By a Volunteer, Feb. 12, 2023
A thoughtful listener to a recent posting on Sy Hersh’s bombshell piece on who blew up the Nord Stream pipeline has transcribed the interview for those who prefer to read rather than listen.
TRANSCRIPT: Ray [McGovern] on Sy Hersh’s Article on Blowing Up Nord Stream
Interviewed by Garland Nixon on Sputnik Radio’s The Critical Hour, Feb. 10, 2023 (19 minutes)
Sy Hersh has a piece at his Substack account entitled How America Took Out the Nord Stream Pipeline. The New York Times called it a, quote unquote mystery. But the United States executed a covert CIA operation that was kept secret until now. For insight into this, let’s turn to our first guest. He works with Tell the World, The publishing arm of the Ecumenical Church of the Savior in inner city Washington; has 27 year career as a CIA analyst, serving as chief of the Soviet foreign policy branch and preparing the president’s daily brief. He is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, and he is, of course, Ray McGovern. As always, Ray, welcome back.
Thanks for having me.
So Sy Hersh writes, last June, the Navy divers operating under the cover of a widely publicized midsummer NATO exercise known as BALTOPS 22, planted the remotely triggered explosives that three months later destroyed three of the four Nord Stream pipelines. This is according to a source with direct knowledge of the operational planning.
What I’ll say, Ray, is usually when we hear of unknown sources, we tend to question the veracity or validity of the piece.
But if it’s Sy Hersh, I got to give it its due. Ray McGovern.
I know Sy Hersh.
I know you do.
I know him to be a meticulous reporter, winner of five Polk Awards, Pulitzer Prize, you name it. Back in the day when honest reporters were so honored. This piece has all the earmarks of Sy’s meticulous approach, and he clearly has a very good source who felt a, well, he felt a constitutional obligation to honor his or her oath to the Constitution of the United States, which is the supreme oath any of us take. And that is to make sure that you tell the truth, especially when the Constitution is being violated.
Now, this was an act of war, pure and simple. Curiously enough, it was against Germany. And curiously enough, President Joseph Biden, at a press conference in the presence of the chancellor of Germany, Olaf Scholz, said this is going to happen if Russia invaded Ukraine. And, of course, he was asked, well, how do you do this? I mean, how can you how can you be so confident that Nordstrom will be killed and Biden said, well, just, you know, trust me, it’s going to happen.
And so she, bilingual, the Reuters reporter, turned to Scholz – and this is not widely available now for obvious reasons – and she said, well, I mean, do you agree with that? I mean, hello, how do you feel about this? And this hack, this political hack said: we do everything together. We do everything together. We will be together on this now. So that’s available now. It’s available. Not Sy Hersh’s piece yet, but that interview is available in Germany.
You know, I describe Olaf Scholz as kind of the epitome of the abused spouse. Stands there and is abused not only by his master, Joe Biden, but also by this hack that he has as foreign minister. Her name is Baerbock. She is the the most vociferous of all the people saying that we are at war. That’s what she said. We are at war with Russia.
So the question will be: it has been 90 years, count them, nine zero years since the Nazis were making a push for power in Germany. What happened? The Reichstag, the German parliament building was burned down at the end of January, 1933. What happened? The Germans caved. The Nazis didn’t have a majority, but they scared the living daylights out of German citizens.
First of all, Social Democrats gave in. Next to fall, the Zentrum party, the Catholic Party. No one spoke up. We know the rest of the story. All right. Now, sometimes history is replete with ironies. Here it is exactly to the month, 90 years later. Will the German people acquiesce in their industry, and then their bodies being frozen out this winter? Or will they rise up and say: “Look, Mr Scholz, you don’t know what the hell you’re doing, and neither does Baerbock. Get out of here!”, and replace that government?
Now, the key to all this, of course, is the fact I have already mentioned. Sy Hersh’s piece has not been published in Germany. The New York Times hasn’t published it. The major media haven’t published. Where did Sy have to publish this? On Substack. Now, at one point he had a friend at the German newspaper, Die Welt, and they published an incredible exposé on Syria. It turned out to be true, but Sy couldn’t get it published anywhere else. He used to publish in the New York Times, then in The New Yorker. He has been banned.
So the question is, will it be possible to inform not only the American people, but more important, the German people that they’ve been had? Okay? This is depriving them of livelihoods and industry. Will they, unlike 90 years ago, act like adults, stand up and say: “Now we’ve had it. Blowing up our our gas pipeline, that’s too far. We’re going to look at things differently. First and foremost, our involvement in Ukraine.”
Ray, domestically. Here. In this piece, if it is to be believed – which, I believe it and it certainly warrants an internal investigation here – the Biden administration admitted that what they were doing was an act of war, which means they understood that only Congress could, in fact, constitutionally clear that action. And they, with malice and aforethought, took action to mitigate their accountability to the Constitution and Congress.
And Joe Biden was the head guy there. He was the man that… eventually they decided rather than just put explosives on it, apparently Biden wanted to give the word for when it was done. This is an impeachable offense. This is a requirement of Congress, to act on it. Your thoughts on Congress not acting on it? I don’t suspect they will. And if there will be ultimately in the long term, any ramifications for that? Your thoughts on that anyway Ray.
Well, again, if the big tree falls in the forest and there’s no one around to hear it fall, does it make a sound? It is incredible how The New York Times – actually I’ve taken to calling The New York Times The New Yellow Times, after yellow journalism, which as most people know is what you do when you exaggerate or slant things beyond the truth.
The New Yellow Times can prevent this from being heard, and more important now, prevent corroboration from being a voice. We have corroboration now from Gil Doctorow in Brussels, Larry Johnson in Tampa, it’s coming in. And so I applaud the source that told Sy Hersh all this information. I believe it implicitly. Sy has never been wrong on really important issues like this. As I say, he’s meticulous, and he was distraught – and I know this personally – distraught at all this stuff about Russiagate.
He and Bob Parry used to – my mentor, Robert Parry, Consortium News – used to commiserate on the phone and, you know, what’s happened to the to the media? So here again, we have the media right in the middle of this thing. Only Tucker Carlson has had the cajones so far to play this story. Will it go further? I suspect… well, I don’t know but I like to try to be the optimist. Can The New York Times and the major media suppress this indefinitely? Well, I suppose they can. They’ve suppressed other stories, equally important, like the fact that the Russians are proven not to have hacked into the DNC, and that the ‘Russian offensive’ there with Facebook amounted to nothing.
So if they can deceive the American people, as the American people are willing to be deceived, then you know this will not have its desired effect. The fact that that Sy had to go on Substack to do this is really a lurid manifestation of the fact that not even the most prized, the most meticulous investigative reporter in the United States, could not get this published elsewhere.
That speaks volumes.
Part of this piece, Sy discusses meetings that Victoria Nuland and Anthony Blinken and Jake Sullivan held in the executive office of the President, where they debated options for an attack on the pipeline. And he writes that the CIA argued that whatever was done, it would have to be covert. And at the time, the CIA was directed by Bill Burns, as Sy describes him, a mild mannered former ambassador to Russia. I know you know Burns well. He says that Burns quickly authorized a CIA working group whose ad hoc members included someone who was familiar with the capacity of these Navy deep sea divers. Your thoughts on Burns’s involvement in this?
I do know Burns. He let me, well, in effect shame James Clapper by pointing out to an audience that Clapper had admitted that he fudged the evidence on weapons of mass destruction before the attack on Iraq. Burns was, some of us hoped, that he might be the adult in the room, but Burns is the epitome of a cog in the wheels of the system. He’s a state Department type. He got to be number two in the State Department and you don’t get to be number two in the State Department unless you salute. Whether it’s a harebrained scheme or not you salute. Well, here you have the epitome of a harebrained scheme. Did did Burns salute? Yes, as soon as the president said do it. He turned to his people and he said, Do it.
And they they rubbed their hands and said: Oh, man, this is going to be fun! We can do this. We can work with the Navy. We can do it. Okay. Now, what do the analysts say? Well, Burns didn’t give a rat’s patootie about what his analysts say, but Sy Hersh includes the notion that some of them said: You know, this is really crazy, this is really stupid. This is going to come back to bite us.
That’s what we always used to say on cockamamie schemes like this. What’s the point here? The point here is that the operations people at CIA get all the money, get all the attention and get all the influence over whatever director comes in and another side lesson here is that if you’re going to pick a director for the CIA, don’t go to the State Department for a yes man. You don’t go to the Congress for somebody who compromises, for God’s sake. You find somebody like Admiral Stansfield Turner, four star, who had made his own his own mark on life and was not going to take any crap from nobody else, is going to tell the truth. He’s the last guy we had like that. God forbid we keep having these, well, these bureaucrats that salute when the president says jump.
One thing I did want to ask you, I had some thoughts. You know, the last – interesting – the last sentence where, you know, whoever the source is says, Oh, yeah, they did this thing. It was a brilliant operation, blah, blah, blah. He says the only flaw was the decision to do it. Here’s what it seems to me. I’m guessing it seemed like it came from somebody in the Pentagon, based on the knowledge. They basically said: You know, these idiots in the executive department, they have not a good move.
And CIA was not real smart. State Department, bad move. The Pentagon wasn’t mentioned. And there are generally, I have heard recently, there are some pragmatists. It almost seems like there may. Well, anyway, your thoughts on the origins of this, if you have any?
Well, all I can say is that Sy Hersh has proven for about 40 years now that he is a trusted journalist. And when someone – and I suspect it aptly pertained to this particular source – when someone sees that an act of war has been has been committed by our government against all the… well, against the Constitution, maybe not against the U.S. designed “rules based order,” but, you know, we all swear an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Now this guy took that seriously. I suspect he went to that little corner in that bar where Sy meets his – I know where that is – meets his sources and told him this whole story. Sy said it only took him three months. I believe that. And American people… it’s eminently believable. The question is the fallout and whether the mass media can prevent this story from sneaking into the consciousness of Americans who have been taught, who have been brainwashed over the last seven years. Okay? Seven years now, to hate Russia.
Okay. Will Rogers had that wonderful aphorism, the comedian way back a century or two ago. Will Rogers put it this way. He said: “The problem is this: it’s not what people know. It’s what people know that ain’t so.” That’s the problem. And the people think that the Russians are just evil to the core. That Putin… Here’s an example. Okay? At the time when Sy Hersh’s story is going out, here’s The New York Times on February ninth. A yellow journalism piece by a fellow named Constant Méheut – a Frenchman, apparently – and it shows that Vladimir Putin was personally responsible for killing the 298 aboard Malaysian Airlines MH 17 over Ukraine in July of 2014. Now it says that in the title; it says that in the first paragraph; and third paragraph it says: Well, we can’t prove that Putin was really… Give me a break! Okay. So this is a day when they should have been featuring Sy’s research. They’re still at it. Blackening Putin, first and foremost, the rest of the Russians, and, you know, this was consequential.
Let me remind you that after the coup in Kiev, after the annexation of Crimea, the U.S. could still not get the Europeans to shoot themselves in the foot by sanctions. It was only after Malaysian Airlines MH 17 was downed – according to The New York Times, by Vladimir Putin himself – that they could get real sanctions that bit the Europeans more than they bit anyone, including the Russians. So this was consequential. This was the beginning of really strict sanctions. And I just wonder if the West Europeans and the East Europeans will wake up and say: “You know, this is a this is a bad deal to get involved with, what the U.S. wants, because they want war with Russia. And this is going to come to, as the Chinese used to call it, a no good end.”
Ray McGovern, as always, thank you so much for your time. We really appreciate that analysis and we look forward to having you back.
Aye and most welcome.