Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Earthquakes/Volcanos Increasing, ISIS Warns Of 'Harsher And Worse' U.S. Attacks, Extreme Secrecy Eroding Support For Trade Pact

Michigan, Texas, Mississippi, California, Idaho And Washington All Jolted By Significant Earthquakes

Did you know that Michigan was just hit by the worst earthquake that state has seen in more than 60 years?  In recent days, there has been a series of alarming earthquakes all over the United States.  Of course none of these earthquakes was anything like the massively powerful quake that just crippled the entire nation of Nepal, but many are concerned that these earthquakes could be a sign of what is to come.  All over the planet, seismic activity is increasing.  In fact, I recently wrote about how the number of volcanoes erupting right now is greater than the 20th century’s average for an entire year.  At the same time, the surface of the sun has become very, very quiet.  As you will see in this article, there are scientists that link the two.  It is believed that times of very low solar activity have something to do with a rise in seismic activity, and there is one scientist that is claiming that solar activity is declining faster “than at any time in the last 9300 years” right now.  So what does this mean for the future of our planet?

Before we get to that, let’s review some of the very unusual earthquake activity in the U.S. that we have been witnessing lately.  As I mentioned above, the state of Michigan was just hit by the worst earthquake that it has seen in more than 60 years

If you thought you felt an earthquake on Saturday — you did. And it was one of the strongest quakes ever experienced in Michigan. Paul Caruso, a geophysicist with the United States Geological Survey, said an earthquake with a magnitude of 4.2 and a depth of focus of 5.9 km was measured around 12:23 p.m. about nine miles southeast of Kalamazoo, near Galesburg. Dozens of residents in several different regions beyond Kalamazoo — from Mount Pleasant and Sterling Heights to Lansing and even as far as Cleveland, Ohio — called the WWJ Newsroom and reported feeling a rumble and the ground shake for between five and 10 seconds.

If that was all that happened, it wouldn’t be that big of a deal.  But at the same time, unusual earthquakes are striking all over the country.  For instance, check out what just happened in Texas

North Texas was rattled once again with an earthquake early Sunday morning.
The USGS confirmed that the 3.2 magnitude earthquake struck about two miles north-northeast of Irving at about 10:11 a.m.
NBC 5 viewers reported feeling the earthquake in Irving, Dallas and here at the NBC 5 studios in Fort Worth near Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.
This follows a string of earthquakes in the area just last month.

And nobody really ever thinks of Mississippi as a place for earthquakes, and yet the state was just hit by two of them.  According to the USGS, a magnitude 3.0 earthquake and a magnitude 3.2 earthquake shook up the residents of Canton, Mississippi over the weekend.
In addition, on Sunday morning Los Angeles was hit by a magnitude 3.8 earthquake
A shallow magnitude 3.8 earthquake was reported Sunday morning one mile from View Park-Windsor Hills, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The temblor occurred at 4:07 a.m. PDT at a depth of 5.6 miles.
The quake was classified by the USGS as “light” but was felt over a wide area of the L.A. basin.

Not to be outdone, the Bay area in northern California was hit by a magnitude 4.0 earthquake on Sunday afternoon

A 4.0 magnitude earthquake rattled San Francisco Bay Area residents Sunday afternoon.
The U.S. Geological Survey reported the quake hit about one mile south of the city of Concord.

Of course it is not really a great surprise for California to get earthquakes.  The state had been fairly quiet for several decades, but everyone knows that it is just a matter of time before “the big one” comes.  Could these mid-size quakes be a sign that the region is starting to wake up?
Meanwhile, sizable quakes are also being reported in regions of the country that are not typically known for seismic activity.  In fact, northern Idaho was jolted by two substantial earthquakes on Thursday night
Two earthquakes — a magnitude 4.1 and a 4.2 — jolted north Idaho on Thursday night, with residents from northeastern Washington to northwestern Montana saying they felt the tremors.

It is fairly easy for scientists to explain the earthquakes in California.  But what is with the quakes in Michigan, Mississippi and Idaho?  Something very unusual appears to be happening.
At the same time, volcanic activity is rising all over the planet.  In fact, scientists believe that a submarine volcano off the northwest coast of the United States may have just erupted
More than 80 scientists from around the world gathered in Seattle last week to discuss a thrilling development: For the first time, seafloor instruments were providing a real-time look at the most active, submarine volcano off the Northwest coast — and all signs indicated it might erupt soon. But even the researchers most closely monitoring Axial Seamount were stunned by what happened next. Beginning Thursday, April 23 — the day after the workshop ended — the new sensors recorded 8,000 small earthquakes in a 24-hour period. The volcano’s caldera, which had been swelling rapidly from an influx of magma, collapsed like a deflated balloon. “All the alarm bells were going off,” said Oregon State University volcanologist Bill Chadwick, who along with a colleague predicted last year that the volcano would erupt in 2015. “It was very exciting.”

And one of the largest volcanoes in Hawaii is spewing lava for the first time in more than 30 years

For the first time in more than 30 years, lava is flowing on the floor of Halema’uma’u crater in Hawaii.
Kilauea volcano’s volatile lava lake spilled over the rim of a deep vent within Halema’uma’u crater several times overnight, lapping onto the edges of the vent like an overflowing pool.

So what is causing all of this to happen?
Well, could you believe that it is because the sun is being too quiet right now?
For a long time, scientists have known that there is a link between activity on the sun and seismic activity on our planet
A 1967 study published in the Earth and Planetary Science journal, stated: “Solar activity, as indicated by sunspots, radio noise and geomagnetic indices, plays a significant but by no means exclusive role in the triggering of earthquakes.”
A 1998 report by a scientist from the Beijing Astronomical Observatory… “Earthquakes occur frequently around the minimum years of solar activity.”
As reported on NewScientist.com and numerous other science sites, including Space.com, the sun has recently entered into its lowest (minimum) actively levels in four centuries, coinciding with an increase in global seismic activity. “Solar activity is declining very fast at the moment,” Mike Lockwood, professor of space environmental physics at Reading University, UK, told New Scientist. “We estimate faster than at any time in the last 9300 years.”
Very interesting.
So why aren’t we hearing anything about this in the mainstream media?
In recent years, the sun has become extremely quiet, and now things have gone to a whole new level.  In fact, it is being projected that we could shortly see a sun that is “completely blank”
If we have indeed entered a time of decreased solar activity, that could mean that seismic activity on our planet will continue to increase.
This is something that I have been warning about for a long time.  I believe that we are going to see enormous natural disasters both inside the United States and all over the planet during the next few years.  I believe that at some point we are going to see natural disasters that are so dramatic that they will literally change the geography of nations.

A strong 7.4-magnitude earthquake struck the southern coast of Papua New Guinea, US Geological Survey reported. A tsunami warning was issued for an area within 300 km of the epicenter, including the Australian coast, before being downplayed.

A large temblor registered 133 kilometers (83 miles) south-west of Kokopo, according to USGS. The revised data showed the epicenter to be 63 kilometers under the coast of New Britain island.

The quake was followed by a 5.9-magnitude aftershock just 10 minutes later. The series of aftershocks continued with 5.6 and 5.2 tremors.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) issued a preliminary warning message immediately after the first tremor, saying that “hazardous tsunami waves are possible for coasts located within 300km of the earthquake epicenter.”

The sun is almost completely blank. The main driver of all weather and climate, the entity which occupies 99.86% of all of the mass in our solar system, the great ball of fire in the sky has gone quiet again during what is likely to be the weakest sunspot cycle in more than a century. The sun's X-ray output has flatlined in recent days and NOAA forecasters estimate a scant 1% chance of strong flares in the next 24 hours. Not since cycle 14 peaked in February 1906 has there been a solar cycle with fewer sunspots. We are currently more than six years into Solar Cycle 24 and the current nearly blank sun may signal the end of the solar maximum phase. Solar cycle 24 began after an unusually deep solar minimum that lasted from 2007 to 2009 which included more spotless days on the sun compared to any minimum in almost a century.

Finally, if history is a guide, it is safe to say that weak solar activity for a prolonged period of time can have a cooling impact on global temperatures in the troposphere which is the bottom-most layer of Earth’s atmosphere - and where we all live. There have been two notable historical periods with decades-long episodes of low solar activity. 

The first period is known as the “Maunder Minimum”, named after the solar astronomer Edward Maunder, and it lasted from around 1645 to 1715. The second one is referred to as the “Dalton Minimum”, named for the English meteorologist John Dalton, and it lasted from about 1790 to 1830 (below). Both of these historical periods coincided with colder-than-normal global temperatures in an era now referred to by many scientists as the “Little Ice Age”. 

In addition, research studies in just the past couple of decades have found a complicated relationship between solar activity, cosmic rays, and clouds on Earth. This research suggests that in times of low solar activity where solar winds are typically weak; more cosmic rays reach the Earth’s atmosphere which, in turn, has been found to lead to an increase in certain types of clouds that can act to cool the Earth.

On Sunday evening, two men were shot and killed outside the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, Texas where a cartoon contest was underway featuring depictions of the prophet Mohammed. At the time, we reported that ISIS had taken credit for what ultimately appears to have been a botched attempt to carry out an attack similar to the massacre at Charlie Hebdo in France: 

Today we learn that indeed, ISIS has officially claimed responsibility. Here’s more from CNN:

ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack outside the Prophet Mohammed cartoon contest in Garland, Texas -- and warned of more attacks to come

In a broadcast on its official radio channel Tuesday, the group said two Al Khilafa soldiers attacked the event. Al Khilafa is how ISIS refers to its soldiers.

The two gunmen, Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi, wounded a security guard before police shot and killed them.

The ISIS radio announcer also referred to Simpson and Soofi as the terror group's "brothers."

While ISIS claimed responsibility two days after the Sunday attack, there was no immediate indication that the terror group in Iraq and Syria actually had contact with Simpson or Soofi, who both lived in Phoenix.

This of course marks the first attack claimed by ISIS on U.S. soil. Here’s a recap of events from Al Arabiya

"Two of the soldiers of the caliphate executed an attack on an art exhibit in Garland, Texas, and this exhibit was portraying negative pictures of the Prophet Mohammed," the jihadist group said.

It was the first time ISIS claimed to have carried out an attack in the U.S.

Here is the statement from ISIS in which the group warns of further attacks...

This fair was conducting a competition of offensive cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. The brothers were killed during an exchange of fire, and we ask God to welcome them into heaven. And we say to America... that what is coming is worse and more bitter, and you will see from the soldiers of the Islamic State what ill will come.  

...which ends with the following ominous passage and very accurate — if a bit tautological — observation that the future is indeed "right around the corner"...

The Islamic State soldiers will inflict harm on you with the grace of God. The future is just around the corner.
As we said on Monday, if indeed ISIS has found its way to the US, whether for pure provocation, false flag or any other "purposes" of inciting terrorist acts, this will likely be just the first of (many) other attacks which will see the successor of al Qaeda take responsibility for.

After two Muslim lawmakers tried to block world-renowned activist Geert Wilders from entering the country, he defiantly vowed his warnings about the existential threat Islam poses to Western civilization would never cease.

“I know one thing,” Wilders told the audience April 29 at a Capitol Hill reception co-sponsored by Reps. Steve King (R-Iowa) and Louie Gohmert (R-Texas).

“They are very ineffective because I’m here,” he said to laughter and applause.

“It’s really risky to tell the truth about Islam,” said Wilders who has had round-the-clock bodyguards protecting him for more than a decade.

A frightening reminder of just how risky telling the truth about Islam can be was delivered Sunday to Wilders and 300 attendees at an art competition featuring works depicting the Muslim prophet Muhammad.

“It is impossible to look at this shooting as anything else than an attempt on Ms. Geller’s life and that of Geert Wilders,” Jeffrey Lord wrote at the American Spectator.

Wilders, who had left the event in Garland before the attack commenced, was undaunted. “Never surrender to terrorism!” he tweeted Monday.

Even before the attack on the Muhammad-drawing contest, Wilders was painfully aware of the price of warning civilized peoples about Islam.
“If you do so, first you end up on a jihadi death list as happened to me and many others,” Wilders said in his speech last week.
“In Europe, however, it’s not just the jihadists who will go after you,” he said. “The authorities do so too.”
Wilders has been taken to court in his native Netherlands for speaking the truth about Islam. He was acquitted but the authorities are prosecuting him again.
“Unfortunately most Western leaders are weak,” he said. “They hope that if they ignore the threat, the threat will simply disappear, but it will not. It will only get worse.”
Islamic militants are everywhere, Wilders said.
Wilders is a member of the Dutch Parliament and leader of his country’s Partij voor de Vrijheid (PVV), or in English, the Party for Freedom. The PVV is the third-largest political party in the Netherlands. (Wilders spoke at the David Horowitz Freedom Center’s 20th Anniversary Restoration Weekend in November last year. Video footage and a transcript of the speech are available here.)
Wilders was banned from the United Kingdom as an “undesirable person” in early 2009, two days before he was supposed to screen his anti-Islamization film, Fitna. He had been invited to show the short movie by two members of the House of Lords. Wilders asked that country’s Asylum and Immigration Tribunal to review the ban and in October 2009 it was overturned.
Democratic Reps. Keith Ellison (Minnesota) and Andre Carson (Indiana) wrote to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Secretary of State John Kerry — who is working overtime to help the Islamic Republic of Iran develop nuclear weapons– urging that Wilders be denied entry to the United States. (The letter is available here.)

Ellison and Carson are both in-your-face practicing Muslims who rarely stop talking about how rotten, unfair, and bigoted the United States is. Both Ellison and Carson have extensive ties to the world of Islamic terrorism. When Ellison won his first congressional election in 2006, several of his supporters shouted the traditional battle cry of jihadists — “Allahu Akbar!” — at his victory party.

Islam isn’t even a real religion, Wilders contended.
“Islam looks like a religion but in reality it is a dangerous totalitarian ideology which wants to bring the whole world under Shariah law,” he said. “Islam means submission … It’s either submit or die and I suggest that we will do neither of them.”
Wilders mocked multiculturalists.
“The liberal and leftist elites adhere to the stupid politically correct view that all cultures are equal. That’s why we are in such a big mess today. And I say stop this nonsense.”
“Our Judeo-Christian culture is far superior to Islam and we should not be afraid to say so,” Wilders said to loud applause. We must be “proud of our civilization which is the best civilization on our earth.”
“We must repeat the truth about Islam over and over again,” Wilders said.
“Never ever be ashamed for speaking the truth. We should do it so often and so loud that our leaders, whether it’s my own prime minister or your President Obama, will hear it — the less Islam the better because we stand for liberty and because we want to safeguard our freedoms.”

If you want to hear the details of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal the Obama administration is hoping to pass, you’ve got to be a member of Congress, and you’ve got to go to classified briefings and leave your staff and cellphone at the door.
If you’re a member who wants to read the text, you’ve got to go to a room in the basement of the Capitol Visitor Center and be handed it one section at a time, watched over as you read, and forced to hand over any notes you make before leaving.
And no matter what, you can’t discuss the details of what you’ve read.
“It’s like being in kindergarten,” said Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), who’s become the leader of the opposition to President Barack Obama’s trade agenda. “You give back the toys at the end.”
For those out to sink Obama’s free trade push, highlighting the lack of public information is becoming central to their opposition strategy: The White House isn’t even telling Congress what it’s asking for, they say, or what it’s already promised foreign governments.
Obama’s seeking a renewal of fast-track authority, which would empower him to negotiate trade deals that then go to Congress for up-or-down votes but not amendments. He says he needs that authority to complete the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a 12-country free trade agreement that he calls essential to stopping China from setting trade, labor and environmental standards in the Asia-Pacific region.
Administration aides say they can’t make the details public because the negotiations are still going on with multiple countries at once; if for example, Vietnam knew what the American bottom line was with Japan, that might drive them to change their own terms. Trade might not seem like a national security issue, they say, but it is (and foreign governments regularly try to hack their way in to American trade deliberations).
But those arguments aren’t making much headway among trade skeptics, who feel they are being treated with disrespect and condescension. And they increasingly are pinning the blame directly on United States Trade Representative Mike Froman, who’s been headlining the classified briefings, in addition to smaller meetings with members.
Doggett, like other critics, pointed out that the cover sheets of the trade documents in that basement room are marked only “confidential document” and note they’re able to be transmitted over unsecured email and fax — but for some reason are still restricted to members of Congress.
“My chief of staff who has a top secret security clearance can learn more about ISIS or Yemen than about this trade agreement,” Doggett said.
“We know when we’re being suckered,” said Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.), who said he believes that the USTR quotes percentages instead of absolute values on trade statistics that give an overly positive impression. “It’s not only condescending, it’s misleading.”

New concerns are being raised that the nation's electrical grid and critical infrastructure are increasingly vulnerable to a catastrophic foreign attack -- amid speculation over whether officials are eyeing a former Cold War bunker, inside a Colorado mountain, as a "shield" against such a strike. 
North American Aerospace Defense Command is looking for ways to protect itself in the event of a massive electromagnetic pulse, or EMP, attack -- a deliberate burst of energy that could disrupt the electrical grid and cripple NORAD's ability to defend the nation. 
"What it could do, these various threats, is black out the U.S. electric grid for a protracted period of months or years," warned Peter Pry, executive director of the EMP Task Force, a bipartisan congressional commission. "Nine out of ten Americans could die from starvation, disease and societal collapse, if the blackout lasted a year." 
Pry said a $700 million contract to upgrade electronics inside Colorado's Cheyenne Mountain facility may provide a clue about just how worried the military is about the threat. 
The Air Force moved out of Cheyenne Mountain, which was built to survive a nuclear attack, in 2006, establishing its NORAD headquarters at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado. But that facility, inside the mountain, could offer protection against a so-called EMP attack. 
The head of NORAD recently suggested, at an April 7 Pentagon press conference, that Cheyenne may still be needed. 
"My primary concern was, are we going to have the space inside the mountain for everybody who wants to move in there?" Adm. William Gortney told reporters. "I'm not at liberty to discuss who's moving in there, but we do have that capability to be there." 

For the first time in the nearly five-year Syrian war, opposition forces, such as the Army of Conquest and the Free Syrian Army, are receiving substantial quantities of heavy weapons from  the United States, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Turkey, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates...
The balance of strength in the Syrian war has accordingly shifted in favor of rebel forces which are are winning victories against Bashar Assad’s army. In the last two weeks, the rebels have captured Jisr al-Shughour, in the northern Idlib province, able to move into new positions directly opposite Assad’s Alawite stronghold of Latakia and the Homs plain. Rebels have also gained ground in southern Syria in the Quneitra region opposite the Israeli Golan.
Our intelligence sources report that the opposition is now armed as never before with such heavy weapons as T-55, T-62, and T-72 tanks, BMP infantry fighting vehicles, rocket launchers, mortars, and vehicle-mounted heavy antiaircraft machine guns (12.7, 14.5, and 23 mm). They now command at least four types of antitank weapons, including RPG-7s, RPG-22s, M79s, and an extra-large supply of thousands of TOW missiles. All the hardware has come with night-vision attachments.
Each of the powers putting out now has reasons of its own for doing so.
The United States for instance, is determined to prevent the Syrian ruler and his allies, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, Hizballah and Afghan and Pakistani Shiite militias, from wnning the war.
Israel needs to distance the Iranian Guards and Hizballah from its borders with Syria.
Saudi Arabia seeks Assad’s overthrow.
However, on the way to these objectives, the rebels’ champions have come up against a disturbing by-product of their support: The lion’s share of the weaponry lavished on the opposition is being funneled to rebel groups associated or identified with Al Qaeda.
It is not lost on any of the foreign governments arming the Syrian opposition that they are in fact boosting radical Islamist organizations, some of which are close to al Qaeda. But it is not openly admitted. US officials prefer to depict the recipients of those weapons as “moderate” rebels. Israel sources admit that their military assistance reaches the hands of Al Nusra, but claims it is a local group, which operates independently of Al Qaeda.
It is hard to see much good coming out of the Syrian policy pursued these days by the US, Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf emirates and Turkey: If the opposition militias they are arming are victorious, either Al Qaeda-associates will end up swallowing broad regions of Syria; or else they will overthrow the Assad regime, and rule in its stead in Damascus. Syria would then be the first Arab country to fall into Al Qaeda’s hands.

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