LISTEN: Nord Stream Attack an ‘Act of War’

Ray McGovern discusses Seymour Hersh’s story, “How America Took Out The Nord Stream Pipeline” on Garland Nixon and Wilmer Leon’s radio show, The Critical Hour. (With transcript).


Garland Nixon

Sy Hersh has a piece at his Substack account entitled How America Took Out the Nord Stream Pipeline. The New York Times called it a, quote unquote mystery. But the United States executed a covert C.I.A. operation that was kept secret until now. For insight into this, let’s turn to our first guest. He works with Tell the World, The publishing arm of the Ecumenical Church of the Savior in inner city Washington; has 27 year career as a C.I.A. analyst, serving as chief of the Soviet foreign policy branch and preparing the president’s daily brief. He is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, and he is, of course, Ray McGovern. As always, Ray, welcome back.

Ray McGovern

Thanks for having me.

Garland Nixon

So Sy Hersh writes, last June, the Navy divers operating under the cover of a widely publicized midsummer NATO exercise known as BALTOPS 22, planted the remotely triggered explosives that three months later destroyed three of the four Nord Stream pipelines. This is according to a source with direct knowledge of the operational planning. 

What I’ll say, Ray, is usually when we hear of unknown sources, we tend to question the veracity or validity of the piece.

But if it’s Sy Hersh, I got to give it its due. Ray McGovern.

Ray McGovern

I know Sy Hersh.

Garland Nixon

I know you do.

Ray McGovern

I know him to be a meticulous reporter, winner of five Polk Awards, Pulitzer Prize, you name it. Back in the day when honest reporters were so honored. This piece has all the earmarks of Sy’s meticulous approach, and he clearly has a very good source who felt, well, he felt a constitutional obligation to honor his or her oath to the Constitution of the United States, which is the supreme oath any of us take. And that is to make sure that you tell the truth, especially when the Constitution is being violated. 

Now, this was an act of war, pure and simple. Curiously enough, it was against Germany. And curiously enough, President Joseph Biden, at a press conference in the presence of the chancellor of Germany, Olaf Scholz, said this is going to happen if Russia invaded Ukraine. And, of course, he was asked, well, how do you do this? I mean, how can you how can you be so confident that Nord Stream will be killed and Biden said, well, just, you know, trust me, it’s going to happen. 

President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz at joint press conference, Feb. 7, 2022, in the East Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)

And so she, bilingual, the Reuters reporter, turned to Scholz – and this is not widely available now for obvious reasons – and she said, well, I mean, do you agree with that? I mean, hello, how do you feel about this? And this hack, this political hack said: we do everything together. We do everything together. We will be together on this now. So that’s available now. It’s available. Not Sy Hersh’s piece yet, but that interview is available in Germany.

You know, I describe Olaf Scholz as kind of the epitome of the abused spouse. Stands there and is abused not only by his master, Joe Biden, but also by this hack that he has as foreign minister. Her name is [Annalena] Baerbock. She is the the most vociferous of all the people saying that we are at war. That’s what she said. We are at war with Russia. 

So the question will be: it has been 90 years, count them, nine zero years since the Nazis were making a push for power in Germany. What happened? The Reichstag, the German parliament building was burned down at the end of January, 1933. What happened? The Germans caved. The Nazis didn’t have a majority, but they scared the living daylights out of German citizens.

First of all, Social Democrats gave in. Next to fall, the Zentrum party, the Catholic Party. No one spoke up. We know the rest of the story. All right. Now, sometimes history is replete with ironies. Here it is exactly to the month, 90 years later. Will the German people acquiesce in their industry, and then their bodies being frozen out this winter? Or will they rise up and say: “Look, Mr Scholz, you don’t know what the hell you’re doing, and neither does Baerbock. Get out of here!”, and replace that government? 

Now, the key to all this, of course, is the fact I have already mentioned. Sy Hersh’s piece has not been published in Germany. The New York Times hasn’t published it. The major media haven’t published. Where did Sy have to publish this? On Substack. Now, at one point he had a friend at the German newspaper, Die Welt, and they published an incredible exposé on Syria. It turned out to be true, but Sy couldn’t get it published anywhere else. He used to publish in The New York Times, then in The New Yorker. He has been banned. 

So the question is, will it be possible to inform not only the American people, but more important, the German people that they’ve been had? Okay? This is depriving them of livelihoods and industry. Will they, unlike 90 years ago, act like adults, stand up and say: “Now we’ve had it. Blowing up our our gas pipeline, that’s too far. We’re going to look at things differently. First and foremost, our involvement in Ukraine.”

Seymour Hersh in Cairo, 2007. (Hossam el-Hamalawy/Flickr)

Garland Nixon

Ray, domestically. Here. In this piece, if it is to be believed – which, I believe it and it certainly warrants an internal investigation here – the Biden administration admitted that what they were doing was an act of war, which means they understood that only Congress could, in fact, constitutionally clear that action. And they, with malice and aforethought, took action to mitigate their accountability to the Constitution and Congress.

And Joe Biden was the head guy there. He was the man that… eventually they decided rather than just put explosives on it, apparently Biden wanted to give the word for when it was done. This is an impeachable offense. This is a requirement of Congress, to act on it. Your thoughts on Congress not acting on it? I don’t suspect they will. And if there will be ultimately in the long term, any ramifications for that? Your thoughts on that anyway Ray.

Ray McGovern

Well, again, if the big tree falls in the forest and there’s no one around to hear it fall, does it make a sound? It is incredible how The New York Times – actually I’ve taken to calling The New York Times The New Yellow Times, after yellow journalism, which as most people know is what you do when you exaggerate or slant things beyond the truth.

The New Yellow Times can prevent this from being heard, and more important now, prevent corroboration from being a voice. We have corroboration now from Gil Doctorow in Brussels, Larry Johnson in Tampa, it’s coming in. And so I applaud the source that told Sy Hersh all this information. I believe it implicitly. Sy has never been wrong on really important issues like this. As I say, he’s meticulous, and he was distraught – and I know this personally – distraught at all this stuff about Russiagate.

President Dmitriy Medvedv launching Nord Stream project, April 2010 (Russian Presidential Press and Information Office/Wikimedia)

He and Bob Parry used to – my mentor, Robert Parry, Consortium News – used to commiserate on the phone and, you know, what’s happened to the to the media? So here again, we have the media right in the middle of this thing. Only Tucker Carlson has had the cojones so far to play this story. Will it go further? I suspect… well, I don’t know but I like to try to be the optimist. Can The New York Times and the major media suppress this indefinitely? Well, I suppose they can. They’ve suppressed other stories, equally important, like the fact that the Russians are proven not to have hacked into the DNC, and that the ‘Russian offensive’ there with Facebook amounted to nothing.

So if they can deceive the American people, as the American people are willing to be deceived, then you know this will not have its desired effect. The fact that that Sy had to go on Substack to do this is really a lurid manifestation of the fact that not even the most prized, the most meticulous investigative reporter in the United States, could not get this published elsewhere.

That speaks volumes.

Garland Nixon

Part of this piece, Sy discusses meetings that Victoria Nuland and Anthony Blinken and Jake Sullivan held in the executive office of the President, where they debated options for an attack on the pipeline. And he writes that the C.I.A. argued that whatever was done, it would have to be covert. And at the time, the C.I.A. was directed by Bill Burns, as Sy describes him, a mild mannered former ambassador to Russia. I know you know Burns well. He says that Burns quickly authorized a C.I.A. working group whose ad hoc members included someone who was familiar with the capacity of these Navy deep sea divers. Your thoughts on Burns’s involvement in this?

Ray McGovern

I do know Burns. He let me, well, in effect shame James Clapper by pointing out to an audience that Clapper had admitted that he fudged the evidence on weapons of mass destruction before the attack on Iraq. Burns was, some of us hoped, that he might be the adult in the room, but Burns is the epitome of a cog in the wheels of the system. He’s a state Department type. He got to be number two in the State Department and you don’t get to be number two in the State Department unless you salute. Whether it’s a harebrained scheme or not you salute. Well, here you have the epitome of a harebrained scheme. Did did Burns salute? Yes, as soon as the president said do it. He turned to his people and he said, Do it.

And they they rubbed their hands and said: Oh, man, this is going to be fun! We can do this. We can work with the Navy. We can do it. Okay. Now, what do the analysts say? Well, Burns didn’t give a rat’s patootie about what his analysts say, but Sy Hersh includes the notion that some of them said: You know, this is really crazy, this is really stupid. This is going to come back to bite us. 

That’s what we always used to say on cockamamie schemes like this. What’s the point here? The point here is that the operations people at C.I.A. get all the money, get all the attention and get all the influence over whatever director comes in and another side lesson here is that if you’re going to pick a director for the C.I.A., don’t go to the State Department for a yes man. You don’t go to the Congress for somebody who compromises, for God’s sake. You find somebody like Admiral Stansfield Turner, four star, who had made his own his own mark on life and was not going to take any crap from nobody else, is going to tell the truth. He’s the last guy we had like that. God forbid we keep having these, well, these bureaucrats that salute when the president says jump.

(Samuel Bailey/Wikimedia Commons)

Garland Nixon

One thing I did want to ask you, I had some thoughts. You know, the last – interesting – the last sentence where, you know, whoever the source is says, Oh, yeah, they did this thing. It was a brilliant operation, blah, blah, blah. He says the only flaw was the decision to do it. Here’s what it seems to me. I’m guessing it seemed like it came from somebody in the Pentagon, based on the knowledge. They basically said: You know, these idiots in the executive department, they have not a good move.

And C.I.A. was not real smart. State Department, bad move. The Pentagon wasn’t mentioned. And there are generally, I have heard recently, there are some pragmatists. It almost seems like there may. Well, anyway, your thoughts on the origins of this, if you have any?

Ray McGovern

Well, all I can say is that Sy Hersh has proven for about 40 years now that he is a trusted journalist. And when someone – and I suspect it aptly pertained to this particular source – when someone sees that an act of war has been has been committed by our government against all the… well, against the Constitution, maybe not against the U.S. designed “rules based order,” but, you know, we all swear an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Now this guy took that seriously. I suspect he went to that little corner in that bar where Sy meets his – I know where that is – meets his sources and told him this whole story. Sy said it only took him three months. I believe that. And American people… it’s eminently believable. The question is the fallout and whether the mass media can prevent this story from sneaking into the consciousness of Americans who have been taught, who have been brainwashed over the last seven years. Okay? Seven years now, to hate Russia. 

Okay. Will Rogers had that wonderful aphorism, the comedian way back a century or two ago. Will Rogers put it this way. He said: “The problem is this: it’s not what people know. It’s what people know that ain’t so.” That’s the problem. And the people think that the Russians are just evil to the core. That Putin… Here’s an example. Okay? At the time when Sy Hersh’s story is going out, here’s The New York Times on February ninth. A yellow journalism piece by a fellow named Constant Méheut – a Frenchman, apparently – and it shows that Vladimir Putin was personally responsible for killing the 298 aboard Malaysian Airlines MH 17 over Ukraine in July of 2014. Now it says that in the title; it says that in the first paragraph; and third paragraph it says: Well, we can’t prove that Putin was really… Give me a break! Okay. So this is a day when they should have been featuring Sy’s research. They’re still at it. Blackening Putin, first and foremost, the rest of the Russians, and, you know, this was consequential. 

Let me remind you that after the coup in Kiev, after the annexation of Crimea, the U.S. could still not get the Europeans to shoot themselves in the foot by sanctions. It was only after Malaysian Airlines MH 17 was downed – according to The New York Times, by Vladimir Putin himself – that they could get real sanctions that bit the Europeans more than they bit anyone, including the Russians. So this was consequential. This was the beginning of really strict sanctions. And I just wonder if the West Europeans and the East Europeans will wake up and say: “You know, this is a this is a bad deal to get involved with, what the U.S. wants, because they want war with Russia. And this is going to come to, as the Chinese used to call it, a no good end.”

Garland Nixon

Ray McGovern, as always, thank you so much for your time. We really appreciate that analysis and we look forward to having you back.

Ray McGovern

Aye and most welcome.

The views expressed are solely those of the speakers and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

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23 comments for “LISTEN: Nord Stream Attack an ‘Act of War’

  1. marv sannes
    February 14, 2023 at 16:42

    Nord Stream will be back. The economics of LNG from Russia or North America ain’t hard to compute – The oil company with a military fires off another round, this time, hitting both feet.

    • vinnieoh
      February 15, 2023 at 13:20

      I expect that you are correct – I’ve thought the same thing since this was done. So, it can be rebuilt, but will the US sabotage it again? Hhmmm…

    • Renate
      February 15, 2023 at 13:33

      I suspect that Biden informed Scholz. But on youtube in Germany after Seymour Hersh’s stupendous report, the question was if Germany gave Biden the green light. It would not surprise anyone with a brain. The whole thing is so bizarre and everything is possible. And in Europe too the effort is to defame Seymor Hersh. That will not work, Seymour Hersh has an impeccable reputation, no one can say that of politicians and their journalist friends.

  2. vinnieoh
    February 14, 2023 at 15:58

    When this happened I commented here that this was an act of war. There was never any reason to believe that it was anyone other than the US that carried this out. Does not matter who exactly gave the order – POTUS, CIA, NSC, Pentagon – it was a blatant, open act of war. Sy Hersh’s story will get no more notice than the original event itself.

    Impeach Biden? Surely you jest and severely misunderstand what the US has now become. Look rather for the useless professional political class to bestow the Empire’s highest honors and accolades instead – except one half of that equation would string Biden up by his thumbs even if were shown he was a die-hard Trump admirer.

    So now we use legalistic arguments to deflect from the damning truth? This was an act of war against Germany????? Ha, ha, ha, holy effing s#$t! The Russians know whom the attack was directed against, and if they had any doubts about the determination and insidious nature of the US empire, they are now forever dispelled.

    They (the mongrels of the US Empire) won’t stop until they are stopped. Period. End of story.

  3. papasha408
    February 14, 2023 at 03:51

    The U.S. has basically declared war on Germany and the Germans who have been so brow-beaten by psychological warfare in the past 80 years that they keep silent. They could call this action, the Morgenthau plan part 2. Without cheap Russian fuel as well as other natural resources Germany’s industry will be destroyed or move to greener pastures such as America. What an Ally!

  4. CaseyG
    February 13, 2023 at 16:00

    Why would Russia blow up its own gas line? It makes no sense to me.
    America grows weirder each day.
    On hearing that SOS Blinken said that Guaido was President of Venezuela, well either Blinken has no soul or he certainly has his price. Sadly the Zelensky person seems to have peaked with reality in his comedy routine of playing the piano with his penis.And add to that the China balloons—–and it is difficult to trust much of what is said to We the People.Sy Hersh does seem to be a real reporter
    —where are the others?

  5. Altruist
    February 13, 2023 at 15:52

    Two of my favorite persons together! Ray McGovern and Garland Nixon.

    I just searched in the New York Times website the terms “Nord Stream” and “Hersh” and there were no results. The NYT – aka New Yellow Times – has reported nothing on Seymour Hersh’s revelations.

    Ditto the European and German press, which say nothing about the matter, other than that some unserious “blogger” alleged US complicity behind the destruction of the Nord Stream pipelines, which should dismissed as a matter of course.

    Ray, in referring to Chancellor Scholz as an “abused spouse,” is overly diplomatic. Scholz is one of the most abject, craven, cringing, servile lackeys imaginable. The Germans should be ashamed of themselves and their so-called leaders.

    At least in the USA, there are still people with a backbone, who are patriotic and put service above self, who see through the propaganda, and will try to change things.

    Mr. Hersh’s piece should be read together with the recent analysis by Moon of Alabama, which explains certain points Hersh or his source(s) missed.

    • Lisa Larsen
      February 13, 2023 at 22:48

      There are people with a backbone in Germany who are standing up and doing their very best to awake and educate the public, but of course you don’t hear about them in the US.
      -First and foremost, the phenomenal Sahra Wagenknecht, politician, author & member of Bundestag for The Left. At least Glenn Greenwald had her on his show.
      -Oscar Lafontaine, Sahra’s husband, politician, former Social Democratic Party leader
      -Alice Schwarzer, Journalist and publisher of Emma magazine
      -Ernst Wolff, journalist
      -Alice Weidel politician, leader of AfD party
      -Albrecht Mueller, author, journalist, publisher of independent news site Nachdenkseiten and former member of Bundestag. He was a friend and chief of staff of former German chancellors Willy Brandt and Helmut Schmidt
      -Jens Berger & Tobias Riegel, journalists, regular contributors to Nachdenkseiten
      -Marcus Krall economist, author
      -Ken Jebsen (an incredibly brilliant and courageous man who did great service educating the public for years with his political talk show and YouTube channel, but was eventually driven out of the country, his bank accounts frozen, home searched, family threatened)

      These just from the top of my head, there are many more.

  6. Nathan Mulcahy
    February 13, 2023 at 15:14

    Thank you, thank you, thank you ….

  7. ray Peterson
    February 13, 2023 at 11:27

    And what better credential could a reporter
    have than unveiling the American war crimes
    during the My Lai massacre 1969?
    Not to forget Sy Hersch’s younger days.

  8. Frank Lambert
    February 13, 2023 at 11:05

    Great interview! Ray McGovern has been a hero of mine the first time I saw him on Democracy Now! with Amy Goodman in the early 2000’s, speaking Truth to Power. And Sy Hersh is another first-class (like Ray) American hero for telling the truth in his many articles over the decades, going back to the My Lai Massacre in South Vietnam.

    Yes, it is an act of war, the deliberate sabotage of the Nordstream Pipeline, which the German people wanted, along with the common people of Europe, as a cheaper supply of natural gas from Russia. But, the world’s imperial dictator, Uncle Sam, said otherwise, and made no bones about it.

    It remains to be seen how much more the Russian Federation can take with US imposed sanctions, the military support in Ukraine, and by the way, what authorized agency or group or whatever, made the United States the imprimatur to impose sanctions on any sovereign nation which the world must accept, or be sanctioned or bombed and invaded as well for disobeying the dictates of the US?

    Many thanks of Gratitude to Seymour Hersch, Ray McGovern, the late American hero, Robert Parry, and Joe Lauria for carrying the Torch of Light (TRUTH) which Bob Parry started in founding Consortium News, and of course to Joe’s Staff which helps make it possible.

    I salute you all!!!!!!!!

  9. Larry Gates
    February 13, 2023 at 10:33

    I’d prefer to call this an act of international terrorism.

      February 13, 2023 at 16:06

      Except these were not non-state actors according to Hersh.

      • WillD
        February 13, 2023 at 21:33

        Yes, but organised and paid by state actors.

          February 14, 2023 at 15:06

          Carried out by state actors, according to Hersh, thus it’s not terrorism, which is performed by non-state actors. It was certainly an act of war.

  10. Piotr Berman
    February 13, 2023 at 09:59

    Many people raise the issue that we do not know what sources Hersh had if any. However, he provided a complete version of events, consistent with what we know, while what did Germany, Sweden, Denmark and the most powerful group of intelligence agencies that belong to USA found out? That these were explosions, and there were exploding devices. Sum total. This is a bit unprecedented, a collection of governments announcing:

    We do not know, and you folks should not be curious about it.

    and the media meekly following it.

  11. Packard
    February 13, 2023 at 09:37

    When our own transatlantic cables go dead, someone please gently remind the rest of us who started this great tit for tat sabotage game among the nuclear powers. D*MN!

    [File under: Who today do you trust in our own government, the MSM, Silicon Valley, Hollywood, or Wall Street, and why do you trust them?]

  12. peter mcloughlin
    February 13, 2023 at 06:20

    All wars are based on a lie – the bigger the war the bigger the lie – because states go to war for power. But they seek to conceal that motivation. They cloak that lie in another lie, to hide its nakedness: propaganda. The pattern of history shows the direction humanity is moving: but those who want war do not want to see.

    • Robert Sinuhe
      February 14, 2023 at 12:12

      This is not entirely correct, Peter. All wars are based upon economics, certainly the Ukraine War is rich in this regard. The US was clear in its objectives: to break up Russia to control its resources and getting rid of Mr. Putin who was standing in the way. Much of the lying has been done by the US and its allies. There is more than a grain of truth on the other side: national sovereignty and security. I’m not discounting that lying was not done on the other side but if you look at the situation clearly you have to agree.. The icing on the cake has come to be the destruction of the energy pipeline. The US and Norway will reap economic dividends from that caper.

  13. Terry
    February 13, 2023 at 06:20

    I wouldn’t be surprised if part of the reason for the BS Chinese “spy” balloon story is to generate sufficient hysteria to keep Sy’s Nordstream report out of sight until it’s yesterday’s news. Fiction takes precedence over facts in the mainstream media every time.

    • WillD
      February 13, 2023 at 21:36

      Nor would I. Hysteria and fear are always useful tools for a government that is up to no good, as the US is. They can serve multiple purposes at the same time. In this case, they also generate more anti-China sentiment and more support for the military to ‘protect’!

  14. Carolyn L Zaremba
    February 12, 2023 at 23:59

    Thank you, gentlemen. I for one intend to share Sy Hersh’s report as widely as I can and also this podcast. And push. And push.

    • mgr
      February 13, 2023 at 09:04

      Carolyn: Ditto. Also, this interview with Jeffrey Sachs by Alexader Mercouris on the Nord Stream bombing as well as focusing in on Sullivan (who was point man on the pipeline bombing project), Nulan, Blinken, and Biden who are pursuing war with Russia in their own little isolation chamber. In other words, this whole rush to war is being guided and pushed by just a handful of government officials, albeit with like-minded neocon supporters in government and, of course, mainstream media: hxxps://

      It’s simply a death cult. At this point, as their plans are going belly up, it seems to me that they are now doing anything they can to get us as deep as possible into the war momentum in order make war inevitable. They are certifiably insane. None of this is for America’s benefit. It is all for the sake of their distorted egos.

      They are like Brig. General Jack Ripper in “Dr. Strangelove” (1964) who launched his nuclear bomber wing on a spontaneous and unauthorized attack on Russia in order to start a war to take out the commies. The logic behind this move is later articulated, and even cheered on, by the character General Buck Turgidson: It’s too late to call them back, the only thing to do now is to go full in and make sure that Russia is destroyed.

      The thing to understand is that there is no logic or sanity involved. Like invading Iraq, they just want to do it. And they will not stop on their own.

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