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.

Warriors and wusses

Joel Stein, LA Times, January 24:

“I don’t support our troops. This is a particularly difficult opinion to have, especially if you are the kind of person who likes to put bumper stickers on his car. Supporting the troops is a position that even Calvin is unwilling to urinate on.

“I’m sure I’d like the troops. They seem gutsy, young and up for anything. If you’re wandering into a recruiter’s office and signing up for eight years of unknown danger, I want to hang with you in Vegas.

“I do sympathize with people who joined up to protect our country, especially after 9/11, and were tricked into fighting in Iraq. I get mad when I’m tricked into clicking on a pop-up ad, so I can only imagine how they feel.

“But when you volunteer for the U.S. military, you pretty much know you’re not going to be fending off invasions from Mexico and Canada. So you’re willingly signing up to be a fighting tool of American imperialism, for better or worse. Sometimes you get lucky and get to fight ethnic genocide in Kosovo, but other times it’s Vietnam.

“And sometimes, for reasons I don’t understand, you get to just hang out in Germany.

“I’m not advocating that we spit on returning veterans like they did after the Vietnam War, but we shouldn’t be celebrating people for doing something we don’t think was a good idea. All I’m asking is that we give our returning soldiers what they need: hospitals, pensions, mental health and a safe, immediate return. But, please, no parades.

“Seriously, the traffic is insufferable.”

120 comments ↪
  • Wombat

    OK, so I take it that what you're saying is that if my sources were reputable, you would agree with me. OK I accept that.As far as Zarqawi goes, the Fallujah campaign was being marketted very much under the banner of getting Zarqawi. You surely cannot deny that.http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2004/11/26/ufallujah.xml&sSheet=/portal/2004/11/26/ixportaltop.html and here:"Tony Blair and George Bush, who will hold talks in Washington on Thursday and Friday, are determined to clear insurgents, most notably Zarqawi, from Falluja to allow elections to take place in Iraq in January."http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,1346014,00.htmlAnd ever on Fox:"The U.S.-led offensive will target not only regular Iraqi insurgents, but also Islamist followers of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (search), the Jordanian militant who recently swore allegiance to Al Qaeda and by his own admission has kidnapped and beheaded several Americans and other foreigners."http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,137671,00.htmlThe globalsecurity.org site is as conservative and pro-establishment as you can get. I listed it becasue I thought that it would at least get your attention. Here's more of the US military operating within the confines fo the geneva Comventions:http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060127/ap_on_re_mi_ea/iraq_leveraging_wivesNow tell me this James. How impartial do you regard the MSM? Do you believe that crimes committed in Iraq by the US forces will always be reported to the public? If I were to provide a source you regard as reliable, would you condem such activities or defend them?

  • David

    And what's wrong with targeting insurgents who happen to be Islamists, rather than Ba'athist holdovers? As long as they have picked up an AK and are fighting US troops, it really doesn't matter why they are doing it. They are fair game according to international law. Once more, Addamo, your stunning talent for the injection of irrelevancy comes to the fore.

  • James Waterton

    "OK, so I take it that what you're saying is that if my sources were reputable, you would agree with me. "No, you've completely missed the point. You use a lot of conjecture when arguing your case, and more often than not it's a very activist-type left wing analysis you offer. That's fine – if you can support it with some firm evidence. Even if you do argue your case well and have good solid evidence to back it up, that doesn't necessarily mean I'll agree with you. Your source/s – despite its credibility – may have missed points that I believe are important. I may also think that you've misinterpreted your source. Sometimes you may have a killer source that might make me stop and say – okay, I accept that. But there's no guarantee of this. My original point about the flaky sources you often post to support your analysis is that you're wasting your time posting them, because I'll discount them entirely. And I'd expect you to do the same thing if I, when arguing my position, starting quoting those righty folks and sources the left loves to hate. Axe-grinding sources are worthless. Incidentally, if I'm supposed to accept you're right if only you post credible sources when backing up your statements, does this mean that when I post a whole lot of rebuttals to things you've previously said (like I did above) and you don't deal with these rebuttals, you're tacitly admitting I am right regarding them?"As far as Zarqawi goes, the Fallujah campaign was being marketted very much under the banner of getting Zarqawi."Really? Sounds like editorial spin to me, considering the preponderance of evidence to the contrary. From that same article you linked to:"We have come close to Zarqawi before. But our main priority was not Zarqawi, it was defeating the insurgents for the people of Fallujah."Which is precisely what I said in a previous comment. So yes, I can deny that because – once again – you're inserting your conjecture and treating it as fact. Even the Guardian quote you posted agrees with my analysis -"are determined to clear insurgents, most notably Zarqawi, from Falluja to allow elections to take place in Iraq in January." (my emphasis added)Of course if Zarqawi was there, they would have arrested or killed him. But do you truly, seriously think that the Americans thought they had a hope of catching Zarqawi – considering they gave Fallujan residents advanced warning of the attack so they could leave? Do you truly believe that the Americans thought Zarqawi would be so dumb as to stick around? Of course they would have arrested him if he was there. But they must have known he would leave town. That's why they said they wanted to clear the city of insurgents – most notably Zarqawi, because he's such a high profile figure.Regarding your yahoo news source, it is inconclusive if you're aiming to prove that the Americans broke the GC. The Americans clearly stated that the women they detained were enemy combatants (which, as the wives of insurgents, wouldn't be that far fetched). I agree – this might not be the case, and maybe they were using them as bait. But maybe they weren't. You or I will never know. Point is, you can't use that as evidence that the US broke the GC there, because you can't prove anything. You're relying on your instinctive distrust of American military action to make this logical leap of faith. I think that the MSM is biased – some for the war and the American administration and some against. It's all relative – some are more biased than others. I don't think it's possible to find a completely unbiased source. If you provided me with a strong source (not necessarily MSM) that presented a scenario that left little doubt in my mind of impropriety committed by American troops, then of course I would condemn such impropriety. But you haven't provided me with such an article. Take the Yahoo one you posted. There is a good possibility that the women held were not enemy combatants. There's also a good possibility they were. So, even though an Iraqi commission decided that the women were not enemy combatants, I am not convinced. Who sits on the commission? How impartial is it? What are its motivations, its interests? Is it like an Australian senate committee? Because I discount their findings wholesale all the time. So I am not going to pass judgement on the strength of this article because I think the evidence presented by both sides is inconclusive. You got me? As for the globalsecurity site, I haven't seen much evidence of editorialising there. It seems pretty dispassionate. I'd say it's a credible source.

  • Wombat

    David said… “And what's wrong with targeting insurgents who happen to be Islamists, rather than Ba'athist holdovers?”Because given the scale of the failures US and military intelligence continues to demonstrate, how would the occupation know the difference between these as insurgents who are legitimately resisting occupation?“As long as they have picked up an AK and are fighting US troops, it really doesn't matter why they are doing it. They are fair game according to international law. “Putting your confusion regarding basic logic aside, according to international law they are resisting what most of them perceive as an illegal and unjust occupation. Again, let’s be reminded that only a small percentage of fighters are foreign and according to surveys, most of those foreign fighters were former moderates radicalized by the resentment in the region towards the US/“Once more, Addamo, your stunning talent for the injection of irrelevancy comes to the fore. “Once more, my sunning talent shred your simplistic minded reasoning.

  • David

    Antony:I have noticed that you have begun to censor the comments on your blog. A rather curious stance by someone who purports to be dedicated to freedom of speech and open discussion. It will be fascinating to see whether you let this through. This is my response to Addamo's laundry list:1. He sidelines the issue of the legality of the invasion, saying a cogent argument could be made, but passing on the opportunity. He obviously knew that any argument he cold make has long been shot to pieces, instead chosing to write long screeds about Trostkism.There is indeed a cogent argument, but that would have taken us off on a tanget that is essentially irrelevant to the issue under discussion – jus in bello (the laws governing the conduct of war) I'd be happy to debate the other issue with you on another thread. Anytime.But now to the issue at hand.2. He failed to address the fact that Fallujah was a blatant example of collective punishment. It was widely anticipated that the US would attack Fallujah to apparently capture or kill Zarqawi and his minions, yet the delay gave such people ample opportunity to leave. Thus the attack was largely symbolic and meant to intimidate the Iraqi’s into submission.Wrong. As I have demonstrated, the US fully abided by the requirements of LOAC by A) giving the civilian population advance warning and the opportunity to leave. B) firing only on those places that, even by the admission of the Trotskyite wsws website, were being used by insurgents to wage war, thus making them legitimate military targets.3. He suggested that the insurgents that were left used public buildings to hide in. Apart from the fact that this is laughable – the insurgents are not a military groups equipped with tanks, and gun-ships, it is irrelevant. The US admitted that the hospitals were being closed so that pictures of the dead and wounded would not reach the media. This violates the Geneva ConventionsWrong. Again, even the description of the battle adduced above from the rabidly anti-American world socialist website in an attempt to prove US guilt ends up demonstrating the opposite – that the insurgents used schools, mosques and hospitals as fighting positions. Scroll up and read it yourself. The Geneva Conventions say nothing about keeping hospitals open for media access. I don't know where you dreamed this one up, but it's off the planet. I challenge you to show me the relevant clause of any of the four 1949 Conventions.4. He failed to address that US armed forces prevented doctors form tending to the wounded in the centre of town. This violates the Geneva ConventionsWrong. The US allowed the hospital, which had previously been used as a military base by insurgents, to reopen once the fighting had died down in that part of the city. US military medical officers provided care to civilians who had unwisely chosen to stay in Fallujah, as well as to captured insurgents. But your incomprehension of the GCs is so profound that I rather doubt that you've ever taken the time to read them. The Conventions make the safety of civilian medical personnel the responsibility of the US military, and thus the Marines were acting in compliance with the GC by not allowing non-military personnel to enter the battle zone while hostilities were underway. The US would have been violating the Convention by permitting civilian doctors to endanger their lives by entering a active battle zone.5. He failed to address that the US prevented the Red Cross from delivering food, water and medicines to the city. This violates the Geneva ConventionsOnce again, the Americans complied with LOAC by giving prior warning of their attack (at substantial risk to themselves, I might add) and allowing non-combatants to leave. Again, there is nothing in the Conventions that requires Parties to allow the ICRC to enter an active battlezone while shells and bullets are whizzing by. Moreover, there is nothing in the Conventions that requires Parties to allow that their armed enemies who are actively engaged in hostilities must be supplied with food while they are still hostile. If they surrender, they'll be given food. And once the battlefield was secure, the ICRC was allowed in to supply the necessities of life to those few civilians who stupidly remained in the firing line. 6. He failed to address that napalm and wp are prohibited under the Geneva laws.Wrong. This one is a slam dunk demonstration of your complete ignorance of the Geneva Conventions and LOAC. There is NOTHING, REPEAT, NOTHING in those LOAC treaties signed and ratified by the United States that prohibits the use of WP or napalm. 7. He dialed to address that the same tactics were used in Tal Afar.Given that I have proved your arguments to be full of holes you could drive a Mac truck through, so what?8. Finally. He asserts that the US military stuck to strict LOAC guidelines while all evidence suggests that the US military cast aside rules of engagement out of frustration.Wrong, as I have conclusively demonstrated.9. He failed to acknowledged that the US Attorney General deemed the Geneva Conventions to be irrelevant, thus implying that they were no longer recognized or applied. It therefore goes without saying that if this position was adopted throughout the armed forces with regard to interrogation, then it would also have been accepted with regard to rules of engagement.Wrong. The Gonzales memo related only to the application of the 3rd Geneva Convention on POWS to al-Qaeda/Taliban prisoners who were captured in Afghanistan and elsewhere. Before the commencement of Operation IRaqi Freedom, the Department of Defense EXPLICITLY stated that the GC rules on POWs would apply in Iraq. 10. He failed to address that the Geneva Conventions with respect to prisoner interrogation, the maintaining of secret prisons, kinapping, and extraordinary continue to be sideline or sidestepped by the US to this day. The very fact that the US are rendering people to other countries where torture is widely practiced is evidence that the US intends for these captives (who’s identities are hidden) are intended to be tortured.I'll address that, in brief, now. There is nothing in the 3rd Geneva Convention on POWS (3GCPW) that requires the application of the treaty to captured jihadists. In fact, Article 2, paragraph 3 states that Parties to the Convention are under no obligation to apply the Convention's terms to non-Parties that do not abide by LOAC. al-Qaeda neither signed nor ratified any of the Conventions, and it certainly doesn't abide by LOAC. And the same is true of Taliban forces.http://usinfo.org/usia/usinfo.state.gov/topical/pol/terror/02020818.htm.Thus US forces are not required to apply the 3GCPW to the war against jihadist Islam. Moreover, al-Qaeda and the Taliban do not meet the detailed requirements for POW status that are laid out in Article 4 of the 3GCPW.There has been no confirmation of a US policy of rendition to facilitate torture. There are lots of allegations flying around, but no unimpeachable evidence. And given that the al-Qaeda manual mandates that captured terrorists should lie about allegations of abuse, I am not rushing to accept every torture accusation at face value. Case in point, Mamdouh Habib. I would argue that Egyptican authorities had a legitimate right to question Habib because he was an Egyptian citizen as well as a naturalised Aussie. After all, the Egyptian government is pretty high on the al-Qaeda hit list.

  • Wombat

    James Waterton said… “No, you've completely missed the point. You use a lot of conjecture when arguing your case, and more often than not it's a very activist-type left wing analysis you offer.”James, what concerns me about your argument is that you are assuming that the status quo (i.e. pro war position) is commanding the middle ground and that challenges to that position constitute the radical element. David produced nothing more than links to documents stating official government positions and you seem to have accepted that as evidence in itself. In other words, if the government says it abides by these protocols, it must be true.This is in spite of an Administration who’s executive branch has been arguing that Congressional approval to use force against Iraq, has somehow mean the executive is free to do anything it pleases. The same executive has argued that the administration is free to do anything it deems necessary to “defend America”, and cast aside the Geneva Conventions as irrelevant and quaint, and yest we are expected to believe that this policy has not been taken literally on the battle field.“That's fine – if you can support it with some firm evidence. Even if you do argue your case well and have good solid evidence to back it up, that doesn't necessarily mean I'll agree with you. Your source/s – despite its credibility – may have missed points that I believe are important.No disagreement with that.“My original point about the flaky sources you often post to support your analysis is that you're wasting your time posting them, because I'll discount them entirely. And I'd expect you to do the same thing if I, when arguing my position, starting quoting those righty folks and sources the left loves to hate.”Fair enough. “Axe-grinding sources are worthless. Incidentally, if I'm supposed to accept you're right if only you post credible sources when backing up your statements, does this mean that when I post a whole lot of rebuttals to things you've previously said (like I did above) and you don't deal with these rebuttals, you're tacitly admitting I am right regarding them?”Of course not.Axe grinding is driving both sides of the debate don’t you agree? As I stated earlier, the architects for this war all had a serious axe to grind with regard to this war.“Of course if Zarqawi was there, they would have arrested or killed him. But do you truly, seriously think that the Americans thought they had a hope of catching Zarqawi – considering they gave Fallujan residents advanced warning of the attack so they could leave?”Exactly. But setting Zarqawi aside, this advanced warning was undoubtedly common knowledge to all insurgents. Now given that the success of insurgent attacks relies almost entirely on catching their targets unaware, how are we to believe that any significant number of fighters remained behind, knowing that they were at a massive disadvantage in terms of firepower? “Do you truly believe that the Americans thought Zarqawi would be so dumb as to stick around? Of course they would have arrested him if he was there. But they must have known he would leave town. That's why they said they wanted to clear the city of insurgents – most notably Zarqawi, because he's such a high profile figure.”Hang on a tic James. Are you now saying that Zarqawi was smart enough to get out of harms way, but he other insurgents were not? And if they too fled before the invasion, who was left in Fallujah? With hard core extremists, Baathists and the like already gone, we have those left who were either seeking personal vengeance against the US, or those remaining behind to defend their property.But what the heck, might as well call them all enemy combatants and be done with it.“Regarding your yahoo news source, it is inconclusive if you're aiming to prove that the Americans broke the GC. The Americans clearly stated that the women they detained were enemy combatants (which, as the wives of insurgents, wouldn't be that far fetched).”“Wives” implies that the people targeted were most likely Iraqi’s does it not? The fact that there was very little activity on the part of these “enemy combatants” before they were designated “enemy combatants” also suggests that these were Iraqi’s radicalized by the US invasion. So what makes these people “enemy combatants” as opposed to regular resistance fighters other than the spurious use of a term that according to even more spurious legal advice, alleviated the US of conforming the GC?Furthermore, the numbers of foreign fighters has been estimated to be a few percent. What ultimate authority gives the US the right to decide who is a an enemy combatant, vs an insurgent, vs a resitance fighter?“I agree – this might not be the case, and maybe they were using them as bait. But maybe they weren't. You or I will never know. Point is, you can't use that as evidence that the US broke the GC there, because you can't prove anything.”Either the GC say it’s legal to do this with the wives of enemy combatants or it’s not. I seriously doubt it.“You're relying on your instinctive distrust of American military action to make this logical leap of faith.”As you can see from above, it’s a matter of 2+2=4, not a leap of faith. I times of war, propaganda goes into overdrive and anything the American military has to say must be regarded as such. The case for war was based entirely on lies and so has the rational for continuing the reoccupation. The Pentagon is paying for good news items to be written in Iraq, while systematically closing logs of servicemen serving over there. Any sane individual would regard official statements are misleading.Take the white phosphorous case as an example of US conduct. While the US has recently argued that WP is not a chemical weapon, the Pentagon referred to WP as a chemical weapon when Saddam allegedly used it against the Kurds.If you want I link I can give you one.The US Army Field Manual specifically prohibits the use of WP against human targets, yet it was used precisely in this fashion in Fallujah. When the Pentagon was firs confronted with this allegation they denied it’s use for anything other than as an incendiary device to illuminate the battle field. They then changed their story to insist it was used against enemy combatants. “But you haven't provided me with such an article. Take the Yahoo one you posted. There is a good possibility that the women held were not enemy combatants. There's also a good possibility they were.”And there is a good possibility that the enemy combatant argument is being used post facto to justify war crimes.“So, even though an Iraqi commission decided that the women were not enemy combatants, I am not convinced. Who sits on the commission? How impartial is it? What are its motivations, its interests?”James. Tell me. It is not tenuous to provide any Arab sources as evidence? I’m not implying any racist connotation here, but what I’m saying is that it’s pretty natural to regard Iraqi’s say as unreliable. So where does that leave us? Relying on the same sources that have been proven to be entirely ineffective.“You got me?”Yes I got you. But hopefully you got my dilemma also. We find ourselves in a position where anything Al Jazeera reports is designated as Islamic propaganda. The testimony of those who claim to have been tortured by the US or it’s proxies, while horrific, remains largely disregarded because we have been conditions to believe that all Arabs have entered into some pact to discredit the US.Much of our disagreements obviously stem from our position as to the legitimacy of the occupation. If you consider it legitimate, then percetion will differnt dramatically from one who regrds the occupation as illgal.

  • Wombat

    David said… Gotta make this quick as I have to dasah.“1. There is indeed a cogent argument, but that would have taken us off on a tanget that is essentially irrelevant to the issue under discussion – jus in bello (the laws governing the conduct of war) I'd be happy to debate the other issue with you on another thread. Anytime.”Bring it on. You will lose.“2. Wrong. As I have demonstrated, the US fully abided by the requirements of LOAC by A) giving the civilian population advance warning and the opportunity to leave. B) firing only on those places that, even by the admission of the Trotskyite wsws website, were being used by insurgents to wage war, thus making them legitimate military targets.”Wrong. You simply eructate official policy and made the blanket assumption that this was evidence of what is taking place on the ground“3.Wrong. Again, even the description of the battle adduced above from the rabidly anti-American world socialist website in an attempt to prove US guilt ends up demonstrating the opposite – that the insurgents used schools, mosques and hospitals as fighting positions. Scroll up and read it yourself.”The US has argued that thousands of insurgents remained in Fallujah in spite of the fact that they were given ample time to leave. Insurgents know that they lose head to head combats against US forces, so those that remained would have been almost entirely residents of Fallujah who wanted to wanted to repel the invasion or defend their property.“The Geneva Conventions say nothing about keeping hospitals open for media access. I don't know where you dreamed this one up, but it's off the planet. I challenge you to show me the relevant clause of any of the four 1949 Conventions.”I made no statement with regard to media access. Only the continuing operation of the hospital for tending to the injured.“4. Wrong. The US allowed the hospital, which had previously been used as a military base by insurgents, to reopen once the fighting had died down in that part of the city.”Wrong. “Once the fighting had died down in that part of the city” does not absolve the US of the crime. The fighting in Fallujah continued for months, so many dies of easily treatable injuries.“5. Again, there is nothing in the Conventions that requires Parties to allow the ICRC to enter an active battlezone while shells and bullets are whizzing by. Moreover, there is nothing in the Conventions that requires Parties to allow that their armed enemies who are actively engaged in hostilities must be supplied with food while they are still hostile.”This is next to impossible to determine and once again, you are buying official US military sources as statements of fact, which hundermines any credibility to this assertion.“If they surrender, they'll be given food. And once the battlefield was secure, the ICRC was allowed in to supply the necessities of life to those few civilians who stupidly remained in the firing line. ““6. He failed to address that napalm and wp are prohibited under the Geneva laws.Wrong. This one is a slam dunk demonstration of your complete ignorance of the Geneva Conventions and LOAC. There is NOTHING, REPEAT, NOTHING in those LOAC treaties signed and ratified by the United States that prohibits the use of WP or napalm.”Which makes the initial Pentagon denial that WP was used against human targets all the most absurd. The GC prohibits the use fo chemical weapons and while WP is not regarded as a chemical weapon, the Pentagon regarded WP as a chemical weoapon when Saddam used them against his own people.BTW. Does LOAC usually contradict US military field manuals, which prohibits the use of WP against all human targets?“7. He dialed to address that the same tactics were used in Tal Afar.Given that I have proved your arguments to be full of holes you could drive a Mac truck through, so what?”As I have proven. You have failed miserably.“8. Finally. He asserts that the US military stuck to strict LOAC guidelines while all evidence suggests that the US military cast aside rules of engagement out of frustration.Wrong, as I have conclusively demonstrated.”Try harder. You have proved absolutely nothing other than you regard everything the US military and the DOD issues in it’s press conferences as fact,“9. Wrong. The US does not recognize detainees as POW’s for this very reason. That’s why enemy combatants is used to spuriously. Just this week, as US interrogator was given a slap on the wrist for the death of an Iraqi general in custody, which shows how mush the GC are disregarded.”The ACLU has successfully sued the Pentagon for the release of material which shows that torture, rape and murder are systematic and wide spread.“10. I'll address that, in brief, now. There is nothing in the 3rd Geneva Convention on POWS (3GCPW) that requires the application of the treaty to captured jihadists. In fact, Article 2, paragraph 3 states that Parties to the Convention are under no obligation to apply the Convention's terms to non-Parties that do not abide by LOAC.”That’s an absurb and scrambled piece of logic. So those that do not abide by US military cods of conduct are not protected by them is that it? The only reason the US has detention Cnetres at Guantanamo is to exploit a legal loophole. Try again. “al-Qaeda neither signed nor ratified any of the Conventions, and it certainly doesn't abide by LOAC. And the same is true of Taliban forces.”Irrelevant. The code applies to signatories and the US is one of them“Thus US forces are not required to apply the 3GCPW to the war against jihadist Islam.”So does this mean that the US forces are free to torture, rape and murder the residents of any country that has not signed the GC? All it need do is designate the residents of a non signatory, enemy combatants and it’s a free for all.See how absurd your argument is?“There has been no confirmation of a US policy of rendition to facilitate torture. There are lots of allegations flying around, but no unimpeachable evidence. And given that the al-Qaeda manual mandates that captured terrorists should lie about allegations of abuse, I am not rushing to accept every torture accusation at face value. “Oh David, talk about scraping the bottom of a barrel. You are delusional. Of course detainees lie. And we also know that toture does not produce reliable intelligence so what is the point of torture other than to inflict boduly harm?“Case in point, Mamdouh Habib. I would argue that Egyptican authorities had a legitimate right to question Habib because he was an Egyptian citizen as well as a naturalised Aussie. After all, the Egyptian government is pretty high on the al-Qaeda hit list.”Case is point, Jose Padilla. Detained as an enemy combatant on charges that he tried to create a dirty bomb. Those charges have changed repeatedly and the DOD has admitted that the evidence against him is so weak that a court of law would acquit him. He has been detained for 3 years, during which time the DOD did everything in it’s power (including lie to his legal counsel who never got to meet him) to keep him out of civil courts. Just prior to his appearance in Military court, the Bush administration changed it’s mind and decided to try him in a civil court.This is worse than Monty Python’s flying circuis.

  • Wombat

    One more thing David,"There has been no confirmation of a US policy of rendition to facilitate torture."The most rediculous denial in the face of the evidence. 1. The Bush admnistration has admitted to rendering "suspects" to countries that widely practice toture. Rice and co haev made vaccuuos claims that it sends the detainees to these locatiosn with the "understanding" that they wil nto be totured. Of course, this is nothing more than a legal loophole that provides some degree of plausible deniability.2. If the US did not practice or condone toture, then why has the Bush adminstration been dragged kicking and screaming to approve the McCain amendment? Why did Bush threaten to veto a bill that overwhelmingly voted against toture? 3. Why has the US cretaed Black sites in former gulag prisons in Eastern Europe if not precisly for the purpose of torture of suspects?"There are lots of allegations flying around, but no unimpeachable evidence."You mean no evidence that has not been classified.

  • David

    Sigh: This is rapidly approaching the point of diminishing returns. I present well-sourced facts, and you deny them. When asked why, you respond 'cause I say so. I'll give this one more try. Addamo accuses me that I simply eructate official policy "Eructate?" Huh? Sorry but there's no such word in the English language. Now, as for as the LOAC claim goes, there is ample evidence from across the spectrum (including even anti-American Trots cited by you) that US forces conducted themselves in accordance with the laws of war. Addamo make the following ridiculous argument:The US has argued that thousands of insurgents remained in Fallujah in spite of the fact that they were given ample time to leave. Insurgents know that they lose head to head combats against US forces, so those that remained would have been almost entirely residents of Fallujah who wanted to wanted to repel the invasion or defend their property.But your argument is sorely lacking on several counts. The insurgents stayed put because A) they found it difficult to leave because US forces encircled the city; B) they wanted a pitched battle in which they could die like martyrs and inflict heavy casualties on the Americans. The following quote from the 17 November edition of the Washington Post illustrates this quite well: "The Americans have opened the gates of hell," Abdullah Janabi said Monday in Fallujah, a city U.S. commanders have said they now control after a week of often fierce fighting. "The battle of Fallujah is the beginning of other battles."Iraqi officials had said they believed Janabi, a 53-year-old Sunni cleric, had fled the city before U.S. troops pushed into the insurgent stronghold. But he spoke from the city's southern section, at times boasting of losses inflicted on U.S. troops and at other times insisting that other insurgent leaders remained in Fallujah with him. So much for Addamo's thesis that the insurgents all fled from Fallujah and that the only ones staying were innocent civilians. And before he writes off the Washington Post as just another lackey organ of US imperialism, let me once again note that even one of Addamo's own sources, the world socialist website, proudly boasts of the tough fight put up by the insurgents in Fallujah. Addamo crashes and burns on this score. But it gets much, much worse. Addamo baldly claims:I made no statement with regard to media access. Only the continuing operation of the hospital for tending to the injured.But in his previous laundry list of attempted rebuttals he declared something else entirely:The US admitted that the hospitals were being closed so that pictures of the dead and wounded would not reach the media. This violates the Geneva Conventions.That sure sounds like a statement with regard to media access to me. And of course, the US never made any such admission, and as I demonstrate, treating a hospital that is being used for military operations as a military target is entirely appropriate and legal according to LOAC. Addamo is demonstrated to be, not only wrong, but also either a sufferer from dementia, or a peddler of blatant falsehoods.Either way, it isn't a pretty look.

  • James Waterton

    Yikes, Addamo, I thought you were in a hurry :)"you are assuming that the status quo (i.e. pro war position) is commanding the middle ground"Not at all. I'm just not instinctively suspicious of American military action. I'll admit that I'm more likely to assume that the US military does the right thing – however I wouldn't say that they *always* do the right thing.Regarding the specific instance of David's argument that I used (the one about the US targeting of hospitals in Fallujah being a war crime), he didn't provide links to justify his case – he gave a QED answer of why targeting hospitals in that particular circumstance wasn't against the GC. "how are we to believe that any significant number of fighters remained behind"I imagine by the reception the Americans received when they rolled into Fallujah? "Are you now saying that Zarqawi was smart enough to get out of harms way, but he other insurgents were not?" Oh come on, Addamo. The insurgency is not a loose coalition of free agents working together whilst it suits them. It's a militant organisation with a chain of command. Zarwaqi left Fallujah because the movement wouldn't take the risk of his capture – because he's their leader. They need him in the field. He's much more important than the footsoldiers. Do you think that Rommel and Monty duked it out on their respective frontlines in Africa? Of course not. For the same reason, Zarwaqi left Fallujah whilst other insurgents stayed behind to defend it. And why wouldn't they? They probably thought they had a pretty good chance of repelling the Americans – they'd done it before when Vigilant Resolve petered out.Fallujah was heavy shit for the Americans – the casualty rate proves that. I'm sorry, but I just don't believe this was inflicted by a small unorganised rabble of those "seeking personal vengeance against the US, or those remaining behind to defend their property." "Either the GC say it’s legal to do this with the wives of enemy combatants or it’s not."I suppose it comes down to the information they hold. I wouldn't be surprised if they did hold useful knowledge of various details of enemy combatants – if so then their capture and interrogation seems justifiable. And I'd imagine legal. Though perhaps David could help me out on this one – he seems to know a lot about the LOAC.However, maybe they were used as bait. This could be the case – there is motive for such action and it might work. The same can be said for the other side of the argument. I suppose it comes down to who you (don't) believe, because we will never know for sure in this instance. That's why it's not a conclusive example of a warcrime."it’s a matter of 2+2=4"It is if you view American military conduct suspiciously."While the US has recently argued that WP is not a chemical weapon, the Pentagon referred to WP as a chemical weapon when Saddam allegedly used it against the Kurds." I think the difference lies in how it's used. "The US Army Field Manual specifically prohibits the use of WP against human targets" This requires a deeper explanation. Of course WP is going to be used against human targets – they aren't going to set it off just for the pretty fireworks. It comes down to *how* it's used against human targets. I'm sure that it's permissable to use it as a shock device – which is what the Americans stated they used it as – to scare the insurgents out of their holes where they can be killed with conventional devices (I'm failing to see a great distinction here, but anyway…). There is no conclusive evidence that they fired it into crowds of enemy combatants with the aim of incapacitating them."But hopefully you got my dilemma also." Yes, it is a dilemma. "If you consider it legitimate, then percetion will differnt dramatically from one who regrds the occupation as illgal."I'm not sure it comes down to the legitimacy of the occupation, rather more the conduct of American armed forces. I'm more inclined to think they act within the confines of acceptable standards of warfare. You apparently see things differently. As always, evidence can be led one way or another.

  • Wombat

    David,The difference between us is that you feel the need to repeatedly advertise and summon official documents, and everything that implies, in order to make your case.You’re notion of well sourced facts are not facts at all, but merely the existence of protocols which the US have agreed to. So yes, you have proves that the US is a signatory to the GC and has LOAC, but you have not proved that there are being practiced on the battlefield, other than reciting official US press releases.“Now, as for as the LOAC claim goes, there is ample evidence from across the spectrum (including even anti-American Trots cited by you) that US forces conducted themselves in accordance with the laws of war.”So does this imply that my sources are still suspect, or are you picking out the items you are in agreement with to suggest that the sources support your argument while continuing to disregard the inconvenient items as unreliable?Nice tap dancing mate.“But your argument is sorely lacking on several counts. The insurgents stayed put because A) they found it difficult to leave because US forces encircled the city; B) they wanted a pitched battle in which they could die like martyrs and inflict heavy casualties on the Americans”Conjecture at best. The assault on Fallujah was the worst kept secret in Iraq. After the first failed assault by the occupation, it was obvious that the US (and the Bush administration) could not let Flallujah go collectiovely unpunished (Geneva Convention?). Encircling the city was likely futile. The coalition’s ability to stop the flow of insurgents has recently been shown to be a farce by the recent and desperate construction of a sand wall surrounding Siniyah.“The following quote from the 17 November edition of the Washington Post illustrates this quite well: Iraqi officials had said they believed Janabi, a 53-year-old Sunni cleric, had fled the city before U.S. troops pushed into the insurgent stronghold. But he spoke from the city's southern section, at times boasting of losses inflicted on U.S. troops and at other times insisting that other insurgent leaders remained in Fallujah with him.”You want to talk to me about dubious sources and you cite what Iraqi officials say they believe? This is rich! What about the bit about Iraqi officials repeated claims of having killed Zarqawi or how they even let him go after having him n custody. This proves absolutely nothing, and is evidence of you clutching at even fewer straws. “So much for Addamo's thesis that the insurgents all fled from Fallujah and that the only ones staying were innocent civilians. And before he writes off the Washington Post as just another lackey organ of US imperialism, let me once again note that even one of Addamo's own sources, the world socialist website, proudly boasts of the tough fight put up by the insurgents in Fallujah.”David, you seem to have made up your long before any critical analysis has ever taken place. My source points to the Wapo and yet you regard my source as unreliable? Maybe you should decide which way is up before partaking in debates. But the insurgents argument is pathetic to say the least. Prior to the assault, the US declared that only insurgents remained in the town, then declared Fallujah as free fire zone.“I made no statement with regard to media access. Only the continuing operation of the hospital for tending to the injured.”The US made it clear that unimpeded reporters would not be protected in Fallujah. In fact, they warned that Arab reporters would be shot.“The US admitted that the hospitals were being closed so that pictures of the dead and wounded would not reach the media. This violates the Geneva Conventions.”Offical US statements do not require reporters on the ground.David, you demonstrate yet again that you blindly and religiously believe that the US is a force for freedom and democracy, and that it is in Iraq for some altruistic reasons, and let’s be reminded that you have avoided addressing the following points:1. The so called cogent argument for the invasion. 2. The mountains of evidence of US rendering detains to be tortured.I guess when you’re arguing in favor of moral depredation, you have to pick your battles.

  • Wombat

    James“Not at all. I'm just not instinctively suspicious of American military action. I'll admit that I'm more likely to assume that the US military does the right thing – however I wouldn't say that they *always* do the right thing.”That’s why I sated that I think much of this comes down to your stance on the invasion itself. If you believe the invasion was legal, necessary and morally justified, then it stands to reason that all that follows will be perceived as an extension of pursuing those righteous aims.If you are of the opposite opinion, then it is the exact opposite. Everything that follows the illegal, unnecessary and immoral invasion is an extension of that corrupt policy. And as you can imagine, it makes the US Military’s references to the resistance all the more unpalatable, for the US military must assume some moral authority and legitimacy to designate their enemies as insurgents and enemy combatants.“Oh come on, Addamo. The insurgency is not a loose coalition of free agents working together whilst it suits them. It's a militant organisation with a chain of command.”Actually no. They are very much comprised of dispersed pockets, which is why the US military has had come a difficult time infiltrating them. The fact that there is no chain of command has frustrated the coalitions efforts to divide and conquer them,“Zarwaqi left Fallujah because the movement wouldn't take the risk of his capture – because he's their leader. They need him in the field. He's much more important than the footsoldiers.”Zarqawi is a figurehead at best. He is not issuing orders or commands of any kind, TIME Magazine reporter Michael Ware, who famously contradicted Bush’s assertion that Iraqi battalions leading the charge in the Tal Afar battle, has stated this very clearly. Zarqawi is significant only in terms of the fact that he is largely a creation of the US media and the need of the US military to have a prized boogie man on which to hang their angst and reason for fighting. I mean seriously, this one legged man has more lives than a cat. He has escaped Iraqi custody, by being released, and too many precision guided strikes to count.Among some insurgents, Zarqawi is actually despised.

  • Wombat

    I would add that based on the flippant use of the term insurgents in New Orleans to describe wayward residents or looters (which was grossly exagerated), the labelling of Iraqi's as "insurgents" should be regarded with healthy scepticism.

  • David

    ah, Addamo, Addamo, Addamo:Abdullah Janabi is hardly an Iraqi official. Au contraire, he's a leader of the insurgency. Just goes to show how delusional you are that you can't tell the difference. A quote from a senior insurgent leader that appears in one of the most prestigious newspapers in the United States – the same paper that caused Nixon's resignation – is dismissed by you as conjecture. And you similarly dismiss evidence from a source provided by YOU that large numbers of insurgents were spoiling for a fight and stayed in Fallujah to seek it out. Sigh. I give up.

  • James Waterton

    "Actually no. They are very much comprised of dispersed pockets, which is why the US military has had come a difficult time infiltrating them. The fact that there is no chain of command has frustrated the coalitions efforts to divide and conquer them"AND"Zarqawi is a figurehead at best. He is not issuing orders or commands of any kind"This is somewhat irrelevant to the case in point – ie. why Zarwaqi would flee and other insurgents would stay and fight. Seems pretty logical to me – an insurgent that never engages the enemy isn't much of an insurgent, eh? And a city like Fallujah strikes me as a theatre that would level the odds considerably in favour of insurgents, who would know the town far better than the Americans. Your point about Zarwaqi does nothing to support your assertion that the forces the Americans were fighting were simply disgruntled residents. The ferocity of the fighting and the American casualty rate would suggest a trained, specialised enemy, not a bunch of pissed off citizens.

  • James Waterton

    "In fact, they warned that Arab reporters would be shot."Where? By whom? Reliable, non conspiracy-theorising source please.

  • Wombat

    David said…"Abdullah Janabi is hardly an Iraqi official. Au contraire, he's a leader of the insurgency."The Wapo article lists the source fo their news item as an Iraqi official. We know how reliable they are don;t we?Just goes to show how delusional you are that you can't tell the difference."Or that you can't read very well. Again, teh Wapo article lists an Iraqi official as the source of their claim that Abdullah Janabi was in Fallujah at the time.If I were to point to an Iraqi sources, you and James would dismiss it as unrealiable."A quote from a senior insurgent leader that appears in one of the most prestigious newspapers in the United States"I knwo abotu the Wapo David. I spent a lot fo time in the US. The issue is nto the quote, but the source."Sigh. I give up."Good idea. And again, you avoid my questions about the rational for the war and rendition.

  • Wombat

    James, The fact that Mosul fell almost immediately after the assault on Fallujah is evidence that the co-ordinated element of the resistance (what there was of one) had already moved on. This has become an established pattern, with formely secured towns falling back into the hands of the indurgents as soon as the US military has moved on. "why Zarwaqi would flee and other insurgents would stay and fight." The US destroyed 30-40 thousand homes during the assault on Fallujah. That number is in excess of the estimated number of active insurgents in the whole of Iraq at the time. Given that the hard core element had moved on, we deduce that a significant number, if not the majority of the resistace the US encountered was very much home grown. So yes, the residents would have the advantage of knowing the territory far better than their attackers and also benefited from the ample warning that the assault was comming. The ferocity of the resiatance goes hand in had with those who are defending their homes and have nothing to lose. "And a city like Fallujah strikes me as a theatre that would level the odds considerably in favour of insurgents, who would know the town far better than the Americans." Fallujah has a history of being a tough nut to crack. Apparently, Saddam never had his way with Fallujah either. I wil track down a link about the threat made to non embeded reporters.

  • David

    Sorry, Addamo, but you are the one with the reading comprehension problem:The crux of the issue lies with two paragraphs from the November 2004 Washington Post story by Anthony Shadid:"The Americans have opened the gates of hell," Abdullah Janabi said Monday in Fallujah, a city U.S. commanders have said they now control after a week of often fierce fighting. "The battle of Fallujah is the beginning of other battles."Iraqi officials had said they believed Janabi, a 53-year-old Sunni cleric, had fled the city before U.S. troops pushed into the insurgent stronghold. But he spoke from the city's southern section, at times boasting of losses inflicted on U.S. troops and at other times insisting that other insurgent leaders remained in Fallujah with him.You assert that this entire segment is sourced from the unnamed Iraqi officials who are cited at the begining of the second paragraph. But this an obvious misreading of what Shadid wrote. The second sentence of the second paragraph states that insurgent leader Abdullah Janabi spokefrom the city's [Fallujah] southern section. Thus the Janabi's statement in the first paragraph about the Americans opening the gates of hell was clearly a direct quote that was not delivered through intermediaries. The reference to the Iraqi officials only appears to make the point that the government thought that Janabi had left. But now that he surfaced, still in Fallujah, and was making statements to the press, that was clearly not the case.Wrong, but thanks for playingAnd what about your lie/Alzheimer's episode when you declared:I made no statement with regard to media access. Only the continuing operation of the hospital for tending to the injured.I note that you duck that one like a bodyline bowl.

  • James Waterton

    "The fact that Mosul fell almost immediately after the assault on Fallujah is evidence that the co-ordinated element of the resistance (what there was of one) had already moved on."Huh? That doesn't make sense. Who was defending Fallujah, then? Maybe Mosul fell so quickly because so many insurgents had been killed in Fallujah? I think the official number is approx 1200. Dead men don't move on to defend other towns. Unless you believe in ghosts, that is."The US destroyed 30-40 thousand homes during the assault on Fallujah. "Eh? How could they have destroyed so many homes? That would constitute a thumping majority of dwellings in the town with an estimated prewar population of 350 000, according to Wikipedia. Wikipedia also claims that between 7000-10000 of the town's circa 50000 buildings were destroyed. This is a lot, but I don't know where you're getting the 30-40000 homes figure from. It was buildings, not homes, and it wasn't 30-40000. That also puts paid to your "home defenders" theory of resistance.