Equipping Truth With Its ‘Wings of Freedom’Feb 10, 2023 | Shalini Rai
Seymour Hersh is a Pulitzer-award winning US-based journalist in his 80s. He is well-known as the scribe who in 1969 exposed the massacre of South Vietnamese villagers by U.S. troops in the hamlet of My Lai. His syndicated report was credited with helping end the Vietnam War. His subsequent book “My Lai” won a 1970 Pulitzer Prize. Hersh has also written critically acclaimed books on the 1983 Soviet downing of a South Korean passenger jet, Israel’s nuclear arms program and abuses of inmates at Baghdad’s Abu Ghraib prison by American soldiers during the U.S. occupation of Iraq.
Organically then, when on February 8, Hersh wrote what his detractors have derided as a ‘blog post’, saying that U.S. Navy divers, in a CIA operation ordered by President Joe Biden, planted explosives that destroyed three Russian gas pipelines under the Baltic Sea — that provided Russian natural gas to Germany and much of western Europe — in September 2022, the world was bound to take note.
The entire article by Hersh titled ‘How America Took Out The Nord Stream Pipeline’ is available here.
On February 9, the Kremlin said that the world should know the truth about who sabotaged the Nord Stream gas pipelines and that those responsible should be punished. Incidentally, a sharp drop in pressure on both pipelines was registered on Sep 26, 2022 and seismologists detected explosions, triggering a wave of speculation about sabotage to one of Russia’s most important energy corridors.
Expectedly, the White House has dismissed the allegations as “utterly false and complete fiction.” Spokespeople for the CIA and State Department said the same. The truth or lack thereof of these assertions will be decided in time.
Meanwhile, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy embarked upon a surprise visit to the United Kingdom and the European Union on February 8. In the UK, in an address to the Parliament, the Ukrainian leader praised the nation for its support and reiterated his plea for combat aircraft, which he referred to as “wings for freedom”. He was later scheduled to have dinner with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Paris. On the sidelines of this much-publicised visit, Zelenskyy has expressed the hope that military aid to his embattled country from ‘allied’ countries would be forthcoming.
Amid these developments, a comment by Roger Waters, former Pink Floyd star, made headlines. Invited to address the UN Security Council via video link, while Waters called for a ceasefire and condemned Russia’s ‘illegal’ invasion, he also denounced “provocateurs” in the West who he claimed were responsible for the same. “The invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation was illegal. I condemn it in the strongest possible terms,” he said via video link. “Also, the Russian invasion of Ukraine was not unprovoked, so I also condemn the provocateurs in the strongest possible terms.”
Taken separately, these three developments might appear unrelated but a closer look will reveal there is a pattern behind them.
Hersh’s article and Waters’ statement point to the crumbling of well-entrenched Western narratives. In plainspeak, Hersh has exposed the charges of Russia self-sabotaging the Nord Stream pipelines as highly-questionable and that has come as a major blow to the US narrative. Here are some excerpts from Hersh’s article:
“Last June, the Navy divers, operating under the cover of a widely publicized mid-summer NATO exercise known as BALTOPS 22, planted the remotely triggered explosives that, three months later, destroyed three of the four Nord Stream pipelines, according to a source with direct knowledge of the operational planning.
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. A second pair of pipelines, called Nord Stream 2, had been built but were not yet operational. Now, 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.
Asked for comment, Adrienne Watson, a White House spokesperson, said in an email, “This is false and complete fiction.” Tammy Thorp, a spokesperson for the Central Intelligence Agency, similarly wrote: “This claim is completely and utterly false.”
Biden’s decision to sabotage the pipelines came after more than nine months of highly secret back and forth debate inside Washington’s national security community about how to best achieve that goal. For much of that time, the issue was not whether to do the mission, but how to get it done with no overt clue as to who was responsible.”
Meanwhile, Waters’ assertion also makes it problematic for the mainstream Western account of the circumstances leading to the war in Ukraine to be considered as the whole truth. It makes you wonder why the editorial credibility of Kremlin-backed RT is always deemed questionable, while other state-sponsored television channels like Qatar-owned Al Jazeera, Chinese-run CCTV, Turkey’s TRT World, Japan’s NHK World, Germany’s Deutsche Welle, Paris-based France 24 and licence fee-funded BBC come in for differing treatment.
Simultaneously, Zelenskyy’s visit to the UK and EU in the middle of a deadly year-long conflict has laid bare the West’s increasingly-overt support to Ukraine in its war against Russia.
In the recent past, the West, aided by a pliable media and clever spin-doctoring by well-paid lobbyists and commentators, has attempted to dominate the narrative around its policy decisions and tried to pass them off as noble, worthy causes. From the invasion of Iraq to the siege of Afghanistan, the examples abound. The uni-dimensional portrayal of one (‘enemy’) nation and its ruler as ‘dictatorial’ and ‘imperialist’ has been attempted to be offset by the positive press accorded to Western countries and their leaders, with ‘allies’ getting the stamp of ‘bravery’.
However, the tide seems to be turning.
Investigative journalism by the likes of Hersh and conscientious utterances by those like Waters — coming as they do from ‘within’ — have dented the reputation of the Occident as a place full of opportunities and freedom and revealed the true motivations behind its actions, historic and contemporary. They mostly concern material aggrandisement and consist of decisions motivated by neo-imperialist ambitions. Assertions to the contrary fall flat and add no sheen to the already-tarnished reputation of Western nations, alliances and cozy clubs.
It’s time to wake up and smell the coffee, world.