The Ramapo Fault and the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

Living on the Fault Line

A major earthquake isn’t likely here, but if it comes, watch out.

Posted June 15, 2010 by Wayne J. Guglielmo
This chart shows the location of the Ramapo Fault System, the longest and one of the oldest systems of cracks in the earth’s crust in the Northeast. It also shows the location of all earthquakes of magnitude 2.5 or greater in New Jersey during the last 50 years. The circle in blue indicates the largest known Jersey quake.

The couple checked with Burns’s parents, who live in nearby Basking Ridge, and they, too, had heard and felt something, which they thought might have been an earthquake. A call by Burns some 20 minutes later to the Bernardsville Police Department—one of many curious and occasionally panicky inquiries that Sunday morning, according to the officer in charge, Sergeant John Remian—confirmed their suspicion: A magnitude 2.6 earthquake, its epicenter in Peapack/Gladstone, about seven miles from Bernardsville, had hit the area. A smaller aftershock followed about two and a half hours later.
After this year’s epic earthquakes in Haiti, Chile, Mexico, Indonesia, and China, the 2.6 quake and aftershock that shook parts of New Jersey in February may seem minor league, even to the Somerset County residents who experienced them. On the exponential Richter Scale, a magnitude 7.0 quake like the one that hit Haiti in January is almost 4 million times stronger than a quake of 2.6 magnitude. But comparisons of magnitude don’t tell the whole story.
Northern New Jersey straddles the Ramapo Fault, a significant ancient crack in the earth’s crust. The longest fault in the Northeast, it begins in Pennsylvania and moves into New Jersey, trending northeast through Hunterdon, Somerset, Morris, Passaic, and Bergen counties before terminating in New York’s Westchester County, not far from the Indian Point Energy Center, a nuclear power plant. And though scientists dispute how active this roughly 200 million-year-old fault really is, many earthquakes in the state’s surprisingly varied seismic history are believed to have occurred on or near it. The fault line is visible at ground level and likely extends as deep as nine miles below the surface.
During the past 230 years or so, New Jersey has been at the epicenter of nearly 170 earthquakes, according to data compiled by the New Jersey Geological Survey, part of the United States Department of Environmental Protection. The largest known quake struck in 1783, somewhere west of New York City, perhaps in Sussex County. It’s typically listed as 5.3 in magnitude, though that’s an estimate by seismologists who are quick to point out that the concept of magnitude—measuring the relative size of an earthquake—was not introduced until 1935 by Charles Richter and Beno Gutenberg. Still, for quakes prior to that, scientists are not just guessing.
“We can figure out the damage at the time by going back to old records and newspaper accounts,” says Won-Young Kim, a senior research scientist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, New York, directly across the New Jersey border. “Once the amount and extent of contemporary damage has been established,” Kim says, “we’re then able to gauge the pattern of ground shaking or intensity of the event—and from there extrapolate its probable magnitude.”
Other earthquakes of magnitude 5 or higher have been felt in New Jersey, although their epicenters laying near New York City. One—which took place in 1737 and was said to have been felt as far north as Boston and as far south as northern Delaware—was probably in the 5 to 5.5 range. In 1884, an earthquake of similar magnitude occurred off New York’s Rockaway Beach. This well-documented event pulled houses off their foundations and caused steeples to topple as far west as Rahway. The shock wave, scientists believe, was felt over 70,000 square miles, from Vermont to Maryland.
Among the largest sub-5 magnitude earthquakes with epicenters in New Jersey, two (a 3.8 and a 4.0) took place on the same day in 1938 in the Lakehurst area in Ocean County. On August 26, 2003, a 3.5 magnitude quake shook the Frenchtown/Milford area in Hunterdon County. On February 3 of last year, a 3.0 magnitude quake occurred in the Morris County town of Mendham. “A lot of people felt this one because of the intense shaking, although the area of intensity wasn’t very wide,” says Lamont-Doherty’s Kim, who visited the site after the event.
After examining the known historical and geological record, Kim and other seismologists have found no clear evidence that an earthquake of greater than 5.3 to 5.5 magnitude has taken place in this area going back to 1737. This doesn’t mean, of course, that one did not take place in the more remote past or that one will not occur in the future; it simply means that a very large quake is less likely to occur here than in other places in the east where the seismic hazard is greater, including areas in South Carolina and northeastern New York State.
But no area on the East Coast is as densely populated or as heavily built-up as parts of New Jersey and its neighbors. For this reason, scientists refer to the Greater New York City-Philadelphia area, which includes New Jersey’s biggest cities, as one of “low earthquake hazard but high vulnerability.” Put simply, the Big One isn’t likely here—but if it comes, especially in certain locations, watch out.
Given this low-hazard, high-vulnerability scenario, how far along are scientists in their efforts to predict larger magnitude earthquakes in the New Jersey area? The answer is complex, complicated by the state’s geographical position, its unique geological history, the state of seismology itself, and the continuing debate over the exact nature and activity of the Ramapo Fault.
Over millions of years, New Jersey developed four distinct physiographic provinces or regions, which divide the state into a series of diagonal slices, each with its own terrain, rock type, and geological landforms.
The northernmost slice is the Valley and Ridge, comprising major portions of Sussex and Warren counties. The southernmost slice is the Coastal Plain, a huge expanse that covers some three-fifths of the state, including all of the Shore counties. Dividing the rest of the state are the Highlands, an area for the most part of solid but brittle rock right below the Valley and Ridge, and the lower lands of the Piedmont, which occupy all of Essex, Hudson, and Union counties, most of Bergen, Hunterdon, and Somerset, and parts of Middlesex, Morris, and Passaic.
For earthquake monitors and scientists, the formation of these last two provinces—the Highlands and the Piedmont—are of special interest. To understand why, consider that prior to the appearance of the Atlantic Ocean, today’s Africa was snuggled cozily up against North America and surrounded by a single enormous ocean. “At that point, you could have had exits off the New Jersey Turnpike for Morocco,” says Alexander Gates, professor of geology and chair of the department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Rutgers-Newark.
Under the pressure of circulating material within the Earth’s super-hot middle layer, or mantle, what was once a single continent—one that is thought to have included today’s other continents as well—began to stretch and eventually break, producing numerous cracks or faults and ultimately separating to form what became the Atlantic Ocean. In our area, the longest and most active of these many cracks was the Ramapo Fault, which, through a process known as normal faulting, caused one side of the earth’s crust to slip lower—the Piedmont—relative to the other side—the Highlands. “All this occurred about 225 million years ago,” says Gates. “Back then, you were talking about thousands of feet between the Highlands and the Piedmont and a very active Ramapo Fault.”
The Earth’s crust, which is 20 to 25 miles thick, is not a single, solid shell, but is broken into seven vast tectonic plates, which drift atop the soft, underlying mantle. Although the northeast-trending Ramapo Fault neatly divides two of New Jersey’s four physiographic provinces, it does not form a so-called plate boundary, as does California’s infamous San Andreas Fault. As many Californians know all too well, this giant fault forms the boundary between two plates—to the west, the Pacific Plate, and to the east, the North American Plate; these rub up against each other, producing huge stresses and a regularly repeating pattern of larger earthquakes.
The Ramapo Fault sits on the North American Plate, which extends past the East Coast to the middle of the Atlantic, where it meets the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, an underwater mountain range in constant flux. The consequences of this intraplate setting are huge: First, as Gates points out, “The predictability of bigger earthquakes on…[such] settings is exceedingly poor, because they don’t occur very often.” Second, the intraplate setting makes it more difficult to link our earthquakes to a major cause or fault, as monitors in California can often do.
This second bit of uncertainty is especially troubling for some people, including some in the media who want a neat story. To get around it, they ignore the differences between plate settings and link all of New Jersey’s earthquakes, either directly or implicitly, to the Ramapo Fault. In effect, such people want the Ramapo Fault “to look like the San Andreas Fault,” says Gates. “They want to be able to point to one big fault that’s causing all of our earthquakes.”
Gates does not think that’s the case, and he has been working with colleagues for a number of years to prove it. “What we have found is that there are smaller faults that generally cut from east to west across the northeast-trending Ramapo Fault,” he explains. “These much smaller faults are all over the place, and they’re actually the ones that are the active faults in the area.”
But what mechanisms are responsible for the formation of these apparently active auxiliary faults? One such mechanism, say scientists, is the westward pressure the Atlantic Ocean exerts on the North American Plate, which for the most part resists any movement. “I think we are in an equilibrium state most of the time,” says Lamont-Doherty’s Kim.
Still, that continuous pressure on the plate we sit on causes stress, and when that stress builds up sufficiently, the earth’s crust has a tendency to break around any weak zones. In our area, the major weak zone is the Ramapo Fault—“an ancient zone of weakness,” as Kim calls it. That zone of weakness exacerbates the formation of auxiliary faults, and thereby the series of minor earthquakes the state has experienced over the years.
All this presupposes, of course, that any intraplate stress in this area will continue to be released gradually, in a series of relatively minor earthquakes or releases of energy. But what if that were not the case? What if the stress continued to build up, and the release of large amounts of energy came all at once? In crude terms, that’s part of the story behind the giant earthquakes that rocked what is now New Madrid, Missouri, between 1811 and 1812. Although estimates of their magnitude have been revised downward in recent years to less than magnitude 8, these earthquakes are generally regarded as among the largest intraplate events to have occurred in the continental United States.
For a number of reasons—including the relatively low odds that the kind of stored energy that unleashed the New Madrid events could ever build up here—earthquakes of plus-6 magnitude are probably not in our future. Still, says Kim, even a magnitude 6 earthquake in certain areas of the state could do considerable damage, especially if its intensity or ground shaking was of sufficient strength. In a state as geologically diverse and densely populated as New Jersey, this is a crucial wild card.
Part of the job of the experts at the New Jersey Geological Survey is to assess the seismic hazards in different parts of the state. To do this, they use a computer-simulation model developed under the direction of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, known as HAZUS, for Hazards US. To assess the amount of ground shaking likely to occur in a given county during events ranging in magnitude from 5 to 7 on the Richter Scale, NJGS scientists enter three features of a county’s surface geology into their computer model. Two of these features relate to the tendency of soil in a given area to lose strength, liquefy, or slide downhill when shaken. The third and most crucial feature has to do with the depth and density of the soil itself and the type of bedrock lying below it; this is a key component in determining a region’s susceptibility to ground shaking and, therefore, in estimating the amount of building and structural damage that’s likely to occur in that region. Estimates for the various counties—nine to date have been studied—are sent to the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management, which provided partial funding for the project.
To appreciate why this element of ground geology is so crucial to earthquake modelers, consider the following: An earthquake’s intensity—which is measured on something called the Modified Mercalli Scale—is related to a number of factors. The amount of energy released or the magnitude of an event is clearly a big factor. But two earthquakes of the same magnitude can have very different levels of intensity; in fact, it’s quite possible for a lower magnitude event to generate more ground shaking than a higher magnitude one.
In addition to magnitude, other factors that affect intensity are the distance of the observer or structure from the epicenter, where intensity is the greatest; the depth beneath the surface of the initial rupture, with shallower ruptures producing more ground shaking than deeper ones; and, most significantly, the ground geology or material that the shock wave generated by the earthquake must pass through.
As a rule, softer materials like sand and gravel shake much more intensely than harder materials, because the softer materials are comparatively inefficient energy conductors, so whatever energy is released by the quake tends to be trapped, dispersing much more slowly. (Think of a bowl of Jell-O on a table that’s shaking.)
In contrast, harder materials, like the solid rock found widely in the Highlands, are brittle and break under pressure, but conduct energy well, so that even big shock waves disperse much more rapidly through them, thereby weakening the amount of ground shaking. “If you’ve read any stories about the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco, you know the most intense damage was in those flat, low areas by the Bay, where the soil is soft, and not in the hilly, rocky areas above,” says Karl Muessig, state geologist and NJGS head.
The map that accompanies the online version of the NJGS’s Earthquake Loss Estimation Study divides the state’s surface geology into five seismic soil classes, ranging from Class A, or hard rock, to Class E, or soft soil (
Although the weakest soils are scattered throughout the state, including the Highlands, which besides harder rock also contains areas of glacial lakes, clays, and wetlands, they are most evident in the Piedmont and the Coastal Plain. “The largest expanses of them are in coastal areas where you have salt marshes or large glacial lakes, as in parts of the Passaic River basin,” says Scott Stanford, a research scientist with NJGS and lead author of the estimate. Some of the very weakest soils, Stanford adds, are in areas of filled marshland, including places along the Hudson waterfront, around Newark Bay and the Meadowlands, and along the Arthur Kill.
Faults in these areas—and in the coastal plain generally—are far below the ground, perhaps several hundred to a thousand feet down, making identification difficult. “There are numerous faults upon which you might get earthquake movement that we can’t see, because they’re covered by younger sediments,” Stanford says.
This combination of hidden faults and weak soils worries scientists, who are all too aware that parts of the coastal plain and Piedmont are among the most densely populated and developed areas in the state. (The HAZUS computer model also has a “built environment” component, which summarizes, among other things, types of buildings in a given area.) For this reason, such areas would be in the most jeopardy in the event of a large earthquake.
“Any vulnerable structure on these weak soils would have a higher failure hazard,” Stanford says. And the scary truth is that many structures in New Jersey’s largest cities, not to mention New York City, would be vulnerable, since they’re older and built before anyone gave much thought to earthquake-related engineering and construction codes.
For example, in the study’s loss estimate for Essex County, which includes Newark, the state’s largest city, a magnitude 6 event would result in damage to 81,600 buildings, including almost 10,000 extensively or completely; 36,000 people either displaced from their homes or forced to seek short-term shelter; almost $9 million in economic losses from property damage and business interruption; and close to 3,300 injuries and 50 fatalities. (The New York City Area Consortium for Earthquake Loss Mitigation has conducted a similar assessment for New York City, at
All of this suggests the central irony of New Jersey geology: The upland areas that are most prone to earthquakes—the counties in or around the Ramapo Fault, which has spawned a network of splays, or auxiliary faults—are much less densely populated and sit, for the most part, on good bedrock. These areas are not invulnerable, certainly, but, by almost all measures, they would not sustain very severe damage, even in the event of a higher magnitude earthquake. The same can’t be said for other parts of the state, where the earthquake hazard is lower but the vulnerability far greater. Here, the best we can do is to prepare—both in terms of better building codes and a constantly improving emergency response.
Meanwhile, scientists like Rutgers’s Gates struggle to understand the Earth’s quirky seismic timetable: “The big thing with earthquakes is that you can commonly predict where they are going to occur,” Gates says. “When they’re going to come, well, we’re nowhere near being able to figure that out.”
Planning for the Big One
For the men and women of the state police who manage and support the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management (OEM), the response to some events, like hurricanes, can be marshalled in advance. But an earthquake is what responders call a no-notice event.
In New Jersey, even minor earthquakes—like the one that shook parts of Somerset County in February—attract the notice of local, county, and OEM officials, who continuously monitor events around the state from their Regional Operations and Intelligence Center (The ROIC) in West Trenton, a multimillion dollar command-and-control facility that has been built to withstand 125 mph winds and a 5.5 magnitude earthquake. In the event of a very large earthquake, during which local and county resources are apt to become quickly overwhelmed, command and control authority would almost instantly pass to West Trenton.
Here, officials from the state police, representatives of a galaxy of other state agencies, and a variety of communications and other experts would assemble in the cavernous and ultra-high tech Emergency Operations Center to oversee the state’s response. “A high-level earthquake would definitely cause the governor to declare a state of emergency,” says OEM public information officer Nicholas J. Morici. “And once that takes place, our emergency operations plan would be put in motion.”
Emergency officials have modeled that plan—one that can be adapted to any no-notice event, including a terrorist attack—on response methodologies developed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. At its core is a series of seventeen emergency support functions, ranging from transportation to firefighting, debris removal, search and rescue, public health, and medical services. A high-magnitude event would likely activate all of these functions, says Morici, along with the human and physical resources needed to carry them out—cranes and heavy trucks for debris removal, fire trucks and teams for firefighting, doctors and EMTs for medical services, buses and personnel carriers for transportation, and so on.
This is where an expert like Tom Rafferty comes in. Rafferty is a Geographic Information Systems Specialist attached to the OEM. His job during an emergency is to keep track electronically of which resources are where in the state, so they can be deployed quickly to where they are needed. “We have a massive database called the Resource Directory Database in which we have geolocated municipal, county, and state assets to a very detailed map of New Jersey,” Rafferty says. “That way, if there is an emergency like an earthquake going on in one area, the emergency managers can quickly say to me, for instance, ‘We have major debris and damage on this spot of the map. Show us the location of the nearest heavy hauler. Show us the next closest location,’ and so on.”
A very large quake, Rafferty says, “could overwhelm resources that we have as a state.” In that event, OEM has the authority to reach out to FEMA for additional resources and assistance. It can also call upon the private sector—the Resource Directory has been expanded to include non-government assets—and to a network of volunteers. “No one has ever said, ‘We don’t want to help,’” Rafferty says. New Jersey officials can also request assistance through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), an agreement among the states to help each other in times of extreme crisis.
“You always plan for the worst,” Rafferty says, “and that way when the worst doesn’t happen, you feel you can handle it if and when it does.”
Contributing editor Wayne J. Guglielmo lives in M

20 years later, Senate eyes the Bush-Cheney Lies: Revelation 13

by: MARY CLARE JALONICK, Associated Press

Posted: Feb 9, 2023 / 02:24 PM MST

Updated: Feb 9, 2023 / 02:24 PM MST


The vote, which would come after consideration in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, could take place just before the 20th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. It would repeal the 2002 measure that greenlighted that March 2003 invasion, along with a separate 1991 measure that sanctioned the U.S.-led Gulf War to expel Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein’s forces from Kuwait.

“Every year we keep this authorization to use military force on the books is another chance for a future president to abuse or misuse it,” Schumer said. “War powers belong squarely in the hands of Congress, and that implies that we have a responsibility to prevent future presidents from hijacking this AUMF to bumble us into a new war.” He was referring to the Authorization for Use of Military Force.

The bill, led by Sens. Tim Kaine, D-Va., and Todd Young, R-Ind., passed the Senate Foreign Relations panel and the then- Democratic-led House in 2021. But it never came up for a vote in the full Senate, despite significant bipartisan support.

The Iraq war authorizations “are no longer necessary, serve no operational purpose, and run the risk of potential misuse,” Kaine said Thursday.

The House is now led by Republicans, and it’s unclear if leaders would bring the bill up for a vote. Forty-nine House Republicans supported the legislation two years ago, but current House Speaker Kevin McCarthy opposed it.

The Biden administration has supported the move, arguing that ending the war authorization against Iraq of the Saddam Hussein era would make clear that the Iraq government of today is a partner of the United States. It would also remove a grievance for rival Iran to exploit, State Department officials have said.

But Republican opponents have argued that revoking the two authorizations for military force would signal U.S. weakness to Iran.

“The ayatollah is listening to this debate,” Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas said, referring to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, when the panel debated the legislation two years ago.

Republicans also pointed out that President Donald Trump’s administration had cited the 2002 Iraq war resolution as part of its legal justification for a 2020 U.S. drone strike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassim Soleimani.

Supporters of the repeal said presidents should instead come to Congress.

“The framers gave Congress the grave duty to deliberate the questions of war and peace, but for far too long this body has abdicated this duty,” said Texas Rep. Chip Roy, a Republican sponsor of the bill in the House. “We must do our job.”


Associated Press writer Ellen Knickmeyer contributed to this report.

Deadly Quakes Before the Sixth Seal: Revelation 6

  1. Antakya, TurkeyAntakya, TurkeyEmily Garthwaite for The New York Times
  2. Jindires, SyriaSyria Civil Defense via Storyful
  3. Pazarcik, TurkeyEmin Ozmen for The New York Times
  4. Iskenderun, TurkeySergey Ponomarev for The New York Times
  5. Hatay, TurkeyAnadolu Agency via Reuters
  6. Hatay, TurkeyIstanbul Municipality via Reuters
  7. Hatay, TurkeySergey Ponomarev for The New York Times
  8. Antakya, TurkeyEmily Garthwaite for The New York Times
  9. Kahramanmaras, TurkeyReuters
  10. Kahramanmaras, TurkeyEmin Ozmen for The New York Times
  11. Hatay, TurkeySergey Ponomarev for The New York Times
  12. Jindires, SyriaSyria Civil Defense via Storyful
  13. Iskenderun, TurkeySergey Ponomarev for The New York Times
  14. Antakya, TurkeyEmily Garthwaite for The New York Times
  15. Kahramanmaras, TurkeyAnadolu Agency via Reuters
  16. Hatay, TurkeySergey Ponomarev for The New York Times
  17. Kahramanmaras, TurkeyReuters
  18. Hatay, TurkeySergey Ponomarev for The New York Times
  19. Harim, SyriaOmar Haj Kadour/Agence France-Presse, via Getty Images
  20. Hatay, TurkeySergey Ponomarev for The New York Times

Ben Hubbard and Safak TimurReporting from southern Turkey

Here’s the latest on the aftermath of the earthquake.

Two days after a devastating magnitude 7.8 earthquake killed more than 15,000 people in Turkey and Syria, families huddled in the cold rain, hitching tarps to make improvised tents, resting on bits of furniture pulled from the wreckage and lining up for shoes, blankets — anything available.

Many were angry that it was taking so long for rescue crews with heavy machinery to arrive. In Kahramanmaras, where President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey visited on Wednesday, three bodies were recovered from a six-story building and there were at least six more victims in the rubble. “The volunteers were here, but not the state,” said a relative of two of the victims.

Buildings fell across streets all across southern Turkey, rendering them impassible, and a fire station in Pazarcik was turned into a makeshift funeral home. Cracks in the walls of buildings that still stood were wide enough to reach through. Broken glass litters the ground, threatening to slash the feet of survivors, many of whom are shoeless and still in the sleeping clothes they wore when the quake struck two days ago.

Here are key developments:

  • The death toll in Turkey has passed 12,000, according to Turkey disaster management agency, the state Andalou News Agency reported early Thursday. In total, 12,391 people have died and 62,914 have been injured, according to the agency, known by its Turkish initials as AFAD.
  • Mr. Erdogan, Turkey’s paramount politician for 20 years, made his first visit to the disaster zone on Wednesday to tell his people how much his government had already done to help, while urging that citizens “show patience” as more aid made its way to them. But the leader of the country’s largest opposition party rejected a call for unity, saying that Mr. Erdogan was “fully responsible.” Criticism of the government’s disaster response would only add to headwinds for Mr. Erdogan’s quest for re-election in May.
  • Syria’s more than decade-long civil war is complicating efforts to get aid to the country. Many refugees displaced by the fighting live in the quake-stricken area of Turkey, and while aid was not crossing into Syria, bodies were.
  • The humanitarian crisis has prompted Turks around the world to rally together and raise money and gather supplies to send home. Their efforts ranged from a bake sale in London to the gathering of donations at a nursing home in Berlin.
  • In Turkey, Mr. Erdogan said rescue missions will focus on some of the hardest-hit provinces in Turkey: Hatay, Adiyaman and Kahramanmaras. In Syria, where more than a decade of civil war had already created a humanitarian crisis, at least 3,042 people died in the quake, according to the state Health Ministry and the White Helmets relief group.

Feb. 9, 2023, 6:30 p.m. ETFeb. 9, 2023Feb. 9, 2023

Damage from the earthquake in Antakya, Turkey, on Wednesday.
Damage from the earthquake in Antakya, Turkey, on Wednesday.Credit…Khalil Hamra/Associated Press
Damage from the earthquake in Antakya, Turkey, on Wednesday.

Antakya’s ancient old town has entirely collapsed. The old bazaar has turned into rubble. The Ulu Mosque, which dates back centuries, is now shaved to the ground. The old parliament building in the main square is no longer standing.

Scores of people are trying to access food and blankets. Some find it in the tents set up by the Turkish Red Crescent, but many are hopeless. They can’t leave the rubble they know their relatives are under but they are out of food and need sleep and supplies. “Where is the government?” the survivors were asking unanimously in front of one rubble in Defne neighborhood.

The Protestant church in old town is also gone. The buildings that remain are in horrible condition. The stray dogs are anxiously following the survivors, also seeking food.

See videos of the quake’s aftermath in the province of Hatay and read more here.Show less

Area Affected by the Earthquake in Turkey and Syria

A magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck Turkey and Syria early Monday. Centered near Gaziantep in southern Turkey, the quake was felt as far away as Lebanon and Israel.

‘Death to Israel’: Iran shows off missile outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

'Death to Israel': Iran shows off missile with Hebrew inscription

‘Death to Israel’: Iran shows off missile with Hebrew inscription

Development comes a day after Iran reveals an underground air force base meant to counter potential Israeli strikes.

By  ILH Staff

 Published on  02-09-2023 08:32

 Last modified: 02-09-2023 08:38

An Iranian missile is seen in front of a banner with a picture of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, at an unknown place in Semnan, Iran, May 18, 2009 | File photo: Reuters/Fars News

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps unveiled a purported ballistic missile with the words “Death to Israel” written in Hebrew down its side at an exposition in the central city of Isfahan on Wednesday,.

The Tasnim News Agency showed images of what seems to be a surface-to-surface missile in a launcher.

The development came a day after Iran revealed an underground air force base called “Eagle 44,” which is large enough to hold fighter jets, reported the IRNA news agency. The base supposedly can store and operate fighter jets and drones.

Iranian missile with the words “Death to Israel” written in Hebrew (Twitter)

Iran’s armed forces’ Chief of Staff Mohammad Bagheri suggested the base was meant to counter potential Israeli strikes. “Any attack on Iran from our enemies, including Israel, will see a response from our many air force bases including Eagle 44,” he told state television.

Isfahan was the target of a drone attack last week, with Iran blaming Israel for the strike and vowing revenge.

Hamas vows to avenge members killed outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

A man carrying a tyre with flames in the background
The West Bank raid came during a period of heightened tensions drawing fears of a further violence.(Reuters: Mohammed Torokman)

Hamas vows to avenge members killed during Israeli military raid in West Bank

Posted Mon 6 Feb 2023 at 3:51pmMonday 6 Feb 2023 at 3:51pm

Islamic militant group Hamas has threatened retaliation after five of its members were killed during an Israeli military raid in the occupied West Bank. 

Key points:

  • The Israeli military says the raid was targeted at suspected Hamas gunmen
  • Hamas says it will avenge the death of its members
  • There have been calls for calm on both sides

The Israeli military said its operation in Jericho’s Aqbat Jabr refugee camp on Monday was aimed at catching suspected Hamas gunmen who had attempted a shooting attack on Israelis at a restaurant late last month.

During the raid, a gunfight broke out between armed Palestinians and the security forces.

Jericho’s governor said five people were killed and eight were arrested.

The Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, which rules Gaza, said it would avenge the death of its members.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the Israeli incursion.

The raid came during a period of heightened tensions that have drawn fears of a further escalation in violence.

A group of people standing around a small hut
Palestinians gather at the scene of the refugee camp where Israeli forces killed a number of armed fighters.(Reuters: Mohamad Torokman)

The United States and United Nations have called for calm on both sides.

Second shooting in Jerusalem

A shooting wounded two people in Jerusalem as Israel’s military said it was boosting its forces in the occupied West Bank after a Palestinian gunman shot dead seven people near a synagogue.

Security personnel is pictured near the scene of a suspected shooting incident.

Read more

Last year was the deadliest year in more than a decade in the West Bank, with violence steadily escalating amid a spate of lethal Palestinian attacks inside Israel and deadly Israeli raids inside the West Bank.

Israel says its incursions are meant to dismantle militant networks and thwart future attacks. The Palestinians say they further entrench Israel’s 55-year, open-ended occupation of lands they seek for their future state.

Tensions rose sharply at the end of last month, after 10 Palestinians were killed in a raid on a Jenin refugee camp and a Palestinian gunman shot seven people dead near a synagogue in East Jerusalem.

Ahead of discussions in Cairo with Egyptian officials hoping to prevent further escalation, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh indicated the raid could affect the talks.

Israel captured the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip in the 1967 Middle East war. The Palestinians lay claim to the territories for their hoped-for state.

We’ve never been closer to the bowls of wrath: Revelation 16

The war in Ukraine has triggered new fears of nuclear holocaust. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

We’ve never been closer to nuclear catastrophe

An anti-war and environmental activist warns against policymakers who understate the danger of nuclear weapons

by Steve Taylor February 9, 2023

The following interview took place on January 25, 2023, one day after the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists advanced the hands of the Doomsday Clock to 90 seconds before midnight – in large part because of developments in Ukraine.

Helen Caldicott (left), an Australian peace activist and environmentalist, discussed the extreme and imminent threat of a nuclear holocaust due to a proxy war between the US and Russia in Ukraine. She also addressed the announcement by the US Department of Energy of a controlled nuclear reaction and outlines the relationship between the nuclear power industry and nuclear weapons.

Caldicott is the author of numerous books and is a recipient of at least 12 honorary doctorates. She was nominated for the Nobel Prize by physicist Linus Pauling and named by the Smithsonian Institution as one of the most influential women of the 20th century. Her public talks describing the horrors of nuclear war from a medical perspective raised the consciousness of a generation.

Caldicott believes that the reality of destroying all of life on the planet has receded from public consciousness, making doomsday more likely. As the title of her recent book states, we are “sleepwalking to Armageddon.”

Steve Taylor: What is the Doomsday Clock, and why is it now set to 90 seconds to midnight?

Helen Caldicott: For the last year, it’s been at 100 seconds to midnight, which is the closest it’s ever been. Each year they reset the clock according to international problems, nuclear problems. Ninety seconds to midnight – I don’t think that is close enough; it’s closer than that. I would put it at 20 seconds to midnight. 

I think we’re in an extremely invidious position where nuclear war could occur tonight, by accident or by design. It’s very clear to me, actually, that the United States is going to war with Russia. And that means, almost certainly, nuclear war – and that means the end of almost all life on Earth.

ST: Do you see similarities with the 1962 Cuban missile crisis?

HC: Yes. I got to know John F Kennedy’s secretary of defense, Robert McNamara, later in his life He was in the Oval Office at the time of the Cuban missile crisis. He once told me, “Helen, we came so close to nuclear war – three minutes.” Three minutes. We’re in a similar situation now.

ST: So back then, though, famously, the world held its breath during the missile crisis.

HC: Oh, we were terrified. Terrified, absolutely terrified.

ST: That doesn’t seem to be the case today.

HC: Today, the public and policymakers are not being informed adequately about what this really means – that the consequences would be so bizarre and so horrifying. 

It’s very funny; New York City put out a video as a hypothetical [public service announcement] in July 2022 showing a woman in the street, and it says the bombs are coming, and it’s going to be a nuclear war. It says that what you do is go inside, you don’t stand by the windows, you stand in the center of the room, and you’ll be all right. I mean, it’s absolutely absurd.

ST: That is what you were fighting against back in the ’70s and ’80s – this notion that a nuclear war is survivable.

HC: Yes. There was a US defense official called T K Jones who reportedly said, don’t worry; “if there are enough shovels to go around,” we’ll make it. And his plan was if the bombs are coming and they take half an hour to come, you get out the trusty shovel. You dig a hole. You get in the hole. Someone puts two doors on top and then piles on dirt. 

I mean, they had plans. But the thing about it is that evolution will be destroyed. We may be the only life in the universe. And if you’ve ever looked at the structure of a single cell, or the beauty of the birds or a rose, I mean, what responsibility do we have?

ST: During the Cuban missile crisis, the US did not want missiles pointed at it from Cuba, and the Soviet Union did not want missiles pointed at it from Turkey. Do you see any similarities with the conflict in Ukraine?

HC: Oh, sure. The United States has nuclear weapons in European countries, all ready to go and land on Russia. How do you think Russia feels – a little bit paranoid? 

Imagine if the Warsaw Pact moved into Canada, all along the northern border of the US, and put missiles all along the northern border. What would the US do? She’d probably blow up the planet as she nearly did with the Cuban missile crisis. I mean, it’s so extraordinarily unilateral in the thinking, not putting ourselves in the minds of the Russian people.

ST: Do you feel we’re more at risk of nuclear war now than we were during the Cold War?

HC: Yes. We’re closer to nuclear war than we’ve ever been. And that’s what the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists indicated by moving the clock to 90 seconds to midnight.

ST: Does it seem like political leaders are more cavalier about nuclear exchange now?

HC: Yes, because they haven’t taken in what nuclear war would really mean. And the Pentagon is run by these cavalier folks who are making millions out of selling weapons. Almost the whole of the US budget goes to killing and murder, rather than to health care and education and the children in Yemen, who are, millions of them, starving. 

I mean, we’ve got the money to fix everything on Earth, and also to power the world with renewable energy. The money is there. It’s going into killing and murder instead of life.

ST: You mentioned energy. The US Department of Energy has announced a so-called fusion breakthrough. What do you think about the claims that fusion may be our energy future?

HC: The technology wasn’t part of an energy experiment. It was part of a nuclear weapons experiment called the Stockpile Stewardship Program. It is inappropriate; it produced an enormous amount of radioactive waste and very little energy. It will never be used to fuel global energy needs for humankind.

ST: Could you tell us a little bit about the history of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, where scientists developed this fusion technology?

HC: The Lawrence Livermore Laboratory was where the first hydrogen bombs were developed. It was set up in 1952, by Edward Teller, a wicked man.

ST: There is this promotion of nuclear energy as a green alternative. Is the nuclear-energy industry tied to nuclear weapons?

HC: Of course. In the ’60s, when people were scared stiff of nuclear weapons, there was a Pentagon psychologist who said, look, if we have peaceful nuclear energy, that will alleviate the people’s fear.

ST: At the end of your 1992 book If You Love This Planet, you wrote, “Hope for the Earth lies not with leaders, but in your own heart and soul. If you decide to save the Earth, it will be saved. Each person can be as powerful as the most powerful person who ever lived – and that is you, if you love this planet.” Do you stand by that?

HC: If we acknowledge the horrifying reality that there is an extreme and imminent threat of nuclear war, it’s like being told that as a planet, we have a terminal disease. If we’re scared enough, every one of us can save the planet. But we have to be very powerful and determined.

This interview has been edited for clarity and length. A video of the description of nuclear war from the interview can be viewed on Vimeo. Listen to the entire interview, available for streaming on Breaking Green’s website or wherever you get your podcasts. Breaking Green is produced by the Global Justice Ecology Project.

This article was produced by Earth | Food | Life, a project of the Independent Media Institute, which provided it to Asia Times.

The S Korean Nuclear Horn: Daniel 7

Yoon Suk Yeol
AP Photo/Lee Jin-manSouth Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol speaks during an interview at the presidential office in Seoul on Jan. 10, 2023.

Would South Korean nuclear weapons enhance or erode Northeast Asia’s security?


South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol recently raised eyebrows in Washington when he said his country might consider developing its own nuclear deterrent, rather than relying exclusively on America for nuclear protection.

U.S. officials scrambled to assure Seoul officials there is no need to develop their own nuclear weapons since the U.S.-Republic of Korea Mutual Defense Treaty encompasses all threats to its security, including a nuclear attack.  


To reinforce the point, Washington and Seoul announced last week they will hold a tabletop exercise this month to develop “response options to deal with the DPRK [North Korean] nuclear threat.”  

America’s “extended deterrence” means that U.S. nuclear weapons could be used to defend South Korea if such weapons were ever used against it, and they already serve a deterrent purpose in preventing such a scenario in the first place.

But recent public opinion polls show that, strong as U.S.-ROK security relations seem, many South Koreans harbor doubts that Washington would actually enter a nuclear war and risk a calamitous nuclear attack on U.S. forces or assets in the region, or even on the American homeland, all just to defend South Korea.

In a poll last year, 71 percent of South Koreans supported developing an indigenous nuclear capability. Reflecting that reality, https://andrewtheprophet.comretired Lt. Gen. In-Bum Chun, former commander of the Republic of Korea Special Warfare Command, said, “Right now we have the United States that provides us with a nuclear deterrent. But we are more concerned than we used to be. Korean people are looking for answers.”

The increased South Korean angst partly reflects Pyongyang’s technological progress in its nuclear and missile programs, greatly facilitated by China’s economic and diplomatic support — despite Beijing’s, and Henry Kissinger’s, protestations that it shares the West’s concerns about a nuclear North Korea. 

Confidence in the strength of the U.S. commitment also has been undermined by the actions and inaction of the three most recent American administrations.

First was the Obama-Biden failure to confront China on its broken promise not to militarize its artificial islands in the South China Sea, or its breach of a U.S.-mediated agreement on the Spratly Islands dispute with the Philippines, a U.S. ally. (Nor did President Obama act against Russia over its intervention in Syria to protect Bashar al-Assad from Obama’s “red line”or its 2014 invasion of eastern Ukraine and Crimea.) 

The credibility of the American commitment to South Korea suffered a direct blow with former President Trump’s harsh disparagement of the U.S.-ROK alliance and Seoul’s reliability as an ally. He questioned its willingness to bear a fair share of the defense burden, accusing it essentially of free-loading off the U.S. security blanket — the same charge he made against Japan and members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. His unbridled criticism went so far as to threaten termination of the U.S.-ROK alliance as an unfair and unnecessary imposition on the United States.

The Biden administration has added to South Korean doubts about U.S. resolve. In addition to sharing the Obama-Biden legacy on foreign policy, which he led as Obama’s vice president, President Biden added his calamitous troop withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021. That was followed by his administration’s failure to deter Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine, despite touting that it knew Russia’s plans well in advance.  

Nor has Biden been willing either to intervene directly or to provide Ukraine with the advanced weapons systems it requires, because Vladimir Putin might see it as escalation that could precipitate World War III.  

Finally, there is the matter of Taiwan, under direct and escalating threat from China, and the deepening economic and political relationship between Taiwan and the U.S. that started under the Trump administration and has continued under Biden.

Despite Biden’s episodic expressions of intention to defend the island against Chinese aggression, he, like his predecessors, refuses to state a declarative U.S. commitment to defend Taiwan, preferring to retain the policy of strategic ambiguity.

Given that spotty record of U.S. steadfastness on behalf of allies and security partners, it is not surprising that some South Koreans see potential leaks in Washington’s nuclear umbrella and wish to add their own nuclear deterrent.  

As Jenny Town, a senior fellow at the Stimson Center and director of Stimson’s 38 North Program, recently observed, “Given all of the advancements that North Korea has made in their nuclear weapons program, and changes in the geopolitical environment, there’s been a lot more anxiety in South Korea about how they deal with a nuclear North Korea — and what the U.S. would actually do.”

At a recent Stimson conference on “assessing the risks” of a South Korea nuclear weapons program, experts coalesced around the idea that the country would be less safe with its own nukes. The concern was expressed that a competition between two nuclear powers on the Korean Peninsula would increase the danger of war because of the risk of escalation from the use of conventional to nuclear weapons. The experience of the U.S.-Soviet confrontation during the Cold War runs counter to that fear, and arguably reduced the prospect of conventional war precisely because of the danger of nuclear escalation

It was also asserted that South Korea’s acquisition of nuclear weapons would fracture the U.S.-ROK alliance, though why that would happen is not self-evident. While Washington would not be happy that its advice was spurned, the importance of South Korea to regional stability and its value as a loyal ally would hardly be diminished because it became a nuclear power.

The experts correctly noted that South Korea’s withdrawal from the Non-Proliferation Treaty would further weaken the NPT, but the question is whether that would be worse than nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula being wielded only by an aggressive North Korea, supported by China, its aggressive nuclear-armed ally.America must solve our deadly community-police problemDriving energy independence with clean transportation fuels

Kissinger testified on North Korea’s nuclear program before the Senate Armed Services Committee in January 2018: “[I]f North Korea could keep its capability in the face of opposition by China and the United States … South Korea and Japan will want nuclear weapons too, and then we are living in a new world … that will require new thinking.”