23. september 2020
Fredrik S. Heffermehl
Tlf.: +47 917 44 783, firstname.lastname@example.org
Oslo September 21, 2020
Den norske Nobelkomite
Henrik Ibsens gate 51, 0255 Oslo
To the Foreign Press Association in Oslo
Enclosed please find: 1) today´s media release 2) a letter sent Monday 21 to The Norwegian Nobel Committee, Oslo
Fredrik S. Heffermehl, lawyer and author
tlf. 917 44 783, email@example.com
Oslo, September 23, 2020
For the media
Nobel Committee condemned in new report / book
— Many speculate who will win the 2020 peace prize, but in my view the vital issue this year is that the committee must formulate its interpretation of Nobel’s intention, says Norwegian lawyer and author Fredrik S. Heffermehl, who on Monday submitted his new book “Behind the Medals” (Medaljens bakside) to the five-member Norwegian Nobel Committee that selects the winner. His conclusion is that the committee in all years since 1901 has failed to understand its mission as the bureaucratic task of picking the best in the pile of nominees, while the task was political – promoting Nobel’s vision of how to create peace in the world.
In a unique study of the committee’s internal archives, the author concludes that Nobel’s intention never counted. Norwegian politicians never performed a professional interpretation of the will, behaving instead as if they were free to design their own award in Nobel’s name. Non-committal statements in later years about expressions in the testament are not enough to correct the mistake, the committee must formulate Nobel’s basic idea and place it at the center of the ceremony. Better late than never, Heffermehl says.
— The enormous challenges of our time, rapid changes in temperature, threats to food and resources, the natural environment, desertification and fires, pandemics, require countries to cooperate if humanity is to survive. The threats facing us all in a few years, make the Nobel Prize more relevant than ever, I meet many who agree that further military arms races have become complete madness, says Heffermehl.
The main goal of the author is, as Nobel wanted, to start a public discussion about alternatives to unending arms races. From the internal Nobel Archives the author has retrieved the hidden and forgotten history of the political idea that Nobel wished Norwegian help to promote, about 120 years of thinking and efforts to demilitarize international relations.
We need a security policy that will not destroy life on the planet. The inhabitants of the world must understand the forces driving the arms frenzy, and realize that they have a common enemy and a common interest in throwing off the yoke of militarism. Huge gains in prosperity and security become available when countries cooperate instead of fighting each other, we simply cannot afford not to, Heffermehl concludes.
Den norske Nobelkomite
Henrik Ibsens gate 51, 0255 Oslo
Assessment of purpose and realization of goal in the Nobel Prize administration
The results of my research on Nobel´s “prize for the champions of peace” during the last 13 years have recently been made available to a wide audience in the book “Behind the Medals” (“Medaljens bakside”, Sandnes 2020). The conclusions are serious.
The Nobel testament was never professionally interpreted and never followed, there has been a massive violation of the rights of the recipients Alfred Nobel intended to support. The Nobel Committee has given general peace prizes to many fine recipients, but this does not help much as long as it continues to oppose the visions and the solution that Nobel intended to support.
For two years I have tried to obtain a dialogue with the Foundation and the Nobel Committee about the results of my research, to follow Gandhi’s principle of not surprising the other party and to provide early information to those responsible for managing Nobel’s last will. After several refusals to meet, I have to write this letter instead.
In such a dialogue, I would have emphasized what is the basic and only agenda for my efforts, namely to gain support for the idea behind the Nobel Peace Prize (p. 13 in the book). Major mistakes have been made in the past, but what counts for me is our future, to end a life-threatening security policy on autopilot.
By gaining access to the Nobel Committee’s internal archives, I rediscovered a hidden and forgotten history of ideas, 120 years of alternative thinking about peace and disarmament. These ideas could have changed the course of history and created peace. Unfortunately, the ideas Nobel intended to support have been repressed and concealed as a result of the influence of the military forces in politics, in Norway and in other countries, and also in the Nobel Committee.
In our time, with rapid temperature rises, death of species and nature, forest fires, typhoons and extreme weather, ice melting, rising sea levels, flows of refugees, pandemics, danger of social and economic collapse, more weapons are what we need least. We simply cannot afford them. All the real threats to our survival mean that continued arms races are complete madness (pp. 99-104).
No single measure could mean more to counter the threats than cooperating on global disarmament. I believe that there is a latent, strong and deep longing among most people to be freed from an extremely dystopian world order. A “Lay Down your Arms”-cooperation between the nations – as Nobel wanted when he created the award – is not only worth trying, to work for this is the committee’s obvious duty, legally and morally, according to Nobel´s will.
During my work on “Behind the Medals”, I found extensive new evidence that provides a significantly more ample, secure and precise understanding of the Nobel Committee’s task and duties (p. 39). Highlights of this more in-depth interpretation of Nobel´s testament follow as an appendix.
Fredrik S. Heffermehl
Cc: Nobelstiftelsen, Stockholm
EMAIL from Fredrik S. Heffermehl to the Norwegian Nobel Committee 21.09.2020
MAIN POINTS IN THE INTERPRETATION OF NOBEL’S INTENTION:
The most basic necessity in the fulfillment of the testamentary purpose, in communication and effective realization of Nobel’s intention, is a professional study of Nobel’s intention. In Aftenposten 14.08.2007, I encouraged the Norwegian managers to perform this. Nothing happened, even after an order from the Swedish Foundation Agency 21.03.2012. Therefore, I have undertaken to carry out the assessment required by the Inheritance Act.
The correspondence between Alfred Nobel and the peace pioneer Bertha von Suttner contains a wealth of evidence about the purpose of the testament’s words about the “prize for the champions of peace”. Here are some important conclusions about Nobel’s opinion and the Norwegian administration of the will:
- Nobel’s main intention was to support contemporary ideas of a change of course away from military competition, the goal was to avoid war through cooperation on international law, international organization and the abolition of national military armaments.
- Since the beginning the managers of the peace prize have failed to distinguish between politics and a statutory responsibility laid down in the laws on wills, foundations and on the management of trusted funds. The election of members of the Nobel Committee falls outside the Storting’s tasks under the Constitution. The members of parliament must respect the laws “like anyone else who assumes the role of testator”. In this, the author has the support of both law professors and a former justitiarius in HR, Carsten Smith.
- The Storting decided in 1897 to take on the task of appointing a committee of five to hand out the prize, but the presidents quietly decided to ignore Nobel´s words on disarmament. When the Norwegian administration thus started out rejecting the very core of Nobel’s intention, this was a gross violation of the statute on administration of trusted funds.
- The outstanding lawyer Bernhard Getz, as chair of the first Nobel Committee, placed great emphasis on the committee´s independence of the Storting. At his death in 1901, Jørgen Løvland, a leading Storting politician, became the new committee chair. He wished the award to be knit as closely as possible to the Storting and use the prize as a tool for Norwegian independence and foreign policy. Norway’s liberation struggle from the union with Sweden helps explain why Nobel’s intention was never realized.
- A professional interpretation of the will should have been performed in the beginning, but was never made. Instead, the committee chose to formulate its own concept of peace, it has freely interpreted its own self-chosen words, “peace” and “peace work”. Only two cases have been found (statements in 1905 and 1910) in which Nobel’s own intention has been voiced by the Norwegian managers of the prize.
- Interpretation of wills is to find the testator’s purpose, regardless of the words used. My latest interpretation of Nobel’s intention has revealed a fundamental failure in the committee´s understanding of its mandate. The main task was not to select a winner, pick the best in the pile of nominees, but to ensure that the awards were used actively to promote the vision of peace that Nobel wished his disarmament award to serve.
- The condition in the will that the Storting, in its election to the Nobel Committee, should appoint the best to realize the Nobel’s main intention has not been fulfilled; instead, the Storting has until recently let its own members dominate the committee, design the content of the award, and make the award the Storting’s own prize. After the first two decades, there has only been sporadic justice to the legitimate recipients, the peace movement.
- Even if Nobel’s vision of peace has had limited support in Norwegian society, the Storting, the Nobel Committee, the Nobel Institute and its consultants have had a legal duty of loyalty to what Nobel actually wanted. Instead, the Committee’s internal documents reveal both reluctance and contempt for the ideas and people the prize should serve. The new book puts the best qualified on parade; through a full presentation of those who should have actually received the awards, one gets a broad view of alternative peace ideas in the last 125 years.
- The book culminates in Part II in an analysis of the disarmament work at the UN. Based on experience, we know that this work does not progress. The book explains why this work has to fail and promotes some ideas about new approaches, such as the use of New Diplomacy and the possibility that the world’s cities can take the lead. In 2021 Norway will have a seat on the UN Security Council. By combining two elements with overlapping objectives, the Nobel Peace Prize and the UN Charter, Norway can give a long-awaited helping hand to the citizens of the world. We all need a far better organized world – as soon as possible.
Fredrik S. Heffermehl