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.

Wash Post study on outsourcing terror (aka intelligence services)

One of the biggest stories in North America at the moment is today’s Washington Post investigation on the explosion of intelligence services since 9/11. The sheer scale and cost involved is massive. Creating fear has never been more profitable. The outsourcing of government services is taking place across the world, including Australia and yet most of the mainstream media ignores the developments.

Governments can’t continue to keep claiming they are “keeping us safe” but spend more of our money on companies with little transparency. Targeting “terrorists” sounds sexy and keeps the tabloid papers happy (and many in the Murdoch press) but doesn’t address the ways in which this “threat” has been managed and exaggerated.

Wired offers a round-up:

Figuring out exactly who’s cashing in on the post-9/11 boom in secret programs just got a whole lot easier.

U.S. spy agencies, the State Department, and the White House had a collective panic attack on Friday over an upcoming Washington Post expose on the intelligence-industrial complex. Reporters Dana Priest and William Arkin let it drop this morning.

It includes a searchable database cataloging what an estimated 854,000 employees and legions of contractors are apparently up to. Users can now to see just how much money these government agencies are spending and where those top secret contractors are located. Check out this nine-page list of agencies and contractors involved in air and satellite observations, for instance. No wonder it scares the crap out of Official Washington: it’s bound to provoke all sorts of questions — both from taxpayers wondering where their money goes, and from U.S. adversaries looking to penetrate America’s spy complex.

But this piece is about much more than dollars. It’s about what used to be called the Garrison State — the impact on society of a Praetorian class of war-focused elites. Priest and Arkin call it “Top Secret America” and it’s so big, and grown so fast, that it’s replicated the problem of disconnection within the intelligence agencies that facilitated America’s vulnerability to a terrorist attack. With too many analysts and too many capabilities documenting too much, with too few filters in place to sort out the useful stuff or discover hidden connections, the information overload is its own information blackout. “We consequently can’t effectively assess whether it is making us more safe,” a retired Army three-star general who recently assessed the system tells the reporters.

The Post — whose editorial page has been notably receptive to the growth of the security state over the years — explains in an editorial comment that it ran its constellation of websites by security officials to ensure that it wasn’t jeopardizing national security. In one instance, the editors deleted certain unspecified specific “data points” the project initially disclosed. And they further explain that most of what the project documents, like the locations of contractor and agency facilities, is already public information, distributed on company and agency websites. So it’s not as if the paper has put anyone in harm’s way. (Some of those overlapping contracts issued by the “263 organizations [that] have been created or reorganized as a response to 9/11″ might now be in danger, however.)

Still, in compiling all this information, there’s a risk that the Post provides a hostile foreign power looking to infiltrate the U.S. security apparatus now has an online yellow pages for sending out his resume. Ironically, the very nature of the phenomenon Priest and Arkin document might be enough to foil an infiltrator. Security agencies and their companies produce more information than anyone can consume, adding uncertain value to the amount of information already public. And the spigot — contained in congressional budgets that are either politically sacrosanct or entirely secret — doesn’t seem to be able to close. One impressed observer notes to the paper about a useless intel program scheduled for closure, ”Like a zombie, it keeps on living.”

The Nation’s Robert Dreyfuss urges caution and finds an elephant in the room:
What’s missing from the story, however, is any assessment of the threat against which this vast and growing machinery is arrayed. The Post notes that 25 separate agencies have been set up to track terrorist financing, which admirably shows the overlapping and redundant nature of the post-9/11 ballooning of agencies and organizations targeting terrorism. But the article barely mentions that there are hardly any terrorists to track.

The Post points out that among the recent, nuisance-level attacks by Muslim extremists – the Fort Hood shooter, the underwear bomber, the Times Square incident – the intelligence machine failed to detect or stop them. True. That’s an indictment of the counterterrorism machinery that has become a staple for critics of the outsize budgets and wasteful bureaucracy that has been created since 9/11.

The core problem, which the Post doesn’t address, is that Al Qaeda and its affiliates, its sympathizers, and even self-starting terrorist actors who aren’t part of Al Qaeda itself, are a tiny and manageable problem. Yet the apparatus that has been created is designed to meet nothing less than an existential threat.

3 comments ↪
  • mallee

    Fair shake of the sauce bottle Washington Post.

    All those agencies, people, operatives, spivs, spooks, and profiteers need all the money it is costing the US taxpayers, to track down Uncle Bin Laden and the false fronted 'terrorist groups' threatening to destroy western civilization beacuse they hate our way of life and are jealous of our freedoms. The only way to beat those illusionary terrorrists is to have more manpower and bureacracy and take away what is left of our civil liberties.

    The net has to be closed down or censored to stop this subverise talk.

    That Mike Rivero over at whatreallyhappened.com had the hide to want to take pictures of homeless US veterans who are provided with three nights in tents. What's the fuss the military should be used to tents, what do they think they should have? A house. Nah, Israel needs billions for their houses and walls and the warmongers need money for euipment for conqu….. er, sorry for defence of the homeland.

    Besides, Israel wants the US (and us) to do Iran.

    From memory this morning, [article SMH today. fancy that!] something like 85,000 or was it 850,000 odd have security clearances. Yep, and they have not found out who really did 9/11 or determined that the twin towers and building No 7 were 'blow up' right before their silly little 'intelligence' noses. So much money, so much torture, so much water, concluding with total ignorance and lies.

    Somethiing has to give and soon, probably be the Gulf firstly with the finding of methane leaks away from the 'capped' drill hole. Something, internet readers have known for weeks that has, not been disclosed  er…. I, mean, hidden from the public.

    Like poor old 'News  murdochracy' pay internet readership falling 66%. Unbelievable; that it still has about 33% left.

  • "Unbelievable; that it still has about 33% left."

    I thought that too Mallee. Remarkable.

    US Military Vet Gordon Duff mentions the WashPo article in this sobering article:
    http://mycatbirdseat.com/2010/07/gordon-duff-amer
     

     

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