In the wake of Seymour Hersh’s bombshell reporting on the US terror attack on German-Russian civilian energy infrastructure—i.e., the sabotage attack on the Nordstream 2 pipeline—Tom Luongo goes for the Big Picture:
These are interesting questions because one thing that becomes clear from Hersh’s reporting is that not everyone who was “in the loop” on the planning for the terror attack was on board with it. Some considered it “stupid” and reckless. In other words, a typical Neocon scheme. But in terms of the Big Picture, also consider these tweets, which have their counterpart in Hersh’s article:
How would you feel, as a German citizen, having it confirmed that your Chancellor signed off on sabotaging a key part of Germany’s civilian energy infrastructure? But beyond that, who put the pressure on him to go along? The US? Some Globalist cabal?
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Hersh himself focuses very closely on the details—the inner workings—of the terror plot. To me, the most important aspect of his article is the contention that the terror plot was driven by the desire of the government—the US National Security State—to keep Congress out of the loop. Here’s how that worked—key excerpts:
How America Took Out The Nord Stream Pipeline
The New York Times called it a “mystery,” but the United States executed a covert sea operation that was kept secret—until now
Biden’s decision to sabotage the pipelines came after more than nine months of highly secret back and forth debate inside Washington’s national security community about how to best achieve that goal. For much of that time, the issue was not whether to do the mission, but how to get it done with no overt clue as to who was responsible.
There was a vital bureaucratic reason for relying on the graduates of the center’s hardcore diving school in Panama City. The divers were Navy only, and not members of America’s Special Operations Command, whose covert operations must be reported to Congress and briefed in advance to the Senate and House leadership—the so-called Gang of Eight. The Biden Administration was doing everything possible to avoid leaks as the planning took place late in 2021 and into the first months of 2022.
President Biden and his foreign policy team—National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, Secretary of State Tony Blinken, and Victoria Nuland, the Undersecretary of State for Policy—had been vocal and consistent in their hostility to the two pipelines, …
Still, the interagency group was initially skeptical of the CIA’s enthusiasm for a covert deep-sea attack. There were too many unanswered questions. …
Throughout “all of this scheming,” the source said, “some working guys in the CIA and the State Department were saying, ‘Don’t do this. It’s stupid and will be a political nightmare if it comes out.’”
Nevertheless, in early 2022, the CIA working group reported back to Sullivan’s interagency group: “We have a way to blow up the pipelines.”
What came next was stunning. On February 7, less than three weeks before the seemingly inevitable Russian invasion of Ukraine, Biden met in his White House office with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who, after some wobbling, was now firmly on the American team. At the press briefing that followed, Biden defiantly said, “If Russia invades . . . there will be no longer a Nord Stream 2. We will bring an end to it.”
Twenty days earlier, Undersecretary 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.”
That’s when the lawyers came up with a scheme.
Biden’s and Nuland’s indiscretion, if that is what it was, might have frustrated some of the planners. But it also created an opportunity. According to the source, some of the senior officials of the CIA determined that blowing up the pipeline “no longer could be considered a covert option because the President just announced that we knew how to do it.”
The plan to blow up Nord Stream 1 and 2 was suddenly downgraded from a covert operation requiring that Congress be informed to one that was deemed as a highly classified intelligence operation with U.S. military support. Under the law, the source explained, “There was no longer a legal requirement to report the operation to Congress. All they had to do now is just do it—but it still had to be secret. The Russians have superlative surveillance of the Baltic Sea.”
Clever, right? So here you have the National Security State committing a terror act—an act of war—against a close ally and against a strategic competitor. The ally, Germany, was at least notionally witting, but Russia, of course, was not.
What could go wrong? Actually, lots.
Alexander Mercouris has been discussing this development, and he sees Hersh’s expose as part of the plan to remove Zhou. We’ve already seen the revelations of the classified docs, that point so clearly at a Zhou operation over years to sell classified information, using Hunter as the cutout. That’s illegal, in case you had any doubts. Then there was the Rand Corp. report, calling for negotiations tomorrow, if not yesterday, and cutting the legs out from under the very strategy that they had helped formulate back in 2019 or so. Now we have revelations of a scheme to bypass Congressional oversight and risk war with Russia. The CIA lawyers say that last was legal. Other lawyers—of which there are many in the US Senate—might disagree. They would have the last word.
A commenter remarked to Mercouris that Hersh’s revelations don’t really tell us anything we didn’t already know—at least at the level of moral certitude. What the Hersh article could do, however, is harm Zhou politically, exposing him and his ruling cabal as stupid and reckless. Mercouris’ response was, essentially, that that had the marks of the Pentagon, just as with the Rand report. Mercouris maintained that this looks very much like part of a Pentagon based effort to undercut Zhou’s warmongering cabal, and maybe Zhou himself. I would add that Hersh’s finger pointing at the CIA, in particular, could support that theory. The idea, as with the Rand report, is that the Pentagon is scared witless that the Neocons will maneuver non compos Zhou into a major escalation.
Mercouris, in response to another commenter, suggested that Putin would doubtless react. But his reaction would be at a time and place of his choosing. That sounds right. Revenge is a dish best served cold, as the saying goes, and Putin strikes one as a person who never simply flies off the handle.
What can I say? We’ll see. Hersh, typically, has excellent sources. One way or another it seems clear that the US National Security State is divided about Zhou’s excellent adventure in Ukraine and with Russia.
I pasted the term 'seymour hersh nordstream' into the search bars on the Washington Post, New York Times and Wall Street Journal's webpages this morning. Zero results.
Hersh writes that Tony Blinken commented after the pipelines were blown up: “It’s a tremendous opportunity to once and for all remove the dependence on Russian energy and thus to take away from Vladimir Putin the weaponization of energy as a means of advancing his imperial designs."
Its interesting that Blinken characterizes a commercial enterprise (the sale of gas) freely conducted by willing parties (the seller and buyer) as the 'weaponization of energy'.
The implications of this statement are beyond description.