Best-selling journalist Antony Loewenstein trav­els across Afghanistan, Pakistan, Haiti, Papua New Guinea, the United States, Britain, Greece, and Australia to witness the reality of disaster capitalism. He discovers how companies such as G4S, Serco, and Halliburton cash in on or­ganized misery in a hidden world of privatized detention centers, militarized private security, aid profiteering, and destructive mining.

Disaster has become big business. Talking to immigrants stuck in limbo in Britain or visiting immigration centers in America, Loewenstein maps the secret networks formed to help cor­porations bleed what profits they can from economic crisis. He debates with Western contractors in Afghanistan, meets the locals in post-earthquake Haiti, and in Greece finds a country at the mercy of vulture profiteers. In Papua New Guinea, he sees a local commu­nity forced to rebel against predatory resource companies and NGOs.

What emerges through Loewenstein’s re­porting is a dark history of multinational corpo­rations that, with the aid of media and political elites, have grown more powerful than national governments. In the twenty-first century, the vulnerable have become the world’s most valu­able commodity. Disaster Capitalism is published by Verso in 2015 and in paperback in January 2017.

Profits_of_doom_cover_350Vulture capitalism has seen the corporation become more powerful than the state, and yet its work is often done by stealth, supported by political and media elites. The result is privatised wars and outsourced detention centres, mining companies pillaging precious land in developing countries and struggling nations invaded by NGOs and the corporate dollar. Best-selling journalist Antony Loewenstein travels to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Haiti, Papua New Guinea and across Australia to witness the reality of this largely hidden world of privatised detention centres, outsourced aid, destructive resource wars and militarized private security. Who is involved and why? Can it be stopped? What are the alternatives in a globalised world? Profits of Doom, published in 2013 and released in an updated edition in 2014, challenges the fundamentals of our unsustainable way of life and the money-making imperatives driving it. It is released in an updated edition in 2014.
forgodssakecover Four Australian thinkers come together to ask and answer the big questions, such as: What is the nature of the universe? Doesn't religion cause most of the conflict in the world? And Where do we find hope?   We are introduced to different belief systems – Judaism, Christianity, Islam – and to the argument that atheism, like organised religion, has its own compelling logic. And we gain insight into the life events that led each author to their current position.   Jane Caro flirted briefly with spiritual belief, inspired by 19th century literary heroines such as Elizabeth Gaskell and the Bronte sisters. Antony Loewenstein is proudly culturally, yet unconventionally, Jewish. Simon Smart is firmly and resolutely a Christian, but one who has had some of his most profound spiritual moments while surfing. Rachel Woodlock grew up in the alternative embrace of Baha'i belief but became entranced by its older parent religion, Islam.   Provocative, informative and passionately argued, For God's Sakepublished in 2013, encourages us to accept religious differences, but to also challenge more vigorously the beliefs that create discord.  
After Zionism, published in 2012 and 2013 with co-editor Ahmed Moor, brings together some of the world s leading thinkers on the Middle East question to dissect the century-long conflict between Zionism and the Palestinians, and to explore possible forms of a one-state solution. Time has run out for the two-state solution because of the unending and permanent Jewish colonization of Palestinian land. Although deep mistrust exists on both sides of the conflict, growing numbers of Palestinians and Israelis, Jews and Arabs are working together to forge a different, unified future. Progressive and realist ideas are at last gaining a foothold in the discourse, while those influenced by the colonial era have been discredited or abandoned. Whatever the political solution may be, Palestinian and Israeli lives are intertwined, enmeshed, irrevocably. This daring and timely collection includes essays by Omar Barghouti, Jonathan Cook, Joseph Dana, Jeremiah Haber, Jeff Halper, Ghada Karmi, Antony Loewenstein, Saree Makdisi, John Mearsheimer, Ahmed Moor, Ilan Pappe, Sara Roy and Phil Weiss.
The 2008 financial crisis opened the door for a bold, progressive social movement. But despite widespread revulsion at economic inequity and political opportunism, after the crash very little has changed. Has the Left failed? What agenda should progressives pursue? And what alternatives do they dare to imagine? Left Turn, published by Melbourne University Press in 2012 and co-edited with Jeff Sparrow, is aimed at the many Australians disillusioned with the political process. It includes passionate and challenging contributions by a diverse range of writers, thinkers and politicians, from Larissa Berendht and Christos Tsiolkas to Guy Rundle and Lee Rhiannon. These essays offer perspectives largely excluded from the mainstream. They offer possibilities for resistance and for a renewed struggle for change.
The Blogging Revolution, released by Melbourne University Press in 2008, is a colourful and revelatory account of bloggers around the globe why live and write under repressive regimes - many of them risking their lives in doing so. Antony Loewenstein's travels take him to private parties in Iran and Egypt, internet cafes in Saudi Arabia and Damascus, to the homes of Cuban dissidents and into newspaper offices in Beijing, where he discovers the ways in which the internet is threatening the ruld of governments. Through first-hand investigations, he reveals the complicity of Western multinationals in assisting the restriction of information in these countries and how bloggers are leading the charge for change. The blogging revolution is a superb examination about the nature of repression in the twenty-first century and the power of brave individuals to overcome it. It was released in an updated edition in 2011, post the Arab revolutions, and an updated Indian print version in 2011.
The best-selling book on the Israel/Palestine conflict, My Israel Question - on Jewish identity, the Zionist lobby, reporting from Palestine and future Middle East directions - was released by Melbourne University Press in 2006. A new, updated edition was released in 2007 (and reprinted again in 2008). The book was short-listed for the 2007 NSW Premier's Literary Award. Another fully updated, third edition was published in 2009. It was released in all e-book formats in 2011. An updated and translated edition was published in Arabic in 2012.

Spotlight on Uzbekistan

With another Central Asian nation suddenly in the news and the outbreak of violence causing hundreds of deaths (blamed both on Muslim extremists and the army), let’s take a look at this virtually ignored country in the region.

As widely reported, Uzbek President Islam Karimov is a staunch ally in George W. Bush’s “War on Terror” since giving the Americans the use of an airbase in 2001. Washington cut some financial aid in 2004 and announced that the Uzbek leader had failed to meet certain human rights targets.

Karimov is a dictator, however, who runs a one-party police state, making a mockery of Bush’s message of spreading democracy around the world. When democracy suits, in other words. Short-term military needs appear to be America’s priority, said John Schoeberlein, head of the Program on Central Asia and the Caucasus at Harvard University in 2002. “The Uzbek government is serious in recognizing the need to satisfy the US on this…but it is not sincere. Basically, it’s just PR.”

After 9/11, Washington and Tashkent formed a mutually agreeable relationship in their battle against Muslim extremism. American officials claim that closeness with regimes such as Uzbekistan allows greater ability to press for human rights improvements. In theory this may be true, but the reality is far removed from this utopian vision. Human rights campaigners in the country bristled at the sight of Karimov travelling to the White House in 2002 and receiving thanks from Bush for his anti-terror coalition.

The human rights abuses are notorious. Evidence has emerged that America has sent “terrorist” suspects to Uzbekistan for “interrogation”, while the US government issues reports outlining the gross violations in the country’s jails. The New York Times reported earlier this month about Craig Murray, a former British ambassador to Uzbekistan. Murray complained to his former British superiors of the use of torture in gathering intelligence.

“Mr. Murray, who has previously spoken publicly about prisoner transfers to Uzbekistan, said his superiors in London were furious with his questions, and he was told that the intelligence gleaned in Uzbekistan could still be used by British officials, even if it was elicited by torture, as long as the mistreatment was not at the hands of British interrogators. ‘I was astonished,’ Mr. Murray said in an interview. ‘It was as if the goal posts had moved. Their perspective had changed since Sept. 11.'”

The US State Department’s most recent report on human rights in Uzbekistan found the following: “Torture was common in prisons, pretrial facilities, and local police and security service precincts.”

Comments in 2004 by Gen. Richard B. Myers, the chairman of the US Joint Chief of Staffs, perfectly explained the attitude of the US towards despotic regimes. The US had “benefited greatly from our partnership and strategic relationship with Uzbekistan”, he said. And after explaining the concerns over human rights abuses, the following: “In my view, we shouldn’t let any single issue drive a relationship with any single country. It doesn’t seem to be good policy to me.”

And America wonders why an increasing number of countries, including Russia, reject the Bush doctrine of spreading freedom and democracy around the world and charge Bush with double-standards. Hypocrisy never gets a country anywhere, least of all respect. But then, America has never been very good at learning from history.

UPDATE: Craig Murray explains the context of the current political unrent:

“The US will fund ‘human rights’ training in Uzbekistan but not help for the democratic opposition, in contrast to its policy elsewhere in the former Soviet Union. When Jon Purnell, the US ambassador, last year attended the opening of a human rights centre in the Ferghana valley, he interrupted a local speaker criticising repression. Political points, Purnell opined, were not allowed. The western news agenda has moved the dead of Andijan from the ‘democrat’ to the ‘terrorist’ pile. Karimov remains in power. The White House will be happy. That’s enough for No 10.”

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