Chris Lange, FISM News
U.S. Navy divers destroyed the Nord Stream pipelines with explosives at the behest of the Biden administration, setting up Russian President Vladimir Putin as the perfect fall guy, according to a stunning report by Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh.
The report has heightened already tense relations between the Kremlin and Washington, with Russia saying that those behind the attack should be punished. U.S. officials have said the report is “utterly false and complete fiction”.
While Russia was amassing troops at Ukraine’s border in December of 2021, the Biden administration was secretly devising a plan to destroy the pipelines, according to the report.
“Biden’s decision to sabotage the pipelines came after more than nine months of highly secret back and forth debate inside Washington’s national security community about how to best achieve that goal. For much of that time, the issue was not whether to do the mission, but how to get it done with no overt clue as to who was responsible,” Hersch wrote.
The subject reportedly came up during discussions on whether to impose additional sanctions on Russia or take more permanent action in response to its aggression toward Ukraine.
Russian energy giant Gazprom held majority control of the Nord Stream pipelines – through which cheap, natural gas flowed from Russia to Europe – and shared its profits with the Russian government. President Biden reportedly believed natural gas sales could be weaponized by Putin in pursuit of his military objectives in Ukraine. Hersh noted that “state gas and oil revenues were estimated in some years to amount to as much as 45 percent of Russia’s annual budget.”
“On February 7, nearly two weeks before the pending invasion, Biden, along with [U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs] Victoria Nuland, stated publicly that if Russia were to invade Ukraine, the Nord Stream pipelines would not move ahead,” Hersch continued. “For those planning the operation to sabotage those pipelines, this was something of an opportunity.”
It was U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan who allegedly devised the plot to destroy two of the Nord Stream pipelines, collectively referred to as Nord Stream 1.
“Many plans and schemes as to how to go about this were entertained, but as they developed, the winning plan involved the use of deep-sea Navy divers, divers who were not part of any special forces units, as the use of those units had to be cleared by Congress and plans briefed to the Gang of Eight,” Hersch wrote, adding: “This was not something Sullivan wanted to do.”
The dive teams reportedly received training on how to carry out the operation in Panama City, Florida. In June 2022, “operating under the cover of a widely publicized mid-summer NATO exercise known as BALTOPS 22,” these same divers allegedly “planted the remotely triggered explosives that, three months later, destroyed three of the four Nord Stream pipelines,” Hersch continued, citing “a source with direct knowledge of the operational planning.”
The U.S. team reportedly pulled this feat off with the help of the Norwegian Navy and Secret Service agency.
“The Norwegians located the ‘right spot’ for the explosives, and they also came up with the right time that would result in the least suspicion, which was during the BALTOPS 22. The explosives were planted, but it was determined by the White House that they should be detonated at a later date,” Hersch said.
Hersch’s source said that the operation was given the green light by CIA Director Bill Burns, who was quoted as saying ‘Just do it.”
Hersch explained in detail how the remote detonation of the pipelines was carried out.
“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.”
In the aftermath of the explosions, which caused the largest leak of methane gas ever recorded, the Biden administration accused Russia of committing the sabotage. Russia’s claim that the U.S. was, in fact, responsible was dismissed as Kremlin propaganda.
The day after the pipeline leaks were reported, Financial Times noted that the incident occurred on the same day that Norway announced the opening of a new gas pipeline to Poland touted as an alternative to Russian energy.
Prior to publishing the article, Hersch reached out to Adrienne Watson, a White House spokesperson, and Tammy Thorp, a spokesperson for the CIA, for comments. Watson called the story “false and complete fiction” in an emailed response, and Thorp wrote: “This claim is completely and utterly false.”
RUSSIA CALLS FOR INVESTIGATION, PUNISHMENT OF SABOTEURS
“The world must find out the truth about who carried out this act of sabotage,” Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Thursday, per Reuters.
“This is a very dangerous precedent: if someone did it once, they can do it again anywhere in the world,” he continued.
Peskov demanded “an open international investigation of this unprecedented attack on international critical infrastructure,” adding: “It is impossible to leave this without uncovering those responsible and punishing them.”
Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said there would be “consequences” for Washington, and said that they had always suspected that the U.S. and NATO were behind the explosions.
Vyacheslav Volodin, chairman of the Russian State Duma, or lower house of parliament, said the report should become the basis for an international investigation for “bringing Biden and his accomplices to justice”.
The United States should pay “compensation to countries affected by the terrorist attack”, Volodin added.
This article was partially informed by a Post Millennial report and Reuters.