Scott Ritter: Pipelines v. USA (

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Intent, Motive, and Means: Those serving life sentences in US prisons were convicted on less solid grounds than the circumstantial evidence against Washington for the Nord Stream pipeline attack.

Pipeline V Usa
Seafox Special Warfare Patrolman training in 1986. (National Archives of the United States)

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Scott Ritter By David Shankbone 100x100

Circumstantial evidence, like direct evidence, can be used to prove the elements of a crime, the existence or commission of certain acts, and the intent or mental state of a defendant. Generally speaking, a prosecutor, in order to secure a conviction, must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a defendant committed a certain act and that the defendant acted with a specific intent.

Nord Stream 1 is a multinational project operated by the Swiss company Nord Stream AG, which aims to supply Europe annually with some 55 billion cubic meters (bcm) of Russian natural gas by transporting it directly from Russia, through two gas pipelines of 1.224 km of long laid under the Baltic Sea, to a German platform, from where the gas would be distributed to other European consumers.

The first of these two pipelines was completed in June 2011 and gas supply started in November 2011. The second was completed in April 2012 and started supplying gas in October 2012. Gazprom, the Russian gas giant, owns 51% of the shares of the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline project.

Nord Stream 2 is a near-clone of the Nord Stream 1 project, consisting of two twin 1.220 kilometer pipelines laid under the Baltic Sea and connecting Russia to Germany. Started in 2018, it was completed in September 2021. Like Nord Stream 1, Nord Stream 2 is designed to transport around 55 billion m3 of natural gas from Russia to Europe via Germany. Nord Stream 2, like Nord Stream 1, is operated by a multinational company in which Gazprom owns 51% of the shares.

Unlike Nord Stream 1, Nord Stream 2 was never allowed to start supplying gas.

Nord Stream 2
Map of Nord Stream 2 area. (Berria Egunkaria, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons)

The Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines are anathema to US national security policy, which for decades has soured on the extent to which Russian natural gas dominates the European energy market. This animus was perhaps best illustrated by a column published in German newspaper DieWelt in July 2019.

The article, co-authored by Richard Grenell, Carla Sands and Gordon Sondland (US Ambassadors to Germany, Denmark and the European Union respectively), was titled "Europe must keep its energy security in check" and advanced the argument that "the Nord Stream 2 pipeline will significantly increase Russia's energy leverage over the EU", noting that "this scenario is dangerous for the bloc and the West as a whole."

Observing that "a dozen European countries depend on Russia for more than 75% of their natural gas needs", the ambassadors concluded: "This makes the allies and partners of the United States vulnerable to a gas cut in the at the whim of Moscow."

In addition, the ambassadors affirmed,

    "The European Union's dependence on Russian gas poses risks to Europe and the West as a whole and makes US allies less secure. The Nord Stream 2 pipeline will make Europe more vulnerable to the tactics of energy blackmail from Russia. Europe must keep control of its energy security".

The ambassadors also introduced critical geopolitical context, stating that

    "Make no mistake: Nord Stream 2 will bring more than just Russian gas. Russian leverage and influence will also flow under the Baltic Sea and into Europe, and the pipeline will allow Moscow to further undermine Russia's sovereignty and stability. Ukraine."

Russia's energy "weapons" against Europe was the subject from a "debate" that Gary Peach and I conducted in December 2018 on the pages ofEnergy Intelligence, which tracks global energy security issues. Gary, one of the senior editors ofEI, covers Russian energy.

GazpromHQ 2048x1536
Gazprom headquarters in the Lakhta Center skyscraper in Saint Petersburg, Russia, in
February 2021. (CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons)

I argued that "Russia has never sought to use its status as a major energy supplier to Europe as a vehicle for political influence", noting that:

    “The militarization of Russian energy takes the form of sanctions imposed on Moscow and the implementation of policies aimed at curbing the development of the Russian energy sector. It is much easier to argue that the United States and the Europe pose a threat to Russian energy security than the other way around."

Gary, meanwhile, noted that:

    "Gazprom's supply contracts show the underlying economic threat from Moscow: The pricing formula is pretty much the same for all countries, but countries that are in Russia's good graces get a " "arbitrary" discount. He concludes that "when Gazprom is the only conceivable supplier of gas, it has shamelessly abused this monopoly."

In December 2019, President Donald Trump's administration imposed sanctions in a desperate last-second attempt to stop the Nord Stream 2 pipeline from being built.

These sanctions were lifted by the administration of President Joe Biden in May 2021 in an effort to be seen as mending relations with Germany that had been severely frayed during the Trump administration. However, upon completion, Nord Stream 2 was prevented from operating due to objections raised by German regulators regarding licensing issues, which were not expected to be resolved until mid-2022.

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Prior to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the Biden administration devised a plan to punish Russia by imposing tough economic sanctions that would target the Russian energy sector, including measures to cut off the supply of gas from Russia to Germany via the Nord Stream gas pipelines.

One of the problems facing US policymakers was finding the right sanctions mix that would successfully harm Russia without destroying Europe's economy in the process. Politicians on both sides of the Atlantic, however, recognized that significant sanctions targeting Russian energy carried a collateral risk for the European economy that could not be avoided.

One of the mechanisms that U.S. and European policymakers hoped would mitigate the economic consequences of Russian energy sanctions was to boost Europe's supply of U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG). Since 2016, the amount of LNG supplied by the United States to Europe has increased, with more than 21 billion m3 delivered in 2021.

Screen Shot 2022 10 12 At 12.23.12 PM
Deck of the Energy Atlantic LNG carrier in Port Arthur, Texas, in 2016. (US Coast Guard,
Dustin R. Williams)

But 21 bcm would not be enough to offset the amount of natural gas Russia ships to Europe in the event of a large-scale disruption of Russian energy supplies due to the imposition of economic sanctions targeting the Russian energy sector. .

After Russia's invasion of Ukraine - and the realization that the disruption to Europe's energy supply was going to be far greater than expected - Biden kept his promise to increase Europe's supply of American LNG. But the quantities were still far from meeting the demand, and at prices that were literally bankrupting Europe.

Les victimes

With Germany blocking the operation of Nord Stream 2 and sanctions preventing the repair of Nord Stream 1, the German population began to bear the brunt of sanctions against Russian energy.

Despite his government's insistence on remaining resolute in confronting what it perceives as Russian aggression against Ukraine, the German people have other plans. From September 26, they began to take to the streets in large numbers to demand that their government open the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline and provide the German people and economy with the energy they need to survive.

The crime

On September 26, the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline reported a massive drop in pressure. The following day, the Nord Stream 1 pipeline reported the same. A Danish fighter jet, which was flying over the pipeline route, reported seeing a mile-wide disturbance in the water off the island of Bornholm, directly above the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, created by the massive release of natural gas underwater. (The Danish authorities considered that between the two pipelines, the total amount of methane released into the atmosphere was approximately 500.000 metric tons).

Nord Stream Anschlag
Locations of explosions caused by the Nord Stream attacks on September 26.
(Lampel, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons)

The incident took place in the exclusive economic zone of Sweden, and the Swedish security service took the initiative to investigate what had happened. (Surprisingly, Russia was not invited to participate, despite having a direct economic and security interest in this matter).

“After completing the crime scene investigation, the Swedish security service can conclude that detonations took place on Nord Stream lines 1 and 2 in the Swedish economic zone, and that the explosions caused significant damage to the lines.

The Swedes also said they recovered materials from the incident site, which are being analyzed to determine those responsible. This evidence, the Swedes said, "strengthens suspicions of gross sabotage".

While all parties involved in the "sabotage" of the Nord Stream gas pipeline agree that the cause is man-made, no nation outside of Russia has named a suspect. (Russian President Vladimir Putin attributed the attack, which Russia called an act of "international terrorism", to the "Anglo-Saxons" - the British and Americans).

Mr Biden rejected the Russian allegations. The pipeline attack "was a deliberate act of sabotage and the Russians are spreading disinformation and lies," the US president said. "At the appropriate time, when things have calmed down, we will send divers to find out what exactly happened. We don't know exactly yet."

But we know it. Biden told us that himself. So does Secretary of State Antony Blinken. The US Navy too. Between the three, we have compelling evidence of intent, motive and means – more than enough to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in court.


Speaking to reporters on February 7, Mr Biden said: "If Russia invades, that is, if tanks or troops cross the border again from Ukraine, there will be no more of Nord Stream 2. We will end it".

When a reporter asked how Biden could do such a thing, given that Germany controlled the project, Biden retorted, "I promise you: We'll be able to do it."

No prosecutor has ever had a more concise statement of intent – ​​a true confession before the event – ​​than this. Joe Biden must be taken at his word.


When asked by reporters on October 3 to comment on the Nord Stream gas pipeline attacks, Blinken responded in part by noting that the attack was "a tremendous opportunity to remove the reliance on gas once and for all. Russian energy and thus to deprive Vladimir Putin of energy weaponry as a means to further his imperial designs".

Mr Blinken further said that the United States would work to mitigate the “consequences” of the pipeline attack on Europe, alluding to the supply of American LNG at exorbitant profit margins for American suppliers. - another "opportunity."

50909235586 Aea3a7ec8f K 1536x864
Secretary of State Antony Blinken. (State Dept., Freddie Everett)

Prosecutors often talk about take care, a Latin phrase meaning "who profits", when seeking to import the motive for a crime committed, assuming that there is a high probability that those responsible for a specific crime are those who profit from it.

Blinken. A tremendous opportunity.

Cui Bonus.


At the beginning of June, in support of a major NATO exercise Known as BALTOPS (Baltic Operations) 2022, the US Navy used the latest advancements in unmanned underwater vehicle, or UUV, minehunting technology to test them in operational scenarios.

[Related: DIANA JOHNSTONE: Omerta in the gangster war]

According to the US Navy, it was able to evaluate "emerging UUV mine-hunting technology", focusing on "UUV navigation, team operations, and acoustic communications enhancements, while collecting data sets critical environmental factors to advance automatic target recognition algorithms for mine detection".

One of the UUVs used by the United States Navy is the Seafox.

45600773451 4181e559f2 K
Crew members aboard a German minehunter shoot down a marine drone
Seafox in the water, October 26, 2018, during NATO exercises in the North Atlantic and the
Baltic sea. (NATO/WO FRAN C. Valverde)

In September, specialized US Navy helicopters - the MH-60R, capable of employing the Seafox UUV - were tracked flying off the Danish island of Bornholm, directly above the segments of the Nordstream 1 and 2 pipelines that were later damaged in the sabotage incidents.

I quote TASS,

    "On November 6, 2015, the NATO Seafox unmanned underwater vehicle for mine disposal was discovered during the scheduled visual inspection of the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline. It was in the gap between the gas pipelines , evidently near one of the rosaries. NATO said the underwater mine-clearing vehicle was lost during exercises. Those NATO exercises in which the explosive combat device was found to be find exactly under our gas pipeline. The explosive device was deactivated by the Swedish armed forces at that time."

52392569949 79b1f8a2ec K
An Italian explosive ordnance disposal team uses a UUV, vehicle
unmanned submarine, during NATO exercises in September in Portugal. (NATO)

Guilty beyond reasonable doubt

The burden that exists to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt "is fully satisfied and fully satisfied, with moral certainty, that the evidence presented proves the defendant's guilt." In the case of the Nord Stream 1 and 2 attacks, this charge was met when it comes to attributing fault to the United States.

Biden practically confessed to the crime in advance, and his secretary of state, Blinken, bragged about the "tremendous opportunity" created by the attack. Not only did the US Navy actively repeat the crime in June 2022, using the same weapon that was previously discovered next to the pipeline, but it employed the very means necessary to use that weapon on the day of the attack, at the very place of attack.

Guilty as accused

52016532232 0a801fc3a7 B
US President Joe Biden delivers speech on import ban
of Russian energy, on March 8. (White House, Carlos Fyfe)

The problem is that outside of Russia, no one blames the United States. Journalists shun evidence, citing "uncertainty". Europe, scared to wake up to the reality that its most important 'ally' has committed an act of war against its critical energy infrastructure, condemning millions of Europeans to suffer the depravities of cold, hunger and unemployment - while ripping off Europe with profit margins on the sale of LNG that redefine the notion of "bargain" - remains silent.

There is no doubt in the brain of any sane person as to who was responsible for the attacks on the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines. any US court of law.

But no one will take the case to court, at least not now.

Shame on American journalism for ignoring this blatant attack on Europe.

Shame on Europe for not having the courage to publicly name its attacker.

But above all, shame on the administration of Joe Biden, which has lowered the United States to the same level as those it has hunted down and killed for so many years – a mere international terrorist, and a state sponsor of terrorism.

Scott Ritter is a former United States Marine Corps intelligence officer who served in the former Soviet Union implementing arms control treaties, in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm, and in Iraq. to oversee WMD disarming. His latest book is Disarmament in the Time of Perestroika, published by Clarity Press.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of News Consortium.

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