Forged Document Seeks to Diminish European Support for Ukraine

In response to sanctions imposed by the West for its war in Ukraine, Russia slowed and then shut down natural gas flowing from its Nord Stream 1 pipeline into Europe. Nord Stream 2 has been sitting idle since its completion a year ago (despite being pressurized). But now massive leaks have been detected in both pipelines and it looks like sabotage. 

It is too early to detail the specifics of this likely sabotage. Reports are still coming in that will surely include misinformation. But this suspected sabotage did not come out of a clear blue sky. For example, in the weeks before this likely attack an interesting forged document that first showed up on a minor Swedish news website then was elevated on social media by a Russian embassy, the state-controlled network RT, and a major Russian TV news show (among others). The document was allegedly published in January 2022 by the RAND Corporation, a U.S. research institute that conducts high-level studies for the U.S. government. It purportedly makes the case for drumming up an energy crisis in Germany via the military conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

RAND has posted a disclaimer on its website decrying the phony executive summary, and telltale clues within the document provide signposts for the likely goals of its authors. 

The “executive summary,” marked “confidential” on the cover page, begins with a lament of the state of the U.S. economy and how the “continuing deterioration” is likely to hurt the Democratic Party in the 2022 election. One solution it proposes is for Germany to become more dependent on the U.S.:

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