- Corporate media call Pulitzer Prize winner the “c” word
- Don’t dare question the consensus narrative
- Nord Stream pipelines: “A threat to Western dominance”
- Hersh: Whodunit? (Mainstream: Who cares!)
- Precious (stolen) cargo… A nickel hoax shocks the market… “H” and “K” sittin’ in a tree… And more!
Award-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, who’s been working steadily since the 1960s, is now being called the “c” word.
At last check today, if you look up Seymour Hersh’s Wikipedia page, the “conspiracy theorist” epithet has been removed.
(By some accounts, in one 24-hour period, the Wikipedia “trolls” engaged in a war of words, adding and retracting “conspiracy theorist” under Mr. Hersh’s bio on more than 50 occasions.)
The question, then, is what in the world has Seymour Hersh done to incite such a frenzy?
Was Hersh a conspiracy theorist when he broke some of the most consequential stories of the late 20th century? For instance, the account of U.S. soldiers in Vietnam committing mass murder at My Lai in 1968, or the Nixon administration’s covert bombing missions in Cambodia.
Or moving into the 21st century, was Hersh the “c” word when he was the first journalist to report torture and human rights violations at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq almost 20 years ago?
Rather, throughout much of his career, Hersh has been a highly regarded American journalist with numerous awards to prove it — one Pulitzer Prize, five George Polk Awards and one George Orwell Award (among others).
Nevertheless, Hersh’s crown really started to slip in 2017 when he dared to counter the mainstream narrative about a supposed “deadly nerve agent attack carried out by the [Russian-backed] Syrian government… in the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun,” Hersh recounted at German news site Die Welt.
And payback, as they say, is a real “b” word: Trump precipitously ordered a U.S. cruise missile attack on a Syrian airbase.
But while the U.S. president reveled in a rarefied moment of mainstream approval, Hersh claimed Trump was “warned by the U.S. intelligence community that it had found no evidence that the [Russian-backed] Syrians had used a chemical weapon.”
A case of the WMDs? Team Trump, however, circled the wagons, presenting a united front. “U.S. intelligence agencies quickly identified the source of the attack and the chemical agent used,” confirmed USA Today. Case closed.
“That confidence level has just continued to grow in the hours and days since the attack,” reassured national security adviser H.R. McMaster.
Thus, by 2017, mainstream corporate media were starting to side-eye Hersh, labeling him the other “c” word: controversial. Which brings us to this week when Hersh joined the ranks of independent journalists publishing at the online platform Substack. And Hersh came out swinging…
In June, Hersh says, U.S. Navy divers planted “the remotely triggered explosives that… destroyed three of the four Nord Stream pipelines” on Sept. 26, 2022.
“According to a source with direct knowledge of the operational planning” that Hersh cites, the multi-pronged operation to blow up the natural gas pipelines started in “December of 2021, two months before the first Russian tanks rolled into Ukraine.”
Hersh sets the scene: “Alarm was growing in Washington…
“With Russian troops massing on the Ukrainian border and the bloodiest war in Europe since 1945 looming, President Joseph Biden saw the pipelines as a vehicle for Vladimir Putin to weaponize natural gas for his political and territorial ambitions…
“The administration’s attention once again was focused on Nord Stream…
“From its earliest days,” Hersh explains, “Nord Stream [was] seen by Washington and its anti-Russian NATO partners as a threat to Western dominance…
“Two of the pipelines, which were known collectively as Nord Stream 1, had been providing Germany and much of Western Europe with cheap Russian natural gas for more than a decade,” he says.
[In terms of long-standing animus in D.C., watch this brief clip of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice speaking obliquely with German channel N24 about Russia’s energy aspirations on May 16, 2014.]
2014: Year of U.S. regime change in Ukraine and Russia’s occupation of Crimea
Hersh continues: “Nord Stream 2, whose construction was completed in September of 2021, would, if approved by German regulators, double the amount of cheap gas that would be available to Germany and Western Europe…
“Biden’s decision to sabotage the pipelines came after more than nine months of highly secret back-and-forth debate,” Hersh says, “inside Washington’s national security community about how to best achieve that goal…
“In early 2022, the CIA working group reported back to [National Security Adviser Jake] Sullivan’s interagency group: ‘We have a way to blow up the pipelines’…
“A hand-picked team of Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency operatives was assembled somewhere in the Washington area, under deep cover, and worked out a plan, using Navy divers, modified submarines… after much trial and error.”
Thus, working in concert with a NATO partner, “the Norwegian navy was quick to find the right spot, in the shallow water a few miles off Denmark’s Bornholm Island,” says Hersh.
And Biden wasn’t coy: During a press briefing in February 2022, after bringing German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to heel — three weeks before Russia invaded Ukraine — Biden swaggered: “If Russia invades… there will be no longer a Nord Stream 2. We will bring an end to it.”
Team Biden even made certain they wouldn’t have to consult Congress…
“The plan to blow up Nord Stream 1 and 2 was suddenly downgraded from a covert operation” to “a highly classified intelligence operation with U.S. military support.”
Hersh’s source adds: “There was no longer a legal requirement to report the operation… All they had to do now is just do it.”
You know the rest…
“On Sept. 26, 2022, a Norwegian Navy P8 surveillance plane made a seemingly routine flight and dropped a sonar buoy,” Hersh says. “The signal spread underwater, initially to Nord Stream 2 and then on to Nord Stream 1.
“A few hours later, the high-powered C4 explosives were triggered and three of the four pipelines were put out of commission,” he says.
“The world learned that something irreversible had taken place.” Thereafter? “The American media treated it like an unsolved mystery,” says Hersh. “Russia was repeatedly cited as a likely culprit.”
But the mainstream couldn’t quite square why Russia would engage in such a costly act of self-sabotage. So one of the most significant events of 2022 got buried in the always-at-threat-level news cycle.
“No major American newspaper dug into the earlier threats to the pipelines made by Biden,” Hersh notes. And for his trouble, Hersh’s reputation has been tarnished and his character impugned.
Since his Substack article’s publication, Hersh has been labeled everything from the “c” word to — perhaps the worst epithet hawkish neocons and neolibs can tar-and-feather a person with — a Russian stooge.
Hersh confirms what Paradigm’s own Jim Rickards told some readers less than a month ago: “President Joe Biden ordered the Nord Stream attack. And his mistake is about to plunge us all into hell…”
Now that Hersh has filled in the essential details, Jim says, “I take no pleasure in getting this right. Russia could retaliate and that could lead to war.”
Let’s all hope it doesn’t come to that. Because even if it doesn’t, Jim says Biden has sent a cascade of energy horrors into motion — shortages, blackouts and ruinously high energy bills.
Most Americans will suffer… but Jim knows how a lucky few will come out winning big. If you’re not yet a subscriber to Rickards’ Strategic Intelligence, click here and learn how to be one of the winners.
As it happens, the big story in markets today is about… Russian energy.
Moscow is finally following through on an ongoing threat to cut oil production — about 5% of its output, or a half million barrels per day.
But so far, the market reaction is muted. A barrel of West Texas Intermediate is up 1.6% to $79.33. Oil prices routinely make bigger swings than that on days when there’s no news at all.
As for stocks, the major U.S. indexes are mixed: The Dow is slightly in the green at 33,810 while the Nasdaq is down over three-quarters of a percent to 11,691. The S&P 500 is nearly flat at 4,080 — on track for a weekly close below the technically important 4,100 level.
Bond yields are jumping: The 10-year Treasury note is up to 3.72%, the highest in a month.
Gold languishes at $1,862. The ongoing silver smash might result in the white metal notching a weekly close below $22.
Cargo thefts across Canada and the U.S. spiked in 2022 — to the tune of $223 million worth of stolen goods, according to CargoNet… up 15% over 2021.
“Cargo theft hot spots are typically areas around major ports, as well as… distribution centers and truck stops,” FreightWaves reports.
Per hot spots in the U.S., California led the number of reported cargo thefts last year (417) followed by Texas (223) and, in third position, Florida (153).
Danny Ramon of risk management firm Overhaul says: “Anything that has retail purchasing restrictions is going to be big. Anything that’s bearing a bigger brunt of inflation or product shortages.”
Specifically, Scott Cornell of Travelers Insurance outlines: “The No. 1 commodity [for cargo theft] was household goods for all of 2022, electronics was No. 2 and then food and beverage commodities were No. 3.
“Most of the time, cargo theft is committed by organized rings and those rings are usually fulfilling orders,” Cornell confirms.
Which dovetails nicely with our next nugget today…
“[Base metals trader] Trafigura Group thought it was buying containers full of nickel,” The Wall Street Journal reports. “What showed up wasn’t nickel at all…
“Trafigura started to inspect a small number of containers,” the article says. When opened, “they didn’t contain nickel, a silvery-looking metal that fetches around $30,000 a metric ton and whose price has shot up in line with demand for EVs.
“Instead, the boxes had lower-value materials such as carbon steel…
“The perpetrators of the alleged fraud, according to Trafigura: companies it believed were controlled by the metals trader Prateek Gupta, including TMT Metals and subsidiaries of UD Trading Group,” WSJ says.
“Trafigura said it had started legal proceedings… It took a $577 million charge for the current financial period, reflecting the maximum potential loss from the episode.”
And because nickel is a smaller market than some other industrial metals, Trafigura’s fraud report caused nickel’s price to spike 6.4% yesterday on the London Metal Exchange.
Just in time for Valentine’s Day…
English metal detectorist Charlie Clarke was inspecting his friend’s Warwickshire property in December 2019 when he hit on something. He unearthed the metal object to find a gold chain with a heart-shaped locket…
“I knew it was special,” Clarke said, who says he will split the proceeds with his friend and property owner.
According to the British Museum’s Renaissance specialist: “Clarke’s discovery represents the most significant find” in 25 years of working with public treasure hunters.
The artifact, circa 1521, is one of the few remaining objects associated with Henry VIII’s first wife, Catherine of Aragon.
Notice that one side of the locket has enameled, intertwined letters “H” and “K.” Both the outside faces read tousjours — a pun on French for “always.”
Or, you know, until Anne Boleyn came along.
Take care this weekend… And perhaps pick up a little something for your Valentine? Just saying…
The 5 Min. Forecast