The Sixth Seal Is Long Overdue (Revelation 6:12)

ON THE MAP; Exploring the Fault Where the Next Big One May Be Waiting

By MARGO NASH

Published: March 25, 2001

Alexander Gates, a geology professor at Rutgers-Newark, is co-author of ”The Encyclopedia of Earthquakes and Volcanoes,” which will be published by Facts on File in July. He has been leading a four-year effort to remap an area known as the Sloatsburg Quadrangle, a 5-by-7-mile tract near Mahwah that crosses into New York State. The Ramapo Fault, which runs through it, was responsible for a big earthquake in 1884, and Dr. Gates warns that a recurrence is overdue. He recently talked about his findings.

Q. What have you found?

A. We’re basically looking at a lot more rock, and we’re looking at the fracturing and jointing in the bedrock and putting it on the maps. Any break in the rock is a fracture. If it has movement, then it’s a fault. There are a lot of faults that are offshoots of the Ramapo. Basically when there are faults, it means you had an earthquake that made it. So there was a lot of earthquake activity to produce these features. We are basically not in a period of earthquake activity along the Ramapo Fault now, but we can see that about six or seven times in history, about 250 million years ago, it had major earthquake activity. And because it’s such a fundamental zone of weakness, anytime anything happens, the Ramapo Fault goes.

Q. Where is the Ramapo Fault?

 A. The fault line is in western New Jersey and goes through a good chunk of the state, all the way down to Flemington. It goes right along where they put in the new 287. It continues northeast across the Hudson River right under the Indian Point power plant up into Westchester County. There are a lot of earthquakes rumbling around it every year, but not a big one for a while.

Q. Did you find anything that surprised you?

A. I found a lot of faults, splays that offshoot from the Ramapo that go 5 to 10 miles away from the fault. I have looked at the Ramapo Fault in other places too. I have seen splays 5 to 10 miles up into the Hudson Highlands. And you can see them right along the roadsides on 287. There’s been a lot of damage to those rocks, and obviously it was produced by fault activities. All of these faults have earthquake potential.

Q. Describe the 1884 earthquake.

A. It was in the northern part of the state near the Sloatsburg area. They didn’t have precise ways of describing the location then. There was lots of damage. Chimneys toppled over. But in 1884, it was a farming community, and there were not many people to be injured. Nobody appears to have written an account of the numbers who were injured.

Q. What lessons we can learn from previous earthquakes?

A. In 1960, the city of Agadir in Morocco had a 6.2 earthquake that killed 12,000 people, a third of the population, and injured a third more. I think it was because the city was unprepared.There had been an earthquake in the area 200 years before. But people discounted the possibility of a recurrence. Here in New Jersey, we should not make the same mistake. We should not forget that we had a 5.4 earthquake 117 years ago. The recurrence interval for an earthquake of that magnitude is every 50 years, and we are overdue. The Agadir was a 6.2, and a 5.4 to a 6.2 isn’t that big a jump.

Q. What are the dangers of a quake that size?

A. When you’re in a flat area in a wooden house it’s obviously not as dangerous, although it could cut off a gas line that could explode. There’s a real problem with infrastructure that is crumbling, like the bridges with crumbling cement.There’s a real danger we could wind up with our water supplies and electricity cut off if a sizable earthquake goes off. The best thing is to have regular upkeep and keep up new building codes. The new buildings will be O.K. But there is a sense of complacency.

MARGO NASH

The Chinese nuclear horn continues to grow (Daniel 7)

China Pursues Own Nuclear Triad, Doubling of Nuclear Capability

Sept. 1, 2020 | BY C. Todd Lopez , DOD News

Over the next 10 years, it’s expected China will double the number of nuclear warheads it possesses, while embarking on an effort to expand the ways it can deploy its nuclear capability, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for China Chad L. Sbragia said at the American Enterprise Institute.

He discussed findings of a just-released Defense Department report, “Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China — 2020.”

“The report does contend that there are currently an estimated low-200s in terms of warhead stockpiles, and it’s projected to at least double in size over the next decade as China expands and modernizes its nuclear forces,” Sbragia said.

But equally as important is how China would be able to deliver those warheads. It intends to develop a “nuclear triad” similar to the one the U.S. has and is currently working to modernize.

“The report [also] notes that China is expanding, modernizing and diversifying its nuclear forces across the board,” Sbragia said. “Just looking at the number of warheads by itself is not the entire picture, or doesn’t paint a holistic understanding of where the Chinese are or where they want to go.”

A nuclear triad, as it exists in the U.S., allows for land-based missile delivery, sea-based delivery from submarines and air-based delivery with bombers.

Within the next decade, Sbragia said, China plans to expand its ballistic submarine fleet and field more capable, longer-range, sea-launched  ballistic missiles. It also plans to complete the development of its nuclear-capable, air-launched ballistic missiles along with bombers to deliver them. On the ground, he said, China plans to field additional mobile ICBMs and also possibly expand its silo-based ICBM capability.

“As has been noted by others, and then as the report contends … they’re obviously in pursuit of the full suite of capacities … to include the building out of infrastructure for a more modernized, capable and larger capacity in this area,” Sbragia said.

Sbragia said that the report also concludes that, besides its investments in nuclear capability, China aims to transform the People’s Liberation Army into a “world-class military” by around 2050.

“While China has not defined exactly what ‘world-class military’ means, it is likely that China will seek to build a military that is equal to or in some cases superior to the U.S. military or the military of any other great power that China perceives as a potential threat,” Sbragia said.

One aspect of that advancement towards a world-class military, he said, is power projection. The Chinese want their military to be able to operate anywhere on the globe. One step towards that is the establishment of a more robust overseas logistics network.

According to the report, China is “very likely already considering and planning for” the establishment of military logistics facilities outside China that can support naval, air and ground forces.

Some locations that they may now be considering include Myanmar, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, the United Arab Emirates, Kenya, the Seychelles, Tanzania, Angola and Tajikistan. China already has a military installation in Djibouti.

“The Chinese do have … an aspiration for great power status by virtually every measure of comprehensive or composite national power that you can measure,” Sbragia said. “To achieve that, it means that they have to have … global convergence at the broadest scale possible. For the PLA, that means that they do have the intent to go out. I think that’s certainly one of the aspects of what ‘world-class military’ means … the capacity to have influence at distance, at a time and place of their choosing. They certainly aspire to do that.”

Hamas and Israel agree end to cross-border bombing outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

Hamas and Israel agree end to cross-border bombing in Gaza

A Qatari-brokered truce commits Israel to easing its 13-year-old blockade of the Palestinian territory

Agence France-Presse

Mon 31 Aug 2020 15.57 EDT

Gaza’s Islamist rulers Hamas have announced they have reached a Qatari-mediated deal with Israel to end more than three weeks of cross-border exchanges of fire.

After talks with Qatari envoy Mohammed al-Emadi, “an understanding was reached to rein in the latest escalation and end [Israeli] aggression against our people,” said the office of the Palestinian territory’s Gaza leader Yahya Sinwar.

In the latest escalation, Israel has bombed Gaza almost daily since 6 August, in response to airborne incendiary devices and, less frequently, rockets launched across the border.

The fire bombs – crude devices fitted to balloons, inflated condoms or plastic bags – have triggered more than 400 blazes and damaged swathes of farmland in southern Israel, according to the fire brigade.

An Egyptian delegation had been shuttling between the two sides to try to broker a renewal of an informal truce under which Israel committed to ease its 13-year-old blockade of Gaza in return for calm on the border.

It was joined by Al-Emadi, who also held talks with Israeli officials in Tel Aviv.

A Hamas source said there had been “a total halt” to balloon and other attacks against Israel, in agreement with other factions in the coastal strip, home to some 2 million people.

“Fuel supplies will return and the power station will be restarted from Tuesday,” the source said.

A punitive Israeli-imposed ban on fuel deliveries cut electricity supplies to just four hours a day, supplied from the Israeli grid.

Financial aid from gas-rich Qatar has been a major component of a truce first agreed in November 2018 and renewed several times since.

Israel had also agreed to take other steps to alleviate unemployment of more than 50% in Gaza, but disagreements over implementation have fuelled repeated flare-ups.

These escalated into full-blown conflict in 2008, 2012 and 2014, and mediators have been working to prevent a new war.

Babylon the Great Assesses the Chinese Nuclear Horn

U.S. Reveals First Assessment of Chinese Nuclear Weapons Stockpile | World Report | US News

By Paul D. Shinkman Senior Writer, National Security • Sept. 1, 2020, at 2:53 p.m.

China’s nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missiles are seen during a military parade at Tiananmen Square in Beijing in 2019. China possesses at least 200 nuclear warheads, according to a new report. GREG BAKER/AFP/Getty ImagesQ.w

World Report

U.S. Reveals First Assessment of Chinese Nuclear Weapons Stockpile

A new report from the Pentagon documents the scale of Beijing’s nuclear arsenal at a time the Trump administration is pressuring China to join nuclear talks with Russia.

The Defense Department for the first time Tuesday revealed the number of nuclear warheads it believes China possesses, saying in a new report that Beijing’s arsenal will double over the next decade – while still lagging far behind America’s and Russia’s capacities.

China possesses at least 200 warheads now with plans for a dramatic increase, according to the annual China Military Power Report, released Tuesday. The expansion of its arsenal will also include developing more sophisticated nuclear weapons, as well as modernizing the methods to launch them to include submarines, bombers, road-mobile carriers and new ground-based silos.

The 2020 report studies the Chinese armed forces through the end of 2019 and is prepared for Congress and the public. It had previously documented the potency of Chinese nuclear weapons but had not provided such specifics.

The new information comes at a time the Trump administration is pressuring China to participate in talks to renegotiate the New START treaty with Russia, set to expire in February failing a new agreement. A top official said shortly after the report’s release that the Pentagon made the decision to release the information to better demonstrate the threats China poses and the importance of a U.S. response.

“We should be attentive – certainly we are – and that’s the rationale for why we ensured we included the best number and best understanding we could have in this report,” Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for China Chad Sbragia said at an event organized by the American Enterprise Institute think tank to accompany the report’s release.

The U.S. currently has 5,800 nuclear warheads, 3,800 of which are still active with another 2,000 awaiting dismantlement, the Arms Control Center reports. Russia has roughly 6,400 with roughly 4,300 still active. Prior estimates, including from the Arms Control Center, had placed China’s arsenal at significantly higher than the Pentagon’s assessment.

Tuesday’s revelation comes as the U.S. continues to work toward modernizing its own nuclear arsenal, which is far larger than China’s but is also aging, with many components dating back to the Cold War. The Trump administration announced earlier this year it would not participate in talks to renew its last remaining nuclear limitation pact with Russia if China did not also participate.

Some analysts, however, expressed concerns that the report furthers an incomplete argument that U.S. and Russian limits on nuclear weapons development must now be tied to China as well.

“Even if DoD is correct and China doubles its arsenal by 2030 to 400-500 warheads, China’s arsenal will remain far smaller and less capable than that of the U.S. and Russia,” Kingston Reif, director of Disarmament and Threat Reduction Policy at the Arms Control Association, wrote on Twitter. “The foolishness of throwing away an extension of New START due to concerns about China can’t be overstated.”

A separate section of the report highlighted a key shift in U.S. understanding of the Chinese Communist Party’s intentions for its military – that it’s ambitions to use it are global.

“The CCP does not intend for the PLA to be merely a showpiece of China’s modernity or to keep it focused solely on regional threats,” the report states.

Sbragia said China’s leadership “does have an aspiration for great power status by virtually every measure. … They have to have global convergence at the broadest possible scale.”

Babylon the Great Bulks Up Her Nuclear Horn (Daniel 7)

Change or Lose: The U.S. Air Force’s Plan for Great Power War (Think Russia or China)

The new U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff is now outlining an ambitious new “Change or Lose” strategy intended to push the service toward preparing for great power war against Russia or China, sustaining nuclear weapons and embracing a fast-evolving multi-domain approach. 

“In most scenarios, Airmen will be the first to respond to emerging crises, given our ability to project power from afar,” the document states, emphasizing the need for fast modernization and sustainment of weapons systems. 

The new Air Force Chief of Staff, Gen. Charles Brown, told reporters about the basis for the strategy document Aug 31. Brown’s document argues for the need for “greater integration across the services to deny competitors an exploitable seam,” citing the cyber domain and the importance of multi-service warfare integration. 

While the need to adapt to major-power competition has certainly been established for many years now, the unveiled strategy document introduces a number of pressing and recent concerns, including the aging nature of the current nuclear arsenal, need for air-ground-sea targeting integration, challenged cross-domain command and control and the importance of sustaining the current fleet of aircraft. 

Some of the requested “changes” cited by the strategy encompass major programs such as the emerging Ground-Based Interceptor (GBSD) effort, an ongoing initiative to build up to 400 new ICBMs. This effort continues to take on new urgency, given that the existing Minuteman III ICBMs are 50-years old and suffering obsolescence issues. More to the point, Air Force senior weapons developers have explained that there cannot be any delays to GBDS, to prevent the service from falling into a dangerous missile readiness “gap.” 

Senior weapons developers are also moving quickly to facilitate the Pentagon’s Joint All Domain Command and Control program to better connect sensors and weapons between the services and decrease “sensor to shooter” time. Part of this involves Air Force work on a next-generation battle command technology called Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS), a networking-focused effort to link platforms, weapons and sensors to one another across a vast array of “meshed” or interwoven combat nodes.  The concept is to connect unmanned systems, platform-mounted sensors, large weapons systems and IT-databases to one another in real-time with increasing speed. This kind of interoperability is, according to Air Force leaders, intended to serve as the foundation for the Air Force’s contribution to JADC2. 

At the moment, some ground, sea and air sensors are what could be called more “stovepiped,” meaning they are less able to share combat-sensitive data in real-time. Addressing this challenge is exactly the kind of “change” the Air Force document is calling for, given that much greater levels of multi-domain networking will be necessary should there be a major-power warfare scenario. Current long-range enemy sensors are increasingly able to span across domains with extended ranges, requiring a need for multi-domain defenses. 

The strategy document also calls for continued fast-paced, innovation-centric sustainment and modernization efforts of major programs such as the new B-21 bomber. Technical upgrades form this basis of this, given the number of existing programs that have received new software, sensors and weapons systems. The F-35 and F-22, for instance, are consistently receiving upgrades for the specific purpose of keeping the platforms prepared for a new threat environment. These include F-35 software “drops” and F-22 weapons improvements, among other things.

Kris Osborn is Defense Editor for the National Interest. Osborn previously served at the Pentagon as a Highly Qualified Expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army—Acquisition, Logistics & Technology. Osborn has also worked as an anchor and on-air military specialist at national TV networks. He has appeared as a guest military expert on Fox News, MSNBC, The Military Channel, and The History Channel. He also has a Masters Degree in Comparative Literature from Columbia University. 

Iran’s Khamenei: Saudi Horn disgraced forever’ by Israel deal

Iran’s Khamenei: UAE ‘disgraced forever’ by Israel deal

Parisa Hafezi

DUBAI (Reuters) – The United Arab Emirates has betrayed the Islamic world and the Palestinians by reaching a deal toward normalising ties with Israel, Iran’s top authority Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO: Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivers a televised speech on the occasion of the Iranian New Year Nowruz, in Tehran, Iran March 20, 2020. Official Khamenei website/Handout via REUTERS

“Of course, the UAE’s betrayal will not last long, but this stigma will always be remembered. They allowed the Zionist regime to have a foothold in the region and forgot Palestine,” Khamenei said in a speech.

“The Emiratis will be disgraced forever for this treachery against the Islamic world, Arab nations and Palestine.”

When asked about Khamenei’s statement on the UAE-Israel deal, UAE Foreign Ministry official Jamal Al-Musharakh told reporters in Abu Dhabi: “The path to peace and prosperity is not paved with incitement and hate speech.”

Khamenei made his comments as a delegation of senior Israeli and U.S. officials, including White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, concluded a historic trip to Abu Dhabi to finalise the pact. [L8N2FX0SS]

“The UAE along with Israelis and evil Americans like the Jewish member of Trump’s family are working together against the interests of the Islamic world,” Khamenei said, referring to Kushner.

“I hope Emiratis wake up and compensate for what they did.”

The delegation arrived in Abu Dhabi on an El Al flight on Monday, the first direct commercial passenger flight between the UAE and Israel.

The deal, the first accommodation between an Arab country and Israel in more than 20 years, was forged in part as a result of shared fear of Iran. It has dismayed Palestinian leaders, however, who believe it further erodes their struggle for an independent state.

The UAE has said that the agreement was a bold but necessary step and suggested it could help address the region’s polarisation.

The Trump administration has tried to coax other Sunni Muslim Arab countries concerned about mainly Shi’ite Iran to engage with Israel.

Additional reporting by Dan Williams in Abu Dhabi; Writing by Parisa Hafezi; Editing by Alison Williams, Catherine Evans, William Maclean

The Pakistani and Saudi Nuclear Horns Separate (Daniel)

World News | Is Pakistan Losing Riyadh?

By Francesca Marino

Rome [Italy], August 31 (ANI): “Pakistan can no longer wait … I respectfully remind the OIC (Organization of the Islamic Cooperation) once again that we are expecting a meeting of foreign ministers belonging to the member countries of the organization. If you cannot do it, I will be forced to ask Prime Minister Imran Khan to hold a meeting of Islamic countries ready to stand by us on the question of Kashmir”.

Speaking like this, during a television talk-show, was the Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmud Qureshi who, with an unprecedented externalization, shattered a ten-year protocol of relations between Pakistan and the Saudi “big brother” and gave the launch of a series of speculations on the geopolitical order or re-order of the region.

The Saudis, to tell the truth, did not take well the appeal of Qureshi which was seen as a real “sgarro” by the historical “younger brothers” and, as an immediate retaliation, they were quick to request the sudden repayment of a billion dollar loan renegotiated just six months ago.

Islamabad, cornered, asked the Chinese for the loan and repaid the debt. But, just to make things clear, it is only a drop in the sea of the six and more billion dollars of debt that Islamabad has with Saudi Arabia. Over the years, the alliance between Saudis and Islamabad has in fact been more or less indisputable postulate. An intricate web of financial and military relations has always existed between the two countries.

For Riyadh, the more or less remote control over Pakistan is of fundamental strategic importance, since it borders on Iran for about nine hundred kilometers. And that Islamabad is the only Muslim state to possess the atomic bomb and the largest and best-equipped Muslim army (mainly thanks to the West) in the world.

Pakistan has always guaranteed aid to Riyadh and trained Saudi troops. Riyadh, in exchange, obviously opened the purse strings by abundantly financing Islamabad and guaranteeing oil supplies at bargain prices. It also financed the Pakistani nuclear program: directly, but also by flying to the rescue of Islamabad at the time of the sanctions imposed by the United States in the aftermath of the nuclear tests. And it hosts, moreover, thousands of Pakistani workers.

Thus, strong of historical ties, a few days after the Qureshi gaffe, the Army Chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, and the ISI commander, Lieutenant General Faeez Hameed flew to Riyadh: officially to discuss military cooperation with their Saudi counterparts, actually trying to heal the rift created by their foreign minister.

Mohammad bin Salman, however, the “Saudi brother” to whom Imran Khan had acted as a personal driver on his last triumphal trip to Islamabad, said he was too busy to receive them. Not only that: MbS also invited Pakistan, in the press, to “downsize” its relations with China and to “let go of the Chinese” by ceasing to support them in skirmishes, military and otherwise, on the border with India.

It also seems that the Saudis have warned Islamabad not to support China with regard to investment projects for about 400 billion dollars in Iran. The Pakistani Foreign Ministry promptly denied it, but no one believed him.

Apparently, not only were Bajwa and Hameed’s apologies not accepted, but the renewed proposal for a council of Arab countries on Kashmir once again fell on deaf ears. Result: not only Qureshi, as many thought, did not lose his job.

But, on the return of the scorned generals, he promptly flew to Beijing to meet his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi. In fact, China is now the only country, together with Erdogan’s Islamized and dictatorial Turkey, which declares itself ready to defend the friendship “as deep as the sea and as high as the Himalayas” with Pakistani generals. Because the world is changing, the economy is an absolute priority and the alliance is based on this and not on age-old questions of principle.

So not only the Saudis seem to privilege the close economic ties with India and the alliance with the USA in opposing Iran, but also the Arab Emirates, with which Islamabad has tried to make a common front against the Saudis, have “betrayed” the cause by signing an agreement that normalizes relations with Israel.

If the Palestinian cause is ignored, said Imran Khan, “we will soon be forced to abandon any claim on Kashmir“. And this, for Islamabad, is unacceptable. And it is also unacceptable for Beijing, which has appropriated a piece of Kashmir and is trying to occupy pieces of Indian territory to facilitate the Belt and Road Initiative. But at this point, Pakistan- many say- risks ending up like the earthenware pot between superpowers, and being shattered earlier, long before the dragon flag flies over Islamabad and not just Gwadar.

(Disclaimer: The views expressed in this column are strictly those of the author) (ANI)

(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from Syndicated News feed, LatestLY Staff may not have modified or edited the content body)