More than four months after the explosion of Nord Stream pipelines, a shocking report by US investigative journalist Seymour Hersh released on Wednesday has once again ignited international public opinion. The report provides details of how the US intelligence agencies planned the sabotage under the order of US President Joe Biden and how the US Navy carried out the bombing with the cooperation of the Norwegian forces. After the report was published, Washington quickly denied it. But simply using the phrase “fake news” is obviously not convincing. The international community needs to keep asking Washington until it gives a convincing explanation.
The 85-year-old Hersh is a famous Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. More than 50 years ago, his report that exposed the US military’s massacre of Vietnamese civilians significantly pushed the anti-war movement in the US. He was also behind the investigation of the notorious incident of Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse in 2003 and contributed to revealing the Watergate scandal, one of the most disgraceful political scandals in Washington’s history. Hersh’s latest report is not comparable to conspiracy theories in public opinion, nor are they something Washington can just gloss over.
To be honest, the suspicions about the US are not baseless, but the details that got exposed still send chills down one’s spine. For example, the report claims that Washington had been secretly planning the sabotage of Nord Stream pipelines since the end of 2021, long before the beginning of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. And in more than nine months of debate, Washington focused not on whether to blow up the pipelines, but on how to leave no evidence behind. Therefore, the execution forces, time, place, and the way the explosion was carried out were all carefully planned. Even the most imaginative screenwriter in Hollywood would not dare to write such a plot. If what is reported in Hersh’s article is true, then the world will probably have to reassess the US’ capability to disrupt peace.
The explosion of the Nord Stream pipelines, one of the world’s most important transnational energy supply infrastructures, was an extreme event in international politics. Under the fragile political mutual trust, the Nord Stream pipelines were once a main artery of energy connecting Western Europe and Russia, stabilizing the security situation by expanding common interests. Because of this, it has always been a “thorn in the eye” of Washington.
With the blast of the Nord Stream pipelines, the only remaining bridge to build common security in Europe was destroyed, which means that Western European countries have to choose to be deeply bound with the US at the crossroads of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Hersh also mentioned in his latest report that “Germany and the rest of Western Europe would become addicted to low-cost natural gas supplied by Russia – while diminishing European reliance on America.” This is one of the main reasons Washington decided to blow up the Nord Stream pipelines.
Attacking and destroying major civil infrastructure is a highly egregious act of terrorist nature and must not be tolerated. The international community has no dispute over this. After the explosion, many countries publicly condemned it, and the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also declared that sabotage on the Nord Stream gas pipelines would be “in no-one’s interest.”
The Global Times then published an editorial, calling for relevant international agencies to set up a joint investigation team to restore the truth as soon as possible, find out the perpetrators, and let them be punished. But as expected, some countries are blocking such an international investigation, and more than four months have passed, with little progress made. Hersh’s report now at least provides an important clue to the international investigation.
It is worth noting that the US mainstream media, which has always claimed to be “professional” and “independent,” was selectively blind to Hersh’s revelations or simply reported denials by the US government. Compared with their unanimously pointing their fingers at Russia after the explosion, this abnormal silence shows that American media agencies are very clear about when to be high-profile or low-key.
A large number of facts show that the US is the well-deserved leader in the “double standard arena.” It is obsessed with and good at fabricating rumors or making groundless accusations against others. But it will never admit its own mistakes or even crimes, even if the evidence is solid. It will instead try to blame others. Public opinion predicts that the US government will most likely respond to Hersh’s revelations in this way, which will leave another stain on its international credibility.
It is likely to become an event with the Rashomon effect in the 21st century for how the Nord Stream pipeline incident happened. But it does not mean that we should give up the pursuit of the truth, because it is not only about morality, responsibility, and conscience, but also about what kind of footnotes human beings will write for war and peace when looking back at this period of history in the future. This is very important.
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