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.

Plame game continues

News outlets and blogs were abuzz today with Valerie Plame’s appearance before a Senate hearing into the leak of her identity.

It’s hard to remember the last time a live blonde got this much attention, and even the Republicans on the House oversight committee that heard from Valerie Plame Wilson today seemed in awe of the glam spy outed by the Bush administration. “If I seem a little nervous,” drawled Georgia Republican Lynn Westmoreland, “I’ve never questioned a spy before.”

Right-wing blogs and media pundits have insisted all along that Valerie Plame was not a covert agent at the time of Novak’s article, thus arguing that no crime was committed when her name was leaked. Indeed, they became jubilant at Victoria Toensing’s testimony today on covert agents. In 1981 Toensing was chief counsel for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and her first assignment from Chairman Barry Goldwater was to obtain passage of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act.

Toensing, who’s husband (Joe DiGenova), is a Bush Administration cheer leader in his own right, has publicly called for the Pardon of Libby, tried valiantly to convince the hearing that she knew more about the Plame case than Plame herself. She was adament that Plame was not undercover at the time of the Novak column, because according to her, Plame had not met the requirements to qualify for covert status. One of those qualifications includes overseas travel on official undercover business during the past 5 years. Toensing was determined to give new meaning to the term of splitting hairs by insisting that undercover may not necessarily mean undercover according to the letter of the law.

The only problem for her was that not only is she in no position to access classified material relating to the case, but that those who are, CIA director Michael Hayden and Plame herself, disagree with her.

Rep Elijah Cummings (D-MD) was determined to resolve the matter during his question time:

Cummings: Is it possible that Ms Toensing had more information than you do about your work or had access to secret documents that you don’t?
Plame: I would find that highly unlikely Congressman because much of that information about my career is still classified.

Cummings explained that General Hayden had stated clearly and directly that Wilson was covert and that the CIA had authorized the Senate hearing to say so. Henry Waxman sent his opening statement to the CIA to be cleared and approved.

That openng statemnt included the following excerpts:

“Ms Wilson was a covert employee of the CIA”
“Ms Wilson was undercover”

Cummings continued his questioning:

Cummings: Did you hold this covert status at the time of the leak?
Plame: Yes I did Congressman

Cummings: The Identities Protection Act refers to travel outside the United States within the last 5 years. Let me ask you this question…during the past five years Ms Plame, from today, did you conduct secret missions overseas?
Plame: Yes I did Congressman.

Cummings: Finally, so as to be clear for the record, you were a covert CIA employee, and within the past 5 years from today, you went on secret missions outside the United States, is that correct?
Plame: That is correct Congressman.

So there you have it. While it could be argued that it comes down to who you believe, much of the debate could be settled by producing records of Plame’s travel details during the last five years.

Nevertheless, the right are hedging their bets and still hoping to make mileage over the seemingly innocuous dispute over whether Plame sent her husband to Niger or not. Perhaps for them it’s not about winning the debate, but the taking part that counts.

one comment ↪
  • Shows secret agents can be female, attractive and have integrity – not automatically the male, suit wearing, thought police of student folklore.