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Sy Hersh: American Sabotage
Consortium News, Feb 17 2023

The most accomplished investigative reporter of the past five decades was our guest on Friday, talking about his report on the covert US operation to blow up the pipelines bringing gas from Russia to Germany; the war in Ukraine, and the state of journalism. Investigative reporter Seymour Hersh says a friend has told him that all he’s done is to “deconstruct the obvious.” It was obvious because there was logically only one possible suspect for the destruction of three of the four major Nord Stream 1 & 2 pipelines under the Baltic Sea on Sep 26 last year. Biden, with Scholz by his side at a White House press conference, said in Feb 2022 that if Russia invades Ukraine “there will no longer be a Nord Stream 2. We will bring an end to it.” Asked by a reporter how the US could do that given that it was controlled by Germany, Biden said:

I promise you we will be able to do it.

In Jan 2022, Nuland said:

If Russia invades Ukraine, one way or another Nord Stream 2 will not move forward.

On the day of the explosion Radek Sikorski, a former Polish foreign minister and husband of the arch neoconservative writer Anne Applebaum, tweeted a photo of the explosion, writing:

Thank you, USA.

Four days after the explosion, which caused the largest emission of methane gas into the atmosphere in history, Blinken said:

It’s a tremendous opportunity to once and for all remove the dependence on Russian energy and thus to take away from Vladimir Putin the weaponization of energy as a means of advancing his imperial designs.

Earlier this month, Nuland told a US Senate hearing:

I am, and I think the administration is very gratified to know that Nord Stream 2 is a hunk of metal at the bottom of the sea.

Instead, the US blamed Moscow, saying it was weaponizing gas to gain leverage over Germany and other European countries dependent on cheap Russian gas. But all Russia had to do was turn off the valve, not destroy pipelines worth more than $11b that is 51% owned by Russian state-owned company Gazprom. The other 49% isowned by a consortium of German, Dutch and French companies. Russia has announced that it will repair the pipeline that the US says it blew up. The destruction of the pipelines opened financial opportunities for Norway. On the very next day it opened its own gas pipeline to Poland. Since the explosion, the US has increased much more expensive Liquified Natural Gas exports to Germany and other parts of Europe. Germany was 50% dependent on Russian gas and the sabotage has hurt German business and citizens, trying to heat their homes.

The obvious has become more concrete with the reporting of Sy Hersh, who has sketched out the details of how the US and Norway carried out the covert operation to destroy Nord Stream 1 & 2. The plan was cooked up in Sep 2021, according to Hersh, months before Russia entered the war in Ukraine, and planning continued throughout the period in which the US said it wanted to stop Russia’s intervention. Under cover of a NATO exercise in the Baltic Sea, US Navy divers out of Panama City, Florida planted C-4 explosives on the pipelines in Jun 2022. Hersh reports that Biden did not want the detonation to occur so soon after the exercise, fearing it would point to NATO’s guilt. Instead the explosives were set off on Sep 26 2022, when a Norwegian plane dropped a device into the sea that sent audio signals to set them off, according to Hersh, citing “a source with direct knowledge of the operational planning.” Hersh reports that the plot was driven by Nuland, Sullivan, Blinken and Biden himself. It was run by the CIA. The Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the State and Treasury Depts were also involved.

The US has been angry about Europe buying Russian gas since it began in 1973 under Willy Brandt’s Ostpolitik. Even before that, JFK got NATO to ban German exports of pipes to the Soviet Union. The US has for decades tried to stop Russian gas to Europe. So this would not be the first time the CIA led an operation to blow up a Russian pipeline. The WaPo reported in 2004:

In Jan 1982, Reagan approved a CIA plan to sabotage the economy of the Soviet Union through covert transfers of technology that contained hidden malfunctions, including software that later triggered a huge explosion in a Siberian natural gas pipeline, according to a new memoir by a Reagan White House official. Thomas C Reed, a former Air Force secretary who was serving in the NSC at the time, describes the episode in his memoir, At the Abyss: An Insider’s History of the Cold War. Reed writes that the pipeline explosion was just one example of “cold-eyed economic warfare” against the Soviet Union that the CIA carried out under Director Bill Casey during the final years of the Cold War. At the time, the US was attempting to block Western Europe from importing Soviet natural gas. There were also signs that the Soviets were trying to steal a wide variety of Western technology. Then, a KGB insider revealed the specific shopping list and the CIA slipped the flawed software to the Soviets in a way they would not detect it.

Sy Hersh brings a history of breaking some of the biggest stories in the annals of American journalism. Among his major scoops were the My Lai massacre in 1969, for which he won a Pulitzer; a 1974 exposure of CIA domestic spying on hundreds of thousands of US leftists and anti-war activists, which led to the Church Committee investigation of US intelligence abuses; and the torture at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq in 2004.

One Comment

  1. Rich
    Posted February 19, 2023 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

    Yet, Hersh hasn’t been jailed. And Seymour’s reputation continues to be burnished. Indeed Sy has been spared the very same treatment afforded Watada, England, Grainer, Kirakou, Ritter and Julian Assange.
    Hersh is a protected asset and he serves a purpose.

    Pay attention to Hersh’s “Chain of Command” and contrast the book’s content to his comments on the topic of torture during publisher’s promotional tour. Hersh made the case in his public comments that not only was torture justified, but that the medical personnel involved in prisoner rape, torture and murder added a patina of respectability to the conduct. That indeed the Geneva Conventions’ prohibitions and The Hippocratic Oath did not bind military medical personnel’s duty to defense of country/homeland. Seymour in doing so was either parroting or quoting the assertions made by Elspeth Ritchie, Rumsfeld, Tornberg, Don Arthur, Winkerwerder.

    It’s best to face the fact that Hersh cannot be trusted as anything but a self-promoting monster capable of nothing but contempt for the victims

    Take a moment to watch epilogue of “Wormwood” and Seymour Hersh’s contempt for Eric Olsonn and a son’s pursuit of answers, justice for his murdered father. That’s full on Machiavellian, self-promoting, sadistic, dismissive psychopath on full display.

    Or regard these easily retrieved excerpts penned by oh so equally sympathetic journalists:

    From The New Republic: Then in 1975 the Rockefeller Commission Report revealed that Frank had been part of a top-secret CIA program that involved dosing scientists with LSD without their knowledge. Olson gained a bundle of CIA documents stating that his father had exhibited a negative reaction to the LSD, that he’d been brought to New York for psychiatric rehabilitation, and then leaped 13 stories from his hotel window despite his colleagues’ best efforts to recover his sanity. Despite a formal apology from Gerald Ford, Olson couldn’t stop digging. Being in the inner sanctum only made him more suspicious. He felt that the government’s contrition was too showy, a floral bouquet hiding a poisonous spider. He continued to hunt, to ask the needling questions for decades, losing his psychology practice, a woman he loved, and his grasp on reality along the way.”

    NYRB: Don’t make this a big deal about journalism,” Hersh says. “About an amazing, sensitive, credible thing. Well, duh. The source is more important than the story, always.”

    NYRB: Olson family called the investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, whose reporting on illegal CIA domestic spying had instigated the Rockefeller Commission’s investigations. Hersh walked into their home saying bluntly, “You must be the most goddamned incurious family in the United States. How you could have lived with this bullshit story for twenty-two years is beyond me.”

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