Monday, June 4, 2012


" The Nobel Foundation believes this extra-legal conduct is literally the most radical power that a Peace Prize recipient can seize and we are left with little choice but to condemn it."

In the Stockholm Concert Hall, Monday 8 October, 2012, at 11:30 a.m.
Dr. Marcus Storch, Chairman of the Board of the Nobel Foundation:

We are gathered here today for the announcement of the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize and to honor its recipient, Mr. Julian Assange, an Australian citizen now in prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. While the Nobel Committee has already publicly condemned the decision of the Swedish government to permit the rendition without formal extradition of Mr. Assange, it is my role today to deliver an equally serious decision by the Committee, and that is as follows.

It is the decision of the Nobel Committee, after careful deliberation, to do something that has never been done in the 111 years of the award. The Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded 92 times to 124 Nobel Laureates between 1901 and 2011. This year, the Committee announces that for the first time, an award to an individual is being rescinded. The Nobel Foundation wishes to convey on behalf of the Committee and staff that this step is not taken lightly, and it is one that is accompanied by profound regret. The 2009 award to Barack H. Obama is hereby rescinded.

There are many issues which entered into the deliberations of the Committee in making this decision, and certainly those issues raised by the award recipient himself in his acceptance speech — the obligations of a leader of a sovereign nation to protect peace and the security of his nation, even at the cost of conducting acts of war, for instance — but the conduct of this recipient has been so extreme in pursuit of what we can only term as aggressive acts of terrorism, that the Committee really has no alternative. The integrity of the prize itself, and of its creator’s intention, is at stake here.

The Committee has issued a written statement that enumerates the crimes against humanity which it feels justify the action taken, and I would refer those who wish to better understand this to that document. I would excerpt for purposes of illustration just one example of just how great a threat to peace this individual recipient has become. We now reliably know, for instance, that President Obama personally oversees a "secret kill list" containing the names and photos of individuals targeted for assassination in the U.S. drone war. According to public record and eyewitness testimony, Mr. Obama signs off on every targeted killing in Yemen and Somalia and the more complex or risky strikes in Pakistan. Individuals on the list include his own U.S. citizens, as well as teenage girls as young as 17 years old. We also know that these strikes have killed some 3000 innocent persons, persons completely anonymous to the President and his aides, many of whom are children younger than his own, but whom he later describes publically, without any justification, as “terrorists” or “militants.” These are terms that would more accurately describe his own actions, waging war unseen from the sky, raining mass death on wedding parties, funerals, and other innocent gatherings of people in non-combatant roles in countries not at war, as they go about their daily lives. The President of the United States therefore arrogates to his own discretion the power to order people killed, assassinated, in total secrecy, without any due process, without transparency or oversight of any kind.

Speaking for the Committee and the Board of the Nobel Foundation, we believe this extra-legal conduct is literally the most radical power that a government and a president can seize, and we are left with little choice but to condemn it and to take what small action we can: to revoke the prize which was awarded.

Thank you, and I will take questions now.

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