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.

Kill Arabs, win awards

Ruth R. Wisse, Harvard University professor, explains how proud Israel makes her feel:

Israelis have shown incredible courage, patience, and decency. The Nobel Prize for Peace belongs almost annually to the IDF, perhaps (if facts become known) never more so than in 2007. Israelis certainly did not choose to be the fighting front line of the democratic world and would do almost anything to escape the role in which they have been cast. But no more than Jews of past generations have they been given the choice by their enemies. Israelis should expect Jews and good people everywhere to help them shoulder the responsibility of resisting Arab aggression in deed and word. 

Henry Kissinger also scored a Nobel Peace Prize, so war criminals are clearly welcome.

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One step away from the great clash

A US attack on Iran is almost a self-fulfilling prophecy. Many of us fear that military action is becoming more likely by the day, despite the UN recently voting to delay any further action on sanctions. An attack against the Islamic Republic would be madness on an unprecedented scale, illegal, immoral, counter-productive and devastating on the Iranian people themselves.

Recent reports suggest it is in fact the US military that is preventing the bombing of Iran. Is the army and air-force revolting? Or are there enough senior generals and officers brave enough to resist the war calls by Vice President Dick Cheney?

Now the Iranians have done this:

Iran’s parliament voted Saturday to designate the CIA and the U.S. Army as “terrorist organizations,” a largely symbolic response to a U.S. Senate resolution seeking a similar designation for Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.

The parliament said the Army and the CIA were terrorists because of the atomic bombing of Japan; the use of depleted uranium munitions in the Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq; support of the killings of Palestinians by Israel; the bombing and killing Iraqi civilians and the torture of imprisoned terror suspects.

Every allegation they cite against the CIA is true, of course, but it’s probably a needless provocation. What, in the end, can stop a military strike against Iran?

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Let them fight each other

The Hamas coup against Fatah in Gaza earlier in the year has often been portrayed as a vicious assault on democracy. In fact, the opposite is probably true. More evidence has now emerged that seems to prove the real agenda behind the event:

For those who peddle the view that the Hamas coup in Gaza was unprovoked, this is embarrassing. As Ma’ariv explains “Abu Mazen instructed his general: ‘Slaughter them.’”

Amit Cohen reports: “The clip apparently shows a meeting in Abu-Mazen’s office in Gaza in which members of the preventive security force identified with Muhammad Dahlan participated. Upon meeting the older gentleman dressed in black uniform, Abu Mazen asks him : “Are you the head of the preventive security force?” When the answer is in the affirmative Abu-Mazen says one word: “Slaughter [them].”

Cohen does not have a problem in guessing who the target was – Hamas.

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A year to remember

Gideon Levy, Haaretz, September 28:

It was a pretty quiet year, relatively speaking. Only 457 Palestinians and 10 Israelis were killed, according to the B’Tselem human rights organization, including the victims of Qassam rockets. Fewer casualties than in many previous years. However, it was still a terrible year: 92 Palestinian children were killed (fortunately, not a single Israeli child was killed by Palestinians, despite the Qassams). One-fifth of the Palestinians killed were children and teens – a disproportionate, almost unprecedented number. The Jewish year of 5767. Almost 100 children, who were alive and playing last New Year, didn’t survive to see this one.

One year. Close to 8,000 kilometers were covered in the newspaper’s small, armored Rover – not including the hundreds of kilometers in the old yellow Mercedes taxi belonging to Munir and Sa’id, our dedicated drivers in Gaza. This is how we celebrated the 40th anniversary of the occupation. No one can argue anymore that it’s only a temporary, passing phenomenon. Israel is the occupation. The occupation is Israel.

We set out each week in the footsteps of the fighters, in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, trying to document the deeds of Israel Defense Forces soldiers, Border Police officers, Shin Bet security service investigators and Civil Administration personnel – the mighty occupation army that leaves behind in its wake horrific killing and destruction, this year as every year, for four decades.

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The real dissent

Burmese bloggers are struggling to let the world know what is happening to their country.

In the face of overwhelming odds, we salute them.

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Jewish humanity rears its head

The UK-based group Jews for Justice for Palestinians published the following full-page ad in yesterday’s Times newspaper, directed at Foreign Secretary David Miliband. Over 300 signatures were attached:

Dear David

In your address to the UN today, we urge you to oppose Israel’s sanctions against the people of Gaza. Amnesty International, Israeli organisations and distinguished Israeli writers have all condemned this move, announced on September 19th, to extend sanctions.

As British Jews and voters, we call on the UK government to stand against this collective punishment, a direct violation of international law.

The Israeli Deputy Prime Minister described the proposal as cutting off ‘infrastructural oxygen’. In fact, the threat is to the real water and real electricity supplies to the entrapped population of Gaza. Euphemisms cannot disguise the genuine danger to health and lives.

Indiscriminate punishment of Palestinian civilians does not protect the people of Sderot but rather, as the Israeli Peace Bloc Gush Shalom says, it unites all Palestinians ‘in bitterness and hatred’ against Israelis ‘who will bear the price eventually’. As you said in your speech to the Labour Party Conference, there may be military victories, but there is no military solution.

The UK Foreign Affairs Select Committee (August 2007) has called the decision not to speak to Hamas ‘counterproductive’. This week a petition from Israeli writers including David Grossman, Amos Oz and A.B. Yehoshua says: ‘In the past Israel has negotiated with its worst enemies, and now the correct course of action is to negotiate with Hamas… to prevent further suffering on both sides.’ (Jerusalem Post 23.9.2007)

We urge you to heed these words.

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Working for the spooks

David Rose, New Statesman, September 27:

In 2004, the parliamentary intelligence and security committee, the only independent body with powers to call the agencies to account, announced that it planned to hold an inquiry into the relationship between the spooks and the fourth estate, suggesting it was time for a wide-ranging debate. In the event, few journalists offered to give evidence, and the committee’s conclusions, published in its 2005 annual report, were disappointingly bland: “The government is trying to balance the need to inform people about issues that affect them, such as the terrorist threat to the UK, whilst still protecting the agencies’ work. This is a difficult balance, which requires further thought.” Indeed, it does.

Twenty years ago, the Independent, led by its now much-missed political editor, the late Tony Bevins, began a campaign to reform the Westminster lobby by withdrawing from the twice-daily briefings to correspondents by the then prime minister’s spokesman, the doughty Bernard Ingham. Since then, political reporting has changed beyond recognition. When Labour came to power in 1997, Alastair Campbell’s comments on behalf of Tony Blair became attributable to “the prime minister’s spokesman” and, eventually, to him and his successors by name. But in 1987 the lobby rules were essentially the same as those that govern briefings from MI5 and MI6 today. Like them, lobby meetings were then not merely off the record, but deniable, and those who broke the rules risked expulsion from future sessions – so making it impossible, it was believed, for transgressors to do their jobs (though Bevins and his colleagues soon demonstrated otherwise).

The old system’s drawbacks had long seemed obvious, and were often canvassed, especially in magazines such as this. The lobby rules were a licence to manipulate coverage and a way of settling political scores, a game in which journalists and voters held few cards. “Lobbies of all kinds are a conspiracy against the customer, the reader,” says Peter Preston, who as editor of the Guardian also campaigned for reform. “They enable the reporter to say, ‘Look how clever I am. I’ve got this amazing source, but I’m not going to tell you who it is, so you’re just going to have to trust me.’ The trouble is, the in formation may well not be trustworthy at all – from either a prime ministerial spokesman or MI6.”

By definition, a reporter cannot publicly question information from a deniable briefing. They must swallow it whole, or not at all. As Andreas Whittam Smith, the Independent‘s editor when its campaign began, pointed out in an article he wrote looking back in 2002, the old lobby rules tended “to enforce a consensus”. This suited everyone: while the PM’s spokesman got his message out unmodified, “When a repor ter writes along the same lines as everybody else, he or she cannot be blamed if things turn out differently.” Unfortunately, he noted, “Reporters as a group are often completely wrong.” As spies can be…

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Brother, come to me

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has invited Dubya to speak at a university in Tehran, returning the favour after his recent visit to Columbia University. Many Iranians were upset at the way in which their President was treated in New York. Iranian blogger Bozorg Sharafedin gets past the headlines:

Unlike what Bollinger said at his speech in Columbia University, Ahmadinejad has no “sign of a dictator”. To find the characteristics of a dictator in Iran’s president one should search deep inside him and read between the lines of his behavior.

It is quite strange that the new dictators of our age (except Putin) do not follow the clichés of dictatorship manner. On the paper, Ahmadinejad and Bush are both good people, highly religious, doing their best to save the world from injustice. Ahmadinejad dines with journalists, speaks for a half an hour about the relationship between man and God and defines the mission of human on earth as pursuit of love, kindness and dignity. We have heard the same lecture from Bush before the invasion of US to Iraq and after huge massacre of innocent Iraqi people.

According to this discourse, filtering of internet is a “moral” act to immune the community from the rotten world and execution of criminals in the public is a virtuous deed.

As always, there are many sides to this story.

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One person at a time

After attending a public lecture at Case Western Reserve University by the authors of the Israel Lobby book, a student at John Carroll University changes their perspective:

“I thought that Israel was the victim before. After listening to the speech I realize that Israel plays a major role in provoking other nations.”

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A song for the whole family

For anybody who needs to learn some basic English skills:

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Splitting to win

The issue of Iraqi partition has now become more urgent after the US Congress called for a plan that is against the wishes of the Iraqi people. But since when has this ever been relevant?

The essential Cat’s Dream blog posits an interesting theory. What if the idea of breaking down the Iraqi state is the most ideal way of furthering Zionist ideology in the Middle East? To quote Israel Shahak:

The idea that all the Arab states should be broken down, by Israel, into small units, occurs again and again in Israeli strategic thinking. For example, Ze’ev Schiff, the military correspondent of Ha’aretz (and probably the most knowledgeable in Israel, on this topic) writes about the “best” that can happen for Israeli interests in Iraq: “The dissolution of Iraq into a Shi’ite state, a Sunni state and the separation of the Kurdish part” (Ha’aretz 6/2/1982).

Of course, partition is all about the Iraqi people.

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Iran won

Forward editorial, September 26:

If Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran’s fire-breathing buffoon of a president, had any doubts about the contempt and loathing he inspires in America and the West, his reception in New York this week should have cleared things up for him. Should have — but probably did not.

No, Ahmadinejad probably left New York more confirmed than ever in his warped image of an American society in the thrall of malign forces. He may even imagine that he proved himself in the eyes of the world as a fearless warrior for truth and justice, that he showed himself ready to march into the very belly of the beast and suffer humiliation and worse at the hands of Zionist bullies. Worse still, it’s possible that observers at the United Nations and in front of television screens around the world were left with that same image: Ahmadinejad in the lions’ den.

The pity is that the people of New York had an opportunity to show the world the true face of the man, but they — we — flubbed it. With the whole world watching, we could have put our democratic values on display. We could have demonstrated the difference between a society of tolerance and free inquiry on one hand, and ignorant fanaticism on the other. We could have handed Ahmadinejad the rope to hang himself. We could have held him up for the bullying thug that he is.

Instead, we put on a display of undisciplined rage, and the Iranian leader was given an opportunity to cloak himself in the mantle of victimhood.

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