Writing on his Substack page, Nord Stream reporter Seymour Hersh slammed the New York Times and Washington Post for refusing to “run a word” about the pipeline story: “Calls for a full investigation have been ignored by the US media”, Hersh lamented.
The New York Times published everything I wrote—most if not all on the front page—when I was an investigative reporter on the paper from 1972 to 1979. The Washington Post has followed my career as the loyal opposition and ran a long magazine profile of me more than two decades ago. Neither paper has run a word at this point about the pipeline story, not even to quote the White House’s denial of my reporting. Similarly, public calls by officials in Russia and China for a full investigation of the pipeline story have been ignored by the US media. (I cannot resist noting that a reporter from the Times called me on the day the pipeline story appeared. I told him that I was not doing interviews. He asked if I would entertain one question. I acquiesced. He asked how many publications had I offered the pipeline story before coming to Substack. Such silliness is a sign that the mainstream American press is now more interested in media gossip than in national security or matters of war and peace.)
There may be more to learn about Joe Biden’s decision to prevent the German government from having second thoughts about the lack of cheap gas this winter.
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Speaking to Berliner Zeitung, Hersh said “The President of the United States would rather see Germany freeze than [see] Germany possibly stop supporting Ukraine.” (English version on Jacobin Magazine.)
Speaking to Democracy Now!, Hersh said the U.S. decision to bomb the pipelines was meant to lock allies into support for Ukraine at a time when some were wavering: “The fear was Europe would walk away from the war.”
“I’m embarrassed to say it after all those wonderful years I had at The New York Times, I wasn’t even thinking of taking a story like this to The New York Times. They’ve decided that the Ukraine war is going to be won by Ukraine, and that’s what its readers get, and so be it. That’s their call. So, I just did my reporting,” Hersh told Amy Goodmann on Democracy Now!
“I’m interested in the lack of press attention since the sabotage occurred, and also the lack of congressional attention,” Goodman said. “The media seems not to be at all interested in finding out what happened here, as you have, or, in Congress, there’s no one in Congress that’s been raising questions.”
“There’s no question there’s been a polarization of the press since Trump got in,” Hersh said. “We’re now on two sides — you know, right, left, Democrat, Republican, however you describe it. If you watch Fox News, you don’t watch MSNBC, etc., etc. And if you read The New York Times, you’re not going to get what the right-winger — you know, the conservatives have been after The New York Times and Washington Post for their, quote-unquote, “liberal” views. So, we’ve got a polarization going.”
“At this time, we’ve got a president, a Democratic president, that has done some good stuff domestically, but I can tell you I’m not understanding the total commitment to Ukraine”, Hersh said. “The stories I’ve been getting about the war, particularly beginning in fall — and that’s what gets interesting — have been pretty dire. The Russians, I don’t think — I think the end is just a question of time. Right now it’s a question of how many more people Zelensky wants to kill of his own people. It’s going to be over.”
Speaking to Alexander Zevin of New Left Review, Hersh said that “I don’t know if he (Joe Biden) wants a war with Russia. I don’t know if he wants a war with China. I don’t know what he wants. But it’s scary as hell, because maybe he doesn’t even know.”
It would be “a striking contrast if these American officials had a slightly higher IQ”, Hersh said. “But you know, Nuland is not a rocket scientist. She tends to blurt things out – like just a couple of weeks ago at the Senate hearing, where she commented to everyone’s favourite Senator from Texas that the administration was gratified that Nord Stream 2 was now ‘a hunk of metal at the bottom of the sea’. And Biden of course does it too. On February 7th 2022, he met with Olaf Scholz at the White House, and at the press conference afterward he said ‘If Russia invades . . . there will be no longer a Nord Stream 2. We will bring an end to it.’ If I were in the German Bundestag, I would want to have a public hearing and ask the Scholz government what they knew about the American plan, given that these remarks were being made back in January and February.”
“At some point, for economic reasons, Scholz may well have said: I’m out of the game – Ukraine can have a couple more German tanks, but I’m opening up the gas because I’ve got to keep my people warm and keep businesses going, ” Hersh noted. “But by putting an end to Nord Stream, Biden took that option off the table. And at that point, if you were a rational person working within the US state, you would say to yourself, this guy has made a choice that’s going to really hurt him in the long run. This kind of action might make it impossible for America to maintain its influence in Western Europe. Because with energy prices skyrocketing, and with little being done to ameliorate the decline in living standards, you’re going to see the far right gaining popularity across various countries.”
The US is “still sending liquefied natural gas to its European allies, but is charging three to four times more for it”, Hersh remarked. “So the president’s basically made a toss, you know, between severing the Germany–Russia link and losing political support for America and some of the states we most value. That would give any rational person in the intelligence community pause for thought. But, obviously, the story shows there were lots of people in that world who believed that developing the capability to destroy the pipelines would be useful to send a message to Putin.”