Whose Cat Caught the German Tongue? No Blame for Russia After German Train Sabotage on Sunday Morning, No Blame for Nord Stream Sabotage, Yet

Yves here. Some apparent train sabotage…yet the German press seems remarkably uncurious.

By John Helmer, the longest continuously serving foreign correspondent in Russia, and the only western journalist to direct his own bureau independent of single national or commercial ties. Helmer has also been a professor of political science, and an advisor to government heads in Greece, the United States, and Asia. He is the first and only member of a US presidential administration (Jimmy Carter) to establish himself in Russia. Originally published at Dances with Bears

For the first time since the war against Russia began in the Ukraine eight years ago, the German government has not blamed Moscow (repeat not blamed Moscow) for coordinated acts of sabotage on Sunday, which the German secret services say they are investigating. The Germans also say they are investigating, and have yet to confirm the culprits responsible for the bomb attacks on the Nord Stream gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea two weeks ago.

The Berlin Chancellor, the Bundeswehr, and the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) were never so silent for so long in blaming Russia “with unequivocal evidence in writing of poisoning with a Novichok chemical warfare agent” of Russian political opposition figure, Alexei Navalny, in 2020.

The official German silence follows the cut of Deutsche Bahn cable communication lines at 0640 on Sunday morning, halting all German trains in the north of country for several hours, stopping passenger trains moving westwards to Denmark and The Netherlands, and freight trains eastwards towards Poland and the Ukraine..

The German state propaganda agency Deutsche Welle (“German Wave”) announced: “‘Sabotage to cables that were vital for train traffic meant Deutsche Bahn had to stop trains running in the north this morning for nearly three hours,’ Deutsche Bahn said. The German rail operator said security authorities had taken over the investigation. There was no immediate information on potential suspects. Investigators, however, said the communications cables were cut at one location outside Berlin and another in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia.  German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said authorities ‘have to assume intentional acts’ were behind the rail disruption as cables were severed at two locations.  Transport Minister Volker Wissing added, ‘It is clear that this was a targeted and malicious action.’”

The locations of the cable attacks identified by German police  were in Hohenschönhausen, a district of Berlin, and in the Westphalian town of Herne. North Rhine-Westphalia is in the west of the country, on the Dutch border, with Dusseldorf and Cologne the major cities; the Berlin sabotage was 512 kilometres by road to the east.

Source:   https://www.eurail.com/
German police told the DPA press agency the precise locations of the rail cable cuts were Hohenschönhausen, Berlin, and Herne, North Rhine-Westphalia, 512 kms away. “Deutsche Bahn (DB) had earlier blamed the network disruption on a technical problem with radio communications. Spiegel magazine said the communications system was down at around 6:40 a.m. (0440 GMT). At 11:06 a.m, DB tweeted that traffic had been restored, but warned of continued train cancellations and delays. The disruption affected rail services through the states of Lower Saxony and Schlewsig-Holstein as well as the city states of Bremen and Hamburg, with a knock-on effect to international rail journeys to Denmark and the Netherlands.”  

The propaganda agency added: “The latest disruption comes after reported acts of sabotage targeting the vital Nord Stream gas pipeline last month, which prompted NATO and the European Union to sound the alarm on protecting critical infrastructure.”

That was a deliberate innuendo. Der Spiegel has already used the Poles to cast public blame on Russia for Nord Stream. The German intelligence  outlet also aired a fabricated CIA report implying the same thing.

A Brookings think tank report in Washington has claimed that publication of evidence of US and Polish involvement in the Nord Stream attack was Russian state propaganda, “preferred Kremlin  narratives”, and “Kremlin backed accounts”; Brookings also concluded that “experts broadly agree that Russia is the key suspect.”  This research at Brookings has been paid for by the German government and a German corporate foundation. In fiscal year 2020, Brookings has reported the German Government was the single largest government donor to the think tank with an amount over $2 million. A German foundation called Robert Bosch Stiftung added another million dollars.   The Bosch group doubled its donation to Brookings in 2021;  it sponsors anti-Russian propaganda.  Under Ukrainian pressure, in March Bosch stopped its consumer products and truck component manufacturing in Russia.

Source: https://www.brookings.edu

In Berlin, the German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has said nothing in her ministry press releases, public speeches, or Twitter stream on the Nord Stream case. Nor has her fellow Green Party minister for economics and climate, Robert Habeck. Both face a hostile reception when the Greens party holds public meetings later this month.

The North Rhine-Westphalia state, where the western rail cable cut occurred, is Christian Democratic Union (CDU) country, with declining Social Democratic Party (SPD) votes, and a minority Green representation which has been growing, as has the rightwing Alliance for Germany (AfD).   The Mecklenberg-Western Pomerania state, part of the Democratic German Republic before reunification, is the northeast German state directly affected by the campaigns to stop Nord Stream gas coming ashore at Greifsvald; the state is dominated by a left-right coalition which is breaking apart.

Current opinion polls in both German states reveal the steady growth of the AfD;  the party now draws one in four of the Mecklenberg-Western Pomerania voters.

Political weakness in the multi-party coalition in Berlin and personal greed and corruption are  unprecedented since 1945, according to veteran German sources. The national voter polls show that since the Russian special military operation began in February, Baerbock’s and Habeck’s Green voters have lost confidence, as have the SPD voters backing Chancellor Olaf Scholz. If a national election were called this month, they would be ousted from office.

Source: https://www.politico.eu/

German sources, who remember Scholz when he was mayor of Hamburg (2011-18), describe him as “having reached the limit of his capability in the city then — also the strength of his backbone.”

In an interview with the small northwestern newspaper Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung, Scholz said on September 28: “Everything suggests that Germany will probably get through this winter, even though Russia has stopped its gas supplies for flimsy reasons.” Scholz omitted to say —  and the journalist failed to ask him —  about the cause of the Nord Stream attacks two days earlier.

The co-leader of the German Greens, Omid Nouripour, an Iranian by origin, has been vociferous on his Twitter stream in support of political protests in Iran and in celebrating the Jewish New Year between September 25 and September 27. Nouripour had nothing to say about the Nord Stream bombings on the day in between. He has been much swifter to react to the rail line sabotage.

Source: https://twitter.com/
There are roughly twice as many Jews living in Iran as are living in Germany; Jewish voters in the last German election comprised less than 0.2%.  More Russians live in Germany than Jews.

A German electronics engineer and IT specialist reports it is “is normal to have serious incidents with Deutsche Bahn. I remember one when unknown people planted steel plates on to the rails and the high-speed train to and from Switzerland had to be stopped. Police helicopters followed to patrol the line for a week after that. From what has been reported publicly, and noting the coordination of the incidents far apart geographically, my conclusion is that due to the tight time difference [between the two cable cuts] only a secret service could plan this. Whether it’s our own secret service or the Polish, I don’t say. I would exclude the Netherlands and France too. I also remember how the German government was and still is criticizedby [Ukrainian President Vladimir] Zelensky    and [Ukrainian Ambassador to Berlin Andrei]  Melnyk.”

For the archive of investigations of how former Chancellor Angela Merkel and her intelligence and security men acted to blame the Kremlin for the Navalny Novichok affair of 2020, read this.

Source: http://johnhelmer.net/
Every German publisher contacted to publish the book on the Navalny case has refused.  

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  1. Louis Fyne

    Waiting for a 777/A350 to be hit as it leaves Frankfurt airport by Soviet-era shoulder-launched missile, with the loudest voice in the room trying to pin it on the Russians.

    Life has turned into a Tom Clancy novel. Worst timeline ever.

    1. trapped in Europe

      Isn’t that more likely to happen in Moscow or elsewhere in Russia? FSB has already arrested men who brought Igla anti-air missiles to Moscow. Given the huge amount of weapons flooding into Ukraine it will be almost impossible to prevent such a terror attack.

  2. Alan Roxdale

    Maybe someone in Germany was looking to ship in Russian energy supplies by train? Or gobble up everywhere else’s (mostly Eastern Europe’s) energy by train for that matter.

  3. JohnA

    Meanwhile, following their initial investigation and site survey of the Nord Stream pipelines damage, the Swedish authorities have declared their findings top secret and refuse to disclose them to the pipeline owners, German and Russian. Curioser and curioser as had their been the slightest suggestion of Russian involvement in the sabotage, Sweden would have screamed this from the rooftops. I am also curious about the silence of Greta Thunberg, all that gas flooding out into the Baltic Sea and atmosphere was harmful to the environment but not a word from school strike Greta.

    1. begob

      Thunberg seems to have gone nuclear:

      Greta Thunberg calls Germany using coal over nuclear a ‘bad idea’.
      The nuclear discussion has been a painful one for environmental groups and for Habeck’s Greens party. Former Greens chair Simone Peter, who now works for the German Renewable Energy Federation, said Thunberg’s comments didn’t “make any sense” because the nuclear plants were no longer useful and used Russian uranium.

        1. Greg

          Nineteen. She gets used as a front by her marketing parents and their PR friends because she looks five years younger than she is.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Greta? She just came out with a statement saying that she ‘has given her blessing for Germany to delay plans to shut down its last remaining nuclear power plants by the end of this year, saying the loss of their output amid Europe’s energy crisis would lead to more environmentally harmful alternatives.

      “Personally, I think that it’s a very bad idea to focus on coal when this [nuclear power] is already in place, but of course, it’s a very infected debate,” ‘


      So now she has done a 180 in what she thinks about nuclear power. I wonder what she will say when Europe is covered in smoke from people burning wood and garbage to keep warm over the winter.

      1. russell1200

        I would hardly call that a 180. She just notes the obvious that the nuclear is in place, a lot of the carbon costs are paid for, so use it in the emergency instead of coal. She still seems to rate (non-coal) fossil fuels from Russia over nuclear power. Not completely logical in my mind, but seems consistent with the perceived hierarchy of Greta’s Evils.

        1. The Rev Kev

          ‘The Swedish teenager has previously spoken out against nuclear power, calling it “extremely dangerous, expensive and time-consuming.” When European Union lawmakers were set to vote last July to categorize nuclear power as “sustainable,” Thunberg voiced her opposition, saying, “No amount of lobbyism and greenwashing will ever make it green. We desperately need real renewable energy, not false solutions.”’

          So I think that her priorities have changed. I wonder how she feels about that sole, surviving gas pipeline in the Baltic Sea and if it should be used.

      2. Tom Bradford

        She’s starting from where Germany is rather than where she would like it to be. Where it is, is having to choose between burning coal that ought to stay in the ground, temporarily extending the use of existing nuclear power plants or freezing in a country in economic ruin.

        Telling it that it wouldn’t be in this mess had it started seriously going green 30-years-ago when even mainstream science saw the light is, while satisfying, not going to help anyone stay warm and employed.

      3. ian

        I find it really annoying when people have a message to deliver, and rather than present evidence and a make a reasoned argument, they pick a sympathetic messenger. I mean, why should I take Greta Thunberg as an authority on anything?

    3. Acacia

      the Swedish authorities have declared their findings top secret and refuse to disclose them to the pipeline owners

      Or, as a certain well-known commentator whose name begins with “S” described it:

      In fact, the Russians are so evil that the Europeans have decided to exclude Russia from the investigation about what really happened with NS1 and NS2. Which makes sense: the EU cannot let Putin know that he blew up his own pipelines. right?

    4. Magpie

      ‘… Have declared their findings top secret and refuse to disclose them to the pipeline owners, German and Russian…’

      Any links for this?

      All I’ve seen is Sweden shunning Russia.


  4. BillS

    I don’t know about Germany, but rail system cable-cutting in Belgium is quite common. Thieves steal the copper cables and the disruptions can last hours. No need for the evil Prez. Putin.

    Another common Belgian train-disruption cause is suicide.

    1. Ahimsa

      I believe they were fibre optic cables involved in this instance. And, as mentioned, strategically hundreds of kilometers apart.

    2. Revenant

      Seemingly the damage was similar and simultaneous, in two widely separated locations and was targeted to the R-GSM signalling (the railway’s dedicated mobile voice and data network). It seems unlikely to be mere cable theft, given it was described as cutting rather than removal.

      But, it could just be another psy-op. After all, disabling R-GSM locally is a problem for the railway but not hard to fix. It is not the same as, oh, I don’t know, taking out a bridge….

  5. Mike

    Well the Brookings institute may have been connected to the Russia hoax in regards to Trump, they were subpoenaed by Durham. Hard to say though since Durhams case is a joke.

    Interesting on them getting funding from the German government. I have no evidence of this but would be curious to know if any Brookings institute members or funders are WEF members. The destruction of European energy sources matches greatly with their 2030 goals.

  6. Ignacio

    This feature, attacks on infrastructures, and particularly infrastructures that supply Germany with gas or transport services, is not only new and dangerous. It is puzzling. It might involve political interests within and/or outside Germany and the usual suspects include countries on both sides of the new iron curtain though some players are more suspicious than others.

    The political drift of the semaphore coalition and the whole country is conducting to a political landscape dominated by the conservatives and AfD as the sole emerging political party. I include the AfD amongst the usual suspects for the sake of cui bono arguments. Who would have predicted this one year ago and what is in the tea leaves for the following!

    1. Ahimsa

      AFD were organising large protests on the Saturday. If anything, the train disruptions will have restricted participation at those events.

  7. Tom Stone

    I suspect quite European Politicians don’t know whether to shit or go blind after the Nordstream Sabotage.
    Actually admitting to yourself that the USA is being led by madmen intent on starting WW3 is not comfortable, nor is realizing that there are consequences to choosing the losing side.
    Russia will win short of a Nuclear exchange due to geography and logistics as anyone looking at the facts will realize.
    The USA is perfectly capable of s first strike, it’s a toss up whether sanity amongst the Military will prevail because the Nuland camp and JRB are batshit crazy as well as being agreement incapable.
    The USA and the West are extremely vulnerable to asymmetric warfare and nothing has been done about those weaknesses for decades.
    Taking down California’s electric grid would be trivial, it is within the capacity of a talented high school hacker…

    1. Tom Pfotzer

      To re-emphasize:

      Actually admitting to yourself that the USA is being led by madmen intent on starting WW3 is not comfortable, nor is realizing that there are consequences to choosing the losing side.

      No wonder the Germans are reluctant to assign blame. I’ve no doubt at all that they know that the U.S. was responsible for it.

      Suppose you’re a senior German policy-maker. Which do you fear most? A resurgent Russia, or a bat-shit, co-opted, totally reckless U.S. that has clearly identified Germany as an enemy to be destroyed?

      The game-board has radically changed in the past month, and it takes time to reposition the pieces. The pieces are in-motion, and I expect we’ll see a lot more evidence of that very shortly. Days to weeks. Not months.


      For those readers that aren’t familiar with the NeoCon’s track record over the past two decades, here’s a review:

      a. Obliterated Iraq. Lied about the why, and dealt a serious blow to American’s faith in the integrity of their leaders.
      b. Conducted a 20-year obliteration of Afghanistan, and left it only after all the graft ($trillions of it) was handed out. What was left of our faith in gov’t evaporated.
      c. Started simultaneous wars with China and Russia, pushing them together
      d. Ruined the EU economy, in broad daylight, for all to see. Rest of world trust in U.S. wrecked.
      e. Alienated Saudi Arabia politically, then proposed a buyer’s cartel which would terminally cripple all oil producer’s ability to maintain price control. Result: lowered production, higher prices. For a good long while.
      f. Demonstrated the veracity of Kissinger’s statement “To be an enemy of the US is dangerous, but to be a friend is fatal”?”. Germany run over, twice. Taiwan takes note.

      And for what, please?

      To keep the gravy-train going for a few thousand very greedy, horrible people.

      Those facts set out above are easy to verify, if you’re not already convinced. The rest of the world (outside Western media control) knows all this.

      The U.S. polity is starting to tune in. I wonder how long it’ll take before the dike gives way.

      1. Sibiryak

        the NeoCon’s track record…

        It’s not just the NeoCon’s track record–responsibility goes far beyond them. And any satisfactory causal explanation of those events would have to go far beyond NeoCon greediness.

        Nice list, though!

        1. Tom Pfotzer

          Absolutely. NeoCons are spear-head, not the spear.

          That said, the main U.S. apparatchiks hark from the NeoCon philosophical stable.

          But I’m sticking with my assertion that this world-wide destruction is driven mainly by greed/power lust and the main beneficiaries are people who have been doing this work (Empire Operations) for centuries.

          They’re really good at it, and it takes a while to develop that expertise and reach.

          That’s my story. I’d like to hear your (or anyone else’s) definition of the rest of the spear. We need to understand how all this works if we’re going to elude it.

          Vao, above: Correct, and thanks for the update. We should probably make a standing list somewhere. Wonder which country is next to go down?

          You can just imagine the phone calls among the EU politicians. They must be absolutely terrified. Keep pushing the curtains aside to peer out, how many people are there in the square now? Any pitchforks yet?

          1. dandyandy

            It’s a biological Ponzi scheme. I’ll go with spear-head as the NeoCon ting. An extremely closely curated club of carefully chosen persons coming from a limited set of nationalities and religions, with similar goal to amass as much wealth they can possibly get using mainly criminal means and with total disregard of very clear consequences of their action that is the destructions of billions of others people’s lives and in multiple countries.

            You can’t just roll up in your Fiesta and enlist to be part of the spear!. If you want to become part of the spear, you have to be approved by the spear-head. The upper echelons of offending states choose carefully who will fill their houses of commons and local councils (UK terminology). Being approved by the spear-head, you can even come from different ethnic backgrounds and Good Lord, be of a different color even!! (did I mention you have to be white to progress into spear-head). You can remain inside the spear as long as you carry out the spear activities exactly as ordered by the spear-head.

            Being inside the spear is very good, thank you. Spear head is the 1% and inside a spear you may get to be a part of the 10%. The bottom of the pyramid, the 90%, foots the bill. There is so many of them ghastly bioschrapnel untenmench inside the 90%, they do not even understand that the spear parasitising on them. Especially as the spear helpfully educates everyone (for a modest fee), without allowing a cigarette break, through all available Wurlitzer stations; it is all for the benefit of Democracy, or most recently, per Brandon, Liberal Democracy.

            As any other Ponzi, it works for as long as the bottom dwellers continue to support the parasite. When the support starts to dissipate, the Ponzi will come down too.

            Hence the spear’s panic over the prices of Russia’s and everyone else’s resources now being set at the commercial level rather than the scamming level that made the general West prosperous and I can’t resist to say, dandy.

      2. Ashburn

        I would also add the following to the list:

        US unilaterally withdrew from the ABM treaty;
        US unilaterally withdrew from the INF treaty;
        US unilaterally withdrew from the Open Skies treaty;
        US unilaterally withdrew from the JCPOA agreement with Iran;
        The US has authorized a $1 trilion upgrade to its nuclear arsenal.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      From what I’ve heard of PG&E in recent years, taking down California’s electrical grid could be accomplished by one person approaching an untrimmed branch next to a power line and whistling at it.

  8. steven

    Anyone have links to a history of what the Russians have put up with since the Maiden coup d’é·tat? Or even further back since the collapse of the Soviet Union? I can remember the stationing of Star Wars ABM (SIC) missiles by that old peacenik Reagan in countries bordering Russia and of course the relentless expansion of NATO. But what would really be interesting are the details of the coup d’é·tat including who organized and benefited from it and the subsequent history of Ukraine’s Russian population.

    1. Greg

      I know very little, but I know these bits from what I’ve dug into –
      1) we know that Soros/Nuland were both deep in the Maidan, because they’ve both bragged about it. That puts US state and NGO actors in play.
      Soros- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TrR8RVUs63g
      Nuland – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WV9J6sxCs5k
      2) the snipers in the square were shooting from the wrong side to be anti-Maidan forces, as it is generally written in western tellings.
      3) the odessa burning of a few dozen? people alive in a building was filmed from multiple angles for hours either side and its nazis with the fuel and guns outside.

      I can’t put the big narrative together because I’m a loser monolingual english speaker.

      I don’t know anywhere enough about the terrorist bombing campaign inside Russia in the first decade of this century, either. I think that’s important context to the Russian mindset now, when faced with Ukraine & backers behaving like terrorists.

      1. Steven

        Thanks! I am guessing the 26 million dead in WWII contributes more than a little to the Russian mindset. All things considered, it looks like the Russians have been incredibly patient. That revered American president Kennedy was ready to blow up the world when Russians placed missiles 90 miles from the US border.

        Sure wish there was something we could do about the likes of Nuland and Soros! They remain free to play their ‘great games’ that threaten to blow up the world (a world already on fire with global warming) because the Western press has made sure most of us don’t have a clue what is really going on in the world.

  9. Paula

    It makes too much sense to pivot from the imperialism of the west and makes peace with Russia and have access thru trade to their vast resources and become economically independent of the USA and NATO. It is also what USA fears most: loss of control.

    1. Norm de plume

      Agree that control is paramount, wealth accumulation secondary. Indeed a loss of wealth as a result of strstegic actions is acceptable so long as the ratio of inequality is maintained and control unthreatened. A haircut is fine if it helps the head stay on.

  10. volker

    Everybody seems to accept the German claims at face value. What if the sabotage never happened and the outage (which was real and widespread) was caused by say an IT update gone wrong? Imagine a botched update that cuts off a data center and its backup. That would be indistinguishable from sabotage. Plus it would explain, why there is according to official statements nothing left to see. To spare themselves from the embarassment the officials use the North Stream sabotage to play a Navalny (kind of). No need to elaborate this further, because it’s unfounded speculation and dysfunctional as the Deutsche Bahn is, it should be able to avoid an elementary mistake like this. The thing is that the official explanation leaves many open questions. As pointed out sabotage requires some sophistication, this is no ordinary vandalism. It doesn’t make sense, at least as a standalone event. The thing is, we can’t trust our officials any more.

    1. vao

      It doesn’t make sense, at least as a standalone event.

      It might make sense, if the objective was to test the feasibility of that kind of coordinated sabotage, and evaluate its consequences (e.g. how long it takes to repair or bypass the damage).

      But true enough, the event is puzzling.

    2. Acacia

      Actually, I know a little about the app that DB uses to schedule all of their rolling stock. It has been running for years and is very stable. Moreover, I have worked with German software developers for many years and they are just as committed and thorough as their reputation suggests. Meanwhile, you can find photos in the German media of police and technicians on site, repairing the damage, e.g.:


      If it were a “botched update”, would the state police and technicians inspecting the cable on site be talking about “targeted external influence” [zielgerichteter Außeneinwirkung] ?

      I would also point out that if we look at the deeper history of the Cold War, there were many incidents of railway sabotage — e.g., the Matsukawa and Mitaka incidents in Japan, and also the Shimoyama incident if we want to include murder of railway executives — so in the larger scheme of things this is not such an unusual event. Suggested reading: Chalmers Johnson’s excellent book Conspiracy at Matsukawa.

  11. Greg

    Sabotage seems likely. There’s a pattern, and it looks very Polish. And going all in as a US lackey just as US hegemony starts to nosedive is so very Poland, historically speaking.

    Helmer would have been writing before it happened, but we now have the following events targeting Germany –

    0) Poland asks for EU1.3tn in war reparations*
    1) Nordstream bombing** off the coast of Poland
    2) Train sabotage
    3) Druzhba pipeline sabotage – in Poland

    * Not sabotage, but equally bonkers Polish behaviour ignoring all previous agreements
    **I am so sick of it being called “Nordstream leaks” in our media, it was a bombing, or sabotage, or attacks. Any other owners and it would be called what it is.

  12. Tom Edwards

    Surely the most obvious culprit is Germany’s own security apparatus, likely with NATO/US knowledge or even direction, in order to deflect public attention away from the German Government’s virtually certain acquiescence in having its own pipeline/gas supply blown up by US, be it directly or via its Polish, Ukrainian or other vassal state.

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