1884 A Forewarning Of The Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

New York City isn’t immune to earthquakes; a couple of small tremors measuring about 2.5 on the Richter scale even struck back in 2001 and 2002.But on August 10, 1884, a more powerful earthquake hit. Estimated from 4.9 to 5.5 in magnitude, the tremor made houses shake, chimneys fall, and residents wonder what the heck was going on, according to a New York Timesarticle two days later.The quake was subsequently thought to have been centered off Far Rockaway or Coney Island.It wasn’t the first moderate quake, and it won’t be the last. In a 2008 Columbia University study, seismologists reported that the city is crisscrossed with several fault lines, one along 125th Street. With that in mind, New Yorkers should expect a 5.0 or higher earthquake centered here every 100 years, the seismologists say.Translation: We’re about 30 years overdue. Lucky for us the city adopted earthquake-resistant building codes in 1995.1884 A Forewarning Of The Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

Iranian Nuclear Horn Spins More Uranium: Daniel 8

IAEA says Iran started enriching uranium with new advanced centrifuges

Iran raises tensions by further breaching the 2015 nuclear deal, adding pressure to potential talks with the Biden administration.

(March 8, 2021 / JNS)

The International Atomic Energy Agency said on Monday that Iran has further breached the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers by beginning to enrich uranium with a third set of advanced centrifuges at its underground plant at Natanz.

“On 7 March 2021, the Agency verified at FEP [Fuel Enrichment Plant at Natanz] that: Iran had begun feeding natural UF6 into the third cascade of 174 IR-2m centrifuges,” the IAEA said in a report obtained by Reuters.

“The fourth cascade of 174 IR-2m centrifuges was installed but had yet to be fed with natural UF6; installation of a fifth cascade of IR-2m centrifuges was ongoing; and installation of a sixth cascade of IR-2m centrifuges had yet to begin,” it stated.

The move only serves to escalate tensions with the United States, Europe and Israel at a time when U.S. President Joe Biden seeks to negotiate with Tehran over its nuclear program.

The Shi’a arc of crisis: Daniel 8

The Middle East’s arc of crisis

The Iranian regime’s dramatic showcasing of the apparent ebb and flow of its nuclear project is a red herring.

The Shiite Crescent is an imagined geopolitical entity composed of Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. These countries are home to the majority of the Shiite population of the Middle East. (Afghanistan and Azerbaijan also have sizable Shiite populations outside the region, while the Houthis in Yemen are distant cousins of the Shiites.) The five countries are arranged on the map in a continuous curve that stretches from Bahrain in the southeast to Lebanon in the southwest. That curve has been called the Shiite Crescent.

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While the term was reportedly coined by King Abdullah II of Jordan in the early 2000s to refer to the Iranian regime’s interference in Iraq, similar concepts have been in existence in the intellectual and political parlance of the region since at least the 1960s. At that time, the Iranian Islamists embarked upon a large-scale and wide-ranging ideological armed struggle to create a transnational Islamist geopolitical super-unit – a Shiite empire – out of the Shiite-majority nations of the Middle East, with Iran as the empire’s beating heart.

Syria takes up a significant portion of the curve, making it the Shiite Crescent’s most strategic point. If that country is lost to Iran, it would devastate the regime’s plans for the Crescent. Not only would Syria, a Sunni-majority nation ruled by a Shiite/Alawite minority, be snatched from the Shiite Islamists, but the lifeline supporting Hezbollah in Lebanon would be severed.

As a consequence, the Iranian regime would lose its “land border” with Israel, which it effectively exploits to pressure and harass the Jewish state. It would also lose access to many strategic sites on the Mediterranean and consequently to the jihadi groups in the Gaza Strip. A break in the Shiite Crescent would affect the hegemony of the Shiite camp in the Middle East and would likely translate into a radical shift in the balance of power.

It is therefore of the utmost importance to the Islamic Republic that it maintain the status quo in the form of frozen conflicts in the region – particularly in Syria – on the pretext of fending off ISIS and al-Qaida. It was specifically to maintain the territorial integrity of the Shiite Crescent that the Iranian regime, which finally (if begrudgingly) agreed in 2015 to put a temporary lid on its nuclear project, has been fighting tooth and nail to keep Syria inside its zone of influence.

The regime is well aware that it can revive its nuclear ambitions whenever the international climate is favorable toward such a move (i.e., when there is a Democrat in the White House), but it will be extremely hard, if not downright impossible, for it to regain a lost sphere of influence.

The year 2015 was not the first time the Iranian regime paused its nuclear-weapons project only to push it forward later. Using North Korea as a model, the regime began to seriously consider going nuclear as a safeguard against the West in the mid-1990s. When US President George W. Bush invaded Iraq and toppled the Baathist regime of Saddam Hussein, the Islamists in Iran, already named by Bush as part of the so-called “Axis of Evil,” realized that they could be the next target of his War on Terror.

As a result, they put an immediate halt to their nuclear project. As soon as the American presence in Iraq started to dwindle, however – first under Bush and then under Barack Obama – the centrifuges were activated once again in Iran, this time much faster than before. As recent International Atomic Energy Agency reports clearly demonstrate, the 2015 nuclear deal that many in the West are determined to revive has utterly failed to stem the Islamist regime’s nuclear ambitions.

But the twist in this game of cat and mouse is that the Islamist regime’s dramatic showcasing of the apparent ebb and flow of its nuclear project is a red herring. With the West’s attention focused on the nuclear issue, the regime has quietly and steadily expanded the Middle East’s arc of crisis via terrorism, sectarianism, para-militarism and conventional warfare. And that is where Syria comes in.

The strategic importance of Syria for the Iranian regime is such that Mehdi Taeb, the Supreme Leader’s Special Envoy to the Revolutionary Guards, called it the “35th province of Iran.” He added that protecting Syria was more important than protecting Khuzestan, the oil-rich province in southwestern Iran that was a major theater of conflict during the Iran-Iraq War (1980–1988).

There is another reason why the preservation of the Shiite Crescent is crucial for the regime: its standing in Iran. Here, the regime’s peculiar Islamist ideology must be taken into account. Tehran’s regional imperialism is in many ways a projection of its domestic totalitarianism. Indeed, they feed upon one another.

The classic forms of imperialism that had their roots in Western democracies did not generally burden their mother nations with the unsavory aspects of imperialism; that is, Western imperialists could commit atrocities overseas, while democracy flourished at home.

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The Islamist regime of Iran, on the other hand, is a totalitarian imperialist power in the vein of the former Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. It projects its oppressive ideology across all spheres of influence, both at home and abroad. In fact, according to historical evidence, the regime is at its most cruel domestically when it is strongest overseas.

As such, if the regime is pushed out of the region, with the loss of its regional influence and ability to mobilize sectarian and proxy forces, it is more likely to collapse at home in the face of domestic resistance by millions of disaffected citizens. Dismantling the Shiite Crescent is a vital first step toward the establishment of peace, stability and democracy in the Middle East.

Featured on JNS.org, this article was first published by the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies.

Brutal Lockdown Outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

Gaza has suffered the longest, most barbaric, lockdown in the world – I know, because I lived through three years of it

Eva Bartlett

Eva Bartlett is a Canadian independent journalist and activist. She has spent years on the ground covering conflict zones in the Middle East, especially in Syria and Palestine (where she lived for nearly four years). Follow her on Twitter @EvaKBartlett

8 Mar, 2021 17:26

While the rest of the world may rightly moan about the ways in which the miserable Covid-induced lockdowns have affected our lives, spare a thought for the 2 million Palestinians imprisoned in Israel’s brutal and illegal blockade.

“We’re all Palestinians now,” some say, as people around the world are under Covid-19 lockdown and rendered jobless. While the reference is apt, Palestinians in Gaza have been under the most severe lockdown in the world for 14 long years.

As 2021 has gone on, it has become increasingly clear that lockdowns are affecting people around the world in painful and deadly ways beyond the already awful effects of slashed incomes and isolation.

So imagine life where the lockdown isn’t for a period of weeks or months, but throughout the year, every year, with no end in sight, making life utterly unlivable.

That is life in the Gaza Strip, which although only 40 km long and 365 square km in size, is appropriately dubbed the world’s largest open-air prison.

And while there is absolutely no just reason for Israel’s imprisonment of two million people, it continues, year after year, in violation of Israel’s legal obligations under international law, as the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) notes.

It is collective punishment. As the UN reminded: “No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited.”

Blockade brutality

The power outages, fuel and cooking gas shortages, dramatic food insecurity, stunted growth in children, 50 percent unemployment, and 96 percent undrinkable water have been Gaza’s reality for years.

Since 2012, the UN has warned that Gaza would become “unlivable” by 2020.

It was already unlivable when I first set foot in Gaza in November 2008. From then until March 2013, I lived a cumulative three years (and two wars) there, the latter half of that time in the humble home of a Palestinian family in central Gaza.

The power was out for 20-22 hours daily, mostly a result of the 2006 Israeli bombing of Gaza’s power plant, which was never fully reconstructed, thanks to the blockade that prevents the import of much-needed materials.

Picture a functioning hospital with dialysis machines, working ICUs, etc. Now imagine it with limited or no electricity, for 14 years, and after three wars. That’s Gaza.

And every year, due to the Israeli restrictions on imports, Gaza has less than a month’s supply of essential medicines (48 percent in 2019; 42 percent in January 2021). In December 2019, for example, 58 percent of chemotherapy drugs and 41 percent of kidney dialysis medicines were at zero stock.

Gaza’s lockdown has rendered vast numbers jobless, unable to travel, and prevented university graduates with scholarships abroad from completing their studies.

Exports have ground to a trickle. Formerly, Palestinians used to export not only the succulent strawberries grown in Gaza’s north but also many other goods including furniture, clothing, food products.

Imports are even more severely limited. When I arrived in 2008, only between 30-40 items (vs 4,000 before) were permitted entry to Gaza’s merchants.

Dangerous things like diapers, shoes, A4 paper, livestock, seeds, refrigerators, washing machines, fabrics, light bulbs, musical instruments, crayons, clothing… and much more, were explicitly banned entry.

As was, of course, building materials, desperately needed in Gaza as the population grew, and to rebuild destroyed homes, businesses and infrastructure.

Banning the entry of seeds and livestock seems like an attack on Palestinians’ food sources, deliberately causing starvation.

Indeed, at the time, near-starvation, according to the Gisha Legal Centre for Freedom of Movement, was the plan: “The security establishment had calculated the number of calories consumed by Gaza residents and used it to establish a ‘humanitarian minimum’, a bottom line to which it was possible to reduce food supply to Gaza without causing hunger or malnutrition…”

Not quite dying of hunger, as the special adviser to numerous Israeli prime ministers, Dov Weissglass, said in 2006:

“The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger.”

As of November 2020, Israel continues strictly restricting imports to Gaza. The UN’s Relief Web noted: “The Israeli authorities officially list 62 items as “dual-use items” which include hundreds of goods and basic materials. The items on the “dual-use goods” list are essential to the life of the population…”

Attacking the food providers

Israel also puts Palestinians “on a diet” by firing on and abducting farmers and fishers, destroying wells and cisterns, destroying or stealing fishing boats and burning or spraying chemicals on farmland.

During my time in Gaza, I documented Israeli live machine gun and sniper fire, routinely coming under fire myself, including for extended periods.

Were Israeli soldiers targeting ‘terrorists’?  No, these were farm labourers and families, including the elderly and women. None posing any threat to Israel.

Israeli soldiers also target labourers and children collecting rubble and metal from demolished or bombed homes, transporting it, usually on donkey carts, to places where it can be sold for re-use in construction.

Israel maintains its gunning down of farmers and labourers is about ‘security,’ and has long ago imposed a ‘buffer zone’ on the Gaza side, supposedly 300 metres from the fence. But in my own experience with farmers on land 500 metres or more from the fence, Israeli soldiers still shoot to maim and kill.

Like the 20-year old deaf farmer I accompanied one February 2009 morning. As he and other labourers pushed their stalled pick-up truck, Israeli soldiers began sniping, shooting around me and hitting him in his ankle.

A few weeks prior, an Israeli soldier had shot the man’s cousin in the neck, killing him. An extended family of 16 people depended on the meagre income of these young farm labourers.

Or the 17-year old girl an Israeli soldier shot in the knee when, a month after the 2008/2009 war ended, she returned to her southeastern Gaza destroyed home to see what remained. This was 800 metres from the fence.

Or the 20-year old farm labourer shot in his chest while working on land beyond the ‘buffer zone’. The 16-year old working beside him died from the bullets to his chest.

Or the youth left paralyzed after being shot by an Israeli soldier. His crime? Sitting outside the home of an aunt he was visiting.

The ‘buffer zone’ robs Palestinians of a third of Gaza’s agricultural land – the best and most fertile bits. Decades and Israeli bulldozers prior, this same area was rich in olive, nut and fruit trees, and a variety of grain, legumes and vegetable crops.

Nowadays, if Palestinians are lucky, they can plant low maintenance crops, hoping they don’t get burned, or bulldozed before harvesting, testimonies of which I’ve taken time and time again, and have witnessed while it happened.

A 2020 UN report noted that at the time Gaza’s fishers were allowed to access water eight nautical miles off the coast (less than half the 20-mile distance agreed on under the Oslo Accords).

However, from my experience working with fishers when the limit was just six miles, Israeli gunboats would target them even less than one mile off the coast, machine-gunning, shelling, water-cannoning or kidnapping the fishers and boats.

As a special bonus, the Israeli navy often adds a chemical to the spray which leaves the soaked victims stinking of excrement for days.

The preventable stench

When travelling from central or southern Gaza on the coastal road, the shared taxi I was in would pass through Wadi Gaza, a slight valley which at times was overwhelmed by the stench of up to 90 million litres of raw and partially-treated sewage daily draining into the sea.

Because Gaza cannot treat its sewage and is not allowed to import materials needed to maintain or improve its sewage holding tanks, the only solution is dumping it into the sea. Otherwise, the sewage holding pools overflow into residential areas.

In 2007, a sewage treatment reservoir’s wall ruptured, overflowing into a village, drowning five people, including two children.

Less dramatic but still terrible, heavy rains combine with the sewage to flood streets, leaving people to wade through the foul water, and damaging homes of people that have neither the money nor means to rebuild.

When, in December 2013, massive flooding and sewage overflow ruined 400 homes, a UNRWA spokesperson said: “Any normal community would struggle to recover from this disaster. But a community that has been subjected to one of the longest blockades in human history, whose public health system has been destroyed and where the risk of disease was already rife, must be freed from these man made constraints to deal with the impact of a natural calamity such as this.”

That was over seven years ago, and nothing has changed.

End the lockdown

Protesting against the lockdown of Gaza, the “Great March of Return” from March 2018 to the end of 2019 saw 214 Palestinians killed by Israel, including 46 children, with 36,100 injured, including nearly 8,800 children, according to the UN.

Imagine the headlines were this in Russia or Syria.

As of January, the Rafah Crossing (the sole crossing controlled by Egypt, not Israel) remained closed. Over 7,000 Palestinians are registered to exit Gaza, and thousands are waiting to enter, the UN reported.

According to the UN, Gaza now gets 14 hours of power a day, the one improvement I’m aware of since my time living there.

The rest – the targeting farmers and fishers, the random Israeli bombings and psychological warfare, and most notably, the blockade – remains as per the many previous years.

Indeed, according to a March 3 statement by UNRWA’s Gaza director, conditions in Gaza have only gotten worse.

End the lockdown

Protesting against the lockdown of Gaza, the “Great March of Return” from March 2018 to the end of 2019 saw 214 Palestinians killed by Israel, including 46 children, with 36,100 injured, including nearly 8,800 children, according to the UN.

Imagine the headlines were this in Russia or Syria.

As of January, the Rafah Crossing (the sole crossing controlled by Egypt, not Israel) remained closed. Over 7,000 Palestinians are registered to exit Gaza, and thousands are waiting to enter, the UN reported.

According to the UN, Gaza now gets 14 hours of power a day, the one improvement I’m aware of since my time living there.

The rest – the targeting farmers and fishers, the random Israeli bombings and psychological warfare, and most notably, the blockade – remains as per the many previous years.

Indeed, according to a March 3 statement by UNRWA’s Gaza director, conditions in Gaza have only gotten worse.

The Russian Horn’s Atomic Nightmare: 100 Missing ‘Suitcase’ Nuclear Weapons

Russia’s Atomic Nightmare: 100 Missing ‘Suitcase’ Nuclear Weapons

The end of the Cold War likely made many people feel a little safer as it seemed unlikely the world would face nuclear Armageddon, but there was an unforeseen problem: missing nuclear weapons.

Before its collapse in 1991, the Soviet Union produced more than 27,000 nuclear weapons, along with enough weapons-grade uranium and plutonium to build three times more weapons. Because of severe economic distress, widespread corruption, lax security, and dependency on the bureaucratic system, it has been feared that some nuclear weapons and or material may have been lost or stolen.

Dead USSR, Missing Nuclear Weapons?

The former Soviet republics of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine all returned Soviet-era nuclear weapons to post-communist Russia in the 1990s, but fears remain of how the weapons-grade stockpiles of uranium and plutonium could be used. A far greater fear is whether all the nuclear weapons have been properly accounted for. The Council on Foreign Relations warned that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has reported more than a hundred nuclear smuggling incidents since 1993, eighteen of which involved highly enriched uranium.

The Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) also published a report in September 1997 that quoted former Russian national security advisor Alexander Lebed, who claimed that the Russian military lost track of upwards of 100 nuclear suitcase bombs. Lebed, who made his claims on the CBS news program Sixty Minutes, suggested each of the weapons was as powerful as a one kiloton warhead capable of killing as many as 100,000 people and could be detonated by a single person. However, Russia countered that Lebed is mistaken and may have confused “dummy small-scale” training devices with actual weapons.

In the nearly 24 years since the report, there have been no known examples of any Soviet-era suitcase bombs being discovered, and fortunately, no such weapons have been employed by a terrorist organization.

Underwater Lost Nukes

However, it is known that at least two Soviet nuclear weapons were lost – and both are still aboard the Soviet Navy’s submarine Komsomolets (K-278), which entered service in 1984. On April 7, 1989, while operating a depth of 1266 feet, the boat ran into trouble in the middle of the Barents Sea when a fire broke out – and its inexperienced crew was unable to address the problem, made worse by the lack of a damage-control party.

The submarine was able to surface, but the abrupt pressure change caused the top hatch to blow off, throwing two crewmembers out of the chamber. The submarine soon sank under the waves, and in addition to its nuclear reactor, it carried two nuclear-armed Shkval torpedoes. Under pressure from Norway, the Soviets conducted a deep-sea search for K-278, and the location of the wreck was discovered in June 1989.

Between 1989 and 1998, a total of seven expeditions were carried out to secure the reactor against radioactive release and seal the torpedo tubes.

Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He regularly writes about military small arms, and is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on Amazon.com.

The Iranian Nuclear Horn Continues to Grow: Daniel 8

Natanz Fuel Enrichment Plant in Iran Twitter

Uranium Enrichment: Iran Vigorously Adding More Centrifuges at Natanz Plant

By Jacob JMarch 9, 2021

Undermining the 2015 nuclear deal further, Iran is enriching uranium with a third cascade of advanced IR-2m centrifuges at its Natanz plant, reports have said. Officials of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Tehran kickstarted the third cascade, even as confusion reign over whether the US and world powers will re-enter the nuclear deal negotiations.

Citing the IAEA report, Reuters reported that a fourth cascade of 174 IR-2m centrifuges has also been installed. The report further states that Iran is planning to install even a fifth cascade of IR-2m centrifuges at its underground plant.

Late last month, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei dared the western powers, saying Tehran will enrich uranium up to 60 percent if needed. Khamenei’s comment came amid concerns over reports that Iran was enriching uranium to the 20 percent levels after President Donald Trump pulled the US out of the multi-power nuclear deal Tehran.

“Iran’s uranium enrichment level will not be limited to 20 percent. We will increase it to whatever level the country needs … We may increase it to 60 percent … Americans and the European parties to the deal have used unjust language against Iran … Iran will not yield to pressure. Our stance will not change,” Khamenei said.

Pressure Tactic?

Geopolitical observers believe that Tehran is probably going aggressive in its nuclear policy in order to force the western powers to goad the US into re-enacting the failed nuclear deal of 2015. However, the stalemate has only deepened in recent weeks, with President Joe Biden insisting that Iran must return to all its nuclear commitments before talks are re-started.

Iran Nuclear Deal Talks: US Secretary of State John Kerry (L), US Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz (2L), Robert Malley (3L), of the US National Security Council, European Union High Representative Federica Mogherini (C), Head of Iranian Atomic Energy Organisation Ali Akbar Salehi (2R) Reuters

The stalemate began after former US president Donald Trump exited the Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), in 2018. Under the deal, Iran had allowed IAEA inspectors at its nuclear sites. Now, Khamenei has said Iran still stands by the JCPOA adding, however, that Iran will not bow to international pressure from either the European Union or the US.

Following the US exit from nuclear deal, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that the country was starting the stalled nuclear program. He said uranium was to be injected into 1,044 centrifuges at its Fordow nuclear facility.

Iran’s nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi had also said in 2019 that 30 advanced IR-6 centrifuges were to be launched in a move to accelerate the uranium enrichment process, which was in clear violation of the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal.

Last month, a meeting between the head of International Atomic Energy Agency and Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of Iran’s nuclear department, had raised hopes of a breakthrough. The meeting was held in the backdrop of concerns that Iran might expel UN inspectors from the country. Iran had allowed IAEA inspectors at its nuclear sites under the 2015 deal.

Significant Quantity of Bomb Material

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi in Bushehr Nuclear Plant. Hossein Heidarpour / Wikimedia Commons

In October last year, the IAEA said that Iran was short of ‘significant quantity’ of potential bomb material. What can be read between the lines was that Tehran made advances in pursuit of its alleged clandestine nuclear weapons program after the US exited the nuclear deal.

“The Iranians continue to enrich uranium, and to a much higher degree than they have committed themselves to. And this amount is growing by the month,” IAEA chief Rafael Grossi told Die Presse, an Austrian newspaper. By ‘significant quantity’ IAEA means the ballpark amount of nuclear material with which the making of a nuclear explosive device cannot be excluded.