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.

Not taking it anymore

Despotic regimes in the Middle East, many of which are backed by the West, should never tolerate abuses against journalists. And the media is fighting back:

Journalists’ unions in membership of the International Federation of Journalists from 12 countries across the Arab World and Iran have launched a comprehensive programme of work focused on safety, press freedom, ethics and improving working conditions following a three day conference in Casablanca 19/21st May.

“Journalists are standing up for solidarity and stronger union organisation across the region,” said Jim Boumelha, IFJ President. “This programme will create a powerful regional force to lead the struggle for journalists’ rights.”

Participants committed themselves to two IFJ key programmes – the Breaking the Chains press freedom campaign and the global Ethical Journalism Initiative.

Participants finalised the IFJ’s regional press freedom report which spotlights violations of journalists’ rights and calls for the release of imprisoned reporters and media staff. It was agreed to organise a regional day of solidarity with victimised journalists.

It is the duty of Western reporters to express solidarity with writers, journalists or bloggers in repressive regimes, no matter their political persuasion.

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Tell me something about Georgie

Being a White House press secretary (ie. how to lie and not get away with it.)

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How we prosecute “terrorists”

The “war on terror” means imprisonment, torture, extraordinary rendition, Western complicity and a travesty of justice.

And Britain is involved up to its neck:

A British resident who is facing the death penalty in Guantanamo Bay has made a final desperate plea to Gordon Brown to end his six-year ordeal and bring him home today.

In a letter delivered to Downing Street, Binyam Mohamed, the last Guantanamo inmate with the automatic right to British residency, calls on the Prime Minister to use his influence with President George Bush to stop an American military “kangaroo court” sending him to his death.

Mr Mohamed, 29, from Kensington, west London, who is expected to be charged by the Americans with terrorism-related offences in the next few days, claims he has suffered horrific abuse during more than six years in detention without trial.

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Israeli stupidity (part 6742)

Dissenting historian Norman Finkelstein explains why he may have been barred from entering Israel:

Well, I guess there are two possibilities. One, I think I’m more effective than I have been in the past. I draw fairly large audiences. And I think Israel is now facing a major public relations challenge. They’re losing the moral ground. They’re losing. And that’s plain. And I can say, in my own small way, I’ve contributed to isolating Israel in public opinion. And the second possibility is that I did spend some time in Lebanon in January, when I—where, among other things, I met with several leaders of Hezbollah, and that received fairly wide publicity, and that may have prompted the outrage or the decision.


An Iranian in London

One funny Iranian man, Omid Djalili:

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All the help they can get

America needs the United Nations.

No kidding.

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Welcome to the Soviet days

The supposedly explosive memoirs of former White House press bitch Scott McClellan make for interesting reading, but it’s a little hard to take them entirely seriously considering he was one of the key figures leading the propaganda arm of the Bush administration.

CNN’s Jessica Yellin said this week that news executives pushed her not to do hard-hitting stories about the Bush White House. “The press corps was under enormous pressure from corporate executives, frankly, to make sure that this was a war presented in a way that was consistent with the patriotic fever in the nation and the president’s high approval ratings,” Yellin said.

Now that’s really news:

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The future of capitalism is here

The kind of advertising I’d like to see.

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Packing a punch

Secretary General of Hizbollah, Sayyid Hassan Nassrallah, Beirut, May 26:

Today, by the name of all gatherings here as well all free people in the Arabian and Muslim world, I call Iraqis along with their political and religious leaderships to make a noble and historical decision that prevents the ultimate fall of Iraq in the hand of the occupier. All the groups of resistance in Iraq, just as those in Lebanon and Palestine, have defeated the occupier several times. Iraq must set the liberating strategy adopted by Lebanese and Palestinian resistance. That’s the only exit door to return the wounded but rich and strong Iraq to its people and nation. Lebanese resistance has also demonstrated a defending strategy. That was obvious in July 2006 when just few thousands backed by their people had been facing for several weeks the greatest army. That’s what the Israeli judge himself has wandered about!

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What Americans believe

A snapshot of Americans from recent studies indicate:

22 percent believe President Bush knew about the 9/11 attacks in advance.
30 percent believe Saddam had weapons of mass destruction.
23 percent believe they’ve been in the presence of a ghost.
18 percent believe the sun revolves around the Earth.

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Let the bile run free

Should a mainstream news organisation be providing a platform for these views?

Richard Barnbrook, the British National party’s London Assembly member, has used a blog on the Daily Telegraph’s website to blame immigrants and their sons for knife and gun crime among young people in the capital after a spate of murders.

Under the headline “Blame the immigrants”, the posting on My Telegraph, a platform which allows readers to publish their own articles, Barnbrook claims the perpetrators are protected by a government eager to secure the “Ethnic Block-Vote” and says immigrants “will not be allowed to terrorise our kids any longer”.

Personally speaking, I think it’s probably worthwhile to hear these ideas, despite the ignorance that they represent. In the UK, at least, they are growing in power and must be countered with arguments not censorship.

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Art, but not as we know it

Beware the tagging YouTuber.

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