The Sixth Seal: More Than Just Manhattan (Revelation 6:12)

New York, NY – In a Quake, Brooklyn Would Shake More Than Manhattan
By Brooklyn Eagle
New York, NY – The last big earthquake in the New York City area, centered in New York Harbor just south of Rockaway, took place in 1884 and registered 5.2 on the Richter Scale.Another earthquake of this size can be expected and could be quite damaging, says Dr. Won-Young Kim, senior research scientist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University.
And Brooklyn, resting on sediment, would shake more than Manhattan, built on solid rock. “There would be more shaking and more damage,” Dr. Kim told the Brooklyn Eagle on Wednesday.
If an earthquake of a similar magnitude were to happen today near Brooklyn, “Many chimneys would topple. Poorly maintained buildings would fall down – some buildings are falling down now even without any shaking. People would not be hit by collapsing buildings, but they would be hit by falling debris. We need to get some of these buildings fixed,” he said.
But a 5.2 is “not comparable to Haiti,” he said. “That was huge.” Haiti’s devastating earthquake measured 7.0.
Brooklyn has a different environment than Haiti, and that makes all the difference, he said. Haiti is situated near tectonic plate.
“The Caribbean plate is moving to the east, while the North American plate is moving towards the west. They move about 20 mm – slightly less than an inch – every year.” The plates are sliding past each other, and the movement is not smooth, leading to jolts, he said.
While we don’t have the opportunity for a large jolt in Brooklyn, we do have small, frequent quakes of a magnitude of 2 or 3 on the Richter Scale. In 2001 alone the city experienced two quakes: one in January, measuring 2.4, and one in October, measuring 2.6. The October quake, occurring soon after Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, “caused a lot of panic,” Dr. Kim said.
“People ask me, ‘Should I get earthquake insurance?’ I tell them no, earthquake insurance is expensive. Instead, use that money to fix chimneys and other things. Rather than panicky preparations, use common sense to make things better.”
Secure bookcases to the wall and make sure hanging furniture does not fall down, Dr. Kim said. “If you have antique porcelains or dishes, make sure they’re safely stored. In California, everything is anchored to the ground.”
While a small earthquake in Brooklyn may cause panic, “In California, a quake of magnitude 2 is called a micro-quake,” he added.

Tensions Between Babylon the Great and Iran Rise

Rockets apparently fired by an Iranian-backed Iraqi militia hit U.S. complex in Baghdad as tensions with Tehran rise

Louisa Loveluck

Vehicles pass while members of the Iraqi security forces clean a section of the Jumhuriyah bridge across the Tigris River, leading from Baghdad’s central Tahrir Square to the highly fortified Green Zone, on Oct. 31. (Sabah Arar/AFP/Getty Images)

Three rockets, apparently fired by an Iranian-backed Iraqi militia, landed in the U.S. Embassy complex within Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone late Tuesday, amid rising tensions with Iran in the waning days of the Trump administration.

A U.S. military official, speaking on the condition of anonymity in advance of a formal statement, said initial reports indicated there had been no injuries to U.S. personnel or damage to American facilities. Another rocket reportedly landed elsewhere in the zone, and the Iraqi army said in a statement that another three fell outside the area, killing a young child and wounding five Iraqi civilians.

The attack came as President Trump has consulted with top members of his national security team about a possible strike on Iran following reports of a sharp expansion in its uranium enrichment program. The government in Tehran has said it has no intention of building a nuclear weapon.

Iran’s oil exports, uranium stockpile surge as Trump administration’s ‘maximum pressure’ policy hits a wall

In a meeting Thursday, advisers cautioned against a preemptive strike, according to a senior U.S. official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter. Since his legacy is to have pulled the United States out of regional wars, Trump was advised he should resist starting a new conflict in a region where he has ordered U.S. troop withdrawals.

Trump agreed, the official said. “No orders have been given. . . . There’s no imminent threat of preemptive strikes against Iran for their nuclear or missile programs,” the official said.

But the president emphasized that any killing of an American that could be “tied back to instructions from Iran” would spark an immediate U.S. response, the official said. The president was “extraordinarily forceful,” the official said. If the Iranians kill Americans, the U.S. response will be swift and painful, the official said.

Responding to accounts of the White House meeting, first reported by the New York Times, an Iranian government spokesman said Tuesday that any U.S. attack on Iran would bring a “crushing” response.

Spokesman Ali Rabiei, streaming on an official government website, said that it was unlikely that the United States “would want to cause insecurity in the world and the region.”

The attack came less than an hour after acting defense secretary Christopher C. Miller announced that the U.S. military would withdraw another 500 troops from Iraq, decreasing the number to 2,500 by Jan. 15, days before President-elect Joe Biden takes office.

In remarks to reporters outside the White House, national security adviser Robert C. O’Brien said the remaining U.S. forces in both Iraq and Afghanistan — where the number is also coming down to 2,500 — would “defend our embassies and the other agencies of the U.S. government.” “By May,” he said, “it is President Trump’s hope that they will all come home safely and in their entirety.”

Beyond Trump’s desire to fulfill his campaign promise to end foreign wars before his term expires, it is unclear why troops are being brought home at a time of particular tension in the Middle East.

In recent days, U.S. intelligence has been monitoring potential threats by Iran to U.S. forces in the region, people familiar with the matter said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive information. Current and former officials have expressed alarm that Iran might try to provoke military conflict in Trump’s final days in office.

Biden was briefed Tuesday on global threats, presumably including Iran, by national security experts, including former diplomats and military officials. But he continued to be denied official briefings from current intelligence and defense officials as Trump refused to allow his administration to formally begin the transition process.

“We are going to focus on readiness for whatever may come,” Biden, in Wilmington, Del., told the group of experts as the virtual meeting began, “and that’s why I have asked you all to brief me on what you see as the biggest challenges we face and how to make sure that our diplomacy, our military” is prepared “to meet these crises.”

“You know that I’ve been unable to get the briefings that ordinarily would have come by now,” he said. “And so I just want to get your input on what you see ahead. And, to state the obvious, there’s no presidential responsibility more important than protecting the American people.”

Briefers at the session included retired Gen. Lloyd Austin, former commander of U.S. forces in Iraq and of the U.S. Central Command during the Obama administration; retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal and retired Adm. William McRaven, both of whom served as head of the Joint Special Operations Command; former deputy CIA directors Avril Haines and David Cohen; and a number of other former senior diplomats and defense officials.

Biden also spoke by telephone Tuesday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose government has opposed the president-elect’s plans to try to reengage diplomatically with Iran. Biden has said he will consider reentering the Iran nuclear deal that Trump exited in 2018, provided Tehran returns to compliance with its terms, including strict limits on enriched uranium.

Trump’s secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, is due to visit Israel this week.

In Iraq, the rocket attack appeared to mark the end of a unilateral truce declared in October by Iranian-backed militias operating there.

Since late 2019, the armed groups have repeatedly targeted facilities and personnel linked to Western interests in Iraq. Those previous attacks resulted in the deaths of six Iraqis, three U.S. servicemen and one Briton, and brought the United States and Iran to the brink of war.

A Telegram channel linked to the militias said Tuesday that the Ashab al-Kahf group had fired six rockets into the area in Baghdad. Another post showed the face of Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the Iraqi militia leader killed alongside Iranian military leader Qasem Soleimani in a Jan. 3 drone strike ordered by Trump.

The administration has also threatened to withdraw all personnel from the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, citing security concerns, a move that critics say would only deepen Iranian influence in Iraq.

Loveluck reported from Baghdad. Anne Gearan in Wilmington and Missy Ryan and Shane Harris in Washington contributed to this report.

Babylon the Great’s Preparation for Nuclear War

Pentagon says US warship destroyed ICBM target in test off Hawaii | Russia | Al Jazeera

The test could raise arms-control tensions with China and Russia, which fear it may undercut their nuclear deterrents.

The Pentagon, headquarters of the United States armed forces, in Washington, DC [File: Charles Dharapak/AP Photo]

A United States warship has intercepted and destroyed an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) target in a test conducted northeast of Hawaii, the US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) said on Tuesday, a first for US missile defence systems.

The test, conducted on November 16, involved an Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense-equipped destroyer that the MDA did not identify.

“We have demonstrated that an Aegis BMD-equipped vessel equipped with the SM-3 Block IIA missile can defeat an ICBM-class target,” Vice Admiral and MDA Director Jon Hill said in a statement.

The Standard Missile 3 Block IIA (SM-3 IIA) was developed in a joint venture between Raytheon Co and Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd.

The test’s target was a mock ICBM that had been launched from a US test range at Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. The target missile was not equipped with decoys or other sophisticated systems of the kind that a US missile interceptor might face in a real attack on the US.

Previous tests against ICBM targets had used interceptors launched from underground silos in the US.

A facility of Aegis Ashore Missile Defense Test Complex is pictured in Kauai, Hawaii in this photo taken in January 2019 [Handout: Kyodo via Reuters]

The test’s success is likely to draw particular interest from North Korea, whose development of intercontinental-range ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons is the main reason the Pentagon has sought to accelerate its building of missile defence systems over the past decade.

North Korea has recently refrained from flight tests of ballistic missiles of intercontinental range and has not continued its nuclear testing. But the intentions of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un are uncertain as President-elect Joe Biden prepares to take office, succeeding President Donald Trump.

Although the current US approach to missile defence is designed to protect the US against an ICBM fired from North Korea, both Russia and China have expressed concern that the US could use its missile defenses to undercut the deterrent value of their nuclear forces, which are larger than those of North Korea.

Laura Grego, a physicist and missile defence expert at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said the prospect of a major US expansion of missile defences by potentially equipping Navy ships globally with anti-ICBM capabilities is worrying.

“It is likely to have a crushing effect on prospects for new arms control agreements and will also provide motivation (or justification) for Russia and China to diversify and grow their nuclear weapons arsenals,” she wrote on Twitter.

The test had been planned for last spring but was delayed because of restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Source : News Agencies

The Winds of God’s Wrath Continues: Jeremiah 23

There’s still no clear end to the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season

Forecasters continue to monitor systems for possible development

Hurricane Season 2020 just won’t quit. It’s shattered records with the most named systems ever observed in the Atlantic, devastated Central America and has left few coastal areas in the eastern U.S. untouched.

Just when it looked like things might simmer, Iota spontaneously swirled as a Category 5 a week and a half before Thanksgiving.

Hurricanes Eta and Iota brought disaster to Central America. Officials can’t retire their names.

On paper, hurricane season ends on Nov. 30, but this season has been far from by-the-books. And looking ahead, it appears the atmosphere may try to get one final word in.

Already, meteorologists are tracking two more “areas to watch” that could be problematic, including near hard-hit Central America. Neither system has a high chance to develop, but their mere presence show that the ocean is not quite done yet.

There may also be a period of conditions mildly conducive to tropical development in the southern Caribbean during the first week or two in December, though with winter coming, we are running out the clock.

Two areas to watch

Satellite imagery showing the remnants of Iota moving into the Pacific and another disturbance in the central Caribbean on Wednesday. (Tropical Tidbits)

On Wednesday, the National Hurricane Center in Miami outlined two areas that bear watching for possible tropical development but gave each only a 20 percent chance of becoming a named storm. One system was nestled in the southwest Caribbean, while the other occupied the ocean between the Bahamas and Bermuda.

In the Caribbean, a strip of thunderstorm activity stretched from the shores of northern Venezuela to just south of Hispaniola.

This area of disturbed weather could bring heavy rainfall to portions of Nicaragua, and especially Costa Rica and Panama. Some places, especially in the higher terrain of western Costa Rica and Panama, could see 4 to 8 inches of rain from Friday into Saturday, which could spark flooding. Isolated one-foot totals can’t be ruled out.

In Nicaragua, the rains arrive Saturday into Sunday, with moist flow even yielding sporadic downpours in Honduras, Guatemala and Belize. Rainfall amounts will be highly variable, but renewed flooding is possible in areas that have already seen 30 to 50 inches or more from Hurricanes Eta and Iota.

Hurricane Iota explosively intensified to Category 5 as it bore down on Nicaragua

Meanwhile, a region of low pressure may form between the Bahamas and Bermuda into early next week in advance of an approaching mid-level disturbance over the southern United States. The system will begin as a typical nondescript patch of ocean storminess, but could acquire some subtropical or tropical characteristics as it is swept northeast.

A period of showery and breezy weather is likely Monday into Tuesday in Bermuda as the system passes nearby; it will be simultaneously energized by an atmospheric disturbance. It’s improbable that the system “closes off” into a self-contained storm that earns a name. But, in the unlikely event it does, “Kappa” is up next on the naming list.

An uncertain start to December

Gulf of Mexico sea surface temperature anomalies in degrees Celsius. (Tropical Tidbits)

In most years, tropical activity wraps up before Halloween. But not this year. There are mixed signals about what may lie ahead, but the oceans at the very least have enough fuel left for one or two final acts.

In the United States, it’s probably safe to say the season is over, and that no more tropical systems are likely to affect the Eastern Seaboard or Gulf Coast. Sea surface temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico and the Eastern Seaboard are still running well above average and could sustain a storm, but the inevitable southward shift of the jet stream will yield harsh wind dynamics that are largely unsupportive.

In the Caribbean and Atlantic, it’s a different story. While there are no immediate signs of any storm potential, we’re firmly in the season where cold fronts can shed a rogue storm or two that manages to take advantage of still-mild seawaters.

Rising motion in the upper atmosphere could kindle any Atlantic or Caribbean disturbance if it was to gain enough gumption, primarily through about Dec. 10. After that, an influx of sinking air, coupled with the cooling waters, should once and for all shut the door on any meaningful storm development.

So until mid-December, any and all Caribbean and southwest/central Atlantic disturbances will have to be watched with scrutiny just as if was September. The atmosphere doesn’t own a calendar, and, as Iota showed when it became the latest-forming Category 5 storm on record early this week, storms care far more about conditions than the time of year.

Trump Wants to Strike the Iranian Nuclear Horn

Trump ‘asked for options on strike on Iran nuclear site’

Getty Images

Vice-President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reportedly attended the meeting

President Donald Trump asked senior advisers last Thursday about potential options for attacking Iran’s main nuclear site, US media report.

The advisers warned him that military action could spark a broader conflict, officials were cited as saying.

The White House has not commented on the accounts of the meeting.

It took place a day after the global nuclear watchdog said Iran’s enriched uranium stockpile was 12 times what was permitted under a 2015 nuclear deal.

The landmark accord saw the US and five other world powers give Iran relief from crippling economic sanctions in return for limits on sensitive activities to show it was not developing nuclear weapons.

What is the Iran nuclear deal?

President Trump abandoned the deal in 2018, saying it was “defective at its core”, and reinstated US sanctions in an attempt to force Iran’s leaders to negotiate a replacement.

They have refused to do so and retaliated by rolling back a number of key commitments, including those on the production of enriched uranium.

US President-elect Joe Biden, who will take office on 20 January, has said he will consider rejoining the nuclear deal so long as Iran returns to full compliance and commits to further negotiations.

Last Wednesday, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) published a report saying that Iran’s stockpile of low-enriched uranium had reached 2,442.9kg (5,385.6lb) – far above the 202.8kg limit set under the nuclear deal and theoretically enough to produce two nuclear weapons.

Low-enriched uranium – which typically has a 3-5% concentration of uranium-235, the most suitable isotope for nuclear fission – can be used to produce fuel for power plants. Weapons-grade uranium is 90% enriched or more.

The IAEA also said Iran had finished moving a first cascade of advanced centrifuges, which are used to enrich uranium, from an above-ground plant at its Natanz enrichment facility to an underground plant. The nuclear deal says the underground plant cannot be used for advanced centrifuges.

The New York Times reported on Monday night that Mr Trump had discussed how to respond to the IAEA report at a meeting in the Oval Office with top national security advisers, including Vice-President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, acting Defence Secretary Christopher Miller and General Mark Milley, the chairman of the US military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff.

US officials familiar with the meeting said the president had asked to be briefed about the options for a strike on Iran’s main nuclear site – an apparent reference to Natanz.

Natanz is the only uranium enrichment plant Iran is allowed to operate under the nuclear deal

The advisers argued that military action could lead to a broader conflict in the region in the last weeks of his presidency, according to the officials.

“He asked for options. They gave him the scenarios and he ultimately decided not to go forward,” one official told Reuters news agency.

Another told the Wall Street Journal that “a conflict with Iran ends badly for everyone involved”.

Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabiei warned on Tuesday “any action against the Iranian nation would certainly face a crushing response”.

The US and Iran came close to war this January, after Mr Trump ordered a drone strike in Iraq that killed top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani, saying the Revolutionary Guards general was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American troops.

Iran responded by firing ballistic missiles at Iraqi military bases housing US forces. No Americans were killed, but more than 100 were diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries.

The Indian Nuclear Triad: Revelation 8

India’s Enhanced Strategic Nuclear Triad: Implications For South Asian Strategic Stability – OpEd

Haris Bilal Malik*November 17, 2020

Indian army’s BrahMos Mobile Autonomous Launchers, February 7, 2014 (Courtesy Anirvan Shukla)

Since the last few years, India has embarked on an extensive augmentation of its strategic nuclear capabilities. This is primarily inspired by its long-held desire to dominate the escalation ladder of the South Asian region and extend its strategic outreach.

The massive buildup of strategic nuclear capabilities is also part of India’s grand strategy that is intended towards achieving the status of global power. In pursuit of this, it has carried out an overwhelming enhancement of its nuclear capabilities aimed at completing a strategic nuclear triad. Furthermore, India has been maintaining an offensive nuclear force posture along with the provision of advanced delivery systems and platforms that are capable of firing nuclear missiles. In this regard, a very robust three-pronged nuclear force structure which includes land-based, air-launched, and submarine-launched nuclear missiles form the very basis of the Indian nuclear triad.

Specifically, this has become more significant given the Indian induction of sophisticated platforms to strengthen its existing nuclear triad. This is further aimed at both initiating the first strike option and ensuring a second-strike capability. India’s attempt to dominate the regional deterrence equilibrium by enhancing its nuclear triad would adversely affect the strategic stability of the South Asian region.

In simplistic terms, the nuclear triad is the ability to launch a nuclear offensive from various platforms and delivery systems at air, land, and undersea. This is aimed at ensuring a three-prong offensive nuclear force posture. Air platforms are a major source of delivering nuclear warheads. In this regard, initially, India had relied on its Jaguar and Mirage 2000 jets with the provision to deliver the air-launched nuclear missiles.

Later on, the Russian Sukhoi Su-30 jets were acquired by India which is also capable of delivering nuclear missiles. India has also reportedly modified 40 of these jets to carry the BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles, one of the fastest supersonic missiles currently available in the world. This has significantly enhanced India’s air-based nuclear capability. Since then, these jets have been projected as the backbone of the air component of the Indian nuclear triad.

Most recently, India has received the first five of its total 36 Rafale jets from France. It is widely believed that the Indian Rafales would likely be modified to play the nuclear role. Since, along with its other advanced strikes capabilities, Rafale is well known to be capable of delivering a nuclear payload. Especially against the backdrop of the humiliation which India has faced in recent crises, the addition of Rafale in the Indian Air Force (IAF’s) inventory would further complement the air-based component of the Indian nuclear triad.

In the same vein, India’s land-based component of the nuclear triad consists of offensive missile systems capable of delivering nuclear warheads at various ranges. In this regard, most notably, the Agni and Prithvi missiles are India’s fully operational land-based nuclear-capable ballistic missiles. Especially the Agni missiles are believed to be the backbone of the Indian land-based nuclear capability. The Agni-V and Agni-VI variants of this series are reportedly Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBMs). The Agni-V of 5000 km range is in service, whereas the Agni-VI of 10000 km range is under development. This shows Indian eagerness to complete an ICBM ranged land-based component of its nuclear triad.

In addition to these, there has been much hype regarding the land launched version of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile which India has developed in collaboration with Russia. The BrahMos missile is also capable of delivering nuclear warheads with its incredible speed. India also aspires to have hypersonic nuclear-capable cruise missiles as part of its land-based nuclear capability. In this regard, the recent tests of the Shaurya ballistic missile and Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle (HSTDV) for future cruise missiles are considerably important.

Furthermore, there are also reports which suggest that India and Russia are jointly working on the BrahMos-II a hypersonic variant of this cruise missile. Though the practicality of this might remain questionable, such developments indicate that India wants to further enhance the land-based component of its nuclear triad.

It is worth mentioning here that the provision of nuclear first-strike and assurance of second-strike capability undersea is the most credible component for the completion of a nuclear triad. The naval based component appears to be the Indian priority as well. This is evident from the Indian enhancements of its naval based nuclear deterrent capabilities with the provision of nuclear-powered and ballistic missile-carrying submarines (SSBNs) and submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs).

In this regard, the presence of the INS Arihant SSBN and the K-series SLBMs in the Indian naval inventory are worth considering. Especially, the K-serious has tremendous significance for India’s sea-based nuclear capability aimed at completing the nuclear triad. These include; the K-15 missile (the land-based version of Sagarika missile) with a range of 700 km and the K-4 missile of 3500 km range. The long-range K-5 and K-6 missiles of 5000 and 6000 km are also under development.

Along with these, the INS Arighat, India’s second SSBN as reported is set to be deployed by the end of 2020. It is also believed to be capable of carrying more nuclear-capable missiles as compared to the INS Arihant. These platforms have considerably enhanced India’s naval based second-strike capability and further ensured the completion of a strategic nuclear triad.

Hence at the present, India seeks to maintain a credible and reliable strategic nuclear triad in pursuit of its hegemonic designs and great power aspiration. India’s nuclear triad is in large part ensured by its offensive enhancement of air, land, and undersea nuclear capabilities. Such an Indian attempt to dominate the regional deterrence equation would likely further increase the risk of instability in the region. These factors combined would have long-lasting implications for the overall regional deterrence equilibrium that is primarily ensured by Pakistan’s nuclear capability. Though, Pakistan still holds a very calculated and principled minimum credible deterrence approach, Indian eagerness to expand its nuclear triad would likely challenge the nuclear threshold of Pakistan. This would ultimately undermine the strategic and deterrence equilibrium in South Asia.

*The writer currently works as a Research Associate at the Strategic Vision Institute (SVI) in Islamabad, Pakistan.

Israel strikes Hamas positions outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

Israel strikes Hamas positions

MENAFN

MENAFN – Jordan Times) GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories — Israeli forces said they struck Hamas positions on  Sunday morning following an alleged rocket attack from the Gaza Strip overnight.

Two rockets reportedly were fired into southern Israel from Gaza late Saturday, although there were no immediate reports of any casualties or damage.

Security sources in Gaza said there were a number of strikes overnight, including in Khan Younes, Rafah and Beit Hanoun, without reporting any casualties.

The strike from Gaza — which has not been claimed — comes days after the anniversary of the assassination of senior Islamic Jihad leader Baha Abu Al Ata, killed in a strike on his home in Gaza City on November 12 last year.

Ahead of the anniversary, the IDF was reportedly on high alert within the Gaza Strip, where roughly 2 million Palestinians live.

Sources close to Hamas indicated officials from the movement were expected in Cairo later Sunday.

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