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The Nord Stream sabotage

On Sep. 26, 2022, both of the Nord Stream natural gas pipes ruptured, an environmental and economic catastrophe that Denmark and Sweden have attributed to sabotage. Russia was able to reopen the pipelines ten days after the rupture, but the capacity of the pipes has been significantly reduced. In addition, the explosions resulted in the release of 300,000 tons of methane into the Baltic Sea. The points of rupture were in the portions of the pipe under Denmark and Sweden. 

Nord Stream is a network of offshore natural gas pipelines about 1,224 kilometers (~761 miles) long that runs from Russia to Germany, connected under the Baltic Sea. These pipes can transport fifty-five billion cubic meters of natural gas per year to businesses and households across the European Union. Needless to say, Nord Stream supplies much of Europe with energy, particularly Germany, which relies on Russia for fifty-five percent of its natural gas needs. 

The question remains: who is responsible for the sabotage of the Nord Stream? The Kremlin blames the West, while the European Union has been pointing its finger at Russia. The attack came at a critical time in Eastern Europe: about seven months after Russia invaded Ukraine in February of 2022. 

Since the conception  of Nord Stream in 2012, the United States and other members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) members have seen it as a threat to Western dominance. Much of Germany and Western Europe quickly became reliant on cheap Russian natural gas, putting money into Vladimir Putin’s pockets. 

When the second pipeline was proposed, tensions between Russia and NATO escalated. When Russia began militarizing its border with Ukraine, the West, specifically the U.S., became increasingly worried that countries like Germany would be reluctant to supply Ukraine with aid if they continued to be so reliant on Russian natural gas. 

On Feb. 10, 2023, journalist and Pulitzer Prize–winner Seymour Hersh published an article in People’s Dispatch quoting an anonymous whistleblower who pointed him towards a truth behind the sabotage, which has been subject to much speculation on the international stage: the destruction of the Nord Stream pipelines was possibly a planned attack by the U.S. on Russia with the European Union’s energy infrastructure as collateral damage.

To execute their plans, the CIA allegedly organized a group of U.S. Navy deep-sea divers under the guise of the mission being in collaboration with the Navy’s “research and warfare centers” to carry out the covert operation and rig Nord Stream with explosives. 

The U.S. allegedly worked closely with the Norwegian government on this operation. It is speculated that Norway was eager to help because of its antagonism toward Russia, and the fact that if Nord Stream was shut down, European countries would turn to it for natural gas. Ultimately, with Norway’s help, the U.S. succeeded in planting the explosives covertly, which were detonated at the end of September that year. 

Some signs hinted at the U.S.’s destructive plans before they happened. On Feb. 7, 2022, about three weeks before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, President Biden met with Western–aligned German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, and in the press briefing that followed, he said, “If Russia invades… there will no longer be a Nord Stream 2. We will bring an end to it.” 

Before that, Undersecretary Victoria Nuland was quoted at a State Department briefing saying, “I want to be very clear with you today… If Russia invades Ukraine, one way or another, Nord Stream 2 will not move forward.” 

However, there has not been a word about the U.S.’s involvement since the incident occurred in any major Western media outlets. 

Despite having won the Pulitzer Prize in 1970 for blowing open the cover–up of the My Lai massacre during the Vietnam War, Hersh’s article on Nord Stream is regarded as merely a “blog post” by Reuters. 

Mainstream media outlets go so far as to blame Russia for the sabotage even though Russia economically benefited from Nord Stream’s functionality. There was a lack of reporting in mainstream media commenting on the leaked information about the U.S. involvement in the Nord Stream catastrophe and Biden and Nuland’s statements about obstructing the pipeline prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The misrepresentation of the U.S.’s international presence by mainstream media despite a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist’s attempts to draw attention to this issue raises the question of whether the allegiance of mainstream media lies with the U.S. government or with seeking the truth. 


~ Mahika Gupta `23

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