Speaking to Ryan Grim and Emily Jashinsky on the Breaking Point podcast March 8, investigative journalist Seymour Hersh shredded the New York Times, Washington Post and Die Zeit reports on an alleged “Pro-Ukrainian group” behind the Nord Stream attack.
“The thing I’m accused of is not naming sources”, Hersh said. ”I noticed both the New York Times and the Washington Post … had no sources.”
“What’s going on now in this White House is terrifying to me”, Hersh said. “(Antony) Blinken, (Jake) Sullivan and (Victoria) Nuland … they’re just out of their league here… Do they really want to get NATO into a war? There’s no question we’ve been increasing the amount of American troops in Poland, secretly, and deploying many more arms in that area. I would guess they may push for NATO to make a physical presence… I don’t know what the goal is. I don’t know if they know what the goal is… I don’t know what’s going on in that White House. But it’s very scary and very dumb.”
“The story they put out yesterday is just another example of idiocy,” Hersh said, referring to the new reports meant to debunk his reporting. But “it’s not working. What happened here with the press blackout didn’t happen in the rest of the world. It’s all over the world: Joe Biden made a decision to blow up the pipeline because he was afraid. He learned there was a stalemate coming, at best, in the war in Ukraine. He wanted more support from Europe and Germany.”
Hersh noted that “the crap they put out yesterday isn’t gonna work. Nobody’s gonna believe that. Die Zeit said that some guys in a yacht dropped it? We’re talking about enough C-4 to blow up a major building, for each of the pipelines.”
Hersh contrasted the way the Democats had reacted to his My Lai reporting in the 1970s to now. “Can you imagine Chuck Schumer calling for an investigation of a Democratic President? Not a chance.” And the Republicans are not interested in serious investigations either, Hersh said. “Why doesn’t anyone on the Republican side want to jump on this?” Hersh asked. “We’re in a quagmire. We’re in a mess. And the White House is making it worse.”
Hersh announced he would publish a follow-up next week.
Commenting on the new reports, the Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council Dmitry Medvedev called them “ignorant US propaganda.”
“They must just be Lone Rangers fighting against the damned Muscovites. Some Inglourious Basterds saving the world,” Medvedev mocked. “They went and dived into the sea, blew up two huge pipes on the seabed and disappeared into the sunset. Unnoticed. In a sea full of NATO ships and littered with international tracking systems.”
“The answers are quite clear, given the current sentiment among Europeans who are less than thrilled about the prospects of paying for more packages of sanctions, weapons supplies to Ukraine, the energy crisis and a decline in living standards in once wealthy countries,” Medvedev wrote. If the pipelines had been blown up by Ukrainians, “what’s the point of supporting them with fire and sword, as well as with funds?”
🧵: Interesting flurry of critical reporting on Nord Stream sabotage today. Of course, major motivation is damage control following Sy Hersh's article, but I suggest overriding purpose is preparing the ground for Ukraine to be comprehensively thrown under the bus by the West. pic.twitter.com/d6YbaGSQTo
— Kit Klarenberg (@KitKlarenberg) March 7, 2023
Grayzone journalist Aaron Mate also mocked the harebrained new reports, calling them “proxy media” for the US government:
“Despite failing to obtain any concrete information about the perpetrators, the Times nonetheless declares that the US cover story planted in their pages “amounts to the first significant known lead about who was responsible for the attack on the Nord Stream pipelines.”
It is unclear why the Times has deemed their evidence-free “lead” to be “significant”, and not, by contrast, the Hersh story that came four weeks earlier. Not only does Hersh’s reporting predate the Times’, but his story contained extensive detail about how the US planned and executed the Nord Stream explosions.
As the standard bearer of establishment US media, the Times’ “reporting” is perfectly in character. Days after the September 2022 bombing of the Nord Stream gas pipelines, the Times noted that “much of the speculation about responsibility has focused on Russia” – just as US officials would certainly hope. The narrative was echoed by former CIA Director John Brennan, who opined that “Russia certainly is the most likely suspect,” in the Nord Stream attack. Citing anonymous “Western intelligence officials”, CNN claimed that “European security officials observed Russian Navy ships in vicinity of Nord Stream pipeline leaks,” thus casting “further suspicion on Russia,” which is seen by “European and US officials as the only actor in the region believed to have both the capability and motivation to deliberately damage the pipelines.”
With the story that Russia blew up its own pipelines no longer tenable, the Times’ new narrative asks us to believe that some unnamed “pro-Ukraine group”, which “did not appear to be working for military or intelligence services” somehow managed to obtain the unique capability to plant multiple explosives on a heavily sealed pipeline at the bottom of the Baltic Sea. That narrative is already being laundered through the German media.
Hours after the Times story broke, the German outlet Die Zeit came out with a story, sourced to German officials, that claims the bombing operation was carried out by a group of six people, including just “two divers.” These supposed perpetrators, we are told, arrived at the crime scene via a yacht “apparently owned by two Ukrainians” that departed Germany. How a yacht managed to carry the equipment and explosives needed for the operation is left unexplained. The saboteurs somehow possessed the capability to carry out a deep-sea bombing, but not the awareness to properly clean up their floating crime scene. According to Die Zeit, the boat was “returned to the owner in an uncleaned condition,” which allowed “investigators” to discover “traces of explosives on the table in the cabin.” Should this lean “pro-Ukraine” crack team of naval commandos conduct another act of deep-sea sabotage, they will only need to hire a cleaning professional to get away with it.”