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

NYC earthquake risk: Could Staten Island be heavily impacted?

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

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

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

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

DIFFERENCES IN INTENSITY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OLDER ROCKS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Antichrist calls to ban large gatherings over COVID-19

Leader of Iraq’s Sadrist Movement, Muqtada Al-Sadr [Twitter]

Iraq Shia leader calls to ban large gatherings over COVID-19

June 9, 2020 at 11:19 am

Iraq’s Shia political leader, Muqtada Al-Sadr, has called on authorities to prevent all gatherings and demonstrations in the country to confront the coronavirus outbreak.

Al-Sadr’s call came after protests in the southern governorates of Diwaniyah, Dhi Qar, Muthanna and Najaf grew demanding the departure of provincial officials over financial and administrative corruption, poor management of state institutions and lack of services.

Al-Sadr called on authorities to prevent all gatherings including demonstrations.

As of Sunday, the total number of coronavirus infections in Iraq reached 12,366 cases including 346 deaths and 5,186 recoveries.

On Saturday, Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi ordered a review of the performance of governors and service institutions in the country.

America Threatens the China Nuclear Horn

An experimental version of a new cruise missile is fired from San Nicolas Island, Calif., last August, part of the Pentagon’s effort to develop new intermediate range missiles that could be based in Asia.

(Defense Department/Scott Howe)

The Pentagon wants to base missiles in the Pacific to counter China. Some allies don’t want them | Task & Purpose

Jun 10, 2020 1:24 PM EDT

By David S. Cloud, Los Angeles Times

The governor of a Japanese territory where the Pentagon is thinking about basing missiles capable of threatening China has a message for the United States: Not on my island.

“I firmly oppose the idea,” said Gov. Denny Tamaki, the governor of Okinawa, in an email to The Times.

Officials in other Asian countries are also signaling they don’t want them.

But Pentagon planners aren’t backing down after the Trump administration withdrew last year from a 33-year-old arms-control treaty that barred U.S. land-based intermediate range missiles in Asia.

Senior officials now say that putting hundreds of American missiles with non-nuclear warheads in Asia would quickly and cheaply shift the balance of power in the western Pacific back in the United States’ favor amid growing Pentagon concern that China’s own expanding arsenal of missiles and other military capabilities threaten U.S. bases in the region and have emboldened Beijing to menace U.S. allies in Asia.

The missile plan is the centerpiece of a planned buildup of U.S. military power in Asia projected to consume tens of billions of dollars in the defense budget over the next decade, a major shift in Pentagon spending priorities away from the Middle East.

But it also highlights the complex relationship between the U.S and its Asian allies, many of whom feel increasingly threatened by China but are reluctant to back new U.S. military measures that might provoke Beijing, which has built the biggest navy in the world in the last decade.

Australia and the Philippines publicly ruled out hosting American missiles when the Trump administration first floated the idea last year. South Korea is also considered an unlikely location, current and former officials say.

In Japan, the decision on whether to allow U.S. missiles on its territory will be made by the central government in Tokyo. Gov. Tamaki said officials at the Pentagon and in Tokyo have told him there are no definite plans to put missiles on Okinawa. But Tamaki isn’t reassured.

With a Japanese mother and an American father who served with the Marines on Okinawa before abandoning the family, Tamaki personifies the complex relationship between the U.S. and its allies in Asia. He was elected two years ago after pledging to oppose expansion of the already-substantial U.S. military presence on the island.

More than half of the 50,000 U.S. military personnel stationed in Japan are in Okinawa, most concentrated at a Marine base surrounded by residential areas in the largest city. Opposition to the 70-year-old U.S. military presence has sparked local protests for years, which would likely intensify if there were a move to base missiles there.

“If there is such a plan, I can easily imagine fierce opposition from Okinawa residents,” Tamaki said.

For the last year, the Pentagon has been testing several new types of short and intermediate range missiles — those with ranges up to 3,400 miles — including a ballistic missile that could be placed in Guam, a U.S. territory, and mobile missiles carried on trucks.

The first of the new weapons could be in operation within two years, though no decision has been announced about where they will be based. Similar missiles are now carried on U.S. warships and planes based in Asia, but there are no land-based systems.

U.S. officials say that many allies are privately supportive of the missile plan and may come around to permitting them on their territory but don’t want to provoke opposition from Beijing and their own public before decisions are on the table.

The U.S. has a defense treaty with Japan, as it does with South Korea, the Philippines and Australia. Taiwan is not a formal ally but has close, unofficial defense ties with Washington.

“We are very attentive to our allies’ concerns, and we recognized their political challenges,” said a senior defense official, who agreed to discuss Pentagon planning if he was not identified. “Everything that’s said in the media is not necessarily what’s said behind closed doors.”

To lessen the political opposition, the U.S. could rotate missile batteries in and out of locations around the region or place them in strategic locations without publicly disclosing it.

“It wouldn’t make much sense to announce plans now, which would stoke Chinese anger and possibly play into the domestic politics,” said Randy Schriver, who was a senior Pentagon official responsible for Asia until his resignation last year.

A decision to go ahead in Asia would intensify an arms race between the region’s two biggest powers whose relations — already tense over President Trump’s confrontational trade agenda and Chinese President Xi Jinping’s hawkish policies — have nosedived since the coronavirus outbreak.

“It’s naïve and dangerous,” said Alexandra Bell, a former Obama administration arms control official and a critic of deploying U.S. missiles. “Instead of looking at how we can prevent a full-out arms race, that’s our opening salvo?” added Bell, a senior policy director at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation in Washington.

Putting land-based missiles in Asia capable of attacking China is not a new strategy.

In the 1950s and 1960s, the U.S. kept them at bases across the region, including in Okinawa, where hundreds of nuclear-armed warheads were stored secretly for decades even though Japan’s constitution prohibited the presence of nuclear weapons on its territory.

The missiles were gradually taken out of service in the 1960s and 1970s, due to budget cuts and a shift in U.S. strategy away from defense of the region focused on nuclear weapons. In 1987, the Reagan administration signed an arms control treaty that prohibited the U.S. and the Soviet Union (and later Russia) from deploying any land-based intermediate range missiles, including in Asia.

China was not a signatory, leaving it free to build up its missile arsenal.

The Trump administration withdrew from the treaty last year after accusing Russia of developing new land-based missiles that violated its terms. The exit opened the way for the Pentagon to consider reintroducing ground-launched missiles in Asia.

With mobile missiles around the region, the U.S. could pose an even bigger challenge for China, forcing it to hunt for hundreds of launchers capable of targeting its planes, ships and bases, strategists say.

“Ground-based missiles aren’t some kind silver bullet,” said Eric Sayers, a former consultant to U.S. commanders in the Pacific and a fellow at the Center for New American Security, a Washington think tank. “But they are a way in the near term … to create dilemmas for the [People’s Liberation Army] planners.”

Although the risk of large-scale conflict with China seems low, tensions have continued to ratchet up over Beijing’s crackdown in Hong Kong, its military maneuvers near Taiwan, its border dispute with India and its offshore maritime claims in the East China Sea and South China Sea.

Nearly a quarter of world trade travels through the South China Sea, making the contest between Beijing and Washington over control of its sea lanes and rich resources especially tense and certain to continue, no matter who wins the U.S. presidential election in November.

The U.S. Navy for decades dominated the “first island chain,” as strategists call the area of the western Pacific stretching from Japan to Taiwan to the Philippines that fell within America’s defense umbrella after World War II.

But American reliance on bases, warships and airfields in the region has become increasingly risky, officials and analysts say.

China has developed its own missiles, sophisticated radars and anti-satellite weapons as well as a growing fleet of warships and submarines in recent decades that could threaten American bases and other targets early in a conflict, said Collin Koh, a research fellow in Asian maritime security at the Rajatnam School of International Studies in Singapore.

China’s People’s Liberation Army can project significant firepower on U.S. and allied military installations in the western Pacific and “threaten to overwhelm” American forces “in times of armed conflict,” Koh said.

The Chinese weapons in many cases have ranges that exceed those on U.S. warships, though the U.S. retains a significant advantage in attack submarines and in advanced fighters and bombers armed with cruise missiles that can be fired from long distances.

“Their capability and their reach has created vulnerabilities for our legacy basing structure,” said the defense official, who agreed to discuss U.S. planning on the condition that he not be identified.

———

©2020 the Los Angeles Times. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Iran Prepares For War Against Babylon the Great

Army chief names ‘enhancing military readiness’ as force’s main mission

Mehr News Agency

TEHRAN, Jun. 10 (MNA) – Iranian Army’s first-in-command pointed to the necessity of boosting the readiness of the military forces.

“Today our main mission is to boost military prowess and readiness,” he said on Wednesday while paying a visit to Army’s Ground Force units in Shahroud, Semnan province.

He went on to say that increasing defense power is among the Leader’s main guidelines and that “the Army will take steps towards its realization with all might.”

Commander of Iranian Army Ground Force Brigadier General Kioumars Heidari accompanied Mousavi in the visit.

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has called for strengthening the country’s defense power to confront threats and avoid possible wars.

Addressing a group of Iranian Air Force commanders and personnel in early January, Ayatollah Khamenei said that that “in order to impede war and put an end to the threats, one has to become strong.”

“We are not seeking to threaten any nation, but to defend the country from threats,” the Leader added.

Iran has made major breakthroughs in its defense sector and attained self-sufficiency in producing military equipment and hardware despite facing US sanctions and Western economic pressure.

The Islamic Republic says its military power is solely for defensive purposes against enemy threats.

MAH/ 4946008

Iran Prepares for Mock American Attack

Amid US tension, Iran builds fake aircraft carrier to attack | Newser

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — As tensions remain high between Iran and the U.S., the Islamic Republic appears to have constructed a new mock-up of an aircraft carrier off its southern coast for potential live-fire drills.

The faux foe, seen in satellite photographs obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press, resembles the Nimitz-class carriers that the U.S. Navy routinely sails into the Persian Gulf from the Strait of Hormuz, its narrow mouth where 20% of all the world’s oil passes through.

While not yet acknowledged by Iranian officials, the replica’s appearance in the port city of Bandar Abbas suggests Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard is preparing an encore of a similar mock-sinking it conducted in 2015. It also comes as Iran announced Tuesday it will execute a man it accused of sharing details on the movements of the Guard’s Gen. Qassem Soleimani, whom the U.S. killed in a January drone strike in Baghdad.

The replica carries 16 mock-ups of fighter jets on its deck, according to satellite photos taken by Maxar Technologies. The vessel appears to be some 200 meters (650 feet) long and 50 meters (160 feet) wide. A real Nimitz is over 300 meters (980 feet) long and 75 meters (245 feet) wide.

The fake carrier sits just a short distance away from the parking lot in which the Guard unveiled over 100 new speedboats in May, the kind it routinely employs in tense encounters between Iranian sailors and the U.S. Navy. Those boats carry both mounted machine guns and missiles.

The mock-up, which first began to be noticed among defense and intelligence analysts in January, strongly resembles a similar one used in February 2015 during a military exercise called “Great Prophet 9.” During that drill, Iran swarmed the fake aircraft carrier with speedboats firing machine guns and rockets. Surface-to-sea missiles later targeted and destroyed the fake carrier.

“American aircraft carriers are very big ammunition depots housing a lot of missiles, rockets, torpedoes and everything else,” the Guard’s then-navy chief, Adm. Ali Fadavi, said on state television at the time.

That drill, however, came as Iran and world powers remained locked in negotiations over Tehran’s nuclear program. Today, the deal born of those negotiations is in tatters. President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew America from the accord in May 2018. Iran later responded by slowly abandoning nearly every tenant of the agreement, though it still allows U.N. inspectors access to its nuclear sites.

Last summer saw a series of attacks and incidents further ramp up tensions between Iran and the U.S. They reached a crescendo with the Jan. 3 strike near Baghdad International Airport that killed Soleimani, head of the Guard’s expeditionary Quds, or Jerusalem, Force.

Also on Tuesday, judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili said Iranian citizen Mahmoud Mousavi Majd had been convicted in a Revolutionary Court, which handles security cases behind closed doors. Esmaili accused Majd of receiving money for allegedly sharing security information on the Guard and the Quds Force, as well as the “positions and movement routes” of Soleimani.

Majd was “linked to the CIA and the Mossad,” the Israeli intelligence agency, Esmaili alleged, without providing evidence. Both the CIA and the Israeli prime minister’s office, which oversees the Mossad, declined to comment. It wasn’t immediately clear if Majd had an attorney.

Esmaili did not say when Majd would be executed, other than that it would be “soon.” He also stopped short of directly linking the information allegedly offered by Majd to Soleimani’s death. Later Tuesday, the judiciary said Majd was detained in October 2018 and sentenced to death in September 2019, before Soleimani’s killing.

Esmaili’s description also suggested Majd could be a member of Iran’s military, paramilitary or intelligence apparatus, given his ability to access what would be the establishment’s innermost secrets. It recalled the 1984 execution of Iranian navy chief Adm. Bahram Afzali, whom Iran killed along with nine others in the military over allegations they passed classified material onto the Communist Tudeh party, which then gave the material to the Soviet Union.

Iran retaliated for Soleimani’s killing with a ballistic missile strike Jan. 8 targeting U.S. forces in Iraq, an assault that left over 100 American troops with serious brain injuries. That same day, the Guard accidentally shot down a Ukrainian jetliner in Tehran, killing 176 people.

Iran’s announcement of the looming execution shows how seriously they still take Soleimani’s assassination. An exercise targeting a mock U.S. aircraft carrier could send that message as well, particularly if it involves a swarm attack of smaller vessels, which analysts believe Iran would employ if it did get into a shooting war with the U.S. Navy.

The U.S. Navy’s Bahrain-based 5th Fleet, which patrols Mideast waters, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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

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Follow Jon Gambrell on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/jongambrellAP.

Trump’s Delusional Nuclear Policy

The Trump Administration’s Nuclear Test Delusions

Ambassador Thomas Graham Jr.

Even as the Trump administration continued to struggle to contain the coronavirus in mid-May, White House officials preoccupied themselves with manufacturing a wholly unnecessary threat. On May 15, senior national security officials at an interagency meeting reportedly discussed the possibility of abandoning the longstanding U.S. moratorium on nuclear-weapons testing that has been in place for nearly three decades and is now accepted by the entire world, even North Korea. According to a May 22 report in the Washington Post, the proponents of ending the moratorium argued in the meeting that the United States should resume testing because Russia and China were conducting low-level nuclear-weapons tests, allegations that appear to be based on no evidence.

Such tests would bring no military or strategic benefit to the United States. Instead, they would undermine the foundational global agreement that has curbed the spread of nuclear weapons worldwide for more than 50 years, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Such low-level tests would be of little military benefit to Russia and China either, as there is scant information for them to gain that they do not already possess. Thus, even if such tests occurred, they would not represent any kind of significant security threat to the United States. The only conceivable benefit for the United States of resuming a nuclear-weapons testing program would be to create an opportunity for President Donald Trump to somehow distort the value of it and use it as another meaningless political ploy to bolster his campaign for re-election in November.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, Trump’s likely Democratic challenger, said, “The possibility that the Trump administration may resume nuclear explosive weapons testing in Nevada is as reckless as it is dangerous.” Nevada’s answer to the possibility of resuming nuclear testing, which would take place on – or rather under – its soil, was articulated in an editorial in the state’s leading newspaper, the Las Vegas Sun: “No. Hell no. Not now. Not ever.”

Historic Efforts to Curb the Spread of Nuclear Weapons

During the Cold War, the United States built more than 70,000 nuclear weapons and the Soviet Union around 55,000. At the peak of the arms race, the United States had some 32,500 of these warheads in its nuclear stockpile, the Soviet Union in the range of 45,000 (in each case, the stockpile peak is different from the total produced due to deterioration and some being destroyed as obsolete). There was a widely understood risk that the weapons might spread across the globe. France and Great Britain were conducting tests, and Sweden and Switzerland showed interest in doing so.

In 1961, the United Nations unanimously passed the “Irish” Resolution (introduced by Ireland), which called on all states to conclude an international agreement prohibiting the proliferation of nuclear weapons to additional countries. In 1965, another resolution was passed by the U.N. General Assembly calling on nations to negotiate an international treaty to prevent the further proliferation of nuclear weapons, which became the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). China had just completed an initial nuclear-weapons test program, bringing the number of declared nuclear weapon states to five: the United States, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, France, and China.

This new treaty would be based on five principles, among them a commitment to ultimately abolish nuclear weapons and, in the interim, a balance of obligations among the five nuclear-weapons states and other state parties that thus far had no nuclear weapons. This balance required interim steps toward nuclear disarmament, short of elimination — seen in the depths of the Cold War as a distant objective — in exchange for a commitment that all parties would be permitted to pursue peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

The principal interim step was considered to be the worldwide termination of nuclear-weapons tests. (Although the Limited Test Ban Treaty had been negotiated in 1962, led by President John F. Kennedy, and nuclear-weapon tests were prohibited everywhere except underground, by 1968, many tests were being conducted underground.)

The NPT was signed in 1968. It was to last for 25 years, after which on a one-time basis, the parties would decide by majority vote how much longer it would exist. The non-nuclear-weapons states in the treaty negotiations had urged the inclusion of a reference to interim steps in the agreement, especially an accord to ban nuclear testing, which became the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). The CTBT was looked upon by the non-nuclear-weapons states as the price to be paid by the five states holding nuclear weapons for the others giving up their rights to develop such armaments.

Thus, a ban on nuclear testing was essential to the strategic bargain of the NPT. The United States and the Soviet Union would not agree to any interim step in the text of the NPT, with one exception: a reference to the CTBT in the preamble. The two nations also promised that interim steps, including the CTBT, would be negotiated at the treaty review conferences that were required under the agreement every five years.

At the first four review conferences after the NPT entered into force in 1970, the United States and the Soviet Union blocked any progress whatsoever on the CTBT. In 1995, the NPT came up for the agreed renewal. At the strong urging of the United States, a plenipotentiary conference of the parties held that year in place of the review conference made the NPT permanent, extending it indefinitely by consensus. The principal quid for this quo was the same as the one at the signing of the NPT in 1968—a CTBT, only this time the commitment was to complete it in one year.

U.S. Commitments and Obligations

The United States took this commitment seriously. It already had placed a moratorium on nuclear testing in 1992, prompting most of the world to do the same, essentially adopting an informal global moratorium on nuclear-weapon tests beginning in 1993. The negotiating conference in Geneva agreed to a CTBT within the one-year timeframe. The treaty was adopted by the United Nations in 1996 by a vote of 158-3, and it was opened for signature in September.

U.S. President Bill Clinton was the first to sign, and ultimately, the CTBT was signed by 184 states, of which 168 have ratified it. But the Treaty requires that all 44 of those states that had nuclear facilities of any kind on their territories in 1996, called Annex 2 states, must ratify the treaty before it enters into force. Of these Annex 2 states, 36 have ratified—states such as Germany, Japan, Britain, France, and Russia. The eight that have not ratified are the United States and seven others that are more or less waiting for the United States to move forward.

Despite having led the negotiations, the United States has been unable to ratify the treaty. The reason is that the Republican Party turned against arms control and disarmament and, ultimately, against peace and diplomacy themselves. This from a party that once stood at the forefront of arms control and disarmament, with major initiatives such as President Ronald Reagan agreeing with Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev at Reykjavik to eliminate all nuclear weapons and President George H.W. Bush concluding four such agreements, more than any other president.

The Clinton administration submitted the CTBT to the Senate for advice and consent to ratification in 1997. Two years later, in 1999, it was rejected by the Republican-led Senate—led by two senators from the right—Senators Jesse Helms (R-NC) and Jon Kyl (R-AZ). Ever since, Republicans in the Senate have blocked ratification, but the Clinton, Bush, and Obama administrations informally observed the treaty’s terms.

The United States also has abided by Article 18 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, which obligates a state not to defeat the object and purpose of a treaty that it has signed and that is pending ratification unless and until such state has made its intention clear not to become a party. The United States is not a party to the convention, but has recognized its authority. Thus, it is obligated not to do nuclear-weapons testing of any kind unless it clearly states its intention not to ratify. Doing such a test would certainly defeat the object and purpose of the CTBT, and the United States has made no indication that it intends never to ratify the CTBT.

Republican Party, Once Leading on Arms Control, Backs Away

In the last decade, elements in the Republican Party have tried to promote the elimination of this obligation and reopen the door to an underground nuclear-weapons testing program. First, Republicans made an argument for years that the United States was observing a CTBT standard of not testing weapons of any yield even though Russia and China never agreed to do the same. But the negotiating record showed Russia and China stating clearly that they recognize the CTBT is a “zero-yield treaty,” and the strength of that record wore down this argument.

Then last year, in a public statement at the Hudson Institute, Lt. Gen. Robert P. Ashley Jr., the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), implicitly admitted that Russia had accepted the zero-yield standard. But he asserted that it was carrying out low-yield nuclear tests inconsistent with this commitment, while the United States is adhering to this limit. However, when challenged on this, the DIA director could cite no evidence of Russian testing or even that any evidence existed. He instead said only that Russia had the “capability” to do this, which is true of many states. Tim Morrison, then a senior director at the National Security Council, left the question unclear in a follow-up panel, saying only, “We believe that Russia has taken actions to improve its nuclear-weapons capability that run contrary to the scope of its obligations under the treaty.”

Now Republicans are back again with a similar argument, only this time adding China. They allege — once again without evidence — that both Russia and China are doing low-level nuclear-weapons tests and benefiting from doing so. Perhaps someone will also bring up again the non-argument that Russia and China have the capability to do this. Apparently one senior official at the recent White House meeting asserted that a demonstration by the United States that it could “rapid test” could be useful in a trilateral nuclear negotiation with Russia and China, a seemingly fruitless position that Trump is trying to pursue in withholding an extension of the New START agreement between the United States and Russia that expires early next year. China has made it clear that it will not participate in such a negotiation. Biden found the idea “delusional.”

Notably, the reaction to the report that the Trump administration is considering a resumption of testing was not positive in significant domestic circles either. In its editorial, the Las Vegas Sun also said, “The state endured four decades of nuclear tests – more than 1,000 in all, before testing ceased in 1992 via an international moratorium. We and our downwind neighbors in Utah endured nuclear fallout in above-ground tests during the 1950s and 1960s, and our desert remains irradiated by underground tests conducted later.

“We will fight any effort to reopen the door to that dark era…”

It is difficult to imagine a greater threat to U.S. national security than for the United States to pursue a nuclear-weapons test program at the present time. Such action would defeat the object and purpose of the CTBT, which means the United States would be turning its back on the essential glue that holds the NPT together.

The likely result would be that the NPT would gradually come apart. Other states such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Turkey, and Egypt would use the U.S. tests as an excuse to develop their own test programs and to acquire nuclear weapons for a national arsenal. Eventually, in an era when many countries may feel less and less secure as climate change erodes their remaining national assets such as arable land and fresh water, they might see nuclear weapons as more and more attractive. Once the door kept closed by the NPT is opened, we would enter a nightmare world, a risk foreseen by past American statesmen.

IMAGE: First CTBT on-site inspection activity at the former Nevada Test on May 18, 2016, at Climax Mine at the Nevada National Security Site, location of historical underground nuclear explosions, to learn about observables resulting from testing in hard granite. (Photo: CTBTO on Flickr)

Antichrist Stresses Withdrawal of US Forces from Iraq

Muqtada al-Sadr Stresses Withdrawal of US Forces from Iraq

In a statement on Monday, Sadr accused Washington of trying to intimidate others into surrender through wars, terrorisms and other means, RT Arabic reported.

He added that the US has to change its approach and withdraw its occupying forces from all countries, especially Iraq.

Iraqi lawmakers unanimously approved a bill on January 5, demanding the withdrawal of all foreign military forces led by the United States from the country following the assassination of Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, along with Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy head of Iraq’s PMU, and their companions in a US airstrike authorized by President Donald Trump near Baghdad International Airport two days earlier.