Nearly six months after the Nord Stream pipelines exploded and one month after Seymour Hersh reported that the Biden administration was responsible, US officials have unveiled their defense. According to the New York Times, anonymous government sources claim that “newly collected intelligence” now “suggests” that the Nord Stream bomber was in fact a “pro-Ukrainian group.”
The only confirmed “intelligence” about this supposed “group” is that US officials have none to offer about them.
“U.S. officials said there was much they did not know about the perpetrators and their affiliations,” The Times reports. The supposed “newly collected” information “does not specify the members of the group, or who directed or paid for the operation.” Despite knowing nothing about them, the Times’ sources nonetheless speculate that “the saboteurs were most likely Ukrainian or Russian nationals, or some combination of the two.” They also leave open “the possibility that the operation might have been conducted off the books by a proxy force with connections to the Ukrainian government or its security services.” (emphasis added)
When no evidence is produced, anything is of course “possible.” But the Times’ sources are oddly certain on one critical matter: “U.S. officials said no American or British nationals were involved.” Also, there is “no evidence President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine or his top lieutenants were involved in the operation, or that the perpetrators were acting at the direction of any Ukrainian government officials.”
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.
Tellingly, the Times distorts the basis for Hersh’s reporting. “In making his case,” the Times claims, Hersh merely “cited” President Biden’s “preinvasion threat to ‘bring an end’ to Nord Stream 2, and similar statements by other senior U.S. officials.” In falsely suggesting that he relied solely on public statements, the Times completely omits that Hersh in fact cited a well-placed source.
By contrast, the Times has no information about its newfound perpetrators or about any other aspect of its “significant” lead.
“U.S. officials declined to disclose the nature of the intelligence, how it was obtained or any details of the strength of the evidence it contains,” The Times states. Accordingly, US officials admit that “that there are no firm conclusions” to be drawn, and that there are “enormous gaps in what U.S. spy agencies and their European partners knew about what transpired.” For that apparent reason, “U.S. officials who have been briefed on the intelligence are divided about how much weight to put on the new information.” The Times, by contrast, apparently feels no such evidentiary burden.
In sum, US officials have “much they did not know about the perpetrators” – i.e. everything; “enormous gaps” in their awareness of how the (unknown) “pro-Ukraine group” purportedly carried out a deep-sea bombing; uncertainty over “how much weight to put on” their “intelligence”; and even “no firm conclusions” to offer. Moreover, all of this supposed US “intelligence” happens to have been “newly collected” — after one of the most accomplished journalists in history published a detailed report on how US intelligence plotted and conducted the bombing.
Given the absence of evidence and curious timing, a reasonable conclusion is not that a Ukrainian “proxy force” was the culprit, but that the US is now using its Ukrainian proxy as a scapegoat.
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….