The Timing of the Pipeline Attack

The U.S. had already forced Germany to shut down Nord Stream 2 but there are signs that an end to the Ukraine war would have put it back online, writes Joe Lauria.

Biden calling for overthrow of Putin in Warsaw in March. (Office of the President)

By Joe Lauria
Special to Consortium News

President Joe Biden, with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz by his side, promised a White House press conference in early February that the U.S. was “able” to shut down the German-Russian Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline in the Baltic Sea if Russia invaded Ukraine. 

A reporter asked Biden, “But how will you do that, exactly, since…the project is in Germany’s control?” Biden said: “I promise you, we will be able to do that.”

When Russia indeed invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, Washington was able to get Berlin to suspend the pipeline project that was about to go online, even though it wasn’t in Germany’s interests. 

The pipeline has remained closed ever since. Why then did someone attack the pipeline on Monday, releasing the gas it contained into the Baltic Sea? As long as the war continues, the U.S. has what it wants regarding the pipeline.

Evidently, the fear in Washington is that the war might not continue for as long as it wants. I argued on Feb. 4, twenty days before the invasion, that the U.S. was setting a trap for Russia and needed it to invade Ukraine in order to unleash an information, economic and proxy war with the ultimate aim of regime change in Moscow. All that was confirmed by March 27.

Since then the U.S. and Britain have done everything it can to keep the war going, and the economic sanctions in place.  But those sanctions on Russia are devastating the European economy, driving energy prices up and shutting businesses down.  Ordinary Europeans are facing a winter in which they may not be able to afford to heat their homes.

This has led to growing popular unrest and pressure on European governments to end the war, lift the sanctions and save their economies.  Ending the war and lifting sanction would lead to the reopening of Nord Stream 2 (and the turbine repair of Nord Stream 1, which was also attacked). 

Site of the Nord Stream 2 attack. (Danish Defense Ministry)

Offer to Resume Shipments

Three weeks ago, President Vladimir Putin told a press conference in Samarkand that Russia was ready to resume supplying natural gas to Germany if Germany lifted its economic sanctions against Russia.   Putin said: 

“After all, if they need [gas] urgently, if things are so bad, just go ahead and lift sanctions against Nord Stream 2, with its 55 billion cubic metres per year – all they have to do is press the button and they will get it going. But they chose to shut it off themselves; they cannot repair one pipeline and imposed sanctions against the new Nord Stream 2 and will not open it. Are we to blame for this? Let them think hard about who is to blame and let none of them blame us for their own mistakes. Gazprom and Russia have always fulfilled and will fulfil all obligations under our agreements and contracts, with no failures ever.”

So the offer is there to return normal gas supplies to Europe if the sanctions are lifted. With the war having passed into its most dangerous phase, there is a growing urgency to stop the war, including talk of a Saudi-led peace process in which Ukraine would cede territory to Russia in exchange for peace.

If momentum grows for a peace deal of any kind it would ruin Washington’s long-term plans to weaken Russia. It would mean Nord Stream 2 would reopen, which would help Germany and Russia, but crush U.S. aims at regime change and making Europe dependent on U.S. energy.

“I promise you, we will be able” to shut down Nord Stream 2, Biden vowed. But how would the U.S. do that if Germany became poised to reopen it?

Joe Lauria is editor-in-chief of Consortium News and a former U.N. correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, and numerous other newspapers, including The Montreal Gazette and The Star of Johannesburg. He was an investigative reporter for the Sunday Times of London, a financial reporter for Bloomberg News and began his professional work as a 19-year old stringer for The New York Times.  He can be reached at joelauria@consortiumnews.com and followed on Twitter @unjoe  

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44 comments for “The Timing of the Pipeline Attack

  1. September 29, 2022 at 18:31

    We manipulate the world in ways you’d never understand from any other media than maverick ones like this. However, everyone commenting is on your page as if it’s the given, but it’s not the given. Isn’t anyone interested in that? How to get to what all good-hearted, fair-minded people would be in synch about? The media doesn’t do it, being controlled by funders, so how do we good people get coordinated about what we are dealing with? That’s an especially important question for people who aren’t reading Consortium News, where, if you are right, almost everyone has the wrong understanding. How about putting together a group of gadflies like Robert Reich, Thom Hartmann, Chris Hedges, Noam Chomsky, Robert Scheer, Heather Cox Richardson, Marianne Williamson, and the like, and let them get coordinated to get us coordinated? Individual gadflies don’t give us a voice and one of the most important things we can do is unify to become a force.

  2. John
    September 29, 2022 at 13:22

    Check out the USS Kearsage, it was in the Baltic at the right time on maneuvers, with the men, the equipment, and the expertise.

  3. September 29, 2022 at 12:41

    The U.S is in a tight spot.Unless the United States prove that they were not responsible for the attack,all evidence points to them as the culprits. So until then,the United States is in a very difficult position.It paints them as a rogue country with total disregard for International law and would prove what people have always thought that the U.S is bent on European economies including those of its so called allies.However,if it’s proven that they were responsible,they should pay for damages not only for the environment but also loss of marine life,attacks on the pipelineand the costs of repairing the pipeline.

    • rosemerry
      September 30, 2022 at 14:05

      Even that would not be enough punishment, because this has unleashed an event that could be repeated in any important infrastructure anywhere. It is something the world has managed to avoid so far, but the USA has always managed to avoid trial, let alone punishment, for its war crimes, so who is going to do the legal work and stop it when this wicked deed has not been admitted by the gangsters that obviously carried it out. See Diana Johnstone’s article, and if you can find it read “The Politics of Genocide” by Edward Herman and David Peterson.The USA always calls itself the “good guy” who does not need to submit to any international legal process.

  4. C. Kent
    September 29, 2022 at 11:46

    As the US war train cannot derailed, it has to be overloaded until it goes off the rails rounding a corner and tumbles into a gorge. This Nordstream infrastructure destruction suggests the destruction of the Kerch Bridge is around the corner, instigating full Russian mobilization and all that comes with that. If it kills fascists in Kiev and punches this godawful country of ours in the head, so be it.

  5. Noah Kapeesh
    September 29, 2022 at 11:02

    CNN,FOX,MSNBC all covering Hurricane Ian. Pipeline? What pipeline?

  6. Em
    September 29, 2022 at 09:37

    There’s a major problem with the free flow of information in the ‘International Community’s’ consciousness pipeline – the so-called Wests, “short-term” memory span.
    A little over 30 years ago NATO – the US, imposed a referendum on Serbia, after devastating the entire country militarily; over the break-away Serbian province of Kosovo. That vote was completely legitimate, yet the outcome of Russia’s referendum in eastern Ukraine today, is a sham???
    Funny how Europe acceded to that sham outcome back then, within its own continent!

  7. Noah Kapeesh
    September 29, 2022 at 08:45

    CNN, MSNBC, FOX NEWS,NEWSMAX. Hurricane Ian coverage only. WW3 ? Nah. USA! USA!

  8. Packard
    September 29, 2022 at 08:04

    If ever proven, sabotaging the Nord Stream pipeline will be seen as the Biden Administration’s gentle way to persuade many soon to be very cold Germans to not go wobbly during the ongoing Ukrainian war. Once your lifeboats have been burned, and whether you like it or not, you are going wherever the captain of the ship decides to take you. That my friends, is pretty much where Germany and the rest of the EU finds itself today.

    And you are welcome for our service too!

  9. September 29, 2022 at 02:17

    Damn. I was still trying to understand Russia’s invocation of Article 51 in the UN Charter.

  10. Davy Jones
    September 29, 2022 at 02:08

    Hmmm… was Baltops-22 about “mine hunting” or “mine planting”?

    hxxps://seapowermagazine.org/baltops-22-a-perfect-opportunity-for-research-and-resting-new-technology/

  11. Tristan Patterson
    September 28, 2022 at 23:41

    It’s not just ceding territory, It’s their most resource rich territory. The US will not let that happen. They would rather burn it all down.

  12. Bill Pilgrim
    September 28, 2022 at 23:22

    In June the US Navy held “training exercises” in the Baltic. The exercises included diver training for “de-mining.” This all took place not too far from the Nordstream pipelines.
    Coincidence?
    Remember, the Baltic Sea is pretty much controlled by NATO.
    I smell a rat… a wet rat.

    • Julian P
      September 30, 2022 at 05:29

      Quite so Bill, a wet rat and soon to be a very cold rat.

  13. Ed Rickert
    September 28, 2022 at 22:32

    Has the US declared war on Russia or Germany? Perhaps both ( if responsible for the sabotage of NS 1 and 2). Apparently one plan is to Balkanize Russia and the other to re- industrialize the US with Germany industry having to relocate there. Germany’s largest car manufacturer disclosed that it may move from Germany and Eastern Europe for lack of energy. It’s one thing to engage in war with someone perceived as an enemy but quite another to destroy the economy of an Ally. Kissinger’s observation is apropos: To be an enemy of the United States is dangerous but to be a friend is fatal.

    • WillD
      September 29, 2022 at 01:25

      Not content with alienating and provoking its main enemies, the US fanatics are now attacking their allies. No sane person could believe that the US did not a) know about the Nordstream sabotage, and/or b) participate in it.
      The rest of the world must be watching this with horror, realising that the US has become a dangerously out-of-control monster – one that is on a global rampage, destroying anything it doesn’t like or understand.
      Even in arch-ally Australia, more and more voices are questioning the wisdom of being the US’ deputy-sheriff in the East, and the unhealthy closeness to its puppetmaster.

      • Julian P
        September 30, 2022 at 05:47

        I would like to think there is more questioning WillD, but (here in Oz), an ever increasing part of northern Australia is now a US military base, one which soon host nuclear weapons. Was the Australian public consulted ? No, and nor will it be consulted when ultimately war is declared on China – not I’m guessing by us, but by our “great and powerful friend”.
        Regrettably, Security/Intelligence/Defence interests have the new Government by the short hairs and aren’t about to let go.

  14. Louis Béchard
    September 28, 2022 at 22:09

    So so so much B.S. insane pride & grasping greed by depraved psychotics deluded in owning the EARTH.

  15. September 28, 2022 at 19:02

    Russia should cut all trade and economic ties to the NATO warmongers.China and the rest of Asia is where there future lies. The second biggest warmongering nation the so called UK is in economic meltdown. The ex head of the IMF said the UK central bank the Bank of England is in LA,LA land.Italy is now run by Neo fascists, Eastern Europe is virtually run by them. Even Sweden Europe looks pretty sick.Russia is doing sterling work in Ukraine clearing out the lunatic nazis.

  16. Lois Gagnon
    September 28, 2022 at 18:59

    The coincidence theorists are going to have a hard time rationalizing their insistence on the innocence of the US with this one. How much more obvious can US culpability get before the whole world recoils in horror at the depths to which this empire will stoop to destroy any and all countries that refuse to bend the knee?

    • Peter Sherman
      September 28, 2022 at 21:07

      ANSWER: The Western world will NEVER recoil in horror. It has been so complicit in such horrors that such horror would be admission of its complicity. How far will US culpability go? It was Obama who reinvigorated the nuclear arms race in a big way by pushing for tactical first-use nuclear weapons. These are not MAD nukes. They are, by design, first-use nukes that will be used to try to knock out the thousands that Russia has. Good luck with that. And when 100s of millions have been obliterated, the Western world will, of course, blame Russia. We are only a few seconds from midnight. Even so, it is not Russia who is threatening to use nukes. It is Poland, Ukraine, and so many NATO and US top brass. This is not hyperbole. At the end of WWII the US had plans to nuke 50+ cities in Russia, having been on a high since Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Dr. Strange Love’s got nothing on these psychopaths.

    • Mike
      September 28, 2022 at 22:18

      I agree. How is there even a doubt about US culpability?

  17. Mike
    September 28, 2022 at 18:45

    There was a time when I believed the EU was a rational technocracy which operated in the best interests of all. Then it encouraged Yugoslavia to tear itself apart. Following on from that ‘achievement’, its military wing (NATO) went on to destroy Afghanistan, Iraq, Lybia etc etc and it still says it is ‘purely a defensive organisation’.
    Now, the EU political wing blames Russia for sabotaging two Russian financed and built gas pipelines which (the pipelines, not the sabotaging) can only benefit Russia if gas flows and someone receives and pays for the gas. What the military wing does next is anyone’s guess.
    But then, that is what it is all about – keep Putin guessing.

  18. gcw919
    September 28, 2022 at 18:29

    There seems little concern about the massive release of methane, a greenhouse gas far more destructive in the upper atmosphere than CO2. We seem to be locked into another Cold War, which hopefully will not become a nuclear conflagration. The decision makers on either side of this conflict appear incapable of recognizing that human civilization is on a short leash, and they remain locked into endless, barbaric conflict, while we are on a collision course with climate change that will make the planet uninhabitable.

    • Veracity
      September 29, 2022 at 15:58

      You need to access more of Putin’s and Lavrov’s speeches and actions. The USA is the only one hell bent on destruction in the name of sole superpower.

  19. Michael Perry
    September 28, 2022 at 17:49

    Isn’t it funny we provide $50 Billion to bomb the Donetz, Lugansk,
    Kherson and Zaporozhye regions and, when Ros-see-yah saves them
    with a referendum, Ros-see-yah is called the Ugly Guy..

    The Rus-skies should be held up for Humanitarium Awards!!!
    … But oh, we only observe through pesky fleas (..investors..) eyes…

    ?? ??????????? ??????..!!
    (..Da Zdrav-stv-yet Ros-see-yah..!!)
    Long Live Russia..!!

  20. Ricardo2000
    September 28, 2022 at 17:29

    Saladin: “I warn you against shedding blood, indulging in it and making a habit of it, for blood never sleeps.”

    The US, now and always, makes allies of the most corrupt, violent collaborators. Recently, US trained military yahoos have committed 8 coups in West Africa. Of course, military coups are cheaper than honestly negotiating Oil & Gas rights with responsible, democratically elected, popularly supported leadership. ‘Los Zetas’, Mexico’s worst narco gang were trained and armed by US ‘special forces’. Honduras, where democracy was recently restored after a US-OAS coup installed a president and family now facing decades in US prisons for drug trafficking. El Salvador, where ex-President Cristiani is facing murder charges for the executions of 6 Catholic priests, housekeeper and young daughter, that advocated for negotiations and peace. NAYOYO welcomes military coups and death squads everywhere so long as it favours corporate greed and human rights violations that terrify popular dissent. Only the most savage, racist, drug-dealing monsters are embraced as worthy NAYOYO allies because they have NO LOCAL support. These collaborators know their lives and future depend on following CIA instructions.

    H. L. Mencken (1880 – 1956): “The men the American people admire most extravagantly are the most daring liars; the men they detest most violently are those who try to tell them the truth.”

    There is every reason for Russia to regard any Western promise as a time-wasting lie so the West can rearm and attack again. Training thousands in the West, if they exist, won’t work. Ukrainians have refused to fight for Nazis since 2014. They are green troops facing battle hardened veterans enraged by NAYOYO lies and Banderite atrocities. I think the AFU will collapse as Ukrainians have shown time after time that they do not want to fight Russia. They want peace and negotiations. They want long term cultural and economic links to Russia like they have always enjoyed. Ukraine can only be completely neutral if it is a puppet regime, totally within Russian influence.

    John Kenneth Galbraith, “The modern Conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.”

    The world will be a better and safer place when Russia wins this war. Russians have heard all the promises, watched the treaties signed, and quickly ignored. They know of racist genocides committed and planned. It won’t be the vacuous excuses of White Westerners that define this war. It will be blunt demands and brutal facts on the ground that outline Ukraine’s public defeat. This war will end with Russian tanks shaking the ground at western borders.

    Winston Churchill (1944): ”I have left the obvious, essential fact to this point, namely, that it is the Russian Armies who have done the main work in tearing the guts out of the [Nazi] army.”

  21. Peter Grynch
    September 28, 2022 at 17:17

    Putin was using the promise of turning the pipeline back on to erode support for Ukraine among NATO members. He can no longer do that. Ukraine is the biggest beneficiary as well as the first to point fingers at Russia.

    I don’t think Biden did it because he is physically a coward, but maybe whoever really controls the White House did it without asking Joe’s permission.

    Germany has been making big promises about military aid, but hasn’t delivered much. Maybe this is Ukraine’s payback.

    • rosemerry
      September 30, 2022 at 14:21

      Whoever controls the White House. Has anyone noticed Nuland, Jake Sullivan, Antony Blinken still circling around? Neocons have no reverse gear.

  22. KPr
    September 28, 2022 at 16:58

    My feeling is that Biden will bring out the CIA and blame Russia for damaging the pipelines.

    • Heidi Walter
      September 29, 2022 at 10:16

      Found on Twitter hxxps://twitter.com/IamNotADuck5/status/1575247176569352192/photo/1

  23. Rong Cao
    September 28, 2022 at 16:29

    One scenario could be that US Submarine could have parked near the pipeline under Baltic Sea, to which they attached smart bombs, then remotely detonated it that has led to gas leaks?

    • Stephen Sivonda
      September 29, 2022 at 00:59

      I said exactly that One of our submarines was involved in this They have escape chambers that can be utilized to hold an explosive device and a couple of men with scuba outfits to set the explosives on the pipe which would be fitted out with timers or remote detonator switch The capabilities of nuke powered submarines are many I don’t know the depth of the water in the area of the leak and if too deep for the divers , even a wire guided torpedo is a possibility

    • September 29, 2022 at 14:43

      I’ve read that the Baltic sea is too shallow for submarines.

  24. MJ
    September 28, 2022 at 16:25

    Coincidentally a new pipeline was just turned on, extending an ongoing pipe from Norway… the payments for that gas will go to the OWNERS of the new extension… POLAND and UKRAINE…

    Ain’t it so coincidental that the UKRAINE/POLISH pipeline was just completed
    precisely when the sabotage/”leak” happened on their competitor?

    hxxps://twitter.com/i/status/1574954366456700928

  25. Gene Poole
    September 28, 2022 at 16:14

    See MoonofAlabama for a summary of the evidence concerning the sabotage of NordStream

    • Beverly
      September 28, 2022 at 20:22

      Here is the link to Bernhard’s excellent work….
      hxxps://www.moonofalabama.org/2022/09/whodunnit-facts-related-to-the-sabotage-attack-on-the-nord-stream-pipelines.html
      Also see his piece from yesterday….
      hxxps://www.moonofalabama.org/2022/09/the-war-on-germany-just-entered-its-hot-phase.html

  26. Jeff Harrison
    September 28, 2022 at 16:08

    I ‘spec that you’re outta luck Joe. I suspect, but I certainly don’t know, that the pipeline may very well be essentially irreparable without major, expensive work. If I were Russia I would decline to pay for that.

    • Heidi Walter
      September 29, 2022 at 08:41

      Thanks for informing of Moon of Alabama. You might be interested in this hxxps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=asrx7TGnCI4 You also might also want to google for the demonstration in Prague yesterday.

  27. September 28, 2022 at 16:08

    I think it is pretty clear that the US talked EU leaders into harming themselves with promises of more weapons and more oil and gas deliveries. But the leaders of the EU must have known this was a huge gamble on their part, trusting the untrustworthy Americans to really follow through with delivering the goods and Russia succumbing quickly to the economic sanctions. At this point the EU leaders must be asking themselves how long they can hold out and toe the US line. It will become increasingly difficult as the winter approaches. I can’t imagine what the Biden Administration has promised the EU leaders that would make them so compliant, even though the sanctions are so against their country’s own best interests.

    • Ian
      September 28, 2022 at 18:24

      It seems like Germany, Poland, and Ukraine were all promised the top spot in a new and expanded European order stretching into a balkanized Russia. Seems like both Germany and Ukraine lost and Poland is the short term winner for being so enthusiastic, now the main gas hub to Germany.

      But there is also the invisible stick, threat of sanctions, and the fact that NSA can listen on any electronic communication in Europe and blackmail politicians if necessary.

      • September 29, 2022 at 08:07

        Agreed, the US always uses carrots and sticks at the same time, and I assume blackmail is in the mix. But still, it is difficult to believe that the EU countries still believe this is going to work out for them in the end. They must know they signed a deal with the Devil, and the Devil will want his dues. This is only going to drag the EU down further, cause a long term recession (possibly depression in some countries) and possibly lead to a wider war that engulfs some of them. I think the stupidity of going along with this must have sunk in by now, and I am surprised that more of them are not calling for peace talks immediately.

    • rosemerry
      September 30, 2022 at 14:29

      You may find the speech just given to the UN of French president Macron, completely out of control in suggesting Russia gives back all the “illegally grabbed” regions or all the rest of us rise up against Russia. I suppose he means the 15% of the world in the Empire of Hatred and Lies”, not the sane real people outside USA/EU/5eyes plus Japan.

  28. Tony Kevin
    September 28, 2022 at 15:42

    A self- destructive US act of terrorism . Incredibly reckless . Tony Kevin.

Comments are closed.