‘Damn Stupid’: US Journalist Behind Nord Stream Bombshell Takes Aim at Biden, Legacy Media
04:58 GMT 14.02.2023 (Updated: 04:59 GMT 14.02.2023)
© Photo : Swedish Coast GuardGas leak location on Nord Stream 2
© Photo : Swedish Coast Guard
In his first interview since publishing his bombshell story on the attack on the Nord Stream pipelines, legendary investigative journalist Seymour Hersh fleshed out the details of his explosive report exposing the role of the US Navy in blowing up critical German-Russian energy infrastructure.
American journalist Seymour Hersh is “taking heat” over his recent explosive report documenting how the US sabotaged the Nord Stream pipelines, the legendary reporter revealed in a new interview.
In a wide-ranging discussion on the War Nerd podcast, Hersh called on US President Joe Biden to come clean to the American people about the Biden administration’s role in the attack. The journalist underscored that the US public is being misinformed about the proxy war in Ukraine en masse.
Last week, Hersh published a dizzying report detailing how US Navy divers planted C-4 charges on the Nord Stream pipelines during a NATO training exercise and then remotely detonated them with a Norwegian reconnaissance plan.
The veteran war journalist suggests media outlets are refusing to cover his new revelations because “they think that the story I wrote supports Russia” – which “it does,” he concedes.
But Hersh said that despite being “colossally bad” for the European economy and “inexcusable,” the American government’s intentional attack on the critical energy infrastructure of a US ally is not technically illegal under international law.
“The law on the sea is very interesting. There are treaties that go back to 1884, when we began to lay Telegraph lines across the ocean, and if you inadvertently or deliberately ran across the line that was a real bad deal.”
But “there were mostly economic consequences” for those infractions, Hersh pointed out, noting there's actually “no law on the books that says deliberately building up a pipeline is a crime.”
Such a crime “has never been considered,” Hersh said, but there are “certainly a lot of law about damages, if you damage a pipeline. And this is a pipeline that's probably going to cost… — there's a Swiss company that did an estimate — 1.5 billion to fix the pipelines.”
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Asked if he’s ever covered anything like a government “blowing up your ally’s critical infrastructure,” Hersh replied that the Biden administration “didn’t see it that way.” Instead, Biden “saw that gas as a weapon, Hersh claimed, “because as long as Russia was selling that much gas they thought Russia would weaponize if… there was a war.”
In reality, Hersh said “the fear was: Biden wants this war.”
“Don’t ask me why presidents want war. I think it’s good for their ratings. I just don’t know.”
“But Biden was very big on showing the Russians that in the Ukraine, with Ukrainian bodies, soldiers, we’ll show ‘em – we can stand up to Russia,” the journalist explains.
Anti-Russian posturing is “good politically in America too,” Hersh added, noting that in the US, “we all, you know, we wake up everyday kicking Russia and Putin, our…”
“Our nemesis,” the host chimed in.
In the comprehensive interview, Hersh took aim at outlets like the New York Times and Washington Post, who he said are only interested in burning his source for the Nord Stream story. According to his recent report, that anonymous figure had “direct knowledge of the operational planning” of the pipeline attack.
“I think what the newspapers… think I should do” is “use his name and get him put in jail” – something which would end my career,” Hersh added, stating that under no circumstances would he ever give up a source. “Inside the community, I protect people.”
“I'm taking heat, I have a source, I'm taking heat – but that's okay, that’s my job, right? But it's their job to understand the business a little better.” And in terms of the conflict in Ukraine, mainstream Western outlets “don't seem to have anybody inside,” Hersh said.
“The coverage of the Ukrainian war is, compared to what I'm hearing from my friends who have access to the information… it's – the thinking is so dumb.”
“The war I know about isn't the war you're reading about,” Hersh said cryptically, pointing out that military operations against Russia were by no means going well. "No, of course not. Are you kidding?"
While he admitted Russian forces “made great misjudgments,” he acknowledged “they have a 350,000 man regular army that hasn't gone in yet.”
One of the likely causes for those waves of misinformation may be what the host refers to as the “Bellingcats and the OSINT [open source intelligence] bros.”
Responding to their mention, Hersh doesn’t mince words: “No one cares about those people.”
The storied journalist seemingly suggested instead that Bellingcat, the self-professed ‘independent’ outlet upheld by much of the mainstream media, is actually a British intelligence operation:
“I mean, why don’t you think about their nexus to certain intelligence agencies in a certain country,” Hersh asked rhetorically. “You know, you get to know who’s who.”
“But there are legitimate people complaining” about his reporting as well, he added.
“It’s amazing to me how they fall in line, my colleagues,” the reporter expressed. “When I was at the New York Times, they didn’t do that.”
“I’m not sure they underestimate the American people,” Hersh said. “We’re ready to accept the fact that an American president did this.”
And “it’s not only accepting it,” the journalist added. “You have to hold the president to account.”
Of the mainstream Western outlets that covered the story, Hersh faced fierce pushback from most of them, which tended to emphasize White House and CIA denials of the Nord Stream allegations.
Hersh faced major attacks on his reputation in the wake of stories debunking now–discredited claims from Western governments about Syrian forces using sarin gas, and for his writings dismantling the official story of the killing of Osama Bin Laden. As for the criticism, he says he’s “used to it.”
But this time, it “sort of stunned me because this was such an obvious story,” he said.
As Hersh noted in his story, top US officials - including Biden - repeatedly threatened to sabotage the pipeline in the event that Russian troops engaged Ukrainian forces. Under Secretary for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland warned in January: “if Russia invades Ukraine, one way or another, Nord Stream 2 will not move forward.”
“So what does that mean?” Hersh asked. “I don't know what anybody's thinking but I'Il tell you what that means: that's called a threat.”
“A friend of mine put it this way: what you've done, [Seymour]… you're an expert at deconstructing the obvious. What else was it? What else was it?”
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“The Russians didn’t do it, [and] if the Russians didn’t do it, which country in NATO [did]?” he questioned.
“It’s just not even a hard story to understand – the president of the United States and the undersecretary of state both said they were going to do it and then they did it,” Hersh stated, adding: “they waited a long time but they cut off oil.”
“Literally within a month of the actual event,” Hersh noted, Secretary of State Antony Blinken “gave a speech in which he talked about stopping Russia from weaponizing oil and gas – ‘now is the time we can do it,’ he said.”
Meanwhile, the effect on the European economy is “devastating.”
As Hersh pointed out, Germany’s BASF, the largest chemical producer in the world, shut down nearly 100 plants and “has actually been talking to China about moving some facilities there.”
In terms of “the economic stuff, which hasn't been reported nearly enough in the Western press here,” Hersh said, “this is called, I guess you could [say], shooting off your left foot.”
“For no reason whatsoever, yes, we shot ourselves in the foot. Yes, it's stupid beyond belief. Yes.”
“I would think that it's certainly, unquestionably, a wonderful degree of stupidity at the White House and on [the] part of the president. It's just stupid – it's just damn stupid.”
The journalist said it’s unlikely Biden will face scrutiny for his actions in many mainstream media outlets anytime soon, because “this White House,” Hersh said, has “the New York Times and the Washington Post and MSN and CNN fronting for them.”
And “the enemy is Fox News.”
But “the only reporter that has called me from any TV station – outside of somebody that's running out of the kitchen of their mother's house” was Fox News host Tucker Carlson.
Hersh declined the request, but said Carlson has been “dead right” about the Nord Stream attack. “And I’ll tell you something else - Tucker’s been right about is the war in Ukraine.”
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The reporter repeatedly emphasized his unwillingness to discuss his sourcing, explaining “the one thing government’s good at is tracking down people who talk.” But ultimately, he suggested the information could be coming from someone inside the US oil and gas industry, telling his interviewer: “there’s something called a pipeline industry.”
“There’s an industry [with] American companies involved. They build pipelines around the world. Are you listening to me? They know what happened," Hersh said. “The last thing they want to do is end up in a goddamn newspaper story, but they know who did what."
“Of course they know – they built the goddamn things!”
“I’m not talking necessarily about Nord Stream 1 or 2, but they build pipelines and they talk to divers, and they know what’s happening, they know who has the capability, and they know what they hear inside,” Hersh concluded.