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Monday, February 27, 2023, 14:38
UN must probe ‘intentional’ destruction of Nord Stream
By Minlu Zhang at the United Nations
Monday, February 27, 2023, 14:38 By Minlu Zhang at the United Nations

Gas emanates from a leak in the Nord Stream gas pipeline, in the Swedish economic zone, on Sept 28. (PHOTO / AFP)

A Chinese envoy to the United Nations said on Feb 21 more evidence shows that the destruction of the Nord Stream pipelines was “intentional”, and urged the UN to take an active role in safeguarding the security of cross-border infrastructure.

“As the most authoritative and representative international institution, the United Nations can play an active and constructive role in conducting international investigations and ensuring the security of transnational infrastructure,” Zhang Jun, China’s permanent representative to the UN, said at a UN Security Council meeting.

“More and more evidence shows that the destruction of the Nord Stream pipelines was not accidental, but intentional. From the standpoint of physical conditions, it is hard to imagine that nonstate actors are capable of such disruption alone,” he said.

At a meeting held by the Security Council in September last year, many countries called for an investigation into the incident “to restore the truth and identify those responsible”, Zhang said, adding that China’s position was the same. 

“China supports speeding up the investigation process and finding out the truth as soon as possible.”

In the context of globalization, Zhang said, countries are increasingly cooperating in the fields of energy, transportation and communications, and the construction of transnational infrastructure spreads across continents and oceans. 

“Any deliberate act of sabotaging transnational infrastructure is malicious,” he emphasized.

The envoy said that if the cause of the damage to the Nord Stream pipelines and the people responsible for the same were not identified, it would send “a wrong signal”, making those who intended to do such things think that they could do whatever they wanted.

“Conducting an objective, impartial and professional investigation into this matter, releasing the investigation results as soon as possible and pursuing relevant responsibilities are not only related to the incident itself, but also related to the security of global transnational infrastructure and... interests and concerns of every country,” Zhang said.

American economist Jeffrey Sachs and former CIA analyst Ray McGovern also briefed the Security Council at the meeting on Feb 21.

“The destruction of the Nord Stream pipelines required a very high degree of planning, expertise and technological capacity,” said Sachs, director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University.

A number of senior officials have publicly confirmed that an action of this magnitude must have been carried out by a state-level actor, Sachs said.

“Only a handful of state-level actors have both the technical capacity and access to the Baltic Sea. To have carried out this action, (potential nations) include the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, Poland, Norway, Germany, Denmark and Sweden, either individually or in some combination. Ukraine lacks necessary technologies as well as access to the Baltic Sea,” he said.

Sachs then excluded Russia. “A recent report by The Washington Post revealed that the intelligence agencies of the NATO members have privately concluded that there is no evidence whatsoever that Russia carried out this action,” he said. 

“Russia had no obvious motive to carry out this active terrorism on its own critical infrastructure. Indeed, Russia is likely to bear considerable expenses to repair the pipelines.”

He noted that Pulitzer Prizewinning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh published his investigation on Feb 8 that says the US partnered with Norway in June 2022 to plant remotely triggered explosives that took out three of the four Nord Stream pipelines.

“I hope that the United States, together with all other Security Council members will condemn this act of international terrorism and join ... an urgent Security Council-led investigation of this international crime in order to determine the truth,” Sachs said.

McGovern, the former CIA analyst, cited a comment about Hersh that he “attracts whistleblowers because he has a perfect record of protecting their identities and accurately publishing what they reveal after due diligence, despite the government denials and slanderous attacks that invariably follow”.

Zhang, the Chinese envoy, said the two speakers “reported important information and sound analysis”, and that China looks forward to convincing explanations from relevant parties. “Such a request is perfectly legal and reasonable,” he added.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said on Feb 20 that the Nord Stream pipeline explosions dealt a severe blow to the global energy market and the global natural environment. An objective, impartial and professional investigation into the explosions is called for, he said.

Weeks after Hersh said in a report that the United States Navy was involved in the Nord Stream explosions last year, Western mainstream media have remained largely silent, let alone done follow-up reports, experts say.

This, they say, demonstrates the hypocrisy and bias of Western news coverage.

Hersh, a Pulitzer Prize winner renowned in particular for uncovering the My Lai Massacre during the Vietnam War, wrote on the US portal Substack on Feb 8 that the Nord Steam pipelines attacks were orchestrated by the White House. The US Navy and the CIA were also involved, he said, citing an unnamed source.

If true, it could be “a terrorist act” committed by the US government against vital German infrastructure, Stephan Ossenkopp, a German scholar with the think tank Schiller Institute, told CGTN.

US mainstream media have by and large remained silent on Hersh’s claims. A week after the revelation, US online news portal Mint-Press reported that the 20 most influential news publications in the US, including CNN, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post, have essentially disregarded Hersh’s story. 

Four media outlets gave scant attention to it, such as a report of 100 words or so by Bloomberg.

European outlets including the BBC, The Guardian and most German newspapers have ignored it, the Washington-based online magazine Responsible Statecraft said on Feb 16.

Western mainstream media “intentionally ignores” Hersh’s report, said Ding Yifan, a research fellow at the Development Research Center of the State Council’s Institute of World Development in Beijing.

“Any story that goes beyond their values and stance will not be published,” Ding said. 

“Misinformation, or even disinformation, abounds in Western media, which is part of their public opinion war, or propaganda war. These are their tactics.”

Shao Xinying And Chen Yingqun contributed to this report.


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