ON THE MAP; Exploring the Fault Where the Next Big One May Be WaitingBy MARGO NASHPublished: March 25, 2001Alexander Gates, a geology professor at Rutgers-Newark, is co-author of ”The Encyclopedia of Earthquakes and Volcanoes,” which will be published by Facts on File in July. He has been leading a four-year effort to remap an area known as the Sloatsburg Quadrangle, a 5-by-7-mile tract near Mahwah that crosses into New York State. The Ramapo Fault, which runs through it, was responsible for a big earthquake in 1884, and Dr. Gates warns that a recurrence is overdue. He recently talked about his findings.Q. What have you found?A. We’re basically looking at a lot more rock, and we’re looking at the fracturing and jointing in the bedrock and putting it on the maps. Any break in the rock is a fracture. If it has movement, then it’s a fault. There are a lot of faults that are offshoots of the Ramapo. Basically when there are faults, it means you had an earthquake that made it. So there was a lot of earthquake activity to produce these features. We are basically not in a period of earthquake activity along the Ramapo Fault now, but we can see that about six or seven times in history, about 250 million years ago, it had major earthquake activity. And because it’s such a fundamental zone of weakness, anytime anything happens, the Ramapo Fault goes.Q. Where is the Ramapo Fault? A. The fault line is in western New Jersey and goes through a good chunk of the state, all the way down to Flemington. It goes right along where they put in the new 287. It continues northeast across the Hudson River right under the Indian Point power plant up into Westchester County. There are a lot of earthquakes rumbling around it every year, but not a big one for a while.Q. Did you find anything that surprised you?A. I found a lot of faults, splays that offshoot from the Ramapo that go 5 to 10 miles away from the fault. I have looked at the Ramapo Fault in other places too. I have seen splays 5 to 10 miles up into the Hudson Highlands. And you can see them right along the roadsides on 287. There’s been a lot of damage to those rocks, and obviously it was produced by fault activities. All of these faults have earthquake potential.Q. Describe the 1884 earthquake.A. It was in the northern part of the state near the Sloatsburg area. They didn’t have precise ways of describing the location then. There was lots of damage. Chimneys toppled over. But in 1884, it was a farming community, and there were not many people to be injured. Nobody appears to have written an account of the numbers who were injured.Q. What lessons we can learn from previous earthquakes?A. In 1960, the city of Agadir in Morocco had a 6.2 earthquake that killed 12,000 people, a third of the population, and injured a third more. I think it was because the city was unprepared.There had been an earthquake in the area 200 years before. But people discounted the possibility of a recurrence. Here in New Jersey, we should not make the same mistake. We should not forget that we had a 5.4 earthquake 117 years ago. The recurrence interval for an earthquake of that magnitude is every 50 years, and we are overdue. The Agadir was a 6.2, and a 5.4 to a 6.2 isn’t that big a jump.Q. What are the dangers of a quake that size?A. When you’re in a flat area in a wooden house it’s obviously not as dangerous, although it could cut off a gas line that could explode. There’s a real problem with infrastructure that is crumbling, like the bridges with crumbling cement.There’s a real danger we could wind up with our water supplies and electricity cut off if a sizable earthquake goes off. The best thing is to have regular upkeep and keep up new building codes. The new buildings will be O.K. But there is a sense of complacency.MARGO NASH
Israeli soldiers fired, Thursday, several live rounds at Palestinian shepherds east of the al-Maghazi refugee camp, in central Gaza Strip.
Eyewitnesses said the soldiers, stationed across the perimeter fence, fired several live rounds at the shepherds, on Palestinian lands near the fence, forcing them to leave.
Also, the Israeli Air Force carried out several mock raids, using sonic booms low altitude flights over several parts of the Gaza Strip.
The army frequently attacks farmers, shepherds, workers, and fishermen across the eastern parts of the coastal region and in Palestinian territorial waters, leading to dozens of casualties, including fatalities, in addition to preventing the Palestinians from tending to their lands and from fishing to provide for their families.
In March of 2021, the Palestinian Interior Ministry in Gaza said Israeli mines were responsible for an explosion that led to the death of three fishermen.
October 10th’s parliamentary election in Iraq went through a lot of disputes, but on Sunday thenew parliament will meet for the first time. This is going to start a lot of complicated maneuverings.
The first step will be for parliament to agree upon a new speaker and new president. Traditionally those are Sunni Arabs and Kurds, respectively, though neither is a strict requirement.
Once that’s done, the new president is to call on the largest party to try to form a majority government. No coalition deals are in place, and the party of Moqtada al-Sadr, with 73 seats, needs to put together 165 seats to form a majority.
That’s no small task in Iraq, which is heavily politically divided. Officials further added that Sadr has ruled out including former PM Nouri al-Maliki in the coalition, which leaves his 33 seats on the outside.
It isn’t a shock that Sadr and Maliki wouldn’t work together, as Maliki long had problems with Sadr when he governed. Maliki wanted a Shi’ite dominated government, while Sadr heavily advocates an independent, nationalist coalition.
Sadr is known to have talked with the Fatah Party, who offers 17 seats. Other big blocs of seats would be the Kurdish Democrats’ 31 seats, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan’s 19 seats, and the two big Sunni Arab blocs Taqadum and Azm, who have 37 and 34 seats, respectively.
IANSPublished: 6th January 2022 12:35 pm IST
Baghdad: Six Katyusha rockets hit on Wednesday a military airbase, housing some US experts and agencies, in Iraq’s western province of Anbar, the US military said.
The attack took place in the evening, when the rockets landed in Ayn al-Asad Airbase without knowing the casualties, an Iraqi army source told Xinhua news agency on the condition of anonymity.
The rockets were fired from a village located some 15 km east of the airbase, the source said, adding that no group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack.
Earlier in the day, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi called the attacks on Iraqi military bases “absurd,” stressing the end of the combat mission of the US-led coalition forces in Iraq after their withdrawal from the country.
“Unfortunately, there are some absurd actions within the first days of the new year, as several attacks targeted Iraqi bases, and this will certainly disturb the country’s security and stability,” said a statement by al-Kadhimi’s media office.
“We reiterate that the combat mission of the international coalition forces in Iraq has ended, and the Iraqi forces have received all the military bases,” it said, adding that there are currently a number of foreign military advisers working alongside the security forces.
The latest attack came as part of a series of drone and rocket attacks during the past three days that targeted Iraqi army bases, housing US advisers and agencies, in Ayn al-Asad Airbase and an army base known as Camp Victory near Baghdad International Airport.
The attacks came on the second anniversary of a deadly attack by a US drone on a convoy near Baghdad International Airport that killed Qassem Soleimani, former commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, former deputy chief of Iraq’s paramilitary Hashd Shaabi forces.
On December 29, 2021, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi confirmed the end of the US-led coalition forces’ combat mission in Iraq after the withdrawal of the forces from his country
Shabbir H. KazmiJanuary 5, 2022
The Karachi nuclear power plant site in Pakistan (Image: CNNC)
Reportedly, Israeli intelligence agency, Mossad is suspected of detonating bombs and issuing threats to German and Swiss companies in the 1980s that helped Pakistan in its nascent nuclear weapons program.
Lately, the prominent Swiss daily Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ) reported on the findings. According to the paper, “The suspicion that the Mossad might be behind the attacks and threats soon arose. For Israel, the prospect that Pakistan, for the first time, could become an Islamic state with an atomic bomb posed an existential threat.”
The paper reported that Pakistan and Iran worked closely together in the 1980s on the construction of nuclear weapons devices. According to the NZZ, the intensive work of companies from Germany and Switzerland in aiding Iran’s nuclear program “has been relatively well researched.”
The paper quoted the Swiss historian Adrian Hänni who said the Mossad was likely involved in the bomb attacks of Swiss and German companies added, there was no “smoking gun” to prove the Mossad carried out the attacks.
The Organization for the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons in South Asia, a previously unknown entity, claimed credit for the explosions in Switzerland and Germany.
The NZZ reports on the role of the late Pakistani nuclear scientist, Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of Pakistan’s atomic weapons program. He crisscrossed Europe during the 1980s to secure technology and blueprints from Western institutions and companies. The paper wrote that Khan met in a Zurich hotel with a delegation of Iran’s Organization for Atomic Energy in 1987. The Iranian delegation was led by the engineer Masud Naraghi, the chief of Iran’s nuclear energy commission.
Two German engineers, Gotthard Lerch and Heinz Mebus, along with Naraghi, who earned his PhD in the USA, met with Khan’s group in Switzerland. Additional meetings took place in Dubai.
With the fast-moving efforts by Pakistan to jumpstart its nuclear weapons program, the US government sought, without success, to get the German and Swiss governments to crack down on companies in their countries that were aiding Pakistan. Suspected Mossad agents allegedly took action in Switzerland and Germany against the companies and engineers involved in aiding Pakistan.
According to the NZZ, “A few months after the unsuccessful intervention of the US State Department in Bonn and Bern, unknown perpetrators carried out explosive attacks on three of these companies: on February 20, 1981 on the house of a leading employee of Cora Engineering Chur; on May 18, 1981 on the factory building of the Wälischmiller company in Markdorf; and finally, on November 06, 1981, on the engineering office of Heinz Mebus in Erlangen. All three attacks resulted in only property damage, only Mebus’s dog was killed.”
The paper highlighted, “The explosives attacks were accompanied by several phone calls in which strangers threatened other delivery companies in English or broken German. Sometimes the caller would order the threats to be taped. ‘The attack that we carried out against the Wälischmiller company could happen to you too’ – this is how the Leybold-Heraeus administration office was intimidated.
Siegfried Schertler, the owner of VAT at the time, and his head salesman Tinner were called several times on their private lines. Schertler also reported to the Swiss Federal Police that the Israeli secret service had contacted him. This emerges from the investigation files, which the NZZ was able to see for the first time.”
Schertler said an employee of the Israeli embassy in Germany named David, contacted the VAT executive. The company head said that David urged him to stop ‘these businesses’ regarding nuclear weapons and switch to the textile business.
Swiss and German companies derived significant profits from their business with the Khan nuclear weapons network. The NZZ reported “Many of these suppliers, mainly from Germany and Switzerland, soon entered into business worth millions with Pakistan. Leybold-Heraeus, Wälischmiller, Cora Engineering Chur, Vakuum-Apparate-Technik (VAT, with the chief buyer Friedrich Tinner) or the Buchs metal works, to name a few. They benefited from an important circumstance. The German and Swiss authorities interpreted their dual-use provisions very generously. Most of the components that are required for uranium enrichment, for example, high-precision vacuum valves, are primarily used for civil purposes.”
The NZZ reported that recently the National Security Archive in Washington published diplomatic correspondence from the US State Department from Bonn and Bern in 1980.
“This shows how the US resented the two countries’ casual handling of the delicate deliveries to Pakistan. In a note from an employee, Bern’s behavior was described as a ‘hands-off approach’ – the local authorities were accordingly accused of turning a blind eye. In the now released dispatches, which were previously classified as secret, those companies are listed for the first time that the US has accused of supporting the Pakistani nuclear weapons program with their deliveries. The list included around half a dozen companies each from Germany and Switzerland
Hamas’s headquarters in Istanbul has directed hundreds of terrorist attacks against Israelis and laundered millions of dollars, a recent report by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs has said.
The report noted that “a decade has passed since the official opening of Hamas’s offices in Istanbul, and Turkey is courting Israel anew. Turkey collaborates with terror organizations on both the ideological and operational levels. Terrorists working on Turkish soil establish infrastructures and plan terror attacks against Israel.”
According to the report, Hamas senior officials—most of them former security prisoners serving sentences for terrorism, who were released in the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange—“are operating from Turkey against Israel. Some have even been granted Turkish citizenship.”
It noted that the December counter-terror raidin Nablus and Hebron by Israeli security forces was accompanied by a no-departure ban on several senior Hamas operatives who allegedly “would link up with Hamas officials overseas.”
“Turkey today seeks another reconciliation with Israel. Israel should demand ‘payment in advance,’ meaning that the Turks must first act against the Hamas operatives on their soil and prove that they are preventing them from continuing to act against Israel,” said the report.
“Only then,” it added, “will it be worth upgrading relations with Turkey to a level of understanding and cooperation—a goal that both sides certainly have an interest in promoting.”
The post Hamas headquarters in Istanbul ‘directed hundreds of terror attacks’ appeared first on JNS.org.
Choose from the options below.
The U.S., Russia, China, United Kingdom and France in a statement this week said a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought, and agreed that the further spread of nuclear weapons should be stymied.
The powerful countries, and five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, said it is their primary responsibility to avoid war with one another and foster an environment of communication and eventual disarmament.
“As nuclear use would have far-reaching consequences, we also affirm that nuclear weapons — for as long as they continue to exist — should serve defensive purposes, deter aggression, and prevent war,” reads the rare statement.
The Jan. 3 pledge comes amid global tensions: Washington and Moscow are feuding as Russian troops mass on the Ukrainian border, and the threat of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan lingers.
On the other hand
The director of a Columbia-based watchdog group this week panned a statement issued by world nuclear powers, describing it as “disingenuous at best.”
The declaration, backed by the U.S., Russia, China, United Kingdom and France, reiterates the belief that a nuclear war cannot be won and must not be fought. It also said the countries are committed to arms control and disarmament agreements.
Savannah River Site Watch Director Tom Clements on Wednesday said he found the declaration “really offensive,” citing ongoing work in the U.S., including plutonium pit production ventures in South Carolina and New Mexico.
Plutonium pits are used in nuclear weapons. Dozens could be made every year at the Savannah River Site. They would eventually be used on the W87-1, a new warhead.
“The U.S. is not meeting its disarmament goals as required by the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons,” Clements said. “And that’s demonstrated by the pursuit of the new nuclear weapons,” among other things.
It also comes as countries continue to modernize their respective nuclear weapons, arsenals capable of incredible destruction.
While the U.S. works to upgrade its arms and related infrastructure — including at the Savannah River Site, with a potential $11 billion pit production plant and a new tritium footprint — so does China. The Department of Defense last year reported the eastern power intends to have “at least 1,000 warheads by 2030, exceeding the pace and size” of prior estimates.
“Over the next decade, the PRC aims to modernize, diversify, and expand its nuclear forces,” the department’s report to Congress stated. (Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in July 2021 told the Aiken Standard that an increasingly powerful and assertive China necessitates a “forceful, serious response.”)
The language of the recent joint statement is reminiscent of an agreement struck decades ago by then-President Ronald Reagan and then-Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. In 1985, the two sides emphasized there are no winners in a nuclear war, and such a conflict should never occur.
The Savannah River Site has long been a vital cog in the U.S. national defense machine. For years it pumped out plutonium for the nation’s atomic armaments, and the site continues to handle and package tritium — a nuclear weapon booster, of sorts — for the military. SRS also is involved with nonproliferation efforts; the Savannah River National Laboratory has extensive experience in the field and supports the Department of Energy, intelligence communities and other organizations.