Iran Protects Their Nuclear Site

Iran deploys air defense system around nuclear site

AP Photo/GeoEye Sateliite Image
TEHRAN, Iran — Iran has deployed a Russian-made S-300 air defense system around its underground Fordo nuclear facility, state TV reported.

Video footage posted late Sunday on state TV’s website showed trucks arriving at the site and missile launchers being aimed skyward. It did not say whether the system was fully operational.

Gen. Farzad Esmaili, Iran’s head of air defense, declined to comment on the report in an interview with another website affiliated with state news. “Maybe if you go to Fordo now, the system is not there,” he was quoted as saying Monday. He added that the S-300 is a mobile system that should be relocated often.

Russia began delivering the S-300 system to Iran earlier this year under a contract signed in 2007. The delivery had been held up by international sanctions over Iran’s nuclear program, which were lifted this year under an agreement with world powers.

The Fordo site, built at a depth of 90 meters (300 feet) below a mountain some 100 kilometers (60 miles) south of the capital, Tehran, was revealed by Western nations in 2009.

Critics of Iran’s nuclear program pointed to Fordo as further proof of Tehran’s intention to secretly develop nuclear weapons. Iran insists it has never sought nuclear arms, and says the security around the site is intended to protect it from U.S. or Israeli airstrikes.

Iran halted nuclear enrichment at Fordo under the nuclear agreement and says the facility is now being used for research and the production of medical isotopes.

In separate comments on Sunday, Esmaili insisted there had been no change in how Iran defends its nuclear facilities, adding that “since they are national achievements of Iran, they must be vigorously protected.”

“We carry out defense exercises in non-nuclear facilities once a month but we do them several times a month in our nuclear facilities,” he added.

On Monday Iran inaugurated a new radar system it says is capable of detecting radar-evading aircraft like the U.S.-made U-2, RQ-4 and MQ-1, state TV reported. It said the Nazir system is located in a remote area and is capable of detecting ballistic and cruise missiles, as well as drones flying at an altitude of over 9,800 feet.

The Antichrist and Shiism (Revelation 13:18)

Iraq and the dead-end road to political resolution

Over the past two years the core foundation of the Iraqi Shiite camp was shaken more than once following the impact of events and alterations occurring in the political scene and balance of power among political players, diminishing the role of some and opening the door to newcomers to the scene. At the time, the results that granted the former Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki the parliamentary majority and the constitutional right to form the government were considered a victory for the new Shiite political forces in face of the traditional religious authorities.

However, the anti-coalition formed by the remaining political and religious parties and who pushed toward depriving al-Maliki from a third term, partly succeeded in its goals by excluding al-Maliki from the prime minister position, and thus re-shuffled the cards inside the Shiite camp, and sparked a crisis whose chapters continued to follow. Also, the representation of Shiite political forces inside the Iraqi parliament following that election established a situation of malfunction and imbalance in the political system, at least inside the Shiite camp, caused by the difference between the real weights of the political forces in the street and their representative quotas in the parliament. And perhaps, this introduction can play the role of a starting point to keep track of the political movement that stands behind the recent protests, in particular Moqtada al-Sadr and his followers.

The Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr declared himself after the election results the spearhead of the attack on al-Maliki, in a turn against the ambiguous alliance between them, whose signs started to show before the election. al-Sadr entering the line and fiercely taking the lead of the battle to exclude al-Maliki necessitated a quick Iranian intervention to contain the repercussions of the crisis and to prevent any further rifts inside the Shiite campaign, thus sacrificing the constitutional right that grants its first Iraqi ally Nouri al-Maliki the right to form a government, and declaring its support for the fragile coalition leading to the nomination of Haider al-Abadi, the nominee of the Islamic Da’wa party for the prime minister position. However the anti-Maliki Shiite coalition led by al-Sadr, considered that the priority was to dismantle the Pro-Maliki system from the Iraqi official bodies since it embodies the corruption and mismanagement in the state, a system which al-Maliki set and developed since he first became the Iraqi prime minister in 2006, by allocating position of power and privileges in different sections of the state apparatus for his allies and those close to him. Moreover, the significant decline in oil prices, that represents almost the only source of income in the country, the resulting aggravation of the economic problems, a budget deficit reaching 25%, and the fall of Mosul in the hand of the Islamic state in a shocking scene fanned the flame of the official and popular anger toward all what was happening, increased the tension among the different parties, and contributed to the charged atmosphere which led to the recent protests earlier this year. Before the February 2016 protests, the Prime-Minister-designate Haider al-Abadi adopted a neutral stance toward the polarized state between al-Maliki and his allies on one hand, and the opponents camp led by al-Sadr on the other. However, under the pretext of responding to the protests in the streets, his position became closer to that of al-Sadr camp, the thing that helped reaching consensus over the formation of a government of technocrats from the competent elite in charge of pulling the country out of the crisis.

Although this government received the support and the endorsement of several religious and political parties, most notably the Shiite Islamic Marja’ Ali al-Sistani, al-Maliki, and Moqtada al-Sadr, the Sadrist movement leader, who ended the two-weeks-strike carried by his supporters front of the gates of the Green Zone, however it has angered other parties of the front that backed al-Abadi for the Prime Minister position, especially the Islamic Supreme Council headed by Ammar al-Hakim, who own a large parliamentary bloc in the current Iraqi parliament.

The rift within the Shiite camp deepened after al-Abadi failed to pass the technocrat government, both in its first form or after the subsequent modifications which made it a multiparty technocrat government as an answer to al-Hakim demands. The religious authority in Najaf, in what many observers interpreted as a reflection of its frustration and a retreat from endorsing al-Abadi, announced that it will no longer give its weekly political statement regarding current affairs. Also, al-Abadi’s hesitation and his failed attempt to satisfy all parties has backfired.

As for al-Sadr, and in attempt to dominate the Shiite popular street and proclaiming himself its ultimate leader, he appeased the demands of the recent protest movement to the point of hyperbole populism and extremism which does not leave any space for political action, and it is impossible for al-Abadi to adopt or keep up with.

Moreover al-Sadr was able to attract a good portion of secular and nationalist Iraqis, now that his differences with Iran has surfaced, coupled with his history in resisting the American occupation, especially since he worked hard in the last two years on presenting himself as an Iraqi nationalist leader who went past the sectarian limits, In spite of all the show-off enormity in his quest to lead the protest movement. Besides, the course of events shows a possible imminent convergence between al-Maliki and al-Hakim, which could lead to an agreement pushing toward removing al-Abadi and replacing him with another candidates whose political problem is limited to the preparation for the 2018 elections, and so al-Abadi and his Allies’ struggling attempt, which many parties felt threaten by in the past two years, will be buried once and for all.

In addition to all this, the preparations for the liberation of Fallujah, which aimed to dismantle the most important stronghold of Sunni Jihadist in Iraq, has turned into a symbol for Shiite and national alignment, giving the new Shiite militias entering the Iraqi scene to reap more popularity and legitimacy for its political and military role, which means new Iranian power in the Iraqi scene due to this groups direct subordination to Iran, whether by strengthening the presence of these militias in the scene, or by Iranian pro-forces taking over various states agencies, especially since the Popular Mobilization Forces, which was formed from Shiite militant factions has been adopted as a reserve Military force under the government’s command.

The political Shiite class, in the first years that followed the US invasion of Iraq, took advantage of the international support it has gained, in addition to the financial receipts that flowed from Oil sales, and was able to provide through the new political system, mechanisms to contain and absorb wide Shiite social sectors, however, under the weight of international changes, new players storming the Iraqi scene, the escalating financial crisis, and the popular fidgetiness caused by the performance of this class. These mechanisms became weakened and unable to perform its previous role. Now, the new Iraqi generations which were not around in the years when the profits were distributed have stormed the squares, the streets and even the “Green Zone” in an effort to secure their own destinies in a country is begging for its own fate to be secured.

Iran, Babylon the Great, and Armageddon

Ayatollah Khamenei: Iran Will ‘Hit Hard’ Against U.S. ‘Aggression’

29 Aug 2016

Barack Obama’s billion-dollar gifts still are not buying any love from Iran, as Ayatollah Khamenei promised devastating counterattacks to U.S. aggression on Sunday, a day after the naval commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps boasted of achieving naval superiority over the United States in the Persian Gulf.

The Times of Israel reports on Khamenei’s latest belligerent outburst:

In an apparent reference to the US, Khamenei told soldiers at a Tehran air base “the enemy should understand that if it makes any aggression, it will be hit hard and our defense will also include response,” according to the state-run Fars news agency.

Khamenei also called to bolster Iran’s military capabilities “to the extent that the enemy doesn’t even allow itself to think about aggression.”

Referring to Iran’s controversial purchase of the S-300 missile defense system from Russia, Khamenei charged the US “doesn’t respect our nation’s right of defense and actually wants us to remain defenseless so that they can launch aggression against our country whenever they want.”
Speaking of the advanced, Russian-made S-300 surface-to-air missiles, Iran’s state-run media announced on Monday that the weapons have been deployed around the Fordow underground uranium enrichment facility.

“Our main priority is to protect Iran’s nuclear facilities under any circumstances,” said Brig. Gen. Farzad Esmaili of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ air defense forces, as quoted by Reuters.
“Today, Iran’s sky is one of the most secure in the Middle East,” Esmaili boasted. He did not explain why Iran would deploy so much expensive imported firepower around a facility that supposedly isn’t being used.

Another Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps commander, Rear Admiral Fadavi, told a group of paramilitary volunteers on Saturday that the United States “doesn’t enjoy the power to confront Iran militarily.”

“Fadavi – who has previously called the US Iran’s sole enemy and claimed its military capabilities have weakened in recent years – claimed the 97 IRGC speedboats patrolling the Persian Gulf were keeping US warships in the Persian Gulf at bay,” writes the Times of Israel, alluding to several incidents last week in which Iranian boats performed dangerous, unprofessional “high-speed intercepts” of American navy vessels, in one case forcing an American ship to fire warning shots at them.

Reuters reports that Iran also claims to have run an American drone out of its airspace on Monday.
“Iran’s army air defense detected and warned an American drone in the eastern airspace of the country. It was coming from Afghanistan. The drone left the area,” said an Iranian official quoted by the Tasnim news agency.

Times of Israel adds that Iran claims the “radar-evading” American drone launched from a base in Kandahar, Afghanistan, and was 20 miles away from Iran’s border when it was somehow “dissuaded from accomplishing its mission” by a “serious warning” from Khatam ol-Anbia Air Defense Base.
It is commonly speculated that Iran is lashing out because its leaders are frustrated by the inadequate payoff from Barack Obama’s nuclear deal, which has “failed so far to yield the significant economic benefits for the country that its advocates had promised,” as the New York Times puts it.

That frustration could explain the rumored arrest last week of Abdolrasoul Dorri Esfahani, a dual Canadian-Iranian citizen who worked as an adviser to Iran’s central bank and helped Iran bargain for sanctions relief in the nuclear deal.

A spokesman for the Iranian judiciary confirmed that someone from the negotiating team was arrested on espionage charges, but later released on bail. As the NYT notes, it’s unusual that Iran did not identify the individual or explain why bail would be granted for the very serious charge of espionage.

The Ramapo Fault and the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)


Living on the Fault Line

Posted June 15, 2010 by Wayne J. Guglielmo

This chart shows the location of the Ramapo Fault System, the longest and one of the oldest systems of cracks in the earth’s crust in the Northeast. It also shows the location of all earthquakes of magnitude 2.5 or greater in New Jersey during the last 50 years. The circle in blue indicates the largest known Jersey quake.

The couple checked with Burns’s parents, who live in nearby Basking Ridge, and they, too, had heard and felt something, which they thought might have been an earthquake. A call by Burns some 20 minutes later to the Bernardsville Police Department—one of many curious and occasionally panicky inquiries that Sunday morning, according to the officer in charge, Sergeant John Remian—confirmed their suspicion: A magnitude 2.6 earthquake, its epicenter in Peapack/Gladstone, about seven miles from Bernardsville, had hit the area. A smaller aftershock followed about two and a half hours later.
After this year’s epic earthquakes in Haiti, Chile, Mexico, Indonesia, and China, the 2.6 quake and aftershock that shook parts of New Jersey in February may seem minor league, even to the Somerset County residents who experienced them. On the exponential Richter Scale, a magnitude 7.0 quake like the one that hit Haiti in January is almost 4 million times stronger than a quake of 2.6 magnitude. But comparisons of magnitude don’t tell the whole story.

Northern New Jersey straddles the Ramapo Fault, a significant ancient crack in the earth’s crust. The longest fault in the Northeast, it begins in Pennsylvania and moves into New Jersey, trending northeast through Hunterdon, Somerset, Morris, Passaic, and Bergen counties before terminating in New York’s Westchester County, not far from the Indian Point Energy Center, a nuclear power plant. And though scientists dispute how active this roughly 200 million-year-old fault really is, many earthquakes in the state’s surprisingly varied seismic history are believed to have occurred on or near it. The fault line is visible at ground level and likely extends as deep as nine miles below the surface.
During the past 230 years or so, New Jersey has been at the epicenter of nearly 170 earthquakes, according to data compiled by the New Jersey Geological Survey, part of the United States Department of Environmental Protection. The largest known quake struck in 1783, somewhere west of New York City, perhaps in Sussex County. It’s typically listed as 5.3 in magnitude, though that’s an estimate by seismologists who are quick to point out that the concept of magnitude—measuring the relative size of an earthquake—was not introduced until 1935 by Charles Richter and Beno Gutenberg. Still, for quakes prior to that, scientists are not just guessing.

“We can figure out the damage at the time by going back to old records and newspaper accounts,” says Won-Young Kim, a senior research scientist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, New York, directly across the New Jersey border. “Once the amount and extent of contemporary damage has been established,” Kim says, “we’re then able to gauge the pattern of ground shaking or intensity of the event—and from there extrapolate its probable magnitude.”

Other earthquakes of magnitude 5 or higher have been felt in New Jersey, although their epicenters laying near New York City. One—which took place in 1737 and was said to have been felt as far north as Boston and as far south as northern Delaware—was probably in the 5 to 5.5 range. In 1884, an earthquake of similar magnitude occurred off New York’s Rockaway Beach. This well-documented event pulled houses off their foundations and caused steeples to topple as far west as Rahway. The shock wave, scientists believe, was felt over 70,000 square miles, from Vermont to Maryland.

Among the largest sub-5 magnitude earthquakes with epicenters in New Jersey, two (a 3.8 and a 4.0) took place on the same day in 1938 in the Lakehurst area in Ocean County. On August 26, 2003, a 3.5 magnitude quake shook the Frenchtown/Milford area in Hunterdon County. On February 3 of last year, a 3.0 magnitude quake occurred in the Morris County town of Mendham. “A lot of people felt this one because of the intense shaking, although the area of intensity wasn’t very wide,” says Lamont-Doherty’s Kim, who visited the site after the event.

After examining the known historical and geological record, Kim and other seismologists have found no clear evidence that an earthquake of greater than 5.3 to 5.5 magnitude has taken place in this area going back to 1737. This doesn’t mean, of course, that one did not take place in the more remote past or that one will not occur in the future; it simply means that a very large quake is less likely to occur here than in other places in the east where the seismic hazard is greater, including areas in South Carolina and northeastern New York State.

But no area on the East Coast is as densely populated or as heavily built-up as parts of New Jersey and its neighbors. For this reason, scientists refer to the Greater New York City-Philadelphia area, which includes New Jersey’s biggest cities, as one of “low earthquake hazard but high vulnerability.” Put simply, the Big One isn’t likely here—but if it comes, especially in certain locations, watch out.
Given this low-hazard, high-vulnerability scenario, how far along are scientists in their efforts to predict larger magnitude earthquakes in the New Jersey area? The answer is complex, complicated by the state’s geographical position, its unique geological history, the state of seismology itself, and the continuing debate over the exact nature and activity of the Ramapo Fault.

Over millions of years, New Jersey developed four distinct physiographic provinces or regions, which divide the state into a series of diagonal slices, each with its own terrain, rock type, and geological landforms.

The northernmost slice is the Valley and Ridge, comprising major portions of Sussex and Warren counties. The southernmost slice is the Coastal Plain, a huge expanse that covers some three-fifths of the state, including all of the Shore counties. Dividing the rest of the state are the Highlands, an area for the most part of solid but brittle rock right below the Valley and Ridge, and the lower lands of the Piedmont, which occupy all of Essex, Hudson, and Union counties, most of Bergen, Hunterdon, and Somerset, and parts of Middlesex, Morris, and Passaic.

For earthquake monitors and scientists, the formation of these last two provinces—the Highlands and the Piedmont—are of special interest. To understand why, consider that prior to the appearance of the Atlantic Ocean, today’s Africa was snuggled cozily up against North America and surrounded by a single enormous ocean. “At that point, you could have had exits off the New Jersey Turnpike for Morocco,” says Alexander Gates, professor of geology and chair of the department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Rutgers-Newark.

Under the pressure of circulating material within the Earth’s super-hot middle layer, or mantle, what was once a single continent—one that is thought to have included today’s other continents as well—began to stretch and eventually break, producing numerous cracks or faults and ultimately separating to form what became the Atlantic Ocean. In our area, the longest and most active of these many cracks was the Ramapo Fault, which, through a process known as normal faulting, caused one side of the earth’s crust to slip lower—the Piedmont—relative to the other side—the Highlands. “All this occurred about 225 million years ago,” says Gates. “Back then, you were talking about thousands of feet between the Highlands and the Piedmont and a very active Ramapo Fault.”

The Earth’s crust, which is 20 to 25 miles thick, is not a single, solid shell, but is broken into seven vast tectonic plates, which drift atop the soft, underlying mantle. Although the northeast-trending Ramapo Fault neatly divides two of New Jersey’s four physiographic provinces, it does not form a so-called plate boundary, as does California’s infamous San Andreas Fault. As many Californians know all too well, this giant fault forms the boundary between two plates—to the west, the Pacific Plate, and to the east, the North American Plate; these rub up against each other, producing huge stresses and a regularly repeating pattern of larger earthquakes.

The Ramapo Fault sits on the North American Plate, which extends past the East Coast to the middle of the Atlantic, where it meets the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, an underwater mountain range in constant flux. The consequences of this intraplate setting are huge: First, as Gates points out, “The predictability of bigger earthquakes on…[such] settings is exceedingly poor, because they don’t occur very often.” Second, the intraplate setting makes it more difficult to link our earthquakes to a major cause or fault, as monitors in California can often do.

This second bit of uncertainty is especially troubling for some people, including some in the media who want a neat story. To get around it, they ignore the differences between plate settings and link all of New Jersey’s earthquakes, either directly or implicitly, to the Ramapo Fault. In effect, such people want the Ramapo Fault “to look like the San Andreas Fault,” says Gates. “They want to be able to point to one big fault that’s causing all of our earthquakes.”

Gates does not think that’s the case, and he has been working with colleagues for a number of years to prove it. “What we have found is that there are smaller faults that generally cut from east to west across the northeast-trending Ramapo Fault,” he explains. “These much smaller faults are all over the place, and they’re actually the ones that are the active faults in the area.”

But what mechanisms are responsible for the formation of these apparently active auxiliary faults? One such mechanism, say scientists, is the westward pressure the Atlantic Ocean exerts on the North American Plate, which for the most part resists any movement. “I think we are in an equilibrium state most of the time,” says Lamont-Doherty’s Kim.

Still, that continuous pressure on the plate we sit on causes stress, and when that stress builds up sufficiently, the earth’s crust has a tendency to break around any weak zones. In our area, the major weak zone is the Ramapo Fault—“an ancient zone of weakness,” as Kim calls it. That zone of weakness exacerbates the formation of auxiliary faults, and thereby the series of minor earthquakes the state has experienced over the years.

All this presupposes, of course, that any intraplate stress in this area will continue to be released gradually, in a series of relatively minor earthquakes or releases of energy. But what if that were not the case? What if the stress continued to build up, and the release of large amounts of energy came all at once? In crude terms, that’s part of the story behind the giant earthquakes that rocked what is now New Madrid, Missouri, between 1811 and 1812. Although estimates of their magnitude have been revised downward in recent years to less than magnitude 8, these earthquakes are generally regarded as among the largest intraplate events to have occurred in the continental United States.

For a number of reasons—including the relatively low odds that the kind of stored energy that unleashed the New Madrid events could ever build up here—earthquakes of plus-6 magnitude are probably not in our future. Still, says Kim, even a magnitude 6 earthquake in certain areas of the state could do considerable damage, especially if its intensity or ground shaking was of sufficient strength. In a state as geologically diverse and densely populated as New Jersey, this is a crucial wild card.
Part of the job of the experts at the New Jersey Geological Survey is to assess the seismic hazards in different parts of the state. To do this, they use a computer-simulation model developed under the direction of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, known as HAZUS, for Hazards US. To assess the amount of ground shaking likely to occur in a given county during events ranging in magnitude from 5 to 7 on the Richter Scale, NJGS scientists enter three features of a county’s surface geology into their computer model. Two of these features relate to the tendency of soil in a given area to lose strength, liquefy, or slide downhill when shaken. The third and most crucial feature has to do with the depth and density of the soil itself and the type of bedrock lying below it; this is a key component in determining a region’s susceptibility to ground shaking and, therefore, in estimating the amount of building and structural damage that’s likely to occur in that region. Estimates for the various counties—nine to date have been studied—are sent to the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management, which provided partial funding for the project.

To appreciate why this element of ground geology is so crucial to earthquake modelers, consider the following: An earthquake’s intensity—which is measured on something called the Modified Mercalli Scale—is related to a number of factors. The amount of energy released or the magnitude of an event is clearly a big factor. But two earthquakes of the same magnitude can have very different levels of intensity; in fact, it’s quite possible for a lower magnitude event to generate more ground shaking than a higher magnitude one.

In addition to magnitude, other factors that affect intensity are the distance of the observer or structure from the epicenter, where intensity is the greatest; the depth beneath the surface of the initial rupture, with shallower ruptures producing more ground shaking than deeper ones; and, most significantly, the ground geology or material that the shock wave generated by the earthquake must pass through.

As a rule, softer materials like sand and gravel shake much more intensely than harder materials, because the softer materials are comparatively inefficient energy conductors, so whatever energy is released by the quake tends to be trapped, dispersing much more slowly. (Think of a bowl of Jell-O on a table that’s shaking.)

In contrast, harder materials, like the solid rock found widely in the Highlands, are brittle and break under pressure, but conduct energy well, so that even big shock waves disperse much more rapidly through them, thereby weakening the amount of ground shaking. “If you’ve read any stories about the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco, you know the most intense damage was in those flat, low areas by the Bay, where the soil is soft, and not in the hilly, rocky areas above,” says Karl Muessig, state geologist and NJGS head.

The map that accompanies the online version of the NJGS’s Earthquake Loss Estimation Study divides the state’s surface geology into five seismic soil classes, ranging from Class A, or hard rock, to Class E, or soft soil (

Although the weakest soils are scattered throughout the state, including the Highlands, which besides harder rock also contains areas of glacial lakes, clays, and wetlands, they are most evident in the Piedmont and the Coastal Plain. “The largest expanses of them are in coastal areas where you have salt marshes or large glacial lakes, as in parts of the Passaic River basin,” says Scott Stanford, a research scientist with NJGS and lead author of the estimate. Some of the very weakest soils, Stanford adds, are in areas of filled marshland, including places along the Hudson waterfront, around Newark Bay and the Meadowlands, and along the Arthur Kill.

Faults in these areas—and in the coastal plain generally—are far below the ground, perhaps several hundred to a thousand feet down, making identification difficult. “There are numerous faults upon which you might get earthquake movement that we can’t see, because they’re covered by younger sediments,” Stanford says.

This combination of hidden faults and weak soils worries scientists, who are all too aware that parts of the coastal plain and Piedmont are among the most densely populated and developed areas in the state. (The HAZUS computer model also has a “built environment” component, which summarizes, among other things, types of buildings in a given area.) For this reason, such areas would be in the most jeopardy in the event of a large earthquake.

“Any vulnerable structure on these weak soils would have a higher failure hazard,” Stanford says. And the scary truth is that many structures in New Jersey’s largest cities, not to mention New York City, would be vulnerable, since they’re older and built before anyone gave much thought to earthquake-related engineering and construction codes.

For example, in the study’s loss estimate for Essex County, which includes Newark, the state’s largest city, a magnitude 6 event would result in damage to 81,600 buildings, including almost 10,000 extensively or completely; 36,000 people either displaced from their homes or forced to seek short-term shelter; almost $9 million in economic losses from property damage and business interruption; and close to 3,300 injuries and 50 fatalities. (The New York City Area Consortium for Earthquake Loss Mitigation has conducted a similar assessment for New York City, at
All of this suggests the central irony of New Jersey geology: The upland areas that are most prone to earthquakes—the counties in or around the Ramapo Fault, which has spawned a network of splays, or auxiliary faults—are much less densely populated and sit, for the most part, on good bedrock. These areas are not invulnerable, certainly, but, by almost all measures, they would not sustain very severe damage, even in the event of a higher magnitude earthquake. The same can’t be said for other parts of the state, where the earthquake hazard is lower but the vulnerability far greater. Here, the best we can do is to prepare—both in terms of better building codes and a constantly improving emergency response.
Meanwhile, scientists like Rutgers’s Gates struggle to understand the Earth’s quirky seismic timetable: “The big thing with earthquakes is that you can commonly predict where they are going to occur,” Gates says. “When they’re going to come, well, we’re nowhere near being able to figure that out.”
Planning for the Big One

For the men and women of the state police who manage and support the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management (OEM), the response to some events, like hurricanes, can be marshalled in advance. But an earthquake is what responders call a no-notice event.

In New Jersey, even minor earthquakes—like the one that shook parts of Somerset County in February—attract the notice of local, county, and OEM officials, who continuously monitor events around the state from their Regional Operations and Intelligence Center (The ROIC) in West Trenton, a multimillion dollar command-and-control facility that has been built to withstand 125 mph winds and a 5.5 magnitude earthquake. In the event of a very large earthquake, during which local and county resources are apt to become quickly overwhelmed, command and control authority would almost instantly pass to West Trenton.

Here, officials from the state police, representatives of a galaxy of other state agencies, and a variety of communications and other experts would assemble in the cavernous and ultra-high tech Emergency Operations Center to oversee the state’s response. “A high-level earthquake would definitely cause the governor to declare a state of emergency,” says OEM public information officer Nicholas J. Morici. “And once that takes place, our emergency operations plan would be put in motion.”

Emergency officials have modeled that plan—one that can be adapted to any no-notice event, including a terrorist attack—on response methodologies developed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. At its core is a series of seventeen emergency support functions, ranging from transportation to firefighting, debris removal, search and rescue, public health, and medical services. A high-magnitude event would likely activate all of these functions, says Morici, along with the human and physical resources needed to carry them out—cranes and heavy trucks for debris removal, fire trucks and teams for firefighting, doctors and EMTs for medical services, buses and personnel carriers for transportation, and so on.

This is where an expert like Tom Rafferty comes in. Rafferty is a Geographic Information Systems Specialist attached to the OEM. His job during an emergency is to keep track electronically of which resources are where in the state, so they can be deployed quickly to where they are needed. “We have a massive database called the Resource Directory Database in which we have geolocated municipal, county, and state assets to a very detailed map of New Jersey,” Rafferty says. “That way, if there is an emergency like an earthquake going on in one area, the emergency managers can quickly say to me, for instance, ‘We have major debris and damage on this spot of the map. Show us the location of the nearest heavy hauler. Show us the next closest location,’ and so on.”

A very large quake, Rafferty says, “could overwhelm resources that we have as a state.” In that event, OEM has the authority to reach out to FEMA for additional resources and assistance. It can also call upon the private sector—the Resource Directory has been expanded to include non-government assets—and to a network of volunteers. “No one has ever said, ‘We don’t want to help,’” Rafferty says. New Jersey officials can also request assistance through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), an agreement among the states to help each other in times of extreme crisis.
“You always plan for the worst,” Rafferty says, “and that way when the worst doesn’t happen, you feel you can handle it if and when it does.”

Contributing editor Wayne J. Guglielmo lives in Mahwah, near the Ramapo Fault.

The Antichrist Appeals to the Iraqi Masses

Iraq rejects proposal to register Shia militia as party

Country’s official electoral commission rejects calls to allow Hashd al-Shaabi to register as party in advance of polls

By Ali Jawad

Iraq’s official electoral commission on Sunday rejected proposals to allow the Hashd al-Shaabi, an umbrella group of pro-government Shia militias, to register itself as a political party in advance of elections slated for next year.

The decision came one day after prominent Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr declared that the country’s next government would be a “government of militias” if the Hashd al-Shaabi were allowed to field candidates in provincial council and parliamentary polls slated for 2017 and 2018 respectively.
In a Sunday statement, the commission said it had based its decision on the fact that the Hashd al-Shaabi constituted a “military organization with links to the [Iraqi] security agencies”.

Iraq’s Political Parties Law, it went on to explain, which was ratified by parliament last year, prohibited the registration of “military or paramilitary organizations” as political parties.

On July 20, the electoral commission began the registration process for political parties that planned to participate in the upcoming elections.

According to Hashd al-Shaabi spokesman Karim al-Nouri, the militia group’s primary responsibility at present was to pursue the fight against the Daesh terrorist organization, which continues to hold large swathes of territory in war-torn Iraq.

“Our presence in the battlefield today is to confront Daesh,” al-Nouri told Anadolu Agency on Sunday.

“We didn’t want to arm ourselves, but the country’s dire security situation forced us to go from a civilian organization to a military one,” he said.

He added: “Several Hashd al-Shaabi leaders, including Hadi al-Amiri [a former Iraqi transport minister and current commander of the Hashd-affiliated Al-Badr Organization] is basically a politician, not a military figure.”

“Our main concern now is pursuing the fight against Daesh,” al-Nouri asserted.

Iraq has suffered a devastating security vacuum since mid-2014, when Daesh captured the northern city of Mosul along with vast swathes of territory in the country’s northern and western regions.
In recent months, the Iraqi army — backed by U.S.-led airstrikes and its allies on the ground, including the Hashd al-Shaabi — has since managed to retake much of the territory lost earlier to Daesh.

Nevertheless, the terrorist group remains in firm control of several parts of the country, including Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city.

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Nuclear Terrorism For Sale

Kim’s missile supermarket: North Korea will sell nukes to anyone – even ISIS

NORTH Korea is running an international nuke supermarket and will even sell to ISIS jihadis if they can stump up the cash.

Kim Jong-un, left, and ISIS fighters, right
GETTYUNHOLY ALLIANCE: North Korea has shown its willingness to sell missile technology to anyone
Multiple in recent months in a bid to boost the range of his rockets.The defiant in January and restarted the .
 And now it’s feared he’s becoming the arms dealer of choice for the world’s rogue nations and terrorists.
Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center 
GETTYFIRED UP: North Korea’s Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center has reopened
“North Korea has a long record of sponsoring terrorism worldwide”

Kyle Orton

Kyle Orton, a security analyst focused on the Middle East, said the North had even tried to sell to Saddam Hussein in the past.

On the eve of the Iraq invasion, the Iraqi dictator was offered not just Rodong missiles – but the tech necessary to make more at home.

Mr Orton told Daily Star Online: “Since then, North Korea has been shown to have very deep links, on nuclear and other weaponry, with Iran.

“The North Korean regime will sell anything to anybody who has the cash. They would doubtless sell missiles and anything else to ISIS if they had the money.”

“The alliance between North Korea and Iran shows that divergent ideologies are no barrier to cooperation for Islamists,” said Mr Orton.”In the case of the Islamic State, they have worked with ostensible adversaries before in order to further their cause.”
 Murderous Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad was among those ISIS had worked with, he said, when planning attacks on rival forces.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, left, Bashar al-Assad, right GETTYCOOPERATING: Mr Orton said ISIS has been working with Bashar al-Assad’s murderous regime
Thankfully, the onslaught against Daesh has cut its territory by half, stripped it of numerous oil facilities and slashed its income.So North Korea’s missiles are probably too pricey for the cash-strapped terror group right now – even if Kim Jong-un remains happy to trade.
 Nor is there an obvious overlap currently between the two sides’ interests, with North Korea focused on its southern neighbour.

But Mr Orton said an alliance between Islamism and North Korea remained possible while there were “common Western enemies”.

North Korean hydrogen bomb on news report in SeoulGETTY
 TERRIFYING: South Koreans were particularly alarmed by the hydrogen bomb test in January
He continued: “North Korea has a long record of sponsoring terrorism across the world, usually through proxies.”This could be organised crime or pre-existing paramilitary groups, or supplying resources to terrorists.
 “Yet there is unlikely to be a confluence of interests that sees ISIS conduct terrorism for North Korea.”

North Korea was listed by the US as a state sponsor of terrorism until 2008, when it negotiated its removal from the list.

Khamenei Threatens Babylon The Great

Khamenei warns Iran will ‘hit hard’ in response to US aggression

August 28, 2016, 10:19 pm 15

Amid escalating tensions in Persian Gulf, supreme leader urges bolstered military capabilities to deter American military strike

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks during a meeting in Tehran, Iran, Monday, Aug. 1, 2016. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)

Amid escalating tensions between US and Iranian vessels in the Persian Gulf, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Sunday warned any military aggression against the Islamic Republic would be met with a harsh response.

In an apparent reference to the US, Khamenei told soldiers at a Tehran air base “the enemy should understand that if it makes any aggression, it will be hit hard and our defense will also include response,” according to the state-run Fars news agency.

Khamenei also called to bolster Iran’s military capabilities “to the extent that the enemy doesn’t even allow itself to think about aggression.”

Referring to Iran’s controversial purchase of the S-300 missile defense system from Russia, Khamenei charged the US “doesn’t respect our nation’s right of defense and actually wants us to remain defenseless so that they can launch aggression against our country whenever they want.”
His remarks come days after US seamen complained of being harassed by Iranian gunboats in the open waters of the Persian Gulf, ramping up tensions.

On Saturday, a top Iranian military official claimed the strength of its navy was deterring the US from launching a military offensive against Tehran.

“The US doesn’t enjoy the power to confront Iran militarily,” Rear Admiral Fadavi, naval commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps told a group of paramilitary volunteers in Arak, according to Fars.

Fadavi — who has previously called the US Iran’s sole enemy and claimed its military capabilities have weakened in recent years — claimed the 97 IRGC speedboats patrolling the Persian Gulf were keeping US warships in the Persian GUlf at bay.

Last Wednesday, a US military official said Iranian ships in the Persian Gulf harassed American naval vessels in three recent incidents, including one that prompted a US warship ship to fire warning shots.
According to US Navy Fifth Fleet spokesman Commander Bill Urban, several IRGC boats maneuvered around two US patrol ships, the USS Squall and USS Tempest, creating a possible collision hazard.

All three encounters last week occurred in international waters in the northern Persian Gulf, Urban said.
A day earlier, US defense officials said four Iranian warships in the Strait of Hormuz sped close to two US Navy guided-missile destroyers with their weapons uncovered in an “dangerous, harassing situation” that could have led to an escalation.

Video of the incident involving the USS Nitze shows American sailors firing flares and sounding the warship’s horn as the Iranian boats approached. A sailor can be heard saying that the weapons on the Iranian boats were “uncovered, manned.”

The Nitze was accompanied on its mission by the USS Mason, another destroyer.

When asked about the Tuesday incident, Iran’s Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan said his country’s “naval units have the duty of safeguarding the country’s security in the sea and the Persian Gulf.”
OnThursday, Dehghan said that his naval forces will warn or confront any foreign ship entering the country’s territorial waters.

The semi-official Tasnim news agency quoted Gen. Hosein Dehghan as saying that “if any foreign vessel enters our waters, we warn them, and if it’s an invasion, we confront.” He added that Iranian boats patrol to monitor traffic and foreign vessels in its territorial waters.

A defense official told AFP that ships from the US and Iranian navies had interacted more than 300 times in 2015 and more than 250 times the first half of this year.

Ten percent of those encounters were deemed unsafe and unprofessional, the official said.
In January, the Iranian navy briefly captured the crews of two US patrol boats that had, through a series of blunders, strayed into Iranian territorial waters.

The 10 American sailors were released within 24 hours.

The Scarlet Woman Dodges Another Bullet (Revelation 17)

CNN: “Near Unanimous Agreement” Among Journalists That AP Botched Its Report On Clinton Meetings

CNN’s senior media reporter Dylan Byers reported that media outlets criticized an “arguably misleading” story by the Associated Press, where an “inaccurate tweet” promoting the story falsely claimed that “more than half” of the people who met Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of state had also donated to the Clinton Foundation.

According to the AP’s original review (the story has since been changed) of State Department calendars released to the organization so far, covering roughly half of Clinton’s tenure at State, “[a]t least 85 of 154 people from private interests who met or had phone conversations scheduled with Clinton while she led the State Department donated to her family charity or pledged commitments to its international programs.” The AP promoted this story on Twitter by proclaiming “[m]ore than half those who met Clinton as Cabinet secretary gave money to Clinton Foundation.”

Byers explained that other journalists “noted that Clinton had held thousands of meetings with government employees, foreign representatives, civil leaders, journalists and others while Secretary of State that were not accounted for in the AP’s report,” but the AP “is still standing by its story and has yet to correct its tweet, despite near unanimous agreement among other journalists that the tweet, at least, was false.” The AP’s story was also criticized for characterizing Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, who has been a friend of the Clintons for decades, as little more than a donor asking for help. From Byers’ August 26 report:

Hillary Clinton is surrounded by suggestions of controversy. Terms like “Clinton Foundation,” “email server,” and “Benghazi” hover around her like a faint smoke that hints at the existence of fire.
But finding the fire — the lie, the misdeed, the unethical act — is proving to be rather difficult, as evidenced this week by an inaccurate tweet and arguably misleading story from the Associated Press that were quickly rebutted by the Clinton campaign and dismissed by many media outlets.
Three days later, the Associated Press is still standing by its story and has yet to correct its tweet, despite near unanimous agreement among other journalists that the tweet, at least, was false.
The AP’s social-media take on the story was seriously flawed,” David Boardman, the Dean of the School of Media and Communication at Temple University and former editor of the Seattle Times, told CNNMoney. “It’s sloppy, click-grabbing shorthand that is a disservice to the reporting to which it refers.”

This “extraordinary” finding, as the AP put it, was deemed less extraordinary by other journalists and pundits who noted that Clinton had held thousands of meetings with government employees, foreign representatives, civil leaders, journalists and others while Secretary of State that were not accounted for in the AP’s report.L

Meanwhile, other news organizations pilloried the AP’s report.

The Washington Post Fact-Checker wrote that there were “many more nuanced and important details in the story that are being misrepresented — by the AP’s own promotional tweet, and by Trump.”
Vox’s Matthew Yglesias was more direct: “The AP’s big exposé on Hillary meeting with Clinton Foundation donors is a mess,” his headline read.

The Sixth Seal by Nostradamus (Rev 6:12)

The Sixth Seal by Nostradamus

To Andrew the Prophet
Completed February 5, 2008
Nostradamus and the New City

Nostradamus and the New City

Les Propheties
(Century 1 Quatrain 27)

Michel de Nostredame Earth-shaking fire from the center of the earth.Will cause the towers around the New City to shake,Two great rocks for a long time will make war, And then Arethusa will color a new river red.(And then areth USA will color a new river red.) Earth-shaking fire from the center of the earth.Will cause the towers around the New City to shake,Two great rocks for a long time will make war
There is recent scientific evidence from drill core sampling in Manhattan, that the southern peninsula is overlapped by several tectonic plates. Drill core sampling has been taken from regions south of Canal Street including the Trade Towers’ site. Of particular concern is that similar core samples have been found across the East River in Brooklyn. There are also multiple fault lines along Manhattan correlating with north-northwest and northwest trending neo-tectonic activity. And as recently as January and October of 2001, New York City has sustained earthquakes along these plates. For there are “two great rocks” or tectonic plates that shear across Manhattan in a northwestern pattern. And these plates “for a longtime will make war”, for they have been shearing against one other for millions of years. And on January 3 of 2010, when they makewar with each other one last time, the sixth seal shall be opened, and all will know that the end is near.

And then Arethusa will color a new river red.

Arethusa is a Greek mythological figure, a beautiful huntress and afollower of the goddess Artemis. And like Artemis, Arethusa would have nothing to do with me; rather she loved to run and hunt in the forest. But one day after an exhausting hunt, she came to a clear crystal stream and went in it to take a swim. She felt something from beneath her, and frightened she scampered out of the water. A voice came from the water, “Why are you leaving fair maiden?” She ran into the forest to escape, for the voice was from Alpheus, the god of the river. For he had fallen in love with her and became a human to give chase after her. Arethusa in exhaustion called out to Artemis for help, and the goddess hid her by changing her into a spring.But not into an ordinary spring, but an underground channel that traveled under the ocean from Greece to Sicily. But Alpheus being the god of the river, converted back into water and plunged downthe same channel after Arethusa. And thus Arethusa was captured by Artemis, and their waters would mingle together forever. And of great concern is that core samples found in train tunnels beneath the Hudson River are identical to those taken from southern Manhattan. Furthermore, several fault lines from the 2001 earthquakes were discovered in the Queen’s Tunnel Complex, NYC Water Tunnel #3. And a few years ago, a map of Manhattan drawn up in 1874 was discovered, showing a maze of underground waterways and lakes. For Manhattan was once a marshland and labyrinth of underground streams. Thus when the sixth seal is broken, the subways of the New City shall be flooded be Arethusa:the waters from the underground streams and the waters from the sea. And Arethusa shall be broken into two. And then Arethusa will color a new river red.

And then areth USA will color a new river red.

For Arethusa broken into two is areth USA. For areth (αρετη) is the Greek word for values. But the values of the USA are not based on morality, but on materialism and on wealth. Thus when the sixth seal is opened, Wall Street and our economy shall crash and “arethUSA”, the values of our economy shall fall “into the red.” “Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?’” (Revelation 6:15-17)

President Obama: Too Little Too Late

What Nobel Peace Prize?

What Nobel Peace Prize?

The nuclear weapons debate we need

August 28 at 7:34 PM
THE COMBINATION of President Obama’s last months in office and the presidential campaign has unleashed a flurry of debate about nuclear weapons. Republican nominee Donald Trump has suggested he might withdraw the U.S. nuclear umbrella from allies such as Japan and South Korea, and his combative style has raised the specter of a hothead with his finger on the button. Meanwhile, Mr. Obama is considering whether to make a “no first use” declaration about nuclear weapons, and may seek renewed support for a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty at the United Nations.

In one way or another, all of these touch on important aspects of nuclear weapons policy. It is obvious that Mr. Trump is being downright reckless, and Mr. Obama may be trying to polish a legacy that never quite fulfilled his 2009 Prague speech proposing a new era of nuclear disarmament . But the remaining weeks of the campaign would be better spent with serious debate about the real problems facing the new president.

At the top of that list is an expensive modernization of the U.S. strategic nuclear deterrent. Updating and replacing weapons that date back to the Cold War is essential, but the next president will have to make tough choices. For example, the Navy is embarking on an ambitious program to build 12 ballistic-missile submarines to replace the existing 14 Ohio-class “boomers,” the most invulnerable leg of the strategic triad. But the $97 billion price tag for the replacement fleet threatens to soak up Navy funding for other programs such as attack submarines, destroyers, aircraft carriers and amphibious warfare ships. In order to do it all, the Congressional Research Service has estimated Navy shipbuilding budgets would have to be boosted by a third over historic levels. Can the United States afford to have it all? This question hangs over the Air Force, too, which is working on a new strategic penetrating bomber and wants a new long-range cruise missile. The missions of these two weapons systems may overlap: Is the cruise missile necessary?

At the same time, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his confrontational approach have thrown into doubt earlier cooperation on arms control and nuclear security. Russia’s violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty is unresolved, and Moscow appears to be designing asymmetric weapons such as a nuclear-capable underwater drone, as well as building new missiles and submarines. North Korea has a steadily expanding nuclear arsenal and missile program. Nuclear deterrence is still essential and will be for some time. While continuing U.S. modernization and keeping a wary eye on Mr. Putin, a new president should look for specific areas for engagement with Moscow, such as keeping nuclear material out of the hands of terrorists and reducing the dangers associated with both nations’ launch-ready alert postures, largely unchanged since the Cold War.
Mr. Obama’s early vision of a world without nuclear weapons is a long way off. It is time to work on present-day reality: What kind of strategic nuclear weapons do we need, at what cost and to deter what kind of threats? The campaign could use a debate that acknowledges this and grapples with it.