On Sept. 26, the Norwegian Petroleum Safety Administration (NPSA) warned of “deliberate attacks” against the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines, which carry gas from Russia to Europe, where Germany is the primary recipient. The NPSA reported multiple sightings of unidentified drones flying near offshore oil and gas installations. Only a few hours later, Denmark detected a gas leak along a section of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, under the Baltic Ocean, off the coast of the Danish island of Bornholm, within its exclusive economic zone. This was followed by a second leak. It was believed both were caused by explosions rupturing the lines, which are operated by Russian gas giant Gazprom.
Clearly, the explosions were the work of saboteurs – but the question is who would have done it and why? While the blame game – Russia accusing the European Union and the U.S. with both the latter accusing Russia – has started, there is an effective way to determine who is responsible.
However, let us first examine the arguments concerning who had the most to gain from such an act of sabotage.
Why would Russia sabotage its own pipelines that provide an economic lifeline for the country’s biggest exports – oil and gas?
An answer could be the embarrassing beating Russia is taking at the hands of the Ukrainians. What President Vladimir Putin believed from his intelligence people would be a slam-dunk invasion of Ukraine has now turned into an 8-month slog, with Russian troops on the run. It is estimated over 80,000 Russian soldiers have died. That is obviously upsetting a lot of Russian mothers. Additionally, Putin is now having to call up his reserves. This has caused many young Russian men to flee the country. Russian citizens, angry over Putin’s initiation of an unnecessary war, despite seeing how his high level critics are experiencing sudden death syndrome, are taking to the streets in protest. There also allegedly have been several assassination attempts on Putin’s life.
The above conditions were ripe for the Russian president to undertake an action seeking to rally his people around him. What better way to do so than to sabotage these pipelines and then blame it on the West? It brings back memories of the 1898 sinking of the USS Maine in Havana Harbor off the coast of Cuba. While responsibility for the explosion was never determined, the act rallied the American people to declare war against Spain two months later, believing it had sabotaged the ship.
If Russia was responsible, this is an act of environmental terrorism. It also demonstrates the vulnerability of undersea infrastructure – whether oil/gas pipelines or lines of communication – to such attacks. As one European official, blaming Moscow, has suggested, “It’s to threaten the West (by saying) that ‘we can damage your communications as well’ … pipelines, electricity lines, communication cables. The seabed is full of them.” This would be the kind of “hybrid” warfare Russia likes to conduct against the West as it already finds itself fully tested in Ukraine.
Pipeline repairs will not be quick – taking at least six months to a year. The pipeline was not laid in such a way so as to make it possible to hoist it up. And the vessels used to lay pipe and make such repairs are currently banned by Western sanctions. This could, therefore, be a way of Russia seeking the lifting of sanctions.
As a European official noted, anything that contributes to “make sure Europe realizes it’s going to be a cold winter” provides “the Kremlin (with) a symbolic victory.” We also need to recognize that Putin is capable of anything.
On the other side of the debate, why would the U.S. undertake such an act of sabotage?
One key reason cited by supporters of this argument is a statement Biden made in February. He threatened back then to “bring an end” to the Nord Stream 2. And the CIA forewarned Germany about a possible attack on the pipeline beforehand. While a Department of State spokesperson denied the U.S. had anything to do with it, he also suggested anyone promoting such a position is spreading misinformation. Additionally, Biden supporters undoubtedly object to such a claim as they see their environmentally centric president as being incapable of undertaking such an environmentally destructive action.
Clearly, state support was involved. While the pipelines lie in shallow waters, a successful attack required knowledge of its location, its vulnerability and the means to deliver explosives to the target. There are numerous possible delivery systems that could have performed the dirty deed, including a submarine, aircraft, drone, missile or deep-sea divers.
Who, then, is responsible for this act of sabotage?
An investigation has already been launched by several European countries. There is a rush to recover whatever evidence can be collected, including tracking data for ships loitering in the area prior to the explosions, review of signals intelligence, remnants of the explosive devices, etc. Even if the evidence points to Russia, however, qualifying as an attack against NATO, it is doubtful military action will be taken against it.
But we have a tremendous asset to provide us with a quick answer to “whodunit.” We need only to seek out its wise counsel.
That asset is a group of 51 intelligence experts who proved their bona fides to us when the issue of Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptop computer first came to light. The laptop held damning evidence about Hunter’s criminal actions as well as the involvement of his father in receiving compensation for his son’s business deals with China. The FBI had this “laptop from hell” in its possession for many months beforehand but failed to act on its contents. We now know that was due to the political actions of a pro-Biden FBI cabal, free-wheeling within the agency. And, as the timing of the laptop’s revelation was just before the 2020 presidential election, this group of 51 intelligence experts assured us it did not belong to Hunter but, rather, was the product of a Russian counter-intelligence effort to undermine Joe Biden’s election.
We need to solicit the opinion of these 51 experts again as to whose fingerprints they believe to be on the Nord Stream leak. Based on what they say, we will then know the answer is the opposite of what they tell us.
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