Patrick Bond, political economist, Professor of Sociology at the University of Johannesburg, and Director of the Centre for Social Change, expands on the first Global Stocktake produced at COP28. He criticizes the document’s weak language of “transitioning away” from fossil fuels, which he says is a distraction from the need to phase out fossil fuels outright. Sanctions such as the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) to prevent carbon leakage were removed from the GST in the name of promoting global trade, another aspect Bond problematizes. He also addresses the BRICS+ divided approach toward Israel’s bombardment of the Gaza Strip.
Israeli Member of Knesset Dr. Ofer Cassif is a member of the Hadash Party, which supports Jewish-Arab cooperation and workers’ rights. MK Cassif highlights how the occupation generates class inequalities and a regime of elite oppressors vs. the oppressed, which is not exclusively based along ethnic or religious lines. He outlines Prime Minister Netanyahu’s disregard for the well-being of both Israelis and Palestinians, as well as a history of propping up Hamas.
Bruce Robertson, independent energy analyst, exposes the hypocrisies and lobbying taking place at COP28 and how talk of investing in a green transition is belied by increasing fossil fuel subsidies worldwide. He explains how the industry employs terms such as net zero and carbon capture and storage (CCS) to appease social opinion and pretend that emissions are being cut, while CCS technology has largely been a failure. Lastly, he tears into deceptive emissions accounting frameworks, which purport to reduce domestic emissions by exporting gas to other countries but, in fact, contribute to higher emissions globally.
Dr. Shana Marshall is the Associate Director of the Institute for Middle East Studies at George Washington University in D.C. She highlights a crucial element of financing the military and defense technology sector by venture capitalist and private equity firms with dubious financial and political interests. She explains how the business models of these firms shape the sort of weaponry produced in the U.S., such as an increase in drones and AI-powered systems and the “attritable” form of warfare that is waged as a result. Furthermore, she argues that U.S. policy in the Middle East and American support for authoritarian regimes has had dire consequences for the people in the region.
Author of the book “On Corruption in America: And What is at Stake” and former NPR correspondent Sarah Chayes discusses embedded corruption networks in Afghanistan, particularly under U.S. and allied occupation, and other countries plagued by endemic corruption. She argues that the very institutions— primarily Western— seeking to tackle corruption in these countries end up propping up corrupt financial and military institutions by supporting networks of elite capital interests and a conglomeration of private contractors.
Anna Ochkina is a Russian sociologist and colleague of Marxist sociologist and dissident Boris Kagarlitsky, who has been held in prison by Russian authorities since July 25. She says the authorities don’t actually believe he is a terrorist threat, but it is fear among the elite of his anti-war activism that led to his arrest.
Nadim Houry, Executive Director of the Arab Reform Initiative, discusses the role of Arab countries in the Middle East in demanding a ceasefire in Gaza and negotiating the release of hostages taken by Hamas. Normalization between Bahrain and the UAE with Israel, in addition to negotiations between Saudi Arabia and Israel, has been disrupted as the Israeli bombardment of Palestinian civilians in Gaza continues. Houry also addresses previous attempts to advance peace, such as the Saudi-led Arab Peace Initiative of 2002, and argues that a regional rather than bilateral approach with Israel is necessary, one which requires a non-negotiable end to settlement expansion in the West Bank and brings Iran and other regional actors into the fray.
Francis Boyle is an international lawyer and Professor of International Law at the University of Illinois College of Law. On behalf of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Boyle successfully initiated proceedings in 1993 against the former Yugoslavia at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for its violations of the 1948 Genocide Convention. Boyle discusses South Africa’s recent request for an interim measure from the ICJ to halt Israel’s alleged violations under the 1948 Genocide Convention. He explains the merits of the case, the likelihood of the ICJ ruling in favor of South Africa, and the legal implications for both Israel and the United States.
Retired U.S. Colonel Larry Wilkerson discusses the Biden administration’s unconditional support for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s bombardment of Gaza and large-scale indiscriminate attacks on Palestinian civilians. He points to state-sanctioned torture and other unlawful acts committed by the U.S. after 9/11 and asserts that the Israeli government is responding to Hamas’ attacks in a similar fashion by wholly disregarding international legal norms. In doing so, Israel is putting its own population at risk, as well as collectively punishing the Palestinians.
Mikey Weinstein, founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, a non-profit organization, explains why proselytizing in the U.S. military is both dangerous and unconstitutional. Christian nationalist and dominionist ideologies are espoused by high-ranking officers in the military, some of whom are involved in nuclear war and military planning. This highly disturbing reality, Mikey argues, is largely ignored by policymakers. As was reported following the U.S. Capitol attack on January 6th, 2021, an unusually high number of those charged in relation to the attack had a military background, and some of them adhered to radical Christian views.
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