The Timing of the Pipeline Attack

The timing of the U.S. attack on the Nord Stream pipelines last September may have been dictated by events in the war at the time, Joe Lauria reported on Sept. 28, 2022.

As the only possible suspect it was clear to many observers at the time of the explosion who the culprit was. In this article published two days after the blasts, CN‘s editor explored the reasons behind the timing of the attack.  Seymour Hersh, in his report on how the United States and NATO carried it out, says another reason was that winter was coming and European politicians were worried about an angry public that could be priced out of heating their homes. 

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
Sept. 28, 2022

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 [email protected] and followed on Twitter @unjoe  

8 comments for “The Timing of the Pipeline Attack

  1. Randal Marlin
    February 20, 2023 at 21:48

    I’ve now read many references to the explosions that brought down the Nord Stream Pipelines, and I still lack a clear picture.
    There are two pipeline designations, Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2.
    But each of these designations refers to two pipelines, so there are four pipelines in all. Seymour Hersh refers very clearly to “the delayed timing devices attached to any of the four pipelines.”
    Hersh specifies that the sonar buoy dropped by a Norwegian plane on September 26, 2022 sent a signal that within hours triggered explosive devices that disabled “three of the four pipelines.”
    Does anyone know which of the four pipelines was apparently not disabled? Was it one of Nord Stream 1, or one of Nord Stream 2?
    Is the need for turbine repair, referred to by Joe Lauria, connected to the sabotage, or is this something quite separate?

  2. robert e williamson jr
    February 20, 2023 at 12:24

    Nothing, nothing on the face of the earth is more indicative than those calling the shots for Biden & Co. are completely out of control.

    That Is the good news.

    The bad news is the public has been brainwashed to the point they have become “comfortably numb”.

    La, Tee Dah! And so it . . . . . !

  3. BK
    February 20, 2023 at 10:06

    Sadly Norway took part in this act of war against Russia. Obviously the prime minister had to be involved. I wonder if it would have been possible if Norway’s prime minister was not a personal friend of NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg?

  4. Robert Emmett
    February 19, 2023 at 19:17

    Well, if all that’s needed is circumstantial evidence, then there’s means, motive & opportunity in spades against Washington & NATO with no plausible alternative explanation for the destruction of the Nord Stream pipelines. That’s all been clear to see since before Hersh’s report.

    What has been the response so far of international governing bodies or the U.S. Congress or MSM or U.S. public to bring enough pressure to bear to stop this war? That’s still the most important point, right? Will knowing details of the sabotage operation tip the balance? I hope something will.

    It wouldn’t surprise me if disabling Nord Stream was the primary reason to provoke Russia’s military incursion at this time. As a plus, NATO countries are drawn into a tighter net of support for U.S. military policies while Germany’s manufacturing prowess using cheaper Russian gas is undermined.

    It became so ridiculously easy to inflame Europe, the U.S. media & public to support their proxy war that Washington operatives continue to bleed Russia at the cost of Ukraine’s blood and to ramp up the rhetoric, weapons industry & military spending because they can and because U.S. taxpayers, whipped into a jingoistic fervor, are eager to buy the proverbial pig in a poke.

    Stop The War

  5. shmutzoid
    February 19, 2023 at 01:37

    Unassailable analysis, then as it is now. Worth reprinting, for sure………. By sabotaging the pipeline, the US essentially opened up a new front in its proxy war against Russia. The US has no qualms about plunging Germany into a winter of discontent. Not only has German/Russian economic cooperation been destroyed, but, Germany is now forced to buy much more expensive LNG from the USA. For the psychopaths at the Pentagon, this surely is seen as a ‘win-win’.
    ———- Can the news blackout in Germany about anything to do with the pipeline sabotage be THAT tight as to forestall any anti-war, anti-US revolt among the citizens?? They, after all, are bearing the brunt of this US act of terrorism.

    • Valerie
      February 20, 2023 at 10:24

      I don’t know about a revolt, but there are many anti-war demonstrations in Germany:


  6. Dr. Hujjathullah M.H.B. Sahib
    February 18, 2023 at 23:47

    Clearly the specifics of this crisis as it has emerged so far rules force majeure as the cause and supplants “force energie”, if I may coin a new concept, as the actual cause for the “decommissioning” of the gassy pipelines. In which case the Saudi-led peace process fits right in and the needs of modern human civilization requires that it be pursued and realized.

  7. February 18, 2023 at 22:24

    good detective work, Joe!

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