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

Image result for 1755 massachusetts earthquakeThe 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

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.

Hamas Calls for Violence Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

Hamas Rally in the Gaza Strip, Screen Capture, AP

Hamas’ Anti-Semitism Publicly Exposed After Leader Urges Palestinians to Kill ‘Every Jew’ 

Emily Jones

JERUSALEM, Israel – The Hamas terror group in Gaza is attempting to salvage its public image after one of its leading members was caught on camera telling Palestinians to “attack every Jew on planet earth.”

In a statement on their website, Hamas said: “These remarks do not reflect the official stances of Hamas and its policy…our struggle is only against the Israeli occupation which occupies our land and desecrates our holy places.”

On Friday, the Middle East Media Research Institute released footage of Hamas official Fathi Hamad urging Palestinians to murder Jews everywhere.

“If you don’t lift the siege, we will explode in the faces of our enemies, Allah willing,” said Hamad according to MEMRI. “And the explosion won’t just be in Gaza – it will also be in the West Bank and abroad, Allah willing. Our brothers abroad are still preparing. They are warming up.”

“Oh, you seven million Palestinians abroad, enough warming up! There are Jews everywhere! We must attack every Jew on planet Earth – we must slaughter and kill them, with Allah’s help. Enough warming up!” added Hamad.

The racist and anti-Semitic threats were condemned by Palestinian Liberation Organization Secretary-General Saeb Erekat.

“The just values of the Palestinian cause include love for freedom, justice and equality. The repugnant statement of Hamas leader Mr. Fathi Hamad about Jews doesn’t represent any of them,” Erekat tweeted on Monday. “Religion shouldn’t be used for political purposes.”

UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Nickolay Mladenov also condemned Hamas on Twitter.

“A dangerous, repugnant and inciteful statement! It must to be clearly condemned by ALL. There can be no complacency with such rhetoric. Ever! “ Mladenov tweeted.

Although Hamas says Hamad’s words do not represent their values, their charter published in 1988 calls for the murder of Jews and contains numerous anti-Semitic references.

The charter quotes a saying by Mohammed in the Hadiths:

“The Day of Judgment will not come until Muslims fight the Jews, when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say, ‘O Muslim, O servant of God, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.’ Only the Gharkad tree would not do that, because it is one of the trees of the Jews.”

The charter also compared Jews to Nazis and calls for Muslims to wage jihad against them.

Hamas changed its charter in 2017 to soften its image. It removed much of its explicitly anti-Semitic language.

Israel Prime Minister said at the time that Hamas “is attempting to fool the world but it will not succeed.”

Exporting Nuclear Technology From Babylon the Great to Iran

3 Iranians charged with exporting tons of substance used in missiles, nuclear centrifuges

July 16, 2019, 2:09 PM MDT

Federal prosecutors in New York have charged three Iranians with illegally exporting “many tons” of carbon fiber, a controlled material with military and nuclear uses, to Iran.

Geoffrey S. Berman, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced the charges Tuesday following the successful extradition of one of the three, Behzad Pourghannad, from Germany on Monday.

The other two defendants, Ali Reza Shokri and Farzin Faridmanesh, remain at large, according to federal authorities.

Carbon fiber is critical to two technologies related to nuclear proliferation. It is used in the fabrication of nose cones for long-range missiles and the manufacture of the rotors in the centrifuges that enrich uranium. Iran is prohibited from acquiring carbon fiber under the provisions of U.S. sanctions against the nation.

According to the indictment unsealed in White Plains federal court, the three defendants, operating out of Iran, acquired “many tons” of carbon fiber between 2008 and 2013 from an unidentified U.S. broker and shipped it to Iran through third countries. The material was falsely described as “acrylic” in export documents, authorities said.

The indictment does not specify how much carbon fiber made it to Iran, but stated that In late 2007 and early 2008, Shokri and a Turkey-based co-conspirator “successfully arranged” for the illegal export and transshipment of carbon fiber from the U.S. through Europe and the United Arab Emirates to Iran.

Shokri is charged with the procurement of carbon fiber. Pourghannad is accused of financing the transactions, and Faridmanesh is charged with the transshipment.

In a statement, Berman said, “Carbon fiber has many aerospace and defense applications, and is strictly controlled to ensure that it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. Pourghannad and his co-defendants allegedly went to great lengths to circumvent these controls and the United States’ export laws. Together with our law enforcement partners, we will continue to protect our nation’s assets and protect our national security.”

“Iran remains determined to acquire U.S. technology with military applications, and the FBI is just as determined to stop such illegal activity,” added Assistant FBI Director John Brown, who is with the bureau’s counterintelligence division.

Pourghannad was arrested May 3, 2017, in Germany and extradited to the U.S., arriving Monday. He made his first court appearance Tuesday in White Plains federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Judith C. McCarthy.

Pakistan Amps Up it’s Nuclear Program

Cash-starved Pakistan amps up its nuclear arsenal, to surpass India’s missile stockpile: Report

Even as Pakistan struggles to keep its economy afloat and avoid bankruptcy, the annual report of Rajnath Sing-led Ministry of Defence says that despite the Balakot airstrikes, Islamabad is continuing its anti-India operations and increasing its nuclear stockpile. A Times of India story quoting the defence ministry report said that there has been no change in Pakistan’s stance. In fact, it is ‘persistently’ targeting India. Though there has been a considerable dip in the cross-border terrorism, the key narrative of Pakistan’s India policy remains same. The defence ministry’s report is concurrent with what a global watchdog reported in its assessment of Pakistan’s nuclear aspirations.

According to a column in the ‘Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’, Pakistan is ahead of India in terms of nuclear arsenal. At present, Pakistan has 140-150 warheads. Whereas, India has just 130-140 warheads. “Analysis of a large number of commercial satellite images of Pakistani army garrisons and air force bases shows what appear to be mobile launchers and underground facilities that might be related to nuclear forces,” the ‘Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ report said. If the trend continues, by 2025, Pakistan will have around 220 nuclear warheads. It should be noted that India, Israel, and Pakistan never signed the NPT and possess nuclear arsenals. A report by the Arms Control Association, Pakistan has lowered the threshold for nuclear weapons use by developing tactical nuclear weapons capabilities to counter perceived Indian conventional military threats.

China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, and the United States have been officially recognised as possessing nuclear weapons by the NPT. The treaty legitimises these states’ nuclear arsenals, but establishes they are not supposed to build and maintain such weapons in perpetuity.

The alarming trend shows that Pakistan has not shifted its focus from nuclear arsenal to economic crisis. Imran Khan government is battling the worst financial crisis. On July 3, the IMF had approved the crucial bailout, saying it would help reduce public debt and expand social spending. Pakistan faces dangerously low foreign reserves, a tax base of barely 1 per cent of its population, crushing trade deficits and a hefty defence budget.

How Iraq Is Helping the Iran Horn Survive (Daniel 8)

How Iraq Is Helping Iran Survive US Sanctions

By Yigal Chazan

Iran is attempting to ease the economic pain of US sanctions by developing closer economic ties with its neighbor Iraq, which could leave America’s fragile Middle East ally falling increasingly under Iranian influence.

Iraq sees itself as a regional economic hub, establishing good trading relations with all its neighbors, and has stressed that it does not want to be part of any international or regional axes. Yet Tehran’s growing commercial relations with Baghdad may strengthen the Iranians’ already significant political leverage.

Sweeping US sanctions against Iran imposed last year after Washington’s withdrawal from the international nuclear agreement – which granted Tehran sanctions relief in exchange for curbing its atomic energy program – have caused considerable harm to Iranian finances.

The US was critical of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action for failing to address Iran’s ballistic missile program and “malign influence” across the Middle East. But the Trump administration’s ability to pressure Iran into addressing these issues as part of a renegotiation of the nuclear deal may be hindered by gaps in its sanctions regime.

For Tehran, Iraq’s dependence on Iranian gas, electricity, refined petroleum products and non-energy exports generates revenue streams that help it to limit at least some of the economic damage resulting from American trade and investment restrictions. Washington cannot do much to reduce Baghdad’s reliance on its neighbor. Pressuring it to do so risks destabilizing the politically volatile country, just as it recovers from the devastation wrought by Islamic State.

America has little option but to continue extending sanctions waivers for Iraqi purchases of Iranian electricity and gas to supply its generators because of the poor condition of Iraq’s power-generation facilities. The US wants Baghdad to wean itself off Iranian energy, but Iraqi officials say it could take several years to find alternative sources. It may take just as long to fix the country’s electricity infrastructure.

The critical importance of Iranian energy was underlined last summer when Iraq’s failure to pay its bills prompted Iran temporarily to shut off supplies, leaving many Iraqis with limited air conditioning as temperatures soared. The suspension contributed in part to rioting in the oil-rich yet impoverished Basra region, where locals also protested over corruption and the lack of drinking water and jobs.

Overall, bilateral trade between the two countries is growing. Valued at $12 billion, three quarters comprised Iranian exports for the period March 2018 to March 2019 – a year-on-year increase of 36 per cent. The sanctions-induced fall in the value of the rial has contributed to the rise by making Iranian goods cheaper.

Tehran is hopeful that bilateral trade could increase to $20 billion in the coming years. Iraq is Iran’s second-biggest non-oil export destination after China, with Iranian merchants reportedly seeing Iraq as potentially replacing Dubai as a conduit through which their international trade could be channelled. Indeed, the Iraqi president Barham Saleh has spoken of his country becoming “the heart of a new Silk Route to the Mediterranean.”

Planned Iraqi-Iranian projects aimed at boosting commercial links include the setting up of industrial parks along their borders; the development of the Naft Shahr and Khorramshahr natural gas fields; the dredging of Shatt al-Arab waterway to facilitate shipping and provide clean water for Basra province; and the linking of the Iraqi and Iranian railway networks as part of a wider plan to enable Iran to transport goods to Syria and its Mediterranean ports.

In order to ensure economic cooperation does not run the risk of violating American sanctions, the two countries are reportedly setting up a non-dollar payment system similar to Europe’s special purpose vehicle, INSTEX, established to allow European companies to do business in Iran without incurring US penalties. Iranian conservatives are said to be pressing their government to rely more on Iraq than the Europeans. Tehran appears to be losing hope in the latter engaging, with good reason – the risks of being penalized by the US are too high for many.

Washington is no doubt monitoring Iran-Iraq business ties closely for sanctions infractions, recently penalizing a Baghdad-based company for allegedly trafficking hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of weapons to Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)-backed Iraqi militias.  Last year, an Iraq-based bank was sanctioned for alleged involvement in the funneling money on behalf of the IRGC to Iranian-backed Hezbollah in Lebanon.  Iraq does not want to put its relations with the US at risk by serving as a sanctions-busting front for Iran, notably informing the Iranians that the planned joint railway project must be under Iraqi supervision and cannot be used to break the US embargo.

Yet the Iraqi government may struggle to curb commercial links with sanctioned entities in Iran given that the pro-Tehran Fatah Alliance, representing Iranian-backed Iraqi militias, the Popular Mobilisation Units, which played a critical role in defeating ISIS, is the second-largest group in the Iraqi parliament. Significantly, a spokesman for Fatah condemned the US decision in April to sanction the IRGC.

For the US, there is also the risk that if it were to escalate its conflict with Iran, Tehran might enlist its allies in Iraq to trigger a proxy war against American interests, unraveling efforts to stabilize the country. In May, as tension between Washington and Tehran rose over attacks on Saudi oil tankers and energy infrastructure, non-essential US diplomatic staff in the country were evacuated. Days later, a rocket hit a government compound in the center of Baghdad where foreign government offices, including the US embassy, are based.

Iraqi politicians are divided over the country’s ties with Iran. Fatah’s rival is Sairoon, part of the largest coalition in parliament, led by the nationalist cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who is vehemently opposed to both American and Iranian influence in the country. But given the strong likelihood that US sanctions against Tehran will deepen, Iran will probably look to expand its economic ties with Iraq to offset the impact of the embargo. And given the poor state of its economy, Baghdad would be in no position to resist.

At present, the Iraqi government is trying to remain as even-handed as possible in its dealings with the US and Iran, though in time greater reliance on the latter may tip the balance of power in Iraq in favor of pro-Iranian factions, especially if the US penalizes more Iraqi companies for breaking the Iran embargo and restricts, or ends, its sanctions waivers.

 

Yigal Chazan is the head of content at Alaco, a London-based business intelligence consultancy. The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect Geopoliticalmonitor.com or any institutions with which the author is associated.

Pakistan Horn Relentlessly Grows (Daniel 8:8)

Pakistan Relentlessly Expanding Nuclear Arsenal, May Have More Warheads Than India: Report

Pakistan’s Shaheen-III missile (Representative Image) (Pak-Egale/Wikimedia Commons)

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has said that despite facing a financial crisis, Pakistan is “relentlessly” expanding its armed forces as well as nuclear and missile capabilities, reports Times of India.

According to the report, the MoD in its latest annual report asserts that after the Imran Khan government came to office in August last year, the Pakistani Army has further consolidated its position as the “institution driving Pakistan’s foreign security and defence policies”.

The MoD’s assertion about the rapidly-increasing nuclear and missile arsenals of Pakistan comes in the wake of international assessments that Islamabad now has 140-150 nuclear warheads as compared to India’s 130-140.

In its report, the MoD said that there were global concerns regarding proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their delivery systems. The proliferation of such weapons pose a serious danger to international security, MoD noted.

“WMD terrorism will remain a potent threat as long as there are terrorists seeking to gain access to relevant materials and technologies for malicious purposes,” MoD said.

The MoD report also slammed Pakistani Army for its active support to anti-India terrorist organisations and said, “It has avoided taking action against jihadi and internationally proscribed terror outfits that target its neighbours,”

“Support to such groups persists. Such outfits continue to be encouraged to infiltrate into India under the cover of the massive cross Line of Control and cross-border firing in Jammu and Kashmir and other areas throughout the year,” it added.

Iran Continues to Nuke Up (Daniel 8:4)

Khamenei: Iran to keep rolling back nuclear commitments

By Afp 08:19 EDT 16 Jul 2019, updated 08:20 EDT 16 Jul 2019

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei gestures to the crowd during a ceremony attended by clerics in the capital Tehran

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Tuesday that the Islamic republic will keep rolling back its commitments under the landmark 2015 nuclear deal.

“You did not carry out a single one (of your commitments), why do you want us to stick to our commitments?” Khamenei said, criticising European countries which are party to the deal.

“We have just started to decrease our commitments (in the deal) and this process will certainly continue,” he said in a speech in Tehran partly aired on state television.

Iran-US tensions have soared since last year when President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the hard-won 2015 nuclear deal and reimposed sanctions on the Islamic republic.

Angered that its beleaguered economy is not receiving sanctions relief it believes was promised under the deal, Iran has intensified its sensitive uranium enrichment work.

Iran announced last week that it had enriched uranium past the 3.67 percent limit set by the nuclear deal, and it has also surpassed the 300-kilogram cap on enriched uranium reserves.

European parties to the deal have called on Iran to return to its commitments under the deal.

On Sunday, President Hassan Rouhani said Iran had changed its strategy from one of “patience to that of retaliation”.

“If they decrease then we too shall decrease our commitments (in the deal)… If they fully implement their commitments than we too shall fully implement ours,” he said, quoted by the government website dolat.ir.

Tensions have since soared, with the US calling off air strikes against Iran at the last minute after Tehran downed an American drone, and Washington blaming Tehran for a series of attacks on tanker ships.

On July 4, British forces helped Gibraltar authorities detain an Iranian tanker which US officials said had been trying to deliver oil to Syria in violation of separate sets of EU and US sanctions — claims denied by Iran.

In his speech on Tuesday, Khamenei vowed to retaliate against the British for the ship’s seizure.

“The vicious British… have committed piracy and stolen our ship… God willing the Islamic republic will not leave these vicious acts unanswered,” he said.

Impending Eruption Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

Palestinians on the Israeli border near Gaza City face tear gas fired by Israeli forces to disperse them during the latest Hamas-initiated ‘March of Return’ protest. (Ali Jadallah/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Officials: Gaza Strip Powder Keg Nearing Eruption

Charles Bybelezer

07/14/2019

Two rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip toward Israel over the weekend after thousands of Palestinians rioted along the security fence as part of an initiative dubbed “No Negotiation, No Conciliation, No Recognition of the [Israeli] Entity.” The renewed tensions – which prompted Israel to deploy additional Iron Dome anti-missile defense batteries to the South – comes despite a loosely defined cease-fire forged earlier this year between Israel and Hamas that prevented a fourth full-blown conflict over the past decade. It also comes on the backdrop of a major flare-up in May, when Gaza-based groups launched some 700 projectiles at Israeli towns and cities, to which the Israel Defense Forces responded by striking hundreds of targets in the coastal enclave, the army’s largest operation since the 50-day war against Hamas and others in the Gaza Strip in 2014. The latest rocket fire was apparent retaliation for the IDF’s killing of a Hamas member during border protests last week, an act the military called a “misunderstanding,” as the targeted individual was reportedly trying to prevent youths from penetrating into Israeli territory. Meanwhile, Egypt dispatched a delegation to Gaza in a bid to restore calm, even as Hamas was threatening to escalate the situation while blaming Jerusalem for failing to abide by the terms of the truce agreement. Whereas Hamas is demanding a total end to the blockade on Gaza, Israel has reportedly offered to ease restrictions on the flow of goods into the enclave – including tens of millions of dollars in Qatari cash – and green-lighted additional development projects there.