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Nobel Prize Committee Grant Awards To Journalists Aligned With Major Imperialist Powers, But Not A Word Of Appreciation For Julian Assange

The Nobel Prize ceremony earlier this month presented yet another example of the main imperialist countries’ and institutions’ selective, dishonest, and politically driven usage of phrases like “freedom of the press” and “democratic rights.” The Norwegian Nobel Committee granted its highest award for 2021 to “Free, independent, and fact-based journalism,” which “serves to protect against abuse of power, lies, and war propaganda” in the midst of escalating attacks on journalists around the world, as part of a broader shift by capitalist governments toward authoritarian forms of rule. The committee stated that it was “convinced that freedom of expression and freedom of information help to ensure an informed public” and “protect against war and conflict.”

As has been the case many times before with the Nobel Peace Prize, even a cursory examination reveals that the grandiose language is deceptive. Founded by Alfred Nobel, the creator of dynamite, the Nobel Peace Prize has always represented the political interests and concerns of strong elements of the European ruling class, and frequently the US state, rather than the impartial promotion of high values that it professes. In one of the most infamous cases, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973 for his efforts to bring peace to the world, despite the carnage unleashed by American imperialism in Vietnam, and despite the fact that he was unable to leave the country for fear of being arrested and prosecuted as a war criminal.

In 2009, barely nine months after his election, and with no discernible achievements to merit the honor, US President Barack Obama was given the Nobel Peace Prize. He would go on to become the first US president to preside over deadly conflicts continuously for two terms, escalating US bombing of the Middle East and North Africa and beginning hostile confrontations with nuclear-armed Russia and China. This year’s honorees, Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov, are no Henry Kissinger or Barack Obama. However, in its celebration of press freedom, the Nobel Committee chose two journalists who have never questioned or revealed the interests of major imperialist countries, and who have spent their entire lives aligned with the US state machinery.

At the same time, the Nobel Prize committee made no mention of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who has faced an unparalleled campaign of worldwide prosecution by the US and its allies for exposing war crimes, vast surveillance programs, and covert propaganda operations of the major imperialist powers. Assange’s case is a textbook example of harsh political prosecution for journalistic activity, and the risks he faces, including death or excruciating life imprisonment, are evident.

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