Countercurrents | March 25, 2023
U.S. President Joe Biden ordered the sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines because he was unhappy with the level of support provided by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to Ukraine in its conflict with Russia, veteran investigative journalist Seymour Hersh has claimed.
Hersh first accused Washington of destroying the key European energy route in an article released in February, and made more allegations in an interview with the China Daily newspaper published on Friday.
“The [U.S.] president was afraid of Chancellor Scholz not wanting to put more guns and more arms [to Ukraine]. That is all. I do not know whether that it was anger or punishment, but the net effect is that it cut off a major power source through Western Europe,” Hersh claimed.
Despite attempts by the U.S. to deny its involvement in the Nord Stream attack, “Europe is in crisis now” and Biden will receive “a lot of criticism for what he did” in the coming months, the journalist argued.
The Pulitzer Prize winner alleged that “the people that were initially asked to do the job” of destroying the pipelines were contacted by U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan towards the end of 2021.
The initial purpose of mining Nord Stream 1 and 2, built to deliver Russian gas to Europe through Germany, was “to give the [U.S.] president an option to say [Russian] President Putin, ‘If you go to war [in Ukraine], we are going to destroy the pipelines,” Hersh claimed.
Biden himself publicly confirmed that stance but “unfortunately, those people in the Western press seemed to have forgotten,” the journalist stated.
Just under three weeks before the launch of Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine, Biden warned during a press conference on February 7 that “if Russia invades, there will be no longer be a Nord Stream 2. We will bring an end to it.”
According to Hersh, the U.S. leader decided to order the detonation of mines at the bottom of the Baltic Sea last September because the conflict “was not going great in Ukraine” from a U.S. perspective. There was “at best a stalemate” during that period, in what Hersh described as “the American war that President Biden was so eager to support.”
Danish Navy Present Near Nord Stream 2, Repots Media
The Royal Danish Navy is believed to be conducting a diving operation to the east of the island of Bornholm, not far from the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline damaged by a blast. Newspaper Berlingske reported on Tuesday that a Flyvefisken-class patrol vessel used by military divers had been seen there along with two other military ships. The Danish military confirmed its presence east of Bornholm but would not comment on the ships’ mission, Berlingske said.
Last week, Denmark’s Foreign Minister Lars Rasmussen announced that his government could corroborate a report by the Russian gas giant Gazprom, the operator of the undersea pipeline, about a strange object found near Nord Stream 2.
The company sent pictures of the item to Danish authorities, while the Russian government made a formal inquiry through its embassy, the minister said. Copenhagen treats the discovery seriously and will investigate further, Rasmussen pledged at the time.
The object was mentioned last week by Russian President Vladimir Putin in a TV interview. He said it was found during a Gazprom survey about 30 kilometers away from where the pipeline was breached. The device may be an antenna used in remotely detonating a charge, the president suggested, citing experts.
Moscow asked for permission to explore further, Putin added, necessary because the object is located in Denmark’s exclusive zone. Russia could organize a mission “on its own, jointly with [the Danes], or, better yet, with an international group of experts in explosives who are trained to work at such depth.”
Rasmussen said such permission would not be granted, triggering a rebuke from the Russian Foreign Ministry.
The sabotage of the two Nord Stream pipelines, which mostly run next to each other but divert a bit near Bornholm, involved explosions in two different general locations, one in Danish waters, the other in the Swedish zone. Three of the four strings comprising the key energy links were ruptured.
According to a report by veteran investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, the operation was ordered by U.S. President Joe Biden, with the militaries of the U.S. and Norway planting the charges. Both nations have denied any responsibility.