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One year on, who blew up Nord Stream 2? Non-state actors make the perfect saboteurs

An ocean of new possibilities(Swedish Coast Guard Handout /Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

An ocean of new possibilities(Swedish Coast Guard Handout /Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)


September 26, 2023   6 mins

So whodunnit? Who destroyed the Nord Stream 2 at three minutes past midnight on September 26, 2021? Explosives set 262 feet below the surface of the Baltic caused a blast registering 2.5 on the Richter Scale. It ripped apart the $11 billion gas pipeline that fed Russian gas directly into Germany and Western Europe and blew up global geopolitics as well.

So who was it? The Russians? The Ukrainians? The Americans? The Danes? Norway? Poland? Israel? The British? One year on, as speculation mounts and investigations continue, it’s unlikely any nation will be definitively fingered. And since allies will always protect useful proxies, at best, we can expect a scapegoat.

Seymour Hersh, American military muckraker, alleges US Special Ops were to blame. He claims US Navy divers planted the TNT during the 51st BALTOPS22, a Nato exercise involving “47 ships, 89 aircraft, and 7,000 personnel in the Baltic Sea” which was conducted some three months before the incident.

Certainly, President Biden, fuelled these rumours as he stood alongside German Chancellor Schultz and told a press conference that if Russia invaded Ukraine he would make sure that “there will be no longer a Nord Stream 2, we will bring an end to it”. When a journalist asked how he would do that since Nord Stream 2 is in Germany’s control, he replied: “I promise you we’ll be able to do that”. The Chancellor nodded: “We are united”.

Russia, meanwhile, says it was BALTOPS22. But many suspect Putin is the guilty party. Russia has a long history of taking a “scorched Earth” approach in war, meaning they see value in damaging their own valuable assets in order to deny others the possibility of using them. They did this in the war of 1812, and during Hitler’s Operation Barbarossa when they destroyed their own crops and equipment. They are also, according to Ukraine, doing it today in Bakhmut.

Germany’s investigators point to a 50-foot pleasure boat called The Andromeda which hovered near the explosion site at about the time the explosives were thought to be set in place. The six crew were apparently all travelling on professionally forged passports and Germany’s investigators found traces of explosives aboard. It seems the vessel had been hired in Germany by a Polish entity, thus raising the possibility that it was the Poles. The New York Times has suggested that The Andromeda may have been occupied by the Ukrainians. Others gossip that Israel’s Mossad was behind it. They are usually attributed with the most successful intelligence capers, especially when no other answers can be found.

Other investigators discovered that Denmark’s P524 Nymfen naval ship and several Russian naval vessels approached the detonation location at the same time on September 21. Strangely, all turned off their transponders and disappeared from satellite signals. On September 22, a Swedish surveillance aircraft and a Swedish Corvette naval vessel also converged on the same spot.

Then there was the 600ft Greek-flagged Minerva Julie which was laden with Russian oil. It was heading to Rotterdam when it suddenly stopped and hovered over the exact same site at the same time for seven whole days. They say they were awaiting delivery instructions. Then it turned around and went to Tallinn and St Petersburg instead of Rotterdam. The question seems to be “who wasn’t there?” It’s straight out of an Agatha Christie novel: there are multiple suspects, each have compelling motives and plausible alibis.

The confusion is exacerbated by the fact that official investigators in Denmark, Sweden and Germany are not sharing information with each other. They are all silent, not only because they aren’t ready to defend their findings but also because Europe finds itself in the biggest upswing of spy games since the Cold War. Russian spies are said to have infiltrated the Scandinavian and Baltic countries as well as Germany itself.

But in our feverish determination to name the culprit, we are losing sight of what that explosion illuminated. The world is teeming with plausibly deniable mercenaries — armies of highly skilled, war-hardened professionals. Some are in-house “Special Ops”, and some are former military personnel who are now guns for hire. It seems very likely that whoever carefully rigged the Nord Stream 2 to blow came from this kind of professional background.

The James Bond behind this explosion will not be in the SAS. He will be working in, or retired from, the SBS (Special Boat Services) or Russia’s GUGI or the Danish Frogman Corps. Or possibly this scuba diving demolition expert will be from the Swedish Röjdykare, Norway’s Minedykkerkommandoen or Israel’s Shayetet 13. Alumni from all these are quietly for hire. And they won’t be wearing uniform. Or at least not the uniform of the nation that hired them.

The Geneva Convention has lost all relevance today as military doctrines have radically changed, allowing false-flag operations to haunt modern geopolitics. Both Russia and China have a strategy that calls for unrestricted or unlimited warfare. This means “anything goes”. Anything can be weaponised, including food, energy and civilians. And it means that pitching up without insignia, or in someone else’s insignia, is no longer out of bounds.

But why assume that a state actor was behind the sabotage? We live in a world where non-state actors dominate the landscape of geopolitics. Why is it so hard to imagine that the culprit might not have been a nation but a corporation or even a Machiavellian sort of billionaire? Everyone assumes that a state was behind the sabotage because the methodology and equipment were so advanced. But states increasingly share their capabilities — such as Pegasus, the snooping software that extracts everything from your phone — with private contractors and even civilians with no discernible ties to military or intelligence organisations. The appeal of the untraceable connection is perhaps the most important reason nations increasingly work with private contractors.

It is also true that the global debt burden globally has placed increasing pressure on militaries and intelligence services to cut costs and move costs off the books, incentivising outsourcing. James Bond wouldn’t work directly for the British Government anymore. He’d be a contractor. Similarly, Erik Prince, America’s most visible expert in this domain, works for many governments and not just for the US. Private individuals have become outsourced agents.

We’re seeing examples of this everywhere. The Wagner Group was once President Putin’s plausibly deniable private militia. America has Blackwater or Academi to name only two. Even the Danes seem to use private military contractors these days. Years of wars in the Middle East have given rise to a cadre of people with a certain set of skills. Did we really think they’d retire to a nice suburb, especially when there is so much money bidding for their services?

These highly trained professionals are perfectly capable of executing all kinds of tasks in other countries. India’s much feared Special Group has been accused of an assassination in Canada. Russia insists Nato has deployed Special Ops in Ukraine.

But regardless of who sabotaged the pipe a year ago, it’s time to ask how modern wars are being conducted. Are we witnessing the privatisation of warfare, whereby public authorities outsource the pursuit of national interests to private parties? Special Ops across Nato have been complaining that they are over-deployed because they are so capable and relatively cheap. But should nations be relying on Special Ops, whether official, retired or mercenary status, to achieve national security objectives? There’s always a limit to outsourcing. With Nord Stream 2, we seem to have hit that limit.

Even more worrying is the fact that the explosion marked a definitive turn from decades of land wars to a world dominated by naval warfare. For it’s not just energy pipelines that are being targeted, but also internet cables. Consider the Svalbard internet cable cut on January 6 2022 (an interesting day for many reasons). A mega-yacht was hovering above the fastest internet cable in the world when some five kilometres of it went missing. Luckily, somebody had put a backup cable in place. Otherwise, cutting that cable would have caused Western satellite-based missile and weapons guidance systems to fail. More seriously, it would have shut down the internet and brought about the end of UberEats.

Was the mega-yacht a Russian military vessel? It was a plausibly deniable vessel, even though it had a submarine embedded in its hull. The Norwegian military seized it but eventually had to let it go due to lack of evidence that it was involved in the cable cuts.

Ever since, the world has witnessed a wide range of subsea internet cable cuts. Last October, for instance, the Marseille cable, which connects the US, Europe and Asia, and the Shetlands-Faroe-Islands cable were both cut in October 2022. The latter is central to keeping track of Russian subs passing through the GIUK Gap (Greenland Iceland UK Gap) at a time when concerns about the possible use of nuclear weapons is being overtly threatened. Yet the media assumes this subsea cable warfare doesn’t matter because people think WIFI comes out of thin air, while the superpowers don’t want to admit to the vulnerability.

But if modern society cannot function without subsea infrastructure, what is the strategy for defending it against such attacks? The riddle of the Nord Stream explosion, whether or not it is solved, invites us to think about an ocean of new possibilities.


Dr. Pippa Malmgren was an economic advisor to President George W. Bush and has been a manufacturer of award-winning drones and autonomous robotics.

DrPippaM

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Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
9 months ago

I was reading through this thinking, “it sounds like this person is trying to muddy the waters.” Even Western media sources have given up trying to pretend Russia blew up their own pipeline. I believe the latest narrative is Ukrainian special forces did it, but Zelensky had no idea. Then I saw “former Special Assistant to President George Bush” and it all makes sense. Why can’t Bush era neocons just go away?

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
9 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

“Russia has a long history of taking a “scorched Earth” approach in war, meaning they see value in damaging their own valuable assets in order to deny others the possibility of using them. They did this in the war of 1812, and during Hitler’s Operation Barbarossa when they destroyed their own crops and equipment.”
Does the author realize how stupid that statement is. Sure you destroy stuff that is likely to fall into the hand of the enemy and be off use to them. The pipeline had no use beyond piping Russian gas to the west

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
9 months ago

Not stupid at all. Are you suggesting Russian gas wouldn’t be of use to the west? I don’t know if the Russians did it or not but it’s worked out quite well for them. Europe has lost its cheap gas and Russia can watch and laugh while we all wonder who did it.

Last edited 9 months ago by Dougie Undersub
D Glover
D Glover
9 months ago

.

Last edited 9 months ago by D Glover
Liam F
Liam F
9 months ago

why would the Russians blow up their own pipeline? They could just turn off the tap.

Dominic S
Dominic S
9 months ago
Reply to  Liam F

Exactly so. Something they had threatened to do on a number of occasions.

jane baker
jane baker
9 months ago

The reason why here in Britain the lights are still on is because we are buying tanker loads of Russian gas,as is the rest of Europe. Like Joe Walker of old Dads Army knew well there are always ways to supply the market.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
9 months ago

Russia had an off button remember, duh.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
9 months ago

Military units burning crops and damaging immobile equip Ty in retreat is as old as war itself. No one was seizing control of the pipeline and no one has, even though it is quite repairable. And the Russians are still selling gas to Europe.

jane baker
jane baker
9 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Yep. Tanker loads.

Martin Johnson
Martin Johnson
9 months ago
Reply to  jane baker

Other pipelines, mostly

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
9 months ago

This is indeed the case. NordStream isn’t like land or buildings that can be used by an occupying force, nor even like munitions and weapons that can be disassembled and recycled for parts and raw materials even if they can’t be used directly for the other side. It’s a pipeline that can presumably be controlled to a great degree at either endpoint, but definitely at the one where the gas originates, in undisputed Russian territory. The only conceivable reason I can think of that Putin would destroy it is as a symbolic ‘disconnect’ with the west, a message to anyone who might try to overthrow him that there’s no going back. That would be stupid, but plausible, given we’re talking about Russia.

Last edited 9 months ago by Steve Jolly
Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
9 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

You were doing fine until you got to your las5 sentence!

Andrew Stoll
Andrew Stoll
9 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Why?
I think his last sentence capped it off very plausibly

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
9 months ago

And there is an off button in Russia! q

Simon S
Simon S
9 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

Exactly. And Seymour Hersh described in third paragraph as “military muckraker”. Creating multiple patsies seems to be the order of the day these days. I wonder if she will soon treat us to a similar exploration as to who was really behind 9/11.

jane baker
jane baker
9 months ago
Reply to  Simon S

How astonishing that the revered heroes of yesteryear are now the mistrusted villains of today. As John Pilger pretty much says in a film I saw on YouTube.

D Walsh
D Walsh
9 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

“Why can’t the Bush era neocons just go away”

Because its just not in their nature, 100 years ago they were Trotskyists, then they were Republicans, now they are attached to the Democrats, Lord knows where they will be next. But no matter who they are using to achieve their goals, millions will die

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
9 months ago
Reply to  D Walsh

True.. to borrow a phrase from His Holness, they are the dung of Satan!

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
9 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

The US created this situation, no matter who pulled the plug. Geriatric president run by idiots.

Andrew F
Andrew F
9 months ago

Yes, of course USA is responsible for all ills of the world.
But dictators like Putin and Xi should be trusted.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
9 months ago
Reply to  Andrew F

Out of the mouth of a cynic springs forth the truth! By their works shall ye know them..

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
9 months ago

Alarmingly those idiots are cunning, greedy and very powerful.. they even have Satan on their side!! They are a lethal pestilence and so need to be rooted out.. Here’s hoping Bobby Kennedy and/or Trump alliance will achieve that.. they will need bulletproof vests however.

James Twigg
James Twigg
9 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

Occam’s Razor – Joe Biden did it.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
9 months ago
Reply to  James Twigg

Not all by himself though, right?

Andrew Stoll
Andrew Stoll
9 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Yes, he got the bends after that

Dominic S
Dominic S
9 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

Agreed.

jane baker
jane baker
9 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

Ukranian special forces. No way. What Fred Karnos turnip head army that makes Dad’s Army look like an efficient fighting force. Dont even know which end of a mortar is which.(Nor do I). The best they can do is mine their own land and rape children in the Donbass.
The USA did it. End of story.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
9 months ago
Reply to  jane baker

..with help of course.. my guess is they raked in some degenerate from every NATO country so as to muddy the waters..

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
9 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

To legitimise the Russians dunnit theory he had to go back to 1812! Tha5, I thought was a bit ofa stretch! Whatever happened to Motive (+ Means and Opportunity)? Qui bono eh?

Benedict Waterson
Benedict Waterson
9 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

It was me

Seb Dakin
Seb Dakin
9 months ago

The Russians could have stopped the flow of gas by, er, switching it off. You don’t slash the tires of your own car to bring it to a halt. You put the brakes on, then turn the engine off. I cannot believe anybody could seriously believe it would be them.
Scorched earth policies in the past were to deprive advancing armies of food etc. It is inane to suggest that the Russians can be expected to destroy their own stuff because they have a history of doing it.
Nord 2 was destroyed by someone who didn’t want the Germans to do a u-turn in exchange for the Russians switching the gas back on. That’s plenty of people. Since it hampered Russia and exposed German hypocrisy regarding energy, in a way, who cares? Call it a quid pro quo for Russian vandalism in Ukraine.
A job well done.

Derek Smith
Derek Smith
9 months ago
Reply to  Seb Dakin

“Nord 2 was destroyed by someone who didn’t want the Germans to do a u-turn in exchange for the Russians switching the gas back on.”

That was indeed the motive. It’s blindingly obvious. It would also deprive the Russians of any money from sales of gas. Kill two birds with one stone.

Last edited 9 months ago by Derek Smith
Noel Chiappa
Noel Chiappa
9 months ago
Reply to  Derek Smith

Ironically, Russia is still selling gas to Europe – via Ukraine! (Ukraine Gives Reason for Allowing Russian Gas Transit Despite War) And they are effectively paying Ukraine to do it! There are so many wheels within wheels here I don’t think we’ll ever straighten it out!

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
9 months ago
Reply to  Noel Chiappa

You can have all the politics and all the rhetoric comrade but money rules!

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
9 months ago
Reply to  Derek Smith

3 birds, it is avowed US policy to weaken Europe as well remember!

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
9 months ago
Reply to  Seb Dakin

You’re assuming the Russians think like we do. They don’t.
Which is the same mistake we’ve been making for decades in our foreign policy approach to China, Iran, N Korea, S Arabia, in fact just about everywhere except Europe and N America.

jane baker
jane baker
9 months ago

Most of the rest of the world has got the common sense our culture threw away in the (blame the) 1960s. Today was what the 1960s was for.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
9 months ago

My experience from all over the world is that people are more of less the same.. any type you care to mention is to be found in every country.. heroes and villains, jokers and gangsters ..the good, the bad and the ugly!

Francisco Menezes
Francisco Menezes
9 months ago
Reply to  Seb Dakin

Indeed, the Nordstream pipeline was once described by the Central European countries as a Molotov-Ribbentrop 2.0. It deprived them of the leverage over Western-Europe via the East-West pipelines now bypassed by Nordstream. Hence, the destruction to prevent Germany from seeking a negotiated peace deal. Trump first visit to Europe mainland was to Poland close to the place of an LNG terminal, that would become the starting point of a North-South network of gaspipelines in Central and Eastern Europe as part of the socalled Three Seas Initiative. This network also sought to reduced dependence on the East-West network and the corrupt Ukranian politicians (remember that woman in the folk dress?). This network would be fed with US LNG gas. Of course, Trump could never do any good, so this whole idea was ridiculed, especially by the Germans, who now are losing their international standing as an industrial nation and will reduce themselves to a second rate woke hell hole until such time a new leader emerges and makes the final successfull attempt to destroy the nation completely. I am sure it will involve an attack on Russia.

Andrew F
Andrew F
9 months ago
Reply to  Seb Dakin

Exactly,
Nord Stream was economic equivalent of Ribentrop-Molotov pact.
To allow Germany to appease Russia and allow Russia to menace Ukraine then Baltic States maybe Poland.
But that is what Fourth Reich led by Russian agent Merkel did while talking about European values.

Noel Chiappa
Noel Chiappa
9 months ago
Reply to  Seb Dakin

Yes, but if they just tuned it off, they’d have to take the public heat for doing that. (Not saying this is any kind of proof that they did do it, mind.)

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
9 months ago
Reply to  Seb Dakin

You deserve to freeze this winter!

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
9 months ago

I suspect Pippa Malmgren, former advisor to George Bush, knows perfectly well who dunnit.

Andrew F
Andrew F
9 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Maybe, who cares?
Nord Stream should never had been built, so it is great news that it is gone.
There are many parties which would benefit from its distraction, so if you have real evidence please provide it.

Ciaran Rooney
Ciaran Rooney
9 months ago

Why on earth would Unheard publish such deflection by a former special assistant to President George Bush?
Is it simply to annoy your subscribers?

George Venning
George Venning
9 months ago

The entire basis of the theory that the Russians did it is, essentially, “those Russians do some crazy s**t,” This theory is seriously put forweard despite the fact that blowing up the pipeline makes no stratgic sense for them. Not only could they switch the tap off, but the possibility of switching it back on again would have given them vastly greater leverage, over Germany than damaging it beyond repair.

Meanwhile, Biden literally boasted that he could do it and would if necessary. And it was directly in American interests since it would both deprive Russia of revenue and prevent Germany from wavering. However, since blowing up the pipeline would have been an act of war against an ally (Germany), it was also inevitable that America would a) deny having done it and b) place as many cutouts as possible between themselves and the actual bombers – whatever their nationality.

Pretending that this is some great scooby doo mystery that no-one can figure out is at best insulting and, at worst, a deliberate attempt at obfuscation. The only things that are remotely surprising here is the spectacular cheek of the US in overcharging the Germans for the American gas that they are having to buy to replace their Russian supply. And, of course, German acquiecence in their mistreatment.

Wim de Vriend
Wim de Vriend
9 months ago
Reply to  George Venning

It’s inevitable that those “cheeky Americans” should charge more for their gas than the Russians did. The American gas comes not by pipeline but by ship as LNG, which involves considerable additional costs for large facilities for liquefaction (at the American end), and for plants providing storage and regasification of the LNG at the other.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
9 months ago
Reply to  Wim de Vriend

I’m an American and I agree. I immediately suspected my own government of doing this. I still suspect they either did it or backed whoever was directly responsible by providing the expertise, financing, and materials. That would be standard operating procedure for how America conducts covert warfare going back to the cold war using local proxies to maintain plausible deniability. It’s unlikely this will ever be proved conclusively. Most of the investigating nations would be unlikely to jeopardize their relations with the US given the current geopolitical climate even if they have indisputable evidence. This mystery won’t be solved unless someone directly involved comes forward publicly, or perhaps by some historian or journalist parsing through declassified documents decades hence when it’s no longer relevant and won’t cause an international incident.

Andrew F
Andrew F
9 months ago
Reply to  George Venning

Germany never paid the price for genocidal policies of ww2, although I understand why not.
Then they spent decades refusing to pay their share of defence of Europe.
While appeasing Russia and shutting down nuclear to create ever increasing reliance on Russian gas.
Fourth Reich deserves everything coming their way.
They are implementing Morgentau plan all by themselves.

David Lindsay
David Lindsay
9 months ago
Michael Layman
Michael Layman
9 months ago
Reply to  David Lindsay

Maybe, but Seymour Hersch has published some pretty sketchy journalism for a very ong time.

si mclardy
si mclardy
9 months ago
Reply to  Michael Layman

You will have to make a better case for your assertion. The main stream media and the US government are so compromised that people no longer trust them. Why should we. Why the hell did we just build a military base in Syria? Why did pfizer not tell us in the beginning that they did not test for transmission? Why is Julian Assange in jail? As a US citizen, I am disgusted with the US. Some day the ruling class will realize they need the good will of the people and it will be too late.

Andrew F
Andrew F
9 months ago
Reply to  si mclardy

OK, so you, supposed US citizen, are disgusted with US?
But what is the alternative for the West?
World ruled by China and Russia?
There are a lot of countries which trust USA more.
Why do you think Sweden and Finland are joining NATO?

jane baker
jane baker
9 months ago
Reply to  Andrew F

I watch you tube channel Pavlo from Ukraine (and also a Belarus you tuber). Those oppressed people who need us to rescue them and bestow on them the liberty,freedom and prosperity we enjoy. Of course we do. They live on charming,scruffy, inefficient farmsteads. Smalllholdings. They have apple trees,they have chickens running around,they grow vegetables. It’s all totally inefficient.Its delightfully scruffy.
All the comments say,”my grandparents lived like that,I wish I could”. I want to scream at my device. “Join up the dots,work out the reason why your grandparents lived like that but you don’t and you can’t afford to because in our developed countries to live like a poor peasant is very expensive,”. But no one does join up the dots.

Bernard Stewart
Bernard Stewart
9 months ago
Reply to  jane baker

Uptick for ‘delightfully scruffy’, you’re onto something here

Edward De Beukelaer
Edward De Beukelaer
9 months ago
Reply to  jane baker

Dear Jane. You seem to believe in the efficiency of moder industrial like farming. The reality is that it is most efficient in making money for big business. For the rest it reduces employment, puts lots of chemicals in the environment, reduces variability nature so much needs to survive, provides unhealthy foods, destroys natural diversity which essential to life overal, etc. Have a look at systems view of life work by Capra who summarises this well based on available evidence

Mark Goodhand
Mark Goodhand
9 months ago

“But many suspect Putin is the guilty party. Russia has a long history of taking a “scorched Earth” approach in war, meaning they see value in damaging their own valuable assets in order to deny others the possibility of using them.”
In this case, deny others the possibility of transporting gas from Russia to Germany?
It makes no sense.

Martin Johnson
Martin Johnson
9 months ago

Unfortunately for this piece of obfuscation, Hersh is out today (Sept 26, 2023) with a follow-up Substack piece of NordStream reporting that provides credible background on the planning and rationale for this US/CIA led operation.

Last edited 9 months ago by Martin Johnson
Martin Smith
Martin Smith
9 months ago

Sorry but I couldn’t read past this:

“Russia has a long history of taking a “scorched Earth” approach in war, meaning they see value in damaging their own valuable assets in order to deny others the possibility of using them. They did this in the war of 1812, and during Hitler’s Operation Barbarossa when they destroyed their own crops and equipment.”

Destroying the infrastructure and produce of the land in the face of an advancing enemy is hardly an exclusively Russian tactic, and how can it possibly relate to the pipeline, the control of which was never remotely under threat?

Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
9 months ago

The only certainty is that neither the Russian government nor the German government did it. If either had wanted to cut off the flow of gas, all they had to do was close the pipe at their end.

Joanna Parol
Joanna Parol
9 months ago

Whoever did it, it was in 2022 and not in 2021 as the article erroneously states….

Noel Chiappa
Noel Chiappa
9 months ago

Yes, but if they did that, they’d have to take the public heat for doing it. (Not saying this is any kind of proof that they did do it, mind.)
I’d like to know if the pipelines are repairable (a topic that has gotten no coverage that I’ve ever seen). If not, billions of dollars’ worth of infrastructure are now useless – which is a better reason for the Russians+Germans not to have done it. But I rather suspect that they are repairable – which leaves us no closer to working out ‘who’.

Carmel Shortall
Carmel Shortall
9 months ago

Dr Pippa Malmgren is a Former Special Assistant to President George Bush

Is this for real? Has she no other outlet for her mis/dis/malinformation, lies and propaganda than Unherd?

Carmel Shortall
Carmel Shortall
9 months ago

“…actors make the perfect saboteurs.”

Nah! Still think Biden rather than Zelensky did it.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
9 months ago

As an American, I’m inclined to take Biden at his word and believe he let something slip that he wasn’t supposed to. He’s been well known for his public gaffes since long before he became president or even vice-president. Presidents get all kinds of briefings and reports from military and intelligence people all the time and someone as chronically loose lipped as Joe was bound to drop a bomb or two. Now he appears to be a senile old man who can’t keep straight where he is half the time. I can imagine the German chancellor sitting there trying to keep a straight face while his internal monologue runs something like this: “shut up shut up you idiot they’re not supposed to know that. My own people would have my head if they knew I would go along with that. Why the hell did they put forward this doddering old fool. Was he really the only person who could beat Trump?” Joe has also slipped three times stating that America would militarily defend Taiwan three times for probably the same reason, which everyone who understands geopolitical power games and the strategic and symbolic significance of Taiwan including the Chinese already knew, but he really wasn’t supposed to say it out loud. He’s also ranted about how American insurrectionists would need F16s and nukes to fight the government when talking about gun control, leading me to believe he suddenly remembered some briefing where a Pentagon official had given him some insurrection/secession scenario that had scared the hell out of him and just blurted out whatever ran through his head as he’s prone to do. Treating it like a traditional whodunnit, America had the most compelling political and economic motive to destroy the pipeline. America has the world’s largest and most capable naval and submarine forces, giving them the means. Finally, they had the opportunity through those naval exercises the author mentioned. America had the means, the motive, and the opportunity. People are convicted of murder and other things with flimsier evidence.

Andrew F
Andrew F
9 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

Great post.
However your claims are “on balance of probabilities”.
But not “beyond reasonable doubt”.
Sort of like Brand case.

j watson
j watson
9 months ago

Nordstream 2 ‘whodunnit’ aside the Author raises some interesting points about the vulnerability of undersea Internet cables. Some of which are facilitating Unherd articles and comments as we type.
My understanding is the private providers of so many of these cables (Google, Microsoft etc) have built in a degree of redundancy as more often damage is incurred via fishing or other maritime accidents as opposed to deliberate targeting, and thus they learnt pretty quickly multiple redundancy needed. So if, say Russia, wanted to target Western European/US communications it’d have to attack them on such a scale it would be obvious and give time to respond. This isn’t like cut one cable and everything goes down. NATO can also switch to satellite comms too if specific military cables targeted.
But that doesn’t mean malign forces won’t look to create problems by damaging what they can when they feel it’s useful. Nor that the West doesn’t need good counter measures ready and waiting.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
9 months ago
Reply to  j watson

These cables are very expensive. There’s much less redundancy than you seem to think. And there are some very attractive spots where several cables are co-located.
https://www.iiea.com/blog/the-gray-zone-ireland-in-an-era-of-renewed-great-power-competition

j watson
j watson
9 months ago

Yes there are some pinch-points, at least from what can be gleaned from details made public. I think we can assume quite well patrolled already – in fact you may even have seen last year the collision that occurred in vicinity of key area in N Atlantic between UK warship and Russian sub. UK warship making v clear why it was there.

jane baker
jane baker
9 months ago

We should all bear in mind that THEY can switch everything off if THEY want to in seconds. Those of us old enough to recall the pre Internet world. Well it won’t be easy but at least we’ll know you can live without it. Actually I suspect a lot of young people are more resilient than we are encouraged to think. Maybe a nationwide or even worldwide Internet outtage would test us all and give us a reality check.

Carmel Shortall
Carmel Shortall
9 months ago
Reply to  j watson

“Nordstream 2 ‘whodunnit’ aside the Author raises some interesting points about the vulnerability of undersea Internet cables.”

Nice undersea Internet cable you got there. Be a shame if something happened to it…

j watson
j watson
9 months ago

I detect the early formation of a witticism, but I’m not sure you quite polished it CS?

JR Stoker
JR Stoker
9 months ago
Reply to  j watson

From The Italian Job, almost

“Nice car. Your car? Paid for?

Bulldozer pushes it off the cliff

Andrew Wise
Andrew Wise
9 months ago
Reply to  JR Stoker

Or a Monty Python episode

R Wright
R Wright
9 months ago

“The confusion is exacerbated by the fact that official investigators in Denmark, Sweden and Germany are not sharing information with each other.”

Presumably they all discovered independently from one another that the Americans were responsible for it.

Andrew Horsman
Andrew Horsman
9 months ago

You’d (literally) have to be a conspiracy theorist to think any state or corporation did it. I think it must have been a deranged lone wolf, acting entirely of their volition, without prompting by any murky secret agents or other figments of some truth-obsessed cranks’ imaginations. Just like how [X] was killed by that awful, [fanatic / lunatic / misfit], [Y] years ago. These people who believe that governments secretly conspire to do harm, they’re crazy; a threat to society. Why would democratically elected governments do that? Sure they might get some things wrong, but blowing up a pipeline that millions depend upon to stay warm and safe would be just unconscionable; why, if I believed for one second it could be true I would stop trusting the government for ever – but then who would I trust, and who could I rely on to make me feel safe?! The government really should do something to protect us all from such irresponsible, hurtful speculation 


jane baker
jane baker
9 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Horsman

Ha ha ha. Exactly.

Greg La Cock
Greg La Cock
9 months ago

A very weak attempt to muddy the waters. Like if tomorrow the Alaskan oil pipeline is blown and Russian spooks put out drivel like this suggesting that it could have been the Mexicans, Canadians or Hondurans!

Sayantani Gupta Jafa
Sayantani Gupta Jafa
9 months ago

” Either you are with us or against us”?!

TheElephant InTheRoom
TheElephant InTheRoom
9 months ago

Nuland.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
9 months ago

I am rather surprised Ms Malmgren didn’t point the finger at her homeland Sweden, as payback for rampant disobedience during the recent C-19 panic.

Otherwise it all rather reminds me of the late Lieutenant-Commander Lionel Crabb, RN, OBE,GM.

Last edited 9 months ago by Charles Stanhope
Reginald Duquesnoy
Reginald Duquesnoy
9 months ago

Pippa? the bird in the Bush! Flush it out or flush it down…

jane baker
jane baker
9 months ago

Didn’t that journalist Seymour Hirsch also “alledge” decades ago that some USA soldiers bombed and shot up a Vietnamese village of Innocent civilians just going about their everyday life. Wasn’t it this journalist who “alleged” that? Allegedly. Maybe we should revisit that story. Maybe he got it wrong. After all nobody’s perfect.
Just because a skilled investigator gets eye witness accounts,personal testimonies,paper documents,on line facts,names of people and all sorts of corroborating evidence,none of that makes it true. If it doesn’t fit the narrative. Back in 1973/4 seems it fit the narrative. Different media, different narrative.

Jim Bocho
Jim Bocho
9 months ago

Keep trying hard to muddy the waters, but there is no mystery about who committed this act of international vandalism.

David Kingsworthy
David Kingsworthy
9 months ago

Hmmm, one of the interesting questions raised here is, why aren’t these important cables and pipelines better protected from sabotage?

jane baker
jane baker
9 months ago

Well,if their location was permanently patrolled by warships that would actually highlight the locations. I know all the actors in the drama all know the locations but somehow keeping it publicly a secret seems to make a potential attack seem more wicked. Also there is potential for conflict there. Suppose an internet cable is going from international waters into Chinese waters. Does a US warship monitor the location (to protect the cable)or a Chinese,ample scope there for “pushing and shoving”.

Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
9 months ago

“ But many suspect Putin is the guilty party. Russia has a long history of taking a “scorched Earth” approach in war, meaning they see value in damaging their own valuable assets in order to deny others the possibility of using them”

No.

Noel Chiappa
Noel Chiappa
9 months ago

The amusing thing is that Russia is still selling gas to Europe – via Ukraine! (Ukraine Gives Reason for Allowing Russian Gas Transit Despite War) And they are effectively paying Ukraine to do it! There are so many wheels within wheels here I don’t think we’ll ever straighten it out.

Matt S
Matt S
9 months ago

It happened on 26th September 2022 not 2021. Basic fact checking people!

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
9 months ago
Reply to  Matt S

This is not a minor mistake. Guys are we supposed to take the rest of the piece seriously after reading that you apparently don’t know when this happened?

Martin Johnson
Martin Johnson
9 months ago

This is not the first time Malmgren has published utter drivel on UnHerd. I assume the big money behind UnHerd insists on this, as it is destructive of the brand.

And all that about undersea cable cuts sure sounds a lot like Iraqi WMD Mark 2. If it is real and people are now skeptical, shame on Malmgren’s colleagues in the Bush Admin for lying about WMD Mark 1.

Last edited 9 months ago by Martin Johnson
Michael Dalgleish
Michael Dalgleish
9 months ago

Follow the money – who benefits most?

Johan Grönwall
Johan Grönwall
9 months ago

It is russian property so who cares who did it? Destroy more russian property.