1884 A Forewarning Of The Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

The Coney Island earthquake of 1884

New York City isn’t immune to earthquakes; a couple of small tremors measuring about 2.5 on the Richter scale even struck back in 2001 and 2002.

But on August 10, 1884, a more powerful earthquake hit. Estimated from 4.9 to 5.5 in magnitude, the tremor made houses shake, chimneys fall, and residents wonder what the heck was going on, according to a New York Times article two days later.

The quake was subsequently thought to have been centered off Far Rockaway or Coney Island.

It wasn’t the first moderate quake, and it won’t be the last. In a 2008 Columbia University study, seismologists reported that the city is crisscrossed with several fault lines, one along 125th Street. 

With that in mind, New Yorkers should expect a 5.0 or higher earthquake centered here every 100 years, the seismologists say.

Translation: We’re about 30 years overdue. Lucky for us the city adopted earthquake-resistant building codes in 1995.

Russia’s Growing Nuclear Horn (Daniel 7)


Russia has unveiled its latest nuclear-powered submarine, a vessel capable of launching a newly-designed weapon of mass destruction said capable of traveling thousands of miles underwater at high speeds.

The Sevmash Shipyard, located at the northern White Sea port city of Severodvinsk, floated out the Project 09852 special-purpose nuclear-powered submarine Belgorod on Tuesday. The vessel has been slated as the carrier for the Poseidon unmanned underwater vehicle, as per official reports from the Russian Defense Ministry.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who spoke at the slipway ceremony via television link, thanked researchers and hailed recent improvement’s in his country’s maritime might.

“You are proving that you can solve the most difficult, ambitious tasks,” Putin said. “I am sure that this will continue in the future and, through joint efforts, we will certainly increase the status of Russia as a great maritime power.”

The Poseidon was deemed a “doomsday weapon” by the Pentagon back when the drone-bearing torpedo was still known as the Status-6 Oceanic Multipurpose System. Experts have warned the weapon could be used to cause artificial tsunamis that would prove dangerous for coastal cities.

The weapon was officially confirmed by Putin himself during his March 2018 State of the Nation address, where he touted work on “unmanned submersible vehicles that can move at great depths — I would say extreme depths — intercontinentally, at a speed multiple times higher than the speed of submarines, cutting-edge torpedoes and all kinds of surface vessels, including some of the fastest.”

“It is really fantastic,” he said at the time. “They are quiet, highly maneuverable and have hardly any vulnerabilities for the enemy to exploit. There is simply nothing in the world capable of withstanding them.”

Sea trials reportedly began in December and were said by Putin to be going successfullyduring this year’s State of the Nation talk in February. The Russian leader also briefed his parliament on progress regarding other state-of-the-art arms such as the RS-28 Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile, the Avangard hypersonic boost-glide vehicle, the Kinzhal hypersonic air-launched missile and the Peresvet laser system.

As for the Belgorod itself, Vice Admiral Andrei Volozhinsky, chief of the main staff of Russia’s navy, called the submarine “a vessel, that with its amazing properties, will guarantee the security of the motherland,” according to a press release.

More Russian Talks Won’t Stop the Inevitable (Revelation 16)

An intercontinental ballistic missile at a military parade in Moscow, May 9, 2017.PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

More Russian Talks Likely Won’t Stop a Nuclear War

Limiting our and Russia’s nuclear forces will only encourage hawks in Beijing to similarly strive for strategic advantage on the cheap, ironically making the world a more dangerous place, not less.

April 21, 2019 2:27 p.m. ET

Regarding George P. Shultz, William J. Perry and Sam Nunn’s “The Threat of Nuclear War Is Still With Us” (op-ed, April 11): The authors’ call for greater bilateral cooperation between the U.S. and Russia in reducing nuclear uncertainty ignores the elephant—or rather the dragon—in the room. Any future arms control agreement limiting nuclear weapons and their delivery means is pointless if it doesn’t impose reciprocal limits on China’s growing arsenal. Beijing has shown with its extraordinary theater tactical missile buildup how to gain regional advantage by exploiting INF treaty limits imposed only on the U.S. and Russia.

Limiting our and Russia’s nuclear forces will only encourage hawks in Beijing to similarly strive for strategic advantage on the cheap, ironically making the world a more dangerous place, not less.

Carl Graham

Honolulu, Hawaii

It’s disheartening to read such eminent statesmen issue bromides about the risks of nuclear war and the need for serious negotiations with Russia to reduce the risk, without even a word about the recent decision by the Trump administration to leave the intermediate nuclear treaty due to Russian cheating. Cheating is a big issue.

The Children Imprisoned Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

andlun1 / Flickr

Gaza is a children’s prison

There are one million children living in Gaza, trapped and under fire. By Omar Aziz

Remember the story of Abdul-Rahman Nofal, the aspiring 12-year-old striker playing football with his cousins when an Israeli sniper obliterated his left leg last April?

Or the story of Mohammed Abu-Hussain, the 13-year-old whose father was killed by an Israeli rocket in 2006, whose younger brother was shot in the leg on the first day of the Great March of Return, and on June 29th was shot himself in the right leg by Israeli sniper resulting in an amputation above the knee?

Or the story of Wisal Sheikh-Khalil, the 14-year-old girl described by her family as ‘sometimes dancing, sometimes fearless’, shot in the head by Israeli sniper on May 14th?

Perhaps you have, or perhaps these names are new to you. Either way you will never get to know all the names and stories of the Palestinian children of Gaza because there are one million of them, each possessing their own stories of trauma and suffering. Stories of relatives and friends who have been killed, stories of family members who have been maimed and injured for life, and the stories of war planes raining down terror in the night.

The latest demographic statistics from Gaza will show what medics, aid workers and journalists have long been aware of. That Gaza has an overwhelmingly young population, in fact so young that the majority of its population may well now be children.

In 2016, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics stated children constituted 49.6% of the population of the Gaza Strip, with slightly less across the Occupied Palestinian Territories as a whole. The median age being 17-years-old. If we consider that Gaza has a population growth rate of 3% a year, among the highest in the world, very shortly if not already over 50% of Gaza’s population will be under 18-years-old. With accurate statistic gathering in Gaza understandably being a difficult endeavour.

What does this tell us about Israel’s 12-year siege on the enclave? It tells us Israel’s collective punishment on Palestinians in Gaza is not primarily affecting Hamas operatives, armed combatants or even unemployed men and women, but that it overwhelmingly affects children.

Children whose memories are confined to the geographical limits of the boundary fence and sea blockade. Over 40% of Palestinians in Gaza are under 15-years-old. Children whose memories force them to relive Israel’s industrial military campaigns against them: 2008 Operation Cast Lead, 2012 Operation Pillar of Defense and 2014 Operation Protective Edge. With such massacres dubbed regularly as ‘mowing the lawn’ by Israeli politicians such as Naftali Bennett.

Children whose daily lives are shaped by Israel’s siege, ‘putting them on a diet’, in the words of Israeli advisor Dov Weissglass, where 80% of Palestinians in Gaza rely on the UN for basic aid, where 96% of water is undrinkable and electricity limited to a few hours a day. In the 7-week massacre of 2014 alone, 1 in every 1000 Palestinian in Gaza was slaughtered, stealing the lives of 546 children, damaging 252 schools and destroying 7.

In light of this demographic truth, what does it say about Israel’s legal commitment to protect all children? In 1991 Israel ratified the UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child which stipulates all children have the fundamental rights to life, survival and development, protection from violence and an education that enables children to fulfil their potential. But Israel protects the rights of Palestinian children in Gaza as much as it protects the collective rights of the Palestinians it controls; it does not.

By fragmenting the Palestinian people into different political and legal domains across the West Bank, Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem, Israel itself, and those exiled as refugees abroad and by subjecting them to differential and oppressive treatment in each, Israel operates a regime of apartheid designed to protect the demographic balance of Israel as a Jewish state and designed to ensure the dominance of Israeli Jews.

Meaning Palestinian children in Gaza are not the only children to be suffering at the hands of Israel’s oppression; Israel’s regime of apartheid and settler-colonialism oppresses Palestinian children across the Occupied Palestinian Territories and beyond.

In Israel itself, Palestinian schools receive almost six times less funding per child than schools for Jewish students as they are ineligible for funding from Zionist institutions. They go on to face discrimination in the job market and are subject to Israel’s 65 racist laws.

By denying Palestinians the right to return to Israel, whilst allowing unlimited and exclusive immigration for Jews, over 5 million Palestinian refugees must rely on the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for aid living in the West Bank, Gaza, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan, with over 1 million children requiring humanitarian assistance. Palestinian refugees, mostly children, live among 58 camps with conditions described by UNRWA as “generally poor, with high population density, cramped living conditions and inadequate basic infrastructure”.

In the West Bank, Israel’s apartheid subjects Palestinian children to discriminatory laws and practices; they are routinely denied their right to education when forced to wait at checkpoints; their classes can be disrupted by the Israeli military at any time; teenagers as young as 14 are incarcerated for years for throwing stones. Just last week armed soldiers intruded an elementary school to arrest a 9-year-old Palestinian boy for throwing stones. At the end of February 2019, 205 Palestinian minors were held in Israeli prisons, often interrogated without a lawyer and put into solitary confinement.

Clearly the oppression of Palestinian children at the hands of Israel is not isolated to the besieged enclave of Gaza alone, which is considered occupied under international law, but situated in a broader context of Israel’s dereliction of responsibility to protect those it occupies as stipulated under International Humanitarian Law.

How can Israel continue to profess a supposed commitment to peace when it subjects the future architects to any possible lasting stability to a controlled environment designed to incubate such trauma and desperation?

Since March 30 2018, more than 195 Palestinians have been killed in the Great March of Return protests, at least 41 of whom are children. In one of the world’s most densely populated areas where a majority of the population are children, clearly every bomb dropped, every high velocity sniper rifle fired, every tear gas canister launched, is done so in the knowledge that children are the likely recipients of gas inhalation, shrapnel and collateral damage. Subsequently, every weapon and piece of military technology bought and sold from Israel is done so with the knowledge that their ‘battle proven’ products have been tested on children and would be used against them in future.

Psychologists, sociologists and parents alike are right to value childhood as a precious period of innocence and vulnerability but also as a prophetic period where the environment may shape the future emotional and mental wellbeing of an individual. It is no wonder that Save the Children found 95% of Palestinian children interviewed in Gaza showed deep signs of psychological distress.

How can it be that children who would not even be eligible to vote in an election are the primary victims of a politically masterminded humanitarian nightmare? Where birds take flight children must remain in Gaza. In spite of this torturous environment and constant dehumanisation from Israeli politicians like justice minister Ayelet Shaked who recently labelled them ‘little snakes’, Palestinian children manage to go to school, have world leading literacy rates, form dance groups, parkour clubs, sing, produce art and profess a burning desire for a better life beyond the confines of their unjust prison.

Gaza Parkour Team via Caters News Agency

The fact children make up such a vast proportion of Gaza’s population obliterates popular myths about complicity of Palestinians in their calamitous fate in this war of narratives, and exposes how the Israeli military enterprise causes the most devastating effects on those universally deemed most innocent and most vulnerable.

It is not just a moral obligation, but a legal imperative to combat apartheid where it manifests. And so we must continue to call on governments to suspend all arms trade with Israel, encourage our institutions to commit to the non-violent boycott, divestment and sanctions movement and press our governments to call out Israel at international legal institutions, for if we do not protect the children of today we may lose the architects of any long lasting future peace.

If we have any chance in combating the intransigence of our global political elite, in shaking-up persistent apathy among our peers, and in penetrating through the haze of confusing narratives surrounding the situation in Gaza, it must surely be through this demographic fact; the siege of Gaza above anything else is a siege against children which must be lifted.

Omar Aziz is a Programme Officer at Palestine Community Foundation.

Iran and Pakistan Join Forces (Daniel 8:8)

Image result for rouhani and khanIran and Pakistan to form rapid reaction force at border: Rouhani

GENEVA (Reuters) – Iran and Pakistan will form a joint quick reaction force to combat militant activity on their shared border, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said on Monday during a televised news conference with Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan.

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.

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.

“We agreed to increase the security cooperation of the two countries, our border forces, our intelligence forces,” Rouhani said during the conference, which was broadcast live on state TV. “And also to form a joint quick reaction force on the border of the two countries for fighting terrorism.”

Khan said that militant activity at the border could be a source of tension.

“The most important reason why I’m here, Mr. President, is because I felt that the issue of terrorism was going to … increase differences between our countries,” Khan said during the joint press conference. “So it was very important for me to come here and come with our security chief that we resolve this issue.”

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.

Khan later met Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who said “enemies” backed unrest in border areas.

“The terrorist groups that are the source of insecurity on the border receive money and weapons from enemies and one of the aims of the unrest … is to poison the two countries’ relations,” state media quoted Khamenei as saying.

Iran has accused regional rival Saudi Arabia of funding armed rebels. Saudi Arabia has denied any involvement.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Saturday the training and logistical camps of the new alliance that carried out the attack were based inside Iran and called on Iran to take action against the insurgents.

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.

Separately, Rouhani said during the joint news conference that the Islamic Republic is ready to help with Pakistan’s oil and gas needs.

Reporting by Babak Dehghanpisheh, editing by Louise Heavens

We are on a Path to War with Iran

The Path to War with Iran Is Paved With Sanctions

Trump officials will cherry-pick information, package it, and amplify it across a willing echo chamber—exactly as the Bush administration did in the lead up to the Iraq war

Joseph Cirincione

The Trump administration is laying siege to Iran. Taking pages from the Iraq War playbook, senior officials paint a picture of a rogue, outlaw, terrorist regime bent on acquiring nuclear weapons and whose “malign activities” are the cause of all the chaos in the Middle East. They know what they are doing. They have done it before. They are building a case for war.

The “maximum pressure” campaign by the White House, Treasury Department, and State Department accelerated this week with the announcement that the United States would force China, India, Japan, South Korea, and Turkey to cease all imports of Iranian oil or face severe U.S. sanctions. The goal is to cut to zero all of Iran’s oil exports, which account for some 40 percent of its national income. This strategy is unlikely to force the capitulation or collapse of the regime, but it very likely could lead to war.

The United States has already reimposed all the nuclear-related sanctions lifted by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) that successfully rolled back and effectively froze Iran’s nuclear program and put it under the most stringent inspections ever negotiated. The goals of the sanctions announced April 22, however, go way beyond nuclear issues.

“We have made our demands very clear to the ayatollah and his cronies,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in remarks to the press Monday morning. “End your pursuit of nuclear weapons. Stop testing and proliferating ballistic missiles. Stop sponsoring and committing terrorism. Halt the arbitrary detention of U.S. citizens.”

All are worthy policy goals. The first, of course, has been met. The National Intelligence Estimate on Iran concluded that Iran ended its nuclear weapons program in 2003. There is no evidence that the program has restarted. Instead, in true Trumpian fashion, the administration simply asserts the counterfactual. It claims that the program has restarted, with slippery phrases about seeking weapons or  references to long-ended activities. The media, overloaded with the Mueller report and a daily cascade of lies, does not challenge these claims.

The Role of Bolton

It is no accident that National Security Advisor John Bolton, the man who declared unequivocally in November 2002, “We are confident that Saddam Hussein has hidden weapons of mass destruction and production facilities in Iraq,” is now the chief strategist behind the drive towards war—with Mike Pompeo happily riding shotgun.

Both are manipulating a distracted and largely uninformed president into a confrontation he may not actually want. Although Trump came into office promising to cancel the JCPOA painstakingly negotiated by the Obama administration and our allies, he was initially held in check by the united front of his military, intelligence, and diplomatic advisors.

Then, Trump ousted Rex Tillerson and replaced him with Mike Pompeo. He fired H.R. McMaster and appointed John Bolton. He accepted the resignation of Jim Mattis as secretary of defense and replaced him with a former Boeing executive more interested in contracts than policy. Bolton has had a clear field ever since. With minimal or no inter-agency discussion, Bolton quickly dispensed with the Iran accord, but he did not stop there.

  1. By Christmas 2018, Bolton had dismantled what remained of U.S.-Iran relations. The United States reinstated all sanctions on Iran that were previously lifted by the Iran accord, and the State Department pulled out of the 1955 Treaty of Amity between the United States and Iran, which provided a “legal framework for bilateral relations.” As a result, Iran’s currency hit a historic low and the country witnessed waves of economic protests. Bolton used his national platform to publicly send bellicose warnings to the regime with statements like, “If you cross us, our allies, or our partners…there will indeed be hell to pay.”

The Terrorism “Connection”

The “maximum pressure” campaign escalated in 2019. When terrorists attacked the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)—an official branch of Iran’s military—killing 27 and wounding 13, the State Department offered no condolences. When widespread flooding devastated Iranian cities and infrastructure, claiming 60 lives in one week, the United States faulted the regime for the “mismanagement that has led to this disaster.”

The campaign hit a crescendo on April 8, 2019—exactly one year to the day after Bolton’s appointment—with the unprecedented move of designating the IRGC a “Foreign Terrorist Organization.” It now appears alongside the Islamic State, al-Qaeda, and Boko Haram on this list. That day Pompeo delivered a statement to the press and public in which the words “terror,” “terrorism,” and “terrorist” appeared 21 times.

This designation brings at least the IRGC and perhaps the entire nation within arm’s reach of the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force, legislation originally written to provide a legal basis for the invasion of Afghanistan in the wake of 9/11. The 2001 AUMF gives the president wide scope for the unilateral use of force against any parties or individuals associated with the 9/11 attacks, a point not lost on Pompeo.

For over a year, the Trump administration, and Pompeo in particular, has been exaggerating the connection between Iran and al-Qaeda to claim legal justification for military action against Iran under the 2001 AUMF. In 2017, the CIA released additional records from the bin Laden files, ostensibly “to enhance public understanding of al-Qaeda.” Wrote former CIA analyst Ned Price:

But this release by Pompeo wasn’t about transparency. Pompeo is playing politics with intelligence, using these files in a ploy to bolster the case against Iran by reinvigorating the debate on its terrorist ties. While the politicization of intelligence is more than sufficient cause for concern, the fact that he appears to be returning to the Bush administration’s pre-Iraq war playbook underscores the danger. This effort reeks of former vice president Dick Cheney’s consistent false allegations of links between Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and the 9/11 attacks, a nexus the Bush administration debunked only after we had lost too much in blood and treasure.

Bolton, Pompeo, and their allies in and out of government continued to hype the Iran-al-Qaeda link. In May 2018, announcing the U.S. abrogation of the nuclear agreement, Trump made a point of saying that “Iran supports terrorist proxies and militias such as…al-Qaeda.” In a speech at the Heritage Foundation later that month, Pompeo said: “Today we ask the Iranian people: Is this what you want your country to be known for, for being a co-conspirator with Hezbollah, Hamas, the Taliban, and al-Qaeda?”

Experts have disparaged the administration’s claims, noting the longstanding hostility between Iran, a Shia-majority nation, and the radical Sunni group. A definitive New America study published in late 2018 found no evidence that Iran and al-Qaeda collaborated in carrying out terrorist attacks. That hasn’t stopped the administration from continuing the insinuations.

In testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Pompeo went out of his way to construct explicit connections between al-Qaeda and the IRGC with multiple statements like: “there is no doubt there is a connection between the Islamic Republic of Iran and Al-Qaeda. Period, full stop.”

Invoking the AUMF

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) zeroed in to the subtext of Pompeo’s repetitive al-Qaeda-Iran connections. If the administration determines a valid link between al-Qaeda and the Iranian government, it may be able to declare war on Iran by using the 2001 AUMF, bypassing Congress entirely. So, Senator Paul pressed Pompeo on that point, asking him if he believes that the 2001 AUMF applies to Iran or Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. Pompeo dodged the question: “I would prefer to leave that to the lawyers, Senator.” Neither Bolton nor Pompeo has yet provided a clear answer.

The administration’s plan is clear: keep beating the twin drums of terrorism and nuclear threat. Bolton and Pompeo will use both to justify more sanctions and more provocations. They have a highly disciplined, coordinated messaging strategy. They establish the following false claim, as Bolton did this January in a conversation with Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel: “Despite getting out of the Iran nuclear deal, despite the sanctions, we have little doubt that Iran’s leadership is still strategically committed to achieving deliverable nuclear weapons.” The claims are then echoed, as this one was in a Twitter video a few weeks later. And again by U.S. Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook, in a New York Times op-ed, demanding that Iran “behave like a normal, peaceful nation: end the pursuit of nuclear weapons, stop testing ballistic missiles, stop sponsoring terrorist proxies.” And again this week by Pompeo, in announcing the oil sanctions, when he demanded that Iran “end [its] pursuit of nuclear weapons.”

It does not matter that U.S. intelligence assessments—as well as Israeli intelligence and the International Atomic Energy Agency—confirm that Iran is complying with the JCPOA. Or that Saudi Arabia has likely funded al-Qaeda and other Sunni terrorist groups. Or that the US invasion of Iraq is the principle cause of Middle East chaos today. Trump officials will cherry-pick information, package it, and amplify it across a willing echo chamber—exactly as the Bush administration did in the lead up to the Iraq war.

The real question is whether America will fall for it again.