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.

Iran (may not be the) centre of terror

Here’s what the global media has reported over the last days:

Argentina expressed outrage Friday over Iran’s nomination of a man wanted in connection to a 1994 Buenos Aires bombing that killed 85 people as the next defense minister.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad tapping Ahmad Vahidi for the post is “an affront to Argentine justice and the victims of the terrorist attack” on the Jewish community center, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

News of the nomination was received “with grave concern and deserves the most energetic condemnation of the Argentine government,” it said.

In 2007, Interpol issued what it calls a Red Notice on Vahidi, a former head of Al Quds, an elite unit of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. Interpol under the notice distributed Argentina’s arrest warrant for Vahidi to member countries.

The July 9, 1994 bombing leveled the seven-floor Argentine Jewish Mutual Association building in Buenos Aires, killing 85 people and wounding 300. No single individual has ever been convicted for the bombing.

Here’s Gareth Porter in the Nation in 2008 questioning the ongoing allegations:

Although nukes and Iraq have been the main focus of the Bush Administration’s pressure campaign against Iran, US officials also seek to tar Iran as the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism. And Team Bush’s latest tactic is to play up a thirteen-year-old accusation that Iran was responsible for the notorious Buenos Aires bombing that destroyed the city’s Jewish Community Center, known as AMIA, killing eighty-six and injuring 300, in 1994. Unnamed senior Administration officials told the Wall Street Journal January 15 that the bombing in Argentina “serves as a model for how Tehran has used its overseas embassies and relationship with foreign militant groups, in particular Hezbollah, to strike at its enemies.”

This propaganda campaign depends heavily on a decision last November by the General Assembly of Interpol, which voted to put five former Iranian officials and a Hezbollah leader on the international police organization’s “red list” for allegedly having planned the July 1994 bombing. But the Wall Street Journal reports that it was pressure from the Bush Administration, along with Israeli and Argentine diplomats, that secured the Interpol vote. In fact, the Bush Administration’s manipulation of the Argentine bombing case is perfectly in line with its long practice of using distorting and manufactured evidence to build a case against its geopolitical enemies.

After spending several months interviewing officials at the US Embassy in Buenos Aires familiar with the Argentine investigation, the head of the FBI team that assisted it and the most knowledgeable independent Argentine investigator of the case, I found that no real evidence has ever been found to implicate Iran in the bombing. Based on these interviews and the documentary record of the investigation, it is impossible to avoid the conclusion that the case against Iran over the AMIA bombing has been driven from the beginning by US enmity toward Iran, not by a desire to find the real perpetrators.

2 comments ↪
  • Faruque Ahmed

    Should we look at the mirror before demonising Iran?

    Effects of ill-advised CIA plot in Iran still haunts U.S.

    By John M. Crisp

    11/27/06 — – – (SH) – Now that Iran looms on our horizon, here's a story that every American should know. Journalist Sandra Mackey tells it in "The Iranians," as does Daniel Yergin in "The Prize," his monumental history of oil. But the best extended version of the story that I've read is in "All the Shah's Men" by Stephen Kinzer. Although other historians have told this story as well, I suspect that the average American has never heard of Mohammad Mossadegh and Operation Ajax. To make a long story short:

    Kinzer says that democracy dawned in Iran in 1891 when the shah's wives – he had a harem of around 1,600 – gave up smoking in protest of the shah's sale of the tobacco concession to the British. In fact, the shah, Nasir al-Din, sold concessions of all sorts – mineral rights, railroads, banks – to foreigners in order to support his extravagant tastes. But the shah's son committed an even greater treachery on his own country by selling the oil concession to William Knox D'Arcy in 1901, granting exclusive rights to Iranian petroleum to the British for a period of 60 years.

    The unfavorable terms of this concession, as well as many other abuses of monarchial power, led to the Iranian Revolution of 1905, the diminishment of the shah's power, the establishment of a parliament and the beginnings of a democratic tradition in Iran. In the meantime, D'Arcy discovered oil, a resource that suddenly became enormously valuable when Britain converted its coal-burning warships to oil just before World War I.

    Naturally, the British favored a friendly, compliant monarchy to balance the power of the parliament, which might have other ideas about the extremely unfavorable terms of the petroleum concession. They found their man in Reza Khan and staged a coup in 1921. Reza soon became the shah, a dictatorial leader who suppressed the parliament and fathered Mohammad Reza, who Americans know as the shah of Iran.

    The succession of Mohammad Reza, a weak leader with the personality of a playboy, provided an opportunity for the parliament to reassert power in Iran, which it did, under the leadership of Mohammad Mossadegh, a well-educated eccentric who had opposed the shah for many years. By 1951, Mossadegh was the prime minister, and he had emerged as an international spokesman for a global wave of anti-colonial nationalism. He addressed the United Nations and appeared on the cover of "Time" magazine. When Britain refused to renegotiate the exploitative terms of its oil concession, Iran nationalized the petroleum industry, to Britain's great consternation.

    The British hinted at an armed invasion and planned a coup, but were unable to acquire the cooperation of President Truman, who had more sympathy for the emerging nationalism of the former colonies than for the old colonial powers. Things changed, however, when Eisenhower became president in 1952. The Dulles brothers, John Foster as secretary of State and Allen as CIA director, both devoted anti-Communists, convinced Eisenhower to support a coup that would depose Mossadegh and restore the power of the shah to stand as a bulwark against the U.S.S.R.

    Operation Ajax, planned and financed by the CIA and orchestrated by Kermit Roosevelt, grandson of Teddy Roosevelt, was pulled off in August 1953. Hundreds died. Mossadegh was sent to prison for three years and spent the last 11 years of his life under house arrest. Supported by the U.S., the shah became a dictator who controlled Iran with secret police and terror until he was deposed in 1979, when, some historians believe, the U.S. hostages were taken in order to prevent another restoration of the Shah, like the one that occurred in 1953.

    Although most Americans never knew or have forgotten this story, many Iranians have not, and the effects of Operation Ajax persist. But the point of the story isn't to berate ourselves over an unseemly intervention into Iran more than 50 years ago. We should note, however, that the story implies that the current radical regime in Iran isn't inevitable, nor does it enjoy the support of all Iranians. Our diplomacy should be careful not to weaken moderates by overly demonizing the leadership. As bad as its leadership is at present, the country itself isn't inherently evil and it retains echoes of a short-lived democratic tradition in its past.

    John M. Crisp teaches in the English Department at Del Mar College in Corpus Christi, Texas. Email: jcrisp@….

  • moonkoon

    "Iran (may not be the) centre of terror"

    They don't have any nuclear weapons either.

    But the US (and Israel) have got plenty.