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The investigation into the Nord Stream sabotage considers the involvement of a state actor as the “absolute main scenario,” but it will be difficult to determine who did it, Mats Ljungqvist, the prosecutor leading the Swedish investigation, told Reuters on Thursday.
“The people who did this have probably been aware that they would leave clues behind and probably took care so that the evidence would not point in one direction, but in several directions,” Ljungqvist said.
It is difficult to clearly point the finger at one actor, he added.
Gas leaks in each of the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines were discovered at the end of September 2022 from the infrastructure just outside Swedish and Danish territorial waters in the Baltic Sea.
Traces of explosives were found near the sites of the explosions, Sweden said in November, noting that the incident is “gross sabotage.”
Sweden, Denmark, and Germany are also jointly investigating the incident with the gas pipelines built to carry Russian gas to Germany via the Baltic Sea.
Nord Stream 2 was never put into operation after Germany axed the certification process following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Russia, for its part, shut down Nord Stream 1 indefinitely in early September, claiming an inability to repair gas turbines because of the Western sanctions.
Sweden’s refusal to share information about the sabotage of Nord Stream is “puzzling,” and withholding the results of the investigation means that “Swedish authorities are hiding something,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in January.
More recently, a senior Russian diplomat said last week that Russia could demand compensation for damages over the sabotaged Nord Stream gas pipelines.
“We do not rule out raising the issue of compensation for damages as a result of the explosion of the Nord Stream gas pipelines,” Dmitry Birichevsky, Head of the Economic Cooperation Department at the Russian Foreign Ministry, was quoted as saying by Russian media.
The official did not specify with whom Russia would seek compensation.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com
This is despite efforts by the CIA and the intelligence services of Germany, Sweden and Denmark to mask the evidence and despite the Swedish prosecutor leading the Swedish investigation telling Reuters today that the people who did the sabotage have probably been aware that they would leave clues behind and probably took care so that the evidence would not point in one direction, but in several directions adding that it is difficult to clearly point the finger at one actor.
However, Sweden’s refusal to share information about the sabotage of Nord Stream and withholding the results of the investigation are not only puzzling but also means that Swedish authorities are hiding something according to Russia’s Foreign Ministry.
Even if the evidence has been destroyed to hide the identity of the culprit, circumstantial evidence points the finger at the United States as having a motive, an economic benefit and a strategic objective. These three descriptions fit the US like a hand in a glove.
The motive is documented vehement opposition by the United States since the 1960s to the building of Soviet and later Russian gas and oil pipelines to Europe.
The economic benefit is apparent to the whole world in the fact that the United States has been wanting to replace the cheap and plentiful Russian piped gas with its LNG supplies. It got its wish in the aftermath of the Ukraine conflict by charging the hapless EU exorbitant prices 3-4 times higher that it sells it domestically.
The strategic objective is that the US has been aching to sever forever Europe’s dependence on Russian gas and oil under the pretext of Europe's energy security. It fulfilled its objective by sabotaging the Nord Streams 1 and 2 pipelines. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke of the Nord Stream sabotage as “a tremendous opportunity to once and for all remove the dependence on Russian energy”.
Additional evidence is provided by President Biden’s public declaration at a white House briefing on 7 February in the presence of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz a few days before Russian troops crossed the Ukraine borders that “If Russia invades, there will be no longer a Nord Stream 2. We will bring an end to it.”
Other evidence is provided by famed American award-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh who in a 5,000-word Substack post titled “How America Took Out the Nord Stream Pipeline” citing an anonymous source with direct knowledge of the operational planning, accused the US of sabotaging Nord Stream with the involvement of Norway.
Hersh is a serious journalist who won a Pulitzer Prize for exposing the 1968 M? Lai massacre, in which US troops murdered hundreds of Vietnamese civilians in cold blood. He was also pilloried for disputing claims that the Assad government in Syria used chemical weapons on civilians.
Based on this irrefutable circumstantial evidence, any court of law will be inclined to indict the United States without hesitation.
Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
International Oil Economist
Global Energy Expert