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Truthsmack #19: Hersh strikes back
Plus COVID lab leak, Climate change
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Hersh strikes back on new pipeline scenario
Three short months ago, iconic investigative journalist Seymour Hersh dropped what is arguably the most important story since the Russians invaded Ukraine – how President Biden ordered the covert bombing of Russia’s Nord Stream pipelines last September. Hersh launched his new Substack publication on Feb. 8 with “How America Took Out The Nord Stream Pipeline.” His unnamed source claimed “direct knowledge of the operational planning” and the gist was that Navy divers – operating under the cover of NATO exercises last summer – planted remotely triggered explosives that were set off three months later. The story was picked up by European papers and politicians while generally ignored in the U.S. Then… the battle of unnamed sources!
New York Times (Adam Entous, Julian Barnes & Adam Goldman)
Source: unnamed “U.S. officials”
Gist: New intelligence suggests a “pro-Ukrainian group” acting independent of the Ukrainian government might have carried out the Nord Stream attack. Experienced divers “who did not appear to be working for military or intelligence services” planted and detonated the explosives on the floor of the Baltic Sea without being detected.
Trust this? “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. They have said that there are no firm conclusions about it, leaving 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.”
Die Zeit (Holger Stark)
Source: unnamed “German investigative authorities”
Gist: German investigators believe a yacht owned by two Ukrainians was rented to a six-person team (five men and one woman – a captain, two divers, two diving assistants and a doctor) to transport explosives to the Nord Stream pipelines on Sept. 6. The nationality of the perpetrators as well as the identity of who ordered the sabotage is unclear.
Trust this? “A Western secret service is said to have sent a tip to European partner services as early as autumn (shortly after the destruction), according to which a Ukrainian commando was responsible for the destruction. After that, there have been further intelligence indications that a pro-Ukrainian group could be responsible.”
Der Speigel (Jörg Diehl, Christian Esch, Solveig Grothe, Hubert Gude, Roman Höfner , Marina Kormbaki , Roman Lehberger, Guido Mingels, Sven Röbel, Marcel Rosenbach, Fidelius Schmid & Jean-Pierre Ziegler)
Source: unnamed “departmental sources” and “harbor master”
Gist: A yacht named Andromeda was rented by a group of unidentified persons using forged documents and sailed to the Danish island of Christiansø, close to the site of the Nord Stream blasts on Sept. 26. German investigators did not identify the nationality of the bombers or attribute responsibility to any government.
Trust this? “Experts have questioned whether the amount of explosives used in the sabotage attacks (estimated to be several hundred kilograms) as well with the necessary breathing apparatus and other equipment could have been carried on such a small boat, raising the question of whether another vessel was involved.”
March 22: “The Cover-Up”
Source: unnamed source “within the American intelligence community”
Gist: On March 3, during an 80-minute private visit to Washington by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, it was decided that U.S. and German intelligence agencies would feed the New York Times and Die Zeit false cover stories to counter Hersh’s report that Biden and U.S. operatives secretly destroyed Nord Stream.
Trust this? “We know really very little, right? This group remains mysterious. And it remains mysterious not just to us, but also to the U.S. government officials that we have spoken to.”
Washington Post (Shane Harris, Souad Mekhennet, Loveday Morris, Michael Birnbaum & Kate Brady)
Source: unnamed “officials with knowledge of an investigation led by Germany’s attorney general”
Gist: German law enforcement officials suspect that the Andromeda was too small to carry the explosives and gear needed, speculating that it was a decoy to distract from a second ship with remotely piloted underwater vehicles or small submarines.
Trust this? “Said one senior European diplomat: ‘Don’t talk about Nord Stream.’ Leaders see little benefit from digging too deeply and finding an uncomfortable answer, the diplomat said, echoing sentiments of several peers in other countries who said they would rather not have to deal with the possibility that Ukraine or allies were involved.”
April 5: “The Nord Stream Ghost Ship”
Source: unnamed “intelligence expert”
Gist: Hersh stands by his initial reporting that the U.S. bombed Nord Stream and the CIA and German intelligence created cover stories to confuse the public. In a conversation with Die Zeit reporter Holger Stark, Hersh learned that shortly after the bombings, German, Swedish and Danish investigators decided to send teams to recover the one mine that had not gone off. Stark said they were too late; an American ship had sped to the site within a day or two and recovered the mine and other materials.
Trust this? “In the world of professional analysts and operators, everyone will universally and correctly conclude from your story that the devilish CIA concocted a counter-op that is on its face so ridiculous and childish that the real purpose was to reinforce the truth.”
Journalism is only as good as a reporter’s sources. As long as officials and experts require anonymity, we’re left to trust reporters to know reliable firsthand sources when they see them.
Lab leak theory gets booster
The COVID-19 crisis is over – officially this month, per declarations by the World Health Organization and the U.S. While the government has ruled out the Trump Administration conspiracy narrative that China developed the novel coronavirus as a bioweapon (not to mention China’s theory that the U.S. developed it at Ft. Detrick), there’s still no consensus as to where COVID came from. Out of eight intelligence agency assessments, four lean toward it being natural zoonotic transmission; two (including the CIA) haven't issued a judgment; and two lean toward an accidental lab leak (the FBI and, revealed in February, the Energy Department).
Don’t be surprised to find the Energy Department has an intelligence division. The U.S. Intelligence Community boasts 18 known entities and Energy's Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence runs nearly 30 offices nationwide. In the early 1950s, the CIA used part of the Nevada Test Site (operated by what was then called the Atomic Energy Commission) to develop the U-2 spy plane – Area 51. The fabled “Q clearance” is the Energy Department’s equivalent to a Defense Department Top Secret clearance. The data behind the Energy Department’s new COVID assessment, which is at odds with recent scientific studies indicating the virus came from animals at the Huanan seafood market, is still classified.
Climate change conspiracy included Big Oil
Records unveiled in April show that Shell Oil was funding research and collecting data on climate change as early as the 1960s. Compiled by Dutch climate activist Vatan Hüzeir and reviewed by DeSmog and Dutch investigative journalism platform Follow The Money, the documents show Shell knew by the 1970s that burning fossil fuels could lead to alarming climate change. One report warned that “the continued burning of fossil fuels will lead to a manifold increase in the atmospheric CO2 concentration.”
“This report winds back the clock even further on Shell’s long history of climate knowledge and deception,” said Geoffrey Supran, professor of environmental science and policy at the University of Miami. Supran co-authored a study in January showing that ExxonMobil scientists had made accurate predictions of climate change as early as the late 1970s and early 1980s.