A Lack Of Vigilance Before The Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

      Faults Underlying Exercise Vigilant GuardStory by: (Author NameStaff Sgt. Raymond Drumsta – 138th Public Affairs Detachment
Dated: Thu, Nov 5, 2009
This map illustrates the earthquake fault lines in Western New York. An earthquake in the region is a likely event, says University of Buffalo Professor Dr. Robert Jacobi.
TONAWANDA, NY — An earthquake in western New York, the scenario that Exercise Vigilant Guard is built around, is not that far-fetched, according to University of Buffalo geology professor Dr. Robert Jacobi.
When asked about earthquakes in the area, Jacobi pulls out a computer-generated state map, cross-hatched with diagonal lines representing geological faults.
The faults show that past earthquakes in the state were not random, and could occur again on the same fault systems, he said.
“In western New York, 6.5 magnitude earthquakes are possible,” he said.
This possibility underlies Exercise Vigilant Guard, a joint training opportunity for National Guard and emergency response organizations to build relationships with local, state, regional and federal partners against a variety of different homeland security threats including natural disasters and potential terrorist attacks.
The exercise was based on an earthquake scenario, and a rubble pile at the Spaulding Fibre site here was used to simulate a collapsed building. The scenario was chosen as a result of extensive consultations with the earthquake experts at the University of Buffalo’s Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research (MCEER), said Brig. Gen. Mike Swezey, commander of 53rd Troop Command, who visited the site on Monday.
Earthquakes of up to 7 magnitude have occurred in the Northeastern part of the continent, and this scenario was calibrated on the magnitude 5.9 earthquake which occurred in Saguenay, Quebec in 1988, said Jacobi and Professor Andre Filiatrault, MCEER director.
“A 5.9 magnitude earthquake in this area is not an unrealistic scenario,” said Filiatrault.
Closer to home, a 1.9 magnitude earthquake occurred about 2.5 miles from the Spaulding Fibre site within the last decade, Jacobi said. He and other earthquake experts impaneled by the Atomic Energy Control Board of Canada in 1997 found that there’s a 40 percent chance of 6.5 magnitude earthquake occurring along the Clareden-Linden fault system, which lies about halfway between Buffalo and Rochester, Jacobi added.
Jacobi and Filiatrault said the soft soil of western New York, especially in part of downtown Buffalo, would amplify tremors, causing more damage.
“It’s like jello in a bowl,” said Jacobi.
The area’s old infrastructure is vulnerable because it was built without reinforcing steel, said Filiatrault. Damage to industrial areas could release hazardous materials, he added.
“You’ll have significant damage,” Filiatrault said.
Exercise Vigilant Guard involved an earthquake’s aftermath, including infrastructure damage, injuries, deaths, displaced citizens and hazardous material incidents. All this week, more than 1,300 National Guard troops and hundreds of local and regional emergency response professionals have been training at several sites in western New York to respond these types of incidents.
Jacobi called Exercise Vigilant Guard “important and illuminating.”
“I’m proud of the National Guard for organizing and carrying out such an excellent exercise,” he said.
Training concluded Thursday.

How the Australian Horn Helped Russia: Daniel 7

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy condemned the Russian capture of the Chernobyl reactor site (Image by Dan Jensen)

How Australian uranium ended up in war-torn Ukraine

By Dave Sweeney | 28 February 2022, 3:00pm |  4 comments | 

With war raging in Ukraine, the Australian Conservation Foundation’s Dave Sweeney looks at nuclear threats in the region, including a worrying Australian connection.

IN 1986, a catastrophic meltdown at the Chernobyl reactor turned the global spotlight on nuclear power and Ukraine’s nuclear industry.

Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev said Chernobyl hastened the collapse of the Soviet Union. The human, environmental and economic costs of the meltdown were massive, and continue today — as does Chernobyl’s place in the global media gaze.

Reports that Russian troops have captured the site have sent shivers around the world and been described by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as a “grave concern” and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy as a “declaration of war against the whole of Europe”.

Apart from the reactors at the Chernobyl complex – including the concrete sarcophagus encased reactor four – the site is home to more than two hundred tonnes of plutonium, spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste.

HELEN CALDICOTT: Small modular reactors — a radioactive idea

Politicians debating nuclear power as an energy source know little of the facts that make small modular reactors a bad idea, writes Dr Helen Caldicott.

If the complex cooling and containment measures are breached, broken or abandoned, there is a very real chance of an uncontrolled radiation release that, according to Ukraine Interior Minister Anton Herashenko, could scatter poison over Ukraine, Belarus and the EU.

In the shadow of the Chernobyl disaster and a sustained record of poor performance and governance at Ukraine’s 15 other ageing reactors, one might think a proposal in the latter half of the last decade to supply Australian uranium to Ukraine would not get off the ground.

Yet such a plan was proposed and advanced by the Federal Government only five years ago.

Environmentalists and independent security analysts raised concerns about the risks inherent in the proposal and cautioned Australia – the nation that fuelled Fukushima – not to sell uranium to the country that gave the world Chernobyl.

JSCOT did eventually sign off on the uranium deal, but this was no green light for yellowcake.

As is the norm with international treaty arrangements, the sales plan was considered by the Federal Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT).

JSCOT conceded that existing safeguards were not sufficient and there was a risk Australian nuclear material would disappear off the radar in Ukraine.

HELEN CALDICOTT: Small modular reactors — same nuclear disasters
HELEN CALDICOTT: Small modular reactors — same nuclear disasters

The Morrison Government has opened the door to the notion of nuclear power as peddled by the nuclear sociopaths.

Its approval was conditional and required that:

‘…the Australian Government undertakes a proper assessment of risks and develops and maintains a suitable contingency plan for the removal of Australian nuclear material if the material is at risk of a loss of regulatory control.’

There has been no subsequent detail provided by the Government on the status of this modest and prudent check and balance.

Less than a year ago, in April 2021, the first Australian uranium made its way to Ukraine.

The Australian Nuclear Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office (ASNO) is a unit within the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade that is charged with ensuring Australia’s nuclear trade, at least on paper, complies with global nuclear security commitments and safety standards.

In its 2020-2021 annual report, ASNO referenced the Ukraine deal and the bland language failed to cover some disturbing trends and omissions.

In April 2021, ASNO facilitated the first transfer of AONM (note: Australian uranium is formally referred to as Australian Obligated Nuclear Material or AONM), within fuel elements manufactured in Sweden, to Ukraine.

2021 will see the commencement of bilateral annual reporting between Australia and Ukraine, following the first transfer of AONM to Ukraine in April 2021. The Australia-Ukraine Nuclear Cooperation Agreement entered into force in June 2017

The IAEA has continued to draw soundly based safeguards conclusions for States with safeguards agreements. In 2020, Libya regained the broader conclusion (lost in 2019) through the implementation of safeguards activities there. Ukraine lost its broader conclusion as circumstances there prevented the IAEA from verifying certain nuclear materials in Crimea.

Notwithstanding the loss of the broader conclusion, on the basis of the IAEA’s evaluation of all safeguards relevant information available, the IAEA did not find indications that would give rise to proliferation concern.

(Note: “Broader conclusion” means an IAEA conclusion – sometimes based on highly constrained or limited data – that all nuclear material remained in peaceful activities.)

Even before this week’s dramatic escalation, the chain of the world’s primary nuclear “watchdog” did not stretch as far as Ukraine. Now the situation is far worse. We have scant knowledge or effective control of Australian-origin uranium.

This material is there now and is presumably fuelling some of Ukraine’s 15 ageing and underperforming nuclear reactors, two-thirds of which have now reached or exceeded their design life use-by date.

Fukushima, the 'nuclear renaissance' and the Morrison Government
Fukushima, the ‘nuclear renaissance’ and the Morrison Government

Despite the death of the “nuclear renaissance” following Fukushima, the nuclear corporations and ill-informed Morrison Government will not accept defeat.

Ukraine’s wider nuclear sector is plagued by serious and unresolved safety, security and governance issues and some reactors have previously been the focus of armed assaults from separatists.

Uranium is a dual-use material that can be used for civil power production or diverted for far less civil purposes. The inherent risks and the connections between nuclear technology and security threats have again been put into sharp and deeply disturbing relief in Ukraine.

As a supplier of a fuel that has unique properties and risks, Australia has a minimum responsibility to make sure this occurs in a transparent and responsible way.

This is not the situation in Ukraine.

In developing a coordinated national response to the growing war-fighting the Australian Government should urgently revisit, review and act on JSCOT’s call.

To do less runs the real risk of Australian uranium fuelling uncertainty and radioactive risk.

Dave Sweeney is the Australian Conservation Foundation’s nuclear-free campaigner and was a founding member of ICAN. You can follow him on Twitter @nukedavesweeney.

Putin Prepares for Nuclear War: Revelation 16

Opening Ceremony – Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics Day 0
Vladimir Putin, president of Russia

Putin puts Russian nuclear forces on high alert

Russian leader complains about Western response to his invasion of Ukraine.

BY DAVID M. HERSZENHORN

February 27, 2022 3:17 pm

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his nuclear forces on high alert Sunday, reminding the world he has the power to use weapons of mass destruction, after complaining about the West’s response to his invasion of Ukraine.

Putin’s threat came during yet another highly-staged meeting, broadcast to the Russian public on video, this time with his top military commanders, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and the chief of the general staff of the Russian military, Valery Gerasimov.

“The top officials of the leading NATO countries allow aggressive statements against our country,” Putin griped, a day after Germany and other European countries said they would speed weapons and other military assistance to help Ukraine battle the Russian invaders.

“Therefore, I order the Minister of Defense and the Chief of the General Staff to transfer the deterrence forces of the Russian army to a special mode of combat duty.”

Kashmir dispute will trigger nuclear war: Revelation 8

Kashmir dispute can trigger nuclear war, warns AJK

Tariq NaqashPublished February 27, 2022 – Updated a day ago

MUZAFFARABAD: Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Prime Minister Sardar Abdul Qayyum Niazi on Saturday said the Kashmiris wanted settlement of their longstanding issue in accordance with the United Nations resolutions but warned that the failure of international community to address this dispute could force Pakistan to resort to a nuclear war with India.

“…We have not developed the atom bomb for a showcase. If the international community does not settle our [Kashmir] issue, the whole world will be in flames,” he cautioned in his speech at a function in the city of Kotli.

According to a handout issued by the Press Information Department, Mr Niazi pointed out that India had turned occupied Kashmir into the largest military concentration camp of the world after Aug 5, 2019 and added that Kashmiris would chase [Indian PM] Narendra Modi across the globe to expose his war crimes in the occupied territory.

“Our leader Imran Khan is a brave man; neither does he panic nor does he feel anxiety. As an ambassador of the Kashmiris, he has repeatedly said that Pakistan will respect whatever decision the Kashmiris take regarding their future status.”

Eulogizing the armed forces of Pakistan for being ‘as strong as our faith’, he said the Kashmiris stood shoulder to shoulder with them.

“If our soldiers were not standing guard at the bunkers along the Line of Control (LoC), how could have we lived with peace in Dabsi, Darra Sher Khan and Neelum,” he said, naming some of the AJK areas along the LoC.

Mr Niazi went on to declare that if India’s cowardly army resorted to shelling at the unarmed AJK residents, Pakistan army would not sit at ease.

He said [AJK President] Barrister Sultan Mahmood enjoyed command over the Kashmir issue and had been highlighting it in the best manner.

Of himself, he said Prime Minister Khan had entrusted him with the task of looking after the affairs of governance in the “base camp of Kashmir freedom movement” keeping in view of his four decades long political struggle.

“In politics, neither did I usurp the rights of anyone nor did I do injustice to anyone,” he asserted.

Mr Niazi assured the audience that the government would reconstruct all dilapidated roads along the LoC under its reliefpackage.

He said since Kotli had recently been granted the big-city status, work on the ring road project and water supply schemes would be expedited to facilitate its residents.

Referring to a recently signed MoU, PM Niazi said that the AJK government would receive an income of Rs12 billion in terms of water use charges of Mangla dam which would be spent on the wellbeing of the people.

Published in Dawn, February 27th, 2022

Iran Will Nuke Up Even After Deal: Daniel 8

Iran to enrich uranium to 20% even after deal

February 27, 2022

Iran will continue to enrich uranium to 20 percent purity even after sanctions on it are lifted and a 2015 nuclear deal with world powers is revived, Iranian news agencies quoted the country’s nuclear chief as saying. “(Uranium) enrichment … continues with a maximum ceiling of 60 percent, which led Westerners to rush to negotiations, and it will continue with the lifting of sanctions by both 20 percent and 5 percent,” the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Mohammad Eslami, was quoted by the semi-official news agency Fars as saying.

The 2015 deal restricts the purity to which Iran can enrich uranium to 3.67 percent, far below the roughly 90 percent that is weapons-grade or the 20 percent Iran reached before the deal. Iran is now enriching to various levels, the highest being around 60 percent.

Eslami did not elaborate or explain how 20 percent enrichment would be acceptable under the 2015 nuclear deal which Iran has been trying to revive through indirect talks with the US. –Reuters

Senior Russian security official issues a threat of Nuclear War: Revelation 16

Dmitry Medvedev is seen speaking in front of a microphone
Security Council Deputy Chairman Medvedev warned Moscow may opt out of the last nuclear arms treaty with the US [Yekaterina Shtukina/Sputnik via AP]

Senior Russian security official issues stark threats to the West

Former President Dmitry Medvedev says Moscow may respond to sanctions by cutting diplomatic ties with the West and freezing personal assets.

Published On 26 Feb 202226 Feb 2022

Moscow may respond to Western sanctions by opting out of the last nuclear arms deal with the United States, cutting diplomatic ties with Western nations, and freezing their assets, a senior Russian official warned.

The threat on Saturday by former President Dmitry Medvedev came as Russia’s ties with the West sank to new lows over its invasion of Ukraine.

Medvedev, deputy head of Russia’s Security Council chaired by President Vladimir Putin, also warned Moscow could restore the death penalty after Russia was removed from Europe’s top rights group – a chilling statement that shocked human rights activists in a country that has not had capital punishment for a quarter-century.

The sanctions placed new tight restrictions on Russian financial operations, imposed a draconian ban on technology exports to Russia and froze the assets of Putin and his foreign minister, a harsh response that dwarfed earlier Western restrictions.

Washington and its allies say even tougher sanctions are possible, including kicking Russia out of SWIFT, the dominant system for global financial transactions.

In sarcastic comments posted on a Russian social platform, Medvedev dismissed the sanctions as a show of Western “political impotence” that will only consolidate the Russian leadership and foment anti-Western feelings.

“We are being driven out of everywhere, punished and threatened, but we don’t feel scared,” he said, mocking the sanctions imposed by the US and its allies as an attempt to vindicate their past “shameful decisions, like a cowardly retreat from Afghanistan”.

Medvedev was placeholder president in 2008-2012 when Putin had to shift into the prime minister’s seat because of term limits. He then let Putin reclaim the presidency and served as his prime minister for eight years.

Day 3 of the Russian invasion in Ukraine

During his tenure as president, Medvedev was widely seen as more liberal compared with Putin, but on Saturday, he made a series of threats that even the most hawkish Kremlin figures have not mentioned to date.

Medvedev noted the sanctions offer the Kremlin a pretext to completely review its ties with the West, suggesting Russia could opt out of the New START nuclear arms control treaty that limits the US and Russian nuclear arsenals.

The treaty, which Medvedev signed in 2010 with then-US President Barack Obama, limits each country to no more than 1,550 deployed nuclear warheads and 700 deployed missiles and bombers, and envisages sweeping on-site inspections to verify compliance.

The pact – the last remaining US-Russian nuclear arms control agreement – had been set to expire in February 2021 but Moscow and Washington extended it for another five years.

If Russia opts out of the agreement now, it will remove any checks on US and Russian nuclear forces and raise new threats to global security.

‘Binoculars and gunsights’

Medvedev also raised the prospect of cutting diplomatic ties with Western countries, saying “there is no particular need in maintaining diplomatic relations” and adding, “We may look at each other in binoculars and gunsights.”

Referring to Western threats to freeze the assets of Russian companies and individuals, Medvedev warned said Moscow would not hesitate to do the same.

“We would need to respond in kind by freezing the assets of foreigners and foreign companies in Russia … and possibly by nationalising the assets of those who come from unfriendly jurisdictions,” he said. “The most interesting things are only starting now.”

‘Return to the Middle Ages’

Commenting on the Council of Europe’s move on Friday to suspend Russia’s representation in Europe’s leading human rights organisation, Medvedev described it as one of the “useless nursing homes” that Russia mistakenly joined.

He added it offers “a good opportunity” to restore the death penalty for grave crimes, noting the US and China have never stopped using it.

Moscow has maintained a moratorium on capital punishment since August 1996 as part of the obligations it accepted when it joined the Council of Europe.

Medvedev’s statement terrified Russia’s human rights activists who warned the prospect of reinstatement of the death penalty is particularly ominous in Russia because of its flawed judicial system.

Eva Merkacheva, a member of the Kremlin human rights council, deplored it as a “catastrophe” and a “return to the Middle Ages”.

“Given the very low quality of criminal investigation, any person could be convicted and executed,” she said. “To say that I’m horrified is to say nothing.”

The Russian invasion of Ukraine triggered a series of anti-war protests in Moscow, St Petersburg and other cities across Russia, which were quickly dispersed by police who arrested hundreds.

As part of efforts to stifle dissenting voices, Russia’s state communications watchdog issued notices to top independent media outlets, warning they will face closure if they continue to distribute information about the fighting that deviates from the official line.

On Friday, the watchdog also announced “partial restrictions” on access to Facebook in response to the platform limiting the accounts of several Kremlin-backed media. It did not say what exactly its restrictions implied.

The war in Ukraine portends the End: Revelation

Photo of soldiers in Kyiv outside a building damaged by a missile
Ukrainian police officers outside a building in Kyiv damaged by a Russian missile, on February 25, 2022.

The war in Ukraine could portend the end of the “long peace”

The decline of major conflict helped support decades of prosperity, but that future is now in doubt.

By Bryan Walsh@bryanrwalsh  Feb 26, 2022, 6:00am EST

As I walk my 4-year-old son to day care each morning, we often pass by one of Brooklyn’s many old apartment buildings. Just visible near the stairs leading to the basement is a sign, faded with age, of three yellow triangles against a black circle, poised above two words: “fallout shelter.”

Such signs used to adorn tens of thousands of buildings around the US, a legacy of President John F. Kennedy’s effort during the height of the Cold War to identify structures that could plausibly provide some protection from the radioactive fallout of a nuclear strike.

These spaces were eventually meant to be equipped with essentials like water and medical kits designed to last two weeks, by which time it was hoped that the worst of the radioactivity would have dispersed and survivors could emerge to whatever was left.

But most of the equipment was never moved into place, and by the early 1970s funding for the program had dried up, leaving little more than the signs as a reminder of a period when the threat of nuclear holocaust was real enough to prepare for — however futile those preparations would have been.

The end of the long peace

Those abandoned fallout shelters were on my mind on Wednesday night as I watched Russia overturn decades of seemingly settled international policy with an invasion of Ukraine that was as premeditated as it was shocking. What sets this action apart from the countless conflicts, large and small, that have unfolded over recent decades, is the specter of nuclear weapons.

That was implicit in Russia’s decision to exercise its strategic nuclear forces in the leadup to the invasion, in Putin’s absurd casus belli claim that Ukraine was going to develop its own nuclear weapons, in his threat that countries that interfered with Russian actions would face “consequences you have never seen.” As Roger Cohen pointed out in the New York Times, Putin’s speech “seemed to come closer to threatening nuclear war than any statement from a major world leader in recent decades.”

The irony is that one of the reasons Ukraine was vulnerable to a Russian invasion is that it does not possess nuclear weapons. It agreed in 1994 to give up Soviet nukes that had been left in its territory after the USSR’s breakup in exchange for an agreement that the US, the UK, and Russia would guarantee its security. And one of the reasons that Putin could invade knowing that international opposition would be largely limited to diplomatic and financial tools was that Russia still possesses the world’s largest nuclear arsenal.

It has also retained strategic ambiguity about just when and why it would use those weapons, including the possibility it would threaten a nuclear strike if it were on the losing side of a conventional conflict with NATO.

As Vox’s Zack Beauchamp writes, what we’re seeing is an illustration of the “stability-instability paradox” of nuclear weapons. As the chance of nuclear conflict declines, the theory holds, the risk of conventional war increases, and as the likelihood of nuclear conflict increases, the risk of conventional war declines. That in turn helps explain another paradox: why the decades following the introduction of nuclear weapons — weapons that, in their most maximalist effect, could conceivably bring an end to human civilization — also saw a historic fall in the number of war-related deaths around the world.

Chart of battle deaths 1945-2016

These decades go by another name: “the long peace.” The name can be a bit misleading — for much of the world, these years have been anything but peaceful, with the number of discrete conflicts beginning to rise in the 1960s and staying high ever since.

These ranged from large conflicts like America’s decade in Vietnam and the 1980s Iran-Iraq war to countless small skirmishes, often conflicts within countries, that barely penetrated the international media. But compared to the blood-stained decades that marked the first half of the 20th century — which saw more than 100 million deaths in World Wars I and II combined — let alone humanity’s tremendously violent past, these years have indeed been a holiday from history.

And if the invasion of Ukraine marks a decisive end to that holiday, as some experts have suggested, we risk losing far more than peace.

The wages of peace

When Future Perfect was launched in 2018, Vox’s Dylan Matthews laid out a founding question: “What topics would we write about if our only instruction was to write about the most important stuff in the world?”

The years that followed provided some of the answers: the battle against global poverty and the common diseases that still kill too many of the world’s poorest; the growth of effective altruism and the rigorous movement to do the most good per dollar; the expansion of moral concern from tribe and nation to all of humanity and even non-human species; and yes, occasionally, the existential threat of superintelligent AI.

What these topics have in common is that they all flourish best in peace.

The last half-century or more hasn’t just seen a historic reduction in the casualties of war. It’s also witnessed an unprecedented expansion in human prosperity, as measured in health, wealth, and education. It’s an expansion that is far from perfect and far from complete, but one that has opened the door, even just a crack, to a future that truly could be perfect.

That progress, I would argue, depends on peace. Unchecked war is the great destroyer of human value. One estimate from 2019 put the economic impact of violence and conflict at $14.4 trillion that year, equivalent to more than 10 percent of gross global GDP.

But dollar figures are only one way of counting the destruction. A world where borders can once again be remade with force, where countries and their citizens no longer feel secure from better-armed neighbors, is one where the broader goals Future Perfect covers (and values) will be harder to achieve, where the circle of moral concern could shrink rather than grow. It is a return to barbarity.

Fighting back

Understanding the value of peace doesn’t mean the world should do nothing as Russian troops and arms pour into Ukraine — far from it. A Russian takeover of Ukraine at the point of a gun doesn’t merely destabilize its European neighbors; it potentially opens the door for other increasingly authoritarian countries to take what they can by force. Today Kyiv, tomorrow Taipei.

Even if the chain of events doesn’t end in World War III — and as Dylan Matthews wrote recently, we have far too little data about great-power conflicts to know when major wars will begin or how to stop them — the political and even psychological foundations of the long peace would begin to erode.

Just what can be done to stop this is far from clear. The effective altruism community has recently become more interested in the goal of preventing great-power conflict, but promoting direct cash giving or distributing malaria bed nets looks a lot more tractable than preventing a major war, thanks in part to the stability-instability paradox. How hard can we push back before we risk solving that paradox in the worst possible way, a solution that ends in those dusty fallout shelters?

At Future Perfect, we pride ourselves on covering the issues that will truly matter for humanity’s long term, not just the news of the day. But this is a rare moment when the news of the day may well prove decisive for just what shape that long term will take.