Two Centuries Before The Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

The 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.

The Unity of the Two Shi’a Horns (Daniel 8:1)

Iran, Iraq Enjoying Most Strategic Ties Ever: Ex-Diplomat

January 19, 2019 – 12:15

Mohammad-Sadeq Kharrazi, Iran’s ex-ambassador to Iraq, in an opinion piece published in Iran newspaper weighed in on the status of Iran-Iraq relations as well as the situation in Iraq. The full text of the article follows:

Iraq is the land of contemporary sufferings and agonies. The unlimited wealth in the country was devoured by the greed of some people at a time when the Tikrit-born dictator in Baghdad was throwing his weight around. However, Tehran and Baghdad have opened a new chapter in their relations in the post-Saddam era despite the hostilities and objections of third parties, especially the United States and Saudi Arabia. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif being warmly welcomed by his Iraqi counterpart bears testimony to this good relationship.

The recent elections in Iraq further reinforced the pillars of democracy in the country and deepened the trend of democracy there. This can directly contribute to the expansion of ties between Iran and Iraq both of which have experienced democracy. At the moment, the ruling elite in Iraq have a positive viewpoint toward Iran and seek the promotions of ties with Tehran despite foreign pressures. They seem to have the will to forge close ties, too. During his trip to Iraq, Zarif was accompanied by an economic-political delegation comprising some 50 investors, businessmen, entrepreneurs and producers, which shows that Iraq is of paramount importance to Iran.

While the United States tries to exert maximum economic pressure on Iran following its unilateral withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Iraq can be a safe source to help Iran during the course of sanctions and can help ease the pressure of Washington’s sanctions. Zarif and his entourage were warmly welcomed by Iraqi officials, namely Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, President Barham Salih, Foreign Minister Mohamed Ali Alhakim, and other top political leaders such as leader of the National Alliance party Sayyed Ammar al-Hakim, and commander of the Popular Mobilisation Untis Hadi al-Ameri, two powerful blocs at the Iraqi parliament. This warm welcome bears attests to the fact that the Iraqi side is strongly interested to further expand relations with Iran on all economic, political and security fronts.

The Iranian delegation was also warmly welcomed in Iraq’s Kurdistan Region by the territory’s Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani, Kurdistan Democratic Party leader Masoud Barzani and others, which shows they also would like to further deepen their ties with Iran and take giant steps toward the promotion of relations with Tehran. Iran-Iraq economic relations reached around $12 billion in the past 10 months, which could rise to $20 billion annually if the existing obstacles are removed and the necessary loans are offered to the economic players of both countries. The figure could even touch $30 billion a year given the direct and indirect relations between the two sides.

At the moment, Iraqi visitors account for the largest number of tourists coming to Iran. Iran, too, is the number-one contributor to Iraq’s tourism industry. Figures show that more than 7 million tourists keep visiting the two countries. If the necessary loans are offered and the impediment such as visa requirements are removed, the figure could rise to 10 million tourists a year. During his visit to Iraq, Zarif said the Iranian side intends to remove visa requirements for Iraqi businessmen. This could serve as a step forward toward the promotion of relations between the two countries in the domain of tourism. The existing potentialities in the two countries’ tourism industries, namely religious sites and non-religious attractions, can also contribute to the further reinforcement of the tourism industry in both countries.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is due to visit Iraq on March 11, 2019. It could be a major step toward the further enhancement of mutual relations and complement Zarif’s visit. A rise in the number of diplomatic and economic visits between the two countries will play a key role in deepening mutual ties and can greatly help ease US pressures on both the Iranian and Iraqi sides. In fact, Washington is not content with the expansion of relations between Iran and Iraq and seeks to eclipse their ties by exerting pressure on both sides.

The Rise of the Chinese Nuclear Horn (Daniel 8:8)

Aircraft Carriers, Stealth Bombers and Nuclear Weapons: How China’s Military Is Rising

On January 12, 2019, the Defense Intelligence Agency released an annual report highlighting the radical reorganization of China’s People’s Liberation Army to become faster-responding, more flexible and more lethal than ever before.

The PLA was formed in 1927 as a Communist revolutionary force to oppose the Nationalist Kuomintang government and (later) invading Japanese forces . Unlike Western militaries, the PLA remains loyal to the Chinese Communist Party, not a theoretical independent Chinese state. A cadre of political officers (commissars or zhengwei) still operate at every level of the command structure to ensure loyalty and manage personnel.

Even after securing the mainland in 1949 and sprouting Navy and Air Force branches, the PLA adhered to a defensive “People’s War Strategy” which assumed that technologically superior foreign invaders (the United States or Soviet Union) would need to be lured deep into Chinese territory to be worn down by guerilla warfare and superior numbers.

Serious PLA modernization efforts began in 1991 when the trouncing of Iraq’s huge mechanized army in the Gulf War caused Beijing to realize its dated, World War II-style military was similarly vulnerable. By 2004, a new doctrine focused on proactively defeating enemies beyond China’s borders, including through preemptive strike if necessary, as well as undertaking global governance missions befitting its superpower status.

Between 2000 and 2016, while the Chinese economy averaged official annual growth rates around 7-8 percent, the PLA’s budget grew even faster at 10 percent. Despite that, the PLA’s current roughly $200 billion dollar budget totals less than one-third of U.S. defense spending. However, China pays much lower costs for hardware and personnel because of China’s “latecomer advantage” as the DIA report explains:

China has routinely adopted the best and most effective platforms found in foreign militaries through direct purchase, retrofits, or theft of intellectual property. By doing so, China has been able to focus on expediting its military modernization at a small fraction of the original cost.”

Prominent examples include China’s aircraft carriers and its J-11 jet fighters .

By 2017, Chinese defense spending growth declined to 5-7%percent and the PLA shed 300,000 personnel, bringing it down to 2 million-strong—still the largest armed force on the planet. This transition sought to remodel the PLA into a leaner, more flexible force suited for fast-paced modern warfare.

Indeed, that year Beijing fundamentally restructured how the PLA worked, consigning the traditionally dominant ground forces to their own branch on equal footing with the PLA Air Force, Navy, Rocket Force, and a brand-new Strategic Support Force. This last addition combines satellite-launch and satellite-killing capabilities, with elite hacker and electronic warfare units to collect vital intelligence while disrupting the adversary’s own recon capabilities.

Rather than being siloed in their respective branches, operational units now fall under five regional commands, each with its own Joint Operations Command Center to enable air-, land- and sea-warfare branches of the PLA to rapidly coordinate using robust and redundant communication networks and inter-service chains of command.

The theater commands fall under the ultimate control of a Central Military Committee. The Army’s large division-sized units have mostly been dissolved, with assets devolved to seventy-eight combined-arms brigades mixing together armor and infantry with organic artillery and anti-aircraft units. Special forces and helicopter units also doubled in number.

The new organization allows lower-ranking officers to act more flexibly without depending on higher headquarters for orders and support assets. However, the transition is proving culturally difficult for the traditionally hierarchy-obsessed PLA and complicates logistics and training for units now combining several types of equipment.

Nonetheless, transforming rigid command and control and logistical systems, and rooting out endemic corruption, is one of the chief aims of the reforms. So is implementing realistic combat training emphasizing joint operations, instead of reputation-burnishing scripted exercises.

Beijing’s Strategic Forces

The PLA’s huge Rocket Force has a diverse array of over a thousand ballistic and cruise missiles armed with both conventional and nuclear warheads, most of them short- or intermediate-range weapons to strike targets in Asia and the Pacific, as well as a smaller number of inter-continental ballistic missiles that can reach U.S. cities. New truck-launched DF-21D missiles may uniquely boast the precision-guidance capabilities to strike aircraft carriers hundreds of miles away from China.

China’s arsenal of around 300 nuclear warheads is primarily delivered by the Rocket Force, but the PLA Navy also operates nuclear-powered ballistic-missile submarines , which may soon have the ability to strike U.S. targets without sortieing far from the Chinese coast. In 2017, the PLA reintroduced a nuclear role for the Air Force, likely to be fulfilled by the forthcoming H-20 stealth bomber .

However, Beijing has a no-first-use nuclear policy: it only plans to launch nukes if attacked with them first. A network of hardened underground facilities means the Rocket Force is likely to survive a first strike to inflict a retaliatory attack. China does not stockpile biological or chemical weapons.

The PLA’s New Mission

The PLA’s strategic objectives have expanded from territorial defense to achieving regional military dominance over East Asia and the western half of the Pacific, as well as expansion into the Indian Ocean. Beijing eventually aims to displace or render indefensible the Pentagon’s East Asian footholds, notably island bases in Guam and Okinawa and alliances with South Korea and Japan.

Regional hotspots include a border dispute with India, potential instability in North Korea, and maritime sovereignty disputes with Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines. Beijing also requires the PLA to maintain a credible capability for invading Taiwan, including fighting off or deterring U.S. intervention on Taipei’s behalf. The PLA Navy operates Yuzhao-class Landing Platform Docks, and its Marine Corps recently tripled in size to around 35,000 personnel in seven brigades. The Army also maintains six combined arms brigades equipped with amphibious tanks and infantry fighting vehicles.

Operations other than war are also of increasing importance to the PLA, including suppressing protest and unrest in Tibet and Xinjiang—where reportedly hundreds of thousands of ethnic Uighurs have been placed in forced labor camps —as well as providing disaster relief and evacuating nationals abroad in emergencies.

Though the PLA is focused on fighting regional, not global conflicts, it’s developing a limited capacity for global expeditionary operations—particularly evident in the opening of its first overseas base in Djibouti. Beijing is preparing the ground for additional overseas bases in Pakistan, Cambodia, Sri Lanka and various Pacific islands. The introduction of huge new Y-20 “Chubby Girl” transport planes will significantly improve China’s global logistical capabilities.

These technologies and reforms have only begun to address longstanding PLA deficiencies in command-and-control, logistics, unrealistic training and lack of recent combat experience. Furthermore, while the PLA does field cutting-edge systems like the Type 99 tank , J-20 stealth fighter and Type 055 destroyer , roughly 40 percent of its armor and fighter units still use outdated 1950s-era hardware like Type 59 tanks, Type 63 APCs and J-7 fighters. The rapidly growing PLA Navy still relies on many noisy diesel submarines, and its two new carriers are less capable than U.S. nuclear-powered carriers.

Despite these weaknesses, the radical reorganization of the PLA shows awareness at senior levels that overcoming the PLA’s shortcomings isn’t only a matter of procuring better technologies, but changing how the military uses them.

Sébastien Roblin holds a master’s degree in conflict resolution from Georgetown University and served as a university instructor for the Peace Corps in China. He has also worked in education, editing, and refugee resettlement in France and the United States. He currently writes on security and military history for War Is Boring.

Russia Prepares for World War 3

World War 3: Russia sets up NUCLEAR MISSILES near Ukraine border – Crimea crisis DEEPENS

RUSSIA has deployed an arsenal of nuclear-capable missiles close to the border of Ukraine – stoking further tensions between the two Crimean adversaries following an incident on the Sea of Azov in November.

By JOE GAMP

PUBLISHED: 09:23, Sun, Jan 20, 2019

UPDATED: 14:05, Sun, Jan 20, 2019

Satellite imagery released by ImageSat International show what appears to be short range and nuclear-capable Iskander ballistic missiles stationed in Krasnodar, around 270 miles south east of the Ukrainian border. The new images show a missile compound and several bunkers as well as a second compound nearby An Iskander missile launcher is stationed next to a transloader vehicle, which is used to load fresh ammunition into the launcher. Another transloader could be seen leaving a bunker close by, the door of which appears to be left open.

The imaging company claimed the set up could be construed as a “signal from Russia to the US”, Fox News reports.

Another similar drill was held at an Iskander site near the Siberian city of Ulan-Ude, according to further imagery.

Iskander missiles have a range of up to 310 miles, with the Donbass region of east Ukraine within distance of the missile.

Pro-Russian militants have been fighting government forces near the Russian border since 2014 in an effort to establish an independent state, while Russian forces have given military support to fighters.

World War 3: Satellite images show Iskander Nuc;ear missiles deployed near Ukraine border (Image: IMAGESAT)

It follows news in January this year that Washington ordered Moscow to scrap a controversial missile project if it wants to salvage the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which the two countries signed in 1987.

The treaty banned ground-to-air missile launchers from firing nuclear or conventional missiles with a range between 310 and 3,417 miles.

But rumours the Iskander can fire further than 310 miles have stoked tensions, with many believing the INF treaty between US and Russia is at risk.

Last week, a senior Russian official gave a warning to Kiev, suggesting its cooperation with western powers put its sovereignty at risk.

Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev told Russian newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta: “The Kiev authorities are doing everything to split Ukraine, implementing the West’s scenario for separating Ukraine from Russia, while ignoring the interests of their own people.

“In the end, the country was effectively split. The continuation of such a policy by the Kiev authorities may contribute to Ukraine’s loss of statehood.”

A war between the two nations is ongoing, even though a cease fire between the two nations was agreed upon in 2015.

In November last year, tensions were further fulled when Russian naval forces opened fire on and detained three Ukrainian vessels on the Black Sea.

Russian forces stopped three Ukranian ships from passing through the Sea of Azov – a shared territory that Moscow has continually tried to claim after seizing the peninsula in 2014.

World War 3: Moscow says Iskanders have a range of 310 miles despite accusations they travel further (Image: IMAGESAT)

World War 3 news: Deployment follows earlier tensions between warring Russia and Ukraine in November (Image: IMAGESAT)

According to reports, the FSB security service said it launched the attack after ships had „entered its waters illegally“ and allegedly ignored warning to halt.

Russia said it used weapons „in order to stop the Ukrainian military,“ which it claims illegally entered its waters, confirming „three Ukrainian navy ships were boarded and searched.”

In December, Vladimir Putin’s Government branded France and Germany’s demands to release the 24 Ukraine sailors Russia is holding as “unacceptable”.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted by news agency RIA, detailing how Mr Putin told Germany’s Angela Merkel in a phone call that the sailors were under investigation and were being dealt with in accordance with Russian law.

The 24 Ukrainian sailors are still detained in pretrial detention.

The Consequence of Measuring the Holy City (Revelation 11:2)

Dusit attack revenge for US declaration of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital – Shabaab

Jan. 17, 2019, 9:00 am

By EMMANUEL WANJALA @itswanjala

Marksman Inayat Kassam helps a terrified survivor of the terror attack at DusitD2 hotel complex at 14 Riverside Drive. /MONICAH MWANGI

Tuesday’s attack on DusitD2 hotel complex on 14 Riverside Drive was retaliation for US President Donald Trump’s decision to declare Jerusalem the capital city of Israel, al Shabaab has said.

SITE Intelligence Group, an NGO that specialises in tracking and analysing global extremist groups, said the jihadists presented a detailed report on the attack through its media unit al-Mujahideen Movement.

However, SITE did not reveal the details of the report apart from mentioning that al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri ordered the attack. 

The report said Zawahiri directed the militants to target „Western and Zionist“ interests in response to Trump’s announcement.

The death toll from the terror attack rose to 21 on Wednesday after police said five more bodies were discovered in the complex.

A police officer, who was injured, succumbed to injuries in hospital.

The conflict between Israelis and Palestinians over the control of Jerusalem began the mid 20th century.

It has been referred to as the world’s „most intractable conflict“. Israel has occupied the West Bank and Gaza Strip for 52 years.

By Trump recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, he insinuated that Israel had sovereignty over the disputed city.

Al-Qaeda-linked al Shabaab is known to attack the interests of any country that is deemed to have infringed on the rights or freedoms of an Islamic state.

Trump announced the US‘ recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on December 6, 2017. He ordered the relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed the decision.

Trump’s announcement ignited demonstrations throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Other protests were also held in Iran, Jordan, Tunisia, Somalia, Yemen, Malaysia and Indonesia, and outside the US embassy in Berlin.

The majority of world leaders rejected Trump’s decision.

Britain, France, Sweden, Italy and Japan were among 14 of the 15 countries which criticised the decision at an emergency meeting convened by the United Nations Security Council on December 7, 2017.

On December 8, then US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson clarified that Trump’s statement „did not indicate the final status on Jerusalem“.

He said the final status, including the borders, will be left to Israel and Palestine to negotiate and decide.

Palestinian officials said the announcement disqualified America from peace talks, while Hamas called for a new intifada following Trump’s declaration.

Intifada is an Arabic word that means to tremor, shiver, or shudder.

Hamas is a Palestinian Islamist fundamentalist organisation which has been the de facto governing authority of the Gaza Strip since its takeover of the area in 2007.

It is regarded as a terrorist organisation by several countries including the US and some European countries.