Columbia University Warns Of Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

A study by a group of prominent seismologists suggests that a pattern of subtle but active faults makes the risk of earthquakes to the New York City area substantially greater than formerly believed. Among other things, they say that the controversial Indian Point nuclear power plants, 24 miles north of the city, sit astride the previously unidentified intersection of two active seismic zones. The paper appears in the current issue of the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America.

Many faults and a few mostly modest quakes have long been known around New York City, but the research casts them in a new light. The scientists say the insight comes from sophisticated analysis of past quakes, plus 34 years of new data on tremors, most of them perceptible only by modern seismic instruments. The evidence charts unseen but potentially powerful structures whose layout and dynamics are only now coming clearer, say the scientists. All are based at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, which runs the network of seismometers that monitors most of the northeastern United States.

Lead author Lynn R. Sykes said the data show that large quakes are infrequent around New York compared to more active areas like California and Japan, but that the risk is high, because of the overwhelming concentration of people and infrastructure. “The research raises the perception both of how common these events are, and, specifically, where they may occur,” he said. “It’s an extremely populated area with very large assets.” Sykes, who has studied the region for four decades, is known for his early role in establishing the global theory of plate tectonics.

The authors compiled a catalog of all 383 known earthquakes from 1677 to 2007 in a 15,000-square-mile area around New York City. Coauthor John Armbruster estimated sizes and locations of dozens of events before 1930 by combing newspaper accounts and other records. The researchers say magnitude 5 quakes—strong enough to cause damage–occurred in 1737, 1783 and 1884. There was little settlement around to be hurt by the first two quakes, whose locations are vague due to a lack of good accounts; but the last, thought to be centered under the seabed somewhere between Brooklyn and Sandy Hook, toppled chimneys across the city and New Jersey, and panicked bathers at Coney Island. Based on this, the researchers say such quakes should be routinely expected, on average, about every 100 years. “Today, with so many more buildings and people, a magnitude 5 centered below the city would be extremely attention-getting,” said Armbruster. “We’d see billions in damage, with some brick buildings falling. People would probably be killed.”

Starting in the early 1970s Lamont began collecting data on quakes from dozens of newly deployed seismometers; these have revealed further potential, including distinct zones where earthquakes concentrate, and where larger ones could come. The Lamont network, now led by coauthor Won-Young Kim, has located hundreds of small events, including a magnitude 3 every few years, which can be felt by people at the surface, but is unlikely to cause damage. These small quakes tend to cluster along a series of small, old faults in harder rocks across the region. Many of the faults were discovered decades ago when subways, water tunnels and other excavations intersected them, but conventional wisdom said they were inactive remnants of continental collisions and rifting hundreds of millions of years ago. The results clearly show that they are active, and quite capable of generating damaging quakes, said Sykes.

One major previously known feature, the Ramapo Seismic Zone, runs from eastern Pennsylvania to the mid-Hudson Valley, passing within a mile or two northwest of Indian Point. The researchers found that this system is not so much a single fracture as a braid of smaller ones, where quakes emanate from a set of still ill-defined faults. East and south of the Ramapo zone—and possibly more significant in terms of hazard–is a set of nearly parallel northwest-southeast faults. These include Manhattan’s 125th Street fault, which seems to have generated two small 1981 quakes, and could have been the source of the big 1737 quake; the Dyckman Street fault, which carried a magnitude 2 in 1989; the Mosholu Parkway fault; and the Dobbs Ferry fault in suburban Westchester, which generated the largest recent shock, a surprising magnitude 4.1, in 1985. Fortunately, it did no damage. Given the pattern, Sykes says the big 1884 quake may have hit on a yet-undetected member of this parallel family further south.

The researchers say that frequent small quakes occur in predictable ratios to larger ones, and so can be used to project a rough time scale for damaging events. Based on the lengths of the faults, the detected tremors, and calculations of how stresses build in the crust, the researchers say that magnitude 6 quakes, or even 7—respectively 10 and 100 times bigger than magnitude 5–are quite possible on the active faults they describe. They calculate that magnitude 6 quakes take place in the area about every 670 years, and sevens, every 3,400 years. The corresponding probabilities of occurrence in any 50-year period would be 7% and 1.5%. After less specific hints of these possibilities appeared in previous research, a 2003 analysis by The New York City Area Consortium for Earthquake Loss Mitigation put the cost of quakes this size in the metro New York area at $39 billion to $197 billion. A separate 2001 analysis for northern New Jersey’s Bergen County estimates that a magnitude 7 would destroy 14,000 buildings and damage 180,000 in that area alone. The researchers point out that no one knows when the last such events occurred, and say no one can predict when they next might come.

“We need to step backward from the simple old model, where you worry about one large, obvious fault, like they do in California,” said coauthor Leonardo Seeber. “The problem here comes from many subtle faults. We now see there is earthquake activity on them. Each one is small, but when you add them up, they are probably more dangerous than we thought. We need to take a very close look.” Seeber says that because the faults are mostly invisible at the surface and move infrequently, a big quake could easily hit one not yet identified. “The probability is not zero, and the damage could be great,” he said. “It could be like something out of a Greek myth.”

The researchers found concrete evidence for one significant previously unknown structure: an active seismic zone running at least 25 miles from Stamford, Conn., to the Hudson Valley town of Peekskill, N.Y., where it passes less than a mile north of the Indian Point nuclear power plant. The Stamford-Peekskill line stands out sharply on the researchers’ earthquake map, with small events clustered along its length, and to its immediate southwest. Just to the north, there are no quakes, indicating that it represents some kind of underground boundary. It is parallel to the other faults beginning at 125th Street, so the researchers believe it is a fault in the same family. Like the others, they say it is probably capable of producing at least a magnitude 6 quake. Furthermore, a mile or so on, it intersects the Ramapo seismic zone.

Sykes said the existence of the Stamford-Peekskill line had been suggested before, because the Hudson takes a sudden unexplained bend just ot the north of Indian Point, and definite traces of an old fault can be along the north side of the bend. The seismic evidence confirms it, he said. “Indian Point is situated at the intersection of the two most striking linear features marking the seismicity and also in the midst of a large population that is at risk in case of an accident,” says the paper. “This is clearly one of the least favorable sites in our study area from an earthquake hazard and risk perspective.”

The findings comes at a time when Entergy, the owner of Indian Point, is trying to relicense the two operating plants for an additional 20 years—a move being fought by surrounding communities and the New York State Attorney General. Last fall the attorney general, alerted to the then-unpublished Lamont data, told a Nuclear Regulatory Commission panel in a filing: “New data developed in the last 20 years disclose a substantially higher likelihood of significant earthquake activity in the vicinity of [Indian Point] that could exceed the earthquake design for the facility.” The state alleges that Entergy has not presented new data on earthquakes past 1979. However, in a little-noticed decision this July 31, the panel rejected the argument on procedural grounds. A source at the attorney general’s office said the state is considering its options.

The characteristics of New York’s geology and human footprint may increase the problem. Unlike in California, many New York quakes occur near the surface—in the upper mile or so—and they occur not in the broken-up, more malleable formations common where quakes are frequent, but rather in the extremely hard, rigid rocks underlying Manhattan and much of the lower Hudson Valley. Such rocks can build large stresses, then suddenly and efficiently transmit energy over long distances. “It’s like putting a hard rock in a vise,” said Seeber. “Nothing happens for a while. Then it goes with a bang.” Earthquake-resistant building codes were not introduced to New York City until 1995, and are not in effect at all in many other communities. Sinuous skyscrapers and bridges might get by with minimal damage, said Sykes, but many older, unreinforced three- to six-story brick buildings could crumble.

Art Lerner-Lam, associate director of Lamont for seismology, geology and tectonophysics, pointed out that the region’s major highways including the New York State Thruway, commuter and long-distance rail lines, and the main gas, oil and power transmission lines all cross the parallel active faults, making them particularly vulnerable to being cut. Lerner-Lam, who was not involved in the research, said that the identification of the seismic line near Indian Point “is a major substantiation of a feature that bears on the long-term earthquake risk of the northeastern United States.” He called for policymakers to develop more information on the region’s vulnerability, to take a closer look at land use and development, and to make investments to strengthen critical infrastructure.

“This is a landmark study in many ways,” said Lerner-Lam. “It gives us the best possible evidence that we have an earthquake hazard here that should be a factor in any planning decision. It crystallizes the argument that this hazard is not random. There is a structure to the location and timing of the earthquakes. This enables us to contemplate risk in an entirely different way. And since we are able to do that, we should be required to do that.”

New York Earthquake Briefs and Quotes:

Existing U.S. Geological Survey seismic hazard maps show New York City as facing more hazard than many other eastern U.S. areas. Three areas are somewhat more active—northernmost New York State, New Hampshire and South Carolina—but they have much lower populations and fewer structures. The wider forces at work include pressure exerted from continuing expansion of the mid-Atlantic Ridge thousands of miles to the east; slow westward migration of the North American continent; and the area’s intricate labyrinth of old faults, sutures and zones of weakness caused by past collisions and rifting.

Due to New York’s past history, population density and fragile, interdependent infrastructure, a 2001 analysis by the Federal Emergency Management Agency ranks it the 11th most at-risk U.S. city for earthquake damage. Among those ahead: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Portland. Behind: Salt Lake City, Sacramento, Anchorage.

New York’s first seismic station was set up at Fordham University in the 1920s. Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, in Palisades, N.Y., has operated stations since 1949, and now coordinates a network of about 40.

Dozens of small quakes have been felt in the New York area. A Jan. 17, 2001 magnitude 2.4, centered in the Upper East Side—the first ever detected in Manhattan itself–may have originated on the 125th Street fault. Some people thought it was an explosion, but no one was harmed.

The most recent felt quake, a magnitude 2.1 on July 28, 2008, was centered near Milford, N.J. Houses shook and a woman at St. Edward’s Church said she felt the building rise up under her feet—but no damage was done.

Questions about the seismic safety of the Indian Point nuclear power plant, which lies amid a metropolitan area of more than 20 million people, were raised in previous scientific papers in 1978 and 1985.

Because the hard rocks under much of New York can build up a lot strain before breaking, researchers believe that modest faults as short as 1 to 10 kilometers can cause magnitude 5 or 6 quakes.

In general, magnitude 3 quakes occur about 10 times more often than magnitude fours; 100 times more than magnitude fives; and so on. This principle is called the Gutenberg-Richter relationship.

Palestinian incitement continues outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 12)

Palestinian incitement continues despite Israeli aid against pandemic

Hamas launched a rocket last week into Israel. Internally, if any popular or social unrest rises against Hamas due to economic woes or its handling of the coronavirus, it will be channeled very quickly by the terror organization towards Israel, possibly leading to a new round of clashes or even a broader conflict.

by  Israel Kasnett , JNS , Israel Hayom Staff Published on  04-05-2020 05:55 Last modified: 04-04-2020 21:17

Palestinian security forces in protective uniforms guard the entrance of a Red Crescent Society building hosting a hospital equipped to receive coronavirus patients | Photo: AFP/Hazem Bader

In just the last month alone, Israel transferred millions of shekels to the Palestinian Authority and has facilitated the entry of thousands of Palestinian workers into Israel so they can work. It has expedited the transfer of equipment to the Gaza Strip to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic there.

Israeli Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon and his Palestinian counterpart, Shukri Bishara, met to discuss the economic impact of the coronavirus on Israel and the Palestinians, and Israeli President Reuven Rivlin spoke on the phone with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and the two agreed to cooperate on combating the pandemic.

So it was a slap in Israel’s face when PA Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh not only falsely accused Israeli soldiers of trying to infect Palestinian civilians with the coronavirus, but also tweeted that “the real weakness in our battle against #Covid19 is the Israeli occupation and all its policies that attempt to thwart our efforts to protect our people. We don’t accept Israeli guardianship over our measures. What is required is for Israel to leave us alone.

Michael Milstein, head of the Palestinian Studies Forum at the Moshe Dayan Center at Tel Aviv University, denied Shtayyeh’s false claims and told JNS that “every Palestinian office and organization operates in full coordination with Israel.”

So why is Shtayyeh inciting against the Jewish state at a time when he should be working towards bringing the two sides closer together?

According to Milstein, he is thinking about the day after Abbas. “While Shtayyeh is a member of the Fatah Central Committee, he aspires to more and is currently trying to crystallize his image,” he said. “Also, it is possible that he is trying to channel criticism inside the West Bank toward Israel.”

No matter the reason, Milstein believes that Israel should have responded in a much tougher manner because such words can very quickly lead to violence.

He thinks Israel needs to dispel rumors spread by Shtayyeh and others, and needs to spend more energy on disseminating the facts.

“The campaign to create awareness is very important,” he said.

A former adviser on Palestinian affairs in Israel’s Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories unit, Milstein suggested that Israel reach out to the Palestinians as much as possible to deliver its message in clear Arabic and create channels of discourse with the Palestinian public to clarify that first, what they hear from people like Shtayyeh is fake news; and second, to explain the truth and show how broad the assistance is from Israel to the Palestinian arena.

And that assistance is indeed broad.

COGAT said in a statement it has been “working in conjunction with the PA and the international community to assist in the struggle against the spread of the coronavirus in Judea and Samaria, and the Gaza Strip.”

As part of its efforts, COGAT “coordinated the entry of thousands of test kits for detection of the coronavirus, as well as thousands of protection kits for the use of medical teams and various disinfection materials.”

COGAT also coordinated training sessions by Israeli doctors for their Palestinian counterparts. “This aid paralleled the coordination of the crossing of dozens of trucks that delivered medical equipment, medicine and disinfection materials that various international organizations had donated,” it said.

‘Economy and security are closely linked’

From the start of the outbreak of the virus, the merchandise crossings from Israel to the Palestinian territories, both in Gaza and Judea and Samaria have not been closed.

COGAT also emphasized that hundreds of Palestinian patients enter daily from the Gaza Strip, and Judea and Samaria, to receive life-saving medical treatment.

Milstein noted that there is full coordination with the PA in every aspect of security, economic and civil levels.

“Israel knows that economic stability in the West Bank is the basic condition for strategic and security stability in that area, and Israel’s transition government is aware of the tight linkage between the economy and security in the West Bank,” he said.

COGAT acknowledged this as well. After the coronavirus outbreak in Bethlehem and an increase in the scope of Palestinians in quarantine, Israel decided, in coordination with the PA, to impose a citywide closure. Later, the PA decided to impose its own closure throughout Judea and Samaria.

“Nevertheless,” COGAT said,” in an unprecedented and exceptional step, Israel approved, in coordination with the PA, a two-month stay in Israel for tens of thousands of Palestinian workers in order that they not lose their places of employment and instead be able to continue supporting their families, despite the closure that was imposed on the territories.”

COGAT has also made available to the Palestinian public, through its Facebook page “Al-Munassiq” (“the coordinator”), the Israeli Health Ministry’s guidelines on prevention and ways to deal with contagion and outbreak.

The information, published in Arabic, is available to the entire Palestinian public in Judea and Samaria, as well as in the Gaza Strip.

Even the United Nations, almost always a critic of Israel and its policies, had good words for this cooperation.

UN special envoy to the Middle East Nickolay Mladenov, has praised the coordination between the Israeli and Palestinian authorities in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hamas doing almost nothing for the people of Gaza’

Unfortunately, Hamas has not expressed any gratitude. In fact, it has done only the opposite.

Last week, Hamas fired a rocket into Sderot in southern Israel, the first since the coronavirus outbreak began.

Milstein assessed that this attack was a “signal” from the terrorist organization that it is in trouble. “Hamas wanted to promote a very limited, very contained signal towards Israel with one rocket,” he explained. “This is proof that when Hamas wants quiet in Gaza, it is quiet.

“However, if Hamas comes under massive pressure, if there is no broad assistance or if border crossings are not kept open, Israel may see more of these ‘signals,’ ” he said.

According to Milstein, “Hamas is doing almost nothing for the people of Gaza,” he said.

“All the money needed today to confront the coronavirus is going towards rockets,” he added. “Israel needs to explain to the people of Gaza that it can offer significant assistance, but right now, Hamas insists on promoting only its own terror interests.”

While Hamas says that Gaza is fine, no one there believes it, especially since there are at least 12 people who are, in fact, known to be infected. Gazans realize that the situation is probably much more serious, and there are likely many more people who are sick. If the virus spreads, Hamas has no means to confront this challenge.

Milstein believes that if there will be any popular or social unrest against Hamas, it will be channeled very quickly by Hamas or other terror organizations towards Israel, possibly leading to a new round of clashes or even a broader conflict.

“The situation in Gaza is the tip of the iceberg,” he said. “Things there could really explode.”

To counter that, he said, “We must show the world how much we help Gaza in every aspect.”

However, according to Reuters, Israel on Wednesday linked any continued assistance it might offer for the Gaza Strip’s efforts against coronavirus to progress in its attempt to recover the remains of two Israeli soldiers killed during the 2014 war there.

“The moment there is talk of the humanitarian world in Gaza, Israel also has humanitarian needs, which are mainly the recovery of the fallen,” Defense Minister Naftali Bennett told reporters. “And I think that we need to enter a broad dialogue about Gaza’s and our humanitarian needs. It would not be right to disconnect these things … and certainly, our hearts would be open to many things.”

According to COGAT, Israel will continue to assist in the struggle against the spread of the coronavirus in the Palestinian territories by “offering aid, coordinating and conducting dialogue and optimal cooperation in conjunction with the Palestinian health system and the international community.”

Reprinted with permission from

Indian Point 3 Remains Open For The Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

Indian Point 2 permanently closes

4 May 2020

Unit 2 at the US Indian Point nuclear power plant closed on 30 April as part of a deal reached in January 2017 between Entergy, the state of New York and the environmental group Riverkeeper.

The plant’s two pressurised water reactor (PWRs) generated a quarter of the electricity used in New York City and Westchester County in 2017.

Indian Point 2, with a net generating capacity of 998MWe, began commercial operation in 1974. Indian Point 3, a 1030MWe unit began operating in 1976 and is due to retire in April 2021. New natural gas power plants and efficiency measures are expected to up the slack.

Entergy has agreed to sell the plant to Holtec International, a New Jersey-based decommissioning firm. But the licence transfer, which is pending Nuclear Regulatory Commission approval, will take place only after the plant closes in 2021.

“We view the IPEC (Indian Point Energy Centre) site to be valuable land where we can sprout new clean industries and create local employment,” Holtec said in a statement. “Working with leadership of the local community and state, we will endeavour to ensure a proper future for the IPEC site.”

Holtec said it will employ innovative package design, first employed at Oyster Creek, to reduce the number of shipments of radioactive cargo through local communities during the dismantling of both Indian Point and Pilgrim.

Entergy said in a statement that it is committed to continued operation of the nuclear fleet in Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi. It shut down Pilgrim in Massachusetts last year and plans to close the Palisades nuclear plant in Michigan in 2022. Both these facilities will be decommissioned by Holtec, through its affiliate Comprehensive Decommissioning International.

In late April, the Climate Coalition, a group of individuals, environmental groups, climate and clean energy advocates delivered a petition and letter to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo urging him to postpone the closure of Indian Point. They said the closure would “increase emissions, hurt residents’ health, destabilise the grid, and set back New York’s climate agenda”.

Photo: Indian Point 2 closed in April 2020 (Photo credit: Entergy)

The Mighty Chinese Nuclear Horn (Daniel 7)

An artist’s impression of what the H-20 may look like. Photo: Weibo

China’s Xian H-20 stealth bomber completes nuclear triad, could make debut this year

By Barnini Chakraborty | Fox News

China’s newest supersonic stealth bomber — which doubles the country’s strike range and completes its nuclear triad — could be ready for rollout later this year but Beijing has purportedly been weighing the step and what it could mean for escalating regional tensions brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

The highly-hyped Xian H-20 puts Australia, Japan, and the Korean peninsula all within shot and could spell trouble for the United States down the line.


“If the H-20 does have the range and passable stealth characteristics attributed to it, it could alter the strategic calculus between the United States and China by exposing U.S. bases and fleets across the Pacific to surprise air attacks,” National Interest reported.

The H-20 is a strategic bomber along the lines of the B-2, B-21, or the Russian PAK DA, according to a report from the Defense Intelligence Agency.

The H-20 would give China what only the United States and Russia have –a nuclear triad, or a three-pronged military force structure that can launch nuclear attacks from the air, land, and sea. China, Russia, and the U.S. are the only three countries that have the needs and resources to develop huge strategic bombers that can strike targets across the globe.

DIA director, Lt. Gen. Robert P. Ashley Jr., said in a 2019 speech that “China is likely to at least double the size of its nuclear stockpile in the course of implementing the most rapid expansion and diversification of its nuclear arsenal in China’s history.”

In 2018, China launched more ballistic missiles for testing and training than the rest of the world combined.

“We expect this modernization to continue and this trajectory is consistent with Chinese President Xi’s vision for China’s military, which he laid out at the 19th Party Congress and stated that China’s military will be ‘fully transformed into a first-tier force’ by 2050,” Ashley said.

He added that China’s H-20 demonstrates the country’s “commitment to expanding the role of (the) centrality of nuclear forces in Beijing’s military aspirations,” adding that while China’s overall arsenal is smaller than Russia’s, it is just as concerning.

The H-20 could make its first public appearance in November, during Zhuhai Airshow, if the coronavirus pandemic is under control by then.

“The Zhuhai Airshow is expected to become a platform to promote China’s image and its success in pandemic control – telling the outside world that the contagion did not have any big impacts on Chinese defense industry enterprises,” one source told South China Morning Post.

Another claimed Beijing’s leadership is still “carefully considering whether its commission will affect regional balance, especially as regional tensions have been escalating over the COVID-19 pandemic.

Like intercontinental ballistic missiles, all strategic bombers can be used for delivering nuclear weapons … if China claimed it had pursued a national defense policy which is purely defensive in nature, which would it need such an offensive weapon.”

In October 2018, Chinese state-run media announced that the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) would publicly unveil the H-20 bomber during a parade celebrating the air division’s 70th anniversary in 2019.

Babylon the Great Prepares for Nuclear War (Revelation 16)

One of the vessels in the grouping is logistics ship USNS Supply.Scott Pittman / U.S. Navy file

U.S. Navy sends ships to Russia’s Barents Sea for first time since 1980s

Military tensions between the U.S. and Russia remain high six years after Russia’s annexation of Crimea from neighboring Ukraine.

May 4, 2020, 11:48 AM EDT

By Matthew Bodner

MOSCOW — Four U.S. Navy ships on Monday entered the Barents Sea, located off of Russia’s northwestern Arctic coast — the first time U.S. warships have entered the area since the 1980s — according to a statement Monday from the U.S. Navy’s 6th fleet.

Though international waters, the Barents Sea is Russia’s naval backyard. Russia’s Northern Fleet, the heart of the Russian Navy, is anchored in Severomorsk — tucked in a bay off the Barents Sea.

The Navy said it notified the Russian Ministry of Defense on Friday of its intention to send ships into the Barents. Russia’s military said in a statement Monday that “Northern Fleet assets are monitoring the activities of the NATO strike group.”

Military tensions between the U.S. and Russia remain high six years after Russia’s annexation of Crimea from neighboring Ukraine. Even amid the COVID-19 epidemic, military messaging between the two sides has continued.

Last week, Russia sent nuclear-capable bombers and submarine-hunters on long-distance patrols along Western borders. And two weeks ago, the U.S. accused Russia of testing an anti-satellite missile after Russia called for talks on limiting the deployment of weapons in outer space.

The two sides are currently locked in disagreement over the future of nuclear arms control, with a major bilateral arms control treaty, New START, set to expire early in 2021. A decision on extending the treaty is required this year.

In its statement Monday, the Russian Defense Ministry noted that the U.S. destroyers that entered the Barents Sea — the Porter, Donald Cook and Roosevelt — are armed with missile defense systems.

Putin supports amendment to give him longer in power

These systems are a cornerstone of US-Russian disagreements about nuclear arms control. Russia argues that the missile defense systems destabilize international security, and for years has demanded they be included in future arms control cuts.

These U.S. vessels are no stranger to the Russian Navy, and have been frequently involved in close encounters between U.S. and Russian forces in the Baltic and Black Seas. The grouping was joined by a U.S. supply vessel and a UK frigate, the HMS Kent.

All five of the ships participated in anti-submarine exercises in the Arctic over the weekend.

The U.S. Navy has said Russian submarine activity in the region has returned to Cold War levels, and the Russian military has made clear that new submarines are a key part of modernization plans.

Netanyahu is Provoking World War III with Iran

With apparently fabricated nuclear documents, Netanyahu pushed the US towards war with Iran

Gareth PorterApril 29, 2020

An investigation of supposed Iranian nuclear documents presented in a dramatically staged Netanyahu press conference indicates they were an Israeli fabrication designed to trigger US military conflict with Iran.

By Gareth Porter

President Donald Trump scrapped the nuclear deal with Iran and continued to risk war with Iran based on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s claim to have proven definitively that Iran was determined to manufacture nuclear weapons. Netanyahu not only spun Trump but much of the corporate media as well, duping them with the public unveiling of what he claimed was the entire secret Iranian “nuclear archive.” 

In early April 2018, Netanyahu briefed Trump privately on the supposed Iranian nuclear archive and secured his promise to leave the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). That April 30, Netanyahu took the briefing to the public in a characteristically dramatic live performance in which he claimed Israel’s Mossad intelligence services had stolen Iran’s entire nuclear archive from Tehran. “You may well know that Iran’s leaders repeatedly deny ever pursuing nuclear weapons…” Netanyahu declared. “Well, tonight, I’m here to tell you one thing: Iran lied. Big time.”

However, an investigation of the supposed Iranian nuclear documents by The Grayzone reveals them to be the product of an Israeli disinformation operation that helped trigger the most serious threat of war since the conflict with Iran began nearly four decades ago. This investigation found multiple indications that the story of Mossad’s heist of 50,000 pages of secret nuclear files from Tehran was very likely an elaborate fiction and that the documents were fabricated by the Mossad itself.

According to the official Israeli version of events, the Iranians had gathered the nuclear documents from various locations and moved them to what Netanyahu himself described as “a dilapidated warehouse” in southern Tehran. Even assuming that Iran had secret documents demonstrating the development of nuclear weapons, the claim that top secret documents would be held in a nondescript and unguarded warehouse in Central Tehran is so unlikely that it should have raised immediate alarm bells about the story’s legitimacy.

Even more problematic was the claim by a Mossad official to Israeli journalist Ronen Bergman that Mossad knew not only in what warehouse its commandos would find the documents but precisely which safes to break into with a blowtorch. The official told Bergman the Mossad team had been guided by an intelligence asset to the few safes in the warehouse contained the binders with the most important documents.  Netanyahu bragged publicly that “very few” Iranians knew the location of the archive; the Mossad official told Bergman “only a handful of people” knew.

But two former senior CIA official, both of whom had served as the agency’s top Middle East analyst, dismissed Netanyahu’s claims as lacking credibility in responses to a query from The Grayzone. 

According to Paul Pillar, who was National Intelligence Officer for the region from 2001 to 2005, “Any source on the inside of the Iranian national security apparatus would be extremely valuable in Israeli eyes, and Israeli deliberations about the handling of that source’s information presumably would be biased in favor long-term protection of the source.” The Israeli story of how its spies located the documents “does seem fishy,” Pillar said, especially considering Israel’s obvious effort to derive maximum “political-diplomatic mileage” out of the “supposed revelation” of such a well-placed source.

Graham Fuller, a 27-year veteran of the CIA who served as National Intelligence Officer for the Near East and South Asia as well as Vice-Chairman of the National Intelligence Council, offered a similar assessment of the Israeli claim. “If the Israelis had such a sensitive source in Tehran,” Fuller commented, “they would not want to risk him.” Fuller concluded that the Israelis’ claim that they had accurate knowledge of which safes to crack is “dubious, and the whole thing may be somewhat fabricated.”

No proof of authenticity

Netanyahu’s April 30 slide show presented a series of purported Iranian documents containing sensational revelations that he pointed to as proof of his insistence that Iran had lied about its interest in manufacturing nuclear weapons. The visual aides included a file supposedly dating back to early 2000 or before that detailed various ways to achieve a plan to build five nuclear weapons by mid-2003.

Another document that generated widespread media interest was an alleged report on a discussion among leading Iranian scientists of a purported mid-2003 decision by Iran’s Defense Minister to separate an existing secret nuclear weapons program into overt and covert parts.

Left out of the media coverage of these “nuclear archive” documents was a simple fact that was highly inconvenient to Netanyahu: nothing about them offered a scintilla of evidence that they were genuine. For example, not one contained the official markings of the relevant Iranian agency.

Tariq Rauf, who was head of the Verification and Security Policy Coordination Office at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) from 2001 to 2011, told The Grayzone that these markings were practically ubiquitous on official Iranian files.

“Iran is a highly bureaucratized system,” Rauf explained. “Hence, one would expect a proper book-keeping system that would record incoming correspondence, with date received, action officer, department, circulation to additional relevant officials, proper letterhead, etc.”

But as Rauf noted, the “nuclear archive” documents that were published by the Washington Post bore no such evidence of Iranian government origin.  Nor did they contain other markings to indicate their creation under the auspices of an Iranian government agency.

What those documents do have in common is the mark of a rubber stamp for a filing system showing numbers for a “record”, a “file” and a “ledger binder” — like the black binders that Netanyahu flashed to the cameras during his slideshow. But these could have easily been created by the Mossad and stamped on to the documents along with the appropriate Persian numbers.  

Forensic confirmation of the documents’ authenticity would have required access to the original documents.  But as Netanyahu noted in his April 30, 2018 slide show, the “original Iranian materials” were kept “in a very safe place” – implying that no one would be allowed to have any such access.

Withholding access to outside experts

In fact, even the most pro-Israeli visitors to Tel Aviv have been denied access to the original documents. David Albright of the Institute for Science and International Security and Olli Heinonen of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies – both stalwart defenders of the official Israeli line on Iranian nuclear policy – reported in October 2018 that they had been given only a “slide deck” showing reproductions or excerpts of the documents.

When a team of six specialists from Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs visited Israel in January 2019 for briefings on the archive, they too were offered only a cursory browse of the supposedly original documents. Harvard Professor Matthew Bunn recalled in an interview with this writer that the team had been shown one of the binders containing what were said to be original documents relating to Iran’s relations with the IAEA and had “paged through a bit of it.”

But they were shown no documents on Iran nuclear weapons work. As Bunn admitted, “We weren’t attempting to do any forensic analysis of these documents.”

Typically, it would be the job of the U.S. government and the IAEA to authenticate the documents. Oddly, the Belfer Center delegation reported that the U.S. government and the IAEA had each received only copies of the entire archive, not the original files. And the Israelis were in no hurry to provide the genuine articles: the IAEA did not receive a complete set of documents until November 2019, according to Bunn.

By then, Netanyahu had not only already accomplished the demolition of the Iran nuclear deal; he and Trump’s ferociously hawkish CIA-director Mike Pompeo had maneuvered the president into a policy of imminent confrontation with Tehran.

The second coming of fake missile drawings

Among the documents Netanyahu flashed on the screen in his April 30, 2018 slide show was a schematic drawing of the missile reentry vehicle of an Iranian Shahab-3 missile, showing what was obviously supposed to represent a nuclear weapon inside.

Technical drawing from page 11 of David Albright, Olli Heinonen, and Andrea Stricker’s “Breaking Up and Reorienting Iran’s Nuclear Weapons Program,” published by the Institute for Science and International Security on October 28, 2018.

This drawing was part of a set of eighteen technical drawings of the Shahab-3 reentry vehicle. These were found in a collection of documents secured over the course of several years between the Bush II and Obama administrations by an Iranian spy working for Germany’s BND intelligence service. Or so the Israeli official story went.

In 2013, however, a former senior German Foreign Office official named Karsten Voigt revealed to this writer that the documents had been initially provided to German intelligence by a member of the Mujaheddin E-Khalq (MEK).

The MEK is an exiled Iranian armed opposition organization that had operated under Saddam Hussein’s regime as a proxy against Iran during the Iran-Iraq War. It went on to cooperate with the Israeli Mossad beginning in the 1990s, and enjoys a close relationship with Saudi Arabia as well. Today, numerous former US officials are on the MEK’s payroll, acting as de facto lobbyists for regime change in Iran.

Voigt recalled how senior BND officials warned him they did not consider the MEK source or the materials he provided to be credible. They were worried that the Bush administration intended to use the dodgy documents to justify an attack on Iran, just as it exploited the tall tales collected from Iraqi defector codenamed “Curveball” to justify the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

As this writer first reported in 2010, the appearance of the “dunce-cap” shape of the Shahab-3 reentry vehicle in the drawings was a tell-tale sign that the documents were fabricated. Whoever drew those schematic images in 2003 was clearly under the false impression that Iran was relying on the Shahab-3 as its main deterrent force.  After all, Iran had announced publicly in 2001 that the Shahab-3 was going into “serial production” and in 2003 that it was “operational.”

But those official claims by Iran were a ruse aimed primarily at deceiving Israel, which had threatened air attacks on Iran’s nuclear and missile programs. In fact, Iran’s Defense Ministry was aware that the Shahab-3 did not have sufficient range to reach Israel.

According to Michael Elleman, the author of the most definitive account of the Iranian missile program, as early as 2000, Iran’s Defense Ministry had begun developing an improved version of the Shahab-3 with a reentry vehicle boasting a far more aerodynamic “triconic baby bottle” shape – not the “dunce-cap” of the original.

As Elleman told this writer, however, foreign intelligence agencies remained unaware of the new and improved Shahab missile with a very different shape until it took its first flight test in August 2004. Among the agencies kept in the dark about the new design was Israel’s Mossad. That explains why the false documents on redesigning the Shahab-3 – the earliest dates of which were in 2002, according to an unpublished internal IAEA document – showed a reentry vehicle design that Iran had already discarded.

The role of the MEK in passing the massive tranche of supposed secret Iranian nuclear documents to the BND and its hand-in-glove relationship with the Mossad leaves little room for doubt that the documents introduced to Western intelligence 2004 were, in fact, created by the Mossad. 

For the Mossad, the MEK was a convenient unit for outsourcing negative press about Iran which it did not want attributed directly to Israeli intelligence. To enhance the MEK’S credibility in the eyes foreign media and intelligence agencies, Mossad passed the coordinates of Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility to the MEK in 2002.  Later, it provided to the MEK personal information such as the passport number and home telephone number of Iranian physics professor Mohsen Fakhrizadh, whose name appeared in the nuclear documents, according to the co-authors of a best-selling Israeli book on the Mossad’s covert operations.

By trotting out the same discredited technical drawing depicting the wrong Iranian missile reentry vehicle – a trick he had previously deployed to create the original case for accusing Iran of covert nuclear weapons development – the Israeli prime minister showed how confident he was in his ability to hoodwink Washington and the Western corporate media.

Netanyahu’s multiple levels of deception have been remarkably successful, despite having relied on crude stunts that any diligent news organization should have seen through. Through his manipulation of foreign governments and media, he has been able to maneuver Donald Trump and the United States into a dangerous process of confrontation that has brought the US to the precipice of military conflict with Iran.

Gareth Porter is an independent investigative journalist who has covered national security policy since 2005 and was the recipient of Gellhorn Prize for Journalism in 2012.  His most recent book is The CIA Insider’s Guide to the Iran Crisis co-authored with John Kiriakou, just published in February.

Pestilence Continues to Plague Iranians (Revelation 6)

Iran: Coronavirus Death Toll in 310 Cities Exceeds 38,700

Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI)

3rd May 2020

Over 38,700 dead of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Iran-Iran Coronavirus Death Toll per PMOI MEK sources

Maryam Rajavi: The clerical regime is trying to portray the situation as normal in a ridiculous comparison with European countries. Khamenei and Rouhani send people to the altar of Coronavirus. The lives of the people are of no value to them, and they do not help the people with the hundreds of billions of dollars of public property that are in the hands of Khamenei. The Security Council must intervene to save the lives of prisoners and secure their release, especially political prisoners. Prisoners’ lives are simultaneously threatened by the Coronavirus and the clerical regime.

The People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI / MEK) announced on Sunday, May 3, 2020, that the Coronavirus death toll has exceeded 38,700 in 310 cities across Iran. The number of victims in Khorasan Razavi is 2,920, Khuzestan 1,920, Alborz 1,460, Golestan 1,235, Sistan and Baluchestan 1,055, Hamedan 955, Lorestan 910, and Semnan 895.

In Langarud, the number of patients has increased in recent days, and Amini Hospital is facing a new wave of patients who need to be hospitalized. At least 26 people died in Ahvaz yesterday and hospitals are facing a shortage of space. In Rasht, hospitals have been instructed to refrain from hospitalizing patients as much as possible and to send them to their homes to make the situation appear normal. Meanwhile, today, Ahmad Hashemi, head of the University of Medical Sciences in North Khorasan told the official news agency, IRNA, “In the coming days, the number of people with Coronavirus … will be unprecedented.”

However, today, Hassan Rouhani said, “Mosques will be reopened tomorrow and Friday prayers will be held in 132 cities, which are virus-free and low-risk, … Even in the red sections, some businesses … will open to the extent that there would be no gatherings.”

Ali Khamenei and Rouhani have resorted to this criminal act while many regime officials and experts consider it dangerous in the current situation. Alireza Zali, head of National Coronavirus Combat Taskforce in Tehran, said, “We should consider Tehran a contaminated city … The declining statistics should not deceive us.”  According to Shabakeh Khabar (News Network), on May 3, 2020, Shahabadi from University of Medical Sciences in Kermanshah, said, “Positive cases in the province are increasing day by day. We are concerned about the second wave of the Coronavirus outbreak. The virus will have a more severe impact in the second wave.”

According to state-controlled daily Setareh Sobh on May 3, 2020, Mahboubfar, a member of the Committee for Prevention and Countering Coronavirus said he does not agree with Rouhani’s statement that “religious sites will probably be reopened in areas which are virus-free … There are no such locations, and there will be none.”

In another development, according to Tabnak website, three months after the Coronavirus outbreak and four weeks after Khamenei’s announcement of a € 1 billion withdrawal from the Sovereign Wealth Fund to deal with Coronavirus, Deputy Health Minister Iraj Haririchi today complained that the money was “still in the process of being exchanged from Euro to Rial and has not yet reached the bank account of the Ministry of Health.”

In the meantime, in remarks published by Fars News Agency, on May 2, Ahmad Khaddadi, Deputy Minister of Islamic Culture and Guidance, complained about the revelations and documents published by the Iranian Resistance regarding the Coronavirus outbreak in Iran. “The MEK is present in many European capitals including in Albania.  They even have media and a TV network, and the people in Iran watch their reports,” he said.

The high rate of infections and the dire conditions in prisons prompted a prisoner of conscience, Mr. Mohammad Nourizad, to commit suicide in prison two days ago in protest against these conditions and also against widespread arrests, including the arrest of his son. He was transferred to the hospital. The situation of eight political prisoners in Mashhad prison, who had asked for Khamenei’s resignation is concerning. One of them, Mohammad Hossein Sepehri, was infected with COVID-19 last month.

On February 4 and April 8, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), strongly condemned the harsh, long-term sentences for these prisoners and urged the United Nations and Human Rights Council to take action to secure their release. Mrs. Rajavi asked the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran to immediately visit Mashhad prison, obtain information about the condition of prisoners, and take measures to save their lives.

Mrs. Rajavi added, by deceitfully comparing Iran to European countries, the mullahs’ regime tries to pretend that the situation is normal. Khamenei and Rouhani are sending the people to the killing field. They do not care about the people’s lives and do not provide the slightest assistance to the people from the hundreds of billions of dollars of public wealth under Khamenei’s control.

The Security Council should intervene to save the lives of prisoners and ensure their release, especially the political prisoners. The lives of prisoners are threatened by both the Coronavirus and the mullahs, she said.

Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI)