By Ben Norton on Geopolitical Economy Report, April 26, 2023
Facebook has censored a report by the world’s most famous investigative journalist, Pulitzer Prize winner Seymour Hersh, on the destruction of the Nord Stream pipelines between Russia and Germany.
While discouraging its users from posting Hersh’s article, Facebook instead recommends a website that is funded and partially owned by the government of NATO member Norway.
Facebook has millions of dollars worth of contracts with the US government, including with the Pentagon and Department of Homeland Security.
The Nord Stream system consisted of two sets of two pipelines each (known as Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2) that delivered natural gas from Russia, through the Baltic Sea, to Germany.
Nord Stream AG, the Switzerland-based international consortium that built and oversees the pipelines, is owned by five European companies. Russia’s state gas giant Gazprom has 51% of the shares, but the other 49% belong to two German companies, a Dutch firm, and a French company.
In September 2022, the Nord Stream pipelines were sabotaged in a suspicious explosion, in what amounted to a terror attack on the energy infrastructure of Europe.
World-renowned investigative journalist Seymour Hersh reported that the pipelines were blown up by the US government, in an operation overseen by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, and Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland.
All three officials are hard-line anti-Russia hawks. Nuland was a key architect of the violent coup d’etat that overthrew Ukraine’s democratically elected, geopolitically neutral government in 2014 and installed a pro-Western regime.
Hersh published the bombshell story at his personal blog at the website Substack in February.
If a Facebook user posts a link to this report by Hersh, a notice pops up that says: “Before you share this content, you might want to know there’s additional reporting from Faktisk. Pages and websites that repeatedly publish or share false news will see their overall distribution reduced and be restricted in other ways”.
The page Facebook links to, Faktisk, is a fact-checking website from Norway, which is funded and partially owned by the government of that NATO member state.
Faktisk discloses that one of its owners and main funders is NRK: the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation, a state-owned media outlet.
NRK states clearly on its website, “NRK is Norway’s biggest media house. The broadcaster is state-owned and the Parliament (Stortinget) has given the mandate and the ownership role to the Ministry of Culture”. It notes that “NRK is publicly financed (97%) by a individual tax everybody in Norway has to pay”.
The editor-in-chief of Faktisk, Kristoffer Egeberg, discloses in his biography on the website that he served in the Norwegian Armed Forces as a soldier and officer, participating in NATO and UN operations in Lebanon, Bosnia, and Kosovo.
What this means it that Facebook is censoring a report by the world’s most famous investigative journalist and instead promoting a website partially owned and funded by a NATO member state, Norway, which is edited by a former Norwegian military officer who participated in NATO operations.
Despite attacks on Hersh, US government and media fail to provide alternative explanation
The US government publicly denied Hersh’s report on the Nord Stream attacks, but Washington has always rejected the investigative journalist’s stories, which have consistently proven to be true.
Hersh won his Pulitzer Prize for exposing the 1968 My Lai massacre in Vietnam, in which the US military killed hundreds of civilians. The US government had denied this massacre, although it was later proven to have happened.
Similarly, Washington initially denied Hersh’s blockbuster 2004 report exposing the US military’s use of torture at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, which was similarly proven to be correct.
In response to Hersh’s report on the Nord Stream attacks, anonymous US government officials used the New York Times to undermine the reporter, instead blaming an unidentified “pro-Ukrainian group”, which they claimed was not linked to the Ukrainian government or any other NATO member state.
Washington and its allies in the corporate media have been desperate to smear Hersh, nitpicking over very minor details he may have mistakenly reported, but they have utterly failed to provide any tangible evidence or compelling alternative explanation of how the Nord Stream pipelines were destroyed.
The massive pipelines were built out of steel, surrounded with thick concrete, and located 50 to 100 meters underwater.
It would be extremely difficult for a small ragtag “pro-Ukrainian group” to sabotage these pipelines. The attack clearly involved a lot of planning and resources, which suggests that a state was very likely involved.
Western governments censor Russian (and Iranian) media outlets
Facebook is by no means the only US social media giant that has censored dissident voices over the war in Ukraine.
YouTube, which is owned by Google, blocked the channels of Russia’s state media outlet RT everywhere on the planet.
Like Facebook, Google has millions of dollars of US government contracts, with the CIA, Pentagon, FBI, and various police departments.
Furthermore, the European Union banned RT and Sputnik, another Russian state media outlet.
If someone in the EU tries to access the Twitter profiles of RT or Sputnik, a message appears stating, “Account Withheld”.
The US government even went so far as to seize the domain name of Iran’s state media outlet Press TV.
“The domain presstv.com has been seized by the United States Government”, reads a notice on the website, published jointly by the Departments of Justice and Commerce.
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