Fair, objective probe urged into alleged U.S. involvement in Nord Stream blasts

(Xinhua) 08:21, March 01, 2023

BEIJING, Feb. 28 (Xinhua) -- Twenty days into Pulitzer Prize winner Seymour Hersh's bombshell report on U.S. involvement in the Nord Stream blasts, Washington is still dismissing the disclosure, the majority of Europe remains secretive, and Western mainstream media outlets stay as yet blind to the revelations.

The chilling details brought to light in the report, however, have caused misgivings and grave concerns among the international community. Calling Hersh's report something that should not be glossed over, more people around the world now demand an objective, fair and professional probe into the incident, and a speedup in truth-telling.


On Sept. 26, 2022, a series of clandestine bombings and subsequent underwater gas leaks occurred on the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipelines, which carry gas from Russia to Europe. Soon afterwards, Washington and some European countries pointed an accusing finger at Russia.

This file photo provided by the Swedish Coast Guard on Sept. 28, 2022 shows a gas leak on the Nord Stream 1 pipeline. (The Swedish Coast Guard/Handout via Xinhua)

But independent thinkers have reckoned the other way around. Days after the blasts, Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University, told Bloomberg in a TV show that the United States, rather than Russia, could be behind the attack, leading TV hosts to abruptly taking him off the air.

Hersh's account on Feb. 8 adds weight to Sachs' assertions. In a 5,200-word article published on the U.S. portal Substack, Hersh revealed how the United States partnered with Norway in a top-secret operation in June 2022 to plant remotely triggered explosives that took out three of the four Nord Stream pipelines three months later.

In response, Washington has denied the accusation on various occasions. Speaking to Fox News on Feb. 19, U.S. National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby called Hersh's report "a completely false story."

However, not everyone bought Washington's version. In an emailed interview with Xinhua, Sachs perceived Hersh's report as "credible" and consistent with several existing facts.

Former U.S. National Security Agency employee and whistleblower Edward Snowden tweeted earlier this month that the United States is wasting time and money to shoot down "unidentified flying objects" above U.S. and Canadian soil to ensure that national security reporters get assigned to investigate balloon nonsense "rather than (U.S.) budgets or bombings (of Nord Stream)."

"The U.S. had the motive, means, and opportunity and spent many months confessing to the plot and then to the crime after it took place," noted the Black Agenda Report website, citing U.S. President Joe Biden's pledge in February 2022 to stop the Nord Stream 2 project and U.S. Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland's remarks in January this year that Washington is "gratified" to know the Nord Stream 2 is now "a hunk of metal at the bottom of the sea."

There are "ample reasons" why the United States would be involved in the Nord Stream blasts, Sevim Dagdelen, a parliamentarian of Germany's Left Party, was quoted as saying by Canadian website Western Standard in a report published on Feb. 13.

"Many European capitals put the finger against Russia and said, 'it was Russia that blew up its own pipeline,' which was nonsense," former Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl told Sputnik in an interview. "For me, one thing was clear ever since 2018 that the U.S. was very much determined to make sure that this pipeline system would never ever become operative."

The now-deleted "Thank you, USA" tweet posted by former Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski offered fresh insight into how much some European officials are convinced of U.S. culpability.


When the needle of suspicion points towards the United States, European governments have fallen into collective silence.

Denmark, Germany and Sweden are investigating the destruction, but all remain tight-lipped over who blew holes in the pipelines.

Last week, the three countries told the UN Security Council in a joint letter that investigations are "ongoing." Nothing was said about who is responsible. They only stated that "investigations have not yet been concluded" and "it is not possible to say when they will be concluded."

Not even allowing access to members of the German Bundestag, all information on the matter has been classified as "highly confidential" because of the so-called third-party rule that prevents conflicts with the interests of allied states or their intelligence services.

"Even if the Germans, Swedes or Danes themselves found some evidence of U.S. involvement in the explosions, they would hardly talk about them because they would not be able to take such responsibility," said Igor Yushkov, a leading analyst of Russia's National Energy Security Fund.

Besides, U.S. corporate media have overwhelmingly brushed aside Hersh's report. A study by independent watchdog journalism MintPress News analyzed the 20 most influential publications in the United States, and found only four mentions of the report.

"What's most strange in this case is that U.S. mainstream media with political and social influence, such as The New York Times and The Washington Post, have deliberately remained indifferent and silent when Hersh, a veteran journalist who has proved his credibility in his investigations in the past, published his latest investigation of the Nord Stream blasts," wrote Singapore's Chinese-language newspaper Lianhe Zaobao on Feb. 11.

"When we see this kind of thing (the Nord Stream blasts) going on, we go to somebody who might be able to protect us and might be able to get the word out. Now, this was two weeks ago. Has The New York Times mentioned Seymour Hersh's article? Or has it even reported the denials? No, not yet. This is quite (as what) the Germans would say, merkwurdig (strange)," former CIA analyst Ray McGovern addressed the UN Security Council recently.

This file photo released by the Danish Ministry of Defense on Sept. 27, 2022 shows a Nord Stream gas pipeline leak site. (Danish Defense Ministry/Handout via Xinhua)


A recent report by Indian news website Firstpost quoted Hersh as saying that the United States saw energy alternatives for Europe as a "threat," and the Biden administration feared that Europe would "walk away" from the Ukraine crisis if it felt the need for Russian fuel carried by the pipeline, which was under sanctions.

"The fear of losing European support in the Ukraine conflict made the U.S. to take out the only option Europe had should it want to restart buying fuel from Russia," Hersh argued.

Just like Hersh, many others believing in U.S. sabotage also noted its strategic and economic motives behind the scenes.

"The U.S. did not like the close economic relations between Germany and Russia. They are doing something or they could try to do something that could break these relations," Gunnar Beck, a member of the European Parliament, said in an interview with Russian newspaper Izvestia on Feb. 12.

Washington was guided by strategic reasons to close Russia's energy and economic ties with Germany and most countries in Western and Eastern Europe, Beck said.

From the political and economic perspective, the United States is the major beneficiary of the incident, former Advisor to the French Defense Ministry Alain Corvez told the China Global Television Network on Feb. 14.

Italian journalist Gilberto Trombetta also said that Hersh's report is credible because the only one who would certainly benefit from the blasts is the United States.

Hersh's disclosure is "not impossible" because the United States has benefited the most from the incident as it can sell gas to Europe at a much higher price, in addition to exerting pressure on Russia, Croatian security expert Mirko Vukobratovic told Xinhua on Feb. 21.

Meanwhile, calls for a thorough probe into the incident to restore truth have mounted across the world. For example, Sachs told the UN Security Council in a briefing on Feb. 21 that an investigation by the Security Council into the explosions is a high global priority.

Noting the Nord Stream pipelines are major transboundary infrastructure and energy transportation arteries, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin said Wednesday that China supports speeding up the investigation into the blasts to swiftly find out the truth.

Applauding China's call, Vukobratovic said: "The Chinese position that the investigation must be objective and impartial is the only correct one. Only when it is carried out professionally can we talk about the intentions of those who caused the explosion."

In her tweet on Wednesday, UN Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs Rosemary A. DiCarlo also stressed the importance of "search for the truth" regarding the matter.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Liang Jun)


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