Nord Stream Who?
Not asking who is responsible is akin to not investigating who was behind the 9/11 attacks.
There is plenty to blame Russia for. But here in the West a pattern continues of blaming Russia prior to an investigation, or even despite one. Blame Russia, whatever the facts.
In a recent Foreign Affairs essay, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz takes advantage of the general ignorance of his readership in order to rewrite history. In a section that blames Putin for deflating the promise of partnership and peace in a world order that should have followed the end of the Cold War, Scholz charges that, in 2008, “Russia launched a war against Georgia.”
Many of Scholz’s readers will take him at his word, especially because they have been primed for it by the Western media for many years. But Scholz knows that his testimony is a lie. A European Union Independent Fact-Finding Mission on the Conflict in Georgia found at the time that Georgia, not Russia, had launched the attack.
On August 7, violating its own ceasefire of just five hours earlier, Georgia launched an attack on the South Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali. Georgia claimed that Ossetia had been shelling Georgian villages. But OSCE observers on the ground said that was not true. The European Union Independent Fact-Finding Mission on the Conflict in Georgia found that "None of the explanations given by the Georgian authorities in order to provide some form of legal justification of the attack" were legitimate. The report said "there was no Russian military invasion under way, which had to be stopped by Georgian military forces."
Scholz knows that, but he still blamed Russia, despite the investigation.
When an old-style Russian S-300 rocket landed in Poland, killing two people on November 15, Western media and governments immediately blamed Russia. But an investigation soon determined that the missile was an old-style Russian S-300 rocket the Ukrainian military still possesses. Ukrainian air defense had fired the missile at an incoming Russian missile. The Ukrainian missile missed its target and landed across the border in Poland. Russia had been blamed prior to an investigation.
And when the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines exploded in September, the West ignored Russia’s claims of innocence and, in concert, convicted Russia of sabotage. “No one on the European side of the ocean is thinking this is anything other than Russian sabotage,” said a senior European environmental official. U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm immediately said that it “seems” Russia is to blame.
But the Washington Post recently reported that, after months of investigation, there is nothing to suggest that Russia was responsible. The Post article interviewed “23 diplomatic and intelligence officials in nine countries” who said that “[t]here is no evidence at this point that Russia was behind the sabotage.” It reports that “even those with inside knowledge of the forensic details don’t conclusively tie Russia to the attack.”
If Russia didn’t do it, one of us did. The most disturbingly unasked question of 2022 is: Who blew up the Nord Stream pipelines?
The sabotage ranks as one of the greatest terrorist attacks in history. Not asking who is responsible is akin to not investigating who was behind the 9/11 attacks. The deliberate detonation caused an enormous release of methane gas into the atmosphere. It also cut Europe off from its gas supply, accelerating its descent into a winter without heat. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen called it a “deliberate disruption of active European energy infrastructure.”
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The evidence unequivocally pointed to a state actor. One of the biggest terrorist attacks in history had been perpetrated, not by a lone terrorist nor terrorist organization, but by a country acting alone or by countries acting together.
If there is no evidence that Russia was behind the detonations, then it was either a European country or a country aligned with Europe that abandoned and betrayed it, sacrificing the comfort and health of citizens of Europe. The increased cost of gas and electricity to which the sabotage contributed could lead to an extra 147,000 deaths in Europe this winter and cause energy shortages in Europe, and especially Germany, for years to come.
Russia was blamed before the investigation was carried out. Officials “expressed regret” to the Post “that so many world leaders pointed the finger at Moscow without considering other countries.” But one of those “other countries” cut Europe off from its gas and blamed Russia. The greatest unasked question that no one wants to ask is: who?