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Energy Wars: Outing the Nord Stream Saboteurs

When news first emerged over explosions endured by the Nord Stream pipelines, known collectively as Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2, an army of guessers was mobilised. The accusation that Russia had done it seemed counterintuitive, given that the Russian state company Gazprom is a majority shareholder of Nord Stream 1 and sole owner of Nord Stream 2. But this less than convenient fact did not discourage those from the Moscow-is-behind everything School of Thinking. “It’s pretty predictable and predictably stupid to express such versions,” snarled Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov.

The first reports noted three leaks in both the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipeline systems. A fourth was subsequently revealed. Then came news that the first explosion had taken place in a Russian built section of the pipeline. Der Spiegel summed up the various questions. Was Moscow behind it? Or the United States, which had always been implacably opposed to the project? And what of Ukraine or perhaps “rogue” agents? For those wishing for a more savoury sauce, there was babbling that Mossad might have been behind it.

Statements were issued in number, some more equivocal than others in attributing blame. The Council of the European Union, in promising a “robust and united response” to the incidents, declared that “all available information indicates those leaks are the result of a deliberate act.”

Gerhard Schindler, former chief of the German Federal Intelligence Service, insisted that the damage, sustained at depths of 80 metres in the Baltic Sea, required “sophisticated technical and organisational capabilities that clearly point to a state actor.” Russia, he continued, was the only power that could be seriously considered “especially since it stands to gain most from this act of sabotage.”

In the black and white world of most Ukrainian officials, the damage had to have been inflicted by Moscow. An advisor to the Ukrainian president, Mykhailo Polodyak, called the incident “a terrorist attack planned by Russia and an act of aggression towards [the EU].”

In this bluster and bombast, it was striking to note the absence of any alternatives. Over the course of last summer, Washington had issued a pointed warning to several of its European allies that the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines would be the subject of threat, even potential attack. The nature of such warnings, based on US intelligence assessments, was vague. The hostility of the Biden administration was not.

In the scheme of things, the outing of the US role in this affair by the establishment’s tolerated contrarian is unsurprising and far from stunning. According to Seymour Hersh, the culprits were well trained deep-water divers who had gone through the US Navy’s Diving and Salvage Center. Under the cover of a NATO exercise named BALTOPS 22, the divers planted devices that would be remotely triggered three months later.

The claims made in the article were cooly dismissed by various officials. White House spokesperson Adrienne Watson responded with a swat. “This is false and complete fiction.” Ditto the waspish spokesperson for the Central Intelligence Agency, Tammy Thorp: “This claim is completely and utterly false.” For his part, Biden accused Russia for “pumping out disinformation and lies”.

But as Hersh writes, the decision to sabotage the pipelines had few opponents in Washington’s national security community. Weaning Europe off its dependence on Russian energy supplies has been a goal near and dear to US policy makers. The issue lay in how best to execute the action without clear attribution.

To keep the cloak of secrecy firmly fastened, resort was made to US Navy divers rather than units from the Special Operations Command. In the case of the latter, covert operations must be reported to Congress. The Gang of Eight, comprising the US Senate and House leadership, must also be briefed. No such protocols exist in the context of the Navy.

Even now the denials continue. On February 19, National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby flatly rejected the suggestion that the United States was behind the explosions. “It’s a completely false story. There is no truth to it, Shannon,” he told the host Shannon Bream on Fox News Sunday. “Not a shred of it. It is not true. The United States, and no proxies of the United States, had anything to do with that, nothing.”

When pressed by Bream on whether there was an obligation to inform Congress of such an operation, Kirby replied that “we keep Congress informed appropriately of things both classified and unclassified. But I can tell you now, regardless of the notification process, there was no US involvement in this.”

The European Commission’s Press Officer Andrea Masini has opted for the line that revelations from an investigative reporter are less trustworthy than official investigations. “We do not comment on speculations about the perpetrators of sabotage against the Nord Stream pipelines. The only basis for any possible response can be the outcome of an official investigation. Such investigations are the responsibility of the competent authorities of the Member States concerned.”

Hersh’s revelations, drawn from a source with intimate knowledge of the sabotage operations, and the brimming hostility Washington has shown towards cheap Russian natural gas and its nexus with the European energy market, seem far from speculative. The plotters have been outed, and what an inglorious bunch they look.


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  1. Harry Lime

    Vehement denials by the US might be taken in some quarters as an admission of guilt.Our ‘great and powerful friend’ wouldn’t be spreading misinformation, surely not.Not content with screwing their own country, they seem intent on screwing everyone else’s.They have a form sheet a mile long in this regard.Lucky for us,we’re mates.

  2. Fred

    Dr Kampmark: More rumour on top of the existing rumour – a Hersh rehash. Please supply real evidence to support your take.

  3. RomeoCharlie29

    Fred. More than enough ‘evidence’ of US involvement: the threat, the exercises, the ‘form’ or precedents. Our great and good ally is a rogue state and we would be well advised to keep them at arms length but it’s a bit too late for that given the welcome mat being thrown out.

  4. Phil Pryor

    More than Hersh material can be found; it seems operatives placed the charges as described here, three months ahead, and they were about 100 kg of TNT equivalent. A Norwegian surveillance plane dropped a triggering type of buoy or sinking float, and a gash of c. eight metres was inflicted, (found on an online site.) Swedish and other sources suggest a clear observation of explosion and not of a natural earth tremor. Who profited? As through all history the Great Murderers, Thieves, Criminals, are the “upholders” of law, in charge of government and users of any secretive means to advance a policy position. Fred must look again, as we all must.

  5. Canguro

    Fred, two comments.

    Seymour Hersh has an unblemished record of investigative journalism, over many years, along with a willingness to do the hard yards and expose the dirt on malfeasant & illegal acts by the USA government….My Lai massacre, Watergate scandal, secret bombing of Cambodia, the CIA’s program of domestic spying, the torture and abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib.

    United States governments, successively, have a long and dark history of Black Ops; overthrow of governments, illegal military operations, economic sabotage, support of dictators, illegal arrest and torture of detainees, illegal assassination of those whom they view as threats, false flag operations to be used as excuses for further interventions and more.

    Of course they’re going to deny involvement. Why wouldn’t they? But they’re lying, that’s what they do, repeatedly. They lied about 9/11, repeatedly. They lied about the Iraq invasion, repeatedly. They lied about Afghanistan, repeatedly.

    Seymour Hersh, by contrast, doesn’t lie.

  6. Fred

    Canguro: I’m not saying the US didn’t do it. Yes their foreign policy and interventionist actions and shenanigans are a basket case and they have a less than sterling track record. On the balance of probabilities they could well have done it. Given their previous actions, I’d be surprised that they haven’t left forensic evidence – it would make a change if they managed to do so. My complaint is the article portrays it as a done deal and that the louder the denials the more it proves guilt. When real evidence is finally found, we may all be surprised as to who really did it.

  7. Canguro

    Fred, yes, all good, and no issue about healthy scepticism.

    Did you read the Substack Hersh essay though, as linked by Binoy in para 7? Given Hersh’s track record and his undoubted reluctance to indulge in journalistic essays that would expose him to the charge of authoring fictitious material, it’s a compelling argument, as perhaps demonstrated by the degree of denial from the government. And don’t forget, they, the government, are professional liars.

  8. Fred

    Canguro: I did. My issue is that Hersh’s article is apparently based on information from a “single anonymous source”. I would expect the source to be anonymous, but the source to be plural or a greater number. Hersh may have an outstanding track record and in the fullness of time his source proven correct but until there is supporting real evidence for Hersh’s assertions they remain assertions not fact.

    When it comes to governments lying, we’ve had more than our fair share. As an observer, there were days when I thought the “Minister for everything” had made a bet with Donald to see who could lie the most.

  9. Canguro

    Fred, single sources of information are of course not without precedent; Watergate coming to mind most prominently, with Mark Felt from the FBI blowing the whistle; the list of single sources providing information is rich… Smedley Butler revealing that American military ops were about furthering the business interests of U.S. banks and corporations, and not about protecting democracy, Daniel Ellsberg’s Pentagon Papers that showed how the administration were lying to the public about the Vietnam War, Frank Serpico on the corruption of the NYPD are just a few examples amongst a field of people who actually possess active consciences and who could no longer stomach the corruption and illegality they were aware of across the American, European and Australian continents – locally and most notoriously I refer to Witness K, a man egregiously pursued by the previous government for his exposé of the bugging of the East Timorese government in relation to the negotiations over gas fields revenues.

    Let’s hope that Hersh’s publicising will bring more to light.

  10. Steve Davis

    A senior US official stated when NS2 was completed that it would never be used, even though there was only admin details to be finalised. The statement was made with such confidence that there is no doubt in my mind who was responsible.

    Yet Fred has a point, so I’m surprised that Binoy did not mention that the party that lost most from the sabotage was not permitted to give evidence at the inquiry.

    At some point, circumstantial evidence becomes overwhelming.

  11. Douglas Pritchard

    Methinks this is just one more step in Baldricks cunning plan.
    Let the world think this ding dong in Ukraine is the result of a total failure in US foreign policy.
    While at the same time get the world to buy more US armaments (currently being field testing in a nation friendly to this).
    And Europe will be on its knees begging for energy at a price US will set.
    And very little US blood will flow, because that could bring an end to this wealth creating game.
    And if Europe falls under the bus then the almighty US dollar is there for all and sundry.
    What is there not to like about it, apart for China fence sitting and a few countries not co-operating with the rules based order.
    And maybe the sanctions have not gone as planned?
    What could possibly go wrong?

  12. Steve Davis

    “What could possibly go wrong?”

    There’s an elephant in the room, Douglas – BRICS.

    If NS2 had gone ahead as planned, with Germany ever more reliant on cheap Russian gas, and growing its industry with cheap Russian gas, the stage was set for a trading route from the Pacific to the Atlantic; a trading route over which certain players had no control.

    It was not only Germany that would benefit from the increase in trade, there would have been a flow-on to all of Europe.

    The increase in wealth that trade brings would have seen bureaucracies like NATO become increasingly irrelevant. The gravy train you referred to was at risk, and in the long-term, still is.

    Huge bureaucracies do not just roll over, but have they just simply postponed the inevitable?

  13. Andrew Smith

    One is sceptical of another…. US ‘journalist’ (or equivalent) i.e. Hersh, making claims, and in this case based on one unnamed source…. more speculation, which has been rebutted and …

    ‘Seymour Hersh’s story would have been a lot harder to pull apart, had he decided to be more sparing with the details instead of going into depth with meaningless details that make little sense. A simpler story could have been believable, but this piece of Tom Clancy fan fiction is subpar.

  14. Douglas Pritchard

    Steve D. The plot thickens.
    So Uncle Sam was not happy to stand to one side as Germany took advantage of cheap energy?
    Maybe, as you suggest Money could be the Eliphant, and we havent spotted it with all this chat about weapons and Himars.
    I did read that the salvage rights to Ukraine had been sold to a USA bank, endorsed by the Uke President.
    And BRICS is a real thing, but we are not permitted to confront this?
    Golly, if you had the will, and the ability to scuttle the pipes, what would prevent you from just doing it?
    Certainly its not going to be ethics.

  15. Steve Davis

    “So Uncle Sam was not happy to stand to one side as Germany took advantage of cheap energy?”

    It’s actually worse than that Doug.

    Germany is now forced to buy gas from the US at vastly inflated prices.

    You couldn’t make this stuff up.

  16. Canguro

    SD & DP, re. ‘Germany is now forced to buy gas from the US at vastly inflated prices’; that, in essence is the American way. Everything, but everything, is forced to take second place against the imperative to extract the highest price in dollars for any, any, any transaction, be it of an intimate nature – hookers at $3,000 p/hr – or commercial in any other sense, local, regional, national or international. The USA had zero qualms about destroying the gas pipelines, zero qualms about the impact on Germany… hell, I’ve had correspondence from an acquaintance in north-west Germany where she discussed her existential distress at the impact of the pipeline destruction and its impact on her capacity to heat her house through the winter period; the American apparatchiks don’t care about human impacts; for them it’s a matter of retaining market primacy and alpha status. The loss of thousands of civilians in the two atomic bombings of Japan was incidental.

    The same could be said of any conflict that the Americans get involved in; Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait… loss of human lives is inconsequential to the sociopaths who manufacture these conflicts on behalf of American interests, let’s not forget that the 2003 invasion of Iraq was initially named Operation Iraqi Liberation – OIL – an unsubtle reference to the main rationale for the conflict, to secure access to Iraq’s oilfields, and in this ruthless and single-minded objective to gain control over a material asset, how many tens of thousands of lives were lost, how many generations of families will suffer and grieve and continue to hate the Americans for their cruelty? This disease of capitalism and the worship of money above all else must be one of the worst curses struck against mankind.

  17. Fred

    Reality check please – what is driving the “US gas supply at inflated prices” discussion? Please remember Germany announced in Aug 22 that it had decided to replace ALL Russian energy imports – most notably natural gas – by as soon as mid-2024. That pretty much put the need for the NS pipelines to bed. A month later, 26 Sep 22 the “Nord Stream Sabotage” (NSS) occurred.

    Post NSS, Norway replaced Russia as Germany’s top gas supplier in 2022, accounting for a third of imports. Belgium and the Netherlands also helped plug the gap. Overall, Germany’s natural gas imports were down 12% in 2022, where previously Russia accounted for 55% of Germany’s gas imports in 2021 – a level that declined to 26% by the end of June 2022. Germany’s US gas imports have not changed substantially as a result of NSS, so why the chatter? Since Norway gained after NSS, maybe the conspiracy mob will point the bone at them 🙂

  18. New England Cocky

    A wonderful discussion of world events that makes me wonder if the Ukraine (US proxy) Russian War is a smoke screen for a US attempt to destroy the manufacturing capability, and so the economies of the EU.

    Certainly the American NE military industrial complex of munitions manufacturers are the financial beneficiaries of the Ukraine situation, just as they were when supplying both sides of the Iran Iraq War after toppling the Shah of Iran for wanting to process crude oil into high value distilled products for export from Iran.

    Makes one wonder why gifting Australian sovereignty to the USA (United States of Apartheid) is sensible politics because it allows access to the wide open spaces of outback Australia that the US military prefer as battlefields to maximise demand for war materials.

  19. Steve Davis

    It’s important to remember that sabotage of the pipelines did not start with the explosions.

    Construction of NS2 began around 2016, but was stalled when Trump imposed sanctions. Began again in 2019 and was completed in 2021 prior to the Ukraine conflict. Then things got crazy.

    Think tanks in the US called for action to prevent the flow of gas. The Heritage Foundation – “The U.S. has tools to prevent NS2 from becoming operational, which it should use without delay”. Bad enough, but the Atlantic Council was almost rabid – “The geopolitical effect of the completion could be devastating…NS2 is Russia’s most daring attempt to break up the EU.”

    But it was not only think tanks in a state of feverish agitation. Sen. Ted Cruz – “I believe this is a generational, geopolitical mistake, that decades from now, future Russian dictators will be reaping billions of dollars of benefits annually from Joe Biden’s mistake and will be using that pipeline to exert economic blackmail on Europe decades from now.”

    All this hyperbole from the US because two countries tried to arrange a trade project. It does not take a genius to see what is behind all this, plus the later events. The driving force all along has been US fear of economic competition – the emergence of wealthy rivals.

  20. Douglas Pritchard

    I understand that Putin did at one time apply for Russia to join NATO.
    Of course thats nonsense, because this force is there to oppose Russia (I once wore the uniform).
    But NS 1&2 were moves to join Russia, and Europe as trading nations.
    To a fading USA the threat of a trading block such as this could not be tolerated, so it used its influence in NATO to prevent an effective partnership.
    The civil war in Ukraine then escalated into a proxy Us/Nato war at a point in time when NS2 was due to be commissioned.
    And the balloon shooting paranoid Yanks try and point the finger at Russia for their sabotage.
    Delusional BS again coming from our Aukus partner.
    We really are capable of shooting ourselves in the foot.(I watched Albo talking up our sovereignty at Press club yesterday…the latest in a conga line of……)

  21. Steve Davis

    100% DP, 100%

  22. Fred

    SD: “The driving force all along has been US fear of economic competition – the emergence of wealthy rivals”. The EU been around for 50+ years as the world’s second largest economy, recently overtaken by China in early 2022. Could you please elaborate who you refer to as the “emerging” wealthy rivals. The Heritage Foundation is problematic – a bunch of paranoid RWNJs.

  23. Steve Davis

    Fred, I was referring to Russia, not Germany or the EU, even though there was concern in the US that German dependence on cheap Russian gas could result in a Russia/Germany power bloc.

    This was not just supposition on my part. The Wolfowitz Doctrine, not intended for publication, was leaked to the NYT in 1992. Wiki – “The document was widely criticized as imperialist, as the document outlined a policy of unilateralism and pre-emptive military action to suppress potential threats from other nations and prevent dictatorships from rising to superpower status.”

    So the doctrine had to be re-written, emerging as the Bush Doctrine. A most inspiring title. So even though the doctrine was watered down, it was described by Senator Edward M. Kennedy as “a call for 21st century American imperialism that no other nation can or should accept.” Wiki – “Different pundits have attributed different meanings to the Bush Doctrine. It was used to describe specific policy elements, including a strategy of “preemptive strikes” as a defense against an immediate or perceived future threat to the security of the United States.” Keep in mind that for US policy makers, economic threats are security threats. So it’s not surprising that “Generally, the Bush Doctrine was used to indicate a willingness to unilaterally pursue U.S. economic interests.”

    So everything that has occurred since the completion of NS2 suggests that Wolfowitz/Bush is alive and well.

  24. Fred

    SD: Thanks for the clarification. After Feb 2022, Russia will find that growth must be generated internally as no self respecting foreign company or state will invest heavily in Russia for fear of losing it after the start of another “special operation”. A Russian friend of mine fears that when the dust settles on the Ukraine war, Russia will find itself living in an era akin to a century ago. It is unlikely to threaten the economic status quo for quite some time.

  25. Andrew J. Smith

    New England Cocky on the US and EU, it’s the fringe elements in the GOP leveraged by fossil fueled Koch ‘Atlas’ Network inc. Heritage Foundation (popular with a former LNP PM) and across the Atlantic at Tufton St. London, populated by Koch Network think tanks inc. IEA, Net Zero Watch, Policy Exchange (popular with a former LNP PM) etc. who were full behind and promoted Brexit.

    Why? Competitive threat to fossil fuels’ legacy investments in infrastructure, future income streams and some global or non EU business due to transition to renewables, environmental & other sensible regulation, following climate science, the ‘Brussels Effect’ (supply chain compliance), open society, liberal democracy and empowered citizens; antipathy towards the EU is also shared with Putin’s Russia and promoted by media oligarchs (inc. an Oz one linked to a think tank in Hungary funded by govt. of PM ‘mini Putin’ Orban & led by former aide to Thatcher and current contributor to Quadrant).

    The excellent ByLine Times in UK has done much investigative journalism around the influence of Putin with Tories (some Labor), fringe actors a la ‘Londongrad’, and Koch linked think tanks (as has DeSmog & Open Democracy) found around Tufton St., but ignoring the Tanton nativism fueling current refugees wars in UK (Tufton in Oz = IPA, CIS & SPA).

    The Tentacles of Tufton Street: Think Tank Alumni Handed Top Government Roles

  26. B Sullivan

    Fred, “…no self respecting foreign company or state…”

    Is there such a thing? Is Australia with its record of invading other countries, usually at the behest of the USA, a self respecting state?

    How can Russia be defeated without a nuclear engagement? Is it the radioactive dust from mushroom clouds that you are referring to when you talk of dust settling on the Ukraine War?

    If Russia wins won’t they have the capacity to grow rich selling their proven military technology to other self respecting states that wish to defend themselves against NATO’s threats, provocations and aggression? There must be plenty of customers they can pitch to.

    I hope you realise that if an investigation is permitted and it reveals that a NATO country has committed an act of war against another NATO country then all the other NATO members are obliged to defend and assist the victim NATO member from the aggressor NATO member.

    Sanctions against the USA anyone?

  27. Syd

    B Sullivan, not believing the official narrative offered up by serial liars in msm? Lucky the Online Safety Bill hasn’t kicked in yet.
    Aus supplied military gear to Ukraine, Russia could view us as an associate enemy target. What to do, sit back and wait for the USA to make the next wrong move and drag the world into a bigger mess. Aus could have sent our poliles as weapons-grade fools to the frontline but instead sent Busmasters & ammo. That was a mistake. We could assert sovereignty, but then Labor, meh?
    Meanwhile, in South Africa this week, joint military exercises with Chinese & Russia navy noted that Russia will not be test-firing their hypersonic “Tsirkon” missile. And still some believe Aus sidling up with China will influence Russia to change tack.
    Labor should change its party name to the Naive Party.

  28. Fred

    BS: LOL I was referring to those companies and states that do risk assessments before venturing in new investment opportunities – not countries led by RWNJs (viz. previous Oz govt) that blindly follow the US into illegal conflicts.

    Russia can and must be pushed back to the border. Going out on a limb, I don’t think that it will happen until better air defense systems are installed and air superiority achieved. So after Russia does a push in Spring and wins territory, the west will approve sending fighter jets, which unfortunately will take time to deliver because of pilot training lead time. Resorting to nukes will not end well for the planet.

    Russia winning is not an option. They must be repelled at all cost, otherwise it will embolden not only Putin to do it again but also China. Where that would end, if China began a colonisation phase, doesn’t bear thinking about.

    Russia selling proven military equipment… (stop it please, I hurt myself laughing) …anybody want to buy a T-70/T-72 tank, which has a serious design flaw, ref. the “jack-in-a-box” effect, that everybody now knows about. As for the efficiency of their warfare, losing 150,000 troops and still not winning the conflict wouldn’t entice customers to place orders.

  29. Douglas Pritchard

    I did notice that there is a lot of protest in European nations against arming Ukraine.
    But being the other side of the globe we cannot see it.
    Or is it the smorgasbord of propaganda backing our Bushmasters, and Albo now shirtfronting Putin?
    Merkel said not to Arm Ukraine, and a lot of shivering Germans are saying it.
    But nobody stands in the way of Bidens war.
    Not even Assange.

  30. Fred

    DP: The Germans are not shivering, they have over 80% of their gas reserves available. Please explain Biden’s war – don’t you remember who started it?

  31. Canguro

    Fred, re. ‘China [beginning] a colonisation phase’… that is indeed pure speculation. Not that it matters, as one person’s opinion is merely another person’s negation, but my partner, Chinese, highly educated, has previously moved within levels of government in China over decades, was exposed to and deeply educated on matters of Chinese policy and intention, is adamant that China will never move to colonise any other countries. Protect its own borders? Absolutely, and resolutely.

    But, some will counter, what about Tibet? Xinjiang? Taiwan? Inner Mongolia? Chinese will say, all these regions historically were part of China. End of story, no debate necessary. Others will disagree, as is their right to so do.

  32. Douglas Pritchard

    Fred. Does the expression “Pro Russian Separatists” ring any bells with you.?
    Was Zelinsky elected to stop war in the Donbas?
    Did he then ban Russian speaking, and education?
    Did this jar with those of Russian origins?
    Since 2014 the Ukrainians have lived with war.
    Its more than likely that Putin reacted to provocation
    But Its Biden that is dictating how the war escalates by supplying just the right degree of support to keep it on the rails.
    After all, USA has found it profits from continuous warfare.
    Of course Putin could derail the war by initiating a major escalation. MAD.
    But with re-elecction as a prospect, Biden will continue to set the pace.

  33. Steve Davis

    Excellent points.

    Just came across this today, relevant to your points and this discussion.

    Elbridge Colby, principal author of the 2018 US National Defense Strategy, wrote in his 2021 book The Strategy Of Denial: “Few human moral intuitions are more deeply rooted than that the one who started it is the aggressor and accordingly the one who presumptively owns a greater share of moral responsibility…Perhaps the clearest and sometimes the most important way of making sure China is seen this way (as aggressor) is simply by ensuring that it is the one to strike first.”

    There’s no doubt that this type of manipulation and plausible deniability is at work in Europe also. (just check out the title of the book) And that more than a few have been deceived by manipulation of their moral intuitions. But as you say, that’s just my opinion.

  34. Clakka

    “Cold Wars.” What an irony. The main manic participants are inhabitants of the lands of very long cold winters north of say 35º north. One could ask why these lunatics went to such inhospitable places in the first place, but that’s a long and crazy story for another time. Whilst there have been other such madmen from other parts of the globe, they’ve pretty quickly come and gone, so one might conclude that there’s something deep, dark and brooding in the hearts of generations of madmen from the cold north. Suffice it to say they’ve had a strong tendency to breed plenty of madmen despots and psychopaths. Whose favourite sport other than spilling blood, is to go willy-nilly rampaging, raiding and pillaging.

    I suppose the sport itself kept their blood up, and maybe in come contorted primordial sense the spilling of the blood of their victims was like a theft of their embodied heat. And of course they went all over the globe killing seals and whales for fat oil heat. And then, woohoo, black gold, rock oil, in move the madmen, now lubricated by an industry from the depths of hell fire. The same generations of deep, dark brooding hearts from the cold north, superheated, and abetted by the new machinery for the letting of their victim’s blood. Their sport become an industrialised circularity that slaked their primordial obsession as they made their own power.

    In essence, the economy existed without oil, and can in the future exist without it – we don’t make the economy, it is an abstraction, a theoretical and wonky metric and abstraction of our pursuits. In the past 50 to 100 years we have become increasingly aware that the oil, its gas and the heat is killing us and our world, and in modernity, we know there are innumerable ways to thrive without it, and it has become critical that we change.

    So it’s not a matter of the economy, it’s a matter of our own laziness and corruption and that of our political representatives – the continuing abdication to the blood-letting and heat-seeking obsessions of generations of deep, dark, brooding hearts of madmen and their flunkies from the cold north.

    As it appears to be freezing over in the north before the big heat, in Oz, it seems, we’re all suckers too.

  35. andy56

    Personally, its a great result. It helps to cripple Russia’s economy and hastens the escape from fossil fuels.
    What’s not to like about that?
    Yes America has acted like total Aholes in the past but common sense suggests the Russians have been playing for keeps here. If the Americans did do the deed, i for one think its a great outcome. They were bound to get one right sooner or later, lol.
    Good result for all the wrong reasons, I’ll take that everyday of the week.

  36. andy56

    Douglas, we know you have a biased hatred towards America, but don’t lose sight of reality.
    Its clear that Russia is the aggressor here. Have you watched their commentary in the media? They are accusing the world of being run by Nazis, yes its a Nazi plot. Russia wants to destroy Ukraine full stop. Have you read what the Russians are calling Ukraines? Putin wants to return to the great super power it was. Its holding up its vision of utopia and most people in the Europeans continent are shit scared of mass destruction cause outside of Moscow, people live pretty dismal lives in Russia. Putin clearly has no concern for innocent people or his own for that matter.
    Russia must be stopped or it will keep moving into Moldova, Poland, Latvia , Belarus and others. Its in Putin’s manifesto.
    I was always ready to give russia the benefit of the doubt, now there is no doubt, its shown us its fangs. making Russia withdraw from Ukraine will also make China think twice about invading Taiwan, more than any war games played out in the media. Potentially saving us from another bout of war madness. So I say, yes we are propping up Ukraine, but they are defending themselves from a vicious war monster.

  37. Fred

    Canguro: Yes, I’ve seen Xi say “We have never bullied, oppressed or subjugated the people of any other country, and we never will” but actions/behavior in the south china sea /Pacific, some “Belt and Road” negotiations, manipulation of trade with various countries (including Australia), threatening and interfering in the fishing of various countries fall into the bullying category.

    Xi said the “Chinese path to military development” would include Beijing’s continued participation in “global development” and the preservation of the international order. The country would also pursue a “new type of international relations”, whatever that means.The CPC’s vision of a “great modern socialist country in all respects” inevitably involves a world-beating military.

    Let’s be clear, China is a significant world power – the strongest it has ever been. Per “Factbook”, the USA has a total coastline of 19,925 km, 9,147,593 sq km land area and 338,289,857 population. whereas China has 14,500 km, 9,326,410 sq km and 1,425,887,337 respectively. Nobody in their right mind would attack China, not even the USA. If China is simply about defending itself, then why the need to build a military bigger than the USA’s and as many overseas bases that it can convince various leaders to let it build. It’s a new world for China and its leader is showing signs of wanting controlling rights. I hope your partner is correct, but have a bad feeling that conflict is around the corner.

  38. Canguro

    Fred, thanks, good comments. There is, as you’d know, a deep history at play behind what’s currently going on. The utter resentment of western exploitation in the Concessions era, and earlier, the abuse by countries such as Britain & America who flooded their country with opium. And latterly, western support for Taiwan, along with Britain’s criticisms of how China has managed Hong Kong since its return to their control.

    We all know that China has benefited massively by virtue of the west supporting the growth of the manufacturing base, and we also know that the Chinese are masters when it comes to trading relationships; it seems to me at least, that notwithstanding these relatively recent developments in Chinese history, they are not impressed by the constant attacks aimed at them on various counts; they’re Communist – that’s bad, they ought not to be – as if it’s anyone else’s business what political model is their standard… I’d aver they could not have developed as they have if they had a two or more party system that reflects those in play in western countries… even Taiwan, nominally democratic, had an autocratic system of martial law for years after the flight to that country by the Kuomintang after their loss of the civil war on the mainland, and were supported massively by the USA at that time.

    Chinese aren’t stupid. They know the Americans can’t be trusted. They know that no-one will support them, and that they have to be self-reliant to the extent they are capable of being. They know that strength comes through being able to project strength. As to why… because they can, I guess. It’s a bit like asking someone why they drive one of those imported RAM monster utes when they could just as easily drive a Hilux. Because they can. In the context of schoolyard playground brawls, no-one in their right mind takes on the biggest and meanest kid. The simile is accurate. China’s view is ‘don’t mess with us, because you’re not going to win, so don’t even think about it.’ And this view is a direct outcome of several centuries of interaction with western powers who engaged on the basis of colonial & exploitative mentality.

    You could summarise all this as – what goes around, come around.

  39. Fred

    Clakka: Interesting take. DP: There are always losers when country boundaries are redefined/reinforced. The collapse of the USSR was sure to create some disappointment. Being pro-Russian and waking up one day in 1991 as part of the Ukraine could lead to being upset, but taking up arms? That usually ends up in tears for someone. The Russian Separatists shooting the place up, allegedly supported by Putin, were not doing their cause much good. Might doesn’t make it right. Diplomacy is a better way.

    May I suggest you research Putin a bit more extensively. “ts more than likely that Putin reacted to provocation” – chances are that Putin set the whole thing up. He plays the role of victim while being a bully and depths he goes to (murder, poisonings, irradiation, etc. makes him dangerous.

  40. Steve Davis

    An article has been published on the US site C4ISRNET – “US Working With 5 Eyes, Japan, on Information Warfare.” The mission of C4ISRNET is “Media for the Intelligence-Age Military.”

    The purpose of this information warfare by the 5 Eyes (yes, that’s us) is “to share and sharpen information-warfare techniques in the Indo-Pacific” with the goal of “countering” the “increasingly aggressive China.”

    The article was enthusiastically taken up by the Libertarian Institute which helpfully explained that information warfare is “a broad swath of military operations a country can use to disrupt another” which “can include spreading disinformation or preventing the spread of information.”

    Now you might think that this just a beat-up by fringe groups who have no influence on US policy. You might also think that the US government, and our government, would not stoop to spreading misinformation to their people, or to preventing people from accessing important information. But you’d be wrong. The US in particular is quite brazen about this. US officials recently told NBC News that the US government has been deliberately circulating unsubstantiated information to western news media “as part of an information war against Russia.”

    There is a lot we can learn from this, a lot that is relevant to blog discussions. But here is just a couple of points.

    The first is that knowledge of current events requires time and effort. If you rely on TV news for information, no matter what channel or source, or rely on a couple of internet sites, you are being misled. As Chomsky wrote way back before the digital age, “every time you pick up a newspaper the question you should have in mind is this – what lies are they telling us today?”

    The second point is that there will be a constant flow of articles about China in the coming years, (it’s already started) and much of that content will be false or misleading.

  41. Clakka

    Canguro: Very well put. Indeed all comers have messed with China significantly. But China takes the long view, and observed the m.o. of those ‘comers’, who gave the Chinese very good reason not to trust them. It’s typical arrogance of the ‘west’ and Japan to consider the Chinese of lesser intellect, and by that ‘inscrutable’. Indeed, America, the big opportunistic abuser, via either its own stupidity, or convenience seem to find everyone but themselves inscrutable. And after using and abusing everything in the region, then set about ring-fencing the entire coastline, and applied more crass commercial usury, with blind Blighty going ‘Yeah, cop that.”

    Now, it’s the inevitable.

  42. Terence Mills

    It has been reported that roughly half of our inflation or 3.5% is imported and relates principally to energy (i.e. petrol and diesel products). So there is not much we or the RBA can do about that and increasing interest rates certainly isn’t going to curb our enthusiasm for consumption of these essential commodities. It has also been noted that a large proportion of our inflation is in the increasing cost of consumer goods in our supermarkets – because retailers rely on goods to be distributed in petrol and diesel guzzling trucks.

    Another feature of inflation relates to the nature of our buying habits as consumers and the monopoly ownership of many major retail outlets – for instance, if Woolies or Coles or Bunnings increase the price on a particular stock item, it goes up right across the country, instantly – that is inflationary and didn’t happen when there was more competition in retailing.

    So, if we are to bring down inflation we really need to reconsider the heavy hand of interest rates and become less reliant on OPEC and their petroleum products. At the moment the UAE ,Qatar and the Saudis are pumping massive amounts (of our) money into sports like soccer, golf and tennis to give their regimes more international legitimacy although they are not known as sporting nations and certainly don’t appear to encourage women to participate in sports generally. They are also capitalising on their near monopoly of the petroleum commodities in a world that is gradually moving away from fossil fuels : they realize that the stranglehold on world energy resources is coming to an end but in the meantime they control production and prices to the detriment of other nations.

    We need to be focusing more on alternatives and eliminating as far as possible our reliance on fossil fuels if we are to rein in inflation – higher interest rates will not do the job for us.

  43. Harry Lime

    Yay,verily Terence.Meanwhile,back at the ranch Ms. Pilbersek quietly approves the expansion of another 118 wells to be fracked in the Surat Basin in Bananaland.But not to worry,a couple of days later announces the tripling of the marine park around Macquarie Island.Penguin led recovery, anyone?How the fuck can you square that away?We are being treated like idiots,while the real fools throw the dice with global warming and nuclear war.Some of us thought no one could be worse than the previous band of criminal half wits,but it’s getting harder to spot the difference

  44. Douglas Pritchard

    There was me thinking that we should be addressing the problem of climate chaange, when I woke up to the idea that the biggest threat is national security.
    Taking part in a war the other side of the globe where 2 guys are toe to toe, and no way are they going to budge.
    So fixing that with Bushmasters becomes the business of the day. Just send all our money to them.
    National security is one of those quaint devices whereby our leader does precisely what he wants, and no questions asked.
    And as an Aukus partner we can be called on to be complicit in any adventures that the boss dreams up.
    Whilst paying the price he charges for oil.
    You wouldnt read about it.

  45. Clakka


    What is that feeling? Why the tears and the crusty build-up? Is it information, inflammation, desperation, exasperation, pollution or climate change? Am I at war with myself and everything?

    I want to change, to be renewable and welcome it; a new car, a new stove, a new hot water system, solar panels and batteries. Environmental rehabilitation, I.D. fluidity and eternal anatomies. I’ve striven to be in the now, “What! To be rent asunder?” And I’m poor, and it’s no small change, and besides, it might be inflationary.

    Do I push and shove and rage? Do I take a chance? Or do I just lay down and go to sleep, superannuated?

  46. Douglas Pritchard

    “Thousands protest in Berlin against giving weapons to Ukraine.”
    This was one of the headlines in todays Guardian.
    Are we smarter than the folk who live there?
    Have they cottoned on to the fact that USA could have blown up the pipeline that they planned and paid for.?

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