Monday, August 31, 2015

America Overdue For The Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

New Study: America Overdue For Major Earthquake … In States You Didn’t Suspect

New York Destroyed
Written by: Daniel Jennings Current Events

Most Americans have a reasonable chance of experiencing a destructive earthquake within the next 50 years, the US Geological Survey (USGS) has concluded.

The survey’s new National Seismic Hazard Map show that the risk of earthquakes in parts of the country — such as the Midwest, Oregon and the Rocky Mountains — is far higher than previously thought. All total, Americans in one-third of the country saw their risk for an earthquake increase.
“I worry that we will wake up one morning and see earthquake damage in our country that is as bad as that has occurred in some developing nations that have experienced large earthquakes,” Carl Hedde, a risk management expert at insurer Munich Reinsurance America, said of the map in The Wall Street Journal. “Beyond building collapse, a large amount of our infrastructure could be immediately damaged. Our roads, bridges and energy transmission systems can be severely impacted.”

Among the findings:

  • The earthquake danger in parts of Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, Illinois and South Carolina is as high as that in Los Angeles.
  • 42 of the 50 states have a reasonable chance of experiencing a damaging earthquake in the next 50 years.
  • Parts of 16 states have the highest risk of a quake: Alaska, Hawaii, California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, Illinois, Kentucky and South Carolina
“We know the hazard has increased for small and moderate size earthquakes,” USGS scientist William Ellsworth told The Journal. “We don’t know as well how much the hazard has increased for large earthquakes. Our suspicion is it has but we are working on understanding this.”

Frightening Results From New Study

The USGS used new computer modeling technology and data collected from recent quakes such as the one that struck Washington, D.C. in 2011 to produce the new maps. The maps show that many Americans who thought they were safe from earthquakes are not.

New Relocation Manual Helps Average Americans Get Out Of Harms Way Before The Coming Crisis
Some of the survey’s other disturbing findings include:
    • The earthquake danger in Oklahoma, Alabama, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Michigan, Virginia, New York and parts of New England is higher than previously thought.
    • Some major metropolitan areas, including Memphis, Salt Lake City, Seattle, St. Louis and Charleston, have a higher risk of earthquakes than previously thought. One of the nation’s most dangerous faults, the New Madrid fault, runs right through St. Louis and Missouri. It is the nation’s second most active fault. On Dec. 16, 1811, the New Madrid Fault was the site of the most powerful series of earthquakes in American history.
Geological Tectonic Survey
Geological Tectonic Survey
“Obviously the building codes throughout the central U.S. do not generally take earthquake risk or the risk of a large earthquake into account,” USGS Seismologist Elizabeth Cochran told The Journal. Her take: Earthquake damage in the central US could be far greater than in places like California, because structures in some locations are not built to withstand quakes.

Others agree.

“Earthquakes are quite rare in many places but when they happen they cause very intense damage because people have not prepared,” Mark Petersen, the project chief for the USGS’s National Seismic Hazard Map, told The Journal.

This new map should be a wakeup call for Americans.

At The End Pakistan Will Turn Against China (Dan 8:8)


Why China should worry about Pak

Vinod Saigha

Posted at: Aug 31 2015 3:31AM

In excerpt from a paper presented at ICRIER on 9 August 2009 is reproduced below:
“The US and its allies have been concentrating on the nuclear proliferation threat building up in Iran and North Korea. After the A Q Khan episode Pakistan seems to have been put on the back burner. As a matter of fact the Pak nuclear threat is far more insidious and widespread than is currently assessed in most quarters. Iran’s capability vis-à-vis Pakistan on a scale of 0 to 9 is not even 1; Pakistan would be hovering around 7 or 8 in its comparative nuclear capability. Likewise in the case of North Korea although it has gone much ahead of Iran, it is not in the same league as Pakistan in the number of nuclear weapons that it possesses or is likely to possess in the next decade or so. What is more relevant North Korea does not have the radical groups that are capable of carrying out terrorist acts of varying intensities practically across the globe; Iran to date limits its reach to Lebanon, Syria & Gaza”.

Other disturbing trends that should make the world sit up and take note are:

– Of all the countries that possess nuclear weapons Pakistan is the only one that routinely threatens to use them. To date that threat has been limited to India. What happens in future is anybody’s guess.
– With the help of China and North Korea Pakistan has developed the missile capability to extend its reach well beyond India to cover much of the Middle East and Central Asia.

– At the start of its nuclear weapons programme the principal financiers were Saudi Arabia and Libya. After the big donation a stadium was named after Col. Gaddafi. Libya has become a failed state and is now out of the reckoning. The Saudis retain the right to demand return on investment. A part of the transfers might already have been made.

From the very beginning Pakistan announced that it was producing an Islamic bomb; never a bomb against India, in so many words. The connotation of an Islamic bomb could not have been lost on the world. For the time being China can afford to play dumb. But for how long?

– Pakistan has single-handedly held up the Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty that was being negotiated in Geneva.

The threat of non-state actors getting hold of a nuclear weapon, device, or suitcase bomb presently relates only to Pakistan, whatever the assurances given by its military that their nuclear weapons are one hundred per cent safe from radical elements. China and the US are two countries that have had a major role in boosting Pakistan’s nuclear programme and nuclear weapons augmentation. China has been a direct booster of Pakistan’s nuclear capability. The evidence is in the public domain and has been fairly well-documented in spite of China’s denials. The US has been an accomplice in the sense that administrations have turned a blind eye to Pakistan’s nuclear weaponisation by certifying on the country’s behalf for grant of billions of dollars even before it became a major non-NATO ally during General Pervez Musharraf’s tenure.

China is further augmenting Pakistan’s nuclear weapons potential by constructing two more reactors in that country. Even before the most recent estimates coming from the US that in ten years Pakistan would have more nuclear weapons than one of the P5 countries, France, it was generally accepted by experts around the world that Pakistan’s nuclear weapons stockpile had gone beyond that of India and that its weapons augmentation programme was the fastest in the world. That being the case, who should be most worried at these developments in a state that although never declared a rogue was known to have been by far the biggest nuclear proliferator.

Although it appears unlikely at the moment, misgivings exist that in the years ahead should Pakistan actually become a failed state and start going under it could well be in the market for selling nuclear weapons for billions of dollars to drug syndicates or whoever would be in a position to pay. Precedent exists. Pakistan has been there before.

A Q Khan’s exports for large sums of money would not have been possible without the connivance of the generals, at the very least they were in the know.

A report attributed to Professor Shaun Gregory of Bradford University in the UK mentioned that Jihadis thrice attacked Pakistan nuclear sites (Times of India, 11 August 2009). It needs to be added that these are incidents that western analysts are aware of. There would have been others that were known only to the Pakistan authorities. Radical Islamists are able to venture out boldly well beyond the frontiers of Pakistan, secure in the knowledge that nobody would dare root out their bases and spawning grounds in Pakistan because of nuclear weapons that they would be able to access should their survival be threatened. This may not be the case now but it is a scenario that cannot be ruled out.
As things stand Pakistan is in a very comfortable position with regard to its growing nuclear arsenal. The United States and China, the two great powers of the world, support Pakistan, internally as well as its projection into Afghanistan via the Taliban based in Pakistan. The new Afghan president Mr. Ashraf Ghani has been pushed in that direction by the US and its allies.

Besides India the countries more concerned by the developments in Pakistan and Afghanistan would be Iran, the Central Asian Republics and Russia.

However, their capacity to intervene in any manner, or the desire to do so, appears to be non-existent. That leaves China on their closest ally, surpassing even North Korea. Over the years starting from the end of the 1970s or the early and mid-nineteen eighties China’s policy with regard to boosting Pakistan’s nuclear weapons capability was wholly and solely India-centric. It is still the case.
In actual fact China should not only come out of its comfort zone with regard to its ally’s nuclear capability but should take active measures to limit and roll it back. The US is not going to pull the chestnuts out of the fire for China should its assessment or policy in this regard turn out to be not only wrong, but the biggest folly that it might have committed. This statement turns China’s policy on its head.

To elaborate, its leaders do not seem to have realised that routine threats of use of nuclear weapons against India notwithstanding, Pakistani generals would actually be the last persons to start a nuclear conflagration against India. There is no such thing as limited nuclear exchange.

India has a larger Muslim population than Pakistan. Add to it the Muslim population of Bangladesh, the collective Muslim mass residing on the subcontinent exceeds half-a-billion by last count. Limited or otherwise, a nuclear exchange could potentially cripple, to whatever extent, more than half the Muslim population of the globe, possibly posing an existential threat to Islam. The West may not be that alarmed at the prospect. China should be the most worried. Pakistani generals will be unlikely to use the Islamic bomb against India.

The Pakistani tanzeems, whose collective might at this point in time were they to act in concert surpasses that of the Pakistan Army, will not attack India with a nuclear weapon. Their first target will be China. More than that, China being a potential world power of the first order and the biggest beneficiary of the Asian century has a bigger stake than the US and its allies to ensure that a nuclear exchange anywhere in Asia does not destroy that dream.

At the end it is important for every nation heading toward the climate change conference in Paris at the year-end to understand that the world has come a long way from Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Dr. Ira Helfand, co-President of IPPNW (International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War) in his brilliant paper on even a very limited nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan has posited that its effect over a period of time could lead to tens, if not hundreds of millions, casualties as far away as USA. What would happen to every single Muslim country in the neighbourhood and China is best left to the imagination of people residing there.

More than India it is for China to take note of the ominous developments that it has set in motion.
The writer, a strategic affairs analyst, is a retired Major-General of the Indian Army.

The Option To The Iran Deal Is Far Worse (Rev 16)


Weighing the Iran nuclear deal: far from perfect, but the alternatives are worse

By THE TIMES EDITORIAL BOARD contact the reporter

The historic agreement reached after 20 months of negotiations between Iran, the U.S. and five other world powers holds out hope that for the next 10 or 15 years the ability of the Islamic Republic to develop a nuclear weapon will be significantly limited. It is far from a perfect deal, it promises less than many had hoped for, it has been oversold by its proponents — but at the end of the day, it must be supported because the alternatives are worse.

Next month, Congress will vote on a resolution to disapprove — and potentially derail — the agreement. We urge members of Congress to vote against the resolution and, if it passes anyway, to support President Obama when he vetoes it, as he almost certainly would do. After that, Congress should press the administration to make good on its promises to counter Iran’s dangerous meddling in the affairs of its neighbors and to respond decisively if Iran is found to have cheated on this agreement.

The basic structure of the deal is this: The United States and the other world powers have agreed to lift the sanctions that have crippled Iran’s economy in return for that country’s commitment to curtail its nuclear program. Yet the agreement has troubling flaws, especially when it comes to the rules governing inspections that might expose Iran’s past nuclear activities. We are not reassured by the CIA’s conclusion that Iran will spend the bulk of the $100 billion it could receive in sanctions relief on domestic projects. We fear that a substantial portion of that windfall will underwrite Iran’s sponsorship of militant groups like Hezbollah and Hamas at a moment when the region is already in turmoil, when Islamic State is gaining, Syria is at war with itself and the Arab Spring has crumbled.
And we’re troubled by the fact that an embargo on Iran’s import and export of conventional arms and ballistic missiles will be lifted after five and eight years, respectively.

So why do we support the agreement? The short answer is that, although it certainly represents a gamble, the deal makes it highly unlikely that Iran will develop a nuclear weapon during the next 10 or 15 years. Without it, there is no such assurance.

For years, the international community has sought to force Iran to credibly live up to its insistence that it will use nuclear power for peaceful purposes only. The concern wasn’t primarily that a nuclear-armed Iran would launch an attack on Israel — a suicidal scenario given Israel’s own unacknowledged nuclear weapons — but rather that it would destabilize the region, provide Iran with dramatically more influence and inspire a nuclear arms race. That threat was considered so serious that it united the U.S., its European allies, Russia and China in an international campaign to place meaningful limitations on Iran’s nuclear program.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action agreed to by Iran and the so-called P5+1 — the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany — requires Iran to dismantle much of the nuclear infrastructure it has assembled, provides for intrusive inspection of known nuclear sites and includes a mechanism for the re-imposition of sanctions in the case of Iranian violations that even some critics of the deal have praised.

Under the agreement, Iran will give up most of its ability to enrich uranium and will place all but 6,000 of its 19,500 centrifuges in storage under the oversight of the International Atomic Energy Agency. It will ship out of the country most of its low-enriched uranium, and it will convert the Fordow enrichment facility into a research center. A heavy-water plant at Arak will be rebuilt to render it incapable of producing weapons-grade plutonium, and construction of additional heavy water reactors will be delayed.

Ideally, all of the provisions of the agreement would be permanent, but instead key restrictions will expire in 10 or 15 years. Critics who say those sunset provisions amount to “kicking the can down the road” have a point. But an Iran unrestrained by this agreement would be able to “break out” to a nuclear weapons capability sooner.

The weaknesses in the agreement are significant. For example, while the inspection regime for known nuclear sites is robust, the procedures for inspecting so-called undeclared sites is both protracted and cumbersome, and falls far short of the “any time, anywhere” inspections many had hoped for. If Iran objects to immediate inspection of such a site, the agreement provides for up to 14 days for negotiation. Some experts worry that Iran could exploit the delay to cover up evidence of violations.

We’re also troubled by the fact the IAEA and Iran have reached a side agreement — whose official text hasn’t been released — that spells out conditions for inspections aimed at establishing whether Iran engaged in forbidden nuclear activities at a military installation at Parchin. News reports that the agreement allows Iran itself, rather than the IAEA, to collect evidence at the site are disturbing. As of now, the facts remain sketchy, but even the lack of transparency about the arrangements is unacceptable. The U.S. should press Iran and the IAEA to divulge the details of that agreement and another that deals with possible military dimensions of past nuclear research.

Some critics have suggested that the agreement’s imperfections could be remedied in new negotiations if Congress disapproved the deal and prevented Obama from waiving sanctions. Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), an opponent of the deal, says the U.S. should “pursue the hard-trodden path of diplomacy once more, difficult as it may be.” But it is hard to imagine that an action by Congress to block the deal would impel the Iranians — or America’s negotiating partners — to return to the table to hammer out a better one. As Brent Scowcroft, who served as national security advisor in two Republican administrations, put it: “There is no credible alternative were Congress to prevent U.S. participation in the nuclear deal. If we walk away, we walk away alone.”

Congress should allow this deal to go forward, but it also should hold Obama to a promise he made in a letter he sent this month to Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.). Obama told Nadler that implementation of the nuclear agreement wouldn’t prevent the U.S. from dealing with “Iran’s destabilizing activities and support for terrorism” by continuing sanctions aimed at Iran’s non-nuclear activities. We hope that Obama and those who follow him will not grow complacent after this agreement is put in place.

Antichrist’s Protests Grow In Iraq (Rev 13:18)



BAGHDAD – Tens of thousands of demonstrators protested in Baghdad and Iraq’s southern provinces on Friday, calling for real reforms and an end to political corruption.

Thousands more rallied in Najaf, Basra and other cities across the Shia southern heartland following a call from powerful Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, in what a senior security official called the biggest protest of the summer.

The capital and many southern cities have witnessed demonstrations in recent weeks calling for provision of basic services, the trial of corrupt politicians, and the shake-up of a system riddled with graft and incompetence.

Protesters’ demands, which initially aimed at improving power supply amid a sweltering heat-wave, have focused more on encouraging Abadi to accelerate reforms, put corrupt officials on trial and loosen the grip of powerful parties over the state.

“What Abadi has done so far is just casual reform. It’s not the real reforms that most of the Iraqis are looking for,” said Mazen al-Ushaiqer, a civil society leader at the Baghdad rally.

Partly in response to protests earlier this month, Abadi began pushing reforms to a system he says has deprived Iraqis of basic services and undermined the fight against Islamic State (IS) militants.
He announced several measures to combat corruption and mismanagement including scrapping layers of senior government posts, cutting security details and other perks for officials, and encouraging corruption investigations.

Likewise, huge protesters filled main streets of the Shia provinces of the south, demanding for real actions to put reforms into effect.

“People aren’t just protesting over services like water and electricity,” said Sabeeh Zuhair, an engineer from the southern oil hub city of Basra. “It is true that they are an important thing, but there are things that are more important than them.”

They have come out today in their millions as requested by [the Prime Minister] Abadi to authorize him to change or amend the constitution,” Zuhair added.

On Friday, Abadi directed military commanders to ease civilian access to the Green Zone, the central Baghdad district which is home to many government buildings and several Western embassies.
Checkpoints and concrete barriers have blocked bridges and highways leading to the neighborhood for years, symbolizing the isolation of Iraq’s leadership from its people and wreaking havoc on traffic in the city of 7 million people.

Abadi also ordered the elimination of no-go zones set up by militias and political parties in Baghdad and other cities in response to more than a decade of car bombings.

Security at Friday’s protests was tight and helicopters circled overhead. At the Baghdad protest at least four people were wounded in clashes and security forces detained a handful of youths carrying weapons.

Abadi ordered on Friday the formation of a legal committee to review the ownership of state properties and return illegally gained assets to the state. Critics say some officials have abused their authority to appropriate state-owned properties for personal use.

Top Shia cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who wields authority few Iraqi politicians would openly challenge, has called on Abadi to “strike with an iron fist” against corruption.
On Friday, he cautioned protesters against letting personal goals distract from their demands while urging politicians to provide tangible results of reform measures.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Futility Of Trying To Stop The Pakistani Horn (Dan 8:8)


US slams Pakistan for nuclear arsenal boast

WASHINGTON: Pakistan’s nuclear sabre rattling earned for it a mild reprimand from the Obama administration even as military generals in Rawalpindi told the country’s politicians that India is their principal ex ternal threat and they need more money to counter it.

Border tension between India and Pakistan figured in the daily US state department briefing on Thursday with a spokesman cautioning Islamabad for talking loosely about using nuclear weapons to counter India.

“We want to see tensions decrease, and speculation about potential use of nuclear weapons certainly isn’t doing anything to help it, if in fact those comments were made,” spokesman John Kirby said.
The censure came after Pakistan’s geriatric NSA Sartaj Aziz boasted that Pakistan was a nuclear weapons power that was capable of defending itself against India, even though New Delhi has made no nuclear threats and has a no-first use policy when it comes to nuclear weapons use.

Kirby essayed the familiar salutary advice to a country that is home to a wide range of terrorists and terror groups, some of them designated by the UN and US.

“(US) secretary (of state, John) Kerry has said repeatedly that he wants the two nations to continue to work together, with constructive dia logue, to resolve their issues, and we understand that there are issues that are longstanding,” Kirby told reporters. “But that’s what really needs to happen, is sitting down, dialogue, cooperation, talking through these things, and trying to work through some meaningful solutions.”

Earlier in the week, the state department had repeated the familiar mantra that such talks were something the two sides needed to undertake and no mediation can be expected from a third party .
Pakistan has been trying hard to attract international attention and mediation into the Kashmir dispute while not giving up on its patronage of terrorist groups such as LeT and its avatars and helping militants infiltrate into India. Earlier this week, Pakistan’s ambassador to the UN Maleeha Lodhi took its complaints to the UN even though Pakistan protects UN designated terrorists such as Hafiz Saeed.
On Friday , Pakistani media reported that in a briefing at the joint staff headquarters, the generals told members of Pakistan’s senate defense committee that India was buying $100 billion worth of weapons over the next five years aimed primarily at Pakistan, and they needed more money to counter that.

Hey Dick: Your Iraq War Will Lead To First Use Of Nuclear Weapon Since Hiroshima And Nagasaki


Dick Cheney: Iran Deal Will Lead To First Use Of Nuclear Weapon Since Hiroshima And Nagasaki

“Nearly everything the president has told us about his Iranian agreement is false.”

1 hour ago | Updated 1 hour ago

Former Vice President Dick Cheney and his daughter Liz Cheney launched a broad attack against President Barack Obama’s foreign policy in an excerpt of a forthcoming book that was published in The Wall Street Journal on Friday.

Both Cheneys accused Obama of lying about the Iran nuclear deal and said that the agreement would lead to the first use of a nuclear weapon since 1945.

“Nearly everything the president has told us about his Iranian agreement is false. He has said it will prevent the Iranians from acquiring nuclear weapons, but it will actually facilitate and legitimize an Iranian nuclear arsenal,” they wrote. “The Obama agreement will lead to a nuclear-armed Iran, a nuclear-arms race in the Middle East and, more than likely, the first use of a nuclear weapon since Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The Obama administration has aggressively defended the deal, saying that it cuts off all pathways to a nuclear bomb. Secretary of State John Kerry has said that a better deal simply does not exist.
The Cheneys also blamed the rise of terrorist groups like ISIS on the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq in 2011 –– a talking point that Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush has also used.
“He has abandoned Iraq, leaving a vacuum that is being tragically and ominously filled by our enemies. He is on course to forsake Afghanistan as well,” the Cheneys wrote.

But former U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno, who was one of the architects of the 2007 surge and a top official in Iraq, has disputed that the decision to leave Iraq was Obama’s.
I remind everybody that us leaving at the end of 2011 was negotiated in 2008 by the Bush administration. That was always the plan, we had promised them that we would respect their sovereignty,” Odierno said at a press conference earlier this month.

The Cheneys’ book, Exceptional: Why the World Needs a Powerful America, will be available Sept. 1.

Antichrist’s Men Protest Against The Iraq Government (Rev 13:18)

Thousands protest against corruption in Iraq capital


Baghdad (AFP) – Thousands of Iraqis demonstrated against corruption in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square on Friday, including supporters of powerful Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

Protesters have taken to the streets of Baghdad and cities in the Shiite south for weeks, railing against rampant corruption and abysmal services, especially power outages that leave just a few hours of government-supplied electricity per day during the scorching summer heat.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has responded to the demonstrations and a call from Iraq’s top Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, with a reform programme aimed at curbing corruption and streamlining the government, but it is still in its early stages.

At Friday’s demonstration, hundreds waved Iraqi flags and chanted anti-corruption slogans as in previous weeks, but this time the crowd also included supporters of Sadr, responding to his call to take part.

Sadrists, many of them dressed in black, chanted slogans including Bye bye Nuri al-Maliki” and called for the ex-premier, whose eight years in office were marked by widespread graft, to be executed.

“We came out (to protest) in support of the reforms that were announced by Prime Minister Abadi. We want to push and support the state in implementing them,” said Nafia al-Bakhaki, an official in the Sadr movement.

“All the officials in the previous governments, especially Maliki’s government, are responsible for corruption,” said Sheikh Samir al-Zraijawi, also from the Sadr movement.

Some did not welcome the involvement of supporters of Sadr, who had ministers in Maliki’s governments and still wields significant influence despite seeking to officially distance himself from politics as he pursues religious studies.

“It is hypocritical and misleading (to say the Sadrists) are with the people,” said Iraqi Communist party member Siham al-Zubaidi, noting their strong presence in parliament and the fact that a since-resigned Sadrist deputy premier faces corruption allegations.

Parliament signed off on Abadi’s proposed reforms as well as additional measures, and the prime minister has begun ordered changes, including the scrapping of 11 cabinet posts and for the bloated number of guards for officials to be slashed.

But even with popular support and backing from Sistani, the fact that parties across the political spectrum benefit from graft is seen as a major obstacle to the nascent reform effort.

Pakistani Horn Stockpiling Nukes (Daniel 8:8)

Pakistan stockpiling nuclear arms due to fears over India: U.S. report

Tim Craig, Washington Post | August 28, 2015 12:43 AM ET

A Pakistani short range surface to surface Ballistic Missile Hatf II is test fired from an undisclosed location in 2013. The missile carries nuclear as well as conventional warheads with high accuracy.
ISPR/AFP/Getty Images  A Pakistani short range surface to surface Ballistic Missile Hatf II is test fired from an undisclosed location in 2013. The missile carries nuclear as well as conventional warheads with high accuracy
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – A new report by two American think tanks asserts that Pakistan may be building 20 nuclear warheads annually and could have the world’s third-largest nuclear stockpile within a decade.

The report by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the Stimson Center concludes that Pakistan is rapidly expanding its nuclear capabilities because of fear of its arch-rival, India, also a nuclear power. The report, released Thursday, says Pakistan is far outpacing India in the development of nuclear warheads.

Analysts estimate that Pakistan has about 120 nuclear warheads, while India has about 100.
In the coming years, the report states, Pakistan’s advantage could grow dramatically because it has a large stockpile of highly enriched uranium that could be used to quickly produce low-yield nuclear devices.

India has far larger stockpiles of plutonium, which is needed to produce high-yield warheads, than Pakistan does. But the report says India appears to be using most of its plutonium to produce domestic energy.

Pakistan could have at least 350 nuclear weapons within five to 10 years, the report concludes. Pakistan would then possess more nuclear weapons than any country except the United States and Russia, which each have thousands of the bombs.

“The growth path of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, enabled by existing infrastructure, goes well beyond the assurances of credible minimal deterrence provided by Pakistani officials and analysts after testing nuclear devices,” the report states.

TAUSEEF MUSTAFA/AFP/Getty ImagesIndian soldiers patrol along the fence at an outpost along the India-Pakistan border on Jan. 11, 2013. Police in Indian Kashmir warned residents to build underground bunkers to prepare for a possible nuclear war in the disputed region. 
Pakistani military officials were not available to comment on the report.

Western officials and analysts have struggled for years to get an accurate assessment of Pakistan’s nuclear capabilities. Several Pakistani analysts questioned the findings of the report, saying it is based on a faulty assumption that Pakistan is using all of its existing stockpiles of fissile material to make nuclear weapons.

Mansoor Ahmed, a nuclear expert at Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad, said he suspects that a more accurate assessment of Pakistan’s capability is that it can develop no more than 40 to 50 new warheads over the next several years.

Ahmed, however, doesn’t dispute that Pakistan’s military is seeking to expand its nuclear capabilities.
“This report is overblown,” said Ahmed, who was recently named a nuclear security fellow at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. “However . . . what the world must understand is that nuclear weapons are part of Pakistan’s belief system. It’s a culture that has been built up over the years because (nuclear weapons) have provided a credible deterrence against external aggression.”

France has about 300 warheads and the United Kingdom has about 215, according to the Federation of American Scientists. China has approximately 250.

The report was written by Toby Dalton, co-director of the Carnegie Endowment’s Nuclear Policy Program, and Michael Krepon, co-founder of the Stimson Center.

Pakistan is believed to use plutonium as well as highly enriched uranium to create nuclear warheads. Dalton noted that Pakistan recently added a fourth plutonium production reactor at its Khushab Nuclear Complex.

“We assume, maybe correctly, maybe inaccurately, with the fuel coming out of the four reactors, they are processing it as rapidly as possible to get the plutonium out,” Dalton said.

India and Pakistan, which have fought three major wars, became declared nuclear powers in 1998. Since then, Western leaders have been increasingly alarmed about the potential for a nuclear exchange between the rivals.

India has adopted a no-first-use policy on nuclear weapons. Pakistani leaders have repeatedly declined to take a similar stance, saying they might be forced to resort to using the weapons should India’s larger army ever invade Pakistan.

India views nuclear weapons “as a political tool, a prestige item, not something you use on a battlefield,” Krepon said. In Pakistan, he said, nuclear weapons are seen as “things you have to be willing to use” to guarantee stability.

But Krepon and Dalton said there is still time for Pakistan to slow down the development of its nuclear arsenal. If it does, they said, the international community should consider what steps it can take to recognize it as a responsible nuclear state.

Washington Post

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Antichrist Organizes Million Man March In Baghdad (Revelation 13)

million march baghdad
Pro-government million march organized in Baghdad
By David Fisher on August 28, 2015

– Both in parliament and in the streets, political pressure is rising in Iraq

By Abdullah Saad

BAGHDAD, Iraq – Last week, the influential Shia religious leader Muqtada al-Sadr called on his supporters to take part in mass anti-corruption protests in the Iraqi capital Baghdad on Friday.
For the past three weeks, Baghdad and other cities in central and southern Iraq have witnessed demonstrations demanding government reforms, the prosecution of those stealing public money and the provision of basic services to the public.

Amidst this popular movement, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi proposed a package of reforms that were quickly approved by parliament earlier this month.

The Liberal Bloc, a parliamentary group inside the Iraqi parliament, were called on by Sadr to organize a million-man march in Baghdad last Monday – the first call of its kind at a popular level.
The demonstration aims to ease the pressure being put on Abadi by political forces opposed to his reforms.

Abdul Azeez al-Dhalimi, a member of the bloc, told Anadolu Agency: “Al-Sadr previously expressed his support for the demonstrations across many governorates demanding services to the public.”
The call to organize a million-man march in Baghdad is in compliance with the position of the religious authority in Najaf (referring to Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq’s highest Shia authority), which supports the popular movement,” he said. “It supports al-Abadi and his government in removing the pressure that he is facing from certain political parties that are working to obstruct the reforms.”

Despite the federal Iraqi government announcing its support for the demonstrations, it has not hidden its fear of the protests spiraling out of control and turning into an armed conflict or attacks on public property, such as in Karbala and Babel.

The Supreme Islamic Council, led by Ammar al-Hakeem, is considered one of the most prominent parties participating in the government.

Through his spokesman Hameed Mali, al-Hakeem said there were indicators of external agendas aiming to derail the popular movement, which had started by demanding rights and reforms, but ended by targeting political and religious figures with hostile banners.

Ali al-Alaq is an MP with the State of Law Coalition, which is close to al-Abadi and his government.
He told Anadolu Agency that the “million-man march on Friday will be like all the other demonstrations that other governorates have witnessed, which the government dealt with positively and respected the demonstrators and provided them with protection.”

“Freedom of demonstration is a guaranteed right, and no one can stand in the face of the demonstrations – so long as they maintain their peaceful and civilized nature, express legal demands within the confines of the law and constitution, and preserve security and the public interest,” al-Alaq said.

Al-Abadi is now facing pressure from the other end of the political spectrum, with some political parties criticizing him for not committing to a deadline for the implementation of the reforms.

The most prominent criticism came from the State of Law Coalition’s Hanan al-Fatlawi last Sunday, when she demanded to know why al-Abadi had not yet issued an order to cancel the positions of Iraq’s three vice-presidents as his reforms had pledged.

Both in parliament and in the streets, political pressure is rising in Iraq.

Antichrist Demands Change in Iraq (Revelation 13)

Protesters chant slogans in support of Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi as they carry a large national flag during a rally in Tahrir Square in Baghdad, Iraq, Friday, Aug. 28, 2015. Friday’s protesters were joined for the first time by followers of Muqtada al-Sadr, a radical, anti-American Shiite cleric. The protesters have staged weekly rallies since last month to press demands for reforms, better services and an end to corruption. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)

Iraq’s top Shiite cleric says government must show nation it’s seeking genuine change
Aug 28, 2015

By QASSIM ABDUL-ZAHRA, Associated Press

BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq’s top Shiite cleric said on Friday the government must show it was seeking genuine change to combat corruption and improve services and not just introduce temporary measures to placate the embattled nation.

In a message delivered by a representative in a Friday sermon, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani also cautioned protesters who have staged weekly rallies to press demands for reform that they must guard against groups seeking to hijack their movement to further other interests.

Hours later, tens of thousands of Iraqis rallied in Baghdad and a string of cities south of the capital in support of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s reform drive and to press demands for the dissolution of parliament and an end to corruption. The Baghdad rally, in central Tahrir square, was the largest by far, attracting at least 20,000, many of them waving the national flag. It was held under tight security measures but ended peacefully shortly after nightfall.

Followers of a radical, anti-American Shiite cleric, Muqtada al-Sadr, joined the Baghdad rally for the first time on Friday. The smaller rallies were held in cities south of Baghdad, including the holy Shiite city of Karbala, the southern port of Basra and Babil.

Al-Sistani’s comments, delivered in Karbala, challenged the government to show that it is “truthfully and seriously” responding to demands for change. “Citizens have experienced past promises that were never realized on the ground,” he cautioned.

“Officials must work differently this time around and win the trust of the citizens,” he said.

The weekly rallies, which began last month, have been pressing for better basic services like power, water and medical care, as well as an end to corruption and sectarian politics. The graft is widely believed to be rampant, involving hundreds of millions of dollars in the 12 years since Saddam Hussein’s regime was toppled.

Al-Abadi has responded to the rallies with a package of reforms that reduced the size of his Cabinet, and eliminated the three vice presidencies and the three deputy prime minister posts. He has also ordered a revision of the government’s pay scale and the annulment of financial perks enjoyed by senior officials, lawmakers and consultants.

His actions raised questions about the legality of his reforms and whether they violate the constitution.

“I will not back down,” al-Abadi vowed in televised comments this week. “There is no going back on reforms. Our political system needs popular pressure to reform itself,” said the Shiite prime minister who has said he would seek a popular mandate to amend the constitution, which he described as “incomplete.”

Separately, an explosion on Friday ripped through the parking lot of a police station in southeast Baghdad when a police bomb squad tried to defuse a car bomb while colleagues looked on, killing six and wounding 10, according to security and hospital officials.

The six killed were three bomb squad members and three policemen.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Baghdad has for years seen near daily attacks targeting civilians and security forces by car bombs, suicide attacks and roadside explosions. The attacks are mostly blamed on Sunni militants.

Why South Korea Is One Of The Nuclear Horns (Dan 7:7)


South Korea plans ‘decapitation’ strike against North’s leadership if nuclear war is likely

By Julian Ryall, Tokyo
8:28AM BST 28 Aug 2015

Seoul plans pre-emptive attack on Kim Jong-un and senior leaders if Pyongyang makes moves towards nuclear launch

South Korea is drawing up plans to “decapitate” the top leadership in North Korea in the event that a new crisis between the two countries looks like it is descending into nuclear war.

Seoul is re-examining its defence strategies in the wake of the recent tensions across the Demilitarised Zone that divides the two nations, with an army officer attached to the defence ministry outlining revised approaches to dealing with the North.

We will develop asymmetric strategies that give us a comparative advantage over the North, like psychological warfare, decapitation operations, intelligence advantage and precision strike capabilities”, Cho Sang-ho, a brigadier general in the South Korean Army, told a seminar hosted by the Korea Defence and Security Forum in Seoul on Thursday.

Any operation to decapitate the leadership in Pyongyang would necessarily include Kim Jong-un, the North’s supreme leader.

“Decapitation of the command, control and communications abilities of an enemy is a textbook strategy that has long been used by the American military”, Rah Jong-yil, a former head of South Korean intelligence, told The Telegraph.

The aim is not to kill large numbers of the enemy’s soldiers, but to attack those that make the decisions,” he said. “The US used it against Saddam Hussein in Iraq, attempting at the outset of the war there to eliminate him or at least to keep him on the run and disturb his ability to fight back.”
And while destroying a nation’s leadership may be an effective military tactic, Mr Rah believes it was “very rash” of a South Korean military official to explicitly threaten the North’s leadership so soon after the recent tensions on the border.

“It was very rash and provocative to say that,” he said. “And in any case, I’m not sure that such a tactic would be effective against North Korea.

“If large-scale military actions did appear likely to break out, then the first thing the North would do is protect their top man, someone they see as a demigod,” Mr Rah said.

The North is also well prepared to face South Korea and the United States in war, he added, having observed very closely the conflict in Iraq, where they deployed battlefield and intelligence monitors.
“Also, they have some of the world’s best underground command-and-control facilities, while Mr Kim has 30 or more official residences,” he said. “It would be difficult to locate him and he would then be well protected; announcing these intentions is very rash.”

Iranian Hegemony Is Just Beginning (Dan 8:4)


Iranians hope to fill vacuum as U.S. lowers its Mideast profile

Now that Iran is backing off its nuclear program, Tehran wants more influence in region

Iran’s agreement to curb its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief by world powers was welcomed at every level of society here, but nowhere more warmly than in the foreign policy community, which foresees a big boost for the Islamic Republic’s regional role, especially as the U.S. lowers its profile.

There is even gloating about what many expect to be the major spinoff from the accord – a U.S. loss of interest in the Middle East and its many conflicts, opening the way for Iran to play a leading role in the region.

“The nuclear deal is a turning point,” said Kayhan Barzegar, chairman of the Institute for Middle East Strategic Studies in Tehran. “The main change is in the regional context, and Iran’s place in it. To be honest, I think Iran has an upper hand on the regional issues.”

He referred to President Barack Obama’s statements that the U.S. will not take the lead role in crises such as Syria’s devastating civil war and will seek regional solutions to regional problems.
“Having no policy is a good policy – good for Iran, no doubt,” Barzegar said.

The logic of regional cooperation is to get rid of the United States, the biggest firepower in the region, the only one that can really harm Iran,” Barzegar said, and “not giving the excuse for foreign actors to come back again into the region.”
But Iranians may be in for a disappointment. Secretary of State John Kerry told Congress that the U.S. has “extensive plans” to turn up the pressure on Iran’s “unacceptable” behavior.

“There isn’t a challenge in the entire region that we won’t push back against if Iran is involved in it,” he said in testimony July 23 to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He referred to Iran’s “other activities,” its support for terrorism and its “contributions to sectarian violence in the Middle East.”
Iran will remain isolated “for its support of terrorism, for its support of weapons trading,” for backing Houthi rebels in Yemen and for supporting Hezbollah in Lebanon and Syria, Kerry told Ashark al Awsat, a London-based Arabic daily. “As long as they continue to support it, there will be push-back,” he declared.

Kerry’s remarks went directly to the question of “regional cooperation,” for Iran cannot play the role it seeks unless the United States opens the way.

Today, the two countries don’t have diplomatic relations or ambassadors in each other’s capital, and it’s not clear how quickly ties can improve in view of the historic baggage both sides bring to the relationship.

For the U.S. it began in November 1979 with the seizure by militants of 52 American hostages at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran after the Iranian revolution began, who weren’t released for 444 days. Iranian operatives are alleged to have blown up a barracks housing U.S. Marines in Lebanon in 1983, killing 241 U.S. servicemen, and the Khobar towers housing complex in Saudi Arabia in 1996, killing 19 American servicemen. After the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, Iran armed and trained Shiite militias that attacked U.S. military positions.

Iran also has deep grievances, dating to the CIA-orchestrated overthrow in 1953 of the democratically elected government of Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh. The U.S. and its Arab allies backed Saddam Hussein in the Iran-Iraq war that lasted from 1980 to 1988, with the U.S. even providing intelligence as the Iraqi leader bombed Iranian targets.

In the 1990s, the Clinton administration practiced a policy of “duel containment” against Iraq and Iran, and early in 2002, just months after the attacks of 9/11, the Bush administration labeled Iraq part of an “axis of evil,” along with Iraq and North Korea.

Iran’s sectarian responses to the eruption of popular unrest across the Arab world in 2011, known as the Arab Spring, has left it in isolation.

Even as it supported a revolt of the Shiite majority in nearby Bahrain, where a Saudi-backed Sunni regime carried out mass repression, Iran threw its support behind the Alawite minority regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad against the Sunni majority.

It provided oil, enormous financial aid, arms and ammunition to Assad. It also sent hundreds of military advisers and deployed the Hezbollah militia from Lebanon and facilitated the insertion of thousands of Shiite volunteers, first Iraqis and more recently Afghan Hazaras.

“Nowadays we find that our neighbors are ganged up against Iran. They would be very happy for Iran to have a catastrophe,” said Davood Hermidas Bavand, a retired veteran diplomat. “We find loneliness in the crowd.”

Long term, Iran’s star may be on the rise, but it isn’t there yet.

“Iran is being considered a potential good partner for the United States,” said Seyed Jalal Sadatian, a former Iranian ambassador to Britain. “The U.S. is looking for a strong regional ally to become the policeman of the region.”

But the key to such a shift is the acquiescence of America’s key Gulf allies. And that is up to Washington, said think tank director Barzegar.

“The duty and burden is on America to convince the Saudis that Iran is not a threat for them, which it is not. How can you imagine Iran attacking Saudi Arabia? This is ridiculous.” He added: “The U.S. needs to change that picture.”

Veteran diplomat Davood put it more diplomatically. “When we have a good relationship with the United States, our neighbors will try to get closer to Iran,” he said. “But when there is hostility and animosity, they take a different, subjective view of Iran and entertain unfriendly visions.”
But Washington may not be forthcoming so long as Iran backs Hezbollah and the Houthis. If the administration carries out Kerry’s commitment to Congress, it is possible that Washington, not Tehran, will have the upper hand in regional issues.

Friday, August 28, 2015

New York Is Overdue For Major Earthquake (Rev 6:12)

Office workers gather on a sidewalk after their building was evacuated following a 2011 earthquake in New York.

Is New Jersey overdue for major earthquake?

Devin Loring, @DevinLoring
17 hours ago

One of the most noticeable earthquakes in New Jersey measured a 5.30 on the Richter scale — a moderate quake – and was felt throughout Pennsylvania and New Hampshire.

But that was in 1783, before colossal bridges connected New Jersey and New York, and cities were pre-skyscraper and modern infrastructure.

What would happen if New Jersey was rocked by a strong, or even moderate, earthquake today?
New Jersey may well soon find out. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection said 10 years ago that we’re due for at least a moderate earthquake.

The region is not really well prepared for any level of shaking,” said Vadim Levin, an associate professor in the earth and planetary sciences department at Rutgers University. “The population density is so extremely high. … Look at earthquake-related disasters. They don’t link to the large size of earthquakes, but the confluence of how close they are to people.”

There are earthquakes in Jersey?

It has been over 200 years since New Jersey experienced that historic quake in 1783, and almost 100 years since Asbury Park experienced a quake – in 1927 – that toppled chimneys and knocked items off shelves

That means New Jersey is overdue for an earthquake, at least according to a brochure published by the NJDEP, in 2005.

The agency’s data indicates that intense quakes are likely to happen in New Jersey every 100 years or less.

“Long overdue for how long, that’s the question,” said Levin. “Once in ten generations is very difficult to study. That’s the biggest challenge (because) we live inside a stable plate.”

A “stable plate,” describes New Jersey’s tectonics. Here, the Earth’s crust “fits together and doesn’t deform very much,” Levin said.

Despite the stability of New Jersey’s crust, earthquakes are felt throughout New Jersey frequently.
In fact, earlier this month, a light earthquake was very noticeable to residents in and around Morristown. It was felt as far south as Jackson, and as far north as Suffern, New York.

The big one

Researchers don’t really understand why earthquakes happen on the East Coast, especially because in New Jersey, small earthquakes happen over a diffuse area and do not form an easily identifiable zone of action, Levin said.

“What makes us slightly more nervous these days is the recent Virginia earthquake,” Levin said. “That event was rather large, there was serious damage, and of course, no prior history of such events recorded.”

In 2011, the 5.8 magnitude earthquake in Virginia was felt from Georgia to Maine, in Michigan and Illinois, and in Canada according to the United States Geological Survey.

“That (2011 earthquake) damaged a nuclear power plant — not severely, only to the extent that it had to shut down operations,” said Arthur Lerner-Lam, deputy director of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University.

It points out the issue of fragility on our infrastructure,” Lerner-Lam said. “The resiliency or vulnerability of our bridges, tunnels, power lines, pipelines, is a very important feature of the overall vulnerability of the metropolitan region.”

What makes East Coast quakes all the more unpredictable is that quakes here differ from those on the West Coast, where they are more frequent. Because the earth on the East Coast has different properties than the west, shakes from quakes are transmitted farther here than they are in California, Levin said.

Getting protection

Standard homeowner, renter, and business insurance policies typically do not cover earthquake damage, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

Only 7 percent of homeowners that responded to an Institute survey in 2014 said they had earthquake insurance.

Only about 2 percent of homeowners in the Northeast have earthquake coverage, the survey revealed.
Levin said he declines to have earthquake coverage, saying hurricanes and flooding are a much greater risk in New Jersey.

“If an event is extremely unlikely, how much money is worth investing in safeguarding from it?” Levin said.

Although there is no reliable way to predict a major earthquake, let’s just say experts don’t think whole cities will crumble or be consumed by the ocean, as depicted by Hollywood.
“I’m planning to take my class to see ‘San Andreas.’ Oh my God, that’s such overkill,” Levin said.
Devin Loring; 732-463-4053;

Another Democratic Representative Opposes The Iran Deal

Carolyn Maloney, New York Representative, Will Oppose Iran Nuclear Deal

AUGUST 27, 2015

Representative Carolyn B. Maloney said on Thursday that she would vote against President Obama’s proposed nuclear deal with Iran, joining Senator Chuck Schumer and other New York Democrats in opposing the White House’s top diplomatic priority.

Ms. Maloney, a Democrat who represents the East Side of Manhattan and parts of Queens and Brooklyn, said in a statement that the agreement would not provide adequate oversight of Iran’s atomic facilities, or prevent the country from seeking nuclear arms over time.

This is an agreement with a nation that has not honored its nonproliferation commitments in the past,” Ms. Maloney said, while warning that the deal “could also make the region even more dangerous by giving Iran access to financial resources, weapons and power.

Ms. Maloney’s announcement helps solidify the New York congressional delegation’s status as a key front in the opposition to the deal, which would lift economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for its government taking steps to rein in its nuclear program.

Opposition to the deal has been intense within New York’s large Jewish community, because of fears about the potential threat that a nuclear-armed Iran would pose to Israel.

Several senior Jewish Democrats from downstate have come out against the agreement in recent weeks, including Mr. Schumer and Representatives Eliot L. Engel, Nita M. Lowey and Steve Israel. Democratic Representatives Grace Meng of Queens and Kathleen Rice of Long Island have also stated their opposition.

Representative Jerrold Nadler, a Manhattan Democrat, is the state’s lone Jewish member of Congress to express support for the agreement. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, an upstate Democrat, has also endorsed it.

A sizable group of Democratic lawmakers from New York City have yet to take a position, with some openly agonizing over a vote that would have them either anger a large group of constituents or undercut Mr. Obama and his foreign policy legacy.

Congress is to vote next month on a measure expressing disapproval of the deal. Lawmakers and advocates seeking to derail the agreement are believed to face long odds: Even if they pass the resolution opposing the pact, they would still need to override a veto by Mr. Obama to halt it from taking effect.

Ms. Maloney, in her statement, endorsed several of the arguments that the agreement’s opponents have made most insistently: that Iran cannot be trusted to bargain in good faith; that it is determined to harm the United States; and that lifting sanctions would give Iran billions of dollars that it could direct toward terrorism.

Ms. Maloney called it implausible to imagine that “a portion of that massive windfall would not find its way into the hands of terrorists.”

She also warned that supporters of the deal were overly optimistic in hoping that the Iranian government was poised for major change.

“Some believe that if we can just delay Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, a more moderate regime in a country with a young population will assume power and abandon Iran’s nuclear ambitions,” she said. “We can hope for the best, but we need an agreement that assumes the worst.”

Pakistan To Become The Third Largest Nuclear Power (Dan 8:8)

Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal could be world’s third largest in a decade, say US think-tanks
Aug 27, 2015 22:37 IST

Washington: Pakistan is on course of having about 350 nuclear weapons in about a decade, the world’s third-largest stockpile after the US and Russia and twice that of India, two major American think-tanks said on Thursday

In the next five to 10 years, Pakistan could have a nuclear arsenal not only twice the size of India’s but also larger than those of the United Kingdom, China, and France, giving it the third-largest arsenal behind the United States and Russia,” said a report by two renowned scholars Tom Dalton and Michael Krepon.

The 48-page report titled ‘A Normal Nuclear Pakistan’ by the Stimson Center and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace says that the growth path of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, enabled by existing infrastructure goes well beyond the assurances of credible minimal deterrence provided by Pakistani officials and analysts after testing nuclear devices.

“If Pakistan continues on its current path, and if there is no reassessment of its presumed need to compete effectively with India, in 10 years time Pakistan could possess a nuclear arsenal nearing 350 weapons (or at least a stockpile of fissile material sufficient for an arsenal of this size),” the report said.

“If Pakistan has defined production requirements for approximately 20 nuclear warheads annually against an India that competes haphazardly, it is unlikely to diminish annual production requirements for an India that competes seriously,” it said.

Consequently, if New Delhi picks up the pace of this competition and Rawalpindi responds accordingly, Pakistan’s future nuclear stockpile could grow well beyond 350 nuclear warheads.
“If deterrence fails, it appears that Pakistan has no intention of ‘losing’ a nuclear war with India,” it said.

By staying on its present course, Pakistan faces very long odds against entering the nuclear mainstream, the report noted.

NSG members – especially its non-nuclear-weapon state members – are likely to view Pakistan’s rapid growth in fissile material stocks and warheads as contrary to the norms of responsible nuclear stewardship, it said.

A nuclear future in which Pakistan seeks to exceed or at least match or offset the growth in India’s nuclear and conventional military capabilities appears far bleaker for Pakistan than for India, the two think tanks said.

International Atomic Energy Agency Incompetence


Iran Nuclear Deal: IAEA Inspectors Don’t Have The Credentials To Ensure Iran Keeps Nuclear Program Peaceful, Former Workers Say

By Erin Banco @ErinBanco
on August 27 2015 3:06 PM EDT

When U.S. President Barack Obama walked out into the Rose Garden in April he made one of the defining speeches of his presidency. He announced to the world that the U.S. had finally struck a deal with Iran that would prevent it from developing nuclear weapons — an agreement that he worked on for the duration of his time in office and one that led to renewed diplomatic relations after a 35-year political standoff.
The president vowed that Iran’s nuclear facilities would be closely observed and, if the Iranians cheated the agreement, “the world will know it.” But new information received by International Business Times shows Obama’s words may turn out to be hollow ones. The inspectors who are responsible for monitoring Iran’s nuclear capabilities do not have the necessary expertise to point out machines or processes that could or would indicate Iran is militarizing its nuclear material, according to former nuclear inspectors.
The nuclear deal, a focal point of the Obama administration and a contentious issue in Congress, hangs on the idea that Iran will have to undergo intensive monitoring and verification by the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the body in charge of checking the military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program to make sure it complies with the agreement and does not develop a nuclear weapon.
“Iran has … agreed to the most robust and intrusive inspections and transparency regime ever negotiated for any nuclear program in history,” Obama declared in April. Inspectors would have access not only to Iranian nuclear facilities, Obama said, but to the entire supply chain that supports Iran’s nuclear program, including uranium mills, centrifuge production and storage facilities that support the program. “If we see something suspicious, we will inspect it,” Obama said.
But former IAEA inspectors say those chosen to monitor Iran’s nuclear material can easily perform routine sampling of material but are not equipped with the knowledge to understand when nuclear sites are being used for military purposes.
“Anyone can be trained to do the sampling,” said Robert Kelley, the former director of the IAEA nuclear inspections in Iraq in 1992 and again in 2001. But what is more difficult to learn, he said, is how to spot machines and processes that point to militarization of nuclear material. “They [the inspectors] could come out and be questioned about the site and not have any idea about what they saw.”
The deal relies heavily on a U.N. agency that currently does not have the capacity to carry the weight of the agreement, Kelley told IBTimes. The verification needed to uphold the agreement is multifaceted and is out of the scope of most inspectors’ capabilities, he said.
Kelley, along with Tarif Rauf, another former IAEA inspector, wrote a recent report claiming the IAEA monitoring and verification in Iran “go beyond normal safeguards” and that the agency should bring in experts from the outside to conduct the nuclear weapon analysis in Iran. During the IAEA inspections in Iraq, the team responsible for monitoring brought in experts from the outside to conduct the weapons analysis because inspectors usually have “zero” nuclear weapon experience and “little to no nuclear experience,” Kelley told IBTimes.
The IAEA historically has operated on a strict mandate to take samples of nuclear material and track levels. A job description for an IAEA inspector says the position involves carrying out analytical work at various nuclear facilities and sites to verify the absence of “undeclared nuclear material or activities, undeclared production or processing of nuclear material at declared facilities and on diversion of nuclear material.”
That verification, according to the job description, will be ensured by in-field activities including the collection of nuclear material and environmental samples, servicing of surveillance equipment, verification of plant design and examination of government records. The job does not require inspectors to know how to spot nuclear weapon production.
In April, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat from California, said in an interview with CNN that for the nuclear deal to succeed, “a precondition has to be that there’s going to be a real re-dedication in the IAEA to do the kind of work that’s going to be necessary to do 24/7, 365 days a year in the various facilities.”
Former IAEA inspectors told IBTimes that the IAEA does not have the capacity to live up to those expectations.
“The IAEA has been oversold,” Kelley said.
The IAEA has a history of making mistakes, according to former U.K. ambassador to the IAEA Peter Jenkins. He has called on the IAEA to review their work on a case in Syria, stating in a recent report that the IAEA improperly sampled some of the nuclear material at a site in Syria.
“After the team had left the site and returned to their hotel, having taken several samples that Syria had authorized, [a] senior inspector bragged that he had taken an unauthorized ‘swipe’ of a surface in the men’s room. When the samples came back from analysis, it was on the unauthorized swipe that [anthropogenic natural uranium] particles had been found, ” Jenkins wrote. “If this account is true — and I know of no reason to think it is not — then one hypothesis is that the senior inspector’s swipe material was already contaminated, either deliberately or by accident, when he arrived at the Dair Alzour site, or it became contaminated when placed in his pocket.”
Another challenge to the “robust inspections” promised by Obama, unveiled by the Associated Press in a report earlier this month, points to the possibility that the IAEA might allow Iran to conduct its own monitoring program.
In an article published Aug. 19, AP cited a confidential document that showed the IAEA had negotiated a side deal with Iran to let the country carry out its own inspections. The report immediately caused an uproar among Republicans in Congress, who staunchly oppose the deal, claiming it gives Iran too much leeway to develop a nuclear weapon in the future. The side deal, Republican officials said, would strip the deal of inspection accountability and reliability in monitoring Iran’s nuclear material.
The details of the deal remain murky. It is not clear from the Associated Press’ document whether the IAEA will send weapons inspectors to oversee the sampling, or management personnel. Either way, former IAEA employees say sending unqualified inspectors into Parchin under the nuclear deal does not add any value.
The IAEA declined to provide IBTimes with a comment on these claims or those of Kelley and other former inspectors. But in a statement released by IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano last week, he said, “I am disturbed by statements suggesting that the IAEA has given responsibility for nuclear inspections to Iran. Such statements misrepresent the way in which we will undertake this important verification work.”
The director went on to say, “the arrangements are technically sound and consistent with our long-established practices. They do not compromise our safeguards standards in any way.”
A U.S. State Department spokesman said in a briefing this week that the department was “confident” the IAEA would have the access it needed to oversee the sampling at Parchin and specified that inspectors would be able to physically enter the site, even if they do not lift the samples themselves.
Other analysts have in recent weeks pointed to the fact that Iran, following the botched analysis in Syria, may want to lead its own monitoring for fear of being wrongly accused of developing nuclear weapons.
But in another twist to the story, this week the IAEA said the agency cannot move forward with its monitoring of Iranian nuclear material until it receives more money from member states. The agency says it needs funds of $10 million a year to adequately oversee and implement the deal and verify that its terms are kept.
The deal requires the IAEA to make an assessment of the possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program by the end of 2015. The U.N. agency’s agreement with Iran is part of a larger deal struck between Iran and six world powers — China, France, Russia, the U.K., the U.S. and Germany — to cut back Iran’s nuclear program and prevent the country from developing a nuclear weapon. That deal, though it still needs to be passed by Congress, requires the IAEA to ensure Iran’s compliance through a robust verification process.
Nuclear negotiations began during Obama’s presidency in an effort to normalize relations between the two countries. Iranian international isolation began in 1979 following an Islamist revolution that overthrew the pro-Western regime of the Shah. The subsequent occupation of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran led to the end of diplomatic relations with Washington. Following Iran’s decision to move forward with an illicit nuclear weapons program, in 2012 the European Union imposed further sanctions on the country, banning all arms exports and the importing of Iranian crude oil and natural gas.
The nuclear deal was designed as a way of preventing — or at least delaying — Iran’s development of nuclear weapons in return for the lifting of economic sanctions. But if Kelley’s claims are correct — and IAEA inspectors aren’t qualified to determine whether the nuclear site is being used for military purposes — this has deeply troubling implications, both for the deal and for the legacy of the Obama administration.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Preparing For The Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

Preparing for the Great New York Earthquake

by Mike MullerShare

New York Quakes
New York Quakes Fault lines and known temblors in the New York City region between 1677-2004. The nuclear power plant at Indian Point is indicated by a Pe.

Most New Yorkers probably view the idea of a major earthquake hitting New York City as a plot device for a second-rate disaster movie. In a city where people worry about so much — stock market crashes, flooding, a terrorist attack — earthquakes, at least, do not have to be on the agenda.
A recent report by leading seismologists associated with Columbia University, though, may change that. The report concludes a serious quake is likely to hit the area.
The implication of this finding has yet to be examined. Although earthquakes are uncommon in the area relative to other parts of the world like California and Japan, the size and density of New York City puts it at a higher risk of damage. The type of earthquake most likely to occur here would mean that even a fairly small event could have a big impact.
The issue with earthquakes in this region is that they tend to be shallow and close to the surface,” explains Leonardo Seeber, a coauthor of the report. “That means objects at the surface are closer to the source. And that means even small earthquakes can be damaging.”
The past two decades have seen an increase in discussions about how to deal with earthquakes here. The most recent debate has revolved around the Indian Point nuclear power plant, in Buchanan, N.Y., a 30-mile drive north of the Bronx, and whether its nuclear reactors could withstand an earthquake. Closer to home, the city adopted new codes for its buildings even before the Lamont report, and the Port Authority and other agencies have retrofitted some buildings. Is this enough or does more need to be done? On the other hand, is the risk of an earthquake remote enough that public resources would be better spent addressing more immediate — and more likely — concerns?

Assessing the Risk

The report by scientists from the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University at summarizes decades of information on earthquakes in the area gleaned from a network of seismic instruments, studies of earthquakes from previous centuries through archival material like newspaper accounts and examination of fault lines.
The city can expect a magnitude 5 quake, which is strong enough to cause damage, once every 100 years, according to the report. (Magnitude is a measure of the energy released at the source of an earthquake.) The scientists also calculate that a magnitude 6, which is 10 times larger, has a 7 percent chance of happening once every 50 years and a magnitude 7 quake, 100 times larger, a 1.5 percent chance. Nobody knows the last time New York experienced quakes as large as a 6 or 7, although if once occurred it must have taken place before 1677, since geologists have reviewed data as far back as that year.
The last magnitude 5 earthquake in New York City hit in 1884, and it occurred off the coast of Rockaway Beach. Similar earthquakes occurred in 1737 and 1783.
By the time of the 1884 quake, New York was already a world class city, according to Kenneth Jackson, editor of The Encyclopedia of New York City.”In Manhattan,” Jackson said, “New York would have been characterized by very dense development. There was very little grass.”
A number of 8 to 10 story buildings graced the city, and “in world terms, that’s enormous,” according to Jackson. The city already boasted the world’s most extensive transportation network, with trolleys, elevated trains and the Brooklyn Bridge, and the best water system in the country. Thomas Edison had opened the Pearl Street power plant two years earlier.
All of this infrastructure withstood the quake fairly well. A number of chimneys crumbled and windows broke, but not much other damage occurred. Indeed, the New York Times reported that people on the Brooklyn Bridge could not tell the rumble was caused by anything more than the cable car that ran along the span.

Risks at Indian Point

As dense as the city was then though, New York has grown up and out in the 124 years since. Also, today’s metropolis poses some hazards few, if any people imagined in 1884.
In one of their major findings, the Lamont scientists identified a new fault line less than a mile from Indian Point. That is in addition to the already identified Ramapo fault a couple of miles from the plant. This is seen as significant because earthquakes occur at faults and are the most powerful near them.
This does not represent the first time people have raised concerns about earthquakes near Indian Point. A couple of years after the licenses were approved for Indian Point 2 in 1973 and Indian Point 3 in 1975, the state appealed to the Atomic Safety and Licensing Appeal Panel over seismic issues. The appeal was dismissed in 1976, but Michael Farrar, one of three members on the panel, dissented from his colleagues.
He thought the commission had not required the plant to be able to withstand the vibration that could occur during an earthquake. “I believe that an effort should be made to ascertain the maximum effective acceleration in some other, rational, manner,” Farrar wrote in his dissenting opinion. (Acceleration measures how quickly ground shaking speeds up.)
Con Edison, the plants’ operator at the time, agreed to set up seismic monitoring instruments in the area and develop geologic surveys. The Lamont study was able to locate the new fault line as a result of those instruments.
Ironically, though, while scientists can use the data to issue reports — the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission cannot use it to determine whether the plant should have its license renewed. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission only considers the threat of earthquakes or terrorism during initial licensing hearings and does not revisit the issue during relicensing.
Lynn Sykes, lead author of the Lamont report who was also involved in the Indian Point licensing hearings, disputes that policy. The new information, he said, should be considered — “especially when considering a 20 year license renewal.”
The state agrees. Last year, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo began reaching out to other attorneys general to help convince the commission to include these risks during the hearings.
Cuomo and the state Department of Environmental Conservation delivered a 312-page petition to the commission that included reasons why earthquakes posed a risk to the power plants. The petition raised three major concerns regarding Indian Point:
  • The seismic analysis for Indian Point plants 2 and 3 did not consider decommissioned Indian Point 1. The state is worried that something could fall from that plant and damage the others.
  • The plant operators have not updated the facilities to address 20 years of new seismic data in the area.
  • The state contends that Entergy, the plant’s operator, has not been forthcoming. “It is not possible to verify either what improvements have been made to [Indian Point] or even to determine what improvements applicant alleges have been implemented,” the petition stated.
A spokesperson for Entergy told the New York Times that the plants are safe from earthquakes and are designed to withstand a magnitude 6 quake.
Lamont’s Sykes thinks the spokesperson must have been mistaken. “He seems to have confused the magnitude scale with intensity scale,” Sykes suggests. He points out that the plants are designed to withstand an event on the intensity scale of VII, which equals a magnitude of 5 or slightly higher in the region. (Intensity measures the effects on people and structures.) A magnitude 6 quake, in Sykes opinion, would indeed cause damage to the plant.
The two reactors at Indian Point generate about 10 percent of the state’s electricity. Since that power is sent out into a grid, it isn’t known how much the plant provides for New York City. Any abrupt closing of the plant — either because of damage or a withdrawal of the operating license — would require an “unprecedented level of cooperation among government leaders and agencies,” to replace its capacity, according to a 2006 report by the National Academies’ National Research Council, a private, nonprofit institution chartered by Congress.
Indian Point Nuclear Plant
Indian Point Nuclear Plant
Entergy’s Indian Point Energy Center, a three-unit nuclear power plant north of New York City, lies within two miles of the Ramapo Seismic Zone.
Beyond the loss of electricity, activists worry about possible threats to human health and safety from any earthquake at Indian Point. Some local officials have raised concerns that radioactive elements at the plant, such as tritium and strontium, could leak through fractures in bedrock and into the Hudson River. An earthquake could create larger fractures and, so they worry, greater leaks.
In 2007, an earthquake hit the area surrounding Japan’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant, the world’s largest. The International Atomic Energy Agency determined “there was no significant damage to the parts of the plant important to safety,” from the quake. According to the agency, “The four reactors in operation at the time in the seven-unit complex shut down safely and there was a very small radioactive release well below public health and environmental safety limits.” The plant, however, remains closed.

Shaking the Streets

A quake near Indian Point would clearly have repercussions for New York City. But what if an earthquake hit one of the five boroughs?
In 2003, public and private officials, under the banner of the New York City Area Consortium for Earthquake Loss Mitigation, released a study of what would happen if a quake hit the metropolitan area today. Much of the report focused on building damage in Manhattan. It used the location of the 1884 quake, off the coast of Rockaway Beach, as its modern muse.
If a quake so serious that it is expected to occur once every 2,500 years took place off Rockaway, the consortium estimated it would cause $11.5 billion in damage to buildings in Manhattan. About half of that would result from damage to residential buildings. Even a moderate magnitude 5 earthquake would create an estimated 88,000 tons of debris (10,000 truckloads), which is 136 times the garbage cleared in Manhattan on an average day, they found.
The report does not estimate possible death and injury for New York City alone. But it said that, in the tri-state area as a whole, a magnitude 5 quake could result in a couple of dozen deaths, and a magnitude 7 would kill more than 6,500 people.
Ultimately, the consortium decided retrofitting all of the city’s buildings to prepare them for an earthquake would be “impractical and economically unrealistic,” and stressed the importance of identifying the most vulnerable areas of the city.
Unreinforced brick buildings, which are the most common type of building in Manhattan, are the most vulnerable to earthquakes because they do not absorb motion as well as more flexible wood and steel buildings. Structures built on soft soil are more also prone to risk since it amplifies ground shaking and has the potential to liquefy during a quake.
This makes the Upper East Side the most vulnerable area of Manhattan, according to the consortium report. Because of the soil type, the ground there during a magnitude 7 quake would shake at twice the acceleration of that in the Financial District. Chinatown faces considerable greater risk for the same reasons.
The city’s Office of Emergency Management agency does offer safety tips for earthquakes. It advises people to identify safe places in their homes, where they can stay until the shaking stops, The agency recommends hiding under heavy furniture and away from windows and other objects that could fall.
A special unit called New York Task Force 1 is trained to find victims trapped in rubble. The Office of Emergency Management holds annual training events for the unit.
The Buildings Department created its first seismic code in 1995. More recently, the city and state have adopted the International Building Code (which ironically is a national standard) and all its earthquake standards. The “international” code requires that buildings be prepared for the 2,500-year worst-case scenario.

Transportation Disruptions

With the state’s adoption of stricter codes in 2003, the Port Authority went back and assessed its facilities that were built before the adoption of the code, including bridges, bus terminals and the approaches to its tunnels. The authority decided it did not have to replace any of this and that retrofitting it could be done at a reasonable cost.
The authority first focused on the approaches to bridges and tunnels because they are rigid and cannot sway with the earth’s movement. It is upgrading the approaches to the George Washington Bridge and Lincoln Tunnel so they will be prepared for a worst-case scenario. The approaches to the Port Authority Bus Terminal on 42nd Street are being prepared to withstand two thirds of a worst-case scenario.
The terminal itself was retrofitted in 2007. Fifteen 80-foot tall supports were added to the outside of the structure.
A number of the city’s bridges could be easily retrofitted as well “in an economical and practical manner,” according to a study of three bridges by the consulting firm Parsons Brinckerhoff. Those bridges include the 102nd Street Bridge in Queens, and the 145th Street and Macombs Dam bridges, which span the Harlem River. To upgrade the 155th Street Viaduct, the city will strengthen its foundation and strengthen its steel columns and floor beams.
The city plans upgrades for the viaduct and the Madison Avenue bridge in 2010. The 2008 10-year capital strategy for the city includes $596 million for the seismic retrofitting of the four East River bridges, which is planned to begin in 2013. But that commitment has fluctuated over the years. In 2004, it was $833 million.
For its part, New York City Transit generally is not considering retrofitting its above ground or underground structures, according to a report presented at the American Society of Civil Engineers in 2004. New facilities, like the Second Avenue Subway and the Fulton Transit Center will be built to new, tougher standards.
Underground infrastructure, such as subway tunnels, electricity systems and sewers are generally safer from earthquakes than above ground facilities. But secondary effects from quakes, like falling debris and liquefied soil, could damage these structures.
Age and location — as with buildings — also add to vulnerability. “This stuff was laid years ago,” said Rae Zimmerman, professor of planning and public administration at New York University. “A lot of our transit infrastructure and water pipes are not flexible and a lot of the city is on sandy soil.” Most of Lower Manhattan, for example, is made up of such soil.
She also stresses the need for redundancy, where if one pipe or track went down, there would be another way to go. “The subway is beautiful in that respect,” she said. “During 9/11, they were able to avoid broken tracks.”

Setting Priorities

The city has not made preparing its infrastructure for an earthquake a top priority — and some experts think that makes sense.
“On the policy side, earthquakes are a low priority,” said Guy Nordenson, a civil engineer who was a major proponent of the city’s original seismic code, “and I think that’s a good thing.” He believes there are more important risks, such as dealing with the effects of climate change.
“There are many hazards, and any of these hazards can be as devastating, if not more so, than earthquakes,” agreed Mohamed Ettouney, who was also involved in writing the 1995 seismic code.
In fact, a recent field called multi-hazard engineering has emerged. It looks at the most efficient and economical way to prepare for hazards rather than preparing for all at once or addressing one hazard after the other. For example, while addressing one danger (say terrorism) identified as a priority, it makes sense to consider other threats that the government could prepare for at the same time (like earthquakes).
Scientists from Lamont-Doherty are also not urging anybody to rush to action in panic. Their report is meant to be a first step in a process that lays out potential hazards from earthquakes so that governments and businesses can make informed decisions about how to reduce risk.
“We now have a 300-year catalog of earthquakes that has been well calibrated” to estimate their size and location, said Sykes. “We also now have a 34-year study of data culled from Lamont’s network of seismic instruments.”
“Earthquake risk is not the highest priority in New York City, nor is dog-poop free sidewalks,” Seeber recently commented. But, he added, both deserve appropriately rational responses.