The German Nuclear Horn Will Rise (Daniel 7:7)

Germany presses U.S. on potential Eurofighter nuclear role

Andrea Shalal

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany is pressing Washington to clarify whether it would let the Eurofighter Typhoon carry nuclear bombs as part of shared Western defenses, an issue that could help decide whether Berlin orders more of the jets, sources familiar with the matter said.

FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: Eurofighter Typhoon (L) and a Dassault Rafale are seen at the ILA Air Show in Berlin, Germany, April 26, 2018. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt/File Photo

Although not a nuclear power, Germany hosts some U.S. nuclear warheads under NATO’s nuclear-sharing policy and operates a number of Tornado warplanes that can deliver them. New jets will need to be certified by Washington to carry out nuclear missions, a process which can take years.

Germany’s defense ministry sent a letter to the U.S. Defense Department in April asking whether certification of the European jets was possible, how much it would cost, and how long it would take, the sources told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

Top U.S. Air Force and Pentagon officials are working to respond to the German query, the sources said.

The multi-billion-euro tender to replace Germany’s fleet of 89 Tornados, which are due to retire in the middle of the next decade, pits the Typhoon against several U.S. contenders at a time of strains in transatlantic ties.

Executives with Airbus (AIR.PA), Lockheed Martin (LMT.N) and Boeing (BA.N) are making presentations to the defense ministry this week after submitting reams of information on their respective warplanes in April, with the formal launch of the competition expected later this year, industry sources said.

AIR.PAParis Stock Exchange

The German defense ministry declined comment on the issue.

No comment was immediately available from the Pentagon.

Lockheed’s radar-evading F-35 fighter is already slated to have the nuclear capability in the early 2020s, while the Eurofighter would still need certification.

Airbus has said it is confident Eurofighter – a joint project with Britain’s BAE Systems (BAES.L) and Italy’s Leonardo (LDOF.MI) – could be certified by 2025. Sources familiar with the Eurofighter said it was possible to reconfigure the European jet to carry nuclear bombs.

But U.S. government sources say that schedule is ambitious given that the F-35 and other aircraft must be certified first. Washington has suggested it could take 7-10 years to certify the Eurofighter for nuclear missions, well beyond the Tornado’s retirement date, according to one German military source.

While urging Europe to boost defense spending, U.S. officials are worried about being shut out of European defense projects after 25 EU governments signed a pact in December to fund, develop and deploy armed forces together. [nL2N1QH1P6]

U.S. officials will also weigh whether the Eurofighter could survive a mission into enemy territory to drop a nuclear bomb without stealth capability at a time when Russia and other potential future enemies have bolstered their sensors and air defenses, a second source said.

The F-35 is the only aircraft in the running that has such radar-evading capabilities, but Boeing and Eurofighter argue that their aircraft can work in tandem with jamming equipment.

Volker Paltzo, chief executive of Eurofighter Jagdflugzeug GmbH, told Reuters this week that he remained confident that Eurofighter could take over the roles of the Tornado, and the company had a strategy to deal with a length certification process.

He said the Tornado had been successfully recertified several times after major upgrades.

Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky

NYC earthquake risk: the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

NYC earthquake risk: Could Staten Island be heavily impacted?

By Ann Marie Barron

Updated May 16, 4:31 AM; Posted May 16, 4:00 AM

Rubble litters Main Street after an earthquake struck Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, in Napa, Calif. A report by the U.S. Geological Survey outlines the differences between the effect of an earthquake in the West vs. one in the East. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – While scientists say it’s impossible to predict when or if an earthquake will occur in New York City, they say that smaller structures — like Staten Island’s bounty of single-family homes — will suffer more than skyscrapers if it does happen.

“Earthquakes in the East tend to cause higher-frequency shaking — faster back-and-forth motion — compared to similar events in the West,” according to a report by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), published on its website recently “Shorter structures are more susceptible to damage during fast shaking, whereas taller structures are more susceptible during slow shaking.”

DIFFERENCES IN INTENSITY

The report, “East vs West Coast Earthquakes,” explains how USGS scientists are researching factors that influence regional differences in the intensity and effects of earthquakes, and notes that earthquakes in the East are often felt at more than twice the distance of earthquakes in the West.

Predicting when they will occur is more difficult, said Thomas Pratt, a research geophysicist and the central and Eastern U.S. coordinator for the USGS Earthquake Hazards Program in Reston, Va.

“One of the problems in the East Coast is that we don’t have a history to study,” he said. “In order to get an idea, we have to have had several cycles of these things. The way we know about them in California is we dig around in the mud and we see evidence of past earthquakes.”

Yet Pratt wouldn’t rule out the possibility of a high-magnitude event taking place in New York, which sits in the middle the North American Tectonic Plate, considered by experts to be quite stable.

“We never know,” he said. “One could come tomorrow. On the other hand, it could be another 300 years. We don’t understand why earthquakes happen (here) at all.”

Though the city’s last observable earthquake occurred on Oct. 27, 2001, and caused no real damage, New York has been hit by two Magnitude 5 earthquakes in its history – in 1738 and in 1884 — prompting many to say it is “due” for another.

While earthquakes generally have to be Magnitude 6 or higher to be considered “large,” by experts, “a Magnitude 5, directly under New York City, would shake it quite strongly,” Pratt said.

The reason has to do with the rock beneath our feet, the USGS report says.

OLDER ROCKS

In the East, we have older rocks, some of which formed “hundreds of millions of years before those in the West,” the report says. Since the faults in the rocks have had so much time to heal, the seismic waves travel more efficiently through them when an earthquake occurs.

“Rocks in the East are like a granite countertop and rocks in the West are much softer,” Pratt said. “Take a granite countertop and hit it and it’ll transmit energy well. In the West, it’s like a sponge. The energy gets absorbed.”

If a large, Magnitude 7 earthquake does occur, smaller structures, and older structures in Manhattan would be most vulnerable, Pratt said. “In the 1920s, ’30s and late 1800s, they were not built with earthquake resistance,” he said, noting that newer skyscrapers were built to survive hurricanes, so would be more resistant.

When discussing earthquake prediction and probability, Pratt uses the analogy of a baseball player who averages a home run every 10 times at bat and hasn’t hit one in the past nine games: “When he’s up at bat, will he hit a home run? You just don’t know.”

And though it would probably take a magnitude of 7 to topple buildings in the city, smaller earthquakes are still quite dangerous, he said.

“Bookshelves could fall down and hit you,” he said. “People could be killed.” A lot of stone work and heavy objects fell from buildings when a quake of 5.8 magnitude struck central Virginia in 2011, he noted, but, fortunately, no one was injured.

To be safe, Pratt encourages New Yorkers to keep a few days’ worth of drinking water and other supplies on hand. He, himself, avoids putting heavy things up high.

“It always gets me nervous when I go into a restaurant that has heavy objects high on shelves,” he said. “It’s unlikely you’ll get an earthquake. But, we just don’t know.”

Why Canada Will Become a Nuclear Horn (Daniel 7)

Dear Prime Minister Trudeau,

Please consider inaugurating a nuclear armament program. Please begin this process now.

I never imagined writing something like this. American by birth, but now also a Canadian citizen, I’ve always regarded the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as a stain on my birth nation’s honour. But the time has come to face reality, and the foreign minister’s June speech reasserting Canadian sovereignty is only the beginning of the reckoning.

We are in many ways living through a replay of the 1930s: a world struggling in the wake of economic cataclysm, fascists rising across Europe and an authoritarian in power (this time in the United States) cultivates support from the radical right.

Tyranny is on the march, and there is no clear end-point in sight. We can no longer assume that our country’s safety is assured, and even proposals for anti-missile defence don’t go far enough because they assume a democratic U.S. – the very thing that is now in question.

Alarmist? Maybe. But the consequences of a misstep now — the 21st-century equivalent of 1933, the year of Hitler’s ascendance — are dire, and we can’t regain later the time that we lose now. Nuclear programs take time to initiate, and in order to be prepared for our version of 1939 (the start of the Second World War), we cannot allow these to be “the locust years,” as Winston Churchill described the time wasted between 1933 and 1939.

So this is 1933. Start the countdown.

America is on a quest to demonize Muslims, round up Mexican immigrants, restrict trade, break up NATO and help Vladimir Putin divvy up the world. If you want to understand Donald Trump’s foreign policy, think “Mafia Protection Racket.” Just change the little shop-owners, forced to pay up, into little nations across the globe.

Canada is a small shopkeeper not so well-positioned to resist this new racket.

To understand what it’s like being beside a bully in today’s world, look at Ukraine. Perhaps the greatest mistake that country made after the breakup of the USSR was to get rid of its nuclear weapons. The consequences? Russia seizes Crimea and effectively invades eastern Ukraine by arming Russian secessionists there. This could also happen to Latvia and the Baltic states.

Could it happen here? For more than a century, Canadian policy could assume that, while the U.S. might be an 800-lbs gorilla on our doorstep, at least the gorilla played by the rules. But Trump has said the old rules won’t apply, and his selection of white nationalists and conspiracy theorists to powerful roles in his administration indicates he is not kidding.

Most troublingly, recent Congressional Republican capitulation on “L’Affaire Russe” shows us that the famed “checks and balances” of the U.S. Constitution mean little, and that the path to American authoritarianism is wide open.

To plan for the day when the U.S. is more like Putin’s aggressive bear, Canada must be able to protect itself without anyone’s assistance. A conventional military buildup is nonsensical, given the size disparity between the U.S., Russia, and ourselves.

But as Israel, Pakistan and North Korea have shown, nuclear arms are a pragmatic deterrent for small nations adjacent to populous neighbours of uncertain motives.

Yes, this might provoke the ire of Trump or Putin, and hasten the conflict it means to stave off. That risk must be carefully weighed. But what do you think Ukraine would do, given the chance to go back and keep its nukes?

Was Ukrainian disarmament rewarded with Russian pacifism? Who, other than Putin, is Trump’s model for strong leadership? And, speaking of Putin, who is looking to contest Canada’s future Arctic claims? If you think Trump will support us against Russia’s coming provocations, think again.

Rather than trigger a crisis, I expect this strategy would preserve the peace, by forcing potential aggressors to acknowledge a far more potent Canadian response.

To be clear, I am not suggesting that America is our enemy. Canada just needs to prepare to ensure its own security in an uncertain world, which requires having the resources to face any potential future conflict.

Starting a nuclear program is not easy. It takes time and research to determine the most practical options for Canada. It will also require withdrawing from the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, a step with major ramifications that requires careful consideration.

Importantly, however, we should not think that such a program would be inherently “un-Canadian.” For two decades, during the Cold War, we had up to 450 nuclear warheads permanently stationed on Canadian bases (though these were not under exclusive Canadian control). We need to trust in ourselves even more now, and stop relying on others to protect us.

Maybe I’m being alarmist. Maybe. But at what point does alarmism become prudence? Not when an aggressor makes the first overt threats – by then it’s too late. If 1933 (i.e. now) is too soon, then when? At some point we must be ready to start the discussion about protecting ourselves, and three years’ grace is about the best we can hope for.

After that we have to rely on the United Kingdom or United States to bail us out … Oh, wait.

Stefan Dolgert is an associate professor in the department of Political Science at Brock University in St. Catharines, and can be found on Twitter @PosthumanProf.

Iraq is Ready to Join the Fight (Daniel 7/8)

 

Iraqi paramilitary groups have threatened to launch attacks against the U.S. and Israel after yet unclaimed airstrikes reportedly killed a number of Iraqi militiamen battling the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) on the Syrian side of the Iraqi border.

Kataib Hezbollah and Asaib Ahl al-Haq, two powerful Shiite Muslim factions within the larger Iran-backed Popular Mobilization Forces of Iraq, issued warnings Tuesday saying they were ready to retaliate against Monday’s deadly attacks that have been blamed on both the U.S. and Israel. The U.S.-led coalition battling ISIS in both countries has denied responsibility for the strikes, which reportedly killed dozens near the border town of Al-Bukamal, while Israel has declined to comment.

“This terrible crime will reopen the confrontation with the Zionist entity and the American project, and we in the Kataib Hezbollah, we will not hesitate to go towards this confrontation,” the group’s statement read, calling President Donald Trump an “idiot” and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a “moron” for their military incursions in the region.

“The mujahideen are the elite of men, and their blood is dearest of all. We will not let the crime of targeting them pass unnoticed, and we will know in the coming days the criminals who extended their sinful hands to commit aggression on our Iraqi border and then take a position commensurate with the size of this crime,” the group, considered a terrorist organization by the U.S., added.

Asaib Ahl al-Haq, which also deeply opposes the continued U.S. military presence in Iraq after the country declared victory over ISIS last year, released its own statement Tuesday condemning “the treacherous act of cowardice” committed by aircraft “whose identity is limited to America and Israel.”

The group called on Iraq to take a tougher stance against the U.S., who has been active in the country since invading and overthrowing the previous government led by Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in 2003. The ensuing chaos gave rise to a Sunni Muslim insurgency that helped spawn ISIS, which ultimately took advantage of a West-backed 2011 uprising in Syria to spread there in 2013.

The U.S. and its foe, Iran, both supported Iraq as it fought off the jihadis that took half the country by 2014. With ISIS defeated, however, voices calling for a U.S. withdrawal have risen within Iraq and May’s election gave a surprise victory to a political bloc led by Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. Sadr helped organize Shiite Muslim militias to resist the post-2003 U.S. occupation, but he has yet to officially ask the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS to leave.

Syria, however, has proven a different theater entirely. When the U.S. began bombing ISIS there in 2014, it did so without the authorization of the Syrian government, who the CIA had been funding rebels to fight since at least 2012. Russia and Iran have helped Syrian President Bashar al-Assad overcome both jihadis and insurgents in campaign separate from that of the U.S.-led coalition offensive against ISIS.

Monday’s strikes were the latest example of violence targeting forces fighting on behalf of Assad, who the U.S. and Israel charge with war crimes and with allowing Iranian influence to spread through the country.

The official Syrian Arab News Agency quickly condemned Monday’s attack in which it cited an official military source as saying there “were several martyrs and others were wounded.” The U.S.-led coalition denied responsibility, but CNN and the Agence France-Presse cited unnamed U.S. officials claiming Israel was the true culprit. Israel routinely neither confirms nor denies responsibility for attacks in Syria, but has admitted to targeting Iran and pro-Iran forces, albeit often near Syria’s western and southwest regions.

Iraq, who considers itself an ally of both the U.S.-led coalition and the Russia-Iran-Syria axis, expressed “its rejection and condemnation” of the attacks in a foreign ministry statement Tuesday that warned such actions were tantamount to “support for ISIS.” The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a pro-opposition monitor based in the U.K., reported Tuesday that up to 55 pro-Syrian government fighters were killed and the warplanes involved flew in “the same airspace used by the International Coalition warplanes, and the death toll is expected to rise because there are some people in critical situation.”

When pressed for answers, U.S.-led coalition spokesman Army Colonel Sean Ryan again said that the multinational force was not behind the strikes and claimed to not have any knowledge of any parties involved. He confirmed only that Iraq was not behind the attack and, when asked about Israel’s potential involvement, he said: “As far as I know, we don’t discuss any military operations with the Israelis at all.

“We have ISR [intelligence, surveillance and reconnaisance] in that area, but we can’t determine, you know, who fired it, nor is that our military goal,” he added. “That’s an intelligence question, and I can’t divulge that information, even if I had it, which I don’t.”

The Asian Nations Prepare for Nuclear War (Revelation 8)

India, Pakistan expanding their new nuclear weapons stockpiles: SIPRI

Shubham Raj

India, which had an estimated 120-130 nuclear warheads as per 2017 report, now has 130-140 warheads. Similarly, Pakistan, which had 130-140 warheads now has increased to 140-150 warheads. Both countries are also developing new land, sea and air-based missile delivery systems.

Another nuclear country in Asia, China continues to modernise its nuclear weapon delivery systems and is slowly increasing the size of its nuclear arsenal. The country now has an estimated 280 nuclear warheads. In 2017 report, the number was 270.

The US and Russia still constitute a major share of approximately 14,465 nuclear weapons that exist in the world. Both together account for nearly 92 percent of all nuclear weapons despite reducing their strategic nuclear forces pursuant to the implementation of the 2010 Treaty on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms.

Moreover, the cold war-era rivals also have long-term programmes underway to replace and modernise their nuclear warheads, missile and aircraft delivery systems, and nuclear weapon production facilities.

“The renewed focus on the strategic importance of nuclear deterrence and capacity is a very worrying trend,” says Ambassador Jan Eliasson, Chair of the SIPRI Governing Board.

“The world needs a clear commitment from the nuclear weapon states to an effective, legally binding process towards nuclear disarmament.”

Other countries which are a nuclear state include the UK (215 warheads), France (300 warheads), Israel (80 warheads) and North Korea (10-20 warheads). The figures for North Korea are uncertain, the report said, however, there was no doubt that it has nuclear weapons.

In 2017, North Korea has made technical progress in developing its nuclear weapon capabilities, including the test of—what was claimed to be—a thermonuclear weapon, in September. North Korea also demonstrated unexpected rapid progress in the testing of two new types of long-range ballistic missile delivery systems. These testing led to a crisis in the Korean peninsula.

However, in a meeting with US president Donald Trump, North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong-un vowed to work towards the complete denuclearisation of the Koran peninsula.