U.S. Media Dismisses New Report that Found U.S. Bombed Russia’s Nord Stream Pipelines

Interview with Bryce Greene, a regular contributor to Extra!, newsletter of the media watch group FAIR.org, conducted by Scott Harris

Three of the four Nord Stream pipelines that carried natural gas from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea were destroyed by an explosion of unknown origin on Sept. 26 last year. Investigative reporter Seymour Hersh released a report on Feb. 8 that claims U.S. Navy divers set bombs that destroyed the Nord Stream pipeline in an operation authorized by President Biden. The White House called the accusation “utterly false” and “complete fiction.” Hersh, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his reports on the U.S. military’s 1968 My Lai massacre in Vietnam and helped expose U.S. abuses at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison in 2004,  has been criticized for relying on one key unnamed source in his Nord Stream investigation.

In 2021, Russia’s Nord Stream pipeline system supplied 45 percent of the natural gas imported by European Union states. Washington had long opposed the pipeline, charging that Europe would be dangerously dependent on Russian energy at a time of growing tensions with Russia and Vladimir Putin’s threat to invade Ukraine.

Between The Lines’ Scott Harris spoke with Bryce Greene, a writer who regularly contributes to the group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting’s EXTRA! newsletter. Here, Greene summarizes Seymour Hersh’s investigative report and criticizes U.S. corporate media for virtually ignoring this explosive story.

BRYCE GREENE: Hersh’s article dropped just under a week after German officials were quoted in The Times of London as saying that they’re open to possibilities, that the West was involved in this attack. And then, you know, so Hersh’s piece drops and he alleges that the United States had planned this attack and had began planning it as early as August of 2021.

So this is while the Russian buildup is happening, but long before the war has even started. But they announced plans because they’re opposed to the pipeline. Yeah. Hersh alleges that during military exercises with the Norwegian Navy in June, the Biden administration and its special operations and vessel soldiers, they drove down to the pipeline. They placed C4 explosives. And they waited. They set up a remote charge and waited for a signal from Washington to explode it. And the signal came on Sept. 26.

Hersh’s reporting relies largely on one unnamed source, but of course, that’s bolstered by his own investigation, his own discussions with other people who know. He recently did an interview with Mark Ames, where he goes over this whole quibble about sources.

But the important thing to understand about this investigation is that it comports almost completely with the circumstantial evidence up to and including the fact that Norway had also just completed a pipeline between itself and Germany that was billed as a sort of replacement to the Nord Stream. And now, if you look at the numbers, Norway is now the largest supplier of natural gas.

And then you also have the detail of the report, the details that comport with frustration with the statements I mentioned earlier, frustration within the intelligence community about how Biden and (Undersecretary of State Victoria) Nuland had both said that they were going to, you know, stop the pipeline.

But there are details within his story, you know, that have been disputed by the Norwegian government. It’s been outright rejected by Washington, predictably. But it’s important to understand that sources get things wrong. And they his sources are spies and military people. And they get things wrong. And they may lie or manipulate. And what you think of this report is largely a reflection of how you view Seymour Hersh credibility. And he’s gotten a lot of things right in the past that Washington has denied.

You know, he’s covered things like the My Lai massacre, Abu Ghraib and the CIA Operation Chaos, like, he has pretty great credentials. And the fact that his story comports with the circumstantial evidence gives it another level of credibility.

If you accept that Washington had the means, motive and opportunity to do this, then you understand that there is a serious problem with the way the media handled this.
And a serious press would investigate Hersh’s allegations and try to sift out fact from fiction and try to get to the bottom of it instead of just dismissing it and denying that it’s even a credible report, calling it a blog post or calling Hersh a “discredited journalist.” That’s not the way a serious press ought to handle these serious accusations.

SCOTT HARRIS: Right. You know, one thing you mentioned that I think it’s worth reiterating and that is, “Who won and who lost from the destruction of the Nord Stream pipeline?” In other words, what are the relative positions of the United States, Norway and Russia after this pipeline was destroyed — given that much of the U.S. press basically pointed the finger at Russia, telling the world that Russia blew up its own pipeline, which on the face of it, doesn’t make a lot of sense.

BRYCE GREENE: Russia wanted to sell natural gas to Germany. You know, a sovereign nation wanted to make a deal with another sovereign nation about a key commodity. They wanted to build this pipeline to strengthen the ties between those two countries. The U.S. does not want Russia to be close to Germany. They don’t want Germany to be close with Russia. They want to dominate to the greatest extent possible the European society and European markets and the European economy.

That’s just a matter of course in Washington planning circles. In Norway, they also have their own major natural gas industry and they receive a boost from the destruction of the pipeline. And so you have all of these actors with all of these conflicting interests and the U.S. press tries to say that the actor with the least interest in the destruction of the pipeline is the most responsible.

That’s not good journalism. That’s not good investing. That’s not good logic. I think the press ought to do better than that, because this is a serious issue. Whether or not the United States was involved in espionage against an ostensible ally is a serious question.

And if the U.S. press is unwilling to talk about it, well, that that’s a real indictment of the, you know, the free press that we like to talk so much about in this country.

Listen to Scott Harris’ in-depth interview with Bryce Greene (14:58) and see more articles and opinion pieces in the Related Links section of this page.

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