The Sixth Seal Is Past Due (Revelation 6:12)

https://www.cheatsheet.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/aftershock-640x484.png?044193 

by , 03/22/11

filed under: News

New York City may appear to be an unlikely place for a major earthquake, but according to history, we’re past due for a serious shake. Seismologists at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory say that about once every 100 years, an earthquake of at least a magnitude of 5.0 rocks the Big Apple. The last one was a 5.3 tremor that hit in 1884 — no one was killed, but buildings were damaged.

Any tremor above a 6.0 magnitude can be catastrophic, but it is extremely unlikely that New York would ever experience a quake like the recent 8.9 earthquake in Japan. A study by the Earth Observatory found that a 6.0 quake hits the area about every 670 years, and a 7.0 magnitude hits about every 3,400 years.

There are several fault lines in New York’s metro area, including one along 125th Street, which may have caused two small tremors in 1981 and a 5.2 magnitude quake in 1737. There is also a fault line on Dyckman Street in Inwood, and another in Dobbs Ferry in Westchester County. The New York City Area Consortium for Earthquake Loss Mitigationrates the chance of an earthquake hitting the city as moderate.

John Armbruster, a seismologist at the Earth Observatory, said that if a 5.0 magnitude quake struck New York today, it would result in hundreds of millions, possibly billions of dollars in damages. The city’s skyscrapers would not collapse, but older brick buildings and chimneys would topple, likely resulting in casualities.

The Earth Observatory is expanding its studies of potential earthquake damage to the city. They currently have six seismometers at different landmarks throughout the five boroughs, and this summer, they plan to place one at the arch in Washington Square Park and another in Bryant Park.

Won-Young Kim, who works alongside Armbuster, says his biggest concern is that we can’t predict when an earthquake might hit. “It can happen anytime soon,” Kim told the Metro. If it happened tomorrow, he added, “I would not be surprised. We can expect it any minute, we just don’t know when and where.”

Armbuster voiced similar concerns to the Daily News. “Will there be one in my lifetime or your lifetime? I don’t know,” he said. “But this is the longest period we’ve gone without one.”

Via Metro and NY Daily News

Images © Ed Yourdon

Babylon the Great’s New Nuclear Doctrine (Revelation 16)

North Korean ballistic missiles. The document said nuclear weapons could ‘create conditions for decisive results and the restoration of strategic stability’.
 North Korean ballistic missiles. The document said nuclear weapons could ‘create conditions for decisive results and the restoration of strategic stability’. Photograph: STR/AFP/Getty Images

 

US joint chiefs of staff posted then removed paper that suggests nuclear weapons could ‘create conditions for decisive results’

The Pentagon believes using nuclear weapons could “create conditions for decisive results and the restoration of strategic stability”, according to a new nuclear doctrine adopted by the US joint chiefs of staff last week.

The document, entitled Nuclear Operations, was published on 11 June, and was the first such doctrine paper for 14 years. Arms control experts say it marks a shift in US military thinking towards the idea of fighting and winning a nuclear war – which they believe is a highly dangerous mindset.

“Using nuclear weapons could create conditions for decisive results and the restoration of strategic stability,” the joint chiefs’ document says. “Specifically, the use of a nuclear weapon will fundamentally change the scope of a battle and create conditions that affect how commanders will prevail in conflict.”

At the start of a chapter on nuclear planning and targeting, the document quotes a cold war theorist, Herman Kahn, as saying: “My guess is that nuclear weapons will be used sometime in the next hundred years, but that their use is much more likely to be small and limited than widespread and unconstrained.”

Kahn was a controversial figure. He argued that a nuclear war could be “winnable” and is reported to have provided part of the inspiration for Stanley Kubrick’s film Dr Strangelove.

The Nuclear Operations document was taken down from the Pentagon online site after a week, and is now only available through a restricted access electronic library. But before it was withdrawn it was downloaded by Steven Aftergood, who directs the project on government secrecy for the Federation of American Scientists.

A spokesman for the joint chiefs of staff said the document was removed from the publicly accessible defence department website “because it was determined that this publication, as is with other joint staff publications, should be for official use only”.

In an emailed statement the spokesman did not say why the document was on the public website for the first week after publication.

Aftergood said the new document “is very much conceived as a war-fighting doctrine – not simply a deterrence doctrine, and that’s unsettling”.

He pointed out that, as an operational document by the joint chiefs rather than a policy documents, its role is to plan for worst-case scenarios. But Aftergood added: “That kind of thinking itself can be hazardous. It can make that sort of eventuality more likely instead of deterring it.”

Alexandra Bell, a former state department arms control official said: “This seems to be another instance of this administration being both tone-deaf and disorganised.”

Bell, now senior policy director at the Centre for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, added: “Posting a document about nuclear operations and then promptly deleting it shows a lack of messaging discipline and a lack of strategy. Further, at a time of rising nuclear tensions, casually postulating about the potential upsides of a nuclear attack is obtuse in the extreme.”

The doctrine has been published in the wake of the Trump administration’s withdrawal from two nuclear agreements: the 2015 joint comprehensive programme of action with Iran, and the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty with Russia. The administration is also sceptical about a third: the New Start accord that limits US and Russian forces strategic nuclear weapons and delivery systems, which is due to expire in 2021.

Meanwhile, the US and Russia are engaged in multibillion-dollar nuclear weapon modernisation programmes. As part of the US programme, the Trump administration is developing a low-yield ballistic missile, which arms control advocates have said risks lowering the nuclear threshold, making conceivable that a nuclear war could be “limited”, rather than inevitably lead to a global cataclysm.

The last nuclear operations doctrine, published during the George W Bush administration in 2005, also caused alarm. It envisaged pre-emptive nuclear strikes and the use of the US nuclear arsenal against all weapons of mass destruction, not just nuclear.

The Obama administration did not publish a nuclear operations doctrine but in its 2010 nuclear posture review it sought to downgrade the role of nuclear weapons in US military planning.

It renounced the Bush-era plan to build nuclear “bunker-buster” bombs, and ruled out nuclear attack against non-nuclear-weapon states, but it did not go as far towards disarmament as arms control activists had wanted or expected.

 

The Sixth Seal Nuclear Leak at Indian Point (Rev 6:12)

power plant

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is considering rolling back some safety standards for nuclear power plants. (Photo: Jeff Fusco/Getty Images)

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said one member of Congress, „needs to do more—not less—to ensure nuclear reactor safety.“

After months of experts raising alarm over the nuclear power industry pressuring U.S. regulators to roll back safety policies, staffers at the federal agency that monitors reactors sparked concerns Tuesday with official recommendations that include scaling back required inspections to save money.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has spent months reviewing its enforcement policies—and, as part of that process, sought input from industry groups, as Common Dreams detailed in March. In response, the industry representatives requested shifting to more „self-assessments,“ limiting public disclosures for „lower-level“ problems at plants, and easing the „burden of radiation-protection and emergency-preparedness inspections.“

According to The Associated Press, which first reported on NRC staffers‘ suggestions:

The recommendations, made public Tuesday, include reducing the time and scope of some annual inspections at the nation’s 90-plus nuclear power plants. Some other inspections would be cut from every two years to every three years.

Some of the staff’s recommendations would require a vote by the commission, which has a majority of members appointed or reappointed by President Donald Trump, who has urged agencies to reduce regulatory requirements for industries.

The NRC document that outlines the recommendations reportedly acknowledges that staffers disagree about the inspection reductions but claims that cutting back „improves efficiency while still helping to ensure reasonable assurance of adequate protection to the public.“

Union of Concerned Scientists nuclear power expert Edwin Lyman, however, charged that the suggestion to decrease federal oversight of nuclear power plants „completely ignores the cause-and-effect relationship between inspections and good performances.“

Democratic NRC member Jeff Baran also criticized the staff recommendations. He argued that the agency „shouldn’t perform fewer inspections or weaken its safety oversight to save money“ and called for a public debate before any changes are made to existing policy.

„It affects every power reactor in the country,“ he said. „We should absolutely hear from a broad range of stakeholders before making any far-reaching changes to NRC’s safety oversight program.“

Before the recommendations were released Tuesday, Democrats from the House Appropriations as well as Energy and Commerce committees expressed concerns about potential rollbacks of safety standards in a letter (pdf) to NRC Chairwoman Kristine Svinicki Monday.

The lawmakers wrote:

To ensure nuclear power provides safe, reliable, emissions-free energy, it is imperative for the NRC to uphold strong regulatory standards. That is why we are disturbed by the consideration of these far-reaching changes to the NRC’s regulatory regime without first actively conducting robust public outreach and engagement. It would be a mistake to attempt to make nuclear power more cost competitive by weakening NRC’s vital safety oversight. Cutting corners on such critical safety measures may eventually lead to a disaster that could be detrimental to the future of the domestic nuclear industry.

The AP’s report on agency staffers‘ official recommendations provoked further alarm from lawmakers and the public. Some people on Twitter decried the inspection proposal as „an insanely bad move“ and „beyond nuts,“ and referenced the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, which is considered the world’s worst ever nuclear power plant accident.

Democratic Pennsylvania state Rep. Peter Schweyer tweeted that he would „happily“ share his HBO password with the NRC „so they can catch up on“ the network‘s recently released series about Chernobyl.

U.S. Rep. Harley Rouda (D-Calif.) wrote in a tweet that considering how many millions of Americans live in close proximity to nuclear power plants, the agency „needs to do more—not less—to ensure nuclear reactor safety.“

US and Russia Preparing for WW3

Yesterday, it was claimed Vladimir Putin has a secret plan to launch a war on Europe while the rest of the world is distracted. Heinrich Brauss, a retired German lieutenant general, said while NATO’s attention is focussed on issues world leaders have deemed more pressing, the Kremlin is plotting a regional war with member states right under their noses, with the aid of nuclear weapons. President Putin may turn his attention to his six new Russian strategic weapons unveiled in March 2018.

However, there is one that will have the US more hot under the collar than the rest.

The 9M730 Burevestnik is a nuclear-powered, nuclear-armed cruise missile, which officials have claimed has unlimited range and the potential to outmanoeuvre any defence.

Given the missile has an on-board nuclear reactor, the missile is the first of its kind for any nation – largely given the engineering challenges and safety concerns involved

According to US military intelligence, only one of 13 known tests of the missile has been moderately successful.

The missile has successfully been tested

The missile has successfully been tested (Image: YOUTUBE)

During its flight, the nuclear-powered engine reached its design capacity and provided the necessary propulsion

Vladimir Putin

However, the latest test, in January 2019, is believed to have gone smoothly, The Diplomat reports.

Despite this, in his original speech unveiling a suite of new weapons before the Russian Federal Assembly in March 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed it had already passed a trial two years earlier.

He said: “In late 2017, Russia successfully launched its latest nuclear-powered missile at the Central training ground.

“During its flight, the nuclear-powered engine reached its design capacity and provided the necessary propulsion.”

He additionally claimed that the missile’s range was “unlimited” and that it could “manoeuvre for as long as necessary”.

According to Pavel Podvig, director of the Russian Nuclear Forces Project, this will be a “truly revolutionary weapon”.

While original plans were for the missile to be unveiled in 2020, Putin may look to unleash it earlier.

The Burevestnik was announced alongside a range of new nuclear weapons, including the Avangard, a hypersonic boost-glide reentry vehicle, the Poseidon, an autonomous thermonuclear torpedo, the Sarmat, a new intercontinental-range ballistic missile, and the Kinzhal, an air-launched ballistic missile.

The latest test precedes the US notice of withdrawal from The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) on October 2018, after Russian violations of the agreement.

In response, US President Donald Trump announced the release of the 2019 US Missile Defence Review, calling for the development of new technology to augment existing capabilities again cruise and ballistic missile threats.

Putin said the missile has already been successfully launched

Putin said the missile has already been successfully launched (Image: YOUTUBE)

Tensions are high between the US and Russia

Tensions are high between the US and Russia (Image: GETTY)

Military experts are alarmed by the fact Russia continues to arm itself with super and hypersonic missiles.

The US has also been urged to disarm along with Russia, as tensions between the two nations threaten to replicate the heights seen during the Cold War.

External Representative Federica Mogherini said on behalf of the EU she was deeply concerned and warned of a new arms race.

It comes as the three global superpowers – Russia, the US and China are all battling for domination in unclaimed territory.

Beijing has claimed waters in the South China Sea, Moscow has claimed ice in the Arcticregions and the US is battling for space.

Iranian Payback for U.K. Seizure

Iranian Republican Guard seizes foreign oil tanker in Persian Gulf: State media

ABC News

Iran says it has seized a foreign tanker with 12 crew aboard that it accuses of smuggling oil in the Persian Gulf, according to a statement from the country’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps carried by the state media agency Fars.

The statement did not identify the tanker or its nationality but the seizure comes following the disappearance of a Panama-flagged tanker four days ago, which U.S. officials have said they suspect may have been taken by Iran. Tensions have been mounting in the waters around the Strait of Hormuz in recent weeks after Iran threatened to retaliate over the seizure of an Iranian tanker by Britain near Gibraltor.

The IRGC statement on Thursday said one of its patrols had captured the unnamed tanker which it said was carrying 1 million liters of smuggled oil that it had picked up from small Iranian ships and was sailing towards foreign ships when it was stopped. The ship was seized south of Lark Island in the Strait of Hormuz, according to the statement.

“During the patrolling mission in the Persian Gulf aiming at the discovery and confrontation with organized smuggling on Sunday, 14th of July2019, the IRGC’s first region navy patrol made the seizure of a foreign vessel by surprise after it made sure the vessel was carrying one million liters smuggled fuel. The seizure was coordinated with the judiciary,” the IRGC statement said according to Fars.

Speculation quickly emerged that the tanker was the MT Riah, a Panama-flagged vessel that disappeared from ship tracking monitors on July 14 while close to Iran’s Qeshm island as it transited the Strait of Hormuz. The Riah, a small tanker, has not switched on its transponder since then, according to the maritime tracking site, Fleetmon.

U.S. officials this week said they suspected the Riah may have been seized by Iran, though they were not certain, saying the ship could have suffered technical problems. Following the U.S. comments, Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman, Abbas Mousavi, on Monday said that the Riah was towed to Iranian waters for repairs after it ran into technical issues and requested help. Mousavi did not identify the vessel either and said more details would be announced later.

The Riah was initially identified as belonging to the United Arab Emirates but the UAE’s foreign ministry has issued statements this week denying it owns or operates the ship.

The incident comes after the two series of attacks on oil tankers in the Persian Gulf last month, sending tensions spiking amid the ongoing confrontation between Iran and the U.S. following the U.S.’ exit from the 2015 nuclear deal. Those tensions intensified further after Britain seized an Iranian oil tanker, the VLCC Grace 1, off the coast of Gibraltar on July 4, prompting warnings from experts that Iran might seek to seize a tanker in retaliation.

The UK alleged the tanker was violating European Union sanctions by trying to take oil to Syria, but Iran has denied the claim saying that no vessel with the size of their tanker could berth at any port in Syria.

Iranian officials have repeatedly threatened to retaliate against the UK over the seizure in recent days and last week Britain said one of its warships was forced to intervene to deter Iranian small military boats that approached a British tanker transiting the strait.

Did Iran Just Payback the U.K.?

US fears Iran seized UAE-based tanker in Strait of Hormuz

By Obsev

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — A small oil tanker from the United Arab Emirates traveling through the Strait of Hormuz entered Iranian waters and turned off its tracker two days ago, leading the U.S. to suspect Iran seized the vessel amid heightened tensions in the region, an American defense official said Tuesday.

Iran offered no immediate comment on what happened to the Panamanian-flagged oil tanker Riah late Saturday night, though an Emirati official acknowledged the vessel sent out no distress call. Oil tankers previously have been targeted in the wider region amid tensions between the U.S. and Iran over its unraveling nuclear deal with world powers.

The concern about the Riah comes as Iran continues its own high-pressure campaign over its nuclear program after President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew America from the accord over a year ago.

Recently, Iran has inched its uranium production and enrichment over the limits of its 2015 nuclear deal, trying to put more pressure on Europe to offer it better terms and allow it to sell its crude oil abroad.

However, those tensions also have seen the U.S. send thousands of additional troops, nuclear-capable B-52 bombers and advanced fighter jets into the Mideast. Mysterious attacks on oil tankers and Iran shooting down a U.S. military surveillance drone has added to the fears of an armed conflict breaking out.

The Riah, a 58-meter (190-foot) oil tanker, typically made trips from Dubai and Sharjah on the UAE’s west coast before going through the strait and heading to Fujairah on the UAE’s east coast. However, something happened to the vessel after 11 p.m. on Saturday, according to tracking data.

Capt. Ranjith Raja of the data firm Refinitiv told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the tanker hadn’t switched off its tracking in three months of trips around the UAE.

“That is a red flag,” Raja said.

A U.S. defense official later told the AP that the Riah was in Iranian territorial waters near Qeshm Island, which has a Revolutionary Guard base on it.

“We certainly have suspicions that it was taken,” the official said. “Could it have broken down or been towed for assistance? That’s a possibility. But the longer there is a period of no contact … it’s going to be a concern.”

The official spoke on condition of anonymity as the matter did not directly involve U.S. interests.

An Emirati official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing security matter, said the vessel “did not emit a distress call.”

“We are monitoring the situation with our international partners,” the official said.

The ship’s registered owner, Dubai-based Prime Tankers LLC, told the AP it had sold the ship to another company called Mouj Al-Bahar. A man who answered a telephone number registered to the firm told the AP it didn’t own any ships. The Emirati official said the ship was “neither UAE owned nor operated” and carried no Emirati personnel, without elaborating.

Separately Tuesday, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said his country will retaliate over the seizure of an Iranian supertanker carrying 2.1 million barrels of light crude oil. The vessel was seized with the help of British Royal Marines earlier this month off Gibraltar over suspicion it was heading to Syria in violation of European Union sanctions, an operation Khamenei called “piracy” in a televised speech.

“God willing, the Islamic Republic and its committed forces will not leave this evil without a response,” he said. He did not elaborate.

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said Saturday that Britain will facilitate the release of the ship if Iran can provide guarantees the vessel will not breach European sanctions on oil shipments to Syria.

Iran previously has threatened to stop oil tankers passing through the strait, the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf through which 20% of all crude oil passes, if it cannot sell its own oil abroad.

Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif seemed to suggest in a television interview that the Islamic Republic’s ballistic missile program could be up for negotiations with the U.S., a possible opening for talks as tensions remain high between Tehran and Washington. Zarif suggested an initially high price for such negotiations — the halt of American arms sales to both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, two key U.S. allies in the Persian Gulf.

Iran’s ballistic missile program remains under the control of the Iranian paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, which answers only to Khamenei.

Zarif brought up the ballistic missile suggestion during an interview with NBC News that aired Monday night while he is in New York for meetings at the United Nations. He mentioned the UAE spending $22 billion and Saudi Arabia spending $67 billion on weapons last year, many of them American-made, while Iran spent only $16 billion in comparison.

“These are American weaponry that is going into our region, making our region ready to explode,” Zarif said. “So if they want to talk about our missiles, they need first to stop selling all these weapons, including missiles, to our region.”

Iran’s mission to the United Nations later called Zarif’s suggestion “hypothetical.”

“Iran’s missiles … are absolutely and under no condition negotiable with anyone or any country, period,” the mission said.

Trump during his time in the White House has pointed to arms sales to the Mideast as important to the American economy, so it remains unclear how he’d react to cutting into those purchases.

Since its 1979 Islamic Revolution and the takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, Iran has faced a variety of economic sanctions. That has cut into Iran’s ability to buy advanced weaponry abroad. While Gulf Arab nations have purchased advanced fighter jets, Iran still relies on pre-1979 U.S. fighter jets, as well as aging Soviet MiGs and other planes.

Facing that shortfall, Iran instead invested heavily into its ballistic missile program. That’s both due to sanctions and the memory of the missile attacks launched by Saddam Hussein during Iran’s bloody 1980s war with Iraq.

Khamenei reportedly has restricted the range of ballistic missiles manufactured in Iran to 2,000 kilometers (1,240 miles). While that keeps Europe out of range, it means the Iranian missiles can hit much of the Middle East, including Israel and American military bases in the region.

In pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal, Trump in part blamed the accord not addressing Iran’s ballistic missile program. The U.S. fears Iran could use its missile technology and space program to build nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missiles, something Tehran denies it wants to do.

———

Associated Press writer Nasser Karimi in Tehran, Iran, contributed to this report.

Iranian Payback is Coming

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s comments were given on national television as concern grew about a missing UAE tanker CREDIT: AFP

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has accused Britain of “theft” and “piracy” over the seizure of an Iranian oil tanker off the coast of Gibraltar, saying Iran would “not leave such evil deeds unanswered.”

The comments came during a televised address, as concerns grew about a UAE-based Gulf oil tanker, the MT Riah, which went missing in the Strait of Hormuz on Saturday.

A US defence official said on Tuesday the US “has suspicions” the tanker has been seized by Iran, saying it disappeared near Qeshm, an island with an Iranian Revolutionary Guard base.

Tensions between Iran and the UK have escalated since the Iranian Grace 1 oil tanker was seized by British Royal Marines earlier this month off the coast of Gibraltar.

The supertanker, which was carrying 2.1m barrels of light crude oil, was detained on suspicion of violating EU sanctions by transporting the oil to Syria.

Iranian officials have accused Britain of acting on behalf of the US in seizing the tanker.

Analysts say whether or not there was collusion, the move was certainly designed to appease the Trump administration while European leaders attempt to salvage the struggling nuclear deal.

Jeremy Hunt, the Foreign Secretary, has insisted the seizure of the tanker had nothing to do with the oil being from Iran.

He had offered on Saturday to arrange the tanker’s release if Iran provides guarantees that the cargo is not bound for Syria.

The Royal Navy has announced it will send a third warship, the HMS Kent, and a tanker, the HMS Wave Knight, to the Gulf but stressed the deployment had long been planned and was not a reaction to recent events.

The Ayatollah’s remarks are likely to be rhetorical for now, says Sahil Shah, an Iran specialist at the European Leadership Network.

“This language isn’t any stronger than anything they’ve said before,“ he said. ”But there are multiple flash-points across the region, both on land and water, through which Iran could raise the temperature on both the Americans and the Europeans.”

After several weeks of rising tensions between Iran and the US, Tehran hopes to leverage European fears over the deal falling apart to encourage European leaders to oppose what Iranian officials see as sanctions overreach by the US and EU.

“While oil supply is not tied to the [nuclear deal] per se, the threat is also meant to play into the EU fear about regional instability if the [deal] falls apart, part of an effort to force the EU to violate US sanctions, for instance on oil sales,” Amir Toumaj, an independent Iran analyst, told The Telegraph.

Tehran announced last week its uranium enrichment level has surpassed the 3.67 per cent level imposed by the deal, but experts say the increase is marginal.

Iranian officials have given the EU a September deadline to offer a sufficient easing of economic sanctions to convince it to continue abiding by the terms of the deal, in what many see as a last chance to calm tensions.