By Jeff Childers
Good morning, and Happy Wednesday, C&C! It’s hurricane day in Florida, with Cat-4 Hurricane Ian’s landfall expected late this afternoon. So today’s your last guaranteed roundup, since the power might be off tomorrow: Biden offers words of encouragement for hurricane preparation and I roundup all the news about the Nordstream attacks.
🗞*WORLD NEWS AND COMMENTARY* 🗞
🔥 The wife and I were reviewing our hurricane preplist yesterday and I couldn’t shake this nagging feeling that I was overlooking something. Something … important. Something big. What could it be? “Honey, what are we forgetting?” We had gas, batteries, water… Then I saw Joe Biden, emerging out of the Internet’s glowing mists, with a timely reminder:
Vaccination! The most important part of hurricane preparedness! Of COURSE. How could we have forgotten vaccination? We felt so stupid.
Well, SOMEBODY should feel that way. Here’s what Biden said, decide for yourself: “Let me be clear. If you’re in a state where hurricanes often strike like Florida or the Gulf Coast or into Texas, a vital part of preparing for hurricane season is to get vaccinated. Everything is more complicated if you’re not vaccinated in a hurricane or natural disaster hits,” Biden advised.*
Fortunately, Florida’s governor tweeted yesterday that the state will still help unvaccinated people like Michelle and me.
DeSantis War Room 🐳 @DeSantisWarRoomThis is a strange and puzzling assertion from @POTUS. Governor DeSantis and Florida’s world class emergency management & first responders are ready to help all Floridians impacted by #HurricaneIan, regardless of vaccination status. David Leatherwood 🇺🇸 @brokebackUSANo better way to prepare for a hurricane than to get vaccinated! https://t.co/fRg1ftCVL7September 27th 2022259 Retweets847 Likes
(* Biden said it last summer, but it was making the rounds yesterday and DeSantis’ office responded to it. So I thought it was fair game. He DID say it.)
🔥 It’s an international whodunit fraught with nuclear possibilities! Let’s do some sleuthing. It’s World War Clue.
The Crime: yesterday, deep in the Baltic Sea, in NATO-controlled waters, BOTH of Russias natural gas pipelines were blown up, at depths of 70-90 meters, or about 300 feet deep — far deeper than scuba divers can go. So far, nobody has taken credit for what is obviously a well-planned, perfectly-executed, deeply-resourced terrorist attack.
The depth of the attacks rules out any private actors. You need a submarine, or something like a submarine, to reach those depths. The depths help hide the attack, and make it hard to gather evidence to figure out who did it. The attacks’ depth also makes it hard to repair the pipelines. The explosions produced earth tremors up to 2.5 on the Richter scale, so we can safely assume the terrorists used military-grade weapons.
Let’s set up the board.
🔥 The Library: Nordstream 1 (NS1) is an existing pipeline providing Western Europe cheap Russian natural gas, cheaper than U.S. producers can provide. Germany in particular relies on NS1; one now-famous video shows President Trump trying to convince laughing Germans to buy U.S. natural gas, ironically arguing the Russians could cut off the supply in the event of war.
♟️ The Study: Nordstream 2 (NS2) is a new pipeline allowing Russia to send even cheaper gas to Western Europe, because the gas doesn’t go through Ukrainian or Polish territorial areas, so Russia would not have to pay transit fees to those countries. Russia just recently completed NS2 in the face of massive opposition from Ukraine, Poland and USA. U.S. sanctions have prevented the new pipeline from opening so far.
♟️ Mr. Green: Russia has recently been throttling back Europe’s NS1 gas supply, while telling the Europeans that it can immediately flood both pipelines if Germany will just drop its sanctions. Germany has been hedging its bets, keeping some options open, just in case, and maybe getting a little wobbly on the whole sanctions thing lately. The day before the attacks, Germans demanded an end to U.S. sanctions:
RadioGenova @RadioGenovaThousands of people in Gera in Germany against Olaf Scholz’s policy and the explosion of energy and gas prices. They demand an end to sanctions on Russia and the reopening of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. Demonstrations also in other German cities but EU media censors them. September 26th 20226,035 Retweets13,026 Likes
Reuters reported about ten days ago that Putin invited Europe to solve its energy crisis by ignoring U.S. orders and opening up the NordStream 2 pipeline. “Just push the button and everything will get going,” Putin offered.
Kim Dotcom @KimDotcomThe sabotage of Nord Stream 1 and 2 targets the desire of Germany to negotiate peace with Russia in an effort to safe the German industry from total collapse. This goal to find a settlement is the reason why Germany is refusing to send Leopard II tanks etc. to Ukraine.September 28th 20222,811 Retweets9,097 Likes
♟️ Professor Plum and the Lead Pipe: Britain and its minehunters. About a month ago, the Defense Post ran an article headlined, “UK Donates Underwater Drones to Ukraine for Mine-Hunting.” Fascinating. The article explained the drones are remote-controlled, and can swim up to 100 meters (328 feet) deep — thirty feet deeper than the two explosions, in other words.
♟️ The Revolver: The New York Times. The day before the attacks on the pipelines, the Times ran a prominent op-ed titled, “Biden’s Cautious Foreign Policy is Imperiling the United States.” The op-ed encouraged a more direct, more forceful, more aggressive response to Russia; it argued that fears of World War III were overblown and were making Biden too timid.
♟️ Colonel Mustard: Joe Biden. I reviewed Biden’s twitter feed. Over the last two days, he’s rambled about climate change, Hurricane Ian, Social Security, and capitalism, but has said NOTHING about the Nordstream attacks. Which is odd, because you’d think the U.S. would want to distance itself from the terrorist attacks. The normal script writes itself: “While we strongly disagree with Russia’s illegal war in Ukraine, we also condemn the terrorist attack on its energy infrastructure in international waters, and we pledge our full support to help Russia identify and bring the perpetrators to justice.”
He might have just forgotten though. You know Joe.
Joe may or may not remember that, back in February, he smirkingly promised that “there will be no longer a Nordstream 2, we will bring an end to it … if Germany, uh, if Russia invades” Ukraine:
ABC News @ABCPres. Biden: “If Russia invades…then there will be no longer a Nord Stream 2. We will bring an end to it.” Reporter: “But how will you do that, exactly, since…the project is in Germany’s control?” Biden: “I promise you, we will be able to do that.” abcn.ws/3B5SScx
February 7th 20228,550 Retweets13,316 Likes
And, of course, Russia DID invade Ukraine, didn’t they? So…
♟️ Miss Scarlet: Around the same time as Biden’s comments, Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, who engineered the 2014 color revolution in Ukraine, and is all messed in with the Ukraine biolabs somehow, also threatened the pipeline:
Kim Dotcom @KimDotcomFrom the mouth of the 2014 Ukraine coup d’etat manager: “If Russia invades Ukraine >ONE WAY OR ANOTHER< North Steam 2 will not move forward. September 28th 2022905 Retweets2,320 Likes
Nuland’s statement proves it was a matter of U.S. policy, and not just something goofy that Joe said.
♟️ Mrs. Peacock: Ukraine. The day before the terrorist attacks, Russia completed a referendum which by all accounts just effectively transferred 20% of Ukraine’s territory to Russia, which would be comparable to Mexico annexing the states of Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico. Ukraine considers the referendums to be a sneaky trick, legalistic sleight-of-hand. But the same sleight-of-hand worked about ten years ago when Russia annexed Crimea.
Ukraine also now has those British mine-hunter drones that can go 330 feet deep. Those might really be dangerous if, say, Ukraine had a larger ally to help rig a couple mine-hunters for detonation, and point out exactly where the pipelines are.
It’s not a new idea. Back in 2015, the Pipeline Journal ran an article headlined, “Explosive-Laden Drone Found Near Nord Stream Pipeline.” The article said the Swedish military successfully cleared a remote operated vehicle (drone) rigged with explosives near the Nord Stream Natural Gas offshore pipeline system. The drone’s nation of origin was never determined, for some reason.
♟️ Mr. Black: Poland, which stands to lose substantial transit revenues it receives from Russia if Nordstream 2 goes live, encouraged the U.S. to destroy the pipeline last month. Poland’s president, Andrzej Duda, exhorted last month that “we cannot return to normal business with Russia… A change in policy in the West is not just a complete termination of Nord Stream 2, but also the liquidation, complete dismantling of this stream.”
Complete dismantling. Liquidation of the stream. Sounds about right. The pipes are full of water now, and last I checked, water was a liquid.
Poland has been hosting the U.S.’s most important military base, the base that is staging the American support in the Ukraine war. Right after the attack, influential Polish MEP and staunch U.S. ally Radek Sikorski thanked the United States, right over a picture of the attack:
Radek Sikorski MEP @radeksikorskiThank you, USA. September 27th 202211,760 Retweets37,863 Likes
🔥 Now that we have the board set up, let’s play the game. The Analysis:
🔎 CUI BONO? The first intellectual tool we’ll apply is ‘cui bono,’ or ‘who benefits?’ Let’s see:
Players Benefited: Ukraine, United States, UK, Poland, Biden (promise kept, allies pleased), Nuland (same), and the New York Times (Biden followed its op-ed advice).
Players Harmed: Russia, Germany, Putin, and the rest of Western Europe, whose energy prices are about to reach escape velocity.
(* There’s a goofy leftwing theory going around that Russia blew up its own super-expensive pipelines, in NATO-controlled waters, just to blame others. That’s dumb and it only reinforces the point that the attacks hurt Russia. And Russia hasn’t even blamed anybody yet. I bet they won’t. They’ll stick in the knife in the dark when nobody’s looking.)
🔎 ABILITY: Which players had the resources, access, and opportunity to carry out the crimes? The UK and the United States, without help. Ukraine could have helped, but could not have pulled off the job, not by itself.
🔎 PRIMACY AND RECENCY. Next, especially when dealing with an unclaimed terrorist attack, we must examine the timing. Is there anything significant about the date? Terrorists’ crimes don’t work if people can’t easily connect the dots. The Nordstream attacks came the day after Russia completed its referendums in Eastern Ukraine, and the day after widespread German demands to an end to sanctions. Also yesterday, quite fortuitously and coincidentally, Poland and Denmark opened their own brand-new underwater pipeline bringing Norwegian gas to the Netherlands and Europe.
Chancellery of the Prime Minister of Poland @PremierRP_en🎥The launching ceremony of the #BalticPipe gas pipeline with participation of PM @MorawieckiM, PM of Denmark Mette Frederiksen & @prezydentpl @AndrzejDuda. The Baltic Pipe is a strategic infrastructure project aimed at creating a new gas supply corridor on the European market. September 27th 202253 Retweets157 Likes
🔎 CORPORATE MEDIA: Corporate media’s narrative can tell us a lot. In this case, corporate media is downplaying its reporting of the attacks. The Wall Street Journal this morning doesn’t even have a headline article about them, relegating the story to a bullet sub-headline, which reads “Nord Stream Leaks Spur Scramble to Protect Europe’s Energy Infrastructure.”
Leaks! Haha. And that’s the Wall Street Journal.
Given all the facts, the players, and the weapons, what do you think? Who killed the Nordstream pipelines? Dog-faced pony soldiers?
🔥 We don’t know a lot yet, but one thing is certain. Russia will retaliate. It practically HAS TO, to discourage further attacks. Russia can do the same analysis that we can, much better in fact. There are even more public details that I left out due to space considerations, because they were redundant to what we already know. Details that Russia will certainly consider.
Whoever did it, the attacks were a gigantic, poorly-considered, reckless escalation. The U.S. and other countries (like Poland, see above) have their own vulnerable underwater assets. One in particular — the transatlantic Internet cable — seems like a very attractive target if Russia ever decides the U.S. was involved somehow.
Have a wonderful Wednesday, and Floridians, stay safe. I’ll see you tomorrow unless the power is out!
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The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Citizens Journal Florida.