Monday, March 31, 2014

Columbia University Warns of the Sixth Seal

Earthquakes May Endanger New York More Than Thought, Says Study
Columbia University warns of the sixth seal.
Columbia University warns of the sixth seal.
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 York compared 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.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

US Carried Dirty Bombs For Past 25 Years

Elite US troops trained to use backpack nukes
A US backpack nuclear bomb
A US backpack nuclear bomb
Skiing down a mountain and into a battlefield with a nuclear bomb strapped to your back seems like something you’d see only in a James Bond movie, but that’s just one of the things the US elite military personnel were trained to do during the Cold War.
In a detailed report by Foreign Policy, the publication chronicles the creation of the Special Atomic Demolition Munition (SAMD), a portable nuclear weapon that could be carried into battlefield by a single solider. During the Cold War’s final 25 years, Navy SEALs and Army Special Forces were trained to carry these “backpack nukes” beyond enemy lines where, if necessary, they’d be used to destroy valuable infrastructure and keep opposing forces at bay.

Concerned with the Soviet Union’s military advantage over the United States
and its allies in terms of manpower and traditional weaponry, President Dwight Eisenhower looked to enhancing the country’s nuclear capabilities as a way to level the playing field. His “New Look” strategy, however, promised “massive retaliation” to any form of aggression by the Soviet Union – a bold strategy that in reality left the US with little room to maneuver.
“In the event that communist forces launched a limited, non-nuclear attack, the president would have to choose between defeat at the hands of a superior conventional force or a staggeringly disproportionate (and potentially suicidal) strategic nuclear exchange that would kill hundreds of millions of people,” the report stated.
In an attempt to develop targeted nuclear weapons that wouldn’t cause as many casualties, the SAMD was born. Often strapped to a soldier’s back, the 58-pound bomb made it difficult for soldiers to maneuver through a war zone, and those chosen to carry the device – known as the “Green Light” teams – underwent extensive training to ensure they could deliver the bomb, even at the expense of their own lives.
“I think that my first reaction was that I didn’t believe it,” former Green Light member Ken Richter told Foreign Policy. “Because everything that I’d seen prior to that, World War II, showed this huge weapon. And we were going to put it on our backs and carry it? I thought they were joking.”
More powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, though, the SAMD was no laughing matter. US forces would be subjected to eight to 12 hours of training a day when it came to using the device, and in some cases troops would parachute out of planes with the SAMD dangling below them in a protective case, dive underwater with it in a pressurized case, or, yes, ski down a mountain with bomb attached to them.
“I had a lot of people that I interviewed for our team,” Richter recalled. “Once they found out what the mission was, they said, ‘No, thanks. I’d rather go back to Vietnam.’ “
Fortunately, these weapons were never actually used. US allies were not particularly fond of the idea of detonating numerous nuclear devices across their countries, while others within the American military questioned the whole enterprise.
“In our hearts, we knew nobody was going to give control of these to a bunch of big old boys running around the countryside,” Tom Davis, another Green Light member, told Foreign Policy. “We just didn’t believe it was ever going to happen.”
The SADM program was officially halted in 1989, after the Defense and Energy departments found it to be “obsolete.”
This, however, wasn’t the only controversial idea the United States tested during the Cold War. A lawsuit is currently unfolding in federal court concerning a military program that subjected servicemen to various secret drug and chemical experiments. The US hoped to discover new ways to control human behavior, pinpoint weaknesses, hypnotize, and increase an individual’s resistance to torture.
As a result, many former soldiers have come forward claiming that their long-term health problems are a direct product of the experiments conducted on them. The Department of Veterans Affairs has generally declined to cover the health costs of these individuals, though just recently a federal judge ruled the US must notify all veterans of any potential health problems stemming from the experiments.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

More Dirty Bombs

Missing radioactive material may pose ‘dirty bomb’ threat: IAEA
More nuclear material missing.
More nuclear material missing.
By Fredrik Dahl
VIENNA Fri Mar 21, 2014 12:32pm EDT
(Reuters) – About 140 cases of missing or unauthorized use of nuclear and radioactive material were reported to the U.N. atomic agency in 2013, highlighting the challenges facing world leaders at a nuclear security summit next week.
Any loss or theft of highly enriched uranium, plutonium or different types of radioactive sources is potentially serious as al Qaeda-style militants could try to use them to make a crude nuclear device or a so-called “dirty bomb”, experts say.
Denis Flory, deputy director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said most of the reported incidents concerned small quantities of radioactive material.
But, “even if they can’t be used for making a nuclear weapon, they can be used in radioactive dispersal devices, which is a concern,” Flory told Reuters in an interview.
In a “dirty bomb”, conventional explosives are used to disperse radiation from a radioactive source, which can be found in hospitals, factories or other places that may not be very well protected.
Holding a third nuclear security summit since 2010, leaders from 53 countries – including U.S. President Barack Obama – are expected to call for more international action to help prevent radical groups from obtaining atomic bombs.
At the March 24-25 meeting in The Hague, they will say that much headway has been made in reducing the risk of nuclear terrorism but also make clear that more must be done to ensure that dangerous substances don’t fall into the wrong hands.
The Dutch hosts say the aim is a summit communique “containing clear agreements” to prevent nuclear terrorism by reducing stockpiles of hazardous nuclear material, better securing such stocks and intensifying international cooperation.
Flory said member states had reported a total of nearly 2,500 cases to the IAEA’s Incident and Trafficking Database since it was set up two decades ago. More than 120 countries take part in this information exchange project, covering theft, sabotage, unauthorized access and illegal transfers.
In 2012, 160 incidents were reported to the IAEA, of which 17 involved possession and related criminal activities, 24 theft or loss and 119 other unauthorized activities, its website says.
“It is continuing, which means there is still a lot of work to do to have that really decrease,” Flory said with respect to the statistics. However, there are also “more and more countries which declare incidents. The number of incidents we don’t know is probably decreasing.”
Because radioactive material is less hard to find and the device easier to make, experts say a “dirty bomb” – which could cause panic and have serious economic and environmental consequences – is a more likely threat than a deadly atom bomb.
Radical groups could theoretically build a crude nuclear bomb if they had the money, technical knowledge and fissile materials needed, analysts say.
One of the biggest challenges ahead is to finally bring into force a 2005 amendment to the Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials (CPPNM), Flory said.
There are still 27 countries – including the United States – which need to ratify the amendment, which expands the coverage from only the protection of nuclear material in international transport to also include domestic use, transport and storage.
“It is extremely important because this amendment brings a lot of strengthening in the field of nuclear security,” he said.
Harvard University professor Matthew Bunn said this month that a U.S. failure so far to ratify the amended convention “has made it far harder” for Washington to pressure others to do so.
“The problem appears to be a combination of lack of sustained high-level attention by both the administration and Congress and disputes over unrelated issues,” Bunn said.
Flory, who heads the IAEA’s nuclear safety and security department, said he knew that the U.S. administration was “very keen on finishing the process” as soon as possible.
“This is a country where you have a lot of nuclear material, a lot of nuclear facilities and they have a lot of influence on nuclear security.”

Friday, March 28, 2014

US Created The First Horn (Daniel 8)

Current Iran “Crisis” Began With Overthrow of Democratically Elected Government in 1953
Sunday, 23 March 2014 00:00 By Mark Karlin, Truthout | Interview
US creates the first horn
US creates the first horn
Tanks in the streets of Tehran, 1953.Tanks in the streets of Tehran, 1953. (Photo: Wikipedia)

In Manufactured Crisis, investigative journalist Gareth Porter details the manipulation and fabrications that have accompanied the current Iranian nuclear situation. The main difference between this and the Iraq war conspiracy, the author says, was that the neoconservatives who were carrying it out never got the war on Iran they wanted.
Obtain this book, Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare, from Truthout with a minimum contribution. Just click here. You will be enhancing your knowledge, supporting progressive authors and backing the vital journalism of Truthout.
Have we narrowly averted a war with Iran, and were the Neocons again behind the bellicose threats against Tehran? Investigative journalist Gareth Porter offers his perspective, as detailed in Manufactured Crisis in this interview with Truthout.
MARK KARLIN: You use the phrase Manufactured Crisis as the title of your book about the Iran nuclear scare. Were you thinking about Dick Cheney and George W. Bush’s manufactured crisis to justify the Iraq War as precedent?
GARETH PORTER: No, I wasn’t thinking of the direct parallel with the “manufactured crisis” that preceded and paved the way to the invasion and occupation of Iraq when I first came up with the title. But the more I have uncovered about the details of manipulation and fabrications that have accompanied the Iranian crisis, the clearer it has become that the parallel between the two “manufactured crises” is extremely close.
In fact, the book shows that the Bush administration was laying the groundwork for creating a false WMD case against Iran in much the same way that it did in the run-up to the war in Iraq. Readers will be shocked to find that the information that the Bush administration exploited politically most effectively in making the case for a covert nuclear weapons program in Iran came from a German intelligence agency source – a member of the same MEK terrorist organization – just as the source of the famous Iraqi “mobile bioweapons labs” story told by Colin Powell in a UN speech had been the source that the BND [German federal intelligence service] had code-named “Curveball.”
But the parallels between the two conspiracies are even stronger: In both cases the BND warned the US government not to rely on the information from its source, which had been passed on the CIA, because they had concluded it was not trustworthy. And equally startling, in both cases, the Bush administration officials pressured top CIA officials to use the information anyway, while keeping poor Colin Powell ignorant of the BND warning!
I show that the “manufactured crisis” over Iran’s nuclear program was part of a war conspiracy every bit as heinous as the Iraq war conspiracy. The main difference was that the neoconservatives who were carrying it out never got the war on Iran they wanted.
MARK KARLIN: You describe three primary stages to the Iranian nuclear crisis diplomatic narrative. Can you briefly describe them?
GARETH PORTER: The first stage was triggered by the discovery of the Natanz enrichment facility in 2002 by the Mujahedin-e-Khalq, a terrorist organization that was working hand in hand with Israel. The Bush administration, in coordination with Israel, used that event to launch an [International Atomic Energy Agency] investigation that was intended by the two allies to put Iran on trial for deceiving the IAEA for two decades in order to cover up a nuclear weapons program. That would in turn make it possible to haul Iran before the UN Security Council, giving the Bush administration a basis for a potential military option.
But the IAEA investigation fizzled out, but the Bush neoconservative-Israel alliance had a secret weapon – a set of documents that was said to have come straight from a Iranian nuclear weapons research project. In 2008, the IAEA, cooperating closely with the Bush administration, began pushing those documents as evidence for Iran’s nuclear weapons intentions, thus beginning the second phase of the crisis.
The third phase of the crisis began with an IAEA report in November 2011 that was based almost entirely on intelligence coming from Israel. It was the signal for the phase of punishing sanctions against Iran’s oil exports and Central Bank, which followed immediately.
MARK KARLIN: What is your perspective on the current “bridge” agreement with Iran between the United States and its allies on the development of its nuclear program?
GARETH PORTER: I’m not sure that it was really necessary to have such an agreement, which appears to have been primarily pushed by the US side. The time spent on negotiating it could have been spent on negotiating the long-term agreement that they are now finally tackling more than three months later. One of the problems I see with it is that it may have reinforced the tendency for Obama administration policymakers to feel that the sanctions had put them in the driver’s seat in the negotiations.
MARK KARLIN: Was regime change in Tehran a major goal of the Iranian nuclear scare?
GARETH PORTER: For the Bush administration’s neoconservative inner core it was absolutely the major goal. John Bolton and David Wurmser, both close to the Likudists, believed that regime change would require the use of US military force, which was the anticipated end result of the strategy they cooked up with Israel in 2003-04 to make the case that Iran was threatening to get nuclear weapons – the Iran equivalent of the Iraq war conspiracy that involved Wurmser as well.
MARK KARLIN: Within Israel, although Netanyahu was threatening a military strike on Iran’s nuclear sites, a significant number of former prominent Israeli politicians, the military and intelligence services were arguing that such an attack would be a mistake. What explains the unprecedented public disagreement with Netanyahu?
GARETH PORTER: The most important thing to understand about the Israeli threat of war on Iran, as I document in great detail in the book, is that it was always a political ruse which no Israeli government ever intended to actually carry out. It didn’t start with Netanyahu, but he and Defense Minister Ehud Barak refined it to an art form. The public disagreement with the idea of attacking Iran is a reflection of the fact that the Israeli military and intelligence establishment never supported an attack – although many believed that threatening to do so was necessary and effective. After 2011, however former Mossad Chief Meir Dagan broke publicly with the policy, because he believed that Netanyahu was irresponsible and had taken unnecessary risks of provoking Iran.
MARK KARLIN: How did you go about researching the book, given all the smoke screens thrown up around Iran’s nuclear programs. You provide very detailed footnotes to buttress your argument.
GARETH PORTER: It was a combination of two things that gave me sufficient evidence to make what I believe is an iron-clad case that the narrative about an Iranian nuclear weapons program was a fiction: First, I was able to establish clearly one falsehood in the narrative after another by identifying a series of contradictions between the official line and verifiable facts on the public record. In other words close analysis and the use of logic was crucial. Second, although most officials from the Bush and Obama administrations were not interested in cooperating with my investigation, some former intelligence officials and a key German source provided some key insights and facts that helped to give my account much more documentary basis.
MARK KARLIN: Can you summarize the “mystery of the laptop documents”?
GARETH PORTER: The “laptop documents” were the ones said to have come from the purloined laptop of a scientist in a purported Iranian secret nuclear weapons research project. But the Bush administration was always unwilling to answer questions about their origins. Fortunately I was able to penetrate that mystery thanks to a former high-ranking German official who told me on the record how the documents were given to German intelligence by a member of the Muhjadehin-e-Khalq, the terrorist organization that had worked for Saddam against the Iranian regime and then developed close ties with Israel’s Mossad. I show in the book that the documents could not have been authentic, contrary to the IAEA’s official line that they were “credible” and that they were fabricated by Mossad.
MARK KARLIN: What shadow does the US overthrow of the democratically elected government in Iran in 1953 – and its long-term military support of the Shah – cast over the US confrontation with Iran over its nuclear program?
GARETH PORTER: The US relationship with the Shah, which was a central element of US Middle East policy for decades from 1953 until 1979, cast a long shadow on the policy of the Reagan administration toward Iran’s nuclear program. The Reagan administration was still looking for an opportunity to overthrow the Islamic regime and restore a cooperative government, and its support for Saddam’s war against Iran in the 1980s was the essential reason for trying to stifle the Iranian nuclear program in the early 1980s. I show that the misguided US policy led to Iran’s deciding to have its own uranium enrichment capability, contrary to its original plan.
MARK KARLIN: You single out Robert Gates, who has a best-selling memoir out now, as a key figure in laying the foundation for the Iran nuclear scare. Can you expand on his role?
GARETH PORTER: Gates had a twofold interest in keeping Iran as an adversary at a time when President Rafsanjani was trying to thaw the relationship in 1990-91. His career had almost been ruined by his involvement in the Iran-Contra affair, which had gone off the rails when Rafsanjani had made the Reagan administration secret 1985 U.S. mission to Tehran public. But more important, he became CIA director in 1991 at a time when the agency desperately needed a substitute for the Soviet threat that had disappeared. I show in the book how he exploited the idea that WMD proliferation in general was the new equivalent of the Soviet threat and that Iran was the primary candidate to play the heavy on that issue.
MARK KARLIN: You appropriately single out the United States and Israel as perpetuating a war cry about Iran’s nuclear program, but haven’t other non-Persian and non-Shi’ite Arab states played a behind-the-scenes role in supporting the United States and Israel, particularly Saudi Arabia?
GARETH PORTER: It is certainly true that the Saudis and other Gulf Arab regimes were extremely suspicious of Iran’s nuclear program and wanted the United States to do something about it. But it’s a bit more complicated than The New York Times coverage led the public to believe. The WikiLeaks documents show that those regimes were extremely concerned about the Israeli threat to attack Iran during the Bush administration’s second term, which most Gulf security officials believed would have disastrous consequences, and they wanted the United States to prevent it.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Nuclear Winter (Revelation 16)

‘Small’ Nuclear War Could Trigger Catastrophic Cooling
By Charles Q. Choi, LiveScience Contributor | March 26, 2014 09:26am

Nuclear Winter. Revelation 16.
Nuclear Winter. Revelation 16.

Even a relatively small regional nuclear war could trigger global cooling, damage the ozone layer and cause droughts for more than a decade, researchers say. These findings should further spur the elimination of the more than 17,000 nuclear weapons that exist today, scientists added.
During the Cold War, a nuclear exchange between superpowers was feared for years. One potential consequence of such a global nuclear war was “nuclear winter,” wherein nuclear explosions sparked huge fires whose smoke, dust and ash blotted out the sun, resulting in a “twilight at noon” for weeks. Much of humanity might eventually die from the resulting crop failures and starvation. [Doomsday: 9 Real Ways the Earth Could End]
Today, with the United States the only standing superpower, nuclear winter might seem a distant threat. Still, nuclear war remains a very real threat; for instance, between developing-world nuclear powers such as India and Pakistan.
To see what effects such a regional nuclear conflict might have on climate, scientists modeled a war between India and Pakistan involving 100 Hiroshima-level bombs, each packing the equivalent of 15,000 tons of TNT — just a small fraction of the world’s current nuclear arsenal. They simulated interactions within and between the atmosphere, ocean, land and sea ice components of the Earth’s climate system.
Scientists found the effects of such a war could be catastrophic.
“Most people would be surprised to know that even a very small regional nuclear war on the other side of the planet could disrupt global climate for at least a decade and wipe out the ozone layer for a decade,” study lead author Michael Mills, an atmospheric scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado, told Live Science.
The researchers predicted the resulting firestorms would kick up about 5.5 million tons (5 million metric tons) of black carbon high into the atmosphere. This ash would absorb incoming solar heat, cooling the surface below.
The simulations hint that after such a war, global average surface temperatures would drop suddenly by about 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 degrees Celsius), their lowest levels in more than 1,000 years. In some places, temperatures would get significantly colder — most of North America, Asia, Europe and the Middle East would experience winters that are 4.5 to 10.8 degrees F (2.5 to 6 degrees C) colder, and summers 1.8 to 7.2 degrees F (1 to 4 degrees C) cooler. The colder temperatures would lead to lethal frosts worldwide that would reduce growing seasons by 10 to 40 days annually for several years. [The Top 10 Largest Explosions Ever]
The ash that absorbed heat up in the atmosphere would also intensely heat the stratosphere, accelerating chemical reactions that destroy ozone. This would allow much greater amounts of ultraviolet radiation to reach Earth’s surface, with a summertime ultraviolet increase of 30 to 80 percent in the mid-latitudes, posing a threat to human health, agriculture and ecosystems on both land and sea.
The models also suggest colder temperatures would reduce global rainfall and other forms of precipitation by up to about 10 percent. This would likely trigger widespread fires in regions such as the Amazon, and it would pump even more smoke into the atmosphere.
“All in all, these effects would be very detrimental to food production and to ecosystems,” Mills said.
Previous studies had estimated that global temperatures would recover after about a decade. However, this latest work projected that cooling would persist for more than 25 years, which is about as far into the future as the simulations went. Two major factors caused this prolonged cooling — an expansion of sea ice that reflected more solar heat into space, and a significant cooling in the upper 330 feet (100 meters) of the oceans, which would warm back up only gradually.
“This is the third independent model examining the effects a regional nuclear conflict on the atmosphere and the ocean and the land, and their conclusions all support each other,” Mills said. “It’s interesting that every time we’ve approached this same question with more sophisticated models, the effects seem to be more pronounced.”
These findings “show that one could produce a global nuclear famine using just 100 of the smallest nuclear weapons,” Mills said. “There are about 17,000 nuclear weapons on the planet right now, most of which are much more powerful than the 100 we looked at in this study. This raises the questions of why so many of these weapons still exist, and whether they serve any purpose.”
The scientists detailed their findings in the March issue of the journal Earth’s Future.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Obama Worried About New York Nuke

Obama Worries Of New York Nuke Are Chillingly Ironic


Nuclear Terror: President Obama deflects concerns about Russian aggression with a crack about “a nuclear weapon going off in Manhattan.” His diplomatic wishful thinking on Iran risks exactly that.
When it comes to squaring the president’s purported goals on Iran with his policy, what his friend Stevie Wonder sang about Richard Nixon 40 years ago fits like a tailor-made glove.
“The world is tired of pacifiers,” an angry Stevie sang in a 1974 hit. “We would not care to wake up to the nightmare that’s becoming real life … ’cause if you really want to hear our views, you haven’t done nothin’!”
The American people today should be that kind of angry, because the pacifist Obama hasn’t done nothin’ to prevent the nightmare of nuclear terrorism within the U.S. homeland from becoming real life.
In Holland on Tuesday, he dismissed a reporter’s question on Moscow invading Ukraine, claiming he is “much more concerned when it comes to our security with the prospect of a nuclear weapon going off in Manhattan.”
What’s he doing about that concern? The U.S. “has organized a forum over the last several years that has been able to eliminate that threat in a consistent way.”
Well, a funny thing happened on the way to that forum. In Geneva’s nuclear talks, it’s becoming clear that Iran will inevitably join the nuclear-armed club.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, writing in the Financial Times last week, repeated the familiar claim that Iran cannot become a nuclear-weapons power because Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s leader, has issued a fatwa against it.
But three sentences later, Iran’s foreign minister warns that “the only way to ensure that Iran’s nuclear energy program will remain exclusively peaceful is to reach a mutually acceptable agreement” and that the West realizes “that coercion, pressure and sanctions only result in more centrifuges.” Elsewhere, Zarif boasts that “Iranian scientists have mastered nuclear technology — and it is widely accepted that the knowledge we have attained cannot be wished away.”
As was revealed last August, the “moderate,” ever-smiling Iranian President Hasan Rouhani, who was Iran’s nuclear negotiator in talks with Britain, France and Germany a decade ago, admitted he had been fooling the West to buy time to develop atomic weapons.
Last week, 23 Democratic senators, in a pointed letter to Obama, noted “Iran’s history of delay, deception, and dissembling on its nuclear program,” which “raises serious concerns that Iran will use prolonged negotiations as a tool to secure an economic lifeline while it continues to make progress towards a nuclear weapon.”
The president’s own party is concerned about “a nuclear weapon going off in Manhattan” too — thanks to Obama’s impotent foreign policy.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Sixth Seal, New York Earthquake

East Coast vs. West Coast Earthquakes: Same Disaster, Different Creatures

East Coast West Coast Earthquake
First Posted: 08/23/11 10:26 PM ET Updated: 10/24/11 06:12 AM ET
WASHINGTON (Associated Press)– The East Coast doesn’t get earthquakes often but when they do strike, there’s a whole lot more shaking going on. The ground in the East is older, colder and more intact than the West Coast or the famous Pacific Ring of Fire. So East Coast quakes rattle an area up to 10 times larger than a similar-sized West Coast temblor.
“They tend to be more bang for the buck as far as shaking goes,” said Virginia Tech geology professor James Spotila.
Tuesday’s 5.8-magnitude quake was centered in Virginia and was felt up and down the Eastern seaboard for more than 1,000 miles. There hasn’t been a quake that large on the East Coast since 1944 in New York.
While this was a rarity for the East, a 5.8 quake isn’t unusual for California, Oregon, Washington and Alaska, where one occurs about once a year. Those states have had 103 quakes 5.8 or bigger since 1900, compared to now two in the East.
The tiny island of Trinidad is more quake-prone than the East Coast, said U.S. Geological Survey seismologist Paul Earle.
“In all the years I was at FEMA, there didn’t seem to be a concern for earthquakes on the East Coast,” former Federal Emergency Management Agency chief James Lee Witt said.
Because of geology, earthquakes on the coasts have different triggers and act differently in some ways. And they definitely are felt differently.
One glaring East versus West disparity: When a quake happens in California, geologists usually know what fault ruptured. Tuesday’s quake happened on an unknown fault, and it is likely to remain a mystery.
Because the quake didn’t break the surface “we may never actually map this fault from this earthquake,” Earle said.
The only thing that will help scientists figure out where the break truly occurred are the aftershocks which could help highlight or outline the fault line, said Cornell University seismologist Rowena Lohman.
Most of the times, quakes occur when Earth’s floating giant plates shift, rub against or slip past each other. That’s what happens along California’s San Andreas fault when quakes happen there.
Tuesday’s thrust earthquake was far from the edge of a plate – the nearest are thousands of miles away in the mid-Atlantic or California, said seismologist David Applegate, associate director of natural hazards for the USGS in Reston, Va.
The stresses that cause these kinds of quakes come from far away and mount ever so slowly over time, even building up from the retreat of glaciers at the end of the Ice Age, he said.
Another East versus West contrast: The ground is different in the East in a way that makes the shaking travel much further, allowing people to feel the quake several states and hundreds of miles away.
The rocks in the Earth’s crust in the East are colder, older and harder, which means seismic waves travel more efficiently and over greater distances. Rocks on the West Coast are relatively young and broken up by faults.
“An intact bell rings more loudly than a cracked bell and that’s essentially what the crust is on the East Coast,” USGS seismologist Lucy Jones told a news conference in Pasadena, Calif.
In the East, hurricanes are the worry far more than quakes. Former FEMA chief Witt said people on the West Coast know what to do in an earthquake: drop to the floor, cover their heads and hold on to something sturdy until the shaking stops.
That’s what USGS’s Applegate did in Virginia.
“It’s seared in our heads,” said USGS seismologist Susan Hough in Pasadena. “People back East don’t get that kind of preparedness message.”
Alicia Chang contributed from Los Angeles

Monday, March 24, 2014

Uranium Particles Floating In Iran

Iranian MP Dismisses Toxic Particles Rumor
March 22, 2014 - 14:37

TEHRAN (Tasnim) - An Iranian lawmaker dismissed rumors about the influx into the country of dust particles containing uranium.

Speaking to the Tasnim News Agency on Saturday, Moayyed Hosseini Sadr, member of a parliamentary faction in charge of dealing with environmental issues, dismissed unconfirmed reports about the influx of fine particles that contain poisonous nuclear substances, such as uranium.
“That is a mere rumor,” he stressed, adding that one could not accept such unfounded claim, because uranium is highly hazardous to health and a cause of cancer.
The lawmaker further asked for necessary investigation into the source of such rumors.
This comes after Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei on March 5 called for all-out endeavors to protect the environment in Iran.
In a ceremony on the occasion of the national Week of Natural Resources here in Tehran at the time, the Leader had also cautioned against the damaging effects of dust particles and sand haze that enter the country from outside, and urged the whole administrative bodies to join hands and work together to coordinate policy on tackling that problem.
Earlier in February, Head of Iran’s Environmental Protection Organization (IEPO) Masoumeh Ebtekar paid a visit to Iraq to hold talks with the Arab country’s officials on a range of environmental issues, particularly Tehran-Baghdad joint efforts to tackle the growing menace of dust particles at the areas along the shared border.
The main aim of her trip was to strengthen environmental cooperation between the two neighboring countries to handle the problem of sand haze.
Iranian residents in the western and southwestern provinces, bordering Iraq, are facing with a growing trend in the influx of fine particles, which are generated by drought-hit marshlands in neighboring countries.
The disruptive dust storms have pushed pollution in those border areas to alarming levels, and have also raised health concerns.
The particles, carried by winds, can penetrate the lungs and enter the bloodstream, causing serious diseases such as lung cancer, asthma and heart problems.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Nuclear Deterrence Is A Fallacy

The Ukraine nuclear delusion
by Gareth Evans*

20 March 2014 /GENEVA
An argument now widely heard is that Ukraine would not be in the trouble it is in had it retained its substantial stockpile of nuclear weapons at the end of the Cold War. This has dangerous policy implications, and must not go unchallenged.
Despite its superficial plausibility, the argument does not withstand scrutiny against the available evidence about how states behave. Nuclear weapons are simply not the effective deterrent that most people think, whether the context is deterring war between large nuclear-armed powers or protecting weaker states against conventional attack.
The claim that the balance of nuclear terror between the United States and the Soviet Union maintained peace throughout the Cold War — and has been important since in restraining other potential belligerents (including India and Pakistan, India and China, and China and the US) — is not nearly as strong as it seems. There is no evidence that at any time during the Cold War either the Soviet Union or the US wanted to initiate war and was constrained from doing so only by the existence of the other side’s nuclear weapons.
We know that the knowledge of an adversary’s possession of supremely destructive weapons (as with chemical and biological weapons before 1939) has not stopped war between major powers in the past. Nor has the experience or prospect of massive damage to cities and civilian death tolls caused leaders to back down — including after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. There is now strong historical evidence that the key factor driving Japan to sue for peace was not the nuclear attacks; it was the Soviet Union’s declaration of war later that same week.
But if nuclear weapons have not preserved the “Long Peace” since 1945, what has? A plausible alternative explanation is simply that the major powers realized, after the experience of World War II (and given all of the rapid technological advances that followed), that the damage inflicted by any war would be unbelievably horrific, far outweighing any conceivable benefit.
What of the notion, more immediately relevant to today’s Ukraine, that nuclear weapons are a strategic equalizer, necessary to compensate for inferior conventional forces and capabilities? North Korea certainly believes that possession of even a very small number of nuclear weapons constitutes some deterrent against forcible regime change, with the experience of Serbia in 1999, Iraq in 2003, and Libya in 2011 no doubt reinforcing its perception that states without such weapons are particularly vulnerable.
But weapons that would be manifestly suicidal to use are not ultimately a very credible deterrent. They will not stop the kind of adventurism now seen in Ukraine, because the risks associated with their deliberate use are simply too high. Both sides in these situations fully understand that. Russian President Vladimir Putin knows that Ukraine would be no more likely than the US to nuke Moscow for sending tanks into Crimea, or even Dnipropetrovsk.
Nuclear weapons are not the stabilizing tools that they are commonly assumed to be. Maybe that is because the scale of nuclear weapons’ destructiveness makes their practical military use unthinkable in almost any conceivable circumstances. Maybe it is just the well-understood ethical taboo that inhibited even US Secretary of State John Foster Dulles: Had the US used nuclear weapons in Korea or Vietnam, or against China over Taiwan, Dulles said, “We’d be finished as far as present-day world opinion was concerned.”
Whatever the reason, conflicts have regularly occurred in which nuclear weapons could have played a part, but did not. Consider the long list of wars in which non-nuclear powers either directly attacked nuclear powers or were not deterred by the prospect of their nuclear intervention: Korea, Vietnam, Yom Kippur, Falklands, the two in Afghanistan since the 1970s, and the first Gulf War.
Then there are the cases where both sides’ possession of nuclear weapons, rather than operating as a constraining factor, has given one side the opportunity to launch small military actions without serious fear of nuclear reprisal, owing to the too-high stakes of such a response. Think of the Kargil War between Pakistan and India in 1999.
There is substantial quantitative, as well as anecdotal, evidence to support what is known in the literature as the “stability/instability paradox” — the notion that what may appear to be a stable nuclear balance actually encourages more violence. The old conservative line is that “the absence of nuclear weapons would make the world safe for conventional wars.” But it is more plausible to think that it is the presence of nuclear weapons that has made the world safer for such wars.
There is one thing that the presence of Ukrainian nuclear weapons would have added to today’s mix: Another huge layer of potential hazard, owing to the risk of stumbling into a catastrophe through accident, miscalculation, system error, or sabotage. Even true believers in nuclear deterrence must acknowledge that it has always been an extremely fragile basis for maintaining stable peace.
It simply cannot be assumed that calm, considered rationality will always prevail in the enormous stress of a real-time crisis. And it certainly cannot be assumed that there will never be human or technological errors, with harmless events being read as threatening (as in 1995, when Russian President Boris Yeltsin was advised to retaliate immediately against an incoming NATO missile, which proved to be a Norwegian scientific rocket).
There is also a major risk of miscommunication (now compounded by the sophistication of cyber weapons) and of basic system error. Much archival evidence of the Cold War years has now revealed how close to calamity the world regularly came — much more often than was known at the time. And recurring reports of security failures and acute morale problems at US missile sites today add further alarming weight to this concern.
Nuclear-weapons enthusiasts seem to have an inexhaustible appetite for bad arguments. Nothing we have heard in the context of Ukraine suggests that their record is improving.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Iran Continues To Purify Uranium

Tehran ‘won’t give up’ uranium enrichment


TEHRAN: President Hassan Rowhani insisted Wednesday that Iran would not abandon its enrichment of uranium, after US senators called for it to be denied any such right under a long-term nuclear deal.
“The world has admitted that Iran is, and will be, among the countries which have nuclear technology, including enrichment, and there is no doubt about this for anyone,” state media quoted Rowhani as telling a cabinet meeting.
His comment came after an overwhelming majority of US senators signed a bipartisan letter to President Barack Obama on Tuesday urging him to reject Iran’s claim to the right to enrich uranium for civilian purposes in talks under way with the major powers.
“We believe that Iran has no inherent right to enrichment under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty,” the letter signed by 83 of the 100 members of the US Senate said.
Rowhani said Iran was ready to be more transparent about its nuclear program to allay Western concerns about its ambitions.
“We do not want to make anybody worried… today we are negotiating for a final agreement which is reachable within six months,” he said.
Meanwhile, Iran is ready to pardon hundreds of members of an exiled Iranian opposition group based at a former military camp near Baghdad, Iran’s ambassador to Iraq told the Mehr news agency on Wednesday.
“After conducting investigations, 423 members (of the People’s Mujahedeen Organization of Iran — PMOI) who do not have any legal problems can return to Iran,” Hassan Danaeifar was quoted as saying.
The number represents about 14 percent of the estimated 3,000 members of the PMOI who are living in exile at Camp Liberty, near Baghdad airport.
“Iran is ready to pardon those members who did not kill anyone or do not have complaints against them,” he said, without elaborating.
Danaeifar added that a bid by “a considerable number of this group who wish to come back to Iran was blocked by their leaders.”
The leftwing PMOI was founded in the 1960s to oppose the shah of Iran.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Antichrist Calls For Overturn of Al Maliki

Iraq: Sadr calls for high turnout as election battle heats up
Shi’ite leader calls for high voter turnout to prevent “thieves” coming to power
Antichrist calls for overturn of Iraq government.
Antichrist calls for overturn of Iraq government.
Baghdad, Asharq Al-Awsat—In his second media appearance since he announced his intention to quit politics, Iraqi Shi’ite leader Moqtada Al-Sadr called on the people of Iraq to participate in the forthcoming parliamentary elections to prevent “thieves” and “beneficiaries” from gaining power.
Sadr has been an increasingly fierce critic of embattled Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki, denouncing him earlier this month as a “dictator and a tyrant.” He has called for a series of anti-government protests each Monday, saying the Iraqi electorate should ignore “the negligence and disregard of some politicians” and participate in the forthcoming legislative elections, scheduled for April 30.
“If elections are held without the participation of patriotic and loyal voters, the unfit will inevitably make it to power,” Sadr said.
Sadr’s speech on Thursday comes against the backdrop of an escalating political crisis, with a number of prominent Iraqi political figures being excluded from running by the Independent Higher Elections Commission. Some of the excluded candidates have subsequently been reinstated by the Iraqi judiciary, fueling fears of the politicization of the electoral process.
The leader of the Shi’ite National Iraqi Alliance, Ibrahim Al-Jaafari, said in a statement that “Iraq may face strife aimed at destabilizing national ranks and causing disunity among the parties before the elections.”
The National Iraqi Alliance is the leading Shi’ite political bloc in Iraq and includes Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki’s own party as well as the Sadrists. Disputes among blocs in that alliance have escalated over the exclusion of some candidates. Ihe coalition is now facing both internal rifts and challenges from other political blocs, including the Sunni-dominated Mutahidoun Coalition and Iyad Allawi’s bloc.
The Democratic Civil Alliance received a blow on Thursday after an arrest warrant was issued against Mithal Al-Alusi, one day after his parliamentary candidacy was reinstated by the judicial commission following an appeal.
Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat on Wednesday, Alusi hailed the judiciary’s decision to reinstate his candidacy. He said his reinstatement “has demonstrated that some of the decisions of the Independent Higher Elections Commission had political motives.”
The arrest warrant means he cannot run in the parliamentary elections.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Russian War Will Increase Nuclear Proliferation

Ukraine and Nuclear Proliferation
Russia’s invasion has made U.S. assurances seem meaningless.

Russian war will increase nuclear proliferation
Russian war will increase nuclear proliferation
Updated March 19, 2014 9:00 p.m. ET
The damage to world order from Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Crimea will echo for years, but one of the biggest casualties deserves more attention: the cause of nuclear nonproliferation. One lesson to the world of Russia’s cost-free carve-up of Ukraine is that nations that abandon their nuclear arsenals do so at their own peril.
This story goes back to the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union. Russia’s nuclear arsenal was spread among the former Soviet republics that had become independent nations. Ukraine had some 1,800 nuclear weapons, including short-range tactical weapons, air-launched cruise missiles and bombers. Only Russia and the U.S. had more at the time, and Ukraine’s arsenal was both modern and highly survivable in the event of a first strike.
Russian forces wait outside the Ukrainian firefighters brigade headquarters. Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
The U.S. was rightly concerned that these warheads could end up in the wrong hands, and the Clinton Administration made controlling them a foreign-policy priority. The result was the 1994 Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances in which Ukraine agreed to sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and return its nuclear arsenal to Russia in exchange for security “assurances” by Russia, the U.S. and United Kingdom. Those included promises to respect Ukraine’s independence and sovereignty within its existing borders, as well as refraining from threatening or using force against Ukraine.
Officials in Kiev clearly had the potential for Russian aggression in mind when they sought those assurances, which is one reason they wanted other nations to co-sign as well. China and France later added somewhat weaker assurances in separate attachments to the Budapest Memo.
Ukraine also wanted to take many years to turn over its weapons, but the U.S. wanted quicker action and by 1996 Ukraine had given up its entire nuclear arsenal. It was an important victory for nonproliferation—a success rooted in the world’s post-Cold War confidence in American power and deterrence.
Contrast that with the current crisis. President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron have blasted Russia for its clear violation of the Budapest accord, but those U.S. and U.K. assurances have been exposed as meaningless. That lesson isn’t lost on Ukraine, but it also won’t be lost on the rest of the world.
Had Kiev kept its weapons rather than giving them up in return for parchment promises, would Vladimir Putin have been so quick to invade Crimea two weeks ago? It’s impossible to know, but it’s likely it would have at least given him more pause.
Ukraine’s fate is likely to make the world’s nuclear rogues, such as Iran and North Korea, even less likely to give up their nuclear facilities or weapons. As important, it is likely to make nonnuclear powers and even close U.S. allies wonder if they can still rely on America’s security guarantees.
Japan and South Korea are sure to consider their nuclear options as China presses its own territorial claims. South Korean public opinion is already in favor of an independent nuclear deterrent. And several Middle East countries, notably Saudi Arabia, are already contemplating their nuclear options once Iran becomes a nuclear power. Ukraine’s fate will only reinforce those who believe these countries can’t trust American assurances.
Perhaps the greatest irony is that President Obama has made nuclear nonproliferation one of his highest priorities. In April 2009 in Prague, he promised to lead a crusade to rid the world of nuclear weapons with treaties and the power of America’s moral example. But documents and “assurances” have never kept any country safe from the world’s predators. Only comparable military power or the protection of a superpower like the U.S. can do that. When the superpower’s assurances are called into question, the world becomes a far more dangerous place.
On present trend Mr. Obama’s legacy won’t be new limits on the spread of nuclear weapons. Instead he’ll be the President who presided over, and been a major cause of, a new era of global nuclear proliferation.
To underscore the point, next week Mr. Obama will travel to The Hague to preach the virtues of nonproliferation at his third global Nuclear Security Summit. Also expected: Vladimir Putin.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Antichrist Protests Against Al-Maliki

Iraq: Sectarianism, Oil and the War in Syria (Part 1/2)

17 March 2014
Manuel Langendorf

Maliki treats the breakdown of order in Iraq as a challenge to his rule.
Iraq has certainly experienced a turbulent decade. The US-led invasion in 2003 which culminated in the ouster of long-time ruler Saddam Hussein was a game-changer in Iraq's history. Subsequent efforts by the Coalition Provisional Authority, under the leadership of Ambassador Paul Bremer, led to the dismantling of key institutions of the Ba'athist power structure on which Hussein relied, including the Iraqi army.
In 2005, a new constitution — which many argue is flawed — was approved, establishing the Republic of Iraq as a "single federal, independent and fully sovereign state" with Islam as its official religion.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki rose to power in 2006 and is serving his second term in office.
Al-Maliki's premiership is far from uncontested, especially as Iraqi Sunnis have accused him of discrimination and favoritism toward the Shi'a community, which the prime minister himself is a part of. Antigovernment protests that began in late 2012, predominantly by but not only limited to the disenfranchised Sunni community, turned violent last year. In 2013, Iraq witnessed its most violent period in over five years with a significant increase in inter-communal conflict.
Experts and different players in Iraq are divided over what caused this flare-up in violence. In April 2013, al-Maliki stated that sectarian conflict had returned to Iraq "because it began in another place" of the region. His statement was seen as a reference to the civil war in Syria, which is about to enter its fourth year.
Iraq, a founding member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), has large oil reserves which are unevenly spread across the country. As of January 2013, it also held the 12th largest natural gas reserves in the world, with over 60% being located in southern Iraq.
Situated along some of the region's key fault lines, Iraq's future is likely to determine some of the wider issues and conflicts in the Middle East.
Fair Observer's Middle East Editor, Manuel Langendorf, speaks to Chris Zambelis, a senior analyst specializing in Middle East affairs for the risk management group Helios Global. Langendorf and Zambelis talk about the causes of violence in Iraq, the players involved, and the country's potential in the world energy market.
Manuel Langendorf: While international media attention is mainly directed at the situation in Syria, Iraq has witnessed some of the bloodiest months in its recent history with anti-government protests, a resurgence of suicide bombings, and a general increase in inter-communal conflict. What is behind this flare-up in violence? Earlier this year, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki argued that sectarian violence had returned to Iraq due to a spillover effect from Syria. Is this the reason?
Chris Zambelis: The reasons for the notable upsurge of violence in Iraq are manifold and are based on internal Iraqi and regional geopolitical factors. According to most authoritative estimates, in 2013 Iraq experienced its worst bout of protracted violence since 2008. Based on the latest indicators, 2014 portends to be as bad if not worse than 2013. We have to consider the numerous domestic social, political and economic factors behind the violence.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who heads the Shi'a-led Islamic Dawa Party and the political parties and independents that make up the Shi'a-led State of Law Coalition, has engendered widespread opposition among a large segment of Iraq's Sunni Arab population. This reality is best demonstrated by the actions of those residing in Anbar Province and other parts of western Iraq.
Many Sunni Arabs feel marginalized by what they see as a campaign led by al-Maliki and his Shi'a allies to permanently undermine their influence in Iraq. While having to endure the authoritarianism of the previous Ba'athist order just like all Iraqis, Sunni Arabs tended to dominate the old institutions such as the public sector and security services, while Shi'a Arabs and Kurds, among others, faced widespread persecution.
The tide has now turned: Shi'a Arabs, who constitute the majority of Iraq's population, have come to dominate post-Ba'athist Iraqi society. The arrests of many high-profile Sunni Arab political, religious and tribal figures opposed to al-Maliki, including individuals associated with the previous Ba'athist order and various Sunni Islamist movements, have also inflamed tensions. The resort to violent crackdowns against public demonstrations by Sunni Arabs, who continue to agitate against Baghdad in places such as al-Fallujah and al-Ramadi in Anbar Province, has likewise raised the political temperature.
The Iraqi prime minister is also seen as having abandoned any attempt to engender support beyond his core Shi'a Arab demographic base in favor of an agenda characterized by sectarianism and revenge. Many Sunni Arabs view the Iraqi security forces as personal instruments of al-Maliki and his allies, essentially extensions of the many Shi'a militias that emerged across Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein.
This community also perceives al-Maliki as having no regard for their grievances and concerns. These are valid concerns considering al-Maliki's penchant for attributing expressions of dissent and political organization by Sunni Arabs to Ba'athist or radical Islamist militancy. It is against this backdrop that we have seen calls by numerous factions for autonomy and even the outright independence of Anbar Province (and other regions of Iraq).
Furthermore, it is important to remember that Iraq is scheduled to hold national elections for the Council of Representatives in April. There has been a great deal of controversy surrounding the upcoming elections and al-Maliki's aspirations.
In January 2013, Iraqi lawmakers voted to bar al-Maliki from contesting a third term in office, by instituting a provision on term limits on those serving in senior government posts. Yet a decision by Iraq's Supreme Court in August in that same year overruled the law on term limits, enabling al-Maliki to seek a third term. Not surprisingly, al-Maliki has come to be viewed as being increasingly autocratic and corrupt.
To add another layer of complexity to the situation in question, a notable segment of Shi'a Arabs, particularly those loyal to the influential cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, have likewise taken to the streets in a show of force against al-Maliki. Some members of al-Maliki's own political coalition have also criticized his actions in recent years.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

World War II Was Also A Low Risk

India And Nuclear Terrorism: Meeting The Threat – Analysis

By PR Chari

Nuclear Terrorism: Is the threat exaggerated?

To play the Devil’s Advocate, it is not easy for unauthorized persons to acquire nuclear weapons or nuclear materials. Being crown jewels, they would be closely guarded by trusted cohorts. Even if they are subverted, the terrorists would have to overcome many other problems. Nuclear warheads are maintained in an unarmed state, and armed using electronic codes to ensure against accidental detonation. These codes are kept secret by the ‘release authority’, obviously the Chief Executive in the nation. Further, in the case of India and Pakistan, nuclear cores are kept separate from the warheads and delivery vehicles; hence several steps have to be taken by different bodies to arm these weapons. Could all these hurdles be surmounted by a terrorist group?
Second, the problems faced to acquire nuclear materials is no less acute. Arrangements for their protection would be equally stringent. Should a terrorist group somehow gain access to weapons-usable nuclear materials, fashioning it into a deliverable nuclear weapon is not a trivial task.
Third, scenario builders have also visualized terrorist organizations gaining control over the nation, and accessing its military nuclear program and nuclear weapons. But the probability of all these events occurring must be rated low.

Nuclear Terrorism: Low Probability, but High Consequence

Despite the above, it is known that senior Pakistani scientists were in touch with Osama bin Laden. The CIA has highlighted al Qaeda’s general interest in weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons. Al Qaeda’s branches and franchisees span the world. Moreover, several instances are known of missing nuclear materials being recovered. More alarmingly, nuclear materials have been found to be missing after they were recovered. Nuclear terrorism remains a discrete possibility; hence it should be designated a low probability high consequence event.
An imperative need consequently for the upcoming Netherlands Nuclear Security Summit to work towards establishing tighter international controls over nuclear materials; seeking greater transparency on national measures to enhance nuclear security; gaining more adherents for international agreements pertaining to the physical protection of nuclear materials; reducing the use of highly enriched uranium (HEU) and plutonium in national nuclear programs; registering the sources of radioactive materials that have extensive medical, educational and research applications; and strengthening the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Monday, March 17, 2014

Iran Still Purchasing Missile Parts

Iran pursuing banned items for nuclear, missile work – U.S. official

DUBAI Sun Mar 16, 2014 10:04pm IST
Map locating nuclear facilities in Iran. REUTERS
Map locating nuclear facilities in Iran.
(Reuters) – Iran has pursued a longstanding effort to buy banned components for its nuclear and missile programmes in recent months, a U.S. official said on Sunday, a period when it struck an interim deal with major powers to limit its disputed atomic activity.
Vann Van Diepen, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Non-Proliferation, said Iran was still “very actively” creating front companies and engaging in other activity to conceal procurements.
The reported supplies do not contravene last year’s breakthrough agreement between Tehran and six world powers to curb its most sensitive atomic activity in exchange for some limited easing of sanctions damaging its economy.
But such trade would breach a 2006 U.N. embargo banning the provision by any nation to Iran of materials related to its nuclear and missile development work. Western experts say such low-profile procurement efforts by Iran date back many years, perhaps decades in the case of its nuclear activity.
Asked if he had seen a change in Iranian procurement behaviour in the past six to 12 months, a period that has seen a cautious thaw in U.S.-Iranian relations after decades of hostility, Van Diepen replied: “The short answer is no.
“They still continue very actively trying to procure items for their nuclear programme and missile programme and other programmes,” he told Reuters in an interview.
“We continue to see them very actively setting up and operating through front companies, falsifying documentation, engaging in multiple levels of trans-shipment … to put more apparent distance between where the item originally came from and where it is ultimately going.”
Asked for reaction to the allegation, a senior Iranian official replied: “No comment”.
Van Diepen did not say what sort of components Iran had sought to obtain or which part of a government known for having competing hardline and moderate factions was responsible. In the past, Western officials said Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards and the Defence Ministry – both hotbeds of opposition to any rapprochement with the West – were believed to control clandestine nuclear procurement efforts.
Iran denies Western allegations that it has long sought covertly to develop the means to produce nuclear weapons, saying its uranium enrichment programme is solely a peaceful endeavour to yield electricity as well as isotopes for medical treatments.
Diplomats have said that Iran is meeting its commitments under the November deal, under which Iran suspended its higher-grade enrichment and stopped increasing its capacity to produce low-refined uranium, among other steps. Uranium forms the core of a nuclear bomb if enriched to a high fissile purity.
The six-month agreement, which took effect on January 20 this year, was designed to buy time for talks on a final settlement defining the overall scope of Iran’s nuclear work to end fears that it could be diverted to military ends.
Those talks got under way in Vienna last month and a second round at the political director level will be held on March 18-19, also in the Austrian capital. The aim is to reach an agreement by late July, although that deadline can be extended by another half year if both sides agree.
Iran has one of the biggest missile programmes in the Middle East, regarding such weapons as an important deterrent and retaliatory force against U.S. and other adversaries – primarily Gulf Arabs – in the region in the event of war.
Its efforts to develop, test and field ballistic missiles, and build a space launch capability, have helped drive billions of dollars of U.S. ballistic missile defence expenditure, and contributed to Israel’s threats of possible pre-emptive military action against Iranian nuclear installations.
Since Iran is not a self-sufficient manufacturer of missiles, the expansion of its inventory depends on the import of goods and materiel sourced abroad.
Van Diepen said that while there was no direct link between the level of Iranian illicit procurement and the negotiations on a settlement to the nuclear dispute, “obviously if the negotiations succeed then there should therefore be a corresponding decrease in Iranian proliferation activity.”
(Additional reporting by Parisa Hafezi in Ankara and Fredrik Dahl in Vienna, editing by Mark Heinrich)

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Iran Stops Nuclear Sabotage

Iran ‘thwarts nuclear sabotage attempts’

Iran thwarts nuclear sabotage
Iran thwarts nuclear sabotage
Western powers say the Arak facility could be used to make plutonium for weapons [AP]
Iran has claimed it has thwarted a number of sabotage attempts against the country’s nulcear programme and infrastructure, including one at its heavy water reactor.
Asghar Zarean, a senior official in charge of nuclear security at the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran, said that Iran’s intelligence agencies were instrumental in uncovering plots over the last few months.
They included one at the Arak facility, according to a report from the Fars semi-official news agency quoted by the Associated Press.
The organisation said: “Several cases of industrial sabotage have been neutralized in the past few months before achieving the intended damage, including sabotage at a part of the IR-40 facility at Arak.”
It did not state the nature of the attacks, nor the suspected culprits, but the statements coincided with the launch of an intelligence team to fight cyber-attacks and industrial sabotage.
Another of Iran’s nuclear facilities, the uranium enrichment plant at Natanz, was the target of the “Stuxnet” computer virus in 2010 which temporarily disrupted operation of centrifuges, a key component in nuclear fuel production.
Tehran says Stuxnet and other computer virus attacks are part of a concerted campaign by Israel, the US and their allies to undermine its nuclear programme.
Arak was central to a deal cut last year between Western powers and Iran that lifted some sanctions in return for concessions on Iran’s nuclear programme.
Tehran pledged it would stop developing the facility, which Western powers say could yield plutonium as an alternative fuel for weapons. Iran denies any such goal, and says the facility is for research and peaceful purposes only.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Libyan Yellow Cake Still Available

Libyan yellow cake still available
Libyan yellow cake still available
Libya government announced on 5 February 2014 that it has destroyed its entire chemical arsenal. It was announced by the Foreign Minister of Libya, Mohammed Abdelaziz. The chemical arsenal destroyed included bombs and artillery shells filled with mustard gas.
Organisation for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) confirmed that Libya has become totally free of usable chemical weapons that might present a potential threat to the security of local communities, the environment and neighbouring countries. Organisation for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) visited the city of al-Raogha to inspect the warehouse where Libya’s largest outstanding stockpile of mustard gas was present. Libya still holds stocks of low-grade precursor chemicals but that programme has been put in place to destroy them by the end of 2016.

Since the OPCW covered only Gaddafi’s chemical weapons programme and it has not addressed the stocks of concentrated uranium or yellowcake that it acquired in its bid for a nuclear weapon.(emphasis added)

Gaddafi signed the chemical weapons convention and joined the OPCW in 2004. After Libya signed the treaty, Gaddafi’s regime claimed that they destroyed about 54 percent of its mustard gas stocks and about 40 percent of the chemicals used to manufacture the substance and 3500 bombs.
In 2011 a large stock of yellow cake was discovered at arms depot in southern city of Sebha. Since then the stock pile was secured in collaboration with International Atomic Energy Agency. The Centre for Strategic Studies asked the Libyan authorities to ensure the concentrated uranium will be used in industrial, agricultural development and in production of clean energy for the benefits of Libyans.
The process of disarmament was supervised by OPCW experts in 2012 and intensified in 2013 with the signing of a deal with Washington. There was concern that the stockpiles might not fall into the hands of ex-rebel militias.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Saudi Arabia Will Obtain Nukes (Revelation 17)

Director of Political-Military Affairs for the Defense Ministry, Amos Gilad, warns Iran could set off nuclear arms race in Arab world.
As soon as Iran gets a nuclear bomb, Egypt will develop its own nuclear weapon, and Saudi Arabia will purchase one from Pakistan, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Gilad, director of political-military affairs at the Defense Ministry, warns.
“The Arabs will not tolerate the Persians having the bomb. From the moment the Iranians get the bomb, the Egyptians have the resources, capability and knowhow to achieve nuclear capabilities, and the Saudis will run to buy the bomb from the Pakistanis with a ‘member’s discount,’” Gilad said, speaking at a conference held by the Institute for Policy and Strategy at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya on Tuesday.
Iran is trying to get nuclear weapons and won’t give up on this goal in talks with the global powers, Gilad cautioned, adding that the Islamic Republic would not forfeit “any essential component in its quest for nuclear capabilities. This is true even if it agrees to reduce uranium enrichment for tactical needs and maintaining the stability of the regime there.”
He said he was “disturbed that they [the international community] are going for an interim agreement mechanism. After six months, there will be another six months, and then there will be cracks in the wall of sanctions.”
Israel exercises a great deal of deterrent power, he stated. “The sense among our rivals is that we can deal with every aggregate of strategic threats.”
The good news in the region, he continued, is that in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood has been beaten back by Field Marshal Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, meaning that a ring of Islamist powers has not formed around Israel.
The Egyptians have managed to block “between 90 and 95 percent of [smuggling] tunnels to Gaza, and are fighting a determined war against al-Qaida in Sinai,” he said.
“In Turkey, [Prime Minister Recep Tayyip] Erdogan has been substantially weakened and returned to his natural dimensions. The stability of the Hashemite Kingdom in Jordan is an optimistic point of light.”
Turning his sights to Syria, Gilad said there was “no military threat to the north. The Russians, the Iranians and Hezbollah allow the Assad regime to survive with artificial life-support. There is no Syrian state, but there is a regime. And there’s a difficult humanitarian problem. I’d like to officially declare Syria dead, but the date of the funeral is not yet known.”

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Iran Would Destroy Zion

IRGC Commander: Iran’s Finger on Trigger to Destroy Zionist Regime
IRGC Commander: Iran’s Finger on Trigger to Destroy Zionist Regime
TEHRAN (FNA)- Lieutenant Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Brigadier General Hossein Salami underlined that Iranian military commanders are prepared to attack and destroy the Zionist regime of Israel as soon as they receive such an order.
“Today, we can destroy every spot which is under the Zionist regime’s control with any volume of fire power (that we want) right from here,” Salami said, addressing a conference in Tehran on Tuesday dubbed ‘the Islamic World’s Role in the Geometry of the World Power’.
“Islam has given us this wish, capacity and power to destroy the Zionist regime so that our hands will remain on the trigger from 1,400km away for the day when such an incident (confrontation with Israel) takes place,” he added.
Salami reminded that Iran is not the only country which enjoys such a capability, as even the artilleries of a number of other (Muslim) countries can also target and attack the Zionist regime today.
In relevant remarks in November, Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei warned Iran’s enemies to avoid even thinking of any aggressive move against the country, stressing that the Iranian Armed Forces are ready to give such a crushing response to any threat that aggressors will never forget.
Addressing 50,000 Basij (volunteer force) commanders in Tehran, Ayatollah Khamenei pointed to the preparedness of Iran’s military forces, and said, “The response of the Iranian nation to any foreign aggression will be regrettable for the enemy.”
The Supreme Leader underlined that the increasing threats by the enemy show that the US-led western sanctions have not been effective and they have understood it themselves.
Addressing the arrogant powers, Ayatollah Khamenei said, “Instead of threatening other countries, go and deal with your wretched economic conditions and think of you debts.”
The Supreme Leader underlined that the Zionist regime has been imposed on the region, “Anything that is gained with force will not last long and this regime will not last either.”
Also in December, Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari underlined that Iran will give a crushing response to any possible aggressor.
Major General Jafari deplored the US president’s repeated rhetoric of “military option against Iran is on the table, as “ludicrous” and said, “Repetition of such an absurd sentence by the officials of the US and the fake and evil Zionist regime (of Israel) sounds funny to the Iranian nation.”
The IRGC commander went on to say that the US or Israeli officials are totally incapable of taking any military action against Iran, but at the same time affirmed that any “stupid measure” by the enemies would compel Iran to consider the options it has on the table.
“Lots of options are on the table for Iran, and they (enemies) will receive crushing responses, one of which would be elimination of the Zionist regime,” he warned.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Anitchrist Calls For Protest Of Iraq Government

Antichrist Urges Followers To Protest Iraq Government

Iraq’s al-Sadr calls for fresh anti-Maliki protests
Sadr calls for overthrow of al Maliki
Sadr calls for overthrow of al Maliki
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
BAGHDAD – Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr has called for a day of mass protests next Monday against Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki amid mounting tensions between the two leaders.
On Monday, thousands of al-Sadr’s supporters staged demonstrations across central and southern Iraq.
The protests followed earlier statements by al-Maliki in which he described al-Sadr as “politically ignorant and unaware of the provisions of the Iraqi constitution.”
Al-Maliki’s statements came after al-Sadr accused him of failing to abide by the teachings of Shiite scholars through his “mismanagement” of the cabinet.
“We reaffirm the importance of active participation in a [second] demonstration… which will be another step towards standing up for the oppressed and denouncing injustice and dictatorship,” according to a Tuesday statement issued by al-Sadr’s office.
“Al-Sadr appreciates the voice of the masses, which demonstrated [Monday] against the prime minister’s transgressions against the leader [al-Sadr],” the statement read.
In February, al-Sadr announced plans to withdraw from political life to “preserve the good name of the al-Sadr family… and avoid sedition… inside and outside Iraq.”
His announcement came on the heels of a wave of popular protests against recently passed legislation raising retirement benefits for top civil servants, lawmakers and government officials.
Following his announcement to quit politics, al-Sadr lashed out at al-Maliki and parliament, asserting: “Iraq is reeling under a dishonest government while an out-of-touch parliament cannot defend itself.”
Political tension has mounted ahead of April parliamentary polls in Iraq, which has seen a recent uptick in violence in capital Baghdad and the western provinces.
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