Biden’s Attack On Nord Stream Pipelines Was Aimed At German Chancellor Scholz, Says Seymour Hersh

nordstream gas leak

The attack on the Nord Stream pipelines commissioned by U.S. President Joe Biden was primarily aimed at Germany rather than Russia, investigative reporter Seymour Hersh has claimed.

The decision to destroy the key pipelines was prompted by U.S. fears that Berlin might not follow Washington’s lead amid the Ukraine conflict, Hersh wrote in a new article on the affair on his Substack blog on Friday.

The sabotage of the pipelines was ordered weeks before the conflict between Russia and Ukraine began in February 2022, Hersh wrote, adding that the U.S. operatives assigned to it believed it was meant to deter Moscow. The attack on the pipelines was ready by late May, but “the plan was called off on short notice by Biden,” the world famous journalist claimed.

Instead, the team was tasked with planting explosives on the pipelines, which could be detonated remotely at a later date, he said. The timing of the attack, which ultimately occurred in late September 2022, appeared to be aimed at Berlin rather than Moscow.

“Biden’s timing seemed aimed at Chancellor Scholz. Some in the CIA believed that the president’s fear was that Scholz, whose constituents were lukewarm in their support for Ukraine, might waffle with winter coming on and conclude that keeping his people warm and his industries prosperous was more important than backing Ukraine against Russia,” Hersh wrote.

The Nord Stream 1 and 2 natural gas pipelines each comprised two separate channels linking Russia and Germany. Three out of the four lines were destroyed in a series of explosions near the Danish island of Bornholm in September 2022, severing Germany’s direct energy ties to Russia and leaving its gas-dependent economy reliant on more expensive American liquefied natural gas.

Rapid Deindustrialization Of Germany

The destruction of the pipelines played a major role in Germany’s economic hardships – the country, which once “dominated the world’s markets with its luxury cars and industrial machinery is now in a process of what some have called rapid deindustrialization,” Hersh said. Apart from this, Germany has experienced a surge in popularity of right-wing parties, including Alternative for Germany (AfD), and its economic woes have contributed to this.

However, Washington’s “most controversial factor in Germany’s recent hard times” – the Nord Stream sabotage – remains largely ignored in the West, according to the Pulitzer Prize winning journalist.

“In the ten months since I published my first account of the Nord Stream sabotage the German government and media, as in the United States, have either ignored or provided alternate accounts of the how and why the pipelines were destroyed. The idea that a sitting U.S. president would deliberately destroy a vital source of energy and of a close ally has been, as Freud would say, taboo,” Hersh wrote.

The veteran journalist provided his first detailed account on the pipeline attack on February 8, 2023, publishing a lengthy article relying on anonymous sources “with direct knowledge of the operational planning.” The allegations prompted strong denials from Washington, with U.S. National Security spokesman John Kirby dismissing the report as a “completely false story” at the time.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said in March that he “fully agrees” with Hersh’s findings, suggesting the attack only benefited Washington to reinforce its position as a competing gas supplier to Europe.

CIA-run Nord Stream Attack Was Aimed At Germany

In September Hersh made similar claims.

A U.S. intelligence source has told Hersh that President Joe Biden ordered the destruction of the Nord Stream gas pipelines to prevent Germany from backtracking on promises to abandon Russian energy. 

In a blog post in September, the reporter alleged that the German economy was of no concern to the White House.

The Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines, which connected Russia and Germany through the Baltic Sea, were destroyed in a series of underwater explosions a year ago. Competing theories have emerged as to who was to blame, with mainstream media in the West blaming a Ukrainian commando unit and Hersh claiming that the CIA carried out the operation under direct orders from Biden.

In his blog post, Hersh alleged that U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan convened a series of meetings in late 2021, tasking intelligence officials with coming up with a means of deterring Russian President Vladimir Putin from sending troops into Ukraine.

“The White House’s policy was to deter Russia from an attack,” an intelligence source told Hersh. “The challenge it gave to the intelligence community was to come up with a way that was powerful enough to do that, and to make a strong statement of American capability.”

By January, as Russian forces were massing on the Ukrainian border, the CIA had “solved the problem,” the source said. With a plan in place to plant remotely-detonated explosives on the pipelines under the Baltic Sea, Biden warned in early February that in the event of military action by Russia, “there will no longer be a Nord Stream 2. We will bring an end to it.”

Following Biden’s statement, which was delivered alongside German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the CIA team tasked with sabotaging the pipelines received new orders, Hersh claimed. Instead of immediately destroying Nord Stream, the team was instructed to plant the explosives for detonation at a later date.

“It was then that we understood that the attack on the pipelines was not a deterrent because as the war went on we never got the command,” a member of the team told Hersh.

“We realized that the destruction of the two Russian pipelines was not related to the Ukrainian war,” the source continued. “But was part of a neocon political agenda to keep Scholz and Germany, with winter coming up and the pipelines shut down, from getting cold feet and opening up.” 

According to Hersh’s earlier reporting, CIA divers planted the explosives last summer with the help of the Norwegian navy, using a NATO exercise in the region as cover. By the time the bombs were triggered in September, the flow of Russian gas to Germany via Nord Stream 1 had already been slowed to a trickle by Russia in response to Western sanctions, while Nord Stream 2 was never certified to begin operation by Scholz’s government. However, with the German economy heavily dependent on Russian gas, Biden reportedly feared that Scholz would choose rapprochement with Moscow over support for Ukraine.

“The President of the United States would rather see Germany freeze than [see] Germany possibly stop supporting Ukraine,” Hersh declared earlier this year.

U.S. ‘Most Likely’ Blew Up Nord Stream, Says Putin

An earlier media report said:

The bombing of the Nord Stream gas pipelines was most likely carried out by the U.S. or someone acting on its orders, Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed on Thursday.

Commenting on the issue during his marathon Q&A event with the media and general public on Thursday, Putin pointed out that the EU itself is at fault for any gas supply problems it is facing.

“Strangely enough, they tried to blame it [shortages] on us, claiming that we are not selling something,” the Russian leader stated. “This is complete nonsense, because it was not us who closed the Yamal-Europe gas pipeline in Poland, the second branch of the pipeline through the territory of Ukraine, it was Ukraine who did it. We did not blow up Nord Stream 1 and partly Nord Stream 2. This was done, most likely, by the Americans or someone at their instruction.” 

Putin noted that one of the Nord Stream 1 pipelines is in working condition, but Germany is resisting the resumption of gas supplies. Russian energy giant Gazprom is a reliable partner and fulfills all its contractual obligations, the president stressed.

Investigations into the Nord Stream sabotage have so far failed to definitively identify the culprit. Some have claimed that the attack was orchestrated by Kiev, while others have pointed the finger at the U.S.

American investigative journalist Seymour Hersh has claimed that U.S. President Joe Biden ordered the CIA to blow up the pipelines. Citing sources in the intelligence community, Hersh alleged that CIA divers working with the Norwegian Navy had planted remotely-triggered bombs on the connectors last summer, using a NATO exercise in the region as cover.

Putin said in March that he “fully agrees” with Hersh’s conclusions, and that the US benefited from the attack due to its position as a competing gas supplier to Europe.

Russia Could Sue Over Nord Stream Attack

Another media report said:

Russia has not ruled out filing a claim for compensation once an investigation into the Nord Stream gas pipeline explosions is complete, a Russian Foreign Ministry official has told RIA.

Asked if Moscow plans to sue over the destruction of the pipelines, Dmitry Birichevsky, the director of the ministry’s economic cooperation department, insisted that the investigation was “not over yet” as they were “still waiting for its results to be submitted to the UN Security Council.”

“After that, we will see,” he added.

Birichevsky has raised this issue before. In March, he mentioned that Russia did not rule out “the possibility of later raising the issue of compensatory damages over the explosion of the Nord Stream gas pipelines.” 

The diplomat, however, has not specified from whom Russia could potentially demand such payment, or in what form or amount it should be paid.

A Washington Post Report

Earlier, a report by the Washington Post singled out a Ukrainian military officer by the name of Roman Chernivsky as having played a key role in the destruction of the pipelines. The outlet claimed that he had coordinated a six-person team of Ukrainian commandos who allegedly carried out the attack using a rented yacht.

Chernivsky, however, has denied the аllegations, dismissing any speculations of his involvement in the attack as “Russian propaganda.”

Seymour Hersh has also repeatedly called the “yacht” narrative a “red herring” planted by the U.S. intelligence services, insisting instead that the sabotage of the pipelines was carried out by the CIA on direct orders from US President Joe Biden.

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