The Impending Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

An illustration of a seismogram

Massachusetts struck by 4.0 magnitude earthquake felt as far as Long Island

By Jackie Salo

November 8, 2020 

A 3.6-magnitude earthquake shook Bliss Corner, Massachusetts, on Sunday morning, officials said — startling residents across the Northeast who expressed shock about the rare tremors.

The quake struck the area about five miles southwest of the community in Buzzards Bay just after 9 a.m. — marking the strongest one in the area since a magnitude 3.5 temblor in March 1976, the US Geological Survey said.

With a depth of 9.3 miles, the impact was felt across Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and into Connecticut and Long Island, New York.

“This is the strongest earthquake that we’ve recorded in that area — Southern New England,” USGS geophysicist Paul Caruso told The Providence Journal.

But the quake was still considered “light” on the magnitude scale, meaning that it was felt but didn’t cause significant damage.

The quake, however, was unusual for the region — which has only experienced 26 larger than a magnitude 2.5 since 1973, Caruso said.

Around 14,000 people went onto the USGS site to report the shaking — with some logging tremors as far as Easthampton, Massachusetts, and Hartford, Connecticut, both about 100 miles away.

“It’s common for them to be felt very far away because the rock here is old and continuous and transmits the energy a long way,” Caruso said.

Journalist Katie Couric was among those on Long Island to be roused by the Sunday-morning rumblings.

“Did anyone on the east coast experience an earthquake of sorts?” Couric wrote on Twitter.

“We are on Long Island and the attic and walls rattled.”

Closer to the epicenter, residents estimated they felt the impact for 10 to 15 seconds.

“In that moment, it feels like it’s going on forever,” said Ali Kenner Brodsky, who lives in Dartmouth, Massachusetts.

Saudi Arabia Sees No Positive Sign Of Reviving Obama Nuclear Deal

Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan (file photo)

Saudi Arabia Sees No Positive Sign Of Reviving Iran Nuclear Deal

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister said on Friday that there is little optimism for the fate of negotiations to restore the nuclear deal between world powers and Iran.

Speaking on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, Prince Faisal bin Farhan said his country had concerns about a possible revived nuclear deal, especially over IAEA inspections. However, he said that even a flawed deal was better than no deal.

“We are hopeful that there is still potential for progress of the negotiations. But unfortunately, the signs, as of now, are not positive,” he said. 

He added that there were still differences with Iran that currently prevent him from meeting with his Iranian counterpart, but said “we certainly have the intent to build a positive relationship with our neighbors in Iran”.

Iranian drone technology poses an increasing threat to the Middle East, bin Farhan said and stressed the importance of cooperation among regional countries to confront the matter.

“The short-term approach must be based on building capacity to face existing risks,” he explained, adding that “Meanwhile, the long-term approach requires cooperation to understand threats and construct frameworks for an action plan that could help in building future technologies for confronting this danger and protecting ourselves and our partners from it.”

A meeting of the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council plus Jordan, Iraq and Egypt (GCC+3) was also held in New York on the sidelines of the General Assembly. The GCC+3 meeting, hosted by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, was “very good” and followed up on President Joe Biden’s visit to Jeddah in July, Prince Faisal added.

The Western Nuclear Horns are Everywhere: Daniel 7

From NATO to AUKUS: The West Has Nukes Everywhere

Rally initiated by the Independent and Peaceful Australia Network to oppose the AUKUS security pact; and to oppose the government’s nuclear submarine deal with the United States. Matt Hrkac from Geelong / Melbourne, Australia, CC BY 2.0

By Binoy Kampmark / CounterPunch

In Vienna, China’s permanent mission to the United Nations has been rather exercised of late. Members of the mission have been particularly irate with the International Atomic Energy Agency and its Director General, Rafael Grossi, who addressed the IAEA’s Board of Governors on September 12.

Grossi was building on a confidential report by the IAEA which had been circulated the previous week concerning the role of nuclear propulsion technology for submarines to be supplied to Australia under the AUKUS security pact.

When the AUKUS announcement was made in September last year, its significance shook security establishments in the Indo-Pacific. It was also no less remarkable, and troubling, for signalling the transfer of otherwise rationed nuclear technology to a third country. As was rightly observed at the time by Ian Stewart, executive director of the James Martin Center in Washington, such “cooperation may be used by non-nuclear states as more ammunition in support of a narrative that the weapons states lack good faith in their commitments to disarmament.”

Having made that sound point, Stewart, revealing his strategic bias, suggested that, as such cooperation would not involve nuclear weapons by Australia, and would be accompanied by safeguards, few had reason to worry. This was all merely “a relatively straightforward strategic step.”

James M. Acton, co-director of the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, was far less sanguine. “[T]he nonproliferation implications of the AUKUS submarine deal are both negative and serious.” Australia’s operation of nuclear-powered submarines would make it the first non-nuclear weapon state to manipulate a loophole in the inspection system of the IAEA.

In setting this “damaging precedent”, aspirational “proliferators could use naval reactor programs as cover for the development of nuclear weapons – with the reasonable expectation that, because of the Australia precedent, they would not face intolerable costs for doing so.” It did not matter, in this sense, what the AUKUS members intended; a terrible example that would undermine IAEA safeguards was being set.

A few countries in the region have been quietly riled by the march of this technology sharing triumvirate in the Indo-Pacific. In a leaked draft of its submission to the United Nations tenth review conference of the Parties to the Treaty of the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT RevCon), Indonesia opined that the transfer of nuclear technology for military purposes was at odds with the spirit and objective of the NPT.

In the sharp words of the draft, “Indonesia views any cooperation involving the transfer of nuclear materials and technology for military purposes from nuclear-weapon states to any non-nuclear weapon states as increasing the associated risks [of] catastrophic humanitarian and environmental consequences.”

At the nuclear non-proliferation review conference, Indonesian diplomats pushed the line that nuclear material in submarines should be monitored with greater stringency. The foreign ministry argued that it had achieved some success in proposing for more transparency and tighter scrutiny on the distribution of such technology, claiming to have received support from AUKUS members and China. “After two weeks of discussion in New York, in the end all parties agreed to look at the proposal as the middle path,” announced Tri Tharyat, director-general for multilateral cooperation in Indonesia’s foreign ministry.

While serving to upend the apple cart of security in the region, AUKUS, in Jakarta’s view, also served to foster a potential, destabilising arms race, placing countries in a position to keep pace with an ever increasingly expensive pursuit of armaments. (Things were not pretty to start with even before AUKUS was announced, with China and the United States already eyeing each other’s military build-up in Asia.)

The concern over an increasingly voracious pursuit of arms is a view that Beijing has encouraged, with Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian having remarked that, “the US, the UK and Australia’s cooperation in nuclear submarines severely damages regional peace and stability [and] intensifies the arms race.”

Wang Qun, China’s Permanent Representative, told Grossi on September 13 that he should avoid drawing “chestnuts from the fire” in endorsing the nuclear proliferation exercise of Australia, the United States and the UK. Rossi, for his part, told the IAEA Board of Governors that four “technical meetings” had been held with the AUKUS parties, which had pleased the organisation. “I welcome the AUKUS parties’ engagement with the Agency to date and expect this to continue in order that they deliver their shared commitment to ensuring the highest non-proliferation and safeguard standards are met.”

The IAEA report also gave a nod to Canberra’s claim that proliferation risks posed by the AUKUS deal were minimal given that it would only receive “complete, welded” nuclear power units, making the removal of nuclear material “extremely difficult.” In any case, such material used in the units, were it to be used for nuclear weapons, needed to be chemically processed using facilities Australia did not have nor would seek.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning was less than impressed. “This report lopsidedly cited the account given by the US, the UK and Australia to explain away what they have done, but made no mention of the international community’s major concerns over the risk of nuclear proliferation that may arise from the AUKUS nuclear submarine cooperation.” It turned “a blind eye to many countries’ solemn position that the AUKUS cooperation violates the purpose and object of the NPT.”

Beijing’s concerns are hard to dismiss as those of a paranoid, addled mind. Despite China’s own unhelpful military build-up, attempts by the AUKUS partners to dismiss the transfer of nuclear technology to Australia as technically benign and compliant with the NPT is dangerous nonsense. Despite strides towards some middle way advocated by Jakarta, the precedent for nuclear proliferation via the backdoor is being set.

Binoy Kampmark

Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. Email:

The Revenge of the Antichrist

Why Iran Could Be the Real Loser in Iraq’s Intra-Shiite Struggle

Iraqi populist leader Muqtada al-Sadr delivering a speech in Najaf, Iraq, August 2022
Iraqi populist leader Muqtada al-Sadr delivering a speech in Najaf, Iraq, August 2022Alaa Al-Marjani / Reuters

The Revenge of Muqtada al-Sadr

September 13, 2022

On August 29, the Iraqi Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr announced that he would withdraw from politics after months of failed attempts to form a new government. Thousands of supporters of the nationalist leader, who has emerged as a staunch opponent of Iranian-backed militias in Iraq, surged into the streets in anger, clashing with Iraqi security forces, breaching concrete barriers around Baghdad’s Green Zone, and storming the seat of government. After dozens of people were killed, Sadr went on television and instructed his supporters to go home, easing—for the moment, at least—a political crisis that has paralyzed Iraq’s

Babylon the Great Will Propagate the Bowls of Wrath: Revelation 16

Jake Sullivan: US will act ‘decisively’ if Russia uses nuclear weapons in Ukraine

US national security adviser says: ‘Any use of nuclear weapons will be met with catastrophic consequences for Russia’

Edward Helmore

Sun 25 Sep 2022 10.53 EDT

America and its allies will act “decisively” if Russia uses a tactical nuclear weapon in Ukraine, US national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Sunday, reaffirming the Joe Biden White House’s previous response to mounting concerns that Vladimir Putin’s threats are in increased danger of being realized.

“We have communicated directly, privately and at very high levels to the Kremlin that any use of nuclear weapons will be met with catastrophic consequences for Russia, that the US and our allies will respond decisively, and we have been clear and specific about what that will entail,” Sullivan told CBS’s Face The Nation.

Sullivan said that the Russian leader Putin had been “waving around the nuclear card at various points through this conflict”, and it was a matter that Biden’s administration has “to take deadly seriously because it is a matter of paramount seriousness – the possible use of nuclear weapons for the first time since the second world war”.

In a separate interview with CBS, Ukrainepresident Volodymyr Zelenskiy said he was not certain that Putin was bluffing with nuclear threats. “Maybe yesterday it was bluff. Now, it could be a reality,” he said. “He wants to scare the whole world.”

The administration’s security chief said that Russia’s nuclear threat against Ukraine, including extending its nuclear umbrella over eastern parts of the country that are still being contested seven months after its invasion, would not deflect the US and its allies.

“We will continue to support Ukraine in its efforts to defend its country and defend its democracy,” Sullivan said, pointing to more than $15bn in weapons, including air defense systems, hundreds of artillery pieces and rounds of artillery, that the US has supplied to Ukraine.

He said that Moscow’s mobilization of troops was a “sham referenda in the occupied regions” that would not deter the US. “What Putin has done is not exactly a sign of strength or confidence – frankly, it’s a sign that they’re struggling badly on the Russian side,” Sullivan said.

But, Sullivan added, it is “too soon to make comprehensive predictions” about a collapse of Russian forces.

“I think what we are seeing are signs of unbelievable struggle among the Russians – you’ve got low morale, where the soldiers don’t want to fight. And who can blame them because they want no part of Putin’s war of conquest in their neighboring country?”

Sullivan continued: “Russia is struggling, but Russia still remains a dangerous foe, and capable of great brutality.” He alluded to mass burial sites containing hundreds of graves that Ukrainian forces found after recapturing Iziumfrom Russia and said, “We continue to take that threat seriously.”

He added that the US, the International Atomic Agency and Ukraine nuclear regulators are working together to ensure there is no “melt-down” at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in eastern Ukraine.

The Russians, he said, had been “consistently implying that there may be some kind of accident at this plant”.

Reactors at the plant, Sullivan said, had been put into “cold storage” to “try to make sure there is no threat posed by a melt-down or something else at the plant. But it’s something we all have to keep a close eye on.”

Separately, Sullivan said US criticism of a crackdown on mounting protests in Iran after the death in police custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini would not affect the administration’s offer to lift sanctions on Iran as part of the effort to reach a deal on nuclear enrichment.

“The fact that we are in negotiations with Iran on its nuclear program is in no way impacting our willingness and our vehemence in speaking out about what has been happening on the streets of Iran,” he said.

Last week, Biden told the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York that “we stand with the brave citizens and the brave women of Iran who right now are demonstrating to secure their basic rights”. The US president’s remarks came shortly after a defiant speech by Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi.

In his remarks on Sunday, Sullivan said the US had taken “tangible steps” to sanction the morality police who caused the death of Mahsa Amini.

“We’ve taken steps to make it easier for Iranians to be able to get access to the internet and communications technologies to talk to one another and talk to the world and we will do all that we can to support the brave people, the brave women, of Iran,” Sullivan said.

But Sullivan refused to be drawn out on whether the US would change its policy on lifting sanctions in exchange for a nuclear deal in light of the protests.

“We’re talking about diplomacy to prevent Iran from ever getting a nuclear weapon,” he said. “If we … succeed …, the world, America and its allies will be safer.”

But the pursuit of a nuclear deal, Sullivan said, “would not stop us in any way from pushing back and speaking out on Iran’s brutal repression of its citizens and its women. We can and will do both.”

Hamas Operatives in Gaza Continue to Direct Attacks Outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

(Photo by Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Hamas Operatives in Gaza Continue to Direct Attacks in the West Bank

By Joe Truzman | September 23, 2022 | | @JoeTruzman

The Israeli Security Agency (ISA) and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) stated on Friday that they arrested a terrorist cell in the West Bank operating under the guidance of Hamas in the Gaza Strip. The cell was responsible for an attack on Israeli vehicles near the village of Einabus on September 9.

The joint statement added weapons and ammunition that were used in the assault were recovered. Furthermore, the cell admitted to being linked to the shootings. 

Friday’s announcement follows an ISA statement made on Monday when it revealed a member of Hamas in Gaza tasked with recruiting militants abroad had directed seven Hamas operatives in the West Bank to carry out strikes. During the ISA’s investigation, it was discovered that the suspects were recruited by Hamas to launch shooting and bomb assaults. They were also supported financially to plan, train and carry out attacks, though the ISA did not reveal how the funds were transferred to the operatives. [See FDD’s Long War Journal: Arrest of Militants Signals Hamas’ Involvement in Uptick of West Bank Violence]

Adding to Hamas’ attempts to foment unrest, Hezbollah has provided the means for militant organizations to launch assaults against Israel Defense Forces (IDF) troops and Israeli civilians by smuggling arms into the West Bank. Initially, it wasn’t apparent if militant organizations were being supported from organizations abroad. Though, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Chief Hossein Salami recently stated the West Bank “could be armed” in the same manner as Gaza and the “process” was already underway. [See FDD’s Long War Journal: Hezbollah smuggling weapons to the West Bank amid surge in militant activity]

Much of the unrest in the West Bank can be blamed on the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) inability to effectively control the growing threat of militant organizations. In the West Bank, President Mahmoud Abbas’ approval rating is hovering around 30 percent, while about 70 percent wish to see him step down, according to a poll conducted by The Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research.

Iran, including its proxies, are aware of what is happening and are leveraging the PA’s position against it. Led by Palestinian Islamic Jihad, al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and other armed groups have frequently clashed with IDF troops and attacked Israeli settlements. Adding to the unrest is the increasing amount of PA security forces’ members launching strikes on IDF troops. [See FDD’s Long War Journal: Mounting Evidence of the PA’s Security Services Clashing With IDF Troops in the West Bank]

The growing evidence of Hamas’ efforts to direct attacks coupled with Hezbollah’s arming of militant organizations shows a concerted effort by Iran and its allies to create pockets of lawlessness in the West Bank. The actions undermine the PA’s rule and Israel’s efforts to curb the extensive violence sweeping the area. 

Joe Truzman is a contributor to FDD’s Long War Journal.

Yes, Putin will use nuclear weapon: Revelation 16

Yes, Putin might use nuclear weapons. We need to plan for scenarios where he does

News of the Ukrainian army’s recent advancesswept across western capitals like fresh air. A war that was for months mired in crushing artillery fire had suddenly opened up. Russian forces, outmaneuvered by the Ukrainian army, fled, again proving weaker than anyone expected. Hopes lifted that yUkraine could win the war and force their tormentor back to the prewar battlelines – and perhaps further.

Russia shared the same assessment. Vladimir Putin knows his military is badly damaged and getting weaker. The Russian president responded with military mobilization and preparations to annex the Ukrainian regions Russia now controls, just as he did in Crimea in 2014. He also threatened to use nuclear weapons to “protect Russia” – implying he may use them to defend the regions he is annexing.

Meanwhile, Ukraine, emboldened by the success of its Kharkiv operation, wants advanced tanksand other new weapons systems from the west. In the face of Putin’s wanton disregard for human life and reckless nuclear threats, they may well get them.

No one should conclude that Putin would use a nuclear weapon just because he threatened to do so – the credibility of his words alone is nil. His nuclear saber-rattling is condemnable, and Joe Biden rightly attacked it on Sunday and again at the United Nations on Wednesday. The president is also right to maintain ambiguity about how the United States might respond if Russia detonated a nuclear weapon.

But just because Putin has threatened nuclear attack doesn’t mean it won’t happen. Sadly, it isn’t that hard to see a path to nuclear use from here. There are many variants, but the basic story goes something like this:

Western support to Ukraine increases this autumn, with new weapons systems and larger quantities of the weapons already deployed. Western intelligence gives the Ukrainians an even sharper edge against a Russian force that is large but poorly trained, under-equipped and demoralized. The Russian military takes heavy losses. It’s routed from one of the Ukrainian regions it has annexed.

In this scenario, Putin’s grand project is now collapsing once and for all. Protests in Russiaintensify. He fears losing his grip on power and being dragged, Gaddafi-like, through the streets. So he strikes Ukrainian forces with a tactical nuclear weapon in a gamble to underscore the risks, stop the war, and avert disaster for himself. His aim is not to gain a military advantage, but to raise the stakes so high that western capitals are forced to rethink their strategy.

After that, de-escalation would be hard. The United States and Nato nuclear powers would come under pressure for a nuclear strike of their own – probably on Russia itself, due to a lack of other options. With its conventional forces in disarray, Russia’s likely response to this strike would be to broaden the nuclear conflict to Nato.

The US might try to avoid such an escalating nuclear scenario by deploying a large conventional US force to Ukraine, but this would be almost as escalatory from Russia’s perspective as a Nato nuclear attack. Even if such a strategy did work to de-escalate, the nuclear taboo is broken, and with it, the possibility that other despots use nuclear weapons in the future is much higher.

The whole world should want to avert this scenario. The United States and its allies need to deploy all the leverage they can – carrots as well as sticks – to get China, India, and other G20 countries to condemn Russia’s nuclear threat. The tepid reception Putin got from India and China earlier this week seems like a sign these rising powers understand the stakes for their own futures. China is conflicted about Ukraine because it views Russia’s operation there through the lens of its own aims for Taiwan. But Beijing should still appreciate the disastrous consequences a nuclear conflict – even if contained to Europe – would have for its economic future.

Peer pressure alone, however, is not likely to be enough. Biden should also find a way to reinforce that the US is not aiming to oust Putin – although it may be difficult to make this case convincing given the extensive sanctions regime, Biden’s own statements about Putin, and the past US record of overthrowing despots.

A ceasefire would help to calm the situation and avoid further escalation, but convincing the Ukrainians to accept one is going to be extremely hard now that they have the momentum on the battlefield. Russia’s disastrous plan to annex the regions makes negotiations all the less appealing because it effectively takes these regions off the table.

Western capitals should at least point out to Ukrainian leaders that their prospects of retaking all their territory may not be as bright as they hope. There is a very long way to go – their operation in Kharkiv was dramatic, but only bought them back a fraction of their territory. Whether it can be replicated for the remainder is uncertain. At a minimum, now is not the time to offer the Ukrainians advanced new weapons systems.

Putin has presented the world with impossible choices. Russia must emerge from this crisis chastened for its recklessness. But in the next few weeks, leaders need to find offramps to prevent the worst. This will take maximum flexibility and creativity from all sides.

  • Christopher S Chivvis is a senior fellow and director of the Carnegie Endowment’s American statecraft program