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Nobel academy rejects Israeli demand to revoke poet’s award

Press TV – April 11, 2012

The Swedish Academy in charge of selecting laureates for the Nobel Prize in Literature has rejected a call by an Israeli writers group to revoke the award of German Nobelist Gunter Grass.

“Regarding the current debate over Gunter Grass’ poem “Was gesagt wered muss” (What must be said) I wish to point out that Mr. Grass received his Nobel Prize in 1999 on literary merit and merit alone – this applies to all recipients,” said Peter Englund, the permanent secretary of the Academy, on Tuesday.

“There is and will be no discussion in the Swedish Academy on rescinding the award,” said Englund.

The Hebrew Writers’ Association had earlier on Tuesday condemned Grass for writing a poem in which he expressed concern over the consequences of both a nuclear-armed Israel and a possible Israeli attack on Iran.

“We are struck by the shameful and immoral positions taken by Gunter Grass,” Herzl Hakak, the head of the Israeli association said, adding that they “call on writers worldwide to denounce” the opinions of the German Nobelist.

The controversial poem, which was published in the German daily Suddeutsche Zeitung last week, has also provoked the anger of both Israeli and German officials.

Germany’s Social Democrats, one of the country’s main political parties, announced that Grass was no longer welcomed at their campaign rallies.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, meanwhile, described the poem as “shameful”, saying it was “an expression of the cynicism of some of the West’s intellectuals”.

Despite all the condemnation, Grass has stated that he has received “piles” of supportive messages for speaking out.

In the poem, the Nobelist writes “Why do I say only now … that the nuclear power Israel endangers an already fragile world peace? Because that must be said which may already be too late to say tomorrow.”

“I will be silent no longer, because I am weary of the West’s hypocrisy,” Grass adds.

Grass won the Nobel Prize in 1999. His 1958 novel, The Tin Drum, was an indictment of the German mindset in the Nazi era.

Meanwhile, the Israeli regime remains the only possessor of nuclear weapons in the Middle East and it has never allowed inspections of its nuclear facilities nor has it joined the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) based on its policy of nuclear ambiguity.

According to a survey conducted in 2011 by the Berlin-based Friedrich Ebert Foundation, more than 50 percent of Europeans believe that the Tel Aviv regime is the most serious threat to global security.

April 11, 2012 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , | 1 Comment

Glacier scientist: I knew data hadn’t been verified

By David Rose | Daily Mail | January 24, 2010

The scientist behind the bogus claim in a Nobel Prize-winning UN report that Himalayan glaciers will have melted by 2035 last night admitted it was included purely to put political pressure on world leaders.

Dr Murari Lal also said he was well aware the statement, in the 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), did not rest on peer-reviewed scientific research.

In an interview with The Mail on Sunday, Dr Lal, the co-ordinating lead author of the report’s chapter on Asia, said: ‘It related to several countries in this region and their water sources. We thought that if we can highlight it, it will impact policy-makers and politicians and encourage them to take some concrete action.

‘It had importance for the region, so we thought we should put it in.’

Dr Lal’s admission will only add to the mounting furore over the melting glaciers assertion, which the IPCC was last week forced to withdraw because it has no scientific foundation.

According to the IPCC’s statement of principles, its role is ‘to assess on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis, scientific, technical and socio-economic information – IPCC reports should be neutral with respect to policy’.

The claim that Himalayan glaciers are set to disappear by 2035 rests on two 1999 magazine interviews with glaciologist Syed Hasnain, which were then recycled without any further investigation in a 2005 report by the environmental campaign group WWF.

It was this report that Dr Lal and his team cited as their source.

The WWF article also contained a basic error in its arithmetic. A claim that one glacier was retreating at the alarming rate of 134 metres a year should in fact have said 23 metres – the authors had divided the total loss measured over 121 years by 21, not 121.

Last Friday, the WWF website posted a humiliating statement recognising the claim as ‘unsound’, and saying it ‘regrets any confusion caused’.

Dr Lal said: ‘We knew the WWF report with the 2035 date was “grey literature” [material not published in a peer-reviewed journal]. But it was never picked up by any of the authors in our working group, nor by any of the more than 500 external reviewers, by the governments to which it was sent, or by the final IPCC review editors.’

In fact, the 2035 melting date seems to have been plucked from thin air.

Professor Graham Cogley, a glacier expert at Trent University in Canada, who began to raise doubts in scientific circles last year, said the claim multiplies the rate at which glaciers have been seen to melt by a factor of about 25.

‘My educated guess is that there will be somewhat less ice in 2035 than there is now,’ he said.

‘But there is no way the glaciers will be close to disappearing. It doesn’t seem to me that exaggerating the problem’s seriousness is going to help solve it.’

One of the problems bedeviling Himalayan glacier research is a lack of reliable data. But an authoritative report published last November by the Indian government said: ‘Himalayan glaciers have not in any way exhibited, especially in recent years, an abnormal annual retreat.’

When this report was issued, Raj Pachauri, the IPCC chairman, denounced it as ‘voodoo science’.

IPCC chairman Raj Pachauri

Having been forced to apologise over the 2035 claim, Dr Pachauri blamed Dr Lal, saying his team had failed to apply IPCC procedures.

It was an accusation rebutted angrily by Dr Lal. ‘We as authors followed them to the letter,’ he said. ‘Had we received information that undermined the claim, we would have included it.’

However, an analysis of those 500-plus formal review comments, to be published tomorrow by the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), the new body founded by former Chancellor Nigel Lawson, suggests that when reviewers did raise issues that called the claim into question, Dr Lal and his colleagues simply ignored them.

For example, Hayley Fowler of Newcastle University, suggested that their draft did not mention that Himalayan glaciers in the Karakoram range are growing rapidly, citing a paper published in the influential journal Nature.

In their response, the IPCC authors said, bizarrely, that they were ‘unable to get hold of the suggested references’, but would ‘consider’ this in their final version. They failed to do so.

The Japanese government commented that the draft did not clarify what it meant by stating that the likelihood of the glaciers disappearing by 2035 was ‘very high’. ‘What is the confidence level?’ it asked.

The authors’ response said ‘appropriate revisions and editing made’. But the final version was identical to their draft.

Last week, Professor Georg Kaser, a glacier expert from Austria, who was lead author of a different chapter in the IPCC report, said when he became aware of the 2035 claim a few months before the report was published, he wrote to Dr Lal, urging him to withdraw it as patently untrue.

Dr Lal claimed he never received this letter. ‘He didn’t contact me or any of the other authors of the chapter,’ he said.

The damage to the IPCC’s reputation, already tarnished by last year’s ‘Warmergate’ leaked email scandal, is likely to be considerable.

Benny Peiser, the GWPF’s director, said the affair suggested the IPCC review process was ‘skewed by a bias towards alarmist assessments’.

Environmentalist Alton Byers said the panel’s credibility had been damaged. ‘They’ve done sloppy work,’ he said. ‘We need better research on the ground, not unreliable predictions derived from computer models.’

Last night, Dr Pachauri defended the IPCC, saying it was wrong to generalise based on a single mistake. ‘Our procedure is robust,’ he added.

January 24, 2010 Posted by | Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Glacier scientist: I knew data hadn’t been verified