Real Risk, Few Precautions (Revelation 6:12)



Published: October 24, 1989
AN EARTHQUAKE as powerful as the one that struck northern California last week could occur almost anywhere along the East Coast, experts say. And if it did, it would probably cause far more destruction than the West Coast quake.
The chances of such an occurrence are much less in the East than on the West Coast. Geologic stresses in the East build up only a hundredth to a thousandth as fast as in California, and this means that big Eastern quakes are far less frequent. Scientists do not really know what the interval between them might be, nor are the deeper-lying geologic faults that cause them as accessible to study. So seismologists are at a loss to predict when or where they will strike.
But they do know that a temblor with a magnitude estimated at 7 on the Richter scale – about the same magnitude as last week’s California quake – devastated Charleston, S.C., in 1886. And after more than a decade of study, they also know that geologic structures similar to those that caused the Charleston quake exist all along the Eastern Seaboard.
For this reason, ”we can’t preclude that a Charleston-sized earthquake might occur anywhere along the East Coast,” said David Russ, the assistant chief geologist of the United States Geological Survey in Reston, Va. ”It could occur in Washington. It could occur in New York.”
If that happens, many experts agree, the impact will probably be much greater than in California.Easterners, unlike Californians, have paid very little attention to making buildings and other structures earthquake-proof or earthquake-resistant. ”We don’t have that mentality here on the East Coast,” said Robert Silman, a New York structural engineer whose firm has worked on 3,800 buildings in the metropolitan area.
Moreover, buildings, highways, bridges, water and sewer systems and communications networks in the East are all older than in the West and consequently more vulnerable to damage. Even under normal conditions, for instance, water mains routinely rupture in New York City.
The result, said Dr. John Ebel, a geophysicist who is the assistant director of Boston College’s Weston Observatory, is that damage in the East would probably be more widespread, more people could be hurt and killed, depending on circumstances like time of day, and ”it would probably take a lot longer to get these cities back to useful operating levels.”
On top of this, scientists say, an earthquake in the East can shake an area 100 times larger than a quake of the same magnitude in California. This is because the earth’s crust is older, colder and more brittle in the East and tends to transmit seismic energy more efficiently. ”If you had a magnitude 7 earthquake and you put it halfway between New York City and Boston,” Dr. Ebel said, ”you would have the potential of doing damage in both places,” not to mention cities like Hartford and Providence.
Few studies have been done of Eastern cities’ vulnerability to earthquakes. But one, published last June in The Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, calculated the effects on New York City of a magnitude 6 earthquake. That is one-tenth the magnitude of last week’s California quake, but about the same as the Whittier, Calif., quake two years ago.
The study found that such an earthquake centered 17 miles southeast of City Hall, off Rockaway Beach, would cause $11 billion in damage to buildings and start 130 fires. By comparison, preliminary estimates place the damage in last week’s California disaster at $4 billion to $10 billion. If the quake’s epicenter were 11 miles southeast of City Hall, the study found, there would be about $18 billion in damage; if 5 miles, about $25 billion.
No estimates on injuries or loss of life were made. But a magnitude 6 earthquake ”would probably be a disaster unparalleled in New York history,” wrote the authors of the study, Charles Scawthorn and Stephen K. Harris of EQE Engineering in San Francisco.
The study was financed by the National Center for Earthquake Engineering Research at the State University of New York at Buffalo. The research and education center, supported by the National Science Foundation and New York State, was established in 1986 to help reduce damage and loss of life from earthquakes.
The study’s postulated epicenter of 17 miles southeast of City Hall was the location of the strongest quake to strike New York since it has been settled, a magnitude 5 temblor on Aug. 10, 1884. That 1884 quake rattled bottles and crockery in Manhattan and frightened New Yorkers, but caused little damage. Seismologists say a quake of that order is likely to occur within 50 miles of New York City every 300 years. Quakes of magnitude 5 are not rare in the East. The major earthquake zone in the eastern half of the country is the central Mississippi Valley, where a huge underground rift causes frequent geologic dislocations and small temblors. The most powerful quake ever known to strike the United States occurred at New Madrid, Mo., in 1812. It was later estimated at magnitude 8.7 and was one of three quakes to strike that area in 1811-12, all of them stronger than magnitude 8. They were felt as far away as Washington, where they rattled chandeliers, Boston and Quebec.
Because the New Madrid rift is so active, it has been well studied, and scientists have been able to come up with predictions for the central Mississippi valley, which includes St. Louis and Memphis. According to Dr. Russ, there is a 40 to 63 percent chance that a quake of magnitude 6 will strike that area between now and the year 2000, and an 86 to 97 percent chance that it will do so by 2035. The Federal geologists say there is a 1 percent chance or less of a quake greater than magnitude 7 by 2000, and a 4 percent chance or less by 2035.
Elsewhere in the East, scientists are limited in their knowledge of probabilities partly because faults that could cause big earthquakes are buried deeper in the earth’s crust. In contrast to California, where the boundary between two major tectonic plates creates the San Andreas and related faults, the eastern United States lies in the middle of a major tectonic plate. Its faults are far less obvious, their activity far more subtle, and their slippage far slower. 
Any large earthquake would be ”vastly more serious” in the older cities of the East than in California,  said Dr. Tsu T. Soong, a professor of civil engineering at the State University of New York at Buffalo who is a researcher in earthquake-mitigation technology at the National Center for Earthquake Engineering Research. First, he said, many buildings are simply older, and therefore weaker and more  vulnerable to collapse. Second, there is no seismic construction code in most of the East as there is in California, where such codes have been in place for decades.
The vulnerability is evident in many ways. ”I’m sitting here looking out my window,” said Mr. Silman, the structural engineer in New York, ”and I see a bunch of water tanks all over the place” on rooftops. ”They are not anchored down at all, and it’s very possible they would fall in an earthquake.”
 Many brownstones, he said, constructed as they are of unreinforced masonry walls with wood joists between, ”would just go like a house of cards.” Unreinforced masonry, in fact, is the single most vulnerable structure, engineers say. Such buildings are abundant, even predominant, in many older cities. The Scawthorn-Harris study reviewed inventories of all buildings in Manhattan as of 1972 and found that 28,884, or more than half, were built of unreinforced masonry. Of those, 23,064 were three to five stories high.
Buildings of reinforced masonry, reinforced concrete and steel would hold up much better, engineers say, and wooden structures are considered intrinsically tough in ordinary circumstances. The best performers, they say, would probably be skyscrapers built in the last 20 years. As Mr. Silman explained, they have been built to withstand high winds, and the same structural features that enable them to do so also help them resist an earthquake’s force. But even these new towers have not been provided with the seismic protections required in California and so are more vulnerable than similar structures on the West Coast.
Buildings in New York are not generally constructed with such seismic protections as base-isolated structures, in which the building is allowed to shift with the ground movement; or with flexible frames that absorb and distribute energy through columns and beams so that floors can flex from side to side, or with reinforced frames that help resist distortion.
”If you’re trying to make a building ductile – able to absorb energy – we’re not geared to think that way,” said Mr. Silman.
New York buildings also contain a lot of decorative stonework, which can be dislodged and turned into lethal missiles by an earthquake. In California, building codes strictly regulate such architectural details.
Manhattan does, however, have at least one mitigating factor: ”We are blessed with this bedrock island,” said Mr. Silman. ”That should work to our benefit; we don’t have shifting soils. But there are plenty of places that are problem areas, particularly the shoreline areas,” where landfills make the ground soft and unstable.
As scientists have learned more about geologic faults in the Northeast, the nation’s uniform building code – the basic, minimum code followed throughout the country – has been revised accordingly. Until recently, the code required newly constructed buildings in New York City to withstand at least 19 percent of the side-to-side seismic force that a comparable building in the seismically active areas of California must handle. Now the threshold has been raised to 25 percent.
New York City, for the first time, is moving to adopt seismic standards as part of its own building code. Local and state building codes can and do go beyond the national code. Charles M. Smith Jr., the city Building Commissioner, last spring formed a committee of scientists, engineers, architects and government officials to recommend the changes.
”They all agree that New York City should anticipate an earthquake,” Mr. Smith said. As to how big an earthquake, ”I don’t think anybody would bet on a magnitude greater than 6.5,” he said. ”I don’t know,” he added, ”that our committee will go so far as to acknowledge” the damage levels in the Scawthorn-Harris study, characterizing it as ”not without controversy.”
For the most part, neither New York nor any other Eastern city has done a detailed survey of just how individual buildings and other structures would be affected, and how or whether to modify them.
”The thing I think is needed in the East is a program to investigate all the bridges” to see how they would stand up to various magnitudes of earthquake,” said Bill Geyer, the executive vice president of the New York engineering firm of Steinman, Boynton, Gronquist and Birdsall, which is rehabilitating the cable on the Williamsburg Bridge. ”No one has gone through and done any analysis of the existing bridges.”
In general, he said, the large suspension bridges, by their nature, ”are not susceptible to the magnitude of earthquake you’d expect in the East.” But the approaches and side spans of some of them might be, he said, and only a bridge-by-bridge analysis would tell. Nor, experts say, are some elevated highways in New York designed with the flexibility and ability to accommodate motion that would enable them to withstand a big temblor.
Tunnels Vulnerable
The underground tunnels that carry travelers under the rivers into Manhattan, those that contain the subways and those that carry water, sewers and natural gas would all be vulnerable to rupture, engineers say. The Lincoln, Holland, PATH and Amtrak tunnels, for instance, go from bedrock in Manhattan to soft soil under the Hudson River to bedrock again in New Jersey, said Mark Carter, a partner in Raamot Associates, geotechnical engineers specializing in soils and foundations.
Likewise, he said, subway tunnels between Manhattan and Queens go from hard rock to soft soil to hard rock on Roosevelt Island, to soft soil again and back to rock. The boundaries between soft soil and rock are points of weakness, he said.
”These structures are old,” he said, ”and as far as I know they have not been designed for earthquake loadings.”
Even if it is possible to survey all major buildings and facilities to determine what corrections can be made, cities like New York would then face a major decision: Is it worth spending the money to modify buildings and other structures to cope with a quake that might or might not come in 100, or 200 300 years or more?
”That is a classical problem” in risk-benefit analysis, said Dr. George Lee, the acting director of the Earthquake Engineering Research Center in Buffalo. As more is learned about Eastern earthquakes, he said, it should become ”possible to talk about decision-making.” But for now, he said, ”I think it’s premature for us to consider that question.”

Palestinians clash with Israeli police outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

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Palestinians clash with Israeli police at major holy site


Palestinians clash with Israeli security forces at the Al Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City Friday, April 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)

Palestinians clash with Israeli security forces at the Al Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem’s Old City Friday, April 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)

JERUSALEM (AP) — Palestinians clashed with Israeli police at the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem on Friday as thousands gathered for prayers during the holy month of Ramadan. Medics said more than 150 Palestinians were wounded in the most serious violence at the site in nearly a year.

The holy site, which is sacred to Jews and Muslims, has often been the epicenter of Israeli-Palestinian unrest, and tensions were already heightened amid a recent wave of violence. Clashes at the site last year helped spark an 11-day war with Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip.

The clashes come at a particularly sensitive time. Ramadan this year coincides with Passover, a major weeklong Jewish holiday beginning Friday at sundown, and Christian holy week, which culminates on Easter Sunday. The holidays are expected to bring tens of thousands of faithful into Jerusalem’s Old City, home to major sites sacred to all three religions.

Hours after the clashes began, the police said they had put an end to the violence and arrested “hundreds” of suspects. The mosque was re-opened, and some 60,000 people attended the main Friday prayers midday, according to the Waqf, the Islamic endowment that administers the site.

After prayers, thousands of Palestinians marched around the esplanade, chanting “with our souls, with our blood, we sacrifice for you, Al-Aqsa,” in addition to slogans in support of Hamas, the Islamic militant group that rules Gaza.

Less than a kilometer (mile) away, thousands of Christians marched in a procession retracing the traditional journey of Jesus to the cross in honor of Good Friday. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre was open to visitors, who are returning to the Holy Land in large numbers for the first time since before the pandemic. The violence was confined to the mosque compound.

Israeli authorities said that before the unrest broke out they had negotiated with Muslim leaders to try to ensure calm. But the police say Palestinians stockpiled rocks and other objects inside the compound and hurled stones at the Mughrabi Gate, which leads to the Western Wall — a major Jewish holy site — triggering the violence.

Palestinian witnesses, who spoke on condition of anonymity out of security concerns, said a small group of Palestinians threw rocks at police, who then entered the compound in force, setting off a wider conflagration. Palestinians view any large deployment of police at Al-Aqsa as a provocation.

Palestinians threw rocks and fireworks, and police fired tear gas and stun grenades on the sprawling esplanade surrounding the mosque. Dozens of Palestinians barricaded themselves inside the mosque as they fought Israeli security forces.

Israeli police later entered the mosque and arrested people inside. The police rarely enter the building, which is seen by Palestinians as an escalation.

The Palestinian Red Crescent emergency service said it treated 152 people, many of them wounded by rubber-coated bullets or stun grenades.

Video footage showed police beating a photographer for the Waqf with batons before knocking him to ground and kicking him. The Waqf said the photographer, Rami Khatib, suffered a broken hand. There was no immediate comment from police.

The Israeli police said three officers were wounded from “massive stone-throwing,” with two evacuated from the scene for treatment.

Neighboring Jordan, which has custodianship over the holy site, and the Palestinian Authority issued a joint statement accusing Israel of “a dangerous and condemnable escalation that threatens to explode the situation.” Egypt also condemned the “Israeli raid.”

Israel’s public security minister, Omer Barlev, who oversees the police force, said Israel had “no interest” in violence at the holy site but that police were forced to confront “violent elements” who attacked them with stones and metal bars. He said Israel was committed to freedom of worship for Jews and Muslims alike.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said authorities “are working to calm things on the Temple Mount and throughout Israel. At the same time, we are prepared for any scenario.”

The mosque is the third holiest site in Islam. It is built on a hilltop in Jerusalem’s Old City that is the most sacred site for Jews, who refer to it as the Temple Mount because it was the site of the Jewish temples in antiquity. It has been a major flashpoint for Israeli-Palestinian violence for decades and was the epicenter of the 2000-2005 Palestinian intifada, or uprising.

Israel captured east Jerusalem, including the Old City, in the 1967 war and annexed it in a move not recognized internationally. Palestinians want the eastern part of the city to be the capital of a future state including the West Bank and Gaza, which Israel also captured during the war nearly 55 years ago.

Tensions have soared in recent weeks following a series of attacks by Palestinians that killed 14 people inside Israel. Israeli troops have carried out a wave of arrests and military operations across the occupied West Bank, setting off clashes with Palestinians.

At least 25 Palestinians have been killed, according to an Associated Press count. Many had carried out attacks or were involved in the clashes, but an unarmed woman and a lawyer who appears to have been a bystander were also among those killed.

Weeks of protests and clashes in and around Al-Aqsa during Ramadan last year helped ignite a fourth Gaza war between Israel and Hamas. This year, Israel has lifted restrictions and taken other steps to try and calm tensions, but the attacks and the military raids are fueling another cycle of unrest.

Hamas condemned what it said were “brutal attacks” on worshippers at Al-Aqsa, saying Israel would bear “all the consequences.”

Earlier this week, Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza had called on Palestinians to camp out at the Al-Aqsa mosque over the weekend. Palestinians have long feared that Israel plans to take over the site or partition it.

Israeli authorities say they are committed to maintaining the status quo, but in recent years large groups of nationalist and religious Jews have regularly visited the site with police escorts.

A radical Jewish group recently called on people to bring animals to the site in order to sacrifice them for Passover, offering cash rewards for those who succeeded or even tried. Israeli police work to prevent such activities, but the call was widely circulated by Palestinians on social media, along with calls for Muslims to prevent any sacrifices from taking place.

Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, the rabbi of the Western Wall, issued a statement calling on Muslim leaders to act to stop the violence. He also noted that “bringing a sacrifice to the Temple Mount today is in opposition to the decision of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel.”


Associated Press reporter Wafaa Shurafa in Gaza City, Gaza Strip contributed to this report.

The Russian Horn Might Nuke Us: Daniel 7

House Intelligence Committee holds hearing on worldwide threats in Washington

U.S. cannot ‘take lightly’ threat Russia could use nuclear weapons – CIA chief

By Jonathan Landay

 and Michael Martina

CIA Director William Burns speaks during a House Intelligence Committee hearing on worldwide threats, in Washington, D.C., U.S., April 15, 2021. Tasos Katopodis/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

WASHINGTON, April 14 (Reuters) – The threat of Russia potentially using tactical or low-yield nuclear weapons in Ukraine cannot be taken lightly, but the CIA has not seen a lot of practical evidence reinforcing that concern, CIA Director William Burns said on Thursday.

Burns’ most extensive public comments since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24 underscored concerns that the biggest attack against a European state since 1945 risks escalating to the use of nuclear weapons.

Earlier on Thursday, Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council and a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, warned NATO that Moscow would deploy nuclear weapons and hypersonic missiles in Kaliningrad, a Russian enclave in the heart of Europe, if Sweden and Finland joined the Atlantic alliance.

Burns spoke at Georgia Tech of the “potential desperation” and setbacks dealt Putin, whose forces have suffered heavy losses and have been forced to retreat from some parts of northern Ukraine after failing to capture Kyiv.Report ad

For those reasons, “none of us can take lightly the threat posed by a potential resort to tactical nuclear weapons or low-yield nuclear weapons,” Burns said.

That said, despite “rhetorical posturing” by the Kremlin about putting the world’s largest nuclear arsenal on high alert, “We haven’t seen a lot of practical evidence of the kind of deployments or military dispositions that would reinforce that concern.”

Tactical and low-yield nuclear weapons refer to those designed for use on the battlefield, of which some experts estimate Russia has about 2,000 that can be delivered by air, naval and ground forces.

Burns’ comments came in response to a question from former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn, a leading arms control advocate, at the end of the CIA chief’s first public speech since taking the helm of the premier U.S. spy agency in March 2021.

In a wide-ranging address, the former career U.S. diplomat said U.S. spy agencies began last fall collecting “disturbing and detailed” intelligence on a plan by Putin for a “major new invasion” of Ukraine.

Burns said President Joe Biden dispatched him to Moscow in November “to convey directly to Putin and several of his closest advisers the depths of our concern about his planning for war, and the consequences for Russia” if they proceeded.

“I was troubled by what I heard,” he continued, saying that while Putin may not have made a final decision, he appeared convinced his forces would “achieve a quick decisive victory at minimal costs.”

Putin believed Washington’s European allies were distracted by their own domestic politics and he had a “sanctions-proof” war chest of foreign currency reserves, Burns said.

“Putin was proven wrong on each of these counts,” he said.

The Russian leader “stewed” in grievance, ambition and insecurity and apparently saw the “window was closing for shaping Ukraine’s orientation” away from the West, said Burns, who called Putin an “apostle of payback.”

U.S. intelligence has been vital to Ukraine’s fight against Russian forces, said Burns, whose diplomatic posts included one as U.S. ambassador to Moscow.

The “crimes” he said those forces committed in the Ukrainian town of Bucha are “horrific.”

Russia, which has repeatedly denied targeting civilians, has called the accusations its forces executed civilians in Bucha while occupying the town a “monstrous forgery” aimed at denigrating the Russian army.

The Kremlin says it launched a “special military operation” to demilitarize and “liberate” Ukraine from nationalist extremists.

In other remarks, Burns called China a formidable competitor seeking to overtake the United States in every domain, from economic and military power to space and cyberspace.

China’s ambitions under its leader Xi Jinping are “quite threatening,” and include the possibility that Beijing would seek control over Taiwan by military means, he said.

“The further out we get in this decade, the greater that risk becomes,” he said.

Hamas calls for an escalation against Israel outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

Hamas calls for an escalation against Israel as tensions spike over Temple Mount

Gaza terror group orders a ‘general mobilization,’ tells Palestinians to ‘go out in the hundreds of thousands’ to pray at Al-Aqsa in Jerusalem on Friday

By TOI STAFFToday, 6:42 amUpdated at 7:29 am  

Supporters of the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror groups take part in a rally to celebrate a shooting attack in Tel Aviv, in the southern Gaza Strip, on April 8, 2022. (Attia Muhammed/Flash90)

The leaders of Gaza terror groups convened in the Strip on Wednesday to issue a unified call for an escalation against Israel, as tensions spike surrounding the Temple Mount and Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

The Hamas terror group, which rules Gaza, had called for the meeting earlier Wednesday after it vowed to stop Jewish activist activity at the flashpoint holy site “at any cost.” The head of Hamas in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, led the meeting.

“We are declaring a general mobilization in all places where our people are located. We are calling on the masses to come out in the hundreds of thousands to protect our nation and our mosque,” the Gaza groups said in a statement.

IDF to shutter West Bank, Gaza crossings for Palestinians on first day of Passover

The Muslim holy month of Ramadan, typically a period of high tension, is underway, and thousands often attend prayers in Jerusalem.

“We call on our people to march and go out in the hundreds of thousands to hold Friday prayers at Al-Aqsa,” the groups said, according to Channel 12. The network said all “factions” in Gaza were represented at the meeting. The coastal strip is home to other terror groups, including Islamic Jihad, a rival to Hamas.

The meeting had been called to discuss “Zionist threats to invade the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Friday and conduct sacrifices,” among other issues, a senior Palestinian source told Safa News. An extremist Jewish group earlier this week called for ritual sacrifices at the site, inflaming the Palestinian public and Arab leaders.

Yahya Sinwar, leader of the Hamas terror group, hosts a meeting with members of Palestinian factions, at the Hamas president’s office in Gaza City, on April 13, 2022. (Attia Muhammed/Flash90)

The Hamas deputy political chief, Saleh al-Arouri, also called for an escalation on Wednesday after Israeli counter-terror troops arrested Palestinian suspects in the West Bank town of Silwad.

Thursday morning reports said that three Palestinians had been killed by Israeli troops in clashes Wednesday in Silwad and outside Bethlehem. Israeli security forces carried out raids and arrests across the West Bank overnight, sparking protests and exchanges of live fire in several areas, the Walla news site reported.

“We call on all our nation to mobilize and support Silwad and all areas of conflict,” al-Arouri said.

Fatah in the West Bank also called for the Palestinian public to go to sensitive areas on Thursday and “confront IDF forces and settlers throughout the West Bank,” according to Army Radio.

Tens of thousands were already expected to attend Friday prayers at Al-Aqsa. Most of the Ramadan worshipers will cross into Israel without permits, part of a policy to loosen normally tight Israeli restrictions on Palestinian movement for the holiday.

Allowing in thousands of Palestinians carries a clear security risk for Israel, but clamping down on worshipers during Ramadan could spark an outbreak of violence.

The Temple Mount is the emotional epicenter of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and tensions there can easily snowball into wider conflagrations. Hamas and other Gaza-based terror groups have repeatedly invoked the flashpoint holy site as a red line. Police actions to quell riots there last year helped trigger the 11-day war in Gaza in May.

Palestinians attend afternoon prayers on the Temple Mount, which houses the Al-Aqsa Mosque, in Jerusalem’s Old City, on April 8, 2022, during the first Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP)

The site is Judaism’s holiest place, and the mosque is Islam’s third-holiest. Jews are allowed to visit the compound, but not pray or perform religious rituals, as part of a delicate status quo.

In addition to the holiday friction, tensions between Israel and the Palestinians have heated in recent weeks following a series of attacks on Israelis. Terrorists, including both Arab Israelis and West Bank Palestinians, killed 14 people in Israel in the deadliest outbreak of violence in Israel in years. The attacks have prompted countermeasures from Israeli security forces, including arrests that have spilled into violence.

At the same time, Ramadan, Passover and Easter will all overlap this month, further driving up the risk of conflict. Israeli officials have warned for months that the convergence could spark an escalation of violence.

Earlier Wednesday, Hamas threatened Israel over plans by Jewish activists to conduct ritual sacrifices on the Temple Mount for Passover.

The Returning to the Mount extremist group, which advocates the construction of a third Jewish temple on the site that once housed the two biblical Temples, announced on Facebook on Monday that it would be offering a cash prize to those who manage to sacrifice a lamb on the Temple Mount, and to anyone arrested trying to do so.

A sheep is carried for the Passover Sacrifice ‘practice’ ceremony at Beit Orot in East Jerusalem, on April 18, 2016. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

A small group of Jewish extremists has occasionally sought to perform the Biblically mandated Passover sacrifice on the Temple Mount. Police have regularly detained the perpetrators, who do not appear to have successfully pulled off a sacrifice in recent years at the site.

This year’s would-be sacrificers’ campaign has gained enormous traction in Palestinian and Arab media following the social media post offering cash prizes for those arrested in the act.

The post drew threats from Hamas and condemnation from Jordan and the Palestinian Authority.

“We stress that this represents a dangerous escalation that crosses all red lines, as it is a direct assault on the belief and feelings of our people and our nation during this holy month,” Hamas said. “We hold [Israel] responsible for all its repercussions.”

Mobs demolish Iraq offices of the Antichrist

A street vendor offers a poster depicting Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada Al Sadr, right, and his father Mohammed Sadeq Al Sadr.  AFP
A street vendor offers a poster depicting Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada Al Sadr, right, and his father Mohammed Sadeq Al Sadr. AFP

Mobs demolish Iraq offices of controversial Shiite cleric

Sinan Mahmoud


Apr 14, 2022

Mobs believed to be the followers of Moqtada Al Sadr have torched and demolished offices and mosques of a controversial Shiite cleric in Iraq who sees building small monuments over graves as being against Islamic principles.

Cemeteries in the country often have shrine-like structures built over grave plots, while well-known Imams often have mausoleums over their resting places.

During a Friday sermon in Al Hamza Al Gharbi district south of Babil province, cleric Ali Moussa Al Masoudi, an aide to the controversial cleric Mahmoud Al Sharkhi, questioned the religious legitimacy of building over graves and turning some of them to places of worship.

Mr Al Masoudi also criticised setting dates for religious events and rituals related to revered saints who are buried in these graves. He did not name any of the revered Shiites shrines across Iraq.

He argued that the existence of tombs is against the guidelines of the Prophet Mohammed, who “once ordered [his cousin] Imam Ali to demolish and level the graves and don’t build over them”.

His comments caused widespread anger among Shiites, who consider constructing, preserving and visiting mausoleums of their revered Imams an essential part of Islam’s Shiism school.

On Monday Mr Al Sadr, a populist Iraqi Shiite cleric, gave Mr Al Sarkhi three days to distance himself from Mr Al Masoudi “otherwise I will deal with him and people like him according to the law, religious law and social custom”.

Iraqi security forces have been rounding up dozens of Mr Al Sarkhi’s followers in different parts of central and southern Iraq, including Mr Al Masoudi.

Authorities have also issued an arrest warrant against Mr Al Sarkhi, whose whereabouts is unknown.

The Interior Ministry accused Mr Al Sarkhi’s group of following an “extremist ideology to spread sedition and to abuse the religious symbols and revered shrines”.

Videos on social media showed mobs breaking into Mr Al Sarkhi’s offices and setting them on fire. Some showed bulldozers demolishing the mosques he runs, a move that has been criticised and rejected by Mr Al Sadr.

Mr Al Sarkhi has risen to prominence since the 2003 US-led invasion that toppled the Saddam Hussein regime. Unlike other Shiite factions, his group opposed the entire political process established by the Americans and successive governments.

He has also been strongly opposed to US and Iranian influence in Iraq, although he supports the establishment of an Iranian-style Islamic theocracy.

He believes himself to be the supreme religious authority above all other senior religious leaders known as ayatollahs, including spiritual Shiite cleric Ali Al Sistani, challenging their authority on revered shrines and religious institutions.

He once claimed that he shared tea with the revered Imam Al Mahdi, whom Shiites believe disappeared during the 9th century and will one day reappear to bring salvation to believers.

He was also against fighting ISIS and Mr Al Sistani’s 2014 decree to take up arms to drive the militants out of northern and western Iraq. Instead, he called for dialogue with the terrorist group despite its hardline demands.

Since 2003, his followers have clashed with Al Sadr followers as well as US and Iraqi troops. So far his followers have not retaliated.

The Russian Nuclear Horn Threatens NATO: Daniel 7

Russia warns of nuclear, hypersonic deployment if Sweden and Finland join NATO

Guy Faulconbridge

Thu, April 14, 2022, 2:06 AM·4 min read

LONDON, April 14 (Reuters) – One of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s closest allies warned NATO on Thursday that if Sweden and Finland joined the U.S.-led military alliance then Russia would deploy nuclear weapons and hypersonic missiles in an exclave in the heart of Europe.

Finland, which shares a 1,300-km (810-mile) border with Russia, and Sweden are considering joining the NATO alliance. Finland will decide in the next few weeks, Prime Minister Sanna Marin said on Wednesday.

Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, said that should Sweden and Finland join NATO then Russia would have to strengthen its land, naval and air forces in the Baltic Sea.

Medvedev also explicitly raised the nuclear threat by saying that there could be no more talk of a “nuclear free” Baltic – where Russia has its Kaliningrad exclave sandwiched between Poland and Lithuania.

“There can be no more talk of any nuclear–free status for the Baltic – the balance must be restored,” said Medvedev, who was Russian president from 2008 to 2012.

Medvedev said he hoped Finland and Sweden would see sense. If not, he said, they would have to live with nuclear weapons and hypersonic missiles close to home.

Russia has the world’s biggest arsenal of nuclear warheads and along with China and the United States is one of the global leaders in hypersonic missile technology.

Lithuania said Russia’s threats were nothing new and that Moscow had deployed nuclear weapons to Kaliningrad long before the war in Ukraine. NATO did not immediately respond to Russia’s warning.

Still, the possible accession of Finland and Sweden into NATO – founded in 1949 to provide Western security against the Soviet Union – would be one of the biggest strategic consequences of the war in Ukraine.

Finland gained independence from Russia in 1917 and fought two wars against it during World War Two during which it lost some territory. On Thursday, Finland announced a military exercise in Western Finland with the participation of Britain, the United States, Latvia and Estonia.

Sweden has not fought a war for 200 years. Foreign policy has focused on supporting democracy and nuclear disarmament.


Kaliningrad, formerly the port of Koenigsberg, capital of East Prussia, lies less than 1,400 km from London and Paris and 500 km from Berlin.

Russia said in 2018 it had deployed Iskander missiles to Kaliningrad, which was captured by the Red Army in April 1945 and ceded to the Soviet Union at the Potsdam conference.

The Iskander, known as SS-26 Stone by NATO, is a short-range tactical ballistic missile system that can carry nuclear warheads. Its official range is 500 km but some Western military sources suspect it may be much greater.

“No sane person wants higher prices and higher taxes, increased tensions along borders, Iskanders, hypersonics and ships with nuclear weapons literally at arm’s length from their own home,” Medvedev said.

“Let’s hope that the common sense of our northern neighbours will win.”

While Putin is Russia’s paramount leader, Medvedev’s comments reflect Kremlin thinking and he is a senior member of the security council – one of Putin’s main chambers for decision making on strategic issues.

Lithuanian Defence Minister Arvydas Anusauskas said Russia had deployed nuclear weapons in Kaliningrad even before the war.

“Nuclear weapons have always been kept in Kaliningrad … the international community, the countries in the region, are perfectly aware of this,” Anusauskas was quoted as saying by BNS. “They use it as a threat.”

Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine has killed thousands of people, displaced millions and raised fears of a wider confrontation between Russia and the United States – by far the world’s two biggest nuclear powers.

Putin says the “special military operation” in Ukraine is necessary because the United States was using Ukraine to threaten Russia and Moscow had to defend against the persecution of Russian-speaking people.

Ukraine says it is fighting an imperial-style land grab and that Putin’s claims of genocide are nonsense. U.S. President Joe Biden says Putin is a war criminal and a dictator.

Putin says the conflict in Ukraine as part of a much broader confrontation with the United States which he says is trying to enforce its hegemony even as its dominance over the international order declines. (Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Nick Macfie)

When The Bowls Of Wrath Become Real: Revelation 16


For American youth, nuclear weapons have seemed like relics of the past — till now.

Words: Kristie Moore

Pictures: Ben BlennerhassettDate: April 13th, 2022

This piece is published in collaboration with Outrider Foundation, a nonprofit media group that publishes commentary on security issues, public policy, and social justice.

For many of us, Feb. 24, 2022, was a typical Thursday — until it wasn’t. While some had been following the complex political situation in the region, the immediacy of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine shocked us all. This was soon accompanied by the cancelation of my Russian language class in observance of the tragedy, messages of confusion and surprise, and protests across campus in support of Ukraine. For the first time in my life, the possibility of war and nuclear weapons became very real. This continues to be the case as President Vladimir Putin threatens the use of nuclear weapons against Ukraine and shows little intention of slowing down or heeding international critics.

Nuclear weapons have only been used twice in combat — both times decades ago by the United States on foreign soil and never within its borders. Since the end of the Cold War, we have never lived on the brink of nuclear war. We certainly didn’t think of it as a tangible possibility. This disconnect has shaped my generation and conditioned us to ignore the threat of nuclear weapons by dismissing them as relics of the past. This means nuclear scares, both in the recent past and in the current nuclear moment, have taken us by surprise and caused us to question our entire understanding of nuclear security. 


Like many my age, I was first introduced to the world of nuclear security through the Cold War in a high school class. As we discussed the history of the war, considered its causes and effects, and dissected the potential consequences of a nuclear attack, the entire concept of nuclear warfare segmented itself into my mind as something of the past that was no more — a threat that supposedly ended with the Cold War and the fall of the Soviet Union. We were told that this post-Cold War world was more peaceful and devoid of nuclear threats. After all, treaties and agreements were made to reduce the number of nuclear weapons, and we were slowly inching closer to a denuclearized world. 

The reality, however, is different — and our optimism is misplaced. 


I was able to delve deeper into the field of nuclear security as a Girl Security fellow, a program designed to prepare girls, young women, and gender minorities for careers in national security. I quickly came to realize that this classification of the Cold War as “over” was just as false as the notion that nuclear weapons were a relic of the past and no longer a threat to the world. As has been made painfully clear in recent years, the effects of the Cold War are still very present, even if the conflict itself has ended. These effects have manifested themselves in the current relationship between the US and Russia, and throughout the world, and take on two forms. One is of conflict and instability leftover from proxy wars waged by both in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Asia, and Africa while the other is in the discourse around nuclear weapons and nuclear modernization that continues today. Even Cold War thinking maintains a prominent role in high-level foreign policy, perpetuated by leaders who were shaped by the war period and have carried their outdated ways of thought into whatever position of power they now hold. 


The disconnect between what actually constitutes a real threat of the 21st century and what my generation perceives as a threat is deeply rooted in our collective memory and the reality in which we were raised. We are part of a generation that grew up in the post-9/11 world and has been shaped by issues like terrorism, gun violence, climate change, racial injustice, and now COVID-19. An America-centric education system and our subsequent lack of awareness about conflicts beyond our borders have further contributed to our understanding of the world. As a result, nuclear weapons often occupy little space in perceived notions of modern-day threats. Rather, they are frequently understood as abstract threats existing only in the past and in video games, movies, and other forms of entertainment, and not as real, persisting threats that have enormous implications. 

This comes in stark contrast to the world that our parents and grandparents were raised in: A world in which the threat of nuclear war was genuine. They were part of a generation that lived through the Cuban Missile Crisis rather than reading about it in a textbook. Their generation watched as the Berlin Wall fell and the Soviet Union collapsed. My grandparents have told me that many of them have never truly forgotten the reality of nuclear war.

The field of nuclear security is extraordinarily elitist and hard to break into. In the same way, easily understandable information free of complex jargon and assumed knowledge is rarely available to the youth. The available information is often complicated, lacks context, and is overly convoluted in its explanation of nuclear policy. Without a decent foundation of knowledge in this field, we cannot adequately interpret the information essential for us to understand the current nuclear moment and the full extent of the threat posed by nuclear weapons. 

When this is paired with our upbringing in a post-Cold War world, we lack a tangible understanding of nuclear weapons and their consequences. We can’t even begin to visualize the effects of nuclear attacks or the human toll they would cause. Without this understanding, we lose all context necessary to assess the threat of nuclear weapons properly. This is likely a contributing factor to why younger generations frequently rank nuclear weapons low on lists of national security threats. It also helps explain why recent events caught many off-guard.


Social media, however, has had an important and lasting impact on our perception of nuclear weapons. Social media spreads news and information easily, which has increased my awareness of international issues like nuclear weapons. While disinformation and misinformation continue to be an issue, it is undeniable that this more digestible form of media has created a generation of youth who are more aware of what’s happening in the world than they would be otherwise. Additionally, the casual threats and flaunting of nuclear power during the Trump administration toward North Korea and the 2018 Hawaii false missile alert were awakening experiences for many who had never before considered nuclear weapons a primary threat. Now as Russia and China continue to look toward increasing and modernizing their nuclear arsenals, it is clear the threat is far from over and will continue to occupy space on the international stage and in the media.


At the present moment, we see Russia becoming increasingly aggressive toward Ukraine and infringing upon its territorial sovereignty and identity as a nation. We see a dictator pursuing his self-interested nationalistic policies at the expense of regional stability and lives — both Ukrainian and Russian — to achieve a semblance of Russia’s previous glory. It certainly alludes to the days of the Cold War and the Soviet Union. As many of us remember from our history textbooks, ideas of mutually assured destruction suggest that the outbreak of nuclear war is unlikely. However, there are many flaws in this theory. First, it ignores the development of nuclear weapons themselves. Today’s nuclear weapons come in a variety, and nuclear-weapon states boast about having low-yield weapons, which theoretically will not result in mutual destruction. Second, it assumes that there is no political will to use a nuclear weapon. Yet, Putin’s rhetoric about his invasion of Ukraine is indicating otherwise.

How should we feel about Putin’s threats regarding the use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine? Should we be concerned? Worried? I am both. I am still in shock and processing what has transpired over the last few months. While I remain optimistic about the future and hope to see a denuclearized world with more protections in place, I recognize that we are living in a dangerous, unpredictable moment. We, the American youth, must take initiative to address the threat nuclear weapons pose to the world so that we can avert nuclear war and prevent another situation mirroring the horrors of what we see in Ukraine. We need to elevate the issues of nuclear disarmament, nonproliferation, and No First Use to the defining issues of our lifetime. Nuclear weapons have life-altering potential and enough force to destroy the world as we know it. And today’s nukes would surely cause irreparable damage that we can not return from.

So, what Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has taught me is that whether or not the Cold War is over is beside the point. What we need to work toward is a world free of nuclear weapons.

Kristie Moore is a student at the University of California, Berkeley studying Global Studies with a concentration in Peace & Conflict in Europe/Russia. She is also a former Girl Security Fellow.