has resumed its exchange of oil with Iran, sending first trucks with black gold from Kirkuk province to Tehran’s refineries, the Iranian oil ministry’s news agency SHANA reported. Tehran will be sending the same amount of its oil to Iraq’s ports on the Persian Gulf. Reuters news agency points out that the swap deal might be Baghdad’s way of repaying for Tehran’s help in reclaiming the province from the Kurds.

The whole move could strengthen Iran’s positions in Iraq ahead of a looming re-imposition of the sanctions by the US. Reuters has suggested that the swap deal might also cause Riyadh dissatisfaction, which accuses Tehran of destabilizing the situation in the Middle East and is opposed to its strengthening in the region. It is unclear though how this deal will work after the victory of a Shi’ite block led by cleric Moqtada al-Sadr in general elections, considering the fact that the latter has positioned himself as an opponent to Iran’s influence in Iraq.