The Hersh Nord Stream Report
There may be a Devil in the details, but there are themes at the core.
[Image: a composite by the author.]
Update 2023-02-16: An “update” addendum has been added, along with Whitney’s “correction” to sources.
Upate: 2023-02-26: more sources (interviews with Sy).
Update 2023-03-24: in response to the idiotic “Andromeda” attempt to discredit Hersh’s report an update, authored by Hersh, is added to sources. It directly follows the reference to his original article in the source list.
Seymour Hersh's recent report that the USA's Navy was behind the sabotage of three of the four Nord Stream pipelines was both a significant revelation and unsurprising at once.
That the White House denied the veracity of the report is completely in line with other prominent reports by Hersh, including both the My Lai massacre and the Abu Graib torture reports. Responses from the media have varied.
The silence from the legacy media, including the New York Times, the Washington Post and the BBC is an expected disappointment. An exception is Reuters reporting the White House denial and describing Hersh's report as a "blog" post. The irrelevant Business Times described Hersh as "discredited" and the report as "a gift to Putin". These are the beginnings of a pathetic character attack.
From the independent media we have various comments saying "Daah", of course the USA did it! There has also been some minor criticism or refinement of Hersh's report. Bernard at MoonOfAlabama believes the USS Kearsarge had a role in the placement of the explosives after the BALTOPS 2022 exercise. John Helmer criticizes Hersh for leaving out the Poles and the Brits. Engaging with the report and adding potential detail or criticizing its context or potential omissions are worthy pursuits.
There are several themes and implications which emerge from the core of the article which may prove more interesting than some of the detail.
The first point is the date of the planning of the operation from September 2021, 6 months before Russia's "Special Military Operation". It appears that the Biden regime had been intent on taking up where he had left off as Vice President after the 4 year Trump Presidency hiatus. The USA Democrats and security state did manage via the RussiaGate fabrication to have Trump supply arms to Ukraine which Obama had refused.
The destruction of the Nord Stream pipeline achieved many purposes, one of which was the prevention of a growing relationship between Germany and the Russian Federation. Additionally, USA and Norwegian energy companies would profit heavily. Increases in the cost of energy supply to German industry would allow the USA to lure German manufacturing to the USA under the Inflation Reduction Act. This, combined with the "unified" response to the proxy war, would empty Europe's arms reserves and generate excellent business for USA arms manufacturers, even as the 9 failed EU sanctions packages damaged European economies rather than Russia's.
[Image: European energy flows, 2011.]
Another theme is the constancy of oil or gas pipelines in conflicts the USA has created or engineered in the last twenty years.
The rubbish about Weapons of Mass Destruction and the fixing of the facts to fit the policy for the "coalition of the willing" invasion of Iraq in 2003 had many factors behind it, but control of Iraqi oil was certainly significant. The invasion of Afghanistan also had a potential energy pipeline involved. Unocal had wooed members of the Taliban in Texas to seek approval for transit rights. Natural gas had been discovered to the north of Afghanistan in the region around the Caspian Sea. The find turned out to be less significant than expected. The Libyan intervention had two oil related facets; Libya selling oil in non-USD (US dollars) and Ghaddafi promoting a gold backed currency, the African Dinar. The generated civil war in Syria was partially to do with a gas pipeline transit which various groups wished to be built through Syria to connect the Pars Field with the eastern Mediterranean, probably via Turkiye. The Syrian President had refused to allow this no doubt satisfying Russia's wishes.
The Ukraine conflict and the sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines encompasses at least three pipelines, with the other two also originating in Russia and transiting Poland or Ukraine. Both Poland and Ukraine were receiving transit fees for hosting the pipelines through their territory. There were reports of Ukraine siphoning gas. Post the 2014 coup in Ukraine, the USA had influence over what volumes and flows could transit Ukraine to central Europe.
There was a moment at which Gazprom wished to abandon its contract to supply gas through Ukraine stating that the pipeline was old, in disrepair and that aborting the contract was more profitable. Russian Federation President Putin demanded that Gazprom fulfill the contract, irrespective of costs. His directive was a statement that being seen as a reliable energy supplier is far more important than profits. This forgotten moment, given all of the EU sanctions, will serve Russia well as it engages with customers in southern and eastern Asia.
Nord Stream was designed as a pipeline which could provide direct connectivity and trade between Germany and Russia bypassing intermediate transit states. Its destruction leaves the USA with influence over the Ukraine and Polish transits. Along with control over international banking and finance, and possessing the default currency for international trade, control over the world’s energy flows is another aspect of the USA's hegemony.
The Executive vs. The Legislature
The next theme is the battle between the executive and legislative branches of the USA government. Elements within the USA's elites, particularly those known as the Straussian neo-Cons, have for decades been trying to elevate the power of the executive. The Authorization for the Use of Military Force legislation by the USA Congress post the 9/11 attacks was a major victory for these elites. This struggle is echoed in Hersh's report as the executive attempts to find a way in which to run this operation in a covert fashion while also avoiding having to inform the legislature. Ray McGovern emphasizes this in his interview on "The Critical Hour".
The pipelines were owned by a joint stock company registered in Switzerland owned by Russian and German companies. The 30 Billion USD spent on Nord Stream II was an investment in national infrastructure. The destruction can be seen as an act of war. McGovern emphasizes the oath taken by members of the executive branch to protect the constitution from enemies "both foreign and domestic". That Hersh's primary source seems partially motivated by the incompetence of Biden, Nuland and Blinken blathering on about the destruction of the pipelines and celebrating in its immediate aftermath. The source may also been concerned with the unconstitutional nature of an act of war without consulting Congress.
A final theme is USA commercial media and its subservience to the executive and dominant commercial interests (the military industrial complex, Big Pharma etc.) rather then serving the interests of the citizenry. A first observation noted by a few commentators is where Hersh published, to whit, Substack. Hersh does not comment on whether he sought publication in a major newspaper or journal, though in his "Why Substack?" article he alludes to returning to his days as a freelancer and the freedom it provides. This newsletter has already commented on the somewhat surprising use of the London Review of Books (LRB) for Hersh's Redline article. We see a progression from being published in major newspapers or journals (e.g The New York Times or The New Yorker) to a non-USA publication (LRB) and then his use of Substack to self-publish. Hersh is just the latest in a series of prominent journalists and commentators to arrive at Substack from other publications. The list includes, Hedges, Greenwald, Taibbi and many others. It matters little whether Hersh was "forced out" or chose to leave. The end result is the same, a damning summary on the state of journalism in the USA's legacy media.
Glenn Diesen on Lavrelle's CrossTalk gave an insightful observation on the topic, which is born out in both USA and Norwegian media. The question for journalists and/or their editors is not the combination of "is it true" and "is it in the public interest" but "whose narrative does it serve". Craig Murray was quick to observe this damnation of the media. Caitlin Johnstone has been writing about this for years.
Hersh's use of Substack to publish is just the latest episode in trend in USA commercial media, USA social media and the USA government from shadowbanning, account locking, channel deletion, the Disinformation Governance Board at the Department of Homeland Security, the Twitter Files, the RussiaGate hoax and the hiring of serial liars from the security state by the USA's dominant cable news companies.
Power and Whistle-blowers
Hersh's report is alarming in the brazen approach taken by the USA's executive to reassert dominant control over Europe, particularly Germany. That the USA was involved in this act of war sabotage was expected as they had telegraphed it and celebrated the event immediately afterwards. We should also perhaps be unsurprised that Norway was a key partner, for they too were set to benefit from increased energy sales to continental Europe.
Finally, the report demonstrates the importance of whistle-blowers. One may quibble about some of the details of the report, or the context in which it is framed, or even the motivations of the whistle blower. It is the core of the report, as revealed by the whistle-blower and confirmed by Hersh which will stand the test of time.
The USA is a rogue state which is running the "rules based order". Vassals follow the USA's rules and the empire does whatever it wants.
I commend to you Mike Whitney's correction. My opinion of him as a writer and analyst has grown because of his realization and that he chose to publish it.
In my "longer form" articles, where references are fairly extensive, I attempt to include those from both legacy media and those of differing views from the alternative media. I tend to ridicule legacy media, or only use their articles to establish base facts like dates and names. With opinion or analysis from the independent media I attempt to position myself among a variety of opinion to assist the reader forming their own more nuanced understanding of the topic at hand.
For this article four key "other opinions" from the independent media were provided, Whitney, Helmer, Bernard (MoonOfAlabama) and Escobar. I was a little uneasy with both Whitney and Helmer. In Whitney's case, for exactly the reason he lays out in his "Correction". Helmer's critique is that Hersh's article does not embrace the wider time window or geopolitical space. This is simply explained. Hersh is writing for a target audience, the USA citizenry. By keeping to the core issues he shortens the article and thus increases its readership. I couched my unease with these two commentaries in the sentence which concludes that criticizing the article as a "worthy pursuit". Critiquing is far more productive than the blanket silence of the legacy media.
There is plenty of time for nitpicking. The current task is to promote awareness.
How America Took Out The Nord Stream Pipeline, Seymour Hersh, his newsletter, 2023-02-08
Seymour Hersh: The Cover-Up, Seymour Hersh, ScheerPost, 2023-03-22
Some Small Corrections To Seymour Hersh's New Nord Stream Revelations, b., MoonOfAlabama, 2023-02-09
WHAT’S WRONG WITH THE HERSH REPORT ON THE NORD STREAM ATTACKS, John Helmer, Dances with Bears (his website), 2023-02-10
Nord Stream Terror Attack: The Plot Thickens, Pepe Escobar, The Unz Review, 2023-02-14
What Hersh Got Wrong, Mike Whitney, The Unz Review, 2023-02-11
Correction: What Hersh Got Right (And I Got Wrong), Mike Whitney, The Unz Review, 2023-02-11
Standing Upright Amid a Sea of Lies, Ron Unz, The Unz Review, 2023-02-13
Of course, Nordstream was blown up by the US and NATO allies: A US economic war on submissive allies., Jan Oberg, his website, 2023-02-12
My Sources Corroborate Sy Hersh's Nord Stream Report: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix, Caitlin Johnstone, her newsletter, 2023-02-10
Transcription of Ray’s Feb 11 Comments on Sy Hersh, Ray McGovern, his website, 2023-02-12,
a link to the audio is also available
White House says blog post on Nord Stream explosion 'utterly false', (no by-line), Reuters, 2023-02-08
The claim by a discredited journalist that the US secretly blew up the Nord Stream pipeline is proving a gift to Putin, Mia Jankowicz, Business Insider, 2023-02-09
Silence: NYTimes, Washington Post, BBC
Sy Hersh and The Way We Live Now, Craig Murray, his website, 2023-02-09
CrossTalk | 'Korea Solution', Lavelle interviews McGovern, Johnson and Doctorow, CrossTalk (RT), 2023-02-10
CrossTalk | Home Edition | Nord Stream solved?, Peter Lavelle interviews Glenn Diesen and Martin Jay, CrossTalk (RT), 2023-02-12
Renowned Journalist Reports US Role in Nord Stream & Gets Attacked, Truth About Fetterman, & More | SYSTEM UPDATE #39, Glenn Greenwald, System Update, 2023-02-10
Why the Media Don’t Want to Know the Truth About the Nord Stream Blasts, Jonathan Cook, The Unz Review, 2023-04-11
PEPE ESCOBAR: Attacks on Author of Nord Stream 2 Revelations, Richard Medhurst interviews Pepe Escobar, Richard Medhust (youtube channel), 2023-02-14
Seymour Hersh on US Bombing Nord Stream Pipelines — Radio War Nerd EP #366, Radio War Nerd (Mark Ames and John Dolan), Radio War Nerd, 2023-01-12
Reporter Seymour Hersh on “How America Took Out the Nord Stream Pipeline”: Exclusive TV Interview, DemocracyNow! interview Seymour Hersh on his Nord Stream report, 2023-02-15
CN LIVE! S5E3 SY HERSH: AMERICAN SABOTAGE, Joe Lauria (primarily) interviews Seymour Hersh on his Nord Stream report, Consortium News, 2023-02-17
Seymour Hersh on Why US Blew Up the Nordstreams, Compares His Source to Edward Snowden!, Afshin Rattansi interviews Seymour Hersh on his Nord Stream report, GoingUndergroundTV, 2023-02-25
How and Why America Blew Up Nord Stream, Scott Horton interviews Seymour Hersh on his Nord Steam article, Scott Horton Show, 2023-02-26
Dropping Bombs on the Whitehouse (Extended Version), The Style Council, originally from their 1984 album Cafe Bleu, uploaded to youtube by The Style Council on 2020-10-29
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