How Freedom Is Won

May 21, 2009

[First published September 11. 2005] Freedom House has published a study on “How Freedom is Won (link here). The study covers all transitions to democracy that have occurred in the last 33 years, 67 of them, and shows that:

Far more often than is generally understood, the change agent is broad-based, nonviolent civic resistance—which employs tactics such as boycotts, mass protests, blockades, strikes, and civil disobedience to de-legitimate authoritarian rulers and erode their sources of support, including the loyalty of their armed defenders.

It goes on to say:

The central conclusion of this study is that how a transition from authoritarianism occurs and the types of forces that are engaged in pressing the transition have significant impact on the success or failure of democratic reform.

The study lists each transition, the factors involved, and provides a narrative on the transition. It concludes that the top down attempts at democratization is less successful than bottom up, nonviolent coalitions. Thus, the best way of aiding democratization from the outside is to:

aid the creation of “civic life,” broad based coalitions,
“transfer knowledge on strategies and tactics of nonviolent civic resistance,”
“provide enhanced resources for independent media and communications,” and
“expand space for nonviolent action through targeted sanctions.”

This is to say:

work to constrain insurrectionist and state violence and to expand the political space for nonviolent civic action. This means that in the cases of civil wars, governments and international organizations should seek solutions that lead to an end to hostilities and to internationally supervised or monitored elections. Democracies also should engage in preventive diplomacy to avert violence and support policies that prevent or limit the spread of violence in its earliest stages.

Because of Freedom House’s intensive and extensive analysis of freedom, nonfreedom, and their transitions for all the world’s countries, as shown in its annual Freedom In the World annual report (the 2005 Report is here), this study on how freedom is won is especially credible.

Does the study have anything to say that is relevant to Iraq and Afghanistan? Yes. I have pulled out the two relevant passages below:

. . . in the cases of civil wars, governments and international organizations should seek solutions that lead to an end to hostilities and to internationally supervised or monitored elections.

Efforts to restore personal security in extremely violent environments in countries that have suffered from war or civil war, therefore, can contribute in the long term to the emergence of civic coalitions for democratic change.

I believe that the American Coalition Iraq and Afghanistan is doing precisely this, while fighting the insurrectionists and terrorists. It is helping and aiding he process of creating a civic society with Iraqis and Afghans having the freedom to form political parties, businesses, educational institution, and other organizations that satisfy diverse interests (this is the invisible part of the war you don’t read much about in the opposition media). And the Coalition has brought in the UN and other international organizations to monitor and supervise democratic elections. The upshot of this Freedom House study is that if the insurrection and terrorism is defeated, the long run success of democracy in these countries looks promising.

A chart
of the democratic peace

Measuring Victory In The War On Terror

May 20, 2009

click me^–>

[First published September 12, 2005] During World War II, one could measure the progress of the war by the territories taken from the enemy, and the change in the front lines. So far, we have no such measure of our war on terror. I will now offer one.

Assumption 1: free countries — liberal democracies — do not sponsor terrorism or support it against other free countries.
Assumption 2: if the whole world were liberal democratic, terrorism would be defeated in that:

2a. They would not have a support base
2b. The remaining isolated gangs of terrorists would be treated as criminals.
2c.Democracies would combine forces to defeat those that remain, e.g., in the Philippines

Therefore, the progress of global liberal democratization measures the progress of the war on terrorism.

Okay, then how to measure the progress of liberal democratization? Freedom House has been rating nations on their freedom since 1972, giving a 1 to 7 rating their civil liberties, and then to their political rights. Adding these two ratings together, a 2 to 4 joint rating is what they define as a free country and what I will define as a liberal democracy. The worst rating on each is a 7, so a joint rating of 14 for a country is what they define as an unfree country and what I call totalitarian. See their ratings over the years here.

To get my democratization score, I will do this:

Take the average of the civil liberties and political rights rating for each country for each year. For a liberal democracy, this will average to 1 or 2, and to 6 or 7 for the worst unfree countries.

Then I will average all these averages across all countries for a year. If all countries are liberal democracies in a year, the average of the averages will be no greater than 2; if all counties were unfree for a year, the average of the averages would be greater than 6.

A problem is that I want to measure increasing democratization, but increasing democratization is so far measured by decreasing average ratings. So, to get the measurement moving in the proper direction, I will subtract each average of the averages from 7, the maximum possible. I will call the result the modified ratings. Then the modified 0 to 1 rating will mean all countries are unfree for a year, while 5 to 6 will mean all are liberal democratic.

With this understanding, I plotted the modified ratings in the figure below. I have set it up so that it is easy to see the progress in democratization, and thus by my assumptions, the current progress in the war on terror. I have fitted various trend estimates to the plot, such as a log, or polynomial fit, but all agree with what you can see. The trend line is up, and if it continues this way the world will be democratic in 3 or 4 decades, or liberally democratic in about two or three decades after that (to fit an equation just to determine the exact number of years to democracy or liberal democracy would be misplaced precision, given the uncertainties involved).

From now on, I will try to do this table year-by-year as a measure of the progress of the war on terror [not done, but will do in a new blog when I complete republishing these old blogs several months from now], not to mention the fulfillment of the democratic peace in the ending of war, democide, famine, and mass impoverishment.

Link of Day

“Of Minds and Metrics,” By Michael Barone (8/29/05)

Barone says:

Metrics are hard to come by in the war on terrorism. We can know the number of improvised explosive devices that go off in Iraq and the number of suicide bombers there, but we can only guess at whether these numbers represent the last throes of a terrorist movement or its continuing growth. We can count the number of days the Iraqi parliament has moved the deadline for drafting a constitution–seven, as this is written–but cannot be sure what the effect of a finally drafted constitution will be. We can note that some 220,000 Iraqis took part in deliberations over the constitution and that the Iraqi electricity supply now exceeds that of prewar levels.

Written with the excellence I’ve come to expect from Barone

Links I Must Share

“Reassessing the war on terror” By Harlan Ullman:

: Several weeks ago, the Pentagon led an attempt to rename President Bush’s global war on terror as the global struggle against violent extremism. Many commentators took this effort as a sign of a policy reassessment within the administration. But the name change was stillborn by the president himself, who in a subsequent speech pointedly referred to the global war on terror more than a dozen times.

A shallow analysis that lives up to my expectations.

” StrategyPage Looks At War on Terror Metrics”:

. . . discusses US strategy in the war on terror and then addresses the difficulty of measuring success in this intricate war.”

This is Austin Bay’s blog, and this article is informative and worth reading.

” Scoring the war on terrorism”:Presents five measures of success and concludes:

There is no easy long-term strategy that guarantees success. Instead, the United States and its allies must accept the inevitability of a large, global movement bent on murder as a form of political expression. With skill and energy; we can beat it back. Outright defeat will be far harder. That may depend ultimately on the proverbial draining of the political swamp. But by any measure it is a very large swamp.

RJR: another important article to make time for.

Democratic Peace Clock
More on the progress of
democracy via a clock

Global Violence In Sharp Decine

May 19, 2009

click me^–>

[First published September 14, 2005] Once all countries are liberal democracies, government sponsored terrorism will end. This does not necessarily mean the end of terrorism per se, for there well may be disaffected clans, cults, tribes, other minorities, and individuals (remember the Oklahoma City bombing by Timothy McVeigh) who may employ terrorism.

But, even then, the overall severity (number killed) of internal violence in the world will be much less than when were there dictatorships scattered about. The latest evidence for this is the chart below showing the sharp decline in conflict/violence with the growth of global democratization ( shown here , here, AND here). I’ve shown other plots of the decline in violence (see here, but this time the source of the data for the chart is different. In this case, it is the data of Strand, Wilhelmsen, and Gleditsch for 1946-2004, and is on the internet (here). The chart is from the UN’s Human Development Report for 2005 (here).

click to enlarge

Note the decline in every kind of conflict, most involving violence. As global democratization progressed and dictatorships declined, a critical mass of liberal democracies was achieved between 1985 and 1990, and thereafter the impact of the accumulated democracies caused the decline of all kinds of international and internal conflict/violence. This is as it should be by theory, by the democratic peace propositions, and by the cross-national empirical results.

And thus I feel comfortable in saying that a fully liberal democratic world will not know government sponsored terrorism and much less individual and group terrorism than we see today.

Link of Day

“National Security Watch: Terrorism by the (new) numbers “ By Kevin Whitelaw (7/6/05)

Whitelaw says:

In a rare public release, the U.S. intelligence community’s National Counterterrorism Center has assembled a new set of terrorist attack statistics that provides a more complete–and disturbing–picture of the global terrorist threat. In all, the NCTC found some 3,192 separate terrorist incidents in 2004, involving 28,433 victims (including 6,060 people who were killed). Iraq was the site of more than a quarter of all attacks last year, followed by India, Nepal, and the Gaza Strip. Iraqis were also 27 percent of the victims of the attacks. Twenty-two percent were Nepalese, and 9 percent were Russian (most from the bloody school hostage crisis in Beslan by Chechen rebels). Iraq accounted for six of the 10 deadliest terrorist incidents.

Links I Must Share

“Terrorism Knowledge Base”:

A comprehensive Databank of Global Terrorist Incidents and Organizations>

A reference for your active file.

“Al-Zarqawi Said to Declare ‘Fierce War'”:

Audiotape Purportedly of Al-Zarqawi Declares ‘Fierce War’ on ‘Evil Principle of Democracy’

And yet most Democrats and the major media do not believe we are at war, or at least don’t act as though we are.

“UN warns poverty fuels terror”:

The US Government’s neglect of commitments to alleviate global poverty is fuelling the creation of impoverished states that are breeding grounds for terrorism, a United Nations (UN) adviser said.”

Some experts can’t think past poverty. IT’S THUG REGIMES THAT FUEL TERRORISM.

“Judicial Cliches On Terrorism “:

Last week U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour sentenced a defendant to prison for plotting to bomb the Los Angeles airport. In the course of the sentencing, the judge criticized the Bush administration’s post-Sept. 11 policies, such as the use of military tribunals and the detention of enemy combatants. He said that “the message to the world from today’s sentencing is that our courts have not abandoned our commitment to the ideals that set our nation apart.”

Altogether, now: WE ARE AT WAR. Americans are dying in combat; our enemies, such as Al-Zarqawi above, have announced that they are out to kill us, destroy our country, and take away our freedom. Already, about 3,000 civilians have been murdered in a sneak terrorists attack on the United States, more than the soldiers, airmen, and sailors killed in the Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.

“God Save Us” By Frank J. Gaffney Jr.:

The West is in a death struggle with Islamofascism.

Final novel in the Never Again Series

Downloadable free

Can We predict War and Is It Inevitable?

May 18, 2009

click me^–>

[First published September 22, 2005] This blog is inspired by Navin’s blog, “Can We Predict Wars? (here), described as “based on the premise that “we learn from history that we learn nothing from history. Logically, it must then be possible to predict war based on historical events.”

I quite agree that it is to history we must look for the ability to predict war and peace. But the recourse to history must go beyond the subjective reading of historians; it must also add to this knowledge a systematic treatment of cases and events, much as any scientist treats his empirical observations. That is, we have to well define what we mean by war and any variables we believe predict or account for war in a way that people who disagree with us can duplicate our data; our data should contain all or a well selected sample of wars and be made available to other researchers; and we should use systematic and replicable techniques of some sort to assess the relationships among the data.

If we do this, which quantitative researchers on war and peace have done, we are able to predict when and where wars will not occur, and explain why. We can also establish the probability of war occurring. In light of the common view of war today, these two statements are amazing. Consider the first statement that we can say with high confidence where wars will not occur. For example, I predict with a feeling of absolute certainty that there will be no war between France and Germany, France and Spain, and Germany and Poland in the next five years. Now, from history, with all the wars that these two peoples have fought, this is quite a prediction. Yes, you will say, but no one now expects such a war, which begs the question as to why.

Okay, how about there will be no war between Greece and Turkey (which some do expect), or Colombia and Ecuador, Paraguay and Bolivia, or Botswana and Namibia. But, there might be a war between Israel and Syria, Iraq and Syria, Ethiopia and Eritrea, or Tanzania and Uganda.

How do we know this? Because we know empirically from history and verified theory that democracies don’t make war on each other, and therefore we can predict that between any two democracies there will be no future war. However, war can well occur between two if one or both are not democracies. Moreover, the probability of war is far higher if both are nondemocracies.

In this case, can we predict when war will occur? It is most likely when there is a shift in the balance of interests, capabilities, and wills between two nondemocracies such that the balance no longer supports their status quo. There is a ton of nuances and things to be defined in this apparently simple statement. I’ve done this in my draft book, Principles of Freedom on my interactive book blog (here). See Part III, and specifically the conflict helix.

Thus, I argue the we define a sphere of peace in which we can predict with near certainty that war will never occur, and one in which we can also predict that war has its greatest likelihood — one the sphere of democracies, the other of nondemocracies. In the latter sphere war will occur when the status quo — structure of expectations — between nondemocracies collapses.

Is war inevitable? No! We can expand the sphere of democracies to encompass the globe and thereby make war history. There is no reason to suspect that the relationships among democracies will be any different than they are today if all countries are democratic. Democracies will remain intrinsically democracies, and thus the essential nature of democracies –political rights for all citizens, the democratic culture, multiple civic groups, a spontaneous society, and bonds and cross pressure — that ensure peace will remain.

Link of Day

“A Neural Net for Predicting War and Peace” By A. OLBRICH, & A. HERGOVICH

Abstract: Background: Social Identity Theory (Turner, 1986), Theory of Integrative Complexity (Tetlock, 1985) and the Theory of Groupthink (Janis & Mann, 1977) provide powerful tools for predicting international conflicts and wars. The aim of this study is to develop an application of artificial intelligence for predicting war and peace.

I’ve seen so much of this kind of psychological reductionism over the years when all one has to do is look at the type of government a country has –but, this is too simple. Yet, what personalities become rulers or leaders depends on the political system, and its culture, and history, and what they can do with the power they have also depends on these variables.

Links I Must Share

“China’s model for a censored Internet”:

Some worry China’s controls could be copied elsewhere.

“Iran ‘will trade nuclear secrets’:

Iran is ready to trade nuclear secrets with other Islamic states for peaceful purposes, the country’s leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said.

“EU drops hardline stance on Iran”:

The EU’s “big three” are said to have backed down from a demand that the UN nuclear watchdog should immediately report Iran to the Security Council.

“Rita: Watch This Blog”:

Defense Tech pal HYPERLINK “”Kris Alexander works for Texas’ homeland security department. Which makes his HYPERLINK “”blog (here) essential reading, now that a HYPERLINK “”category 5 killer hurricane is about to put the whomp on the Lone Stars.


A Moment for A good Laugh

May 16, 2009

click me^–>

[First published September 27, 2005] One can’t be serous all the time. I love a good laugh and the following are hard to beat. They came from annual “Dark and Stormy Night” competition — actual analogies and metaphors by way of Scripta Word Services (here). Found in high school essays:

1. Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides gently compressed by a Thigh Master.

2. His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances likeunderpants in a dryer without ClingFree.

3. He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guywho went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of thoseboxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at highschools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of thoseboxes with a pinhole in it.

4. She grew on him like she was a colony of E. coli and he wasroom-temperature Canadian beef.

5. She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes justbefore it throws up.

6. Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.

7. He was as tall as a six-foot-three-inch tree.

8. The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because ofhis wife’s infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerlysurcharge-free ATM.

9. The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowlingball wouldn’t.

10. McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filledwith vegetable soup.

11. From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie,surreal quality, like when you’re on vacation in another city and Jeopardycomes on at 7:00 p.m. instead of 7:30.

12. Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze.

13. The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you frythem in hot grease.

14. Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across thegrassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having leftCleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 pm. at a speed of 35 mph.

15. They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences thatresembled Nancy Kerrigan’s teeth.

16. John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who hadalso never met.

17. He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant and she was the EastRiver.

18. Even in his last years, Grandpappy had a mind like a steel trap, onlyone that had been left out so long, it had rusted shut.

19. Shots rang out, as shots are wont to do.

20. The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, thisplan just might work.

21. The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eatingfor a while.

22. He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either,but areal duck that was actually lame, maybe from stepping on a land mine orsomething.

23. The ballerina rose gracefully en pointe and extended one slender legbehind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.24. It was an American tradition,like fathers chasing kids around with power tools.

25. He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as ifshe were a garbage truck backing up.

26. Her eyes were like limpid pools, only they had forgotten to put in anypH cleanser.

27. She walked into my office like a centipede with 98 missing legs.

Link of Day

Can you bear this?

Take a look and be sure to move your cursor around. Fun for you and your kid.

Links I Must Share


“Hamas Will Stop Attacks From Gaza Says Note Attached To Missile”

“Seoul : Yes We Have No Nukes!”

“Conservatives And Liberals Thrilled At Sheehan’s Arrest”

Capitol Steps

Method, Method, Its All In The Method

May 15, 2009

click me^–>

[First published September 29, 2005] I don’t see the need to respond to every criticism of my research unless doing so cast more light on the democratic peace, or the incredible democide of the last century, being carried over into our new one by the ruling thugs in Burma, Sudan, and North Korea. For this reason, I will pay some attention to Dr. John Grohol’s item on my research and attendant criticism (here).

I will quote his points and respond to each below:

Rummel’s conclusions have been criticized the lack of definite correlation. He neglects current conflicts between Israel and Palestine as well as India and Pakistan, all of which are democratic nations–although Rummel’s defenders would retort that Palestine was never a real democracy until 2005, and that Pakistan is ruled by a strongman who wields a great deal of undemocratic power.

Moreover, were Israel truly at war with Palestine, Palestine would be destroyed due to the enormous disparity of power, and if Pakistan and India were truly at war with each other then tens of millions would die. Rummel’s real point is that democracies rarely go to war with each other, and liberal democracies (defined by free speech, free press, and universal franchise) never do. Neither Pakistan nor Palestine, at this time, qualifies as a liberal democracy.

RJR: He raises the criticism and then rebuts it himself

Rummel’s conclusions have also been criticized for not considering the number of deaths due to anarchy and the lack of government, through mechanisms such as civil conflict, the breakdown of society, and foreign invasion.

RJR: I do, and my estimates for each country include that for war dead and internal nondemocidal violence. Moreover, the most anarchical system is international relations, wars of which I have tallied and included in my analysis.

Some have found the data that he uses to be questionable.

RJR: This is unhelpful. Details please.

Other people point out that his methods of calculation of the death toll are highly controversial. He compares the statistical data before and after a certain date and derives an estimate about the number of killings that occurred between.

RJR: This is called interpolation, and what interpolation is wrong is not detailed.

However, he fails to establish evidence of actual killing.

RJR. No indication of what estimates of mine were wrong. I use all kinds of documents to establish democide, such as refugee reports, memoirs, biographies, historical analyses, actual exhumed body counts, records kept by the murderers themselves, and so on.

Moreover, his results are based on an absolute trust in statistical data and statistics are prone to errors. However, he himself uses the wider sense of “killed by”, including all kinds of “reason-result” relationships between acts of government and actual deaths. Moreover, in calculating the number of victims, he doesn’t feel he needs evidence of a death; the result of statistical calculation is, for Rummel, effective proof that death occurred.

RJR: Wrong. This deserves a full response: I don’t believe any of my estimates of democide tell the true death toll. Nor do I believe anyone will ever know the precise number of people murdered in any democide, including the Holocaust (estimates in this best of all studied genocides and with the best archival and other records still differ by over 40%). Then what is the purpose of estimating democide? Two reasons dominate: moral assessment, and related scientifically based policy. Democide is a crime against humanity, one of the worst crimes the rulers or leaders of a government can commit. But there are levels of democide, and I see a moral difference between rulers that murder at different orders of magnitude (powers of ten). That is, I find the evil of a Stalin who most probably murdered over 20,000,000 people (and this seems to encompass 99.9 percent of all estimates) greater than rulers who murdered 1,000, 10,000, 100,000, or even 1,000,000. More specifically, my moral gauge clicks in at orders of magnitude. (There are other moral gauges, of course, such as the proportion of a population murdered; how people were murdered, such as randomly or by ethnicity or race; whether the intent was genocide or revenge, etc.) The moral question for me is then whether an estimate captures the order of magnitude. While I don’t think we can ever get a true estimate, I do think we can bracket the range of estimates within which the true value must be found, either absolutely or probabilistically.

As to the second criteria for accepting an estimate, my concern is to forecast the most likely order of magnitude of democide based on the characteristics of a society, nation, culture, ruler, leadership, people, geography, and so on. This is a scientific problem and engages methodological and technical questions inappropriate here. What is appropriate to the question of errors in democide estimates is at what level of error we get meaningful enough results to define the causation involved in democide, when no actual estimate is true. And since the estimates are usually close enough in magnitudes to enable us to rank nations, and divide them into groups of more or less, then we have enough precision to carry out scientific tests as to what causes democide.

For an example of alleged manipulation: Rummel estimates the death toll in the HYPERLINK “”Rheinwiesenlager ( see here) as between 4,500 and 56,000. Official US figures were just over 3,000 and a German commission found 4,532. The high figure of 56,000 also merited the notation “probably much lower” in Rummel’s extracts.

RJR: Misleading. This is about the German POWs that died in American camps after the war due to mistreatment and lack of care. The different estimates I used are record here (lines 228-237). As you can see, the estimates generally are close to the ones given above, and I end up with a range of 3,000 to 56,000, with a most probable estimate of 6,000. Grohol does not understand that the low and high are meant to be the most unlikely low and high, and thus to bracket the probable true count (I did point this out). It is to determine these lows and highs that I include what some others might consider absurd estimates. And in this case, my low and high does bracket the figures he gives.

Another flaw in Rummel’s statistical calculations is that he doesn’t use error margins.

RJR: Of what meaning are error margins when dealing with the universe of data, and not a sample? For example, if one takes a poll of 1,000 people about their opinion on the Iraq war, the result may be 48 percent favorable within a margin (standard deviation) of 2.4 percentage points. But, if the poll is taken of all American adults, this is the universe and there is no error margin or standard error. I am dealing with all estimates available in English for ALL NATIONS over a period of a century, and available in the libraries I worked in, including the Library of Congress. In no way can these estimates be considered a sample, not even a sample of all estimates (say those in the Russian, Chinese, and Korean archives), since then the estimates I used are not random, or selected in some statistical sense.

Link of Day

“5 yrs of intifada: 1,061 Israelis killed”


“Palestinians’ celebrate five years of terror war”

Yes, celebrating the murder en mass of unarmed civilian women and children, mothers and fathers, and sometimes whole families, walking the street, eating in restaurants, dancing in a club, or marketing. Some who survived paralyzed, with lose of their limbs, blinded, or suffering life long internal injuries might envy the dead. And genocide scholars, mainly American and European Jews who tend to side with the Palestinians, refuse to recognize the genocide it was. A case of genocide denial by the very people who are outraged at those who deny the Holocaust. But, there is no denial by the Palestinians, there is celebration.

Links I Must Share

“An Islamic guide on how to beat your wife”
And leave no marks.

” Top U.S. Military Intel Officer: Zarqawi ‘Hijacked’ Insurgency”

“The Mother of All Connections” By Stephen F. Hayes & Thomas Joscelyn. In. The Weekly Standard :

From the July 18, 2005 issue: A special report on the new evidence of collaboration between Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and al Qaeda.

Excellent article. Read and inform yourself.

“Somaliland in first vote for MPs”
Another new democracy. Cheers.

Democide data estimation method

A Nobel Peace Prize “Finalist”?

May 14, 2009

click me^–>

[First published October 4, 2005] If you will forgive me, sometimes I have to get personal because of the importance of a question to the credibility of my research and data. I have for years claimed I was a “Nobel Peace Prize finalist”. This has been questioned by both friend and foe, which have asserted that (1) there is no such category, and (2) the Nobel Committee does not release such information, and (3) it doesn’t leak. Several years ago, someone unhappy with my research results checked with the Committee, was told the above, and then spread the word that I lied and, therefore, my assertions about my data and results could not be trusted.

So, to those who emailed me about this slander, I pointed out that I was only passing on what the local media told me in setting up an interview on this. Assuming it would settle the matter, I emailed them this pre-interview news item from the Honolulu Advertiser (3/1/96): 

Rudolph Rummel’s lifelong study of war, violence and mass killing has led him on a quest for peace. So it is only fitting that . . . he is among 117 finalists for the prize, which will be announced in October.

Recently, a colleague who I highly respect, is a friend who supports my research, and who is knowledgeable about the workings of the Nobel Committee tried to persuade me to drop the claim to being a finalist as not too important, and anyway, to people like him in the know, it looked “foolish.”

He simply is unaware of the esteem many without his inside view of the Nobel nomination give to it or even better, to being “finalist.” Of the prizes and awards I’ve won, and all the books and professional articles I’ve published, this is the number 1 credibility booster for my research claims.

In any case, I passed on to him the above news item. He then communicated with the Director of the Nobel Institute (who is ex officio secretary of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee) and I received this reponse:

He confirmed my impression that there is no short list of 117 nominees. Not in 1996 or in any other year. There is a list of people nominated for the Prize, as you indeed were. There is a short list of at most 30-40 people. The credentials of these candidates are examined by a group of confidential reviewers for the Nobel Institute.
In his time as Director, and he has been in that position since well before 1996, Geir Lundestad has never experienced a leak of either the long list of all nominees or the short list of those reviewed.

Okay, so I went on LexisNexis and did a search for the February 1996 wire from which the local media said they got their information. The incredible Internet came through again. I found the wire and it is below in full, so that no one feels I left anything out:

Associated Press
February 29, 1996; Thursday 09:21 Eastern Time
SECTION: International news


Taiwan’s president, Lee Teng-hui, has been nominated for the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize for his pro-democracy drive, one of 117 names on the final list tallied by Nobel officials this week.

Lee, Taiwan’s president since 1988, was nominated by a former Swedish deputy prime minister, Per Ahlmark. Ahlmark also submitted the names of Chinese dissident Wei Jingsheng and Rudolph J. Rummel, professor emeritus at Hawaii University, who has collected evidence on repressive political regimes.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee, which never releases lists of candidates, on Thursday refused to confirm the names of nominees for this year’s prize.

However, those making the nominations often announce them. Other known nominees this year include U.S. President Clinton and his emissary Richard Holbrooke for their peace efforts in Bosnia.

”I can only say that we now have a final count on nominations. There are 117 this year, including 28 organizations,” said Geir Lundestad, the committee’s non-voting secretary. The number in past years has been between 120 and 130.

The five-member awards committee arrived at the final number Wednesday when it began sifting through this year’s nominations mailed by the Jan. 31 deadline.

Taiwan is planning its first democratic presidential election on March 23. However, the drive toward democracy has heightened tensions with mainland China. Beijing regards Taiwan as a breakaway province and threatens to attack the island if it declares independence.

”Almost the entire transition by Taiwan to a democracy has occurred during Lee Teng-hui’s presidency,” said Ahlmark in his nomination letter, released in Sweden.

”For the first time in several thousand years of Chinese civilization, part of the Chinese nation is today run through elections and an equal voice under political freedom,” Ahlmark wrote.

Taiwanese are worried about China’s reported plans to hold a military exercise by 150,000 troops on the mainland coast facing Taiwan. Some regard the exercise as an attempt to dissuade Taiwanese voters from supporting Lee.

Other known nominees include former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, who has acted as a mediator in crises in North Korea, Haiti and Bosnia; Mordechai Vanunu, a nuclear technician jailed for revealing secrets of Israel’s atomic weapons program; Russian Human rights activist human Sergei Kovalyov; East Timor’s Catholic Bishop Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo; Bishop Samuel Ruiz of Mexico, and Maha Ghosananda, a Buddhist Monk, for his efforts to bring peace to Cambodia.

Groups nominated include Russia’s anti-war group Soldiers’ Mothers, The Salvation Army and Doctors without Borders.

The peace prize, worth 7.4 million Swedish kroner (about dlrs 1 million) this year, will be announced on a Friday in mid-October, Lundestad said.

The award is always presented in Oslo on Dec. 10, the anniversary of the death of Alfred Nobel, a Swede who invented dynamite and endowed the prize in his 1895 will.

The other Nobel Prizes in literature, economics, physics, chemistry and physiology or medicine are awarded on the same day in Stockholm, Sweden.

There you have it. Regardless of what he says, Geir Lundestad was a source of inside information — a leak. Moreover, the wire refers to a “final list” of nominations, and “arrived at the final number Wednesday when it began sifting through this year’s nominations.” Clearly, the Committee winnowed down all the nominations that came in to a “final list,” which is consistent with saying this was a list of finalists. Therefore, the local media got it right. I was a finalist on a list of 117 nominations.

[But since most colleagues will accept Geir Lundestad’s claim that there was no leak of the finalists list, and to claim I was a finalist is controversial, I just note that I have been frequently nominated by the the Nobel Peace Prize by former Swedish deputy prime minister, Per Ahlmark (see here]