On Feb. 8, Seymour Hersh published an explosive story on his Substack, “How America Took Out the Nord Stream Pipeline,” that argued President Biden personally ordered an elaborate underwater sabotage operation in the Baltic Sea that critically damaged Nord Stream 1 and 2, the latter of which cost $11 billion and was set to double the amount of gas Russia delivered to Germany. 

Hersh’s allegations went against both the official line followed by most mainstream media outlets. Although the Biden administration has long been public about its opposition to Nord Stream — indeed, destroying the pipeline was something it promised to do if Russia invaded Ukraine — the White House has since denied U.S. involvement. This is not surprising, since the action amounted to sabotage against the energy infrastructure of a close ally as winter approached. 

Nearly two months after publication, mainstream outlets continue to ignore the story. Jeremy Scahill produced one of the few follow-ups in a March 10 report for the Intercept that noted:

Russia has been doing its own investigation into the sabotage, including underwater surveys. It has not, to date, released any forensic evidence to support its assertion that “Anglo-Saxon” powers or the U.S. were behind the explosions. At a U.N. Security Council meeting in February, Russia’s representative Vassily Nebenzia cited investigative journalist Seymour Hersh’s report accusing the U.S. of carrying out the attack. “This journalist is telling the truth,” he said. “This is more than just a smoking gun that detectives love in Hollywood blockbusters. It’s a basic principle of justice; everything is in your hands, and we can resolve this today.”

Denmark and Sweden have cited procedural matters and national regulations as to why they aren’t collaborating with Russia. But it’s pretty obvious that they have also adopted the position that Russia should be viewed as a suspect in the sabotage and wouldn’t want to invite it into the probe, particularly given Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It should be noted that Sweden also refused an official joint investigation with its own allies from the onset, opting for a less formal cooperative arrangement. German officials have publicly confirmed their investigation into a “pro-Ukrainian” group and its possible connection to the attack on the pipeline, but have also cautioned that it could be a “false flag” intended to conceal the sponsor.

Russia’s recent maneuvers signal that it is becoming more aggressive in its rhetoric toward the two Scandinavian nations… It is effectively arguing that the three national probes, which are backed by the U.S., are part of the Nord Stream bombing plot, and it wants to pull the U.N. in, where Russia would find a more neutral audience than NATO or the European Union. The backdrop to all of this, of course, is the public display of Russia-China unity that’s unfolded over the past year, culminating with President Xi Jinping’s recent visit to Moscow. China, which is officially co-sponsoring the Russian resolution, has said it believes the attack was carried out by a state actor and that a U.N. investigation is needed to “uncover the truth and identify those responsible.”

The possibility of a separate U.N. investigation remains remote, however. On March 28, the U.N. Security Council rejected Russia’s call for a probe by a vote of three in favor and 12 abstentions. (Consortium News has posted video and transcripts of the meeting.)

A week before the U.N. vote, on March 22, Hersh published a follow-up to his original story on his Substack, titled “The Cover Up.” The piece began by noting that his original report had “gained traction in Germany and Western Europe, but was subject to a near media blackout in the US.” He continued, 

Two weeks ago, after a visit by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to Washington, U.S. and German intelligence agencies attempted to add to the blackout by feeding The New York Timesand the German weekly Die Zeit false cover stories to counter the report that Biden and U.S. operatives were responsible for the pipelines’ destruction.

Press aides for the White House and Central Intelligence Agency have consistently denied that America was responsible for exploding the pipelines, and those pro forma denials were more than enough for the White House press corps. There is no evidence that any reporter assigned there has yet to ask the White House press secretary whether Biden had done what any serious leader would do: formally “task” the American intelligence community to conduct a deep investigation, with all of its assets, and find out just who had done the deed in the Baltic Sea. According to a source within the intelligence community, the president has not done so, nor will he. Why not? Because he knows the answer.

Sarah Miller — an energy expert and an editor at Energy Intelligence, which publishes leading trade journals — explained to me in an interview why the pipeline story has been big news in Germany and Western Europe. “The destruction of the Nord Stream pipelines in September led to a further surge of natural gas prices that were already six or more times pre-crisis levels,” she said. “Nord Stream was blown up in late September. German gas imports peaked a month later, in October, at 10 times pre-crisis levels. Electricity prices across Europe were pulled up, and governments spent as much as 800 billion euros, by some estimates, shielding households and businesses from the impact. Gas prices, reflecting the mild winter in Europe, have now fallen back to roughly a quarter of the October peak, but they are still between two and three times pre-crisis levels and are more than three times current U.S. rates. Over the last year, German and other European manufacturers closed their most energy-intensive operations, such as fertilizer and glass production, and it’s unclear when, if ever, those plants will reopen. Europe is scrambling to get solar and wind capacity in place, but it may not come soon enough to save large chunks of German industry.” 

The full version of Hersh’s Substack post is available with subscription here

Your support matters…

Independent journalism is under threat and overshadowed by heavily funded mainstream media.

You can help level the playing field. Become a member.

Your tax-deductible contribution keeps us digging beneath the headlines to give you thought-provoking, investigative reporting and analysis that unearths what's really happening- without compromise.

Give today to support our courageous, independent journalists.