Published: 14:05, March 13, 2023 | Updated: 14:07, March 13, 2023
Call for Nord Stream investigation
By Yifan Xu in Washington

Experts at webinar seek international probe to discover truth about gas pipeline blasts

A gas leak is seen at the Nord Stream 2 pipeline on Sept 27 from a Danish F-16 jet off the Baltic island of Bornholm, south of Dueodde. (PHOTO / AFP)

Experts called for an international investigation into the destruction of Nord Stream pipelines during a recent webinar.

Helga Zepp-LaRouche, the founder of the Schiller Institute, a political and economic think tank in Germany that hosted the webinar, said the truth about what happened to the natural gas pipelines is “enormous in its implications”.

For the world public to understand what is involved may be the last chance to stop the acceleration of the strategic situation into a “global nuclear war”, she said at the Feb 23 

webinar titled “Investigate Nord Stream Revelations: Stop Nuclear World War III”.

Two Russian pipelines under the Baltic Sea, connecting with Germany and carrying natural gas to Europe, exploded on Sept 26, leaking large amounts of gas into the water.

It has not yet been officially concluded which country or actor conducted the blasts, while the investigation by Swedish, Danish and German authorities is ongoing.

However, Seymour Hersh, a veteran US journalist and Pulitzer Prize winner, exposed the US Navy’s involvement in the explosions in a report on the US portal Substack last month, featuring numerous details from an anonymous source.

John Kirby, the spokesman for the US National Security Council, and other US officials called the report false and repeatedly denied that the United States was involved.

The latest update on the pipelines came on March 7, as US intelligence officials suggested that a pro-Ukrainian group carried out the sabotage, but no evidence was forthcoming that showed President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine or other government officials were involved in the operation.

“Now, what is most amazing? It was admitted by the German, Danish and Swedish governments that it was sabotage, but they did not reveal any of the findings by saying that this investigation is ongoing, and because of state reasons they cannot reveal anything more,” said Zepp-LaRouche.

“Now, Hersh, one should emphasize, and it is important to emphasize, is probably the most decorated investigative journalist in the entire transatlantic world.”

Zepp-LaRouche also noted that US President Joe Biden last year said “we have ways to end Nord Stream 2” 

if Russia “invades” Ukraine. He made the remarks at a joint news conference in Washington in the presence of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Feb 7, 2022.

“Whatever one’s opinion of Seymour Hersh is, he can hardly be described as a Russian influence or agent of influence,” said Ralph Bosshard, a retired Swiss lieutenant colonel, in the webinar.

“All in all, Mr Hersh’s article seems to me quite credible,” said Bosshard.

Russia proposed a draft resolution at a United Nations Security Council meeting last month, calling for the formation of an international commission of independent lawyers to investigate the explosion.

China announced that it supports a UN-led investigation, but the US has opposed Russia’s draft resolution. Zepp-LaRouche supported an international investigation involving Russia.

She said the explosion occurred when demonstrations against the Russian sanctions in Germany had reached a point at which people demanded that Nord Stream 2 be opened so that the energy prices would go down.

“And Germany and the entire EU, rather than getting cheap gas from Russia, have now a very far-reaching energy dependency (on) the United States,” Zepp-LaRouche said.

“We are faced with the total danger of deindustrialization in Germany, (and) a social collapse that will follow.

“It is even worse. Germany has become a pawn in the strategy by the unipolar world faction, based on the Anglo-American special relationship, to maintain the unipolar world order at a point when de facto it no longer exists,” she added.

“That is why we have to have an immediate international investigation with the participation of Russia,” Zepp-LaRouche said.

Another webinar participant, Francis Boyle, a human rights lawyer and professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law, described the destruction of Nord Stream as “an act of war and a war crime”, referencing the Rome Statute and the International Criminal Court, or ICC, because the pipelines, as civilian objects, were attacked intentionally.

Boyle said that although the US is not a party to the Rome Statute, it is a codification of the customary international laws of war that apply worldwide.

If Hersh’s allegation is real, the planning for this was done on the territory of Norway and in cooperation with Norwegian military authorities, Boyle said.

“What that means, then, is that it would be subject to the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court,” he said.

“That is, US government officials were responsible for planning, preparing, conspiring and actually committing a Rome Statute war crime on a Rome Statute state, in this case, Norway, so it could be prosecuted by the International Criminal Court, and the ICC only deals with high-level officials.”

Boyle revealed that he did draft a bill of impeachment against Biden for “committing non-neutral acts, belligerent acts, and acts of war”.