New York Quake Overdue (The Sixth Seal) (Rev 6:12)

New York City Is Overdue For Large Earthquake: Seismologist

Won-Young Kim, who runs the seismographic network for the Northeast at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, said the city is well overdue for a big earthquake.

The last big quake to hit New York City was a 5.3-magnitude tremor in 1884 that happened at sea in between Brooklyn and Sandy Hook. While no one was killed, buildings were damaged.

Kim said the city is likely to experience a big earthquake every 100 years or so.

“It can happen anytime soon,” Kim said. “We can expect it any minute, we just don’t know when and where.”

New York has never experienced a magnitude 6 or 7 earthquake, which are the most dangerous. But magnitude 5 quakes could topple brick buildings and  chimneys.

Seismologist John Armbruster said a magnitude 5 quake that happened now would be more devastating than the one that happened in 1884.

China Joins the Nuclear Race (Daniel 7)

China’s Nuclear Arms Are a Riddle Wrapped in a Mystery

Beijing’s plans to build new missiles, expand anti-satellite capabilities and increase nuclear material production far above civilian needs have the world guessing.

Michael MazzaMarch 13, 2020, 3:43 PM

China’s DF-41 nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missiles at a military parade on Tiananmen Square in Beijing on Oct. 1, 2019. GREG BAKER/AFP via Getty Images

Two weeks ago, U.S. President Donald Trump agreed to a proposal that China join the four other permanent members of the United Nations Security Council at a summit to initiate a new round of arms control talks.  The goal, according to administration officials, is a three-way agreement among China, Russia, and the United States to limit nuclear weapons. As National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien explained in early February, “It shouldn’t just be the U.S. and Russia. We think that China is going to need to become involved in any serious arms control negotiation.”

China, whose nuclear warheads number only in the low hundreds, may not seem a natural fit for negotiations with the United States (6,185 total warheads, of which 1,750 are deployed) and Russia (6,490 total, 1,600 deployed). Indeed, China has previously rejected participating in a trilateral nuclear arms deal on the grounds that its forces are too small. China has previously rejected participating in a trilateral nuclear arms-control deal on the grounds that its forces are too small. But Beijing’s ambitious plans for new enrichment and recycling capacities capable of producing material for nuclear weapons would make it possible for China to achieve parity with the United States and Russia. Moreover, given the current and perhaps enduring Sino-Russian strategic alignment, the United States can no longer assume that a military conflict with China will not also involve Russia; while adding Russian and Chinese nuclear weapons numbers may not be appropriate, neither is considering them completely in isolation.

Before pulling Beijing into any arms control talks, however, U.S. officials need to understand what China is up to. In particular, they need to crack three strategic mysteries surrounding Beijing’s most threatening capabilities: its unclear doctrine for using nuclear weapons, its rising capacity to make nuclear explosives, and its development of anti-satellite operations.

The first mystery is how China might use its nuclear weapons. Beijing has long maintained it would never launch its nuclear weapons first, that it would only fire them after having been attacked, and, even then, weeks might pass before China would respond. As China’s 2019 defense white paper put it, “China is always committed to a nuclear policy of no first use of nuclear weapons at any time and under any circumstances, and not using or threatening to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states or nuclear-weapon-free zones unconditionally.” Chinese leaders also insist they can deter the United States so long as they have the ability to strike back at a limited number of targets, most likely American cities.

This policy of assured—and relatively limited—retaliation is what Chinese leaders have officially espoused.  There is only one problem: China is currently building up its nuclear forces well beyond what’s needed merely to target a handful of American cities. The question is why.China is currently building up its nuclear forces well beyond what’s needed merely to target a handful of American cities. The question is why.

China will soon have deployed a nuclear triad of strategic land, sea, and air-launched nuclear systems akin to America’s. The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency projects China’s nuclear warhead stockpile may double by 2030. The People’s Liberation Army is fielding a large variety of modern, nuclear-capable missiles, of various ranges, some fitted with penetration aids and multiple independently targetable warheads. It is investing in a new, silo-based intercontinental ballistic missile—typically considered a first-strike weapon. These missiles may be fitted with hypersonic glide vehicles, which travel at high speeds on irregular trajectories, making them difficult for missile defenses to intercept.

Taken together, these and other capabilities point to a China that is potentially preparing for far more extensive retaliation, nuclear first strikes, counterforce targeting, and/or nuclear warfighting. Is that China’s intent, or does Beijing believe it needs all of these new capabilities merely to maintain deterrence through assured retaliation? Beijing has yet to offer a clear answer.

The second mystery surrounds China’s plans to significantly expand its facilities to enrich uranium and recycle plutonium. While this capacity is nominally intended to meet the needs of civilian reactors, China plans to produce far more fuel than it could consume domestically or export to its known customers abroad. Building up such nuclear fuel production capacity, however, is all too useful for making nuclear bombs.

If China were to build all of the enrichment capacity it plans, it could produce enough highly enriched uranium to make an additional 1,500 warheads each year—enabling Beijing to reach parity with the United States in five to 10 years if it chose to do so—even after supplying all of China’s civilian power reactors and meeting demand for exports. China is also operating a reprocessing plant and building another one capable of separating enough plutonium from spent reactor fuel to make an additional 500 nuclear warheads a year. On top of that, China plans to buy another plant from France that would allow it to produce enough plutonium for a further 1,600 nuclear warheads per year. None of this makes economic sense—it would be far cheaper for China to use uranium to fuel its power reactors. Why, then, is it launching such a massive reprocessing effort?The heightened potential for false alarms that comes with such a posture is hardly conducive to strategic stability.

It is unclear. Beijing has not signaled any intent to grow its warhead stockpile so precipitously. The accepted wisdom is that China is not interested in racing to achieve nuclear parity with Russia or the United States but desires to maintain the option to do so. This would go some way toward making sense of Chinese plans. But again, Beijing has not yet explained itself.

The third and final mystery are China’s anti-satellite efforts. Like its other official pronouncements, China’s repeated avowals to keep space peaceful sound reassuring. Its actions in space, however, are anything but. According to the U.S. Defense Department, China is developing space-based early warning reconnaissance capabilities that would enable a shift to a launch-on-warning nuclear posture—which involves heightened readiness, improved surveillance, and streamlined decision-making to enable a rapid response in case of attack. The heightened potential for false alarms that comes with such a posture is hardly conducive to strategic stability. Meanwhile, China’s anti-satellite capabilities—its ground-based lasers, anti-satellite missiles, and robot satellite killer operations—raise fears that China might, in the event of a crisis, blind or destroy America’s own key military satellites.

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In other words, instead of the official doctrine of embracing space as a global commons to which all have free access, China may well join Russia in contesting the domain and accelerating the arms race in space. Why? The operational logic for China doing so is clear: Effective Chinese anti-satellite weapons will make it harder for U.S. forces to maintain intelligence operations and battlefield communications in case of a conflict in the Pacific. Unfortunately, China’s investment in anti-satellite capabilities also heightens U.S. and allied fears of a Chinese first strike (nuclear or conventional). Here, too, it would be useful to understand China’s thinking.

For U.S. policymakers grappling with these three mysteries, the greatest frustration has been the endless stonewalling by their Chinese interlocutors. When bilateral talks have happened in the past, they have too often focused on nuclear terrorism, the security of nuclear materials, and questions of declaratory policy. For years, Chinese officials have refused to engage in meaningful dialogue that could give clarity on the issues described above. But dialogue is what is necessary if both countries are to gain a better understanding of the strategic capabilities in which the other is investing and why.

Toward this end, the Trump administration should make pursuit of a new strategic capabilities dialogue a key goal for 2020. Certainly, Beijing has concerns about the United States coming to its own conclusions about these mysteries—for Washington, any responsible assessment will require at least some consideration of a worst-case scenario. China has an opportunity to shape those assessments. Continuing to eschew that opportunity is unlikely to be in China’s interest. Convincing Beijing of that is the task at hand.

Michael Mazza is a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a senior non-resident fellow at the Global Taiwan Institute, and a non-resident fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States.

Henry Sokolski is the executive director of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center and the author of Underestimated: Our Not So Peaceful Nuclear Future. He served as deputy for nonproliferation policy in the office of the U.S. secretary of defense from 1989 to 1993.

Trump’s Reckless Decisions Are Leading Us To The End (Revelation 18)

Trump’s reckless decisions have led to an unnecessary Middle Eastern crisis

Editorial Board

President Trump at the White House on March 12. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

IN THE shadow of the mounting covid-19 pandemic, the Trump administration has been drawn into another cycle of escalating hostilities with Iranian-backed militias in Iraq. Twice since March 11, volleys of rockets launched by Tehran’s proxies have struck the sprawling Camp Taji base north of Baghdad, killing two Americans and seriously wounding at least two others. A retaliatory U.S. strike hit five sites described as weapons depots for the Kataib Hezbollah militia, leaving a number of militiamen and several Iraqi government soldiers dead. Both sides are threatening further action.

The renewed hostilities suggest that Iran and its Iraqi proxies were undeterred by the killing of senior Iranian strategist Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani and a senior Iraqi militia commander in a U.S. drone strike in early January. They raise anew two critical dangers for the Trump administration: that Iran will succeed in pushing U.S. forces out of Iraq, or that it will draw the United States into a larger military conflict.

Those might seem like extraordinary ambitions for the regime of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei at a time when it is grappling with one of the world’s most severe outbreaks of coronavirus, on top of a severe economic contraction and mounting domestic unrest. But the ruling ayatollah may see conflict with the United States as the best way out of his internal challenges; after all, the death of Soleimani produced a rare outpouring of nationalist sentiment.

Moreover, the Iranian campaign against U.S. forces in Iraq is not easily countered. It is hard to defend U.S. forces posted on Iraqi military bases from sudden volleys of short-range rockets, like those that have rained down on Camp Taji in the past week. And retaliatory U.S. action inside Iraq risks further alienating the Iraqi government, some of whose leaders are already pressing for a U.S. withdrawal.

President Trump may well be tempted to withdraw the 5,000 U.S. troops deployed to fight the Islamic State in Iraq. On Monday the anti-Islamic State mission announced that hundreds of troops would be redeployed from several smaller bases to larger ones in Iraq, or in Syria and Kuwait. While that may be prudent in view of the mounting risk of rocket attacks, a full U.S. pullout would hand Iran a major strategic victory. Having made containment of Tehran’s regional ambitions a pillar of his foreign policy, Mr. Trump would have ensured Iranian dominance in Iraq as well as Syria and Lebanon.

One alternative is to step up U.S. counterstrikes against Iranian targets in Iraq and perhaps in Iran itself, in an effort to restore deterrence. That would risk a political backlash in Iraq and perhaps more U.S. casualties from Iranian counterattacks — which is what the hard-line Iranian leadership may be hoping for. Or U.S. commanders could seek to muddle through with partial redeployments, more defensive measures and appeals to Iraqi leaders to rein in Iran’s proxies.

In all, Mr. Trump faces a perilous Middle Eastern morass that is mostly of his own making. His reckless decision to scrap the nuclear deal with Iran and renew economic warfare on its regime has led directly to an unnecessary crisis he must now manage amid the covid-19 pandemic.

New York Earthquake: Before the Sixth Seal (Rev 6:12)

New York Earthquake: South Glens Falls, Saratoga County, Struck by 3.1 Shake

On 3/11/20 at 9:12 AM EDT

An earthquake was felt at South Glens Falls in Saratoga County, New York, this morning. The village, north of Albany, experienced an earthquake with a magnitude of 3.1 at around 6.43 a.m. EDT.

The epicenter of the earthquake was located at 43.295°N 73.639°W, south-southwest of South Glens Falls at a depth of 8.2 miles, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

While there are currently no reports of damage or injuries, residents say they were “woken up by the shaking” and heard “a loud boom.”

Mark Mulholland, WNYT’s Saratoga-North Country News Chief, tweeted: “Here’s how I’d describe it at my house in Wilton: A loud boom which sounded like a massive tree falling followed by about 5-7 seconds of shaking which rattled the handles on my dresser drawers.”

Jaclyn Cangro, reporter at Spectrum News Albany, tweeted: “Saratoga County Sheriff says he hasn’t heard of any reports of damages from this morning’s earthquake. A co-worker who lives in the South Glens Falls area says his family was woken up by the shaking.”

Sam Hesler, traffic reporter at WNYT, tweeted: “I’ve spoken with police in South Glens Falls and the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office this morning. No reports of any damage on the roads following the 3.1 magnitude earthquake in South Glens Falls. I’m keeping a close eye on it!”

Residents shared their experiences of the earthquake on Earthquake Report, with reports of the shaking lasting between two and 30 seconds.

One resident of South Glens Falls said: “[The earthquake] sounded like a dump truck slammed into the building real hard. My husband says it sounded like a D train arriving at 34th street. It was scary, we went outside to look for damage but found none. Our neighbor and her boyfriend felt what seemed like a sonic boom too, my eardrums still feel sore.”

Another person from Saratoga Springs said: “I thought a truck crashed outside my house. I was upstairs and [the] building shook and [the] windows rattled.”

A Queensbury resident creatively described the earthquake as feeling “like a fairly large dog was under the bed, rolling to get out. However, we do not have a dog.”

A technician of the French National Seism Survey Institute (RENASS) presents a graph on March 11, 2011, in Strasbourg, Eastern France, registered during a major earthquake with a magnitude of 8.9 in Japan.Frederick Florin/Getty

While residents rarely experience large earthquakes in the state of New York, previous research has shown New York City— which is 200 miles south of today’s earthquake—is would be particularly at risk because of its population and infrastructure.

In a statement, Lynn R. Sykes, Higgins Professor Emeritus of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University, said: “New York is not as prone to earthquakes as California and Japan, but they do happen… To understand risk, you have to multiply hazard by assets, and vulnerability. When you factor that in, our risk is high.”

However, he said the likelihood of large earthquakes hitting New York City is low, adding the difference between hazard and risk is important. “Too much attention has been paid to the level of hazard, and not enough to the risk,” he said. “Earthquake hazard is about the same today as in 1609 when Henry Hudson sailed up the River. But earthquake risk is much, much higher today since the number of people, assets and their vulnerability are so much greater.”

Babylon the Great Retaliates After Iran Picks a Fight

U.S. Retaliates After Iran Picks a Fight

An Iran-backed missile strike killed two American soldiers, so Trump hit back hard.

An Iran-backed missile strike killed two American soldiers, so Trump hit back hard.

The U.S. military launched an airstrike against five Iranian-backed militia sites in northern Iraq late last week, killing an estimated three to four dozen militia members. The strike was in response to a rocket attack against U.S. and coalition forces earlier in the week that killed three soldiers, including two Americans and one British, and wounded over a dozen more. Following the U.S. strike Defense Secretary Mark Esper stated, “The United States will not tolerate attacks against our people, our interests, or our allies. As we have demonstrated in recent months, we will take any action necessary to protect our forces in Iraq and the region.” He also noted, “You don’t get to shoot at our bases and kill and wound Americans and get away with it.”

It appears clear that Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has not backed off his proxy-war efforts against the U.S. in Iraq and Syria even after the U.S. took out his top terrorist, Gen. Qasem Soleimani. In fact, he seems to be escalating matters.

As Tom Rogan at Washington Examiner notes, “Iran’s escalation also takes another form. Iran is now more resolute in expanding its nuclear program. Again, Iran knows that doing so risks Israeli or U.S. military action. But Khamenei has evidently decided to roll the dice in a last-ditch effort to blackmail America into sanctions relief. The supreme leader’s escalation-reflex is likely exacerbated in an Iranian interest point of view by the Saudi decision this week to boost its oil export scale and send oil prices plummeting. U.S. sanctions have annihilated Iran’s oil economy, so what little Tehran is still able to export is critical to the regime’s finances.”

To top it off, Iran is struggling with the coronavirus outbreak. It’s the typical mindset of tyrannical regimes: The people don’t matter, only the leader’s agenda.

Iran Prepares For The Nuclear Fire (Revelation 16)

Iran’s Bushehr Nuclear Plant. Photo by Hossein Ostovar, Wikimedia Commons.

Amid Coronavirus Crisis, Iranian Officials Plan To Build Nuclear Bomb – OpEd

Perviz S. Khazai*March 15, 2020

Iran’s Bushehr Nuclear Plant. Photo by Hossein Ostovar, Wikimedia Commons.

The IAEA Director-General announced on Tuesday, March 3, 2020, that the Iranian regime has not allowed inspectors to visit three undisclosed sites so far Mr. Rafael Grossi, the agency’s director-general called on Iran to immediately grant access to suspected nuclear sites.

On the other hand, all provinces of Iran are currently suffering from the Coronavirus disaster, but to the great surprise of everyone and the international community, there is no sign of the government, Rouhani nor Khamenei in management of the situation.

Instead, the regime’s officials flagrantly ask people to pray in order to heal and just through loudspeakers in the order of the streets people to stay home and pray, lest the crisis becomes a popular uprising against their regime. But behind the scenes, these same officials have been seriously and secretly boosting their uranium enrichment activities, reflecting the fact that Khamenei the supreme leader opportunistically is using the current situation to build a nuclear bomb.

On January 5, 2020, Tehran took a fifth step in reducing its nuclear commitments, announcing that it would now abandon its Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action restrictions and that its nuclear program would be based on its technical needs. Former IAEA Director-General Yukio Amano announced on June 10, 2019, that Iran had accelerated its production of enriched uranium. On August 30, 2019, IAEA announced that uranium enrichment in Iran had exceeded the agreed-upon ceiling of 3.76% and continued at a level of 4.5%. Accordingly, Iran’s enriched uranium reserves amounted to 241kg which is higher than 202kg mentioned in the brokered deal.

Tehran, which began taking five steps to reduce its nuclear commitments to blackmail the European Union and the United States, hoped that these threats would force the parties, especially the Europeans, to provide some relief from sanctions. But it didn’t. Neither the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges solution nor the $ 15 A billion loan offer was realized.

Meanwhile, November 2019 uprising in 200 cities in Iran to protest gasoline price hike and subsequent protests in Iraq and Lebanon with the motto of the expulsion of Iran and killing of Qassem Suleimani immersed Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader in a deadly crisis. So, he turned to a policy of contraction, a policy that resulted in augmented suppression of people, and closing the gap within his system.

For this same reason, on February 21, 2020 election window dressing, which faced heavy boycotts from people but with obvious manipulation and fraud, he swept away the so-called reformist gang from parliament and pulled out the names of his own gang members from the ballot box, in order to remove the last hurdles out of his way in parliament.

On the other hand, in the current situation, Tehran’s exporting terrorism channel is blocked, Tehran is isolated and on the edge of economical collapse. The Supreme Leader believes the only way in order to survive is to get the atomic bomb to have leverage internationally. A policy that drew strong international backlash.

The Atomic Agency’s Director-General, Rafael Grossi, said on March 9, 2020, “The Agency has so far sent 3 letters to the Iranian regime requesting access to these sites for its inspectors. But this country has not responded to any of the letters.”

British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab said; “London would not allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons.” Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, commander of Central command said; “The United State’s strategy is to shut down all the channels that enable Iran to reach Atomic bomb and to neutralize Iran’s malign behavior in the region.”

But Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in the turmoil of Coronavirus is trying to follow the North Korean model by building a nuclear bomb as soon as possible and change its balance with respect to the US, forcing the US to lift sanctions or reduce them.

The US research faculty also commented on the regime’s efforts and wrote in a report a few days ago: “Tehran has always tended to build nuclear arsenals as a symbolic sign of deterrent power’s stance against foreign military strikes. These types of regimes believe by having a nuclear bomb they can preserve their system.”

The faculty then warns: “The repetition of the Pakistan and North Korea nuclear bomb scenario that has become a reality and irreversible must be prevented. There are only two ways to stop Iran’s nuclear program, the first is to overthrow The Iranian regime, and the second full-scale war in the region.”

*Perviz S. Khazai:  is a law graduate and former Apprentice diplomat in French Ministry of Foreign Affairs- in IIAP(ENA) Paris, in United Nations in Geneva- In Red Cross International- In Council of Europe in Strasbourg and International Court of Justice in The Hague 1969-1971. He served as an international law expert of foreign affairs in Tehran 1976-1979. He served as the head of the mission and acting ambassador in Norway and Sweden in 1979-1982.

Babylon the Great Will Have to Target the IRGC in Iran

The US may have to target the IRGC in Iran to stop Iraq base attacks

Escalating Iranian-orchestrated attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq are unlikely to stop until President Trump orders limited retaliation against Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps targets on Iranian soil.

The growing challenge is obvious following two significant rocket attacks this week on the U.S. military’s Camp Taji.

The first attack killed two U.S. service members and one British soldier. A second attack on Saturday morning wounded three Americans and two Iraqis. Both attacks were carried out by Iran’s Kata’ib Hezbollah militia proxy, under direction from Iran’s IRGC. But what makes these attacks particularly concerning is that they are designed to kill. That might seem obvious, but the use hereof numerous rockets targeting areas of Camp Taji where soldiers congregate stands these incidents apart from other rocket attacks, which are primarily designed to harass.

In turn, it is clear that Iran has decided to kill Americans. This shows a noticeable strategic development from Iran’s immediate response to the early January killing of IRGC Quds Force Gen. Qassem Soleimani. Then, Iran was willing to accept a posturing-based retaliation rather than one actually intended to kill Americans.

But mark my words, Iran rather than Kata’ib Hezbollah, is responsible here.

Yes, Kata’ib Hezbollah lost their leader in the U.S. strike, which killed Soleimani, and thus has a motive for retaliation. Except for one thing: The group does not conduct lethal-focus attacks on U.S. interests without prior approval from Soleimani’s successor and mentee, IRGC Quds Force commander, Esmail Ghaani. The nature and rapid succession of these two attacks on Camp Taji reflect a new standing order from Ghaani to escalate. More attacks must thus be expected to follow in the near term future.

So what should the United States do?

Well, retaliating against Kata’ib Hezbollah, as following the first attack this week, is inadequate. Iran clearly didn’t view that retaliation as serious, or it wouldn’t have allowed this second attack to occur. Kata’ib Hezbollah is the sideshow here, Iran is the key problem. But the U.S. has alternate options.

At the top-line level, the loss of two Americans this week shows an imminent and continuing threat. So Trump does not need congressional authority to take limited action against the IRGC inside Iran. And that’s important because the U.S. could likely restore deterrent balance by targeting one or several IRGC military sites. The catastrophic impact that the coronavirus is wreaking on Iranian civil society means that the regime is under immense pressure. This pressure is exacerbated by U.S. efforts to support the growing protest movement. And while these attacks and Iranian escalations on the nuclear front are designed toward coercing the U.S. into sanctions relief, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei cannot risk an escalatory showdown with the U.S. The supreme leader won’t admit it, but he knows it’s a showdown he can’t win.

Limited strikes in Iran rather than inside Iraq would also serve another purpose. Namely, mitigating the risk of further inflaming Iraqi populist anger. Iraqi parliamentarians have pushed for the U.S. to withdraw from Iraq over the Soleimani incident. And that withdrawal would be bad news for our interests, strengthening Iran’s sectarian malfeasance in Baghdad, a driver for ISIS recruitment, at a time where it is rising again.

Regardless, unless Trump acts, the Iranians will keep killing Americans.