By Santiago Vera García
Pulitzer Prize-winning, prestigious journalist Seymour Hersh claimed that Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) submariners took advantage of a NATO exercise to place explosives on Russian gas pipelines that were detonated in September last year.
According to an investigation by famed Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh, the explosions that damaged the Russian Nord Stream 1 pipeline and knocked Nord Stream 2 out of service were set off by the US CIA in an unprecedented operation ordered by the Biden White House.
The award-winning journalist explained that, according to his intelligence sources, submariners placed explosives outside the pipelines in June last year under cover of a NATO military exercise in the Baltics, BALTOPS22.
These explosives were then remotely detonated when the training ended.
“Last June, US Navy submariners operating on a CIA mission under cover of a NATO exercise, BALTOPS22, placed remote-controlled explosives which, three months later, were activated and destroyed three of the four Nord Stream gas pipelines,” Hersh detailed on his website citing a source with “direct knowledge” of the planning of the operation.
The journalist assures that he has tried to contact the White House to address the issue.
Still, spokeswoman Adrienne Watson denied him an interview and only managed to tell him that the information he wanted to publish was “false” and “a complete fiction”.
He then consulted CIA spokeswoman Tammy Thorp, who also denied any statement.
The destruction of these pipelines by US action has a huge geopolitical impact.
When they were built in 2011, the Obama administration actively negotiated for Germany, France, and the Netherlands to get cheap gas from Russia.
Now, the Democrats realized they made a mistake by giving Putin so much power and had to nuke their own construction.
For more than a decade, Russia has been the main supplier of natural gas to Germany and much of Western Europe through Nord Stream 1, and European governments were so happy with the deal that they pushed for the construction of a second pipeline, Nord Stream 2, which had completed its laying in September 2021.
Despite heavy sanctions on Russia for the invasion of Ukraine, due to dependence on Russian gas, several European countries were still reluctant to provide aid to Volodymyr Zelensky’s government, especially Germany, which withheld the shipment of Leopard tanks, a “red line” according to Putin.
However, since the destruction of the Nord Stream, Germany was forced to look for alternatives.
It quickly signed an agreement with Iraq and Qatar to receive Arab gas supplies and, a few months later, agreed to send Leopard tanks to Ukraine.
Hersh explains that after the invasion of Ukraine, “President Joseph Biden saw the pipelines as a vehicle for Vladimir Putin to use natural gas as a weapon for his political and territorial ambitions.”
The New Yorker journalist details that the operation had been devised more than nine months before the Nord Stream sabotage, which places it in December 2021, two months before Russia began its invasion of Ukraine.
He explains that Biden approved the operation after over half a year of discussions in the private heart of Washington’s national security community.
The US president ordered the head of his Security Council, Jack Sullivan, to assemble a team in December 2021 to plan a pipeline attack, as intelligence reports claimed that Russia would attack Kiev.
The team was composed of members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the CIA, and other security agencies and was ultimately carried out by Central Intelligence.
In 2021, the discussion aimed to orchestrate a response to the impending Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“What became clear to the participants, according to the source with direct knowledge of the process, is that Sullivan intended for the group to come up with a plan for the destruction of the two Nord Stream pipelines and that he was complying with the President’s wishes,” Hersh asserts.
Several ideas were shared before the dive mission was selected. Other plans included using a submarine to attack the facility or planes to drop fuse bombs, he says.
Ultimately, the operation was carried out by Navy divers who were not US Special Forces Command members but worked directly for the CIA.
Hersh explains that this decision avoided bureaucracy since covert special forces operations “must be reported to Congress and reported in advance to the leaders of the Senate and the House.”
In this sense, the plan was downgraded from a covert operation to one of “highly classified intelligence with military support” to not inform Congress, according to the source consulted by Hersh.
William Burns, head of the CIA, was aware of the capabilities of divers at the US Navy’s Panama City Dive and Salvage Center in the State of Florida.
William Burns is said to have authorized a “task force” to draw up the plan for the deep-sea divers to carry out the mission.
Hersh compared the plot to an underwater espionage operation launched by the United States in the 1970s when agents sabotaged undersea communication cables used by the Russian Navy.
According to Hersh, in early 2022, the CIA group told Sullivan’s task force, “we have a way to blow up the pipelines.”
The planners decided that Norway could serve as an ideal base for the operation because, in the words of Hersh’s source, the Scandinavian nation “hated the Russians and the Norwegian navy was full of excellent sailors and divers who had generations of experience in highly profitable deepwater oil and gas exploration.”
The planners met with the Norwegian Navy military and secret service officers to define the exact point of the attack.
The Norwegians, members of NATO, proposed that the attack could be near Bornholm Island in Denmark.
“The Norwegians joined the Americans in insisting that some senior officials in Denmark and Sweden should be briefed in general terms about possible diving activity in the area,” Hersh notes.
This meant that both Danes and Swedes knew about the bombings.
The Norwegian military proposed that US divers set the explosives during NATO’s annual exercises in the Baltic.
As it was, in June 2022, the US divers placed C4 explosives with detonators.
In order not to incriminate themselves and because there were peace negotiations in Ukraine then, they waited almost three months before the White House decided to detonate the explosives.
A few hours later, three leaks were detected in the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipelines between the early hours of Monday, September 26, and Tuesday, September 27, with shocking images that went viral on social networks.
The leaked gas generated a huge whirlpool in the water.
At the time, the first news reports pointed to a ‘boycott’ or ‘sabotage’ of the two gas pipelines connecting Russia to Germany via the Baltic Sea.
Thus, while the European media pointed their fingers, first, against Russia, other channels pointed to Germany as a way to disconnect itself definitively from Putin’s threats.
Norway and Poland also joined in the accusations.
Finally, the shadow of the United States appeared on the scene.
It should be recalled that, in February, Biden said that the United States would “put an end” to Nord Stream if Russia invaded Ukraine during a joint press conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, in a clear fury where he revealed an intelligence operation that was, at the time, in full swing.
When asked how he would do it, the president chose not to give details of the operation, but he did make a promise: “I promise you we will be able to do it.”
The press conference occurred as Russia massaged tens of thousands of troops on its border with Ukraine in preparation for the invasion that began weeks later on February 24.
Biden’s motivation is not limited to ending Russian influence in Europe, as since the explosion, US liquefied natural gas (LNG) sales to the European Union have increased significantly.
The war in Ukraine is proving extremely profitable for the United States.
Major military contractors are selling billions of weapons, ammunition, and combat vehicles at a level not seen since the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
But not only in military sales, but the United States is enjoying its privileged position as an exporter of hydrocarbons, which, thanks to the war, are at prices rarely seen before, with massive profits for the oil, gas, and coal companies.
Thus, the decision to destroy the Russian gas pipelines had a military, political, and economic background.
Still, the United States will never admit that it did it since it can be considered an act of war against Russia in the midst of an escalation of tensions not seen since the Cuban Missile Crisis in the 1960s.
With information from Derecha Diario