Donald Trump Jr shared a meme accusing Greta Thunberg of being behind the Nord Stream pipeline explosions, echoing a conspiracy theory that has been picked up in conservative circles in the last week since the natural gas lines erupted.
The meme, which shows the young climate activist photoshopped in front of Nord Stream with explosives strapped around one of the pipelines, was shared by the former president’s son on Truth Social on Thursday night.
“I could be wrong but my understanding is this is not photo shopped,” wrote Mr Trump Jr alongside the meme, which has since gained traction on Twitter.
On Thursday, a fourth leak was discovered on the “sabotaged” Nord Stream pipelines, the Swedish coastguard has revealed. Authorities have so far been unable to determine the direct cause of the explosions on the pipelines, which carry natural gas from Russia to Europe, or who was responsible if the explosions were indeed deliberate, but some Western leaders have begun to point fingers in the direction of Moscow.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki claimed the leaks were intentional and that they “probably mark the next step of escalation of the situation in Ukraine”, while Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen described them as “deliberate acts”, noting the incident was not “an accident.”
For its part, Russia has outrightly rebuffed any accusations of involvement in the geopolitical quagmire, which ensnares many European nations as the leaks have occurred in international waters – two near Sweden and two near Denmark.
“It happened in the trade and economic zones of Denmark and Sweden. They are Nato-centric countries. They are countries that are completely controlled by the US intelligence services,” said foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova on Thursday.
In Russian state media, accusations of US involvement in undersea ruptures were more pointed, with spy Sergei Naryshkin telling Interfax news agency that, “We have materials that point to a Western trace in the organization and implementation of these terrorist acts.”
While the US has outrightly denied any involvement in the leaks, conservatives in the country have begun picking up the Russian line that the West played a role.
“Blow up the Nord Stream pipelines? OK, we’ve entered a new phase, one in which the United States is directly at war with the largest nuclear power in the world,” said the Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson on his prime-time programme this week.
Echoing those claims was far-right activist and radio talk show host Charlie Kirk, who suggested that the rupture could’ve been staged by the US as part of an alleged “midterm election operation”.
“If this was an act of the Central Intelligence Agency, the CIA -- which, again, is just speculation. It’s very important. How does that get us closer to peace? Is this a potential midterm election operation?” asked the host before noting that he was just “asking a question”.
“The intelligence agency … they’re guilty until proven innocent in this situation. They’re going to have to prove to us it wasn’t them given the evidence that they were, basically, saber-rattling and threatening that they were going to do it,” he said before noting that he “prayed” it wasn’t the CIA and preferred that it was instead “Greenpeace”.
For their part, the US has outrightly denied any involvement in the rupture and has said that they’re willing to support their European allies in this “apparent sabotage”, US state department spokesman Ned Price late on Tuesday. “The United States remains united with our allies and partners in our commitment to promoting European energy security,” he said.
Outside of the louder right-wing platforms who have been teasing this theory that the US might have played a role, or even climate activist Ms Thunberg, the line has also begun picking up online in conservative circles.
“Nord Stream has been compromised. No seismic activity noted following the blast that occured.Methane being released into Baltic Sea, pollution galore. Where is Greta and her Minions,” tweeted Republican Michael Goldstein, who ran an unsuccessful bid for the GOP ticket in the US House to represent Connecticut’s 4th Congressional District in the summer.
Nord Stream has been compromised. No seismic activity noted following the blast that occured.Methane being released into Baltic Sea, pollution galore. Where is Greta and her Minions. Why is the world Silent? Ban Cows is a big outcry for the Globalists.????????? https://t.co/9uDKD02em9
— Michael Goldstein 🇺🇸 (@DrMGoldstein) September 29, 2022
“That’s so crazy the pipeline Biden promised to take out got taken out,” tweeted alt-right activist Jack Michael Posobiec, incorrectly referring to a quote from Mr Biden back in February where he stated if Russia invades Ukraine, “there will be no longer a Nord Stream 2. We will bring an end to it.”
That's so crazy the pipeline Biden promised to take out got taken out
— Jack Posobiec XLV (@JackPosobiec) September 29, 2022
Officials inside the US have dismissed the unproven theory being courted on right-wing media and propped up and platformed on social media as outright wrong.
“A U.S. official said the United States had nothing to do with the attack on the Nord Stream pipeline, calling the idea ‘preposterous’,” tweeted Washington Post national security journalist John Hudson.
A U.S. official said the United States had noting to do with the attack on the Nord Stream pipeline, calling the idea “preposterous."
— John Hudson (@John_Hudson) September 28, 2022
Moscow has also claimed the explosions would allow the US to send more gas to Europe.