The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Nord Stream Explosion, Media Silence

Feb 26, 2023

On February 8, Seymour Hersh, an American journalist, posted a report claiming that covert forces sent by the U.S. military had blown up the Nord Stream pipeline last September. And—Hersh wrote—U.S. President Biden had ordered it.

Nord Stream was the only direct pipeline bringing Russia’s plentiful natural gas supplies to Germany. Jointly owned by a Russian company and four West European companies, its destruction helped to drive up the international price of petroleum products.

On February 21, Jeffrey Sachs, a Columbia University economist, testified at the U.N. that only a “handful of state-level actors"—among them the U.S., Britain and Russia—had the means and access required to secretly lay explosive charges 260 feet below the surface. Sachs credited Hersh’s report as the only one “to date” that explains in detail how Nord Stream could have been blown up. And, he said, the White House, while denouncing Hersh’s account, offered no information contradicting it. He called on the U.N. to establish an independent investigation.

In another situation, such a claim would have drawn the big media’s immediate attention.

Hersh is an award-winning journalist known for his exposures of other covert operations. Sachs has, for decades, been an adviser to the U.N. on international issues, including on infrastructure.

So the media’s silence on the issue was particularly notable. None of the usual competition between various media, each trying to put its own spin on a sensational story. Just dead silence.

That’s the big story here. Not Hersh’s article. Not Sachs’ demand for a U.N. investigation. No, the big story is that the media treat it as if there were no story—much like everyone in a room pretending not to notice that someone among them has just produced a loud and evil-smelling fart.

Whatever the final story—whether the U.S. organized the attack or whether Hersh is off on a wild-goose chase—the destruction of Nord Stream is part of the war in Ukraine. And the U.S. is directly involved in that war. Through its weapons and money, it is calling the shots in that war.

In the midst of any war, the media have a role to play—preparing the population to accept the deprivations and destruction that war brings. The media spin tales about “democracy” and “freedom,” and they ignore facts that show the real interest of a country’s own ruling class.

World War I was a “fight for democracy.” Supposedly. World War II was a “fight to stop fascism.” Supposedly. The war in Vietnam was to “stop the spread of communism.” Supposedly. The war on Iraq was aimed at rooting out Iraq’s “weapons of mass destruction.” Supposedly.

No, those were only slogans, propaganda pushed by the media, justifying wars to the population. The U.S. military went into all those wars to further the economic and geo-political interests of the U.S. capitalist class. Those wars were the means through which U.S. capitalism imposed itself as the dominant economic power in the world, to the detriment of laboring people around the world, including here.

The media, of course, have always taken the side of the capitalist class that runs this country. The media themselves are part of the capitalist system. They, too, work to make a profit from their product, which in their case is the news, or rather, their version of it. The Washington Post, one of the big papers “of record,” is owned by Jeff Bezos, who also owns Amazon. No surprise there!

But in wartime, and in preparation for the next war, the role of the media is particularly dangerous for working people. The stories the media tell today, just like the ones they ignore, are part of the preparation to get us in the mind to accept war—against our own interests, at the expense of our lives here and on the battlefield.

Whether the next war comes as an overt extension of the war in Ukraine or by some other means, it will be to our detriment. The people who lead it, the capitalists in our own country, their state, and their media will be our main enemy.