Nord Stream pipeline attack: an act of war
“How America Took Out the Nord Stream Pipeline,” a report by Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, was released Feb. 8. Hersh’s information comes from an unnamed source, who Hersh wrote had direct knowledge of the operational planning preceding the Sept. 26, 2022, attack and the sophisticated methods used by the U.S. and Norway to destroy Russia’s Nord Stream pipeline. (tinyurl.com/2fmvkeps)
On Feb. 21, the United Nations Security Council met about threats to international peace and security, specifically, the explosions that sabotaged Nord Stream (pipelines) 1 and 2. The two speakers who were asked to brief the meeting based their comments on the facts presented in Hersh’s report. They were Jeffrey Sachs, Columbia University professor and specialist in the global economy, and Raymond McGovern, who spent 27 years as an intelligence analyst and former chief of the Soviet foreign policy branch of the CIA.
Sachs began by calling the pipeline attack an act of international terrorism. He said only a few countries were capable of conducting the sabotage, because it “required a very high degree of planning, expertise, technological capacity and access to the Baltic Sea.” The countries named were the U.S., Russia, Britain, Poland, Norway, Germany, Denmark and Sweden. With the exception of Russia, each of these countries is a member of NATO and an ally of the U.S. (The Washington Post, Aug. 16, 2022)
Hersh wrote that there is a “widespread conclusion that the destruction of the pipelines was planned by the U.S.” He referred to a tweet from Poland immediately after the explosions, which said, “Thank you, USA.”
President Joe Biden, said at a press briefing last year: “If Russia invades [Ukraine] . . . there will be no longer a Nord Stream 2. We will bring an end to it.” When asked by a reporter how he would do that, Biden said: “I promise you; we will be able to do that.” (tinyurl.com/2p86y5t)
U.S. motive, role
The Nord Stream pipelines run from Russia directly to Germany through the Baltic Sea and connect the two countries economically. The pipelines were a joint Russian-German effort costing $23 billion. They supplied Germany with such a large surplus of Russian natural gas that Germany sold the excess to other countries in Western Europe, providing the European Union with 40% of its gas supply. Natural gas sales provided for 45% of Russia’s annual budget in 2021.
Hersh wrote, “America’s political fears were real.” The pipeline gave Russia “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.”
The U.S. blamed Russia for the attack on the Nord Stream pipeline. In his address, Sachs points out that Russia had no motive to destroy its own pipeline: “A recent report by The Washington Post revealed that the intelligence agencies of NATO countries have privately concluded that there is no evidence whatsoever that Russia carried out this action.”
According to Hersh’s source, the U.S.’s Norwegian allies were crucial to executing the pipeline attack. In the last few years, the Pentagon has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. Navy and Air Force facilities in Norway. Norway “hated the Russians, and the Norwegian navy was full of superb sailors and divers who had generations of experience in highly profitable deep-sea oil and gas exploration.” They “could be trusted to keep the mission secret,” because if the U.S. succeeded, it would allow Norway to sell more of its own natural gas to Europe.
Hersh’s source reported “the Norwegian navy was quick to find the right spot, where the pipelines ran more than a mile apart, along a seafloor that was only 260 feet deep. That would be well within the range of the divers” — Norwegian navy and U.S. navy divers, who packed C-4 on the pipelines, each Nord Stream being a pair of two pipelines. The explosions were triggered three months later on Sept. 26, 2022, and, Hersh writes, “destroyed three of the four Nord Stream pipelines, according to a source with direct knowledge of the operational planning.”
An investigation into the pipeline explosion is being conducted by Norway, Germany, Denmark and Sweden. However, they have yet to release their findings to Russia, the U.N. Security Council or the rest of the world.
Calls for independent investigation
Russia circulated a draft resolution to Security Council members asking the U.N. secretary general to swiftly establish an independent investigation into the Nord Stream attacks. Russia’s U.N. ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia, told the Security Council that the results of their investigation “are not only not transparent, but it is quite clear that they seek just to cover the tracks and stick up for their . . . American brother.” (tinyurl.com/yuujuxst)
Methane explosion − climate cost of war
Estimates are that half a million metric tons of methane exploded from the damaged Nord Stream pipelines, a larger quantity emitted at one time than any ever previously recorded.
Methane, the main component in natural gas, traps heat 80 times more efficiently than carbon dioxide, and human-caused methane release occurs due to all fossil fuel development and landfills, in addition to livestock and rice fields. Human-caused-emission quantities of methane are considered to be a greater factor for near-term climate change than carbon dioxide. (tinyurl.com/5n6kmmnk)
At the Feb. 21 meeting, representatives of Security Council members Ecuador, Gabon, Mozambique and others spoke about the explosion’s incalculable source of pollution to marine life in the area; threats to aerial and marine navigation; the devastating climate consequences; and the dangers the explosion poses for the complex global geopolitical situation, in which any incident could trigger unpredictable consequences. The United Arab Emirates was among many countries’ representatives who called for an immediate independent investigation grounded in science and facts, not political posturing.
China’s representative Zhang Jun said the huge amount of detailed information shared by the briefers Sachs and McGovern “cannot be dismissed as utterly false and a complete fabrication.” He was referring to the statement by the U.S. representative discrediting allegations of U.S. involvement in the explosion. (tinyurl.com/yuujuxst)
Zhang said that in this era of globalization, cooperation is needed in transboundary communication, energy and transportation. He announced a global security initiative being proposed by China’s President Xi Jinping to help prevent incidents of sabotage in the future and called for the Security Council to speed up an impartial and professional investigation into the pipeline explosion.
Sachs stated: “The global transformation to green energy will require considerable transboundary infrastructure, including in international waters. Countries need to have full confidence that their infrastructure will not be destroyed by third parties. Some European countries have recently expressed concern over the safety of their offshore infrastructure.”
Clearly, the Pentagon is more interested in intensifying its proxy war against Russia than in aiding the transition to green energy.