When I first saw the headline in the Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal, I thought it was a joke and wondered if the WSJ had started publishing satirical pieces. But when it appeared to be genuine that the EU was this year's recipient of the Nobel peace prize, I checked to see which other mainstream propaganda outlets were carrying the story. To my surprise it was real and I was immediately reminded of the absurdity of the US government's war commander-in-chief (assassination 'kill list' to boot) receiving the prize in 2009.
My second reaction was to write a satirical piece, putting forward an equally unlikely candidate organisation for a peace prize such as the Federal Reserve or U.S. Congress. But it would have been too easy to mock the Nobel committee and, in any event, like many others, I really wanted to know the reason behind the choice. Reading some of the comments on The Telegraph and The Guardian, it's clear there is an overwhelming sense of bewilderment and frustration at what a farce the Nobel peace prize has become.
Now, It's pretty clear that the European Union is no Mother Teresa! But what on earth is the reason behind the EU winning the (formerly) preeminent international peace prize? Here are some ideas I've come up with so far:
1. The committee has been corrupted by political and corporate influences
2. The committee has been tasked with extending the limits of Orwellian double-speak
3. A publicity stunt
4. A smokescreen
5. An insiders' joke
1. Political and Corporate Influence
I remember growing up with the illusion that the Nobel peace prize was a genuinely independent award based on merit and compassion which celebrated the achievements of individuals who have dedicated their lives to helping others. The 1979 recipient Mother Teresa and 1964's Martin Luther King were good examples of prize winners who had dedicated their lives to worthy causes. Mother Teresa was unique in that no explanation or justification was required to explain why she was awarded the prize.
The Nobel committee has, however, made controversial choices before now. By 'controversial', I mean that the committee's choice was obviously motivated by political and/or corporate interests. For example, death merchant Henry Kissinger was chosen in 1973. The man is a champion of global crimes against humanity, including four million deaths during the Vietnam War and indiscriminate bombing of Laos and Cambodia, and his notorious 1974 National Security Study Memorandum 200, which advocated genocide by recommending eliminating 500 million 'useless eaters'. In 2001, the Nobel peace prize was awarded jointly to the United Nations and Kofi Annan "for their work for a better organized and more peaceful world". Stephen Lendman writes
Throughout his tenure, Annan violated the UN Charter's mandate. It's to "save succeeding generations from the scourge of war...." Instead, he supported imperial lawlessness. He spurned peace. He never condemned or tried to end devastating Iraq sanctions. They killed around 1.5 million innocent men, women and children. He stood by, watched and did nothing. He never denounced America's lawless 2003 war. He was silent while Washington-led NATO ravaged Afghanistan. He supported the worst of Israeli crimes.
The 2007 peace prize was awarded jointly to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Albert Arnold (Al) Gore Jr., "for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change..." As we have since discovered, global warming is a complete fraud and Al Gore has very questionable ties to Big Oil and other industry players.
In his essay 'Politics and the English Language', George Orwell observes that political language serves to distort and obfuscate reality. The 'Peace' prize does exactly that when awarded to a U.S. President engaged in fighting simultaneous wars of aggression in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen and Pakistan. Awarding the 'Peace' prize to the EU is equally Orwellian doublespeak:
The EU has
- Complicity in the deaths of 1.5 million Iraqis as all EU member states joined the US in invading Iraq under the false pretext of non-existent WMDs.
- Complicity in the deaths of 40,000+ Afghans as all EU member states joined the US in invading Afghanistan under the false pretext of the 'War on Terror'.
- Complicity in the deaths of 40,000 Libyans as several key EU member states joined the US in bombing Libya back to the stone age.
- Complicity in the deaths of 30,000+ Syrians as several key EU member states joined the US in arming, training, funding and directing the Free Syrian Army aka al-Qaeda-in-Syria.
The official EU position supported and facilitated ALL of these illegal wars, with troops, funding, use of member states' air bases and other materiel. EU politburo arrests and trials for War Crimes Against Humanity are needed, not 'Peace' prizes.
The EU is currently engaged in an aggressive campaign of oppression against Iran. On 23 January 2012, the Council of the European Union released a report in which it restated its concerns about "the growth and nature of Iran's nuclear programme." As a result, the Council announced that it would levy an embargo on Iranian oil exports. Further, it stated that it would "freeze assets held by the Central Bank of Iran and forestall the trading of precious metals and petrochemicals to and from the country." These sanctions are causing substantial harm and loss of life in Iran. The imports of more than fifty kinds of badly needed medicine for people who suffer from certain diseases such as children's cancer, thalassemia, multiple sclerosis (MS) and respiratory and heart diseases, have declined drastically.
It is rather revealing of the true intentions of the EU that the award comes at a time that the leaders of Britain, Germany and France are arguing over who should retain control of the failed merger of British weapons manufacturer BAE Systems and its French equivalent EADS, into what would become one of the world's largest private war machines. Are those really the actions of peace-seeking nations?
The head of the Nobel prize committee,
Thorbjørn Jagland, is not shy of publicity. In May 1998 Jagland, then Prime Minister of Norway, claimed he was tricked by Synnøve Svabø into placing his hands on her breasts while on national television. As head of the committee Jagland is known in Norway for his frenzied pro-EU stance. He once called the EU "the greatest accomplishment of modern civilization". Somewhat fortuitously, the one member of the Nobel committee who has been adamantly opposed to Norway entering the EU, Ågot Valle, a former MP of the Socialist Left party, has been on sick leave lately and so took no part in this year's decision.
Since the controversial 2009 choice of Obama, the Nobel prize has received little attention. Did you know that in 2011 the Peace prize winners were Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkol Karman "for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women's rights to full participation in peace-building work"?
No. I didn't either until researching for this article. They sound like the kind of people who should be awarded a prize of this nature but because they received little press attention, the Nobel committee received no attention. Choosing the political Party institution that rules over 500 million Europeans, on the other hand, has brought the Nobel committee back into the public eye, so perhaps this is nothing more than a publicity stunt and fame-seeking from breast-grappler Jagland?
Another plausible reason for this year's outrageous decision comes from Robert Bridge:
It is a smokescreen; a diversionary tactic to draw attention away from the crimes of the central bankers and their political henchmen.
Nothing, however, can justify this year's Nobel Prize announcement, which proves that this institution has become a cynical tool of the global elite to keep the money flowing in one direction: to the bankers and corporations. Although many European countries have suffered under dictatorships, none of them are prepared for the dictatorship of massive debt and indentured servitude that awaits them. These once-proud nations have been transformed into hyper-dependent appendages of Brussels, who will probably not hesitate to send NATO forces to collect its monthly rent check.
This year's award couldn't have come at a better time for corrupt European technocrats and unelected officials allied to the bankers, who are in the process of destroying what remains of democracy in Europe by continuing full-steam ahead with plans for political union, governed centrally by unelected officials, of all EU member states. It's no wonder that Greeks were baffled by the award:
Greeks grappled today to understand why the Nobel committee awarded its annual peace prize to the institution that has been battering them with a barrage of austerity measures and pain.
For the past three years, the newly crowned European Union has been demanding a slew of painful cuts in exchange for two loan packages worth nearly €200bn (£160bn). To please its foreign creditors, Greece will have to yet again axe pensions in exchange for more aid.
"It's ridiculous to talk about peace in the EU when certain members [like Greece] are facing a severe type of financial war and indirect occupation," said 31-year-old Suzanna, an unemployed former bank trader. "It's a joke. People are trying to fight back for their rights here. What kind of peace are we talking about?"
The austerity measures have magnified Greece's recession - predicted to continue for a sixth continuous year - with a quarter of the population now officially jobless. Since the beginning of the crisis, unions have staged many protests against the EU's policies towards Athens. At least four people have died in the demonstrations.
With similar protests against crippling austerity programs in Spain and Portugal, awarding the peace prize only benefits those seeking to fulfill the political union agenda. Nigel Farage, MEP and UK Independence Party leader, appeared on BBC Daily Politics and pointed out the stark hypocrisy of this decision, listing the EU's oppressive policies, the removal of democracy, the institution's total disregard for the rule of law, its string-pulling to ensure that Brussels yes-men are planted as 'leaders' of national governments and the growing number of riots in many countries due to the EU's austere economic policies:
5. No Joke
In 1964, Jean Paul Sartre was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, but he refused to accept it. Herman Van Rompuy, president of the European Council, and José Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, said it was a "tremendous honour". It would, however, be far more honorable for them to refuse the award given the extraordinary controversy their political project has generated. Far from being a beacon for peace, the European Union supports the United States' wars of aggression and is itself waging economic war on its own people in order to force acceptance of centralised control over every aspect of their lives.
In many ways the committee's choice just goes to show how distant and increasingly out of touch with everyday people the political elite has become. That is why it seems like such a joke. This absurdity may be a step too far that will only further decay whatever remaining trust people have in their leaders. As for the Nobel committee, they have completely discredited and devalued themselves with their stark naked political posturing.
Mother Teresa, not to mention Martin Luther King, must be spinning in their graves. Kissinger, on the other hand, who sadly isn't dead yet, just keeps spinning BS.
Richard Swander joined Sott.net as an Editor in 2008. Rich has served as Department Head of international schools in the Middle East and South East Asia, where he taught business, economics and the impact of technology on society. Now back in the UK where he is teaching and running his IT solutions company, Rich works collaboratively with the Sott.net editorial team on Sott Focus articles, covers developments in technology, surveillance and the steady creep towards a Big Brother society. He also enjoys writing satirical articles and is a member of the Dot Connector Magazine editorial team.