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Propaganda in NRK

Ola Tunander
Ola Tunander
Tunander is Professor Emeritus of PRIO. See also wikipedia, at PRIO: , as well as a bibliography on Waterstone
NORD STREAM / Does NRK allow itself to be led into propaganda? In the Shadow War about the blowing up of the Nord Stream, key information about the strong presence of Western ships is omitted, in order to direct suspicion towards two Russian ships.


NRK/DR/SVT/YLE engage in propaganda by broadcasting the documentary series The Shadow War – a major production with direction/script by Danish Boris B. Bertram (on NRK from April). It is said that they have tried to find who blew up the Nord Stream gas pipeline.

Two Russian vessels were found that had been east of Bornholm. A smaller vessel was there on 7 June, while the other vessel, the hydrographic ship Sibirjakov (86 meters), there it was. 14.–15. June. It shows how these two vessels move across an empty sea and above Nord Stream – just above the area where one of the explosions would take place on 26 September. The documentary series has a former Royal Navy intelligence officer ask: "What is the probability of two vessels, engaged in underwater surveillance, being in the same area seven days apart?"

Isn't it incomprehensible that Russia would blow up its own gas pipeline worth tens of billions of dollars?

Men NRK with more does not say that at the same time there were 45 western naval vessels (from the USA, Great Britain, the Nordic countries, Germany, Poland, etc.), which were right there. They took part in BALTOPS 22, a NATO exercise east of Bornholm between 5 and 15 June. Otherwise, it is completely normal that Russiane vessel stays close NATO- exercises. NRK and others say that Sibirjakov had the opportunity to take a small mini-submarine with them, which could be used for underwater sabotage. But NRK does not say that two of the American vessels that participated in the NATO exercise in the same area also had such an opportunity (USS Kearsarge of 257 meters and USS Gunstone Hall of 190 metres) – or rather, it is not said that there were other ships there at all.

What NRK and others say is probably completely correct, but they are making fun of it propaganda, since one leaves out something absolutely essential. It gives the impression that the sea east of Bornholm is empty when it is full of western vessels. It is not said that there were also Western vessels with the capacity for underwater operations. NRK is not dealing with false information here, but it gives a false picture by leaving out the essentials.

NATO exercise

It was perhaps not so strange that the Russians went to the area east of Bornholm with a vessel engaged in underwater surveillance when NATO had announced that it would have an exercise in which it would engage in mine hunting and diving in an area that was close to the Russian-German Nord Stream – a gas pipeline that the US Congress in 2021 demanded should be discontinued "permanent". Or like President Joe Biden and Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland in January–February 2022 had promised to stop: "There will be no Nord Stream 2 anymore. We will dismantle it," Biden said, adding, "I promise you we can do it," in response to a reporter's inquiry. And former national security adviser John Bolton has said: "We should have cut it [the pipeline] already under the Trump administration," but according to Bolton, Trump never made up his mind.

Washington has since 2014 demanded that Russian gass until Europe was to be replaced with western gas. Destruction of Nord Stream has been on the American agenda for almost ten years. For Russia, Nord Stream was worth tens of billions of dollars. It was about enormous income, but even more important was securing the mutual ties with Europe. For Russia, the explosion resulted in huge losses, while the US secures huge profits from exporting the gas LNG to Europe.

However, NRK and others begin their documentary series on who is behind the attack on Nord Stream by quoting the former British intelligence officer Philip Ingram: "The person who is most likely behind it is the only country that has anything to gain from it: Russia." Here one goes further than omitting information to give a false picture, here it is given false information. The most blatant form of propaganda is to say that black is white and white is black.

But if we now leave aside the completely incomprehensible fact that Russia would blow up its own gas pipeline worth tens of billions of dollars, it is also strange that the Russian ships would have carried out such a sabotage operation at a time when the area was full of Western vessels that also take an interest in what the Russians are up to.

Destruction of Nord Stream has been on the American agenda for almost ten years.

NRK and others also say that the Russian vessel SB-123 (49 metres) was located east of Bornholm near the blast sites on 21-22 September, and that it had turned off its AIS transmitter for 18 hours, just a few days before the explosion on September 26, but it does not say that three US vessels with the capacity to carry mini-submarines, Kearsarge 257, Gunstone Hall and USS Arlington returned to the Baltic Sea in August–September – also to the area east of Bornholm. Kearsarge must have passed over the northern blast site on 21 September and left The Baltic Sea on September 22. Nor does NRK say that there were a couple of Swedish vessels (the corvette Visby) which went to the exact positions of the two blast sites on 22–24. September, just two days before the explosion. The Swedish ships had for 22 hours shut down their respective ships AIS transmitters. A Danish naval vessel also went to the area on 22 September.

Ren propaganda

It is difficult to understand how the experts from NRK and other TV channels could see a 49-meter Russian tugboat at the explosion site on September 21, but could not see the USS Arlington (208 meters) and USS Kearsarge (257 meters with close to 2000 men and with 12 planes and 24 helicopters), which passed over the northern blast site on the same day. The TV series appears as pure propaganda.

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