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Swedish agency to probe peace prize selection
President Obama giving a toast after accepting the peace prize in 2009.

Swedish agency to probe peace prize selection

Published: 01 Feb 2012 16:26 GMT+01:00
Updated: 01 Feb 2012 16:26 GMT+01:00

Stockholm officials have begun investigating claims by a Norwegian author that the last wishes of Alfred Nobel are routinely sidelined by a Norwegian Nobel Committee, blinded by pro-NATO sentiments, when selecting its annual peace laureate.

”It is crystal clear that the committee is not following the will. No one has contested my argument on that point. But so far, it has been completely impossible to start a discussion about it,” Norwegian author and law professor Fredrik S Heffermehl told daily Dagens Nyheter (DN).

Heffermehl has for many years been writing books and opinion pieces in Norwegian media claiming that the Norwegian Nobel Committee isn't following Alfred Nobel's wishes.

Although many laureates have done "commendable work", Heffermehl argues that it isn't enough to receive a prize with such explicit criteria.

The will states that the prize should be given to “the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.”

In awarding the prize to politicians such as Barack Obama, Henry Kissinger or even Al Gore, whose work is with the environment and not peace and disarmament, the committee are not following the will of the deceased benefactor.

”Nobel was much more clever and had broader visions than the peace prize committee about global disarmament, among other things,” he told DN.

But according to DN, the Stockholm County Administrative Board (Länsstyrelsen), which regulates Swedish foundations, is now investigating the matter, and has sent a letter to the Swedish Nobel Foundation, asking for their view on the stipulations in Alfred Nobel's will.

Mikael Wiman, legal expert at the agency, thinks that it is clear that the responsibility lies with the Swedish Nobel Foundation.

”We think that Heffermehl has a point. Not that the foundation should get involved in particular appointments but we think they should regulate that the wishes in the will are adhered to and they should also get the opportunity to answer what their view on this is,” he told DN.

Jonna Petersson, informations officer at the Swedish Nobel Foundation told DN that they haven't yet had time to read the agency's letter.

”All we know is that the County Administrative Board previously, in a decision from 2008, chose not to act on Heffermehl's views,” she told the paper.

However, this time it seems that the indignant author's arguments have hit home.

”We think that the professor has come back with more substance to his arguments this time,” said Wiman to Sveriges Radio.

The Local/rm (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

17:05 February 1, 2012 by skogsbo
Could Sweden withdraw the right of the Norwegians to award the prize? That wouldn't be funny at all.
18:14 February 1, 2012 by engagebrain
That prize was awarded to Henry Kissinger whos extended the war in south east Asia to Cambodia and went along with Nixon's bombing campaign, makes the prize and the associated committee a bit of a joke.
18:50 February 1, 2012 by Vill
The prize should be rescindable.
18:54 February 1, 2012 by Roy E
People stopped taking the Peace prize seriously when they awarded it to Yasser Arafat . It's been an embarrassment for decades.

Too bad for Sweden that a great many people believe the Swedes award it.
19:04 February 1, 2012 by johan rebel
Oh come on, Kissinger bombed the North Vietnamese who were asking for it. What better way to promote world peace?

What has Länsstyrelsen in Stockholm got to do with the whole issue?
19:36 February 1, 2012 by EtoileBrilliant
Anyone remember the comedian who said "The day Kissinger won the Nobel peace prize was the day irony died"
21:06 February 1, 2012 by grov_kvinnofridskrankning
Sweden has an agency for everything....
22:10 February 1, 2012 by scrawler
Really doesn't make sense at all how on earth Obama received Nobel peace price. I thought noble price is the highest honor in the world, after seeing people like Obama just received the peace price after getting elected as president. What on earth he did for peace?
00:38 February 2, 2012 by Billerica
I agree with scrawler completely. Obama had not even been in office a month when the honor was bestowed upon him. It just deminishes the honor when it is given to undeserving individuals.
01:25 February 2, 2012 by Larry Thrash
President Obama received the Award because he is African American and a leftist. It's no more complicated than that.
08:56 February 2, 2012 by Dazzler
@Larry

100% truth.
10:42 February 2, 2012 by Shine your eye
It is not enough for you guys to just make statements or criticize the job of others. If you think the job is easy why not make suggestions. Give names of the people you think deserve the price. The best way to apportion blame is to come up with solutions.
11:33 February 2, 2012 by johnny1939
The Peace prize is decided by a committee of 5 people appointed by the Norwegian government!!!!! So you get the drift.

Norway and Sweden were united at the time it was first instituted. It is being said that it was given to Norway to be given out by the urgings of Noble's Norwegian lover(female).
11:34 February 2, 2012 by Rossminster
@Shine your eye That's nonsense, and the childish equivalent of "huh, see if YOU can do any better!"

It's not my/our job or position to come up with solutions. It's the Nobel Committee's, and I feel entirely entitled to criticise a body whose awarding of the Peace Prize has turned a once-repected tribute into an international laughing-stock. Yasser Arafat, ! Al Gore! Barack Obama!

Don't ask me who should get it. I don't know: I'm not an international peace expert. But I do recognise leftist cant when I see it, and I do regret the discrediting of an organisation that should have loftier aims than mutual leftie backslapping.
12:06 February 2, 2012 by Reason abd Realism
I for one am not so upset that Gore got a prize, given that political scientists have found a link between increasing drought and wars in Africa for example. Admitedly a bit of a stretch relative to Nobel's will, but the fight to reduce global warming is still thereby at least obliquely related to peace and goodwill among nations.

Do agree that Obama was an embarassment, even to Obama fans, given that he had done identically nothing up to that point. He was aware of that, and in his acceptance speech noted that this was sort of a prize awarded in advance of things he intended to do, like closing Gitmo (has he done that yet?).

Agree with Rossminster that the committee could do better, and feel that even I could do better than selecting Obama if my full time job was to read up on Amnesty international publications etc. The Judge in Spain (Garcon I think is his name), famous for arresting Pinnochet, and for indibting Bin Laden, and Bush and Cheney, now on trial by Franco supporters, is a simple example of a far better choice in my opinion.
12:14 February 2, 2012 by Children Of Adam
It is a political price and always given to wrong person to those who agree with what west dictate them.

Obama did not knew where the white-house was located and he got the price before doing anything for peace as newly elected president.

Noble price has no respect to me at all.
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