The Sixth Seal Is Long Overdue (Revelation 6:12)

ON THE MAP; Exploring the Fault Where the Next Big One May Be Waiting


Published: March 25, 2001

Alexander 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.


The Russian and China Nuclear Horns Continue to Grow: Daniel 7

FILE - U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin speaks during a briefing at the Pentagon in Washington, Oct. 27, 2022.
FILE – U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin speaks during a briefing at the Pentagon in Washington, Oct. 27, 2022.

US Defense Secretary: Russia, China ‘Expanding’ Nuclear Arsenals

December 10, 2022 10:09 AM


Russia and China are “modernizing and expanding” their nuclear weapons arsenals, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin warned Friday, amid increasing tensions with Moscow over Ukraine and with Beijing over Taiwan.

Speaking at the headquarters of U.S. Strategic Command, the military command in charge of America’s nuclear weapons arsenal, Austin said the United States is “on the verge of a new phase” where two major nuclear powers are “strategic competitors.”

The U.S. defense secretary criticized Russian President Vladimir Putin for what he referred to as “deeply irresponsible nuclear saber-rattling” since invading Ukraine in February.

“Nuclear powers have a profound responsibility to avoid provocative behavior, and to lower the risk of proliferation and to prevent escalation and nuclear war,” he said.

Putin said Thursday “the threat of nuclear war is growing.”

He also suggested that if Russia rules out the first use of nuclear weapons it will leave itself vulnerable to a nuclear attack.

“Regarding the fact that under no circumstances will Russia strike first, if it does not strike first under any circumstances, then it will not strike second either, because the possibilities [to do so in case of] a nuclear strike on our territory are very limited,” he said.

Responding to Putin’s remark, a Strategic Command representative said, “The stakes are way too high not to take that seriously.”

“They would not take first strike off the table,” added the representative, who spoke to reporters on the condition of anonymity.

Russia has the largest stockpile of nuclear warheads in the world, followed by the U.S., which has an estimated 3,800 warheads in active status.

New START treaty talks between the U.S. and Russia aimed at reducing nuclear arsenals have been stalled since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.

Last month, a Pentagon report warned that China now has more than 400 nuclear warheads, approximately doubling its nuclear arsenal in just two years.

The pace of China’s nuclear expansion may enable Beijing to field a stockpile of about 1,500 warheads by 2035, according to the Pentagon’s annual “China Military Power” report to Congress.

On Monday, the top Republicans on the Senate and House Armed Services Committees sent a letter to outgoing U.S. Strategic Command chief Adm. Charles “Chas” Richard urging the military to declassify a determination it recently sent to Congress pursuant to a clause in the fiscal 2022 National Defense Authorization Act.

The clause requires the military to notify Congress if China either deploys more intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), deploys more ICBM launchers, or has more nuclear warheads equipped on its ICBMs than the United States, according to Defense News.

Another Strategic Command representative told reporters a response to the request by Sen. Inhofe was “in development” and could be sent as soon as today.

“My understanding is it will be an unclassified response,” the representative added.

Austin’s comments Friday came during a change of command ceremony where Richard passed leadership of U.S. Strategic Command to Air Force Gen. Anthony “Tony” Cotton.

Richard’s 41-year career of military service included becoming the youngest commanding officer of a nuclear-powered submarine.

Cotton has commanded at the squadron group and wing levels and was most recently the head of Air Force Global Strike Command and Air Force Strategic-Air at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana.

Russia Kills Another Obama-Biden-Iran Nuclear Deal

 Russian President Vladimir Putin attends the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) summit in Yerevan, Armenia, November 23, 2022 (photo credit: SPUTNIK/VLADIMIR SMIRNOV/POOL VIA REUTERS)

Is Russia happy it sabotaged a new US-Iran deal? – analysis

Having oversold Washington and angered the Bush, Obama, Trump and Biden administrations, Moscow realizes it has no more “in” with the West.


Published: DECEMBER 4, 2022 16:50

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) summit in Yerevan, Armenia, November 23, 2022


Russian state media covered the apparent failure of Iran deal talks with a kind of cheeky glee. It’s not always easy to read what Moscow’s real agenda is, but it appears the Kremlin may be pleased with talk of an Iran deal that seems to be almost totally destroyed. Russia is also hosting an Iranian delegation this week.  

More than a decade ago when the Obama administration came into office there was a decision in Washington, backed by those critical of the old foreign policy establishment and those involved in “realist” circles, that advocated for the US working with Russia and Iran. This contingent believed the US should shift policy away from partnering with Israel, Saudi Arabia and others in the Middle East to work toward empowering Iran and Russia.

An “Iran deal” would help Iran pave the way for a nuclear bomb, even though it was ostensibly designed to put off that bomb for a decade or so. Advocates for the deal were also critics of Israel who believed US-Iran tensions were due to the “Israel lobby.” If Iran could be empowered, this would “stabilize” the Middle East because under “realist” theories a balance of power is always good. Thus, their goal was to empower the authoritarian enemies of the US to balance it and balance Israel by empowering Iran.  Top ArticlesRead More

Iran halts funds to Palestinian terror groups, sparking crisis – report

All of their ideas mostly crashed on the rocks after the Trump administration tore up the Iran deal and Iran put on steroids its backing of proxy wars all over the Middle east. Then came Act II of this bizarre play. Having secured an Iran deal and then torn it up, the US was isolated diplomatically. But Russia had its own agenda. Instead of continuing to try to play the West and work to bring Iran in from the cold, Moscow planned an invasion of Ukraine, after having intervened in Syria and occupied parts of Ukraine in 2014-2015 fighting.  

Fast forward to the summer of 2022. Moscow began to use Iranian-made drones to target and terrorize Ukraine. For Iran this was a welcome opportunity to sell weapons abroad and potentially secure support from Moscow on a variety of things Iran wants.

 A drone is launched during a military exercise in an undisclosed location in Iran, in this handout image obtained on August 25, 2022. (credit:  Iranian Army/WANA (West Asia News Agency)/Handout via REUTERS)A drone is launched during a military exercise in an undisclosed location in Iran, in this handout image obtained on August 25, 2022. (credit: Iranian Army/WANA (West Asia News Agency)/Handout via REUTERS)

Iran also wants to work with China and regional groupings like CICA and SCO. Now Iran is even participating in a Russia-backed CSTO parliamentary assembly this week, Russia’s media says.  

The real agenda

So what’s really going on here? Not long ago, Iran had friends in the US and the West. Now Iran is isolated and forced to deal with Russia and other regimes to the east. Russia’s state media outlet TASS said Sunday that “the US intends to focus on alleged Iran’s weapons deliveries to Russia and on ongoing protests in that country and not on resuming talks on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on Iran’s nuclear program.” US Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley said in an interview with Bloomberg on Saturday, “Iran’s weapons exports to Russia and its crackdown on protests make it seem like any chance of a new deal is over. No western country wants to appease the Iranian regime today.”  

Russian state media also heralds Iran’s choice to enrich uranium beyond 60 percent. Iran appears to be focusing more on its nuclear program. But all might not be lost on the deal front. An article at The Washington Post asserts that we still need an Iran deal. The IAEA is also concerned. Iranian uranium enrichment is nearing weapons-grade  material. That’s a big deal and puts Israel and Israel’s incoming government in a tough spot potentially.  

So, how does Russia benefit? By putting Iran in a corner Russia is making it so Tehran must rely even more on Moscow’s advice. It appears that Moscow has been doing this since 2009 when the Obama administration shifted from backing air defenses for eastern Europe to focusing on Iran. In fact, Moscow’s ability to use Iran as a blocking tackle against the West may date from its attempts to get the Obama administration to shift focus to Iran and do a “reset.”

No more “in” with the West

Having oversold Washington and angered the Bush, Obama, Trump and Biden administrations, Moscow realizes it has no more “in” with the West. By cutting ties, Moscow wants to get the Iranians on its side as well.

Of course, that sets the stage for a problem. Does Moscow want Iran to have a nuclear weapon? What is Moscow’s advice in this regard? Does Russia hope Iran’s pursuit of a bomb may distract from the war in Ukraine?

As the winter sets in and the tempo of operations is reduced in Ukraine, perhaps the world’s eyes will shift back to Iran. Herein will lie Russia’s real role in sabotaging a deal back in the fall of 2021, then launching the war in 2022 and finally acquiring Iran’s drones. Time will tell what Moscow’s real policy is in this regard.  

The Saudi Horn Threatens the Iranian Nuclear Horn

SAUDI ARABIAN Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud listens as Russia Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaks at a news conference in Riyadh on March 10. (photo credit: RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTRY/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)

Saudi foreign minister: ‘All bets off’ if Iran gets nuclear weapon

The nuclear talks have stalled with Western powers accusing Iran of raising unreasonable demands and focus shifting to the Russia-Ukraine war as well as domestic unrest in Iran.


Published: DECEMBER 11, 2022 16:51

Updated: DECEMBER 11, 2022 18:06

SAUDI ARABIAN Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud listens as Russia Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaks at a news conference in Riyadh on March 10.


Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister said on Sunday that Iran’s Gulf Arab neighbors would act to shore up their security if Tehran were to obtain nuclear weapons.

Indirect US-Iranian talks to salvage a 2015 nuclear pact between global powers and Iran, which Washington exited in 2018, stalled in September. The UN nuclear chief has voiced concern over a recent announcement by Tehran that it was boosting enrichment capacity.

“If Iran gets an operational nuclear weapon, all bets are off,” Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud said in an on-stage interview at the World Policy Conference in Abu Dhabi when asked about such a scenario.

The Iranian Horn Extends Into Iraq: Daniel 8

Iran strengthens political, economic hold over Iraq

Issued on: 11/12/2022 – 12:00

Baghdad (AFP) – Sanctions-hit Iran is consolidating its hold over neighbouring Iraq, an economic lifeline where pro-Tehran parties dominate politics, all to the chagrin of the United States, experts say.

For years, Iraq has been caught in a delicate balancing act between its two main allies Tehran and Washington, themselves arch foes.

After a 2003 US-led invasion toppled Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, Iran’s influence has grown through political links among both countries’ Shiite-Muslim majorities.

Pro-Iran parties now dominate Iraq’s parliament, and in October they named a new prime minister following a year-long tussle with their Shiite rivals.

Iraq has become an “economic lifeline” for Iran, said Ihsan al-Shammari, a political scientist at the University of Baghdad.

This is “even more so with sharpening Western economic sanctions and nuclear negotiations that do not seem to be leading to a favourable deal for Iran”, Shammari said.

“Iran’s role will be even more important than during previous (Iraqi) governments”

During a visit to Tehran late last month, Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani and Iranian officials urged greater bilateral cooperation in all fields.

He thanked Iran which provides gas and electricity — around one-third of Iraq’s needs — and added this would continue until Iraq was self-sufficient.

His country is already the number one importer of Iranian goods.

In Shammari’s view, Tehran has an “urgent need” to keep Iraq close.


Under a 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, Iran agreed to curbs on its atomic programme in exchange for relief from economically crippling sanctions.

The deal began unravelling in 2018 when then-president Donald Trump withdrew the United States, and reimposed financial penalties including a ban on Iran’s oil exports. Efforts to revive the nuclear deal since then have largely stalled.

Western countries have imposed additional sanctions following Iran’s crackdown on protests that have rocked the country since September.

Iran accuses exiled Kurdish opposition groups of fomenting the unrest, and has carried out cross-border strikes in Iraq against them.

“Iraq is contested by the United States and Iran, with Turkey in third place in the north,” said Fabrice Balanche, from France’s Lumiere Lyon 2 university.

“With a pro-Iranian figure at the head of the government, Iran will be able to further take advantage of the Iraqi economy,” he added, referring to Sudani, who is close to pro-Iran former prime minister Nuri al-Maliki.

Iran’s influence can also be seen through its links with Iraq’s Hashed al-Shaabi, a former paramilitary force made up mainly of pro-Iran militias that have since been integrated into the regular forces.

The Hashed played a major role in defeating the Islamic State group in Iraq and now has a significant presence in the country’s politics.

Its representatives are part of the Coordination Framework parliamentary bloc, which controls 138 of the legislature’s 329 seats and is made up of pro-Iran factions, including that of Maliki.

‘Not fair’

Last month, Iraq’s government handed the Hashed control of a new public company, endowed with around $68 million in capital.

The Al-Muhandis firm’s mission in oil-rich but war-ravaged Iraq is “provincial rehabilitation and development: infrastructure, housing, hospitals, factories”, said a Hashed communications official on condition of anonymity, in keeping with the low profile officials have adopted over the project.

The company’s name is in homage to Hashed deputy commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. He was killed in a US drone strike in Baghdad in 2020 along with Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, who headed that country’s Quds Force, the foreign operations arm of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

In November, Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein said it was “not fair” to consider his coalition government “an attachment” to Iran’s.

The Iraqi Kurdish diplomat pointed to its multi-party and multi-confessional make-up as showing “balance” between the different forces.

But pro-Iran parties appear to now have free rein, after rival Shiite leader Moqtada Sadr tried for months to name a prime minister and prevent Sudani’s appointment.

The standoff led to deadly clashes in late August that pitted Sadr supporters against Hashed members and the army.

As Iran’s influence grows, ally the United States still remains present, with around 2,500 US troops stationed in Iraq as part of ongoing efforts to combat the Islamic State group.

Sudani has held several meetings with the US ambassador Alina Romanowski since her appointment.

Balanche noted that Washington monitors Iraq’s banking system to ensure Iran is not using it to evade existing restrictions, and US influence is present via “the threat of financial sanctions”.

“The United States is staying in Iraq so as not to totally abandon the country to Iran,” he added.

© 2022 AFP

The Russian Horn Is Expanding His Already Massive Nuclear Arsenal: Daniel 7

Lloyd Austin and Vladimir Putin
U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin (left) speaks during a news conference with South Korean Defense Minister Lee Jong-Sup at the Pentagon on November 3, 2022, in Arlington, Virginia. Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) gestures during his press conference at the Eurasian Economic Summit on December 9, 2022. Putin’s regime is working to expand and modernize its nuclear arsenal, Austin said, as fears continue to circulate about a potential nuclear conflict with Russia. Sarah Silbiger/Getty; Getty

Putin Is Expanding His Already Massive Nuclear Arsenal, Lloyd Austin Warns

By Zoe Strozewski On 12/9/22 at 1:33 PM EST

Russian President Vladimir Putin‘s regime is working to expand and modernize its nuclear arsenal, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austinsaid, as fears continue to circulate about a potential nuclear conflict with Russia.

Speaking at a ceremony on Friday, Austin noted that as Russia continues its months-long war against Ukraine, “the whole world has seen Putin engage in deeply irresponsible nuclear saber-rattling,” according to Reuters. Putin suggestedduring a televised address in September that Russia could respond to alleged nuclear “blackmail” from the West with his country’s own weapons.

“Those who are trying to blackmail us with nuclear weapons should know that the winds can also turn in their direction,” Putin said.

Russia’s nuclear expansion would inflate an already massive stockpile of nuclear weapons. According to the Federation of American Scientists, Russia already owns the largest inventory of nuclear weapons in the world. The U.S. is the only country that comes close to matching Russia, though it still holds second place.

Putin’s September address is not the only instance in which a Russian official has mentioned or pushed for a nuclear strike since the start of the war in Ukraine on February 24. Chechen Leader Ramzan Kadyrov, one of Putin’s allies who has supported the war in Ukraine, said that he believed Russia needed to take more drastic measures such as the use of “low-yield nuclear weapons” after a defeat in the Ukrainian city of Lyman.

Russian state television personalities, some of whom are also allies of Putin, have repeatedly called on Russia to conduct nuclear strikes on Ukraine and even Western countries.

Still, experts have cast doubt on whether Putin would actually follow through on threats to deploy a nuclear weapon. Retired U.S. Army Lieutenant General Ben Hodges, who formerly served as the commanding general of the U.S. Army Europe, told the Kyiv Post in October that even though he takes nuclear threats very seriously, it is “very unlikely” that Russia will resort to nuclear weapons in its war in Ukraine. That’s because the Kremlin and Russian military leaders are aware of the consequences they would face with such an escalation, Hodges said.

Putin said in October that it wouldn’t make sense politically or militarily for Russia to conduct a nuclear strike in Ukraine, and that Russia had only hinted about the use of nuclear weapons “in response to statements made by Western leaders.”

Michael Kimmage, professor and chair of the Catholic University of America’s history department, told Newsweek last month that Putin might be playing a yo-yo game with his nuclear rhetoric, “where he’ll ratchet up the tension and then he’ll scale it back, just to keep us confused and keep us wondering about what his next step is and keep us worrying.”

Newsweek reached out to the Kremlin for comment.

Update 12/9/22, 2:25 p.m. ET: This story was updated with additional information and background.

US Cites 6 Pakistani Firms For Nuclear Proliferation: Daniel 8

US Cites 6 Pakistani Firms For Nuclear Proliferation

December 9, 2022

WASHINGTON, DC (ANI) – The US has placed six Pakistani companies on its entity list for missile proliferation and unsafe-guarded nuclear activity.

These companies were part of two dozen entities from countries like Russia, Switzerland, Latvia, Pakistan, United Arab Emirates, that were added to the Entity List of the US Commerce Department.

“Today, the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) issued a rule that adds 24 new entities to the Entity List under 26 entries, applying stringent license requirements that will severely restrict these entities’ access to commodities, software, and technologies subject to the Export Administration Regulations. These entities are added under the destinations of Russia, Switzerland, Latvia, Pakistan, United Arab Emirates,” the US Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) said in a press release.

The six Pakistan-based companies which are designed are Dynamic Engineering Corporation, Rainbow Solutions, Universal Drilling Engineers, Ener Quip Private, Ltd., NAR Technologies General Trading LLC (Pakistan and UAE) and TROJANS (Pakistan and UAE).

These companies were added to the entity list for “unsafeguarded nuclear activity and missile proliferation related activities.”

“For the unacceptable risk of using or diverting items subject to the EAR for Pakistan’s unsafeguarded nuclear activities, Dynamic Engineering Corporation has been added to the Entity List,” BIS said. “Five companies are being added to the Entity List for their contributions to unsafeguarded nuclear activity and missile proliferation-related activities that are contrary to the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States,” the statement added.

US Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Administration Thea Rozman Kendler said advancements in missile and nuclear technology must be vigorously protected from those who seek to cause harm and destruction on a global scale.

“We cannot allow the export of U.S. technology to contribute to nuclear proliferation worldwide. Our action today helps to prevent that from happening and demonstrates U.S. leadership in standing up for the principles of ethical innovation,” Kendler added.