Columbia University Warns Of Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

Earthquakes May Endanger New York More Than Thought, Says Study
A study by a group of prominent seismologists suggests that a pattern of subtle but active faults makes the risk of earthquakes to the New York City area substantially greater than formerly believed. Among other things, they say that the controversial Indian Point nuclear power plants, 24 miles north of the city, sit astride the previously unidentified intersection of two active seismic zones. The paper appears in the current issue of the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America.
Many faults and a few mostly modest quakes have long been known around New York City, but the research casts them in a new light. The scientists say the insight comes from sophisticated analysis of past quakes, plus 34 years of new data on tremors, most of them perceptible only by modern seismic instruments. The evidence charts unseen but potentially powerful structures whose layout and dynamics are only now coming clearer, say the scientists. All are based at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, which runs the network of seismometers that monitors most of the northeastern United States.
Lead author Lynn R. Sykes said the data show that large quakes are infrequent around New Yorkcompared to more active areas like California and Japan, but that the risk is high, because of the overwhelming concentration of people and infrastructure. “The research raises the perception both of how common these events are, and, specifically, where they may occur,” he said. “It’s an extremely populated area with very large assets.” Sykes, who has studied the region for four decades, is known for his early role in establishing the global theory of plate tectonics.
The authors compiled a catalog of all 383 known earthquakes from 1677 to 2007 in a 15,000-square-mile area around New York City. Coauthor John Armbruster estimated sizes and locations of dozens of events before 1930 by combing newspaper accounts and other records. The researchers say magnitude 5 quakes—strong enough to cause damage–occurred in 1737, 1783 and 1884. There was little settlement around to be hurt by the first two quakes, whose locations are vague due to a lack of good accounts; but the last, thought to be centered under the seabed somewhere between Brooklyn and Sandy Hook, toppled chimneys across the city and New Jersey, and panicked bathers at Coney Island. Based on this, the researchers say such quakes should be routinely expected, on average, about every 100 years. “Today, with so many more buildings and people, a magnitude 5 centered below the city would be extremely attention-getting,” said Armbruster. “We’d see billions in damage, with some brick buildings falling. People would probably be killed.”
Starting in the early 1970s Lamont began collecting data on quakes from dozens of newly deployed seismometers; these have revealed further potential, including distinct zones where earthquakes concentrate, and where larger ones could come. The Lamont network, now led by coauthor Won-Young Kim, has located hundreds of small events, including a magnitude 3 every few years, which can be felt by people at the surface, but is unlikely to cause damage. These small quakes tend to cluster along a series of small, old faults in harder rocks across the region. Many of the faults were discovered decades ago when subways, water tunnels and other excavations intersected them, but conventional wisdom said they were inactive remnants of continental collisions and rifting hundreds of millions of years ago. The results clearly show that they are active, and quite capable of generating damaging quakes, said Sykes.
One major previously known feature, the Ramapo Seismic Zone, runs from eastern Pennsylvania to the mid-Hudson Valley, passing within a mile or two northwest of Indian Point. The researchers found that this system is not so much a single fracture as a braid of smaller ones, where quakes emanate from a set of still ill-defined faults. East and south of the Ramapo zone—and possibly more significant in terms of hazard–is a set of nearly parallel northwest-southeast faults. These include Manhattan’s 125th Street fault, which seems to have generated two small 1981 quakes, and could have been the source of the big 1737 quake; the Dyckman Street fault, which carried a magnitude 2 in 1989; the Mosholu Parkway fault; and the Dobbs Ferry fault in suburban Westchester, which generated the largest recent shock, a surprising magnitude 4.1, in 1985. Fortunately, it did no damage. Given the pattern, Sykes says the big 1884 quake may have hit on a yet-undetected member of this parallel family further south.
The researchers say that frequent small quakes occur in predictable ratios to larger ones, and so can be used to project a rough time scale for damaging events. Based on the lengths of the faults, the detected tremors, and calculations of how stresses build in the crust, the researchers say that magnitude 6 quakes, or even 7—respectively 10 and 100 times bigger than magnitude 5–are quite possible on the active faults they describe. They calculate that magnitude 6 quakes take place in the area about every 670 years, and sevens, every 3,400 years. The corresponding probabilities of occurrence in any 50-year period would be 7% and 1.5%. After less specific hints of these possibilities appeared in previous research, a 2003 analysis by The New York City Area Consortium for Earthquake Loss Mitigation put the cost of quakes this size in the metro New York area at $39 billion to $197 billion. A separate 2001 analysis for northern New Jersey’s Bergen County estimates that a magnitude 7 would destroy 14,000 buildings and damage 180,000 in that area alone. The researchers point out that no one knows when the last such events occurred, and say no one can predict when they next might come.
“We need to step backward from the simple old model, where you worry about one large, obvious fault, like they do in California,” said coauthor Leonardo Seeber. “The problem here comes from many subtle faults. We now see there is earthquake activity on them. Each one is small, but when you add them up, they are probably more dangerous than we thought. We need to take a very close look.” Seeber says that because the faults are mostly invisible at the surface and move infrequently, a big quake could easily hit one not yet identified. “The probability is not zero, and the damage could be great,” he said. “It could be like something out of a Greek myth.”
The researchers found concrete evidence for one significant previously unknown structure: an active seismic zone running at least 25 miles from Stamford, Conn., to the Hudson Valley town of Peekskill, N.Y., where it passes less than a mile north of the Indian Point nuclear power plant. The Stamford-Peekskill line stands out sharply on the researchers’ earthquake map, with small events clustered along its length, and to its immediate southwest. Just to the north, there are no quakes, indicating that it represents some kind of underground boundary. It is parallel to the other faults beginning at 125th Street, so the researchers believe it is a fault in the same family. Like the others, they say it is probably capable of producing at least a magnitude 6 quake. Furthermore, a mile or so on, it intersects the Ramapo seismic zone.
Sykes said the existence of the Stamford-Peekskill line had been suggested before, because the Hudson takes a sudden unexplained bend just ot the north of Indian Point, and definite traces of an old fault can be along the north side of the bend. The seismic evidence confirms it, he said. “Indian Point is situated at the intersection of the two most striking linear features marking the seismicity and also in the midst of a large population that is at risk in case of an accident,” says the paper. “This is clearly one of the least favorable sites in our study area from an earthquake hazard and risk perspective.”
The findings comes at a time when Entergy, the owner of Indian Point, is trying to relicense the two operating plants for an additional 20 years—a move being fought by surrounding communities and the New York State Attorney General. Last fall the attorney general, alerted to the then-unpublished Lamont data, told a Nuclear Regulatory Commission panel in a filing: “New data developed in the last 20 years disclose a substantially higher likelihood of significant earthquake activity in the vicinity of [Indian Point] that could exceed the earthquake design for the facility.” The state alleges that Entergy has not presented new data on earthquakes past 1979. However, in a little-noticed decision this July 31, the panel rejected the argument on procedural grounds. A source at the attorney general’s office said the state is considering its options.
The characteristics of New York’s geology and human footprint may increase the problem. Unlike in California, many New York quakes occur near the surface—in the upper mile or so—and they occur not in the broken-up, more malleable formations common where quakes are frequent, but rather in the extremely hard, rigid rocks underlying Manhattan and much of the lower Hudson Valley. Such rocks can build large stresses, then suddenly and efficiently transmit energy over long distances. “It’s like putting a hard rock in a vise,” said Seeber. “Nothing happens for a while. Then it goes with a bang.” Earthquake-resistant building codes were not introduced to New York City until 1995, and are not in effect at all in many other communities. Sinuous skyscrapers and bridges might get by with minimal damage, said Sykes, but many older, unreinforced three- to six-story brick buildings could crumble.
Art Lerner-Lam, associate director of Lamont for seismology, geology and tectonophysics, pointed out that the region’s major highways including the New York State Thruway, commuter and long-distance rail lines, and the main gas, oil and power transmission lines all cross the parallel active faults, making them particularly vulnerable to being cut. Lerner-Lam, who was not involved in the research, said that the identification of the seismic line near Indian Point “is a major substantiation of a feature that bears on the long-term earthquake risk of the northeastern United States.” He called for policymakers to develop more information on the region’s vulnerability, to take a closer look at land use and development, and to make investments to strengthen critical infrastructure.
“This is a landmark study in many ways,” said Lerner-Lam. “It gives us the best possible evidence that we have an earthquake hazard here that should be a factor in any planning decision. It crystallizes the argument that this hazard is not random. There is a structure to the location and timing of the earthquakes. This enables us to contemplate risk in an entirely different way. And since we are able to do that, we should be required to do that.”
New York Earthquake Briefs and Quotes:
Existing U.S. Geological Survey seismic hazard maps show New York City as facing more hazard than many other eastern U.S. areas. Three areas are somewhat more active—northernmost New York State, New Hampshire and South Carolina—but they have much lower populations and fewer structures. The wider forces at work include pressure exerted from continuing expansion of the mid-Atlantic Ridge thousands of miles to the east; slow westward migration of the North American continent; and the area’s intricate labyrinth of old faults, sutures and zones of weakness caused by past collisions and rifting.
Due to New York’s past history, population density and fragile, interdependent infrastructure, a 2001 analysis by the Federal Emergency Management Agency ranks it the 11th most at-risk U.S. city for earthquake damage. Among those ahead: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Portland. Behind: Salt Lake City, Sacramento, Anchorage.
New York’s first seismic station was set up at Fordham University in the 1920s. Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, in Palisades, N.Y., has operated stations since 1949, and now coordinates a network of about 40.
Dozens of small quakes have been felt in the New York area. A Jan. 17, 2001 magnitude 2.4, centered  in the Upper East Side—the first ever detected in Manhattan itself–may have originated on the 125th Street fault. Some people thought it was an explosion, but no one was harmed.
The most recent felt quake, a magnitude 2.1 on July 28, 2008, was centered near Milford, N.J. Houses shook and a woman at St. Edward’s Church said she felt the building rise up under her feet—but no damage was done.
Questions about the seismic safety of the Indian Point nuclear power plant, which lies amid a metropolitan area of more than 20 million people, were raised in previous scientific papers in 1978 and 1985.
Because the hard rocks under much of New York can build up a lot strain before breaking, researchers believe that modest faults as short as 1 to 10 kilometers can cause magnitude 5 or 6 quakes.
In general, magnitude 3 quakes occur about 10 times more often than magnitude fours; 100 times more than magnitude fives; and so on. This principle is called the Gutenberg-Richter relationship.

Time to Prepare for Doomsday: Revelation 16

Last Wednesday, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which celebrated its 75th anniversary in December, unveiled the latest installment of its famous “Doomsday Clock,”which purports to measure how close the world is catastrophe. When it first appeared in 1947, at the dawn of the nuclear age, its hands were set at 7 minutes to midnight. In the intervening years, it’s moved both closer to and farther from that witching hour. The most comforting installment appeared in 1991, amid the sudden end of the Cold War, when the Clock was reset to a sanguine 17 minutes to midnight.

That optimism has long since receded, replaced by pervasive foreboding. Last year, the Bulletin’s scientists moved the Clock’s hands to just 100 seconds to midnight, the closest ever to apocalypse. Last week, they left it unchanged, signaling their continued alarm. In making their call, the scientists cited the dangerous confluence of a fraying nuclear order, accelerating climate change and a raging pandemic.

It’s tempting to dismiss the Doomsday Clock as a gimmick trotted out each year by handwringing worrywarts with a vested interest in playing Chicken Little. The Clock’s very purpose, after all, is to instill fear, even existential dread, in the hopes of altering political behavior.

It’s also fair to question the thin methodologythat informs the annual decision to advance—or roll back—the hands of time. The Bulletin’s two criteria for setting the Clock, according to its president and CEO, Rachel Bronson, are whether humanity is safer or at greater risk compared to both last year and the past 75 years. Such judgments are inherently subjective, especially since there are no published indicators against which progress—or setbacks—are to be measured. Complicating matters, the Bulletin’s timekeepers must weigh the relative weight of disparate threats unfolding over different time frames, in arriving at a single risk assessment.

Despite these limitations, the Doomsday Clock still serves useful purposes. It helps gauge the world’s success in controlling nuclear weapons, the Bulletin’s original preoccupation. It captures society’s evolving conceptions of other potential catastrophic risks, including some, like global warming or the malicious use of artificial intelligence, that were scarcely conceived at the dawn of the atomic age. Finally, it places scientists at the forefront of national debates over risk, at a time when rampant disinformation and conspiracy theories are undermining shared realities.

It was the specter of nuclear annihilation, of course, that led a group of physicists to establish the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Those fears have hardly disappeared, as a second nuclear age is now well under way. The United States has launched a massive, $1 trillion program of nuclear modernization, and Russia and China are following suit. All three nations are developing a new generation of hypersonic weapons, as well as expanding their competition in outer space and cyberspace, undermining the foundations of strategic stability and increasing the dangers of miscalculation. Meanwhile, India, Pakistan and North Korea are expanding their own arsenals, while Iran continues enrichment activities, raising the risk of a nuclear cascade in the Middle East. Frustrated by the slow pace of disarmament and the threats of proliferation, a group of non-nuclear weapons states last month brought the new U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons into force. Without the participation of nuclear powers or their allies, however, it amounts to little more than a cri de coeur, in the words of Laura Holgate of the Nuclear Threat Initiative.

Whether the world moves in a more hopeful direction this year depends partly on the United States.

The second threat bringing the world so close to midnight is climate change. Although carbon emissions are estimated to have declined by as much as 7 percent in the pandemic-induced recession of 2020, they are poised to rebound sharply as more economic recoveries take hold. Despite COVID-19, last year tied with 2016 as the hottest year on record, driving massive wildfires in California, Australia, and the Amazon, and catastrophic hurricanes and typhoons in the Atlantic and Pacific. Global emissions are on track to increase gradually over the next decade, just when they need to decline at least 7 percent annually to avoid a disastrous rise in global temperatures.

Finally, there is the pandemic. Although COVID-19 does not threaten human civilization, it has already killed 2 million people and infected 101 million, while exacting a grievous toll on economies and communities worldwide. It also highlights the world’s potential vulnerability to a far more virulent biological threat, whether naturally occurring or human-made. The pandemic has exposed the parlous state of multilateral cooperation, as well and the obstacles to political leadership in an era when objective truth is up for grabs. The Bulletin assails the rise of misinformation, describing the current “infodemic” as a powerful “threat multiplier.”

Whether the world moves in a more hopeful direction this year depends partly on the United States. In unveiling the Doomsday Clock last week, Bronson repeatedly castigated now former President Donald Trump for having exacerbated all three catastrophic threats, including by elevating nuclear weapons in U.S. defense policy, denying climate change and bungling the pandemic response. The sole silver lining was the election of a new president who believes in science and is committed to multilateral cooperation.

While the United States cannot eliminate these global risks on its own, Joe Biden seems determined to move the world away from midnight. Last week, he persuaded Russian President Vladimir Putin to agree to a five-year extension of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or New START—which the Trump administration had called “deeply flawed” and threatened to let expire, after withdrawing from two other long-standing arms control agreements with Russia. Biden signed a raft of executive orders to combat the “existential threat” of climate change, describing the effort as “an essential element of U.S. foreign policy and national security.” He also unveiled a sweeping COVID-19 response plan reaffirming U.S. membership in the World Health Organization and endorsing U.S. participation in COVAX, a multilateral scheme to foster the joint development and equitable sharing of vaccines.

Now the hard part begins. On nuclear weapons, Biden’s administration has a daunting agenda, which includes reviving the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran, dissuading North Korean nuclear adventurism, and securing a successful outcome of this year’s annual review conference of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, known as the NPT. On climate change, Biden must secure ambitious global commitments at his just-announced Earth Day summit on April 24, in advance of the U.N.’s next, pivotal climate change conference, in Glasgow later this year. Finally, Biden will need to spearhead reforms to the WHO to ensure that it has the capacities and authorities it needs when the next pandemic strikes, as it inevitably will.

Given the multiple global crises confronting Biden, and the massive agenda his administration has embraced, its seems clear that the president already knows what time it is—with or without the Doomsday Clock.

PA sanctions outside the Temple Walls disastrous: Revelation 11

PA sanctions on Gaza ‘disastrous’

February 1, 2021 at 9:26 am

A member of the political bureau of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestinian (PFLP) said on Sunday that the Palestinian Authority sanctions on the Gaza Strip “are disastrous”, Shehab news agency has reported. Speaking exclusively to Shehab, Mariam Abu Dagga insisted that the sanctions “must be lifted” as soon as possible.

She added that the salaries of the public servants in Gaza must be paid and all of PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s decisions on nominations for judges “must be” cancelled.

The PFLP official said that the Election Court has to be formed very soon in order to ensure that there are no obstacles ahead of the elections. She also stressed the view that the PLO represents 13 million Palestinians inside Palestine and in the diaspora, so its president should not be the same person as the president of the PA.

The PFLP, Abu Dagga pointed out, would have liked to have seen a comprehensive national dialogue and the rearrangement of the Palestinian institutions before issuing the election decree. Criticising the PA’s disrespect for the recommendations made at the secretaries-general conference three months ago, she emphasised the importance of having a national leadership that respects Palestinian ambitions and rights.

“We need a transparent democratic process based on the outcomes of national understanding,” concluded Abu Dagga. “This needs a discussion of all the outstanding issues and agreement on a national code of conduct that guarantees that the results of the elections will be respected, whatever they are.”

The Chinese and Russian Nuclear Horns: Daniel 7

China and Russia: Two Big Threats the U.S. Military Can’t Ignore

On December 22, 2020, six strategic bombers—four Chinese and two Russian—flew a joint patrol mission over the East China and Japan Seas. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the mission was intended to develop and deepen the comprehensive Russia-China partnership, further increase the level of cooperation between the two militaries, expand their ability for joint action and strengthen strategic stability.

It was the second joint patrol since July 2019, confirming Russian President Vladimir Putin’s statement that “the idea of a future Russia-China military alliance” cannot be ruled out. And this is happening even as the Biden administration considers making deep cuts in the U.S. defense budget.

The threat from China alone is rapidly rising. Its destabilizing actions include encroachment in the South China Sea, imposing an air defense zone in the East China Sea, aggression against the Philippines, coercion of Vietnam, harassment of Japan, border confrontations with India, and increasing pressure on Taiwan. Beijing currently is using non-military means – psychological, diplomatic, propaganda, and informational warfare – against Taiwan, but the regime has long suggested that it could take Taiwan by force if its non-violent ways are unsuccessful.

Questions persist as to whether the U.S. Navy is up to the challenge of doing what’s necessary to protect allies in the Western Pacific.

The Chinese Navy, already the largest in the world, boasts an estimated 350 ships and submarines. These forces are augmented by a shadow fleet of more than 2,000 “sea phantoms,” disguised as fishing boats but equipped with 16-tube rocket launchers and anti-aircraft guns.

Nor is the Chinese Navy lacking in sophistication. Six new classes of destroyers feature more advanced hull designs, propulsion systems sensors, weapons and electronics. China’s ballistic submarine fleet is being improved and expanded as the older Type 092 Xia-class nuclear powered ballistic missiles are replaced with Type 094-Jin-class SSBNs. Four of these newer submarines are already operational and will be equipped with the new, longer-range JL-2 missile with a range of 5,281 miles. China’s DF-21D mobile missile is capable of destroying the decks of a U.S. supercarrier at a distance of up to 1,000 miles.

By 2030, China’s Navy will be twice the size of the U.S. Navy, retired U.S. Navy Captain James Fanell told a House Intelligence Committee hearing recently. “The future size of the People’s Liberation Navy will be about 550 warships and submarines by 2030,” Fanell predicted.  The growth of the Chinese Navy is seen as part of a plan to push the U.S. out of Asia, becoming the world’s predominant power along the way.

A more immediate concern arises in the vicinity of the Spratly islands, the site of China’s most provocative military preparation. Nearly half of the entire world’s maritime traffic steams by the Spratlys on the way to or from the Malacca Strait, making the site a principal choke point of global commerce.

Despite protests by other Asian nations, the United Nations, and the United States, China has proceeded with extensive development of some of these islands. Dredging has provided building material at the cost of natural reefs and the resulting islands now accommodate airfields and military support facilities. The U.S. Navy’s capabilities for handling this and other potential crises are hampered by its reduced sized. We are attempting to perform a 306-ship mission with 260 ships.

Seeking future dominance through high-tech weaponry, China is developing an array of advanced weapons such maneuverable missile warheads, hypersonic weapons, laser beam weapons, various counter-space weapons and artificial-intelligence-directed robots. These weapons could knock out U.S. satellites, shutting down the Global Positioning System network (GPS) and our most critical intelligence and communications systems. As a result of this threat, the United States Naval Academy has revived a course in celestial navigation.

Another threat comes from the WU-14, a hypersonic glide vehicle which, from 60 miles above the earth, could release a precision guided missile achieving hypersonic speeds (Mach 20, 15,000 mph.) and against which we have no present defense. An Electromagnetic Pulse Attack (EMP) would fry the nation’s electronics, devastating power, transportation, communications, medical, and financial networks, as well as leaving the U.S. military unable to retaliate. Other Chinese smart-weapon programs include robotic, self-thinking cruise missiles, autonomous vehicles, unmanned submarines and swarms of drones. China is committed to developing artificial intelligence (AI), the key to future warfare. It is already the second-largest R&D spender and has set a goal of achieving AI dominance by 2030. If China makes a breakthrough in crucial AI technology, it will result in a major shift in the strategic balance.

China is also engaged in a campaign of information theft, using cyber attacks against the United States to steal military research and industrial secrets.  Chinese government hackers stole massive amounts of highly sensitive data related to undersea warfare from our strategically important Naval Underwater Facility in Newport, Rhode Island.

China continues to engage in both nuclear offensive and defensive programs. It is building a new ICBM, the DF-41, which may potentially mount multiple, independently targetable reentry vehicles (MIRVs). China also continues to construct underground nuclear bomb shelters for its civilian and military personnel capable of protecting millions of its citizens in the event of a nuclear war.

China is also using a “debt trap” strategy to potentially gain access for its military around the world. For example, it will loan a small country a large sum of money to help build a port, then exact tough terms of repayment. When the country cannot make the payments, China takes control of the port. This recently played out in Sri Lanka.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, Russia has taught China some unsettling lessons – unsettling for us. When the U.S./EU coalition caved in on Moscow’s annexation of Crimea and put up with Putin’s military support for the separatists in Ukraine’s eastern provinces, it exposed the coalition as less than robust and reliable.

It used to be fashionable to say that Russia is nothing more than a gas station with nukes. The dismissal of Russia as a “nuclear-armed filling station” is far out of date and dangerously misleading. Along with its vast oil and gas exports and control of pipelines, in particular a natural gas line to Germany, Russia has transformed the decrepit ex-Soviet military into what experts describe as an “agile, professionalized fighting force.”

Russian speaking “volunteers” seized the Crimean Peninsula and a quick mobilization by both air and sea saved Bashar al Assad’s collapsing Syrian regime. Russian-backed separatists have often been able to inflict devastating losses on Ukrainian forces. Russia remains an acute and formidable threat to the U.S. and our interests in Europe. From the Arctic to the Baltics, Ukraine, the South Caucasus, and increasingly the Mediterranean Sea, Russia continues to foment instability in Europe.

Overall, Russia has developed advanced weapons systems and nuclear capabilities and remains the foremost threat to European security. Its aggressive stance in several theaters, including the Balkans, Georgia, Syria, and Ukraine, continues both to encourage destabilization and threaten U.S. interests.

Among the key weapons in Russia’s inventory are 313 intercontinental ballistic missiles, 2,780 main battle tanks, more than 5,140 armored infantry fighting vehicles, more than 6,100 armored personnel carriers, and more than 4,328 pieces of artillery. The Russian Navy has one aircraft carrier, 62 submarines, including 13 ballistic missile submarines, five cruisers, 15 destroyers, 13 frigates: and 100 military patrol and coastal combatants. The Russian Air Force has 1,176 combat-capable aircraft.

Reinvigorating submarine construction has been one of the visible accomplishments of the Russian Navy’s modernization program for 2011–2020. On April 24, 2019, Russia unveiled one of its nuclear super weapons, the first submarine capable of firing high-speed underwater drones armed with massive nuclear weapons. The first Project 09852 submarine, described as a nuclear-powered Belgorod, was launched from Sevmash shipyard in northern Russia. U.S. defense officials claim the drones, called Kanyons, can blow up entire ports and cities, such as Groton, Conn., Kings Bay, Ga., and Puget Sound, Wash., where U.S. nuclear missile submarines are based. The U.S. Navy has no unmanned underwater vehicles like the Kanyon.

Russia is expected to produce a fifth-generation nuclear-powered submarine by 2030 and arm it with Zircon hypersonic missiles, which have a reported speed of from Mach 5 (3,806 mph) to Mach 6 (4,567 mph) amd a range of 620 miles. The first ship in the Yasen class, Severodvinsk, is approximately 393 feet long and displaces 11,800 tons submerged. An OK-650KPM pressurized water nuclear reactor provides 200 megawatts of power, driving her to speeds of up to 31 knots submerged. An Irtysh-Amfora sonar system provides all-around sonar coverage. The Severodvinsk’s combat systems are formidable with 10 533-millimeter torpedo tubes armed with UGST-M heavyweight guided torpedoes. The launching of the Russian Yasen-class nuclear attack submarine Kazan on March 31, 2017, initiated a new but disturbingly familiar phase in the U.S.-Russian contest for naval superiority in the North Atlantic.

Russia’s 27 nuclear-powered multi-purpose fast-attack submarines now in service compares with 60 similar submarines in the U.S. Navy. The Russians plan to add six more Yasen-class boats. Should a conflict erupt with NATO, the Russian Navy will try to: secure a favorable operational regime in such critical waters as the Barents, Norwegian, Baltic and Black Seas; ensure access through chokepoints such as the Greenland-Iceland-gap; conduct strikes against opposing cruise missile-armed ships and submarines and carrier strike groups; target U.S. reinforcements transiting the Atlantic; and ensure the security of the vital ballistic missile-armed submarines.

How Malley Will Sell US Out to the Iranian Nuclear Horn

Robert Malley Should Not Be The US Envoy To Iran

Sayeh Yousefi

The appointment of Robert Malley as US Envoy to Iran is a step in the wrong direction for Joe Biden, writes Sayeh Yousefi.

In the first few weeks of his presidency, Biden was met with a critical and prescriptive decision to appoint the U.S.’s envoy to Iran. Rumors circulated that he would pick Robert Malley, one of the lead negotiators on the Iran nuclear deal under the Obama administration. Malley, however, is a controversial pick for the role of the U.S. Envoy to Iran. He has been widely criticized for his support for the Iranian regime. His appointment would indicate that the U.S. is reverting to Obama’s approach to Iran, a cause for Iranians’ concern.

While an effort to reinvigorate the Obama-era relations with Iran on the surface and in comparison to four years of Trump’s mishandling of the U.S. relations with Iran, may seem like a good move, it is seriously misguided.

Just last year, Iranians took to streets to protest against the Islamic Republic in unprecedented numbers, calling for the fall of the Islamic Republic and its Supreme Leader. Iranians want change, not a return to the status quo. Returning to the nuclear deal with Iran and lifting sanctions against the Islamic Republic, without placing new terms on Iran regarding its nuclear arsenal and human rights record, can only further empower Khamenei to oppress Iranians. Even if we put aside the concerns of reverting to an Obama-era approach to Iran, the appointment of Malley is cause for serious concern.

Since the rumors first started milling about Malley’s appointment, the Islamic Republic’s sympathizers and lobbyists in North America have been quick to voice their support for Malley. This list includes the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), whose one of the founders Trita Parsi has close personal ties with the Islamic Republic leaders;  Negar Mortazavi, a journalist best known for spreading pro-Iran propaganda, among other members of the Iranian propaganda engine.

This outpouring of support from regime lobbyists in the U.S. and Canada for Malley’s appointment is a glaring red flag. The same people who openly support the Iranian regime are overwhelmingly in favor of Malley. Why is that? The appointment of Malley suggests a U.S. move towards negotiating with Iran, but dealing with Iran does not mean negotiating for the Iranian people. It means that whatever negotiations come to, it will be in the regime’s interest.

Malley shared controversial comments about the 2019 Iran Protests. In a panel interview with a French TV station, he joined a discussion about the series of uprisings in the Middle East at the time, namely Iraq, Lebanon, and Iran. When asked what his opinions were of the state of mind that Iranians were in, he responded saying, “I think what is happening now has only confirmed their paranoia…sometimes these paranoias are justified to some extent, that there is a conspiracy against them. I said this today and discussed it recently as well, [they] are convinced that the US, Saudi Arabia, and Israel are doing everything to weaken Iran”.

This comment angered Iranians, as Malley suggested that the 2019 protests were possibly instigated by foreign powers – a claim repeatedly used by Iran’s leaders to delegitimize the protests. Insinuating that the protests were a “foreign conspiracy” is an incredibly problematic claim for the U.S. envoy to Iran to make, one that is an affront to the Iranians who risked their lives, and those who lost their lives to protest the regime. It is worrying, to say the least, that the person who President Biden has chosen to lead the U.S.’s relationship with Iran going forward not only feeds into the regime’s conspiracies, but seems to agree with them.

Supporters of Malley have argued that these comments were taken out of context and that Malley was not supporting Iran’s response to the protests. First and foremost, this is a straw-man argument. The criticisms of Malley in this video have been focused on his allegation that Iran’s paranoia about foreign meddling in the protests was to some extent justified, an allegation that belittles the protestors who joined the uprisings, and the thousands who lost their lives.

The people defending Malley are saying he never supported the regime’s response to protestors – which is true. But no one is saying that Malley supported the regime’s response. They’re criticizing the other things he said.

The video clip that went viral shows minutes of a 20-minute long interview, is it fair to say that Malley’s words were taken out of context? I was open to the possibility. I watched the entire video and translated it myself, just in case YouTube’s automated subtitles were misinterpreting his words as they often can.

The verdict? Malley’s comments were not taken out of context. In the interview, the moderator brings up the comments made by Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei, when he said that the uprisings in the Middle East were purely the result of foreign meddling in the region, efforts by the West to destabilize Iran and its allies. The moderator then asked whether Khamenei has reason to think that the U.S. is behind these efforts “to destabilize the region”? Malley responded by first saying that Khamenei is right that in Iran, the situation is much worse because of Trump’s sanctions after the U.S. left the nuclear deal.

This is one of the most common tropes used by regime sympathisers and apologists to defend the Islamic Republic. Any time the Islamic Republic does anything wrong, whether it is shooting down a passenger plane last January and killing 176 innocent civilians, violently repressing the November 2019 protests, or mismanaging the COVID-19 outbreak and killing more Iranians, Iran lobbyists chant the all-too familiar refrain that sanctions are to blame. Whether it was intentional or not, by agreeing with Khamenei that U.S. sanctions have destabilized Iran, Malley is strengthening Iran’s narrative – that the regime is always innocent and the only thing to blame is U.S. sanctions.

The comments about Iran’s paranoia being justified followed shortly. The moderator noted that Malley, given his experience as one of the negotiators on the nuclear deal, has “rubbed shoulders” with many Iranians.

She asked him what his opinion was on what state of mind they were in, “What has happened only confirms their paranoia”, Malley responded. Malley’s comments were not taken out of context, and in fact, watching the entire video paints an even more worrying image about Malley’s perceptions of Iran.

Another glaring detail in Malley’s past that indicates serious concern about his intentions and moral compass is that before he joined Obama’s administration, Malley had openly had talks with members of Hamas, a terrorist organization. This gained uproar, and Malley resigned from working with Obama’s campaign at the time. Further, Xiyue Wang, a former political prisoner detained in Iran has voiced criticisms of Malley’s appointment, arguing that “if he is appointed, it’d suggest releasing US hostages from Iran won’t be a priority..”

Rather than responding to these criticisms about Malley’s very controversial comments about the 2019 Iran protests, regime lobbyists have simply shut them down as “fake news”. Maral Karimi, an Iranian author and academic, duly noted that “anyone who disagrees with Rob Malley as Iran envoy” is being portrayed as the right-wing. These accusations very conveniently gloss over the many Iranian human rights activists, dissidents, and academics who have voiced concerns over Malley’s commitment to human rights. While Malley does not ever say he supports or defends the regime’s violent response to protestors, he does feed into a dangerous narrative of deferring blame from the regime onto the U.S., a narrative the IR depends on to maintain legitimacy.

This issue ultimately does not boil down to hawks versus doves or sanctions versus diplomacy. The main problem here is that negotiation with Iran should not, and can not, come at the expense of human rights. If the U.S. yields to Iran’s demands for easing of sanctions, and does not require that Iran release its political prisoners, it is saying that human rights are secondary.

This is a mistaken first step for the Biden administration to make that will result in a loss of faith for Iranian people who had hoped Biden would support them.

The Risk of Nuclear Cataclysm Is Increasing: Revelation 16

The Risk of Nuclear Cataclysm Is Increasing

The U.S. and Russia have kept their last remaining nuclear treaty from lapsing, but an arms race in tactical nukes makes it hard to celebrate.

Andreas Kluth

February 1, 2021, 1:00 AM EST

The world can breathe a small sigh of relief this week. The last remaining arms control treaty between the U.S. and Russia, called New START, will not expire on Feb. 5 after all, as recently feared.

In the nick of time, Russian President Vladimir Putin offered his new American counterpart an extension of the treaty for five years, an option stipulated in its text. Joe Biden agreed — after giving Putin the requisite talking to about Russia’s massive cyberattack on the U.S., its jailing of the activist Alexey Navalny and other recent outrages.

In the short term, a new nuclear arms race between the two biggies has thus been avoided. Sort of. But not really — and there’s the rub. A wider glance at the world’s nuclear landscape reveals that the danger of cataclysm, by design or accident, keeps growing.

New START only covers the stockpiles of Russian and American “strategic” weapons. This refers to those warheads the two adversaries point at each other’s homeland. The treaty says nothing about “tactical” nukes, the more flexible and usually smaller warheads built for potential use in a war zone to win or avoid losing a conventional conflict.

But in that tactical category an arms race is already underway. Both the U.S. and Russia, in the name of upgrading their arsenals, have been designing new tactical nukes and deployment technologies. These include things that were science-fiction during the Cold War, such as nukes delivered by drones from submarines.

This race is thus fundamentally different from the one between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. Back then the contest ultimately came down to a count of each side’s warheads. What ultimately stabilized that competition was the macabre but compelling logic of deterrence through “mutual assured destruction” (MAD).

Today’s competition is instead between newfangled technologies and, crucially, the military strategies thus made possible. This multiplication of scenarios and permutations undermines traditional calculations of strategy, which were largely based on the tools of game theory developed during the Cold War.

One upshot is that it’s becoming even more important for all nine of the nuclear powers to “signal” their “postures,” in the jargon. They should explain their intentions and make themselves as predictable as possible to others.

And yet the most recent such signaling was hardly reassuring. In Article 4 of its Basic Principles issued last summer, Russia asserts that one purpose of its nuclear arsenal is “the prevention of an escalation of military actions and their termination on conditions that are acceptable for the Russian Federation.”

Translated, this wording suggests that Russia could respond to a conventional conflict with a tactical nuclear strike, as opposed to reserving nukes purely for retaliation in kind. But that makes any altercation potentially explosive in the fissile sense.

A conflict could, for instance, start with hybrid warfare (of the sort Russia used in its 2014 annexation of Crimea), or with cyberwar (as waged during last year’s Russian hack of some 18,000 U.S. computer systems) or with a strike in space against an adversary’s satellites. If the conflagration escalates and becomes “unacceptable,” the next step could be nukes. And then?

The first strike would still detonate somewhere — perhaps in the Baltic region, according to one hypothetical conflict between Russia and NATO. For the local population that would be far from “tactical,” and indeed terminal. It would also demand a response from the alliance.

But should that response be a nuclear counterstrike? At what scale? Against Russian forces, or a city? Moreover, how would Russia, in this hypothetical scenario, react to this “limited” NATO counterstrike? With missiles flying at supersonic speeds, all involved would have at most minutes to decide.

To make the global matrix even more complex, there are also the other seven nuclear powers to consider, and perhaps additional ones in future. Of these North Korea may appear to be the most unhinged. But China is the most ambitious. It could have 350 warheads already, according to some estimates. The Pentagon assumes China will double its arsenal in the coming decade.

A New Nuclear Arms Race

Ever more countries are getting ever more nukes

Source: SIPRI Yearbook 2020

Notes: Figures are estimates, and highly uncertain for North Korea. Ranges are shown as averages, and change is calculated using an average for India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea.

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China is the main reason why the U.S. and Russia couldn’t agree on properly renegotiating New START. Donald Trump, Biden’s predecessor, insisted on bringing Beijing into the talks. The Chinese refused. Sarcastically, they wondered aloud whether the Americans and Russians would prefer to let China raise its arsenal to their size or to cut their own down to China’s.

That makes for a good press-conference zinger in Beijing. But it won’t help humanity get to grips with its conundrum: More actors are getting more weapons with more technological and tactical applications. The risk that somebody, somewhere pulls a trigger, intentionally or inadvertently, keeps rising.

In a gesture of global protest against this insanity, 86 non-nuclear countries have signed a Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, with a goal of totally banning these satanic arms. It took effect on Jan. 22. But these — mainly smaller and poorer — states don’t hold the future in their hands.

The big nuclear powers do. They must put their daunting other differences aside and begin comprehensive talks to prevent the worst. And the best placed to extend the invitation is the leader who’s newest in office, and yet has the most experience with disarmament: Biden.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

To contact the author of this story:

Andreas Kluth at akluth1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story:

James Boxell at jboxell@bloomberg.net

The Iranian Nuclear Horn Carries All the Cards

Iran says nuclear deal non-negotiable, rejects new participants

Iran’s Foreign Ministry said on Saturday that its 2015 nuclear agreement with six world powers was non-negotiable, and rejected any changes to the participants in the accord. The announcement came in response to French President Emmanuel Macron’s statement on Friday that any new negotiations should include other countries in the region, such as Saudi Arabia.

The nuclear accord has already been ratified and is non-negotiable, said Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh, according to AFP. “If French officials are worried about their huge arms sales to Persian Gulf Arab states, they better reconsider their policies,” he added.  “French arms, along with other Western weapons, not only cause the massacre of thousands of Yemenis, but are also the main cause of regional instability.”

Both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have said that they should be involved in any new talks with Iran. The two countries  also want new talks to address Iran’s ballistic missile program and its support for proxies in the region, reported the AFP.

Iran and Saudi Arabia are both locked in a proxy war in Yemen. Iran is also heavily involved in Syria Iraq through militia groups and in Lebanon through the terror group Hezbollah.

Speaking to Al Arabiya in Paris on Friday, Macron said, “Dialogue with Iran will be rigorous, and they will need to include our allies in the region for a nuclear deal, and this includes Saudi Arabia.”

France, along with China, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States and Germany, was an original signatory to the nuclear agreement.

In a separate statement, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Friday that Tehran will not reverse the acceleration of its nuclear program until the United States lifts sanctions against the country. Iran recently announced that it had begun enriching uranium to 20 percent, in violation of the nuclear accord.

Speaking at a news conference in Istanbul, Zarif termed France’s demand “not practical” and said it “will not happen.”

The Biden administration has indicated it would like to rejoin the accords, which the previous administration exited in May 2018. However, the administration has stated that a precondition would be full compliance by Iran with the original agreement.