For Immediate Release
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167
Nobel Prize for OPCW: Examining Both Organizations
WASHINGTON - OHN Y. JONES, jones at networkers.org
Jones is with Networkers SouthNorth. He said today: “If you think that 500 bureaucrats deserve the Nobel Peace Prize for doing their decent job, you are in line with the Norwegian Nobel Peace Prize Committee and its chair Torbjorn Jagland. But the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize for OPCW is a prize that kicks in open doors. No one is against the idea of a Chemical Weapons free world. A few superpowers are dragging their feet, though. Sadly, this event will not challenge them.” See: “U.N. Chief Urges Full Chemical Disarmament by 2018,” which notes: “The United States presently intends to wrap up destruction of its chemical arms by 2023.”
Jones adds: “The fight against the atrocious life and resource destructing mega wars in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan seems far beyond the radar of the Nobel Committee.”
FREDRIK HEFFERMEHL, fredpax at online.no
Author of The Nobel Peace Prize: What Nobel Really Wanted, Heffermehl, said today: “The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for 2013. This is a halfhearted step in the right direction. The Nobel Committee is correct in stating that disarmament figures prominently in Alfred Nobel´s testament, but why does it always hide that what Nobel wished to support was a great plan for how to create a durable peace? Nobel’s vision was to abolish not only certain weapons, like the chemical, but all weapons in all countries. Demilitarize international relations — not only civilize war but abolish it.”
RICHARD SILVERSTEIN, richards1052 at comcast.net, @richards1052, Skype: richards1052
Silverstein has written on security and other issues for a number of outlets and blogs at Tikun Olam. He said today: “Following the unwarranted award to Barack Obama, and now the OPCW, the Nobel Committee has shown its increasing irrelevance by not picking someone like Chelsea Manning or Edward Snowden. It seems to want to stay away from controversy, but how else could you really push for peace?”
Silverstein recently wrote the piece “Chemical Weapons and Moral Hypocrisy,” which states: “The U.S. and Russia both have chemical weapons programs. … Many analysts believe that Syria and Egypt developed their own chemical weapons capability as a form of insurance and deterrence against Israel’s nuclear weapons cache.”
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GEORGE MONBIOT, george at monbiot.info
In 2002, Monbiot wrote critical pieces about how the U.S. government was ousting Jose Bustani, who was then the head of the OPCW, because of his efforts to inspect alleged chemical weapons in Iraq and thus prevent war. Monbiot was featured on an IPA news release at the time: “Chemical Weapons Agency ‘Coup’?” Later, more revelations came out; see AP story in 2005: “Bolton Said to Orchestrate Unlawful Firing.” Bustani later prevailed in a legal case against the OPCW,
STEPHEN ZUNES, zunes at usfca.edu
Professor of politics and chair of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of San Francisco, wrote the piece “The U.S. and Chemical Weapons: No Leg to Stand On.”
He said today: “Under the Bush administration, the OPCW and its leadership was attacked and undermined because it dared to use inspections rather than unsubstantiated claims to determine the existence of these dangerous arsenals and peaceful means rather than war to eliminate them. Under the five years of tireless leadership under Jose Bustani, a Brazilian diplomat, the number of signatories of the treaty grew from 87 to 145 nations, the fastest growth rate of any international organization in recent decades, and his inspectors oversaw the destruction of two million chemical weapons, constituting two-thirds of the world’s chemical weapons facilities. However, because he insisted that the OPCW inspect U.S. chemical weapons facilities with the same vigor it did for other countries and his efforts to get Saddam Hussein’s Iraq to sign the Chemical Weapons Convention and open their facilities to surprise inspections would undermine U.S. claims that Iraq was still developing them, the Bush administration successfully forced his removal. …
“The subsequent OPCW leadership has been far weaker and more averse to challenging great power prerogatives, as indicated by the fact that they are currently in the process of eliminating Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal while the vast stockpiles belonging to U.S. allies Israel and Egypt remain intact. Nevertheless, the fact that the OPCW exists made it possible to avoid a U.S. attack on Syria and the likely disastrous consequences that would have resulted.”
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