6 thoughts on “Nobel peace prize for Ahtisaari undeserved

  1. October 10, 2008
    12:15

    Lund, Sweden

    Nobel Committee’s Prize – yet another scandal
    ***************************************

    The choice of Martti Ahtisaari satisfies – even with a broad interpretation – none of the criteria outlined in Alfred Nobel’s will, namely: to contribute to fraternity in the world, to reduce armies and to establish peace congresses – to quote them in the Nobel’s own language of 1895.

    Ahtisaari has repeatedly functioned as “peace fixer” for Western power elites. In 1999 he was the envoy who persuaded the Serb state to give in after NATO’s 78 days of bombing, the most brutal event in Europe since 1945, which also lacked a UN Security Council mandate.

    He then was appointed as the “architect” of the plan behind the separation of now “independent” Kosovo which, following this bombing, broke off from Serbia. Independent Kosovo is recognized by only 25% of the world’s governments.

    So, Ahtisaari is a man who by his “mediations” fully endorses the “peace” brought about by militarist means and international law violations – rather than following the UN norm of “peace by peaceful means.”

    The Nobel Committee should, according to Nobel’s will, not necessarily consist of Norwegian parliamentarians. Nobel only stated that those who decided on the Prize should be appointed by the Norwegian Parliament.

    Would anyone dream of letting a group of parliamentarians anywhere award the prize in, say, medicine, physics or literature without having the slightest knowledge of the subject or professional background? Yet this is exactly what the Nobel Committee does. None of them have any professional knowledge about the subject of peace.

    The Committee has again rewarded one of its politician friends ­ instead of one of the independent candidates of this year, who have truly contributed intellectually, culturally or people-to-people wise to genuine peace.

    This is a scandal – one more after Al Gore last year.
    http://www.transnational.org/Resources_Treasures/2007/Oberg_NobelPrize2007.html

    Those of us who wish for a genuinely peaceful world are being deprived once again of our most important Prize with this year’s decision.

    More about Alfred Nobel and how his will is being circumvented here:
    http://www.transnational.org/Resources_Nonviolence/2008/Heffermehl_Nobel.html

    Jan Oberg
    TFF co-founder and director

    TFF
    – for peace with passion

  2. Counterpunch
    October 14, 2008

    For Services Rendered

    HOW THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE WAS WON

    by Gregory Elich

    The awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to former Finnish president Martti
    Ahtisaari has been widely hailed in the West, where there has been an
    outpouring of praise for the man and his efforts. Generally seen as a
    tireless promoter of peace and reconciliation, Ahtisaari has another side
    that has not received sufficient attention.

    Although his record is long, Ahtisaari’s role in the diplomatic end to
    NATO’s 1999 war against Yugoslavia is regarded as the key to his selection.
    In praising the man, Nobel committee secretary Geir Lundestad noted, “There
    is no alternative to an independent Kosovo.” This baldly political statement
    indicates why Ahtisaari’s selection is proving so popular among Western
    leaders, and it is Kosovo that shows just whose interests Ahtisaari has
    served.

    During the 1999 war, NATO’s attacks were having little effect on Yugoslav
    forces. Through the use of extensive camouflage and decoys, Yugoslav troops
    had managed to emerge largely unscathed by the end NATO’s bombing campaign.
    U.S. General Wesley Clark led the NATO campaign, and he pressed military and
    diplomatic contacts from other NATO countries for agreement to widen the
    scope of bombing. Clark was a strong advocate of bombing civilian targets,
    and at one meeting he rose from his chair and banged the table with his
    fist, bellowing, “I’ve got to get the maximum violence out of this campaign
    – now!” (1) Under Clark’s direction, the air campaign rapidly took on the
    character of sustained terror bombing. I saw the effects myself when I was
    in Yugoslavia in 1999. Every town I visited had been bombed. Purely
    residential areas had been flattened. Cluster bombs struck civilian areas.
    Hospitals, schools, apartment buildings, factories, bridges, office
    buildings – there was no category of civilian targets that NATO had not seen
    fit to hit. It was impossible to avoid the conclusion that NATO’s strategy
    was to win its war through terror tactics.

    Terror bombing paved the way for final negotiations. It was Yugoslavia’s
    misfortune that Boris Yeltsin was the president of Russia at the time. He
    selected former prime minister Victor Chernomyrdin to handle negotiations
    with Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. Always anxious to please the
    U.S., Yeltsin had Chernomyrdin essentially do little more than deliver
    NATO’s messages to Milosevic. This approach was not yielding fruit, so
    Chernomyrdin suggested to American officials that it would be helpful to
    have someone from a non-NATO Western nation join him when he next visited
    Belgrade. It was Secretary of State Madeleine Albright who offered the name
    of Martti Ahtisaari. Getting the Russians on board with the American
    insistence on NATO leading the occupation of Kosovo was the main sticking
    point. In the end, Yeltsin, as was his habit, gave the U.S. everything it
    wanted. (2)

    Ahtisaari recalls that before departing for Belgrade, through “a major
    effort we achieved a final communiqué, signed by both the Russians and by
    the Americans.” Russian acquiescence, he correctly felt, would push
    Milosevic “in a corner.” It was the task of Ahtisaari and Chernomyrdin to
    deliver NATO’s final terms, and they visited President Milosevic on June 2.
    (3)

    Ljubisa Ristic was president of the Yugoslav United Left (JUL), a party
    formed from 23 smaller communist and left parties. JUL was closely allied
    with the ruling Socialist Party and a member of the governing coalition.
    Ristic was also a personal friend of Milosevic’s. He explains what happened
    at the June 2 meeting. Ahtisaari opened the meeting by declaring, “We are
    not here to discuss or negotiate,” after which Chernomyrdin read aloud the
    text of the plan. (4) Ahtisaari says that Milosevic asked about the
    possibility of modifying the plan, to which he replied, “No. This is the
    best that Viktor and I have managed to do. You have to agree to it in every
    part.” (5) Ristic reports that as Milosevic listened to the reading of the
    text, he realized that the “Russians and the Europeans had put us in the
    hands of the British and the Americans.” Milosevic took the papers and
    asked, “What will happen if I do not sign?” In answer, “Ahtisaari made a
    gesture on the table,” and then moved aside the flower centerpiece. Then
    Ahtisaari said, “Belgrade will be like this table. We will immediately begin
    carpet-bombing Belgrade.” Repeating the gesture of sweeping the table,
    Ahtisaari threatened, “This is what we will do to Belgrade.” A moment of
    silence passed, and then he added, “There will be half a million dead within
    a week.” Chernomyrdin’s silence confirmed that the Russian government would
    do nothing to discourage carpet-bombing. (6)

    The meaning was clear. To refuse the ultimatum would lead to the deaths of
    large numbers of civilians and total devastation. President Milosevic
    summoned the leaders of the parties in the governing coalition and explained
    the situation to them. “A few things are not logical, but the main thing is,
    we have no choice. I personally think we should accept…To reject the
    document means the destruction of our state and nation.” (7) For Ristic,
    acceptance meant one thing: “We had to save the people.” (8) Three weeks
    after Ahtisaari and Chernomyrdin delivered NATO’s ultimatum, Yugoslav Prime
    Minister Momir Bulatovich explained to both chambers of the Assembly why the
    government had accepted terms. “Our country was faced with a threat of total
    annihilation. Through diplomatic mediators and through the media, the
    aggressors spoke of the future targets to be bombed, including civilian
    victims counted in the hundreds of thousands.” (9)

    It did not take NATO long to violate the peace agreement that Ahtisaari had
    delivered to Milosevic. While NATO dawdled over entering Kosovo, the
    secessionist Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) went on a rampage, looting and
    burning homes, murdering and expelling thousands of Serbs, Roma, Turks,
    Slavic Muslims, Gorans, Egyptians, Croats and pro-Yugoslav Albanians.
    Milosevic was livid, and shortly after midnight on June 17, he phoned
    Ahtisaari and complained that NATO’s delay in entering Kosovo had allowed
    the KLA to threaten the population. “This is not what we agreed,” he said.
    (10) It hardly mattered. Once NATO troops entered Kosovo, they did nothing
    to deter KLA attacks against the populace. The KLA had unimpeded freedom to
    carry out a pogrom. That summer in Yugoslavia, I heard many refugees tell
    how attacks had taken place in the presence of NATO troops, who invariably
    did nothing. On numerous occasions people were thrown out of their homes,
    threatened, their possessions looted and homes burned while NATO soldiers
    stood aside and watched.

    Ahtisaari’s mission was a success. He “was sensational,” said a senior U.S.
    official. Chernomyrdin won praise for remaining silent while Ahtisaari
    threatened Milosevic. “Chernomyrdin did great,” an appreciative U.S.
    official noted. (11)

    The final agreement between Yugoslavia and NATO was spelled out in UN
    Security Council Resolution 1244, which was implemented in a one-sided way.
    NATO got everything it wanted, but those aspects of the resolution not to
    its liking were never implemented. The required demilitarization of the KLA
    was a sham, with its members handing in obsolete weapons while retaining
    their arsenal. The resolution also called for the return of some Yugoslav
    forces to maintain “a presence at Serb patrimonial sites” and at “key border
    crossings,” as well as to liaise with international forces. NATO never
    permitted that. Most importantly, the resolution affirmed that the political
    process of arriving at an agreement on the status of Kosovo would take full
    account of the “sovereignty and territorial integrity” of Yugoslavia. (12)
    Instead, Western officials did everything possible to undermine that
    stipulation.

    So pleased were Western leaders with Ahtisaari’s performance in 1999, that
    they called upon the man once again when it came time to negotiate a
    solution for the province of Kosovo. They saw to it that Ahtisaari was
    appointed as special envoy to the UN Secretary General to develop a set of
    recommendations for the final status of Kosovo.

    U.S. officials were repeatedly promising secessionist Albanian officials in
    Kosovo that if negotiations with Serbian officials were to fail, then the
    province would be granted independence. This ensured that the Albanian
    delegation was unwilling to compromise or engage in serious negotiations.
    The Albanians’ maximal demands would be met as long as they could avoid a
    negotiated settlement. Ahtisaari’s role was to develop the plan for Kosovo’s
    final status that would be implemented if lieu of an agreement. In the end,
    secessionist Albanian leaders unilaterally declared independence, which was
    quickly followed by U.S. and Western European recognition. Yet much of
    Ahtisaari’s plan provided the basis for the agreement that was implemented
    between the province and the U.S.

    Not surprisingly, Ahtisaari’s plan called for independence. This was to be
    supervised by “the international community,” that term that seems always to
    mean Western leaders and their interests and excludes the vast majority of
    the world’s population. Interestingly, the Ahtisaari plan required that
    Kosovo “shall have an open market economy with free competition.” (13)
    Already by this point Western officials in Kosovo had overseen the
    privatization of much of Kosovo’s socially owned property. Ahtisaari’s
    inclusion of the phrase “free competition” appears meant to protect the
    interests of Western investors. U.S. officials are never reluctant to push
    their own agenda, whatever noble-sounding themes they may trumpet. It may be
    recalled that the pre-war Rambouillet plan, drawn up by U.S. officials in
    order to sabotage any possibility of a peaceful outcome, required that “the
    economy of Kosovo shall function in accordance with free market principles”
    and allow for the free movement of international capital. (14)

    Kosovo’s independence under Ahtisaari’s plan was be supervised and monitored
    by Western officials. Kosovo would be required to prepare its budget in
    consultation with the Western-appointed official responsible for managing
    the province. The plan called for NATO to maintain its military presence.
    There was to be “close cooperation” with the IMF, and in regard to the
    privatization of publicly owned entities Kosovo officials were called upon
    to “take appropriate measures to implement the relevant international
    principles of corporate governance and liberalization.” The governing
    Western official would be “the final authority in Kosovo regarding
    interpretation” of the plan, and positions would be filled through
    appointment by Western officials. (15) Under Ahtisaari-influenced plan as
    implemented by the Western powers, Kosovo has less control over its affairs
    then it would have had under the plan for full autonomy offered by the
    Yugoslav delegation at Rambouillet.

    The selection of Martti Ahtisaari for the Nobel Peace Price was a reward for
    services rendered. This was a purely political statement, meant to underline
    an important principle in international affairs. The same Western nations
    that forcibly carved Kosovo from Serbia are vociferously complaining that
    independence for South Ossetia and Abkhazia violates international law and
    the territorial integrity of Georgia. This year’s Nobel Peace Prize affirms
    the lofty principle that it is only the West that will draw and redraw
    borders in the manner of 19th-century imperial powers.

    Gregory Elich is on the Board of Directors of the Jasenovac Research
    Institute and on the Advisory Board of the Korea Truth Commission. He is the
    author of the book Strange Liberators: Militarism, Mayhem, and the Pursuit
    of Profit.

    NOTES

    [1] Dana Priest, “The Battle Inside Headquarters: United NATO Front was
    Divided Within,” Washington Post, September 21, 1999.
    [2] “Getting to the Table,” Newsweek, June 14, 1999.
    [3] Interview with Martti Ahtisaari by Riccardo Chiaberge, “Ahtisaari: This
    is How I Bent Milosevic,” Corriere della Sera (Milan), July 21, 1999.
    [4] Interview with Ljubisa Ristic by Renato Farina, “Why We Serbs Have
    Given In,” Il Giornale (Milan), June 7, 1999.
    [5] Interview with Martti Ahtisaari by Riccardo Chiaberge, “Ahtisaari: This
    is How I Bent Milosevic,” Corriere della Sera (Milan), July 21, 1999.
    [6] Interview with Ljubisa Ristic by Renato Farina, “Why We Serbs Have Given
    In,” Il Giornale (Milan), June 7, 1999.
    [7] Michael Dobbs and Daniel Williams, “For Milosevic, Internal Battle Just
    Starting,” Washington Post, June 6, 1999.
    [8] Interview with Ljubisa Ristic by Renato Farina, “Why We Serbs Have
    Given In,” Il Giornale (Milan), June 7, 1999.
    [9] “Yugoslav Prime Minister Momir Bulatovic Address to Both Chambers of
    the Assembly of Yugoslavia,” Yugoslav Daily Survey (Belgrade), June 24,
    1999.
    [10] Geert-Jan Bogaerts, “If Democracy Returns then Milosevic will be
    Gone,” De Volkskrant (Amsterdam), June 25, 2008.
    [11] “Getting to the Table,” Newsweek, June 14, 1999.
    [12] Resolution 1244 (1999), UN Security Council, June 10, 1999.
    [13] “Comprehensive Proposal for the Kosovo Status Settlement,” UN Security
    Council S/2007/168/Add.1, March 26, 2007.
    [14] “Interim Agreement for Peace and Self-Government in Kosovo,” February
    23, 1999.
    [15] “Comprehensive Proposal for the Kosovo Status Settlement,” UN Security
    Council S/2007/168/Add.1, March 26,
    2007.http://www.counterpunch.org/elich10142008.html

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