Archive for the ‘Nobel Peace Prize’ Category
By Jan Oberg
These two top officials behind major US wars (Iran/Afghanistan and Vietnam/Cambodia/Laos) and regime change (against Allende, Chile) will speak at the first of a new event, The Nobel Peace Prize Forum Oslo, created by the Nobel Institute in Oslo. More here.
The leaders of the two institutions declare that they are proud to have succeeded in getting these two diplomats to Norway – and the media of course will be there. The event is sponsored by the California-based company InCircl – a marketing and mobile payment company.
These two experts on warfare and interventionism will – Orwellian style – speak about “The United States and World Peace After The Presidential Election”.
This is the country that, since 1980, has intervened violently in Iran, Libya, Lebanon, Kuwait, Iraq, Somalia, Bosnia, Afghanistan, Sudan, Kosova/Serbia, Yemen, Pakistan, Syria, i.e. 14 Muslim countries. It has some 630 base facilities in 130+ countries. It has its US Special Forces (SOF) in 133 countries.
It has used nuclear weapons without apology and owns the second largest arsenal of nuclear weapons.
The US stands for about 40% of the world’s military expenditures, is the world’s leading arms exporter and has killed more people than anybody else since 1945. It’s the master of (imprecise) drone strikes. It presently supports Saudi Arabia’s bestial war on Yemen and conducts a military build-up in Asia and the Pacific planning, as it seems, for what looks like a future confrontation with China. And not with terribly positive results in its Middle East policies since 1945.
So with all these credentials, please tell us about world peace!
The U.S. should be seen as quite Read the rest of this entry »
By Jan Oberg
Added at the bottom on November 23, 2016:
The – bizarre – White Helmet Mannequin Challenge video;
The Swedish Institute of International Affairs’s event with the White Helmets on November 24;
The Right Livelihood Award Foundation’s Award Ceremony to take place on November 25
While thousands of humanitarian organisations around the world are struggling fiercely with diminishing support from governments and the public, one has achieved a surprising amount of support from Western governments in a surprisingly short period of time and gained a surprising attention from mainstream media and ditto political elites: The Syrian Civil Defence or White Helmets.
Their name of course makes you think of the UN’s Blue Helmets and white is the colour of those who should be protected in harm’s way – and the colour of innocence. However, for many years there has been an Argentinian relief organisation with the same name.
The SCD or White Helmets counts nearly 3.000 rescue workers who operate in very dangerous areas in rebel-held territories in Syria and claims that it has, in three years, rescued about 70.000 lives according to its Twitter account (or 65 per day).
Contrary to what you might think, it isn’t a Syrian organisation because Syria has its own organisation, incidentally also called Syria Civil Defence, which was established in 1953 and is registered with ICDO, the International Civil Defence Organisation, since 1972.
The White Helmets seems to have an annual budget of US$ 30 million and has raised a total support of well over US$ 100 million. And it seems that they operate exclusively in war zones in which the fighting against the Syrian government and the Syrian Arab Army takes place, i.e. in ‘liberated’ areas where hundreds of groups and some 80 countries, mainly NATO members, Gulf states and Saudi-Arabia, operate.
On the White Helmets’ briefing page it is stated that “funding for their humanitarian relief work is received from the aid budgets of Japan, Denmark, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States.”
Here is how the Foreign Ministry in Copenhagen explains the roughly US$ 9 million to the White helmets from Denmark, a country that bombs in both Iraq and Syria.
Other civil society and humanitarian organisations inside Syria have not been so fortunate. You’ve probably not heard that much about the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and its work? How much/little support have they received from Western humanitarian-concerned governments? And in general, civil society organisations in Syria – women, peace, human rights, culture, etc. – have received nothing like US$ 100 million in a few years and no one has such a flashy media appearance as the White Helmets.
The White Helmets was started in 2013 by James Le Mesurier who seems to have tried a little of everything everywhere, including the grey zones of special forces and intelligence in virtually all NATO wars, Yugoslavia in particular. He later set up a foundation in Holland to gather the funds. Here is a recent account by Scott Ritter, former US Marine Corps intelligence officer and weapons inspector in Iraq with tremendous knowledge of things Middle East:
“The organizational underpinnings of the White Helmets can be sourced to a March 2013 meeting in Istanbul between a retired British military officer, James Le Mesurier—who had experience in the murky world of private security companies and the shadowy confluence between national security and intelligence operations and international organizations—and representatives of the Syrian National Council (SNC) and the Qatari Red Crescent Society. Earlier that month, the SNC was given Syria’s seat in the Arab League at a meeting of the league held in Qatar.
At that meeting, the SNC assumed Syria’s seat, and the Arab League authorized member states to actively provide support, including arms and ammunition, to the Syrian rebels. The Qataris, working through the SNC, helped assemble for Le Mesurier $300,000 in seed money from Japan, the United States and the United Kingdom for a seven-day course designed to train and equip a 25-person rescue team, recruited by the SNC, for duty in so-called “liberated areas” of Syria. The SNC made available a pair of Syrian activists—Raed Saleh and Farouq Habib—to assist Le Mesurier in this work.
The group is – as will be seen below – treated as uncontroversial in virtually all Western mainstream media. However, there is enough material with documentation to merit caution. Read the rest of this entry »
By Johan Galtung
Alfaz, , Spain 13 October 2016
 Only the government side got the prize 7 October, not FARC; the same mistake as the 1971 prize only to Willy Brandt, not also Brezhnev and the 2000 prize to Kim Dae-jung, not also to North Korea. It takes (at least) two to make a handshake; one hand is only shaking the air.
 The agreement does not include ELN guerrilla and para-militaries, fighting against and for the status quo, with no indication they will continue doing so; possibly filling in for FARC and the government.
 Is the deal symmetric with both sides abstaining from violence, or rather asymmetric, disarming only FARC and bringing demobilized guerrilleros back to “normal” life, not also parts of the army?
 Crimes have been committed by all sides in Colombia–crimes mostly by omission by the government, and crimes of violence by commission by all parties–and justice is now not being served.
 The prize confuses cease-fire with peace, unlike the 1998 prize to Nelson Mandela and Willem de Klerk not only for cease-fire but for solving the underlying conflict of South Africa: equal dignity through democracy, by One Person-One Vote regardless of the skin color. Read the rest of this entry »
By Jan Oberg
1. In my view it is well within the will of Alfred Nobel to reward people who negotiate a peace agreement. In this perspective this year’s choice is better than several from the latest years.
2. That said, it is quite obvious that the Committee has deviated from its mandate in another respect. Nobel’s wish and will is about something already done that deserves to be rewarded.
This years’ choice – like, say, that of Al Gore and Obama – is a clear example of the Nobel Committee sliding into another role: that of influencing world events in the future. (And grossly exaggerate its own importance in Realpolitik terms beyond symbolic, normative celebrations and solemn words).
One indication that the Committee by its choice this year wants to influence the future is that visitors to its website can vote on whether or not they believe that the award will help the peace process in Columbia.
3. Why reward only one person, the government side? To award only one party to a peace agreement borders on the absurd.
Why did the Committee choose deliberately to not recognize and award the FARC side? Although I am not an expert Read the rest of this entry »
By Maired Maguire
“War is illegal and immoral, it has to end and it can be ended.’
Speech at the international meeting “Thirst For Peace”, Assisi September 18-20, 2016. Promoted by Community of Sant Egidio and Diocese of Assisi and Franciso Families.
I am happy to be here at this International Meeting and I would like to thank our hosts, for their invitation to attend. I have always been inspired by the lives of St. Francis and St. Clare, whom I believe are Icons of Christian Gospel Peace and Nonviolence.
Francis the man of action, steeped in empathy and love for all, and Clare a woman of prayer, whose love of God led her into the depth of mysticism and peace.
Francis and Clare lived in a time of violence and war, yet they choose to live the nonkilling/nonviolence of Jesus. Francis as a youth fighting in his local military, knew well how to wield a sword, yet he choose to follow the command of Jesus to Peter, when he told him to put up his sword and healed the Soldier’s ear.
He left the military to live in poverty and service, and together with Clare, and his followers refused to take up arms. Francis and Clare, in the midst of much feudal violence, choose to follow the Christian nonviolence manifesto ‘the Sermon on the Mount’.
For many people in Europe and the world, challenged by growing violence and injustice, the lives of these two great 13th century Saints gives us hope and inspiration.
Pope Francis, following in the steps of St. Francis, gives us all hope as he challenges us to work for the abolition of the death penalty, ending poverty, the arms race, nuclear weapons, and environmental destruction, etc.,
However, I believe we need a clear renunciation of the ‘just war’ theory (a phoney piece of morality in the words of the late Fr. John L. McKenzie) and I add my voice to those appealing to Pope Francis for an Encyclical on Peace and Nonviolence, calling Christians to rejection militarism and war and to follow a Peace theology in keeping with the teachings of the Nonviolent Jesus.
This would give great Spiritual leadership not only to Europe but to Humanity.
I believe Europe today Read the rest of this entry »
By Mairead Maguire
Press Release 19th April, 2016
Nobel Peace Laureate, Mairead Maguire, co-founder of The Peace People and TFF Associate, says from Rome:
“I believe we are at an important and hopeful turning point in human history – from violence to nonviolence and from war to peace”
Laity and religious meeting in Rome appeal to Pope Francis to share with the world an encyclical on nonviolence and just peace and for the church to no longer use or teach ‘Just War theory’
It was a joy for me to join eighty people from around the world meeting in Rome 11-12th April, 2016, to contribute to the important discussion ‘Nonviolence and Just Peace Contributing to the Catholic Understanding of and Commitment to Nonviolence’.
Members of the three day event co-hosted by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and the International Catholic Peace Movement Organization, Pax Christi, strongly called on Pope Francis ‘to share with the world an encyclical on nonviolence and Just Peace; and on the Church to ‘no longer use or teach ‘just war theory’; and continue advocating for the abolition of war and nuclear weapons’.
The statement of Appeal to the Pope also said:
‘We believe there is no ‘just war’. Too often the ‘just war theory’ has been used to endorse rather than prevent or limit war. Suggesting that a ‘just war’ is possible also undermines the moral imperative to develop tools and capacities for nonviolent transformation of conflict’.
The gathering in Rome consisted of lay people, theologians, members of religious congregations, priests and bishops from Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Oceania and the welcoming address was given by Cardinal Turkson of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, who read a Statement from Pope Francis.
The Final Statement Read the rest of this entry »
By Mairead Maguire
Address by Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate and TFF Associate, to Rome Conference on NATO
Friday 29th January, 2016.
I believe we, the human family, have no less a task before us, than transforming our thinking and mind-sets of violence and war, and moving to a demilitarized Europe and World. Einstein once said that everything has changed but our thinking. However, there is hope as indeed our thinking is changing and there is a growing consciousness that violence, whether it comes from State or non-state actors, is wrong, violence does not work, violence is not the way.
However, around the world, we, the people, are in danger of being overpowered and dis-spirited by increasing violence, militarism and war. Many people can see that many Political Leaders can no longer imagine a just peace, and under the guise of allegedly ‘just wars’ and unbounded preparation for war, they are leading us into repeated cycles of violence profoundly counter to the spirit of love and friendship residing in the heart of humanity.
But there is Hope and it resides with the People, who are great and are mobilizing and uniting across the Globe to bring about much needed change, and rejecting violence and war.
The World Health Organization has said that ‘Violence is a preventable disease’ and people are not born violent, rather we all live in cultures of violence. This can be changed through nonviolent peacemaking and the pursuit of ‘just peace’ and nurturing of cultures of peace. Using active nonviolence, based on love of enemies and nonkilling, can bring about a real peace that is just, inclusive and sustainable.
In Northern Ireland we faced violence from all sides, for over thirty years, as we lived in a deep ethnic/political conflict. This violence only ended when everyone acknowledged that militarism and para-militarism could not solve our human problems, and only through unconditional, all inclusive dialogue and negotiations could we reach a political agreement based on nonviolence, forgiveness, compromise and co-operation.
We spoke to ‘our enemies’ and made peace with them, because we recognized that without Peace nothing is possible, and with Peace, everything is possible.
We also began to tackle the root causes of our violence, by making painful policy changes.
Today in Belfast, it is good for all its citizens to live in a City at Peace, but we all acknowledge that our Peace process is a work in progress and we continue to work on justice forgiveness and reconciliation.
We meet at a time when, I believe, Europe is facing a cross-roads and hard choices regarding policies and priorities have to be made by all. Today’s refugees, migrant challenge, has shown the best and the worst of European values, via television beamed onto our screens to the world.
The best have been the compassionates response Read the rest of this entry »
By Mairead Maguire
Nobel Peace Laureate, Co-Founder Peace People, Ireland and TFF Associate
When the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, the Irish Military, Government Members, and many Irish people gathered in Dublin, on Easter Sunday 27th March, 2016 to remember the Easter Rising of l9l6, some of his challenging words were addressed to the young generation.
He encouraged them ‘to imagine and to dream‘ and he said ‘we wish them well as they make music and continue to dream’. The Leaders of l9l6 had political hopes and dreams. President Higgins said ‘For the leaders of l9l6, their political hopes and aspirations for what a free Irish Republic might be, were linked to a rich Irish culture which they cherished and promoted.
Within that vision, their ancient Irish language and culture, informed by our history and migration, was central to everything for which they hoped and fought.’
I believe the men of l9l6 had a democratic right to their dreams of Irish self-determination and to work for Irish Freedom, but the violent method by which they fought for freedom was ethically and morally wrong. Read the rest of this entry »
By Jan Oberg
Five years ago
In 2011 when it all began, an educated conflict analyst or otherwise conflict competent person would have said about the conflict in Syria that it was a very complex thing, caused by history, environment, traumas, external factors, the economic situation, etc. And that al-Assad and his government was certainly an important reason but far from the only one.
The conflict expert would have warned against at last four ways of thinking:
a) any interpretation that put all the good people on one side and all the bad people on the other – because there are no conflicts in the world with only two such parties;
b) any idea that the conflict could be solved by siding with the presumed good ones and going against the bad one(s);
c) every attempt to ‘weaponise’ the conflict and increase the level of violence, the duration of the conflict and the human suffering;
d) any and every idea that foreigners would know better than the Syrians themselves – government, opposition and citizens in civil society – what should be a solution.
Finally – the professional conflict and peace worker would have maintained that you can’t make peace by asking one person – not even brilliant ones like Kofi Annan or Staffan di Mistura – with a small team around him and some shuttle diplomacy to succeed with facilitation, consultations, brainstorming, proposal-making, mediation and, finally, some kind of negotiations leading to a peace agreement in what is undoubtedly one of the most complex and ‘hard’ conflicts on earth.
Peace-making requires a completely different approach to not just be a pawn in the wider war game – a game that according to Al-Jazeera today encompasses some 900 military groups – add to that government forces and all the political and civil groups that don’t carry weapons: 1500?
Five years later – at least 250.000 dead people, 3 million refugees and 6,5 million internally displaced people, cities, economy, cultural heritage destroyed – anyone can see that no one listened to such simple conflict rules of thumb.
Conflict and peace illiteracy
The self-appointed and completely un-educated, peace-makers of the international community – presidents, prime and foreign ministers of the US, NATO, Russia, etc. – did about everything else.
It seems to not even occur to them or to the media that Read the rest of this entry »
By Jan Oberg
Lund, Sweden, February 11, 2016
Thanks to tabloidization – a concept rapidly integrated into even quality mainstream media – you’ve probably heard that Donald Trump has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize 2016.
Well, that prize has been thrown out to so many who didn’t qualify according Alfred Nobel’s will – not even with a very liberal interpretation.
But there are two things you may not have seen which have very far-reaching implications and are much more news worthy.
Court case against the Nobel Foundation
One is that three individuals and an NGO filed a brief to open a court case against the Nobel Foundation – and thus implicitly the Nobel Committee in Oslo – to the Stockholm District Court in December 2015 – all about it here.
It’s never happened before and is the result of 8 years of intensive research and public information that you can read about at the Nobel Peace Prize Watch – NPPW.
Its focal case is the prize awarded to the EU about which Desmond Tutu and others have stated that the EU was “obviously not one of champions of peace that Nobel had in mind.”
Open list of nominees for 2016 who do qualify
The other one is that a list has been published of 25 qualified nominees Read the rest of this entry »