Associated Press & Greenpeace International – 2005-10-08 10:27:15
Greenpeace Expresses Shock at Nobel Committee’s Pick for Peace Prize
VIENNA, Austria (October 8, 2005) — The environmental group Greenpeace said Friday it is shocked that the Nobel committee has given its prestige peace prize this year to Mohamed ElBaradei and the International Atomic Energy Agency, arguing that the UN agency’s promotion of atomic energy has increased the risk of nuclear weapons proliferation.
“With the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to such an organization, the meaning of this instrument of peace is seriously put into question,” Jan van de Putte, an atomic expert with Greenpeace, said in a statement.
The Nobel Committee said it had chosen the UN nuclear monitor and its general director to recognize “their efforts to prevent nuclear energy from being used for military purposes and to ensure that nuclear energy for peaceful purposes is used in the safest possible way.”
But Greenpeace argued that the group’s work has had the opposite effect.
“Through the IAEA’s worldwide support of nuclear power, 35 to 40 countries today have the capability of building atomic weapons within several months, as ElBaradei himself has recently admitted,” Greenpeace said.
© The Canadian Press, 2005
Peace Prize for IAEA a Mistake
OSLO, NORWAY (October 7, 2005) — The Nobel Peace Prize, founded on a fortune made from explosives, has gone to the agency whose job it is to promote nuclear power without promoting nuclear weapons, and the man who heads it. Anybody with that job probably deserves some kind of prize.
Mohammed ElBaradei is the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), both winners of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.
The agency is tasked with policing the spread of nuclear weapons at the same time it is charged with promoting the very technologies and materials used to make nuclear weapons.
It’s a job worthy of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
In opposing the Iraq war and championing a nuclear-free Middle East, ElBaradei has in recent years been a voice of sanity in the world of nuclear non-proliferation. Here’s what he had to say about nuclear weapons in The Economist in October 2003:
“I worry that, in our collective memories, the horrors of Hiroshima andNagasaki have begun to fade. I worry about nuclear weapons falling intothe hands of terrorists or ruthless dictators.
“I worry about nuclearweapons already in the arsenals of democracies — because as long asthese weapons exist, there is no absolute guarantee against the disastrous consequences of their theft, sabotage or accidental launch,and even democracies are not immune to radical shifts in their security anxieties and nuclear policies.
“I worry, but I also hope. I hope that a side-effect of globalisation will be an enduring realisation that there is only one human race, to which we all belong.”
Spoken like a Peace Prize winner.
But the Mr. Hyde side of his job is to be the UN’s front man for the nuclear industry, peddling more nuclear power to more countries.
That, Mr. El Baradei, is the part of your job that worries us. You see, we worry that, in our collective memories, the horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki have begun to fade. We worry about nuclear materials falling into the hands of terrorists or ruthless dictators.
We worry about nuclear materials that are already in nuclear power plants and reprocessing plants and storage facilities. Because as long asthese materials exist, there is no absolute guarantee against the disastrous consequences of their theft or sabotage, and even democracies are not immune to radical shifts in their security anxieties and nuclear policies.
We hope that this award will spark a new discussion around the fundamental contradiction of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s dual role as nuclear policeman and nuclear salesman. Only once that duality is removed can the IAEA truly focus on the pressing threat ofthe global spread of nuclear weapons technology, both civil andmilitary.
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