TBR News April 19, 2017

Apr 19 2017

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C. April 19, 2017.”There is no question that the planet’s sea levels are rising.

There is a question as to when and how much the sea levels will increase.

One school of thought is that all the coastal areas are sinking.

They are not.

Another school of thought is that while there is sea level rise, it is very slow and will take a century to affect the coastal areas.

It will be far quicker and much sooner.

And then there is a school of thought fostered by a government that would be unable to relocate the millions of citizens who would have to move to higher ground or be drowned.

These points are masked by professional bleaters who are interested in causes, not effects. The subject of the ice cap meltings are attributed to a number of causes, mostly “carbon emissions.”

These surely contribute to a natural phenomon but since no one can clearly identify the causes, they ignore the effects. Antarctic and Greenland ice caps are melting as are all the world’s big glaciers and all of these are vanishing at a frightening, and increasing degree.

Banks are not going to ever forgive mortgages to homes and businesses that could be flooded so the threatened home and business owners had best sell their properties while they still can find buyers and move to higher ground.”

Table of Contents

  • US military considers shooting down North Korea missile tests, sources say
  • What Russia-gate Has Wrought
  • When Rising Seas Transform Risk Into Certainty
  • Extreme sea-level rise could wreak havoc on California coast, experts warn
  • The Example of Mohammed
  • A Chronicle of Armenian Murders, Small and Large

 US military considers shooting down North Korea missile tests, sources say

Exclusive: As Pentagon looks for strategies to pressure into denuclearization, officials worry that intercepting missiles could escalate tensions and risk war

April 18, 2017

by Spencer Ackerman in New York and Justin McCurry in Tokyo

The Guardian

The US military is considering shooting down North Korean missile tests as a show of strength to Pyongyang, two sources briefed on the planning have told the Guardian.

Amid heightened tensions over North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs, the Pentagon is looking for ways short of war to pressure the country into denuclearization, particularly if Pyongyang goes forward with a sixth nuclear test.

The defense secretary, James Mattis, has briefed Congress on the option, but the military has not yet decided to intercept a test missile.

One US official said the prospective shoot-down strategy would be aimed at occurring after a nuclear test, with the objective being to signal Pyongyang that the US can impose military consequences for a step Donald Trump has described as “unacceptable”.

On a visit to South Korea this week, the US vice-president, Mike Pence, warned Pyongyang against testing Trump’s “resolve”, and declared an end to Obama’s “strategic patience” policy.

But North Korea’s deputy foreign minister, Han Song-Ryol, told the BBC that Pyongyang would continue to test missiles “on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis”. All-out war would ensue if the US took military action, he said.

Experts and former officials said shooting down a North Korean missile during a test would risk an escalation that Washington might not be able to control, which would risk potentially devastating consequences to US allies South Korea and Japan.

“I would see such an action as escalatory, but I couldn’t guess how Kim Jong-un would interpret it,” said Abraham Denmark, the senior Pentagon policy official for Asia in Barack Obama’s administration.

“But I would be concerned he would feel the need to react strongly, as he would not want to appear weak.”

Both sources said the military was not considering the use of a high-profile missile-defense system the US is providing to South Korea, known as the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (Thaad). Thaad’s 200km range and sophisticated radar have unnerved China, whose president, Xi Jinping, has been coaxed by Trump into pressuring North Korea.

An operational Thaad installation is unlikely before 9 May, when South Koreans vote for a new president.

Instead, both sources said the military was looking at attempting a missile shoot-down with an Aegis missile-defense system aboard a US navy destroyer; or by convincing Japan to use its own missile-defense capabilities against a ballistic missile test traversing Japanese waters.

The USS Carl Vinson carrier strike group, which includes Aegis-equipped destroyers, is headed for the Korean peninsula.

Several previous US administrations have considered shooting down North Korean missile tests, only to reject the option after considering the possible consequences of provoking an unpredictable and bellicose adversary.

Senior Pentagon officials considering the shoot-down option are said to have conceded they are unsure how North Korea would respond.

Gary Ross, a Pentagon spokesman, said: “We are exploring a new range of diplomatic, security, and economic measures and all options are on the table.

“North Korea’s unlawful weapons programs represent a clear, grave threat to US national security. North Korea openly states that its ballistic missiles are intended to deliver nuclear weapons to strike cities in the United States, the Republic of Korea, and Japan.”

A US official said the military was discussing a potential shoot-down ahead of Trump’s meeting with Xi on 6 April at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. The discussion also preceded a military parade in Pyongyang on Saturday, in which North Korea displayed new intercontinental ballistic missiles and anti-ship missiles, as well as a failed test-launch on Sunday.

Another factor complicating a shoot-down would be the risk of embarrassment should Aegis interceptors miss a North Korean target, which might embolden Pyongyang and unnerve US regional allies.

Patrick Cronin, senior director of the Asia-Pacific Security Program at the Center for a New American Security, agreed that failure to bring down a missile would give North Korea a “psychological advantage”.

Cronin said the US was “far more likely to try to jam a missile test to ensure it does not fly far from the peninsula”.

US military officials are said to have been deeply disturbed after being taken by surprise at a North Korean missile launch in February. The commander in charge of US nuclear weapons, air force Gen John Hyten, recently told the Senate that the 11 February test was staged “out of a place we’d never seen before”.

North Korea’s advancements in solid-fuel rockets, mobile launch vehicles built for the north’s unpaved roads and cloud cover which frustrates satellite surveillance are causing US planners to fear that they may have little time to detect the next wave of North Korean missiles.

Ken Gause, director of the international-affairs group at the thinktank CNA, which is influential with the Pentagon, said US planners had grown frustrated with coercive diplomacy. But Gause said that while Washington might spin a shoot-down as a step below an attack on North Korea or an attempt to overthrow its government, it risked validating Kim’s position that North Korea needs nuclear weapons and long-range missiles to respond to American aggression.

“I still see this as escalatory and playing with potential fire. At the end of the day, Kim Jong-un cannot be seen internally as backing down from pressure”, Gause said.

Robert Kelly, an associate professor at South Korea’s Pusan National University, said: “North Korea is banned from testing missiles by the UN, so in that sense we should be shooting all of them down. But instead, the world has turned a blind eye. I don’t think it would be a bad idea to shoot down a test missile, as an attack on North Korea itself would be too provocative.”

Ross, the Pentagon spokesman, called on North Korea to abandon “provocative, destabilizing actions and rhetoric” and for China to use its “unique influence” to compel Pyongyang to abandon its illicit weapons.

“Our commitment to the defense of our allies, including the Republic of Korea and Japan, in the face of these threats, is ironclad,” he said.


What Russia-gate Has Wrought

For five months, there was a daily drumbeat on Russia-gate, the sprawling conspiracy theory that Russia had somehow put Donald Trump in the White House, but suddenly the “scandal” disappeared

April 16, 2017

by Robert Parry

Consortium News

Democrats, liberals and some progressives might be feeling a little perplexed over what has happened to Russia-gate, the story that pounded Donald Trump every day since his election last November – until April 4, that is.

On April 4, Trump fully capitulated to the neoconservative bash-Russia narrative amid dubious claims about a chemical attack in Syria. On April 6, Trump fired off 59 Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian airbase; he also restored the neocon demand for “regime change” in Syria; and he alleged that Russia was possibly complicit in the supposed chemical attack.

Since Trump took those actions – in accordance with the neocon desires for more “regime change” in the Middle East and a costly New Cold War with Russia – Russia-gate has almost vanished from the news.

I did find a little story in the lower right-hand corner of page A12 of Saturday’s New York Times about a still-eager Democratic congressman, Mike Quigley of Illinois, who spent a couple of days in Cyprus which attracted his interest because it is a known site for Russian money-laundering, but he seemed to leave more baffled than when he arrived.

“The more I learn, the more complex, layered and textured I see the Russia issue is – and that reinforces the need for professional full-time investigators,” Quigley said, suggesting that the investigation’s failure to strike oil is not that the holes are dry but that he needs better drill bits.

Yet, given all the hype and hullabaloo over Russia-gate, the folks who were led to believe that the vague and amorphous allegations were “bigger than Watergate” might now be feeling a little used. It appears they may have been sucked into a conspiracy frenzy in which the Establishment exploited their enthusiasm over the “scandal” in a clever maneuver to bludgeon an out-of-step new President back into line.

If that’s indeed the case, perhaps the most significant success of the Russia-gate ploy was the ouster of Trump’s original National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who was seen as a key proponent of a New Détente with Russia, and his replacement by General H.R. McMaster, a protégé of neocon favorite, retired Gen. David Petraeus.

McMaster was viewed as the key player in arranging the April 6 missile strike on Syria and in preparing a questionable “intelligence assessment” on April 11 to justify the rush to judgment. Although McMaster’s four-page white paper has been accepted as gospel by the mainstream U.S. news media, its many weaknesses have been noted by actual experts, such as MIT national security and technology professor Theodore Postol.

How Washington Works

But the way Official Washington works is that Trump was made to look weak when he argued for a more cooperative and peaceful relationship with Russia. Hillary Clinton dubbed him Vladimir Putin’s “puppet” and “Saturday Night Live” portrayed Trump as in thrall to a bare-chested Putin. More significantly, front-page stories every morning and cable news segments every night created the impression of a compromised U.S. President in Putin’s pocket.

Conversely, Trump was made to look strong when he fired off missiles against a Syrian airbase and talked tough about Russian guilt. Neocon commentator Charles Krauthammer praised Trump’s shift as demonstrating that “America is back.”

Trump further enhanced his image for toughness when his military dropped the GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb (MOAB), nicknamed the “mother of all bombs,” on some caves in Afghanistan. While the number of casualties inflicted by the blast was unclear, Trump benefited from the admiring TV and op-ed commentaries about him finally acting “presidential.”

But the real test of political courage is to go against the grain in a way that may be unpopular in the short term but is in the best interests of the United States and the world community in the longer term.

In that sense, Trump seeking peaceful cooperation with Russia – even amid the intense anti-Russian propaganda of the past several years – required actual courage, while launching missiles and dropping bombs might win praise but actually make the U.S. position in the world weaker.

Trump, however, saw his fledgling presidency crumbling under the daily barrage of Russia-gate, even though there was no evidence that his campaign colluded with Russia to interfere with the U.S. election and there wasn’t even clear evidence that Russia was behind the disclosure of Democratic emails, via WikiLeaks, during the campaign.

Still, the combined assault from the Democrats, the neocons and the mainstream media forced Trump to surrender his campaign goal of achieving a more positive relationship with Russia and greater big-power collaboration in the fight against terrorism.

For Trump, the incessant chatter about Russia-gate was like a dripping water torture. The thin-skinned Trump fumed at his staff and twittered messages aimed at changing the narrative, such as accusing President Obama of “wiretapping” Trump Tower. But nothing worked.

However, once Trump waved the white flag by placing his foreign policy under the preferred banner of the neoconservatives, the Russia-gate pressure stopped. The op-ed pages suddenly were hailing his “decisiveness.” If you were a neocon, you might say about Russia-gate: Mission accomplished!

Russia-gate’s Achievements

Besides whipping Trump into becoming a more compliant politician, Russia-gate could claim some other notable achievements. For instance, it spared the national Democrats from having to confront their own failures in Campaign 2016 by diverting responsibility for the calamity of Trump’s election.

Instead of Democratic leaders taking responsibility for picking a dreadful candidate, ignoring the nation’s anti-establishment mood, and failing to offer any kind of inspiring message, the national Democrats could palm off the blame on “Russia! Russia! Russia!”

Thus, rather than looking in the mirror and trying to figure out how to correct their deep-seated problems, the national Democrats could instead focus on a quixotic tilting at Trump’s impeachment.

Many on the Left joined in this fantasy because they have been so long without a Movement that the huge post-inaugural “pussy hat” marches were a temptation that they couldn’t resist. Russia-gate became the fuel to keep the “Movement” bandwagon rolling. #Resistance!

It didn’t matter that the “scandal” – the belief that Russia somehow conspired with Trump to rig the U.S. presidential election – amounted to a bunch of informational dots that didn’t connect.

Russia-gate also taught the American “left” to learn to love McCarthyism since “proof” of guilt pretty much amounted to having had contact with a Russian — and anyone who questioned the dubious factual basis of the “scandal” was dismissed as a “Russian propagandist” or a “Moscow stooge” or a purveyor of “fake news.”

Another Russia-gate winner was the mainstream news media which got a lot of mileage – and loads of new subscription money – by pushing the convoluted conspiracy. The New York Times positioned itself as the great protector of “truth” and The Washington Post adopted a melodramatic new slogan: “Democracy Dies in Darkness.”

On Thanksgiving Day, the Post ran a front-page article touting an anonymous Internet group called PropOrNot that identified some 200 Internet news sites, including Consortiumnews.com and other major sources of independent journalism, as guilty of “Russian propaganda.” Facts weren’t needed; the accused had no chance for rebuttal; the accusers even got to hide in the shadows; the smear was the thing.

The Post and the Times also conflated news outlets that dared to express skepticism toward claims from the U.S. State Department with some entrepreneurial sites that trafficked in intentionally made-up stories or “fake news” to make money.

To the Post and Times, there appeared to be no difference between questioning the official U.S. narrative on, say, the Ukraine crisis and knowingly fabricating pretend news articles to get lots of clicks. Behind the smokescreen of Russia-gate, the mainstream U.S. news media took the position that there was only one side to a story, what Official Washington chose to believe.

While it’s likely that there will be some revival of Russia-gate to avoid the appearance of a completely manufactured scandal, the conspiracy theory’s more significant near-term consequence could be that it has taught Donald Trump a dangerous lesson.

If he finds himself in a tight spot, the way out is to start bombing some “enemy” halfway around the world. The next time, however, the target might not be so willing to turn the other cheek. If, say, Trump launches a preemptive strike against North Korea, the result could be a retaliatory nuclear attack against South Korea or Japan.

Or, if the neocons push ahead with their ultimate “regime change” strategy of staging a “color revolution” in Moscow to overthrow Putin, the outcome might be – not the pliable new leader that the neocons would want – but an unstable Russian nationalist who might see a nuclear attack on the U.S. as the only way to protect the honor of Mother Russia.

For all his faults, Trump did offer a more temperate approach toward U.S.-Russian relations, which also could have tamped down spending for nuclear and other strategic weapons and freed up some of that money for infrastructure and other needs at home. But that was before Russia-gate.

When Rising Seas Transform Risk Into Certainty

Along parts of the East Coast, the entire system of insuring coastal property is beginning to break down.

April 18, 2017

by Brooke Jarvis

New York Times

In 1909, a group of Virginia developers placed an ad in The Norfolk Ledger-Dispatch announcing the creation of a subdivision that — because it was built on a pair of peninsulas where the Lafayette and Elizabeth Rivers poured into Chesapeake Bay — came to be known as Larchmont-Edgewater. The developers set up private jitney service to downtown and advertised the area as “Norfolk’s only high-class suburb.” People flocked to live by the water’s edge.

Today the neighborhood is known for the venerable crepe myrtles that line its streets, for its fine houses and schools and water views and for the frequency with which it is not just edged by, but inundated with, water. Melting ice and warming water are raising sea levels everywhere. But because the land in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia (which includes Norfolk) is also sinking, relative sea levels there are rising faster than anywhere on the Atlantic coast. Water levels are already as much as 18 inches higher than they were when the developers created Larchmont-Edgewater a century ago, and they are still rising. As a result, it’s much easier for winds, storms and tides to push flood water into streets, yards and homes that once stood high and dry.

When Elisa Staton found a small house a block from the water in Larchmont-Edgewater in 2005, she was thinking of the neighborhood’s grand trees and Tudor-style houses, of the elementary school she hoped to send her kids to, once she had them. She wasn’t thinking much about flooding, though she knew the house was in a hundred-year flood zone, which meant that to get a federally backed mortgage, she was required to pay for flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (N.F.I.P.), a government-subsidized system overseen by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The insurance was reasonable, and there was no record of the house ever being flooded before. She bought it for $320,000.

A “hundred-year flood” sounds like a factor of time, as if the land were expected to flood only once every 100 years, but what it’s really meant to express is risk — the land has a 1 percent chance of flooding each year. As waters rise, though, flooding in low-lying places without sea walls, like Larchmont-Edgewater, will become more and more common until the presence of water is less about chance and more about certainty. And few insurers are willing to bet against a certainty.

Ten years later, Staton’s rec room had been flooded twice, and her insurance premiums, like those of many coastal property owners, had skyrocketed. She was seeing the effects not only of those local floods but also of rising waters elsewhere. As storm damage becomes more costly, it has left the N.F.I.P. tens of billions of dollars in debt and federal officials scrambling to bridge the divide between the rapidly growing expense of insuring these properties and the comparatively tiny, taxpayer-subsidized premiums that support it.

In 2012 and 2014, Congress responded to the N.F.I.P.’s troubles with bills known, thanks to the accidental aptness of their sponsors’ names, as Biggert-Waters and Grimm-Waters. The first law cut subsidies and phased out grandfathered rates so that premiums would start to reflect the true risk that properties like Staton’s face — reaching what the N.F.I.P. calls “actuarial soundness.” The second tried to slow the rate of those increases when it became clear how hard they would hit property owners.

Staton married and left Norfolk, renting out her house as she followed her husband’s job in the military. But eventually she was paying nearly $6,000 in flood premiums on top of her mortgage every year, nearly always more than she could make in rent. “I decided to cut my losses and get out,” she said. “The flood insurance kept going up, and I was drowning in it.” A real estate agent she consulted told her that she’d be lucky to sell the house for $180,000, barely more than half of what she paid for it and significantly less than what she still owed on the mortgage. Everyone looking at places near the river, the agent said, asked about flood insurance first. It wasn’t the risk of high waters that spooked buyers; it was the certainty of high premiums.

Staton lay awake at night wondering what to do. “I hate that house — that house has been my nightmare for 10 years,” she said last month, on a day when the dogwood and quince were bursting into flower in the front yard and the sun was sparkling off the calm, tidal river biding its time a block away. “I never got to get my head back above water.”

Insurance serves as a bulwark, both financial and mental, against the fact that we live in a fundamentally uncertain and dangerous world. “The revolutionary idea that defines the boundary between modern times and the past,” the financial historian Peter L. Bernstein wrote in his 1996 book, “Against the Gods,” “is the mastery of risk: the notion that the future is more than a whim of the gods and that men and women are not passive before nature.” Calamity can come for us all, but by bundling enough separate peril together we manage to form a general stability, a collective hedge against helplessness. As climate insecurity mounts, though, that math will get harder.

Frank Nutter, president of the Reinsurance Association of America, put it in more direct terms: “Constant risk — that’s not what insurance is about.”

Flooding is the most common, and most expensive, natural disaster in the United States. Private insurers have long declined to cover it, leaving the government on the hook for disaster assistance after floods. (Hence the famous lawsuits after Hurricane Katrina, when people who came home to empty slabs were asked to prove that their losses were a result of wind and not waves.) Congress created the N.F.I.P. in the late 1960s in response to a series of expensive floods caused by hurricanes and overflowing rivers. It offers insurance coverage, some of it subsidized, to communities that meet floodplain-management requirements; requires people who want loans to buy houses in dangerous places to buy it; and also provides grants for mitigation projects meant to reduce flooding damage, like elevating houses or buying out the owners of flood-prone homes. Private insurers including Farmers, Allstate and 68 other companies also sell and administer the policy on the government’s behalf — and take a sizable cut of the premium. If floods do come, though, it’s still the government that’s on the hook.

The N.F.I.P. was meant to encourage safer building practices. Critics argue that instead it created a perverse incentive — a moral hazard — to build, and to stay, in flood-prone areas by bailing people out repeatedly and by spreading, and in that way hiding, the true costs of risk. (In 1998, “repetitive-loss properties,” buildings that flood over and over, accounted for 2 percent of N.F.I.P.’s insured properties but 40 percent of its losses; since then, such losses have only increased.) As Larry Filer, an economist at the Center for Economic Analysis and Policy at Norfolk’s Old Dominion University, explains, “Somebody on a mountain in Colorado is helping the person in Virginia Beach live on the waterfront.”

And then came Hurricanes Katrina, Wilma and Rita, which in 2005 left the N.F.I.P. with claims six times higher than it had seen in any previous year. To cover them, it borrowed $17.3 billion from the Treasury. Hurricane Sandy in 2012 meant another $6.25 billion in debt, along with allegations that insurance companies distributing FEMA funds were shorting policyholders; 2016, when there were floods in Louisiana, Texas, Virginia and elsewhere, managed to be the third-most-expensive year in the N.F.I.P.’s history even with no single standout catastrophe, deepening the hole further. Servicing the debt is expensive, but FEMA sees no way to repay it, Roy Wright, the N.F.I.P. administrator, told Congress last month.

More losses loom. A single major storm-and-flooding event could cause $10 billion in damage in Hampton Roads alone, according to one planning report. AIR Worldwide, which models the risks of catastrophic events for insurance companies and governments, found that $1.1 trillion in property assets along the Eastern Seaboard lie within the path of a hundred-year storm surge. “That’s a very staggering number,” says AIR’s chief research officer, Jayanta Guin — and it represents only the risk on that coast, and only under current sea levels. By the 2030s, according to a 2008 analysis by Risk Management Solutions (R.M.S.) and Lloyd’s of London, annual losses from storm surges in coastal areas around the world could double.

In 2015, the N.F.I.P. asked R.M.S. and AIR Worldwide to update its modeling by running thousands of computer simulations to show what possible storms might mean for the properties it insures, helping it to quantify its financial exposure across the country. In 2016 and 2017, the N.F.I.P. — in a first-of-its-kind action for a federal program — transferred some of its risk to large, private companies known as reinsurers, which pool risk on gigantic scales: insurance for insurance companies.

Although Katrina and Sandy “felt like once-in-a-lifetime events,” Wright wrote in a recent blog post explaining the decision, “there is actually a 50 percent chance within a 10-year period the N.F.I.P. will once again experience Hurricane Sandy-size losses.” Removing subsidies is one partial solution, he told me — “There is no greater risk-communication tool than a pricing system” — but more hard decisions are coming. The N.F.I.P. is up for a reauthorization vote in September, its first since Biggert-Waters was passed; Wright believes the time has come to start limiting coverage for properties that are flooded over and over, a significant shift from the past. Multiple losses, he told me, “should force us to shift our position where we make an offer of mitigation to a homeowner, and if they do not choose to take it, we don’t renew their policy.”

After Biggert-Waters, some private insurers began showing an interest in covering flood insurance for the first time. A major factor is the end of subsidized coverage: As premiums increase, private insurers have a greater incentive to compete. Another, Guin says, is that risk analysis can be much more accurate than even a few years ago, thanks to powerful computers able to run more simulations that include more variables. Making money on insurance, after all, is a game of timing, and most policies are rewritten each year.

Evan Hecht, chief executive of the Flood Insurance Agency, based in Florida, read the details of Biggert-Waters and decided to expand his business. He had sold N.F.I.P. policies for years, but in 2013 he and his wife, Tiara, went out on their own, seeking private underwriting from Lloyd’s of London and an A.I.G. subsidiary. The vast majority of their policies — now totaling 19,000 in 37 states, including some in the Norfolk area, according to Hecht — are on properties that require flood coverage because of their locations, and on which FEMA is raising rates. On average, he estimates, premiums from the Flood Insurance Agency cost 30 to 35 percent less than those bought through FEMA. And the agency plans to offer further discounts for properties with waterproof alternatives to easily damaged materials like wood floors and Sheetrock.

At a congressional hearing on flood insurance reform in March, Hecht asked lawmakers to approve legislation that makes it simpler for private flood insurance to satisfy mortgage requirements. FEMA supports this move as a way of spreading out risk — the bottom line, Wright says, is that “we need more people covered for their flood peril” — but also cautions that it could make things worse for taxpayers if, with the help of better data, private insurers are willing to cover only lower-risk properties, or purposefully price themselves out of high-risk ones, leaving FEMA with an even more dangerous portfolio than it started with.

Hecht believes his company’s interest in policies FEMA considers underpriced for their risk is evidence that such an outcome won’t occur. But private insurance, he noted in the hearings, is “of course” not interested in covering severe-repetitive-loss properties or buildings whose exposure is higher than what can be recouped in premiums. What will happen, I asked him, to houses that flood too often? “Insurance policies aren’t written for 100 years,” he replied, “so we’ll react as it happens.” He described a driver who has had so many speeding tickets and accidents that his auto insurance skyrockets: “Those houses will not exist, just like that driver will no longer have a car. There’s no magic answer.”

Elisa Staton still owns the house in Larchmont-Edgewater. After delivering the painful estimate of the house’s new value, Staton’s real estate agent suggested she call a man named Mike Vernon, an insurance agent in Hampton Roads who brands himself as “the Flood Insurance Guy.” His specialty is finding clever ways to reduce flood premiums. When Vernon visited Staton’s house, he saw a solution right away: The rec room, once a garage, sat lower than the first floor, lowering the minimum elevation level of livable space inside the house, which FEMA uses to calculate premiums. By converting it back to “low-value storage space,” lifting the electrical system to a higher elevation and adding flood vents, Staton could get her premiums close to $800 a year. She paid for the work, Vernon updated her policy and she put the house on the market for $100,000 more than the agent first advised — but it has yet to sell.

“We’re often actually making the building worse to bring down premiums,” Vernon told me: filling in basements, or preparing a house to let water flow through it instead of keeping it out (yes, the house may be damaged by moisture, but at least it won’t be pushed off its foundation). “Or we’re eliminating something good, like a sunroom on a slab.”

Vernon’s business is flourishing. A former consultant, he got the idea for his own venture after advising a flood-vent inventor around the time federal flood premiums began to increase: “Biggert-Waters passed, and I’m seeing dollar signs.” He’s hardly alone in looking for the financial silver linings of rising seas — local universities and the city itself are pointing to their growing expertise in flood mitigation and adaptation as a source of future revenue. Vernon gets most of his business from referrals from real estate agents, whose clients, unable to sell their houses, often come to him in tears. “People are getting killed,” he said. “To an appraiser it’s still worth $300,000, but to the real world it ain’t worth nothing, because it’s not going to sell.”

On a recent Wednesday morning, Vernon, seeking new business, described his work in the packed beige meeting room of a Hampton Roads real estate agency. He showed the agents a slide that listed the threats facing the area: changing weather patterns; bigger, stronger storms; rising sea levels; long-term erosion; sinking land mass; and poor building decisions. He got a laugh with a line about the absurdity of building houses with basements in Norfolk. “Was it a bad building decision back in 1900?” he continued. “Probably not, but it has turned into one.”

Vernon described which problems are fairly easy to remedy and which are not. Houses built directly on slabs, which are especially common in low-income neighborhoods, have the fewest alternatives: Basically, raise it up or raze it down. (“If you ever want to make an enemy, or get back at one,” he’ll tell agents, “just sell them a house on a slab in a required flood zone.”) With flood insurance, Vernon said, the agents should be prepared for the three Fs: frustration, fear and foreclosure. “I’ve seen people, they just walk the keys down to the bank and say, ‘You can have it.’ ”

The biggest reaction came when Vernon explained that, because of the effort to make the N.F.I.P. more financially sound, premiums are set to go up by 18 to 25 percent every year, and cited a study that found that each $500 annual increase in flood insurance lowers a home’s value by $10,000. The room filled with gasps and whistles. “What was that ratio again?” an agent named Carmon Pizzanello called out from the back. “In two years,” Vernon replied, “you’ve lost tens of thousands of dollars on your house.”

Pizzanello volunteered that she’d sent one of her clients, living in a below-flood-elevation house on a slab and paying $3,200 annually for N.F.I.P. coverage, to talk to Vernon. Short of options, they looked into private insurance. The lowest quote that came back was $22,000 a year. It was one of those raise-or-raze situations, Vernon told the gathering, saying, “Elevation certificates are literally about tenths of feet.”

Spend a few days talking about floods and real estate in Norfolk, and you’ll quickly learn the importance of even tiny inclines. Locals know where, on what appears to the uninitiated to be a flat street, to park their cars to keep them from flooding past the axles when the wind pushes the tide up. Landscapers build what are essentially decorative earthen dikes around houses. When I asked one man how close storm and tidal surges come to his front porch, he pointed at the bricks under my feet, which I had taken for the wall of a flower bed. “You’re actually standing on a bulkhead,” he said.

In the coming decades, these fine distinctions will mean little, as the risk of flooding becomes the certainty of it. The operative measurement for rising waters in Norfolk is not inches but feet — as many as six of them by the end of the century, according to the Army Corps of Engineers, though estimates vary. City planners are forthright that they’re preparing for a future in which parts of the city do not survive. “We absolutely cannot protect 200 miles of coastline,” George Homewood, Norfolk’s planning director, says. “We have to pick those areas we should armor, and the places where we’re going to let the water be.”

Norfolk now mandates that new construction be built three feet above current base flood elevation (as if the houses were boats, this distance from the waterline is called freeboard), and 18 inches above what Homewood says is “euphemistically known as the 500-year floodplain.” But Norfolk is an old, established city, where changing new construction can only get you so far. In 2008, the city hired a Dutch engineering firm, experienced with life below sea level, to help develop a plan for adaptation. The firm suggested $1 billion in changes, more than half of which would go to simply updating existing infrastructure.

Like insurers, residents are playing a game of risk and timing. “Adaptation is a range,” says Fred Brusso, a former city flood manager. “Do you need to just move your car? Do you have to put your washer and dryer on cinder blocks? Or do you need to get the heck out of town?” Sean Becketti, the chief economist for Freddie Mac, cautioned in a report last year that economists aren’t sure if coastal property values will decline gradually, as the life expectancy of homes shrinks, or precipitously, “the first time a lender refuses to make a mortgage on a nearby house or an insurer refuses to issue a homeowner’s policy.”

Skip Stiles, the executive director of the local nonprofit Wetlands Watch, took me on a tour of frequently flooded areas of Norfolk — when waters are down, Stiles uses rusty storm drains and marsh plants growing in yards and medians to show where they’ve been — and pointed out buildings that had been elevated. Often their awkwardness made them obvious: ordinary, colorful houses perched uncomfortably atop walls of bare concrete blocks. While FEMA does pay to elevate risky houses, it struggles to keep up with demand: Wetlands Watch compared the number of people on the FEMA waiting list in Norfolk with the number of houses raised in a year, and concluded that it would take 188 years to complete them all. By then, of course, waters would be far higher.

This is the hardest reality to discuss, Stiles said, and a reason flood insurance is serving as a kind of advance scout into a more difficult future. “When you go out to the end of the century, some of these neighborhoods don’t exist, so it’s hard to get community engagement,” he said. “Nobody wants to talk beyond where the dragons are on the map, into uncharted territory.”

Extreme sea-level rise could wreak havoc on California coast, experts warn

April 18, 2017

by Sandy Mazza

The Mercury News

Armed with a growing body of evidence that rising seas could inundate the California coastline sooner than later, state experts are sounding the alarm.

A new report, “Rising Seas in California: An Update on Sea-Level Rise Science,” stresses the potential for extreme sea-level rise because of uncertainties in projections of how ice sheets will melt due to their unique, hard-to-understand physics.

And it warns not to discount long-shot odds, such as a 1-in-200 chance of Southern California waters rising 2 feet above 2000 levels by 2050.

“Sea-level rise will continue to threaten coastal communities and infrastructure through more frequent flooding and inundation, as well as increased cliff, bluff, dune and beach erosion,” the report states.

“Not only are economic assets and households in flood zones increasingly exposed, but also people’s safety, lives, daily movement patterns and sense of community and security could be disrupted.”

Seven researchers with expertise in ocean and climate science wrote the report, which will be adopted by the state’s Ocean Protection Council next year after a series of public meetings. The study updates California sea-level rise research published in 2010 and 2013.

The work was done in collaboration with the National Research Council, National Resources Agency, Gov. Jerry Brown’s office, the state Ocean Science Trust and California Energy Commission.

Beach erosion, flooding

Coastal subsiding and extreme flooding have been – and will continue to be – exasperated by unusual events such as El Nino storms or a major earthquake.

Sand at Cabrillo Beach was nearly totally eroded last year by storm surges at San Pedro’s outer harbor, one of many similar scenarios reported up and down the state’s 1,100-mile coastline.

Rough seas routinely leave behind shorter beaches from Malibu to Long Beach, forcing lifeguards to move back their stations.

In Orange County, king tides have flooded the streets and low-lying homes near the beaches in Seal Beach, Sunset Beach and Huntington Beach, as well as Balboa Island and Balboa Peninsula in Newport Beach, in years past.

Recent weather systems have eaten away at the sand under the Newport Beach Pier. Nearby, this winter’s storm system left 8-foot walls of sand at Balboa Pier.

Just south of San Clemente at San Onofre State Beach, 100 parking spots were lost when part of the parking lot crumbled into the ocean. In November, San Clemente spent $600,000 to replenish the once-sandy North Beach, only to have a large storm eat half of the replacement sand in January, washing it into the ocean.

Such beach erosion and coastal flooding is cyclical but will become increasingly worse as sea levels rise, the report states. The result will be “sea-level-rise rates unprecedented at least in human experience,” the study states.

Sea-level scenarios

In a best-case scenario, research models show a likely ocean-level increase off La Jolla of about 6 inches by 2030 and one foot by 2050. A worst-case scenario predicts the ocean will rise more than 1 foot by 2030 and 2 feet by 2050, according to the study.

The report predicts the most extreme water-level increases will come after 2050, when ocean levels off Southern California could reach 2 to 10 feet above 2000 levels by 2100.

“This report offers an update on this understanding and provides the best available projections of future conditions,” the study says. “Our collective scientific understanding of sea-level rise is advancing at a very rapid pace. We encourage the creation of science-policy processes that are flexible, iterative and adaptive.”

Reducing emissions

The rate of increase will depend on the concentration of human-caused greenhouse gases in the air.

California is required to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent, to 1990 levels, by 2030. This is being accomplished with renewable energy, electric cars, required emissions caps, carbon offset taxes, and other methods.

Also, the uneven melting of Antarctica ice sheets will be a major contributor to rising seas in California.

“For every foot of global sea-level rise caused by the loss of ice on West Antarctica, sea-level will rise approximately 1.25 feet along the California coast,” the report states.

It goes on to warn that “uncertainty about the exact amount of future sea-level rise should not be a deterrent to taking action now.”

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory created maps outlining how the Antarctic ice sheet will retreat, as it melts. The project, dubbed BISICLES, illustrates several likely scenarios for how the floating ice shelves will waste away through 2200. It shows the most dramatic ice reduction occurring after 2100, with significant impacts to begin before that.

Planning for sea rise

Since beach erosion and coastal flooding take place routinely along California, local planners have already implemented fixes along the most vulnerable spots.

In the 1970s, Newport Beach installed a valve system on Balboa Island and the bay side of the peninsula to keep storm drains from backing up with too much water.

Aging seawalls wrap Balboa Island and Little Balboa Island to prevent ocean water from washing into roadways and homes. In Seal Beach, city workers routinely build sand walls each year to prevent flooding of beachside houses.

In Long Beach, the Aquarium of the Pacific prepared a “Climate Resiliency” report to help the city mitigate a variety of climate change and pollution impacts in 2015.

“Over the next few decades, the primary concern is with flooding from coastal storms,” that report states. “Over the longer term, the rise of sea level from climate change will compound the effects of flooding and inundation since storms will be superimposed upon a progressively higher stand of sea level.”

It uses the U.S. Geological Survey’s Coastal Storm Modeling System to predict local impacts.

“The western and eastern corners of southern Long Beach are at high risk of flooding during a 100-year storm (or a large storm surge) with no rise of sea level,” that study states. “Roughly 22,492 people are currently at risk of flooding.”

Sea-level rise will exasperate those high seas by flooding thousands more people during major storms, it states.

Studies to prepare for sea-level rise already have been done, and are continuing, at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles. Long Beach is considering modifications to its breakwater, while City Hall is logging its greenhouse gas emissions and researching ways to protect Alamitos Bay.

In San Pedro, Port of Los Angeles officials are drafting a study due in 2019 to find vulnerabilities and adaptations to reduce the impact of rising seas.

“The port is taking the potential for sea level rise into consideration as it designs and builds new developments,” spokesman Phillip Sanfield said. “For example, port engineers are designing the soon-to-be built Wilmington Waterfront Promenade with an additional 6 inches of height to account for sea-level rise. Private developers planning the San Pedro Public Market along the port’s main channel have raised the height of the planned building by a few feet in consideration of sea-level rise.”

Staff writer Lauren Williams contributed to this report.

The Example of Mohammed 

Although there have been great Mohammedan civilizations that have contributed much to the world’s progress and have left imperishable monuments, they have not lasted. They have arisen through the fundamentally noble character and intelligence of the peoples that have founded them, and have flourished for a relatively short time rather in spite of their creed than because of it. And, as is the case in all religions, the example set by the originator has had a greater influence on his dis­ciples than his book. The Prophet is deeply reverenced by all Mohammedans, who regard even one hair from his beard as having miraculous power.

The main facts of his life and his general char­acter are known to them. These salient facts will now be set forth without bias of hostility or irrev­erence. They are authentic and well established. The reader is invited to confirm them and deter­mine for himself whether or not they are correctly stated:

  1. Mohammed was a polygamist;
  2. After leaving Mecca and proceeding to Mesina, where he established himself for a time, he organized and conducted raids against caravans, which he robbed to replenish his depleted treasury;
  3. He besieged and plundered towns for the booty, which acts he justified by “revelations”;
  4. He ordered eight hundred Jewish prisoners to be separated from their wives and children and butchered and their bodies thrown into a trench. Their wives and families were sold into captivity. This was the first Mohammedan massacre. (Draycatt’s Mahomet, page 234 et eq)
  5. He ordered ferocious and inhuman punishments to be inflicted ; (Draycott, 253-254)
  6. He removed his enemies by murder and assassination.

We have seen how faithfully this example has been followed by the Turks throughout the years, since the fall of Constantinople, and especially by the Young Turks since their accession to power. But although other branches of the Mohammedan race have shown conspicuous qualities of heart and of head, yet a general study of the spread of that religion from its inception reveals only too clearly the influence of the Prophet’s example as well as of his teachings. Says Pears, already quoted:

“The history indeed, of Egypt, of Syria and of Asia Minor had been a long series of massacres, culminating perhaps in that of Egypt where in 1354, when the Christians were ordered to abjure their faith and accept Mohammedanism and refused, a hundred thousand were put to death.”

Adrian Fortescue, in his work, “The Lesser Eastern Churches”, has this paragraph:

“In 1389, a great procession of Copts who had accepted Mohammed under fear of death, marched through Cairo. Repenting of their apostasy, they now wished to atone for it by the inevitable consequence of returning to Christianity. So as they marched, they announced that they believed in Christ and renounced Mohammed. They were seized and all the men were beheaded in an open square before the women. But this did not terrify the women; so they, too, were all martyred.”

Regarding the Armenian massacres of our own time, Doctor Johannes Lepsius, to whose masterly “Secret Report” reference has been made in earlier pages, makes the following statement:

“We have lists before us of 550 villages whose surviving inhabitants were converted to Islam with fire and sword; of 568 churches thoroughly pillaged, destroyed and razed to the ground; of 282 Christian churches transformed into mosques; of 21 Protestant preachers and 170 Gregorian (Armenian) who were, after enduring unspeakable tortures, mur­dered after their refusal to accept Islam. We re­peat, however, that these figures reach only to the extent of our information, and do not by a long way reach to the extent of the reality. Is this a re­ligious persecution or is it not?”

Christianity, then, has been cleaned out of North Africa and the old Byzantine Empire, the home of the early Fathers of the Church and of the Seven Cities, largely by massacre; the Turk, when he burned Smyrna and made Asia Minor solidly Mohammedan, finished a work that has been going on for centuries.

Not only have these methods been used for prop­agating Mohammedanism, but the “Law of Apostates” prescribes death, forced separation from wife and family, and loss of property and legal rights for any Moslem who forsakes his faith and adheres to another. The fear of these dreadful punishments is one of the reasons why there are so few converts from Mohammedanism to Christianity. Doctor Samuel M. Zwennner, the learned writer on Mohammedan matters, gives many examples of the application of this law in his recent work, “The Law of Apostasy in Islam”.

The Turks committed their fearful acts against the Christians and humanity in general in the full conviction that they would meet with no opposition nor even criticism from the United States. They were led to this belief by a loud pro-Turk and anti-Christian propaganda carried on in the American press by certain concession hunters, and other interested writers.

A Chronicle of Armenian Murders, Small and Large

Armenians yesterday, Kurds today, themselves tomorrow

April 19, 2017

by Harry von Johnston, PhD


December 1
By order of the Turkish government, the Armenian market district at Van is destroyed by fire with great loss to Armenian property, goods, and businesses.
1878 Russia victorious in Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878. Russo-Turkish Treaty of San Stefano (February 19, 1878) provides for protection and reforms for Armenians. Great Britain negotiates a secret Cyprus Convention with Turkey (June 1978) to allow British to establish bases on Cyprus and to administer Cyprus. In return, Britain insists Russo-Turkish issues be decided, instead, by an international conference. The resulting Congress of Berlin (June 1978) replaces the protective measures of San Stefano under Article 16 with unsatisfactory and ineffective provisions for Armenian people under Article 61, and returns Garin (Erzerum) to Turkey. Russia retains Kars and Ardahan.
1879 Armenian performances are forbidden in Constantinople. The urban Armenian population of Garin and Arabkir come out against the government.
By special order of the Turkish government, the word “Armenia” is forbidden for use in official documents.
Armenians “rebel” in Zeitun against oppressive Turkish taxes.
1886 The Turkish government divides Western Armenia administratively into separate vilayets of Erzerum, Garin, Kharput, Diarbekir, Dersim, Bitlis (Baghesh), Van, Hekyari and Sivas (Sebastia).
1888 The Turkish government orders that all Armenian periodicals and magazines in Constantinople and Western Armenia be discontinued.
June 15
An Armenian demonstration in the district of Gum-Gapu in Constantinople is drowned in Armenian blood.
June 18-20
Alleging provocative actions by Armenians, Turkish armed forces and Turkish mobs attack Armenians in Garin (Erzerum). Hundreds of Armenians are killed.
The Armenians of Vardenis in Taron are robbed by Turks and their village is destroyed.
1893 Sultan Abdul Hamid II, known as the Bloody Sultan, suspends the Armenian National Constitution, and also discontinues the national parliament in Constantinople, which includes some Armenian representatives.
August 20-27
Sassun’s Gelie-guzan village massacre, known as the “Gelie-guzan Hole Carnage” takes place. Here, Turks inaugurate the system of slaughtering unarmed people, which later was the prototype for Hitler’s concentration camps.
August 25-30
Sassun’s Gebin Mount carnage is inflicted when the Turkish army manages to force Armenian women, children and old men to leave Andok for the forest on the bottom of mountain. The army ignites the forest and burns the Armenians alive. Note: This is a harbinger of the extermination of future victims by burning them alive in stables and other large storage facilities.
10,000 Armenians are killed and 74 Armenian villages are destroyed in Sassun.
Armenians refuse to pay illegal taxes to Kurdish irregular forces in Sassun. Unrest in the vilayet of Bitlis, near Mush. Revolt in Sassun. Attempted uprising against Kurdish oppression is followed by massacres in Sassun. A joint report published on July 28, 1895 by the Commission of Inquiry created by the initiative of the Great Powers, estimates the number of victims at 5,000.
May 11
Governments of six countries present the Turkish Sultan Abdul Hamid II a special note describing the disastrous conditions of Armenia and demand the Turkish government to carry out improvements.


Joint memorandum presented by Britain, France and Russia to the Sultan, pointing out the disastrous situation in the Armenian provinces and urging him to proceed with the reforms. The Imperial Turkish Government replies in August 1895 and promises to carry out the reforms specified in Article 61 of the Treaty of Berlin (1978).
September 30
Carnage of Armenians in Baberd at the hands of the Turks.
September 30, October
In the Bab Ali section of Constantinople, Armenians carry out a peaceful demonstration. The Turks set upon killing Armenians. 2000 Armenians die. Protests by the Great Powers by joint note from three ambassadors (French, British and Russian) on October 13-15 demand reforms. On October 31 a decree is issued, providing for reforms.
October 5
Mass obliteration of Armenians takes place in Trebizond and its villages. Armenians of Sassun share the same fate.
October 7
Armenians of Derjan province are slaughtered by the Turks.
October 8
Massacres of Armenians by Turks begin in the vilayet of Trebizond as confirmed by the report of Gillieres, the French Consul in Trebizond.
October 9
The carnage of Armenians at Erzingan and Kamakh by the Turks.
October 10
In Kghi province more than 1000 Armenians are killed, and dozens of villages destroyed. In Bitlis, 102 villages are destroyed. On the same day the carnage of Armenians at Charsanjak and in its villages begins, taking almost 700 lives. In Balu, the body count of Armenian victims reaches 1200, Arabkir – 2800, Torgom – 500
October 13
Most of the Armenians in Baghesh are killed by the Turks.
October 16
Urfa in Yedesia is attacked and in spite of persistent defense, the Turkish army and the Turkish mob succeed in slaying around 10,000 Armenians. On the same day, the Turks inflict similiar carnage in Shapin-Garahisar. 2000 Armenians are slain in the town and 3000 in 30 villages.
October 21
The Armenian population in Erzingan, a town of Erzerum vilayet, is slaughtered by the Turks. 1000 Armenians are killed.
October 23
3000 Armenians of Malatia are killed. 1000 houses are burned.
October 25
Massacres follow in Bitlis, in the vilayet of Bitlis.
October 26
Almost the entire Armenian population of Kharput is slaughtered by the Turks. The body count exceeds 4000. Mass massacres take place in Bayburd, vilayet of Erzerum. 165 villages are destroyed.
October 27-28
Massacres in Urfa, vilayet of Aleppo, the first by the Hamidie Kurdish regiments organized by the Turks for this purpose, confirmed by the report of the British consul, Fitzmaurice, dated March 16, 1896.
October 30
Massacres in Erzerum, vilayet of Erzerum. 400 killed by the Turkish mob and soldiers.
October 31
Massacres occur in Garin and in the vilayet of Erzerum. Around 2000 Armenians are killed; 43 villages are destroyed.
Organized massacres of Armenians by Turks in Constantinople and Trebizond.
November 1
Diarbekir carnage begins. 1000 Armenians are killed in the town and 30,000 more in the villages. 119 villages are destroyed. Massacres in Arabkir, vilayet of Kharput. 2,800 dead. Massacres in Diarbekir, vilayet of Diarbekir. Confirmed by a telegram of Meyrier, the French consul in Diarbekir, sent on November 3 to P. Cambon, the French ambassador in Constantinople. He estimates incorrectly: 5000 dead. 119 villages are pillaged and set on fire.
November 3
Almost the whole Armenian population in Marzvan, around 700 people, are killed by the Turks.
November 4
3,800 killed in the vilayet of Kharput by the Turks.
November 10
Systematic Turkish army attacks on Van take place. The city of Van, in the vilayet of Van, is attacked by the Turkish Hamidie forces. Forced conversions to Islam in Kharput, vilayet of Kharput.
November 11
Turkish army attacks the town of Balu, in the vilayet of Kharput. It results in 1680 Armenian deaths. Turkey proclaims a holy war (Djihad).
November 12
Turks kill 1,500 Armenians in the vilayet of Sivas, and an equal number in Gurun.
November 15-17
Armies of Sultan destroy Aintab in the vilayet of Aleppo and kill 1500 Armenians.
November 18
Massacres in Marash, vilayet of Aleppo. 1,000 Armenians are killed.
November 18-20
160 villages around the city of Van are robbed and pillaged.
November 28
In Zklus, 200 Armenians are killed; in Amasia, 100; and in Aleppo, 1000.
Armenians of the villages of Norduz, Hayots Dzor, Gavash and Karchevan in the vilayet of Bitlis are set upon by fire and sword. 100 villages are destroyed. On December 28 in the town of Ourfa (Yedesia), 8000 Armenians are slaughtered. 100 villages around Mush, vilayet of Bitlis, are destroyed.
December 28
A battalion of Turkish-led Hamidie forces, proceeding from Aleppo, encircles the town of Urfa. Massacres on the following day kill 8,000 Armenians. This is confirmed by the above-mentioned report of the British consul, Fitzmaurice, dated March 16, 1896, as well as by the French consul.
Global Estimates Most of the figures mentioned through 1895 come to a total of 150,000 to 300,000 dead, to which must be added some 150,000 forced conversions and some 100,000 emigrants forced to flee. The report written by the agents of the European Powers estimate 28,000 killed just in the localities where representatives of foreign nations were present.
June 8-15
The population of Van and nearby villages is destroyed. The major Armenian population of Sgherdi is decimated and survivors are forcibly converted to Islam. In 40 villages of Khizan, 400 people, and in 20 villages of Mamrzank 160 people are slain, and the others are converted to Islam forcibly. All Armenian villages of Shatakh are devastated and turned to ruins. 11 villages of Gyumushkhane are destroyed and most of their population slain.
Middle of June
Turks break their vow and near St. Bartholemew Church, attack Armenians in Van seeking to defend themselves, murdering 1500 people. The survivors flee to Persia.
August 26
A group of Armenian militants of the Dashnak Party occupies the Ottoman Bank in Constantinople in order to gain the attention of foreign powers to the oppression of the Armenians. Achieving their purpose, they leave the bank in the evening and are picked up by boat and taken to France. Much attention is aroused in the Western capitals. However, this action results in a massacre in Constantinople, on August 27, killing approximately 7,000 Armenian victims.
August 28
Representatives of the Great Powers send a telegram of protest to the Ottoman authorities.
September 2
Armenian population of Agn is destroyed. Half the houses in the city are burned. Joint verbal note of protest issued by the Great Powers, accusing the Sublime Porte directly.
September 3
In the city of Mush and its villages, 250 Armenians are killed by the Turks.
November 10
In Agn’s Binkaya village, 250 Armenians are killed. Of the 250 houses there, only 12 houses remain standing.
1894-1896 300,000 Armenians become the victims of the carnages inflicted by the Turks. In addition, almost as many flee the country.
Mothers and children are cut down by sword in Sassun’s Spaghanak villages by sudden attacks late at night.
7500 Armenians are slain in Sassun by the Turks.
April 14
Violent outbreaks in Adana (in Cilicia) and in near-by towns, in an attempted counter-revolution by Turks supporting the Sultan. They are soon squelched.
Military coup in Salonica by the Young Turk movement (the Union and Progress Party). There begins a brief period of collaboration among Turks, Armenians and other minorities. The subsequent massacres in Adana do not shake this new-found cooperation.
July 24
The Ottoman Constitution is proclaimed.
April 15-25
30,000 Armenians are slaughtered in Adana, Tarsus and other towns of Cilicia. The Turkish army bears direct responsibility, but the Armenian community is willing to consider it as an isolated incident, and to continue to trust the Young Turks until further events prove otherwise.
January 29
In Turkey, the triumvirate of Enver, Talaat and Jemal Pasha heads the government.
February 8
Under the combined influence of Russia and Great Britain, the Turkish authorities sign the Armenian Reform Project and agree to take certain measures in favor of the Armenian population.The Dutch, Westemeck, and the Norwegian, Hoft, are appointed as General Inspectors of the Armenian provinces, but they are rendered ineffective. The promised measures are not implemented.
1914– beginning of 1915 The Armenian Patriarchate in Constantinople estimates the Armenian population in Turkey at 2,100,000. World War I begins July 1914. Loyally, the Armenians participate in the war effort. Mobilization of the entire population, including Armenians, is decreed and the Armenians of Turkey take part in the war on the Caucasian and Western fronts. Immediately preceding the war, the Armenian population is neutral because a number of Armenians in Russia is mobilized on the Russian side, and a natural desire to avoid a fratricidal war. Some Armenian presence in the Russian Army will become an argument used by the Turkish authorities in their attempt to justify the measures they took later to destroy the Armenian people.
Enver is disastrously defeated in Sarikamish at the hands of Russian troops, marking a failure of his Pan-Turanian plans. The Turkish authorities decree the demobilization and disarmament of the Armenians. The Armenians are grouped into small work battalions used for garbage details and similar tasks. The Armenian soldiers in the Turkish army, under the pretext of work details, are marched and killed in cold blood or used for target practice.
January 13
A.F. Kerensky, a member of the National Council of Russia and later briefly to be the leader of Russia, in a report, describes the astounding plight of Armenian refugees. He declares that when the Turkish attacks on Russian territory began, rivers of Armenian refugees stretched to the North… “That was not an escape, it was the great demise of a whole nation”.
February 13
Two Armenian deputies of the Ottoman Assembly submit a note concerning the massacres and executions of several such battalions.
February 26
War Minister Enver convenes 75 top ranking Ittihadists. This secret meeting finalizes the details of the plan to carry out a holocaust of the Armenians. Evidence indicates that the decision to carry out the Holocaust was made some years earlier.
April 8
The process of removing the Armenian population of Zeitun commences. Taking advantage of the defense staged by a group of young Armenians, the Turkish army invades Zeitun, with the assistance of local Turks, to re-establish control. The mass deportation and massacres of Armenian inhabitants of the entire region is immediately organized. This mountainous region had always preserved a quasi-autonomy.
April 15
Talaat, Enver and Nazem send a secret order to the local governments for the removal and extermination of Armenians in Turkey.
April 15-18
While the Armenian population of Van is fleeing to Russia because of the evacuation of the Russian army, the Turkish forces attack villages of the vilayet. They destroy 80 villages and slay 24,000 Armenians in the vilayet and city of Van. The Turks accuse the Armenians of collaboration with the Russian troops.
April 20
At the news of the massacres, the mostly Armenian population of Van takes to the barricades. The Turkish authorities will also use this incident on the Caucasian front and the resistance of the Armenians as a pretext to justify the measures of deportation (and massacre) they are about to inflict.
April 20- May 19
The remaining Armenians of Van try to defend themselves from the overwhelming Turkish forces.
April 24
800 Armenian leaders, writers and intellectuals are arrested in Constantinople and murdered. The barbaric Armenian holocaust begins. This is a most important date for all Armenians today. It represents the date for commemorating the Armenian Holocaust each year throughout the world.
April 27-30
The forced removal and deportation of Dyurt Yol’s Armenian population begins.
May 15
Turkish forces begin the process of removal and deportation of the Armenian population from villages in the vilayet of Erzerum.
May 16
Law of May 16, 1915 is enacted with “instructions pertaining to property and real estate abandoned by the deported Armenians, consequences of the war and unusual political circumstances”. This law provides for the installation of Turkish refugees in the homes and on the lands belonging to the Armenians.
May 24
The governments of England, France and Russia jointly warn the Turkish government publicly that “They will hold personally responsible… all members of the Ottoman government and those of their agents who are implicated in such massacres”. This is the first time in the international arena three large countries publicly characterize the Turkish actions against Armenians as crimes against “humanity and civilization” for which “personal responsibility is laid on every member of the Turkish government who participated in the carnages”. The communique of the Allied Powers of the Entente, published by the Havas news agency, accuses the Ottoman Turkish government directly for the massacres against the Armenian population.
May 27
The law of May 27, 1915 is enacted concerning the “displacement of suspected persons.” This law empowers army officers to relocate populations upon the simple suspicion of treason or for military reasons.
June 1
12,000 Armenian soldiers in the Turkish army are massacred in Balu, vilayet of Diarbekir.
June 10
A supplementary law is enacted regarding reporting property of deportees. See entry under September 26 as to supplementary law adopted September 26, 1915.
June 12 – July 3
Turkish armies slay or remove Armenians of Shapin Garahisar, who tried to defend themselves.
June 15
21 leaders of the Hnchukyan Party are hanged publicly in Constantinople.
June 24
Massacres and deportations of the inhabitants of Shabin Karahissar begin.
June 25
The removal and deportation of the Armenians of the city of Sivas begin.
June 26
The removal of the Armenian population of Kharput and Trebizond vilayets are commenced by the Turkish army. Photocopy of the original deportation order (written in old Turkish with Arabic characters) is to be found in the Archives of the United States State Department in Washington, DC.
June 27
Mass removals and deportations of Armenians begin in Samsun.
July 1
Assyrians and Armenians are deported from Medzpin (Nisibe), Tel-Ermen (Hill of the Armenians), Bitlis, vilayet of Bitlis, Mardin and surrounding regions.
July 3
The massacre begins of the Armenian population of Mush, Sassun and Bitlis vilayets begins.
July 10
The Armenian population of Malatia is deported.
July 13
Self-defense of Musa mountain begins. The heroic band of Armenians is later vividly depicted in the best-selling novel “Forty Days of Musa Dagh” by Franz Werfel.
July 27
The Armenian population of Cilicia and Antioch is deported.
July 28
The removal of the Armenian population of the Cilician cities, Aintab and Qilise, is carried out. In Great Britain’s House of Lords, in answer to Viscount James Bryce’s question concerning the slaughter of Christians in Armenia, the president of the Military Council, Lord Grew declares that the information received by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs shows that the Turkish crimes are increasing both in numbers and in violence. Lord Grew declares that “all those mass carnages and violent removals are engaged under the pretext of forced transmigration”.
July 29
Deportations begin from Aintab and Kilisse, in Cilicia.
July 30
Deportations begin from Suedia, in Cilicia.
August 16
Deportations begin from Marash in Cilicia and Konia in western Asia Minor.
August 10- 19
Removal and deportations begin of Armenians from Smyrna (Nikodemia), Brusa, Bartizak, Adabazar and surrounding areas.
August 19
Removal and deportation begin of Armenian population of Urfa in Yedesia.
September 15
Turkey’s Minister of Interior, Talaat Pasha, cables to the Aleppo Prefecture the confirmation of the previously transmitted order for removal of Armenians and their final elimination. The original of this cable is reproduced in the book of A. Andonian “The Memoirs of Naim Bey (The Holocaust of the Armenians by the Turks). With a New Preface by the Armenian Historical Association”, Documentary Series, Vol. I, Great Britain, Reprint 1964, 83 pp. Exhibit No. 3 at the trial of Soghomon Tehlirian, authenticated by the German Court. (At a trial before a Berlin court in 1921, following the assassination of Talaat by Tehlirian, Tehlirian was acquitted by the Court because of the circumstances.)
September 15
Rashid, Governor of Diarbekir, sends cable to Talaat, the Minister of the Interior, announcing that the number of Armenians “expelled” from Diarbekir has reached 120,000.
September 26
“Provisional law concerning the property, debts and receivables of persons relocated elsewhere” is adopted. This law provides for the liquidation of debts and receivables of displaced persons (Armenians). A special commission is “charged” with holding the proceeds of sales in escrow. The German Foreign Office summarized this law as compressed to provide “1. All goods of the Armenians are confiscated. 2. The governments will cash in the credits of the deportees and will repay (will not repay) their debts”.
September 30 and October 7
In Bern, Switzerland, at its Central Hall, public meetings are held deploring the ongoing Armenian tragedy.
110 famous German and Italian civilians in Switzerland, including scientists, journalists and public figures publish “The Call” both in French and German, in defense of the Armenian people.
Note As in Switzerland, in many other places all over the world, there were many, many public meetings of protest and countless public statements by various heads of state and other officials condemning the Turkish massacres and deportations of the Armenians, threatening the Turks responsible with appropriate punishment and promising justice and territorial and/or monetary restitution for the Armenians. The statements and meetings referred to in this chronology are but a tiny sample.
October 6
In Great Britain’s House of Lords, Lord James Bryce denounces the Turkish murderous campaign against the Armenians. He declares the time has passed when any harm could be caused by public statements and the more complete the statements, the more good it may bring, because it remains the only chance of preventing these carnages from continuing, if they are not over yet. It is a pity, he says, that his information from several sources indicates that the number of victims is very large. It is considered to be 800,000 as of then. He states that there is no commandment in Islam that can justify such slaughters. He urges every effort be made to send help for the poor, wretched survivors, hundreds of which are dying of starvation and disease. “That is all that we can do now in England and let us do it and do it swiftly”.
October 12
In Great Britain’s House of Commons, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Edward Grey declares “All the information concerning the carnages of Armenians in Turkey became public. Only two feelings can describe it – horror and disturbance.”
November 16
As the government spokesman for questions from members of the House of Commons, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lord R. Cecil declares that Turkey intended not to punish the Armenian race, but to destroy it. That was the only goal.
November 18
In Paris at the “American Club”, a public meeting urges help to alleviate the Armenian suffering.
December 12
Talaat, Minister of the Interior, sends a telegram to the Prefecture of Aleppo. He states that in view of the rather compassionate attitude of certain valis with respect to orphans, the order is given that the orphans be sent away with the caravans, with the exception of the very young ones unable to remember the atrocities. The original cable is reproduced in said Andonian’s book “The Memoirs of Naim Bey (The Holocaust of the Armenians by the Turks)”.
January 11
In Germany’s Reichstag, deputy Karl Libknecht, an international socialist figure, directs a question to the Vice Chancellor, as to whether he is aware that in Turkey, their ally, thousands of Armenian citizens have been removed from their homes and exterminated. He demands that the German government forbid the Turks from further terrifying actions against the remaining Armenian population.
February 9
The United States Senate votes (with the concurrence of  the House of Representatives) to ask the President of the United States of America to set a special day when citizens of this country can help Armenians with financial support, considering that many of them, being in the country that was at war, were forced to leave their houses and belongings without any opportunity to care even for their primal needs, are afflicted with hunger, disease and untold sufferings. President Wilson designates August 21 and August 22 for making contributions for the suffering Armenians.
February 9
In the Russian Duma, Minister of Foreign Affairs S.D. Sazonov declares “I have mentioned before about the awful sufferings of that wretched race. Under the tacit assent of its ally, Germany, the Turks hoped to bring alive their desire to exterminate the entire Armenian race…”
March 7
Talaat, Minister of the Interior, sends a cable to the Aleppo Prefecture, ordering the extermination of children at military installations.
April 9
“Homage to Armenia” gathering takes place in Paris’ Sorbonne University, attracting thousands of people. Speaking at that gathering, France’s Minister of Education declares that “For more than a year carnages paint Armenia red in blood and have surpassed other crimes in scale and in violence. Germany can be proud of its horrid deeds”. At the same program, the opening words of the president of the National Council of France, Paul Deshnanel, firmly condemns the slaughter of Armenians at the hands of the Turkish executioners.
July 29
“France-Armenia” company is formed in Paris, members of which are ministers of the French government, senators, deputies, Georges Clemenceau, writer Anatole France and other dignitaries.
August 19
Decree abolishes the national Armenian constitution of 1863, in violation of Article 61 of the Treaty of Berlin concerning religious freedom.
November 16
In Berlin’s Missionary Union, Doctor Karl Accenfeld sends a statement to the German Chancellor Bettman-Holveg in which he asserts “In neutral countries large accusations are spreading against Germany about not only calmly watching, but also helping to realize the extinction of a whole Christian race”. Note: In the bibliography in this web-site is listed a volume by Dadrian dealing with the German involvement.
January 1
By a special decree/law the government of Turkey condemns the 1978 Treaty of Berlin and especially Article 61.
March 29
In Stockholm, a large meeting takes place dedicated to repudiation of the mass murder of Armenians. The members of the meeting deplore the insensitivity of Sweden towards Armenians.
November 6
In Great Britain’s House of Commons, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Arthur Balfour declares “Do we need to ignore that Armenia should be given back, as respected gentlemen wish to give it back with their formula, under the reign of Turkey. I don’t want to ruin the Turkish community – consisting of Turks, in Turkish fitting style, commanding the Turks. No, our constant goal is the emancipation of non-Turks from Turkish governance. What is imperialistic in wishing to see Poland independent, Armenia liberated from Turks, Alsace Lorraine rejoined to France, to see Italy having its own population, language, area and civilization”.
December 4
Speaking in the Congress of the United States, President Wilson states “We hope to provide the right and opportunity for people living in the Turkish Empire to make their lives safe and their fate secure from aggression and injustice, orders of foreign courts and parties.
January 6
In the name of the “Germano – Armenian community”, Paul Rorbach, Edward Kir and Martin Rade urge the government of Germany to promote autonomy for Armenia.
January 8
President Wilson’s Declaration of Fourteen Points is published. The 12th Point extends promise to the Armenians of security of life and an unmolested opportunity for autonomous development.
Treaty of Brest-Litovsk is signed between Russia and Turkey after Russia’s withdrawal brought about by the Russian Revolution. Turkish invasion of Russian Armenia causes more killings of Armenians including those fleeing from Turkish Armenia. Fighting continues on the Caucasian front involving Armenian units.
May 28


The Armenian National Council, of necessity to fill a vacuum, announces itself  the supreme and only administrative body for the comparatively small remaining territory in what was Russian Armenia. Such words as “independence” or “republic” are intentionally avoided pending the outcome of a nearby battle with the invading Turkish forces (which the Armenians do win).
June 4
In Batum, the Treaty of Peace and Friendship is signed between Ottoman Turkey and the Republic of Armenia, proclaiming, hollowly, peace and eternal friendship. It provided, among other terms, detailed provisions dealing with conduct at or near their common boundary.
United States Congressman Edward Little presents a resolution to the Congress advocating that the “Armenian people have the right to be free and independent, have an outlet to the sea and be the masters of the Christian culture for which their sons had been sacrificed”.
October 30
The armistice of Moudros ends the war between the Allies and Turkey. Global estimates of the campaign of extermination: close to 1,500,000 Armenians dead.
Defeated Turkey recognizes the small Armenian Republic whose territory consists only of a small fraction of former Armenian lands. Turkey also cedes to it the vilayets of Kars and Ardahan the following year. This transfer proves to be only temporary.
November 13
In Great Britain’s House of Lords, James Bryce, speaking about Armenia and Cilicia, severely criticizes the Turkish government. He states in part: “As Your Highness and Lords already know, the present Turkish government includes people that were involved in the astonishing carnages (that happened in 1915). Every respected Lord that wants to refresh his memory can read the Blue Book published by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1916, in which you’ll find the description of the awful massacres that are written in history everywhere, in spite of all the attempts not to allow or justify them. Not only is Talaat Pasha in the group of criminals that created the Union and Progress Committee, but also others who still are active in the present Turkish government must take the responsibility for those carnages”.
December 10
United States Senator Henry Cabot Lodge presented a proposal for the Senate to express the view that Armenia, including the six vilayets in Turkey and Cilicia should be independent and the peace conference should help Armenia to create an independent republic. While Lodge was very sympathetic to the Armenian cause, he later opposed the United States accepting a mandate of Armenia to avoid possible military involvement.
January 8
By the order of Sultan Mahmed VI it was ordered that the First, Second and Third Military Tribunals prosecute criminally the leaders of the “Young Turks” and other implicated members of the government.
April 8
A Military Tribunal finds a number of Turkish leaders guilty of carnages in the Yozkhat area. The Court finds that Kemal Bey ordered the Moslems of the area to eliminate all the Armenian population, and sentences him to death.
April 27
In Constantinople, the trial begins of members of the Union and Progress Party, and other leaders of the Turkish government. The trial continues until June 26, 1919.
May 22
The special Military Court tries the organizers of deportations and slaughter in Trebizond and punishes eight as criminals.
May 28
By secret order of the British Military Government, 77 Turkish criminals are transferred from a prison at Constantinople to Malta and their convictions are expunged.
June 25
In the name of the the Supreme Allied Council, Georges Clemenceau declares at the Peace Conference that Turkey officially has accepted guilt for the Armenian massacres.
July 5
Following the trial of the Unionists (these were the members of the Union and Progress Committee, in power since 1909), Talaat Pasha, Enver Pasha, Djemal Pasha and Dr. Nazim “are adjudged to be the principal criminals and their guilt has been decided by unanimous vote”. All four are sentenced to death in absentia. It is to be noted that this trial took place during the period Constantinople was occupied by the Allied armies.
October 17
The Supreme Council of the Allies, at the San Remo Conference, proposes that the United States accept a mandate over Armenia.
January 13 and for months following
Various other trials take place in Constantinople and a number of Turkish officials and Young Turks are convicted and sentenced to death for their involvement in the crimes against the Armenian people.
French forces in post-war occupation of Cilicia unexpectedly withdraw. Turks take advantage of the opportunity and kill 30,000 Armenians.
May 24
The President of the United States, Woodrow Wilson, asks the Congress to give him the right to accept a mandate over Armenia and send troops there. Ultimately, the United States decides not to accept a mandate because of the inherent risks, even though still widely sympathetic to the Armenian cause.
August 10
The Treaty of Sevres, signed by Turkey, Britain, France, Italy, Japan, Armenia, Belgium, Greece, Lebanon, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbian-Croatian-Slovenic Republic and Czechoslovakia, recognizes the Armenian Republic and ordains that the borders between Turkey and Armenia in the vilayets of Erzerum, Trebizond, Van and Bitlis be determined by President Wilson. According to the peace agreement, Turkey accepts its responsibility for the crimes against the Armenians during the war and undertakes the obligation to compensate for the losses sustained by the Armenians. It also agrees to hand over to the Allies the persons responsible for the massacres. President Wilson appoints a commision which sets the boundaries of a much expanded Armenia, including significant seacoast, but all to naught. The Treaty of Sevres is never carried out. It was repudiated by Turkey and eventually replaced by the Treaty of Lausanne, which had no provisions dealing with Armenia.
May 16
The independent Armenian Republic, in existence since May 28, 1918, is tranformed into the Soviet Socialist Republic of Armenia.
Kemal Ataturk’s forces seize and set fire to the city of Smyrna and engage in a rampage, killing Greeks and Armenians. 150,000 perish.
April 25
Unrepentant Turkey enacts the law of “abandoned property” which provides for the confiscation of all property abandoned by Armenians absent from the country, regardless of the date, reason or conditions of their departure.
July 24
The Treaty of Lausanne is signed by the new Republic of Turkey and the Great Powers. The Treaty recognizes full Turkish sovereignty over all its territory, and contains no provisions about Armenia. Winston Churchill has written: “In the Treaty of Lausanne, which re-establishes peace between Turkey and the Allies, history will search in vain for the word Armenia”.
Turkey adopts a law which prohibits the return of Armenians who left Cilicia or any of the eastern vilayets whether or not they had left voluntarily.

The Pit Action


The PIT maneuver, or precision immobilization technique, is a pursuit tactic by which a pursuing car can force a fleeing car to abruptly turn sideways, causing the driver to lose control and stop. Other names include pit block, pit stop and blocking.[1] It was developed and named by the Fairfax County Police Department of Virginia, United States.[1] Other interpretations of the acronym “PIT” include pursuit immobilization technique, pursuit intervention technique, push it tough, parallel immobilization technique, and precision intervention tactic. The technique is also known as tactical car intervention, tactical ramming, legal intervention, and fishtailing. The technique is typically used by law enforcement officers as a safer alternative with which to bring car chases to a conclusion.[citation needed]

Other methods of stopping a fugitive vehicle include tactical pursuit and containment (see below) and the use of spike strips.

Attempting the PIT maneuver against a motorcyclist is extremely dangerous and prohibited in most countries.[







How to perform the PIT maneuver

The PIT begins when the pursuing vehicle pulls alongside the fleeing vehicle so that the portion of the pursuer’s vehicle forward of the front wheels is aligned with the portion of the target vehicle behind the back wheels. The pursuer gently makes contact with the target’s side, then steers sharply into the target. The police officer must also accelerate or his bumper will slide off of the suspect vehicle.[3] As soon as the fleeing vehicle’s rear tires lose traction and start to skid, the pursuer continues to turn in the same direction until clear of the target. This is more of a committed lane change than an actual turn. The target will turn in the opposite direction, in front of the pursuer, and will spin out. The PIT may be done from either side, but consideration must be given to where both cars will end up. Typically, another police car will tail the PIT unit to proceed with the arrest, while the PIT unit recovers its own control and completely stops the car. The PIT does not immobilize the suspect vehicle and to prevent further flight, two police cars need to pin the suspect between them, front and rear.[

The PIT maneuver, or precision immobilization technique, is a pursuit tactic by which a pursuing car can force a fleeing car to abruptly turn sideways, causing the driver to lose control and stop. Other names include pit block, pit stop and blocking.[1] It was developed and named by the Fairfax County Police Department of Virginia, United States.[1] Other interpretations of the acronym “PIT” include pursuit immobilization technique, pursuit intervention technique, push it tough, parallel immobilization technique, and precision intervention tactic. The technique is also known as tactical car intervention, tactical ramming, legal intervention, and fishtailing. The technique is typically used by law enforcement officers as a safer alternative with which to bring car chases to a conclusion.[citation needed]

Other methods of stopping a fugitive vehicle include tactical pursuit and containment (see below) and the use of spike strips.

Attempting the PIT maneuver against a motorcyclist is extremely dangerous and prohibited in most countries.

The PIT maneuver was adapted from the bump and run technique used in stock car racing, where drivers would bump a competitor to take them out, giving rise to the term, “takeout”. This maneuver is illegal in stock car racing because it is very dangerous. The high speed involved in auto racing makes it much easier for drivers to take out another car with a less substantial bump than at lower speeds. When employing the PIT maneuver, the speed of the two cars involved will determine how far the car will travel once it is bumped. Partially for this reason, the higher the speed, the more unpredictable and dangerous the PIT maneuver becomes. This is just one of the very important factors a police officer must consider before implementing the PIT maneuver. A police officer is trained to wait until conditions are right before attempting a PIT maneuver to avoid the use of deadly force. Speeds must be lower and the “landing site” for the bumped vehicle must be clear of danger.


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