Seymour Hersh: Navy Divers + Spooks + Norway Took Out Nord Stream 2 on Biden’s Orders, Using Timer

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

It was never hard to figure out — despite best efforts of our famously free press — who blew up the Nord Stream 2 Pipeline (and even the Germans say there’s no evidence [makes warding sign] that Russia did it). Biden said he would do it:

Then he did. And The Blob, in the person of Radosław Sikorski, AEI member, former Minister of National Defense for Poland, and Member of the European Parliament, thanked him for it:

Sikorski deleted the tweet, but fortunately we have the Wayback Machine. (Hilariously for Blob stans, Sikorski is married to CFR member Anne Applebaum, who is also on the board of the National Endowment for Democracy. One big happy!)

* * *

So we’ve had the who for a long time, along with the what (“Blam!”), the where (the Baltic), and the why (transform Germany into a deindustrialized vassal state). But we’ve been missing the how. Here, “muckraking legend” Seymour Hersh — who broke the My Lai massacre story during Vietnam and the Abu Ghraib torture story during Iraq — breaks another story: How America Took Out The Nord Stream Pipeline. Awesomely, the story is Hersh’s first (!) Substack post[1] (incidentally validating not only the Substack business model, but the platform itself; hat tip to the founders and staff). You should go read it now. And subscribe, while you’re at it.

In this post, I will first look briefly at Hersh’s sourcing. I will then excerpt some of the high points. (The excerpting is hard to do, for two reasons: First, the story is exceptionally taut and driving, so I feel I’m cutting into muscle whenever I cut at all; second, Hersh has a lifetime’s worth of knowledge of the national security bureaucracy; this is important to the story, but the detail of the interagency process is such that I could end up with a collection of excerpts equal to the original in length, hardly a useful exercise.) Finally, I’ll take a quick look at the state of play in the media, at least as of this writing. Helpfully, both the CIA and the White House, apparently unwitting of the Streisand Effect, have already denied the story. Never believe anything until it’s been officially denied.

First, then: Hersh’s sourcing. Let me quote from the beginning and then the end. Hersh summarizes the story in one sentence. Paragraph 3:

Last June, the Navy divers, operating under the cover of a widely publicized mid-summer NATO exercise known as BALTOPS 22, planted the remotely triggered explosives that, three months later, destroyed three of the four Nord Stream pipelines, according to a source with direct knowledge of the operational planning.

That’s the indefinite article, there. And now paragraph 77, at the end:

The source had a much more streetwise view of Biden’s decision to sabotage more than 1500 miles of Gazprom pipeline as winter approached. “Well,” he said, speaking of the President, “I gotta admit the guy has a pair of balls. He said he was going to do it, and he did.”

Asked why he thought the Russians failed to respond, he said cynically, “Maybe they want the capability to do the same things the U.S. did.

“It was a beautiful cover story,” he went on. “Behind it was a covert operation that placed experts in the field and equipment that operated on a covert signal.

“The only flaw was the decision to do it.”

And that’s the definite article. Hersh’s scoop, in other words, is single-sourced. I certainly wouldn’t write it off on that account, and it may well be that this story will cause some shoes to drop that Hersh can use for a follow-up.

Now let’s turn to the story itself. I’m going to pluck out what I regard as the juiciest nuggets for your delectation in comments, dear readers.

Hersh begins with the Navy Divers, in paragraphs one and two:

The U.S. Navy’s Diving and Salvage Center can be found in a location as obscure as its name—down what was once a country lane in rural Panama City, a now-booming resort city in the southwestern panhandle of Florida, 70 miles south of the Alabama border.

The center has been training highly skilled deep-water divers for decades who, once assigned to American military units worldwide, are capable of technical diving to do the good—using C4 explosives to clear harbors and beaches of debris and unexploded ordinance—as well as the bad, like blowing up foreign oil rigs, fouling intake valves for undersea power plants, destroying locks on crucial shipping canals. The Panama City center, which boasts the second largest indoor pool in America, was the perfect place to recruit the best, and most taciturn, graduates of the diving school who successfully did last summer what they had been authorized to do 260 feet under the surface of the Baltic Sea.

Using the Navy divers enabled the players to bypass Congress:

There was a vital bureaucratic reason for relying on the graduates of the center’s hardcore diving school in Panama City. The divers were Navy only, and not members of America’s Special Operations Command, whose covert operations must be reported to Congress and briefed in advance to the Senate and House leadership—the so-called Gang of Eight.[3]

Here are the perps players who ran the interagency process that culminated in the operation’s authorization:

(John Helmer[2] notes that both Blinken and Nuland, along with our future NATO Secretary General, Chrystia Freedland, are Ukrainian… Well, I won’t use the word irredentists but feel free to think it.)

Planning began in 2021:

In December of 2021, two months before the first Russian tanks rolled into Ukraine, Jake Sullivan convened a meeting of a newly formed task force—men and women from the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the CIA, and the State and Treasury Departments—and asked for recommendations about how to respond to Putin’s impending invasion…. What became clear to participants, according to the source with direct knowledge of the process, is that Sullivan intended for the group to come up with a plan for the destruction of the two Nord Stream pipelines—and that he was delivering on the desires of the President.

Heck yeah. What’s the point of a planning process if you can’t engineer the outcome?

Enter the spooks, who’ve had experience with underwater cables:

[CIA Director William] Burns quickly authorized an Agency working group whose ad hoc members included—by chance—someone who was familiar with the capabilities of the Navy’s deep-sea divers in Panama City. Over the next few weeks, members of the CIA’s working group began to craft a plan for a covert operation that would use deep-sea divers to trigger an explosion along the pipeline. … In early 2022, the CIA working group reported back to Sullivan’s interagency group: “We have a way to blow up the pipelines.”

Meanwhile, both Nuland and Biden (see above) blabber publicly that Nord Stream 2 is in the crosshairs. Giving the players an opportunity for some bureaucratic knifework:

Biden’s and Nuland’s indiscretion, if that is what it was, might have frustrated some of the planners. But it also created an opportunity. According to the source, some of the senior officials of the CIA determined that blowing up the pipeline “no longer could be considered a covert option because the President just announced that we knew how to do it.”

The plan to blow up Nord Stream 1 and 2 was suddenly downgraded from a covert operation requiring that Congress be informed to one that was deemed as a highly classified intelligence operation with U.S. military support.

Biden gives the thumbs up:

The Agency working group members had no direct contact with the White House, and were eager to find out if the President meant what he’d said—that is, if the mission was now a go. The source recalled, “Bill Burns comes back and says, ‘Do it.'”

Enter the Norwegians:

Back in Washington, planners knew they had to go to Norway. “They 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,” the source said. They also could be trusted to keep the mission secret. (The Norwegians may have had other interests as well. The destruction of Nord Stream—if the Americans could pull it off—would allow Norway to sell vastly more of its own natural gas to Europe.) … The Norwegian navy was quick to find the right spot, in the shallow waters of the Baltic sea a few miles off Denmark’s Bornholm Island. The pipelines ran more than a mile apart along a seafloor that was only 260 feet deep.

(The Norwegians were also helpful in figuring out BALTOPS should be the cover and wrangling other Baltic states.)

Plot twist!

And then: Washington had second thoughts. The bombs would still be planted during BALTOPS, but the White House worried that a two-day window for their detonation would be too close to the end of the exercise, and it would be obvious that America had been involved.

Instead, the White House had a new request: “Can the guys in the field come up with some way to blow the pipelines later on command?”

And the technical solution:

The C4 [explosives] attached to the pipelines would be triggered by a sonar buoy dropped by a plane on short notice, but the procedure involved the most advanced signal processing technology. Once in place, the delayed timing devices attached to any of the four pipelines could be accidentally triggered by the complex mix of ocean background noises throughout the heavily trafficked Baltic Sea—from near and distant ships, underwater drilling, seismic events, waves and even sea creatures. To avoid this, the sonar buoy, once in place, would emit a sequence of unique low frequency tonal sounds—much like those emitted by a flute or a piano—that would be recognized by the timing device and, after a pre-set hours of delay, trigger the explosives.


On September 26, 2022, a Norwegian Navy P8 surveillance plane made a seemingly routine flight and dropped a sonar buoy. The signal spread underwater, initially to Nord Stream 2 and then on to Nord Stream 1. A few hours later, the high-powered C4 explosives were triggered and three of the four pipelines were put out of commission. Within a few minutes, pools of methane gas that remained in the shuttered pipelines could be seen spreading on the water’s surface and the world learned that something irreversible had taken place.

Thank you, USA!

* * *

A few media reactions. First, Mark Ames:

Well, naturally. The Times of London is first out of the box:

Once hailed “the greatest American investigative reporter”, Hersh’s more recent stories have been called into question. These included articles about how the US found Osama bin Laden [OBL] and calling into question the use of chemical weapons on Syrian civilians by Syria’s regime, which were criticised for relying heavily on anonymous sources and lacking hard evidence.

(Here is Hersh’s 2015 OBL story; here is his 2017 White Helmets story, which Aaron Maté has been all over. You can decided for yourselves.)

* * *

I’d hate to bet the farm on a single-sourced story, any single-sourced story. That said, Hersh’s piece sure hangs together, and his source seems to have exceptional access. Hopefully there will be a follow-up post from Hersh — or maybe others? — in the coming days. Meanwhile, kudos once more to Substack. What a time for an old-school blogger to be alive!


[1] It’s really Hersh. Both Maté and Taibbi checked.

[2] Helmer has posited a quite plausible alternative (see also NC): “The military operation on Monday night which fired munitions to blow holes in the Nord Stream I and Nord Stream II pipelines on the Baltic Sea floor, near Bornholm Island, was executed by the Polish Navy and special forces. It was aided by the Danish and Swedish military; planned and coordinated with US intelligence and technical support; and approved by the Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.” Comparing Hersh’s theory and Helmer’s is beyond the scope of this post, since I am pressed temporally, but readers may wish to try. Moon of Alabama got BALTOPS right away.

[3] “The Gang of 8 includes the top two congressional leaders in each chamber — Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy — as well as the top Democrat and Republican on the House and Senate intelligence committees.”

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Phil Perspective

    Sikorski deleted the tweet, but fortunately we have the Wayback Machine. (Hilariously for Blob stans, Sikorski is married to CFR member Anne Applebaum, who is also on the board of the National Endowment for Democracy. One big happy!)

    Doesn’t she still contribute to the op-ed page of the BezosPost?

  2. Skip Intro

    Scholz: “The Gas must flow”
    US: “He who can destroy a thing controls that thing”

    One flashes on Paul Muadib placing the water of life above a pre-spice mass. Do Neocons read Dune?

      1. Skip Intro

        It would be irresponsible not to speculate that perhaps other bits of critical infrastructure are mined and ready be blown up. I’m pretty sure Dune has been translated into many languages.

      2. paddy

        neocons should lighten up on the melian dialog, and read how it ended for the athenian empire in syragusa….. thucydides.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          “….and read how it ended…”
          ive been saying the same thing for almost 30 years….but those randy neocons sink back into the wingback chairs, spent, after the attack on Sicily.
          they never, ever finish Thucydides.
          then, of course, there’s the refractory period, of approximately 4 years….

  3. fresno dan

    Now I happen to think this is incredible – that we would do such a thing. But the way the world is, will this cause any kind of a row? Maybe a majority of the German citzenry won’t like it, but the way “representational government” operates now a days, so what? I hope I am wrong, but I very much doubt that after it is acknowledged, that there will be any actual consequences…

    1. Not Again

      The reaction won’t be felt in Germany as much as Brazil, Africa and the Indian subcontinent. I can’t wait until the USA denounces “state terrorism” again at the UN. This is such a breathtakingly stupid idea I actually believe that Biden did come up with it.

      Here’s an actual case where the president OUGHT TO BE IMPEACHED but both parties are war parties.

      1. Jason Boxman

        Yep. That was my thought. Washington loves it some international rules-based order, as along as Washington gets an exception.

        There’s no good faith here. No possibility of any honest negotiations. The United States is a rogue state upon the world scene. Might makes right, period.

        1. Sgt Oddball

          – How’s about this then to bake your noodle: – One could concievably plausibly construct a legitimate argument wherein the pipeline attacks constitute a de facto Article 5 trigger for Germany (- plus whichever other European NATO members that Rooskie gas was destined for by onward shipment).

          …- Not sure how to wrangle the whole “…is an attack on all.” bit, tho’, since it’d presumably require the US, as a NATO member, having to go to war with itself, as the violating aggressor. XD

          (- *Pure Fantasy* I know, and I’m merely spitballing here, but after all this *is* how the ‘rules’ are supposed to work, innit(!)?…)

      2. Carolinian

        Thank you. We should be talking about his brain rather than his balls. DC was already awash in testosterone.

        And Hersh is 86. Only a little speculation is needed to assume this story all came from a trusted source rather than legwork. Even if the details are off the truth of it seems inevitable. It’s like an Agatha Christie mystery where everyone is guilty except Russia and hapless Germany.

        1. Skip Intro

          It must kinda suck to be 0 for 3 on world wars within about a century. This time Germany fell for the ‘non-aggression’ ploy.

    2. pjay

      On that subject, in a story full of noteworthy passages, this one definitely caught my eye:

      “On February 7, less than three weeks before the seemingly inevitable Russian invasion of Ukraine, Biden met in his White House office with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who, after some wobbling, was now firmly on the American team.’

      In the context of the story, I assume this means Scholz was in on it. Could it really be that this does not matter to at least some influential Germans, let along the general population? Are they all really *this* subservient?

        1. Sgt Oddball

          My gut tells me Scholz was likely never even in the loop: – He was showing indications of going dangerously off-piste right before the pipes got blown.

          – Remind me again, who was it that was revealed to be listening in to Merkel’s cellphone, several years back?… – Ft. Meade ‘n’ Langley’s collective Kompromat folders on the SPD, Greens, et. al. must be a sight to behold.

      1. Daniil Adamov

        They may just be resigned to it. If anything, I can see how German elites in particular may benefit from this action. If they have already accepted that they will have to take sides, and the side they will take is America’s (if only because America has far more ability to make trouble for any German government than Russia, if it puts its mind to it; although other explanations are certainly possible as well), then it is good if this troublesome alternative is destroyed for reasons outside of their control. It helps build elite consensus while keeping them safe from blame.

        1. WJ

          Some have argued that major German industrialists have been looking to leave Germany anyway for cheaper labor pastures. This makes their decision easier.

      2. Alan Roxdale

        at least some influential Germans

        All of these people are picked and groomed by US and UK think tanks and not-NGO networks, not their own people. We’re not talking about Kohls or Mieteronds. The outcome of the privatisation of the political process. It’s a business relationship

        1. Lysias

          The late Udo Ulfkotte’s book ” Gekaufte Jounalisten” is most enlightening on how this co-opting takes place.

    3. curlydan

      For most Americans, if/when they learn we blew it up, the reaction (based on my extensive reading of Yahoo! Ukraine news comments) will be “good!” Or if the PMC wants to denigrate Hersh, then maybe it’s “he’s an old guy who … [fill in the blank with something disparaging or questioning his sourcing]”. I agree Germans will be PO’ed.

      A longer-term consequence might be that anyone’s pipelines and underseas cables are at risk, and the U.S.’s actions have only increased this risk. Be careful if you’re considering putting down $ billions in investments in open water.

      Similar long-term consequences might come from other U.S. actions. For example, we confiscated $300B of Russian assets. So if/when China ever decides to take action vs Taiwan, you can surely bet that China will be prepared to have their $ assets confiscated and will find a way to take a similar if not harsher action versus the U.S (e.g. maybe seizing the Shanghai Tesla factory and a ton of other stuff).

      Also, if you’re India, Brazil, or any relatively non-aligned country, you might want to dial back on your dollar-based investments lest they be confiscated if you dare make Uncle Sam angry.

      The same can be said for kicking Russians out of Swift. It just signals to the rest of the world to find a different system as backup.

      The U.S.’s foreign policy kings and queens think their actions show strength and power. But to me, the blowback will come, and it won’t be pretty.

    4. Ignacio

      Actual consequences immediately can be ruled out but wait. It will be another nail in Biden’s coffin almost certainly.

    5. Lambert Strether Post author

      > will this cause any kind of a row?

      If a tree falls in the forest….

      After the Times of London, the majors seem to be maintaining radio silence on this one; we’ll see how long that keeps up.

      1. DJG, Reality Czar

        Lambert Strether:

        Admittedly, in Italy, it is Sanremo week, so the newspaper’s are distracted by Chiara Ferrigni’s frock.

        I checked La Repubblica and La Stampa on-line today. No trace of the story. So Gedi, their holding company, is holding the line.

        Small but might Fatto Quotidiano comes through:

        FQ has enough influence that the story will eventually break in Italy.

        1. BillS

          RAINews 24 mentioned the Hersh story this morning – just for a minute. The Rai’s Partito Democratico sponsors are trying to figure out how to spin this story. The Ukraine coverage was mainly about Zelensky’s trip to London and Paris and that Sunak (maybe) promised jets.

            1. NN Cassandra

              I find this framing quite funny, journalist accuses USA. In fact it’s someone from inside of US government who is making the accusation. Normally this sort of thing is presented as “X did Y, US official says”, but not this time, for some reason…

                1. Lysias

                  If German MSM are reporting about the denial, doesn’t that mean their audience is being informed of what is being denied?

  4. VietnamVet

    What is truly frightening is that America was planning to take out the Nord Stream pipelines before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The operation was intentionally designed to cut off the supply of cheap Russian Natural Gas to Europe used for heating, electricity and manufacturing. Indeed, the Deep State and the Democrat Party clearly intended to start a war with Russia since 2014 (Hillary Clinton’s No Fly Zones). The consequences for Europe or American citizens are absolutely unimportant to them. Russia rightly felt threatened.

    The proxy World War III is on to destabilize Russia and seize its resources to make more money. The loss of life, the maiming, the suffering and the possibilities a global nuclear war or the breakup of NATO and the likely collapse of the US dollar are ignored.

    Tragically, the lack of concern for human life by western rulers is exactly the same as for the coronavirus pandemic. 1.1 million Americans died and yet the White House declared it over even while deaths plateaued at around 13,000 Americans dying each month since March 2022. In the last 10 months roughly twice the number of Americans have died with COVID than in the decade long Vietnam War,

    1. JR

      In the 1990s, Kennan, Kissinger, and many others warned that NATO expansion would come to no good. Subsequent history has validated Kennan, Kissinger, and others. They were right then, and remain right now.

      Unfortunately, however, and though I am not an expert on this, Russia’s conduct of the war has and will, I expect, give rise to actions that can be considered war crimes.

      This, no matter the acts associated with NATO expansion (Minsk Agreements, Color Revolutions, F the EU, etc), will make coming to a diplomatic solution much more difficult. To wit, the Sturm und Drang posited against the Progressive Democrats 10/24/22 letter to President Biden calling for a diplomatic solution in the Ukraine and the Progressive Democrats dramatic climb-down.

      Interestingly, though, and assuming Mr. Hersh’s reporting is validated, the bombing of the Nordstream pipeline may actually help move things in the direction of a diplomatic solution.

      1. ambrit

        The problem here is that ‘The West,’ [read America,] has shown itself to be completely untrustworthy. Nothing it signs now can be considered binding. After the comments from Merkel about how the Minsk Agreements were designed as delaying actions, from the start, Russia must forget diplomacy and show ‘The West’ just how “Might Makes Right” is truly implemented.

        1. John Zelnicker

          I have seen on Moon of Alabama, although I can’t find it now, that the translation of what Merkel said is not exactly right.

          Apparently, she did not mean that the Minsk accords were a head fake.

  5. begob

    I notice Kit Klarenberg weighs in on the MoA thread with his own doubts about Hersh’s story: he rather suspects Brit connections.

    1. Alan Roxdale

      This ridiculous offshored Panama City base screams international training centre to me. I wouldn’t rule it out.

        1. ambrit

          It’s ‘The South’ folks. We have “form.” Inland a ways from this Panama is the “School of the Americas,” where Uncle Sam has been training “the right sort of people” from foreign countries in the ways of torture and oppression for decades.
          I have recently been teasing various PMCs I encounter with the idea that the North American Deep South should begin a movement to “de-colonize” The South (NADS) from The North of America.

  6. Tom Bradford

    Alex Mercuris on the Duran seems to be arguing that this is a gift horse the mouth of which Republicans are going to want to examine very closely. Regardless of the cheering and fist-pumping they no doubt indulged in behind closed doors the opportunities it offers for an attack on Biden with holier-than-thou assertions that ‘they’ would never consider damaging America’s reputation with such an attack on its friends will surely be irresistible.

    I’m not sufficiently au fait with US politics to know if this is the case or whether the Republicans will – dangerously – nail their colours to the mast of ‘the US would never do such a thing’.

    1. flora

      From Hersh’s substack article:

      Opposition to Nord Stream 2 flared on the eve of the Biden inauguration in January 2021, when Senate Republicans, led by [Republican Senator]Ted Cruz of Texas, repeatedly raised the political threat of cheap Russian natural gas during the confirmation hearing of Blinken as Secretary of State. By then a unified Senate had successfully passed a law that, as Cruz told Blinken, “halted [the pipeline] in its tracks.”

      The GOP were as keen as the Dems to end the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Many GOP Senators come from oil/nat gas producing states. EU is seen as an important market for US oil/gas/LNG exports.

      Read the whole substack.

      1. redleg

        Just because the Rs supported it then it doesn’t mean that they won’t use it for political advantage now.
        The Rs have proved capable of doing such manoevers. The Ds most certainly are not capable, and are also masters of projection to the point where I don’t think they could even conceive of others doing such manoevers since they themselves can’t.

        1. doug

          It would go against business interests, which are primary to political interests. The R’s can not use it. The D’s made sure by including them. All quiet on the western front. This gets buried.

          1. ambrit

            Perhaps buried here in America, but I’ll wager that the Global South is watching this closely, and making decisions based on what this reveals, in the clear no less, about American perfidy.
            It can be considered as a case of America sacrificing long term interests in exchange for short term goals. As someone above mentioned. it does look like a case of the “financialization” of politics, which includes the primacy of very short term thinking, {quarterly financial reports anyone?}
            This is a classic case of Tacitus’ observation, (put in the mouth of the Briton Calgacus):
            “These plunderers of the world [the Romans], after exhausting the land by
            their devastations, are rifling the ocean: stimulated by avarice, if their
            enemy be rich; by ambition, if poor; unsatiated by the East and by the West:
            the only people who behold wealth and indigence with equal avidity. To ravage,
            to slaughter, to usurp under false titles, they call empire; and where they make
            a desert, they call it peace.”
            We really are the “baddies” here. The poisoned fruit of Operation Paperclip is bearing dividends.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              Biden is a failed domestic President, and he managed to eff up withdrawing from Afghanistan. His foreign policy is going nowhere because he refused to simply undo Trump policies towards Iran and Cuba and largely treats the Global South like colonies. Blinken had his line about African countries expecting the US to make an offer before kicking China out.

              Biden wanted Ukraine in NATO, so he likely gave the go ahead to end the separatists. When Russia intervened and then didn’t collapse as was promised, he had a major problem. Any child knows NATO simply can’t bring up the forces they would need to beat Russia in this theatre, so the US can’t simply win. Biden’s best option is to have a narrative of the glorious defenders of Ukraine pushing the war past the 2024 election or until people get really bored.

              He’s Credit Card/Bankruptcy Biden. He looks out for number one.

      2. Karl

        EU is seen as an important market for US oil/gas/LNG exports.

        I thought only organized crime knocked off the competition like that. Is that how Dad dealt with the neighboring dealership in Scranton?

        Too bad US LNG for Europe is a pipe dream.

    2. Piotr Berman

      Perhaps Republicans will color their nails. About the mast, the most opportunistic direction for them would be “US absolutely should do it, but the weakling Brandon did not”, which is not easy to believe. More plausibly, they may say that Biden conspired with Xi do scare be-Jesus out of good soil-of-the-earth Montanans, and to cover their traces, they buried the traces in the ocean near Carolinas. Note how the balloon steered clear of Democrat dominated areas etc.

      Honestly, what politicians on either side of the political divide in USA will say depends on their private research, what they followers will swallow.

    3. Sibiryak

      The Republican party isn’t monolithic. When it comes to foreign policy, there’s a clear split between Establishment imperialist war hawks and a populist America First minority

    4. Otis B Driftwood

      Mercouris doesn’t understand US politics very well. He greatly inflates the importance of the populist right wing of the GOP.

      The uniparty will block any serious investigation, the Republicans will not mount anything remotely similar to another Church Committee.

      1. tgs

        You are absolutely right re: Mercouris and American politics. He really is completely clueless. Moreover, his claims that Trump and Bolsanaro are the enemies of the globalists and neocons are borderline deranged

  7. ChrisPacific

    BALTOPS was a pretty obvious candidate, I think. I remember wondering at the time whether there had been any NATO military exercises in the area. A quick Google turned up BALTOPS, which placed the relevant actors in the right places and in a timeline that fit.

    Which NATO actor dunnit (if it was NATO) is interesting but possibly not that consequential overall, since it could certainly not have been done without the knowledge and approval of the US either way.

  8. tevhatch

    So much for the pretense of sovereignty by P.M. Sargent Shultz.

    Not a timer, but a remote control device, ala road side terrorist bombs, just like the one the USA used to kill Alfred Herrhausen, chairman of West Germany’s largest bank and early propenent of German/Russian integration. At least in 1978 the CIA were smart enough to lay the blame on the Red Brigade, but stupid enough to leave memos for posterity.

  9. NN Cassandra

    What is a bit surprising is that the accomplices were Norwegians. Not Brits, Poles or the Baltic nations. I expected some deep seated prejudices, historical revenge, or something, to figure in this, but it turns out it was all about shaping Europe gas market.

    Well, as someone wise said, it’s not personal, it’s strictly business.

    1. ChrisPacific

      It strikes me as a bit shortsighted by the Norwegians, if that part is true (then again, if it was done covertly by the intelligence services, the adults may not have had a chance to object). They rely on undersea pipelines themselves, and it’s very difficult to defend against an attack like this. Now there’s precedent for state actors attacking them (that it was a state actor is about the only thing all sides agree on).

      1. jefemt

        Norway produces a lot of O & G?
        Seems like capitalists and the gubmints that support them HATE competition.

        1. tevhatch

          Particularly as their own tiny Baltic pipeline, 1/8 the capacity, came on line days after. However tiny it was enough to boost Norway into #1 supplier to the EU. The enhanced pricing made someone a killing. Another (unanticipated?) consequence is what it did to eliminate an important herring fishery competition too.

    2. David in Santa Cruz

      Hasn’t anyone here watched Occupied the multi-season Norwegian TV drama about a Russian invasion and occupation of Norway over energy policy? One of the characters “Irina Sidarova” is a dead-ringer for Maria Zakharova. The Norwegians clearly have issues…

      Biden told us what he was going to do and he did it. Sy Hersh’s sources have always been impeccable, but in the most recent interview with him I’ve heard he is more concerned than he ever has been about the potential that they will be imprisoned.

      1. digi_owl

        That was show was a farce, and produced by the closest we have to Fox News.

        Note that the premise of the story is that Russia invaded on behalf of EU, because Norway stopped pumping petroleum and instead went with Thorium reactors for internal use.

        1. Insouciant Iowan

          Maybe rather than farce, Occupied drew on the conviction that the EU and Russia share fundamental interests that would be enhanced by integration.
          On you side, however, is that Russia and Norway are competitors in the O & G realm.

    3. M Quinlan

      This may explain why the Polish government demanded that Norway supplied gas at a discount.
      They knew who did it and were pissed the Norwegians where profiting from what the Poles probably viewed should have been a collective NATO strike against the ancient enemy.

      1. JohnA

        The Norwegian government is all-in on the it is in our national interest that Ukraine does not lose the war line. They have sent huge amounts of money and weapons to Ukraine and already said, any increases in value of the oil fund will be used for more weapons etc., than health and welfare, education, culture, etc., that would be in the interests of ordinary Norwegians.
        BTW, I do not buy the Norwegians hate Russians line. The two countries have a common border and had decent relations until the US started playing harder and harder ball. Now, US is building permanent bases in Norway, that since WW2 was against the Norwegian constitution. Norwegian politicians are bought and paid for, classic example Jens Stoltenberg.

        1. Daniil Adamov

          Common border means border conflicts. Disputes over fishing rights (and maybe oil?) near Spitsbergen flare up now and again. Is that enough for hate? Definitely some residual antagonism at least.

          1. digi_owl

            Nah, even the infamous Smutthullet was settled via negotiations.

            Frankly it had been quiet up north for almost a decade when all of a sudden there was talk about a US/NATO pivot north, thanks to the melting ice cap and thus the potential for a “gold rush” of territorial claims.

        2. Insouciant Iowan

          Where is the line that distinguishes acceptances of a foreign country’s bases in one’s homeland as an expression of shared defense interests from being occupied?
          I wonder how and how long before the US finds a way to pillage Norway’s sovereign wealth fund. Is it in dollars? Both the US and Brits are well known thieves.

    1. ChrisRUEcon

      Every revelation brings us closer to a week of non-stop Russian “shock and awe” sorties over western Ukraine.


      … I’m not sure this future can now be avoided.

    2. Ignacio

      If you consider all the rest in Ukraine with this altogether it sums to be an act of hostility that might suffice for war declaration if there is an admission of guilt (expect denial after denial). Most worrying is that a global ban on infrastructure attacks has been lifted precisely by those supposed to set the rules based order.

    3. ChrisPacific

      Yes – that was the major CIA concern, if you read the article (not that they considered saying no, but they emphasized that it had to be done under highest secrecy).

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The CIA knows there will be fallout, but I don’t think they are worried about Moscow or retaliation. We attacked our “allies”. We may have helped frackers, but we effed every other industry.

        Promises to protect our assets are meaningless. Part of the issue with the Syrian Civil War is plenty of rebellious sorts thought the US would bring them promotions and swiftly bring an end to things. Many found forgiveness with Assad.

        The state department person who resigned last night was an expert in central Asia. He probably saw every project go up in smoke, insidious and routine commercial ties. All that is left is to blamed for Biden’s actions when future presidents demand to know what happened.

        Watch American interests be ostracized. The other item is Russia showed the importance of domestic industrial capacity. Most countries can’t replicate this, but things like the Iran-Iraq War were heavily sponsored by the US. Hussein thought he was our guy and attacked our newest enemy.

    4. digi_owl

      May well the Germans accepted it, as it meant that they had an excuse for the growing demand from the public to reopen the pipes.

  10. notabanker

    What a fantastic piece by Hersh. Day after Joe’s best theatrical performance of his Presidency, no less. Wonder if that source has former ties to the Obama Admin……

  11. Grebo

    Some may recall that monkeywerx tracked a P8 in the area at the time. He says it flew from the US and was refuelled by a plane out of Germany (!)

    Hersh says it was a Norwegian P8. Apparently they only took delivery of their first one on Feb 24 2022. It was not expected to start work until 2023.

    It will be interesting to see if these stories can be reconciled.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Good catch, thank you!

      Looks to me like the reconciliation would be that Hersh got the country that owned the P8 wrong (assuming MonkeyWerx is OK; I’m not familiar with them). Doesn’t affect the overall thrust of the story, though.

      1. Ignacio

        MW remarks: Note: the US Navy P8 HexCode is AE6851 and is NOT listed in the aircraft database. Furthermore, the aircraft flew as “masked” meaning it did not want to be tracked.

        Could it be a Norwegian plane chartered by the US Navy? Otherwise an US aircraft manned by Norwegian experts?

    2. Polar Socialist

      Norway took delivery of the first one, Vingtor, in November 2021. The one delivered in February, Viking, was second. Third one, Munin, was delivered in May.

      Nevertheless, for a clandestine operation an aircraft not yet officially accepted in service would be much better.

    3. David in Santa Cruz

      Hersh does not get anything right or wrong — he is simply reporting what his source told him.

      Hersh’s source might have imperfect information about this aspect of the operation that was executed long after the Navy divers placed their explosive charges, or the P-8 that was tracked left from a different base than the operational plan that Hersh’s source was privy to. Not a serious “hole” in the story at all.

  12. ThirtyOne

    Back in 2011:
    “German, French, Dutch and other companies are actively involved in the development of Russian gas fields. We, in turn, are interested in developing a gas distribution infrastructure and in building modern environmentally friendly power generation facilities, including combined-cycle power plants. We hope that our cooperation in this area will not be stalled by artificial barriers, despite certain differences in our approaches that were mentioned earlier. After all, there is and can be no economically viable alternative to this mutually beneficial and long-term cooperation.”
    President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev

    Been walking my mind to an easy time
    My back turned towards the sun
    Lord knows, when the cold wind blows
    It’ll turn your head around
    Well, there’s hours of time on the telephone line
    To talk about things to come
    Sweet dreams and flying machines in pieces on the ground
    James Taylor, Fire and Rain

  13. Cat Burglar

    Editors and USG people must be doing a lot of talking to figure out how to field this one. “Old News” might be tried, but the news is not that old. “Irrelevant” might be a good salve, but Germans might find it very relevant, and the US would lose some credibility. I doubt they would try “This Is Only Considered Important Because Germans Are Not People Of Color.” because that gets you into trouble right away with Germans, and makes the US look even worse to people in the Global South.

    My guess is they will first play for time, and try to discredit Hersh by tossing out a series of throwaway memes (like the Tweet by Illia Ponomarenko, who seems to think Hersh is some kind of popup millenial with no track record of being more accurate than any government rep he’s gone up against) — but in time, they will have to reach deep into the old Cold War bag of tricks. We might get to hear some real howlers coming out in the next few days,if they are not careful.

    1. Greg

      The reviving of the perennial MH17 circus struck me as potentially chaff thrown in the path of the Sy Hersh missile.

      ETA: I see “JustTheFacts” noticed the same chaff in the German media, in a comment below.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I’m confident the Chinese balloon nonsense is an attempt to say “see we are under assault by villainous actors all the time” and to have anything to take to Global South countries. Because if Biden will destroy German infrastructure, watch out.

      2. Kouros

        The MH1 circus seems to be on par with the new report from OPCW, covering a$$es and providing justifications for bad actions.

  14. JustAnotherVolunteer

    I did a little digging on the background of Baltic/German tensions since this seems less than neighborly.

    “GERMANY’S APPROACH TO BALTIC SEA SECURITY: Stepping up, but not enough?”

    The author, Amelie Theussen, is a Danish academic connected to both Brookings and NDU and she specializes in Baltic/German politics. She is a visiting scholar at the NATO Defence College

    Germany has been under pressure from the “Upper North” and is most likely not surprised by the BALTOP 22 connection.

    Good background on Norway –

    “The Challenges and Dynamics of Alliance Policies: Norway, NATO and the High North” Author(s): Wrenn Yennie Lindgren and Nina Græger

    Book Title: Global Allies

    1. Ignacio

      The JSTOR paper on Norway FP: “Norway seeks predictability and stability in its relationship with its neighbours.”

      Yep, but if Hersh is correct they have broken with their policies big time.

  15. The Rev Kev

    I sure would hate to be the Norwegian Ambassador to Germany right now, one Torgeir Larsen. He has some ‘splainin’ to do. Not matter what spin the German media tries to put on it, the German people themselves will be drawing their own conclusions. And they won’t be good. Maybe in Norway the whole thing will be seen as a funny joke story but it won’t be the Norwegians that will have reduced gas to heat their homes or to power their industries. They actually benefited financially from this sabotage. By the time this war is over, there will be a helluva lot of resentment in Germany about some of the other countries in the EU and how they were suckered recently about tank deliveries to the Ukraine will be yet more fuel. Remember how the UK was a sort of wrecking ball in the EU to suit their own domestic aims? Going forward, you may find Germany start to take up this role.

    1. pjay

      If I read Hersh correctly, Scholz was in on it. I wonder who else in the German government was privy to the plan? I quoted this in an earlier comment that hasn’t appeared; it seems worth posting again:

      “On February 7, less than three weeks before the seemingly inevitable Russian invasion of Ukraine, Biden met in his White House office with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who, after some wobbling, was now firmly on the American team.”

      It sounds like Scholz was ready to go. Will the Germans just shrug this off?

    2. Karl

      They [the Norwegians] actually benefited financially from this sabotage.

      Good point. This can’t foster NATO comity.

      Another scenario: Germany is being a nice patient poodle for now because it has assurance that, when this is all over, Germany will get cheap Russian gas again–transiting Ukraine. Maybe cheaper than before–from a prostrate Russia. But “prostrate Russia” is looking like a very chancy bet for Germany and the EU. Can the NATO countries really believe, at this late stage, that the U.S. can deliver this outcome?

      The way things are headed, Germany won’t get such favorable gas terms as before the invasion. I’m no lawyer, but the destruction of Nordstream II would seem to be a force majeure event that will give Russia ample justification to void all existing contracts and re-negotiate them. C’est la vie.

    3. JustTheFacts

      I looked at the German media after this broke. They were all focusing on some nonsense about Putin being responsible for MH17’s take down, even though there’s no actual evidence to back that up. You’d think that a story about an “ally” destroying German infrastructure providing its industry with its main source of energy would be the most important story of the day.

      I find it very instructive that Norway felt free to pull this stunt. Norway has a small economy (oil/minerals and fishing IIRC). It relies on open borders with the EU, and Sweden. It isn’t even part of the EU. Germany being the largest economy in the EU could freeze Norway out of the EU’s internal market. 80 years ago, Germany would have responded militarily — taking control of Norway’s oil fields in retribution. The fact they just put up with it is quite extraordinary.

      If you were an average German, working say at BASF, you lost your job, and you saw this loss of sovereignty, where your weak leaders just let a tiny “ally” screw your future, what would you do? This is playing with fire, given that we’re talking of a country that was convinced by the Nazis that World War 1 was lost due to a stab in the back by its own military leaders. What is Scholtz’s and Baerbock’s role this time? Certainly the notion that “pooling sovereignty gives European countries more power on the world stage” must now have become suspect to most Europeans. Such a German worker would probably vote AFD, and throw the incompetent globalists out, at the very least.

      We may end up living in very interesting times indeed. The EU and NATO may prove to have a very short remaining shelf-life.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > I looked at the German media after this broke. They were all focusing on some nonsense about Putin being responsible for MH17’s take down

        I just checked Der Spiegel and Deutsche Welle. Nothing. Wartime censorship. Makes you wonder what would happen if a war were actually declared.

        1. JustTheFacts

          ZDF’s take seems to be to bury the story mentioning it at the end, to spend the middle of the story to claim that no one knows yet and that it is still quite possible that Russia is the culprit, to reassure the public that the process being followed is quite normal (although that’s been questioned by die Linke), and then to discredit Hersh. It looks like they can’t just censor it, so they’re doing the next best thing: minimizing its importance, and creating uncertainty and doubt.

        2. Futility

          It’s on Spiegel now. Hersh is framed as a “controversial” reporter who long time ago broke relevant stories, like My Lai or Abu Ghuraib, but lately only published stories of dubious provenence in little known papers about the poison attack on Ghouta or the Skripals that were supposedly debunked by the Guardian and, wait for it, Belingcat, which is, of course, an investigative power house.
          And they complain that it has just one source, but the Spiegel is, naturally, never shy to publish stuff from only one anonymous government source. Funny that.

      2. tindrum

        Many germans are actually now so brainwashed that they will see the destruction of the pipelines as a positive event that was required to help defeat the evil Putin who, left uncontrolled, will march through Europe killing all in his path. Honestly, the situation here is ridiculous. Even if concrete proof comes out that Scholtz knew and that the US did it, I doubt whether there would be any short term consequences. Maybe in the future when sanity returns, if sanity returns…(sanity clause? sanity clause? there is no sanityclause).

        1. Futility

          Yeah, that is on full display in The Spiegel ‘s comment section. Just suggesting that there might be some truth to the story gets one immediately relegated into the Russian troll camp.
          I also encounter quite a few people there who seem convinced that if Ukraine doesn’t stop Putin he will march unimpeded straight to Portugal. How this notion is congruent with the supposed inferiority of the Russian army which is about to lose any day now is never explained. A lot of people here are thoroughly brainwashed.

      3. Whiteylockmandoubled

        It may be fun to write about how German workers might get mad at weak German leaders
        For letting a tiny ally do this, but Norway didn’t “do” this. The US did with Norwegian help.

        It would be wild to see Germans take political action on a scale large and powerful enough to force their government to sanction the actual perps. Not holding my breath, although it would be darkly amusing to watch people get arrested because criticizing US covert sabotage is genocide denial.

        1. JustTheFacts

          Well yes, retaliating against the US is off the cards, particularly since the US still has bases there, and has a history of erratic behavior.

          Having a pipsqueak like Norway behave with so little respect towards Europe’s economic engine is another story. That is shocking, and I think it could cause a long term change in Germany’s views towards the EU and integration.

          This may not sound important, but the EU put a lot of effort into making Europeans think integration would be a good thing. Not just propaganda but projects to work together, and exchange programs such as the ERASMUS program.

      4. Richard

        “If you were an average German, working say at BASF, you lost your job, and you saw this loss of sovereignty, where your weak leaders just let a tiny “ally” screw your future, what would you do?”

        Emigrate. The Germans are a beaten people.

        1. Felix_47

          BASF is building a 2 billion dollar chemical plant near Shanghai. Something like 45,000 workers are either being transferred (meaning other people will not be hired) or laid off. Bosch in our area is essentially kaput forever. Habeck, our childrens book author now energy minister, is happy because less industry means less need for energy. He touts the dropping energy use. I guess the Greens are happy because energy use is down and those emigrating are not their voting base anyway. Their base is among the non working, migrants and poor mixed with the PMC class with government jobs, law, medicine and finance just as the democratic coalition in the US. Recent polls, however, AFD, constantly demonized by the Lugenpress because of their stance on open borders, within one point of the Greens.

          1. Futility

            There’s something seriously wrong when a party like the AfD, which is a neoliberal, Nazi adjacent astroturf group, are almost alone (the other ones being parts of the Linken) in promoting peace negotiations. The media portrays all of them as obviously crazy Putin stooges. Without NC I would surely lose my mind.

  16. Duke of Prunes

    No mention of this story on the headlines intro to the national ABC “scary news”. Hard to believe it is being ignored (not). Too much still to cover about that Chinese Spy Balloon!

    1. ThirtyOne

      Saw a short acknowledgement of the Hersh piece on Faux News a few minutes ago. Promise of follow-up report.

    2. Cat Burglar

      The Guardian still maintains radio silence. Perhaps Viner is consulting the powers. Silence will work for a little while.

    3. pjay

      Nothing on NBC either. It has appeared on some mainstream websites. As Lambert notes, when this occurs it is usually undermined by noting the “controversial” nature of Hersh’s work in recent years. That crazy old codger!

    4. petal

      DM had it right near the top this afternoon but has since buried it. Was hard to find just now. Had to scroll way, way down. And it seems to be a different one from what was there this afternoon, only 12 comments now.

    5. Cat Burglar

      The Tass story contains a wicked quote from Hersh — “I am sure that some of the White House would have liked Mr. Burns to do the denial.” Is Burns refusing to do it? Did Burns oppose the attack? Hersh reaches into his bag of tricks.

    6. ChrisPacific

      I did a quick search for it and it seems to be gaining more traction than his previous pieces did. The White House and Russia have both commented (the White House to deny it, Russia to summarize it and demand that ‘facts’ be explained) and media outlets seem to regard both of those as fair game for reporting even if they won’t reference the original.

      So far the Times looks like the only one to have covered Hersh’s allegations directly, and linked to his story (edit: also the New York Post).

  17. Aumua

    I mean, I’m sure we all know that something like this is the truth, but still I really want to see a smoking gun, or at least a little more than ‘some guy said so’.

    1. Cat Burglar

      Right, a single anonymous source is a shaky case, even if it seems likely.

      But hard evidence is out there — the US and nations in the area of the attack have it. Even if you rely on fairly dated public sources like Bamford’s The Puzzle Palace, it is clear that they have the technical means that recorded who did it. If the US is innocent, they can just give us the evidence showing who really did it. If nobody comes forth…well…

      1. Yves Smith

        To put this another way, the Baltic Sea is a NATO lake. It is inconceivable the bombs were planted without the US at a minimum consenting to the operation. So the question is not of US participation but how active a role it played.

        1. Basil Pesto

          I think this is it. The idea that it was Russia still seems self-evidently silly. Which pretty much means the US or a European country.

          The single source thing is a valid concern from a purely epistemological point of view. One can trust Hersh, and I largely do, but keep in mind his source will more likely be someone from the American ~Intelligence Community~, and while Hersh might trust the source (and presumably dug around beyond what he was told by the source) it’s not unreasonable to have questions about that sources intentions, motivations etc. There’s no certainty here, which is always annoying. But between “boy this is a real gosh darn head scratcher of a mystery that I guess we’ll never get to the bottom of (until it’s declassified in 60 years time when you and I will probably be dead and no one cares anymore)” and “yeah it was Poland”, this is, I think, the most plausible story we have so far, and might ever have, unless and until more sources are willing to come forward to credible journalists, even anonymously.

  18. djrichard

    I’ve been trying to become a paid subscriber to Hersh’s substack and I keep getting the error below. Anybody else experiencing this? I’m wondering if there’s a block by the payment processor (Stripe) on Hersh’s substack account.

    This Connect account cannot currently make live charges. The `requirements.disabled_reason` property on the account will provide information about why this account is currently disabled. If you are a customer trying to make a purchase, please contact the owner of this site. Your transaction has not been processed.

    1. WhoaMolly

      I subscribed easily a few minutes after the story broke. Probably overloaded system.

      Or someone is hampering the system. Hampering would be incredibly stupid. Doing so would seem to lend credence to story.

  19. Rip Van Winkle

    The MonkeyWerks tracking in the vicinity running up to the incident was enough evidence tor me.

    Don’t have to be Barton Keys to figure this one out. But lead planning may have been done by the James Bond script writers at MI6, per Luongo.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Software failure on the device strapped to the C4? But when it did not go off, then certainly a team was sent down to retrieve that package and the C4 in case it was found. Maybe under the guise of a team sent down to ‘inspect’ it.

      1. tegnost

        That’s likely…
        but you can’t discount the possibility that the plan was after russia collapsed then there’s still a pipe that the westerns don’t have to build.
        I’m 50-50 on this

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > when it did not go off, then certainly a team was sent down to retrieve that package and the C4 in case it was found. Maybe under the guise of a team sent down to ‘inspect’ it.

        Interesting, and one might wonder if they left traces or witnesses. Certainly the spooks gamed out this contingency.

    2. IanB

      I recall reading that one of the pipelines was damaged in two locations. So maybe one pipeline was mined twice by accident, and the other in the pair inadvertently left alone?

  20. Karl

    John Helmer[2] notes that both Blinken and Nuland, along with our future NATO Secretary General, Chrystia Freedland, are Ukrainian.

    Surely this cabal of Ukrainians can’t just stand aside and watch the old country and its gallant soldiers bleed for naught. Surely their love of Ukraine is such that they will stop at nothing–not blowing up Nordstream or even use of nukes — to free Ukraine from the Russians!

    So, now we must ask: what are they plotting now?

    1. britzklieg

      and surprise, surprise…

      Matt Duss, Bernie’s foreign policy advisor, is also of Ukrainian descent:

      Duss was born in Nyack, New York. His mother was a nurse and his father, a journalist, was born in a Ukrainian kulak family and immigrated to the United States at age 2. Duss grew up in the evangelical church where there was “a very strong emphasis in my home on modeling Christ to the world through kindness and care for others.”

      Sanders’ unprincipled support for the Russiagate farce (and the even more absurd Guaido presidency) did not come out of nowhere.

    2. Kouros

      My problem with them is not their nationalism, but the fact that they want to make everyone Ukrainian there, be they Russians, Hungarians, Romanians, etc… By any means. But these new Ukrainians, to pass the test, MUST hate Russia…

  21. Gulag

    It is also of note that Jeff Gerth and Seymour Hersh go way back.

    Hersh stated in his 2018 book “Reporter a Memoir” that it was Gerth who he hired to help him with the legwork for a series of articles on Sidney Korshak the famous lawyer and mob fixer from Chicago. Hersh states, that at that time Gerth was then a graduate school dropout from Columbia University with in-depth knowledge about organized crime.

    “I went looking for Gerth and found him playing the piano in the middle of a sunny afternoon in Berkeley California and realized within a few minutes that the kid had it. He was a lot younger than I was, unattached, and totally sure of himself when it came to facts about organized crime. I hired him and off we went. We were both losers, and we both wanted to get thinks right the first time. Within a few weeks we had tracked down a highly secret FBI file on Korshak that told how he had morphed from a small-town lawyer and fixer in Chicago in the 1930s into a big-time lawyer and union-fixer in Los Angeles, who was socializing a few decades later with Lew Wasserman, a leading theatrical agent in Hollywood and the leadership of the Democratic Party. Korshak could stop a Teamster strike on a Hollywood set with a telephone call…”

    Hersh also stated in the acknowledgement section of his book that: “I apologize for the fact that only a few of my sources over fifty years in the business are named, but that it a necessity when one is focused on secret operations and secret lies. Of course every senior journalist in the profession understands the dilemma.”

  22. junkelly

    When the story first broke in the middle of the day I checked google news and it was the top story. There were five or so headlines, all condescending or denialist. None mentioned Hersh by name and at least two used the word ‘blog’ with negative connotations.

    I checked google news just now and it’s nowhere on the front page.

  23. Alphonse LaRue

    Why would the deep state destroy the pipeline for a famous Seattle clothing store? Don’t we have enough problems in the supply chain already? Nordstrom has been an institution in Seattle and nationally for decades. Biden and Blinken both look like they buy their suits there! What does NATO gain by destroying this legendary institution of haute couture? Unless they’re secretly investing in Macy’s, Kohl’s, Target, Dillard’s, Nieman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, T.J. Maxx, or JC Penney, I suppose. Then I could see it. Otherwise, it’s just another exercise in needless destruction, like the war in Ukraine. I don’t get it. I really don’t. It’s moronic, which I know all about.

    1. tegnost

      Adding to the perplexity, had the j6 disruptors tried to impede commerce at the nordstrom, or it’s number 2 outlet the rack in downtown seattle, they would have been kettled and dispersed before causing havoc on the hallowed grounds…

      1. Alphonse LaRue

        Was it Nordstrom 2 — the Rack on Pine Street in downtown Seattle — that NATO took out? I’ve been by there a few times in the last couple of months and I don’t see anything out of the ordinary. It’s just the same old fentanyl addicts, petty criminals, Amazon screen serfs, and such out on the street in front. They didn’t take out anything there, man, other than the usual remaindered threads that they can’t dump on unsuspecting rubes even there. Those they take out in back.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      the deep state

      The article notes it was Biden giving orders. Nuland was along, but elements of the CIA and State warned against it. They know the best case scenario might win this one, but the truth will destroy anti-Chinese efforts. This was people like Blinken and Nuland with proper political aspirations in addition to Biden. They were worried about a wishy washy Germany, and without a “united Europe” to boost morale, its going to get harder to con Ukranian conscripts into walking into an artillery barrage.

      The plan was for the Russian economy to collapse and the oligarchs to remove Putin (projection on the part of Biden who launched his presidential bid at the home of the ceo of comcast). When this didn’t happen, Biden likely panicked. “The World” has been reduced to the G7 and Euro-micro states pretty quickly.

      The Pentagon simply followed orders and wasn’t at risk of a televised embarrassment.

      Until this I had assumed it was the Deep State conducting rogue actions or the UK. This was Biden.

      1. Daniil Adamov

        “The plan was for the Russian economy to collapse and the oligarchs to remove Putin (projection on the part of Biden who launched his presidential bid at the home of the ceo of comcast). When this didn’t happen, Biden likely panicked.”

        Well, Putin was himself enthroned by oligarchs, back in the day. (Berezovsky in particular played a key role in the Yeltsin’s successor plan, if memory serves.) Of course he got out of their control pretty quickly and the idea that the whipped ones will be able to reverse it at this late hour is ludicrous. So ludicrous, in fact, that I have trouble believing this is what the Americans actually intended with their sanctions, as opposed to just causing economic damage (done but to far less effect than initially predicted by economists globally and in Russia) and maybe beating their “allies” into line (which goal destroying Nordstream also serves).

        1. magpie

          Can anyone recommend an objective Putin bio? I’m really interested in his early days and ascent. Most of the stuff at the bookstore looks like junk.

          Many thanks

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            an objective Putin bio

            In general, these things don’t exist, and a few of the people who have been around the longest are still there. Lavrov is still working, and he was the Soviet ambassador to the UN.

            The wiki is usually where to start. Dates tend not to lie. He’s too current to have much. Medvedev is obviously still active.

  24. Lex

    Thanks for the summary, lambert.

    Of the competing stories I think Hersh’s has the most legs based on capability of actors. Neither the Poles nor the Brits could do it without US help or at least allowance. The poles would have to very seriously consider potential blowback. Joe and his merry band of neocons are dumb and crazy enough to do it. But I would expect the Brits to be somehow, at least tangentially, involved.

    The accusations that Russia did it have been feeble and halfhearted, while it’s generally accepted that a state actor did it. Combined with the bragging from the US, it might be the worst kept secret ever. Nobody even bothered to manufacture evidence against Russia.

    The long term consequences are staggering. Combined with Bennet’s recent interview we must conclude that Joe Biden intent on war with Russia and is off his [family blogging] rocker.

  25. Keith Howard

    A commenter on Larry Johnson’s blog post hailing the Sy Hersh article adds this UTube link, which the commenter says substantiates part of what Hersh details. The relevant stuff starts at about 2:50 minutes in. It does sound like it, although this is fairly raw material, from a whistle-blower purporting to be from a foreign military.

      1. begob

        He reads a letter from a European sailor claiming to have been part of the Baltops exercise, who witnessed some hairy divers aboard a US vessel that veered 2 km out of the appointed course; the divers spent 6 hours underwater. Plenty of detail. The timestamp on the link above starts way after the OP’s 2:50.

  26. AG

    only one critical question:

    Would Hersh have published 20 years ago as an active with only ONE source in his piece? (it´s only one right?)

    Usually TWO independent sources are required for publishing.

    At least with old school muckracking.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Likely he has other sources but would only ever reveal them in front of a Congressional committee to protect them. You think that Congress will want to hear from them? You see Congress setting up a committee to investigate the US government blowing up the infrastructure of a major ally like Germany? Right now you have countries running interference on this story by saying that Putin personally supplied the missiles that shot down MH17 but, unfortunately, Putin as the leader of a country has immunity. And Australia’s PM Albo from Marketing is pushing that narrative for example on TV as I write this. it’s disgusting.

        1. Whiteylockmandoubled

          Yes. And if Hersh had another source, he almost certainly would have said so. The lede would have mentioned multiple sources, even if anonymous, and he would have indicated which portions of the story had been confirmed with other sources.

          Single anonymous sources are really risky. Given the level of specificity, the extreme secrecy surrounding the operation and the degree of risk to the source and general admission against interest, it was a risk worth taking.

          There are important parts of the story where Hersh is unnecessarily captive of his source’s analysis – as opposed to factual descriptions – but it’s a good piece of reporting.

    2. Stephen

      I guess it depends on the credibility of the source. But since he cannot reveal that we simply do not know. The circumstantial evidence seems very strong though.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Usually TWO independent sources are required for publishing.

      Well, this is Substack now, for good or ill.

      That said, my theory is that he hopes to shake other sources loose. After all, this source seems pretty well-placed. Hence, the source is a member of a faction that opposes the Ukraine war (though possibly to go to war with China, so no candidates for sainthood here). Hence, other members of that faction might try to put the boot in. Let’s wait and see.

      1. AG

        yeah thx.

        For everyone else it´s a Catch 22.
        Pull out of Ukraine makes a China scenario more likely.

        German Left delegate Sevim Dagdelen is responsible for foreign affairs in the Bundestag. She says wherever there is an intern. meeting with Americans involved they know only one real subject, China.

        No one cares about Russia. To say it pointedly.

        no sense tea-leaf reading (learned that from Yves!). So yes, wait and see.

    4. PlutoniumKun

      His autobiography (a terrific read) goes into some details on his methodology, which includes how he checks on on the veracity of single sources. A single source can hold up if there is some sort of corroborating evidence.

      But my guess is that while he may have been talking to just one person, he saw evidence that the leak was at least partially authorised by one faction or another within Washington. Hersh would still have enough contacts to know the difference between some narcissist trying to make themselves look important and someone who is spilling the beans for some specific reasons (probably an internal turf fight).

      On twitter some are speculating that it is an anti-Nuland/neocon faction within the Blob (i.e. a realist faction of one form or other).

      1. Basil Pesto

        My assumption was (and is) just that the source is a high ranking old-timer with R allegiances who wants to make the current Dem regime look bad. Which is fine, and there’s never going to be a “perfect source” who everyone will like and can get behind for any story like this. But to have a measure of trust in a story like this you need to in turn trust the journalist. There aren’t many more out there that I find more trustworthy than Hersh, though of course that doesn’t mean he is infallible.

        Unfortunately too much discussion of the story (elsewhere, not here) has been not just the ad hom against him, but a focus on a pro-hominem gilding of “the Hersh Brand” – sort of a pre-emptive response to the ad hom – rather than much in the way of a substantive critical reading, or even just an attempt at one, of the piece itself. Too much gilding of the substack brand too, which I take a dim view of as it’s not a company I hold in terribly high regard (not, I should emphasise, because the platform hosts a lot of dross, because that is true of all platforms).

  27. Matthew G. Saroff

    I have some rules that I live by:

    * Don’t tug on Superman’s Cape.

    * Don’t French kiss cobras.

    * Never get involved in a land war in Asia.

    * Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people

    * Do not bet against Sy Hersch’s reporting.

    I’m inclined to believe this.

  28. Stephen

    A very interesting read and, as ever, a great piece of analytics by Lambert. The sole source dimension is clearly relevant, although this is not the sort of thing where one would expect some massive group of informers!

    It rings true. If we compare this to a crime investigation, we already had motive, intent, a threat and expression of after the event satisfaction. We now we have a plausible story for how it happened. We are missing forensics or the culprits being nabbed in the act but we probably have enough for a common law civil court to find for the plaintiff on balance of probabilities. Not enough for a criminal court, I guess.

    The fact that no one is seriously accusing Russia now sums it all up too.

    Who else did it? Martians? Maybe it was Spectre?

    I guess we should expect MH17 to get talked up again as a way to create a smoke screen of Russia as a bad actor. However, that has plenty intrigue around it too and the received western narrative feels false. But I have not dug into it very much.

    In the short term this was a “success” for US / Norwegian statecraft. If they did it, as the article states. In the long run, it will not be. These things rarely are. Eventually, a group of German politicians who are not paid up US employees is bound to emerge. Plenty of ammunition to fuel hatred of the U.S. Sadly.

    History will no doubt marvel at how US and broader western security policy has become dominated by a very monist view of Ukrainian nationalism that came to the fore after Maidan and which is anchored on pure hatred of Russia. I guess it has been a two way process: the west supported extreme Ukrainian nationalism to use against Russia rather than the more pluralist variety that looked east and west. The interaction has then aggravated the Russophobic tendency on both sides.

    US policy itself being controlled by American Ukrainians / American Poles has then not exactly helped. I can understand why such people may hate Russia, although not condone it. My own paternal family history is Irish Catholic and I can see why many Irish expatriates may hate the U.K., although many modern “English” people themselves have plenty of Irish blood! Ditto Indians, for example. Such ancestral hatred is something we ought to overcome though; not drive foreign policy from it.

    Luckily I am not in the U.K. these weeks and missed all the Zelensky pageant in London apart from a couple of sound bites. We are still good at one thing: we can put on nice displays. Even the king played his part in the production, it seems.

    1. Acacia

      If you dig into the MH17 story, it stinks bad very quickly. YMMV, but my conclusion was that the Ukrainians probably shot it down with a fighter plane and then tried to pin the blame on the Russians.

      Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

  29. CoryP

    I hope this comment isn’t too snarky but I find it funny that Mark Ames is used as the example tweet.

    As soon as I heard of the Hersh story I immediately thought of him as the main example of someone who took the idea of Russian culpability seriously. Oh well I still listen to them.

  30. Willow

    Article was a bit odd. Not much that we didn’t already know. Came across as a hit job. One hand of the DS getting pissed at the other hand?

    1. Quentin

      No. There was a lot we did not specifically ‘know’. A hit job is an entirely different sort of beast. After all, Joe is just a goofy kind of working class guy from Pittsburgh. Sure.

  31. Ignacio

    Back in September I argued this could be have been done by a group of freaks “rogue actors” within the US State. By Hersh’s account It was not totally misguided though I didn’t expect Biden could be the freakiest in the group. Now that I think it, it is not surprising if the old guy has let aside responsibilities as a Head of State, common sense etc. He has been implicated in all this from the very beginning and probably sees the conflict as a legacy he didn’t want to skip before the end.

    1. Lex

      I’m convinced that this is why Joe ran for office. And he’s always been this way. He’s not smart or honest. He has always been a violent bully and a warmonger. He’s also a raging narcissist. He believes he gain his deserved historical glory by defeating Russia. He thought it would be easy because he’s not smart or honest. That it hasn’t been has made him angry, which he acts on. But again we’re confronted with him not being smart. So he does big picture stupid stuff in grasping at the legacy he thinks he deserves.

      1. Samuel Conner

        perhaps this is what happens at the intersection of narcissism, cognitive decline, and power

    2. Whiteylockmandoubled

      Hersh describes the exact opposite of rogue actors. The duly elected President of the United States and his closest advisors decided to do this and keep it secret. The operation was overseen by a multi-agency group. The White House even ordered a huge last minute change in the timing of the explosion and thus the technology necessary.

      This is an example of the smooth functioning of Our Democracy. That Our Democracy consistently yields freaks in office or that Our Democracy is itself a rogue actor among nations is another matter.

    3. David in Santa Cruz

      C’mon, man! This is Delaware omertà — Joe Biden has had his sights on the Nordstreams since he was Obama’s V.P.

      We know for a fact that Joe Biden was on the take from the “Ukrainian” natural gas oligarchy through Hunter’s Burisma board seat and that countless Delaware-registered corporations will benefit from cutting-off the EU from Russian gas — When Joe Biden gets bought, Joe Biden stays bought!

  32. Stephen

    A thought. A slightly ironic one.

    Maybe the actual detail on what happened here is not 100% correct. Possible.

    So, will western groups who feel they “contributed” but are left out now feel the urge to “spill the beans”.

    For example, did the British SBS play a role? Will some of them now be upset that some USN guys in Panama City get the “credit”?

    This could be an “Article Provocateur” to smoke everyone else out. They cannot resist. Let’s see….

    This story might have a ways to go.

  33. jan

    “The least glamorous of all is mine warfare. Its divers never appear in Hollywood movies, or on the cover of popular magazines.”

    But we did have this movie:

    Men of Honor
    The story of Carl Brashear, the first African-American U.S. Navy Diver, and the man who trained him.

  34. Wukchumni

    Oh, Vladdy boy, the pipes, the pipes are leaking
    From 1 to 2, and down below the Baltic wide
    The moment’s gone, some might claim a Rubicon
    It’s you, it’s you who must go to allow Europe to abide

    But come ye back when Ukraine is in the rear view mirror
    Or when the battlefields hushed and white with snow
    It’s Germany who’ll exist in the cold shadow of winter
    Oh, Vladdy boy, oh Vladdy boy, the west loathes you so

    But when ye come, and all the flowers of capitalism are dying
    If it is dead, as dead it well may be
    You’ll come and find the place where they are lying
    And kneel and say an Ave there for thee
    And they shall hear, though soft with threat seen
    And all the grave warnings, given by he
    For Europe will bend and tell him please supply me
    And capitalism shall rest in peace for the big sleep

    Eva Cassidy – Danny Boy

  35. Cetra Ess

    If the WH, CIA and Pentagon deny Hersh’s version then does this mean they know what actually happened? So for instance, the CIA officially saying it is “completely and utterly false”, so they are saying all parts of the story are not true, including remote detonation, and they know this because…? Has anyone asked the WH CIA and Pentagon point blank if the US was responsible?

    1. hunkerdown

      No, they’re creating reality. Juridically, as they do.

      It is an error to treat institutions or their representatives as if they were not trying to lie a new reality into existence.

    2. Kilgore Trout

      Alexander Mercouris in a recent broadcast, noted that denials have only come from low-level sources in the US gov, and that for higher-ups to comment on or deny might open them up to later perjury charges if ever called to testify. As noted above, Mercouris isn’t at his best understanding US political dynamics, but it’s at least a plausible explanation, beyond hoping the story just dies. Which it well might, if the compliant media does its job. Now: on to the Stupor Bowl.

  36. Ergo Sum

    Two different, alleged ways NS 1, 2 pipelines destroyed; one is the BALTOPS and the other is the Polish Navy submarine. Maybe it had been just one, BALTOPS that included planting and remotely trigger the explosive; the Polish Navy was the backup plan, if the sonar buoy could not trigger the explosive.

    It doesn’t really matter at this point, even if we get to know exactly who did what. Russia may do something similar to the US/EU in the near future, but it’s doubtful. It’s pretty much business as usual, some noise here and there, but it’ll be forgotten in couple of weeks.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The President of the United States attacked an ally. A trumped up Euro microstate like Poland isn’t an entirely different matter. China has been eating our lunch in world trade. Even part of the effort to defenestrate Russia is meant to keep it from being a go between for China and smaller countries or aligning with Germany to keep US hegemony.

      The US is asking for donations from the Global South. They weren’t getting anywhere, but when its time to bid for contracts, who is going to want a US company to set up operations when there are so many other alternatives?

  37. NotTimothyGeithner

    Yeesh, I just realized the balloon farce was so this wouldn’t hit while Blinken was in China.

  38. LawnDart

    In France, they explained why the media are silent about Hersh’s article about Nord Streams

    French politician Philippot condemned the media for keeping silent about Hersh’s article about Nord Streams

    MOSCOW, February 9-RIA Novosti. European media do not cover the investigation of American journalist Seymour Hersh about Washington’s involvement in the undermining of the Nord Stream pipelines, as they do not want to admit their dependence on the United States and fabricating data about the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, said French politician and leader of the Patriots party Florian Philippot.

    “Now it is proved that the Americans sabotaged NordStream gas pipelines with the complicity of the Norwegians competing with the Russians in gas: not a word in the media! Nothing! Obviously, because it would expose our complete submission and 100% false narrative of the conflict! ” he wrote on Twitter.

    RIA, via Yandex (Skynet prohibited links).

    It may be a relatively quiet story in the west, but headlines in Russian media include:

    •How the White House prepared a terrorist attack onNord Stream
    •The expert revealed when the United States will admit to the terrorist attack on…
    •How the US blewup Nord Stream. – DISCRED.RU
    •The US blew up the “streams”: what is important to know about the investigation…
    • Journalist Hersh: Biden broke the law in preparation…


    “We will not answer?”: the Germans appreciated the investigation of the explosion of the “Nord Streams” by the United States and Norway

    “Apparently, it didn’t work out to make Putin look guilty in this story,” writes Hanspeter Klett on Facebook (the social network is banned in the Russian Federation).

    “If Hersh had written that the Russians did it, I think it would have been presented as irrefutable evidence,” says Jürgen Schwimmbeck.

    “Someone who lied once, like before the Iraq War, can no longer be trusted. And the question is who benefits from this. Of course, the United States-it is easy to imagine that they had a bloody hand in this, ” writes Achim Landmann.

    “What will be the consequences? Sanctions against America? Sanctions against Norway? What is our government going to do? Sit and be silent? It won’t work, because people can see who exactly wants to hurt us,” says Michael Huber.

    “This is yet another US provocation against Russia at the expense of the Germans and other Europeans. No one here cares. We pay and keep silent, ” says Christian Langner.

    “As if they could admit it. And if there was even the slightest piece of evidence to blame Moscow, we’d have countless specials, funny talk shows, and embargoes. By the way, does everyone remember the Washington old man’s speech about this? ” notes Thorsten Heidenreich.

    “America is too afraid of combining German technologies with Russian natural resources,” says Veno Wendl van Nossen.

    rueconomics [dot “arrr you”]

  39. digi_owl

    If the Norwegian angle is true, it feeds my worry that there is a School of Americas situation going on inside the security apparatus.

    At times it feels like PST (the civilian intelligence service) and military intelligence are stuck seeing the world as it was during the cold war.

    Claiming that Norway hates Russia is bold to put it mildly. But then sometimes it seems like Kirkenes and Oslo may well be in two different worlds when it comes to their opinions on Russia.

    If not for the NG angle, and from local sources that seems to be heating up massively right now, i’d say the description would better fit Poland or such.

    And if this was known and approved at the highest level because of the blasted petroleum earnings, i’d love to see every last platform sink beneath the waves. Blasted industry has been a pox on the nation from the start.

  40. Grebo

    The letter read by John Mark Dougan in the video linked by Keith Howard above is most interesting.

    Six hours at depth seems scarcely credible to me but not quite impossible. Another detail which divers might find implausible is the facial hair, however the gear described includes a full helmet not a mask and regulator. Here is some info on the MK29 rebreather. Panama City again.

    1. Sibiryak

      And this beauty in the text:

      In recent decades, [Hersh] has come under criticism by those who call it poorly-sourced, conspiratorial, and over-reliant on anonymous sources. The open-source investigative outlet Bellingcat was deeply critical of his reporting on chemical attacks in Syria…

  41. elkern

    If Hersh’s story is even vaguely accurate, then the key to unravelling it is in Norway.

    Perhaps my rosy view of Norwegian politics is out of date, but won’t the Storting investigate this? I can believe that there are factions within Norway who were/are glad to cooperate with USA on this, but there must be other factions who would be appalled that the Government went so far as to commit an Act of War – against both Russia *and* Germany.

    The stated & implied motives for Norwegian cooperation are (1) hatred/fear of Russia, and (2) greed for higher revenue from NatGas exports to EU. Reason #1 would have to be combined with a huge dose of stupidity to make the attack a good idea (there has to be a good Norske saying like “don’t poke the Bear”). In a “normal” Western country, Reason #2 would create a powerful Lobby in favor of the attack, but that seems less plausible in Norway (Gov’t owns the Gas industry?). I suppose that [almost] every Norwegian might benefit from increased revenue, but I can’t imagine that many would consider the reward to be worth the risk.

    Did Norwegian Military and Government officials just get caught up in the excitement of the whole thing, and completely ignore the possibility that their complicity might ever be discovered or exposed?

    More to the point: will the Norwegian people – presumably via their Storting – demand full investigation of this?

    (I’m hoping that there are NC readers here who know more about modern Norwegian politics than I do, who can give odds on this?)

      1. dommage

        What are my old friends in Rødt saying now? They have 8 seats in Storting, and polls were showing them at over ten percent. They were always anti-NATO, though I saw their younger leaders had swallowed the coolaid on the war in the Ukraine. I can only imagine what my deceased comrade Tron Øgrim would be saying right now.

        1. digi_owl

          Thus far very little from that party, as best i can tell.

          Also, that was a name i never expected to see mentioned on a blog like this.

          And yeah, that is a voice that is dearly missed (first encountered him in relation to computer tech and its potential influences on society).

  42. AG

    my guess:

    US did not announce anything to Berlin. Only hinted vaguely weeks before via diplomat.

    And then carried it out cold-blooded as they do.
    “The details on the “how” figure out for yourselves, dear Germans. But we give you the finger.”

    Same thing as with NSA bugging Merkel.

  43. Adrian D.

    The more I read & think about Seymour Hersh’s story the more it troubles me. A few years back, when I had more time to do it justice, I wrote a few pieces on the alleged use of chemical weapons in the (dirty) war in Syria (you can still fine these on under the name Adrian Kent if you’re interested).

    I remember well when he posted about the 2017 Khan Sheikhoun alleged sarin attack. There was quite a kerfuffle when such an esteemed journalist published on a matter that some of us had been diving deeply into for some time. His piece, in Die Welt, like his current NordStream piece leant heavily on the word of one or two anonymous sources. It involved one aspect of the KS story – that a Syrian jet had taken off on a specific mission over Khan Sheikhoun on the morning of the alleged attack. The Western narrative was that this sortie was out of the ordinary (this was probably true) and that it was carrying a sarin bomb that was dropped on a specific point in the town (this was bollocks).

    Hersh, with logs of US-Russian communications, showed that the US knew all about the flight and it’s rationale (to attack an assembly of nasty jihadis).

    The trouble was that certain aspects of his story – regarding the location & contents of the building attacked – by the Syrian were open to challenge – and Bellingcat duly downed-tools on their other shilly-projects and concentrated on doing so.

    There were plenty of other, and to my mind much more significant, reasons why the Khan Sheikhoun CW narrative was hogwash – not least the fact that radar traces showed the plane flew absolutely nowhere near the alleged bomb-impact site and the flight paths and altitudes simply made such a hit impossible (the gymnastics the ludicrously slanted Joint Investigation Mechanism of the OPCW later went through to conclude that it was “reasonable” were quite extraordinary).

    Now it seems that his Nordstream story may be doing the same thing. There are problems with his assessment of the legal machinations, the timings (the explosives could, and probably were, laid much later than he states) and the explosives themselves (we’d be talking huge amounts of work to get through the concrete that protects these pipelines – how much C4 are we talking about here?).

    None of this is to say that the Americans didn’t do it (FWIW I’ve long ago concluded that they did) – but we have to be care ful that the Hersh narrative doesn’t become THE alternative one here.

  44. s.n.

    Danmarks Radio [DR] [Danish State broadcasting], yesterday 11 AM

    On February 8, DR Nyheder wrote a news telegram stating that the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs called on the United States to respond to accusations made by American journalist Seymour Hersh, who claims in his blog that the United States was involved in the explosions on the gas pipelines Nord Stream 1 and 2 in the Baltic Sea .

    But Seymour Hersh’s post is based on one anonymous source, and no kind of documentation has been presented for the claim of American involvement in the explosions on Nord Stream 1 and 2, nor has it been possible to verify the information.

    Therefore, the telegram did not meet DR’s ethical guidelines, and it has therefore been removed.

    DR regrets.

    looks like they’re in it up to their eyeballs

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