TNI has long worked on peace and security issues: challenging illegitimate wars, opposing the expansion of the military-industrial and surveillance complex and defending civil and human rights. Although resources have been limited to fund this work, during 2015, TNI launched a new book on climate security and continued its work on terrorist blacklisting.
In the run-up to the UN climate meetings in Paris, TNI published and launched a new agenda-setting book, The Secure and the Dispossessed – How the Military and Corporations are shaping a climate-changed world, written and edited by TNI Fellow Ben Hayes and Nick Buxton. The book, published by Pluto Press in the UK and University of Chicago Press in the US, explores how the military and corporations are increasingly turning climate change into a ‘security’ issue, which ends up justifying new forms of dispossession and exclusion.
The book received a long list of ringing endorsements from prominent scholars and activists including Naomi Klein, Paul Rogers, Betsy Hartmann, Bill McKibben, John Vidal and Fred Pearce. Professor Richard Falk, former special rapporteur to the UN and emeritus professor at Princeton University said it was “a brilliantly conceived and edited volume that warns us of the dire political and ecological consequences of accepting a security rationale for the control of climate change policy that entrusts the human future to the main culprits of our era: corporate neoliberalism and geopolitical militarism.”
The book was launched in December at well-attended events in London and Amsterdam. In Paris at the time of the UN climate meetings, TNI worked to bring together peace and environmental groups around the issues raised by the book and facilitated the beginnings of a new network on climate security issues. Following the terrorist attacks in Paris, the book’s arguments proved to have a strong resonance, as environmental movements faced unprecedented restrictions on freedom to protest under the guise of ‘security’.
Building on previous work, TNI Fellow Ben Hayes continued his investigation of the impact of terrorist proscription on conflict transformation undertaken with the International State Crime Initiative at Queen Mary University in London. By examining a number of cases of proscribed organisations such as the Kurdish Workers’ Party, Al Shabab and Hamas, the research probed how blacklisting obstructs peace-building. The results were pulled together in a book “Building Peace in Permanent War”, which was published in February and launched in London and Olso (at PRIO with NOREF). The book prompted an article by Robert Fisk for the Independent (UK) which was reproduced on a number of sites and catalysed an article in de Morgen (Belgium). Ben Hayes’ recommendations for ensuring that anti-terrorist legislation does not adversely impact civil society were also included in a report by UN Human Rights Special Rapporteur, Ben Emmerson.
Throughout the year, Ben Hayes, also wrote a series of articles on Open Democracy on the dangers of current strategies for countering terrorism and violent extremism in reinforcing Islamophobia and curtailing civil liberties.
TNI Fellow Phyllis Bennis continued to be a frequently called-on analyst and commentator on Middle East politics and US foreign policy for major US news outlets, asked to share her perspectives on the war in Syria, the US return to military action in Iraq, and the rise of ISIS. In 2015, Phyllis published her book, Understanding ISIS and the new war on terror as well as the sixth updated edition of Understanding the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict. She spent much of the year on the road discussing the books and using them to help build movements against wars and occupations at events across the US as well as in Europe and South Africa.