The United States Military Probably Bombed Nord Stream
Sensemaking the destruction of Europe's most important pipeline.
On September 26th 2022, two mostly simultaneous explosions equivalent to the explosive yield of approximately 500 kg of TNT destroyed both pipelines of Nord Stream 1 and one pipeline of Nord Stream 2, doing kilometers worth of damage to each. Because the interior of the pipelines do not have the same anticorrosion coatings of the exterior, sea water corrosion will destroy the entire length of both pipelines within a matter of months, making repair impossible. Nord Stream is irreparably dead and must be abandoned. Here’s FLIR video from the first Norwegian F-16 intercept of the detonation location:
Nord Stream 1 is majority owned by the Russian oil company Gazprom, and Nord Stream 2 is entirely owned by Gazprom. These are Russian corporate assets. While not technically owned by the Russian state government, Russia has a deep protectionist protofascist connection between its corporate and government sectors, as does the United States, China, and most other major nation states. Russia is in the process of losing their war against Ukraine, and has instituted a “partial mobilization,” which basically means they’re drafting conscripts to fight. The talking heads are all abuzz about nuclear weapons, and Putin is making speeches about neo-Nazis and Satan.
The United States alone has dumped over 12.4 billion dollars into arming Ukraine during the war as of the date of this article, and 70 other countries have provided some sort of aid. To put that in perspective, US aid alone would constitute a figure equal to 8% of Ukraine’s entire annual GDP. That’s over double the GDP ratio that the United States spends annually on maintaining a military that costs more than the next 9 countries combined. The amount of aid the US alone has pushed to Ukraine, so far this year, with more aid coming, roughly equates to the entire annual military budget of Iran. US aid to Ukraine alone, so far, not counting the contributions from the other 70 countries on the list, totals 19% of the entire Russian military budget. So when Putin says in a speech that he’s fighting the entire western military apparatus in this war, that’s a true statement. His stuff about Ukraine being Neo-Nazis is only partially true, and his stuff about gender ideology in the USA being Satanic is probably baseless hyperbole unless you listen to The Pope or the Church of Satan.
The Baltic Sea is a very high traffic area for shipping and military vessels, with some of the densest maritime traffic on the entire planet. Seasonally, 1900 to 2400 boats travel through the Baltic per day, not including ferries, fishing boats, or leisure craft. 200 a day are oil tanker sized. These are crowded waters, with lots of boats motoring over Nord Stream every day.
The United States Navy had boats parked over the detonation location in early August, and turned off their AIS (automatic ship identification) systems near Bornholm Island. Russian warships also infringed on Danish territorial waters near the detonation location.
Total Speculation I Swear
I believe at this time that the US vessel identified over the location was the USS Kearsarge LHD-3, a Wasp Class amphibious assault ship, based on data from marinetraffic.com. That might not be correct, but it sure looks like it to me.
Wasp class ships are designed to convey troops to beach heads, provide aerial support for military operations, and to deploy other smaller marine assets. They launch helicopters and VTOL fighters such as the McDonnel Douglas AV-8B Harrier II Jump Jets in the photo above operated by the US Marine Corps. The USS Kearsarge itself was involved in Operation Odyssey Dawn, enforcing the no fly zone over Libya in 2011, as well as many other very interesting military operations. Wasp class ships have one continuous “well deck” which can be used to house air cushion landing craft (hovercraft), or the entire boat can be flooded to lower it so smaller traditional boats can deploy out the stern bay.
If some state actor were to wish to deploy a subsurface explosive device without drawing too much attention, a boat similar to this would be the ideal boat to use.
500 kg of TNT is a lot, but not insurmountable for a well equipped actor. Let’s
While it’s possible that a non-state actor could pull this off,
This is probably not a huge deal for European energy supply in the short term since Nord Stream 2 never got kicked off and Nord Stream 1 was running well under capacity. The bigger deal is it puts international infrastructure sabotage on the table for state level players, corporations, terrorists, and Greenpeace fanatics going forward. Any rational nation state in 2022 and in the future must make energy independence its top priority or risk having its economy destroyed and citizenry killed by multilateral international fuckery completely outside of its control.