Seymour Hersh joined CN Live! on Friday to discuss his investigation into the U.S. sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines.
The most accomplished investigative reporter of the past five decades was CN Live!‘s guest on Friday, talking about his report on the covert U.S. operation to blow up the pipelines bringing gas from Russia to Germany; the war in Ukraine, and the state of journalism.
Investigative reporter Seymour Hersh says a friend has told him that all he’s done is to “deconstruct the obvious.” It was obvious because there was logically only one possible suspect for the destruction of three of the four major Nord Stream 1 & 2 pipelines under the Baltic Sea on Sept. 26 last year.
President Joe Biden, with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz by his side at a White House press conference, said in February 2022, that if Russia invades Ukraine “there will no longer be a Nord Stream 2. We will bring an end to it.” Asked by a reporter how the U.S. could do that given that it was controlled by Germany, Biden said: “I promise you we will be able to do it.”
In January 2022, U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland said: “If Russia invades Ukraine, one way or another Nord Stream 2 will not move forward.”
On the day of the explosion Radek Sikorski, a former Polish foreign minister and husband of the arch neoconservative writer Anne Applebaum, tweeted a photo of the explosion, writing “Thank you, USA.”
Four days after the explosion, which caused the largest emission of methane gas into the atmosphere in history, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said: “It’s a tremendous opportunity to once and for all remove the dependence on Russian energy and thus to take away from Vladimir Putin the weaponization of energy as a means of advancing his imperial designs.”
Earlier this month the neoconservative Nuland told a U.S. Senate hearing that: “I am, and I think the administration is very gratified to know that Nord Stream 2 … is a hunk of metal at the bottom of the sea.”
Instead, the U.S. blamed Moscow, saying it was weaponizing gas to gain leverage over Germany and other European countries dependent on cheap Russian gas.
But all Russia had to do was turn off the valve, not destroy pipelines worth more than $11 billion that is 51 percent owned by Russian state-owned company Gazprom. The other 49 percent is owned by a consortium of German, Dutch and French companies. Russia has announced that it will repair the pipeline that the U.S. says it blew up.
The destruction of the pipelines opened financial opportunities for Norway. On the very next day it opened its own gas pipeline to Poland. Since the explosion, the United States has increased much more expensive Liquified Natural Gas exports to Germany and other parts of Europe. Germany was 50 percent dependent on Russian gas and the sabotage has hurt German business and citizens, trying to heat their homes.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov responds to Seymour Hersh's Nordstream article and urges foreign media to investigate: "Since not all of you report to Ned Price, you might give this investigation a try." pic.twitter.com/U2lhs6Fxbf
— COMBATE |?? (@upholdreality) February 17, 2023
The obvious has become more concrete with the reporting of Sy Hersh, who has sketched out the details of how the U.S. and Norway carried out the covert operation to destroy Nord Stream 1 & 2.
The plan was cooked up, according to Hersh, in September 2021, months before Russia entered the war in Ukraine, and planning continued throughout the period in which the U.S. said it wanted to stop Russia’s intervention.
Under cover of a NATO exercise in the Baltic Sea, U.S. Navy divers out of Panama City, Florida planted C-4 explosives on the pipelines in June 2022. Hersh reports that Biden did not want the detonation to occur so soon after the exercise, fearing it would point to NATO’s guilt. Instead the explosives were set off on Sept. 26, 2022 when a Norwegian plane dropped a device into the sea that sent audio signals to set them off, according to Hersh, citing “a source with direct knowledge of the operational planning.”
Hersh reports that the plot was driven by Nuland, U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Joe Biden himself. It was run by the Central Intelligence Agency. The Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the State and Treasury Departments were also involved.
The United States has been angry about Europe buying Russian gas since it began in 1973 under Willy Brandt’s Ostpolitk. Even before that John F. Kennedy got NATO to ban German exports of pipes to the Soviet Union. The U.S. has for decades tried to stop Russian gas to Europe. So this would not be the first time the C.I.A. led an operation to blow up a Russian pipeline. The Washington Post reported in 2004:
“In January 1982, President Ronald Reagan approved a CIA plan to sabotage the economy of the Soviet Union through covert transfers of technology that contained hidden malfunctions, including software that later triggered a huge explosion in a Siberian natural gas pipeline, according to a new memoir by a Reagan White House official.
Thomas C. Reed, a former Air Force secretary who was serving in the National Security Council at the time, describes the episode in “At the Abyss: An Insider’s History of the Cold War,” … Reed writes that the pipeline explosion was just one example of “cold-eyed economic warfare” against the Soviet Union that the CIA carried out under Director William J. Casey during the final years of the Cold War.
At the time, the United States was attempting to block Western Europe from importing Soviet natural gas. There were also signs that the Soviets were trying to steal a wide variety of Western technology. Then, a KGB insider revealed the specific shopping list and the CIA slipped the flawed software to the Soviets in a way they would not detect it.”
Sy Hersh brings a history of breaking some of the biggest stories in the annals of American journalism. Among his major scoops were the My Lai massacre in 1969, for which he won a Pulitzer; a 1974 exposure of C.I.A. domestic spying on hundreds of thousands of U.S. leftists and anti-war activists, which led to the Church Committee investigation of U.S. intelligence abuses; and the torture at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq in 2004.
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