The Wider War – U.S. Exposed for Blowing Up Russia’s Pipelines

Natural gas released from Nord Stream pipelines following U.S. covert sabotage
Natural gas released from Nord Stream pipelines following U.S. covert sabotage. | Photo:

By David Sole

Award winning journalist Seymour Hersh has written a detailed expose on how the United States government planned and carried out the bombing of Russia’s Nord Stream pipelines on September 26, 2022.

Hersh’s piece cites an unnamed source who gives a step by step account of the months of secret meetings and the sophisticated technology used in what is clearly “an act of war” against Russia. For decades Hersh has used his contacts inside the military and intelligence community to reveal operations that government officials have tried to keep secret.

In 1969 he exposed the infamous My Lai massacre in Vietnam where U.S. soldiers murdered between 347 and 504 unarmed civilians on March 16, 1968. For this work he won a coveted Pulitzer Prize for 1970.

Hersh also is noted for his writings on the U.S. bombing of Cambodia, which spread the Vietnam conflict into that country. In 2004 he exposed the U.S. torture practices at Abu Graib in Iraq and later disputed the official story that the Syrian government had used chemical weapons against civilians.

At the time many journalists and publications did assert that the United States was almost certainly behind the Nord Stream bombing. These claims were based on the logic of who would gain by the action. Hersh now gives a blow by blow account on this imperialist conspiracy.

The question that Hersh does not ask is “Why is someone inside the military/intelligence establishment now leaking this information?” The answer certainly has to do with a growing rift in the U.S. government between those who are doubling down on backing a losing Ukraine in its war with the Russian Federation and those who recognize reality and are advocating a withdrawal of support and some sort of negotiations. ( )

The neocon hard liners were the driving force for the covert pipeline bombing and want to continue fighting to the “last Ukrainian” or may even consider sending U.S. or other NATO forces into the battle. Those who are worried about the very real dangers posed by the neocons may want to promote some public opposition inside the U.S. and are encouraging a break in the almost unified pro-war propaganda in the media for the past year.

Here are some highlights from Hersh’s article “How America Took Out the Nord Stream Pipeline”, published on February 8, 2023.

Last June, the Navy divers, operating under the cover of a widely publicized mid-summer NATO exercise known as BALTOPS 22, planted the remotely triggered explosives that, three months later, destroyed three of the four Nord Stream pipelines, according to a source with direct knowledge of the operational planning.


…planning took place late in 2021 and into the first months of 2022.


As long as Europe remained dependent on the pipelines 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.

In December of 2021, two months before the first Russian tanks rolled into Ukraine, Jake Sullivan convened a meeting of a newly formed task force—men and women from the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the CIA, and the State and Treasury Departments—and asked for recommendations about how to respond to Putin’s impending invasion.


What became clear to participants, according to the source with direct knowledge of the process, is that Sullivan intended for the group to come up with a plan for the destruction of the two Nord Stream pipelines—and that he was delivering on the desires of the President.


Over the next few weeks, members of the CIA’s working group began to craft a plan for a covert operation that would use deep-sea divers to trigger an explosion along the pipeline.


[I]n early 2022, the CIA working group reported back to Sullivan’s interagency group: “We have a way to blow up the pipelines.”

On February 7, less than three weeks before the seemingly inevitable Russian invasion of Ukraine,…Biden defiantly said, “If Russia invades . . . there will be no longer a Nord Stream 2. We will bring an end to it.”


[Under Secretary of State Victoria] Nuland had delivered essentially the same message at a State Department briefing, with little press coverage. “I want to be very clear to you today,” she said in response to a question. “If Russia invades Ukraine, one way or another Nord Stream 2 will not move forward.”


The C4 attached to the pipelines would be triggered by a sonar buoy dropped by a plane on short notice, but the procedure involved the most advanced signal processing technology.


[T]he sonar buoy, once in place, would emit a sequence of unique low frequency tonal sounds…that would be recognized by the timing device and, after a pre-set hours of delay, trigger the explosives.


On September 26, 2022, a Norwegian Navy P8 surveillance plane made a seemingly routine flight and dropped a sonar buoy. The signal spread underwater, initially to Nord Stream 2 and then on to Nord Stream 1. A few hours later, the high-powered C4 explosives were triggered and three of the four pipelines were put out of commission.


Victoria Nuland expressed satisfaction at the demise of the newest of the pipelines. Testifying at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing in late January she told Senator Ted Cruz, “​Like you, I am, and I think the Administration is, very gratified to know that Nord Stream 2 is now, as you like to say, a hunk of metal at the bottom of the sea.”

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