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.

Was the US behind the Samarra explosion?

Following last Wednesday’s attack on the Askariya shrine in Samarra, at least thirteen Sunni mosques came under fire. Despite the attacks, Iraq has avoided a surge in violence that followed the first bombing of the Shia shrine last year.  A spokesman for Al Sadr expressed the belief that US forces played a part:

A top Iraqi politician warned Wednesday that the insurgents’ latest attack on the holy Askariya shrine in Samarra was aimed at disintegrating Iraq.Al-Sadr movement’s spokesman, Sheikh Salah al-Obeidi, told Alalam that “this is what the occupiers brought to Iraq: a disintegration plot and fanning the flames of sectarian violence.”

Insurgents fired a barrage of rockets into the Baghdad Green Zone, hitting a street Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte had visited just minutes before. It appears that they were targeting Negroponte for good reason.

The US Deputy Secretary of State reportedly planned the attack on the holy Shia shrines in Samarra to help topple the Iraqi government.

According to an informed source John Negroponte plotted the attack during an unannounced trip to Iraq on June 12 in order to fuel insecurity and sectarian violence in the country.
Negroponte’s motive was to overthrow Iraq’s legitimate government, the same source added.
Negroponte, who was a staunch supporter of right-wing death squads in Central America during the 1980s, held several informal meetings with Iraqi officials prior to the June 13 terrorist attack on the revered Shia shrines in Samarra, the source said.

Ever since the attack last year, suspicions have been rife that it was the work of occupation forces, in that case, to create sectarian conflict.

During his meetings, Negroponte reportedly strongly cautioned that the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki must change.

Negroponte also asked several Iraqi officials, including Vice President Adel Abdul-Mahdi, to resign- a move the source said was aimed at paving the way for al-Maliki’s government to eventually ‘topple’.

Being an Iranian source, this should be considered with caution, but if there is any truth to this, then surely this proves there is no end to what Washington is prepared to do to occupy and control Iraq.

one comment ↪
  • I thought the USA was definitely behind the first bombing. Whether they did it themselves (or via their Death Squad proxies) this time is almost irrelevent, given that they (i.e. "we") have unleashed so much violence as to make such bombings almost routine.

    This is from Mike Whitney at ICH back in Feb 2006:

    The AFP is reporting that the bombing of the Golden Domed Mosque “was the work of specialists” and that the “placing of explosives must have taken at least 12 hours.”

    Construction Minister Jassem Mohammed Jaafar said, “Holes were dug into the mausoleum’s four main pillars and packed with explosives. Then charges were connected together and linked to another charge placed just under the dome. The wires were then linked to a detonator which was triggered at a distance.”

    Clearly, the bombing was not carried out by rogue elements in the disparate Iraqi resistance. This is the work of highly-trained saboteurs and bomb-experts who were executing a precision-demolition to incite sectarian violence. The blast bears all the hallmarks of a covert Intelligence-agency operation.

    Who benefits from such a vicious attack on the foundations of Islamic identity and culture?

    The AFP’s report is consistent with earlier accounts provided by a Baghdad blogger who demonstrates that the destruction of the mosque was a “controlled demolition” which required considerable time and professional expertise. http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m20950. The photographs of the nearby, but untouched, minarets provide a shocking example of the bomber’s skill.

    Eyewitness accounts have appeared on various web sites claiming that there were “unusual activities” taking place at the mosque the night before the bombing. One witness reported that he heard their “cars the whole night until the next morning”. Another witness who lives near to the mosque says that at 8:30 that evening he was told “to stay in your shop and don’t leave the area” while Iraqi National Guard and American troops “patrolled the area until the next morning”. At 6:30 AM the American troops left.

    At 6:40 the first explosion went off.

    Almost immediately, the western media swung into high-gear producing over 1,000 stories containing the word “civil war” in the first 24 hours. As always, the media reliably regurgitates the narrative that best serves the interests of management and their political benefactors. In this case, it’s clear that ‘civil war’ is being used to divert attacks from occupation forces and pit Iraqis against Iraqis.

    But is this really the plan? After all, how does that make Iraq more governable?

    By now, we should realize that the Bush administration has no plan to govern Iraq nor do they care a whit about the suffering of the Iraqi people. The only thing the matters is the extraction of petroleum from Iraqi oil-fields and its unobstructed transfer to the market. The rest is rubbish.

    “We don’t do body counts”, boasted General Tommy Franks.

    Franks could have added that we don’t do reconstruction, security or governance; all of which are sadly lacking in both Iraq and Afghanistan. The administration has no intention of rebuilding Iraq or establishing order. They’ll continue to operate as they have from the onset; blasting away erratically at the resistance while concealing the bloodshed behind an impenetrable wall of propaganda.

    The present strategy reflects the growing desperation of the Pentagon planners and the civilian leadership. America is hopelessly mired in an “unwinnable” war. The choices for action have narrowed to either withdrawal or a stepped-up campaign of Black-ops designed to foment sectarian violence. The bombing of the Samarra Mosque fits perfectly into the latter category.

    Henry Kissinger summarized the current Iraq strategy when he offered his opinion on the Iraq-Iran war in the 1980s. Kissinger callously averred, “I hope they kill each other.”

    The former National Security Chief’s axiom has now been elevated to the level of state-policy. The Iraq strategy replicates the Kissinger Doctrine; manipulating chauvinism and cruelty to advance the imperial agenda.

    The demolition of the sacred mosque was a deliberate assault on the foundations of Muslim identity. It was intended to undermine Iraqi tradition and culture and weaken confidence in the resistance.

    Neocon Michael Ledeen might refer to this as “creative destruction” but, in fact, it is terrorism writ large; the calculated use of violence directed at civilians to achieve a political objective.