The attack on Nord Stream: a short introduction
Briefing material for Dirk Pohlmann’s speech before the UN Security Council 26 September 2023 (https://media.un.org/en/asset/k10/k10v7a2hzd). The text is slightly edited.
The depth of the Bornholm Basin and the explosions of the 26 September 2022.
The explosives were deployed in the Bornholm Basin at a depth of 75-80 meters. A military operation, however, would most likely use a decompression chamber for such deep dives, both because of the depth and the time needed for the deployment. The story about a small sailing boat like the German Andromeda appears then as less serious. It is too small to bring important equipment on board. Secondly, regular divers would have deployed the explosives at the depth of 30-40 meters before or after the Nord Stream passed the Bornholm Basin, while professionals would deploy them out of reach for regular divers at a depth of 75-80 m. This very fact makes the story about a small sailing boat less credible.
NORSAR (Oslo) registration of the explosions and GEOFON (Potsdam) on the second explosion.
Swedish authorities claim that the magnitude of the “earthquake” of the second explosion was 2.3. Norway’s Seismological station NORSAR, with long experience of underwater explosions states that a magnitude of 2.1-2.3 corresponds to 650-900 kg TNT, which would mean close to 900 kg TNT for 2.3. Several seismological stations, however, claimed that the magnitude was much higher. GEOFON at Potsdam said that the magnitude was 3.1, which would correspond to several tons TNT (because of the logarithmic scale). It must have been run by a state agency, Danish and Swedish authorities said.
Nord Stream steel pipe covered by concrete and a photo from the ship laying the pipeline (Gazprom).
Each pipeline section (made of steel with a cover of concrete) is 12 meters long and has a weight of 24 tons (Nord Stream official report). About 250 meters of the pipeline of Nord Stream 1 string A and B had been blown away (Seymour Hersh spoke about 2 bombs for each pipeline). These 24-tons sections that had been blown away were not visible on the films taken by underwater video cameras afterwards. There was an enormous force destroying the pipelines. This was a professional operation and not something you do from a small sailing boat. It was a huge blast run by a state agency.
USS Kearsarge and a US P-8A Poseidon dropping sonar buoys with parachutes for a “soft landing”.
When you do a huge professional operation, you firstly need a cover for the deployment of the bombs, and secondly, you need to disconnect the deployment from the triggering of the bombs. Otherwise, people would easily find out who the perpetrators are. The obvious cover was the BALTOPS-22 exercise in June 2022 with 45 ships from various NATO countries. They exercised mine warfare with divers & UUVs (Unmanned Underwater Vehicles). US ships like the small “aircraft carrier” USS Kearsarge (257 meters) and USS Gunstone Hall (190 meters) were both capable of bringing a midget submarine, which could have been useful for the deployment of explosives at such a depth. One witness as well as most likely a CIA source of Seymour Hersh have both claimed that US Navy divers with deep sea diving equipment from Panama City Florida were present (see main article). These divers had nothing to do with the exercise. They had totally different equipment. They had most likely been used to deploy the bombs.
If the explosions had taken place shortly after the BALTOPS exercise, everyone would have understood who was responsible. One had to disconnect the deployment of the bombs from the triggering of them. Seymour Hersh claims that they had dropped a sonar buoy from a P-8A Poseidon aircraft, an aircraft used for dropping sonar buoys. The buoy had sent a coded signal that triggered the timers of the bombs. This is an easy and practical way to do it. Seymour Hersh’s sources (supposedly from the CIA) also told him that the US had used a Norwegian Poseidon aircraft to pull the trigger. Americans like “plausible deniability”. They prefer to let others do “the dirty job”, but there is something we have to add. The Norwegians had bought five Poseidon from the US and Norway started to receive them in Spring 2022, but there were technical problems, and the project was delayed. The first test flight was in June. Before October, they had only been flying with two aircraft and they only had one long trip (down to South Norway). The aircraft would not be operational until 2023. Also, such an attack on the pipeline would not fit with traditional Norwegian security policy. It is likely that the Norwegians at a higher level had backed out.
On 21 September, a US Poseidon flew from Sigonella, Italy, up to Nordholz/Cuxhaven (Germany) and for three nights (22-25 September), it flew back and forth over Bornholm. On 26 September, it went back to Sigonella. It could easily have dropped a sonar buoy over the sea close to Bornholm, but it is no point to have a Norwegian cover if you are going back and forth in the area with your own Poseidon. The US had certainly not used a Norwegian Poseidon for “plausible deniability”. However, if Hersh was right that the Norwegians were supposed to drop the sonar buoy, the Americans at Sigonella would have to fetch it from Norway. On 14 September, a US Hercules flew a direct flight 7 hours up from Sigonella to Andenes-Andøya, Northern Norway (90 km north of the Norwegian Poseidon base at Evenes) and then back to Sigonella over Keflavik. We have reason to believe that the Hercules fetched something very important in Norway – a specific sonar buoy – and then brought it to Sigonella.
A US P-8A Poseidon leaving Iceland for Bornholm two hours before the explosion, passing southwest of Norway at the time of the explosion and Bornholm one hour after the explosion. One can see the tanker coming up from Germany to Poland.
Two hours before the first explosion at 02:03 (Central European Summer Time CEST), a US Poseidon left Keflavik, Iceland, for the waters east of Bornholm. It arrived at Bornholm one hour after the first explosion. At the time of the explosion, when the US Poseidon was southwest of Norway, a US tanker aircraft left US Spangdahlem Air Base (Germany) for Poland to refuel the Poseidon, so it would be able to patrol the waters east of Bornholm for the upcoming four hours. The US Poseidon went out over the Baltic again. It turned off its transponder at 05:10 CEST and turned it on again three hours later, still east of Bornholm. At 09:00, the Poseidon flew over the site of the explosion (for the last time), climbed to an altitude of 10,000 meters and returned to Keflavik. The fact that the P-8A Poseidon patrolled the waters east of Bornholm for hours in the night and early morning after the most dramatic attack on civilian infrastructure ever cannot be explained as a coincident, and the decision to patrol this area was taken before the first explosion. The Americans certainly knew that the explosion would happen and when.
Norwegian Chief of Intelligence Alf Roar Berg together with CIA Director Robert Gates and their wives Joe and Becky on the Oslo fjord 1991. The inauguration of the pipeline from the Norwegian gas fields to Poland with the Polish and Danish prime ministers and the Polish president but not with the Norwegian prime minister.
Norwegian intelligence has been very close to US intelligence. This was the case in the 1990, and it is even more true today, but to attack a Russian pipeline and try to trigger a war with Russia has been as far from Norwegian traditional policy as it could. Exactly what happened last summer, we don’t know, but on 20 September the Prime Minister’s Office of Norway stated that Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre was going to Poland for the inauguration of the new Norwegian-Danish-Polish pipeline (“the Baltic Pipe”) on 27 September. It was the most important inauguration of that year, and it was obvious that the prime ministers of the three countries plus the Polish President would celebrate the new pipeline.
However, on 19-22 September, Støre was in the US. He had a guided tour with Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro at Norfolk Naval base (Washington). He also met Secretary of State Anthony Blinken at the UN in New York. On 22 September, the Prime Minister’s Office of Norway made a remark that Støre had cancelled his tour for the inauguration in Poland, and of course, he couldn’t go to Poland, because this would in praxis have been a celebration of the attack on the Nord Stream pipeline the day before. This would have appeared as a celebration of the elimination of Norway’s major gas competitor to Europe. Støre must have been informed about the upcoming attack on the Nord Stream by Del Toro and Blinken. Instead of going to Poland on 26-27 September, Støre went to a school competition in southern Norway (on 26 September), and he was looking into some figures in the budget (on 27 September).
The decision to destroy Nord Stream on 26 September was the “ultimate insult” to Norway. Afterwards it appears as a punishment of Norway for backing out from the operation. The fact that Prime Minister Støre cancelled his trip to Poland on short notice (while doing nothing special in Norway) shows that he must have been informed about the decision to take out Nord Stream on his trip to the US on 19-22 September. This attack was very arrogant, a declaration of war, and the Americans didn’t even try to hide their traces.