Nord Stream terrorism, UN failure, and “Official Secrets”

The recent vote on the draft Security Council resolution seeking to establish an independent UN inquiry into the sabotage of the Russian-European-owned natural gas line, Nord Stream I and II, disappointed many observers. There is widespread disapproval of the current Swedish/Danish/German investigation because of its secrecy, refusal to share information with the Nord Stream owners and the fact that information is being shared with the USA which is widely considered responsible for this sabotage.

The headline for the UN report of the vote is rather misleading – see Security Council Rejects Draft Resolution Establishing CommissionΒ to Investigate Sabotage of Nord Stream Pipeline. In fact, the resolution was not rejected – it just failed to get the minimum 9 votes required for its consideration. It received the support of Brazil, China, and the Russian Federation. No country voted against it but the other nine members of the Security Council (Albania, the UK, Gabon, Ghana, Malta, Mozambique, the UAE, the US, France, Switzerland, Ecuador and Japan) abstained.

Despite the result, most speakers in the resulting supported the concept of transparency in the investigation, were concerned with the seriousness of the crime and wished to bring the perpetrators to justice. The speeches, in effect, supported the content of the draft resolution which, according to the UN report:

“would have requested the Secretary-General to establish an international, independent investigation commission to conduct a comprehensive, transparent and impartial international investigation of all aspects of the act of sabotage on the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines β€” including identification of its perpetrators, sponsors, organizers and accomplices.”

Interestingly, Dmitry Polyanskiy, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations, does not see the result as a complete failure. For example, he attributes the Danish authority’s invitation to the Nord Stream operator to investigate the object recently found close to a pipeline to the demand for transparency in speeches at the Security Council.

But why did the draft resolution fail to win the necessary support?

USA pressures UN Security Council members.

Simply the USA can influence the non-permanent members of the council to follow their lead. In this case, the abstentions meant the USA and UK did not need to use their veto vote – which would have looked bad. The US was confident that they had got sufficient abstentions to block the resolution without using their veto vote.

Of course, I cannot provide evidence of the arm-twisting, blackmail or other forms of pressure used in this case but over the years the USA has taken advantage of the fact that the UN is sited on US territory to pressure members. Here I will just refer to a well-documented case where the USA attempted to engage allies in a secret campaign of blackmail and pressure on non-permanent members to get a Security Council vote supporting a US/UK invasion of Iraq in 2003.

In this case, the evidence came fromΒ whistleblowerΒ Katharine Gun, who leaked a memo exposing an illegal spying operation by American and British intelligence services to gauge the sentiment of and potentially blackmail United Nations diplomats tasked to voteΒ on a resolution regarding theΒ 2003 invasion of Iraq.

This is portrayed in the film Official Secrets. There is a short video trailer below:

In 2003, Katharine Gun was a young specialist working for Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters. She exposed a highly confidential memo that revealed the United States’ collaboration with Britain in collecting sensitive information on United Nations Security Council members in order to pressure them into supporting the Iraq invasion. Gun leaked the memo to the press, setting off a chain of events that jeopardized her freedom and safety, but also opened the door to putting the entire legality of the Iraq invasion on trial.

The film β€œOfficial Secrets” premiered three years ago. This tells Katharine Gun’s incredible story – I have watched the film and found it very impressive.

At the time Democracy Now an independent, global YouTube weekday news hour spoke with Katharine Gun. It also spoke with The Observer newspaper journalists, Martin Bright and Ed Vulliamy who reported on Gun’s revelations.Β  And it interviewed Gavin Hood, the director of β€œOfficial Secrets.”

The interviews below are in two parts. They are rather long but provide a broad verification of the facts reported in the film and give a fascinating insight into the work of journalism when dealing with sensitive security matters.

Part 1:Β This U.K. Whistleblower Almost Stopped the Iraq Invasion. A New Film Tells Her Story

Part 2: 15 Years Later: How U.K. Whistleblower Katharine Gun Risked Everything to Leak Damning Iraq War Memo

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