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.

Iraqis hate us because we abuse and kill them

Before the Afghan war logs, Wikileaks released the “Collateral Murder” video. The Nation provides an exclusive that details the casual brutality dished out by the US to average Iraqis. No wonder the insurgency continues to rage:

One by one, soldiers just arriving in Baghdad were taken into a room and questioned by their commanding officers. “All questions led up to the big question,” explains former Army Spc. Josh Stieber. “If someone were to pull out a weapon in a marketplace full of unarmed civilians, would you open fire on that person, even if you knew you would hurt a lot of innocent people in the process?”

It was a trick question. “Not only did you have to say yes, but you had to say yes without hesitating,” explains Stieber. “In refusing to go along with the crowd, it was not irregular for somebody to get beat up,” he adds. “They’ll take you in a room, close the door and knock you around if they didn’t like your answer,” says former Army Spc. Ray Corcoles, who deployed with Stieber.

According to these former soldiers, this was a typical moment of training for Bravo Company 2-16 (2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment), the ground unit involved in the infamous “Collateral Murder” video, which captured global headlines when it was released in April by WikiLeaks, the online clearinghouse for anonymous leaks. (In late July WikiLeaks dropped another bombshell with its release of more than 90,000 secret US military documents from the war in Afghanistan, including detailed reports on Pakistani collusion with the insurgents—who have successfully used heat-seeking missiles against allied forces—US assassination teams, widespread civilian casualties from US attacks and staggering Afghan government incompetence and corruption.)

The graphic video from Baghdad shows a July 2007 attack in which US forces, firing from helicopter gunships, wounded two children and killed more than a dozen Iraqis, including two Reuters employees and the father of those children. The video quickly became an international symbol of the brutality and callousness of the US military in Iraq. What the world did not see is the months of training that led up to the incident, in which soldiers were taught to respond to threats with a barrage of fire—a “wall of steel,” in Army parlance—even if it put civilians at risk.

Now three former soldiers from this unit have come forward to make the case that the incident is not a matter of a few bad-apple soldiers but rather just one example of US military protocol in the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, where excessive acts of violence often stem from the chain of command. This comes at a time when the top brass in Afghanistan are speaking openly of relaxing the rules of engagement. After Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s recent ouster for publicly criticizing the Obama administration, his successor, Gen. David Petraeus, has asserted that military protocol in Afghanistan should be adjusted because of “concerns” about “the application of our rules of engagement,” a move that critics fear will cause civilian deaths to skyrocket.

The story that Stieber, Corcoles and former Army Spc. Ethan McCord tell provides crucial background for the incident that WikiLeaks made famous. Bravo Company 2-16 deployed to Iraq in February 2007 during the “surge” ordered by George W. Bush. Their spring arrival in New Baghdad, a dangerous neighborhood in eastern Baghdad bordering Sadr City, coincided with the start of the deadliest three-month period for US forces during the Iraq War.

“I had the idea that I was going over there to help the Iraqi people—you know, freedom and democracy,” says McCord, an expectation that Stieber and Corcoles say they shared. They learned quickly that the reality was very different. All three of these former soldiers describe a general policy of, in McCord’s words, trying to “out-terrorize the terrorists” in order to establish power in a neighborhood that clearly did not want US troops there. The next months would be spent raiding houses, responding to sniper fire and IEDs, and, as Corcoles says, “driving around just waiting to get shot at.” All of them would witness the abuse, displacement and killing of Iraqi civilians.

When Bravo Company 2-16 arrived in New Baghdad to establish its Combat Outpost (COP) in an old factory, hundreds of angry residents gathered in protest. In grainy video footage brought back by McCord, residents can be seen converging around the soldiers and chanting, and McCord is seen standing in front of the crowd with his weapon drawn. Corcoles, behind the camera, was guarding the gate of the new post. “The first sergeant told me to shoot anyone who tried to rush the soldiers outside the gate,” he says. Some Iraqis were then dragged inside, beaten and questioned. When the crowds dispersed, construction crews came in to begin building a wall around the new post. To clear the area, the military forced people to leave. “We were kicking people out of their homes,” says McCord. “People who didn’t want to move, we would basically force them to move…pretty much making them leave at gunpoint.”

From then on the violence escalated. Corcoles describes the first IED death his unit suffered. “We did a mission that night till like midnight, and we were actually just sitting down…. I hadn’t even got three or four drags off my cigarette and an IED went off…. We watched the Humvee burn, but we didn’t realize [someone] was still in it.”

The IED attacks left the soldiers angry and scared. McCord recalls one mission to impose curfews. Earlier that day, a popular soldier had died in an IED attack, and the troops took it out on the Iraqis. “There were a lot of people who got beat up that night,” he says bluntly. This anger was turned into policy by the chain of command. “We had just lost three guys to an IED when the battalion commander came out to the COP,” says McCord. He went on to explain that the commander gave orders to shoot indiscriminately after IED attacks. “He said, ‘Fuck it, this is what I want…anytime someone in your line gets hit by an IED…you kill every motherfucker in the street,'” McCord testifies.

“When one [IED] went off, you were supposed to open fire on anybody,” says Stieber. “At first I would just fire into a field. Then I wouldn’t fire at all.” He describes an IED that went off near a crowd of teenagers. “I said I wouldn’t fire,” even though “other people were firing,” he recalls. Like Stieber, Corcoles describes incidents in which he purposely aimed his gun away from people. “You don’t even know if somebody’s shooting at you,” he says. “It’s just insanity to just start shooting people.” Stieber pointed out that in incidents like these, it was very rare for US military vehicles to stop to help the wounded or assess how many people had been injured or killed.

Stieber was intimidated and reprimanded by his command for refusing orders to shoot. “One time when I didn’t fire, people in my truck were yelling at me for the rest of the mission. When we got back, one or two leaders got up in my face and kept yelling at me and stuff,” he says. The command eventually stopped sending him on missions as a gunner, and Stieber says he “faced a lot of criticism for it.” Corcoles saw this too. “One night our truck got hit by an IED and Josh didn’t fire, and another soldier didn’t fire,” he says. “And they were getting yelled at: ‘Why aren’t you firing?’ And they said, ‘There’s nobody to fire at.'”

Corcoles recalls another “wall of steel” incident: “Our first sergeant was with us, and after we got hit by an IED, people started shooting everywhere, and they were also actually shooting at him.” He explains that his sergeant happened to be within range of indiscriminate fire coming from US soldiers. After almost getting shot by the soldiers, “our first sergeant told us not to do this anymore,” says Corcoles.

Excessive acts of violence were woven into daily missions, house searches and prisoner detention, says McCord. “This one time, in the summer of 2007, we were in a barbershop and my platoon leader was asking the barbershop owner about the local militia,” he says. “The interpreter kept saying the owner didn’t know anything. The platoon leader said, ‘He is fucking lying,'” says McCord, explaining that it was always assumed that Iraqis who said they didn’t know anything were lying. “I remember my platoon leader punching him in the face. When [the barbershop owner] went to ground, he was kicked by others in the platoon. Many other Iraqis were in there to get their hair cut. They were up against the wall watching him get kicked.”

McCord says that when others in his unit saw this kind of behavior condoned by the leadership, they followed suit. He describes multiple instances in which soldiers abused detainees or beat people up in their houses. In one case, he says, someone was taken from his house, beaten up and then left on the side of the road, bloodied and still handcuffed.

In this setting, the “Collateral Murder” incident does not stand out as a drastic departure from the norm. That morning, Corcoles and McCord prepared for a “Ranger dominance” mission, “a clearing mission to basically go through every house, top to bottom, from one end of town to the next,” says Corcoles. Stieber, who had been pulled off these missions because of his refusal to fire at crowds, was not with them this time. For the rest of the unit, what started as another day of house searches became a four-hour battle with militia members, say Corcoles and McCord. McCord was searching houses near Corcoles when he heard two Apache helicopters open fire nearby. He knew these helicopters were assigned to guard forces on the ground, so he knew something serious was occurring. “I heard over the net that we needed to move to that position,” he recalls. He ran four or five blocks to the scene. “I was one of the first six dismounted soldiers to arrive there.”

“It seemed unreal,” says McCord, who describes running up and “seeing the carnage of what used to be human beings on the corner.” A passenger van sat nearby, pocked with bullet holes and littered with bodies. Corcoles arrived on the scene shortly after McCord, who soon discovered two critically wounded children in the van and was able to pull them to safety. These moments would later be broadcast around the world in harrowing detail. McCord is seen in the video rushing wounded children away from the van. Photos that McCord took at the scene show mangled corpses lying in the road and one of the children, crouched in the front seat of the van next to a dead body.

Immediately following the incident, McCord was threatened and mocked by his commanding officer for pulling the children from the van. He says his platoon leader “yelled at me that I need to quit worrying about these ‘motherfucking kids’ and pull security.” McCord later approached a staff sergeant and told him he needed mental healthcare after the incident. “He told me to stop being a pussy…to get the sand out of my vagina,” he says. “I was told there would be repercussions.” Fearing punishment, McCord did not ask again.

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