Columbia University Warns Of Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

   Earthquakes May Endanger New York More Than Thought, Says Study
A study by a group of prominent seismologists suggests that a pattern of subtle but active faults makes the risk of earthquakes to the New York City area substantially greater than formerly believed. Among other things, they say that the controversial Indian Point nuclear power plants, 24 miles north of the city, sit astride the previously unidentified intersection of two active seismic zones. The paper appears in the current issue of the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America.
Many faults and a few mostly modest quakes have long been known around New York City, but the research casts them in a new light. The scientists say the insight comes from sophisticated analysis of past quakes, plus 34 years of new data on tremors, most of them perceptible only by modern seismic instruments. The evidence charts unseen but potentially powerful structures whose layout and dynamics are only now coming clearer, say the scientists. All are based at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, which runs the network of seismometers that monitors most of the northeastern United States.
Lead author Lynn R. Sykes said the data show that large quakes are infrequent around New Yorkcompared to more active areas like California and Japan, but that the risk is high, because of the overwhelming concentration of people and infrastructure. “The research raises the perception both of how common these events are, and, specifically, where they may occur,” he said. “It’s an extremely populated area with very large assets.” Sykes, who has studied the region for four decades, is known for his early role in establishing the global theory of plate tectonics.
The authors compiled a catalog of all 383 known earthquakes from 1677 to 2007 in a 15,000-square-mile area around New York City. Coauthor John Armbruster estimated sizes and locations of dozens of events before 1930 by combing newspaper accounts and other records. The researchers say magnitude 5 quakes—strong enough to cause damage–occurred in 1737, 1783 and 1884. There was little settlement around to be hurt by the first two quakes, whose locations are vague due to a lack of good accounts; but the last, thought to be centered under the seabed somewhere between Brooklyn and Sandy Hook, toppled chimneys across the city and New Jersey, and panicked bathers at Coney Island. Based on this, the researchers say such quakes should be routinely expected, on average, about every 100 years. “Today, with so many more buildings and people, a magnitude 5 centered below the city would be extremely attention-getting,” said Armbruster. “We’d see billions in damage, with some brick buildings falling. People would probably be killed.”
Starting in the early 1970s Lamont began collecting data on quakes from dozens of newly deployed seismometers; these have revealed further potential, including distinct zones where earthquakes concentrate, and where larger ones could come. The Lamont network, now led by coauthor Won-Young Kim, has located hundreds of small events, including a magnitude 3 every few years, which can be felt by people at the surface, but is unlikely to cause damage. These small quakes tend to cluster along a series of small, old faults in harder rocks across the region. Many of the faults were discovered decades ago when subways, water tunnels and other excavations intersected them, but conventional wisdom said they were inactive remnants of continental collisions and rifting hundreds of millions of years ago. The results clearly show that they are active, and quite capable of generating damaging quakes, said Sykes.
One major previously known feature, the Ramapo Seismic Zone, runs from eastern Pennsylvania to the mid-Hudson Valley, passing within a mile or two northwest of Indian Point. The researchers found that this system is not so much a single fracture as a braid of smaller ones, where quakes emanate from a set of still ill-defined faults. East and south of the Ramapo zone—and possibly more significant in terms of hazard–is a set of nearly parallel northwest-southeast faults. These include Manhattan’s 125th Street fault, which seems to have generated two small 1981 quakes, and could have been the source of the big 1737 quake; the Dyckman Street fault, which carried a magnitude 2 in 1989; the Mosholu Parkway fault; and the Dobbs Ferry fault in suburban Westchester, which generated the largest recent shock, a surprising magnitude 4.1, in 1985. Fortunately, it did no damage. Given the pattern, Sykes says the big 1884 quake may have hit on a yet-undetected member of this parallel family further south.
The researchers say that frequent small quakes occur in predictable ratios to larger ones, and so can be used to project a rough time scale for damaging events. Based on the lengths of the faults, the detected tremors, and calculations of how stresses build in the crust, the researchers say that magnitude 6 quakes, or even 7—respectively 10 and 100 times bigger than magnitude 5–are quite possible on the active faults they describe. They calculate that magnitude 6 quakes take place in the area about every 670 years, and sevens, every 3,400 years. The corresponding probabilities of occurrence in any 50-year period would be 7% and 1.5%. After less specific hints of these possibilities appeared in previous research, a 2003 analysis by The New York City Area Consortium for Earthquake Loss Mitigation put the cost of quakes this size in the metro New York area at $39 billion to $197 billion. A separate 2001 analysis for northern New Jersey’s Bergen County estimates that a magnitude 7 would destroy 14,000 buildings and damage 180,000 in that area alone. The researchers point out that no one knows when the last such events occurred, and say no one can predict when they next might come.
“We need to step backward from the simple old model, where you worry about one large, obvious fault, like they do in California,” said coauthor Leonardo Seeber. “The problem here comes from many subtle faults. We now see there is earthquake activity on them. Each one is small, but when you add them up, they are probably more dangerous than we thought. We need to take a very close look.” Seeber says that because the faults are mostly invisible at the surface and move infrequently, a big quake could easily hit one not yet identified. “The probability is not zero, and the damage could be great,” he said. “It could be like something out of a Greek myth.”
The researchers found concrete evidence for one significant previously unknown structure: an active seismic zone running at least 25 miles from Stamford, Conn., to the Hudson Valley town of Peekskill, N.Y., where it passes less than a mile north of the Indian Point nuclear power plant. The Stamford-Peekskill line stands out sharply on the researchers’ earthquake map, with small events clustered along its length, and to its immediate southwest. Just to the north, there are no quakes, indicating that it represents some kind of underground boundary. It is parallel to the other faults beginning at 125th Street, so the researchers believe it is a fault in the same family. Like the others, they say it is probably capable of producing at least a magnitude 6 quake. Furthermore, a mile or so on, it intersects the Ramapo seismic zone.
Sykes said the existence of the Stamford-Peekskill line had been suggested before, because the Hudson takes a sudden unexplained bend just ot the north of Indian Point, and definite traces of an old fault can be along the north side of the bend. The seismic evidence confirms it, he said. “Indian Point is situated at the intersection of the two most striking linear features marking the seismicity and also in the midst of a large population that is at risk in case of an accident,” says the paper. “This is clearly one of the least favorable sites in our study area from an earthquake hazard and risk perspective.”
The findings comes at a time when Entergy, the owner of Indian Point, is trying to relicense the two operating plants for an additional 20 years—a move being fought by surrounding communities and the New York State Attorney General. Last fall the attorney general, alerted to the then-unpublished Lamont data, told a Nuclear Regulatory Commission panel in a filing: “New data developed in the last 20 years disclose a substantially higher likelihood of significant earthquake activity in the vicinity of [Indian Point] that could exceed the earthquake design for the facility.” The state alleges that Entergy has not presented new data on earthquakes past 1979. However, in a little-noticed decision this July 31, the panel rejected the argument on procedural grounds. A source at the attorney general’s office said the state is considering its options.
The characteristics of New York’s geology and human footprint may increase the problem. Unlike in California, many New York quakes occur near the surface—in the upper mile or so—and they occur not in the broken-up, more malleable formations common where quakes are frequent, but rather in the extremely hard, rigid rocks underlying Manhattan and much of the lower Hudson Valley. Such rocks can build large stresses, then suddenly and efficiently transmit energy over long distances. “It’s like putting a hard rock in a vise,” said Seeber. “Nothing happens for a while. Then it goes with a bang.” Earthquake-resistant building codes were not introduced to New York City until 1995, and are not in effect at all in many other communities. Sinuous skyscrapers and bridges might get by with minimal damage, said Sykes, but many older, unreinforced three- to six-story brick buildings could crumble.
Art Lerner-Lam, associate director of Lamont for seismology, geology and tectonophysics, pointed out that the region’s major highways including the New York State Thruway, commuter and long-distance rail lines, and the main gas, oil and power transmission lines all cross the parallel active faults, making them particularly vulnerable to being cut. Lerner-Lam, who was not involved in the research, said that the identification of the seismic line near Indian Point “is a major substantiation of a feature that bears on the long-term earthquake risk of the northeastern United States.” He called for policymakers to develop more information on the region’s vulnerability, to take a closer look at land use and development, and to make investments to strengthen critical infrastructure.
“This is a landmark study in many ways,” said Lerner-Lam. “It gives us the best possible evidence that we have an earthquake hazard here that should be a factor in any planning decision. It crystallizes the argument that this hazard is not random. There is a structure to the location and timing of the earthquakes. This enables us to contemplate risk in an entirely different way. And since we are able to do that, we should be required to do that.”
New York Earthquake Briefs and Quotes:
Existing U.S. Geological Survey seismic hazard maps show New York City as facing more hazard than many other eastern U.S. areas. Three areas are somewhat more active—northernmost New York State, New Hampshire and South Carolina—but they have much lower populations and fewer structures. The wider forces at work include pressure exerted from continuing expansion of the mid-Atlantic Ridge thousands of miles to the east; slow westward migration of the North American continent; and the area’s intricate labyrinth of old faults, sutures and zones of weakness caused by past collisions and rifting.
Due to New York’s past history, population density and fragile, interdependent infrastructure, a 2001 analysis by the Federal Emergency Management Agency ranks it the 11th most at-risk U.S. city for earthquake damage. Among those ahead: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Portland. Behind: Salt Lake City, Sacramento, Anchorage.
New York’s first seismic station was set up at Fordham University in the 1920s. Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, in Palisades, N.Y., has operated stations since 1949, and now coordinates a network of about 40.
Dozens of small quakes have been felt in the New York area. A Jan. 17, 2001 magnitude 2.4, centered  in the Upper East Side—the first ever detected in Manhattan itself–may have originated on the 125th Street fault. Some people thought it was an explosion, but no one was harmed.
The most recent felt quake, a magnitude 2.1 on July 28, 2008, was centered near Milford, N.J. Houses shook and a woman at St. Edward’s Church said she felt the building rise up under her feet—but no damage was done.
Questions about the seismic safety of the Indian Point nuclear power plant, which lies amid a metropolitan area of more than 20 million people, were raised in previous scientific papers in 1978 and 1985.
Because the hard rocks under much of New York can build up a lot strain before breaking, researchers believe that modest faults as short as 1 to 10 kilometers can cause magnitude 5 or 6 quakes.
In general, magnitude 3 quakes occur about 10 times more often than magnitude fours; 100 times more than magnitude fives; and so on. This principle is called the Gutenberg-Richter relationship.

Turkey-Syria earthquake: death toll rises to 33,000: Matthew 24

Turkey-Syria earthquake: death toll rises to 33,000; baby girl rescued alive after 150 hours, Turkish health minister says – as it happened

10.44 ESTPhil Irving is one of 77 search and rescue specialists from 14 fire and rescue services across the UK providing life-saving support in Turkey following the earthquake. Photograph: FCDO/PA

A British firefighter, who helped in pulling a police officer and a woman from the rubble of a building in Turkey five days after the country was devastated by an earthquake, has spoken of the rescue operation.Phil Irving, 46, from Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, was part of the team who took part in the painstaking extraction, which ended on Saturday with the pair being brought out alive after being trapped for 120 hours under under a collapsed multi-storey building in Hatay, southern Turkey.The father-of-two told the PA News Agency the battle to save them and their determination to stay alive “will stay with me”.“These people were entombed in rubble and debris and we had to work around the clock to bring them out alive,” he said.“It was Friday afternoon when we first discovered signs of life. We knew 100 per cent that they were alive.“We were hearing them tapping and shouting so we knew we were close to them but reaching them was a major challenge.“It was a catastrophic collapse and access was difficult.“They were trapped in there for over five days and it will stay with me their incredible capacity to keep going, hope and believe.”Screengrab from video dated 11/02/23 of UK International Search and Rescue (UK-ISAR) who pulled a police officer and a woman from the rubble of a building in Hatay, Turkey, five days after the country was devastated by an earthquake. Photograph: FCDO/PA

He added that a successful rescue provokes “mixed” emotions, adding:If you rescue one person and they are reunited with a relative, generally speaking that person has left a loved one in the building, who has not been so lucky. It is generally a bitter-sweet moment.Of course, when we are successful in getting someone out it gives the team a boost, but I don’t think you ever have a rescue that is not moderately tarnished with the bigger reality that the survivor will have to deal with grief for the people that didn’t make it.”The watch manager at Haverfordwest station has been a firefighter for almost 24 years and a volunteer with UK International Search and Rescue (UK-ISAR) for 17 years, and was part of the 2009 Indonesia and 2010 Haiti earthquake responses.He said it “hurts my heart to see the devastation” caused to families and their homes.“I stand back and I look at the people who have lost their homes and their families and my heart bleeds for them.”

Turkish authorities have issued more than 100 arrest warrants over collapsed buildings, amid warnings that the death toll from the earthquake that struck parts of Turkey and Syria could double from the current tally of 28,000.

State media reported that at least 12 people were in custody, including contractors, architects and engineers connected to some of the tens of thousands of buildings destroyed or seriously damaged in Monday’s 7.8- and 7.6-magnitude quakes.

The situation in stricken north-west Syria, already ravaged by more than a decade of civil war and where international aid has been slow to arrive, is becoming increasingly desperate, the United Nations has said.

As public anger continued to mount in Turkey at the scale of the destruction and the pace of the rescue efforts, the arrests are likely to be seen as an attempt by the president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who faces tough elections in May, to deflect blame.Collapsed buildings in Antakya, Turkey. Photograph: Hassan Ayadi/AFP/Getty Images

Turkey’s vice-president, Fuat Oktay, said early on Sunday that authorities had so far identified 131 people suspected of being responsible for the collapse of some of the thousands of buildings flattened, and that detention orders had been issued for 113 of them.

“We will follow this up meticulously until the necessary judicial process is concluded, especially for buildings that suffered heavy damage and caused deaths and injuries,” Oktay said. Special investigation units have been set up in the 10 provinces affected.

The environment minister, Murat Kurum, said that based on an initial assessment of more than 170,000 buildings, 24,921 across the region had collapsed or were heavily damaged by the quake.

Opposition leaders have long accused Erdoğan’s government of not enforcing building regulations and of failing to account for the proceeds of special levy imposed after the 1999 İzmit earthquake to ensure apartment blocks and offices were more quake-resistant.

The president has accused his critics of lying and in remarks so far has seemed to blame fate for the disaster, saying such catastrophes “have always happened” and are “destiny’s plan”. He has pledged to start rebuilding within weeks.

China Horn considers tripling nuclear warheads: Daniel 7

People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers on armoured vehicles equipped with anti-aircraft artillery take part in a parade at Tiananmen Square in September 2015. (Reuters File Photo)

China ‘considers tripling nuclear warheads’

People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers on armoured vehicles equipped with anti-aircraft artillery take part in a parade at Tiananmen Square in September 2015. (Reuters File Photo)

BEIJING: China is considering tripling its stockpile of nuclear warheads to 900 by 2035, as tensions with the United States are expected to escalate further over Taiwan, sources close to the matter said on Saturday.

The blueprint, mapped out by the People’s Liberation Army, has already been approved by President Xi Jinping, who has been eager to bolster Beijing’s deterrence against Washington, the Chinese sources said.

With the ruling Communist Party strengthening the country’s military capabilities, the United States said last year that China was on course to increase its stockpile of nuclear warheads to 1,500 by 2035 when it aims to complete the modernisation of its military.

Some foreign affairs experts warn that if China achieves the goal of modernising its military, the country could abandon its “no first use” policy.

In November, the top body of the Chinese military reaffirmed the importance of lethal capabilities, analysing that Russia’s strong nuclear deterrence had prevented a head-on contest between NATO and Moscow despite its aggression against Ukraine, the sources said.

The number of nuclear warheads held by China is expected to rise to 550 in 2027, the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the armed forces, and to 900 in 2035, the sources added.

Worldwide, Russia has 5,977 nuclear warheads, while the United States possesses 5,428, according to estimates from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri).

Strains between China and the United States have been intensifying, especially after former US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the then third-highest-ranking official in the country, visited Taiwan in early August last year.

Fears have been growing that self-ruled, democratic Taiwan may become a military flashpoint in the region in the near future, as Beijing regards the island as a renegade province to be reunified with the mainland, by force if necessary.

China and Taiwan have been governed separately since they split in 1949 as the result of a civil war.

Washington switched its diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979, but the United States maintains substantive though unofficial exchanges with Taiwan and supplies it with billions of dollars’ worth of arms and spare parts for its defence.

A military strike would guarantee a nuclear Iran: Daniel 8

American and Israeli aircraft fly over Israel in the joint exercise Juniper Oak on Jan. 24, 2023.
American and Israeli aircraft fly over Israel in the joint exercise Juniper Oak on Jan. 24, 2023. ( U.S. military Central Command )

Geoff LaMear: A military strike would not guarantee a nuclear-free Iran

By Geoff LaMear

Chicago Tribune

Feb 06, 2023 at 5:00 am

Washington has signaled that when it comes to Iran, diplomacy is out, and hostility is in. The U.S. began conducting joint air exercises with Israel on Jan. 23, employing more than 100 aircraft including strategic bombers and advanced F-35 fighter jets. This comes after President Joe Biden stated, “We’re going to free Iran,” during its recent wave of protests and adding recently that the Iran deal “is dead” and that Iran “will have a nuclear weapon.” But the possibility of a nuclear Iran is less dangerous than the certainty of a war that would erupt from a preventive strike.

While these joint exercises are primarily meant as a deterrent, Iran likely will not view them that way and for good reason. Israel is already hoping to double its purchase of advanced U.S. fighter jets as multiple Israeli officials hint at options for striking Iran’s nuclear facilities. Doing so would likely necessitate U.S. assistance, primarily with air refueling. Consequently, the U.S. would likely become entangled, whether it took the lead or supporting role in a strike. But the consequences would be catastrophic.

The idea of a surgical strike is a myth. In a strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, fighters would have to penetrate hundreds of miles of contested airspace, encountering multiple layers of Iranian air defenses, not just in Iran but in Syria as well. To do so without risking American casualties would mean first setting the stage with hundreds of airstrikes on Iranian air defenses and air bases. That would not go unanswered, and Iran’s arsenal of thousands of ballistic missiles and hundreds of thousands of proxy fighters would likely be brought to bear against Israeli and American forces in retaliation.

This means U.S. forces in Iraq, Syria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates would be targeted. Likewise, oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz, sourcing a fifth of the world’s oil supply, would also be disrupted. The effects would immediately prove militarily and economically disastrous for the United States.

The urgency of Iran’s nuclear development is likewise exaggerated. The Biden administration’s 2022 Nuclear Posture Review released in October revealed that U.S. intelligence still assesses that Iran is not pursuing a nuclear weapon. As far as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s track record goes, Iran has been imminently close to obtaining a nuclear weapon for at least 30 years. The premise underlying a preventive strike rests on a foundation of sand, namely that this threat will materialize.

But is a nuclear Iran a more catastrophic outcome than a preventive war?

The United States has allowed three enemy nations to nuclearize: the Soviet Union, China and North Korea. In none of these cases was the outcome unmanageable. Rather, the United States has learned to establish deterrence with nuclear-armed states. The same model can be applied to Iran, which pales in comparison to the conventional and nuclear threat posed by the communist bloc.

Possessing a nuclear weapon is also different from using a nuclear weapon. Iran cannot use a nuclear weapon even if it obtained one because its chief foe, Israel has a nuclear deterrent of hundreds of weapons already. Iran is conventionally overmatched by Israel and its Arab rivals in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Many of the proponents of a military strike put forward the “mad mullahs” argument, namely that the Iranian regime’s revolutionary vision makes its leaders undeterrable and suicidal. But it’s hard to carry out a theocratic utopia if your regime doesn’t exist. The Islamic Republic’s founder, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, went as far as to say in a book that the survival of the Islamic Republic was more important than Imam Mahdi, the end-times savior of Shiite Islam. If Khomeini was insufficiently zealous to fulfill the suicidal ideation of the mad mullah hypothesis, then it’s really hard to argue that this would apply decades after the revolution’s fervor subsided.

Striking Iran would prove disastrous for the United States. A strike would not guarantee that Iran never nuclearizes, but it would immediately backfire against both Israel and the United States. Deterrence and diplomacy, not preemption and provocation, should guide Washington’s relationship with Iran.

Geoff LaMear is a fellow at Defense Priorities.

Submit a letter, of no more than 400 words, to the editor here or email

Debate Over the S Korean Nuclear Horn: Daniel 7

South Korea’s Never-Ending Nuclear Weapons Debate

On 2/10/23 at 7:45 AM EST

, fellow, Defense Priorities

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol caused a stir in both Seoul and Washington, D.C., last month when he suggested his country could manufacture its own nuclear weapons if the security situation on the Korean Peninsula deteriorated any further. This isn’t the first time Yoon has flirted with the nuclear option; during his 2021 presidential campaign, he supported bringing back U.S. tactical nuclear weapons if South Korea’s national security was threatened by Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs.

Yoon’s comments generated a diplomatic kerfuffle, forcing him to quickly backtrack on its comments. Still, they were enough to get the Biden administration’s attention. In a visit to Seoul last week, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin reaffirmedthe U.S. commitment to South Korea’s defense, announced larger-scale joint military drills, and promised more deployments of fighter aircraft to South Korea. Shortly thereafter, U.S. B-1Bs and South Korean F-35s were drilling over the West Sea.

But as North Korea improves its nuclear and missile programs to balance Seoul’s superior conventional weaponry, the debate about whether South Korea should join the nuclear club will continue. South Korea has a deep history with nuclear weapons. The United States began stationing nuclear bombs in the South in 1958, four and a half years after the conclusion of the 1950-1953 Korean War. At its peak in 1967, the number of U.S. nuclear warheads on South Korean territory reached 950.

At one time, South Korea also attempted to lay the foundations for its own operational nuclear weapons program. South Korean General Park Chung-hee, who dubbed himself “president for life,” had a goal of turning his country into a nuclear weapons power by 1977 and engaged in negotiations with France for a plutonium reprocessing facility. The U.S. intelligence community found out about Park’s plans and used significant diplomatic pressure to shut them down. Even so, South Korea continued to work on nuclear technology after Park was assassinated in 1979; according to the International Atomic Energy Agency, South Korean scientists engaged in laboratory experiments involving uranium enrichment as late as 2000.

Ever since the U.S. removed its nuclear warheads from South Korea in 1991, Washington has relied on extended deterrence guarantees to preserve stability on the Korean Peninsula. In essence, the U.S. promises to use all the military power at its disposal, including nuclear weapons, to defend the South in the event of a North Korean attack. The Biden administration has sought to reassure Yoon that this arrangement remains firmly in place, most recently during a September 2022 meetingbetween U.S. and South Korean defense officials.

Despite those pledges, some doubt the U.S. would follow through. South Koreans today are asking the same question Western Europeans asked during the Cold War: Will Washington defend its allies if it means going to war against a nuclear power and running the risk of a U.S. city being engulfed in a nuclear cloud? An independent South Korean nuclear weapons capability would resolve the quandary. A February 2022 Chicago Council on Global Affairs survey found that 71 percent of South Koreans favor developing their own nuclear weapons.

Popular support, however doesn’t necessarily translate into sound policy. Upending the status-quo would be a highly dangerous development with potentially dire security consequences, particularly at a time when Pyongyang and Seoul are already in the midst of an escalatory cycle.South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol delivers a speech on the government budget at the National Assembly in Seoul on Oct. 25, 2022. JEON HEON-KYUN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Any South Korean government would rationalize the acquisition of a nuclear weapon as a necessary defensive measure to restore deterrence and warn off potential North Korean aggression. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, however, is unlikely to view a South Korean nuclear bomb the same way. Instead, Kim, obsessed with his own personal survival and the longevity of his seven decades-long family regime, is more likely to see such a move as an extremely provocative one that aims to dilute the deterrent value of Pyongyang’s own nuclear capability. At worst, Kim may even assume that Seoul, in coordination with the U.S., was preparing for military action of its own, with the objective of eliminating the Kim regime for good.

While this sounds farfetched to Americans and South Koreans alike, it’s a real world concern for North Korea, a country whose conventional military options are limited in the face of stronger adversaries—including one that happens to be a superpower. Kim Jong Un is a rational actor and will try to offset whatever tactical advantages Seoul may acquire after developing a nuclear weapon. We know this because Kim has already done it; after Yoon stressed that North Korea’s political and military leadership would be destroyed if a conflict was deemed imminent, Kim unrolled a new nuclear policy delegating an automatic nuclear attack on the South if Pyongyang’s command-and-control system was targeted.

A nuclear-armed South would also ruin whatever slim diplomatic openings exist with the North. Granted, diplomatic openings are essentially nonexistent at the moment—the North Koreans have repeatedly rejected the Biden administration’s entreaties over the last two years. Yet if Seoul wielded a nuclear capability, even more reasonable, realistic propositions, like a long-range missile testing freeze, a cap on North Korea’s nuclear warheads, or the phased resumption of constructive relations, would be practically impossible to negotiate. The same difficulties would occur if South Korea chose to hold off on assembling its own nuclear weapons and instead requested the redeployment of U.S. nuclear warheads.

What the Korean Peninsula needs above all else is more dialogue, not more weapons. This will require North Korea, South Korea, and the U.S. to begin the process of talking about common-sense risk-reduction measures that minimize the prospects of a war nobody would win at an acceptable price. Otherwise, more tension is a certainty.

Daniel R. DePetris is a fellow at Defense Priorities and a syndicated foreign affairs columnist at the Chicago Tribune.

The views expressed in this article are the writer’s own.

Babylon the Great successfully test launch ICBM from California base after China spy balloon incident

Minuteman III ICBM successfully test launched from California base after China spy balloon incident

By Lewis Pennock For Dailymail.Com 10:00 EST 10 Feb 2023 , updated 16:14 EST 10 Feb 2023

A Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile has been test launched by the U.S. Space Force less than a week after a Chinese spy balloon was shot down after it floated over a sensitive nuclear site in .

The unarmed missile, equipped with a test reentry vehicle, was launched from Vandenberg Space Force Base in Santa Barbara, , at 11.01pm on Thursday night.

Stunning photos of the launch showed the missile cut a huge bright arc across the night sky.

Officials said the launch was a routine test to ‘validate and verify the effectiveness, readiness and accuracy of the weapon system’. A statement also said the launch was ‘not the result of current world events’.

The test comes amid r triggered a diplomatic crisis. American intelligence agencies believe the balloon, which passed over a sensitive military base in Montana, was ‘likely capable of collecting’ and pinpointing American ‘communications’.

Moment US fires Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile

Stunning photos of the launch showed the missile cut a huge bright arc across the night sky
Stunning photos of the launch showed the missile cut a huge bright arc across the night sky 
The unarmed missile, equipped with a test reentry vehicle, was launched from Vandenberg Space Force Base in Santa Barbara, California, at 11.01pm on Thursday night
The unarmed missile, equipped with a test reentry vehicle, was launched from Vandenberg Space Force Base in Santa Barbara, California, at 11.01pm on Thursday night 
Colonel Christopher Cruise, 377th Test and Evaluation Group commander, said: 'This launch showcases the redundancy and reliability of our strategic deterrence systems while sending a visible message of assurance to allies'
Colonel Christopher Cruise, 377th Test and Evaluation Group commander, said: ‘This launch showcases the redundancy and reliability of our strategic deterrence systems while sending a visible message of assurance to allies’ 

A statement from the U.S. Air Force Global Strike Command said: ‘This test launch is part of routine and periodic activities intended to demonstrate that the United States’ nuclear deterrent is safe, secure, reliable and effective to deter twenty-first century threats and reassure our allies.

‘Such tests have occurred over 300 times before, and this test is not the result of current world events.’

The US is considering taking ‘action’ against China for what it calls a violation of American sovereignty. American intelligence as uncovered a vast surveillance network by Beijing that has spanned 40 countries and five continents, according to the State Department.

Gen. Thomas A. Bussiere, Air Force Global Strike Command commander, said Thursday night’s ICBM test ‘displays the heart of our deterrence mission on the world’s stage, assuring our nation and its allies that our weapons are capable and our Airmen are ready and willing to defend peace across the globe at a moment’s notice’.

The ICBM’s reentry vehicle traveled approximately 4,200 miles to the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands, a route regularly used in test launches.

Officials said the test launches verify the accuracy and reliability of the ICBM weapon system, providing data to ensure a continued safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent.

Colonel Christopher Cruise, 377th Test and Evaluation Group commander, said: ‘This launch showcases the redundancy and reliability of our strategic deterrence systems while sending a visible message of assurance to allies.

‘This multilateral team reflects the precision and professionalism of our command, and our joint partners.’

The ICBM's reentry vehicle traveled approximately 4,200 miles to the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands, a route regularly used in test launches
The ICBM’s reentry vehicle traveled approximately 4,200 miles to the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands, a route regularly used in test launches 
The missile was launched from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in Santa Barbara, California
The missile was launched from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in Santa Barbara, California 

The missile bases within Air Fore Global Strike Command have crew members standing alert 24 hours a day, year-round, overseeing the nation’s ICBM alert forces.

The Minuteman III is a vital part of the U.S. military’s strategic arsenal.

The nuclear-capable missile has a range of more than 6,000 and can travel at speeds of up to 15,000 miles per hour.

Development of the original Minuteman began in the 1950s and it took its name from the Colonial Minutemen of the American Revolutionary War, who were ready to fight at short notice.

The recent Chinese balloon incident was linked by US intelligence to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), China’s principal military force. The balloon had ‘multiple antennas’ and was ‘likely capable of collecting and geo-locating communications’.

The Minuteman III is a vital part of the U.S. military's strategic arsenal. The nuclear-capable missile has a range of more than 6,000 and can travel at speeds of up to 15,000 miles per hour
The Minuteman III is a vital part of the U.S. military’s strategic arsenal. The nuclear-capable missile has a range of more than 6,000 and can travel at speeds of up to 15,000 miles per hour 

‘It was equipped with solar panels large enough to produce the requisite power to operate multiple active intelligence collection sensors,’ an official said. 

The U.S. said it will ‘explore taking action against [Chinese government] entities linked to the PLA that supported the balloon’s incursion into US airspace.’

Air Force jets shot down the balloon, which kicked off public furor over Beijing’s spying tactics, on Saturday just off the coast of South Carolina.

It was , briefly passing over Canada, then traversing several states in the continental US before it was brought down on February 4.

President Joe Biden gave the order to shoot it down on Wednesday last week but Defense officials cautioned that it would be safer to do so when the falling debris no longer posed a risk to Americans on the ground.

The State Department said downing the balloon ‘sent a clear message to [China] that its violation of our sovereignty was unacceptable’.   

The Minuteman III makes up the Unites States’ land-based ICBM of the nation’s nuclear triad, along with the Trident submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) and nuclear weapons carried by long-range strategic bombers.

It is a strategic weapon system using a ballistic missile of intercontinental range. Missiles are dispersed in hardened silos to protect against attack and connected to an underground launch control center through a system of hardened cables.

The $7,000,000 Minuteman III weighs 79,432 pounds and can travel 6,000 miles at 15,000mph.  

Development of the missile began in the 1950s, and was named after the Colonial Minutemen of the American Revolutionary War, who could be ready to fight on short notice.

The Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile is pictured during a test launch in October 2019
The Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile is pictured during a test launch in October 2019 

The Minuteman entered service in 1962 as a deterrence weapon that could hit Soviet cities, with the Minuteman-II entering service in 1965 with a number of upgrades to its accuracy and survivability in the face of anti-ballistic missile (AMB) systems.

In 1970, the Minuteman-III became the first deployed ICBM with multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles (MIRV): three smaller warheads that improved the missile’s ability to strike targets defended by AMBs.

By 1970 during the Cold War, 1,000 Minuteman missiles were deployed, but by 2017, the number had shrunk to 400, deployed in missile silos around Malmstrom AFB, Montana; Minot AFB, North Dakota; and F.E. Warren AFB, Wyoming.

From 2027 onwards, Minuteman will be progressively replaced by the new Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) ICBM from 2027 onwards to be built by Northrop Grumman.

Palestinian driver ploughs into bus stop killing two Israelis: Revelation 11

The scene of a suspected ramming attack in Jerusalem

Palestinian driver ploughs into bus stop killing two Israelis

3 minute readFebruary 10, 20234:30 PM MSTLast Updated a day ago

JERUSALEM, Feb 10 (Reuters) – Two Israelis including a child were killed by a Palestinian driver who rammed his car into a group of people at a bus stop on the outskirts of Jerusalem on Friday, Israeli police said.

A volunteer medic with United Hatzalah ambulance service, Ariel Ben-David, told Army Radio: “Everyone was lying out, thrown about, in very bad condition. To our regret, one child did not survive.”

The driver, a 31-year-old from East Jerusalem, was shot dead at the scene by officers, police said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the incident as a terrorist attack and ordered security forces to be reinforced, and the U.S. Office of Palestinian affairs said it was working with both sides to prevent escalation.

The ramming occurred during a period of rising anxiety in Israel over security following an attack last month in which a lone Palestinian gunman killed seven people outside a synagogue.

Israeli forces have carried out hundreds of arrests over recent months during near-daily raids in the occupied West Bank that have seen bloody gunbattles with Palestinian militants.

At least 42 Palestinians, including gunmen and civilians, have been killed this year.

The United Nations, United States, Britain, Germany and other countries condemned Friday’s attack.

“The deliberate targeting of innocent civilians is repugnant and unconscionable,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.

Hamas, the Palestinian armed Islamist group that runs the Gaza Strip, praised it as a “heroic operation” but did not claim responsibility.

A six-year-old boy and a 20-year-old man were killed. The boy’s eight-year-old brother was critically injured, N12 News said, and four more people were wounded, health officials said.

Footage showed a blue car that had crashed into a pole in front of the bus stop in the Ramot area, a part of Jerusalem that was annexed by Israel after the 1967 Middle Eastern war in a move not recognised abroad.

Israel’s far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir was greeted at the scene by angry crowds who surrounded him, some chanting, “Death to terrorists!” He said he has ordered police to prepare plans for operations against what he described as “terrorist hotbeds” in East Jerusalem.

Ten members of the assailant’s family were arrested, police said. Footage showed officers in riot gear leading several handcuffed people from a house.

Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said he ordered the seizure of millions of shekels worth of funds paid by the Palestinian Authority to 87 former and serving East Jerusalem Palestinian security prisoners and their families.