A Closer Look At The Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

A Look at the Tri-State’s Active Fault Line

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Ramapo Fault is the longest fault in the Northeast that occasionally makes local headlines when minor tremors cause rock the Tri-State region. It begins in Pennsylvania, crosses the Delaware River and continues through Hunterdon, Somerset, Morris, Passaic and Bergen counties before crossing the Hudson River near Indian Point nuclear facility.

In the past, it has generated occasional activity that generated a 2.6 magnitude quake in New Jersey’s Peakpack/Gladstone area and 3.0 magnitude quake in Mendham.

“There is occasional seismic activity in New Jersey,” said Robinson. “There have been a few quakes locally that have been felt and done a little bit of damage over the time since colonial settlement — some chimneys knocked down in Manhattan with a quake back in the 18th century, but nothing of a significant magnitude.”

Robinson said the Ramapo has on occasion registered a measurable quake but has not caused damage: “The Ramapo fault is associated with geological activities back 200 million years ago, but it’s still a little creaky now and again,” he said.

“More recently, in the 1970s and early 1980s, earthquake risk along the Ramapo Fault received attention because of its proximity to Indian Point,” according to the New Jersey Geological Survey website.

Historically, critics of the Indian Point Nuclear facility in Westchester County, New York, did cite its proximity to the Ramapo fault line as a significant risk.

“Subsequent investigations have shown the 1884 Earthquake epicenter was actually located in Brooklyn, New York, at least 25 miles from the Ramapo Fault,” according to the New Jersey Geological Survey website.

The Iranian Nuclear Horn (Daniel 8 )

A portrait of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani displayed during a protest vigil in Karachi, Pakistan, Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020.

The blowback over the U.S. killing of a top Iranian general mounted Sunday as Iran announced it will no longer abide by the limits contained in the 2015 nuclear deal and Iraq’s Parliament called for the expulsion of all American troops from Iraqi soil.

The twin developments could bring Iran closer to building an atomic bomb and enable the Islamic State group to stage a comeback in Iraq, making the Middle East a far more dangerous and unstable place.

Adding to the tensions, U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to demand billions of dollars in compensation from Iraq or impose “sanctions like they’ve never seen before” if it goes through with expelling U.S. troops.

Iranian state television cited a statement by President Hassan Rouhani’s administration saying the country would not observe the deal’s restrictions on fuel enrichment, on the size of its enriched uranium stockpile and on its research and development activities.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran no longer faces any limitations in operations,” a state TV broadcaster said.

In Iraq, meanwhile, lawmakers voted in favor of a resolution calling for an end to the foreign military presence in the country, including the estimated 5,200 U.S. troops stationed to help fight Islamic State extremists. The bill is subject to approval by the Iraqi government but has the backing of the outgoing prime minister.

In yet another sign of rising tensions and threats of retaliation over the deadly airstrike, the U.S.-led military coalition in Iraq said it is putting the battle against ISIS on hold to focus on protecting its own troops and bases.

The string of developments capped a day of mass mourning over Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, killed in a U.S. drone strike in Baghdad on Friday. Hundreds of thousands of people flooded the streets in the cities of Ahvaz and Mashhad to walk alongside the casket of Soleimani, who was the architect of Iran’s proxy wars across the Mideast and was blamed for the deaths of hundreds of Americans in roadside bombings and other attacks.

Trump responded to the Parliament’s troop withdrawal vote with a monetary threat, saying the U.S. expected to be paid for its military investments in Iraq before leaving and threatening economic sanctions if the U.S. is not treated properly.

“We have a very extraordinarily expensive air base that’s there. It cost billions of dollars to build. Long before my time. We’re not leaving unless they pay us back for it,” he told reporters aboard Air Force One.

“If they do ask us to leave, if we don’t do it in a very friendly basis, we will charge them sanctions like they’ve never seen before ever. It’ll make Iranian sanctions look somewhat tame,” he said

He added: “We’re not leaving until they pay us back for it.”

State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus earlier said the U.S. is awaiting clarification on its legal meaning but was “disappointed” by the move and strongly urged Iraq to reconsider.

“We believe it is in the shared interests of the United States and Iraq to continue fighting ISIS together,” Ortagus said.

The leaders of Germany, France and Britain issued a joint statement on Sunday calling on Iran to abide by the terms of the nuclear deal and refrain from conducting or supporting further “violent acts.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson specifically urged Iran to “withdraw all measures” not in line with the 2015 agreement that was intended to stop Tehran from pursuing its atomic weapons program.

Iran insisted that it remains open to negotiations with European partners over its nuclear program. And it did not back off from earlier promises that it wouldn’t seek a nuclear weapon.

However, the announcement represents the clearest nuclear proliferation threat yet made by Iransince Trump unilaterally withdrew from the accord in 2018 and reimposed sanctions. It further raises regional tensions, as Iran’s longtime foe Israel has promised never to allow Iran to produce an atomic bomb.

Iran did not elaborate on what levels it would immediately reach in its program. Tehran has already broken some of the deal’s limits as part of a step-by-step pressure campaign to get sanctions relief. It has increased its production, begun enriching uranium to 5% and restarted enrichment at an underground facility.

While it does not possess uranium enriched to weapons-grade levels of 90%, any push forward narrows the estimated one-year “breakout time” needed for it to have enough material to build a nuclear weapon if it chose to do so.

The International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations watchdog observing Iran’s program, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. However, Iran said that its cooperation with the IAEA “will continue as before.”

Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi earlier told journalists that Soleimani’s killing would prompt Iranian officials to take a bigger step away from the nuclear deal.

“In the world of politics, all developments are interconnected,” Mousavi said.

In Iraq, where the airstrike has been denounced as a violation of the country’s sovereignty, Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi said that the government has two choices: End the presence of foreign troops or restrict their mission to training Iraqi forces. He called for the first option.

The majority of about 180 legislators present in Parliament voted in favor of the troop-removal resolution. It was backed by most Shiite members of Parliament, who hold a majority of seats. Many Sunni and Kurdish legislators did not show up for the session, apparently because they oppose abolishing the deal.

A U.S. pullout could not only undermine the fight against the Islamic State but could also enable Iran to increase its influence in Iraq, which like Iran is a majority-Shiite country.

Soleimani’s killing has escalated the crisis between Tehran and Washington after months of back-and-forth attacks and threats that have put the wider Middle East on edge. Iran has promised “harsh revenge” for the U.S. attack, while Trump has vowed on Twitter that the U.S. will strike back at 52 targets “VERY FAST AND VERY HARD. ”

He doubled down on that threat Sunday, dismissing warnings that targeting cultural sites could be a war crime under international law.

“They’re allowed to kill our people. They’re allowed to torture and maim our people. They’re allowed to use roadside bombs and blow up our people. And we’re not allowed to touch their cultural sites? It doesn’t work that way,” Trump told reporters.

The U.S. Embassy in Saudi Arabia warned Americans “of the heightened risk of missile and drone attacks.”

In Lebanon, the leader of the Iranian-backed militant group Hezbollah said Soleimani’s killing made U.S. military bases, warships and service members across the region fair game for attacks. A former Iranian Revolutionary Guard leader suggested the Israeli city of Haifa and centers like Tel Aviv could be targeted should the U.S. attack Iran.

Iranian state TV estimated that millions of mourners came out in Ahvaz and Mashhad to pay their respects to Soleimani.

The casket moved slowly through streets choked with mourners wearing black, beating their chests and carrying posters with Soleimani’s portrait. Demonstrators also carried red Shiite flags, which traditionally symbolize both the spilled blood of someone unjustly killed and a call for vengeance.

The processions marked the first time Iran honored a single man with a multi-city ceremony. Not even Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who founded the Islamic Republic, received such a processional with his death in 1989. Soleimani on Monday will lie in state at Tehran’s famed Musalla mosque as the revolutionary leader did before him.

Soleimani’s remains will go to Tehran and Qom on Monday for public mourning processions. He will be buried in his hometown of Kerman.

Gambrell reported from Dubai, United Arab Emirates and Karam reported from Beirut. Associated Press writers Aya Batrawy in Dubai, Qassim Abdul-Zahra in Baghdad, Sarah El Deeb in Beirut, Kelvin Chan in London and Robert Burns and Jonathan Lemire in Washington contributed to this report.

Concerns at Indian Point Before the Sixth Seal (Rev 6:12)

Aerial shot of Indian Point power plant on the shores of the Hudson River in Buchanan.

State AG: ‘Grave concerns’ over Indian Point nuclear plant decommissioning

New York State Attorney General Letitia James leveled “multiple, grave concerns” about the third-party subsidiaries decommissioning the Indian Point nuclear power plant in Buchanan in a statement today.

The strongly worded statement was released the same day as the start of the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s review of the deal that will allow a private company, Holtec International of Camden, NJ, to decommission the reactor.

James said in her statement that Holtec has no experience with “such an enormous, complex and consequential undertaking.” She also questioned whether the company had the proper financial resources to carry out the project.

James said her office would take legal action if necessary to ensure the state has full participation in the application proceeding and all other decisions related to the decommissioning.

The state’s criticism Thursday came months after The Journal News/lohud along with multiple USA Today Network newsrooms published a detailed investigative report into Holtec and others’ bids to take over the decommissioning of nuclear power plants. 

Titled “The Nuclear Option” the multi-part project looked into the profits that private companies would make by decommissioning nuclear power plants. The private companies promise to complete the process faster than the companies that now own the plants.  At the time of publication, there was approximately $60 billion in the country’s trust funds dedicated toward the eventual closing of America’s nuclear plants.

The USA Today Network report noted that watchdog groups, politicians, scientists and experts on decommissioning nuclear plants questioned whether safety will be sacrificed for speed, as profit-seeking companies rush to finish one job so they can move on to the next. The profit motive was also cited in the Attorney General’s legal brief.

In 2017, Indian Point’s owner, Entergy, announced that it would shut the nuclear power plant down in 2021. One of the plant’s two reactors will stop producing electricity in the spring while a second will be shut down next year.

NRC and New York

James already has some experience fighting the NRC.

Last week her office filed a brief in support of the Massachusetts state government in its fight with the NRC. James was joined by 12 other attorneys general in the brief.

The brief was filed in Massachusetts after Holtec gained the license to decommission the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth, MA.

When the Massachusetts state government learned Holtec was getting control of the Pilgrim plant, it requested the NRC hold a hearing. The NRC didn’t respond.

Then the Massachusetts government asked for a 90-day hold on approving the deal to  discuss the issues, which the NRC declined and let the deal go through.

The NRC declined to comment for this story.

New York has yet to file a request for its own hearing, and the AG’s office doesn’t know if it will as of now.

Neil Sheehan, spokesperson for the NRC, said the window to request a hearing on the Indian Point license transfer application will remain open for 20 days — closing Feb. 12. The window for the public to submit comments will be open for 30 days, closing Feb. 24.

James’ brief highlighted both environmental and financial risks with decommissioning a reactor.

“Plants undergoing decommissioning often generate more toxic waste than operational plants, increasing the risk of soil and water contamination,” James wrote. “Unexpected costs are almost certain to arise because Holtec’s cost estimates were based on historical data and do not account for unanticipated site conditions or events.”

The filing argued two main points, that the decommissioning process could have far reaching effects on each nuclear plant being decommissioned across the country, and the NRC broke the law when it didn’t hold the hearing that the Massachusetts state government had requested.

Holtec says it met all the standards for taking control of the plant.

“The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has concluded that Holtec met the required regulatory, legal, technical and financial requirements to qualify as licensee and decommission Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station,” Patrick O’Brien, a Holtec spokesperson said, but further declined to comment on the brief.

Holtec’s plan outlined

Entergy will sell the power plant and its surrounding 240 acres to Holtec, a New Jersey-based decommissioning firm, pending NRC’s approval. Holtec has promised to do the job in 12 to 15 years, significantly less time than Entergy estimated it would take to complete.

Hotlec presented its plan to the public last Thursday in front of a standing-only crowd. It would cost about $2.3 billion to tear the power plant down. If the cost exceeds that estimate, Joe Delmar, Holtec’s senior director of government affairs, said at the forum taxpayers would not be stuck with the bill.

New York is having trouble with the math that the trust can cover the cost.

“The materials it has provided to the State are so incomplete and redacted that the State’s experts cannot replicate Holtec’s conclusion that the trust’s funds are sufficient,“James wrote.

Currently there are 21 nuclear plants undergoing decommissioning. Holtec — in the near future — might be responsible for decommissioning six reactors.

“It is essential that the decommissioning of Indian Point be rapid, complete, and safe,” James said.

Trust in Holtec questioned

Assemblywoman Sandy Galef, D-Ossining, said she is pleased the AG’s office is involved after last week’s public meeting with Holtec left more questions than answers. There were “a lot of gaps” in the information Holtec conveyed, Galef said.

She said she doesn’t want the Indian Point site to turn into a “dead plant”‘ with no potential for redevelopment.

“I came away from that meeting saying I don’t know if I can trust this company,” Galef said. “They haven’t performed, they don’t have a track record.”

State Sen. Peter Harckham said the state needs to be “intimately involved” in the decommissioning because state and local officials don’t trust the NRC to oversee it.

Harckham said Delmar was unable to answer basic questions about environment, safety and labor issues.

“This is too sensitive a matter to just rush into and say we’re awarding this to one company without everybody doing their due diligence,” Harckham said.

Cortlandt Supervisor Linda Puglisi said in an email that safety is the most important aspect for town residents as she awaits the NRC’s conclusion.

Riverkeeper Legal Director Richard Webster said the organization has no experience decommissioning and the plans presented to shut down Indian Point are inadequate. “As much legal firepower needs to be brought to the table as possible,” Webster said.

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Trump’s Plan Will Accelerate the Trampling Outside the Temple Walls (Rev 11)

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – As U.S. President Donald Trump prepares to host Israeli leaders in Washington to reveal details of his long-delayed Middle East peace plan, Palestinians warned on Friday that no deal could work without them on board.

Trump invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his chief rival centrist former general Benny Gantz to the White House next week, saying he would unveil the plan before his Tuesday meeting with Netanyahu.

But Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said there had been no communication with the Trump administration, and that no peace deal could be implemented without “the approval of the Palestinian people and the Palestinian leadership”.

“This is the only way if they are serious, if they are looking for stability in the whole region,” Rudeinah said.

Israeli-Palestinian peace talks collapsed in 2014 and Palestinians have called Trump’s proposal dead in the water, even before its publication, citing what they see as his pro-Israel policies.

The Palestinians have boycotted political dealings with the Trump administration since it reversed decades of U.S. policy on the conflict, splintering the international consensus.

It has refused to endorse the two-state solution – the longtime international peace formula that envisages a Palestinian state established in territory that Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war.

The Trump administration also recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moved its embassy there, and announced that Washington no longer views Israeli settlements on occupied West Bank land as “inconsistent with international law”.

Palestinians and most of the international community see the settlements as illegal under the 1949 Geneva Conventions that bar populating land captured in war. Israel disputes this, citing historical, biblical and political connections to the land, as well as security needs.

Palestinians obtained limited self-rule in parts of the West Bank under mid-1990s interim peace accords. They now seek East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state comprising the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Israel withdrew from tiny Gaza in 2005.

Trump, speaking to reporters on his flight home from the World Economic Forum in Davos, acknowledged Palestinians might react negatively to his plan at first but that “it’s actually very positive for them”.

“It’s a great plan. It’s a plan that really would work.”

By contrast Netanyahu immediately accepted Trump’s invite.

“I think the president is seeking to give Israel the peace and security that it deserves,” Netanyahu said on Thursday,

Gantz’s office did not immediately confirm whether he accepted Trump’s invitation.

CLASHING PERSPECTIVES

The political aspects of Trump’s peace initiative have been kept under wraps. Only the economic proposals have been unveiled, anchored by a $50 billion regional development plan – which Palestinians spurned as it did not address an end to Israeli occupation.

Israeli headlines on Friday referred to the “Trump Summit” and “Trump Deal”. Nahum Barnea, a political analyst in Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper, expected “an American green light” for Israel to annex West Bank settlement blocs and the Jordan Valley, which forms the border with Jordan to the east.

Palestinian newspapers highlighted warnings that such moves would end peace chances and pitch the region into a “new phase”.

In Tel Aviv, Israelis appeared generally supportive of their leaders going to Washington, even without Palestinians.

“We don’t have to go back to the previous peace process that was signed over 25, 30 years ago,” said Yael Rozencwajg, 41, a tech executive from Tel Aviv. “The situation has completely changed since then. Trump has started recognizing that.”

In explaining the U.S. change of stance on settlements this month, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the new approach would actually advance peace with the Palestinians “by (speaking) the truth when the facts lead to it”.

Palestinians challenged the U.S. and Israeli stances.

In al-Auja, a Jordan Valley village flanked by Israeli settlements, Salim Abu Kharbesh, 59, said: “We are the inhabitants of the land, and they have come to us in spite of us, and in violence. They own nothing in this land.”

In Gaza, now ruled by Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas which has fought several wars with Israel, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said no U.S. plan could alter realities on the ground.

“Our people will not accept it, and will confront it with all their might,” he said.

(This story has been refiled to remove repetition in second paragraph)

Additional reporting by Sinan Abu Mayzer and Nuha Sharaf in Jerusalem, Adel Abu Nimeh in the Jordan Valley, Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza and Ali Sawafta in Ramallah; Editing by Mark Heinrich

Iraqi protesters face off against cleric antichrist’s men

Iraqi protesters face off against cleric Moqtada Sadr’s followers

Updated 04 February 2020 AFP February 04, 2020 10:02

DIWANIYAH: Anti-government demonstrators faced off against followers of influential cleric Moqtada Sadr in protest squares across Iraq Tuesday, a day after one demonstrator was killed in a clash between the two sides.

Sadr, an enigmatic militiaman-turned-politician, backed the anti-government rallies when they erupted in October but has split with other demonstrators over the nomination of Mohammad Allawi as prime minister.

The cleric endorsed Allawi while other protesters rejected him, saying he was too close to the ruling elite they had been demonstrating against for four months.

In the southern city of Diwaniyah on Tuesday, the rift escalated into a fistfight between young anti-regime demonstrators and Sadr backers, recognizable by their signature blue head caps, an AFP correspondent said.

Police intervened to separate the two camps but the young protesters broke into chants against Sadr, Iraqi authorities as well as Iran, accused by demonstrators of backing the government’s crackdown against them.

Also in Diwaniyah, security forces could be seen outside schools and government offices in an attempt to ensure they reopened fully after sit-ins had forced them to shut.

It came after the interior ministry late Monday said it had ordered reinforcements to schools, and a few students could be seen trickling in the following morning.

Hundreds of students refused to go back to class, however, marching through the main anti-government protest camp with Iraqi flags and a banner that read, “Protest March for Diwaniyah High Schools.”

In Nasiriyah, too, all schools had reopened after police deployed, according to the education directorate’s press chief Halim al-Hossayni.

But students took to the streets there as well to insist on keeping up their protests.

“We’re determined to pursue our peaceful movement in Habbubi square, because we want a homeland free of corruption and sectarian people,” said student Hamad Ali.

Tensions have been high in protest squares in recent days between youths furious at Allawi’s nomination and Sadrists.

On Monday, a demonstrator was stabbed to death and three others wounded after men in blue caps attacked an anti-regime rally, medics and security sources said.

Allawi, 65, was nominated on February 1 after two months of political stalemate over who would replace ex-premier Adel Abdel Mahdi, who resigned in December.

Antichrist asks followers to stop stir, clear the roads

Iraqi cleric asks followers to stop stir, clear the roads

Reuters

Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr urged his followers on Sunday to help security forces clear roads blocked during months of sit-in protests, calling for a return to normal life after the designation of a new Prime Minister.

Mr. Sadr, who had alternately sided with the anti-government protesters and the Iran-backed political groups they reject, urged his unarmed supporters known as “blue hats” to work with authorities to ensure schools and businesses can operate normally again.

Protests broke out immediately in Baghdad and several southern cities on Saturday night after President Barham Salih named Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi as Prime Minister in an effort to end the political unrest.

On Sunday, thousands gathered in Baghdad’s Tahrir square in protest. They banged drums and chanted against Mr. Allawi and Mr. Sadr, saying “Allawi is rejected and so are his parties”.

In a message issued on Twitter, Mr. Sadr said “I advise the security forces to stop anyone from cutting off roads and the Ministry of education should punish those who obstruct regular working hours, be they students, teachers or others”.

Some of his followers appeared to have helped already to clear out protest areas in Tahrir Square overnight, a Reuters reporter said.

Hours before Mr. Allawi’s appointment, the blue hats, armed with batons, attacked a skeleton building in Tahrir Square, known as the Turkish Restaurant, that demonstrators have occupied since October. The building was mostly empty on Sunday and the blue hats stood guard, occupying its gates and pacing with walkie-talkies outside it.

“They attacked us by surprise and forced us out of the building shouting that we didnt do any good to the country except ruining its economy,” said Rassoul, 20, a protester who has lived in the Turkish Restaurant since October.

Anti-government protests continued nearby, with demonstrators directing their ire towards Allawi. He was named on Saturday as part of a deal between Sadr and rival Iran-backed political groups, who have wrangled since November’s resignation of premier Adel Abdul Mahdi.

Mr. Allawi must form a government within a month and face a confidence vote in parliament. Iran welcomed his designation on Sunday.

Protesters demanding the removal of Iraq’s ruling elite and the creation of better jobs and services have regularly blocked main roads in Baghdad and southern Iraq since demonstrations erupted in October.

U.N. and EU flags

Some of the protesters in Baghdad on Sunday waved the national flag while others had United Nations and European Union flags. “We call on the UN to support and protect Iraqi protesters,” read several signs.

“Mr. Allawi is a member of the political game that has destroyed Iraq, he needs to go,” said Malek Jawad, a student and protester.

A dozen young Iraqis stood on a truck carrying massive speakers and cheered the crowed.

Moqtada al-Sadr sent conflicted messages since the beginning but at the end he made it clear that hes against the protesters,” Jawad added.

Sadr supporters watched the protesters from in and around the Turkish Restaurant.

Mr. Sadr has directed anti-government unrest in previous years but he has not been able to control this round of demonstrations and many protesters oppose him as much as the rest of the political class.

Mr. Sadr’s supporters had previously bolstered the protesters and sometimes helped shield them from attacks by security forces and unidentified gunmen.

Many of Mr. Sadr’s supporters hail from eastern Baghdad slums and share the same grievances as many Iraqis over a lack of job opportunities, poor healthcare and education.

The unrest is Iraq’s biggest crisis for years. It has shattered nearly two years of calm that prevailed after the defeat of the Sunni Muslim extremist Islamic State in 2017.

Terrorist Attacks From Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

Hamas Terrorist Attacks And Wounds Israeli Prison Guard

February 3, 2020 4:30 pm

A Hamas terrorist imprisoned in Ofer Prison near Jerusalem attacked and wounded a prison guard on Monday morning, the Israel Prison Service stated.

The prison guard was lightly wounded in the attack and was evacuated to the hospital for treatment.

The prisoner is a security prisoner affiliated with Hamas who is being held at Ofer Prison until his trial is completed.

“The prison guards and combat soldiers of the Prison Service are prepared to deal with every scenario and threat involving the security prisoners and will use harsh measures against any threat or injury to the staff,” the Prison Service asserted.

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)