Complacency Before the First Nuclear War (Revelation 8 )

World War 3: India and Pakistan ‘complacent’ about nuclear war risk, warns expert

INDIA and Pakistan are both dangerously complacent about the risk of nuclear war, a defence analyst has warned after further skirmishes along the border dividing the disputed Kashmir region.

By Ciaran McGrath 10:00, Sat, May 23, 2020 | UPDATED: 17:19, Sat, May 23, 2020

India Pakistan: Imran Khan issues warning about Kashmir

The tensions were illustrated this week after reports of “heavy shelling” in the Poonch district of the Jammu and Kashmir region along the so-called Line of Control. The Kashmir Walla website reported Pakistan troops had shelled Indian Army posts, with the Indian Army retaliating. No casualties were reported.

The greatest complacency comes from India and Pakistan, in that both have settled into assumptions that they can safely attack each other without triggering major escalation

Frank O’Donnell

Frank O’Donnell, a Nonresident Fellow with the Stimson Center South Asia Program, said the incident highlighted the ongoing risks of dangerous escalation.

He told Express.co.uk: “The greatest complacency comes from India and Pakistan, in that both have settled into assumptions that they can safely attack each other without triggering major escalation.

“Both are certain that they know where the other’s nuclear threshold is, despite this being not what is publicly stated as the threshold by that country.”Narendra Modi’s India and Imran Khan’s Pakistan are complacent about the risks, said Mr O’Donnell

Indian soldiers in Kashmir (Image: GETTY)

With reference to the latest clashes, he added: “This forms another uptick in the long history of anti-India unrest in Kashmir, as well as provocative actions by Pakistan along the Line of Control.

“Sudden and sustained incidents of Pakistani shelling of Indian positions are often conducted to provide covering fire for Pakistan-sponsored militants to sneak into Indian-administered Kashmir, although it is unclear if this occurred in this specific episode.”

The incidents also demonstrated a need for India’s President, Narendra Modi, to modify his belligerent approach, Mr O’Donnell said.

Youths throw rocks at Indian security forces in Kashmir (Image: GETTY)

He explained: “What is more prominent is how these Indian armed operations, both along the Line of Control and within Srinagar, have disproven BJP claims during the 2016 ‘surgical strike’ and 2019 Pulwama-Balakot crisis that India’s actions there had sufficiently restored deterrence against Pakistan, and that the above Pakistani actions would all but cease.

“To avoid further dangerous experimentation with escalation ladder thresholds between these nuclear adversaries, India should return to its strategy of diplomatic multilateral coercion adopted after the 2008 Mumbai attacks.”

Mr O’Donnell’s 2019 essay, Stabilizing Nuclear Southern Asia, which was published last year, noted such an approach had proved far more costly to Pakistan, quoting a Pakistani military officer as saying: “Terrorism emanating from Pakistan does not pay.

The Kashmir region is the source of considerable volatility (Image: GETTY)

Indian soldiers on patrol in Kashmir (Image: GETTY)

“If India can make Pakistan appear to be the source of terror, Pakistan appears to be the laughing stock, the one the world condemns.

“This is a better result for India than they would get from a war!”

India and Pakistan have clashed on numerous occasions since Indian independence in 1947, and the formation of two sovereign nations, the Dominion of India and the Dominion of Pakistan.

The biggest World War 3 flashpoints (Image: Daily Express)

The two countries went to war in 1965 in a conflict triggered by disputes related to the Jammu and Kashmir region, with thousands of casualties on each side prior to the imposition of a United Nations-mandated ceasefire.

A second war was fought in 1971, which eventually resulted in East Pakistan becoming Bangladesh.

More recently, the two came close to war last year after a suicide bomber killed 38 Indian military policeman, with India blaming Islamist militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed.

The Kashmir region has a complex history (Image: GETTY)

India responded by launching a series of raids on a Jaish camp, and Pakistan then retaliated by shooting down an Indian jet.

Speaking at the United Nations last year, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan said: “My main reason for coming here was to meet world leaders at the UN and speak about this.

“We are heading for a potential disaster of proportions that no one here realises.

“It is the only time since the Cuban crisis that two nuclear-armed countries are coming face to face. We did come to face to face in February.”

America’s Nuclear Testing Before Nuclear War (Revelation 8 )

US discussed holding first nuclear test in decades: Washington Post

by Agencies , (Last Updated 16 hours ago)

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump’s administration has discussed holding the first US nuclear test since 1992 as a potential warning to Russia and China, The Washington Post reported on Friday.

Such a test would be a significant departure from US defence policy and dramatically up the ante for other nuclear-armed nations.

One analyst told the newspaper that if it were to go ahead it would be seen as the “starting gun to an unprecedented nuclear arms race”.

The report, citing one senior Trump administration official and two former officials, all who spoke anonymously, said the discussion had taken place at a meeting on May 15.

It came after some US officials reportedly claimed that Russia and China were conducting their own low-yield tests. Moscow and Beijing have denied the claims, and the US has not offered evidence for them.

The senior administration official said that demonstrating Washington’s ability to “rapid test” would be a useful negotiating tactic as the US seeks a trilateral agreement with Russia and China over nuclear weapons.

The meeting did not conclude with any agreement, and the sources were divided over whether discussions were still ongoing.

Nuclear non-proliferation activists were quick to condemn the idea.

“It would be the starting gun to an unprecedented nuclear arms race,” Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, told the Washington Post.

He added that it would also likely “disrupt” negotiations with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, “who may no longer feel compelled to honour his moratorium on nuclear testing”.

The Trump administration has repeatedly shaken up US defence policy.

The Washington Post report came one day after Trump announced that he plans to withdraw from the Open Skies treaty with Russia, which was designed to improve military transparency and confidence between the superpowers.

It is the third arms control pact Trump has abrogated since coming to the office.

Russia has insisted it will abide by the 18-year-old agreement, which seeks to lower the risk of war by permitting each signatory country’s military to conduct a certain number of surveillance flights over another member country each year on short notice.

European nations have also urged Trump to reconsider.

Facing reelection in November, Trump has also significantly hardened his rhetoric against China in recent weeks, repeatedly criticising Beijing’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic which first emerged there.

He has made repeated but vague threats of retaliation against the chief US economic rival, which has denied all his accusations.

Earlier this month Trump called for involving China in new arms control talks with Russia, telling his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin they need to avoid a “costly arms race”.

It is not the first time Trump’s defence policy has raised concerns the administration is elevating the risk of nuclear war.

In February the Pentagon announced it had deployed a submarine carrying a new long-range missile with a relatively small nuclear warhead, saying it was in response to Russian tests of similar weapons.

Critics worry that small nukes would be more likely to be used because they cause less damage, thereby lowering the threshold for nuclear conflict.

But the Pentagon says it is crucial to deterring rivals like Moscow who might assume that, with only large, massively destructive nuclear weapons in its arsenal, the US would not respond to another country’s first use of a small, “tactical” nuclear bomb.

The Final Nuclear Deal Ends

Amid Russia and China tensions, US mulls first nuclear test since 1992 — report

Top security agency officials said to hold talks on possible test ahead of negotiations with Beijing and Moscow over weapons treaty

By TOI staff and AgenciesToday, 11:13 am

Senior US officials have discussed carrying out the country’s first nuclear test since 1992, the Washington Post reported Friday, amid increasing tensions with Russia and China.

A senior administration official and two former officials familiar with the discussions said the suggestion was raised at a May 15 meeting of top security agency officials after the Trump administration accused Russia and China of carrying out low-yield nuclear tests. Beijing and Moscow have denied the accusations.

An unnamed official told the newspaper that it was suggested a test could be helpful to Washington’s negotiating position as the US begins new nuclear arms control talks with the Kremlin aimed at replacing an expiring weapons treaty with a modern and potentially three-way accord that brings China into the fold.

Such a test would be a significant departure from US defense policy and dramatically up the ante for other nuclear-armed nations. One analyst told the newspaper that if it were to go ahead it would be seen as the “starting gun to an unprecedented nuclear arms race.”

According to the report, no decision was made about carrying out a test but it is “very much an ongoing conversation.” However another person privy to the discussions said it was ultimately decided that other steps would be taken instead.

Beatrice Fihn of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), the group that won the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize, warned a Trump nuclear test could “plunge us back into a new Cold War.”

“It would also blow up any chance of avoiding a dangerous new nuclear arms race. It would complete the erosion of the global arms control framework,” she said in a statement.

The US has not ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, known as the CTBT, which has 196 member states — 183 that have signed the treaty and 164 that have ratified it.

The treaty has not entered into force because it still needs ratification by eight countries that had nuclear power reactors or research reactors when the UN General Assembly adopted it in 1996: the United States, China, Iran, Israel, Egypt, India, Pakistan and North Korea.

The reported deliberations came days before US President Donald Trump said that Russian violations make it untenable for the US to stay in a treaty that permits 30-plus nations to conduct observation flights over each other’s territory, but he hinted it’s possible the US will reconsider the decision to withdraw.

Senior administration officials say Trump’s willingness to leave the Open Skies Treaty is evidence of how prominently arms control verification and compliance will feature in the new talks.

The Open Skies Treaty that governs the unarmed overflights was initially set up to promote trust and avert conflict between the US and Russia. The Trump administration informed other members of the treaty that the US plans to pull out in six months — which is after the presidential election — because Russia is violating the pact. The White House also says that imagery collected during the flights can be obtained quickly at less cost from US or commercial satellites.

Trump’s national security adviser Robert O’Brien said the president has made clear that the United States will not remain a party to international agreements being violated by the other parties and that are no longer in America’s interests. He noted that Russian violations are also what prompted Trump last year to pull out of a 1987 nuclear arms treaty with Russia.

That treaty, signed by President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, banned production, testing and deployment of intermediate-range land-based cruise and ballistic missiles with a range of 500 to 5,500 kilometers (310 to 3,410 miles).

New START Treaty, which expires in February shortly after the next presidential inauguration, now is the only remaining treaty constraining the US and Russian nuclear arsenals. It imposes limits on the number of US and Russian long-range nuclear warheads and launchers. Russia has offered to extend the treaty, but Trump is holding out in hopes of negotiating a three-way agreement with Russia and China.

Iran Tramples Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei attends a meeting with thousands of students in Tehran, Iran, on Nov. 3, 2019. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)

Iran’s Khamenei Says Liberating Palestine Is ‘Islamic Duty’

TEHRAN, Iran (AFP) — Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said it was an “Islamic duty” to fight for the “liberation of Palestine” in a landmark speech Friday amid rising tensions with archenemy Israel.

Khamenei lashed out at Western nations and their Arab “puppets” for supporting the Jewish state, in his first-ever address marking Quds (Jerusalem) Day.

The 80-year-old leader appeared to confirm for the first time that Iran has helped provide Palestinians with arms.

The remarks came at the end of a week that saw Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu launch a Twitter tirade against Khamenei and the two sides accuse each other of cyberattacks.

“The aim of this struggle is the liberation of the entire Palestinian land” and “the return of all Palestinians to their country,” Khamenei said in the speech broadcast live on state television.

“The policy of normalizing the presence of the Zionist regime in the region is one of the major policies of the United States of America,” he said.

“Some Arab governments in the region, which play the role of U.S. puppets, have provided the necessary preconditions for this, such as economic ties and the like; these efforts are completely fruitless and sterile.

“Everyone must fill the hand of the Palestinian fighter and strengthen his back. We will proudly do our best in this way.

“One day we realized that the only problem of the Palestinian fighter … was the lack of weapons.

“We planned” to resolve this issue, and “the result is that the balance of power in Palestine has changed: Today Gaza can stand up to the Zionist enemy’s military aggression and win.”

Every year since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Iran has marked Quds Day on the last Friday of Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting, in solidarity with Palestinians.

Khamenei was speaking at the event for the first time in more than 30 years as supreme leader, although he has repeatedly referred to the Palestinian cause as “the main problem of the Muslim world.”

The Islamic republic has canceled this year’s Quds Day rallies to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, which emerged in the country in February.

This year’s Quds Day comes after the assassination in January of Qasem Soleimani, the powerful commander of the Quds Force, the foreign operations arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.

Netanyahu on Wednesday blasted Khamenei on Twitter after the Iranian leader’s own account posted quotes from a speech he made in November.

In the tweet on Khamenei’s account, the Iranian leader was quoted as saying that “eliminating the Zionist regime doesn’t mean eliminating Jews.”

Netanyahu responded: “He should know that any regime that threatens Israel with extermination will find itself in similar danger”.

The Iranian leader’s tweets were also condemned by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who called them “anti-Semitic.”

The next day Israelis woke to a series of cyberattacks targeting websites of businesses, municipalities and nongovernmental organizations with a message in Hebrew and English: “The countdown to the destruction of Israel began long ago.”

The Washington Post reported this week that Israel launched a cyberattack against the Iranian port of Shahid Rajaee, on the Strait of Hormuz, a vital route for international oil traffic. 

The attack was thought to be in retaliation for a cyberattack against civil hydraulic installations in Israel.

© Agence France-Presse

Hamas Warns of Uprising Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

Palestinian security forces clash with demonstrators in Hebron | File photo: Reuters/Mussa Qawasma

Report: PA suspends security ties with Israel, Hamas warns uprising underway

Palestinian Authority also suspends contacts with the CIA. Hamas welcomes the move, warns Palestinians are “on the verge of a new intifada.”

By  News Agencies and ILH Staff Published on  05-22-2020 05:57 Last modified: 05-22-2020 12:20

The Palestinian Authority has informed Israel that it is suspending all security coordination with it, Arab media reported Thursday.

According to Qatar’s Al Jazeera and Lebanon’s Al Mayadeen, the move was declared in protest of Israel’s plan to apply sovereignty to parts of Judea and Samaria – a move endorsed in principle by the US.

According to the reports, Palestinian security officials have informed their counterparts in the IDF of the move. While the civil and intelligence coordination between Israel and the Palestinian Authority is expected to continue, it will likely suffer as well.

On Friday morning, Palestinian security forces pulled out of Abu Dis, in east Jerusalem, where they worked with Israeli security forces, who control the area, to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Deputy Hamas leader Saleh al-Arouri welcomed the move and threatened that “we are on the verge of a new intifada. … Washington and Tel Aviv are taking advantage of the current situation to take control of the West Bank. We are sparing no effort to prevent this annexation.”

PA President Mahmoud Abbas (EPA/Atef Safadi)

Israeli media quoted defense officials as confirming that the Palestinian Authority was making good on its threat to end security coordination with Israel.

One official warned that the move could lead to a rise in violence, with more clashes between Israeli troops and Palestinians.

The severing of the agreements came after PA President Mahmoud Abbas announced Tuesday the Palestinians were no longer bound by agreements with Israel and the US, citing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to move ahead with applying Israeli law to parts of Judea and Samaria the Palestinians would like to see included in a future state.

Abbas has made similar threats on numerous occasions but has never followed through.

“Israel’s annexation of any parts of the West Bank constitutes an existential threat to the Palestinian national project and an end to the two-state solution,” PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh told the Wafa news agency.

He said that Israel’s plan “breached international law and violated all the agreements signed with us. Therefor, we will no longer abide by these agreements.”

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said Washington had been told of the move after Abbas said on Tuesday his administration was no longer committed to agreements with Israel and the United States, including on security coordination.

On cooperation with the US Central Intelligence Agency, Erekat said, “It stopped as of the end of the (Palestinian) president’s speech.”

Intelligence cooperation with the CIA continued even after the Palestinians began boycotting US peace efforts led by President Donald Trump in 2017, with the sides working together on heading off violence in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, where the Palestinian Authority is based.

But Erekat said: “Things change and we have decided it is time now to change. Security cooperation with the United States is no more. Security coordination with Israel is no more,” said Erekat. “We are going to maintain public order and the rule of law, alone.”

The Iranian Nuclear Horn Spins More Uranium

Senior official says Iran is ready for higher uranium enrichment

by Muhammad May 22, 2020 world

A senior official of the Supreme Leader of Iran has said that the Islamic Republic is ready to enrich uranium beyond the level set by the Tehran nuclear agreement in 2015. In a video, aid indicates that “the Americans directly and the Europeans indirectly violated the agreement”.

Source —–> https://www.cbsnews.com/video/top-official-says-iran-ready-for-higher-uranium-enrichment/

The Sixth Seal Will be in New York (Revelation 6:12)

By Simon Worrall

PUBLISHED AUGUST 26, 2017

Half a million earthquakes occur worldwide each year, according to an estimate by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Most are too small to rattle your teacup. But some, like the 2011 quake off the coast of Japan or last year’s disaster in Italy, can level high-rise buildings, knock out power, water and communications, and leave a lifelong legacy of trauma for those unlucky enough to be caught in them.

In the U.S., the focus is on California’s San Andreas fault, which geologists suggest has a nearly one-in-five chance of causing a major earthquake in the next three decades. But it’s not just the faults we know about that should concern us, says Kathryn Miles, author of Quakeland: On the Road to America’s Next Devastating Earthquake. As she explained when National Geographic caught up with her at her home in Portland, Maine, there’s a much larger number of faults we don’t know about—and fracking is only adding to the risks.

When it comes to earthquakes, there is really only one question everyone wants to know: When will the big one hit California?

That’s the question seismologists wish they could answer, too! One of the most shocking and surprising things for me is just how little is actually known about this natural phenomenon. The geophysicists, seismologists, and emergency managers that I spoke with are the first to say, “We just don’t know!”

What we can say is that it is relatively certain that a major earthquake will happen in California in our lifetime. We don’t know where or when. An earthquake happening east of San Diego out in the desert is going to have hugely different effects than that same earthquake happening in, say, Los Angeles. They’re both possible, both likely, but we just don’t know.

One of the things that’s important to understand about San Andreas is that it’s a fault zone. As laypeople we tend to think about it as this single crack that runs through California and if it cracks enough it’s going to dump the state into the ocean. But that’s not what’s happening here. San Andreas is a huge fault zone, which goes through very different types of geological features. As a result, very different types of earthquakes can happen in different places.

As Charles Richter, inventor of the Richter Scale, famously said, “Only fools, liars and charlatans predict earthquakes.” Why are earthquakes so hard to predict? After all, we have sent rockets into space and plumbed the depths of the ocean.

You’re right: We know far more about distant galaxies than we do about the inner workings of our planet. The problem is that seismologists can’t study an earthquake because they don’t know when or where it’s going to happen. It could happen six miles underground or six miles under the ocean, in which case they can’t even witness it. They can go back and do forensic, post-mortem work. But we still don’t know where most faults lie. We only know where a fault is after an earthquake has occurred. If you look at the last 100 years of major earthquakes in the U.S., they’ve all happened on faults we didn’t even know existed.

Earthquakes 101

Earthquakes are unpredictable and can strike with enough force to bring buildings down. Find out what causes earthquakes, why they’re so deadly, and what’s being done to help buildings sustain their hits.

Fracking is a relatively new industry. Many people believe that it can cause what are known as induced earthquakes. What’s the scientific consensus?

The scientific consensus is that a practice known as wastewater injection undeniably causes earthquakes when the geological features are conducive. In the fracking process, water and lubricants are injected into the earth to split open the rock, so oil and natural gas can be retrieved. As this happens, wastewater is also retrieved and brought back to the surface.

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Different states deal with this in different ways. Some states, like Pennsylvania, favor letting the wastewater settle in aboveground pools, which can cause run-off contamination of drinking supplies. Other states, like Oklahoma, have chosen to re-inject the water into the ground. And what we’re seeing in Oklahoma is that this injection is enough to shift the pressure inside the earth’s core, so that daily earthquakes are happening in communities like Stillwater. As our technology improves, and both our ability and need to extract more resources from the earth increases, our risk of causing earthquakes will also rise exponentially.

After Fukushima, the idea of storing nuclear waste underground cannot be guaranteed to be safe. Yet President Trump has recently green-lighted new funds for the Yucca Mountain site in Nevada. Is that wise?

The issue with Fukushima was not about underground nuclear storage but it is relevant. The Tohoku earthquake, off the coast of Japan, was a massive, 9.0 earthquake—so big that it shifted the axis of the earth and moved the entire island of Japan some eight centimeters! It also created a series of tsunamis, which swamped the Fukushima nuclear power plant to a degree the designers did not believe was possible.

Here in the U.S., we have nuclear plants that are also potentially vulnerable to earthquakes and tsunamis, above all on the East Coast, like Pilgrim Nuclear, south of Boston, or Indian Point, north of New York City. Both of these have been deemed by the USGS to have an unacceptable level of seismic risk. [Both are scheduled to close in the next few years.]

Yucca Mountain is meant to address our need to store the huge amounts of nuclear waste that have been accumulating for more than 40 years. Problem number one is getting it out of these plants. We are going to have to somehow truck or train these spent fuel rods from, say, Boston, to a place like Yucca Mountain, in Nevada. On the way it will have to go through multiple earthquake zones, including New Madrid, which is widely considered to be one of the country’s most dangerous earthquake zones.

Yucca Mountain itself has had seismic activity. Ultimately, there’s no great place to put nuclear waste—and there’s no guarantee that where we do put it is going to be safe.

The psychological and emotional effects of an earthquake are especially harrowing. Why is that?

This is a fascinating and newly emerging subfield within psychology, which looks at the effects of natural disasters on both our individual and collective psyches. Whenever you experience significant trauma, you’re going to see a huge increase in PTSD, anxiety, depression, suicide, and even violent behaviors.

What seems to make earthquakes particularly pernicious is the surprise factor. A tornado will usually give people a few minutes, if not longer, to prepare; same thing with hurricanes. But that doesn’t happen with an earthquake. There is nothing but profound surprise. And the idea that the bedrock we walk and sleep upon can somehow become liquid and mobile seems to be really difficult for us to get our heads around.

Psychologists think that there are two things happening. One is a PTSD-type loop where our brain replays the trauma again and again, manifesting itself in dreams or panic attacks during the day. But there also appears to be a physiological effect as well as a psychological one. If your readers have ever been at sea for some time and then get off the ship and try to walk on dry land, they know they will look like drunkards. [Laughs] The reason for this is that the inner ear has habituated itself to the motion of the ship. We think the inner ear does something similar in the case of earthquakes, in an attempt to make sense of this strange, jarring movement.

After the Abruzzo quake in Italy, seven seismologists were actually tried and sentenced to six years in jail for failing to predict the disaster. Wouldn’t a similar threat help improve the prediction skills of American seismologists?

[Laughs] The scientific community was uniform in denouncing that action by the Italian government because, right now, earthquakes are impossible to predict. But the question of culpability is an important one. To what degree do we want to hold anyone responsible? Do we want to hold the local meteorologist responsible if he gets the weather forecast wrong? [Laughs]

What scientists say—and I don’t think this is a dodge on their parts—is, “Predicting earthquakes is the Holy Grail; it’s not going to happen in our lifetime. It may never happen.” What we can do is work on early warning systems, where we can at least give people 30 or 90 seconds to make a few quick decisive moves that could well save your life. We have failed to do that. But Mexico has had one in place for years!

There is some evidence that animals can predict earthquakes. Is there any truth to these theories?

All we know right now is anecdotal information because this is so hard to test for. We don’t know where the next earthquake is going to be so we can’t necessarily set up cameras and observe the animals there. So we have to rely on these anecdotal reports, say, of reptiles coming out of the ground prior to a quake. The one thing that was recorded here in the U.S. recently was that in the seconds before an earthquake in Oklahoma huge flocks of birds took flight. Was that coincidence? Related? We can’t draw that correlation yet.

One of the fascinating new approaches to prediction is the MyQuake app. Tell us how it works—and why it could be an especially good solution for Third World countries.

The USGS desperately wants to have it funded. The reluctance appears to be from Congress. A consortium of universities, in conjunction with the USGS, has been working on some fascinating tools. One is a dense network of seismographs that feed into a mainframe computer, which can take all the information and within nanoseconds understand that an earthquake is starting.

MyQuake is an app where you can get up to date information on what’s happening around the world. What’s fascinating is that our phones can also serve as seismographs. The same technology that knows which way your phone is facing, and whether it should show us an image in portrait or landscape, registers other kinds of movement. Scientists at UC Berkeley are looking to see if they can crowd source that information so that in places where we don’t have a lot of seismographs or measuring instruments, like New York City or Chicago or developing countries like Nepal, we can use smart phones both to record quakes and to send out early warning notices to people.

You traveled all over the U.S. for your research. Did you return home feeling safer?

I do not feel safer in the sense that I had no idea just how much risk regions of this country face on a daily basis when it comes to seismic hazards. We tend to think of this as a West Coast problem but it’s not! It’s a New York, Memphis, Seattle, or Phoenix problem. Nearly every major urban center in this country is at risk of a measurable earthquake.

What I do feel safer about is knowing what I can do as an individual. I hope that is a major take-home message for people who read the book. There are so many things we should be doing as individuals, family members, or communities to minimize this risk: simple things from having a go-bag and an emergency plan amongst the family to larger things like building codes.

We know that a major earthquake is going to happen. It’s probably going to knock out our communications lines. Phones aren’t going to work, Wi-Fi is going to go down, first responders are not going to be able to get to people for quite some time. So it is beholden on all of us to make sure we can survive until help can get to us.

This interview was edited for length and clarity.

Antichrist harshly condemns embassies for flying the rainbow flag

Photo: Shutterstock

Iraqi leaders harshly condemn embassies for flying the rainbow flag

The prominent cleric and militia leader Muqtada al-Sadr is calling on Iraqi embassies abroad to fly “the flags of Muhammad and Jesus” in retaliation.

By Alex Bollinger Thursday, May 21, 2020

Political and religious leaders in Iraq have condemned several embassies and international organizations for flying the rainbow flag.

In honor of the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia (IDAHOBIT) this past Sunday, the European Union, the World Bank, and the embassies of the U.K. and Canada flew the rainbow flag at their offices in Iraq.

Related: As Trump signs anti-Muslim ban, Ellen features Iraqi soldiers who fell in love

The Iraqi Foreign Ministry condemned the foreign organizations, saying that being LGBTQ is against Iraq’s “norms and values.”

“We remind all the missions operating in Iraq to adhere by the laws of the country and follow diplomatic norms,” the ministry said in a statement.

The Iraqi Parliament’s Foreign Relations Committee denounced the flag as offensive, according to the Arabic international newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat.

Member of Parliament Hassan Salem of the Sadiqoun Bloc called for the closure of the embassies, saying that flying the flag was an “immoral action” and disrespectful towards Muslims.

Sairoon Bloc Member of Parliament Salam al-Shammari also condemned the flag as a violation of Iraq’s religious and ethical foundations.

Even prominent cleric and militia leader Muqtada al-Sadr entered the discussion, saying that homosexuality is “mental illness” and calling on Iraqi embassies abroad to fly “the flags of Muhammad and Jesus” in retaliation.

Homosexuality is technically legal in Iraq but LGBTQ people face widespread discrimination and no protections from the government.

According to a 2018 report from the organization IraQueer, 96% of LGBTQ people interviewed said that they have faced verbal or physical violence.

In 2009, a Human Rights Watch report on kidnappings, torture, and executions of gay and bi men in Iraq got international attention. The report included narratives from LGBTQ Iraqis on violence from vigilantes and militias in the aftermath of the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

Indian Point closure is justified but too late (Rev 6:12)

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Letter to the Editor: Indian Point closure is justified

Your article of May 6 which describes Pramilla Malick’s criticism of Clearwater and of Riverkeeper in regard to the recent closing of one of Indian Point’s reactors is both inaccurate and unfair.

The decision to close Indian Point was made about three years ago, as part of a Settlement Agreement between Indian Point’s owner, Entergy, the NYS Office of the Attorney General and Riverkeeper.   NY State’s aggressive Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), passed last year, provides for a robust transition to renewable energy, which includes power from 1700 megawatts of wind turbines in the Atlantic off Long Island and 1250 megawatts of transmission improvement to the grid as a source of power to replace the absence of Indian Point.  CLCPA also includes 3,000 megawatts of storage to ensure grid reliability.  That plan is presently being executed, and Clearwater stands by our assertion that Indian Point should be closed as we move to a renewable power economy.   To claim that “they” (meaning both organizations) have disregard for climate change and its effects is absurd.   Combating the global climate crisis is a major part of our mission.

Malick’s assertion that the shutdown of one of the Indian Point reactors should have been delayed because of the present pandemic is also unjustified as well as ironic.  Rather than increased greenhouse gas emissions, the pandemic is resulting in substantially decreased emissions because of decreased activity.   While this benefit will be reduced as we slowly resume normal activity, the benefit from an environmental point of view is substantial.

Peter Capek
(Member of the Board of Directors of Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Inc.)

The views expressed in this letter belong to the author and do not necessarily represent those of Mid Hudson News.

The Prophecy Says Think About Nuclear War in a Time of Plague (Revelation 8 )

Who Thinks About Nuclear War in a Time of Plague?

— OPINION —

It’s less than two minutes to midnight, according to the Doomsday Clock, designed by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists in 1947 to express “the world’s vulnerability to catastrophe from nuclear weapons, climate change, and disruptive technologies in other domains.”

The Doomsday Clock has been as far as 17 minutes from midnight — in 1991, as the Cold War seemed to end and “peace dividends” were widely anticipated.

Since then, however, hardliners — especially in the US — have refused to take peace for an answer. This January, at the beginning of the presidential election year, the atomic scientists moved the Doomsday Clock closer to midnight than ever — 100 seconds.

The political impact of this urgent alert appears to have been minimal. American nuclear policy continues to push the world closer to midnight with little public discussion or resistance.

The Trump administration has executed a major escalation of offensive nuclear capability by deploying “small” nuclear weapons on US submarines. In nuclear parlance, a small nuclear weapon is about the size of the bombs used on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In strategic military thinking, smaller nuclear weapons are considered more usable just because they are smaller.

Since the turn of the year, the US has deployed small nuclear warheads on submarines such as the USS Tennessee out of Kings Bay Submarine Base in Georgia, ready for use anywhere within range of a Trident missile (7,500 miles, accurate within a few feet). A Trident missile can carry as many as a dozen independently targeted warheads.

In June 2019, Democrats on a House subcommittee added language to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 prohibiting the deployment of a low-yield warhead on a Trident D5 missile. Reflecting the militarized mindset of Congress, that language did not survive final passage of the bill.

US nuclear policy has always reserved the right to use nuclear weapons in a first strike, the Trump administration being no exception. Efforts to adopt a No First Use policy have always failed in Congress. On January 30, 2019, Democrats in the House and Senate introduced legislation intended to prevent the US from being the first to use nuclear weapons in the future. The bill, S.272, introduced by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) with seven co-sponsors, reads in its substantive entirety:

“It is the policy of the United States to not use nuclear weapons first.”

This bill was referred to the Senate Foreign Relations committee, and the Senate has taken no further action on it. Its companion bill in the House, H.R.921, was also referred to committee, with no further action by the House. According to polls, most Americans already believe that the US should not be the first to use nuclear weapons. This majority perspective has no way to become law in contemporary American politics.

A graph showing the changes in the time of the Doomsday Clock since its inception in 1947. Photo credit: Fastfission / Wikimedia Commons (CC0)

A second House bill, requiring an act of Congress before a president is allowed to carry out a first strike nuclear attack, was filed January 17, 2019 by Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) and 62 co-sponsors. The bill’s core provision sought to reinforce the Constitution’s assignment of the right to declare war to Congress:

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the President may not use the Armed Forces of the United States to conduct a first-use nuclear strike unless such strike is conducted pursuant to a declaration of war by Congress that expressly authorizes such strike.

This bill was referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Despite being controlled by Democrats since January 2019, the House has taken no further action on enforcing the constitutional restraints on the president’s ability to make war.

Former Vice President Joe Biden expressed support for a No First Use policy in January 2017. He has not made the nuclear threat one of his major campaign issues.

The Obama administration, in its 2010 Nuclear Posture Review, reserved the right to use nuclear weapons first, while promising to develop conditions appropriate to a No First Use policy.

The Obama administration never got there.

With no dissent from Biden, the administration initiated a trillion-dollar upgrade of US nuclear war fighting capacity, and Trump has reinforced it, creating the conditions for an accelerated global arms race.

As a presidential candidate, Biden has not laid out any detailed, substantive foreign policy. Nor has he tried to shed his decades of center-right orthodoxy. Biden’s lengthy foreign policy interview with the New York Times in February is replete with assertions that represent the tired and presumably “safe” positions of the past. Biden offers no vision of a peace-seeking, activist presidency.

For example, rather than simply seeking to reestablish the Iran nuclear deal of 2015 that was working until the US pulled out, Biden takes the position that it’s the Iranians that need to prove their good faith. In Afghanistan, he promises to pull out all the US troops except the ones still stationed there. He is content to maintain hostility with Russia, without elaboration, and he outlines the basis for a new cold war with China:

The United States should be pushing back on China’s deepening authoritarianism, leading the free world in support of the brave people of Hong Kong as they demand the civil liberties and autonomy promised to them by Beijing. The same is true for the unconscionable detention of over a million Uighurs in western China. This is no time for business as usual.

In February, just before his primary fortunes turned around, Biden was on CBS News claiming, “The Russians don’t want me to be the nominee, they like Bernie.” This came two days after the Washington Post reported that US intelligence officials had briefed the Sanders campaign that the Russians were suspected of helping Sanders in nonspecific ways. So Biden turned the ambiguity into an opportunistic twofer, not only launching an evidence-free red-baiting smear against Sanders, but packaging it in a gratuitous provocation of the Russians.

Demonizing other countries is rarely diplomatically useful, even if somehow justifiable. In a nuclear world, antagonizing the next two largest nuclear powers may be business as usual, but where has that gotten us?

On March 5, President Donald Trump tweeted support for the nuclear nonproliferation treaty and promised to propose “a bold new trilateral arms control initiative with Russia and China to help avoid an expensive arms race.” In reality, the US set out on that expensive arms race during the Obama administration.

We live in a world with an estimated 13,355 nuclear weapons (some estimates are as high as 15,000 in total). That’s roughly enough explosive power to destroy the planet 133 times over (or more).

Most of those weapons — some 12,170 in all — belong to Russia (6,370) and the US (5,800). The remaining 1,185 nuclear weapons belong to France (300), China (290), the UK (215), Pakistan (150), India (130), Israel (80), and North Korea (20). The number of weapons does not account for the actual firepower available, a measure by which the US and Russia are even more dominant.

Besides Iran, two other Middle Eastern countries are suspected of developing nuclear weapons: the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia. The UAE, in 2009, hired a South Korean firm to build its Barakah nuclear plant (in Arabic, barakah means “divine blessing”). Scheduled to come online in 2020, Barakah will be the first nuclear power plant on the Arabian peninsula. It is already raising safety concerns as well as the possibility of nuclear weapons development. Saudi Arabia trails the UAE in development, but secret agreements with the US Department of Energy make the Saudi nuclear status unclear. Responsible engagement by Congress remains unlikely even though the National Interest raised the specter of Saudi nuclear weapons almost a year ago.

The erratic and uncertain path of American foreign policy in recent years has undermined the confidence of some US allies in their reliance on protection by the US nuclear umbrella. This is true in Germany and Japan, and especially in South Korea, where US failures with North Korea have undermined South Korea’s sense of security and raised the calculation that South Korean security may eventually be dependent on South Korea’s own nuclear weapons.

As the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists explained its decision to advance the Doomsday Clock:

Humanity continues to face two simultaneous existential dangers — nuclear war and climate change — that are compounded by a threat multiplier, cyber-enabled information warfare, that undercuts society’s ability to respond. The international security situation is dire, not just because these threats exist, but because world leaders have allowed the international political infrastructure for managing them to erode.

When the Trump administration pulled out of the Iran nuclear agreement, its other signatories — Russia, China, UK, France, Germany, and the European Union, along with Iran — sustained the pact as the best available means of persuading Iran not to build a bomb. The administration continues to try to undermine the Iran agreement. Under Trump, the US has abandoned a host of international treaties and trade agreements, in particular the Paris accord on climate change, the UN Human Rights Council, and the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, without replacing any of them with measures to improve global security.

Trump has toyed with the threat of using nuclear weapons against a number of countries since 2017. As far as we know, this has been more of a verbal distraction than an actual impulse. In July 2019 Trump said, “I could win that war in a week. I just don’t want to kill 10 million people. If I wanted to win that war, Afghanistan would be wiped off the face of the earth. … It would be over in — literally, in 10 days.” He also said: “this is not using nuclear.”

Trump did not explain that comment, and we have no idea if he knew what he was talking about. His desire to get the US out of Afghanistan manifested itself in February 2020 with an agreement with the Taliban (but with neither of Afghanistan’s two presidents). The agreement, which would have provided the US with the appearance of a graceful exit, has since fallen apart.

Nobody knows how likely it is that Trump would use nuclear weapons, or under what circumstances. Perhaps as a desperate attempt to win an election in trouble?

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