NYC earthquake risk: the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

NYC earthquake risk: Could Staten Island be heavily impacted?

By Ann Marie Barron

Updated May 16, 4:31 AM; Posted May 16, 4:00 AM

Rubble litters Main Street after an earthquake struck Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, in Napa, Calif. A report by the U.S. Geological Survey outlines the differences between the effect of an earthquake in the West vs. one in the East. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – While scientists say it’s impossible to predict when or if an earthquake will occur in New York City, they say that smaller structures — like Staten Island’s bounty of single-family homes — will suffer more than skyscrapers if it does happen.

„Earthquakes in the East tend to cause higher-frequency shaking — faster back-and-forth motion — compared to similar events in the West,“ according to a report by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), published on its website recently „Shorter structures are more susceptible to damage during fast shaking, whereas taller structures are more susceptible during slow shaking.“

DIFFERENCES IN INTENSITY

The report, „East vs West Coast Earthquakes,“ explains how USGS scientists are researching factors that influence regional differences in the intensity and effects of earthquakes, and notes that earthquakes in the East are often felt at more than twice the distance of earthquakes in the West.

Predicting when they will occur is more difficult, said Thomas Pratt, a research geophysicist and the central and Eastern U.S. coordinator for the USGS Earthquake Hazards Program in Reston, Va.

„One of the problems in the East Coast is that we don’t have a history to study,“ he said. „In order to get an idea, we have to have had several cycles of these things. The way we know about them in California is we dig around in the mud and we see evidence of past earthquakes.“

Yet Pratt wouldn’t rule out the possibility of a high-magnitude event taking place in New York, which sits in the middle the North American Tectonic Plate, considered by experts to be quite stable.

„We never know,“ he said. „One could come tomorrow. On the other hand, it could be another 300 years. We don’t understand why earthquakes happen (here) at all.“

Though the city’s last observable earthquake occurred on Oct. 27, 2001, and caused no real damage, New York has been hit by two Magnitude 5 earthquakes in its history – in 1738 and in 1884 — prompting many to say it is „due“ for another.

While earthquakes generally have to be Magnitude 6 or higher to be considered „large,“ by experts, „a Magnitude 5, directly under New York City, would shake it quite strongly,“ Pratt said.

The reason has to do with the rock beneath our feet, the USGS report says.

OLDER ROCKS

In the East, we have older rocks, some of which formed „hundreds of millions of years before those in the West,“ the report says. Since the faults in the rocks have had so much time to heal, the seismic waves travel more efficiently through them when an earthquake occurs.

„Rocks in the East are like a granite countertop and rocks in the West are much softer,“ Pratt said. „Take a granite countertop and hit it and it’ll transmit energy well. In the West, it’s like a sponge. The  energy gets absorbed.“

If a large, Magnitude 7 earthquake does occur, smaller structures, and older structures in Manhattan would be most vulnerable, Pratt said. „In the 1920s, ’30s and late 1800s, they were not built with earthquake resistance,“ he said, noting that newer skyscrapers were built to survive hurricanes, so would be more resistant.

When discussing earthquake prediction and probability, Pratt uses the analogy of a baseball player who averages a home run every 10 times at bat and hasn’t hit one in the past nine games: „When he’s up at bat, will he hit a home run? You just don’t know.“

And though it would probably take a magnitude of 7 to topple buildings in the city, smaller earthquakes are still quite dangerous, he said.

„Bookshelves could fall down and hit you,“ he said. „People could be killed.“ A lot of stone work and heavy objects fell from buildings when a quake of 5.8 magnitude struck central Virginia in 2011, he noted, but, fortunately, no one was injured.

To be safe, Pratt encourages New Yorkers to keep a few days‘ worth of drinking water and other supplies on hand. He, himself, avoids putting heavy things up high.

„It always gets me nervous when I go into a restaurant that has heavy objects high on shelves,“ he said. „It’s unlikely you’ll get an earthquake. But, we just don’t know.“

How Trump is Bringing us to the Brink of Nuclear War (Revelation 16)

How Donald Trump pushed Iran to the nuclear bomb

Jim Walsh

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, left, was joined by the head of the nation’s Atomic Energy Organization, Ali Akbar Salehi, during to the Bushehr nuclear power plant in 2015, when the faltering uranium enrichment deal was brokered.

— AP Photo/Iranian Presidency Office, Mohammad Berno

Mohammad Berno

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Since the day he took office, President Donald Trump has been caught in an Iran trap, or more precisely, two traps. The first led the president to withdraw from the Iran nuclear agreement and pursue a “maximum pressure” campaign. The second trap will almost certainly lead to air strikes against Iran’s nuclear facilities, perhaps within the year. Following that attack, Iran will likely respond by kicking out international inspectors and going for the bomb.

If that happens, Iran will have gone from the most inspected country in the world and, by all serious accounts, a country that was in compliance with the international nuclear agreement to a country armed with nuclear weapons. Iran will represent the second country to have obtained nuclear weapons in the Middle East, arguably the most dangerous region in the world.

It does not have to turn out that way, but if it does, the outcome will first and foremost be the result of the president’s decisions. The Iranian bomb will be his most important legacy as president. After Trump leaves office, after the child internment centers are finally closed, after climate change rules are back in force, Iran will still have the bomb.

So, how did we get there?

The first trap was laid before Mr. Trump took office. Congressional hawks who preferred regime change to diplomacy tried to scuttle the international nuclear agreement. Having failed, they supported a legal process requiring the president to periodically certify that Iran was abiding by its obligations. The agreement’s enemies expected Iran to cheat and hoped the certification process would provide a future opportunity for Congress to kill the deal. At that point, in 2015, no one could imagine that Donald Trump would be the next president.

But Trump won the election. And after taking office, it was clear that he hated having to sign the certifications every 120 days, even if every organ of the US government dutifully reported that Iran was keeping its end of the bargain. Certification forced him to stew about President Barack Obama’s agreement over and over again. Eventually, it seems, the emotional and impulsive president could take it no more. But Trump was not content with simply withdrawing. Instead, he sought to punish Iran and all the other countries, including America’s European allies, who remained in the agreement.

(Last week, the White House issued a head-scratching statement, insisting that “even before the deal’s existence, Iran was violating its terms.”)

The administration’s new policy of “maximum pressure” combined insults, threats, and most of all, attempts to strangle the Iranian economy, to bring its life-sustaining oil imports to “zero” and to sanction any person, company, or country that so much as looked at Tehran. In April and May, the US went so far as to sanction Iran’s Supreme Leader and part of its military.

And that’s when things started to change. In the beginning, Iran had responded to the American onslaught with its own version of strategic patience. Tehran stayed in the agreement, maintained its compliance, negotiated with the Europeans to mitigate the effects of the sanctions, and let the US diplomatically isolate itself — evidently planning to wait things out. The Iranians have now shifted strategy. Rather than lying on the ground waiting to be kicked again, they are pushing back. Iran is not looking to provoke a war — a war it would surely lose — but it will raise the cost of Trump’s “maximum pressure” policy.

Oil tankers have been disabled and a drone shot down (the US has blamed Iran for the former, which it denies, and the two countries have disputed the specifics of the latter incident), but the heart of Iran’s new strategy revolves around its civilian nuclear program. Step by step, starting with smaller actions and progressing to more consequential ones, Iran is backing away from the restrictions specified in the agreement. President Hassan Rouhani emphasized that these actions are reversible, if the US rejoins the international agreement, but it is difficult to imagine Trump will do so.

So, now the president finds himself in a second trap, this one of his own making. Instead of periodic certifications, he will now face periodic Iranian announcements about changes in the nuclear program. Every 60 days, perhaps, the President will have to respond to Iran’s moves. The administration can impose more sanctions, but it cannot prevent Iranian engineers from increasing uranium enrichment levels. Each Iranian announcement will make the president appear impotent, and those around him will push for military strikes, as they did after the downing of the drone.

And at some point, it’s fair to assume Trump will give the order for a military strike, but it won’t be rescinded like it was last time. The president’s recent comments provide a clue to why this outcome is likely. “I’m not talking boots on the ground,” Trump said, when asked about military strikes against Iran. “I’m just saying if something would happen, it wouldn’t last very long.” The comment was a clear allusion to the potential use of airstrikes, rather than ground troops. “I don’t need exit strategies,” Trump said on another occasion.

Students of warfare will recognize in the president’s comments the familiar hallmarks of past military blunders. The war will be quick. The war will be easy. The costs will be negligible and the benefits enormous. The war will be an in-and-out, clean affair. No muss, no fuss, no exit strategy required.

The president’s broken national security process — there is no confirmed secretary of defense — is now dominated by men who have previously advocated for regime change in Iran, so it is not surprising that the president has a rosy picture of war. The seduction of supposedly sanitized air power is strong, especially for presidents who want to use military force but fear that it will be messy.

What Trump does not realize is that an air war against Iran will almost certainly — by design or by default — end up hitting the country’s internationally inspected nuclear facilities. And by attacking Iran’s nuclear infrastructure, the president will produce the very result he hoped to avoid: Iran will acquire nuclear weapons.

An Iranian decision to go for the bomb would reflect Iran’s sense of pride and humiliation and public demands that the government defend the nation. In Iran, any remaining advocates of diplomacy will be pushed out of the way, discredited by the American president.

Building the bomb would be consistent with the psychology and politics of the moment, but it would also be in line with what scholars have learned about past preventive strikes aimed at nuclear programs. The most studied case is the Israeli bombing in 1981 of Saddam Hussein’s Osirak nuclear reactor.

At the time, Saddam had a rather rudimentary nuclear-weapons effort and had even imprisoned his most important nuclear scientists. Post attack, the Iraqi leader made nuclear weapons a top priority and pushed intensively, if not efficiently, to build the bomb. As Målfrid Braut-Hegghammer, the leading scholar on Hussein’s nuclear efforts, points out, “… on the eve of the attack on Osirak … Iraq’s pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability was both directionless and disorganized.” The attack galvanized the Iraqi government and “triggered a well-funded covert program to produce nuclear weapons.”

In short, it was the political effect of the bombing, not the military consequences, that mattered most.

Iraq had a modest nuclear infrastructure. Iran, on the other hand, can build a nuclear weapon if it chooses to, according to the 2016 US National Intelligence Assessment. After all, Iran knows how to build a centrifuge. It built 19,000 of them. And no matter how many airstrikes the US launches, America cannot bomb the knowledge of how to build a centrifuge out of heads of Iranian scientists.

US planes will fly. Hopefully, they will all return safely. The cost will come not from mission casualties or even from Iranian retaliation. The real payment will come due if and when there is a nuclear war in the Middle East.

Is there a way out of the trap? Yes. The president can begin to quietly ratchet down his maximum pressure campaign, for example, by issuing waivers on oil sanctions. He can find third parties to communicate with the Iranians. He does not have to be Iran’s friend, but he cannot continue to back Iran into a corner. If he doesn’t alter course, he can expect periodic reminders from the Iranians that they have cards to play — nuclear cards. Can Trump change direction before it is too late? Yes. Will he; will he give up the fantasy of quick and easy military strikes without consequences? Will he realize that the pressure policy is leading him to war, that he is getting played his advisers? Maybe.

If not, history will remember Mr. Trump for one thing above all else: as the man who birthed the Iranian bomb.

Jim Walsh is a senior research associate in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Security Studies Program. His work has focused on nuclear weapons, the Middle East, and Asia. The views expressed here are his own.

The Brits Respond to Iran with More Military Force

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The British navy has begun escorting vessels traveling through the Strait of Hormuz after Iranian forces seized a British-flagged tanker.

In a statement Thursday, Britain’s Defense Ministry said that “the Royal Navy has been tasked to accompany British-flagged ships through the Strait of Hormuz, either individually or in groups, should sufficient notice be given of their passage.”

The HMS Montrose, a Royal Navy Type 23 frigate, became the first navy ship to offer an escort in the narrow waterway, Sky News reported Thursday, citing shipping industry sources.

Britain made the decision after Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps on July 19 seized the Stena Impero, a British-flagged tanker, as it passed through the Strait of Hormuz. Iran claimed the Stena Impero was using the wrong channel through the strait and had turned off its signals for longer than allowed.

But the seizure was widely interpreted as a response to British marines taking part in the seizure of an Iranian tanker near Gibraltar, a British overseas territory.

Britain said it sent marines to board and take control of the Grace 1 tanker because it was suspected of transporting oil to Syria in violation of European Union sanctions targeting Syria’s government.

On Wednesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani appeared to suggest that Tehran would consider releasing the Stena Impero if Britain released the Grace 1.

Britain has previously suggested that the seizure of the Iranian tanker needed to be resolved by Gibraltar’s courts and called on Iran to provide evidence that the tanker was not en route to Syria.

The seizure of the British-flagged tanker caused consternation in Britain. The country is still in the midst of its protracted attempt to leave the European Union and was finding a successor for Prime Minister Theresa May when the Stena Impero was taken.

A former head of the British navy wrote in a column in The Guardian after the seizure that the tanker should have been better protected. Audio recordings that later leaked indicated the HMS Montrose tried to intervene to protect the Stena Impero.

The Montrose was deployed in April to Bahrain to strengthen the British naval presence in the Persian Gulf. It is due to be joined and later relieved by the HMS Duncan, a larger Type 45 frigate.

The British government has been criticized for not providing the navy with enough ships to protect its interests in the region. The Times of London reported this week that almost half of Britain’s fleet of frigates and destroyers is inactive because they are undergoing repairs.

On Monday, Britain’s then-foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, outlined a vision for a Europe-led plan “to support safe passage of both crew and cargo in this vital region.” Other nations, including France and Germany, expressed cautious support for the proposal.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper announced Wednesday that the United States would send its own escorts for U.S.-flagged ships in the region.

“The Brits are escorting their ships,” Esper said. “We will escort our ships to the degree that the risk demands it. I assume that other countries will escort their ships.”

The United States had previously proposed a coalition under which nations would protect ships that carry their own flag but also would undertake joint operations.

Britain, along with other European nations, had been wary of joining the U.S.-led proposal, as it did not want to be associated with the “maximum pressure” campaign on Iran that’s being conducted by President Donald Trump’s administration.

A Section on 07/26/2019

Print Headline: U.K. navy escorts tankers in strait after seizure

Israel Killing Palestinians Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

 Palestinians evacuate a protester during a Great Return March protest near the Gaza fence, east of Gaza City, November 2, 2018. (Mohammed Zaanoun/Activestills.org)

Israeli army knew it was unnecessarily killing Gaza protesters in real time

The Israeli military reportedly changed open-fire regulations for its snipers deployed along the Israel-Gaza fence after it became clear that they were unnecessarily killing unarmed Palestinian protesters, something human rights groups and others had been warning all along.

Israeli snipers and sharpshooters killed 206 Palestinian demonstrators and wounded thousands of others — including children, medics, and journalists — during the Great March of Return in Gaza. The ongoing weekly protests, which began in March of 2018, called for an end to Israel’s siege on Gaza and the right of return for Palestinian refugees.

Israeli journalist Carmela Menashe, the military reporter for Israel’s public radio station, tweeted earlier this week that the IDF made the change when it understood that “firing at the lower half of the body above the knee led to death in many cases, despite this not being the objective.” According to Menashe, the soldiers were instructed to “shoot below the knee, and later, at their ankles.”

A senior officer in the IDF’s counterterrorism school told Israeli news site Ynet that the snipers’ objective was “not to kill but to wound, so one of the lessons [learned] was what they were shooting at… At first we told them to shoot at the leg, we saw that this could kill, so we told them to shoot under the knee. Later we made the order more precise to shoot at the ankle.

A statement published by Israeli human rights group B’Tselem on Wednesday accused Israeli officials of openly admitting that they knew their soldiers were killing people that, “even in the eyes of the state, had no reason to be gunned down.”

“No one bothered to change the orders, and the army continued to operate in a manner of trial and error, as if these were not real people who might be killed or wounded… People whose lives and the lives of their families have been destroyed forever,” said B’Tselem.

The Israeli military has long argued that the protests at the fence should be seen in the context of a long-running armed conflict with Hamas, and thus open-fire regulations are subject to the rules of armed conflict, which provide greater leeway for the use of lethal force.

Israeli soldiers shoot tear gas is shot at Palestinian protesters on the border with the Gaza Strip, as Palestinians demonstrate to mark Naksa Day, June 8, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Human rights groups and many others rejected that logic, arguing that treating civilian protests as armed conflict is illegal. At the height of the protests, as the casualties mounted, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court published a warning that “violence against civilians — in a situation such as one prevailing in Gaza” could constitute war crimes. Anyone who orders, encourages or carries out that violence, she said, “is liable to prosecution before the Court.”

Despite the international criticism and calls for an independent investigation into the killing of unarmed demonstrators in Gaza, Israeli authorities doubled down on orders to open fire on unarmed protesters.

Last May, Israel’s High Court of Justice rejected two petitions from Israeli human rights groups demanding an end to the killing of unarmed civilians at the fence. The Israeli army, in that case, argued that live fire could be used in response to “violent disturbances that pose real and imminent danger to IDF forces or to Israeli civilians,” and that the rules of engagement allow for “accurate shooting at the legs of a key agitator or instigator in order to remove the danger of a violent riot.”

The state also added that “there is a systematic process of drawing operational lessons and implementing them,” that the army had sharpened its open-fire procedures in order to “further reduce the casualties to the extent possible,” and that cases in which Palestinians were killed were referred to the General Staff for further investigation.