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.

The USA, lead rogue

From the New York Times yesterday, explaining the White House position:

…if a country cannot deal with a terrorism problem on its own, the United States reserves the right to act unilaterally.

If any state acts without boundaries or ignores international law, it should be treated as a rogue player.

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Jews who love to water-board

At what point will neo-con Jews, who support torture, be regarded as the pariahs that they truly are?

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The Zionist reality on daily life

What is life like for Palestinians in the occupied territories?

One of the finest chroniclers of the conflict, Jonathan Cook, explains.

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The victim recalls a war crime

My following book review appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald on November 29:

My Story: The Tale Of A Terrorist Who Wasn’t
By Mamdouh Habib; with Julia Collingwood;
Scribe, 272 pp, $32.95

Before tortured Australian Guantanamo Bay detainee Mamdouh Habib was released in 2005, then prime minister John Howard said his government didn’t “have any apology to offer” and refused to consider compensation. Greens leader Bob Brown described Habib’s treatment as “one of the most shameful episodes in Australian political history”.

This book supports that statement. Habib writes that his “belief in Islam has guided me all my life … I’ve tried to be as straight and honest as possible, and help people whenever I could – sometimes to my own detriment.” Habib’s support for the mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Centre bombing, Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman (the Blind Sheik), is disconcerting yet his life, not unlike that of David Hicks, is one of searching for meaning.

The work begins in Egypt, the country of Habib’s birth, and he paints a moving picture of growing up in Alexandria and his experiences with various manual jobs and the army. The nation, he laments, “was all about who you knew, and bribing the right people”.

It wasn’t until 2001 – he was living in Sydney with his wife, Maha, and children – that he finally felt “optimistic” about the future after years of struggling with failed businesses. Alas, this sentiment didn’t last long as he was visited in Dubai by ASIO officials and asked to spy for them, reporting on any contact with suspected terrorists such as Jack Thomas and Rabiyah Hutchinson.

Habib endows this encounter with a beautiful, Monty Pythonesque quality. The authorities appeared to be amateurs, mimicking foreign accents and playing the “good cop, bad cop” routine.

It was reminiscent of the interview with innocent “terror” suspect Mohamed Haneef in 2007 and the gross ignorance of the Federal Police of even the simplest tenets of Islam. These are the people, after all, who are supposed to protect us.

The powerful passages of the book describe Habib’s capture in Pakistan in 2001 and more than three years of incarceration in Egypt and Guantanamo Bay with, he claims convincingly, the full knowledge of the Australian Government. He was tortured through sleep deprivation, the application of electric shocks “everywhere on my body” and multiple, unidentified drugs.

He alleges that Americans consistently beat him up in Cuba and mocked his hunger strikes. Reading these sections it’s hard to ignore evidence, revealed in The New Yorker journalist Jane Meyer’s book, The Dark Side, that the Bush Administration shunned warnings from the CIA six years ago that up to a third of the people held at Guantanamo Bay were imprisoned in error. Habib tells countless stories of fellow prisoners who were humiliated and broken in the care of the Americans.

It reads in parts too much like a casual conversation – and a more skeptical perspective would have been helpful when Habib discusses the role of al-Qaeda members – but this is an important contribution to the literature on the “war on terror”. Years after the establishment of a parallel legal and ethical framework, we barely know anything about its implementation.

War crimes were committed in our name.


A choice between Zionist brutality and occupying Zionists?

What can we really expect from the Obama administration and its policies towards Israel/Palestine?

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Keeping Tehran happy

Why are the Iranians seemingly pleased with the passage of the Security Agreement between Iraq and the US by the Iraqi parliament?

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Stenographer discovers the real Loewenstein

On the day before Islamic terrorists launched their latest attack on Mumbai, Sydney writer Antony Loewenstein delivered a speech at Harvard University in the US.

Readers, it’s time to admit something (already picked up by this crafty Murdoch hack in Sydney.)

My words at Harvard this week actually triggered a sleeper cell in India. Blame me. In fact, blame me for all the terrorism against the West in the last years (especially the legitimate targeting of Israelis in the occupied territories and Americans and Australians in Iraq and Afghanistan.)

The Right’s anti-intellectualism continues on its merry way.

UPDATE: Anybody notice the irony of a Murdoch pundit challenging my writing abilities while his column online is titled, “Antony Loewenstein and delisions of grandeur”?

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Leaving the MSM in the dust

Twitter comes of age – the Mumbai coverage was way ahead of traditional media.

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The modern descendants of Hitler

Settler Nazis continue to cause chaos (and the global Jewish Diaspora remains silent):

Israeli settlers attacked Palestinian ambulances in the West Bank village of Dier Esteyah on Wednesday, according to witnesses.

Red Crescent ambulances were parked in the northern West Bank city of Nablus on Wednesday when settlers wrote provocative slogans, such as “Death to Arabs” and others, according to the Red Crescent.

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The end of oppression?

The Iraqi parliament voted by an overwhelming show of hands yesterday to end US military control of their country – a crucial turning point in the Iraq conflict. The security agreement, the outcome of lengthy and rancorous negotiations, requires US forces to leave Iraqi cities, towns and villages by 30 June next year. American troops must withdraw from all Iraqi territory by 31 December 2011.

Until then, US forces will come under Iraqi supervision for the first time. Currently the US military can do what they like. In future, they will have to consult Iraqi officers before every operation and obtain Iraqi arrest warrants.

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Money wasted on vulgarity

Just what exactly is the massive US embassy in Baghdad exactly for?

A monument to what?

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That other liberated country

The reality of Afghanistan today.

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