Washington [US]February 11 (ANI): American investigative journalist and political writer Seymour Hersh claimed that the bombing of the Nord Stream undersea gas pipelines in September 2022 was carried out by the US in a covert operation, according to the results of his investigation published in Substack.
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Hersh noted that the decision to damage the pipelines came after more than nine months of top-secret debates within Washington’s intelligence community.
For most of this time, the question was not whether to carry out the operation but how to do it without tipping off the US government.
The White House’s primary goal was to prevent Moscow from significantly increasing its revenues while reducing Western Europe’s, particularly Germany’s, dependence on cheap Russian gas, Hersh said.
“On September 26, 2022, a Norwegian Navy P8 surveillance plane made an apparently routine flight and dropped a sonar buoy. The signal spread underwater, first to Nord Stream 2 and then on to Nord Stream 1. A few hours later, high-powered C4 explosives was triggered and three of the four pipelines were put out of service. Within minutes, pools of methane gas that remained in the closed pipelines could be seen spreading on the surface of the water and the world knew that something irreversible had taken place,” said Hersh.
In the immediate aftermath of the pipeline bombing, the US media treated it as an unsolved mystery. Russia was repeatedly cited as a likely perpetrator, spurred on by calculated leaks from the White House – but without ever establishing a clear motive for such an act of self-sabotage, beyond simple retaliation.
NATO and Washington saw Nord Stream 1 as problematic enough, but the completion of Nord Stream 2 in September 2021 further increased American concerns.
If approved by German regulators, it would double the flow of cheap gas to Germany and Western Europe, Hersh said.
Its capacity can accommodate more than fifty percent of the country’s annual use. The US saw Europe’s dependence on Russian gas as a risk to Ukraine’s support, as countries such as Germany could be reluctant to contribute the necessary funds and weapons.
However, US President Joe Biden’s administration has denied the allegations, calling the report “completely false and complete fiction”.
Last September, a series of leaks were reported in the Nord Stream and Nord Stream 2 pipelines, multi-billion dollar projects to transport natural gas from Russia to Germany through the Baltic Sea.
After an investigation, both Sweden and Denmark, in whose jurisdiction the leaks occurred, said the leaks happened because someone deliberately bombed the pipelines. However, they did not reveal who was responsible for the attack.
According to the report, which cites an anonymous source who had “direct knowledge of the operational planning,” with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine imminent in December 2021, President Biden began meeting with a newly formed task force, which included the Joint Chiefs of Staff for Ukraine , the CIA, and the Departments of State and Treasury.
Western media reports the explosion as a mystery. It has often identified Russia as the likely perpetrator, a claim the White House has backed. Moscow, on the other hand, focused on assessing the costs associated with pipeline restoration. After the Statens Säkerhetspolisen (Security Police) confirmed the sabotage in November, prosecutor Mats Ljungqvist reported on the discovery of explosive remnants at the blast site. Since then, however, no further information has been revealed.
Why Russia would want to damage its profitable gas pipelines was never clear. Perhaps only retribution is being offered for Western aid to Ukraine, but by preventing the lucrative sale of gas through Nord Stream, Moscow would mostly be punishing itself, Hersh asked.
According to Hersh, a more compelling reason was given by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. At a press conference last September, when Blinken was asked about the effects of the worsening energy crisis in Western Europe, he looked positively at this moment. He said it was a great opportunity to eliminate Russian energy dependence once and for all, thereby removing Vladimir Putin’s ability to use energy as a tool to advance his imperialist agenda.
The investigation into the sabotage of Nord Stream’s gas pipelines has not yet been completed and no new information has been published since the autumn of last year. (ANI)