NYC earthquake risk: the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

NYC earthquake risk: Could Staten Island be heavily impacted?

Updated May 16, 4:31 AM; Posted May 16, 4:00 AM

Rubble litters Main Street after an earthquake struck Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, in Napa, Calif. A report by the U.S. Geological Survey outlines the differences between the effect of an earthquake in the West vs. one in the East. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – While scientists say it’s impossible to predict when or if an earthquake will occur in New York City, they say that smaller structures — like Staten Island’s bounty of single-family homes — will suffer more than skyscrapers if it does happen.

„Earthquakes in the East tend to cause higher-frequency shaking — faster back-and-forth motion — compared to similar events in the West,“ according to a report by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), published on its website recently „Shorter structures are more susceptible to damage during fast shaking, whereas taller structures are more susceptible during slow shaking.“


The report, „East vs West Coast Earthquakes,“ explains how USGS scientists are researching factors that influence regional differences in the intensity and effects of earthquakes, and notes that earthquakes in the East are often felt at more than twice the distance of earthquakes in the West.

Predicting when they will occur is more difficult, said Thomas Pratt, a research geophysicist and the central and Eastern U.S. coordinator for the USGS Earthquake Hazards Program in Reston, Va.

„One of the problems in the East Coast is that we don’t have a history to study,“ he said. „In order to get an idea, we have to have had several cycles of these things. The way we know about them in California is we dig around in the mud and we see evidence of past earthquakes.“

Yet Pratt wouldn’t rule out the possibility of a high-magnitude event taking place in New York, which sits in the middle the North American Tectonic Plate, considered by experts to be quite stable.

„We never know,“ he said. „One could come tomorrow. On the other hand, it could be another 300 years. We don’t understand why earthquakes happen (here) at all.“

Though the city’s last observable earthquake occurred on Oct. 27, 2001, and caused no real damage, New York has been hit by two Magnitude 5 earthquakes in its history – in 1738 and in 1884 — prompting many to say it is „due“ for another.

While earthquakes generally have to be Magnitude 6 or higher to be considered „large,“ by experts, „a Magnitude 5, directly under New York City, would shake it quite strongly,“ Pratt said.

The reason has to do with the rock beneath our feet, the USGS report says.


In the East, we have older rocks, some of which formed „hundreds of millions of years before those in the West,“ the report says. Since the faults in the rocks have had so much time to heal, the seismic waves travel more efficiently through them when an earthquake occurs.

„Rocks in the East are like a granite countertop and rocks in the West are much softer,“ Pratt said. „Take a granite countertop and hit it and it’ll transmit energy well. In the West, it’s like a sponge. The energy gets absorbed.“

If a large, Magnitude 7 earthquake does occur, smaller structures, and older structures in Manhattan would be most vulnerable, Pratt said. „In the 1920s, ’30s and late 1800s, they were not built with earthquake resistance,“ he said, noting that newer skyscrapers were built to survive hurricanes, so would be more resistant.

When discussing earthquake prediction and probability, Pratt uses the analogy of a baseball player who averages a home run every 10 times at bat and hasn’t hit one in the past nine games: „When he’s up at bat, will he hit a home run? You just don’t know.“

And though it would probably take a magnitude of 7 to topple buildings in the city, smaller earthquakes are still quite dangerous, he said.

„Bookshelves could fall down and hit you,“ he said. „People could be killed.“ A lot of stone work and heavy objects fell from buildings when a quake of 5.8 magnitude struck central Virginia in 2011, he noted, but, fortunately, no one was injured.

To be safe, Pratt encourages New Yorkers to keep a few days‘ worth of drinking water and other supplies on hand. He, himself, avoids putting heavy things up high.

„It always gets me nervous when I go into a restaurant that has heavy objects high on shelves,“ he said. „It’s unlikely you’ll get an earthquake. But, we just don’t know.“

Trump Tramples Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

Trump’s Peace Plan for Israel Puts the Palestine Authority’s Future at Risk

This deal won’t accomplish much besides that. It requires major concessions that Palestinians have already been urged to make—which they’ve refused.

In the coming weeks, Palestinians and their allies are expected to push a UN Security Council resolution condemning President Donald Trump’s Middle East “peace plan.” The plan, welcomed by Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu and opposition leader, Benny Gantz, teases the prospect of Palestinian statehood. In theory, there would be a capital in suburban East Jerusalem and an area twice the size of what the Palestinian Authority and Hamas currently control. But, in exchange, the Palestinians must give up claims on West Bank settlements and land, as well as most of Jerusalem.

The plan has been commended as reasonable and generous by some Western observers, though it’s not dissimilar to one proposed twelve years ago by Israeli leader Ehud Olmert. But one thing’s certain: there’s no way it will fix the modern world’s longest-running conflict. 

It seems the plan is Trump and Netanyahu’s effort to make good on their repeated pledges to address this crisis. Of course, it was announced at a time when both leaders faced scandals—and while Trump has since survived his impeachment trial, Netanyahu continues to face corruption charges. They’re also both facing upcoming elections. By simply providing a detailed plan, then, they can assert their diplomatic credentials to supporters, even if it was always inevitably going to be rejected by the Palestinians.

And this deal won’t accomplish much besides that. It requires major concessions that Palestinians have already been urged to make—which they’ve refused. Plus, it came at the same time as Israel’s formal annexation of more West Bank land, as well as Israeli officials’ downplaying of the promise to temporarily freeze further settlement activity if the Palestinians agree to the deal. But even if they do, the deal demands the allaying of Israeli security concerns, the entrenchment of democratic institutions in Palestine, and guarantees of civil rights. None of these prospects are realistic.

Indeed, there’s a reason there hasn’t been an election in the Palestinian territories since 2006: Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian agencies alike conclude that, if there were, Hamas would win in both the West Bank and Gaza. The Palestinian Authority’s West Bank-based Fatah government, keen to hold onto power, is deeply unpopular and accused of widespread corruption. That could explain why it hasn’t held an election in fourteen years, despite claiming a desire to do so. And a Hamas-run Palestinian state will never be accepted by Israel since the terror-group-turned-political-party’s chief business model is to lob rockets at Israel before seeking international sympathy and support from their foreign backers whenever Israel retaliates.

And even if an incumbent Palestinian government wanted to allay Israel’s security concerns, it’s doubtful it could. In 2000, then-Israeli leader Ariel Sharon visited the disputed temple mount and Al-Aqsa mosque complex in Jerusalem after receiving assurances from the Palestinian Security Chief that it would cause no problems. What followed were widespread protests, escalating bloodshed and militancy, which claimed thousands of lives. So tenuous is the idea of a stable Palestinian state that the Egyptians—by no means friends of Israel—have asked for a “buffer” of Israeli-controlled territory between Egypt and territory the deal would cede to Palestine at its border.

For decades, there has been a massive trust deficit between the conflict’s two sides. Palestinians lost trust in any deal after the Oslo Accords didn’t deliver the outcomes they hoped for and faced sluggish progress in their implementation. And Israelis who’ve witnessed the “second intifada” and election of Hamas in Gaza years after Israel pulled out of that territory aren’t buying it, either.

Addressing this issue could take generations. Instead of an unfeasible deal, what’s most likely to actually help in easing tensions are joint initiatives and programs that allow Israelis and Palestinians to work together—building trust, cooperation and the goodwill necessary for any future arrangements. But an unfeasible proposal that amounts to little more than political theater from embattled politicians certainly won’t do much at all.

Satya Marar is a Washington DC-based policy professional and international affairs writer.

Image: Reuters

Israel sent a bulldozer outside the Temple Walls – the result was 100 rockets

Israel sent a bulldozer to snatch a Gazan’s body. The result was 100 rockets – Israel News –

Amos Harel

Rockets fired by Palestinian militants in Gaza City toward Israel, February 24, 2020 Khalil Hamra/AP

Islamic Jihad took a risk igniting the Gaza front, and it seemed to have paid off

In retrospect, Israeli army sources acknowledge that the operation in which a bulldozer retrieved the body of an Islamic Jihad member killed in an incident on the Gaza border could have been handled differently. Defense Minister Naftali Bennett, who has boasted about reinstating the policy of collecting bodies, angrily rejected the criticism that followed the incident, saying that he was sick of the left wing’s hypocrisy.

But the army’s reaction to the operation, which took place on Sunday, sounds somewhat different. They say that had they known it would run into such complications, maybe they could have passed up the effort: “It really looked bad. Sometimes things go awry.”

The shift in policy was mainly the result of Bennett’s political constraints. When he took office in November, he expressed support for an army recommendation in favor of wide-ranging steps to ease the economic situation in Gaza. The stance prompted allegations from the right wing that the bodies of Israeli soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, which are being held by Hamas, were being abandoned. In addition to announcing other aggressive steps, Bennett directed the Israel Defense Forces to resume the policy of collecting the bodies of Palestinians killed in incidents involving live fire near the border fence.

The efficacy of the policy is a matter of debate, to put it mildly. Until now, Hamas had not expressed particular concern over the bodies of its own members that are held in Israel, some since the war in the summer of 2014. And the prospect that Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar would actually be more concerned over the sorry fate of an unknown member of Islamic Jihad is even slimmer.

But a directive is a directive, so on Sunday morning, after the army struck a cell that had come to lay explosive charges near the border fence and left the body of one of its members behind, an army bulldozer was dispatched to collect it, perhaps in the faint hope that it would help in bargaining with Hamas in the future.

But then things began to get complicated. The bulldozer had problems digging in the hard ground to pick up the body; in the meantime, some locals gathered to try to scuttle the operation. Under the pressure of the unfolding situation, the bulldozer operator pulled up the body with the machine’s arm, creating a macabre scene: The body of the Islamic Jihad member was tossed around like a rag doll – which isn’t really consistent with the value of according respect to enemy bodies, which the IDF teaches its combat soldiers to uphold (even if it’s not always applied in practice).

The debriefing on the incident is still ongoing at Southern Command. Army sources have emphasized that the risk that was taken was a reasonable one: The armored bulldozer only went about 90 meters (300 feet) into Palestinian territory and no one would have thought to send soldiers with stretchers in to accomplish the task. In any event, the footage of the incident shot from Gaza went viral on social media.

In Israel it immediately started the usual argument between the right and left wing, in which, it seems, the entire consensus over what is and what isn’t permissible in combat has been eroded over the years. The most prominent example is the controversy over Elor Azaria, the soldier convicted of manslaughter for killing a Palestinian terrorist who had already been subdued.

In Gaza, the consequences were greater. Army sources said that in retrospect, they think the footage is what prompted Islamic Jihad’s relatively harsh response – firing nearly 100 rockets at southern Israel within a two-day period. The Israeli decision to extend its response to Syria, where an Islamic Jihad military installation was bombed on Sunday night, intensified and prolonged the Palestinian rocket fire until Monday evening.

From there, things followed a familiar course. A cease-fire was reached through Egyptian mediation, and as usual, only the Palestinians announced it. Residents of Israeli border communities only got word that the latest round was over when the Home Front Command announced a return to routine on Tuesday.

Army sources believe that Islamic Jihad took advantage of the approaching Knesset election on March 2, which created an opportunity to draw Israel in without the IDF going wild in response. It appears that Islamic Jihad’s calculations have paid off: In the two days of violence, only one of its members was killed – the man whose body was retrieved by the bulldozer.

Bennett boasted about the killing of eight terrorists, but he was apparently referring to the bombing of the military installation in Syria. Throughout the fighting, Hamas was careful not to intervene, just as it was in the previous round in November. It didn’t act to restrain Islamic Jihad, but it also didn’t engage in the firing itself.

So where does this leave us? Closer to a wide-scale escalation than a long-term agreement. The messages that Israel conveyed to Hamas via various intermediaries demanded that Hamas take decisive steps to rein in Islamic Jihad. By Thursday, Israel had already fully restored the measures it had taken to ease the situation in Gaza.

The army has already seen initial results from the more lenient policy. There was a small improvement in Gaza’s economic situation in the first quarter of 2019. An increase in supplied electricity led to increased production and a small decline in joblessness. Import and export merchandise trade also increased. However, the most significant step involves granting permits for Gazans to work in Israel, and that has not yet been fully implemented. On the army’s recommendation, and despite opposition from the Shin Bet security service, the political leadership has increased the number of work permits to 7,000. In the IDF, the hope is to even double that.

The average wage of a Gazan laborer working in Israel is six times the pay for a comparable day’s work in the Strip itself. The wages earned in Israel contribute substantially to the enclave’s economy and can also contribute to efforts to achieve relative stability there.

Prisoners to a conception

But is the political leadership and the senior military command being held hostage by the conception that Hamas is a partner to a long-term agreement while it continues to carry out attacks via smaller Palestinian groups?

“I ask my people about this once a day,” a senior army officer told Haaretz. “We say with certainty that Hamas wants calm. It’s not a conjecture. Ten years ago, they were planting explosives next to the border fence. Now they have an entire military structure whose job it is to prevent other organizations to reach the fence. They aren’t winking to Islamic Jihad to act. Hamas hasn’t given up on the idea of resistance to Israel, but it now has other considerations.”

After the hostilities between Israel and Gaza in November, which began with the assassination of a senior Islamic Jihad figure, Baha Abu al-Atta, the thinking in the IDF was that his death would make it easier to come to an indirect arrangement that would ensure long-term calm. That didn’t happen.

In retrospect, they attribute the continued violence to two main events: the crisis between Hamas and Egypt (which erupted when Hamas’ Ismail Haniyeh violated a commitment to Cairo and visited Iran to attend Gen. Qassem Soleimani’s funeral), and the release of the Trump administration’s peace plan, which prompted Hamas to take a harder line. Attempts to reach a long-term agreement resumed this week, but for the moment, the prospects don’t look bright.

“We have to regard a military campaign as likely to take place, but not rush into it as a first solution,” the senior officer said. “Such a campaign will not be pretty at all. There is no other way. No war looks good, but this would look worse. I am very familiar with the operational plans. There are almost no targets in Gaza in open spaces. The military targets are in the heart of multistory buildings or underground. The ratio of losses among armed [combatants] and uninvolved civilians will be very unpleasant. And we will also pay a price.

“And what’s more, right after this war, we will have to start dealing with the economic reconstruction of the Strip. This time, we won’t be able to wait four years, and it’s not certain that the world would mobilize assistance for it. Anyone who is selling you quick fixes in Gaza doesn’t know what they’re talking about.”

Former IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot said something similar last week at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya at the launch of the Hebrew-language book “Hamatria” (“Warning Lights”), based on conversations between Maj. Gen. (res.) Amos Gilead and journalist Shimon Shiffer.

“I am expressing my professional opinion that there is no magic pill,” Eisenkot said. “Anyone who thinks that terrorism can be fought with slogans or with force alone is making a major mistake. It needs to be a combined fight deploying sophisticated and concerted military and intelligence power together with civilian economic motives and components that will separate terrorism from the population and also create hope. The idea that the worse it is from them, the better it is for us, is baseless and will perpetuate the chaotic reality for many years to come.”

Eisenkot’s interviewer, Yaron Dekel of Kan public broadcasting, asked what he thought about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s statement that Israel was preparing a surprise for Hamas.

“I understand the need from a political and leadership standpoint to provide the citizens answers, saying that there are things being done,” Eisenkot acknowledged, “but I think as a rule, it would be better to maintain a policy of ambiguity. Even when the image of one or another commander or leader is hurt, you need to see the benefit from the matter and believe that you are doing the right thing for Israel rather than getting too excited over one headline or another.”

Leader of Iraqi party, the Antichrist,insists on US exit

Leader of Iraqi party insists on US exit

Baghdad, Feb 27 (Prensa Latina) The head of the largest parliamentary party in Iraq, Shia Muslim cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, keeps insisting on the departure of the little more than 5,000 US troops from Iraqi soil.

Quoted by the local television station al-Sharqiya, al-Sadr argued that the Pentagon’s presence is destructive, as it makes Iraq the scene of international conflicts.

The calls for the expulsion of US troops are not accompanied by Kurdish and Sunni politicians, who boycotted a parliamentary session last January that sought to approve a recommendation to the Government for the withdrawal of foreign troops.

For this reason, the cleric requested support from the head of the Democratic Party of the autonomous region of Kurdistan, Masoud Barzani, for the exit of the United States.

Kurdish leaders defend the presence of a Pentagon-led international military coalition on the grounds that they contain the threat of the terrorist Islamic State.

Al-Sadr, an outspoken open to the presence of US troops, heads the largest parliamentary bloc in Iraq, the Saairun alliance, and is also the founder of the Mahdi Army that fought from 2003 to 2008 the US occupation in Iraq.

In the cleric’s opinion, the Iraqi Army and police are guards for all; a Shiite must protect everyone and a Kurd too; this is how a state works: not a Kurd who protects only the Kurds; a Shiite, the Shiites and a Sunni, the Sunnis.

The Antichrist is famous for political U-turns, but has he crushed the protests that swept Iraq?

Muqtada al-Sadr is famous for political U-turns, but has he crushed the protests that swept Iraq?

The Shia cleric is a political chameleon who has survived decades of national turmoil, Patrick Cockburn writes, but his controversial career shows that reforming a corrupt and dysfunctional government is near impossible

Patrick Cockburn

Muqtada al-Sadr is a populist Shia cleric, an arch survivor in Iraq’s permanent political crisis, and one of its most powerful leaders. He is criticised for being a senior member of the Iraqi ruling class while at the same time presenting himself as one of its most radical opponents. He has admitted that ministers from his movement have been among the very worst offenders in corrupt and dysfunctional governments that he has publicly denounced.

Yet his much-criticised ambivalence is typical of every Iraqi leader who has to manoeuvre between the multiple centres of power that dominate the political landscape. His career also helps explain why it is near impossible to radically reform the way Iraq is ruled, however unsatisfactory that may be.

Sadr’s balancing act has always been difficult and is now under severe strain, ever since marches, rallies and sit-ins demanding jobs, water, electricity and an end to corruption began to convulse Iraq in October last year. He and his supporters reinforced and protected protesters until January, but then became increasingly critical and hostile towards them.

Donald Trump Does NOT Know This: War Is No Alternative To Dealing With Iran

Donald Trump Must Know This: War Is No Alternative To Dealing With Iran (Still)

The present has echoes of 2015.

Key Point: While many conservatives are quick to spurn negotiations with Iran, they seem to have done very little in the way of analyzing what a war with Iran would actually look like. Maybe they need a reminder.

(This story originally appeared on March 28, 2015, more than three years before Pres. Donald Trump ended the Obama-era deal preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.)

Iran hawks are playing with fire. We are close to a nuclear deal with Iran, but opponents continue to step up attacks aimed at torpedoing efforts to reach a settlement. They insist that we must walk away from the negotiating table, and that there’s a better deal to be had.

That belief is a fantasy.

The reality is that if negotiations with Iran fail, the wreckage will leave the United States without any good options. “If we undermine negotiations now, we’ll have only two choices — Accept the reality of an Iranian nuclear bomb, or use military force to attack Iran’s nuclear program,” former Sen. Carl Levin wrote in a recent op-ed for U.S. News & World Report.

There is hardly a nation in the world that wants a nuclear Iran. But the United States should only consider a war with Iran to be a last resort. “If you think the war in Iraq was hard, an attack on Iran would, in my opinion, be a catastrophe,” former Defense Secretary Robert Gates said in 2012.

Furthermore, he added that such a quixotic attack would only “make a nuclear-armed Iran inevitable, [as] they would just bury the program deeper and make it more covert.”

Yet the reality of this no-win scenario has done little to deter hawks, both in and out of Congress, from continued attempts to undermine negotiations. Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton’s letter, signed by 46 of his Republican colleagues, is only the most recent example of their continued campaign of political brinkmanship.

Even more worrisome though, is the cavalier attitude toward the use of U.S. military force that underlies this approach.

In his recent op-ed for The New York Times, former Bush administration official John Bolton backed up the idea of using U.S. military force against Iran.

“The inconvenient truth is that only military action like Israel’s 1981 attack on Saddam Hussein’s Osirak reactor in Iraq or its 2007 destruction of a Syrian reactor, designed and built by North Korea, can accomplish what is required,” he wrote.

“Time is terribly short, but a strike can still succeed,” Bolton added. “Such action should be combined with vigorous American support for Iran’s opposition, aimed at regime change in Tehran.”

These comments echo Cotton’s statements from earlier this month. “Israel struck Iraq’s nuclear program in 1981 and they didn’t reconstitute it,” Cotton said.“Rogue regimes have a way of getting the picture when there is a credible threat of military force on the table.”

Both Bolton and Cotton’s accounts of the strikes on Iraq in 1981 are completely wrong.

Those strikes actually drove the program underground, where it expanded. This is just what Gates warns would happen with Iran. As Deputy National Security Advisor Colin Kahl wrote in 2012, “new evidence suggests that Hussein had not decided to launch a full-fledged weapons program prior to the Israeli strike.”

“By demonstrating Iraq’s vulnerability, the attack on Osirak actually increased Hussein’s determination to develop a nuclear deterrent and provided Iraq’s scientists an opportunity to better organize the program. The Iraqi leader devoted significantly more resources toward pursuing nuclear weapons after the Israeli assault. As [political scientist Dan] Reiter notes, ‘the Iraqi nuclear program increased from a program of 400 scientists and $400 million to one of 7,000 scientists and $10 billion.’”

More importantly, these sentiments are reminiscent of the Bush administration’s failed policy toward Iran in the early 2000s. When approached with deals that would have seen all of Iran’s enriched uranium converted into fuel rods — and would have capped the program with some 100 odd centrifuges — the Bush administration balked.

Vice President Dick Cheney even once said, “We don’t negotiate with evil; we defeat it.” The results? Negotiations collapsed and Iran went from only a few installed centrifuges at the beginning of the Bush administration to about 6,000 by the end.

While many conservatives are quick to spurn negotiations with Iran, they seem to have done very little in the way of analyzing what a war with Iran would actually look like. Maybe they need a reminder.

It would neither be quick nor painless. As former Brookings Institution fellow Noah Shachtman described in 2012, it would be a major major military action, with little chance of lasting success.

“Setting back Iran’s nuclear efforts will need to be an all-out effort, with squadrons of bombers and fighter jets, teams of commandos, rings of interceptor missiles and whole Navy carrier strike groups — plus enough drones, surveillance gear, tanker aircraft and logistical support to make such a massive mission go. And all of it, at best, would buy the U.S. and Israel another decade of a nuke-free Iran.”

Even a limited strike by U.S. air and naval forces would be massive, according to Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

“It it is not a simple mission of bombers flying in and out of Iran, this is a complicated Offensive Air Strike that will involve many aircraft, each with its own role, such as Combat Aircarft [sic] whose role is to suppress enemy air defenses along the way, aircraft that fly fighter escort with the bombers, aircraft that carry specialized electronic warfare equipment to jam enemy radars and communications., plus probably air-to-air refueling along the way in and out of Iran.”

Even then, Cordesman added, “depending on the forces allocated and duration of air strikes, it is unlikely that an air campaign alone could alone terminate Iran’s program. The possibility of dispersed facilities complicates any assessment of a potential mission success, making it unclear what the ultimate effect of a strike would be on Iran’s nuclear facilities.”

Further complicating matters, U.S. military forces would not be able to simply focus on striking Iranian nuclear targets. They would also have to safeguard the Strait of Hormuz — a narrow waterway connecting the Gulf of Oman to the Persian Gulf — through which some 20 percent of the world’s oil passes, as well as countless other U.S. and allied strategic assets in the area.

Indeed, even a temporary closure of the strait through Iranian deployment of mines, mini-subs, shore-to-ship missile batteries and patrol boats could have a serious effect upon the world economy.

The Federation of American Scientists estimates that the “the rough effects of U.S. [military] action against Iran on the global economy — measured only in the first three months of actualization — [could] range from total losses of approximately $60 billion on one end of the scale to more than $2 trillion to the world economy on the other end.”

All in all, a U.S. or coalition attack against Iran now would be like setting off a bomb in a gunpowder factory. As Cordesman noted, any “military strike [against Iran] could be destabilizing for the entire Middle East region and potentially generate a nuclear weapons race in that part of the world.”

War with Iran is no joke. Critics of a deal with Iran should not treat it like one. A breakdown in negotiations will have serious repercussions for the Middle East and U.S. foreign policy. That being the case, lawmakers should be more careful when threatening to use U.S. military force.

The enormous costs involved in engaging U.S. forces against Iran, both human and materiel, should not be bandied about lightly.

As Levin wrote, “We owe it to our friends and allies in the region, and to our men and women in uniform who might have to risk their lives if diplomacy fails, to give negotiations every chance to succeed.”

We should listen to his advice.

Geoff Wilson is a communications manager at Ploughshares Fund, a global security foundation. The views expressed are his own.

This article first appeared in 2015. It is being republished due to reader interest.

Image: Warships sail in the Sea of Oman during the first day of joint Iran, Russia and China naval war games in Chabahar port, at the Sea of Oman, Iran, December 27, 2019. Picture taken December 27, 2019. Mohsen Ataei/Fars news agency/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS

No Space For the First Nuclear War (Revelation 8 )

No Space For War Between Nuclear Nations But Ready to Respond to India – Pakistan Military

New Delhi (Sputnik): The two South Asian nuclear-armed nations have been at loggerheads over the disputed region of Kashmir and have fought three wars in the past. Relations dipped to a new low after India in a surprise move revoked the decades-old special status of Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan downgraded diplomatic ties with India.

New Delhi (Sputnik): The two South Asian nuclear-armed nations have been at loggerheads over the disputed region of Kashmir and have fought three wars in the past. Relations dipped to a new low after India in a surprise move revoked the decades-old special status of Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan downgraded diplomatic ties with India.

The Pakistani Army on Thursday said matters would spiral out of control if India showed aggression, as consequences would be far greater.

There is no space for war between two nuclear powers. The consequences for that will be uncontrollable and things will spiral out of control. Intentions can change overnight but capabilities remain”, said Pakistani military spokesman Major General Babar Iftikhar.

It was stated during a press conference on the first anniversary of “Operation Swift Retort”, marking the retaliation by Pakistan’s Air Force to India’s airstrike in its Balakot region in last February.

The spokesperson warned India against carrying out similar misadventures in the future, saying any threat to Pakistan’s security will be retaliated for if its neighbour tried to test Pakistan’s capability again.

“If there is a challenge to Pakistan’s security, we will respond — do not test our capability and resolve”, he said.

Asked about India’s defence capabilities, the spokesperson said that “India is among the top three countries for military spending” but despite this Pakistan is capable and well prepared for India.

He also said that Pakistan is taking the statements by Indian officials and government very seriously.

The comments come against the backdrop of recent remarks made by Indian politicians on taking back Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

Last week, India’s BJP National General Secretary Ram Madhav said the revocation of Kashmir’s special status last August was a step towards the Narendra Modi government’s goal of “integral India” and in the next step, India will take back the Pakistani side of Kashmir.

“Our next objective is to take back the Indian land which is under the illegal occupation of Pakistan”, Madhav said while pointing out that Parliament had passed a resolution in this regard in 1994.

In January of this year, Indian Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane said that the army would act, once it receives orders to reclaim the Pakistani side of Kashmir.

On 5 August 2019, the Indian government abrogated the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated the region into two union territories which are under the direct control of the Modi government. Pakistan accused India of violating international agreements including the Simla Agreement of 1972 and asked the global community to intervene in the affair.

New York Earthquake: City of the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

Published 30th April 2018

Researchers believe that a powerful earthquake, magnitude 5 or greater, could cause significant damage to large swathes of NYC, a densely populated area dominated by tall buildings.

Some experts have suggested that NYC is susceptible to at least a magnitude 5 earthquake once every 100 years.

The last major earthquake measuring over magnitude 5.0 struck NYC in 1884 – meaning another one of equal size is “overdue” by 34 years, according their prediction model.

Natural disaster researcher Simon Day, of University College London, agrees with the conclusion that NYC may be more at risk from earthquakes than is usually thought.

EARTHQUAKE RISK: New York is susceptible to seismic shaking from far-away tremors

But the idea of NYC being “overdue” for an earthquake is “invalid”, not least because the “very large number of faults” in the city have individually low rates of activity, he said.

The model that predicts strong earthquakes based on timescale and stress build-up on a given fault has been “discredited”, he said.

What scientists should be focusing on, he said, is the threat of large and potentially destructive earthquakes from “much greater distances”.

The dangerous effects of powerful earthquakes from further away should be an “important feature” of any seismic risk assessment of NYC, Dr Day said.


THE BIG APPLE: An aerial view of Lower Manhattan at dusk in New York City


RISK: A seismic hazard map of New York produced by USGS

“New York is susceptible to seismic shaking from earthquakes at much greater distances” Dr Simon Day, natural disaster researcher

“An important feature of the central and eastern United States is, because the crust there is old and cold, and contains few recent fractures that can absorb seismic waves, the rate of seismic reduction is low.

Central regions of NYC, including Manhattan, are built upon solid granite bedrock; therefore the amplification of seismic waves that can shake buildings is low.

But more peripheral areas, such as Staten Island and Long Island, are formed by weak sediments, meaning seismic hazard in these areas is “very likely to be higher”, Dr Day said.

“Thus, like other cities in the eastern US, New York is susceptible to seismic shaking from earthquakes at much greater distances than is the case for cities on plate boundaries such as Tokyo or San Francisco, where the crustal rocks are more fractured and absorb seismic waves more efficiently over long distances,” Dr Day said.

In the event of a large earthquake, dozens of skyscrapers, including Chrysler Building, the Woolworth Building and 40 Wall Street, could be at risk of shaking.

“The felt shaking in New York from the Virginia earthquake in 2011 is one example,” Dr Day said.

On that occasion, a magnitude 5.8 earthquake centered 340 miles south of New York sent thousands of people running out of swaying office buildings.


FISSURES: Fault lines in New York City have low rates of activity, Dr Day said

NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the city was “lucky to avoid any major harm” as a result of the quake, whose epicenter was near Louisa, Virginia, about 40 miles from Richmond.

“But an even more impressive one is the felt shaking from the 1811-1812 New Madrid earthquakes in the central Mississippi valley, which was felt in many places across a region, including cities as far apart as Detroit, Washington DC and New Orleans, and in a few places even further afield including,” Dr Day added.

“So, if one was to attempt to do a proper seismic hazard assessment for NYC, one would have to include potential earthquake sources over a wide region, including at least the Appalachian mountains to the southwest and the St Lawrence valley to the north and east.”

Nuclear Disaster Brews Before the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)​

Lowey, Latimer blast NRC for ‘faulty analysis’ that led to approval of gas line near Indian Point

February 27, 2020

WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D, NY-17), Thursday, said that a report by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission Inspector General reveals that NRC failed to properly analyze the safety impact of the placement of a natural gas pipeline near the Indian Point Energy Center as part of the process for the pipeline’s approval by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

“The IG findings show outrageous failings by an agency charged with the important responsibility of protecting the health and safety of our communities,” Lowey said.  “This report indicates repeated failings to use proper analysis by the same commission that oversees the decommissioning of Indian Point.  NRC must immediately explain to our communities the risks they face as a result of the agency’s faulty processes and take steps to protect the public from any dangers that have resulted from the pipeline’s approval and installation.”

The IG report indicated that FERC relied upon NRC to assess the impacts of the pipeline that now traverses Indian Point property as part of the Algonquin Incremental Market Project.

Lowey has written to NRC Chairman Kristine Svinicki calling for an immediate briefing in the wake of the IG report’s release.  She said the report is all the more alarming at a time when the NRC must ensure the safety of local residents as Indian Point’s nuclear plants are decommissioned.

“The NRC must do its job to protect the public first and foremost,” Lowey said. “As we work to mitigate the impact of the decommission of Indian Point on our communities, we simply must have reliable partners to ensure that we don’t face increased environmental and public safety concerns.”

Westchester County Executive George Latimer, meanwhile, called the NRC’s action “a gross failing on the part of the agency that is charged with keeping this community and the families that live here safe.” He said it is “particularly appalling when coupled with the fact that this is the same agency charged with overseeing the decommissioning of Indian Point – a process that is occurring right now.”

Lattimer said he wants the NRC to come to Westchester to tell its residents

“that they have failed them, and to explain what steps they are taking to protect the public from the pipeline that now crosses the Indian Point property as part of the Algonquin Incremental Market Project.”

US Insists on a New Cold War

US rejected key talks on extending soon-to-expire treaty that limits strategic nuclear arms – Russia

27 Feb, 2020 10:07


FILE PHOTO A nuclear-capable B-2 Stealth Bomber at the Palmdale Aircraft Integration Center of Excellence in Palmdale, California. July 2014. © AFP / Frederic J. Brown

The US has declined an invitation to hold a formal meeting to discuss the legal details of extending the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), which is due to expire in a year, a senior Russian diplomat has said.

Washington has decided to ditch important talks on the bilateral treaty’s fate, the Deputy Director of the Foreign Ministry’s Non-Proliferation and Arms Control Department, Vladimir Leontyev, told a strategic arms-themed event in the Russian parliament on Thursday.

We offered a meeting between our legal experts to make sure that we’re on the same page and to negotiate a common understanding of the technical side of the extension [of the treaty], but a few days ago the Americans officially declined that offer.

The START pact limits the number of nuclear warheads and the means of their delivery. The current iteration of the agreement – called New START – was signed by then-US President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev in 2010. It is set to expire in February next year.

Also on US openly paves way for INF-banned missiles to be placed in Europe & Asia – Lavrov
Moscow has argued that the treaty should be extended without preconditions. The US, meanwhile, hinted that it wants China to join the agreement, an idea Beijing has rejected.

On Tuesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov criticized the US for its reluctance to extend the treaty, saying that “the lack of clarity with regards to the fate of START is concerning.”

Last year, the US left the landmark Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty) with Russia, after accusing Moscow of having secretly violated it. Russia, which denied these allegations, abandoned the agreement after the US did.