A Tangled Web: From Blowing Up Pipelines to Ukraine Money Making

In the wake of the Seymour Hersh article exposing President Joe Biden’s lead role in the planning and bombing of the Russian Nord Stream pipelines, one is forced to wonder if it was an act of courage or insanity. 

The fact that Vladimir Putin’s response has been muted doesn’t mean he has forgotten.  Perhaps Ukrainians will pay the price, or perhaps some US facility or ship will blow up mysteriously.  We have to wait and see.

It was the kind of operation that would have raised the hackles of Senator Frank Church.  He chaired a Senate Select Committee to study intelligence operations having tired of the torture, murder and assassinations related to the CIA, particularly in Vietnam.  The work led to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 which has been amended numerous times since its original purview related only to domestic surveillance.  Its scope gets complicated when a foreign power is involved and its requirement of a court order even in closed session increases the possibility of a leak.

All of this eventually led to the USA PATRIOT Act of 2011 signed into law by President Barack Obama; not extended, it expired eventually in 2020.  However, its effect has been for the CIA to try to maintain clean hands.  Thus Biden chose the US Navy Seals for the operation.  Unlike the CIA, they are under no obligation to inform Congress. 

According to Hersh’s sources, planning for the attack started in December 2021 and thus there was no direct connection with the Russian invasion of Ukraine which began in February 2022.

The US promptly called it “unprovoked aggression” and set about mustering European allies, particularly Germany, to supply rebels with arms including NATO stocks to resist the invasion.  All this in a Ukraine where a US organized coup ousted a democratically elected president, Viktor Yanukovych. 

The whole affair became quite risible when on February 6, 2014, a call between US Assistant Secretary of State, Victoria Nuland, and US ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt was intercepted and leaked, one can presume by Russia.  In it the two are overheard discussing who should staff the new Ukraine government, to be made up now from Yanukovych’s opposition.  Arseniy Yatsenyuk, referred to as ‘Yats’ by Nuland, was chosen to lead it.

They also needed someone of “high profile” to push things along.  They chose, you guessed it, then Vice-President Joe Biden.

In May 2014 (three months after the coup), his son Hunter Biden became a board member of Burisma Holdings Ltd., a very large oil and gas company, from which he resigned in 2019 when his father was running for president.  He was being paid $83,000 plus a month or $1 million per year from 2014 as a board member.  This compensation was halved after his father ceased to be vice president in January 2017, when Donald Trump became president.

Then there are the rest of us working 9 to 5, five days a week, for a median income of about $44 thousand.  The story is just another reminder of the tangled web of politics and money-making at the highest levels.

Dr. Arshad M. Khan
Dr. Arshad M. Khan
Dr. Arshad M. Khan is a former Professor based in the US. Educated at King's College London, OSU and The University of Chicago, he has a multidisciplinary background that has frequently informed his research. Thus he headed the analysis of an innovation survey of Norway, and his work on SMEs published in major journals has been widely cited. He has for several decades also written for the press: These articles and occasional comments have appeared in print media such as The Dallas Morning News, Dawn (Pakistan), The Fort Worth Star Telegram, The Monitor, The Wall Street Journal and others. On the internet, he has written for Antiwar.com, Asia Times, Common Dreams, Counterpunch, Countercurrents, Dissident Voice, Eurasia Review and Modern Diplomacy among many. His work has been quoted in the U.S. Congress and published in its Congressional Record.