Wednesday 21st of February 2024

the US empire criminal vandals....

Circumstantial evidence, just like direct proof, can be used to prove the elements of a crime, the existence or completion of certain acts and the intent or mental state of a defendant. Generally speaking, a prosecutor, to obtain a conviction, needs to show beyond a reasonable doubt that a defendant committed a certain act and that the defendant acted with specific intent.

 

By Scott Ritter / Consortium News

 

Nord Stream 1 is a multi-national project operated by Swiss-based Nord Stream AG intended to supply some 55 billion cubic meters (bcm) of Russian natural gas annually to Europe by directly transporting it from Russia, through twin 1,224 kilometer-long pipelines laid beneath the Baltic Sea, to a German hub, from which the gas would be distributed to other European consumers.

The first of the twin pipelines was completed in June 2011 and began supplying gas in November 2011. The second was completed in April 2012 and began supplying gas in October 2012. Gazprom, the Russian gas giant, owns 51 percent interest in the Nord Stream 1 pipeline project.

Nord Stream 2 is a near clone of the Nord Stream 1 project, consisting of twin 1,220-kilometer pipelines laid beneath the Baltic Sea connecting Russia to Germany. Started in 2018, it was completed in September 2021. Like Nord Stream 1, the Nord Stream 2 is designed to deliver approximately 55 bcm of natural gas from Russia to Europe through Germany. Nord Stream 2, like Nord Stream 1, is operated by a multinational company in which Gazprom has 51 percent ownership.

Unlike Nord Stream 1, Nord Stream 2 was never allowed to begin supplying gas.

The Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines are anathema to U.S. national security policy, which for decades has been sour on the degree to which Russian natural gas dominates the European energy market. This animus was perhaps best captured by a column published in the German newspaper DieWelt in July 2019.

The piece, co-authored by Richard Grenell, Carla Sands, Gordon Sondland (respectively, the U.S. ambassadors to Germany, Denmark and the European Union), was entitled “Europe must retain control of its energy security” and made the argument that the “Nord Stream 2 pipeline will drastically increase Russia’s energy leverage over the EU,” noting that “[s]uch a scenario is dangerous for the bloc and the West as a whole.”

Observing that “a dozen European countries rely on Russia for more than 75 percent of their natural gas needs,” the ambassadors concluded “This makes United States allies and partners vulnerable to having their gas shut off at Moscow’s whim.”

Moreover, the ambassadors claimed,

“European Union reliance on Russian gas presents risks for Europe and the West as a whole and makes U.S. allies less secure. The Nord Stream 2 pipeline will heighten Europe’s susceptibility to Russia’s energy blackmail tactics. Europe must retain control of its energy security.”

The ambassadors also wove in some critical geopolitical context as well, declaring

“Make no mistake: Nord Stream 2 will bring more than just Russian gas. Russian leverage and influence will also flow under the Baltic Sea and into Europe, and the pipeline will enable Moscow to further undermine Ukrainian sovereignty and stability.”

Russia’s “weaponization” of energy against Europe was the topic of a “debate” that Gary Peach and I carried out in December 2018 on the pages of Energy Intelligence, which monitors issues pertaining to global energy security. Gary, one of EI’s senior writers, covers Russian energy.

I argued that “Russia has never sought to use its status as a major supplier of energy to Europe as a vehicle of policy influence,” noting that:

“[t]he weaponization of Russian energy comes in the form of sanctions imposed against Moscow and the pursuit of policies designed to curtail development of Russia’s energy sector. It is far easier to make a case that the U.S. and Europe pose a threat to Russian energy security rather than vice versa.”

Gary, on the other hand, noted that

“Gazprom’s supply contracts exhibit the underlying economic threat from Moscow: The pricing formula is roughly the same for all countries, but those countries in Russia’s good graces receive an arbitrary ‘discount.’” He concluded that “when Gazprom is the only conceivable gas supplier, it has shamelessly abused the monopoly.”

In December 2019 the administration of President Donald Trump imposed sanctions in a desperate last-second bid to prevent the Nord Stream 2 pipeline from being completed.

These sanctions were waived by the administration of President Joe Biden in May 2021 in an effort to be seen as repairing relations with Germany that had been severely frayed during the Trump administration. However, upon completion, Nord Stream 2 was prevented from operating by objections raised by German regulators regarding licensing issues, which were not expected to be resolved until mid-2022.

In the lead up to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Biden administration devised a plan to punish Russia by imposing severe economic sanctions which would target the Russian energy sector, including measures designed to halt the delivery of gas from Russia to Germany via the Nord Stream pipelines.

One of the issues confronting U.S. policy makers was finding the right mix of sanctions that would succeed in harming Russia without destroying the European economy in the process. Policy makers on both sides of the Atlantic, however, recognized that meaningful sanctions which targeted Russian energy contained collateral risk to the European economy which could not be avoided. 

One of the mechanisms that U.S. and E.U. policy makers were hoping would alleviate the economic consequences of sanctioning Russian energy was to increase the supply of U.S. liquified natural gas (LNG) to Europe. Since 2016 the amount of LNG supplied by the U.S. to Europe has increased, with more than 21 bcm delivered in 2021.

But 21 bcm couldn’t begin to offset the quantity of natural gas being shipped by Russia to Europe in case of any large-scale disruption of Russian energy supplies brought on by the imposition of economic sanctions that targeted the Russian energy sector.

After the Russian invasion of Ukraine — and the realization that the energy disruption to Europe was going to be far greater than had been anticipated — Biden made good on his promise to increase the supply of U.S. LNG to Europe. But the quantities still fell far short of demand, and at prices that were, literally, bankrupting all of Europe.

The Victims

With Germany blocking the operation of Nord Stream 2 and sanctions precluding the repair of the Nord Stream 1, the German population began bearing the brunt of the sanctions on Russian energy.

Despite their government’s insistence that it would remain resolute in confronting what it perceived as Russian aggression against Ukraine, the German people had other plans. By Sept. 26 they began taking to the streets in large numbers to demand that their government open the Nord Stream 2 pipeline and provide the German people and economy with the energy needed to survive.

 

The Crime

On Sept. 26, the Nord Stream 2 pipeline reported a massive drop in pressure. The next day, the Nord Stream 1 pipeline reported the same. A Danish fighter jet, flying over the pipeline route, reported seeing a one-kilometer diameter disturbance in the water off the island of Bornholm, directly over the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, created by the massive release of natural gas underwater. (Danish authorities have estimated that between the two pipelines the total amount of methane released into the atmosphere was around 500,000 metric tons.)

The incident took place in the exclusive economic zone of Sweden, and the Swedish Security Service took the lead in investigating what had happened. (Curiously, Russia was not invited to participate, despite having a vested economic and security interest in the matter.)

“After completing the crime scene investigation,” the Swedes reported, “the Swedish Security Service can conclude that there have been detonations at Nord Stream 1 and 2 in the Swedish economic zone,” noting that the blasts had caused “extensive damage” to the lines.

The Swedes also declared that they had retrieved some materials from the incident site, which were being analyzed to determine who was responsible. This evidence, the Swedes stated, “strengthened the suspicions of gross sabotage.”

While all parties involved with the Nord Stream pipeline “sabotage” concur that the cause was manmade, no nation outside Russia has named a suspect. (Russian President Vladimir Putin has attributed the attack, which Russia has labeled an act of “international terrorism,” on the “Anglo-Saxons” — the British and Americans.)

Biden dismissed the Russian claims. The pipeline attack “was a deliberate act of sabotage and the Russians are pumping out disinformation and lies,” the U.S. president said. “At the appropriate moment, when things calm down, we’re going to be sending divers down to find out exactly what happened. We don’t know that yet exactly.”

But we do know. Biden told us himself. So did Secretary of State Antony Blinken. So did the U.S. Navy. Between the three, we have incontrovertible evidence of intent, motive and means — more than enough needed to prove guilt beyond any reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Intent

Speaking to reporters on Feb. 7, Biden declared “If Russia invades, that means tanks or troops crossing the border of Ukraine again, there will no longer be a Nord Stream 2. We will bring an end to it.”

When a journalist asked how Biden could do such a thing, given that Germany was in control of the project, Biden retorted: “I promise you: We will be able to do it.”

No prosecutor has ever had a more concise statement of intent — a veritable confession before the event — than this. Joe Biden should be taken at his word.

Motive

When asked by reporters on Oct. 3 to comment on the Nord Stream pipeline attacks, Blinken responded in part by noting that the attack was “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.”

Blinken further declared that the U.S. would work to alleviate the “consequences” of the pipeline attack on Europe, alluding to the provision of U.S. LNG at exorbitant profit margins for U.S. suppliers — another “opportunity.”

Prosecutors often speak of cui bono, a Latin phrase that means “who benefits,” when seeking to import motive for a crime committed, under the presumption that there is a high probability that those responsible for a specific crime are the ones who stand to gain from it.

Blinken. Tremendous opportunity.

Cui Bono.

Means

In early June, in support of a major NATO exercise known as BALTOPS (Baltic Operations) 2022, the U.S. Navy employed the latest advancements in unmanned underwater vehicle, or UUV, mine hunting technology to be tested in operational scenarios.

According to the U.S. Navy, it was able to evaluate “emerging mine hunting UUV technology,” focusing on “UUV navigation, teaming operations, and improvements in acoustic communications all while collecting critical environmental data sets to advance the automatic target recognition algorithms for mine detection.”

One of the UUV’s used by the U.S. Navy is the Seafox.

In September, specialized U.S. Navy helicopters — the MH-60R, capable of employing the Seafox UUV — were tracked flying off the Danish island of Bornholm, directly over the segments of the Nordstream 1 and 2 pipelines that were later damaged in the sabotage incidents.

To quote TASS,

“On November 6, 2015, the NATO Seafox mine disposal unmanned underwater vehicle was found during the scheduled visual inspection of the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline. It lay in space between gas pipelines, clearly near one of strings. NATO said the underwater mine disposal vehicle was lost during exercises. Such NATO exercises when the combat explosive device turned out to be exactly under our gas pipeline. The explosive device was deactivated by Swedish Armed Forces at that time.”

 

Guilty Beyond Reasonable Doubt

The burden that exists to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt “is fully satisfied and entirely convinced to a moral certainty that the evidence presented proves the guilt of the defendant.”  In the matter of the Nord Stream 1 and 2 attacks, this burden has been met when it comes to assigning blame to the United States.

Biden all but confessed the crime beforehand, and his secretary of state, Blinken, crowed about the “tremendous opportunity” that was created by the attack. Not only did the U.S. Navy actively rehearse the crime in June 2022, using the same weapon that had been previously discovered next to the pipeline, but employed the very means needed to use this weapon on the day of the attack, at the location of the attack.

Guilty as Charged

The problem is, outside of Russia, no one is charging the United States. Journalists run away from the evidence, citing “uncertainty.” Europe, afraid to wake up to the reality that its most important “ally” has committed an act of war against its critical energy infrastructure, condemning millions of Europeans to suffer the depravations of cold, hunger and unemployment —all the while gouging Europe with profit margins from the sale of LNG that redefine the notion of “windfall” — remains silent.

There is no doubt in any thinking person’s brain as to who is responsible for the attacks on the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines. The circumstantial case is overwhelming and fully capable of winning a conviction in any U.S. court of law.

But no one will bring the case, at least not at this moment.

Shame on American journalism for ignoring this flagrant attack on Europe.

Shame on Europe for not having the courage to publicly name their attacker.

But most of all, shame on the administration of Joe Biden, who has lowered the U.S. to the same standard of those it hunted down and killed for so many years — a simple international terrorist, and a state sponsor of terrorism.

 

 

READ MORE:

https://scheerpost.com/2022/10/13/scott-ritter-pipelines-v-usa/

 

IN VIEW OF THIS SABOTAGE, INCLUDING THE RELEASE OF MASSIVE AMOUNT OF METHANE IN THE ATMOSPHERE, THE ENVIRONMENTAL "MITIGATIONS" OF GLOBAL WARMING BY THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION ARE HYPOCRITICAL. JOE BIDEN IN AN ENVIRONMENTAL CRIMINAL DESPITE BEING SENILE AND NOT KNOWING WHAT HE IS DOING. ALL HIS SYCOPHANTS — SULLIVAN, BLINKEN, THE NETIRE CLASS OF WARMONGERING IDIOTS ON THE US (NON-)DIPLOMATIC CIRCUIT, ET AL — HAVE TO GO TO PRISON FOR DANGEROUS BEHAVIOUR AGAINST THE PLANET, APART FROM CHARGED WITH TERRORISM. UNFORTUNATELY, TOO MANY GOOD PEOPLE HAVE BEEN SWALLOWING THE US PROPAGANDA THAT "PUTIN IS EVIL" WHICH IS ONLY AN ANTI-REALITY THAT THE US EMPIRE IS RUN BY EVIL AND DANGEROUS IDIOTS.

 

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CARTOON AT TOP: FROM THE NEW YORKER C.1960s..... (WITH ADDITIONS BY GUS LEONISKY)....

 

 

the brits behind the bridge......

 BY  · OCTOBER 10, 2022

 

The secret British intelligence plot to blow up Crimea’s Kerch Bridge is revealed in internal documents and correspondence obtained exclusively by The Grayzone.

The Grayzone has obtained an April 2022 presentation drawn up for senior British intelligence officers hashing out an elaborate scheme to blow up Crimea’s Kerch Bridge with the involvement of specially trained Ukrainian soldiers. Almost six months after the plan was circulated, Kerch Bridge was attacked in an October 8th suicide bombing apparently overseen by Ukraine’s SBU intelligence services.

Detailed proposals for providing “audacious” support to Kiev’s “maritime raiding operations” were drafted at the request of Chris Donnelly, a senior British Army intelligence operative and veteran high ranking NATO advisor. The wide-ranging plan’s core component was “destruction of the bridge over the Kerch Strait.” 

Documents and correspondence plotting the operation were provided to The Grayzone by an anonymous source. 

The truck bombing of the Kerch Bridge differed operationally from the plot sketched therein. Yet, Britain’s evident interest in planning such an attack underscores the deep involvement of NATO powers in the Ukraine proxy war. At almost precisely the time that London reportedly sabotaged peace talks between Kiev and Moscow in April this year, British military intelligence operatives were drawing up blueprints to destroy a major Russian bridge crossed by thousands of civilians per day.

The roadmap was produced by Hugh Ward, a British military veteran. A number of strategies for helping Ukraine “pose a threat to Russian naval forces” in the Black Sea are outlined. The overriding objectives are stated as aiming to “degrade” Russia’s ability to blockade Kiev, “erode” Moscow’s “warfighting capability”,  and isolate Russian land and maritime forces in Crimea by “denying resupply by sea and overland via Kerch bridge.”

Read the complete blueprint: Support for Maritime Raiding Operations – Proposal

 

READ MORE:

https://thegrayzone.com/2022/10/10/ukrainian-kerch-bridge/

 

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a terrorist attack.....

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has denied “ordering” the bombing of the Crimean Bridge, earlier this month. The president made the remarks during an interview with the Canadian broadcaster CTV, aired on Wednesday.

Asked to comment on the “spectacular attack” on the bridge, as the broadcaster put it, Zelensky said Kiev was not involved.

“We definitely did not order that, as far as I know,” he told the reporters.

The bridge was hit by a massive explosion on October 8, which severely damaged its road traffic section and killed three civilians, as well as setting a passing freight train on fire. Several top Ukrainian officials openly celebrated the attack, while the country’s postal service issued a stamp commemorating the blast, just hours after it happened.

Moscow has directly blamed Kiev for the incident, branding the explosion a “terrorist attack.”Russian law enforcement claims to have established how the bomb, which was disguised as construction materials, made it to the bridge from the Ukrainian port city of Odessa, via multiple transit countries.

 

READ MORE:

https://www.rt.com/russia/565053-zelensky-crimea-bridge-attack/

 

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a crime against the planet....

 

BY Chandran Nair

 

The explosions at the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines on September 26 in the Baltic Sea have been deemed an act of sabotage – but which nations or actors are responsible is yet to be known.  Given the scale of the environmental crime, why are we not demanding the truth?  What explains Western silence?

Given that methane is up to 80 times more potent than CO2 as a greenhouse gas and sufficient quantities have been released to equate to 1/3 of Denmark’s annual GHG emissions – the largest release of methane ever recorded – what has taken place is nothing short of a crime against the environment, and arguably a crime against humanity.

Suffering in Silence

Crimes against the environment are recognised by the G8, Interpol, European Union, United Nations Environment Programme, United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute. So why have these bodies not yet called for an international investigation? The magnitude of the explosions that caused the rupture measured at 2.3 and 2.1 on the Richter scale. Despite being on the sea floor, this is a clear act of terrorism, so one would expect that global media companies and international NGOs would be extremely vocal in demanding the truth.

At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, there were immediate calls for an international investigation into the virus’ origins, with most Western nations using the opportunity to excessively critique China. Again, where is the clamour to understand what really happened and who is responsible for this environmental crime?

Interestingly, the environmental movement in the West has mostly remained silent. Some have even argued that the amount of methane released is insignificant when compared with the weekly missions of the global fossil fuel industry. This is disingenuous and akin to arguing that if Interpol is aware that there is a cartel smuggling cocaine into a certain country, but it makes up a small portion of what is trafficked globally, that it is not worth pursuing.

This is clearly an extremely politically charged issue given the backdrop of the Russia-Ukraine war, but the argument that all wars result in severe environmental damage – e.g. the Iraq War – and that the warring parties cannot be judged to have committed an environmental crime is not something that should be tolerated any longer. In addition, concerns in the West that uncovering the identity of the perpetrator of this crime has the potential to influence public opinion of the war should not be a consideration. This criminal action has global implications.

Finger pointing is taking place, with the likely offenders being the US, a combination of European countries, or – as most Western nations believe – Russia. The Russians last week pointed the finger at the UK. Interestingly, this means more culprits of this environmental crime can be labelled as Western than not. For some, like US economist Jeffrey Sachs, this may be reason enough to explain the silence.

So consider this: if an international investigation is not called, is it simply the case that the multilateral institutions supposed to be upholding environmental justice during instances such as these are not willing to start an investigation when the outcome may indict a Western nation, an ally?

Given the recklessness and scale of the environmental damage being wreaked, it is vital that the perpetrators be identified and, if at all possible, made to pay in some way or other – regardless of who they are. This will send a long overdue and critically important signal that the global community is willing and able to act when environmental crimes are committed.

Who Calls the Shots?

Currently, Sweden has launched an investigation into the pipeline explosion along with support from Denmark and Germany. However Sweden has also made a point of not sharing the results with Russia. This is counter intuitive. Not only does this not reflect the scale of international cooperation needed for an event that concerns multiple countries (the world, even), it clearly opens the investigation up to biases and selective interpretations.

What, therefore, is needed, is an international effort to uncover the truth. The question is: who should lead this?

The first body that comes to mind is the United Nations Environmental Programme or UNEP. Just as the WHO was called upon to investigate the origins of Covid-19, the UNEP is a well-placed candidate. It has the legitimacy and experience to gather the forensic capabilities – with assistance from other UN agencies and even the oil majors – to assess the cause of the explosion and the likely perpetrators. It also has the international clout to work with different countries and private sector specialists. Lastly, it possesses an institutional focus that is less politically related than, say, Interpol or any US/EU linked body.

As the world seemingly continues to divide unproductively along the Western-non-Western axis, seeking a resolution to this environmental crime is an opportunity to demonstrate that the multilateral institutions that contribute to international order can operate without impunity to unearth the truth. Regardless of the outcome, this level of due process is extremely important in maintaining the legitimacy for these organisations.

It is an opportunity to demonstrate that there is still a global rules-based order, and one that is able to work without fear or favour to protect the global common good. It will be interesting to see if this issue will even be discussed next week at COP 27.

 

READ MORE:

https://johnmenadue.com/nord-stream-urgent-need-for-international-investigations-into-crimes-against-the-environment/

 

 

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WE ALREADY HAVE RAISED THIS ISSUE HERE. THIS WAS A CRIME COMMITTED BY NATO UNDER ORDERS FROM THE US EMPIRE THAT IS HYPOCRITICAL IN ITS COMMITMENTS TO THE ENVIRONMENT.....

 

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the braggart....

 

BY EKATERINA BLINOVA

 

The White House has denounced Seymour Hersh's Nord Stream bombshell as "fiction". Oslo claimed that the Pulitzer-prize-winning journalist's allegations are "nonsensical." Still, the denials are unlikely to satisfy the public given that EU probes in the attack remain top secret, Sputnik's interlocutors say.

"Many people - including myself - determined at the time that blowing up the pipeline was a US/NATO operation that was being falsely blamed on Russia," Hans Mahncke, a US investigative journalist and lawyer, told Sputnik.

"Many of the details of Seymour Hersh's reporting were already known but not reported by western media, including the fact that the Danish and American governments had agreed to station US military personnel in Bornholm and the fact that NATO's BALTOPS military exercise in June 2022 took place in the area of the Nord Stream 2 bombing. Hersh has added some details about the exact modalities of how the sabotage was carried out, which he attributes to a source. Hersh's track record is solid and there is no reason to believe that the source is not credible."

On February 8, Pulitzer-prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh published an article on the US online platform Substack detailing the Biden administration's plot to destroy Russia's Nord Stream pipeline network. The blasts occurred on September 26 at three of the four strings of Nord Stream 1 and 2 underwater pipelines, which were built to carry a combined 110 billion cubic meters of Russian gas to Europe annually. According to Hersh, the plan was carried out by US operatives in coordination and collaboration with the Norwegian Secret Service and Navy.

 

READ MORE:

https://sputniknews.com/20230211/why-hershs-nord-stream-bombshell-may-become-legal-nightmare-for-team-biden--its-nordic-allies-1107344300.html

 

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BIDEN'S MAIN PROBLEM IS THAT HE IS A NASTY BRAGGART.  WE'VE KNOW THIS FOR YEARS, AND MORE RECENTLY WHEN HE BLACKMAILED POROSHENKO TO STOP INVESTIGATING BURISMA (A CORRUPT UKRAINIAN BUSINESS WHERE HUNTER BIDEN WAS "EMPLOYED") OR POROSHENKO WOULD NOT GET THE ONE BILLION DOLLARS PROMISED TO UKRAINE.

 

 

I said, I’m telling you, you’re not getting the billion dollars. I said, you’re not getting the billion. I’m going to be leaving here in, I think it was about six hours. I looked at them and said: I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money. Well, son of a bitch. (Laughter.) He got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid [CORRUPT] at the time.Joe Biden

 

 

RECENTLY WE HAD BIDEN ASSURING A JOURNALIST THAT THE US WOULD FIND A WAY TO STOP NORD STREAM FROM OPERATING...

 

AND ONE OF THE BEST BRAGGART MOMENT OF THIS USELESS DANGEROUS OLD SENILE KOOK IS THERE:

https://yourdemocracy.net/drupal/node/40358

 

 

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sabotage planning.....

 

BY 

 

What Hersh Got Wrong

 

There’s something not-quite-right about Sy Hersh’s report on the destruction of Nord Stream 2. There are a number of inconsistencies in the piece that lead me to believe that Hersh was less interested in presenting ‘the unvarnished truth’ than relaying a version of events that advance a particular agenda. That is not to say that I don’t appreciate what the author has done. I do. In fact, I think it would be impossible to overstate the significance of a report that positively identifies the perpetrators of what-appears-to-be the biggest act of industrial terrorism in history. Hersh’s article has the potential to greatly undermine the credibility of the people in power and, by doing so, bring the war to a swift end. It is an incredible achievement that we should all applaud. Here’s a brief recap by political analyst Andre Damon:

On Wednesday, journalist Seymour Hersh revealed that the United States Navy, at the direction of President Joe Biden, was responsible for the September 26, 2022 attacks on the Nord Stream pipelines carrying natural gas between Russia and Germany.

This article, which has been met with total silence in the major US publications, has blown apart the entire narrative of US involvement in the war as a response to “unprovoked Russian aggression.” It lifts the lid on far-reaching plans to use the escalating conflict with Russia to solidify US economic and military domination over Europe.

Hersh revealed that: The operation was ordered by US President Joe Biden and planned by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan.” (“Seymour Hersh’s exposure of the Nord Stream bombing: A lesson and a warning”, Andre Damon, World Socialist Web Site)

 

This short excerpt summarizes the primary claim that is the focal point of the entire article and—in my opinion—the claim is well researched, impartially presented and extremely persuasive. But there are other parts of the article that are not nearly as convincing and will undoubtedly leave alot of fairly well-informed readers scratching their heads. For example, here’s Hersh discussing the timeline for the Nord Stream operation:

“Biden’s decision to sabotage the pipelines came after more than nine months of highly secret back and forth debateinside Washington’s national security community about how to best achieve that goal. For much of that time, the issue was not whether to do the mission, but how to get it done with no overt clue as to who was responsible.” (“How America Took Out the Nord Stream Pipeline”, Seymour Hersh, Substack)

“Nine months”?

The war broke out on February 24. The pipeline was blown up on September 26. That’s seven months. So, if there were “more than nine months of highly secret back and forth debate inside Washington’s national security community about how to” “sabotage the pipelines” then we must assume the scheming preceeded the war. This is a crucial point, and yet Hersh skims over it like it’s ‘no big deal’. But it is a big deal because—as Andre Damon points out—it “blows apart the entire narrative of US involvement in the war as a response to “unprovoked Russian aggression.” In other words, it proves that the United States was planning to engage in acts of war against Russia regardless of developments in Ukraine. It also suggests that the Russian invasion was merely a cover for Washington to execute a plan that it had mapped out years earlier. 

Later in the article, Hersh makes the same claim again without emphasizing its underlying significance. He says: “The Biden Administration was doing everything possible to avoid leaks as the planning took place late in 2021 and into the first months of 2022.”

The truth—as journalist John Helmer states in a recent article—is far different than Hersh describes. Here’s Helmer to explain:

From the full text of the Hersh report,  it appears that neither the source nor Hersh has “direct knowledge” of the history of US-led operations to sabotage and destroy the pipelines which became public more than a year before; they directly involved the Polish government and the Danish government. In fact, by error of omission Hersh and his man are ignorant of those operations and of that history.” (“WHAT’S WRONG WITH THE HERSH REPORT ON THE NORD STREAM ATTACKS“, John Helmer, Dances With Bears)

US opposition to Nord Stream is not a recent development; it has a long history dating back to the very beginning of the project in 2011. Even back then, an article appeared in the German magazine Spiegel claiming that ” The project is aimed at ensuring the long-term security of Europe’s energy supplies, but it remains controversial”

Controversial?

Why was Nord Stream considered controversial? What is controversial about sovereign nations strengthening economic ties with other countries in order to ensure they have enough cheap energy to fuel their factories and heat their homes?

This question really cuts to the heart of the matter, and yet, Hersh eschews it altogether. Why? Here’s more from Hersh:

President Biden and his foreign policy team—National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, Secretary of State Tony Blinken, and Victoria Nuland, the Undersecretary of State for Policy—had been vocal and consistent in their hostility to the two pipelines… From its earliest days, Nord Stream 1 was seen by Washington and its anti-Russian NATO partners as a threat to western dominance...

America’s political fears were real: Putin would now have an additional and much-needed major source of income, and Germany and the rest of Western Europe would become addicted to low-cost natural gas supplied by Russia—while diminishing European reliance on America.” (“How America Took Out the Nord Stream Pipeline”, Seymour Hersh, Substack)

Why is Hersh defending the imperial mindset that economic transactions between foreign nations must somehow benefit the United States or be regarded as a national security threat? That is not the role of an impartial journalist gathering information for his readers? That is the role of a propagandist.

 

Yes, it is true, that Putin would have “an additional and much-needed major source of income”, because that is how the free market works: You sell your gas and you get paid. End of story. There is nothing criminal or sinister about this, and it certainly does not provide a justification for acts of terrorism.

And following this shocking statement, Hersh follows with his other concern that “Germany and the rest of Western Europe would become addicted to low-cost natural gas supplied by Russia.”

Why does Hersh invoke this tedious “addiction” meme that is repeated ad nauseam by the political activists in the mainstream media? And what does it actually mean?

The simple fact is, that Germany was getting cheap gas from Russia which increased its competitiveness, profitability and economic prosperity. How is that a bad thing? How can access to cheap fuel be characterized as an “addiction”? If you were able to fill your gas-tank for 1 dollar per gallon, would you refuse on the basis that you might become addicted?

Of course, not. You’d be grateful that you could buy it that cheap. So, why is Hersh pushing this nonsense and why does he double-down shortly afterwards when he says:

“Nord Stream 1 was dangerous enough, in the view of NATO and Washington, but Nord Stream 2, (would) double the amount of cheap gas that would be available to Germany and Western Europe.”

 

Horrors! Imagine the free market actually working as it was designed to work; lifting people from poverty and spreading prosperity across national borders. Can you see how narrowly imperialistic this is?

Germany needs Russia’s cheap gas. It’s good for its industry, good for working people, and good for economic growth. And, yes, it is good for Russia, too. The only one it’s not good for is United States whose power is undermined by the German-Russian partnership. Can you see that?

And, by the way, there has never been an incident in which Putin has used Russian gas or oil for the purpose of blackmail, coercion or extortion. Never. That is a myth concocted by Washington spinmeisters who want to throw a wrench in German-Russo relations. But there’s not a word of truth to any of it. Here’s more from Hersh:

Opposition to Nord Stream 2 flared on the eve of the Biden inauguration in January 2021, when Senate Republicans… repeatedly raised the political threat of cheap Russian natural gas during the confirmation hearing of Blinken as Secretary of State….

Would Biden stand up to the Germans? Blinken said yes…. “I know his strong conviction that this is a bad idea, the Nord Stream 2,” he said. “I know that he would have us use every persuasive tool that we have to convince our friends and partners, including Germany, not to move forward with it.”

A few months later, as the construction of the second pipeline neared completion, Biden blinked. That May, in a stunning turnaround, the administration waived sanctions against Nord Stream AG, with a State Department official conceding that trying to stop the pipeline through sanctions and diplomacy had “always been a long shot.” Behind the scenes, administration officials reportedly urged Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, by then facing a threat of Russian invasion, not to criticize the move.

There were immediate consequences. Senate Republicans, led by Cruz, announced an immediate blockade of all of Biden’s foreign policy nominees and delayed passage of the annual defense bill for months, deep into the fall. Politico later depicted Biden’s turnabout on the second Russian pipeline as “the one decision, arguably more than the chaotic military withdrawal from Afghanistan, that has imperiled Biden’s agenda.” (“How America Took Out the Nord Stream Pipeline”, Seymour Hersh, Substack)

This is interesting. We already know that Biden and his lieutenants were resolutely committed to terminating Nord Stream regardless of the risks. So, why did Biden decide to do an about-face and lift sanctions, even while his team was putting the final touches on the plan to blow up the pipeline?

Why?

Are we supposed to believe that Joe Biden suddenly changed his mind and decided to pursue a less dangerous and felonious strategy?

No, as Hersh points out, the decision to blow up the pipeline had already been made, which means the administration was merely looking for a way to hide their tracks. In other words, they were already working on a legal defense of “plausible deniability” which was reinforced by the lifting of sanctions. That was the real objective, to create as much distance between themselves and the terrorist act they had already approved and were about to launch. Here’s more from Hersh:

The administration was floundering, despite getting a reprieve on the crisis in mid-November, when Germany’s energy regulators suspended approval of the second Nord Stream pipeline. Natural gas prices surged 8% within days, amid growing fears in Germany and Europe that the pipeline suspension and the growing possibility of a war between Russia and Ukraine would lead to a very much unwanted cold winter. It was not clear to Washington just where Olaf Scholz, Germany’s newly appointed chancellor, stood. Months earlier, after the fall of Afghanistan, Scholtz had publicly endorsed French President Emmanuel Macron’s call for a more autonomous European foreign policy in a speech in Prague—clearly suggesting less reliance on Washington and its mercurial actions.” (“How America Took Out the Nord Stream Pipeline”, Seymour Hersh, Substack)

This is pure fiction. Of course, Scholz paid lip service to a more “autonomous European foreign policy”. What would you expect him to say to a domestic audience? And, does Hersh honestly believe that Scholz has not been in Washington’s back-pocket from the very beginning? Does he think that Scholz based his decision on Putin’s invasion and not on agreements he had made with Washington before the war had even begun?

Keep in mind, the United States has been arming, training and providing logistical support for Ukrainian forces in the east for the last 8 years, the purpose of which was to prepare for a war with Russia.

Does anyone deny that?

No, no one denies that.

Was Scholz aware of this?

Of course, he was aware of it. Every leader in Europe knew what was going on. There were even articles in the mainstream news that explained in minute detail what the United States was up-to. It was not a secret.

And this is just one inconsistency, after all, didn’t former Chancellor Angela Merkel openly admit (in an interview with a German magazine) that Germany deliberately shrugged off its obligations under the Minsk treaty in order to buy time so the Ukrainian army could get stronger so they’d be better prepared to fight the Russian invasion.

Yes, she did! So, we can be 100% certain that Scholz knew what the overall game-plan was. The plan was to lure Russia into a war in Ukraine and then claim “Unprovked aggression”. Scholz knew it, Hollande knew it, Zelensky knew it, Boris Johnson knew it, Petro Poroshenko knew it and Biden knew it. They all knew it.

Even so, Hersh wants us to believe that Scholz knew nothing about these elaborate and costly plans, but simply made his decisions as developments took place in real time. That is not true. That is not what happened and, I would argue, that Hersh knows that is not what happened.

But the biggest failing of the Hersh piece is the complete omission of the geopolitical context in which this act of terrorism took place. The US doesn’t go around the world blowing up critical energy infrastructure for nothing. No. The reason Washington embarked on this risky gambit was because it is facing an existential crisis that can only be resolved by crushing those emerging centers of power that threaten America’s dominant position in the global order. That’s what’s going on below the surface; the US is trying to roll back the clock to the glorious 1990’s after the Soviet empire had collapsed and the world was Washington’s oyster. But those days are gone forever and US power is irreversibly eroding due to its basic lack of competitiveness.  If the US was still the industrial powerhouse it was following WW2—when the rest of the world was in ruins—then there would be no need to blow up pipelines to prevent European-Russian economic integration and the emergence of a massive free trade zone spanning the area from Lisbon to Vladivostok . But the fact is, the US is not as essential to global growth as it once was and, besides, other nations want to be free to pursue their own growth model. They want to implement the changes that best fit their own culture, their own religion and their own traditions. They don’t want to be told what to do. But Washington doesn’t want change. Washington wants to preserve the system bestows the greatest amount of power and wealth on itself. Hersh does not simply ignore the geopolitical factors that led to the sabotage, he proactively creates a smokescreen with his misleading explanations. Check it out:

“As long as Europe remained dependent on the pipelines for cheap natural gas, Washington was afraid that countries like Germany would be reluctant to supply Ukraine with the money and weapons it needed to defeat Russia. It was at this unsettled moment that Biden authorized Jake Sullivan to bring together an interagency group to come up with a plan.”

More baloney. Washington doesn’t care about Germany’s pathetic contribution to the war effort. What Washington cares about is power; pure, unalloyed power. And Washington’s global power was being directly challenged by European-Russian economic integration and the creation of a giant economic commons beyond its control. And the Nord Stream pipeline was at the very heart of this new bustling phenom. It was the main artery connecting the raw materials and labor of the east with the technology and industry of the west. It was a marriage of mutual interests that Washington had to destroy to maintain its grip on regional power.

Think about it: This new economic commons, (“Greater Europe”) would eventually ease trade and travel restrictions, allow the free flow of capital and labor between countries, and harmonize regulations in a way that would build trust and strengthen diplomatic ties. Here’s more from an earlier piece that sums it up:

In a world where Germany and Russia are friends and trading partners, there is no need for US military bases, no need for expensive US-made weapons and missile systems, and no need for NATO. There’s also no need to transact energy deals in US Dollars or to stockpile US Treasuries to balance accounts. Transactions between business partners can be conducted in their own currencies which is bound to precipitate a sharp decline in the value of the dollar and a dramatic shift in economic power. This is why the Biden administration opposes Nord Stream. It’s not just a pipeline, it’s a window into the future; a future in which Europe and Asia are drawn closer together into a massive free trade zone that increases their mutual power and prosperity while leaving the US on the outside looking in.” (“The Crisis in Ukraine Is Not About Ukraine. It’s About Germany“, Unz Review)

It is the responsibility of a journalist to provide the context that is needed for the reader to understand the topic of discussion. Hersh doesn’t do that, which leads me to believe that John Helmer is right when he says:

This is an indictment of the Biden pipeline plot, not of the US war plan.” (“What’s Wrong with the Hersh Report”, John Helmer, Dances With Bears)

 

 

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https://www.unz.com/mwhitney/what-hersh-got-wrong/

 

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