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.

Refusing orders

The story about Iraq that you’ve never read:

In what has been described as one of the most remarkable stories of the entire Iraq war, a reporter from the Army Times has given perhaps the first inside account of how an Army unit committed mutiny and refused to carry out orders in Iraq.

The incident occurred in Adhamiya, a district in northeastern Baghdad, where soldiers in the 2nd Platoon, Charlie Company, were stationed. The 2nd Platoon had lost many men since deploying to Iraq eleven months before. After an IED attack killed five more members of Charlie 1-26, members of 2nd Platoon gathered for a meeting and determined they could no longer function professionally. Several platoon members were afraid their anger could set loose a massacre. They decided to stage a revolt against their commanders that they viewed as a life-or-death act of defiance.

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Metalheads from Baghdad

Iraq’s only heavy-metal group now reside in Istanbul. Yet another Iraqi refugee story:

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Welcome to your internet future

Nart Villeneuve, Index on Censorship, Volume 36, Issue 4, November:

In some countries, there is no technical [internet] filtering in place; it is the legal system itself which acts as the primary mechanism of Internet censorship. Threatening ISPs, or content providers such as search engines, with ‘takedown’ requests is one of the most undocumented methods of censoring Internet content. In some cases these can be formal legal requests for removal due to copyright violation or claims of libel/defamation or informal requests due to allegations of supporting terrorism. ISPs are not required to report such ‘takedowns’ and most happen in complete silence. In these cases, ISPs act as judge, jury and enforcer at the same time and will act to remove content rather than fully investigate the claim, in order to avoid liability.

The questions surrounding the lack of transparency and accountability led Christian Ahlert, Chris Marsden and Chester Yung, from the Oxford Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, to investigate what they termed the ‘privatisation of censorship’. In 2003, they conducted an experiment, known as ‘Liberty’, to test notice and takedown procedures in the US and Europe. They created a web page containing text that was clearly in the public domain and uploaded it to ISPs in the US and the UK. The uploaded text was an excerpt from Chapter 2 of J S Mill’s On Liberty, which discusses freedom of the press and censorship. They then created an email account with a free service for a mythical organisation called the ‘John Stuart Mill Heritage Foundation’ and sent takedown notices to the ISPs claiming copyright infringement. In the UK, ISPs took the information down, but in the US, they asked for more details, including a declaration ‘under penalty of perjury’ that the claim was valid. At this point, the researchers terminated the experiment. However, they noted that if they had supplied the language required by the ISPs, the takedown process could have continued.

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This is how the IDF acts

Yotam Feldman, Haaretz, December 20:

From his home on the Upper Galilee road between Safed and Rosh Pina, as Brigadier General (res.) Zvika Fogel looks out over Lake Kinneret, the Gaza Strip seems a distant memory. But four years after Fogel retired from the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), Gaza continues to preoccupy him. He became chief of staff of Southern Command headquarters in February 2000, and in the past few years he has reflected a great deal on the actions he and his fellow officers carried out in the months that preceded the eruption of the second intifada, at the end of September 2000. His conclusion: the IDF created an irreversible situation that led to a confrontation with the Palestinians.

“The constellation of preparations we made actually led to the confrontation – there was no other choice,” says Fogel, who is still called up for reserve service in Southern Command.

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What we aren’t hearing

The ten most under-reported humanitarian stories of 2007, according to Doctors Without Borders USA.

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A dying breed

Newspapers may not be dead, but the trend is not positive:

The number of UK adults reading at least one national daily newspaper on an average day fell from 26.7 million in 1992 to 21.7 million last year, according to research.

In 1992, 59% of adults read one or more national daily newspapers, compared with 45% last year, the figures from a National Readership Survey commissioned by the House of Lords communications committee found.

Of course, it doesn’t help, in the US at least, that a majority of Americans simply don’t trust the mainstream media to report political issues fairly. Case study one.

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Jesus wants to kill Arabs

Good Lord:

A video made by a Christian ministry group shows Air Force Academy cadets being pressured to become “government paid missionaries when they leave” the academy, according to the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), which released the video this week.

MRFF president Mikey Weinstein says the video is unconstitutional and an outrage.

“This is absolutely out of control. You cannot engage the U.S. government to propel your religion,” said Weinstein.
The video features former Academy Campus Crusade for Christ director Scot Blum saying, “They’re government paid missionaries when they leave here,” referring to graduates of the academy.

“Our purpose for Campus Crusade for Christ at the Air Force Academy is to make Jesus Christ the issue at the Air Force Academy and around the world,” said Blum on the video.

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Killing from the air

America has greatly expanded its aerial assault against Iraq and Afghanistan.

Not that you’d read that in the mainstream media.

The blogosphere reveals all.

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Taking Bush far further


More here on a man who would undoubtedly cause America to be hated around the world more than it is already.

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The US of A

Welcome to America.

(But expect to be treated like a criminal.)

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Jews for torture

Most American Zionist organisations are now little more than apologists for Israel or supporters of genocide-denying nations (Turkey.)

And most remain seemingly incapable of deciding if torture should be outlawed:

The American Jewish Committee last week became the first, and to date only, mainstream Jewish group to give strong public backing to proposed legislation that would ban the use of torture by American military, intelligence and law-enforcement personnel.

On December 10, the AJCommittee’s board of governors passed a resolution expressly condemning the use of so-called enhanced interrogation techniques. Two days later the group also sent a letter to all members of Congress, urging them to support legislation that would force CIA interrogators to follow the guidelines set forth by the Army’s field manual, which bans waterboarding, mock executions and other harsh methods.

Most other Jewish organizations with prominent advocacy efforts in Washington, however, have been noticeably absent from efforts to push through the anti-torture legislation and from the broader national debate about the alleged use of enhanced interrogation techniques by American security forces.

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Ron Paul = dollars

Whatever one thinks of presidential nominee Ron Paul – he’s certainly anti-war but also a fundamentalist anti-abortionistthis is truly remarkable:

Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul made history Sunday by raising $6 million in online contributions in 24 hours, breaking the record for the most money raised by a national candidate in a single day, and potentially putting Paul on track to surpass the fourth quarter fund raising of all of his competitors in both parties.

The mainstream media has largely ignored Paul’s campaign – though leading blogger Andrew Sullivan remains very supportive – and proves that something is stirring in the USA.

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