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

New York City Is Overdue For Large Earthquake: Seismologist

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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.

Why the Nuclear Horns Keep Growing (Daniel)

The Struggle Against a WMD Black Market

As of August 12, over 746,000 have died as a result of COVID-19 worldwide, with infections topping 20 million. Some experts are talking about the beginning of de-globalization, and economists are predicting a recession worse than the Great Depression. Both American defense and intelligence communities have stated that it does not believe COVID-19 to be a biological weapon. However, considering the extensive damage already inflicted by the novel coronavirus, some actors may be considering developing such an instrument for future use. This possibility requires examining current gaps in the biological weapons non-proliferation regime.

Non-state actors represent a critical challenge in this regard. Encrypted communication channels ensure that discussions between buyers and sellers are protected from intelligence agencies, while a globalized economy means a relatively easy movement of goods and services once an agreement is made. Recognizing the factors contributing to their clandestine operations enables us to derive lessons and measures to prevent new actors from emerging and to more effectively crack down on the ones currently operating.

The Network

One of the most notorious groups to have contributed to nuclear proliferation is the Abdul Qadeer Khan Network. Abdul Qadeer Khan, a Pakistani metallurgist and nuclear scientist trained in Belgium, founded the network in the mid-1980s. The organization provided states with nuclear-related equipment, technologies and materials. Some of its clientele included Iran, North Korea and Libya. While the network’s efforts encompassed nuclear proliferation, the factors facilitating its activities apply to their biological and chemical variants.

Tracing Abdul Qadeer Khan Network’s history presents four factors that account for its long-lived operational capacity. First, Khan successfully stole centrifugal designs while working in the Netherlands in the early 1970s. Then, in 1974, after offering his services to Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto following India’s nuclear test, he departed for Pakistan.

There, Khan worked at the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission before founding the Engineering Research Laboratory in 1976. By introducing centrifuge designs stolen from his time in the Netherlands and outmaneuvering export controls to acquire nuclear-related equipment and technologies, Khan played a critical role in Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program’s early efforts. The business contacts established while evading nuclear-related export controls constituted the core of Khan’s network, which was independent from the Pakistani government and security services. It was, effectively, a one-man show ran by Khan, who controlled all the moving parts.

As Gordon Corera describes in his book, “Shopping for Bombs: Nuclear Proliferation, Global Insecurity, and the Rise and Fall of the A.Q. Khan Network,” Pakistan encouraged Khan’s domestic nuclear proliferation efforts because Islamabad wanted a nuclear bomb. It is not hard to see why Pakistan was actively looking to build a bomb considering the repeated wars with India in 1947, 1965 and 1971. Pakistan lost more than the third India-Pakistan War: It also lost East Pakistan due to a local rebellion supported by India, which resulted in Bangladesh’s independence from Pakistan.

A globalized economy was integral to the network’s efforts. It enabled the organization to effectively circumvent established controls and regimes by presenting a façade. One way was to use a shell company within a shell company when looking to procure a piece of equipment one, two or even three stages down the technology chain of which a product is controlled. In doing so, entities operating on the network’s behest successfully concealed the intent of their purchase, with Khan eventually obtaining the desired product, albeit with some delays.

With the network up and running, Khan commercialized his efforts and operated a nuclear clearinghouse for bidders. Whether customers required designs, materials or assistance, he was willing to provide it all. And indeed provide he did, such as his supply of technical and material assistance to Libya’s nuclear weapons program throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Pakistani officials were complicit in the network’s activities too; to what extent this was official policy or individual political entrepreneurship is unclear. A letter dated 1998 and released by Khan himself states that he transferred $3 million from North Korea to Pakistani military officials in exchange for centrifuges and technical expertise that provided North Korea with uranium enrichment capabilities.

The network helped Iran too by, firstly, providing used Pakistani centrifuges in 1987 and then introducing Tehran officials to suppliers to help them develop technological competency. This was no small-scale enterprise.

Policy Recommendations

This raises the critical question of what measures states can implement to prevent future actors from procuring weapons of mass destruction, particularly when it comes to their biological variants. Three stand out from a US-centric perspective. The most immediate one is the importance of reinforcing information and reconnaissance efforts around the principal targets and suspected proliferators.

Second, states pursue nuclear weapons primarily to deter a threat, and non-state actors are more than willing to facilitate this. With its diplomatic and military might, the United States and other regional players can facilitate a resolution of these security concerns and perceptions of insecurity, thereby addressing the initial motive for pursuing weapons of mass destruction.

Finally, there is the commercial consideration. As the largest economy in the world, proliferators can expect to find all the required products in the United States. A recent prominent example is how American-based persons and companies used their local access and contacts to provide sanctioned persons and Iranian government agencies with prohibited technologies, such as high-tech microelectronics and power supplies used in military and nuclear energy systems.

The existing US sanctions regime should discourage individuals and corporations from engaging with sanctioned entities participating in clandestine weapons proliferation. Sanctions prohibit American-based entities from commercially engaging with a sanctioned person. As the case above demonstrates, violating sanctions leads to imprisonment and asset seizure. But sanctions are only an effective deterrent if non-state actors want to maintain access to the American marketplace. The size of the American nuclear black market is unclear as no systematic study has sought to measure it. However, it is present. Essentially, risk-indifferent actors undeterred by sanctions and whose guiding objective is to facilitate the acquisition of a weapon of mass destruction must simply be caught.

In contrast, risk-averse operatives hoping to maintain their operations and find comparable nuclear-related technologies and equipment in other markets can be discouraged from maintaining their illicit activities. One way would be to bring in other states and develop a joint secondary sanctions regime. If, for example, the United States and China established such a project, then an actor sanctioned by the United States would be similarly sanctioned by China and would be unable to operate in both American and Chinese markets.

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There are positive and negative aspects to consider. On the one hand, it would raise the costs for risk-averse operatives, thus reducing the overall number participating in the proliferation process. On the other, it may equally push buyers and sellers to relocate to other countries entirely and deprive the US of domestic oversight. One way around this is through joint-intelligence task forces and intelligence sharing among cooperating states, economic incentives for those on the fence and stringent monitoring and surveillance for those who show no interest in surveilling clandestine actors. Cracking down on proliferation networks is a constant struggle. Whether this initiative is pursued ultimately depends on whether the United States can rely on partner states to cooperate and whether it can effectively maintain surveillance efforts beyond its borders.

The case of the Abdul Qadeer Khan Network provides valuable lessons to combat the role of non-state actors in WMD proliferation. The CIA, alongside Dutch intelligence, was closely monitoring the network’s activities and most likely shared this information with the other spy agencies comprising the Five Eyes — Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. In 2004, Pakistan relented to American pressure and cracked down on Khan, forcing a public confession and placing him under house arrest. Without its linchpin, the network eroded. Now, 16 years later, the international community continues to deal with his legacy in the form of Pakistan’s, Iran’s and North Korea’s nuclear weapons capabilities.

Although the controlled substance differs between nuclear and biological WMDs, the rationale and techniques deployed are similar. While reinforcing surveillance around suspected persons and alleviating a state’s security concerns require credible intelligence and an individual or an organization to monitor, states can proactively pursue a multilateral secondary sanctions regime.

A global problem of this magnitude requires a comprehensive and global response. Concentrating resources to counteract proliferation and black market activity in any one country will simply spur non-state actors to operate in other territories. What is needed, then, is for states to pursue non-proliferation as a single, interwoven mesh to remove the prospects of a non-state actor facilitating a WMD. The international community may recover from the current COVID-19 crisis, albeit with significant costs and a substantially altered international terrain. It should do its best to avoid another such crisis, especially one manufactured intentionally.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Fair Observer’s editorial policy.

The Rising Chinese Nuclear Horn (Daniel 7)

orfonline.org

China’s nuclear force modernisation also impacts its defence relations with India. China’s extensive military reforms have placed considerable pressure on Indian authorities to ramp up their military infrastructure and improve the country’s defence capabilities. According to a published recently by Yang Chengjun, China has deployed an early missile warning system which allows the PLARF to detect nuclear missiles launched at mainland China and counterattack using their own nuclear weapons within minutes. Kristensen and Korda’s analysis on ‘Indian nuclear forces, 2020’ also posits a potential shift in India’s nuclear strategy, which has primarily focused on Pakistan, towards an emphasis on China. As seen with the new Agni missiles with their range to strike Beijing, India’s current and future nuclear strategy decisions do place importance on China’s growing nuclear capabilities and modernisation.

China’s modernisation efforts for its nuclear arsenal have added to the destabilisation of an already weak global nuclear order. Although, there has been an overall reduction in nuclear warheads of nuclear weapons states, the non-proliferation regime has been consistently hit with setbacks in international agreements and bilateral co-operation. With the collapse of several international agreements that pushed for non-proliferation, it becomes evident that the lack of engagement between nuclear weapons states is dangerous and it is necessary for greater engagement with instruments that curb nuclear arms ambitions and promote non-proliferation. With China’s increasingly assertive military strategy, the risk levels have also risen. Although China has rejected any interest in a multilateral arms reduction agreement with Russia and United States, there is a need to push for a strategic dialogue that involves China with the international nuclear community. Given the rising regional animosity in South Asia and tensions between China and the US, the international community cannot ignore the adverse effects of a more aggressive arms race. Therefore, any attempt to move towards non-proliferation requires China’s involvement in measures to pursue nuclear disarmament.

The views expressed above belong to the author(s).

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Russia Warns Babylon the Great

Russia vows to treat ANY missile fired towards it as a nuclear attack and will respond by firing nukes of its own

Debbie White

RUSSIA has vowed to treat any missile fired towards it as a nuclear attack and promises to respond by firing its own nukes, warn top brass.

The threat was published in an official military newspaper and is directed at the US, which has been developing long-range non-nuclear weapons.

Any attacking missile will be perceived as carrying a nuclear warhead,” the article in Krasnaya Zvezda (Red Star) said last week.

“The information about the missile launch will be automatically relayed to the Russian military-political leadership, which will determine the scope of retaliatory action by nuclear forces depending on the evolving situation,” it added.

The article follows the publication in June of Russia’s nuclear deterrent policy.

That suggested the use of atomic weapons in response to what could be a conventional strike targeting the nation’s critical government and military infrastructure.

And in the Krasnaya Zvezda article, senior officers of the Russian military said there would be no way to determine if an incoming ballistic missile was fitted with a nuclear or a conventional warhead.

Therefore, added Maj.-Gen. Andrei Sterlin and Col. Alexander Khryapin, the military would regard it as a suspected nuclear attack.

Russia harbours longtime concerns about the development of weapons that could give Washington the capability to knock out key military assets and government facilities without resorting to atomic weapons, says the Associated Press.

Its new nuclear deterrent policy reaffirmed that the country could use nukes to fend off a nuclear attack or an aggression involving conventional weapons which “threatens the very existence of the state.”

In line with Russian military doctrine, the policy document offered a detailed description of situations that could trigger the use of nuclear weapons.

This included the use of nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction against Russia or its allies.

The document also says for the first time that Russia could use its nuclear arsenal if it receives “reliable information” about the launch of ballistic missiles.

For example, those targeting its territory or its allies and also in the case of ”enemy impact on critically important government or military facilities of the Russian Federation, the incapacitation of which could result in the failure of retaliatory action of nuclear forces.”

US-Russia relations are at post-Cold War lows over the Ukrainian crisis, accusations of Russian meddling in America’s 2016 presidential election and various cyber attacks.

Just last month the UK Government called for an end to “irresponsible cyber attacks by the Russian Intelligence Services, who have been collecting information on vaccine development and research into the Covid-19 virus”.

This followed a joint advisory by the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre, the US and Canada on how to protect against these attacks.

Amidst the war of words Russian officials have slammed the US-led missile defence programme and its plans to put weapons in orbit as a top threat.

Last year it was revealed that the Pentagon wanted to test a space-based weapon in 2023, involving satellites being kitted with lasers to disable enemy missiles, reports Defense One.

The US Department of Defense wants to test a directed energy weapon, a so-called neutral particle beam, in space, which could destroy ballistic missiles.

Russia is arguing that the new capability could tempt Washington to strike it with impunity in the hope of fending off a retaliatory strike.

US Space Force Command claims Russia held a space weapon test launch.

However, just last month the Sun revealed that Russia had enraged the west and raised the threat of a space war by test-firing a weapon designed to knock out enemy satellites.

US Space Command (USSC) said it had “evidence that Russia conducted a non-destructive test of a space-based anti-satellite weapon”.

According to the department, Russia’s space conduct is “concerning”.

It said that on July 15, an object was fired at speeds of 400mph into space from a spacecraft, Cosmos 2543, which itself was described as having “birthed” — like a Russian doll — from its mother satellite, Cosmos 2542.

This is the same satellite which was spotted earlier this year stalking the Pentagon’s spy satellite USA 245.

But the Kremlin quashed that claim, saying the July 15 event involved a small space vehicle that “inspected one of the national satellites from a close distance using special equipment”.

The Krasnaya Zvezda article says that by outlining the new nuclear deterrent policy, it was intended to unambiguously explain what Russia sees as aggression.

The military bosses warned: “Russia has designated the ‘red lines’ that we don’t advise anyone to cross.

“If a potential adversary dares to do that, the answer will undoubtedly be devastating.

“The specifics of retaliatory action, such as where, when and how much will be determined by Russia’s military-political leadership depending on the situation.”

Two years ago Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump said they wanted to overhaul their already terrifyingly deadly nuclear arsenals and build smaller “tactical” nukes as tension between the former Cold war rivals grows.

Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu recently announced his country’s ageing yet deadly nuclear stockpile should be given a high-tech overhaul after a leaked report revealed President Trump wanted a new batch of smaller “low yield” nuclear warheads because his current nukes are too deadly to use.

Shoigu said the proportion of state-of-the-art weapons in Russia’s nuclear arsenal should be at least 90 per cdent by 2021, reported TASS.

“The main focus should be made on further bolstering strategic nuclear power,” he said at a Russian Defence Ministry meeting.

Trump Looks to Upgrade Our Nuclear Weapons

GETTY IMAGES

Trump Wants to Mine the Grand Canyon for Uranium

That’s complicated.

BY CAROLINE DELBERT

AUG 11, 2020

• The Trump administration supports reopening and expanding uranium mining in the U.S.

• Uranium is used in nuclear energy and weapons, including cutting-edge applications.

• The retired mines near the Grand Canyon are responsible for groundwater pollution.

In an idea that sounds like it’s from Mad Libs, President Trump has suggested he wants to mine the Grand Canyon.

The move would be part of the president’s larger stated plans to stockpile uranium, which the U.S. might need for a ramp-up of nuclear energy or weapons. Uranium is considered a “strategic material,” and while it’s not the most uncommon thing in nature, it’s held in large deposits mostly in other countries—especially Canada and China.

The uranium part is true blue, but what Trump suggested is broadly reopening existing mine sites and mining “public lands” in general. That doesn’t specifically mean the Grand Canyon, but several mines already exist adjacent to the Grand Canyon. It’s illegal to even take rocks from inside the Grand Canyon, although the National Parks service has already relented for at least one absurd purpose during Trump’s time in office.

Did You Know You Can Just … Buy Uranium?

Taking things from National Parks is generally restricted. It doesn’t take very long for millions of annual Yellowstone National Park visitors, for example, to add up to a decimated main path area. And mining protected park lands is also generally restricted along with other kinds of public lands. The question of whether or not to mine them, for uranium or for petroleum in particular, hasn’t started with Trump.

Even in a future where this mining is allowed, public lands are subject to overlapping regulations that must be untangled. And in the American West, there are also humanitarian concerns for Native American populations, both in health outcomes today and preservation of artifacts from the past.

Activists in the region say health impacts of past uranium mining near Native American lands, caused by toxic materials leeching into the ground and water, are likely responsible for the extraordinary rates of COVID-19 among the Navajo Nation.

Nuclear research is as active as ever in both the private sector and the government. Proponents of the uranium mining echo the arguments for taking oil from the American Arctic—that energy independence, whether in fossil fuels or nuclear reactors, is worthwhile in itself. But right now, the world economy has led to cutbacks even at existing uranium mines.

Even if having the uranium is strategically smart, is this the time to spend money and resources on it? And when the U.S. is immersed in one of the worst ongoing situations in the global pandemic, is it smart to add another source of potential public harm into the mix?

If Trump’s administration does go ahead with this mining plan, there are existing sites that may be reopened. That could mitigate cost, if the sites are up to date enough that they can reopen quickly and safely. Uranium is typically mined by using liquid chemical solvents to separate the ore from surrounding minerals, which is one reason why ground and groundwater pollution is such a pervasive problem.

Escalation Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

Fire caused by explosive balloon (Kan News screenshot)

Escalation: Explosive Balloons, Israel Strikes Hamas, Hamas Launches Rockets “As Warning To Israel”

Hamas fired a barrage of almost a dozen rockets in what is considered to be a sign of the terror group’s determination to end the relative calm on the border in the last few months.

The rockets weren’t directed at Israel but rather at the Mediterranean Sea, a training exercise which the terror group routinely carries out but always at night and almost always just one rocket at a time. This time it launched the rockets during the day to the cheers of Gazan residents.

Hamas is seemingly determined to escalate tension on the Gaza border in the past week, launching dozens of incendiary and explosive balloons into southern Israel, causing several fires, after a lull of several months when almost no balloons were seen. Balloons were even found in the city of Arad, almost 80 kilometers away.

The escalation of tension has been attributed to the fact that Qatari funds to the Gaza Strip may not continue past September, the end of the six-month extension Qatar enacted in March. Hamas is attempting to change that by increasing tension on the Gazan border.

Three explosive balloons launched from the Gaza Strip exploded on Monday afternoon over Sderot. A fourth ballon was found in the northern Negev before it exploded.

On Monday morning, an explosive balloon was found in a field in Moshav Nir Moshe on Monday morning and a fire broke out next to Kibbutz Erez from an explosive balloon that landed in the area.

On Sunday night, the IDF struck a Hamas observation post in the northern Gaza Strip in response to the launchings of the explosive balloons from the Gaza Strip and struck several targets in Gaza in retaliatory strikes on Thursday as well.

There reportedly has been a breakdown in the ceasefire talks between Israel and Hamas overseen by Egyptian officials.

An incident occurred on Sunday as well when IDF soldiers fired mortar shells into Gaza following gunfire at Israelis civilian workers on the Gaza border fence.

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad later threatened to respond to the “Israeli terror,” saying that Israel “will pay the consequences of anything that happens to Gazan residents or farmers due to the escalation.”

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)

Antichrist’s recommendations on Muharram ceremonies

Muqtada Sadr’s recommendations on Muharram ceremonies

Muqtada Sadr’s recommendations on Muharram ceremonies

  

Senior Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has made a number of recommendations on how to commemorate the mourning months of Muharram and Safar this year given the restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

AhlulBayt News Agency (ABNA): Senior Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has made a number of recommendations on how to commemorate the mourning months of Muharram and Safar this year given the restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

In a post on his Twitter account on Monday, Sadr called for helping those in need, raising flags of mourning and covering public and private places in black, increasing acts of worship and reciting the Quran, and visiting pilgrimage sites while observing the health protocols.

He also called for easing sectarian and political tensions and moving toward unity.

Shia Muslims around the world mourn the martyrdom of Imam Hussein (AS), the Sayyid-ul-Shuhada (master of martyrs), in Muharram, the first month in the lunar Hijri calendar.

The third Shia Imam (AS) and a small group of his followers and family members were martyred by the tyrant of his time – Yazid Bin Moaweya, in the battle of Karbala on the tenth day of Muharram (known as Ashura) in the year 680 AD.

The coronavirus outbreak that originated in Wuhan, China, has infected over 20 million people around the world and killed over 734,000.

The outbreak has had a major impact on global sporting, cultural, religious and political events, with a host of events canceled or postponed.

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