A Closer Look At The Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

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A Look at the Tri-State’s Active Fault Line

Monday, March 14, 2011By Bob HennellyThe Ramapo Fault is the longest fault in the Northeast that occasionally makes local headlines when minor tremors cause rock the Tri-State region. It begins in Pennsylvania, crosses the Delaware River and continues through Hunterdon, Somerset, Morris, Passaic and Bergen counties before crossing the Hudson River near Indian Point nuclear facility.In the past, it has generated occasional activity that generated a 2.6 magnitude quake in New Jersey’s Peakpack/Gladstone area and 3.0 magnitude quake in Mendham.But the New Jersey-New York region is relatively seismically stable according to Dr. Dave Robinson, Professor of Geography at Rutgers.Although it does have activity.“There is occasional seismic activity in New Jersey,” said Robinson. “There have been a few quakes locally that have been felt and done a little bit of damage over the time since colonial settlement — some chimneys knocked down in Manhattan with a quake back in the 18th century, but nothing of a significant magnitude.”Robinson said the Ramapo has on occasion registered a measurable quake but has not caused damage:“The Ramapo fault is associated with geological activities back 200 million years ago, but it’s still a little creaky now and again,”he said.“More recently, in the 1970s and early 1980s, earthquake risk along the Ramapo Fault received attention because of its proximity to Indian Point,” according to the New Jersey Geological Survey website.Historically, critics of the Indian Point Nuclear facility in Westchester County, New York, did cite its proximity to the Ramapo fault line as a significant risk.In 1884, according to the New Jersey Geological Survey website, the  Rampao Fault was blamed for a 5.5 quake that toppled chimneys in New York City and New Jersey that was felt from Maine to Virginia.“Subsequent investigations have shown the 1884 Earthquake epicenter was actually located in Brooklyn, New York, at least 25 miles from the Ramapo Fault,” according to the New Jersey Geological Survey website.

Trump Could Leave the Middle East a Bloody Mess



As Trump announces troop withdrawals in Afghanistan, will he also start a war with Iran before he is removed from the White House?

So here’s an odd, mostly overlooked scrap of recent news: Donald Trump wants to end the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq before he leaves office, and is expected to announce a drawdown of troops in both countries.

Currently there are approximately 4,500 troops in Afghanistan and 3,000 in Iraq. The drawdown would leave 2,500 troops in each country. 

Even Mitch McConnell is aghast! 

In a speech from the Senate floor this week, he said: “We’re playing a limited — limited — but important role in defending American national security and American interests against terrorists who would like nothing more than for the most powerful force for good in the world to simply pick up our ball and go home.”

In case you didn’t know this, McConnell points out that the world is a very simple place. All you need to know is that it’s neatly divided between good and evil, and we — America, America, repository of God’s grace — are the world’s primary source and force of good.

For 19 years in Afghanistan and 17 years in Iraq (who even remembers Iraq anymore?) we have been doing good, saving those countries, and the world, from terrorists. When we kill, wound and displace — by the thousands, by the millions — it’s absolutely necessary, in the name of our “interests,” and our interests are always good.

So the Trump plan to end these two endless wars is causing consternation throughout the military and political status quo, with the mainstream media doing its best to make sure the American public isn’t forced to understand it at more than a superficial level. My God, if complexity were brought into the news — e.g., bombs kill, people suffer, no one ever wins, wars never end — the trillion-dollar annual military budget would be in danger.

Thus Barbara Starr, reporting at CNN, informed us with terse objectivity: “U.S. commanders have been very concerned about the further drawdown in Afghanistan, believing it would become much harder for them to do their mission. . . . Commanders say it’s just not time yet.”

That word — “mission” — is not explored further. It just sits there. It’s all we need to know: Nineteen years and three-quarters of a trillion dollars later, come on! Give the commanders time to accomplish their mission. No need to probe and analyze. A mission is a mission.

Andrew Bacevich and Adam Weinstein put some clarity to U.S accomplishments over the last two decades. They note, for instance, that the Obama administration surges “created the illusion of coalition control over large swaths of Afghanistan, but as soon [as] the surge ended, the Taliban took back these gains.”

They also write:

The logistical challenges in pulling out the remainder of U.S. forces by year’s end are daunting. But the only alternative offered by critics is to indefinitely hold our troops hostage to the outcome of a ‘peace agreement’ that Washington cannot control. This replaces the unattainable objective of militarily defeating the Taliban with an equally evasive goal of a perfect peace deal in a country with complex ethnic, religious, and tribal cleavages. It is a prescription for remaining in Afghanistan forever.

Bacevich and Weinstein make a further point, in the process interrupting the good-vs.-evil simplemindedness of the war discussion. They note that the U.S. has had some positive accomplishments during its occupation (e.g., advancements in women’s rights). However: “The uncomfortable reality is these gains are enabled by unsustainable U.S. security guarantees rather than an inclusive and organic process of transitional justice and development.”

Creating peace is “an inclusive and organic process”? Oh, come on! It’s so much easier to look at the world in terms of winning and losing. Our dominant media report on war as a sporting event. Thus, if the U.S. pulls out of Afghanistan before it definitively “wins,” it will face another Vietnam-style humiliation (doing so would be “a lasting stain on America,” as the think tank Atlantic Council put it). What could be worse than that?

This is war coverage from the consciousness of a 10-year-old boy. When the coverage is more mature, what we get is cold, strategic analysis, almost always without any discussion of the potential human consequences of a military action. As Juan Cole points out, for instance, the New York Times recently broke the news of another Trump last-minute military idea, a little different from exiting Afghanistan and Iraq: bombing Iran. Specifically, it’s nuclear enrichment facilities.

Cole notes with alarm the story says nothing about:

the likely consequences for Iranian civilians of such a strike.

It is possible that such a U.S. strike on active nuclear enrichment facilities could kill as many Iranians as did the use of an atom bomb on Hiroshima in 1945, which killed between 90,000 and 145,000 people over four months. . . . Although the U.S. would not be using a nuclear bomb, it would subject the nuclear material to massive conventional firepower, which would throw up similar radioactive fallout.

It’s beyond the pale that mayhem at such a level is possible, and that being able to inflict it is the conventional meaning of power. Trump’s plan to withdraw from two wars that don’t interest him has organic complexity. We have military bases to dismantle, weapons to destroy, before we can leave. Furthermore, we’ve done enormous harm to Afghanistan and Iraq. What debt do we owe as we withdraw militarily? That’s the mission that’s not discussed.

And the fact that Trump, at least theoretically, could also start a war before he leaves office — indeed, that any president could do so at any time — displays the planet’s geopolitical shortcomings in naked relief.

Creating peace is a living process, the opposite of war. It’s time to wake up to this. I’m speaking particularly to journalists. Understanding the nature of peace, and reporting on global progress to that end, is our mission.

Robert Koehler (koehlercw@gmail.com), syndicated by PeaceVoice, is a Chicago award-winning journalist and editor. He is the author of Courage Grows Strong at the Wound.

IAEA chief warns Trump against military strike on Iran

IAEA chief warns against military strike on Iran

A military attack would be detrimental to any inspection activity, let alone the safety of my inspectors,” Rafael Grossi told NBC News in an interview.

Keir Simmons is a London-based foreign correspondent for NBC News.Saphora Smith is a London-based reporter for NBC News Digital. Laura Saravia is a producer based in London.

Nov. 19, 2020, 6:30 AM MST

The head of the U.N. watchdog responsible for inspecting Iran’s nuclear program has warned against launching a military strike on Iran.

“I would hope there would never be a time for a military attack,” the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi, told NBC News in an interview Wednesday in Vienna.

His comments come after The New York Times, citing four current and former U.S. officials, reported Monday that President Donald Trump had asked advisers last week what options he had to take military action against Iran’s main nuclear site.

Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency Rafael Mariano Grossi.Christian Bruna / Reuters

During a meeting last Thursday, a range of senior advisers dissuaded the president from moving ahead with a military strike, the Times reported. NBC News has not independently verified the reporting.

Grossi called suggestions that America was considering such an attack “total speculation.”

“A military attack would be detrimental to any inspection activity, let alone the safety of my inspectors, which is the first thing I have to think about if somebody is planning to do something like that,” he said.

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Tensions between the U.S. and Iran have escalated since 2018 when Trump walked away from the landmark 2015 nuclear deal struck by his predecessor, Barack Obama. The U.S. has pursued a campaign of maximum pressure on Iran, imposing sanctions that have helped devastate the Iranian economy and sent the local currency into free fall.

In response, Iran — which has always denied it is seeking a nuclear arsenal — has slowly abandoned the limits set by the deal.

On Wednesday, the U.S. hit Iran with another round of sanctions, with the Treasury announcing that it had targeted an important Iranian charity, as well as a number of its affiliates. The Mostazafan Foundation is suspected of providing material support to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei for malign activities, including for the persecution of the “regime’s enemies.”

Iranian Minister of Intelligence Mahmoud Alavi attends a session of Iran’s Assembly of Experts in the capital Tehran.Atta Kenare / AFP – Getty Images file

The Treasury also targeted Iran’s minister of Intelligence and Security, Mahmoud Alavi.

Many of the sanctions supplement previously announced penalties by simply adding another layer to them, according to The Associated Press. However, they come as the Trump administration appears to be trying to lock in its policy toward Iran before President-elect Joe Biden takes office.

The IAEA has reportedly set out ways in which Iran is no longer adhering to the nuclear deal, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Other signatories to that agreement — the U.K., France and Germany — called on Iran Thursday to “reverse its steps and return to full compliance.”

The statement follows an internal IAEA report that said Iran breached the nuclear deal by using advanced uranium-enriching centrifuges that it had installed underground at its Natanz site.

Referring to the report, Grossi added that Iran has not explained the origin of uranium particles found at an “undeclared” site. The organization’s inspection regime was robust, he said.

“There have been instances in the past where Iran did not declare things that it should have declared,” he said. “At the moment, I don’t have any indication that there is any secret activity that they are carrying out.”

An adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also warned Wednesday that an American attack on the Islamic Republic could set off a “full-fledged war.”

Hossein Dehghan, a former member of Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, who served as defense minister under President Hassan Rouhani, told the Associated Press that Iran would not “negotiate its defensive power … with anybody under any circumstances,”

“We don’t welcome a crisis. We don’t welcome war. We are not after starting a war,” Dehghan said. “But we are not after negotiations for the sake of negotiations either.”

Reuters contributed to this report.

The Uranium of the Iranian Nuclear Horn: Daniel 8

IAEA and U.S. pressure Iran over uranium particles at ‘atomic warehouse’

VIENNA (Reuters) – The U.N. nuclear watchdog and the United States pressured Iran on Wednesday to finally explain the origin of uranium particles found almost two years ago at an old but undeclared site that Israel has called a “secret atomic warehouse”.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu drew attention to the Turqazabad site in Tehran in a speech to the United Nations in September 2018, urging the International Atomic Energy Agency to visit it. Iran called it a carpet-cleaning facility.

IAEA inspectors went there in February 2019 and took environmental samples that showed traces of processed uranium. The Vienna-based U.N. watchdog has been seeking answers on where those traces came from ever since; it says only part of Iran’s explanations have held water.

“We believe they need to give us information which is credible. What they are telling us from a technical point of view doesn’t add up, so they need to clarify this,” IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi told a news conference during a quarterly meeting of his agency’s 35-nation Board of Governors.

The IAEA and U.S. intelligence services have long believed Iran had a coordinated, clandestine nuclear weapons programme that it halted in 2003. Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with major powers effectively drew a line under much of its past.

Irrespective of the deal, however, the IAEA is in charge of accounting for all nuclear material in countries that have ratified the global Non-Proliferation Treaty to ensure none is being diverted to make nuclear weapons, even if evidence of previously unknown material is many years old.

Israel has said it seized part of an Iranian “archive” of its past nuclear work, and has used that to call attention to Iranian activities long predating the 2015 deal.

Iran has objected to use of that archive material, denouncing “attempts to open an endless process of verifying and cleaning-up of ever-continuing fabricated allegations”. It says it has never sought to weaponise nuclear energy.

An IAEA report last week said further analysis of the Turqazabad samples found “isotopically altered particles of low enriched uranium”. Similar particles were found in Iran in the past, linked to secretly imported centrifuge components originally from Pakistan, it added.

“Whatever nuclear material left such traces was very likely enriched or irradiated,” the United States said in its statement to the board. “This raises a whole new series of questions about where such material came from and what Iran may still be hiding. It should be of the utmost concern to all Board members.”

Reporting by Francois Murphy; Editing by Mark Heinrich

The Iranian Horn Prepares for War: Daniel 8

Iran unveils new warship laden with missiles, killer drones and attack boats as Ayatollah warns US of ‘all-out war’

Tariq Tahir

IRAN has unveiled a new warship laden with drones, missiles and attack boats as tensions with the US rise.

The launch comes after an adviser to Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned of “full-fledged war” in the wake of reports Donald Trump wanted to bomb a nuclear facility in the country.

The ‘Abdollah Roudaki’ is aimed at projecting Iranian powerCredit: AFP

A missile launcher parked on the ship Credit: AFP

Photographs of the ‘Abdollah Roudaki’ ship showed it carrying truck-launched surface-to-surface missiles and anti-aircraft missiles as well as drones.

They also show it carrying small fast boats of the kind the Guard routinely uses in the Persian Gulf.

Iran used the boats to devastating effect in the seizure of the UK-registered Stena Impero in the Gulf in 2019.

Their speed is also put to effect to harass the much more powerful but slower ships of the US Navy.

The 12,000-ton ship, which is 492 feet long has, a pad for helicopters to land on but is small in comparison to a U.S. Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, which is 1,092 feet long.

The ship is operated by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, a military elite dedicated to defending the 1979 Islamic Revolution, and is named after one its dead commanders.

Some of the equipment the ship carries on displayCredit: EPA

The ship is operated by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Credit: EPA

A soldier taking up a position on the shipCredit: EPA

The commander of the Guards navy, Admiral Ali Reza Tangsiri, suggested his forces wanted to move beyond the waters of the Gulf into deep-water patrolling.

Typically, the Guard covers the waters of the Persian Gulf, while Iran’s navy patrols the Gulf of Oman and beyond.

“Presence and assignments in the Indian Ocean is our right,” Tangsiri said.

The ship appears to be an answer to US Navy patrols in the region by its Bahrain-based 5th Fleet, whose aircraft carriers routinely travel through the waters of the region.

The ship carrying the speed boats used by the Revolutionary Guards Credit: EPA

Helicopters can land on the ship’s deckCredit: EPA

Iran sees those missions, as well as Israel’s expanding presence in the region, as a threat.

Tensions have once again been rising between the US and Iran as Washington seeks to contain the Islamic Republic’s nuclear ambitions.

Donald Trump tore up 2015 agreement aimed at limiting Iran’s ability to produce nuclear weapons a “horrible, one-sided deal” that failed to address its missile programme and behaviour in the region.

The UN nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, recently warned that Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium at its Natanz site has risen to more than 12 times the limit permitted since Trump withdrew from the deal.

It emerged yesterday the President asked whether he had any options to attack the site after the IAEA’s report but was talked out of by advisers who said it could spark all-out war.

The Folly of the UN Nuclear Treaty

Nuclear weapons are illegal: 50 nations ratify historic UN treaty

Nov 19, 2020

A Dongfeng-41 intercontinental strategic nuclear missiles group formation is seen Oct. 1, 2019, in Beijing. (CNS/Reuters/Weng Qiyu)

Seventy-five years after the U.S. committed the unspeakable crime of using nuclear weapons in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, in 1945, a historic milestone has finally been achieved: Nuclear weapons have been declared illegal under a new United Nations treaty. On Oct. 24, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) reached the 50-nation ratification threshold needed for entry into force. In 90 days, on Jan. 22, 2021, the treaty will go into effect.

Eighty-four countries have signed the TPNW, and legislatures of 50 countries have now ratified it. Advocates are confident that the remaining signatories will continue to add their ratifications to the agreement. However, the TPNW is not binding on those nations that refuse to sign it. The U.S. and the world’s eight other nuclear-armed countries — Russia, China, Britain, France, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel — boycotted the negotiations that created the TPNW and have shown no inclination to accept it.

Three years ago, 122 nations adopted this landmark treaty. According to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize recipient who helped spearhead the TPNW:

On July 7, 2017, following a decade of advocacy by ICAN and its partners, an overwhelming majority of the world’s nations adopted a global agreement to ban nuclear weapons. … Prior to the treaty’s adoption, nuclear weapons were the only weapons of mass destruction not subject to a comprehensive ban. The TPNW fills a significant gap in international law. It prohibits nations from developing, testing, producing, manufacturing, transferring, possessing, stockpiling, using or threatening to use nuclear weapons, or allowing nuclear weapons to be stationed on their territory. It also prohibits them from assisting, encouraging or inducing anyone to engage in any of these activities. A nation that possesses nuclear weapons may join the TPNW, so long as it agrees to destroy them in accordance with a legally binding, time-bound plan. A nation that hosts another nation’s nuclear weapons on its territory may join. …

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stated that the TPNW’s “entry-into-force is a tribute to the survivors of nuclear explosions and tests, many of whom advocated for this treaty.” It is “the culmination of a worldwide movement to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons. It represents a meaningful commitment towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons.”

ICAN welcomed this historic moment declaring: “This is just the beginning. Once the treaty is in force, all state parties will need to implement all of their positive obligations under the treaty and abide by its prohibitions. States that haven’t joined the treaty will feel its power too — we can expect companies to stop producing nuclear weapons and financial institutions to stop investing in nuclear weapon producing companies. How do we know? Because we have nearly 600 partner organizations in over 100 countries advancing this treaty and the norm against nuclear weapons.”

Setsuko Thurlow, a survivor of the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima and longtime ICAN worker declared: “I have committed my life to the abolition of nuclear weapons. I have nothing but gratitude for all who have worked for the success of our treaty. … This is the first time in international law that we have been so recognized. We share this recognition with other hibakusha across the world, those who have suffered radioactive harm from nuclear testing, from uranium mining, from secret experimentation.”

ICAN Executive Director Beatrice Fihn stated: “Decades of activism have achieved what many said was impossible: nuclear weapons are banned. … The 50 countries that ratify this treaty are showing true leadership in setting a new international norm that nuclear weapons are not just immoral but illegal.”

Pope Francis looks at a photo showing the destruction of an atomic bomb during a visit to the Jesuit-run Sophia University in Tokyo Nov. 26, 2019. (CNS/Vatican Media via Reuters)

The TPNW entering into legal force could not come at a more critical time. In January of this year, The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists turned the “Doomsday Clock” to 100 seconds before midnight due to the existential dangers posed by nuclear weapons and climate change amidst worsening world tensions. Other recent developments have exacerbated the nuclear peril. Russia and the U.S. possess an estimated combined total of over 12,600 nuclear weapons, (90% of the world’s nuclear stockpile), many of which are on hair-trigger alert. United States and NATO missile defense systems ring Russia and China, increasing already heightened tensions.

A new U.S. Space Force has been created to attain military domination of space. The U.S. is committed to a 30-year upgrade of its nuclear arsenal at an estimated cost of $1.7 trillion, money that should instead be spent on urgent human needs. Additionally, the Trump administration has threatened to use nuclear weapons against adversaries on several occasions. The U.S. withdrew from the Iran Nuclear Deal and the INF Treaty with Russia, and Pentagon policy makers have declared that a limited nuclear war could be waged and won, according to the Doctrine for Joint Nuclear Operations. Regarding renewal of the New START Treaty, the U.S. and Russia are currently locked in a stalemate.

Countries that have ratified the TPNW have been discouraged by the nuclear-armed nations. A letter obtained by the Associated Press reveals that the Trump administration has been directly pressuring states that have ratified the treaty to withdraw from it.

Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and U.S. President Ronald Reagan sign the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty at the White House in Washington Dec. 8 1987. On Feb. 2, 2019, the U.S. announced its withdrawal from the INF treaty, followed by Russia a day later. (CNS/Reuters)

The Holy See has vigorously supported the TPNW. On Nov. 10, 2017, Pope Francis condemned the “possession” of nuclear weapons, something no previous pope has ever done. During his visit to the Peace Memorial in Nagasaki on Nov. 24, 2019, Francis expressed the horror of the effects of the atomic bomb attack on the city on Aug. 9, 1945. “We must never grow weary of working to support the principal international legal instruments of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, including the treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons,” he said. Visiting Hiroshima that day he said, “The use of atomic energy for purposes of war is immoral, just as the possessing of nuclear weapons is immoral.”

Living as we are in a nation that legally sanctions nuclear weapons, what would Jesus have us do? The late Jesuit Fr. Richard McSorley answered this question, asserting It’s a Sin to Build A Nuclear Weapon (the title of his 2010 book).

If the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops and all Christians take seriously the magnitude of the nuclear threat, the Gospel command of nonviolence and the admonitions of Francis and McSorley, we must disarm and implement the TPNW. What if the U.S. Catholic Church and all other Christian denominations took the lead in demanding that the U.S. ratify the TPNW? What if the churches called for the conversion of arms industries to non-military production, while advocating for full and just protection of workers’ rights during the transition process? What if the churches called for complete financial divestment from all institutions involved with the nuclear weapons complex? What if the churches were to call on all Christians in the nuclear chain of command to refuse orders to use nuclear weapons? These efforts would go a long way to create the climate necessary to bring about real disarmament.

There are inspiring examples of Catholic peacemakers to draw on in this vital work for disarmament, including those now among the Holy Cloud of Witnesses: Dorothy Day, Thomas Merton, the Berrigans, Religious of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Sr. Anne Montgomery, Fr. George Zabelka, Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen, Bishop Leroy Matthiesen and Dominican Sr. Ardeth Platte. There is also the witness of numerous other Christian peacemakers, women’s religious congregations and Plowshares activists, including the Kings Bay Plowshares 7.

Activists are planning an action on Jan. 22, the day the ban goes into effect. If the human family and Earth, our common home, are to survive, the U.S. and other nuclear nations must beat their (nuclear) swords into plowshares and ratify the TPNW.

Nuclear disarmament proponents sit in a hearing of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington Nov. 14, 2017, about presidential authority to use nuclear weapons. (CNS/Reuters/Yuri Gripas)

[Art Laffin is a member of the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker in Washington, DC. He is co-editor of Swords Into Plowshares and author of the new edition of The Risk of the Cross: Living Gospel Nonviolence in the Nuclear Age]