The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

The Attacks On Nord Stream I & II

Let’s point out the obvious. Russia had no reason to attack its own pipelines. If it doesn’t want gas to go thru them it just turns off the tap. Sabotage to the pipelines weakens Russia’s position, since it will be months before they can offer to turn fuel back on, if they ever can (I’m seeing reports the damage is truly epic), which they would have wanted to offer during the winter in order to pressure Germany in specific and Europe in general. Anyone who says or believes that Russia did this is a moron, a propagandist or has had their mind so twisted by Russia-hatred they can no longer think straight.

Who did attack? Who knows. One possibility is the US.

Radek Sikorski is a Polish MEP, and married to Anne Applebaum.

On the other hand, Naked Capitalism published a piece suggesting Poland did it. They recently opened their own pipeline, and are rabidly anti-Russia. Germany needs Russian gas and oil to run its industrial economy, but Poland wants Germany to not push for a peace deal with Russia.

I don’t know who did this, but what I do know is that it almost certainly wasn’t Russia. If you thought it was, check yourself, you’ve gone off the rails into propaganda-land and your emotions are ruling your reason.

Oh, and this is an attack on Germany and other countries who get gas from Russia, even more than on Russia and a reminder of how fragile international logistics links are. In the event of a real war, expect far more than this to go down.



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  1. Art

    Oh BS. Russia has played out the pipelines as leverage for years. The Europeans have told Russia that they do not need their gas. They will get along just fine without it.

    Russia blew up its own lines because silly people will say otherwise. The only gas released was just the remainder of what was in the pipelines. Getting one last headline and propaganda ploy is the best Russia could manage. Every good propagandist knows to never let an opportunity go to waste. If they waited until spring, Europe having made it through winter in good shape, there would have been no headlines.

    This is just another false-flag operation by Russia seeking to present itself as the victim, and Europe forced to reject Russian gas. The pipelines were dead as the dodo. Europe had essentially said as much. The odds they would ever be used in the future to deliver gas were nil.

    Russia loves the drama. Alternating bullying with the sympathy play like shelling of the nuclear power plant, landing shells on the coal tailings to make European radiation meters twitch was a nice touch, and dropping petal mines into Donetsk. Easy to see through but confusing for the distracted.

    Give it a few months. Odds are the locals, they keep a fairly vigilant watch, already have a good idea if what vessel/s were involved. Depth was shallow and the lines easy to find. A couple of divers and a few limpet mines would do it. Likely a Russian flag fishing boat. Obvious, yes, but Russian operatives have long ago given up on subtlety. Those likely to be convinced will convince themselves.

  2. Jim Harmon

    Meanwhile, DNC Hack site Daily Kos says Roosha did it. Puh thet ick.

  3. Art:
    Then why would Sikorski say that? Do you know how connected the guy is to the U.S.? Do you know at various times he used to be the Pelosi(their version of Speaker of the House) and Blinken(over there they call it Minister of Foreign Affairs instead of Sec. of State) of Poland? And that’s all on top of what Ian said.

  4. Ken Cox

    Does Russia own the pipelines?

  5. NR

    There actually is a reason Russia might have sabotaged the pipelines. Putin might be worried about being deposed or overthrown in favor of a government that would seek to go back to “business as usual” with Europe. Sabotaging the pipelines would make that much more difficult.

    Now that said, the simple fact is that we don’t know who sabotaged the pipelines. I am not about to accuse Russia of having done it without proof, nor am I about to accuse the U.S. or Poland of having done it without proof.

    We simply don’t know.

  6. StewartM


    As Ian said. Russia has no incentive to destroy its own lines.

    The history of Western propaganda has always portrayed the USSR/Russia as doing things it was later found out not to have done, or exaggerating actual misdeeds many-fold. And I say this as no fan of Putin or his regime.

  7. Bill H.

    And, of course, The Guardian reports that Russian ships were seen near the scene of the explosions.

  8. someofparts

    Well, those hacks at Kos will eventually do what hacks do when events prove them wrong … go quiet for a bit and then change the subject.

    According to Kos, Russia broke it’s own pipeline on purpose because Europe is about to get gas from Norway and find out they don’t need Russia. Meanwhile, back on earth, when all the European industries flee and all the charming little shops close and the Euro is worth pesos on the greenback, my prosperous relations will be thrilled at how cheap it will be to vacation there. Naturally, as sensible people, they will keep their distance from the impoverished locals.

    Also according to Kos, Ukraine is winning the war, the US economy is doing great and they are left wing even though they want to see Julian Assange lynched. Walking and chewing gum at the same time must be such a challenge for them. Reminds me of a good joke though – Elon Musk has offered to buy the FBI from the Clintons.

  9. someofparts

    Since the site of the explosions was between Kaliningrad and St Petersburg, there is bound to be plenty of Russian maritime traffic in that corridor.

  10. Carborundum

    I don’t know what people think epic damage to a pipeline is, but as long as it’s contained to the physical structure of the pipeline itself (i.e., not compression stations, dewatering equipment, etc.), pretty much anything is a comparatively straightforward fix. You could remove hundreds of metres of pipeline and it would still be relatively (it is still underwater) easy to fix. If you want to make it hard to fix and can’t access anything other than the line proper you hole it in many locations and go after the repair assets. The key challenge with most holed pipelines is that they’re in use, which isn’t the case here.

    Add to this the extended foot dragging that the Russians have played with manufactured maintenance and repair drama and I don’t think this is quite the slam dunk case “not Russia” case people think it is (unless they mean slam dunk the same way DCI Tenet used the term, I guess).

  11. VietnamVet

    The Nord Stream cut off is a direct military terror attack on the European Union and the German nation state and the western European nations connected to the pipelines. The astonishing thing is that it was done competently without detection and whomever did it is unknown. The clandestine operation required deep water explosives, submersibles, divers and digging through the sea mud to attach the mines to the concrete shell around the steel pipe.

    This is the start of WWIII. No pipelines of the opposing sides are safe anywhere. The cold dark winter will kill the EU. One must hope it wasn’t Russia. If they did it, they purposefully destroyed billions of dollars of their energy infrastructure and their “cash cow” if there is ever peace again in Europe. If the Kremlin ordered the operation then they intend to win WWIII and shortly will use tactical nuclear weapons to destroy Ukraine/NATO’s counter offensive.

    One of the other alternatives, is the USA. But this action will purposefully destroy the EU and risks the overthrow of a current ally’s government. Did the Biden Administration order it? If human beings survive the global nuclear war that most likely results from this, Joe Biden will be a global nightmare pariah.

    A third option is an Oligarch’s NGO operation coordinated with Ukraine, UK, Poland and/or corporate operators to raise the price of liquid natural gas and to facilitate the takeover of Moscow and seizure of their resources. The only good thing about a nuclear war is that they will be collateral damage. Or even better, they are captured and jailed and the nuclear war is averted.

    One can only hope that we will be very lucky and will be alive to find out who the perpetrators are.

  12. Astrid

    Even if the pipelines were easily repairable, why would Russia or even Germany bother doing so without some sort of security that it will not happen again? And there is no security from western terrorism until the whole US headed regime is brought down. This is the declaration of open season on critical infrastructure everywhere. I’m sure that Russians are tightening up security on all their other critical infrastructure now. China and India would be wise to do the same ASAP and ask Iran for help given Iran’s experience with Western terror.

    Whoever did this (in my opinion the Americans must have known and directed this, even if the Balts or Poles or Brits did the dirty work) just condemned Europe to freeze this winter and go broke by next spring. Even if Putin is able to continue on his rather dove-ish path and not retaliate in kind, there’s no way he’s going to reload a billion dollars worth of gas into pipes that apparently anyone can just go and blow up again.

  13. someofparts

    The history of the US that we were taught in public schools and have heard the media refer to all our lives … is a sanitized lie. If a person bases their understanding of current US actions on our official history, they are certain to misunderstand anything our rulers are doing right now – which is the point of course. To paraphrase Zappa from decades ago – ‘if you had any backbone, you would go to the library and get yourself an education’.

  14. Jeremy


    This was released last night.
    Good god – what an eye opener.

  15. Astrid

    (I would be grateful if global nuclear apocalypse can be delayed until sometime in November. The current seasons of Rick and Morty and HotD are very strong. November is a good time, I will put off leaf raking until then.)

  16. Willy

    For all we know it was a big green energy financed saboteur group. Maybe they’ll find AOC hiding in a closet full of spy communications equipment. I find it interesting to see that “Russia” is getting blame. Doesn’t Putin have far more power over Russia than Joe Biden does America? Why aren’t Putin’s own personal motivations being considered in any whodunnit calculations? Lets see how quickly repairs happen, as well as any defensive surveillance efforts henceforth.

  17. Olivier

    Once all the gas in it has leaked and it is filled with corrosive seawater, can the pipeline still be salvaged or is it as good as destroyed?

  18. V.


    They get ALL the gas they need for manufacturing at even cheaper prices, it forces Russian rubles even more tightly to the petroyuan they’re trying to establish, AND they’re the only ones known to use those kinds of swarming recon drones before naval attacks with their newest submarine class.

  19. Joe

    I’m on board with international consortium of oligarchs. They saw an opportunity to hire a mercenary operation to do the dirty work to drive up prices and create market shift to sanctioned suppliers. Nation states are for suckers.

  20. NL

    The mere fact that the English say that Russia did it means that Russia did not do it. Who is gullible enough to believe English propaganda? — I guess everyone — never mind…

    In a way it does not matter who did it, because -let’s say- there is an irrefutable evidence that we or our former special friend did it — so, what? What can Russia do about it? — Nothing. Or let’s say Russia did – so what, what can we or the EU do beyond what we have done or are intending to do to Russia? What can Germany do? — Nothing…

    I think it was WSJ or maybe Bloomberg already talking about energy demanding industries moving out Europe and especially Germany and to the US. There you have it…

  21. different clue

    I notice that Pat Lang has been dropped and Larry Johnson has been added to this blog’s blogroll.

    But over the last few days, Pat Lang’s new blog which is called Turcopolier Blog has run some interesting posts with a lot of interesting comments about ” hoo diddit ” and why.
    Speculation abounds and theories run rampant.

  22. Ian Welsh

    Surprised you can even see the blogroll. I put it to not display any more since half of it was dead and blogrolls in general are dead.

  23. different clue

    @Ian Welsh,

    Well, I thought I saw it. Maybe I was mistaking “categories” for BlogRoll, and mistaking “Larry Summers” for “Larry Johnson”. At this point, I can’t be sure anymore.

    Anyway . . . here’s some ravens . . .;_ylt=AwrE.z2EKDZjW90O.09XNyoA;_ylu=Y29sbwNiZjEEcG9zAzEEdnRpZANMT0NVSTA1NF8xBHNlYwNzYw–?p=raven+image%5D&fr=sfp

  24. Ian Welsh

    Yeah, I mean, you could have seen the blogroll. I didn’t delete it, just set it to not display and who knows if that happens on every platform.

  25. chiming in

    In the game of “Nordstream Clue”, how about the US/NATO as the ones with the candlestick in the drawing room?
    With no other option (what with the Ukraine/Russia, war and exploding pipelines), Europe will be pressured to take more expensive American gas by tanker (paying through the nose).
    Seems to me a bunch of smarty-pantes out there have figured a way to get short-term rich over the possibe death of world civiliation.

    So glad I never made it to MENSA.

  26. Tallifer

    Perhaps the Poles did it to make sure that their pusillanimous French and German friends do not turn it on again.

    It does seem unlikely for Russia to have done this. The only reason I can think of is propaganda to further turn Russian civilians against the West and to give further ammunition to pro-Russian politicians and media in the West. Not unreasonable when one looks back at the situation in 2014 in the Crimea and eastern Ukraine, Russia’s egregious false flag operations and funding, arming and even manning of militias.

    It seems just as unlikely that the Americans would have done this. American diplomacy and the angry Russian reaction thereto have sufficed to shut down the pipelines already.

  27. BC Nurse Prof

    Chris Hedges says the U.S. did it and that Biden announced they would do so last February:

  28. elkern

    MSM BS about this is almost as blatant as blaming Russia for shelling the ZNPP (which was controlled & patrolled by Russians).

    NS2 cost $20 Billion, and was mostly owned by Russia. The pipeline was filled with NatGas at high pressure; I read that an estimated 1/2 Billion cubic meters bubbled up into the atmosphere after the sabotage. That was gas owned by Russia, which it expected to sell, sooner (at Sanctions prices!) or later (prolly at Bribe Germany discount price). That’s a big cost for Russia to impose on itself, even if you don’t believe that Sanctions are Crippling Russia.

    More importantly – as Ian stated clearly in the OP – the strategic cost to Russia (loss of leverage in negotiations with NATO) is even higher than the direct economic costs.

    Whoever did this hates Russia badly enough to take some serious risks. Bonus: they don’t mind damaging Germany’s industrial economy, either.

    IMO, most likely culprits are:
    – USA (officially, with WH approval)
    – Rogue US “Deep State” actors (CIA, XYZ?) without WH approval
    – British XYZ, prolly with approval from PM (does UK have Rogue Deep State?)
    – Poland, prolly with help from any/all above
    – some Baltic state, certainly with help from any/all above

    Dark Horse candidates: Turkey, Israel. Both prolly have tech to do it; the problem would be getting the team & materials to the site.

  29. elkern

    someofparts –

    No, the explosions & leaks were (all?) near Bornholm, a Danish island. Much closer to Sweden, Poland, and Germany than Kaliningrad, and far from St. Petersburg.

  30. bruce wilder

    Apparently, Russophobia is so advanced that the idea “Russia did it” has superficial plausibility for fairly large numbers of people.

    One story I was told today was the Russians did it as a demonstration project: to show that they have such capability and that no proof can be adduced is part of the plan. They attacked their own infrastructure so that it could not construed as an attack on NATO if they were caught out. But if nothing can be proven the threat to undersea transport and communication is that much greater.

    This is powerful disinformation pushing people to expect destruction instead of negotiation.

  31. BC Nurse Prof

    JHK also thinks the U.S. did it, and has some compelling evidence.

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