Human Rights, International, International Relations, Media and Communications, Science and Technology

Julian Assange’s turn for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011

Photo courtesy Wired

A week or so ago, a veteran editor cum journalist in a conversation on conflict and peace said, his choice for the next peace prize is Julian Assange. Agreed. But what qualifies a person for the Nobel Prize for Peace ? Alfred Nobel said it must be awarded 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 of peace congresses” in his last will left dated, 27th November, 1895.

Nominations for this most prestigious world prize for peace, from among 300 other prizes awarded around the world, is drawing to a close on 01st February, 2011. The question is, can Julian Assange of WikiLeaks be nominated and is he qualified for nominations?

With Liu Xiaobo of China awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace this 2010 year, the Norwegian Nobel Committee has, from the first Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Jean Henry Durant of Switzerland in 1901, awarded the Peace Prize to 12 women out of 98 individuals and 20 organisations, for what Alfred Nobel wrote in his will. Can Julian Assange and WikiLeaks stand equal with them ?

Sincerity and integrity of the Norwegian Nobel Committee was questioned, perhaps for the first time, when they in 2009 decided to award the year’s Peace Prize to the newly elected US President Barack Obama, for “his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples. The Committee has attached special importance to Obama’s vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons.
Obama has as President created a new climate in international politics. Multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play. – official news release”

Obama was in the list of nominees for the Peace Prize with French President Sarkozy, that was reported in February 2009, as having 205 nominees. He was sworn in as the US President, only on 20th January, the same year and within just 01 week, he was eligible to be nominated for the Peace Prize as “President Obama”. By August, in 06 months, he was reviewed for his “performance” along with other nominees and in October, announced as “Nobel Peace Laureate”, having accomplished nothing by then.

There was no change of politics when the Chinese dissident was awarded this year’s (2010) Nobel Prize for Peace, very much qualified though he is, for the prestigious international peace award. Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Peace Prize “for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China. The Norwegian Nobel Committee has long believed that there is a close connection between human rights and peace.”[quote from official news release] Xiaobo was a democracy activist of Tiananmen Square democracy movement too”.

Politics behind these two awards being no different, the difference lies in one being given for mere election campaign rhetoric, while the other was for a life of sacrifice and long struggle for democracy, in a country that allows no dissent. It would thus be right to continue with the latter norm and criteria in choosing and awarding the 2011 Nobel Prize for Peace. And the winner then has to be “Julian Assange of WikiLeaks fame”.

None has sacrificed his or her knowledge and skills as Assange has in the past years, to bring long and jealously guarded secrets of powerful nations, who use “confidentiality and secrecy” as a tool in waging war, in the name of “National Security and war against terrorism”, which in effect is very anti people.

All the bombs air dropped, all Drone attacks, all shelling by the US and NATO forces in Afghanistan in the name of “national security” and in “fighting terrorism”, now stand exposed by Assange’s WikiLeaks, as killing thousands more innocent civilians than actual armed “terrorists”. It has exposed that Nobel Peace laureate Obama’s administration is no different to the much ridiculed Bush’s administration in covering up war crimes and justifying war. Assange has exposed ruthless violations of human rights by US forces in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Guantanamo bay and in Abu Ghraib, with specific evidence.

WikiLeaks and Assange have clearly challenged the right of these Super Powers to rule the world as they wish, at the cost of democracy, fundamental and human rights violations, the big powers hide within “global war against terrorism” and safeguarding “national security”, their key words in answering any accusations. Assange has shown the world that these big powers have not been much different to the Burmese military Junta, the Rajapaksa regime or Saddam Hussein for that matter. What ever their praxis, they too talk abundantly of democracy, development and national security.

Contrary to all of them, Assange’s biggest contribution for transparency and accountability in “world governance” is the new and responsible media culture he worked on, in this modern world that very much depends on information traffic through cyber space. Assange has proved that information disseminated through cyber space is best and is with responsibility, when vetted and supervised by long established and credible editorials in the print media. That proves his collaboration with 05 of the world’s best established news papers, before all those sensitive information was released to the public domain.

And, he is being hunted for not what he contributed to the world, but for what he is supposed to have been, in his private life. The West can not afford to say they are hunting down democratic activism like China does. Yet there is little difference between Chinese authoritarianism accused for suppressing democracy and the democratic West that hunts down democratic activism via very suspicious charges on personal life. In the last month of 2010, Australian Assange is being turned into a hunted Chinese Xiaobo.

It is now the turn of the civilised, democratic world citizens to turn Assange into the next peace prize winning Xiaobo in 2011. A sensitive test for all democracies, including the Norwegian Nobel Committee.

  • Kenneth Yeh

    An accused rapist (and quite possibly, guilty rapist) wins the Nobel PEACE prize? How ironic.

    I guess I just have trouble piecing RAPE with PEACE in the same sentence.

    Why is it that people who are pro-Assange fail to see that this guy, if not a rapist — at least, admittedly violent with women (according to police reports and his own admission), is a self centered coward using Wikileaks to protect himself against his own sins. Has nothing to do with making the world more peaceful — it’s all about himself.

    People need to separate the idea of Wikileaks (which I am 100% supportive of) from this clown Julian Assange — an accused rapist, womanizer, and just a bad person overall…

    Wikileaks or it’s ideals may deserve the Nobel Prize, but most DEFINITELY NOT JULIAN ASSANGE. What a terrible person he is…terrible.

    Threatening to destroy our world by releasing a “250,000 document file” that only he holds the key to and if he’s harmed, will release a “time bomb” that will destroy our world. What did WE ever do to him?

    I don’t even know him and yet, he wants to release a ticking time bomb because he gets arrested? Like, I’m not the one arresting him — why are you going to bomb me? I’m innocent!

    Nobel Peace Prize, Julian Assange?? I think NOT!

    • Amarnath

      What a pity Kenneth !!!
      Couldn’t you find anything other than what the Western allies say ? All this talk about a threat to the world, criminal intrusion into State secrets, have been raised before by Hillary Clinton and the like. Sarah Palin wants him treated as a “terrorist”. Did I read some where, she even wanted him bumped off ? Rape accusations followed thereafter.
      Why don’t you try find some other argument worthy of dialogue ?
      This is too private to deny nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize.
      Amarnath

    • The Mervyn Silva

      The Kenneth,

      I am also seeing there is problem with having the RAPE and the PEACE in the same sentence. But please be calming down. I have solution: why not put the words in two sentences?

      I am knowing I am doctor but do I have to be telling you peopes everything around here???

      By the wayside, I am also thinking leaking is serious business, whether it is the leaking information or the pipe. If you are not careful everybody can be wet and slippery all over. I am hoping the Asanga is good plumber also.

  • SD

    Kenneth Yeh,

    RE: Wikileaks or it’s ideals may deserve the Nobel Prize, but most DEFINITELY NOT JULIAN ASSANGE. What a terrible person he is…terrible.

    Not sure why you say this? So far, nothing has been proven against him afaik. Shouldn’t a person be treated as innocent until proven guilty? You seem to have passed sentence already, don’t you think? Any particular reasons?

    RE: “Threatening to destroy our world by releasing a “250,000 document file” that only he holds the key to and if he’s harmed, will release a “time bomb” that will destroy our world. What did WE ever do to him?”

    So far, you have not expressed any desire to stick up for the editors etc. and protect them from harm, even though, paradoxically, you wish to support wikileaks. In fact, you’ve gone on ahead to condemn the guy without due process, and seem rather eager to believe all accusations to his detriment. Given such a response, it only seems fair and logical that Assange takes steps to protect himself. He might not be a flawless hero, but nevertheless, the guy is putting his life on the line at the end of the day.

    And how in the world is Assange’s “insurance leak” going to affect you? Are you a diplomat with things to hide?

    Please don’t tell me it will start WW3. Last I checked, the intelligence agencies across the world weren’t reliant on wikileaks to gather their information. The only people who are in the dark, are people like you and I and the best way to continue to keep us in the dark, is to conjure up the looming spectre of some devastating war.

  • Heshan

    Assange has exposed ruthless violations of human rights by US forces in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Guantanamo bay and in Abu Ghraib, with specific evidence.

    Can you give specific examples? It’s easy to blindly throw out allegations, but without evidence, the latter amounts to mere speculation. Here is one such “leak”:

    DET OPNS Kandahar
    2005-04-30 18:00:00
    Expand acronyms: Take care; definitions may be wrong.

    (DELAYED REPORT) 1X DETAINEE WAS RELEASED FROM THE KANDAHAR SHORT TERM HOLDING FACILITY ON 1 MAY, TEMP NUMBER T1851.

    http://213.251.145.96/id/4CBD57AB-B7E3-4315-B5D5-A9FFBA59CC73/

    Perhaps its just me, but the vast majority of the Wikileaks documents, whether classified or not, seem as mundane and routine as the above. No need for Assange to be awarded prizes; he ought to be simply ignored.

    • longus

      So, you are quite satisfied with the human rights abuses by the US as “mundane” and “routine”? One example selected by you proves no point!

  • Kenneth Yeh seems almost as over the top as Sarah Palin.

    “..Threatening to destroy our world by releasing a “250,000 document file” that only he holds the key to and if he’s harmed, will release a “time bomb” that will destroy our world. What did WE ever do to him?

    I don’t even know him and yet, he wants to release a ticking time bomb because he gets arrested? Like, I’m not the one arresting him — why are you going to bomb me? I’m innocent!”

    Sounds more than a tad paranoid to me! And he wants us to take him seriously??? Seriously!!!

  • Sajitha

    Sara palin-Threatening to destroy our world by releasing a “250,000 document file” .She talks about her world what made USA as the super power that can do any thing to other countries.But our world is different from her world.USA always screw every country they invade and also screw their own economy.A suicide mission.Can anybody name a country that USA established peace?

  • Laughing Sudda

    Although some people in the US have been very critical of Julian Assange, there are many others (mostly liberals) who have spoken out in his defence. What if WikiLeaks was started not by a white Australian, but by an Indian, Pakistani or Sri Lankan computer expert? The reaction could have been different and much worse. We can imagine Fox News calling it another part of the clash of civilizations, and sugg4esting all sorts of anti-western conspiracies.

  • luxmy

    There must be freedom of information and open and
    transparent government, but there is a private realm and a
    legitimate area for confidentiality in diplomatic relations between
    nations. There must be a balance to ensure that we are secure when
    trying to safeguard confidential information. But in the case of
    Sri Lanka as there has been an assault on reporters, media offices,
    human rights activists, NGOs/INGOs, ie. freedom of information was
    curtailed, some foreign Ambassadors are being forced to fill the
    gap. When governments do not abide by the book of rules and employ
    PR companies to prop up them at the UN, the Commonwealth, etc, it
    creates a lot of problems to all in this highly connected world –
    wet, slippery, fractures, …., detention camps, transit camps,
    …., militarisation, militarisation, ….., tropical paradise
    running out of coconuts, ….

    • longus

      …because some lunatics are in the practice of smashing them(coconuts!) in the hope of some divine intervention!

  • SimonPeter

    The women central to the Swedish accusation have never used the word rape. The Swedish Governments prosecutor service developed the accusations by itself. The warrant was issued even before there were formal interviews and those so=called interviews were conducted over the phone and of record. He has not been charged with any crime. The extradition proceedings are for the purpose of having him questioned in Sweden – that it folks. BUT what is really disturbing is the warrant the Swedes are operating under call for the forced return of journalist Jul8ian Assange to Sweden with the express words entrained in the warrant that he be liable to be held in Sweden in a jail cell without access to a lawyer or visitation by family or freind for a period of up to two years. Check it out folks the warrant say Assange is to be held there “incommunicado”.

    • SimonPeter

      The First amendment protects all journalists and publ;ishers whether they be US citizens of otherwise. It is not selective as to nationality. The accusations made by the lickspittle Swedish Governemnt is “sex by surprise”. The extradition proceeding are a joke and will be thrown out by the UK judiciary. One of the women has fled to Israel and refuses to co=operate with Swedish authorities, whilst the other published a essay earlier this year called Legal Revenge. That is how a women can get revenge by twisting Swedish law to accuse a man of assault. Look it up. Then do yourselves a favor and look up Assanges essays on Conspiracy as Governance. Love America and pray for its people!

  • MV

    Thank you, Kusal P.
    The big powers are as much as hypocrite as Sri Lanka is. With globalization, it seems greed for resources and power have overridden human rights.

  • Dancer

    Why are Assange’s lawyers complaining about a smear campaign against him? You mean leaks are only good when it’s not your own information getting leaked?

    So that pithy phrase “just don’t have secrets” doesn’t apply here?

    All that assumption that only bad people have secrets, that was just hogwash?

    I guess it’s funny how governments say to people, “If you have nothing to hide, don’t worry about privacy.” Then people say that back to government, which makes no sense as government isn’t a person, but a policy instrument. And that’s a far more complex field than an individual life. But now we’ve got Julian Assange saying that he wants some information to be protected from leaks. But he doesn’t want to extend the same right to government, even though its task is a billion times more complicated than not raping Swedish women.

    What an amusing world.