Two Centuries Before The Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

The worst earthquake in Massachusetts history 260 years ago

It happened before, and it could happen again.

By Hilary Sargent @lilsarg

Boston.com Staff | 11.19.15 | 5:53 AM

On November 18, 1755, Massachusetts experienced its largest recorded earthquake.

The earthquake occurred in the waters off Cape Ann, and was felt within seconds in Boston, and as far away as Nova Scotia, the Chesapeake Bay, and upstate New York, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Seismologists have since estimated the quake to have been between 6.0 and 6.3 on the Richter scale, according to the Massachusetts Historical Society.

While there were no fatalities, the damage was extensive.

According to the USGS, approximately 100 chimneys and roofs collapsed, and over a thousand were damaged.

The worst damage occurred north of Boston, but the city was not unscathed.

A 1755 report in The Philadelphia Gazette described the quake’s impact on Boston:

“There was at first a rumbling noise like low thunder, which was immediately followed with such a violent shaking of the earth and buildings, as threw every into the greatest amazement, expecting every moment to be buried in the ruins of their houses. In a word, the instances of damage done to our houses and chimnies are so many, that it would be endless to recount them.”

The quake sent the grasshopper weathervane atop Faneuil Hall tumbling to the ground, according to the Massachusetts Historical Society.

An account of the earthquake, published in The Pennsylvania Gazette on December 4, 1755.

The earthquake struck at 4:30 in the morning, and the shaking lasted “near four minutes,” according to an entry John Adams, then 20, wrote in his diary that day.

The brief diary entry described the damage he witnessed.

“I was then at my Fathers in Braintree, and awoke out of my sleep in the midst of it,” he wrote. “The house seemed to rock and reel and crack as if it would fall in ruins about us. 7 Chimnies were shatter’d by it within one mile of my Fathers house.”

The shaking was so intense that the crew of one ship off the Boston coast became convinced the vessel had run aground, and did not learn about the earthquake until they reached land, according to the Massachusetts Historical Society.

In 1832, a writer for the Hampshire (Northampton) Gazette wrote about one woman’s memories from the quake upon her death.

“It was between 4 and 5 in the morning, and the moon shone brightly. She and the rest of the family were suddenly awaked from sleep by a noise like that of the trampling of many horses; the house trembled and the pewter rattled on the shelves. They all sprang out of bed, and the affrightted children clung to their parents. “I cannot help you dear children,” said the good mother, “we must look to God for help.”

The Cape Ann earthquake came just 17 days after an earthquake estimated to have been 8.5-9.0 on the Richter scale struck in Lisbon, Portugal, killing at least 60,000 and causing untold damage.

There was no shortage of people sure they knew the impretus for the Cape Ann earthquake.

According to many ministers in and around Boston, “God’s wrath had brought this earthquake upon Boston,” according to the Massachusetts Historical Society.

In “Verses Occasioned by the Earthquakes in the Month of November, 1755,” Jeremiah Newland, a Taunton resident who was active in religious activities in the Colony, wrote that the earthquake was a reminder of the importance of obedience to God.

“It is becaufe we broke thy Laws,

that thou didst shake the Earth.

O what a Day the Scriptures say,

the EARTHQUAKE doth foretell;

O turn to God; lest by his Rod,

he cast thee down to Hell.”

Boston Pastor Jonathan Mayhew warned in a sermon that the 1755 earthquakes in Massachusetts and Portugal were “judgments of heaven, at least as intimations of God’s righteous displeasure, and warnings from him.”

There were some, though, who attempted to put forth a scientific explanation for the earthquake.

Well, sort of.

In a lecture delivered just a week after the earthquake, Harvard mathematics professor John Winthrop said the quake was the result of a reaction between “vapors” and “the heat within the bowels of the earth.” But even Winthrop made sure to state that his scientific theory “does not in the least detract from the majesty … of God.”

It has been 260 years since the Cape Ann earthquake. Some experts, including Boston College seismologist John Ebel, think New England could be due for another significant quake.

In a recent Boston Globe report, Ebel said the New England region “can expect a 4 to 5 magnitude quake every decade, a 5 to 6 every century, and a magnitude 6 or above every thousand years.”

If the Cape Ann earthquake occurred today, “the City of Boston could sustain billions of dollars of earthquake damage, with many thousands injured or killed,” according to a 1997 study by the US Army Corps of Engineers.

The Final Nuclear Race (Daniel)

Nuclear race between not yet nuclear states?

— New Eastern Outlook

TENSION related to nuclear proliferation has risen again. This is largely due to the rhetoric of leaders of certain countries hinting that the build-up of nuclear arsenals epoch is coming back throughout the world. This has already fuelled fears of nuclear armament stock levels in the world and unpredictability of those in whose hands warheads remain.

For example, the Pentagon recently admitted something that might sound not so comforting for the department. Serious mistakes and ‘misunderstandings’ sometimes occur in its nuclear arsenal, in particular, related to the possibility of accidentally launching ground-based nuclear missiles. It seems that such ‘admission’, combined with Washington’s policy being unpredictable in the recent past, cannot guarantee a cloudless and peaceful sky….

It seems that the world is far from ‘pull back from the brink’, considering that hundreds of nuclear warheads are currently operational in several countries around the world.

At the same time, it should be noted that there are only five declared nuclear-weapon states in the world: The United States, Russia, China, France, and Britain. They are officially recognised as such in accordance with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, which entered into force in 1970. This Treaty recognises and legitimises their nuclear arsenals but they are not liable to enhance or maintain them constantly. On the contrary, they assumed the commitment to eliminate nuclear weapons.

There are four other countries that have nuclear weapons: Pakistan, India, Israel, and North Korea. These countries have not signed the Treaty on Non-Proliferation, but they possess approximately 340 units of such weapons.

In addition to these four countries, a number of politicians in other countries have increased their calls to create their own nuclear weapons, making wrong assumptions that their own nuclear weapons allegedly can guarantee their future security.

Indeed, although the constitution of Japan bans the creation of nuclear power weapons, Japanese politicians have persistently recalled research into this area by Japan during World War II, and even about Ni-Go nuclear research programme in 1943. It should be also recalled that on August 12, 1945, three days before the announcement of Japan’s surrender to the Allies, an explosion occurred in the sea of Japan, not far from the northern part of the Korean Peninsula, when a fireball of 1,000 metres raised into the sky, followed by a giant mushroom-shaped cloud. According to the American expert Charles Stone, an atomic bomb of Japan was detonated there.

After China’s first nuclear test in 1964, Japanese prime minister Eisaku Sato said to president Lyndon Johnson when they met in January 1965, that if the Chinese Communists had nuclear weapons, the Japanese should also have them.

Today, such statements can be heard in Japan more often. According to Chinese experts, Japan has a stock of already processed nuclear raw materials for 6,000 atomic devices, which corresponds to the level of Russia and the United States, which, have 7,000 and 6,800 such devices, respectively estimated by relevant experts. According to many experts, this country needs no more than a year to create its own nuclear weapons. The fact that Japan is a leading space power is another consideration. It has the means of delivery to use nuclear weapons.

Saudi Arabia, which has been talking about it for a long time, is also trying to match Japan in its efforts to create its own nuclear weapons. Regularly accusing Iran of threatening regional security with its nuclear programme, Saudi Arabia has repeatedly stated its intention to possess an atomic bomb. So, this was officially stated by prince Turki al-Faisal, the former KSA ambassador to the United States and head of Saudi Arabia’s intelligence agency during the international forum on the regional situation, held in December 2011 in Riyadh: ‘in a situation when the efforts of the international community are failing to persuade Israel to give up its nuclear chemical and biological arsenal, and we cannot prevent Iran from creating such weapons, our task in relation to future generations is to seriously study the possibility of creating weapons of mass destruction by us.’ At the same time, addressing representatives of the Persian Gulf region (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman), prince Turki tried to disguise such an aspiration of Riyadh by saying that such a passionately desired Saudi Arabia’s atomic bomb would only have a ‘daunting task’.

In addition, back in 2013, Mark Urban, the BBC Two’s Newsnight presenter, referring to a senior source in NATO, pointed out that ‘the Saudi authorities have invested heavily in Pakistan’s nuclear programme and at any moment can receive nuclear weapons from Islamabad, which are already ready for transportation.’

In 2018, during his foreign trip to search for investors in the Saudi Arabia 2030 project, prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud officially warned Western countries that Riyadh would ‘very quickly’ become the owner of nuclear weapons if the West did not hurry up to organise a coalition against Iran.

Therefore, it is not surprising that in many countries, Riyadh was suspected of building a plant to produce nuclear weapons after a recent report in The Wall Street Journal had claimed that in the North-West of the Kingdom, with the participation of China, a plant is being built to process uranium concentrate — the so-called ‘yellowcake’, which can be used both for the production of nuclear weapons and for peaceful purposes.

However, this article clearly appeared, not accidentally, to coincide with the publication by Bloomberg of a retrospective analysis of how bad it will be for Saudi Arabia if Joe Biden is elected and how a possible democratic president will punish the Saudi political leadership. In particular, the article itself emphasises that ‘the former vice-president (Biden) called the Kingdom a pariah and threatened to stop the sale of American weapons, the largest buyer of which is Saudi Arabia’, and in addition noted ‘a greater desire to cooperate with Iran, the Kingdom’s main rival’.

Thus, if the US develops the situation with Saudi Arabia according to the ‘Iranian scheme’, the consequences may be very different, but they will all be negative for US-Saudi relations: from diplomatic cooling to the application of sanctions. And any steps by Riyadh can be expected, both in developing its own nuclear programme and in finding a more predictable partner for itself than the fickle Washington establishment.

New Eastern Outlook, August 19. Vladimir Danilov is a political observer.

The Rising Iranian Nuclear Horn

Iran unveils new missiles as tensions between Washington and Tehran mount over arms embargo

Amanda Macias

A missile unveiled by Iran is launched in an unknown location in Iran in this picture received by Reuters on August 20, 2020.

WANA News Agency | via Reuters

WASHINGTON — Iran unveiled a new surface-to-surface ballistic missile on Thursday, a move likely to peeve Washington as the Trump administration attempts to rein in the regime’s missile and nuclear weapon ambitions.

Iranian Defense Minister Amir Hatami said in a televised address that the missile has a range of approximately 870 miles and is named after Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani, who was killed in an U.S. strike in Iraq in January. Hatami also said the regime had a new cruise missile boasting a range more than 620 miles and was named after Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, who also was killed in the strike.

Hatami added that the new missiles “will further strengthen Iran’s deterrence power.”

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani described the new missiles as important for defense. 

“Missiles and particularly cruise missiles are very important for us. … The fact that we have increased the range from 300 to 1,000 [kilometers] in less than two years is a great achievement,” Rouhani said. “Our military might and missile programs are defensive,” he added.

A new cruise missile unveiled by Iran and called martyr Abu Mahdi is seen in an unknown location in Iran in this picture received by Reuters on August 20, 2020.

WANA News Agency | Reuters

The show of force comes as the Trump administration pushed members of the Security Council to extend a U.N.-imposed arms embargo on Iran. The embargo is currently set to end in October under the 2015 nuclear deal brokered, in part, by the Obama administration. 

Last week, the Security Council voted to not extend the international arms embargo on Iran, a decision that prompted Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to formally notify the group on Thursday of the U.S. intention to “snap back” or restore all U.N. sanctions on Iran.

Thirty days after Pompeo’s notification, a range of U.N. sanctions will be restored, including the requirement that Iran suspends all enrichment-related activities. The “snap back” will also extend the 13-year arms embargo on Iran.

“Secretary Pompeo’s notification to the Council follows its inexcusable failure last week to extend the arms embargo on the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism and anti-Semitism,” State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement.

Tensions between Washington and Tehran have mounted following Trump’s withdrawal from the landmark Iran nuclear deal in 2018, calling it “the worst deal ever.”

The 2015 nuclear agreement lifted sanctions on Iran that crippled its economy and cut its oil exports roughly in half. In exchange for sanctions relief, Iran accepted limits on its nuclear program and allowed international inspectors into its facilities.

Trump has previously said that the U.S. wants to reach a broader deal with Iran that puts stricter limits on its nuclear and ballistic missile work and suppresses the regime’s role in regional proxy wars. Tehran has refused to negotiate while U.S. sanctions remain in place.

Babylon the Great to demand ‘snapback’ of UN sanctions

Iran nuclear deal: US to demand ‘snapback’ of UN sanctions – BBC News

AFP

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will submit a complaint to the UN Security Council

The US is to controversially initiate a process at the UN Security Council to reinstate international sanctions on Iran lifted under a 2015 nuclear deal.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will submit a complaint accusing Iran of significant non-compliance and trigger the sanctions “snapback” mechanism.

However, other world powers insist he has no legal right to do so.

The US itself stopped complying with the accord two years ago, when President Donald Trump abandoned it.

Once the complaint has been submitted, other countries on the Security Council will have 30 days to adopt a resolution to avert the snapback. But, as a permanent member, the US will be able to exercise its veto power.

The Trump administration’s move comes a week after the council rejected its bid to extend indefinitely an arms embargo on Iran that is due to expire in October.

How did we get here?

The nuclear deal saw the P5+1 group of powers – the US, China, France, Russia, the UK and Germany – give Iran sanctions relief in return for limits on its sensitive activities and international inspections to show it was not developing nuclear weapons.

The accord has been close to collapse since the US withdrew and reinstated economic sanctions in 2018 in an attempt to force Iran to negotiate a replacement that would place indefinite curbs on its nuclear programme and also halt its development of ballistic missiles.

EPA

Iran’s leaders insist that its nuclear programme is entirely peaceful

Iran has so far refused and retaliated by rolling back key commitments, including those on the production of enriched uranium, which can be used to make reactor fuel but also nuclear warheads.

The five powers still party to the deal have tried to keep it alive, although the UK, France and Germany triggered a formal dispute mechanism over the Iranian breaches in January that could ultimately lead to the snapback of UN sanctions.

What does the US want?

After its defeat at the Security Council last week, US permanent representative Kelly Craft declared that the Trump administration would “stop at nothing to extend the arms embargo” on Iran.

On Wednesday, the president announced that the US intended to “restore virtually all of the previously suspended United Nations sanctions on Iran”.

“It’s a snapback. Not uncommon,” he told reporters in Washington. “My administration will not allow this Iran nuclear situation to go on. They will never have a nuclear weapon.”

Mr Pompeo stressed that under Security Council resolution 2231, which endorsed the nuclear deal, the US had a legal right to trigger the snapback.

“It has a set of provisions, it has a set of rights and obligations, and we will be in full compliance with that, and we have every expectation that every country in the world will live up to its obligations, including every member of the P5,” he said.

In addition to maintaining the arms embargo, the snapped-back sanctions would force Iran to suspend all nuclear enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, and ban imports of anything that could contribute to those activities or the development of nuclear weapon delivery systems.

Sanctions on dozens of individuals and entities would also be reinstated.

How have other countries reacted?

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted on Sunday : “US recourse to Dispute Resolution Mechanism in 2231 has NO LEG TO STAND ON.”

The five other remaining parties to the nuclear deal, all of which currently sit on the Security Council, are also opposed to the US plan.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Thursday that it was “absurd”, adding that the administration had no legal grounds to do so.

European countries have said that President Trump made it clear in 2018 that the US had ended its participation in the nuclear deal and given up any rights.

It is not clear how the other countries might try to stop the US.

All UN member states would be obligated to enforce the snapped-back sanctions, although diplomats told Reuters news agency that some might refuse to do so.

Babylon the Great Imposes Upon the Chinese Nuclear Horn

US Seeking to Force China to Join Moscow-Washington Arms Control Talks ‘in Good Faith’

16:13 GMT 20.08.2020

by Oleg Burunov

China, which is believed to have a far smaller nuclear arsenal than those of Russia and the US, earlier declined an invitation to join the two’s Vienna arms control talks, dashing Washington’s hopes of making the New START Treaty trilateral.

US Special Presidential Envoy for Arms Control Marshall Billingslea has described the expansion of China’s nuclear arsenal as a “rapid buildup”, arguing that Beijing has sought to achieve “nuclear parity” with Moscow and Washington.

The claims were made as Russia and the US wrapped another round of arms control talks in Vienna which, in particular, focused on the future of the New START Treaty that expires next year.

Billingslea promised to prod China, which earlier rejected Washington’s invitation to join the talks, to review its decision.

“It is incumbent on the Chinese upon themselves to recognise that they have an obligation to negotiate with us and the Russians in good faith. And we intend to hold them to that obligation”, the US special envoy said.

The remarks followed Chinese Ambassador to Russia Zhang Hanhui stating late last month that Beijing sees the US’ push to engage China in trilateral arms control talks as an attempt by Washington to conceal its pursuit of nuclear hegemony.

The White House “has repeatedly made proposals on arms control for China, Russia and promoted the ‘China factor’ to distract international attention, pursuing to justify its withdrawal from the US-Russian New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty [New START] and pursuing ‘self-liberation’ and achievement of absolute strategic advantage. China and Russia see this very clearly”, Zhang pointed out.

This followed the Trump administration asserting in April that China has been covertly testing nuclear weapons and expanding its warhead arsenal, allegations that were rejected by Beijing as “totally unfounded”.

“China has always performed its international obligations and commitments in a responsible manner, firmly upheld multilateralism, and actively carried out international cooperation”, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian stressed at the time, referring to Beijing’s pledge not to test nuclear weapons.

New START Treaty

The New START, which expires in February 2021, is the last remaining arms control accord in force between Moscow and Washington after the collapse of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.

Under the accord, which was signed in 2010, the US and Russia agreed to reduce the number of strategic nuclear missiles by half and limit the number of deployed strategic nuclear warheads to 1,550.

Israel continues to bomb outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

Israel bombs Gaza after warning Hamas it risks war

19 August 2020, 1:51 am GMT-6

Israeli warplanes bombed the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip overnight after Palestinians fired a rocket into southern Israel, the army said.

The latest exchange came as Israel warned Hamas it was risking “war” by failing to stop fire balloons being launched across the border.

Egyptian security officials shuttled between the two sides in a bid to end the flare-up which has seen more than a week of rocket and fire balloon attacks from Gaza and nightly Israeli reprisals.

“Earlier tonight, a rocket was fired and during the day, explosive and arson balloons were launched from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory,” said a military statement released shortly before midnight (2100 GMT). 

In response, “fighter jets and (other) aircraft struck additional Hamas military targets in the Gaza Strip terror organization was struck,” the English language statement added.

There were no reports from Gaza of casualties.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin issued a warning to Hamas during a visit to firefighters in the border area who said they were called out to 40 blazes caused by Palestinian arson balloons on Tuesday. 

“Terrorism using incendiary kites and balloons is terrorism just like any other,” Rivlin told them, according to a statement from his office. 

“Hamas should know that this is not a game. The time will come when they have to decide… If they want war, they will get war,” said Rivlin, whose post is largely ceremonial.

Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since 2008.

Despite a truce last year backed by Egypt, the United Nations and Qatar, Hamas and Israel clash sporadically, with Palestinian incendiary balloons or rocket or mortar fire drawing retaliatory Israeli strikes and sanctions against civilians in Gaza.

A Hamas source told AFP the Islamists had held talks with the Egyptian delegation in Gaza on Monday before it left the territory for meetings with the Israelis and the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority. 

The Egyptian delegation was expected to return to Gaza after those talks were concluded, the source added.

In response to the persistent balloon attacks, Israel has banned fishing off Gaza’s coast and closed the Kerem Shalom goods crossing, cutting off deliveries of fuel to the territory’s sole power plant.

Power had been in short supply even before the shutdown, with consumers having access to mains electricity for only around eight hours a day. 

That will now be cut to just four hours a day using power supplied from the Israeli grid.

scw/kir

Escalating chances for the first nuclear war (Revelation 8 )

Escalating chances for nuclear conflict as geopolitical instability grows

August 19, 2020

The fate of the world in the next year will be interesting to all of those who follow world politics.

Our country will have a presidential election in 2020, authoritarianism is growing around the world, China is continuing to rise as a power, and Vladimir Putin’s actions as head of Russia alarm all in the democratic world. However, less often do we hear about the issue of nuclear weapons.

As the years pass, the potential for nuclear confrontation increases. India, Pakistan, and China are developing more powerful weapons and have failed to develop measures to create even a limited amount of cooperation that will keep their geopolitical conflicts from developing into nuclear war.

Both the United States and Russia have undermined the framework developed in the Cold War era to move conflict out of the sphere of nuclear weapons. In 2016, now-President Donald Trump tweeted the United States “must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability” and that we should “outmatch” and “outlast” other potential competitors in a nuclear arms race. To be fair, the trillion-dollar modernization of our nuclear weapons systems began under President Barack Obama. President Trump’s top arms control negotiator, Marshall Billingsley, described the administration’s approach: “we know how to win these (arms) races, and we know how to spend the adversary into oblivion … If we have to, we will, but we sure would like to avoid it.”

Our current approach sparked an arms race that’s costing us billions. In the meantime, we’re moving the current geopolitical conflicts into the nuclear sphere. The Trump administration has dismantled decades of arms control agreements: The Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty and the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty have been terminated. The president intends to withdraw from the Open Skies Treaty, and now the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, aka New START, is on life support.

Unrestrained by arms control agreements, our adversaries are developing destabilizing forms of technology. In response, we attempt to match or surpass what is developed in Moscow or Beijing. Pentagon planners are seeking to make hypersonic missiles that shorten the reaction time of decision makers and make anti-missile defense systems obsolete. Few seem willing to challenge the need for these weapons, point a new way to secure our future, and look at the threats that really face the republic. Moscow, Beijing, and the U.S. cannot afford to continue the current arms buildup. With the COVID-19 pandemic, our government is spending more than expected.

Our country should do the fiscally responsible thing and embrace arms control. The first step would be to extend the New Start Treaty that expires in February 2021. The treaty is important because it allows the U.S. and Russia to verify each other’s arsenals, as it halved the number of strategic missile launchers of each country when adopted.  Former negotiator Dr. Rose Gottemoeller feels the treaty should be renewed, agreed with President Trump that China should be included, but she doesn’t think it should be allowed to die. The arms merchants would be the only one to win if the treaty dies!

Tensions are rising around the world, and we don’t need to add nuclear weapons to the list of possible armaments. What’s needed is an investment in public health to ensure we save lives in the battle against COVID-19 and to prepare for future pandemics. In addition, we also need to extend the age of Medicare to age 50 and extend Medicaid to all who make below $25,000 a year in order to expand the number of insured. This would help us in future pandemics. An improvement in our Affordable Care Act exchanges is also in order. In addition, there’s the necessity of investing in low and no-carbon energy to fight the greenhouse effect. Let’s concentrate on real security!

Jason Sibert

executive director of the Peace Economy Project in St. Louis

August 19, 2020