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www.rhetorik.ch aktuell: (10. Feb, 2023)

Zur Sprengung der Nodstream Pipeline

Rhetorik.ch Artikel zum Thema:
TheTimes : Seymour Hersh sagt im Substack Artikel, dass die Sprengung von Nord Stream eine CIA Operation gewesen sei. Während einer NATO Übung im Juni 2022 sollen die Bomben gelegt worden sein. Später, im September, wurden die Bomben dann gezündet.

Hersh hat andere peinliche Geschichten an die Öffentlichkeit gebracht. Wie die Tötung von 500 Zivilisten in Vietnam, oder die Folterung von Gefangenen in Abu Ghraib im Irak.

Auf dem Wikipedia Artikel über Hersh wird gesagt:

"Hersh berief sich bei seinen Angaben nur auf eine einzige, ungenannte (anonyme) Quelle, angeblich "mit direkter Kenntnis der operativen Planung". Seine Aussagen sind somit nicht durch das im Journalismus normalerweise übliche Zwei-Quellen-Prinzip bestätigt. Von Hersh um eine Stellungnahme gebeten, gaben sowohl das Weisse Haus als auch die CIA deutliche Dementis ab. Kritiker werfen Hersh eine Verletzung journalistischer Sorgfaltsstandards sowie Ungereimtheiten in seiner Argumentation vor und sehen in diesem Vorgehen eine "Gefahr" einer Verschwörungstheorie aufzusitzen". Aufgrund von offenen Fragen in Hershs Darstellung gilt es weiterhin als unklar, wer für die Sprengung verantwortlich ist."

Hier ist der Artikel vom 8. Februar, 2023:

Man weiss heute nie, wie Zensur funktioniert. Wir kopieren hier die Version vom 10. Februar 2023. Der Titel lautet: "Wie Amerika die Nord Stream Pipeline ausgeschaltet hat"
How America Took Out The Nord Stream Pipeline 

The New York Times called it a "mystery," but the United States executed 
a covert sea operation that was kept secret-until now.

Seymour Hersh Feb 8, 2023 

The U.S. Navy's Diving and Salvage Center can be found in a location
as obscure as its name-down what was once a country lane in rural
Panama City, a now-booming resort city in the southwestern panhandle
of Florida, 70 miles south of the Alabama border. The center's complex
is as nondescript as its location-a drab concrete post-World War II
structure that has the look of a vocational high school on the west side
of Chicago. A coin-operated laundromat and a dance school are across
what is now a four-lane road.

The center has been training highly skilled deep-water divers for decades
who, once assigned to American military units worldwide, are capable of
technical diving to do the good-using C4 explosives to clear harbors
and beaches of debris and unexploded ordinance-as well as the bad,
like blowing up foreign oil rigs, fouling intake valves for undersea
power plants, destroying locks on crucial shipping canals. The Panama
City center, which boasts the second largest indoor pool in America,
was the perfect place to recruit the best, and most taciturn, graduates
of the diving school who successfully did last summer what they had been
authorized to do 260 feet under the surface of the Baltic Sea.

Last June, the Navy divers, operating under the cover of a widely
publicized mid-summer NATO exercise known as BALTOPS 22, planted the
remotely triggered explosives that, three months later, destroyed three
of the four Nord Stream pipelines, according to a source with direct
knowledge of the operational planning.

Two of the pipelines, which were known collectively as Nord Stream 1,
had been providing Germany and much of Western Europe with cheap Russian
natural gas for more than a decade. A second pair of pipelines, called
Nord Stream 2, had been built but were not yet operational. Now, with
Russian troops massing on the Ukrainian border and the bloodiest war in
Europe since 1945 looming, President Joseph Biden saw the pipelines as
a vehicle for Vladimir Putin to weaponize natural gas for his political
and territorial ambitions.

Asked for comment, Adrienne Watson, a White House spokesperson,
said in an email, "This is false and complete fiction." Tammy Thorp,
a spokesperson for the Central Intelligence Agency, similarly wrote:
"This claim is completely and utterly false."

Biden's decision to sabotage the pipelines came after more than nine
months of highly secret back and forth debate inside Washington's
national security community about how to best achieve that goal. For
much of that time, the issue was not whether to do the mission, but how
to get it done with no overt clue as to who was responsible.

There was a vital bureaucratic reason for relying on the graduates of
the center's hardcore diving school in Panama City. The divers were Navy
only, and not members of America's Special Operations Command, whose
covert operations must be reported to Congress and briefed in advance
to the Senate and House leadership-the so-called Gang of Eight. The
Biden Administration was doing everything possible to avoid leaks as
the planning took place late in 2021 and into the first months of 2022.

President Biden and his foreign policy team-National Security Adviser
Jake Sullivan, Secretary of State Tony Blinken, and Victoria Nuland,
the Undersecretary of State for Policy-had been vocal and consistent
in their hostility to the two pipelines, which ran side by side for
750 miles under the Baltic Sea from two different ports in northeastern
Russia near the Estonian border, passing close to the Danish island of
Bornholm before ending in northern Germany.

The direct route, which bypassed any need to transit Ukraine, had been a
boon for the German economy, which enjoyed an abundance of cheap Russian
natural gas-enough to run its factories and heat its homes while enabling
German distributors to sell excess gas, at a profit, throughout Western
Europe. Action that could be traced to the administration would violate US
promises to minimize direct conflict with Russia. Secrecy was essential.

From its earliest days, Nord Stream 1 was seen by Washington and its
anti-Russian NATO partners as a threat to western dominance. The holding
company behind it, Nord Stream AG, was incorporated in Switzerland in 2005
in partnership with Gazprom, a publicly traded Russian company producing
enormous profits for shareholders which is dominated by oligarchs known to
be in the thrall of Putin. Gazprom controlled 51 percent of the company,
with four European energy firms-one in France, one in the Netherlands
and two in Germany-sharing the remaining 49 percent of stock, and having
the right to control downstream sales of the inexpensive natural gas to
local distributors in Germany and Western Europe. Gazprom's profits were
shared with the Russian government, and state gas and oil revenues were
estimated in some years to amount to as much as 45 percent of Russia's
annual budget.

America's political fears were real: Putin would now have an additional
and much-needed major source of income, and Germany and the rest of
Western Europe would become addicted to low-cost natural gas supplied by
Russia-while diminishing European reliance on America. In fact, that's
exactly what happened. Many Germans saw Nord Stream 1 as part of the
deliverance of former Chancellor Willy Brandt's famed Ostpolitik theory,
which would enable postwar Germany to rehabilitate itself and other
European nations destroyed in World War II by, among other initiatives,
utilizing cheap Russian gas to fuel a prosperous Western European market
and trading economy.

Nord Stream 1 was dangerous enough, in the view of NATO and Washington,
but Nord Stream 2, whose construction was completed in September of 2021,
would, if approved by German regulators, double the amount of cheap gas
that would be available to Germany and Western Europe. The second pipeline
also would provide enough gas for more than 50 percent of Germany's annual
consumption. Tensions were constantly escalating between Russia and NATO,
backed by the aggressive foreign policy of the Biden Administration.

Opposition to Nord Stream 2 flared on the eve of the Biden inauguration
in January 2021, when Senate Republicans, led by Ted Cruz of Texas,
repeatedly raised the political threat of cheap Russian natural gas during
the confirmation hearing of Blinken as Secretary of State. By then a
unified Senate had successfully passed a law that, as Cruz told Blinken,
"halted [the pipeline] in its tracks." There would be enormous political
and economic pressure from the German government, then headed by Angela
Merkel, to get the second pipeline online.

Would Biden stand up to the Germans? Blinken said yes, but added that
he had not discussed the specifics of the incoming President's views. "I
know his strong conviction that this is a bad idea, the Nord Stream 2,"
he said. "I know that he would have us use every persuasive tool that
we have to convince our friends and partners, including Germany, not to
move forward with it."

A few months later, as the construction of the second pipeline neared
completion, Biden blinked. That May, in a stunning turnaround, the
administration waived sanctions against Nord Stream AG, with a State
Department official conceding that trying to stop the pipeline through
sanctions and diplomacy had "always been a long shot." Behind the scenes,
administration officials reportedly urged Ukrainian President Volodymyr
Zelensky, by then facing a threat of Russian invasion, not to criticize
the move.

There were immediate consequences. Senate Republicans, led by Cruz,
announced an immediate blockade of all of Biden's foreign policy nominees
and delayed passage of the annual defense bill for months, deep into the
fall. Politico later depicted Biden's turnabout on the second Russian
pipeline as "the one decision, arguably more than the chaotic military
withdrawal from Afghanistan, that has imperiled Biden's agenda."

The administration was floundering, despite getting a reprieve on
the crisis in mid-November, when Germany's energy regulators suspended
approval of the second Nord Stream pipeline. Natural gas prices surged 8%
within days, amid growing fears in Germany and Europe that the pipeline
suspension and the growing possibility of a war between Russia and Ukraine
would lead to a very much unwanted cold winter. It was not clear to
Washington just where Olaf Scholz, Germany's newly appointed chancellor,
stood. Months earlier, after the fall of Afghanistan, Scholtz had publicly
endorsed French President Emmanuel Macron's call for a more autonomous
European foreign policy in a speech in Prague-clearly suggesting less
reliance on Washington and its mercurial actions.

Throughout all of this, Russian troops had been steadily and ominously
building up on the borders of Ukraine, and by the end of December
more than 100,000 soldiers were in position to strike from Belarus and
Crimea. Alarm was growing in Washington, including an assessment from
Blinken that those troop numbers could be "doubled in short order."

The administration's attention once again was focused on Nord Stream. As
long as Europe remained dependent on the pipelines for cheap natural gas,
Washington was afraid that countries like Germany would be reluctant to
supply Ukraine with the money and weapons it needed to defeat Russia.

It was at this unsettled moment that Biden authorized Jake Sullivan to
bring together an interagency group to come up with a plan.

All options were to be on the table. But only one would emerge.

In December of 2021, two months before the first Russian tanks rolled
into Ukraine, Jake Sullivan convened a meeting of a newly formed task
force-men and women from the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the CIA, and the
State and Treasury Departments-and asked for recommendations about how
to respond to Putin's impending invasion.

It would be the first of a series of top-secret meetings, in a secure room
on a top floor of the Old Executive Office Building, adjacent to the White
House, that was also the home of the President's Foreign Intelligence
Advisory Board (PFIAB). There was the usual back and forth chatter that
eventually led to a crucial preliminary question: Would the recommendation
forwarded by the group to the President be reversible-such as another
layer of sanctions and currency restrictions-or irreversible-that is,
kinetic actions, which could not be undone?

What became clear to 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 delivering on the desires of the President.

 THE PLAYERS Left to right: Victoria Nuland, Anthony Blinken, and Jake
Sullivan.  Over the next several meetings, the participants debated
options for an attack. The Navy proposed using a newly commissioned
submarine to assault the pipeline directly. The Air Force discussed
dropping bombs with delayed fuses that could be set off remotely. The
CIA argued that whatever was done, it would have to be covert. Everyone
involved understood the stakes. "This is not kiddie stuff," the source
said. If the attack were traceable to the United States, "It's an act
of war."

At the time, the CIA was directed by William Burns, a mild-mannered
former ambassador to Russia who had served as deputy secretary of state
in the Obama Administration. Burns quickly authorized an Agency working
group whose ad hoc members included-by chance-someone who was familiar
with the capabilities of the Navy's deep-sea divers in Panama City. Over
the next few weeks, members of the CIA's working group began to craft
a plan for a covert operation that would use deep-sea divers to trigger
an explosion along the pipeline.

Something like this had been done before. In 1971, the American
intelligence community learned from still undisclosed sources that two
important units of the Russian Navy were communicating via an undersea
cable buried in the Sea of Okhotsk, on Russia's Far East Coast. The
cable linked a regional Navy command to the mainland headquarters at

A hand-picked team of Central Intelligence Agency and National Security
Agency operatives was assembled somewhere in the Washington area, under
deep cover, and worked out a plan, using Navy divers, modified submarines
and a deep-submarine rescue vehicle, that succeeded, after much trial and
error, in locating the Russian cable. The divers planted a sophisticated
listening device on the cable that successfully intercepted the Russian
traffic and recorded it on a taping system.

The NSA learned that senior Russian navy officers, convinced of
the security of their communication link, chatted away with their
peers without encryption. The recording device and its tape had to be
replaced monthly and the project rolled on merrily for a decade until it
was compromised by a forty-four-year-old civilian NSA technician named
Ronald Pelton who was fluent in Russian. Pelton was betrayed by a Russian
defector in 1985 and sentenced to prison. He was paid just ,000 by
the Russians for his revelations about the operation, along with ,000
for other Russian operational data he provided that was never made public.

That underwater success, codenamed Ivy Bells, was innovative and risky,
and produced invaluable intelligence about the Russian Navy's intentions
and planning.

Still, the interagency group was initially skeptical of the CIA's
enthusiasm for a covert deep-sea attack. There were too many unanswered
questions. The waters of the Baltic Sea were heavily patrolled by the
Russian navy, and there were no oil rigs that could be used as cover
for a diving operation. Would the divers have to go to Estonia, right
across the border from Russia's natural gas loading docks, to train for
the mission? "It would be a goat fuck," the Agency was told.

Throughout "all of this scheming," the source said, "some working guys
in the CIA and the State Department were saying, `Don't do this. It's
stupid and will be a political nightmare if it comes out.'"

Nevertheless, in early 2022, the CIA working group reported back to
Sullivan's interagency group: "We have a way to blow up the pipelines."

What came next was stunning. On February 7, less than three weeks before
the seemingly inevitable Russian invasion of Ukraine, Biden met in his
White House office with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who, after some
wobbling, was now firmly on the American team. At the press briefing that
followed, Biden defiantly said, "If Russia invades . . . there will be
no longer a Nord Stream 2. We will bring an end to it."

Twenty days earlier, Undersecretary Nuland had delivered essentially the
same message at a State Department briefing, with little press coverage.
"I want to be very clear to you today," she said in response to a
question. "If Russia invades Ukraine, one way or another Nord Stream 2
will not move forward."

# Several of those involved in planning the pipeline mission were dismayed
by what they viewed as indirect references to the attack.

"It was like putting an atomic bomb on the ground in Tokyo and telling
the Japanese that we are going to detonate it," the source said. "The
plan was for the options to be executed post invasion and not advertised
publicly. Biden simply didn't get it or ignored it."

Biden's and Nuland's indiscretion, if that is what it was, might have
frustrated some of the planners. But it also created an opportunity.
According to the source, some of the senior officials of the CIA
determined that blowing up the pipeline "no longer could be considered
a covert option because the President just announced that we knew how
to do it."

The plan to blow up Nord Stream 1 and 2 was suddenly downgraded from
a covert operation requiring that Congress be informed to one that was
deemed as a highly classified intelligence operation with U.S. military
support. Under the law, the source explained, "There was no longer a
legal requirement to report the operation to Congress. All they had to
do now is just do it-but it still had to be secret. The Russians have
superlative surveillance of the Baltic Sea."

The Agency working group members had no direct contact with the White
House, and were eager to find out if the President meant what he'd
said-that is, if the mission was now a go. The source recalled, "Bill
Burns comes back and says, `Do it.'"

# "The Norwegian navy was quick to find the right spot, in the shallow
water a few miles off Denmark's Bornholm Island . . ."  ##Subscribe THE

Norway was the perfect place to base the mission.

In the past few years of East-West crisis, the U.S. military has vastly
expanded its presence inside Norway, whose western border runs 1,400 miles
along the north Atlantic Ocean and merges above the Arctic Circle with
Russia. The Pentagon has created high paying jobs and contracts, amid
some local controversy, by investing hundreds of millions of dollars to
upgrade and expand American Navy and Air Force facilities in Norway. The
new works included, most importantly, an advanced synthetic aperture
radar far up north that was capable of penetrating deep into Russia and
came online just as the American intelligence community lost access to
a series of long-range listening sites inside China.

A newly refurbished American submarine base, which had been under
construction for years, had become operational and more American
submarines were now able to work closely with their Norwegian colleagues
to monitor and spy on a major Russian nuclear redoubt 250 miles to the
east, on the Kola Peninsula. America also has vastly expanded a Norwegian
air base in the north and delivered to the Norwegian air force a fleet of
Boeing-built P8 Poseidon patrol planes to bolster its long-range spying
on all things Russia.

In return, the Norwegian government angered liberals and some moderates
in its parliament last November by passing the Supplementary Defense
Cooperation Agreement (SDCA). Under the new deal, the U.S. legal system
would have jurisdiction in certain "agreed areas" in the North over
American soldiers accused of crimes off base, as well as over those
Norwegian citizens accused or suspected of interfering with the work at
the base.

Norway was one of the original signatories of the NATO Treaty in 1949,
in the early days of the Cold War. Today, the supreme commander of NATO
is Jens Stoltenberg, a committed anti-communist, who served as Norway's
prime minister for eight years before moving to his high NATO post,
with American backing, in 2014. He was a hardliner on all things Putin
and Russia who had cooperated with the American intelligence community
since the Vietnam War. He has been trusted completely since. "He is the
glove that fits the American hand," the source said.

Back in Washington, planners knew they had to go to Norway. "They hated
the Russians, and the Norwegian navy was full of superb sailors and divers
who had generations of experience in highly profitable deep-sea oil and
gas exploration," the source said. They also could be trusted to keep the
mission secret. (The Norwegians may have had other interests as well. The
destruction of Nord Stream-if the Americans could pull it off-would
allow Norway to sell vastly more of its own natural gas to Europe.)

Sometime in March, a few members of the team flew to Norway to meet
with the Norwegian Secret Service and Navy. One of the key questions
was where exactly in the Baltic Sea was the best place to plant the
explosives. Nord Stream 1 and 2, each with two sets of pipelines, were
separated much of the way by little more than a mile as they made their
run to the port of Greifswald in the far northeast of Germany.

The Norwegian navy was quick to find the right spot, in the shallow
waters of the Baltic sea a few miles off Denmark's Bornholm Island. The
pipelines ran more than a mile apart along a seafloor that was only
260 feet deep. That would be well within the range of the divers, who,
operating from a Norwegian Alta class mine hunter, would dive with a
mixture of oxygen, nitrogen and helium streaming from their tanks, and
plant shaped C4 charges on the four pipelines with concrete protective
covers. It would be tedious, time consuming and dangerous work, but the
waters off Bornholm had another advantage: there were no major tidal
currents, which would have made the task of diving much more difficult.

# After a bit of research, the Americans were all in.

At this point, the Navy's obscure deep-diving group in Panama City once
again came into play. The deep-sea schools at Panama City, whose trainees
participated in Ivy Bells, are seen as an unwanted backwater by the elite
graduates of the Naval Academy in Annapolis, who typically seek the glory
of being assigned as a Seal, fighter pilot, or submariner. If one must
become a "Black Shoe"-that is, a member of the less desirable surface
ship command-there is always at least duty on a destroyer, cruiser or
amphibious ship. The least glamorous of all is mine warfare. Its divers
never appear in Hollywood movies, or on the cover of popular magazines.

"The best divers with deep diving qualifications are a tight community,
and only the very best are recruited for the operation and told to be
prepared to be summoned to the CIA in Washington," the source said.

The Norwegians and Americans had a location and the operatives, but
there was another concern: any unusual underwater activity in the waters
off Bornholm might draw the attention of the Swedish or Danish navies,
which could report it.

Denmark had also been one of the original NATO signatories and was
known in the intelligence community for its special ties to the
United Kingdom. Sweden had applied for membership into NATO, and had
demonstrated its great skill in managing its underwater sound and magnetic
sensor systems that successfully tracked Russian submarines that would
occasionally show up in remote waters of the Swedish archipelago and be
forced to the surface.

The Norwegians joined the Americans in insisting that some senior
officials in Denmark and Sweden had to be briefed in general terms about
possible diving activity in the area. In that way, someone higher up could
intervene and keep a report out of the chain of command, thus insulating
the pipeline operation. "What they were told and what they knew were
purposely different," the source told me. (The Norwegian embassy, asked
to comment on this story, did not respond.)

The Norwegians were key to solving other hurdles. The Russian navy
was known to possess surveillance technology capable of spotting, and
triggering, underwater mines. The American explosive devices needed to be
camouflaged in a way that would make them appear to the Russian system
as part of the natural background-something that required adapting to
the specific salinity of the water. The Norwegians had a fix.

The Norwegians also had a solution to the crucial question of when the
operation should take place. Every June, for the past 21 years, the
American Sixth Fleet, whose flagship is based in Gaeta, Italy, south of
Rome, has sponsored a major NATO exercise in the Baltic Sea involving
scores of allied ships throughout the region. The current exercise,
held in June, would be known as Baltic Operations 22, or BALTOPS 22. The
Norwegians proposed this would be the ideal cover to plant the mines.

The Americans provided one vital element: they convinced the Sixth Fleet
planners to add a research and development exercise to the program. The
exercise, as made public by the Navy, involved the Sixth Fleet in
collaboration with the Navy's "research and warfare centers." The at-sea
event would be held off the coast of Bornholm Island and involve NATO
teams of divers planting mines, with competing teams using the latest
underwater technology to find and destroy them.

It was both a useful exercise and ingenious cover. The Panama City boys
would do their thing and the C4 explosives would be in place by the end
of BALTOPS22, with a 48-hour timer attached. All of the Americans and
Norwegians would be long gone by the first explosion.

The days were counting down. "The clock was ticking, and we were nearing
mission accomplished," the source said.

And then: Washington had second thoughts. The bombs would still be planted
during BALTOPS, but the White House worried that a two-day window for
their detonation would be too close to the end of the exercise, and it
would be obvious that America had been involved.

Instead, the White House had a new request: "Can the guys in the field
come up with some way to blow the pipelines later on command?"

Some members of the planning team were angered and frustrated by the
President's seeming indecision. The Panama City divers had repeatedly
practiced planting the C4 on pipelines, as they would during BALTOPS,
but now the team in Norway had to come up with a way to give Biden what
he wanted-the ability to issue a successful execution order at a time
of his choosing.

Being tasked with an arbitrary, last-minute change was something the
CIA was accustomed to managing. But it also renewed the concerns some
shared over the necessity, and legality, of the entire operation.

The President's secret orders also evoked the CIA's dilemma in the Vietnam
War days, when President Johnson, confronted by growing anti-Vietnam War
sentiment, ordered the Agency to violate its charter-which specifically
barred it from operating inside America-by spying on antiwar leaders to
determine whether they were being controlled by Communist Russia.

The agency ultimately acquiesced, and throughout the 1970s it became clear
just how far it had been willing to go. There were subsequent newspaper
revelations in the aftermath of the Watergate scandals about the Agency's
spying on American citizens, its involvement in the assassination of
foreign leaders and its undermining of the socialist government of
Salvador Allende.

Those revelations led to a dramatic series of hearings in the mid-1970s in
the Senate, led by Frank Church of Idaho, that made it clear that Richard
Helms, the Agency director at the time, accepted that he had an obligation
to do what the President wanted, even if it meant violating the law.

In unpublished, closed-door testimony, Helms ruefully explained that
"you almost have an Immaculate Conception when you do something" under
secret orders from a President. "Whether it's right that you should have
it, or wrong that you shall have it, [the CIA] works under different
rules and ground rules than any other part of the government." He was
essentially telling the Senators that he, as head of the CIA, understood
that he had been working for the Crown, and not the Constitution.

The Americans at work in Norway operated under the same dynamic, and
dutifully began working on the new problem-how to remotely detonate the
C4 explosives on Biden's order. It was a much more demanding assignment
than those in Washington understood. There was no way for the team in
Norway to know when the President might push the button. Would it be in
a few weeks, in many months or in half a year or longer?

The C4 attached to the pipelines would be triggered by a sonar buoy
dropped by a plane on short notice, but the procedure involved the most
advanced signal processing technology. Once in place, the delayed timing
devices attached to any of the four pipelines could be accidentally
triggered by the complex mix of ocean background noises throughout the
heavily trafficked Baltic Sea-from near and distant ships, underwater
drilling, seismic events, waves and even sea creatures. To avoid this, the
sonar buoy, once in place, would emit a sequence of unique low frequency
tonal sounds-much like those emitted by a flute or a piano-that would
be recognized by the timing device and, after a pre-set hours of delay,
trigger the explosives. ("You want a signal that is robust enough so
that no other signal could accidentally send a pulse that detonated the
explosives," I was told by Dr. Theodore Postol, professor emeritus of
science, technology and national security policy at MIT. Postol, who has
served as the science adviser to the Pentagon's Chief of Naval Operations,
said the issue facing the group in Norway because of Biden's delay was
one of chance: "The longer the explosives are in the water the greater
risk there would be of a random signal that would launch the bombs.")

On September 26, 2022, a Norwegian Navy P8 surveillance plane made a
seemingly routine flight and dropped a sonar buoy. The signal spread
underwater, initially to Nord Stream 2 and then on to Nord Stream 1. A
few hours later, the high-powered C4 explosives were triggered and three
of the four pipelines were put out of commission. Within a few minutes,
pools of methane gas that remained in the shuttered pipelines could
be seen spreading on the water's surface and the world learned that
something irreversible had taken place.


In the immediate aftermath of the pipeline bombing, the American media
treated it like an unsolved mystery. Russia was repeatedly cited
as a likely culprit, spurred on by calculated leaks from the White
House-but without ever establishing a clear motive for such an act of
self-sabotage, beyond simple retribution. A few months later, when it
emerged that Russian authorities had been quietly getting estimates for
the cost to repair the pipelines, the New York Times described the news
as "complicating theories about who was behind" the attack. No major
American newspaper dug into the earlier threats to the pipelines made
by Biden and Undersecretary of State Nuland.

While it was never clear why Russia would seek to destroy its own
lucrative pipeline, a more telling rationale for the President's action
came from Secretary of State Blinken.

Asked at a press conference last September about the consequences of the
worsening energy crisis in Western Europe, Blinken described the moment
as a potentially good one:

"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.
That's very significant and that offers tremendous strategic opportunity
for the years to come, but meanwhile we're determined to do everything
we possibly can to make sure the consequences of all of this are not
borne by citizens in our countries or, for that matter, around the world."

More recently, Victoria Nuland expressed satisfaction at the demise of
the newest of the pipelines. Testifying at a Senate Foreign Relations
Committee hearing in late January she told Senator Ted Cruz, "#Like you,
I am, and I think the Administration is, very gratified to know that
Nord Stream 2 is now, as you like to say, a hunk of metal at the bottom
of the sea."

The source had a much more streetwise view of Biden's decision to
sabotage more than 1500 miles of Gazprom pipeline as winter approached.
"Well," he said, speaking of the President, "I gotta admit the guy has
a pair of balls.  He said he was going to do it, and he did."

Asked why he thought the Russians failed to respond, he said cynically,
"Maybe they want the capability to do the same things the U.S. did.

"It was a beautiful cover story," he went on. "Behind it was a covert
operation that placed experts in the field and equipment that operated
on a covert signal.

"The only flaw was the decision to do it."

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