William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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MORE TENSION IN EUROPE.  As if we need more.  Energy is the key issue in Europe today.  There has apparently been an act of sabotage to a new European pipeline.  With Ukraine on fire, and Russia threatening to use nuclear weapons, the region doesn't need more tension, but it's getting it.  From AP: 

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Denmark believes “deliberate actions” caused big leaks in two natural gas pipelines running under the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany, and seismologists said powerful explosions preceded the leaks.

European leaders and experts pointed to possible sabotage amid the energy standoff with Russia provoked by the war in Ukraine. Although filled with gas, neither pipeline is currently supplying it to Europe.

“It is the authorities’ clear assessment that these are deliberate actions -– not accidents,” Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said Tuesday.

But she added “there is no information indicating who could be behind it.” Frederiksen rejected the suggestion that the incident was an attack on Denmark, saying the leaks occurred in international waters.

The incident overshadowed the inauguration of a long-awaited pipeline that will bring Norwegian gas to Poland to bolster the continent’s energy independence from Moscow.

The first explosion was recorded early Monday southeast of the Danish island of Bornholm, said Bjorn Lund, director of the Swedish National Seismic Network. A second, stronger blast northeast of the island that night was equivalent to a magnitude-2.3 earthquake.

Seismic stations in Denmark, Norway and Finland also registered the explosions.

“There’s no doubt, this is not an earthquake,” Lund said.

On Wednesday, Danish defense minister Morten Bødskov will travel to Brussels to discuss the leaks with NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg.

Denmark’s Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod said Sweden, Germany and Poland have been kept informed, and “we will inform and reach out to Russia in this case.”

He said Denmark’s foreign intelligence service didn’t see any increased military threat against Denmark after the three leaks on the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines.

They created a foamy white area on the water’s surface, images released by Denmark’s military show. Danish Energy Minister Dan Jørgensen said that “we cannot say how long the leak will go” on for as the gas has not been turned off. There was no indication when the gas would be turned off.

The German operator of the pipelines, Nord Stream AG, said it’s preparing a survey to assess the damage.

“Currently, it is not possible to estimate a timeframe for restoring the gas transport infrastructure,” a company statement said. “The causes of the incident will be clarified as a result of the investigation.”

In Sweden, acting Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said “it is probably a case of sabotage,” but not an attack on Sweden.

Andersson added that neighboring oil-rich Norway “has informed us about increased drone activity in the North Sea and the measures they have taken in connection with it.”

COMMENT:  It is understandable that spokesmen want to downplay the threat to individual countries, but you may be sure this development is being taken very seriously, as it demonstrates European vulnerability to energy sabotage.  If an opponent can smash an underwater line, imagine how easy it would be to take out an above-ground line. We certainly have the same concerns here.

It seems to me that, with Ukraine, Iran, Taiwan and a possible economic recession, the world is getting darker.

September 27, 2022