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.

George, may I use tongue?

Bob Geldof writes a love letter to George W. Bush.

(Yes, it’s as undignified and delusional as you’d expect):

On Air Force One, Jendayi Frazer, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Bobby Pittman, the National Security Council adviser for Africa, and I stayed awake as the pitch night engulfed us, only punctuated by the giant orange gas flares on the Gulf of Guinea. We ate our popcorn, drank our Cokes and watched Batman Begins as the airspace was cleared for miles around us. America was flying through the warm African night and I was hitching a ride on her.

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The Abu Ghraib horrors

America’s “war on terror” in Iraq:

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So many American “terrorists”

The FBI now keeps a list of over 900,000 names belonging to known or suspected terrorists, the American Civil Liberties Union said today.

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This is Israel

A Haaretz editorial like no other:

Last night, the investigative television program “Fact” broadcast pictures of our own Abu Ghraib affair. It is doubtful whether a country that has grown used to 40 years of occupation, and the stories that accompany it, will be shocked. We have become accustomed to treating the Palestinians as inferior people. Generations come and go, and new soldiers abuse the residents of occupied Hebron in almost the same manner. Stories similar to those broadcast last night were exposed by the Breaking the Silence group three years ago. The saying “occupation corrupts” has become a slogan of the left instead of a warning signal to everyone.

This time, it was regular soldiers in the Kfir Brigade. They exposed their backsides and sexual organs to Palestinians, pressed an electric heater to the face of a young boy, beat young boys senseless, recorded everything on their mobile phones and sent it to their friends. One of their “mischievous acts” was to test how long a Palestinian who was being choked could survive without breathing. When he passed out, the experiment was stopped. The soldiers described activities to “break the routine” that consisted entirely of abuse. It was enough for a boy “to look at us the wrong way” for him to be beaten.

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Keep your hat on

Tony Karon, Rootless Cosmopolitan, February 27:

The problem with Obama, for the Zionist establishment, is that he may not muster the degree of racist contempt for the Palestinians that they can safely expect from Hillary Clinton. The deeper problem for the Zionist establishment, of course, is that Jewish Americans are flocking to Obama despite their coded warnings.

I think Karon is overly optimistic about Obama – and it’s never healthy to wish for a new and probably false Messiah – but there are a few encouraging signs about the Democratic front-runner.

Of course, compared to every US President of the last decades, who always seemed so desperate to prove their hatred of the Palestinians, Obama may be a breadth of fresh air. Maybe.

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Mainstream beware

Zogby International polling reveals that the American public aren’t too fond of the mainstream media:

Two thirds of Americans – 67% – believe traditional journalism is out of touch with what Americans want from their news, a new We Media/Zogby Interactive poll shows.

The survey also found that while most Americans (70%) think journalism is important to the quality of life in their communities, two thirds (64%) are dissatisfied with the quality of journalism in their communities.

Meanwhile, the online survey documented the shift away from traditional sources of news, such as newspapers and TV, to the Internet – most dramatically among so-called digital natives – people under 30 years old.

Exhibit A for their dissatisfaction.

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Talking to “them”

A majority of Israelis want to negotiate with Hamas.

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The Gaza life

While Amira Hass discusses the Gaza breakout that never happened, Prof. Abdelwahed from the Department of English in the Faculty of Arts & Humanities at Al-Azhar University of Gaza reveals life via email in the Israeli-controlled strip:

1- We have been without electric power supply for almost two days.

2- Gaza authorities have run out of chlorine which they add to water for health reasons. Thus, there are calls and mobile messages distributed to almost everyone in which there are warnings against the bad (indeed dangerous) quality of water. The warning adds that people must boil water before drinking it. It seems that we are going back to the dark ages.

3- Dozens of local made rockets have been launched at Israeli areas today and a man was killed in Sderot. In response, the Israeli army killed 8 adults and 3 children in Gaza today.

4- People fear that tonight they will witness massive Israeli air strikes. Several have already occurred today. 

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Getting around censors

Malaysians go to the polls on March 8. Much of the country’s mainstream media is seemingly content to publish propaganda masquerading as journalism.

All is not well in the country’s democracy:

A Malaysian government minister has accused bloggers, who have been writing avidly on upcoming elections, of being cowards and warned they are being monitored, a report said Friday. Youth and Sports Minister Azalina Othman said opposition parties were using blogs to get their message out because they believed the Home Affairs Ministry was busy monitoring reports in the mainstream media, the Star daily said.

“They think they can get away with it but it is not the case as they too are being monitored,” she reportedly said, adding that bloggers were cowards and a nuisance to the ruling party. Opposition parties have resorted to blogs, SMS messaging and YouTube in their campaign for the March 8 polls, to dodge a virtual blackout on mainstream media.

Major newspapers and television stations — many partly owned by parties in the ruling coalition — have given blanket coverage to the government and its achievements since the election was called. The opposition parties rate barely a mention, but thanks to the Internet they have begun campaigning feverishly in cyberspace with the aim of reaching young,
urban, educated voters.

Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders ranks Malaysia 124 out of 169 on its worldwide press freedom index, and says the main media are “often compelled to ignore or to play down the many events organised by the opposition”. The government has previously threatened that bloggers could be punished under draconian internal security laws which provide for detention without trial. 

But in better news, one of Malaysia’s most successful bloggers, Jeff Ooi, is running. His blog tag says it is all: “Thinking allowed. Thinking aloud.”

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Emailing, by hand

The Russians discover Google’s Gmail, the old-fashioned way:

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History does repeat itself

Noam Chomsky, Massachusetts, February:

Not very long ago, as you all recall, it was taken for granted that the Iraq war would be the central issue in the 2008 election, as it was in the midterm election two years ago. However, it’s virtually disappeared off the radar screen, which has solicited some puzzlement among the punditry.

Actually, the reason is not very obscure. It was cogently explained forty years ago, when the US invasion of South Vietnam was in its fourth year and the surge of that day was about to add another 100,000 troops to the 175,000 already there, while South Vietnam was being bombed to shreds at triple the level of the bombing of the north and the war was expanding to the rest of Indochina. However, the war was not going very well, so the former hawks were shifting towards doubts, among them the distinguished historian Arthur Schlesinger, maybe the most distinguished historian of his generation, a Kennedy adviser, who—when he and Kennedy, other Kennedy liberals were beginning to—reluctantly beginning to shift from a dedication to victory to a more dovish position.

And Schlesinger explained the reasons. He explained that—I’ll quote him now—“Of course, we all pray that the hawks are right in thinking that the surge of that day will work. And if it does, we may all be saluting the wisdom and statesmanship of the American government in winning a victory in a land that we have turned,” he said, “to wreck and ruin. But the surge probably won’t work, at an acceptable cost to us, so perhaps strategy should be rethought.”

Well, the reasoning and the underlying attitudes carry over with almost no change to the critical commentary on the US invasion of Iraq today. And it is a land of wreck and ruin.

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The Obama shuffle

Barack Obama discovers his Indian roots:

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