This page is not finished - Still under construction
Dec. 10, 2014:
The two laureates, defenders of the children of the world, did more to honor Nobel than did the Norwegian award committee (More…)
A new web portal
launched by The Nobel Peace Prize Watch contains information on the prize and legal decisions by Swedish authorities that affect the work of the Norwegian awarders. The page is a service to media, students and the general public. It is still under construction, but came online now to be of help in the upcoming election for the Nobel Committee. Nobel meant to support Bertha von Suttner and her ideas about global co-operation for peace and disarmament and tasked the Norwegian Parliament with the appointment of an award committee dedicated to that purpose. (See here)
Norwegian awards under Swedish control
The Swedes have made it clear that the Norwegian Nobel Committee is obliged to respect the intention of Nobel and also placed the Norwegian subcommittee under Swedish control. The Nobel Foundation in Stockholm has accepted that it is responsible for the legality and for ensuring that prizes come within the scope of purpose laid down by Nobel. In apparent regret the Nobel Foundation applied for an exemption from the responsibility for ensuring that all prize selections comply with the purpose, but withdrew the application soon after. (See here)
|Lay Down Your Arms
The Lay Down your Arms Association was incorporated and registered in Gothenburg, Sweden in 2014. A main project to start with is The Nobel Peace Prize Watch.
Purpose – Lay Down Your Arms Association
Peace is a common wish for all humanity, it must become our common demand. Peace is a binding legal obligation for all nations, it must become their common practice.
Experience tells us that if we prepare for war we get war. To achieve peace we must prepare for peace. Yet all nations continue to spend astronomic sums and incur extreme risks on a flawed concept of peace by military means. What the world most urgently needs is a common, co-operative security system to replace weapons and endless preparations for violence and war.
For centuries peace activists have claimed that peace through disarmament is necessary and, indeed, the only road to real security. Alfred Nobel decided to promote and support this idea when, in his will of 1895, he included “the prize for the champions of peace” and entrusted the Norwegian Parliament with a key role in the promotion and realization of his purpose. The Norwegians proudly undertook the assignment, further described in the will by language on “creating the brotherhood of nations, ”disarmament,” and “peace congresses.”
Nobel´s plan for preventing future wars thus was that nations must cooperate on disarmament and commit to solving all differences through negotiation or compulsory adjudication, a culture of peace that would free the world from its current addiction to violence and war. With today´s military technologies it is a matter of imperative urgency for the world to seriously consider committing to the idea of Alfred Nobel and Bertha von Suttner.
Suttner was the leading champion of peace at the time and it was her entreaties that led Nobel to establish the prize in support of the peace ideas that need a fresh restart. Taking its name from Suttner´s bestselling novel, “Lay down your arms – Die Waffen Nieder” a first goal for the network is to reclaim the Nobel prize for the “champions of peace” and the specific road to peace that Nobel had in mind and intended to support.
- Nobel Peace Prize Watch
A. What is our special role?
All peace movement efforts for reduction or abolition of armaments depend on arguments in a democratic mobilization of public opinion. So also does The Nobel Peace Prize Watch. Our special advantage is that we not only argue that humanity must, for the sake of the survival of life on the planet, find a way to eliminate weapons, warriors and wars. In addition we make a legal argument – Nobel wanted to support a specific approach to peace – certain people have a legal entitlement by his will. Today the prize is in the hands of its political opponents. We wish to use legal means to get back the money that once was given to the cause of peace by demilitarization of international relations.
B. What are our plans?
The association shall seek to induce political decision-makers to address the imperative urgency of a new international system. To this end we will disseminate information and seek to increase public awareness of how all the nations of the world continue to be locked in power games and a never ending race for superiority in military forces and technology. This approach consumes astronomic sums of money, wastes resources that could serve human needs, and the idea that it gives security is an illusion. Modern weapons represent an imminent threat to the survival of life on the planet. We live in a constant emergency.
The Association was incorporated and registered in Gothenburg, Sweden in 2014. Founding members and board in intitial phase are Tomas Magnusson (Sweden) and Fredrik S. Heffermehl (Norway).
Tomas Magnusson, Gothenburg, Sweden,
Richard Falk, USA, Professor (em.) of International law and organization, Princeton University
Bruce Kent, United Kingdom, President MAW, Movement for Abolition of War, ex President IPB
Dennis Kucinich, USA, Member of Congress, campaigns for US President
Mairead Maguire, Northern Ireland, Nobel laureate (1976)
Norman Solomon, USA, Journalist, anti-war activist
Davis Swanson, USA, Director, World Beyond War
Scandinavian Advisory Board
Nils Christie, Norway, professor, University of Oslo
Erik Dammann, Norway, founder “Future in our hands,” Oslo
Thomas Hylland Eriksen, Norway, professor, University of Oslo
Ståle Eskeland, Norway, professor of criminal law, University of Oslo
Erni Friholt, Sweden, Peace movement of Orust
Ola Friholt, Sweden, Peace movement of Orust
Lars-Gunnar Liljestrand, Sweden, Chair of the Association of FiB lawyers
Torild Skard, Norway, Ex President of Parliament, Second chamber (Lagtinget)
Sören Sommelius, Sweden, author and culture journalist
Maj-Britt Theorin, Sweden, ex President, International Peace Bureau
Gunnar Westberg, Sweden, Professor, ex Co-President IPPNW (Nobel peace prize 1985)
Jan Öberg, TFF, Sweden, Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research.
|History – Nobel Peace Prize Watch
The association Lay Down Your Arms is founded to continue the efforts of Norwegian lawyer and author Fredrik S. Heffermehl, who, in 2007 suddenly discovered that Nobel and his purpose had landed in oblivion. The Norwegian awarders of the Nobel Peace Prize had disconnected entirely from the original purpose described in the will of Nobel. In August 2007 Heffermehl published an article publicly requesting the Norwegian Nobel Committee to check its mandate and find out and respect what Nobel actually wanted.
Instead of complying the Committee decided to keep awarding the prize for its own broad, all-encompassing, concept of ”peace” and ignore the rights of the ”champions of peace” that Nobel had in mind. The history of the will strongly points those who seek to understand Nobel´s purpose to Bertha von Suttner, the leading peace protagonist of the period. Responding to her entreaties Nobel had promised to ”do something great for the (her) cause.” Three expressions in the will (about creating the brotherhood of nations, disarmament, peace congresses) strongly confirm that it was the Suttner peace ideas and her approach to peace he wished to support with the prize.
A book in 1932, by Ragnvald Moe, the Nobel Committee Secretary through 27 years), confirmed that the prize was initiated to support the peace movement ideas of the 1890s about an alternative international peace system to replace militarism, arms races and wars. But with the end of WWII came a reorientation of the political attitudes in Norway that in 1895 had made the Stortinget (Parliament) a natural choice for Nobel on how to select a committee to whom he could entrust his peace award. Already in 1962 Ursula Jorfald published a book on Suttner and the falsification of history trying to conceal her importance as the key to understanding what Nobel had actually intended.
A great many historians have written about Suttner and her decisive influence to making Nobel include a peace prize in his will of 1895. The books of Fredrik S. Heffermehl were the first to analyze and point out the legal consequences of this. “The content of a will is what the testator intended, irrespective of the words used” confirmed a prominent Swedish lawyer, Torgny Håstad, Chair of the High Council of Trustees of the Nobel Foundation (Nobelfullmäktige), in a scientific article discussing the work of Heffermehl.
Spokespersons for the Norwegian committee and the Nobel Foundation have since 2007 systematically shown reluctance to discuss the points raised both about Alfred Nobel´s own intention and the decisive legal importance of what Nobel really wanted. In 2007 the awarders had forgotten Nobel entirely, the rediscovery led the awarders to offer frivolous claims to adhere to the will, but in actual practice – in the course of seven years – no visible interest in understanding Nobel and his actual intention.
Following unsuccessful demands to have the awarders comply with the will, it became necessary to seek assistance from public authorities tasked with overseeing that legacies and entrusted funds are managed in proper accordance with the law. In Sweden the official body mandated with overseeing that the boards of foundation operate in conformity with their statutory obligations is the Länsstyrelsen, A case was raised by Heffermehl who submitted his book with a complaint in October 2008. In March 2012 the Foundations Authority demanded that the awards must comply with the “description of purpose in the testament” – and relying upon the Nobel Foundation having offered satisfactory promises – decided to dismiss the case without further investigation.
Later, however, the Nobel Foundation – after having the investigation dropped following its promise to check that all prizes comply with the will and further to exercise full and final control over its Norwegian sub-committee – changed its mind and applied to another Swedish authority, the Kammarkollegiet, to be exempted from its statutory obligation to control the Norwegian committee. The application was denied in a decision of March 31, 2014. An appeal lodged against this decision was withdrawn after two months. The result means that the Board of the Swedish Nobel Foundation is obliged to check the selections of the Norwegian committee and refuse to pay a prize to a winner who is outside the scope of purpose that Nobel had in mind.
115 years later Nobel’s approach to peace and security is a more urgent necessity than ever before. The error of the Nobel committee is not in adapting to a modern age, but in failing to understand the point of departure for this exercise. What they should have developed was Nobel’s idea of peace, not their own.
(Fredrik S. Heffermehl in The Nobel Peace Prize, p. 39)
New book: The Nobel Peace Prize (Praeger, 2010)
In his newest book, The Nobel Peace Prize (2010), Norwegian lawyer and author Fredrik S. Heffermehl, shows how far the custodians of Nobel´s prize for "the champions of peace" have moved the prize away from the testator´s actual intentions. Part I offers the first known legal analysis of the testament Nobel wrote in 1895, and in Part II an analysis of the political methods used by official Norway to stonewall the truth about the mismanagement of Nobel´s great vision of peace. The book, in part a case study of democracy and the rule of law in Norway, takes us from the inception of the prize 115 years ago to the present, including a riveting dissection of the 2009 award to US president Barack Obama. It explains how the military sector – in all nations – undermines human security and welfare, preferring to pursue narrow self-interest to solving the real security needs of the world.
What happened to the Nobel Peace Prize?
The Nobel Peace Prize. What Nobel really wanted (Praeger, 2010), offers undisputable evidence that Nobel intended to support the "Champions of peace", those struggling to replace militarism with an international order based on law and abolition of national military forces; the power of the law must replace the law of power. Since 1948 the parties in the Norwegian parliament have delegated the appointment of the Nobel committee to the major parties who misuse the attractive seats as a reward to their party veterans, people lacking not only insight but also loyalty to the peace ideas that Nobel wished to support. In fact the committee members are opposed to the idea of the prize! People who believe in security by military means have taken charge of a prize meant to support a demilitarized world order.
Nobel entrusted the bestowal of one of his five prizes to a five-member committee to be appointed by Norway´s parliament. The Nobel committees, misunderstanding their task, have used the prizes to serve their own ideas of "peace," instead of honoring "the champions of peace", the expression Nobel actually used to describe the recipients.
Interpretation—the determining factors
In his will Alfred Nobel entrusted to the Norwegian parliament to award his prize for "the champions of peace" (by which he meant the peace movement). The concept is elaborated in Chapters 8 and 14:
Nobel clearly specified the recipients
Read more here
Three new translations will be published in the autumn of 2011:
IN FINNISH - IN SUOMEN
IN RUSSIAN - ПЕРЕВОД НА РУССКОМ
IN SWEDISH - PÅ SVENSKA
Reinhard Wolff: Ist der Friedensnobelpreis illegal? Artikel http://www.taz.de/Rechtsstreit-um-Antikriegs-Auszeichnung/!147294/
A group of 16 prominent Scandinavians called for Parliament to reform its selection process and respect its moral
From David Swanson, Director of World Beyond War to the Parliament of Norway (in English).
The Nobel Peace Prize ABC
A: Nobel dedicated his prize to “the champions of peace”
By his will of 1895 Alfred Nobel, the wealthy Swedish inventor and innovator, established five prizes for the persons who “have conferred the greatest benefit on humanity.” Nobel dedicated one of his prizes to “the champions of peace.”
B: A prize to support a specific idea, the abolition of militarism
In the will Alfred Nobel used three concepts to clarify the specific approach and people whose work he wished to support, those committed to breaking the military tradition and building an international community of disarmed nations. The three expressions he used in his will were clear references to the ideas of Bertha von Suttner, the leading champion of peace of the period – the vision of a Völkerverbrüderung (fraternity of nations) promoted by the peace congresses.
C: The purpose of a will is legally binding forever
Nobel entrusted the Norwegian Parliament, then a supporter of Suttner and her ideas, with selecting the five-member Nobel Committee. Over time the ideas of peace in Norway have changed, but the will of Nobel remains the same. Ignoring the law and vital security interests of the world population, the awarders have disconnected from Nobel and transformed his prize for global disarmament into a general prize for “peace.” The legally binding obligation of the awarders is to make the prize once again the challenge to militarism that Nobel intended. If they don´t the task must be placed in the hands of others.
*) This ABC is the sum of numerous works on the history of Alfred Nobel and his “prize for the champions of peace” as presented and analyzed by Fredrik S. Heffermehl in his books, a.o. The Nobel Peace Prize. What Nobel Really Wanted (Praeger, 2010, translated into Chinese, Finnish, Spanish, and Swedish). The peace prize awarders have not attempted to refute the conclusions or the facts that underpin them – they simply keep silent and ignore the truth.
When Alfred Nobel wrote his will in 1895 “Stortinget” (the Parliament of Norway) was a leading promoter of the new peace ideas. When Alfred Nobel entrusted to Parliament to appoint a committee of five to award the prize that was soon popularly known as ”the Nobel Peace Prize.” The will presupposes Parliament to elect a committee qualified and devoted to serving Nobel´s peace ideas.
Fifty years, and two world wars, later, in 1945, political ideas had changed in Norway. The specific intention of Nobel was forgotten and ceased to be a consideration after the Stortinget, in 1948, changed the rules and allocated the seats to the leading political parties, based on latest national elections. Since then the committee seats have been taken up by old party hacks far from the Nobel approach to peace. Instead of a committee of friends of peace and disarmament the world has got a committee of friends of militarism and forces.
The law, however, is clear: Norwegian parliamentarians are obligated to be loyal to Nobel, not pursue their own purposes.
Midt i den nye diskusjonen rundt utnevninger og medlemskap i Nobelkomiteen har det dukket opp en ny webportal, The Nobel Peace Prize Watch, hvor media og politikere og allmenheten kan finne informasjon om prisen og gjeldende rettsregler. Websiden (nobelwill.org) inneholder både en Nobelprisens ABC og viktige avgjørelser fra svenske myndigheter som ikke er offentliggjort på Nobelprisenes websider, om hvilke krav som må stilles til de som skal oppnevnes som medlemmer av Nobelkomiteen. Bak portalen står foreningen Lay Down Your Arms som krever at prisen må fremme ideene til Bertha von Suttner, den østerrikske fredsforkjemperen som fikk Nobel til å inkludere fredsprisen i testamentet.
-- Nobel mente å støtte Suttners ide om at et dyptgående samarbeid mellom nasjonene er det eneste som kunne gjøre slutt på våpenkappløp og militære maktspill og gi varig sikkerhet. Denne ideen er minst like aktuell i dag, hevder Tomas Magnusson, svensk fredsaktivist og mangeårig president i IPB, det internasjonale fredsbyrå i Geneve. På vegne av initiativtagerne sier han at det må være klart at forsvarsvenner ikke er de rette til å forvalte en pris som var tiltenkt fredsvennene og deres nedrustnigsarbeid. Magnusson viser til flere fremstøt for å informere Stortinget om de kravene som etter testamentet må gjelde for å bli oppnevnt.
En rekke kjente personligheter i bl.a. Skandinavia og USA er medlem av organisasjonens Advisory Board. (here)
Gothenburg, Dec. 8, 2014
For ytterligere kommentar:
Media release, dec. 10, 2014:
OVERVIEW LEGAL CHALLENGES
The Nobel Peace Prize
- Swedish authorities demand change
The Norwegian Nobel Committee often has claimed that the many challenges to their stewardship of the Nobel Peace Prize have not led to any results. The opposite is true, complaints have led to authorities expecting/ordering significant reform.
In 2012 the Swedish Foundations Authority turned down a claim from the Norwegian Nobel Committee to be independent and “not to take instructions from anyone” in its selections of winners. The Norwegian committee then moved for an exemption from the Swedish Foundations Act, which was also turned down. This means that the ultimate and final responsibility for peace prizes being legal has moved from Oslo to Stockholm, and now rests with the members of the Board of the Nobel Foundation.
The Committee repeatedly claims to honor the purpose described in the will and rejects criticism for ignoring the intention of the testator – but has for 7 years been unable to refute any of the evidence showing that this is untrue. The peace prize awarders adamantly and consistently fail to show any interest in information on Nobel and his actual intention.
They seem determined to keep ignoring the fact that the Peace Prize was established by the Nobel testament of 1895; that a will is a legal instrument; and that the binding obligation of the stewards is to find out which peace efforts Nobel wished to favor. It is, of course, Nobel´s own intention that counts, not what his trustees prefer to read into the text of the will.
History – legal challenges
The following is an account of some attempts to persuade the authorities to intervene.
1. Norway (The Norwegian Lottery and Foundations) Authority) – upon request Oct. 7, 2008, (in Norwegian / English) for injunctive action - deferred to the Swedish Foundation Authority. Reason: The Nobel Foundation is Swedish and the responsibility lies with the Swedish authorities. The Swedish Authority immediately took action of its own initiative based on a received copy of this letter (see below, 2a).
2. The Swedish Foundation Authority
a. 2008, Acting on its own, on the basis of a received copy of letter from Fredrik S. Heffermehl to the Norwegian authority, the Swedish Foundations Authority immediately announced its decision to investigate, see letter from Heffermehl Oct. 31, 2008 (in Norwegian). Suddenly it dismissed the case from investigation on December 23, 2008. Reason: The Authority could not find that there were any violations to take action agains
b) 2010 - 2012: Following several new appeals from Heffermehl, a.o on Nov. 3, 2010 (in English) with attachment (in English), the Authority at last decided to open an investigation, and, in a letter of Jan. 30, 2012 (in English), requested a response from the Nobel Foundation. The Nobel Foundation submitted its statement on March 8, 2012, (in Swedish/Norwegian). On March 21, 2012 (in Swedish), it was decided to dismiss case without further investigation. Reason: The Authority relied upon the Nobel Foundation having confirmed to know its responsibilities under the Foundations Act, and its will to abide. The Foundation confirmed having understood its superior and ultimate responsibility for the awards, including their legality and compliance with the specification of purpose.
The Authority´s decision contained guidance on how the Nobel Foundation should improve its compliance with the will, by 1) analyzing the purpose described in the will, 2) instructing the awarding committees, 3) introducing procedures to ensure compliance with the purpose. The Authority also noted that the superior Nobel Foundation Board (Stockholm) had understood that it could not pay a prize over to the winner if the subsidiary Nobel Committee (Oslo) should select a winner outside the purpose.
c. May 2014: Group of 16 requests concrete injunctions
New complaint , 2014, co-signed by 16 prominent Scandinavians, and supplemented with May 26, 2014 (in Swedish), letter from Swedish Attorney Kenneth Lewis. September 20, 2014, noted the Nobel Foundation´s lack of loyal follow-up. The Nobel Foundation in practice had shown no intention to implement and take action as promised against prizes outside the scope of the purpose, therefore time was over for advice and polite requests. Now it was necessary with concrete orders from the Authority to prevent continued violations.
[2013) The Nobel Foundation (Stockholm) applied to the Chamber College (Kammarkollegiet) to be exempt from its chief task, which is to control that Nobel´s purpose with the prizes is being fulfilled. The Foundations Authority (LS) issued a statement June 14, 2013 (in Swedish), strongly advising against exemption. Protest by Fredrik S. Heffermehl June 24, 2013 (in English). The International Peace Bureau protested September 20, 2013 (in Swedish).
The Kammarkollegiet decided, March 31, 2014 (in Swedish), to refuse the Nobel Foundation application. The Nobel Foundation first appealed the decision to the Swedish government, but then, after two months, withdrew the appeal, thereby accepting its superior authority and final say in the selection of peace prize laureates.
4. ØKOKRIM – police investigation of Nobel Committee
April 2014: Request for criminal investigation and prosecution by Fredrik S. Heffermehl, with 16 co-signers, on April 8, 2014) in (Norwegian / English) lodged with ØKOKRIM (Norway´s National prosecutor for economic crime) which decided that the matter was peripheral to their special field of authority and priorities. On July 28, 2014, submitted to the Oslo Police. Their dismissal has been appealed to the National Prosecutor (Riksadvokaten).
Peace prize quiz
The task and the obligatory mandate of the Nobel committee is to be loyal defenders of Nobel and his peace vision, of a changed international system, establishing a global agreement on global co-operation on global law and disarmament. Here you can guess whether the committee did right to Nobel or made its own prize - and compare with how the author, Heffermehl, concluded in his book on the Nobel [Champions of] Peace Prize:
1The evaluation for 2011, to three outstanding women, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee, and