In a recent YouTube broadcast about the War in Ukraine https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9pEotvlW-s the veteran investigative journalist John Pilger warns us that: ‘This is a war of propaganda’ and that we must be sceptical about everything. That’s sound advice when dealing with much of the main stream media and it surely applies to media coverage of the continuing mystery of who was responsible for the damage to Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines under the Baltic Sea in late September. But is it really a mystery or is that what the mainstream media want us to believe?
In a European Parliament Briefing in July 2021 https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/BRIE/2021/690705/EPRS_BRI(2021)690705_EN.pdf the pipelines are described as follows:
“….Launched in 2015, the Nord Stream 2 pipeline connects Russia and Germany directly via the Baltic Sea, following a similar route to Nord Stream 1 completed in 2011. Construction has taken several years, with delays due to protracted legal battles and, since 2019, US sanctions. Nevertheless, pipelaying continues and is on track for completion in the next few months. Few energy projects have ever been as hotly debated as Nord Stream 2. Pipeline owner Gazprom, a Russian state-controlled company, argues that it is needed to meet the EU’s growing demand for gas imports. Germany’s energy sector also sees the pipeline as a viable commercial project….”
The report goes on to outline those in favour of the pipelines, Germany and Austria, whereas opponents include Poland, the Baltic States, the United States and Ukraine [who it was reported would lose around $2 billion in transit fees once it became operational].
The briefing goes into great detail and gives excellent background and better understanding: “The Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) a US federal law imposed sanctions on Iran, North Korea, and Russia was passed by the Senate on 27 July, 2017, 98–2, after it passed the House 419–3. It extended the scope of US sanctions to include pipelines. The act authorised but did not require the US president to impose sanctions on companies involved in constructing new Russian energy export pipelines. No sanctions were initially applied, after US State Department implementation guidelines limited the scope of the new legislation to pipeline projects for which a contract was signed on or after August 2017, therefore excluding Nord Stream 2. In the absence of US sanctions, pipe-laying began in 2018 and progressed rapidly. In October 2019,
Denmark granted a permit for the construction of Nord Stream 2 under its waters, removing the last remaining regulatory obstacle to completion. At the time, only 160 km remained to be built, putting the pipeline on track to becoming operational by mid-2020. It was at this point that the US finally decided to act: with bipartisan support from Congress, in December 2019 Donald Trump signed the Protecting Europe’s Energy Security Act (PEESA), included in the National Defense Authorization Act for 2020. PEESA envisages sanctions for companies owning ships involved in laying the Nord Stream 2 and TurkStream pipelines at depths of over 100 feet (30 metres). PEESA did not affect TurkStream, the undersea sections of which had already been completed by then, but forced Swiss-Dutch company Allseas to withdraw from the Nord Stream 2 project and brought construction to an almost immediate halt.
To strengthen the legal basis for US sanctions, in July 2020 the US State Department issued new guidelines stating that CAATSA would after all apply to Nord Stream 2, while in January 2021 PEESA was amended with a slightly broader definition of activities connected to the pipeline susceptible to sanctions. In the same month, the US added the first names to the PEESA sanctions list – Fortuna, one of two ships laying the pipeline, and its Russian owners. The sanctions were not welcomed by German Foreign Minister, Heiko Maas, who accused Washington of meddling in European energy policy. The European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, also criticised the measures, due to the threat they posed to European companies carrying out legitimate business…” The Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 changed all this.
Prior to the Russian invasion, US President Joe Biden had vowed that the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline would be blocked if Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine. In a statement, Mr. Biden said Mr. Putin has given the world an “overwhelming incentive” to move away from Russian natural gas and explore other forms of energy. During a media briefing on February 23, 2022, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki had said the Nord Stream 2 is “currently dead at the bottom of the sea” see: https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/what-is-the-effect-of-the-russia-ukraine-crisis-on-the-nord-stream-2-project/article65201798.ece
Little wonder then that after the attacks secretary of state Anthony Blinken described the damage to the pipelines as a “tremendous opportunity to once and for all remove the dependence on Russian energy”.
Former UN weapons inspector and political analyst Scott Ritter commented https://consortiumnews.com/2022/10/12/scott-ritter-pipelines-v-usa/: “Intent, motive and means: People serving life sentences in U.S. prisons have been convicted on weaker grounds than the circumstantial evidence against Washington for the attack on the Nord Stream pipelines.”
In a rare moment of ‘mainstream’ dissent echoing Ritter’s conclusion, Columbia University economist, Jeffrey Sachs, surprised his interviewer by saying:
“I know it runs counter to our narrative, you’re not allowed to say these things in the West, but the fact of the matter is, all over the world when I talk to people, they think the US did it. Even reporters on our papers that are involved tell me, “Of course [the US is responsible],” but it doesn’t show up in our media.”
Much of the mainstream media continues to report that it was Russia who was responsible for the damage, without acknowledging the possibility of US involvement? Few link the earlier hostile US reactions to the pipelines to the acts of sabotage. And after all who benefits from all this, clearly not Russia. Would they go to all the trouble of destroying its own assets?
Guardian report commented: http://web.archive.org/web/20221018151235/https://amp.theguardian.com/business/2022/sep/29/sweden-reports-fourth-nord-stream-1-2-pipeline-leak “Ukraine, Poland, the Baltic states and the US – including its former president Donald Trump – have been fierce critics of the Nord Stream pipeline, and Germany has announced its intention to wean itself off Russian gas completely and Gazprom has wound down deliveries to almost zero.
“For a Nato ally to have carried out an act of sabotage on a piece of infrastructure part-owned by European companies would have meant much political risk for little gain, but for Russia to destroy its own material and political asset would also seem to defy logic.”
Confused? John Pilger warns us that: ‘This is a war of propaganda’ and that we must be sceptical about everything, but it would be good to get the truth from the mainstream media. Is that asking too much – I guess it is!
An important source for this story can be found at: https://www.transcend.org/tms/2022/10/wicked-leaks-part-1-how-the-media-quarantined-evidence-on-nord-stream-sabotage/