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.

US definition of web freedom; content that we like

How noble is the Obama administration, pledging to support citizens in repressive regimes (many of which are run by US-backed thugs but why quibble with such details?):

Days after Facebook and Twitter added fuel to a revolt in Egypt, the Obama administration plans to announce a new policy on Internet freedom, designed to help people get around barriers in cyberspace while making it harder for autocratic governments to use the same technology to repress dissent.

The State Department’s policy, a year in the making, has been bogged down by fierce debates over which projects it should support, and even more basically, whether to view the Internet primarily as a weapon to topple repressive regimes or as a tool that autocrats can use to root out and crush dissent.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who will lay out the policy in a speech on Tuesday, acknowledged the Internet’s dual role in an address a year ago, and administration officials said she would touch on that theme again, noting how social networks were used by both protesters and governments in the uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and other Arab countries.

The State Department plans to finance programs like circumvention services, which enable users to evade Internet firewalls, and training for human rights workers on how to secure their e-mail from surveillance or wipe incriminating data from cellphones if they are detained by the police.

Though the policy has been on the drawing board for months, it has new urgency in light of the turmoil in the Arab world, because it will be part of a larger debate over how the United States weighs its alliances with entrenched leaders against the young people inspired by the events in Tunisia and Egypt.

Administration officials say that the emphasis on a broad array of projects — hotly disputed by some technology experts and human rights activists — reflects their view that technology can be a force that leads to democratic change, but is not a “magic bullet” that brings down repressive regimes.

“People are so enamored of the technology,” said Michael H. Posner, the assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor. “People have a view that technology will make us free. No, people will make us free.”

Of course in reality Washington is highly selective in backing real transparency, as its continued attack on Wikileaks shows:

The Obama administration is stepping up its drive to promote Internet freedom, hoping that countries like Iran could be swept up by the same kind of Web-driven public demonstrations and political tumult that brought the regime in Egypt to its knees in a matter of weeks.

However, critics say that as the United States calls for unfettered and uncensored access to the Internet around the globe, the Obama administration is stepping on its own message by aggressively pursuing a criminal investigation into the activities of online publisher WikiLeaks and how it obtained hundreds of thousands of classified American government reports.

In an awkward bit of timing, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is to deliver a major speech on Internet freedom in Washington on Tuesday just hours after Justice Department lawyers are scheduled to be in federal court a few miles away in the first public courtroom showdown over the probe into WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange. Prosecutors are expected to urge a federal magistrate in Alexandria, Va., to uphold a court order requiring Twitter to turn over confidential information about the use of its services by three WikiLeaks supporters.

“This is an outrageous attack by the Obama administration on the privacy and free speech rights of Twitter’s customers – many of them American citizens,” Assange complained in a statement Monday. “More shocking, at this time, is that it amounts to an attack on the right to freedom of association, a freedom that the people of Tunisia and Egypt, for example, spurred on by the information released by Wikileaks, have found so valuable.”

“It’s a typical example of it’s right for thee but not for me,” said Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, who recently signed on to advise Assange’s legal team.

“They’re perfectly happy to see all of Iran’s secrets disclosed, but they draw the line at their own. They’re perfectly happy to see open media in every other part of the world, but here they’re trying to close down media that has challenged them. It’s a clear double standard at work, and we’re going to expose that double standard.”

Obama administration officials insist there’s no conflict between promoting Web freedom abroad and enforcing U.S. laws regarding handling of confidential government data, like diplomatic cables and military reports.

“WikiLeaks is not about Internet freedom,” a senior State Department official told POLITICO Monday. “It’s not even an Internet issue. It’s about U.S. government property being stolen which is under investigation by the Justice Department. … The fact that the Internet was used to conduct the crime does not make it about Internet freedom.”

“WikiLeaks is about the unauthorized disclosure of classified information. It is not an exercise in Internet freedom,” State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said last month in a speech to students at the Washington Center . “It is about the legitimate investigation of a crime. It is about the need to continue to protect sensitive information while enabling the free flow of public information.”

Crowley, who has publicly blasted Assange as an “anarchist,” said those claiming hypocrisy are misunderstanding the kind of openness the United States is advocating.

“Transparency does not mean there are no secrets. Whether you are a government or a business, there is proprietary information that is vital to your day-to-day function. Coca-Cola has its secret formula. Google has its search algorithm. Their success is based on these secrets. As a government, we are no different,” Crowley said.

Washington Middle East and democracy experts have generally welcomed the U.S. call for uninterrupted access to Facebook, Twitter and the Internet. But they’ve also noted that talking about Web freedom is a lot simpler than untangling conflicted U.S. interests toward the current instability in the Middle East, that threatens both adversaries such as Iran, as well as strong allies as Yemen’s President Saleh, who has backed the fight against Al Qaeda.

“It’s a little bit easier to make democracy-promotion about letting everyone have access to Facebook than it is to confront directly the core elements of an allied police state,” Human Rights Watch’s Tom Malinowski said. “It’s a good thing to be promoting access to Facebook – but it’s also a little easier to do than the other thing.”

one comment ↪
  • iResistDe4iAm

    "Coca-Cola has its secret formula" – P.J. Crowley 

     

    Coca-Cola beverages no longer contain substances which are now illegal/banned.

    What if Coca-Cola re-introduced such substances? Would it then be acceptable to allow such illegal behaviour under the guise of proprietary/business confidential secrecy, or would it be morally imperative for company employees to blow the whistle on such behaviour? 

     

    Whistleblowers don't reveal secrets, they help uncover the truth about incompetent, unethical, immoral and/or illegal behaviour. 

     

    WikiLeaks – The Whistleblower's Friend