Saturday 7 January 2023

So… Who Blew Up the Nord Stream Pipeline? And Why Does No One Care?


Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova

On September 26, underwater explosions destroyed three out of four lines of the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines off the coast of Denmark. Oddly, no one in the West seems to be interested in investigating the largest environmental disaster in Europe and attack on European energy infrastructure in history.

There is still no full-scale investigation of the Nord Stream explosions, Russian President Vladimir Putin remarked over the holidays: “Nobody is investigating. We had an opportunity once to look at these sites of explosions; all that was in the press, no need to repeat. Surprisingly, the fact is that there is no full-scale investigation, nobody is performing it,” Putin said.

Swedish seismologists said that two explosions were recorded along the Nord Stream pipelines on September 26. On Oct. 5, Spiegel magazine reported German Federal Police acknowledged the Nord Stream attack was an act of “targeted sabotage” which could presumably not have been carried out without the involvement of “state players.” The German investigators admitted they did not know “who is behind the sabotage of the pipelines.”

On Nov. 18, the Swedish Prosecutor’s Office also acknowledged that the explosions were an act of sabotage. Remarkably, however, no one in the West seems remotely interested in finding out who is behind it. 

On December 22, the Washington Post reported there is “No conclusive evidence Russia is behind Nord Stream attack”: “After months of investigation, numerous officials privately say that Russia may not be to blame after all for the attack on the Nord Stream pipelines”, wrote Shane Harris, John Hudson, Missy Ryan and Michael Birnbaum: “’There is no evidence at this point that Russia was behind the sabotage,’ said one European official, echoing the assessment of 23 diplomatic and intelligence officials in nine countries interviewed in recent weeks.”

Lt. j.g. Chris Bianchi, assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 8, prepares mock explosives for a pierside training event during exercise BALTOPS 22, June 10, 2022. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Daniel James Lanari)

On June 10, 2022, the US Navy conducted exercises off the island of Bornholm, Denmark, testing underwater drones and explosives, as Sea Power Magazine reported. Bornholm is near where the Nord Stream gas pipeline was blown up.

The exercise involved 14 NATO ally and 2 partner nations (Sweden and Finland), 45 ships, more than 75 aircraft, and 7,000 personnel, according to NATO: “Experimentation on new types of unmanned underwater vehicles were also tested off the coast of Bornholm Island, Denmark during the exercise.”

On the night of Sept. 26, U.S. Navy reconnaissance aircraft flew near the Nord Stream 2 explosion, according to Reuters: “Flight data showed a P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol and reconnaissance plane was over the North Sea at 00:03 GMT (02:03 local time – CEST) when Swedish seismologists registered what they later described as a subsea blast southeast of Bornholm Island in the Baltic Sea.”

The plane came as close as 24 kilometers to the site of the incident, circled once and flew towards the Russian Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad. Reuters said it had no information about the plane’s whereabouts between 03:39 and 06:20 GMT, but at around 07:00 it was about 4 km north of the incident site.

On November 6, 2015, during the annual inspection of the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline, an  underwater mine destroyer Sea Fox used by NATO was discovered near the pipeline, as Pipeline Technology Journal reported.

The Swedish Armed Forces  claimed the Unmanned Underwater Vehicle Nov. 18, according to SVT Nyheter: “The unmanned Seafox craft used in mine clearance was lost during an exercise in the spring of 2014… The exercise was held far from the place where the craft was found, but where is secret. The UUV was carrying a small explosive charge, but did not pose a danger to the gas pipeline or shipping.”

Sweden is not a NATO member yet.

Speaking on Steve Bannon’s War Room Sept. 30th, investigative reporter Darren Beattie called the Nord Stream sabotage “one of the most significant attacks on European infrastructure in several decades,” which was likely committed by one of the Western allies and not Russia. “The Europeans all quietly understand that this is likely at the hands of the NATO allies itself. That’s why they’re being good little vassal states and not making a lot of noise about it.”

“If it was sort of an unspoken, tacit understanding, it’s now plain for everyone to see that there are no genuinely sovereign countries in Europe. Europe is a vassal state. Europe is a slave state of the United States. Putin basically tried to shame them for doing that. The only problem is, the Germans have no shame, they have no pride, they have no underlying sense that they deserve to be a sovereign nation. and that’s why they’re going to stick their tail between their legs and pretend like nothing happened”, Beattie said.

Speaking on Dec. 29, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that Russia would not let the West “sweep the blasts at the Nord Stream pipelines under the rug”, TASS reports.

“It is also clear why interested Western countries continue to ignore calls to hold a transparent, objective, professional and depoliticized investigation designated to establish and punish those guilty. Russia won’t allow such maneuvering dubbed as ‘let’s sweep everything under the rug’ to happen once again. Yes, this truth will be inconvenient for the West because what happened with Nord Stream 1 and 2 is a crime, a terror attack which was being plotted ideologically and politically and at that moment when, apparently, the West had exhausted all opportunities to use economic and political levers of pressure and to implement its set goal of curbing this project, they switched to plan B and physically destroyed this civilian infrastructure,” Zakharova said.

According to Zakharova, the Nord Stream attack was not only “an unprecedented attack on an international transportation infrastructure facility” but also “a highly dangerous precedent which demands a tough response by the entire global community. This is why we will strive for justice and bring to light the hidden motives of this serious crime,” she said.

Speaking alongside German Chancellor Olaf Scholz at the White House on February 7, 2022, Joe Biden said that if Russia invaded Ukraine, “there will be no longer a Nord Stream 2”. Pressed to explain how, Biden doubled down: “We will – I promise you – we will be able to do it.”

On Sept. 27, one day after the explosions, Polish MEP Radek Sikorski posted “Thank you, USA” with a photo of the Nord Stream bubble, before later deleting the tweet. Sikorski is married to The Atlantic editor Anne Applebaum, who is also a member of Ukraine hawk think tanks Council on Foreign Relations and the European Council on Foreign Relations.

On January 27, 2022, State Department Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland said that ‘If Russia invades Ukraine, Nord Stream 2 will not move forward’.

On Nov. 19, 2019, Anne Applebaum and Victoria Nuland had appeared together at the National Endowment for Democracy to discuss “Democracy in Central Europe After Thirty Years“.

At a press conference on Sept. 30, Secretary of State Antony Blinken called the attack on Nord Stream “a tremendous opportunity to once and for all remove the dependence on Russian energy and thus to take away from Vladimir Putin the weaponisation of energy as a means of advancing his imperial designs.”

Writing in the Australian Spectator Oct. 30, Ramesh Thakur asked:

“Would the US really attack a piece of joint Germany-Russia infrastructure that is critical to Europe coping with an anticipated harsh winter in which people fear having to choose between heating and eating? It’s more likely the US approved the attack and helped with support and planning without direct participation.

Poland has both commercial and historical reasons (Russo-German collaboration must be especially painful). The Nord Stream pipelines would reduce lucrative transit fees for gas shipments from Norway to Europe through Poland… Yet, the notion that Poland would risk a grave rupture of relations with Germany seems far-fetched.

Ukraine had the least to lose and most to gain from the explosions. It’s a tit-for-tat response to Russian attacks on Ukraine’s infrastructure. The victim of Russian aggression, already at war and determined to recapture lost territory on the battlefield or regain them through economic pressure, Ukraine is the least concerned with escalation that will entangle Nato and the US directly… Assuming the act required close partnership with US intelligence and military in training, supplies, logistical support and crucial information, it will also enhance Ukraine’s credibility as a potential Nato ally.”

On October 29, the Russian Ministry of Defence charged that the British Royal Navy “took part in planning, supporting and implementing” a “terrorist attack” to blow up the gas pipelines on September 26. The Russian MoD charged that “British specialists” from the same unit directed Ukrainian drone attacks on ships of Russian Black Sea fleet in Crimea in October.

“According to available information, representatives of this unit of the British Navy took part in the planning, provision and implementation of a terrorist attack in the Baltic Sea on September 26 this year – blowing up the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 gas pipelines,” the ministry said. The UK Ministry of Defence accused Russia of “peddling false claims of an epic scale.”

In August 2022, the British Royal Navy and US Navy were training “dozens of Ukrainian Navy personnel” to use unmanned underwater vehicles, and supplied them with six underwater drones. “The Diving & Threat Exploitation Group is delivering three-week training courses, alongside the US Navy Sixth Fleet,” the Royal Navy said.

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