New York Subways at the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6)

How vulnerable are NYC’s underwater subway tunnels to flooding?

Ashley Fetters

New York City is full of peculiar phenomena—rickety fire escapes; 100-year-old subway tunnelsair conditioners propped perilously into window frames—that can strike fear into the heart of even the toughest city denizen. But should they? Every month, writer Ashley Fetters will be exploring—and debunking—these New York-specific fears, letting you know what you should actually worry about, and what anxieties you can simply let slip away.

The 25-minute subway commute from Crown Heights to the Financial District on the 2/3 line is, in my experience, a surprisingly peaceful start to the workday—save for one 3,100-foot stretch between the Clark Street and Wall Street stations, where for three minutes I sit wondering what the probability is that I will soon die a torturous, claustrophobic drowning death right here in this subway car.

The Clark Street Tunnel, opened in 1916, is one of approximately a dozen tunnels that escort MTA passengers from one borough to the next underwater—and just about all of them, with the exception of the 1989 addition of the 63rd Street F train tunnel, were constructed between 1900 and 1936.

Each day, thousands of New Yorkers venture across the East River and back again through these tubes buried deep in the riverbed, some of which are nearing or even past their 100th birthdays. Are they wrong to ponder their own mortality while picturing one of these watery catacombs suddenly springing a leak?

Mostly yes, they are, says Michael Horodniceanu, the former president of MTA Capital Construction and current principal of Urban Advisory Group. First, it’s important to remember that the subway tunnel is built under the riverbed, not just in the river—so what immediately surrounds the tunnel isn’t water but some 25 feet of soil. “There’s a lot of dirt on top of it,” Horodniceanu says. “It’s well into the bed of the bottom of the channel.”

And second, as Angus Kress Gillespie, author of Crossing Under the Hudson: The Story of the Holland and Lincoln Tunnels, points out, New York’s underwater subway tunnels are designed to withstand some leaking. And withstand it they do: Pumps placed below the floor of the tunnel, he says, are always running, always diverting water seepage into the sewers. (Horodniceanu says the amount of water these pumps divert into the sewer system each day numbers in the thousands of gallons.)

Additionally, MTA crews routinely repair the grouting and caulking, and often inject a substance into the walls that creates a waterproof membrane outside the tunnel—which keeps water out of the tunnel and relieves any water pressure acting on its walls. New tunnels, Horodniceanu points out, are even built with an outside waterproofing membrane that works like an umbrella: Water goes around it, it falls to the sides, and then it gets channeled into a pumping station and pumped out.

Of course, the classic New York nightmare scenario isn’t just a cute little trickle finding its way in. The anxiety daydream usually involves something sinister, or seismic. The good news, however, is that while an earthquake or explosion would indeed be bad for many reasons, it likely wouldn’t result in the frantic flooding horror scene that plays out in some commuters’ imaginations.

The Montague Tube, which sustained severe damage during Hurricane Sandy.

MTA New York City Transit / Marc A. Hermann

Horodniceanu assures me that tunnels built more recently are “built to withstand a seismic event.” The older tunnels, however—like, um, the Clark Street Tunnel—“were not seismically retrofitted, let me put it that way,” Horodniceanu says. “But the way they were built is in such a way that I do not believe an earthquake would affect them.” They aren’t deep enough in the ground, anyway, he says, to be too intensely affected by a seismic event. (The MTA did not respond to a request for comment.)

One of the only real threats to tunnel infrastructure, Horodniceanu adds, is extreme weather. Hurricane Sandy, for example, caused flooding in the tunnels, which “created problems with the infrastructure.” He continues, “The tunnels have to be rebuilt as a result of saltwater corroding the infrastructure.”

Still, he points out, hurricanes don’t exactly happen with no warning. So while Hurricane Sandy did cause major trauma to the tunnels, train traffic could be stopped with ample time to keep passengers out of harm’s way. In 2012, Governor Andrew Cuomo directed all the MTA’s mass transit services to shut down at 7 p.m. the night before Hurricane Sandy was expected to hit New York City.

And Gillespie, for his part, doubts even an explosion would result in sudden, dangerous flooding. A subway tunnel is not a closed system, he points out; it’s like a pipe that’s open at both ends. “The force of a blast would go forwards and backwards out the exit,” he says.

So the subway-train version of that terrifying Holland Tunnel flood scene in Sylvester Stallone’s Daylight is … unrealistic, right?

“Yeah,” Gillespie laughs. “Yeah. It is.”

Got a weird New York anxiety that you want explored? E-mail, and we may include it in a future column.

Latest Trump Administration Move on Iran WILL Backfire

Image result for trump iranExperts Warn Latest Trump Administration Move on Iran Could Backfire

President Donald Trump’s decision Monday to end six-month waivers from U.S. sanctions for five countries that have continued buying Iranian oil — the latest turn of the screw in his Administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran — was met with predictable outrage from Tehran.

But some U.S. State Department, Defense and intelligence officials and outside experts warn that the move could backfire by causing ripple effects in countries like China, Turkey and Iraq.

In response to the sanctions, Greece, Italy and, Taiwan had stopped buying Iranian oil, but China, India, Japan, South Korea, and Turkey have continued to import Iranian oil. The economic pressure has reduced Iranian oil exports from more than 2.5 million barrels a day to less than 1 million, discouraged foreign investment, and sent the value of Iran’s currency plummeting and inflation soaring.

Announcing the move in a press briefing, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the decision to end the waivers was “dramatically escalating our pressure campaign in a calibrated way that meets our national security objectives while maintaining well-supplied global oil markets”.

The Administration’s objective, Pompeo said, include prompt Iran to renegotiate the international agreement halting its pursuit of nuclear weapons, halt its ballistic missile tests, and end its support for terrorist groups, which U.S. officials say include Lebanon’s Hezbollah, the Palestinian Hamas, Houthi militias in Yemen, and authoritarian regimes in Syria and Venezuela.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed the move, and Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said his country and others would ensure that “the global oil market does not go out of balance.”

Some U.S. and foreign officials and outside experts, however, argue that the escalating attack on Iran’s economy is unlikely to prompt Iran to halt its support for terrorist organizations; force the country’s clerical rulers to renegotiate the deal halting their efforts to develop nuclear weapons; weaken its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and its elite Quds Force; or turn everyday Iranians against the Islamic regime.

“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there,” says Aaron David Miller, a Mideast expert and vice president at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington. “And what is the Trump Administration strategy toward Iran? Even if it’s regime change or forcing Iran to retrench in the region, this recent move will accomplish neither goal. It might ultimately goad Iran to give the Administration a pretext for military action. But how would this change the balance to America’s advantage?”

Instead, said two U.S. officials who spoke only to the condition of anonymity to criticize the Administration’s Iran policy, the Administration has not given much thought to the likely effects of its Iran policy on oil markets or on the nations, especially China, India, Turkey and Iraq, that now will be sanctioned if they continue to import oil from Iran.

“The Administration has launched a fairly significant initiative without doing the necessary groundwork with the countries that will be most affected,” Suzanne Maloney, an Iran expert at Washington’s Brookings Institution, tells TIME.

Iraq, which remains unstable, host to some remnants of ISIS, and divided on ethnic and religious lines 16 years after the U.S. invasion, is especially vulnerable because imports of Iranian natural gas and electricity are critical to its economy, she says.

Worse, says Maloney, the Administration had signaled since November that the exemptions for buying Iranian oil cut would be made gradually until it abruptly announced they will end on May 2.

Nor, says Maloney, does the Administration appear to have given much thought to how Iran might respond to the latest turn of the screw, which she says are likely to include efforts to disrupt global oil markets when demand reaches its peak this summer.

In a tweet, President Trump said: “Saudi Arabia and others in OPEC will more than make up the Oil Flow difference in our now Full Sanctions on Iranian oil.”

The two U.S. intelligence officials on Monday dismissed Iran’s threats to close the Strait of Hormuz, but said Tehran could retaliate by disrupting Iraqi oil exports or launching cyberattacks on oil and gas production and export facilities in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, or even U.S. or European oil companies, which could send oil prices upward during the vacation season in the U.S. and Western Europe.

The officials said the 2012 Shamoon virus attacks on Qatar’s RasGas and on the Saudi oil company Aramco — an attack then Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta called “probably the most destructive attack that the private sector has seen to date” — were traced to Iran.

Oil prices rose about 3 percent at midday on Monday, but remained far below their October high of $86 a barrel for the benchmark Brent crude.

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The Antichrist Controls Iraq’s Army

Western Iran is in its third week of grievous flooding. Coming to the aide, across the Iraqi border, are terrorists turned Iraqi troops, turned Rec Crescent aide workers. They answer not to the elected government in Baghdad, but to Iran’s ayatollah.

A convoy of 50 vehicles carrying Iraqi Nujaba and Shaabi pmu militia groups entered Iran, marking the first time Iraqi forces have entered Iran since the Iraqi invasion in 1980 ordered by Saddam Hussein. Afghan and Lebanese Shiite militias also joined the relief efforts.

Beginning three weeks ago, Iran’s “Army Ground Force, the irgc [Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps] and Basij have deployed forces, heavy military machinery, aircraft and boats to the disaster zones,” reported irgc-controlled Tasnim News Agency. On April 12, Iran’s ambassador to Iraq, Iraj Masjedi, confirmed that hundreds of Popular Mobilization Units (pmu) militiamen joined Iranian forces in providing aide. The pmu is an Iraqi, state-sponsored, majority-Shiite, umbrella organization composed of about 40 militia groups. Its original purpose was to combat the emergence of the Islamic State. Now, the organization has become equivalent in power to the actual Iraqi military.

It appears these Iraqi militias responded at the request of Maj. Gen. Qassem Suleimani, commander of the irgc Quds Force. Suleimani, who reports directly to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has been Iran’s instrument in bringing Iraq under Iran’s control. He usually oversees all irgc operations outside the country, but on April 5, the irgc announced that he will be overseeing the relief efforts for the next month.

However, these Shiite fighters from Iraq acted without permission from the Iraqi government. In fact, the government didn’t even know these forces were leaving the country. That is because Iran controls much of the pmu, even though it is now part of the Iraqi military.

Some Iraqi leaders were upset that the Iraqi soldiers were helping in Iran, while Iraq itself suffers from the same flooding. “Since there are those who have provided relief to affected areas in Iran, it is our duty to intensify our efforts to provide relief to our people in Iraq,” Sadrist Movement leader Muqtada al-Sadr said on Twitter, adding that “Iraqis come first.”

How did this takeover happen?

In his free booklet The King of South, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry writes:

The U.S.’s removal of Saddam Hussein in 2003 opened the way for Iran to heavily infiltrate Iraq, providing armaments, financing and training to Shiite militias [pmu], sending thousands of operatives into the country and establishing economic ties with it. Moreover, the most powerful political party in Iraq is allied with Tehran. This could be a decisive factor in causing Iraq to fall under Iran’s control.

Again, this happened in 2014 when the Islamic State suddenly emerged from the shadows and began controlling entire cities and banks. Iran sent many of its highly trained officers into Iraq to train these various Shiite militias that were completely separate from the Iraqi government.

Hirsh Goodman, former vice president of the Jerusalem Post, writes in The Anatomy of Israel’s Survival: “The soldiers themselves may not be Iranian, though Iranian advisers were always there to help. Still, many of the men and all of the senior commanders of these units have been trained in Iran.”

Many of these Iraqi Shiite militias were backed by Iran, or even led by Suleimani himself, during Iraq’s war against the Islamic State. Since the Islamic State has largely been defeated, many of these pmu militiamen have either joined with the Iraqi military or became politicians and helped form the Fatah Alliance in 2018, the second largest political wing in Iraq’s parliament, which is also heavily controlled by Iran. Because of this history, these same militias retain their loyalty to Iran because in their eyes, if it wasn’t for Iran’s support, Iraq would have been conquered by the Islamic State. Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, head of the Shaabi pmu militia, which responded to Suleimani’s request, said that “the Iraqi people will never forget Iran’s support during their fight against Daesh [the Islamic State] and will side with the flood-affected people till the situation is normalized.”

Iran has hundreds of thousands of military personnel, so why invite foreign paramilitary groups and alleged terrorists to help? Reports indicate that the terrorist militias are not there simply to provide aide, but also to help deter rebellion.

Iran not only has significant control of parts of Iraq’s military and politics, but it also has considerable control of its various terrorist proxies throughout the region.

“Modern Islamic movements don’t believe in schools of jurisprudence,” stated Hassan al Turabi, a radical jihadist nicknamed “the Islamic Pope,” in 1994. “[T]hey don’t define themselves as Shia, or Sunni, or of this Sufi order of that Sufi order.” In other words, they are simply classified as radical Islamic terrorists. Though the U.S. does not officially recognize the pmu as a terrorist organization, many know Iran is heavily involved in it. Michael Ledeen writes in The Iranian Time Bomb, “Iran says it wants stability in Iraq, but it isn’t so; the mullahcracy supports the terrorists.”

Iran virtually controls Iraq and several regional proxies. Mr. Flurry declared that Iran is “the king over radical Islam.” In The King of the South, he continues: “Since the early 1990s, we have believed and taught that Iran would lead the radical Islamist world and be the king of the south. Today, Iran is ‘king’ in the Middle East.”

How could the Trumpet know this nearly three decades ago? It is because our forecast is based on Bible prophecy. Daniel 11 foretold of a mighty “king of the south” that would rise up in the last days before the return of Christ and “push” its power, influence and terror throughout the Middle East and eventually against Europe. Iran’s control of radical terrorist organizations and its position as the number one state-sponsor of terrorism is a key aspect of that “push.”

For proof that radical Islam, led by Iran, is this prophesied “king of the south,” request your free copy of The King of the South.

Trump Intent on Pushing Iran Into War (Revelation 6:6)

Trump administration announces all countries importing Iranian oil will be subject to US sanctions

By Devan Cole and Kylie Atwood, CNN

Updated 11:44 AM EDT, Mon April 22, 2019

Washington (CNN) The Trump administration announced Monday that all countries that continue to import Iranian oil will be subject to US sanctions.

In a statement, the White House said President Donald Trump “has decided not to reissue” waivers regarding sanctions against countries importing Iranian oil when the waivers expire “in early May.” The exact deadline is May 2.

This decision is intended to bring Iran’s oil exports to zero, denying the regime its principal source of revenue,” the statement from White House press secretary Sarah Sanders read.

The development was first reported by The Washington Post.

Speaking Monday at a press conference, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said “the goal remains simple: to deprive the outlaw regime of the funds it had used to destabilize the Middle East for four decades and incentivize Iran to behave like a normal country.”

Noting that oil is “the regime’s No. 1 source of cash,” Pompeo said that prior to the implementation of US sanctions, Iran was generating “as much as $50 billion annually,” from oil exports, but that the department estimates the sanctions have “denied the regime well north of $10 million.”

“How long we remain there — at zero — depends solely on the Islamic Republic (of) Iran’s senior leaders,” he added.

“We have made our demands very clear to the ayatollah and his cronies: end your pursuit of nuclear weapons, stop testing and proliferating ballistic missiles, stop sponsoring and committing terrorism, halt the arbitrary detention of US citizens. Our pressure is aimed at ending these and others and it will continue to accelerate until Iran is willing to address them at the negotiating table,” Pompeo said.

Countries that continue to import Iranian oil in large amounts include India, China, South Korea, Japan and Turkey. Ahead of today’s announcement South Korean officials told CNN that they had struggled with the US demand because their oil refineries are specifically setup to process crude oil from Iran.

Pompeo also said Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have agreed to “ensure an appropriate supply (of oil) for the markets” in order to make up for the loss of Iranian oil in the global market.

“I can confirm that each of those suppliers are working directly with Iran’s former customers to make the transition away from Iranian crude less disruptive,” he said.

After the announcement from the US, Saudi Arabia’s Oil Minister Khalid al-Falih said the country will coordinate with other oil producers “to ensure the availability of enough oil supplies for consumers and to ensure global oil markets are not knocked off balance.”

The US will also aid the dearth in supply, Pompeo said. The US produced 1.6 million more barrels of oil in 2018 than in 2017, and is on track to increase production in 2019 as well.

But given the ongoing crises in both Venezuela and Libya, which are two major oil supplying countries, there are fears that the US decision will make the oil market more unstable

When asked about the spike in oil process on Monday — as Brent crude prices surged more than 3% to the highest price seen all year — and if the US expects that spike to level out, the State Department would not give a direct answer.

Francis Fannon, the Assistant Secretary in the State Department’s Bureau of Energy Resources, explained that “it is hard to conflate” the Trump administration’s announcement with other factors such as OPEC planning to curtail production. “There’s lots of reasons in terms of what effects oil markets.”

The announcement comes nearly one year after Trump announced the US was withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been the most vocal proponent of Trump’s actions against Iran, praised the move Monday.

“The decision of President Trump and the American administration is of great importance to increase the pressure on the terror regime of Iran,” Netanyahu said in a statement. “We stand by the determination of the United States against the Iranian aggression and this is the right way to stop it.”

Not everyone is in full support of the Trump administration’s muscular posture towards Iran and some worry that the administration is trying to incite a revolution to overthrow the Iranian regime.

On Monday Pompeo said that the US has “not supported any outside group” — such as the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, known as the MEK. The Trump administration is supporting the Iranian people, he added.

However, last week Pompeo did not issue a firm denial when he was asked if the Trump administration was seeking a military confrontation with Iran, within the contours of the Authorization to Use Military Force legislation. Instead, he left the door slightly ajar.

“The United States and President Trump will act lawfully. He’ll act within his authorities,” Pompeo said. “Article 2 gives broad powers, the AUMF gives a set of broad powers, but they are — we understand them.”

CNN’s Betsy Klein, Oren Liebermann and Sarah El Sirgany contributed to this report.

Pakistan and Iran Join Nuclear Horns (Daniel 8:8)

Pak PM visits Iran to discuss security, regional issues

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan arrived in Iran on Sunday to discuss security and regional issues, Iranian state TV reported, a day after Islamabad urged Tehran to act against militants behind killings in Pakistan’s Baluchistan province. A new umbrella group representing various insurgent groups operating in Baluchistan claimed responsibility for an attack on Thursday when 14 passengers were killed after being kidnapped from buses in the province, which borders Iran.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Saturday the training and logistical camps of the new alliance that carried out the attack were inside Iran and called for Iran to take action against the insurgents. Iranian TV said that Khan began his two-day visit to Iran, the first since he took office last August, with a stop in the northeastern holy Shi’ite city of Mashhad.

Khan will meet Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani, as well as other officials, in Tehran on Monday. “During the meetings, improving bilateral ties, border security, countering terrorism and regional issues will be discussed,” state TV said.

Relations between Iran and Pakistan have been strained in recent months, with both sides accusing each other of not doing enough to stamp out militants allegedly sheltering across the border. Shi’ite Muslim Iran says militant groups operate from safe havens in Pakistan and has repeatedly called on Islamabad to crack down on them.

Tehran has stepped up security along its long border with Pakistan after a suicide bomber killed 27 members of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards in mid-February in southeastern Iran, with Iranian officials saying the attackers were based inside Pakistan. The Sunni group Jaish al Adl (Army of Justice), which says it seeks greater rights and better living conditions for the ethnic Baloch minority, claimed responsibility for that attack.

India Prepares to Nuke Pakistan (Revelation 8)

India’s prime minister, currently on a campaign trail for re-election, is talking up nuclear war with neighboring Pakistan again. | Source: Shutterstock

India PM Outrageously Warns Pakistan of Nuclear War after Shocking Sri Lanka Attacks

Ben Brown

By India’s prime minister Narendra Modi doubled down on the nuclear threat against Pakistan this weekend. Speaking on the campaign trail for re-election, he told a packed crowd:

“India has stopped the policy of getting scared by Pakistan’s threats. Every day, [Pakistan] would make claims about having nuclear weapons. Even the media would bring out reports about Pakistan having nuclear weapons. So what do we have? Are we saving them (nuclear weapons) for Diwali?”

“Are We Saving Nukes For Diwali?”

Referring to India’s festival of lights, Diwali, Modi boasted that India’s 140 nuclear warheads are not just for a fireworks show. The comments come less than a week after Modi threatened Pakistan with the “mother of nuclear bombs.”

The incumbent prime minister is ramping up the nuclear threat during a tense election battle in India. Modi’s strong military rhetoric is seen by many as a bid to attract voters. Terrorism and India’s clashes with Pakistan have dominated headlines in the election run-up, and Modi is capitalizing on the fears.

290 Killed in Terrorist Attack in Neighboring Sri Lanka

On the same day, Modi mourned the “bloody game” played by terrorists in neighboring Sri Lanka, where at least 290 were slaughtered in vicious suicide attacks. Modi proclaimed himself the only candidate that could eliminate terrorism from the region.

“In our neighboring Sri Lanka, terrorists have played a bloody game. They killed innocent people… Can you think of any name other than ‘Modi’ who can eliminate terrorism?”

Many on social media have criticized Modi for using terrorist activity and nuclear threats as a ploy to galvanize Indian voters.

Growing Tensions With Pakistan and Terrorism

Tensions have flared between India and Pakistan in recent months after terrorists killed at least 40 Indians in February. Pakistan-based terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) claimed responsibility for the attack.

Modi responded by launching airstrikes over the border aimed at Pakistani terrorist camps. A tense arms race has since broken out with military aggression from both sides.

In the most recent exchange, Modi told Pakistan:

“We have the mother of nuclear bombs. I decided to tell [Pakistan], do whatever you want to do but we will retaliate… It is now Pakistan’s turn to weep.”

How Real is India’s Nuclear Threat?

India has up to 140 nuclear warheads according to estimates by the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists:

“India is estimated to have produced enough military plutonium for 150 to 200 nuclear warheads, but has likely produced only 130 to 140.”

India’s is also in the process of updating its nuclear arsenal with a view to launching them via air, sea, and land.

“India continues to modernize its nuclear arsenal, with at least five new weapon systems now under development to complement or replace existing nuclear-capable aircraft, land-based delivery systems, and sea-based systems.”

For now, it remains unclear whether Modi’s nuclear threats against Pakistan are genuine or just empty election rhetoric.