The Sixth Seal Will Be On The East (Revelation 6:12)

New Evidence Shows Power of East Coast Earthquakes

Virginia Earthquake Triggered Landslides at Great Distances

Released: 11/6/2012 8:30:00 AM

Earthquake shaking in the eastern United States can travel much farther and cause damage over larger areas than previously thought.

U.S. Geological Survey scientists found that last year’s magnitude 5.8 earthquake in Virginia triggered landslides at distances four times farther—and over an area 20 times larger—than previous research has shown.

“We used landslides as an example and direct physical evidence to see how far-reaching shaking from east coast earthquakes could be,” said Randall Jibson, USGS scientist and lead author of this study. “Not every earthquake will trigger landslides, but we can use landslide distributions to estimate characteristics of earthquake energy and how far regional ground shaking could occur.”

“Scientists are confirming with empirical data what more than 50 million people in the eastern U.S. experienced firsthand: this was one powerful earthquake,” said USGS Director Marcia McNutt. “Calibrating the distance over which landslides occur may also help us reach back into the geologic record to look for evidence of past history of major earthquakes from the Virginia seismic zone.”

This study will help inform earthquake hazard and risk assessments as well as emergency preparedness, whether for landslides or other earthquake effects.

This study also supports existing research showing that although earthquakes are less frequent in the East, their damaging effects can extend over a much larger area as compared to the western United States.

The research is being presented today at the Geological Society of America conference, and will be published in the December 2012 issue of the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America.

The USGS found that the farthest landslide from the 2011 Virginia earthquake was 245 km (150 miles) from the epicenter. This is by far the greatest landslide distance recorded from any other earthquake of similar magnitude. Previous studies of worldwide earthquakes indicated that landslides occurred no farther than 60 km (36 miles) from the epicenter of a magnitude 5.8 earthquake.

“What makes this new study so unique is that it provides direct observational evidence from the largest earthquake to occur in more than 100 years in the eastern U.S,” said Jibson. “Now that we know more about the power of East Coast earthquakes, equations that predict ground shaking might need to be revised.”

It is estimated that approximately one-third of the U.S. population could have felt last year’s earthquake in Virginia, more than any earthquake in U.S. history. About 148,000 people reported their ground-shaking experiences caused by the earthquake on the USGS “Did You Feel It?” website. Shaking reports came from southeastern Canada to Florida and as far west as Texas.

In addition to the great landslide distances recorded, the landslides from the 2011 Virginia earthquake occurred in an area 20 times larger than expected from studies of worldwide earthquakes. Scientists plotted the landslide locations that were farthest out and then calculated the area enclosed by those landslides. The observed landslides from last year’s Virginia earthquake enclose an area of about 33,400 km2, while previous studies indicated an expected area of about 1,500 km2 from an earthquake of similar magnitude.

“The landslide distances from last year’s Virginia earthquake are remarkable compared to historical landslides across the world and represent the largest distance limit ever recorded,” said Edwin Harp, USGS scientist and co-author of this study. “There are limitations to our research, but the bottom line is that we now have a better understanding of the power of East Coast earthquakes and potential damage scenarios.”

The difference between seismic shaking in the East versus the West is due in part to the geologic structure and rock properties that allow seismic waves to travel farther without weakening.

Learn more about the 2011 central Virginia earthquake.

The New Vision for Babylon the Great

A new House of Representatives has taken power. And with it comes much needed change to how the U.S. approaches nuclear weapons. It’s about time.

Over the course of the last two years, the U.S. has been on a perilous path when it comes to nuclear weapons policy. President Trump moved to pull out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, a 1987 milestone agreement with the Soviet Union that prohibited a comprehensive class of nuclear weapons and helped usher in the end of the Cold War. At the same time, a long-term project of nuclear weapons modernization is under way, and likely to expand once the INF Treaty is abandoned, during which nuclear forces will undergo “upgrading.”

Together, these developments point to a dangerous future, one where nuclear conflict is looking increasingly likely.

Yes, the INF treaty is not perfect. But it banned the Soviet Union and the U.S. from retaining, testing and deploying ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges between 300 and 3,400 miles. Since the Obama administration, Washington has censured Moscow for violating the terms because of its deployment of cruise missiles. Actually revoking the agreement though will ignite a new era of nuclear proliferation by permitting the United States to acquire comparable missiles.

That opens the door to host of dangerous developments.

Russia’s expansion of its Novator 9M729 cruise missile program is already in a more mature state, so it can be utilized broadly once the agreement is ended. Russia will also have autonomy to deploy an intermediate range ballistic missile without restriction. The U.S. decision to withdraw from the INF could even speed up the expansion of this capacity.

Moscow maintains that abandoning the pact might also restart the Cold War nuclear arms race. Russian President Vladimir Putin has stated that Russia will react “in kind” if new American missiles are positioned in Europe. And he warned that any European states accommodating these weapons would be in danger of Russian attack. That could lead to serious international confrontations, which will jeopardize future national security concerns and test the support of U.S. allies in Europe at a time when support for Trump’s policies is already low on the continent.

Withdrawal from the agreement will probably also damage the 2010 START Treaty regulating Russian and American long-range nuclear missiles. START will automatically terminate in 2021 unless Washington and Moscow decide to prolong it. Without the INF treaty in place, the chances of it dissolving are increasing.

To go along with these concerning moves, the Trump administration has initiated an alarming new program of nuclear weapons acceleration. Trump has supported his predecessor’s weapons modernization agenda. But he has also pledged to significantly enlarge current nuclear resources. America is now engaging in the most excessive nuclear weapons expansion since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

In abandoning another nuclear pact, the Trump administration is showing a lack of long-term strategy. The INF Treaty, accompanied by the New START accord, holds at bay a renewed great power nuclear arms competition. Since one of the objectives in withdrawing is to modernize U.S. nuclear capabilities, this will only accelerate the expansion of a more hazardous world.

Nations possessing nuclear weapons are already modernizing their stockpiles all across the globe. Russia, China, and America are embarking on vast modernization agendas that involve new warheads and forms of delivery systems that are more destabilizing since they incentivize an adversary to strike first to immobilize the foe at the beginning of warfare. Any additional fodder for nuclear proliferation is likely to increase these efforts.

Thankfully, the new Congress has some ability to push back on this nuclear agenda. With Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) running the House Armed Services Committee there is a new voice in power pushing for the downsizing of our country’s nuclear program.

One way to accomplish this would be to abolish the most hazardous element of the nuclear weapons system—one leg of the nuclear triad—Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles, or ICBMs. These are susceptible to unintended nuclear conflict if they are released as a result of miscalculation by a leader functioning under intense pressure to make a decision, or by accident.

While the House’s power is limited in making these types of changes, we can only hope that these new, reasonable voices at the table will help steer our country away from a dangerous, and costly, nuclear arms race.

Kenneth Keulman is Provost Distinguished Professor emeritus at Loyola University and a member of the Scholars Strategy Network.


Israel Continues to War Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11:2)


Ten years after the first war on Gaza, Israel still plans endless brute force

Avi Shlaim

Operation Cast Lead killed 1,417 people. Chillingly, the generals call their repeated bombardments ‘mowing the lawn’

Mon 7 Jan 2019 11.44 EST

Last modified on Mon 7 Jan 2019 13.30 EST

This month marks the 10th anniversary of the first major military assault on the 2 million Palestinians of the Gaza Strip. After its unilateral withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, Israel turned the area into the biggest open-door prison on Earth. The two hallmarks of Israel’s treatment of Gaza since then have been mendacity and the utmost brutality towards civilians.

On 27 December 2008, Israel launched Operation Cast Lead, pounding the densely populated strip from the air, sea and land for 22 days. It was not a war or even “asymmetric warfare” but a one-sided massacre. Israel had 13 dead; the Gazans had 1,417 dead, including 313 children, and more than 5,500 wounded. According to one estimate 83% of the casualties were civilians. Israel claimed to be acting in self-defence, protecting its civilians against Hamas rocket attacks. The evidence, however, points to a deliberate and punitive war of aggression. Israel had a diplomatic alternative, but it chose to ignore it and to resort to brute military force.

In June 2008 Egypt had brokered a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, the Islamic resistance movement that rules Gaza. The agreement called on both sides to cease hostilities and required Israel to gradually ease the illegal blockade it had imposed on the Gaza Strip in June 2007. This ceasefire worked remarkably well – until Israel violated it by a raid on 4 November in which six Hamas fighters were killed. The monthly average of rockets fired from Gaza on Israel fell from 179 in the first half of 2008 to three between June and October.

The story of the missed opportunity to avoid war was told to me by Robert Pastor, a professor of political science at the American University in Washington DC and a senior adviser on conflict resolution in the Middle East at the Carter Center NGO. Here is what Pastor told me over the phone and later confirmed in an email to Dr Mary Elizabeth King, another close associate of President Carter, on 8 December 2013, a month before Pastor’s death.

Pastor met Khaled Mashaal, the Hamas politburo chief, in Damascus in December 2008. Mashaal handed him a written proposal on how to restore the ceasefire. In effect, it was a proposal to renew the June 2008 ceasefire agreement on the original terms. Pastor then travelled to Tel Aviv and met with Major General (Ret) Amos Gilad, head of the defence ministry’s political affairs bureau. Gilad promised that he would communicate the proposal directly to defence minister Ehud Barak, and expected to have an answer either that evening or the following day. The next day, Pastor phoned Gilad’s office three times and got no response. Shortly afterwards, Israel launched Operation Cast Lead.

‘Emblematic of everything that is wrong with Israel’s approach to Gaza.’ An Israeli strike near a UN school in Beit Lahia, January 2009. Photograph: Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images

In the email he dictated to his son on his death bed, Pastor authorised me to publicise this story and to attribute it to him because “it’s an important moment in history that Israel needs to accept because Israel had an alternative to war in December 2018”. It was indeed a critical moment and it conveyed a clear message: if Israel’s real purpose was to protect its civilians, all it needed to do was to follow Hamas’s example by observing the ceasefire.

Israel’s conduct during the first Gaza war was placed under an uncompromising lens by the UN Human Rights Council’s independent fact-finding mission headed by Richard Goldstone, the distinguished South African judge who happened to be both a Jew and a Zionist. Goldstone and his team found that both Hamas and the Israel Defence Forces had committed violations of the laws of war by deliberately harming civilians. The IDF received more severe strictures than Hamas on account of the bigger scale and seriousness of its violations.

The Goldstone team investigated 36 incidents involving the IDF. It found 11 incidents in which Israeli soldiers launched direct attacks against civilians with lethal outcomes; seven where civilians were shot leaving their homes waving white flags; a “direct and intentional” attack on a hospital; numerous incidents where ambulances were prevented from attending to the severely injured; and nine attacks on civilian infrastructure with no military significance, such as flour mills, sewage works, and water wells – all part of a campaign to deprive civilians of basic necessities. In the words of the report, much of this extensive damage was “not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly”.

In conclusion, the 575-page report noted that while the Israeli government sought to portray its operations as essentially a response to rocket attacks in the exercise of the right to self-defence, “the Mission itself considers the plan to have been directed, at least in part, at a different target: the people of Gaza as a whole”. Under the circumstances “the Mission concludes that what occurred in just over three weeks at the end of 2008 and the beginning of 2009 was a deliberately disproportionate attack designed to punish, humiliate and terrorise a civilian population, radically diminish its local economic capacity both to work and to provide for itself, and to force upon it an ever-increasing sense of dependency and vulnerability.”

The claim that the operation was designed to “terrorise a civilian population” needs underlining. Terrorism is the use of force against civilians for political purposes. By this definition Operation Cast Lead was an act of state terrorism. The political aim was to force the population to repudiate Hamas, which had won a clear majority in the elections of January 2006.

Operation Cast Lead is emblematic of everything that is wrong with Israel’s approach to Gaza. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a political conflict to which there is no military solution. Yet Israel persists in shunning diplomacy and relying on brute military force – and not as a last resort but as a first resort. Force is the default setting. And there is a popular Israeli saying that goes with it: “If force doesn’t work, use more force!”

Israel and Hamas agree to Gaza ceasefire after intense violence

Operation Cast Lead was just the first in a series of Israeli mini-wars on Gaza. It was followed by Operation Pillar of Defence in November 2012 and Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014. The fancy names given to these operations were fraudulent, dressing up offensive attacks on defenceless civilians and civilian infrastructure in the sanctimonious language of self-defence. They are typical examples of Orwellian double-speak. UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon called the Israeli attack on 1 August 2014 on Rafah, in which a large number of civilians sheltering in UN schools were killed, “a moral outrage and a criminal act”. This description applies equally to Israel’s entire policy of waging war on the inmates of the Gaza prison.

Israeli generals talk about their recurrent military incursions into Gaza as “mowing the lawn”. This operative metaphor implies a task that has to be performed regularly and mechanically and without end. It also alludes to the indiscriminate slaughter of civilians and the inflicting of damage on civilian infrastructure that takes several years to repair.

Mowing the lawn” is a chilling euphemism but it provides a clue as to the deeper purpose behind Israel’s steadfast shunning of diplomacy and repeated resort to brute military force in response to all manifestations of lawful resistance and peaceful protest on its southern border. Under this grim rubric, there can be no lasting political solution: the next war is always just a matter of time.

• Avi Shlaim is an emeritus professor of international relations at Oxford and the author of The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World

Babylon the Great Inviting Nuclear War

US Inviting War by Ignoring Russia’s Inevitable Nuclear Superiority


By Peter Pry

Monday, 07 Jan 2019 5:07 PM

The U.S. nuclear deterrent preserved peace during the Cold War by maintaining numerical and technological rough parity with the USSR, not allowing Moscow to gain any significant advantage that might tempt Russia to launch World War III.

Today, Russia has achieved many significant advantages over the aged U.S. nuclear deterrent, including an at least 10-to-1 superiority in tactical nuclear weapons; a largely modernized force of long-range strategic nuclear missiles, submarines, and bombers; and perhaps most significantly a new generation of advanced technology nuclear warheads that have no U.S. equivalents.

Consequently, Washington faces a wide range of scenarios which U.S. nuclear forces are not designed to deter or defeat with equivalent and proportional response. Possible tomorrows:

—U.S. fighters and bombers are swept from the skies by Russian fighters firing long-range air-to-air missiles armed with mini-nuclear warheads.

—U.S. carriers, submarines, and other ships are sunk by nuclear-armed torpedoes, cruise and ballistic missiles, giving Russia mastery of the seas.

—The Russian Army blasts its way across European NATO using tanks, artillery, and aircraft armed with mini-neutron warheads that produce virtually no radioactive fallout.

—U.S. nuclear missiles retaliating against Russia are intercepted and destroyed by anti-ballistic missiles armed with nuclear X-ray warheads that are far more effective than the non-nuclear kinetic-kill weapons employed by the U.S. National Missile Defense.

—A Super-EMP warhead delivered by a Russian, Chinese, or North Korean missile or satellite blacks-out the North American electric grid, paralyzing the U.S. economy and military, including nuclear forces.

Today, the U.S. has no nuclear-armed air-to-air missiles; no nuclear-armed torpedoes or tactical anti-ship cruise and ballistic missiles; no mini-neutron warheads, X-ray warheads, or Super-EMP warheads. Nor are there any U.S. plans to develop advanced nuclear warheads.

Instead, the Pentagon plans to spend an estimated $700 billion over the next decade modernizing strategic nuclear delivery systems, so the U.S. will have new missiles and bombers, upgrading command and control, and refurbishing the nuclear scientific and industrial base that maintains old-fashioned legacy nuclear weapons from the Cold War.

But no advanced technology, new generation nuclear warheads, will be designed or built.

The tip of the spear for the U.S. nuclear deterrent will continue to be Cold War era nuclear weapons, designed for high-yield blast and shock, not specialized nuclear effects. These may be as irrelevant to modern nuclear deterrence and war-fighting as the crossbow.

The Pentagon does plan to de-mothball an old-design nuclear weapon having low-yield, to deter Russian use of low-yield tactical nuclear weapons. But it is not a new generation warhead for specialized nuclear effects.

Worst — the decades-old legacy nuclear warheads that will continue to be used for the present and future U.S. nuclear deterrent may not even work.

John C. Hopkins and David H. Sharp in “The Scientific Foundation For Assessing The Nuclear Performance Of Weapons In The Stockpile Is Eroding” (Perspectives Winter 2019) are the latest in a long chorus of nuclear weapon scientists warning the safety, reliability, and effectiveness of America’s geriatric nuclear warheads is increasingly doubtful.

How did we get here? Why not arm our expensive new missiles and bombers with new advanced generation nuclear warheads?

23 years ago, the late great Congressman Floyd Spence, then Chairman of the House National Security Committee, warned the U.S. was moving toward unilateral nuclear disarmament through technological obsolescence in his report “The Clinton Administration and Nuclear Stockpile Stewardship: Erosion By Design” (HNSC October 30, 1996).

Chairman Spence warned the Clinton Administration’s strong anti-nuclear bias and ideological commitment to nuclear disarmament was behind:

—U.S. compliance with the unratified Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty despite Russian cheating;

—Replacing nuclear testing with controversial “science-based nuclear stockpile stewardship” that relies instead on computer models;

—The Spratt-Furse Amendment outlawing research on advanced new generation nuclear weapons;

—Replacing the U.S. Defense Nuclear Agency, that focused on nuclear weapons for deterrence and war-fighting, with the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, more about arms control of nuclear, chemical, biological and other weapons, and natural threats, like climate change.

Unfortunately, President George W. Bush, preoccupied with the war on terrorism, did little or nothing to reverse U.S. nuclear obsolescence. Matters worsened under President Obama.

Now in 2019, the nuclear weapon scientists who helped win the Cold War are mostly retired or dead, as are Pentagon strategists who gave highest priority to nuclear deterrence.

Rep. Adam Smith, the new Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, in a recent interview opposes modernizing U.S. nuclear forces, would constrain President Trump’s launch authority, constrain military planning to a “No First Use” policy, and drastically cut the number of U.S. nuclear weapons with the goal of their elimination.

Given the political and cultural opposition to nuclear weapons, it may be impossible for the U.S. to achieve their modernization. Russian nuclear superiority, and soon China’s, appears inevitable and permanent.

Accordingly, the U.S. Space Force, space-based missile defenses, and hardening U.S. critical infrastructures against EMP and cyber-attacks may be more realistic goals. Such a revolution in military technology — that renders nuclear missiles obsolete and makes strategic defenses dominant — may be only way for the U.S. to win the New Cold War.

Dr. Peter Vincent Pry is executive director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security. He served on the Congressional EMP Commission as chief of staff, the Congressional Strategic Posture Commission, the House Armed Services Committee, and the CIA. He is author of “Blackout Wars.” For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

Antichrist Rejects U.S. Troops in Baghdad

US troops have been in Iraq since 2003. (AFP/File Photo)

Iraqi Sadr’s Bloc Rejects U.S. Troops in Baghdad

Firebrand Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr’s parliamentary bloc has reiterated rejection of the presence of U.S. troops in Iraqi capital Baghdad.

On Saturday, images of Brig. Gen. Austin Renforth, Director of Joint Operations-Iraq for the Combined Joint Task Force, while touring the culture-rich Mutanabi Street in central Baghdad have triggered uproar across the Arab country.

Renforth was pictured on the tour along with Baghdad’s commander of operations Jalil al-Rubaie on the anniversary of the U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq.

“This is a challenge to national will, a new violation of Iraq’s sovereignty and a bad behavior that reveals the ugly face of the American administration,” Hamdallah Rikabi, a spokesman for Sadr’s Sairoon bloc, said in a statement on Sunday.

“We announce our condemnation and rejection of these cowardly acts and warn these forces not to repeat such barbaric behavior,” he added.

The Iraqi lawmaker went on to urge the government to issue an official explanation to the Iraqi public about the incident.

Our position remains the same in rejecting American policies that do not respect the sovereignty of nations, their territorial integrity and the dignity of their people,” Hamdallah said.

The Iraqi government has yet to comment on the incident.

U.S. troops ended their combat operations in Iraq in 2010, and focused their work there on training the Iraqi forces.

The last U.S. soldier left Iraq on Dec. 18, 2011, with the exception of a number of U.S. military personnel who remained under the authority of the U.S. Embassy.