Investigating the terrorist attack on Nord Stream is a matter of Germany’s sovereignty

Apr 1, 2023
Flag of Germany and Russia painted on a concrete wall with gas pipe shadow. Relationship between EU and Russia.

Who was behind the terrorist attacks on Nord Stream?

Half a year after the pipeline explosions, there is growing public interest in finally learning more about the circumstances of the attacks on what is important energy infrastructure for Germany and Europe. This is due to the versions of events published in the New York Times and the Hamburg weekly DIE ZEIT, in “research” collaboration with public broadcasting media, which came out almost simultaneously just days after Germany’s Chancellor Scholz and US President Biden met behind closed doors in the White House in early March. In contrast to the benign resonance this found in the press, the revelations by US investigative journalist Seymour Hersh published a few weeks earlier, stating that the United States and Norway were responsible for the terrorist attack, were either ignored or discredited – as was the latest follow-up from Hersh alleging that the US and German secret services provided the press with false information about the said alternative narrative. This is thoroughly strange, given that the accounts in the New York Times and DIE ZEIT give rise to more questions than they answer.

The story that a “pro-Ukrainian group” of six private individuals is supposed to be responsible for the complex terrorist attacks on Nord Stream on 26 September 2022, without being in contact with Ukraine’s leaders, contradicts the reports that the German Government and its subordinate authorities had previously given to parliament, according to which the only plausible perpetrators were state actors. Numerous experts, including Commander Göran Swistek, maritime security specialist at the government-aligned think tank German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) in Berlin, agree that a terrorist attack of this scale and complexity will have required not only time-consuming preparation but also, and above all, a lot of expertise and corresponding resources and could not have been carried out by a small group acting autonomously. It is indeed a stretch to imagine a small group without state or secret service support transporting two tonnes of explosives and diving equipment on a yacht only 15 metres long and then positioning them unnoticed, without possessing a decompression chamber, in several dives at what happens to be one of the deeper points of the Baltic Sea, 80 metres down.

Even a confidential hearing held by the Bundestag Committee on Foreign Affairs on 15 March 2023, to which the investigating Federal Prosecutor’s Office and the Federal Intelligence Service were invited at the initiative of the Left Party opposition parliamentary group, was unable to resolve the obvious contradictions in the supposed investigation findings and the circumstances of the terrorist attack. On the contrary, after that meeting, the impression has been reinforced that the German government and its investigative authorities by themselves lack the power and the will needed to illuminate the circumstances of the attack.

Getting to the bottom of the terrorist attack on Nord Stream is a matter of the sovereignty of the Federal Republic of Germany in two respects. First, it was an unprecedented assault on Germany’s energy sovereignty. To anyone watching from outside, it must seem downright absurd that broad swathes of Germany’s political community and media apparently have no interest at all in having the circumstances properly investigated. On the contrary, the reactions of German politicians and journalists reveal pleasure – sometimes more blatant, sometimes less – at this infrastructure, unloved particularly in transatlantic-leaning political circles, finally being destroyed. The fact that the destruction of the Nord Stream pipeline caused a further rise in gas prices which have put vast additional pressure on private households and businesses and jeopardised the survival of some sectors has no place in that thinking.

Second, the German Government’s inability or unwillingness to brief parliament and the public with investigative findings that stand up to scrutiny, half a year after the terrorist act, raises serious doubts about its sovereignty in foreign and security policy. It stands to reason that the Government’s supine behaviour has its cause in Germany’s almost complete subordination to US interests. As with the incubation of and response to the Ukraine war, the German Government is not able to break free, in the interests of its own people, of its vassalage to the US Administration. Let us not forget, on that point, the remarkable press conference at the White House on 7 February 2022, when US President Joe Biden announced, without a word to the contrary from Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz, that the United States would “bring an end” to the pipeline if Russia invaded Ukraine. In the same spirit, at a hearing in the US Congress on 26 January 2023, Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland revealingly told Senator Ted Cruz of her gratification at knowing that the terrorist act had left Nord Stream “a hunk of metal at the bottom of the sea”.

Especially in view of Seymour Hersh’s latest allegations that Federal Chancellor Scholz, irrespective of whether he had prior information about the destruction of the pipeline, “has clearly been complicit since last fall in support of the Biden Administration’s cover-up of its operation in the Baltic Sea”, we urgently need an international commission of inquiry under the supervision of the United Nations, not least so that the lead casting suspicion on the United States can even be followed up. Actual investigation of the explosions on the two Nord Stream pipelines is moreover a high global priority, as US economist Jeffrey Sachs rightly pointed out in a recent hearing on the matter before the UN Security Council. After all, not only did this act of international terrorism cause huge economic losses for the states involved; the attack is also a danger to peace and a threat to the security of the cross-border critical infrastructure of all states around the world.

US Democrat Dennis Kucinich has pointed out that, if the national investigative authorities responsible are unwilling or unable to discover the truth, this act of aggression ought to be investigated by the International Criminal Court. The fact is that neither Germany or Sweden nor Denmark, in whose territory the attack took place and which, as a State Party to the Rome Statute, comes under the remit of the International Criminal Court, have yet given any public account of the results of their investigations.

The lack of investigation into the Nord Stream terrorism is a millstone on the sovereignty of the Federal Republic of Germany and the EU countries involved, and it has global ramifications. For the sake of all states and people around the world, such an act of international terrorism cannot be left uninvestigated.

Share and Enjoy !

Subscribe to John Menadue's Newsletter
Subscribe to John Menadue's Newsletter


Thank you for subscribing!