Far-fetched as it sounds, this year’s winners are all connected to a CIA offshoot, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and parroted CIA / State Department / Pentagon talking points about Ukraine and Russia in their acceptance speeches
The Nobel Prize Committee has five judges, appointed by the Norwegian parliament, who are tasked with choosing Nobel Prizewinners.
But people are starting to wonder if there is a 6th Nobel Prize judge, not appointed by the Norwegian parliament, but by the CIA, who is tasked with making sure that winners of the coveted Nobel Peace Prize advance the agenda of U.S. policy makers.
Although the idea may seem far-fetched, this year’s winners all have connections to a CIA offshoot, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).
Oleksandra Matviichuk, for example, who accepted this year’s Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the Ukraine Center for Civil Liberties (CCL) on December 10, had received the NED’s annual Democracy Award on behalf of the CCL six months earlier.
The NED was founded in the 1980s to promote propaganda and regime-change operations in the service of U.S. imperial interests. Allen Weinstein, the director of the research study that led to creation of the NED remarked in 1991: “A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.”
The two other recipients of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, Ales Bialiatski, a Belarusian dissident, and Memorial, a human rights organization expelled from Russia for violating its foreign agent law, have also received NED awards and probable financing.
While the Nobel Peace Prize has previously gone to warmongers like Theodore Roosevelt, Henry Kissinger and Barack Obama, never before has it gone to organizations that were intricately associated with a foreign intelligence agency specializing in political skullduggery and psychological warfare.
The entire Nobel Peace Prize ceremony this year seemed to be part of a public relations spectacle whose purpose was to mobilize public opinion against Russia and to support a military escalation of the war in Ukraine.
In their victory speeches, all three Peace Prize recipients ritually denounced Russian war crimes and aggression and issued support for the war in Ukraine. Oleksandra Matviichuk also directly asked the Norwegian government for more air defense for Ukraine and other types of weapons.
Promoting a Fairy Tale Version of Reality
Matviichuk’s speech was notable for its overt Russophobia and Manichaean view of world affairs that showed a fundamental naiveté about the character of Western governments.
Matviichuk said that the West had turned a blind eye to Russia’s “destruction of its own civil society,” and “shook hands with the Russian leadership, built gas pipelines and conducted business as usual” when, for decades, “Russian troops had been committing crimes in different countries.”
In Matviichuk’s telling, the “innocent” West is complicit in appeasing Russia—though for the last few decades, it was U.S. troops and its proxies that rampaged across the Middle East and committed massive war crimes.
All while Russia has often intervened in self-defense against U.S.-NATO aggression—like in Georgia in 2008—or at the request of a besieged ally, like in Syria, where it saved the country from the fate of Libya which had been destroyed by the 2011 U.S.-NATO intervention.
Matviichuk claimed in her speech that the war in Ukraine is “not a war of two states—but of two systems—authoritarianism and democracy.”
If that is the case, it is not clear which side she is on as her president, Volodymyr Zelensky, has banned eleven opposition parties, including the communist party, which is legal in Russia, and mounted a Phoenix-style operation to silence dissidents.
Matviichuk suggested earlier in her speech that the world had not adequately responded to “the act of aggression and annexation of Crimea, which were the first such cases in post-war Europe.”
Crimea, however, had historically been part of Russia and was never invaded. Its people voted to rejoin Russia in a referendum after the U.S. and EU had backed a right-wing coup in Ukraine that represented a vital security threat to Russia on its border.
Matviichuk presented more false history when she claimed that “the Russian people were responsible for this disgraceful chapter in their history [the invasion of Ukraine] and their desire to forcefully restore their former empire.”
Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine, however, was not an attempt to restore the Russian empire, but was carried out in response to genuine national security threats that Russia faced as a result of the right-wing coup in Ukraine and NATO advancement on its border.
Matviichuk further omits that Russia was carrying out a genuine humanitarian intervention by trying to save the people of eastern Ukraine who had been the target of an ethnic-cleansing operation by the Ukrainian military, which left 14,000 civilians dead.
Matviichuk concluded part of her speech by stating:
“People of Ukraine want peace more than anyone else in the world. But peace cannot be reached by the country under attack laying down its arms. This would not be peace, but occupation. After the liberation of Bucha, we found a lot of civilians murdered in the streets and courtyards of their homes. These people were unarmed. We must stop pretending deferred military threats are ‘political compromises.’ The democratic world has grown accustomed to making concessions to dictatorships. And that is why the willingness of the Ukrainian people to resist Russian imperialism is so important. We will not leave people in the occupied territories to be killed and tortured. People’s lives cannot be a ‘political compromise.’ Fighting for peace does not not mean yielding to pressure of the aggressor, it means protecting people from its cruelty.”
It is astounding that someone would use the platform accorded to her by winning a major world peace prize to try to rationalize a war that her country had started—in 2014 when it attacked the people of eastern Ukraine who voted for more autonomy after a foreign-backed coup in Ukraine, and after the post-coup government imposed draconian language laws.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (2014-2019) has even disclosed that Ukraine had no intention of abiding by the Minsk peace agreements, which could have prevented a full-scale conflict with Russia. Instead, Ukraine signed those agreements as a stalling tactic to give it more time to build up its military power and accrue more weaponry and support from the U.S. so it could fight Russia from a position of strength.
Matviichuk promoted more disinformation by suggesting that the Russians had killed all the civilians in Bucha, as in-depth investigations have determined that many civilians were killed in Bucha by the Ukrainians after Russian forces were expelled.
Her true political colors were seen at the end of the speech when she praised the “people in Iran fighting in the streets for their freedom,” and people in China who were resisting its “digital dictatorship.” This is right out of the playbook of the NED, which sponsors organizations that denounce human rights abuses of independent countries targeted by the U.S. for regime change, while extolling the heroism of dissidents who would align their country with the U.S.
Shades of Obama 2009
Matviichuk’s use of the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony as a forum to promote war drew on the precedent established by the drone king, Barack Obama, when he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009.
In his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, Obama provided a tortured defense of U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, stating “we must begin by acknowledging the hard truth that we will not eradicate violent conflict in our lifetimes. There will be times when nations—acting individually or in concert—will find the use of force not only necessary but morally justified.”
“I make this statement mindful of what Martin Luther King said in this same ceremony years ago—‘violence never brings permanent peace. It solves no social problem: It merely creates new and more complicated ones.’ As someone who stands here as a direct consequence of Dr. King’s life’s work, I am living testimony to the moral force of non-violence. I know there is nothing weak—nothing passive—nothing naïve—in the creed and lives of Gandhi and King. But as a head of state sworn to protect and defend my nation, I cannot be guided by their examples alone. I face the world as it is, and cannot stand idle in the face of threats to the American people. For make no mistake: Evil does exist in the world. A non-violent movement could not have halted Hitler’s armies. Negotiations cannot convince al-Qaeda’s leaders to lay down their arms. To say that force is sometimes necessary is not a call to cynicism—it is a recognition of history; the imperfections of man and the limits of reason.”
Honoring a Propaganda Agency That May Well Help Ignite World War III
While the Nobel Peace Prize has not always honored true peace activists, a truly ominous precedent has been set in giving it to a propaganda agency that may well help ignite World War III.
A key part of CCL’s current mission is to document Russian war crimes in Donbas—though Ukraine has been responsible for the majority of human rights crimes there since the war started after the U.S.-backed coup in 2014—when CCL started this work.
Residents from towns in eastern Ukraine have reported on widespread rapes and torture of captured prisoners by Ukrainian troops and constant shelling of civilian centers and terror bombing over an eight-year period.
This is ignored by the CCL, which instead has tried to spotlight the stories—real or imagined—of victims of sexual violence by Russian troops in Ukraine and women abducted by Russian troops and taken into captivity in Russia.
Further, the CCL has mounted an international campaign to release the Kremlin’s political prisoners, and aims to raise awareness about political persecution in what it calls Russian-occupied Crimea—which is not “occupied” since its people voted to rejoin Russia in a referendum.
The CCL fashions itself as a particular champion of the Crimean Tatars, some of whom had collaborated with Nazi Germany in World War II and who had long been used by outside powers to try to destabilize Russia and foment ethnic conflict as part of a strategy of divide and conquer.
Tatar leader Mustafa Dzhemilev, who received an award from the NED in 2018, travelled to the NATO headquarters in Brussels after the Russian annexation of Crimea in March 2014 agitating for an armed intervention by the UN to return Crimea to Ukrainian control, and has been a militant proponent of sanctions against Russia.
Matviichuk is co-author of the study, “The Fear Peninsula: Chronicles of Occupation and Violations of Human Rights in Crimea,” a one-sided propaganda pamphlet aimed at mobilizing public opinion in support of Ukraine’s efforts to reconquer Crimea—against the wishes of its people.
Belarusian Winner Also Has NED Connection
The politicized nature of this year’s Nobel Prize ceremony was apparent in the selection of a Belarusian dissident, Ales Bialiatski, as co-winner of the Peace Prize.
Jailed for “financing group actions that disrupted public order,” Bialiatski was part of an NED-sponsored uprising and color revolution in 2020-2021 that failed to overthrow Belarus’s socialist ruler, Alexander Lukashenko, who had saved his country in the 1990s by rejecting Western-imposed privatization and shock therapy programs and sustained a strong social safety net.
Lukashenko is a close ally of Vladimir Putin who has supported strengthening the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), an alliance of Eurasian countries promoting trade in national currencies instead of the U.S. dollar and regional economic integration as a means of presenting a strong united front against U.S. imperialism.
Bialiatski’s wife, Natalia Pinchuk, who received the Nobel Peace Prize on his behalf, used the opportunity to falsely denigrate Lukashenko for heading a “dependent dictatorship,” which she said Putin also wanted to impose on Ukraine. Pinchuk further condemned Lukashenko for “choosing to engage with society through the use of force—grenades, batons, stun guns, endless arrests and torture.”
These latter words hold some truth, though leaders throughout the world would react the same way as Lukashenko in the face of a foreign backed uprising, whose main purpose was to destroy Belarus’s successful socialist experiment and transform the country into another proxy of the U.S. and NATO that could be used as a staging ground for destabilizing Russia.
Bialiatski significantly was a panelist at a 2014 NED forum where he spoke alongside long-time NED Director and neo-conservative ideologue Carl Gershman. (See photo below.)
This indicates probable NED funding for the organization that Bialiatski established—Viasna—whose purpose has been to monitor human rights abuses committed by the Lukashenko government and to advocate for anti-regime dissidents.
In 2021, the NED provided more than $2.5 million in grants to civil society groups in Belarus, including those focused on human rights and documenting the alleged abuses of the Lukashenko government for political purposes.
By helping to paint Lukashenko as a monster in national and international media, Bialiatski’s organization and others of his kind serve U.S. imperial interests by helping to mobilize popular support for a regime-change operation directed against Europe’s last true socialist government.
Yet Another NED Connection
The third winner of this year’s Nobel Peaze Price is a banned Russian human rights organization, Memorial, whose work includes preserving the memory of the victims of Soviet gulags and Joseph Stalin’s reign, and documenting political repression and human rights violations in Russia. In 2004, its director, Arseny Roginsky, was awarded the 2004 NED Democracy Award.
This latter award suggests that Memorial—founded by Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov during perestroika in the 1980s—received financing from the NED, which was very generous in Russia toward civil society groups whose agenda was to denigrate the Soviet system and undermine Putin, who helped take back national control of Russia’s economy following a period of looting and Western exploitation under Boris Yeltsin.
In 2014, Memorial was in fact placed on a list of foreign agents by the Russian government, which suspected it of receiving foreign funding.
Should It Be Renamed the Nobel War Prize?
The Nobel Peace Prize has tarnished its reputation through many of its past selections; but this year seems worse then ever with the Nobel ceremony providing a platform for anti-Russia war incitement.
In the future, all pretenses should be thrown aside and the prize finally renamed the Nobel War Prize.
Whereas at one time genuine peace activists—like Emily Greene Balch, Linus Pauling and Martin Luther King, Jr.—were awarded the prize, now it is being conferred on war propagandists and national traitors in the pay of foreign masters who are using them merely as pawns in a deadly game in which there are no winners.
The CCL also won the Georgetown University Institute for Women, Peace and Security Hillary Rodham Clinton Award bestowed annually for exceptional leadership in women’s rights. ↑
For background, see Jeremy Kuzmarov and John Marciano, The Russians Are Coming, Again (New York: Monthly Review Press, 2018). ↑
Founded in 2007, the CCL documented human rights abuses by Ukraine’s legally elected pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych against protesters who launched a coup against him in February 2014, and provided legal support to those protesters. ↑
Bialiatski was earlier part of the Belarusian Popular Front, which helped to topple Soviet rule in Belarus in 1990-1991, and a founder of the Belarusian Union of Writers and the Martyrology of Belarus association, which investigated communist repression prior to World War II. On the success of Lukashenko’s socialist policies, see Stewart Parker, The Last Soviet Republic: Alexander Lukashenko’s Belarus (London: Trafford Publishing, 2007). ↑
Jan Rachinsky of Memorial ritually denounced Russia and Vladimir Putin in his Nobel Peace Prize speech, stating that the “Kremlin’s attempts to denigrate the history, statehood and independence of Ukraine and other ex-Soviet nations…became the ideological justification for the insane and criminal war of aggression against Ukraine.” Rachinsky went on to characterize the Russian invasion of Ukraine as unprovoked, when clearly it was not. ↑
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About the Author
Jeremy Kuzmarov is Managing Editor of CovertAction Magazine.
He is the author of four books on U.S. foreign policy, including Obama’s Unending Wars (Clarity Press, 2019) and The Russians Are Coming, Again, with John Marciano (Monthly Review Press, 2018).
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