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.

Analysis must not be a war casualty

My following article appears on ABC’s Unleashed:

The Iraq war has virtually dropped off the media radar.

The country remains far more dangerous than Afghanistan and yet Barack Obama’s “surge” against the Taliban and al-Qaeda is the biggest international story of the day.

Even leading neo-conservative William Kristol writes in The Washington Post that Obama has “acknowledged that he and his party were wrong about the Iraq surge in 2007 – after all, the rationale for this surge is identical to Bush’s and the hope is for a similar success”.

What a difference a few years make. Baghdad-based reporter for The Christian Science Monitor, Jane Arraf, lamented this decline in coverage by arguing for renewed interest from global news services “in a country with 130,000 US troops fighting a war that still costs tens of billions of dollars a month”.

It’s a distortion that the US military is happy to continue.

Explosive revelations occur but soon sink without a trace. Former UN weapon’s inspector, Hans Blix, told The Daily Mail that the Iraq conflict was “illegal”. A British inquiry currently investigating the reasons behind the invasion found that former Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon “banned” preparations for the war in 2002 and 2003 to hide information from the public.

Former defence chiefs said that the US simply presumed that Tony Blair’s government would participate in the invasion even if no attempts were made to resolve the struggle with Saddam Hussein through the UN.

Former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw tells The New Statesman that he “regrets” the huge loss of life in Iraq. A few in the mainstream media even dare to call for legal accountability for Western leaders who launch wars of aggression.

History is being re-written as official denials become the basis for further investigation. “Never believe anything until it’s officially denied”, said reporter Claud Cockburn.

The corporate media in America and Australia barely acknowledge that there is even a war in Iraq. A study by the US-based media watchdog Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting found that anti-war voices were virtually invisible in The New York Times and The Washington Post this year, despite the general public growing increasingly opposed to American involvement in the world.

Leading commentators are part of the problem.

The New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman argued in late November that US foreign policy over the past two decades “has been largely dedicated to rescuing Muslims or trying to help free them from tyranny”.

He included Iraq and Afghanistan in his calculation. Over one million civilians have died in both these countries since 2001.

Time columnist Joe Klein told Obama that he should, like former President Ronald Reagan, create a narrative to support ongoing wars in the Middle East, even if the chosen stories were untrue.

Newsweek editor Fareed Zakaria instructed his readers that, “Obama is searching for a post-imperial policy in the midst of an imperial crisis”. Tell that to the killed and maimed in Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine, all suffering under American bombs.

Sloganeering has replaced serious analysis. Real war consequences are ignored. The embedded mindset has taken over the media asylum.

So, here’s what’s really happening.

There are over 250,000 private contractors deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Afghan President Hamid Karzai even accepted the depth of the problem with a little noticed comment recently. “Within the next two years,” he said, his government intended to end “operations by all private national and international security firms” and transfer the duties to “Afghan security entities”.

The ability of a puppet regime to dictate terms to its master is highly questionable, as we have seen this year in Palestine with the US-backed Ramallah clique.

It an open secret that private contractors are one of the key reasons for increased hostility of Iraqi and Afghan civilians towards occupation. Insurgency breeds on tales of debauched US embassy guards in Kabul drinking, fighting and using prostitutes.

An interview with Erik Prince, founder of military contractor Blackwater (now called Xe), in next month’s Vanity Fair will only confirm the impression of a cowboy running riot in Muslim lands.

Some Iraqi bloggers are still writing about freedom from foreign intervention, a dream that will not occur during Obama’s term. No American official has ever answered the basic question of how many US troops or military trainers will remain in Iraq beyond 2011.

Indeed, permanent bases in Iraq suggest a long-term presence. A few brave journalists, such as independent Dahr Jamail, are documenting the effect of the Iraq mission on returned US army personnel.

Unsurprisingly, Iraq’s oil remains a hotly contested commodity, though the politics behind the ownership of the black gold barely cracks a mainstream mention.

One of the few major reports I’ve read this year about the overall geo-political plan for American forces in the Middle East was published last month in TomDispatch and highlighted the expanding reach of Washington in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan and Kuwait. This is occupation re-branded for the 21st century’s second decade.

Writes journalist Nick Turse:

“The money the Pentagon has recently been pouring into the nations of the Persian Gulf to bulk up base infrastructure has only tied the US ever more tightly to the region’s autocratic, often unpopular regimes, while further arming and militarising an area traditionally considered unstable.”

Obama now owns the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and yet few reporters are willing to ask why escalation guarantees success.

The US President spoke last week on the 30,000 more troops for Afghanistan and stated:

“For unlike the great powers of old, we have not sought world domination.”

The boots on the ground across the globe prove otherwise and resistance is growing from Bolivia to Palestine.

The multi-polar world has arrived with a thud. Washington is not pleased.

one comment ↪
  • Jo

    Great article!

    God bless.