The Nations Continue to Trample the Holy City (Revelation 11:2)

Israeli military says it attacked two targets belonging to Hamas

World Bulletin / News Desk

The Israeli military said early Wednesday that it conducted airstrikes on the Gaza Strip against two targets belonging to Hamas.

On its Twitter account, the Israeli Defense Forces said it considered Hamas responsible for rockets allegedly fired towards Israeli territory, and as retaliation, it targeted two observation posts in northern Gaza.

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum, in a statement, said quick retaliation by the resistance movement was necessary as Israel is increasing tensions, targeting Palestinian resisters and peaceful protesters. He did not clearly claim responsibility on behalf of the organization for the alleged rocket attacks on Israel, however.

Israeli warplanes on Tuesday fired missiles toward a group of Palestinians flying incendiary kites in the eastern Gaza Strip.

Palestinian activists have been flying incendiary kites and balloons toward Israeli territory as part of ongoing demonstrations near the Israel-Gaza security fence that began on March 30.

Since the protests began, at least 132 Palestinian demonstrators have been martyred and thousands more injured by Israeli army gunfire.

Protesters demand the “right of return” to their homes in historical Palestine from which they were driven in 1948 to make way for the new state of Israel.

They also demand an end to Israel’s decade-long blockade of the Gaza Strip, which has gutted the coastal enclave’s economy and deprived its roughly two million inhabitants of basic commodities.

Is the Russian Horn Expanding Its Nuclear Arsenal?

Is Russia Developing Another 100-Megaton Super-Torpedo?

by Michael Peck

In 1961, Andrei Sakharov, the brilliant physicist considered the father of the Soviet hydrogen bomb, had an idea that made a regular H-bomb look like a firecracker. He proposed a giant submarine-launched torpedo with a 100-megaton nuclear warhead that would have pulverized coastal cities with the titanic force of a tidal wave.

Now, Russia is talking about resurrecting this weapon. Why?

It was on October 30, 1961, that Sakharov’s Tsar Bomba, a 57-megaton monster, was successfully tested in the largest nuclear detonation in history. But even the genius of Sakharov couldn’t solve a basic problem of physics: how do you transport a 27-ton bomb to the target when the bomb is too big to fit in a bomber or the primitive nuclear missiles of the early Cold War?

Sakharov proposed a solution: a torpedo with a 100-megaton warhead. Fired by a submarine at a major port such as New York or Los Angeles, such a warhead would inflict massive damage not just through blast and radiation, but also a giant tidal wave generated by a cataclysmic underwater explosion.

The T-15 torpedo would have been 79 feet long and weighed 40 tons, so big that a special submarine would have been designed around the torpedo (the sub would only have carried one). It says something about the nature of such a weapon that even the Soviet Navy recoiled from it: in his memoirs, Sakharov recalled that a Soviet admiral, when informed of the project, was “shocked and disgusted by the idea of merciless mass slaughter, and remarked that officers and sailors of the fleet were used to fighting an armed enemy in open combat.”

Ashamed of the monster he had proposed, Sakharov went to become a dissident imprisoned for daring to advocate arms control and for criticizing Soviet human rights violations. The Soviet Navy dropped the project in favor of smaller torpedoes with tactical atomic warheads (though like the Americans, moral qualms against mass slaughter were soon swallowed in favor of city-incinerating ballistic missiles launched from submarines).

Fast forward to June 2018, and Russian media is reporting that Moscow may revive the T-15 .

“There is a general tendency of reviewing the ideas that weren’t implemented before. … Sakharov’s ideas about making 24-meter-long nuclear-tipped torpedoes with a 1.5-meter diameter and 50-kilometer range are being reviewed,” torpedo designer Shamil Aliev told Sputnik News.

“As the scientist explained, the purpose of this weapon was to ‘destroy coastal targets via aquatic explosion,’ with a tsunami produced by the blast essentially doing all the work.”

One question is whether this torpedo is the same, or similar, to Status-6, a nuclear-armed underwater drone announced by President Vladimir Putin earlier this year. Like the T-15, the Status-6 would destroy enemy ports by inducing tsunamis. Yet Status-6 is more like a mini-submarine, complete with stealth features, while the T-15 appears to be just a giant torpedo.

Either way, both weapons may be more bark than bite. One attraction — and perhaps why Russia is publicizing these projects — is to send a message that while America’s missile defense program might stop ICBMs, it can’t stop thermonuclear torpedoes launched by stealthy submarines. Of course, one might wonder that if America could develop technology that could shoot down hundreds of Russian ICBMs — which is far from the case currently — then perhaps it could also detect and destroy all those Russian submarines. It would also be considerably easier to deploy more ICBMs to overwhelm American missile defenses rather than build and crew an entire submarine to deliver a single giant torpedo.

And in the end, all it takes is a push of a button for a Russian ICBM to hit Washington in 30 minutes, which is much more flexible than having to maneuver a submarine to within 50 or 100 miles of the U.S. coast.

Nonetheless, the nuclear balance of terror was always about bluff and perception. The prospect of a nuclear super-torpedo is just another weapon in the Kremlin’s psychological arsenal.

Michael Peck is a contributing writer for the National Interest. He can be found on Twitter and Facebook.

Image: Reuters. 

The Nuclear Disaster Awaiting NY at the Sixth Seal

NYS Report: Significant Risks to AIM Pipeline

Written with assistance from Jhena Vigrass, New York Regional Team Program Assistant and Daniela Rico, NRDC Environmental Justice Intern

 Image of Indian Point nuclear plant Mike Segar

Last week, four New York State agencies released the executive summary of a safety assessment of the Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) pipeline, a fracked gas pipeline that runs a quarter mile from the Indian Point Energy Center (IPEC), a nuclear power plant in Westchester County. The executive summary highlights several major areas of risk presented by AIM’s location adjacent to Indian Point.

In 2016, New York Governor Cuomo ordered a safety analysis on the pipeline after his administration greenlighted AIM by granting the pipeline a necessary certification under the Clean Water Act (a “401 water quality certification”).

The AIM pipeline system currently transports natural gas through Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New York, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts; traveling underneath the Hudson River in New York. When the AIM pipeline was approved by FERC in March 2015, the nearly billion-dollar plan added 11.1 miles of 42-inch wide pipeline and replaced 26.3 miles of existing pipeline along the route. Over the years, organizations throughout the region, including NRDC, have fought its expansion.

The report, produced by the New York Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services and the Departments of Public Service, Environmental Conservation, and Health, raises significant concerns regarding the many risks of having the pipeline so close to the Indian Point nuclear plant. In a separate letter sent to FERC, the agencies urge the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to take additional action to lessen all identified potential risks.

According to the report’s executive summary, the only portion of the report released to the public at this time, the analysis identifies 46 overall potential risks associated with the pipeline.  The executive summary explains the top nine risks, many of which involve potential impacts to the AIM pipeline as well as the two existing Algonquin Mainline pipeline segments.  These risks include damage from river traffic or dredging, third-party excavation, seismic activity, corrosion, and the release of hazardous waste materials due to a potential pipeline incident.

As a consequence of the report, New York State agencies sent a letter to FERC asking them to, among other things, not approve any additional capacity or increased pressure within the pipeline.

Indeed, the safety of these pipelines is concerning. Spectra Energy, the company responsible for original pipeline construction, has a poor safety record–Since 2007, state agencies have fined Spectra over $19 million in safety violations. In addition, advocates throughout the region have criticized FERC’s and Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s review of the AIM pipeline project for failing to model certain pipeline ruptures, and showing disregard for the public’s safety.

Spectra Energy

The AIM pipeline safety assessment summary demonstrates the many risks of building fracked gas pipelines in areas with high population densities and sensitive ecosystems. These risks are further exacerbated by AIM’s proximity to Indian Point, an ageing nuclear power plant with a mixed safety record that is set for closure by 2021. AIM’s construction was a bad idea from the beginning, and we now look to state and federal regulatory agencies to do everything in their power to mitigate any and all risks presented by the location of this fracked gas pipeline.

The Ramapo: The Sixth Seal Fault Line (Revelation 6:12)

Image result for ramapo fault lineThe Ramapo fault and other New York City area faults 

 Map depicting the extent of the Ramapo Fault System in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania

The Ramapo Fault, which marks the western boundary of the Newark rift basin, has been argued to be a major seismically active feature of this region, but it is difficult to discern the extent to which the Ramapo fault (or any other specific mapped fault in the area) might be any more of a source of future earthquakes than any other parts of the region. The Ramapo Fault zone spans more than 185 miles (300 kilometers) in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. It is a system of faults between the northern Appalachian Mountains and Piedmont areas to the east. This fault is perhaps the best known fault zone in the Mid-Atlantic region, and some small earthquakes have been known to occur in its vicinity. Recently, public knowledge about the fault has increased – especially after the 1970s, when the fault’s proximity to the Indian Point nuclear plant in New York was noticed.

There is insufficient evidence to unequivocally demonstrate any strong correlation of earthquakes in the New York City area with specific faults or other geologic structures in this region. The damaging earthquake affecting New York City in 1884 was probably not associated with the Ramapo fault because the strongest shaking from that earthquake occurred on Long Island (quite far from the trace of the Ramapo fault). The relationship between faults and earthquakes in the New York City area is currently understood to be more complex than any simple association of a specific earthquake with a specific mapped fault.

A 2008 study argued that a magnitude 6 or 7 earthquake might originate from the Ramapo fault zone, which would almost definitely spawn hundreds or even thousands of fatalities and billions of dollars in damage. Studying around 400 earthquakes over the past 300 years, the study also argued that there was an additional fault zone extending from the Ramapo Fault zone into southwestern Connecticut. As can be seen in the above figure of seismicity, earthquakes are scattered throughout this region, with no particular concentration of activity along the Ramapo fault, or along the hypothesized fault zone extending into southwestern Connecticut.

Just off the northern terminus of the Ramapo fault is the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant, built between 1956 and 1960 by Consolidated Edison Company. The plant began operating in 1963, and it has been the subject of a controversy over concerns that an earthquake from the Ramapo fault will affect the power plant. Whether or not the Ramapo fault actually does pose a threat to this nuclear power plant remains an open question.

The Antichrist Scales Back His Militia

Iraqi Shiite Muslim leader and head of Hikma Party Ammar Al Hakim (left) and Shiite cleric Moqtada Al Sadr meet in the Iraqi holy city of Najaf, on May 17 (AFP photo)

Iraqi cleric Sadr scales back his militia

By Thomson Reuters Foundation – Jun 28,2018 – Last updated at Jun 28,2018

BAGHDAD — Iraqi cleric Moqtada Al Sadr, whose political bloc came first in a May parliamentary election, said on Thursday he was scaling back his militia to strengthen the incoming government and its security forces.

The cleric’s list won the most seats in an election marred by low turnout and allegations of fraud.

He is currently embroiled in negotiations with the heads of other blocs over forming the next government, in which he is expected to play a leading role.

Sadr said in a handwritten order published on his website that his Saraya Al Salam (Peace Companies) militia must disband in all cities except for the capital Baghdad and the cities of Karbala and Samarra, both homes to holy Shiite shrines.

The cleric had earlier this month called for a nationwide disarmament campaign after an arms cache exploded in his stronghold district of Sadr City in Baghdad, killing 18 people. Political opponents said the cache had belonged to his militia.

His Thursday order called on his men to store arms in a manner that protects civilians. All the militia’s leaders except those in the three named cities were prohibited from “activities on the ground”.

Sadr said the militia was also now banned from conducting any operation outside Iraq, and all weapons received from the government and its security forces were to be returned.

Like most Iraqi political leaders, Sadr has consistently maintained a powerful militia.

In the past Sadr has mobilised tens of thousands of followers to protest against government policies and has been seen as a wild card in Iraq’s turbulent politics, which is often driven by sectarian interests.

His militia, once known as the Mehdi Army, staged two violent uprisings against US occupation forces after their invasion of Iraq and toppling of Saddam Hussein.

Iraqi and US officials described him at the time as the biggest security threat in Iraq.