New York Subways at the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6)

How vulnerable are NYC’s underwater subway tunnels to flooding?Ashley Fetters
New York City is full of peculiar phenomena—rickety fire escapes; 100-year-old subway tunnelsair conditioners propped perilously into window frames—that can strike fear into the heart of even the toughest city denizen. But should they? Every month, writer Ashley Fetters will be exploring—and debunking—these New York-specific fears, letting you know what you should actually worry about, and what anxieties you can simply let slip away.
The 25-minute subway commute from Crown Heights to the Financial District on the 2/3 line is, in my experience, a surprisingly peaceful start to the workday—save for one 3,100-foot stretch between the Clark Street and Wall Street stations, where for three minutes I sit wondering what the probability is that I will soon die a torturous, claustrophobic drowning death right here in this subway car.
The Clark Street Tunnel, opened in 1916, is one of approximately a dozen tunnels that escort MTA passengers from one borough to the next underwater—and just about all of them, with the exception of the 1989 addition of the 63rd Street F train tunnel, were constructed between 1900 and 1936.
Each day, thousands of New Yorkers venture across the East River and back again through these tubes buried deep in the riverbed, some of which are nearing or even past their 100th birthdays. Are they wrong to ponder their own mortality while picturing one of these watery catacombs suddenly springing a leak?
Mostly yes, they are, says Michael Horodniceanu, the former president of MTA Capital Construction and current principal of Urban Advisory Group. First, it’s important to remember that the subway tunnel is built under the riverbed, not just in the river—so what immediately surrounds the tunnel isn’t water but some 25 feet of soil. “There’s a lot of dirt on top of it,” Horodniceanu says. “It’s well into the bed of the bottom of the channel.”
And second, as Angus Kress Gillespie, author of Crossing Under the Hudson: The Story of the Holland and Lincoln Tunnels, points out, New York’s underwater subway tunnels are designed to withstand some leaking. And withstand it they do: Pumps placed below the floor of the tunnel, he says, are always running, always diverting water seepage into the sewers. (Horodniceanu says the amount of water these pumps divert into the sewer system each day numbers in the thousands of gallons.)
Additionally, MTA crews routinely repair the grouting and caulking, and often inject a substance into the walls that creates a waterproof membrane outside the tunnel—which keeps water out of the tunnel and relieves any water pressure acting on its walls. New tunnels, Horodniceanu points out, are even built with an outside waterproofing membrane that works like an umbrella: Water goes around it, it falls to the sides, and then it gets channeled into a pumping station and pumped out.
Of course, the classic New York nightmare scenario isn’t just a cute little trickle finding its way in. The anxiety daydream usually involves something sinister, or seismic. The good news, however, is that while an earthquake or explosion would indeed be bad for many reasons, it likely wouldn’t result in the frantic flooding horror scene that plays out in some commuters’ imaginations.
The Montague Tube, which sustained severe damage during Hurricane Sandy.
MTA New York City Transit / Marc A. Hermann
Horodniceanu assures me that tunnels built more recently are “built to withstand a seismic event.” The older tunnels, however—like, um, the Clark Street Tunnel—“were not seismically retrofitted, let me put it that way,” Horodniceanu says. “But the way they were built is in such a way that I do not believe an earthquake would affect them.” They aren’t deep enough in the ground, anyway, he says, to be too intensely affected by a seismic event. (The MTA did not respond to a request for comment.)
One of the only real threats to tunnel infrastructure, Horodniceanu adds, is extreme weather. Hurricane Sandy, for example, caused flooding in the tunnels, which “created problems with the infrastructure.” He continues, “The tunnels have to be rebuilt as a result of saltwater corroding the infrastructure.”
Still, he points out, hurricanes don’t exactly happen with no warning. So while Hurricane Sandy did cause major trauma to the tunnels, train traffic could be stopped with ample time to keep passengers out of harm’s way. In 2012, Governor Andrew Cuomo directed all the MTA’s mass transit services to shut down at 7 p.m. the night before Hurricane Sandy was expected to hit New York City.
And Gillespie, for his part, doubts even an explosion would result in sudden, dangerous flooding. A subway tunnel is not a closed system, he points out; it’s like a pipe that’s open at both ends. “The force of a blast would go forwards and backwards out the exit,” he says.
So the subway-train version of that terrifying Holland Tunnel flood scene in Sylvester Stallone’s Daylight is … unrealistic, right?
“Yeah,” Gillespie laughs. “Yeah. It is.”
Got a weird New York anxiety that you want explored? E-mail, and we may include it in a future column.

US lawmakers try to block the Saudi Arabian Nuclear Horn: Daniel 7

US lawmakers introduce bill to block Saudi Arabia’s pursuit of nukes

Sunday, 18 April 2021 5:57 AM  [ Last Update: Sunday, 18 April 2021 6:31 AM ]

A group of American lawmakers has put forward a draft legislation that seeks to prevent Saudi Arabia from acquiring nuclear weapons amid reports about suspected attempts by the kingdom to process uranium and move toward the development of atomic bombs.

The Stopping Activities Underpinning Development in Weapons of Mass Destruction (SAUDI WMD) Act was introduced earlier this week by Senators Ed Markey and Jeff Merkley as well as Congressmen Ted Lieu and Joaquin Castro.

If approved, the measure would ask the US president to impose sanctions on foreign nationals or countries thought to have sold sensitive missile technologies to the Riyadh regime.

It would also “terminate most US arms sales to Saudi Arabia if it has received assistance in the construction of a nuclear fuel cycle facility not safeguarded by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) or if the kingdom has received help in the most sensitive proliferation activities on its territory through the construction of an enrichment or reprocessing facility.”

In August 2020, the Wall Street Journal reported that Saudi Arabia, with Chinese help, had built a facility for extraction of yellowcake from uranium ore near the remote town of al-Ula.

The New York Times also said American intelligence agencies had spotted what appeared to be an undeclared nuclear site not too far from the town of al-Uyaynah.

The following month, the Guardian cited a confidential report by Chinese geologists as saying that Saudi Arabia likely has enough mineable uranium ore reserves to pave the way for the domestic production of nuclear fuel.

Senator Markey from Massachusetts explained that the SAUDI WMD Act “requires greater transparency into Saudi Arabia’s efforts to build out a ballistic missile and civilian nuclear program, and ends the sale of US offensive weapons to Saudi Arabia if it does not take steps to show the world that its nuclear program will remain exclusively peaceful.”

“Nuclear weapons in the hands of terrorists and rogue regimes is one of the gravest threats to the security of the American people and to our partners around the world. Agreements limiting the spread of those technologies are critically important to our safety,” said Senator Merkley from Oregon.

“We must be prepared to enforce these agreements and act in response to any actions that spread this dangerous technology, including by imposing sanctions and terminating arms sales. If Saudi Arabia is working to undermine the global nonproliferation and arms control regime, with the help of China or anybody else, the US must respond.”  

Representative Castro, a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs and Intelligence Committees, expressed concerns “that Saudi Arabia’s nuclear program has all the hallmarks of a nation aiming to build a nuclear weapon,” adding that the legislation requires “the administration, if necessary, to use our leverage to prevent Saudi Arabia from developing a nuclear weapon.”

Saudi Arabia has not signed up to the same restrictions to nuclear proliferation that other countries have, and it has only a limited safeguards agreement with the IAEA.

In 2018, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said that his country would be quick to develop nuclear bombs if Iran did so even as the peaceful nature of Tehran’s nuclear program has repeatedly been confirmed by the IAEA.

Moreover, the Islamic Republic has repeatedly enunciated its nuclear program as exclusively civilian, subject to the most intensive UN supervisions ever.

Iran signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in 2015 with major world powers, which led to the forging of close cooperation between Tehran and the IAEA.

Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

Israel THINKS it will ‘definitely’ stop Iran from getting bomb

Israel says it will ‘definitely’ stop Iran from getting bomb

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Israel’s foreign minister said Friday that his country was determined to stop Iran from building a nuclear weapon, after Tehran promised to step up its uranium enrichment process.

“We will do whatever it takes to prevent the extremists (in Iran) from succeeding, and definitely will prevent this regime from having a nuclear weapon,” Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi told reporters on a visit to Cyprus.

Iranian officials say the country will begin enriching uranium up to 60% purity following an attack on its nuclear facility at Natanz, in central Iran, on Sunday, that it blamed on Israel.

Askenazi met with the foreign ministers of Cyprus and Greece, Nikos Christodoulides and Nikos Dendias, as well as Anwar Gargash, a top presidential aide in the United Arab Emirates.

Israel and the UAE normalized relations in a landmark deal last year, and the four countries represented at the meeting Friday promised to boost cooperation in defense, energy, tourism, and other sectors.

Russia and China have weapons ‘cheaper and harder to trace’: Daniel 7

Russia and China have weapons ‘cheaper and harder to trace’ than nuke: ‘Major development’

US President Joe Biden is currently hosting a two-day climate change summit attended by China, Japan, Russia, Canada, India, Australia, the UK and the EU. Mr Biden, and his western allies, will have the chance to come face-to-face with President Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin as experts continue to warn that Beijing could “attack Taiwan” and Moscow could invade Ukraine. On Monday, the US Strategic Command said America must prepare for nuclear war as current conflicts could escalate “very rapidly,” and the US faces “two nuclear-capable, strategic peer adversaries at the same time”.

Professor Bruce Cameron Reed has published five textbooks and over 50 journal papers on the Manhattan Project – a top secret research and development project between the US, UK and Canada, that produced the first atomic weapons.

He told how it “totally changed” the relationship between science and political policy that we still see today.

Prof Reed said: “Suddenly, after the war, a country’s power was going to be based on the strength of its laboratories, universities and scientists – it was traditionally military power.

“It really changed the course of history and thrust scientists into the public sphere like never before.

“We are still living with that legacy 80 years later and I don’t think many people appreciate how many nuclear weapons are still out there.”

Prof Reed has now had his new book ‘Manhattan Project: The Story of the Century’ published to answer crucial questions on the project.

The book does not only portray the history and scientific implications but also provides brief biographies of key figures like the head of the Los Alamos Laboratory Robert Oppenheimer.

Through a variety of illustrations and diagrams, the text chronicles the history of nuclear weapons from the discovery of x-rays to the drop of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

And he explained to how things developed after the war.

He added: “The major development since the Manhattan Project was in the Fifties, when the second generation of these, with the hydrogen bomb – fusion weapons.

“That was anticipated during the war, people had been thinking about it, but you needed the first generation to act as triggers.

“These are immensely powerful weapons, but the historical irony is that these weapons are so phenomenally powerful that they don’t have a credible military mission.

“Oppenheimer was more in favour of developing a broader spectrum of tactical, smaller weapons – but these things get a momentum and bureaucracy of their own that won’t be denied.”

But Prof Reed does not think nuclear war is where the world is heading.

He explained: “Now you have at least five countries with fusion weapons, but I doubt the likes of India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea would need to go down that route now.

“If I was a strategist trying to anticipate future conflicts, I would ask if the current danger is more in the realm of electronic warfare.

“We’ve seen what has happened in Iran and with Russian cyber-security threats, you could do a vast amount of damage to society by shutting off the electrons.

“This is a physicist speculating on military strategy, but it must be immensely cheaper and harder to trace.

“It seems like an irresistible opportunity for a country that wants to create havoc.”

Kashmir a nuclear tinderbox ready to explode: Revelation 8

Raising Indian atrocities in IIOJK: Kashmir a nuclear tinderbox ready to explode: Mushaal

• Lauds US commission for pressing world to put India on religious freedom blacklist

By Hamid Khan Wazir

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: Mushaal Hussein Mullick, the wife of Chairman Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front Yasin Malik, said that Indian fascist forces crossed all limits of barbarism and terrorism in India Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) to press the just movement of the right to self-determination.

Speaking at a protest rally held in Islamabad on Friday against the rising incidents of killings of Kashmiris and unabated human rights violations in the occupied valley IIOJK), she vowed that neither Kashmiris could be deterred nor they could be silent through such brutal and inhuman tactics.

The Chairperson of the Peace and Culture Organization vowed that they would fight for their inalienable right to self-determination till the last drop of blood.

The rally was attended by Hurriyat leaders, human rights activists, and students in large number.

Mushaal said that barbaric and fascist face of the Indian government has been exposed once again by an independent commission of the US, which recommended for the second year in a row that India be placed on a blacklist for religious freedom, saying the treatment of minorities had deteriorated further.

The US Commission on International Religious Freedom in its annual report said that “religious freedom conditions in India continued their negative trajectory.”

Mushaal regretted that though the US and other world powers have the realization of the ground situation in India and various independent organizations exposed the dirty face of India but no action has been taken against this Hindutva regime.

She said that the world should expose strong socio-economic bans and cut all ties with India if they are truly concern about humanity and human rights, adding Kashmir has been turned into a nuclear tinderbox and is ready to explode anytime. She warned that the flames of which will envelop not just the region but also the world.

However, she lamented that Kashmiri people were being martyred, tortured, and nabbed on daily basis, adding that women are being harassed, raped, and abducted but so-called human rights organizations and world power zip their lips and utter no word against these world worst human right violations and brutalities.

Mushaal said that Indian forces have unleashed a fresh wave of barbarity to silence the voice of brave Kashmiri people who have been fighting for just and birthright.

She hailed Matteo Salvini, former Deputy Prime Minister of Italy and leader of the second-largest party in the Italian Parliament, which is part of the ruling coalition, who expressed his support for Kashmiri people, who promised to raise the issue at the European Union forums. Mushaal said that the Indian brutal government can’t keep Kashmir under its brutal subjugation for long as now the sane voices started raising voice for the long-denied right to Kashmiris.

The chairperson urged that the world should shun the duplicity and double-standard and should take tangible and practical steps to resolve the Kashmir dispute as per the aspirations of the Kashmiri people.

Israel Retaliates Outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

Gantz: If quiet is not kept, Gaza will suffer

Security officials tie the escalation to the event in Jerusalem * Kohavi pushes off trip to the US

Security officials hold that the escalation in Gaza, in which over 30 rockets were launched from the strip into Israeli territory in the night between Friday and Saturday, is tied to the ongoing riots in Jerusalem, in which extreme-right Jews and Arab clashed throughout the week.

Some 36 rockets were launched from Gaza into Israeli territory in the night between Friday and Saturday. Six of which were intercepted, and an IDF tank attacked a Hamas outpost as IAF aircraft struck rocket launchers in retaliation during the night.It is believed that a further escalation in Jerusalem could lead to an escalation in the south — and vice versa — calming the clashes in the capital could stop the deterioration of the situation in Gaza.

It is also believed that this barrage slipped out of Hamas’s hands, and there was no intention by Hamas to ignite the situation with Israel. Most of the rockets were fired by what is dubbed in the security establishment as “recalcitrant organization” such as the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Most of the rockets landed in open fields and were fired to short ranges — and were not aimed at major civilian areas, which could also indicate that there was no intention to further escalate the situation.

Meanwhile, Defense Ministry Benny Gantz said on Saturday that if the quiet will not be kept on the Gaza border, the Strip will be severely hit — in its economy, security, and from the civilian perspective.”Speaking after a situation assessment meeting, Gantz said that “the equation is very clear to them [Hamas]. The IDF is ready for the option of further escalation, and we will do anything we can to maintain the situation calm.”

Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi has instructed the army to prepare for a possible escalation.

Due to the situation, Kohavi postponed his upcoming trip to the United States to an unknown date.

Kohavi is supposed to meet top US defense officials such as National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, and Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley.

On Saturday afternoon, Kohavi held a security assessment meeting with senior IDF officials at the Kiryah in Tel Aviv. Included in the meeting were Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Benny Gantz, Public Security Minister Amir Ohana, Mossad chief Yossi Cohen, National Security Council Chief Meir Ben-Shabbat, and Israel Police Cheif Kobi Shabtai, in addition to others.

The first three launches were detected as coming from the Gaza Strip and falling near the town of Kisufim, in the Eshkol Regional Council. The IDF’s Iron Dome missile-defense system intercepted one of them. The other two fell in open areas near the border fence.

Later on Friday night, at around 1:50 a.m., additional sirens were heard at Alumim, Be’eri, Kfar Maimon, and Tushiya, in the Sdot Negev and Eshkol regional councils.

Minutes later, more sirens were heard in Mivtahim, Amioz, Yesha, Nir Yitzhak, Tzohar, and Ohad, all in the Eshkol Regional Council.

Just before Israel’s top security officials convened with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for a situation assessment meeting, the Mujahideen Brigades in Gaza launched test rockets toward the sea, as part of a drill commemorating 20 years to their establishment.

The IDF briefly instructed citizens living in the border communities to avoid working in the fields adjacent to the fence, to halt the activities of the education system, and prevented large gatherings of people.

However, the restrictions were lifted, and as of Saturday morning, there are no limitations.

Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid commented on the events and said: “The residents of the border communities near Gaza had a hard night. The State of Israel can’t allow them to go back to a reality of fear and terror.

“Hamas must pay a heavy price for breaking the quiet [atmosphere],” he said. “I send my support to the residents of the [Gaza] envelope.

“36 rockets. Hamas in the south, Hezbollah in the north, and Iran are all seeing the weakness of our paralyzed government,” he added.

Idan Zonshine and Gadi Zaig contributed to this report.

Israeli army hits Hamas positions outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

Israeli army hits Hamas positions in Gaza

Israeli forces hit Hamas positions early Saturday after it said three rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip.

“In response to the 3 rockets fired at Israel earlier tonight, we struck a Hamas military post in Gaza,” the Israeli army said on Twitter.

Tanks deployed on the Israel-Gaza border targeted the observation point belonging to the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Palestinian resistance group, Hamas, in Gaza and Rafah.

No casualties or injuries were reported.

The Israeli army also claimed that two rockets were fired from Gaza, with one intercepted by the Iron Dome Aerial Defense System.

The other one was reported to have fallen near the Gaza-Israel border.

Later, Israel warplanes launched airstrikes in the Matar Gaza area, located east of Rafah city.

According to the information obtained from the eyewitnesses in Gaza, Israeli warplanes carried out two airstrikes on agricultural lands in the area.

No casualties were reported.

In a Twitter post, the Israeli army said that underground infrastructure and rocket launchers of Hamas were hit by warplanes in response to rockets fired at Israel.

Meanwhile, the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, the armed wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), claimed responsibility for the rocket shells fired at Israel.

In a written statement, the Palestinian group said the rocket shells were fired in response to Israel’s attacks on Gaza.

“We had previously warned Israel of its attacks on the Palestinian people and emphasized that it would pay a heavy price,” the group added.