THE SIXTH SEAL: NEW YORK CITY (REV 6:12)

Earthquake activity in the New York City area

Wikipedia

Although the eastern United States is not as seismically active as regions near plate boundaries, large and damaging earthquakes do occur there. Furthermore, when these rare eastern U.S. earthquakes occur, the areas affected by them are much larger than for western U.S. earthquakes of the same magnitude. Thus, earthquakes represent at least a moderate hazard to East Coast cities, including New York City and adjacent areas of very high population density.

Seismicity in the vicinity of New York City. Data are from the U.S. Geological Survey (Top, USGS) and the National Earthquake Information Center (Bottom, NEIC). In the top figure, closed red circles indicate 1924-2006 epicenters and open black circles indicate locations of the larger earthquakes that occurred in 1737, 1783 and 1884. Green lines indicate the trace of the Ramapo fault.

As can be seen in the maps of earthquake activity in this region(shown in the figure), seismicity is scattered throughout most of the New York City area, with some hint of a concentration of earthquakes in the area surrounding Manhattan Island. The largest known earthquake in this region occurred in 1884 and had a magnitude of approximately 5.For this earthquake, observations of fallen bricks and cracked plaster were reported from eastern Pennsylvania to central Connecticut, and the maximum intensity reported was at two sites in western Long Island (Jamaica, New York and Amityville, New York). Two other earthquakes of approximately magnitude 5 occurred in this region in 1737 and 1783. The figure on the right shows maps of the distribution of earthquakes of magnitude 3 and greater that occurred in this region from 1924 to 2010, along with locations of the larger earthquakes that occurred in 1737, 1783 and 1884.

Background

The NYC area is part of the geologically complex structure of the Northern Appalachian Mountains. This complex structure was formed during the past half billion years when the Earth’s crust underlying the Northern Appalachians was the site of two major geological episodes, each of which has left its imprint on the NYC area bedrock. Between about 450 million years ago and about 250 million years ago, the Northern Appalachian region was affected by a continental collision, in which the ancient African continent collided with the ancient North American continent to form the supercontinent Pangaea. Beginning about 200 million years ago, the present-day Atlantic ocean began to form as plate tectonic forces began to rift apart the continent of Pangaea. The last major episode of geological activity to affect the bedrock in the New York area occurred about 100 million years ago, during the Mesozoic era, when continental rifting that led to the opening of the present-day Atlantic ocean formed the Hartford and Newark Mesozoic rift basins.

Earthquake rates in the northeastern United States are about 50 to 200 times lower than in California, but the earthquakes that do occur in the northeastern U.S. are typically felt over a much broader region than earthquakes of the same magnitude in the western U.S.This means the area of damage from an earthquake in the northeastern U.S. could be larger than the area of damage caused by an earthquake of the same magnitude in the western U.S. The cooler rocks in the northeastern U.S. contribute to the seismic energy propagating as much as ten times further than in the warmer rocks of California. A magnitude 4.0 eastern U.S. earthquake typically can be felt as far as 100 km (60 mi) from its epicenter, but it infrequently causes damage near its source. A magnitude 5.5 eastern U.S. earthquake, although uncommon, can be felt as far as 500 km (300 mi) from its epicenter, and can cause damage as far away as 40 km (25 mi) from its epicenter. Earthquakes stronger than about magnitude 5.0 generate ground motions that are strong enough to be damaging in the epicentral area.

At well-studied plate boundaries like the San Andreas fault system in California, scientists can often make observations that allow them to identify the specific fault on which an earthquake took place. In contrast, east of the Rocky Mountains this is rarely the case.  The NYC area is far from the boundaries of the North American plate, which are in the center of the Atlantic Ocean, in the Caribbean Sea, and along the west coast of North America. The seismicity of the northeastern U.S. is generally considered to be due to ancient zones of weakness that are being reactivated in the present-day stress field. In this model, pre-existing faults that were formed during ancient geological episodes persist in the intraplate crust, and the earthquakes occur when the present-day stress is released along these zones of weakness. The stress that causes the earthquakes is generally considered to be derived from present-day rifting at the Mid-Atlantic ridge.

Earthquakes and geologically mapped faults in the Northeastern U.S.

The northeastern U.S. has many known faults, but virtually all of the known faults have not been active for perhaps 90 million years or more. Also, the locations of the known faults are not well determined at earthquake depths. Accordingly, few (if any) earthquakes in the region can be unambiguously linked to known faults. Given the current geological and seismological data, it is difficult to determine if a known fault in this region is still active today and could produce a modern earthquake. As in most other areas east of the Rocky Mountains, the best guide to earthquake hazard in the northeastern U.S. is probably the locations of the past earthquakes themselves.

The Ramapo fault and other New York City area faults

The Ramapo Fault, which marks the western boundary of the Newark rift basin, has been argued to be a major seismically active feature of this region,but it is difficult to discern the extent to which the Ramapo fault (or any other specific mapped fault in the area) might be any more of a source of future earthquakes than any other parts of the region. The Ramapo Fault zone spans more than 185 miles (300 kilometers) in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. It is a system of faults between the northern Appalachian Mountains and Piedmont areas to the east. This fault is perhaps the best known fault zone in the Mid-Atlantic region, and some small earthquakes have been known to occur in its vicinity. Recently, public knowledge about the fault has increased – especially after the 1970s, when the fault’s proximity to the Indian Point nuclear plant in New York was noticed.

There is insufficient evidence to unequivocally demonstrate any strong correlation of earthquakes in the New York City area with specific faults or other geologic structures in this region. The damaging earthquake affecting New York City in 1884 was probably not associated with the Ramapo fault because the strongest shaking from that earthquake occurred on Long Island (quite far from the trace of the Ramapo fault). The relationship between faults and earthquakes in the New York City area is currently understood to be more complex than any simple association of a specific earthquake with a specific mapped fault.

A 2008 study argued that a magnitude 6 or 7 earthquake might originate from the Ramapo fault zone, which would almost definitely spawn hundreds or even thousands of fatalities and billions of dollars in damage. Studying around 400 earthquakes over the past 300 years, the study also argued that there was an additional fault zone extending from the Ramapo Fault zone into southwestern Connecticut. As can be seen in the above figure of seismicity, earthquakes are scattered throughout this region, with no particular concentration of activity along the Ramapo fault, or along the hypothesized fault zone extending into southwestern Connecticut.

Just off the northern terminus of the Ramapo fault is the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant, built between 1956 and 1960 by Consolidated Edison Company. The plant began operating in 1963, and it has been the subject of a controversy over concerns that an earthquake from the Ramapo fault will affect the power plant. Whether or not the Ramapo fault actually does pose a threat to this nuclear power plant remains an open question.

Indo-Pak Nuclear Confrontation (Revelation 8 )

Photograph Source: Ministry of Defence, Government of India – GODL-India

PART ONE

There are several indications that India’s ruling party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its ideological mentor the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) are obsessed with the perverse urge to wipe out Pakistan with nuclear weapons by unleashing a first or a second strike. Through similar means, their counterparts on the Pakistani side are determined to eliminate many more Indians than the ill-fated Pakistanis before meeting their own disastrous end. Whether through a first strike or a second strike, it is hundreds of millions of lives that are likely to be lost on both sides in a nuclear war and in the “nuclear winter” that would follow – facts that are mostly hidden from the people on the two sides. Unless concerned people in India and Pakistan and elsewhere do all they can to expose the pernicious mindset of such leaders, the game of nuclear brinkmanship would prove too costly not only for the people of the Indian subcontinent but also for those who choose to remain indifferent to the imminent danger.

Unwarranted Utterance

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan on 26 Aug, 2019 had reportedly said that if the Kashmir dispute moved towards war, the world should remember that “both countries have nuclear weapons”. He went on to add that: “In a nuclear war, no one will win. It will not only wreak havoc in this region, but the entire world will face consequences”. (Dawn, Karachi, 27 Aug, 2019) Imran’s warning is a sure sign of the fast deteriorating political situation in the Indian subcontinent. It is part of the latest round of threats and counter-threats that was triggered by the unwarranted utterance by India’s Minister of Defence, Rajnath Singh, on 16 Aug, 2019, which has effectively generated ample confusion about India’s nuclear weapon policy. The Times of India (TOI) published the news under the headline: “’No first use’ of nukes policy is open to review: Rajnath Singh”. The TOI report went on to note that:

“Defence minister Rajnath Singh’s suggestion that India’s no-first-use nuclear posture may not be sacrosanct sparked intense speculation in the midst of heightened India-Pakistan tensions in the wake of the abrogation of special status to Jammu & Kashmir.” (TOI, Delhi, 17 Aug, 2019)

The Defence Minister made this comment at Pokhran — the site of India’s nuclear tests – with the Chief of Army Staff, Gen.Bipin Rawat, at his side. They were visiting the area on the occasion of the first death anniversary of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee who was instrumental in ordering the Pokhran-2 nuclear tests in 1998. Later Rajnath Singh tweeted the following message:

“Pokhran is the area which witnessed Atal Ji’s firm resolve to make India a nuclear power and yet remain firmly committed to the doctrine of ‘No First Use’. India has strictly adhered to this doctrine. What happens in future depends on the circumstances.” (TOI, Delhi, 17 Aug, 2019)

Indeed, Rajnath Singh’s loaded remark provided sufficient hint that concerted attempts are being made to change India’s existing nuclear weapon policy. In the opinion of the author of the above TOI report:

“The absence of any clarification from the government lent weight to the view that the comments [of Rajnath Singh] were well-considered unlike in the case of the late Manohar Parrikar, whose similar remarks in 2016 were “clarified” as his personal opinion. Parrikar was defence minister when he said at a book launch function, “Why do a lot of people say that India is for ‘no first use’….  why should I bind myself? I should say I am a responsible nuclear power and I will not use it irresponsibly.” (TOI, Delhi, 17 Aug, 2019)

Myth of Deterrence

In the light of the constant attacks on the No-First-Use (NFU) policy, the myth that India had inducted nuclear weapons merely as a weapon of deterrence stands busted. It may be recalled that, soon after the Pokhran-2 nuclear tests, Prime Minister Vajpayee on 27 May, 1998, had given an undertaking to the Indian Parliament as follows:

“We do not intend to use these weapons for aggression or for mounting threats against any country, these are weapons of self-defence, to ensure that India is not subjected to nuclear threats or coercion. We do not intend to engage in an arms race.”

Wholly contrary to that solemn assurance before the Indian Parliament by the then Prime Minister, concerted plans are now afoot to side-step that policy and convert nuclear weapons, which are purportedly perceived at present as “weapons of self-defence” into the category of “weapons of offence” in the near future with the explicit objective of using such pernicious weapons first. As a matter of fact, neither Rajnath Singh nor his predecessor, Manohar Parrikar, was among the first representatives of the right-wing National Democratic Alliance (NDA) / BJP to question the adequacy or validity of India’s ‘No-First-Use’ policy. Indeed, the BJP’s ideological mentor, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has been a proponent of the first use of nuclear weapons as evident from the editorial in the RSS mouthpiece “Organiser” dated 30 Dec, 2001, which had proclaimed as follows:

“Its [Pakistan’s] very existence has become inimical not only for India but for the entire civilised world. Pakistan deserves to be punished for all its errors of commission and omission…. Time has come to solve the problem of Pakistan forever and for all.”

Just three days before Organiser published the said editorial, the then Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Pramod Mahajan, had expressed similar views. According to The Times of India (Delhi, 27 Dec, 2001): “Mahajan told an anti-terrorism rally organised by the ruling BJP party that if circumstances ‘pushed India’ towards a war with Pakistan, New Delhi would make sure the threat of terrorism was completely stamped out.”  The report quoted Mahajan as saying: “If at all the war happens the intensity will be so strong that there will be no need for a future war with Pakistan. And the results will be there for everyone to see.”  The then Minister of Defence, George Fernandes, was even more candid in his outbursts three days later. According to Hindustan Times (Delhi, 30 Dec, 2001), Fernandes had bluntly said: “We could take a [nuclear] strike, survive and then hit back, Pakistan would be finished.”

Alarmed by such reckless rhetoric, the then Strategic Editor of The Hindu, Raja Mohan, could not but comment in his newspaper column (on 31 Dec, 2001) as follows:

“Coercive diplomacy has never been a characteristic feature of India’s foreign policy. But by threatening an all out war with Pakistan that could escalate to the nuclear level, India has entered the uncharted waters of nuclear brinkmanship.”

Hawkish Rhetoric

The ranting on the Pakistani side was not very different either. Not to be outdone in the war of rhetoric, the then President of Pakistan, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, responded to threats held out by Mahajan and Fernandes with this retort:

If any war is thrust on Pakistan, Pakistan’s armed forces and the 140 million people of Pakistan are fully prepared to face all consequences with all their might.” (CNN, 30 Dec, 2001)

The then Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee (quite contrary to the assurance he had made before the Indian Parliament in 1998) too went overboard with his belligerent views. Reporting about the speech that Vajpayee had made in Lucknow on 02 Jan, 2002, The Hindu (Chennai, 03 Jan, 2002) has quoted him as saying that: “no weapon would be spared in self-defence. Whatever weapon was available, it would be used no matter how it wounded the enemy.”  It is quite explicit what weapon Vajpayee was referring to. But who is the enemy that he was intending to target? Is it the mass of the people of Pakistan or is it the foreign and home-bread terrorists based in Pakistan and elsewhere? Can nuclear weapons differentiate between mass of the people and terrorists when they unleash destruction? These questions are conveniently left unanswered. It is simply incredible that people with such irrational and vengeful ideas were at the helm of affairs on both sides!

While the angry comments by BJP leaders about the readiness to use nuclear weapons were made in the aftermath of the 13 Dec, 2001 terrorist attack on the Indian Parliament that killed ten Indians, the willingness to unleash genocide on non-combatant and innocent Pakistanis on an unprecedented scale by using nuclear weapons as a retaliatory measure is incomprehensible. If terrorism is defined as indiscriminate and wanton killing of non-combatants (and combatants in non-conflict situations), it is incumbent on the Government to make every effort to protect the lives and rights of unarmed and innocent civilians while it conducts combat operations to bring terrorists to justice.

Stunned by the bellicose stance of Vajpayee, The Times of India (Delhi) in its editorial dated 04 Jan, 2002 noted:

“A mere 24 hours after he promised to go more than halfway to meet the Pakistan President and ‘resolve any issue, including Kashmir’, he was at his combative best, threatening the ‘use of any and every weapon’ against that country. His audience, which no doubt understood it to mean the nuclear weapon, lapped up the brave talk. Unfortunately, words have a momentum of their own; even if they don’t translate as actual war, they can vitiate the domestic environment leading to polarisation of people on sectarian lines.”

Similarly, the editorial in The Hindu (Chennai) dated 04 Jan, 2002, went on to warn the Government that:

“Such hawkish rhetoric [on the part of Vajpayee] does not exactly square with the sort of statesmanship required at the present critical juncture, both on the Indo-Pakistan and the international fronts.”

Gross Indifference

While Fernandes, the then Defence Minister of India, seemed quite content to wipe out Pakistan and its people in retaliation, he appeared to be least bothered about the casualties that India would suffer in case of a nuclear attack by Pakistan! Whether through a first strike or a second strike, it is hundreds of millions of lives that are likely to be lost on both sides in a nuclear war are facts that are sought to be hidden in Mr. Fernandes’ convoluted logic. In fact, according to The Hindu (Chennai), Fernandes told newspersons on 07 Jan, 2003 that: “…if the [Indian] deterrent is not adequate and Pakistan uses the bomb, we will suffer a little but there will be no Pakistan left later”. (Also see: BBC News, “India Warning Over Nuclear War”, 07 Jan, 2003.)

How little is “little”? While attempting to offer an explanation in this regard, Dr.Subramanian Swamy, former Professor at the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology (IIT, Delhi), ex-Union Cabinet Minister, and currently National Executive Committee member of the BJP & Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha, since April 2016), has claimed that if India launches a war against Pakistan, which may escalate into a nuclear war, India would merely lose as “little” as 100 million lives, which is less than 10 per cent of India’s population! Speaking at ABP News’ flagship programme on 23 Sept, 2016, Swamy reportedly said:

“If there is a nuclear war with Pakistan, only 10 crore [100 million] Indians will die. But India will still be left with 110 crore [1.1 billion] population. Our nuclear bombs will wipe off Pakistan from world’s map”.

This is the mindset of one of the top leaders of the BJP: for the pleasure of killing 200 million Pakistanis, India must be prepared to sacrifice 100 million Indians! Are the Indian victims of nuclear attacks supposed to find solace in the fact that in a retaliatory strike far greater number of people on the other side would be killed? If possession of nuclear weapons cannot protect innocent Indians from being victims of a nuclear attack, what exactly is the purpose or advantage in possessing these dreadful weapons of mass destruction? Prime Minister Narendra Modi too has made it clear that he has no qualms about using nuclear weapons. Addressing an election rally in Rajasthan on 21 Apr, 2019, Modi said: “Every other day they [Pakistan] used to say “We’ve nuclear button, we’ve nuclear button”…..What do we have then? Have we kept it for Diwali [festival of lights]?” (India Today, Delhi, 21 Apr, 2019). The mute question arising from such mindset is: are nuclear weapons no different from firecrackers?

Thus, it is clear that the Indian Government’s current strategy is certainly not to prevent a nuclear war but to fight and win such a war under any circumstances irrespective of the enormous human and material costs it would inflict on both sides. The propagation of the idea of winnable nuclear war at any cost is what is most frightening. Also many people seem to forget that the nuclear weapon is the most potent terrorist weapon in existence. Its use under any circumstance would be nothing but a heinous crime against humanity. Therefore, any talk about winnable nuclear war is absolutely preposterous.

Dangerous Doctrine

It may be recalled that the “Draft Report of National Security Advisory Board on Indian Nuclear Doctrine”, i.e., the Draft Nuclear Doctrine (DND) was released on 17 Aug, 1999 by the then National Security Advisor, Brajesh Mishra, in his capacity as the Convener of the National Security Advisory Board (NSAB). In his opening remarks, the National Security Advisor made it clear that he had “great pleasure in releasing the document for public discussion and debate”.  Unfortunately, for the next three years the DND was neither discussed nor debated in the Indian Parliament or in any other public forum in any substantive manner. However, organizations like Delhi Science Forum (DSF) and Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace (CNDP) did try to critique the DND in detail.  Without the Government initiating any public discussion or debate on the DND, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) suddenly on 04 Jan, 2003 decided to formally adopt and operationalise the DND.  Before adopting it, the CCS did ensure that certain crucial changes were inserted into the DND. However, a final text of the DND has still not been placed in the public domain.

The most shocking proposal in the DND is about the necessity of cultivating “the will to employ nuclear weapons and forces“ [Objectives, Para 2.6(e)].  This was the core proposal around which rest of the DND had evolved. Any conscientious human-being would have found the mindless act of committing genocide absolutely revolting. So the authors of the DND have come up with a bizarre solution: they thought it was imperative to inculcate the much-needed pernicious will for perpetrating a horrendous crime against humanity. Injection of insensitivity into the thought processes of sane human beings was an intrinsic requirement for pursuing that objective. Essentially it would entail de-humanization of the individuals involved in the execution of the dreaded decision to use nuclear weapons. (This kind of molding of the thought process would be no different from the way terrorists are conditioned to indulge in senseless killing of unarmed and innocent civilians.) The DND was, thus, essentially a document that sanctified and sanitized the use of nuclear weapons. In short, it is essentially a doctrine for fighting a nuclear war, not for preventing one!

No-First-Use: A Basic Commitment

While the DND is essentially a nuclear war-fighting document, para 2.4 of the DND made it clear that “India will not be the first to initiate a nuclear strike”. Thus, para 2.4 of the DND was basically a retraining clause to prevent the Government of the day from indulging in nuclear adventurism. Moreover, para 8.2 of the DND had gone a step further and had affirmed that “no-first use of nuclear weapons is India’s basic commitment”. In addition, the same para had asserted that “every effort shall be made to persuade other States possessing nuclear weapons to join an international treaty banning first use.”

Nevertheless, as noted above, the CCS, while deciding to operationalise the DND at its meeting on 04 Jan, 2003, did attempt to dilute the scope of the NFU pledge.  The following rider [in Para 2(VI)] was inserted for that purpose:

“However, in the event of a major attack against India, or Indian forces anywhere, by biological or chemical weapons, India will retain the option of retaliating with nuclear weapons;…”

Thereby, as per this rider, the decision to retaliate with nuclear weapons was dependent on subjective interpretation of who used what, when and where. Moreover, it gave the impression that there was an attempt to deploy Indian forces “anywhere” in the world to indulge in military adventurism. It appears that Dr.K.Subramanyam, the doyen of Indian strategic thought, who was associated with the drafting of the DND and who was a member of the National Security Advisory Board (NSAB) until 2001, was not entirely pleased with the attempt to tinker with the NFU pledge. Therefore, Dr.Subrahmanyam was forced to reiterate that the DND:

“… accepts the no-first use doctrine; it accepts minimum credible deterrence; it accepts that India will only use its nuclear capability for retaliation; and it accepts absolute civilian supremacy, and no delegation of [nuclear] arms to the military…. The logic behind the no-first-use policy is that India considers nuclear weapons as weapons of mass destruction, not as weapons of war, and therefore it should not be used.” (Voice of America, 26 Oct, 2009)

NFU under Attack

There is no doubt that the NFU policy is under attack from a sizable section of the BJP/RSS leadership. In this regard, it would be pertinent to refer to the comments made by two experts on strategic policy, namely, Prof. Rajesh Rajagopalan of Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi, and Dr. Manpreet Sethi of Centre for Air Power Studies, Delhi, in response to Defence Minister Rajnath Singh’s reported remarks on the possibility of revising India’s stand on the NFU. In an interview to The Hindu (23 Aug, 2019) Rajagoplan commented as follows:

“The doctrine is only valid for as long as the government says it is valid. It would be foolish to suggest that doctrines cannot change or that they will hold for all times and under all circumstances. All he [Rajnath Singh] was suggesting was that we cannot guarantee that the doctrine will hold for all times.”

Rajagopalan has obviously not made an attempt to distinguish between “principled” position and what is passed off as “pragmatic” position. It was India’s “principled” stand that “no-first use of nuclear weapons is India’s basic commitment”. India was also committed “to persuade other States possessing nuclear weapons to join an international treaty banning first use.” (DND, Para 8.2)  Therefore, it would not be right to claim that “principled” position can be changed according to someone’s whims and fancies since the impact of such arbitrary changes would be severe. How could “basic commitment” be turned into “no commitment” overnight? When India has made a commitment to persuade other nuclear weapon states to join an international treaty to ban first use, how could or why should India move away from that commitment?  However, Rajagopalan did concede that “if we did change the NFU policy, that would not be particularly useful.”  Similarly, Manpreet Sethi (who too attempted to downplay the implications of Ranjnath Singh’s statement) was nevertheless of the view that there was no need to move away from the commitment to NFU. She emphatically said: “I do believe it’s a good policy and there’s no reason for the country to change it”. Sethi went on to caution the Indian Government that “we will be sucking ourselves into an arms race if we were to go for a first use doctrine.” (The Hindu (23 Aug, 2019)

It was not just few odd leaders of the BJP, who were making off the cuff remarks about abrogating the NFU policy. In fact, the third NSAB, which submitted its final report to the National Security Advisor, Brajesh Mishra, on 20 Dec, 2002, did recommend that the NFU policy be reviewed. According to a news report: “The National Security Advisory Board, India’s top panel of national security experts, has asked the government to review its no-first-use of nuclear weapons policy in light of the history of the last four years.’” (reddif.com, 09 Jan, 2003)  In view of this recommendation from the NSAB, it is evident that several concerted moves were made to change the NFU policy during the last twenty-one years. In all probability, the overt influence exercised by strategic experts like the late Dr.K.Subrahmanyam may have helped stave off such attempts till now. In their absence, the looming threat that moves may be afoot to change India’s NFU policy is very real.

How Russia Will Surpass Babylon the Great

Russia news: Putin and Trump are caught up in a fresh arms race (Image: getty)

How Russia is building nuclear weapons that surpass US’ arsenal

RUSSIA and the US are locked in a tense period of missile test escalation and political unrest after the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) was abandoned earlier this year, but Washington will be increasingly concerned after it admitted Russia is building warheads that the US “does not possess”.

By CHARLIE BRADLEY

PUBLISHED: 08:01, Thu, Dec 19, 2019

UPDATED: 08:05, Thu, Dec 19, 2019

Putin: Technology must not be invented for sake of technology

Vladimir Putin says that ‘technology must not be invented for the sake of technology’ during a speech at the AI Journey Conference in Moscow. He says ‘Our main goal is sustainable and harmonious development, a higher life quality for citizens.’

The admission was made by US Strategic Command deputy commander Vice Admiral Dave Kriete, who told Russian News Agency Tass that Washington doesn’t intend to “keep up” with Russia. He said: “Russia continues to develop nuclear weapons that the United States does not possess.” “Our goal isn’t to keep up with Russia and engage in an arms race [but to engage] in proper deterrence.”

However, he did tell reporters that the US had tested a weapon that would have been banned under INF treaty that the US officially withdrew from in August.

The 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) signed between Washington and the Soviet Union barred the use of the two nations’ land-based ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and missile launchers with that could hit targets from intermediate range, set at distances between 500km range and 5,500km range depending on the type of system.

The treaty was abandoned officially by the US in August.

President Donald Trump announced in October 2018 that he wanted to pull American out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), accusing Moscow of violating the terms of the nuclear arms agreement.

But the Kremlin has rejected the accusations, stressing that the scrapping of the INF treaty would force Russia to take measures to ensure its security.

Now both countries are testing missiles systems which would have previously been banned under the 1987 agreement.

If the US’ reports are true, this would mean that Washington gas undertaken two tests of previously banned missiles since the breakdown of the treaty.

Russia is reportedly planning to test the monstrous Tsirkon nuclear missile before the end of the year.

Iran is Nuclear Ready (Daniel 8:4)

Iran begins testing much faster centrifuges as nuclear deal further unravels

President Rouhani also confirms Tehran already running more advanced models to step up enrichment, in violation of 2015 pact

By TOI staff18 Dec 2019, 6:13 pm

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday said his country has begun testing its latest, much faster, model of centrifuges in a further signal the international deal limiting its nuclear program was unraveling.

Today, our new IR-6 centrifuges are working and the newer IR-9’s are being tested,” he said during a visit to Malaysia, according to a statement on his website.

According to Iranian officials, an IR-6 centrifuge can produce enriched uranium 10 times faster than the country’s first-generation IR-1 centrifuges.

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The IR-9, for its part, works five times faster than the IR-6 and 50 times faster than the IR-1, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Ali Akbar Salehi, has said.

A centrifuge enriches uranium by rapidly spinning uranium hexafluoride gas, with more advanced centrifuges further cutting into the one year that experts estimate Tehran would need to have enough material for building a nuclear weapon — if it chose to pursue one.

Iran has ramped up its nuclear activities since US President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled the US out of the 2015 nuclear deal last year. The deal, negotiated between Tehran and world powers under the previous US administration of Barack Obama, was designed to see Iran curb its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of powerful sanctions. The US has since reinstated punitive measures on Iran which have affected its struggling economy.

In this photo released by Malaysia’s Department of Information, Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, right, and Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, pose for a photo ahead of their meeting in Putrajaya, Malaysia, December 18, 2019. (Malaysia’s Department of Information via AP)

“Today, the entire world know[s] that the US’ withdrawal from the JCPOA was no[t] to the benefit of anyone, even themselves and their friends,” Rouhani said Wednesday, using the initials for the 2015 deal’s official name.

He denounced the US reimposition of sanctions as an “illegal move” and said he did not believe they could continue.

“Americans have no choice but to return from this path, and we will force them to do so with our resistance and steadfastness,” he said.

In response to the US sanctions, Iran in recent months has been breaching the conditions of the 2015 pact by increasing its stockpiles of enriched uranium and stepping up its enrichment capacity.

Last month, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed that Iran had breached another limit in its nuclear deal by stockpiling more heavy water than the accord allowed.

Tehran has indicated that it has taken several steps away from the accord. It now enriches uranium up to 4.5%, beyond the 3.67% allowed by the deal. Iranian officials say their stockpile of low-enriched uranium is over 500 kilograms (1,100 pounds), above the accord’s 300-kilogram (661-pound) limit. It has also begun using advanced centrifuges prohibited by the agreement and resumed enrichment at its underground Fordo facility.

In this photo released by the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran on November 6, 2019, a forklift carries a cylinder containing uranium hexafluoride gas for the purpose of injecting the gas into centrifuges in Iran’s Fordo nuclear facility. (Atomic Energy Organization of Iran via AP)

Tehran’s violations — all announced in advance and verified by International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors — have been an attempt to pressure the other world powers involved, France, Germany, Britain, China and Russia, to offer new economic incentives to offset the effect of the American sanctions.

Iran has previously suggested it would walk back those activities if it receives the economic incentives it needs.

Also Wednesday, Rouhani accused the US and Israel of seeking to fuel domestic unrest in Iran, following recent protests in which rights groups said hundreds were killed in the government crackdown.

“The goal that the Americans and Zionists were pursuing by sanctions and putting maximum pressure on Iran was to push us into isolation, and incentivize the Iranian nation to rise against the state,” he said. “Despite what they thought, the Iranian nation resisted in spite of having hard living conditions because of unjust sanctions.”

Agencies contributed to this report.

Obama’s Iranian Nuclear Disaster

Iranians Understand Trump Sanctions, Obama Nuclear Deal Was ‘Disastrous,’ Shah’s Son Says

David BrennanOn 12/12/19 at 7:34 AM EST

Courtesy of Reza Pahlavi

Iran is being convulsed by its worst unrest for 40 years, with cities across the country paralyzed by thousands of anti-government protesters.

Though sparked by a spike in fuel prices, the explosion of anger has been a long time coming. Iranians are living under an authoritarian regime while battling falling living standards and a faltering economy, exacerbated by crippling American sanctions levied to stifle Tehran’s nuclear program and regional influence.

Hundreds—perhaps more than 1,000 according to U.S. authorities—of dissenters have been cut down in the streets by regime gunmen. Human rights groups accuse the authorities of hiding away the bodies of the dead to conceal the true death toll while throttling internet to prevent survivors communicating with each other and the world.

According to Reza Pahlavi—the last surviving son and heir of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, deposed in the Iranian Revolution—the reported “massacre” shows the desperation and ruthlessness of the regime.

Pahlavi spoke to Newsweek from Washington, D.C., where he still lives in exile after his family fled the country in 1979. He has consistently called for a secular democracy to replace the current system.

Pahlavi said the current turmoil is indicative of widespread anger at the government in Tehran, and that the only solution is a rehabilitated secular democracy—whether or not he is directly involved.

How should we characterize the current unrest in Iran?
The protests in our country are driven by a broad-based, grassroots desire to replace this regime. The 200 percent rise in fuel prices may have been the trigger of this latest round of widespread national street protests, but this does not come close to capturing the essence or aspirations of what they have become.

These protests represent a rejection of the regime as a whole and communicate a desire to end forty years of clerical oppression. All one has to do to understand this is to listen to my compatriots in the streets.

They do not chant for reforms, or about fuel prices, they chant, “We don’t want the Islamic Republic!” and, “Khamenei, get out of the country!” and by the hundreds they are giving their lives for the cause of freedom.

Reza Pahlevi, son of the deposed Shah of Iran and his third wife Farah Diba, as a young boy with his parents in 1967.Universal History Archive/Getty

What does the response of the security forces tell us about the priorities and mindset of those in power?
We have known for forty years that the regime’s only priorities are safeguarding and expanding its own power and control, including enriching itself. This massacre is not surprising. It is rather what one expects when such a regime feels threatened.

Simultaneously, we are witnessing the beginning of a peeling away of the security forces from the regime. As a result, the Islamic Republic is forced to import foreign nationals to attempt to control the protests.

This simply shows that the regime will stop at nothing to protect itself, even at the cost of an effective genocide. Yet despite all this, the people are still fighting. The message they give me to tell the world is, “We deserve better than this. Why are you abandoning us?”

What should replace the current regime in Iran?
For four decades I have consistently advocated for a secular, democratic system in Iran. Not only have I advocated this for Iran because it is the best way to ensure the human rights, well-being, and happiness of Iranians but also because it is my sense that the Iranian people overwhelmingly want and demand such a system.

Today’s generation of young Iranians, more than ever, are aware of other countries where sovereignty is routine in their liberal and free societies. They would like to have the very same opportunities and self-determination.

This undated photo shows Reza Pahlavi—the exiled heir to Iran’s defunct monarchy—giving a speech. Pahlavi told Newsweek that the current unrest in Iran is a direct reaction to the authoritarian regime in Tehran.The Secretariat of Reza Pahlavi Media Relations

Is there any legitimate opposition in Iran that can be trusted in this regard? U.S. officials have previously pushed for the involvement of controversial groups such as the People’s Mujahedin of Iran—how do you feel about this?
It is less a matter of how I feel and more about fundamental truths. Our national aspiration is to have a secular democracy and therefore the people of Iran will decide what groups, parties, or individuals are relevant and constructive to our nation’s future. The future of Iran is to be decided by Iranians, not by any foreign leader’s advisors.

Would you like to return to Iran and be involved in a political process to establish a new system of governance?
I view my role as the advocate of the Iranian people. My aspirations are to support the movement for liberty and dignity and are not driven by any ambition for political power in Iran’s future.

That said, I am eager to return to Iran and I will always be there for our people to defend their fundamental and inalienable rights against any and all forces foreign or domestic. I intend to be of assistance in any way that I can to provide proper guidance in our nation’s critical transition to a secular democracy.

Do you think the Iranian people would welcome the return of royal influence?
The future system of government will be subject to intense debate in the constitutional process. It is this process, these democratic mores, on which I am focused and not on the future system of government.

Our country has of course, apart from this forty year interlude, a history of monarchic service and tradition. So naturally many Iranians, in line with this history and culture, have an affinity for the monarchy.

But the present moment is not about monarchy or republic, it is about the fight to reclaim our nation from an anti-Iranian occupying force and to develop this democratic order along with all of its principles, tenets, and values.

What do you think of the current U.S. “maximum pressure” strategy on Iran
It is unfortunate for the Iranian people that the regime, through its nefarious, destabilizing and antagonizing behavior in the region and across the world has brought the ire of so many of its neighbors and of the free world on our country.

To the extent that the sanctions limit or reduce the regime’s resources from being used for such actions, this is something the people of Iran understand and appreciate. Iranians realize that they are first and foremost under maximum pressure socially, politically and economically from the Islamic regime itself.

Therefore, my concern and that of the Iranian people is getting rid of this regime. The people don’t chant in the streets against sanctions, they chant against this regime in hundreds of cities across the country.

Was President Donald Trump right to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal?
I do not tell Americans how to run their country, my focus is Iran. I know that any deal or negotiation with this regime and which ignores the Iranian people and their desires and demands are illegitimate.

All those who still aspire to finding a solution by negotiating with this regime only prove how out of touch they are with the real aspirations and sentiments of the Iranian people. My focus, rather, is on removing the maximum pressure of this regime on our people.

Trump’s hardline approach is directly pushing down living standards of normal Iranians—is this a price worth paying to try and contain the Iranian regime?
Containment and appeasement have proven to be the policy of sustaining the status quo. It is the policy of continuously taking the same steps and expecting different results.

To the extent that the regime is cut off from the resources used to oppress at home and abroad, the Iranian people understand and appreciate that.

But the determining factor in Iran’s future will be the Iranian people not foreign policies, as I have always told our people. To that end, if any nation wants to deal with Iran it must deal with those who hold the answers to its future: the people, not the regime.

I have said for decades that the West has a role to play in supporting the Iranian people in their movement because this support and solidarity will lower the cost of our ultimate victory. The burden of conscience lays heavily on all those who claim liberty and freedom as values and are astonishingly silent now, when their voices are most needed.

Should the White House change its strategy on Iran?
After forty years of failed attempts to appease this irreformable regime, isn’t it time for a different strategy?

Do not try to engage this regime. The previous administration made this mistake to disastrous effect for the Iranian people and for the region. Instead, engage the Iranian people and the secular democratic opposition.

For example, use the frozen assets of this regime and return them to their rightful owners, the people. Use it to support a strike fund to give my compatriots the ability to go on mass strikes and bring this regime to its knees through widespread, peaceful civil disobedience.

As an additional example, the administration should take measures to promote and safeguard uninterrupted access to the internet, and limit the regime’s ability to promote its own propaganda while it asphyxiates our people’s access to information.

Are you in touch with Trump administration officials and do you give advice on their approach?
For all of these years, I have communicated the same, consistent message to international leaders, including those in the United States.

That message has been simple: you cannot properly develop a policy for the future when you are focused on dealing with this illegitimate regime, you must recognize the people’s demand for fundamental change, and you must engage the people. I will continue to advocate this message.

The problem is not that the regime has not changed it’s behavior, because it never will, but rather that the world has not changed its behavior looking to appease this regime.

Projectile Fired From Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

Projectile fired from Gaza, drawing retaliatory Israeli strikes

No reports of injuries or damages as mortar shell strikes open field; projectile was the second to be launched at Israel on Thursday

By Judah Ari Gross and TOI staff

Today, 8:56 pm

A projectile was fired Thursday from the Gaza Strip toward southern Israel, prompting retaliatory strikes by the Israeli military against Hamas positions in the coastal enclave.

The projectile — apparently a mortar shell — struck an open field in the Sha’ar Hanegev region, a local government spokesperson said. There were no injuries or damage caused the attack.

Incoming rocket sirens were set off in Kfar Azza, a kibbutz near the Gaza border, the army said.

Hours later, the Israel Defense Forces launched a series of strikes on Hamas targets in the Strip.

News outlets in Gaza reported that the strikes targeted Hamas posts throughout the enclave, from the area around Rafah in the south to near Beit Lahia in the north.

“A short while ago, IDF aircraft attacked underground infrastructure and a naval target belonging to the Hamas terror group in the southern Gaza Strip, as well as a military installation belonging to the terror group in the north of the Strip,” the military confirmed in a statement, noting that the attack was in retaliation for the rocket strike earlier in the evening.

There were no immediate reports of Palestinian injuries.

The projectile fired from Gaza on Thursday evening was the second to be launched at Israel by Palestinian terrorists that day, after a rocket was fired in the predawn hours of the morning.

The Israel Defense Forces said the earlier rocket was intercepted by the Iron Dome defense system, with no reports of injury or damage. In response, Israeli aircraft struck a Hamas weapons production facility in northern Gaza, the army said, noting it holds the terror group, which rules Gaza, responsible for all violence emanating from it.

Israel later announced it had restricted the permitted fishing zone off the coast of the Gaza Strip to 10 nautical miles in response to the rocket fire.

On Wednesday, an Israeli aircraft fired at and hit an armed Palestinian who approached the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, the military said.

The military said the Palestinian was spotted by IDF observation posts as he neared the security fence in southern Gaza.

Authorities in the Hamas-run Strip did not comment on the Palestinian suspect’s condition.

Footage of the incident, which was later distributed by the IDF, showed the suspect approaching the security fence armed with what appears to be an assault rifle. The video ends before the airstrike.

On Friday several thousand Palestinians protested on the Gaza border, including several hundred rioting and clashing with Israeli forces, as the coastal enclave’s Hamas rulers marked 32 years since the founding of the terror group.

The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry said five Palestinians were hurt in the clashes, which saw the hurling of Molotov cocktails and other objects at IDF soldiers.

In addition to the border clashes, thousands took part in rallies in Gaza over the weekend to mark the 1987 anniversary of the terror group’s establishment.

Friday’s border demonstrations were part of the weekly March of Return protests that began last March and resumed earlier this month after a three-week hiatus following a large-scale battle in November between the IDF and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the second largest terror group in Gaza.

The Antichrist Becomes First Leader to Urge Assad to Step Down

Moqtada al-Sadr becomes first Iraqi Leader to urge Assad to step down

SDD Contributor

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Iraq’s influential Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr called on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to “take a historic heroic decision” and step down, to spare his country further bloodshed. Sadr, who commands a large following among the urban poor of Baghdad and the southern cities, is the first Iraqi Shi’ite political leader to urge Assad to step down. But his call was wrapped in kind words about the Syrian president and condemnation of the U.S. strikes carried out on a Syrian airbase on Friday, in retaliation for a chemical attack on civilians in a rebel-held area of Syria. Sadr said the U.S. strikes would “drag the region to war” and could help “the expansion of Daesh,” the militant Islamic State group, which controls parts of Iraq and Syria.

Iraq’s Shi’ite-led governments have maintained good relations with the Syrian government throughout the six-year Syrian civil war. Sadr is the only Iraqi Shi’ite leader to keep some distance from Iran, a main backer of Assad along with Russia. “I think it would be fair for President Bashar al-Assad to offer his resignation and step down in love for Syria, to spare it the woes of war and terrorism …and take a historic, heroic decision before it is too late,” Sadr said in a statement.

The Shi’ite-led Iraqi government issued a statement on Friday that reflected the difficult balancing act it maintains between its alliance with the United States and with Shi’ite Iran. It condemned the chemical attack, without naming Assad, calling instead for an international investigation to identify the perpetrator.

The statement also criticized “the hasty interventions” that followed the chemical attack, in an apparent reference to the U.S. strikes. A U.S.-led coalition has been providing air and ground support to Iraqi forces battling Islamic State, allowing them to recapture most of the cities they had overrun in 2014 in Sunni areas of northern and western Iraq.