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CONTACT: Institute for Public Accuracy (IPA)
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167
WASHINGTON - October 9 -
A Norwegian lawyer, Heffermehl is author of the book Nobel's Will, which argues that "since 1948 the parties in the Norwegian parliament have misused the Nobel Committee seats to reward party veterans lacking insight in the peace politics that Nobel wished to support. Over half of the awards since 1946 have not conformed with the intention of Nobel, who wished to change the international system in order to end wars and armaments."
Heffermehl said today: "When Nobel called upon the parliament of Norway to give his prize to 'champions of peace' he had in mind those who work for a fundamental change of the world where nations could safely abolish national military forces. Obama is light-years of improvement after Bush, but still I do not see him having any intention of abolishing his own or other military forces.
"In my book Nobels vilje (Nobel's Will, 2008) I argued that the Nobel Committee has a fantastic chance to make a relevant and useful contribution towards the world's most urgent problem, if they would only understand and use the prize to support the fundamental change of international relations that Nobel had in mind. They still have a great chance to improve. ..."
President of Veterans for Peace, Ferner said today: "Now you can promise change and international cooperation while ordering more drone bombings that kill innocent civilians -- and still get a Nobel Peace Prize. There's something wrong with this picture. ...
"I've seen what happens to people at the receiving end of bombs. For two years I took care of hundreds of wounded and dying soldiers coming back from Vietnam and Cambodia. Sadly, President Obama continues to rely on violence to carry out foreign policy." Ferner was arrested in front of the White House with 60 others on Monday protesting the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
"Past Peace Prize awardees include Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu, major forces in eliminating South African apartheid; Lech Walesa, who, as leader of the 'Solidarity' union, defied the power of the Communist Party to win rights for Polish workers; Mikhail Gorbachev, who presided over the end of the Soviet Union and helped end the Cold War; Rigoberta Menchu Tum, campaigner for human rights in Guatemala during the reign of the death squads; Jody Williams and the International Campaign to Ban Landmines; Dr. Linus Pauling, early leader in the movement to oppose the nuclear bomb; Doctors Without Borders; Mother Teresa and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
"Others have been nominated, sometimes more than once, like Kathy Kelly, coordinator of Voices in the Wilderness. This Chicago-based group organized over 70 citizen delegations to Iraq to report how sanctions were affecting people in that country during the 1990s. In addition, Kelly twice led delegations that literally camped out in the way of the U.S. invasions of Iraq in 1991 and 2003."