Real Risk, Few Precautions (Revelation 6:12)

By WILLIAM K. STEVENSPublished: October 24, 1989
AN EARTHQUAKE as powerful as the one that struck northern California last week could occur almost anywhere along the East Coast, experts say. And if it did, it would probably cause far more destruction than the West Coast quake.
The chances of such an occurrence are much less in the East than on the West Coast. Geologic stresses in the East build up only a hundredth to a thousandth as fast as in California, and this means that big Eastern quakes are far less frequent. Scientists do not really know what the interval between them might be, nor are the deeper-lying geologic faults that cause them as accessible to study. So seismologists are at a loss to predict when or where they will strike.
But they do know that a temblor with a magnitude estimated at 7 on the Richter scale – about the same magnitude as last week’s California quake – devastated Charleston, S.C., in 1886. And after more than a decade of study, they also know that geologic structures similar to those that caused the Charleston quake exist all along the Eastern Seaboard.
For this reason, ”we can’t preclude that a Charleston-sized earthquake might occur anywhere along the East Coast,” said David Russ, the assistant chief geologist of the United States Geological Survey in Reston, Va. ”It could occur in Washington. It could occur in New York.”
If that happens, many experts agree, the impact will probably be much greater than in California.Easterners, unlike Californians, have paid very little attention to making buildings and other structures earthquake-proof or earthquake-resistant. ”We don’t have that mentality here on the East Coast,” said Robert Silman, a New York structural engineer whose firm has worked on 3,800 buildings in the metropolitan area.
Moreover, buildings, highways, bridges, water and sewer systems and communications networks in the East are all older than in the West and consequently more vulnerable to damage. Even under normal conditions, for instance, water mains routinely rupture in New York City.
The result, said Dr. John Ebel, a geophysicist who is the assistant director of Boston College’s Weston Observatory, is that damage in the East would probably be more widespread, more people could be hurt and killed, depending on circumstances like time of day, and ”it would probably take a lot longer to get these cities back to useful operating levels.”
On top of this, scientists say, an earthquake in the East can shake an area 100 times larger than a quake of the same magnitude in California. This is because the earth’s crust is older, colder and more brittle in the East and tends to transmit seismic energy more efficiently. ”If you had a magnitude 7 earthquake and you put it halfway between New York City and Boston,” Dr. Ebel said, ”you would have the potential of doing damage in both places,” not to mention cities like Hartford and Providence.
Few studies have been done of Eastern cities’ vulnerability to earthquakes. But one, published last June in The Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, calculated the effects on New York City of a magnitude 6 earthquake. That is one-tenth the magnitude of last week’s California quake, but about the same as the Whittier, Calif., quake two years ago.
The study found that such an earthquake centered 17 miles southeast of City Hall, off Rockaway Beach, would cause $11 billion in damage to buildings and start 130 fires. By comparison, preliminary estimates place the damage in last week’s California disaster at $4 billion to $10 billion. If the quake’s epicenter were 11 miles southeast of City Hall, the study found, there would be about $18 billion in damage; if 5 miles, about $25 billion.
No estimates on injuries or loss of life were made. But a magnitude 6 earthquake ”would probably be a disaster unparalleled in New York history,” wrote the authors of the study, Charles Scawthorn and Stephen K. Harris of EQE Engineering in San Francisco.
The study was financed by the National Center for Earthquake Engineering Research at the State University of New York at Buffalo. The research and education center, supported by the National Science Foundation and New York State, was established in 1986 to help reduce damage and loss of life from earthquakes.
The study’s postulated epicenter of 17 miles southeast of City Hall was the location of the strongest quake to strike New York since it has been settled, a magnitude 5 temblor on Aug. 10, 1884. That 1884 quake rattled bottles and crockery in Manhattan and frightened New Yorkers, but caused little damage. Seismologists say a quake of that order is likely to occur within 50 miles of New York City every 300 years. Quakes of magnitude 5 are not rare in the East. The major earthquake zone in the eastern half of the country is the central Mississippi Valley, where a huge underground rift causes frequent geologic dislocations and small temblors. The most powerful quake ever known to strike the United States occurred at New Madrid, Mo., in 1812. It was later estimated at magnitude 8.7 and was one of three quakes to strike that area in 1811-12, all of them stronger than magnitude 8. They were felt as far away as Washington, where they rattled chandeliers, Boston and Quebec.
Because the New Madrid rift is so active, it has been well studied, and scientists have been able to come up with predictions for the central Mississippi valley, which includes St. Louis and Memphis. According to Dr. Russ, there is a 40 to 63 percent chance that a quake of magnitude 6 will strike that area between now and the year 2000, and an 86 to 97 percent chance that it will do so by 2035. The Federal geologists say there is a 1 percent chance or less of a quake greater than magnitude 7 by 2000, and a 4 percent chance or less by 2035.
Elsewhere in the East, scientists are limited in their knowledge of probabilities partly because faults that could cause big earthquakes are buried deeper in the earth’s crust. In contrast to California, where the boundary between two major tectonic plates creates the San Andreas and related faults, the eastern United States lies in the middle of a major tectonic plate. Its faults are far less obvious, their activity far more subtle, and their slippage far slower.
Any large earthquake would be ”vastly more serious” in the older cities of the East than in California, said Dr. Tsu T. Soong, a professor of civil engineering at the State University of New York at Buffalo who is a researcher in earthquake-mitigation technology at the National Center for Earthquake Engineering Research. First, he said, many buildings are simply older, and therefore weaker and more vulnerable to collapse. Second, there is no seismic construction code in most of the East as there is in California, where such codes have been in place for decades.
The vulnerability is evident in many ways. ”I’m sitting here looking out my window,” said Mr. Silman, the structural engineer in New York, ”and I see a bunch of water tanks all over the place” on rooftops. ”They are not anchored down at all, and it’s very possible they would fall in an earthquake.”
Many brownstones, he said, constructed as they are of unreinforced masonry walls with wood joists between, ”would just go like a house of cards.” Unreinforced masonry, in fact, is the single most vulnerable structure, engineers say. Such buildings are abundant, even predominant, in many older cities. The Scawthorn-Harris study reviewed inventories of all buildings in Manhattan as of 1972 and found that 28,884, or more than half, were built of unreinforced masonry. Of those, 23,064 were three to five stories high.
Buildings of reinforced masonry, reinforced concrete and steel would hold up much better, engineers say, and wooden structures are considered intrinsically tough in ordinary circumstances. The best performers, they say, would probably be skyscrapers built in the last 20 years. As Mr. Silman explained, they have been built to withstand high winds, and the same structural features that enable them to do so also help them resist an earthquake’s force. But even these new towers have not been provided with the seismic protections required in California and so are more vulnerable than similar structures on the West Coast.
Buildings in New York are not generally constructed with such seismic protections as base-isolated structures, in which the building is allowed to shift with the ground movement; or with flexible frames that absorb and distribute energy through columns and beams so that floors can flex from side to side, or with reinforced frames that help resist distortion.
”If you’re trying to make a building ductile – able to absorb energy – we’re not geared to think that way,” said Mr. Silman.
New York buildings also contain a lot of decorative stonework, which can be dislodged and turned into lethal missiles by an earthquake. In California, building codes strictly regulate such architectural details.
Manhattan does, however, have at least one mitigating factor: ”We are blessed with this bedrock island,” said Mr. Silman. ”That should work to our benefit; we don’t have shifting soils. But there are plenty of places that are problem areas, particularly the shoreline areas,” where landfills make the ground soft and unstable.
As scientists have learned more about geologic faults in the Northeast, the nation’s uniform building code – the basic, minimum code followed throughout the country – has been revised accordingly. Until recently, the code required newly constructed buildings in New York City to withstand at least 19 percent of the side-to-side seismic force that a comparable building in the seismically active areas of California must handle. Now the threshold has been raised to 25 percent.
New York City, for the first time, is moving to adopt seismic standards as part of its own building code. Local and state building codes can and do go beyond the national code. Charles M. Smith Jr., the city Building Commissioner, last spring formed a committee of scientists, engineers, architects and government officials to recommend the changes.
”They all agree that New York City should anticipate an earthquake,” Mr. Smith said. As to how big an earthquake, ”I don’t think anybody would bet on a magnitude greater than 6.5,” he said. ”I don’t know,” he added, ”that our committee will go so far as to acknowledge” the damage levels in the Scawthorn-Harris study, characterizing it as ”not without controversy.”
For the most part, neither New York nor any other Eastern city has done a detailed survey of just how individual buildings and other structures would be affected, and how or whether to modify them.
”The thing I think is needed in the East is a program to investigate all the bridges” to see how they would stand up to various magnitudes of earthquake,” said Bill Geyer, the executive vice president of the New York engineering firm of Steinman, Boynton, Gronquist and Birdsall, which is rehabilitating the cable on the Williamsburg Bridge. ”No one has gone through and done any analysis of the existing bridges.”
In general, he said, the large suspension bridges, by their nature, ”are not susceptible to the magnitude of earthquake you’d expect in the East.” But the approaches and side spans of some of them might be, he said, and only a bridge-by-bridge analysis would tell. Nor, experts say, are some elevated highways in New York designed with the flexibility and ability to accommodate motion that would enable them to withstand a big temblor.
Tunnels Vulnerable
The underground tunnels that carry travelers under the rivers into Manhattan, those that contain the subways and those that carry water, sewers and natural gas would all be vulnerable to rupture, engineers say. The Lincoln, Holland, PATH and Amtrak tunnels, for instance, go from bedrock in Manhattan to soft soil under the Hudson River to bedrock again in New Jersey, said Mark Carter, a partner in Raamot Associates, geotechnical engineers specializing in soils and foundations.
Likewise, he said, subway tunnels between Manhattan and Queens go from hard rock to soft soil to hard rock on Roosevelt Island, to soft soil again and back to rock. The boundaries between soft soil and rock are points of weakness, he said.
”These structures are old,” he said, ”and as far as I know they have not been designed for earthquake loadings.”
Even if it is possible to survey all major buildings and facilities to determine what corrections can be made, cities like New York would then face a major decision: Is it worth spending the money to modify buildings and other structures to cope with a quake that might or might not come in 100, or 200 300 years or more?
”That is a classical problem” in risk-benefit analysis, said Dr. George Lee, the acting director of the Earthquake Engineering Research Center in Buffalo. As more is learned about Eastern earthquakes, he said, it should become ”possible to talk about decision-making.” But for now, he said, ”I think it’s premature for us to consider that question.”

Iran Continues to Nuke Up: Daniel 8

Iran ‘Rejects’ Ending 20 Percent Uranium Enrichment Before U.S. Lifts Sanctions


Tehran won’t agree to stop its 20 percent uranium-enrichment work before the United States lifts all sanctions, state television quoted an unnamed official as saying, after a U.S. media report said Washington would offer a new proposal for talks to resolve the standoff over Iran’s nuclear program.

“A senior Iranian official tells Press TV that Tehran will stop its 20 percent uranium enrichment only if the U.S. lifts ALL its sanctions on Iran first,” the state-run TV channel reported on its website on March 30.

The report quoted the official as saying that Tehran will further reduce its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers if the United States does not lift the sanctions.

“Washington is rapidly running out of time” as Iran holds a presidential election in June, with campaign season kicking off in May, it added.

The administration of U.S. President Joe Biden has been seeking to engage Iran in talks about both sides resuming compliance with the international nuclear agreement.

The accord provided relief for Iran from international sanctions in exchange for limitations on its nuclear program, which Iran says is strictly for civilian energy purposes.

But Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, withdrew the United States from the pact in 2018 and reimposed crippling economic sanctions on Iran.

Tehran responded by violating some of the accord’s nuclear restrictions, including a 3.67 percent limit on the purity to which it can enrich uranium.

Last month, the International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed that Iran was enriching uranium up to 20 percent purity, and that its enriched-uranium stockpile had reached 14 times the limit established by the 2015 nuclear deal.

The media outlet Politico on March 29 quoted “two people familiar with the situation” as saying that U.S. administration officials “plan to put forth a new proposal to jump-start the talks as soon as this week.”

The proposal would ask Iran to halt some of its nuclear activities such as work on advanced centrifuges and the enrichment of uranium to 20 percent purity, in exchange for some relief from U.S. sanctions, according to one of the people, who said the details were “still being worked out.”

Iran’s mission at the United Nations tweeted that “no proposal is needed for the U.S. to rejoin” the nuclear agreement.

“It only requires a political decision by the U.S. to fully and immediately implement all of its obligations under the accord,” it added.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on March 21 reiterated Iran’s “definite policy” that the United States must lift all sanctions if Washington wants to see Iran return to its commitments under the 2015 agreement.

With reporting by Reuters and RFE/RL’s Radio Farda

RFE/RL journalists report the news in 27 languages in 23 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established. We provide what many people cannot get locally: uncensored news, responsible discussion, and open debate.

The China nuclear horn continues to grow: Daniel 7

China nuclear reprocessing to create stockpiles of weapons-level materials: experts

Timothy Gardner

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – China’s push to develop fuel for a new generation of nuclear power reactors will produce large amounts of materials that could be diverted to making nuclear weapons, non-proliferation experts said on Thursday.

China is developing advanced fast reactors and reprocessing facilities as it seeks to reduce dependency on coal, which emits emissions harmful to human health and that worsen climate change. But reprocessing also produces plutonium that could be used to make nuclear weapons.

There is no evidence that China intents to divert its potential plutonium stockpile to weapons use, but concern has grown as Beijing is expected to boost its number of nuclear warheads over the next decade from the low 200s now.

To reduce international concerns about the potential plutonium diversion issues, China needs to keep its plutonium recycling programs more transparent including timely reporting of its stockpile of civilian plutonium like they did before 2016,” Hui Zhang, a senior research associate at Harvard University’s Project on Managing the Atom, said in an email.

Zhang, a contributor to a Nonproliferation Policy Education Center report here called “China’s Civil Nuclear Sector: Plowshares to Swords?”, said China should also offer to have its plutonium recycling facilities monitored by the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency.

He said that China has started constructihere of a second plant to reprocess fuel from traditional nuclear reactors that could be commissioned before 2030.

China’s embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Reprocessing of nuclear waste has not been practiced for decades in the United States after former President Jimmy Carter halted it on proliferation concerns.

The report recommended that Washington urge China to join the United States, South Korea and Japan, in sharing information on current plutonium and enriched uranium holdings and production capacities.

It also recommended that Washington explore with those countries, the possibility of taking a plutonium production timeout. Japan, South Korea, and the United States should offer to delay their plutonium production and fast reactor programs, if China does likewise, it said.

Leaders from those countries should work to “forestall industrial scale reprocessing, which would only make the entire region, and the world, less secure,” Christopher Ford, a nonproliferation official under Donald Trump, and Thomas Countryman, who served the same role under Barack Obama, said in the report’s preface.

The U.S. State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Department of Energy which is developing a sodium-cooled fast reactor, said the plant is not designed as a breeder reactor, which produces more fissile material than it consumes. Its broader fast reactor research and development program supports designs that “incorporate nonproliferation considerations,” a DOE spokesperson said.

(Reporting by Timothy Gardner; Editing by Alistair Bell and Alexandra Hudson)

The new cold war in Europe: Revelation 16

The Shadow of a New Cold War Hangs over Europe

Temperatures are rising again in eastern Ukraine with informed commentators suggesting that intensive military action might start when the “mud season” passes. Quite understandably, Americans could suffer from Ukraine fatigue after observing the often bizarre conspiracies that have arisen connecting Kiev and Washington political machinations over the last five years. 

Even as Presidents Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin traded insults, the Russian president celebrated Russia’s control of the Crimean Peninsula. Unfortunately for Europe, Ukraine remains as the simmering crisis that still threatens to overturn the continent’s “long peace.” Indeed, even as Ukraine-Russia tensions are at the root of almost all of the most acute problems in European security, this tortured bilateral relationship also points the way toward common-sense solutions too.

Some noteworthy American national security commentators claim that the “New Cold War” has little in common with the experience 1945–90, because the new centers of competition are in the cyber and high-tech realms, rather than concerning military competition and nuclear weapons.  Yet, such assessments seem oblivious to the steady ramp-up of exercises by large military formations across Eastern Europe in the last five years.  Escalating tensions along the front between Russian and U.S. forces are visible along a huge geographic front from the Arctic all the way to the Caucasus and even reaching deep into the Middle East. 

U.S. bombers that have been flying regularly along Russia’s flanks have now been permitted to “nest” for the first time in Norway, a neighbor of Russia in the “High North.” Likewise, America’s most advanced submarines have visited the region recently in the wake of NATO’s largest exercises since the end of the Cold War. U.S. forces, including tanks and attack helicopters, have deployed into the Baltic states with new regularity and are now a permanent fixture in Poland. Meanwhile, American drones now patrol along Russia’s sensitive southern flank, including within Ukraine and all along the perimeter of the Crimean Peninsula. Is it any wonder that Russia has at least five major modernizations underway simultaneously for its nuclear strike forces, including new ICBMs, bombers, submarines, drones, and tactical nuclear weapons too?

Too many Washington defense analysts prefer to talk about cyber weaponry while peddling projects for new patches with upgraded cyber defenses. Yet, the broader public remains quite in the dark regarding hundreds of billions going to feed the intensifying nuclear arms race, not to mention the new forces now deploying to Europe—admittedly a friendly locale for the troops. Yet, are these escalatory steps warranted?

Conventional coverage of the Ukraine issue asserts that the country was invaded by Russia after an allegedly corrupt pro-Russian leader was ejected from office by angry protests—the so-called Euro-Maidan events of early 2014. After Crimea was seized by “little green men,” Moscow was unsatisfied and decided to lop off a few more slices of Ukraine in the Donbass region too. While the storyline is not completely false, it fails to recognize some important nuances. For example, the leader of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovich, may indeed have been corrupt, but he was also elected in a legitimate, democratic election. An angry mob is hardly the ideal way to remove a democratically elected president, it must be admitted. Moreover, the “invasion thesis” does not quite comport with facts on the ground. For example, there occurred in early May 2014 a major flare-up of pro-Russian sentiment in Odessa that included grave atrocities.  Such events fit better into the civil war explanation than the invasion narrative that is so popular in Washington today.

Memories in Washington do not seem to go back any further than the disputed 2016 election or the Euromaidan of 2014. The pervasive lack of historical knowledge in the American capital is, unfortunately, feeding escalating tensions in Eastern Europe. Indeed, American strategists should consider how it was that Americans were highly sympathetic to Tsarist Russia during the Crimean War when Russia faced off against perceived French and British imperialism.  Likewise, they should reflect on the fact that if Soviet forces had not paid so dear a price defending the fortress at Sevastopol until mid-1942, they likely could not have prevailed at Stalingrad subsequently.  In other words, the Kremlin’s stubborn hold on Crimea in the face of Nazi aggression proved exceedingly important to the Allied victory in 1945. Finally, there is no understanding in the American foreign policy establishment that Soviet internal borders were of little importance, so their impact on post-Soviet politics is also limited. No wonder a giant Russian naval base existed in Crimea after 1991 through 2014 to the present. In other words, the Crimea situation and that of Ukraine generally is much grayer, and less black and white than most Americans appreciate.

So, what is to be done ultimately, besides dusting off some history books? First, the United States should take overt and obvious steps to uproot the militarized rivalries now in full bloom from the Arctic to the Caucasus to see if such steps aimed at de-escalation might be reciprocated by the Kremlin. Second, Washington should seek to re-energize the so-called “Normandy process” that brings Russia and Ukraine into a negotiating format with the leaders of Germany and France to stabilize the situation in eastern Ukraine. 

Finally, American diplomats should consider a “grand bargain” that accords full NATO membership to Ukraine in exchange for complete diplomatic recognition of Russian sovereignty over Crimea. While neutralization of Ukraine would be preferable for U.S. national security, such a step is probably necessary in order to get Kiev (not to mention Washington’s myriad hawks) to sign on to any larger compromise that could lead to a relaxation of tensions. For Moscow, the extensive economic benefits would almost certainly outweigh the security concerns. This agreement to “meet halfway” may be the only way Europe can escape the ever-tightening grip of the new Cold War.

Lyle J. Goldstein, Ph.D., is research professor at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. He was the founder of the China Maritime Studies Institute there and is also an affiliate of the college’s Russia Maritime Studies Institute. The opinions in the article are entirely his own and do not reflect any official assessment of the U.S. Navy.

Image: Reuters

Antichrist’s commander killed in clash with ISIS

PMF commander killed in clash with ISIS

A+ A-

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — A commander of the state-sponsored Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF, Hashd al-Shaabi in Arabic) was killed in a clash with Islamic State (ISIS) militants in Iraq’s Salahaddin province, the PMF said on Monday.

Hassan Muhammad al-Asadi, commander of a regiment in Brigade 314, and a fighter from Brigade 315 were killed on Monday during clashes with ISIS militants southwest of Samarra, the PMF said in a statement shared on its official Telegram channels.

Brigades 314 and 315 belong to Saraya al-Salam, a militia linked to Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

ISIS has attacked PMF forces several times this year – particularly in territories disputed by Erbil and Baghdad, where ISIS sleeper cells thrive.

On February 28, six members of Iraq’s state-sponsored Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF, Hashd al-Shaabi in Arabic) were killed and two others wounded in a car explosion in Anbar province, western Iraq.

On February 2, five members of the PMF were killed in a clash with ISIS militants in Diyala, according to state media and the PMF. At least 11 fighters from the PMF were killed in an ambush by ISIS in Salahaddin on January 24.

ISIS claimed in its weekly propaganda newspaper al-Naba, last published on Thursday, that it had conducted 17 operations in Iraq from March 17 to 23, killing and injuring 31 people, including PMF fighters.

The PMF took part of the territorial defeat of ISIS in Iraq in late 2017, but it’s role in Iraq has increasingly been called into question.

PMF units close to Iran are widely accused of abducting and killing opponents, and are believed to be responsible for some of the deadly rocket attacks targeting US and coalition personnel stationed at bases across Iraq.

The Potent Russian nuclear triad: Daniel 7

Watch 3 Russian Nuclear Submarines Smash Through Arctic Ice at Once

It’s a show of force with a loud message: the subs can fire their missiles from places U.S. forces can’t reach.

By Kyle Mizokami MAR 30, 2021

Three Russian missile submarines carrying up to 200 nuclear weapons surfaced in the Arctic Ocean last week, demonstrating their ability to conduct their nuclear mission in emergencies.

The submarines, part of Moscow’s nuclear deterrent force, forced their way through ice that’s several feet thick. In wartime, the subs would hide under the ice from NATO anti-submarine forces.

The exercise took place near Franz Josef Land, an island archipelago off the coast of Russia in the Arctic Ocean. The islands are just 625 miles south of the North Pole. In March, the temperatures hover between an average of 8 and 18 degrees Fahrenheit and the sea is covered with a thick layer of ice.

On March 20, the three ballistic missile submarines—two Delta IV subs and one Borei-class sub, per The Barents Observersurfaced off the coast of the archipelago, using their sails to break through the thick ice crust. The submarines surfaced within a radius of 300 meters, demonstrating their ability to navigate with precision even under polar ice. 

The ice appears to differ in thickness. Some of the ice appears approximately 1 foot thick, while one Delta-class submarine, with its sail-mounted diving planes pivoted upward, looks like it surfaced in 3 feet of ice.

The Delta IV submarines, built during the Cold War, are 548 feet long and are each equipped with 16 Sineva submarine-launched ballistic missiles. The newer Borei-class sub, meanwhile, is 525 feet long and carries 16 Bulava ballistic missiles. 

russia submarine
The sail of one Delta IV submarine, with hydroplanes rotated upward to assist breaking through the ice.


Each of the 32 Sineva missiles carries four 100-kiloton warheads, for a total of 128 warheads and up to 12.8 megatons of nuclear firepower. The 16 Bulava missiles aboard the Borei pack a theoretical total of 160 warheads, for up to 16 megatons of firepower. That’s a possible total of 28.8 megatons, or 28,800 kilotons. (By comparison, the Hiroshima explosion was about 16 kilotons.)

The real number of warheads aboard the three subs is unknown, but it’s likely about 10 percent less, with the balance made up of reentry vehicle decoys or penetration aids like jammers or radar-obscuring chaff to confuse enemy missile defenses.

The three submarines are part of Russia’s sea-based nuclear deterrent, complementing its cruise missile-armed bomber force and land-based missiles. Unlike American submarines, Russia’s missile subs are meant to operate close to the homeland. The sub fleets operate in “bastions” in the Barents Sea and Sea of Okhotsk, where they can be protected by land-based anti-submarine warfare aircraft and helicopters, and warships at sea.

uss connecticut submariners
The Seawolf-class attack submarine USS Connecticut, Naval Base Kitsap-Bremerton, May 2018.


The ultimate bastion for Russian submarines is in the far north, under the pack ice. There, the ice forms a protective layer against NATO ships and aircraft hunting the submarines. But Russian subs operating under the ice, while relatively safe, still face one formidable opponent: the U.S. Navy’s three Seawolf-class nuclear powered attack submarines. 

The three subs—Seawolf, Connecticut, and Jimmy Carter—were all explicitly designed to operate under the ice and hunt missile firing submarines.

The Russian Navy exercise is similar to the Anglo-American ICEX 2018 exercise, when the U.S. submarines USS Hamptonand USS Hartford and Royal Navy submarine HMS Trenchant surfaced together in the Arctic. 

Pestilence Continues to Plague Us: Revelation 6

CDC director warns of “impending doom” as COVID cases increase – Axios

Marisa Fernandez

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky went off script at a briefing Monday and made an emotional plea to Americans not to let up on public health measures amid fears of a fourth wave.

What they’re saying: “I’m going to reflect on the recurring feeling I have of impending doom,” Walensky said, appearing to hold back tears. “We do not have the luxury of inaction. For the health of our country, we must work together now to prevent a fourth surge.”

Driving the news: The White House coronavirus response team is seeking to confront the current dichotomy in the U.S., in which immense optimism from the speed of the vaccine rollout must be balanced with continued restraint in moving forward with normalcy.

• “The thing that’s different this time is we actually have it in our power to be done with this scale of vaccination and that will be so much slower if we have another surge to deal with as well,” Walensky said.

• “I’m speaking today not necessarily as your CDC director, but as a wife, as a mother, as a daughter to ask you to just please hold on a little while longer. I so badly want to be done. I know you all so badly want to be done. We are just almost there, but not quite yet.”

The big picture: Coronavirus cases are rapidly rising in places including Michigan, New York, New Jersey and other Northeastern states, partially a result of variants of the virus becoming more widespread, experts say. An uptick in travel and states loosening restrictions are also factors.

• The 7-day daily average of new cases increased 10.6% from the previous week to 59,773, while the 7-day daily average of deaths increased 2.6% to 968.

• Even though a remarkable 72% of Americans 65 and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine, millions of Americans — particularly younger Americans with underlying conditions — remain vulnerable.

What to watch: Walensky said she is speaking with governors tomorrow to address the rise in cases.

• “We’re essentially pleading with people even though we have an urge particularly with the warm weather to just cut loose,” NIAID director Anthony Fauci said.

• “We’ve just got to hang in there a bit longer,” he said. “I think the reason we’re seeing this plateauing and the increase that I hope doesn’t turn into a surge is because we are really doing things prematurely right now with regard to opening up.”