by Stephen Lendman
www.zmag.org, October 19, 2007
Alfred Nobel was a wealthy nineteenth
century Swedish-born chemist, engineer, inventor of dynamite,
armaments manufacturer and war profiteer who remade his image
late in life by establishing the awarding of prizes in his name
that includes the one for peace. This most noted award was inspired
by his one-time secretary and peace activist, Bertha von Suttner,
who was nominated four times and became the first of only 12 women
to be honored.
Since it was established in 1901, the
Peace Prize was awarded to 95 individuals and 20 organizations.
Some recipients were worthy like Martin Luther King, Jane Addams
and Albert Schweitzer but too many were not including this year's
honoree. Al Gore joins a long list of past "ignoble"
recipients like warrior presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow
Wilson and supporter of rogue regimes Jimmy Carter. He's also
among the likes of genocidists Henry Kissinger and three former
Israeli prime ministers - Menachem Begin, Shimon Peres and Yitzhak
Rabin - along with former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan who
never met a US-led war he didn't love and support. So much for
promoting peace and what this award is supposed to signify. More
on this below.
Almost anyone can be nominated for the
prize and look who were but didn't get it - Adolph Hitler, Benito
Mussolini, Joseph Stalin and more recently George W. Bush, Tony
Blair and Rush Limbaugh laughably. In contrast, one of the most
notable symbols of non-violence in the 20th century, Mahatma Gandhi,
was nominated four times but never won. More recently, anti-war
activist Kathy Kelly, co-founder of Voices in the Wilderness,
now known as Voices for Creative Nonviolence, got three nominations
but was passed over each time for less deserving candidates. Her
"reward" instead was to be sentenced in 2004 to three
months in federal prison for crossing the line into Fort Benning,
Georgia in protest against the School of the Americas, now known
as the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation that's
commonly called "the school of assassins."
Peace Prize Awards to War Criminals
Henry Kissinger was likely the most noted
war criminal ever to win the Nobel Prize (in 1973 with Vietnam's
Le Duc Tho who declined his award saying there was no peace in
his country). The sheer scope of his crimes is breathtaking:
-- three to four million Southeast Asian
deaths in the Vietnam war,
-- the bloody overthrow of a democratic
government in Chile and support for Latin American dictators,
-- backed Surharto's takeover of West
Papua and his invasion of East Timor killing hundreds of thousands,
-- supported the Khmer Rouge early on
and its reign of terror rise to power,
-- backed Pakistan's "delicacy and
tact" in overthrowing Bangladesh's democratically elected
government causing a half million deaths, and much more around
the world as National Security Advisor and Secretary of State
for Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford.
Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan
and the world body he represented won their award in 2001 "for
their work for a better organized and more peaceful world."
It wasn't for what Annan did in his various UN roles. Early on,
he had a position in the Secretariat's services department in
New York. He then got subordinate responsibility for the Middle
East and Africa in the "special political affairs" department.
There his support for Washington's call for troops to be sent
to Somalia in the early 1990s helped put him in charge of all
peacekeeping operations in February, 1993. In that role, he prevented
measures from being taken to stop the impending Rwanda slaughter
he was warned about in advance that caused around 800,000 deaths
on his watch. He also kept the Security Council uninformed of
what was coming.
At the behest of then UN Ambassador Madeleine
Albright and without consulting Secretary-General Boutras-Boutras-Ghali,
Annan sided with the Clinton administration's authorization of
NATO to illegally bomb Serb positions in Bosnia in 1995. It got
him the Secretary-General's job in January, 1997 in which one
observer noted he "courted the wrath of the developing world
by rejecting anticolonialism in favor of moral principles cherished
in the West."
Kofi Annan's Nobel award is a testimony
to hypocrisy for a man whose ten years as Secretary-General failed
to fulfill the mandate he was sworn to uphold: "to save succeeding
generations from the scourge of war; to reaffirm faith in fundamental
human rights; to establish conditions (promoting) justice....equal
rights of men and women (in all nations and respect for) international
law (and) social progress....to ensure....armed force shall not
During his ten year tenure in the top
UN job, Annan:
-- supported Iraqi economic sanctions
that caused around 1.5 million deaths including over one million
children under age five;
-- backed the Bush administration's illegal
2003 Iraq invasion and occupation that's now taken an additional
1.2 million or more lives;
-- supported the illegal Afghanistan war
-- remained mute on the possibility of
a wider war with Iran even if it includes first strike nuclear
-- made no efforts to work for peace in
the Middle East including in Occupied Palestine nor did he denounce
Israel's 2006 war of aggression against Lebanon;
-- remained loyal to the West and ignored
the plight of his own people throughout the African continent
including the immiseration of South African blacks post-apartheid;
-- allowed thuggish paramilitary Blue
Helmets to occupy Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo, the Democratic Republic
of the Congo, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Liberia, Ivory Coast and Sudan.
More on UN peacekeeping below.
Kofi Annan's sole achievement was his
uncompromising complicity with the Clinton and Bush administrations'
worst crimes of war and against humanity. His loyalty earned him
the Nobel award that signified nothing to do with peace he disdained.
UN Peacekeeping Forces got the Nobel award
in 1988 for missions the UN defines as "a way to help countries
torn by conflict create conditions for sustainable peace."
Blue Helmets supposedly are sent to conflict and post-conflict
areas to perform multiple services that include as top priority
restoring order, maintaining peace and security and providing
for the needs of people during transitional periods until local
governments can take over on their own.
Most often, Blue Helmets end up creating
more conflict than resolution and function mainly as unwanted
paramilitary enforcers or occupiers. At other times, they become
counterproductive or ineffective and end up doing more harm than
good. Since 1948, over five dozen peacekeeping operations have
been undertaken. Most were dismal failures including the first
ever UNTSO mission during Israel's so-called "War of Independence."
The operation is still ongoing after nearly 50 years, peace was
never achieved, Blue Helmets are there but play no active role,
and the world community is silent in the face of Israeli crimes
of war and against humanity.
The same condition is true in Haiti where
for the first time in UN history MINUSTAH peacekeepers were deployed
to enforce a coup d'etat against a democratically-elected president.
They disdain peace and stability and function instead as paramilitary
occupiers indiscriminately terrorizing and killing unarmed civilians
in service to Western capital.
Three former Israeli prime ministers also
got Nobel Peace Prizes - Menachem Begin in 1978 and Yitzhak Rabin
and Shimon Peres in 1994. All three men committed crimes of war
and against humanity as did all other Israeli prime ministers
since David Ben-Gurion took office May 14, 1948 after the new
State of Israel declared it independence as an exclusive Jewish
state. Nonetheless, the Nobel Committee awarded them its highest
honor for furthering the cause of peace they disdained by using
their position to inflict on the Palestinian people what Edward
Said once said was Israel's "refined viciousness." Menachem
Begin was a particularly virulent racist and Arab hater calling
Palestinians "two-legged beasts" and saying Jews were
the "Master Race" and "divine gods on this planet."
Then there's the current Nobel Peace Prize
honoree, Al Gore. CounterPunchers Alex Cockburn and Jeff St. Clair
wrote the book on him in 2000 titled "Al Gore: A User's Manual."
It's a critical account of a "man whom his parents raised
from birth to be president of the United States" and who
always put politics over principle. He built his credentials for
the high office around pro-business, pro-war, anti-union and phony
environmental advocacy as no friend of the earth then so who can
believe he's one now.
His 1992 book "Earth in the Balance"
was more theater than advocacy. In it, he assessed the forces
of planetary destruction that included air and water pollution,
soil erosion, deforestation, overpopulation, ozone depletion and
global warming. He highlighted the impact of auto emissions and
need to phase out the internal combustion engine but made no effort
in office to do it.
Then as vice-president he used his "green
credentials" to sell the pro-business, anti-worker, anti-environmental
NAFTA to the environmental movement. He also supported clear-cutting
logging practices including in old-growth areas. He ignored an
assessment that this practice risked the extinction of hundreds
of species. He backed a 1995 spending bill "salvage logging
rider" that opened millions of National Forest lands to logging
and exempted sales of the harvest from environmental laws and
judicial review for two years. He and Clinton further allowed
South Florida's sugar barons to devastate thousands of Everglades
acres and gave away consumer Delaney Clause protection that kept
carcinogens out of our food supply.
Throughout his political life, Gore supported
Big Oil and was tied to Occidental Petroleum Company and its "ruthless
tycoon" chief, Armand Hammer. In return for supporting company
interests, he got political favors and patronage from Hammer and
his successor, Ray Irani who was a major DNC contributor and got
to sleep in the Lincoln bedroom as a bonus reward. He's also been
a shill for the nuclear industry that won't solve or even alleviate
global warming and the threat it poses according to nuclear expert
Helen Caldicott. Commercial reactors discharge huge amounts of
greenhouse gases along with hundreds of thousands of curies of
deadly radioactive gases and other radioactive elements besides
being sitting ducks for retaliatory terror attacks experts believe
will eventually happen.
Earlier in the House (1977 - 1985) and
Senate (1985 - 1993) and as vice-president Gore also shilled for
the Pentagon and defense contractors. He "played midwife
to the MX missile," opposed efforts to cut defense spending,
and backed the Reagan administration's Grenada invasion and Central
American wars. He partnered with Clinton's Balkan wars in the
1990s that destroyed Yugoslavia so NATO could expand into Central
and Eastern Europe for its markets, resources and cheap, exploitable
labor. In Kosovo, he collaborated with Kosovo Liberation Army
(KLA) paramilitary thugs against Serbia and ignored their connection
to organized crime. He earlier traded his vote for the Gulf war
for prime time coverage of his speech.
He then backed ousting Saddam by coup
or any other means and supported the most comprehensive genocidal
sanctions ever imposed on a country that killed a likely 1.5 million
or more Iraqis including over one million children under age five.
Cockburn and St. Clair fill in more blanks
about a political opportunist who supported Big Tobacco, "exploited
his sister's death and son's (near-fatal) accident for....political
advantage; became a soul brother of Newt Gingrich; race-baited
Jesse Jackson; pushed Clinton into destroying the New Deal; plotted
to stop Democrats from recapturing Congress in 1996" so "his
rival Dick Gephard" wouldn't become Speaker; "leached
campaign cash from nearly every corporate lobbyist" in town,
and, as already covered, lied about being a friend of the earth
by disdaining environmentalism through his actions.
Does this man deserve a Nobel Peace Prize
(let alone to be president) along with the Intergovernmental Panel
on Climate Change (IPCC) "for their efforts to build up and
disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and
to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract
such change." The Nobel Committee ignored Gore's environmental
record and went on to say "for a long time (he's) been one
of the world's leading environmental politicians (through) his
strong commitment, reflected in political activity, (that) strengthened
the struggle against climate change." Contrary to his easily
accessed public record, not his posturing, The Nobel Committee
blindly added "He is probably the single individual who has
done most to create greater worldwide understanding of the measures
that need to be adopted."
In point of fact, throughout his political
life, Gore's actions betrayed the public's trust and still do.
He and his wife live in two large energy-consuming homes: a 10,000
square foot, eight bedroom one in Nashville and a 4000 square
foot one in Arlington, VA. The Gores also own a third home in
Carthage, TN. In both Washington and Nashville, utility companies
offer a wind energy green alternative to customers for a small
per kilowatt hour premium. Gore can easily afford it, but public
records show no evidence he's does it in either residence. Alex
Cockburn gets the last word on a man who shills for privilege,
has plenty for himself, and like George Bush disdains the public
interest: "Al Gore distills in his single person the disrepair
of liberalism in America today, and almost every unalluring feature
of the Democratic Party" that's mostly indistinguishable
from the other side of the aisle in a city where the criminal
class is bipartisan.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can
be reached at email@example.com.
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