The Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said on Friday that Washington owed the world an explanation, following the publication of journalist Seymour Hersh’s report, claiming the U.S. was behind the September 2022 attack on the Nord Stream gas pipelines.
Media reports said:
“We have noted the reports,” Mao Ning said, responding to a question from Dragon TV. She added that the two Nord Stream pipelines were “vital transnational infrastructure” and that their destruction caused a serious economic and environmental impact.
“If Hersh is telling the truth, what he revealed is clearly unacceptable and must be answered for. The U.S. owes the world a responsible explanation,” Mao stated.
A follow-up question from the Beijing Youth Daily pointed out the sparse coverage of Hersh’s report by the “free, professional and impartial” U.S. outlets. Mao responded: “It only proves that some media outlets care little about the truth. They pretend not to see the truth that really matters and, more often than not, try to sell false narratives rather than the truth.”
Hersh, an investigative journalist and Pulitzer Prize laureate, published a report titled “How America Took Out The Nord Stream Pipeline” on Wednesday.
He cited a “a source with direct knowledge of the operational planning” of the attack on the Russia-Germany pipelines. He claims a bomb was planted by the US during the BALTOPS 22 NATO exercises, and the explosive was then detonated by Norway dropping a sonar buoy from a military plane.
U.S. Department of State spokesman Ned Price was asked about Hersh’s report on Thursday and dismissed it as “utter and complete nonsense.”
“It would not be typical for us to engage allies and partners on something that is utter and complete nonsense,” Ned Price said.
He went on to label it as “propaganda” that he did not want to see “aired in the briefing room.”
Explosions that damaged both Nord Stream pipelines near the Danish island of Bornholm cut off the flow of Russian natural gas to Germany. U.S. officials tried to blame Russia for the blasts, while expressing delight at the destruction and calling it an “opportunity” for Europe. The White House has denounced Hersh’s report as “utterly false and complete fiction.”
In Germany, which jointly funded the construction of the Nord Stream pipelines, members of the AfD party demanded a discussion on the article and its claims in the country’s parliament on Friday.
“The Bundestag has a right to know what the federal government knows,” said the party’s official Twitter account, citing parliamentary group leader Tino Chrupalla.
U.S. Lying’ about Nord Stream Expose, Says Russia
Another media report said:
Attempts by the US State Department to brush off Seymour Hersh’s article about the sabotage of Nord Stream pipelines as “nonsense” are overt lies that display shocking ignorance of American history, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told reporters on Friday.
U.S. Department of State spokesman Ned Price dismissed the report as “utter and complete nonsense.”
Zakharova said she was astonished by Price’s audacity to call “nonsense” what U.S. President joe Biden and Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland openly described as their preferred outcome.
“The U.S. is once again lying on air, openly mocking journalists who asked fully justified questions,” Zakharova said.
Washington also has a history of targeting civilian petrochemical infrastructure, Zakharova noted, citing the 1983 CIA sabotage of a pipeline in Nicaragua as an example.
“You did this, you did this, and you will do this until you are stopped,” the spokeswoman added.
As for bringing allies and partners into “nonsense,” Zakharova argued that this was precisely what “trans-Atlantic solidarity” means in practice, referring to the 2003 invasion of Iraq as one example.
“Twenty years ago, Secretary of State Colin Powel brought to the UN Security Council a vial of something, and called on allies and partners to invade a sovereign state, without any evidence, over claims that proved to be utter nonsense. Ned, do you know your department’s history?” Zakharova said. “I have no doubt that at the State Department they are bad with the history of their own country. That is why we are where we are.”
Zakharova noted that Denmark and Sweden had refused Russian offers to assist with the investigation, while Norway declined to provide aid citing EU sanctions, adding that this shows the three governments were not interested in finding out the truth, but rather covering it up.
U.S. Behind Nord Stream Sabotage, Legendary NYT Journalist
Earlier reports said:
The Nord Stream pipelines were destroyed last September by the U.S. in a covert operation, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh has claimed. The legendary reporter made the bombshell revelation in an article posted to his newly launched blog on Substack on Wednesday.
The explosives were planted at the pipelines back in June 2022 by US Navy divers under the guise of the BALTOPS 22 NATO exercise, Hersh reported, citing a source with direct knowledge of the operational planning.
The journalist noted that he had reached out to the White House and CIA for comment, with both firmly rejecting the claim that the U.S. “took out” the pipelines as “utterly false.”
The bombs were detonated three months later on September 26 with a remote signal sent by a sonar buoy. The buoy was dropped near the Nord Stream pipelines by a Norwegian Navy P8 surveillance plane, according to the report.
The operation came to fruition following months of back-and-forth between the White House, CIA, and military, with officials focusing on how to leave no trace of US involvement in the attack. The planning process began back in December 2021, when a special task force was created with the direct participation of US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan.
“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,” the report read.
The source told Hersh that everybody involved understood the operation was not some “kiddie stuff” but was actually an “an act of war.” Throughout “all of this scheming” certain officials urged the White House to drop the idea entirely. “Some working guys in the CIA and the State Department were saying, ‘Do not do this. It is stupid and will be a political nightmare if it comes out,” according to the source.
Originally, the explosives were to have a 48-hour timer and were set to be planted by the end of BALTOPS22, Hersh reported, citing the same source. The two-day window, however, was ultimately deemed to be too close to the end of the exercise by the White House, which ordered the task force to come up with an on-demand method of detonating them. This ultimately turned out to be the sonar buoy.
The administration of President Joe Biden has been “focused” on jeopardizing the Nord Stream pipelines – initially through sanctions, and, ultimately, by direct sabotage – seeing it as key to swaying Europe to its cause amid the then-looming conflict in Ukraine, Hersh noted.
“As long as Europe remained dependent on the pipeline 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,” he wrote.
Moscow provided a similar take on the incident shortly after the blasts, branding them a “terrorist attack” and stating that the US was the nation that benefited most from it, by accelerating Europe’s attempts to wean itself off of Russian gas.
Throughout his career, Hersh has reported on numerous explosive stories, including war crimes by the US military and high-profile political scandals. Exposing the My Lai massacre by US troops in Vietnam scored the journalist the Pulitzer Prize in 1970. Other notable stories Hersh reported on include the Watergate scandal, the CIA illegal domestic spying, as well as the American military’s torture and abuse of detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
White House Responds To The Exposure
U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration on Wednesday blasted Pulitzer Prize winner Seymour Hersh for claiming that Washington was behind last year’s sabotage of Russia’s Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines, saying reporting by the veteran investigative journalist was “utterly false and complete fiction.”
White House National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson denied the report, hours after Hersh posted his article on Substack.
The U.S. President told reporters in early February of 2022 that the U.S. would “bring an end” to Nord Stream 2 if Russian forces launched an offensive against Kiev. Asked how, exactly, that would be achieved, given that the pipeline was in Germany’s control, he said “We will, I promise you, we will be able to do it.”
After the Nord Stream explosions in September, US officials denied involvement and suggested that Russia may have sabotaged its own pipelines.
No Proof Russia Linked To The Sabotage, Says German Prosecutor
Berlin has no proof linking Russia to the sabotage of the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines at the bottom of the Baltic Sea last year, Germany’s Public Prosecutor General Peter Frank has acknowledged.
“It currently has not been proven,” he said of alleged Russian involvement during an interview with Die Welt newspaper on Saturday. “The investigation is ongoing,” he added.
As part of the probe, two research vessels were used to collect water and soil samples from the site of the explosions and recover debris from the damaged pipelines, the Prosecutor General revealed.
“We are currently evaluating all this forensically,” he said.
According to Frank, the suspicion “that there had been a foreign sabotage, has so far not been substantiated.”
Four leaks in two pipelines, which transported Russian gas to Europe through Germany, were discovered near the Danish island of Bornholm in the territorial waters of Denmark and Sweden in late September. The two Nordic nations have been conducting their own investigations into the blasts, and Germany has been “in contact” with them, Frank said.
Earlier this week, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz refused to comment on the probe carried out by Berlin, saying concrete proof needed to be obtained before any statements could be made.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova responded by saying that the lack of transparency on the issue from Germany suggested that “Berlin has something to hide.”
On Wednesday, The Times reported that German investigators were “open to theories that a Western state carried out the bombing with the aim of blaming it on Russia.”
The Swedish authorities concluded in November that the pipelines had been sabotaged, but refrained from naming the culprit. However, it did not stop Kiev and some of its Western backers from assigning blame on Moscow, claiming that it damaged its own infrastructure to put pressure on the EU amid the conflict in Ukraine.
The Russian authorities have described those accusations as “absurd” and pointed to the fact that the only side that benefited from Nord Stream being rendered inoperable was the U.S., which drastically increased supplies of its liquefied natural gas to Europe.
U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland said during a congressional hearing last week that she was “gratified” by the destruction of Nord Stream.
According to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, with this remark Nuland effectively “confessed” Washington’s involvement in the sabotage.