by Pepe Escobar, widely posted on the Internet, reposted with the author’s permission
What’s left for all of us is to swim in a swamp crammed with derelict patsies, dodgy cover stories and intel debris.
Seymour Hersh’s bombshell report on how the United States government blew up the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines in the Baltic Sea last September continues to generate rippling geopolitical waves all across the spectrum.
Except, of course, in the parallel bubble of U.S. mainstream media, which has totally ignored it, or in a few select cases, decided to shoot the messenger, dismissing Hersh as a “discredited” journalist, a “blogger”, and a “conspiracy theorist”.
I have offered an initial approach, focused on the plentiful merits of a seemingly thorough report, but also noting some serious inconsistencies.
Old school Moscow-based foreign correspondent John Helmer has gone even further; and what he uncovered may be as incandescent as Sy Hersh’s own narrative.
The heart of the matter in Hersh’s report concerns attribution of responsibility for a de facto industrial terror attack. Surprisingly, no CIA; that falls straight on the toxic planning trio of Sullivan, Blinken and Nuland – neoliberal-cons part of the “Biden” combo. And the final green light comes from the Ultimate Decider: the senile, teleprompt-reading President himself. The Norwegians feature as minor helpers.
That poses the first serious problem: nowhere in his narrative Hersh refers to MI6, the Poles (government, Navy), the Danes, and even the German government.
There’s a mention that on January 2022, “after some wobbling”, Chancellor Scholz “was now firmly on the American team”. Well, by now the plan had been under discussion, according to Hersh’s source, for at least a few months. That also means that Scholz remained “on the American team” all the way to the terror attack, on September 2022.
As for the Brits, the Poles and all NATO games being played off Bornhom Island more than a year before the attack, that had been extensively reported by Russian media – from Kommersant to RIA Novosti.
The Special Military Operation (SMO) was launched on February 24, almost a year ago. The Nord Stream 1 and 2 blow up happened on September 26. Hersh assures there were “more than nine months of highly secret back and forth debate inside Washington’s national security community about how to ‘sabotage the pipelines’”.
So that confirms that the terror attack planning preceded, by months, not only the SMO but, crucially, the letters sent by Moscow to Washington on December 2022, requesting a serious discussion on “indivisibility of security” involving NATO, Russia and the post-Soviet space. The request was met by a dismissive American non-response response.
While he was writing the story of a terror response to a serious geopolitical issue, it does raise eyebrows that a first-rate pro like Hersh does not even bother to examine the complex geopolitical background.
In a nutshell: the ultimate Mackinderian anathema for the U.S. ruling classes – and that’s bipartisan – is a Germany-Russia alliance, extended to China: that would mean the U.S. expelled from Eurasia, and that conditions everything any American government thinks and does in terms of NATO and Russia.
Hersh should also have noticed that the timing of the preparation to “sabotage the pipelines” completely blows apart the official United States government narrative, according to which this a collective West effort to help Ukraine against “unprovoked Russian aggression”.
That elusive source
The narrative leaves no doubt that Hersh’s source – if not the journalist himself – supports what is considered a lawful U.S. policy: to fight Russia’s “threat to Western dominance [in Europe].”
So what seems a U.S. Navy covert op, according to the narrative, may have been misguided not because of serious geopolitical reasons; but because the attack planning intentionally evaded U.S. law “requiring Congress to be informed”. That’s an extremely parochial interpretation of international relations. Or, to be blunt: that’s an apology of Exceptionalism.
And that brings us to what may be the Rosebud in this Orson Welles-worthy saga. Hersh refers to a “secure room on the top floor of the Old Executive Office Building …that was also the home of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board”.
This was supposedly the place where the terror attack planning was being discussed.
So welcome to PIAB: the President Intelligence Advisory Board. All members are appointed by the current POTUS, in this case Joe Biden. If we examine the list of current members of PIAB, we should, in theory, find Hersh’s source (see, for instance, “President Biden Announces Appointments to the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board and the National Science Board”; “President Biden Announces Key Appointments”; “President Biden Announces Key Appointments to Boards and Commissions”; “President Biden Announces Key Appointments to Boards and Commissions”; and “President Biden Announces Key Appointments to Boards and Commissions”.
Here are the members of PIAB appointed by Biden: Sandy Winnefeld; Gilman Louie; Janet Napolitano; Richard Verma; Evan Bayh; Anne Finucane; Mark Angelson; Margaret Hamburg; Kim Cobb; and Kneeland Youngblood.
Hersh’s source, according to his narrative, asserts, without a shadow of a doubt, that “Russian troops had been steadily and ominously building up on the borders of Ukraine” and that “alarm was growing in Washington”. It’s beggars belief that this supposedly well informed lot didn’t know about the massing of NATO-led Ukrainian troops across the line of contact, getting ready to launch a blitzkrieg against Donbass.
What everyone already knew by then – as the record shows even on YouTube – is that the combo behind “Biden” were dead set on terminating the Nord Streams by whatever means necessary. After the start of the SMO, the only thing missing was to find a mechanism for plausible deniability.
For all its meticulous reporting, the inescapable feeling remains that what Hersh’s narrative indicts is the Biden combo terror gambit, and never the overall U.S. plan to provoke Russia into a proxy war with NATO using Ukraine as cannon fodder.
Moreover, Hersh’s source may be eminently flawed. He – or she – said, according to Hersh, that Russia “failed to respond” to the pipeline terror attack because “maybe they want the capability to do the same things the U.S. did”.
In itself, this may prove that the source was not even a member of PIAB, and did not receive the classified PIAB report assessing Putin’s crucial speech of September 30, which identifies the “responsible” party. If that’s the case, the source is just connected (italics mine) to some PIAB member; was not invited to the months-long situation-room planning; and certainly is not aware of the finer details of this administration’s war in Ukraine.
Considering Sy Hersh’s stellar track record in investigative journalism, it would be quite refreshing for him to elucidate these inconsistencies. That would get rid of the fog of rumors depicting the report as a mere limited hangout.
Considering there are several “silos” of intel within the U.S. oligarchy, with their corresponding apparatuses, and Hersh has cultivated his contacts among nearly all of them for decades, there’s no question the allegedly privileged information on the Nord Stream saga came from a very precise address – with a very precise agenda.
So we should see who the story really indicts: certainly the Straussian neo-con/neoliberal-con combo behind “Biden”, and the wobbly President himself. As I pointed out in my initial analysis, the CIA gets away with flying colors.
And we should not forget that the Big Narrative is changing fast: the RAND report, the looming NATO humiliation in Ukraine, Balloon Hysteria, UFO psy op. The real “threat” is – who else – China. What’s left for all of us is to swim in a swamp crammed with derelict patsies, dodgy cover stories and intel debris. Knowing that those who really run the show never show their hand.