Bombshell No. 1: Seymour Hersh’s Feb. 8 report that President Joe Biden authorized the sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines built to carry cheap Russian gas to Europe.
Bombshell No. 2: The Washington Post today ended the Establishment media embargo on Hersh’s damning report, mentioning its findings and even including a link to his article.
The Post’s article by Karen DeYoung, no rogue reporter, bore the headline, "Russia, blaming US sabotage, calls for UN probe of Nord Stream." DeYoung reported on the UN Security Council meeting yesterday at which Russia called for a special United Nations commission to investigate the explosions that blew up the Nord Stream undersea pipelines. DeYoung also noted that Professor Jeffrey Sachs and I gave short briefings at the beginning of the Security Council session.
Here’s an edited summary account by the UN of our testimony at the Security Council session:
SACHS: As the destruction of the Nord Stream pipelines on 26 September 2022 constitutes an act of international terrorism and represents a threat to peace, it is the Council’s responsibility to take up the question of who might have carried out the act, help bring the perpetrator to justice, pursue compensation for the damaged parties and prevent such actions from recurring in the future. Countries need full confidence that their infrastructure will not be destroyed by third parties.
The destruction of the Nord Stream pipelines required a very high degree of planning, expertise and technological capacity, he continued, adding that only a handful of State-level actors have both the technical capacity and access to the Baltic Sea to have carried out this action. These include the Russian Federation, the United States, the United Kingdom, Poland, Norway, Germany, Denmark and Sweden, either individually or in some combination.
Sweden has perhaps the most to tell the world about the crime scene; that country has kept the results of its investigation secret from the rest of the world. It has refused to share its findings with the Russian Federation and turned down a joint investigation with Denmark and Germany.
Pointing to investigative journalist Seymour Hersh’s detailed account of the Nord Stream destruction, he said his work attributes the Nord Stream destruction to a decision ordered by
United States President Joseph R. Biden and carried out by United States agents in a covert operation. The Biden Administration has described Hersh’s account as "completely and utterly false" but did not offer any information contradicting Hersh’s account and/or any alternative explanation.
RAY MCGOVERN: Mr. Hersh attracts whistle-blowers because of his perfect record of protecting their identities and accurately publishing what they reveal, despite Government attacks. While some are now smearing Mr. Hersh, such critics do not themselves have a good record of credibility…
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) more than doubled in size, despite its promises not to. When Crimea was annexed by the Russian Federation, President Vladimir Putin noted that the country had to annex Crimea due to a February 2014 coup, and due to the prospect that medium-range ballistic missiles will be placed in already operational systems in Romania and Poland. Despite being disguised as anti-ballistic missile systems, they can easily accommodate hypersonic missiles.
China Gives Full Support to Russian Resolution
ZHANG JUN (China): It is increasingly clear that the damage to the Nord Stream pipelines was a deliberate human act. The United Nations can play an active role by ensuring the security of transboundary infrastructure, among other things. China welcomes the draft resolution tabled by the Russian Federation that authorizes an investigation into the sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines.
Why Crimea Annexed
I included two related but under-analyzed issues in my remarks. (1) Why President Putin considered it important to annex Crimea; and (2) the so-called "unprovoked" nature of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
In an earlier interview with Brian Becker, I called attention to a not-widely-known public comment on April 17, 2014 by President Vladimir Putin, a month after the annexation of Crimea, focusing on the reasons behind Moscow’s strong reaction. One main reason was Russia’s felt need to thwart Washington’s plan to incorporate Ukraine and Crimea into U.S. antiballistic missile deployment encircling Russia.
PUTIN: "This issue is no less, and probably even more important, than NATO’s eastward expansion. Incidentally, our decision on Crimea was partially prompted by this."
Earlier, in a formal address in the Kremlin on March 18, 2014, the day Crimea was re-incorporated into Russia, Putin went from dead serious to somewhat jocular in discussing the general issue.
PUTIN: "We have already heard declarations from Kiev about Ukraine soon joining NATO. What would this have meant for Crimea and Sevastopol [the Russian naval port] in the future? It would have meant that NATO’s Navy would be right there in this city of Russia’s military glory, and this would create not an illusory but a perfectly real threat to the whole of southern Russia…
"We are not opposed to cooperation with NATO … [but] NATO remains a military alliance, and we are against having a military alliance making itself at home right in our backyard or in our historic territory…
"I simply cannot imagine that we would travel to Sevastopol to visit NATO sailors. Of course, most of them are wonderful guys, but it would be better to have them come and visit us, be our guests, rather than the other way around."
Given the "mainstream media’s" coverage (or lack thereof), small wonder that the American people forget about (or never heard of) the Feb. 22, 2014 coup in Ukraine. In 2015, when Sen. John McCain feigned short-term memory loss, I got the following letter into the Washington Post. (The Post’s URL seems to have disappeared.)
In his June 28 Sunday Opinion essay, "The Ukraine cease-fire fiction," Sen. John McCain was wrong to write that Russian President Vladimir Putin annexed Crimea without provocation.
What about the coup in Kiev on Feb. 22, 2014, that replaced President Viktor Yanukovych with pro-Western leaders favoring membership in NATO? Was that not provocation enough?
This glaring omission is common in The Post. The March 10 World Digest item "Putin had early plan to annex Crimea" described a "secret meeting" Mr. Putin held on Feb. 23, 2014, during which "Russia decided it would take the Crimean Peninsula." No mention was made of the coup the previous day.
I have searched in vain for credible evidence that, before the coup, Mr. Putin had any intention to annex Crimea. George Friedman, the widely respected president of the think tank Stratfor, has described the putsch on Feb. 22, 2014, as "the most blatant coup in history."
So much for ‘unprovoked.’ As most paying-attention people know, there has been a long string of provocations since I wrote that letter in 2015.
And so it goes.
Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. His 27-year career as a CIA analyst includes serving as Chief of the Soviet Foreign Policy Branch and preparer/briefer of the President’s Daily Brief. He is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).