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.

Does God support the Libyan rebels?

As an opponent of the NATO-led mission in Libya, I haven’t really considered the role of God. My bad. I’ve just received the following comment on this very subject. What more needs to be said?

Hmm…Loewenstein..now thats either JEWISH of German, correct? If its JEWISH then perhaps you’ll recall that at one time your RELATIVES faced extinction & annihalation by a viciously cruel dictator. If its GERMAN then it was your relatives whom wanted that Group of persons to be annihalted and you have the same genes as them and same kind of heart.
Ive been noticing an obvious pattern with Russian, German, Eastern European & Chinese “media” ( which by the way is just as “edited and censored and “BIASED” as Ghdafi Tv) and you all have Conspiracy Theories which are stemmed from Fear & Paranoia & a smug pride as though you are determined to find some “smoking gun”so you all can say AHA See , told ya and then pat yourselves on the back .
THAT is NOT God. Its not how He works . Its not how He THINKS and none of you are led by God or even hear Him.
Your HEARTS are black and cold and your motives are not hid from Him.
The Lord KNOWS the motives of those countries whom allied together to come to the aid of a very OPPRESSED nation ( like the Jews were oppressed) to SAVE them from certain annihalation from a cruel DICTATOR .
None of you have an open heart or mind to even GRASP that GOD may be stirring the people in LIBYA to RISE UP against FEAR and Terror that has held them HOSTAGE for 42 years, and demand FREEDOM., just like WE in the WEST have been given the BLESSING to have , no …you have to delude yourself, convince yourself, that there has to be something dark or sinister at work, because NONE of you wants to believe what GOD can do .
You wont even LOOK towards the Lord to SEEK Him , concerning Libya -you’ve already determined you already know and you have put more onus on a bunch of “experts” and “analysts” opinions ,and “YouTube Videos “ to try and prove your point , then you do on Gods Word .
Im not going to listen to any of that CRAP. I couldnt care less what “experts” or analysts” are saying what, nor what “Videos” you try and convince me with
. I care about what GOD says and I’ll tell you what God says cause NONE of you “Conspiracy Experts “ even KNOW any of this: (but of course I guarantee that any of you Russian, German, Eastern Block or Chinese will NEVER let this be printed or seen by anyone -just to prove my point. You have no problem spending your days poring over every newsarticle or “supposed smoking gun Video that you can find to make sure the whole world knows about it, but …….when it comes to what I have to share ,that is about GOD and LIBYA , you will keep it hidden -guarantee it, cause thats just the darkness of your heart.) so I’ll tell you anyways and you and your “followers” will not like this :

Feb.21st , since the 17th of Feb, the Lord had really put Libya on my heart and I was in great pain over what those poor souls were experiencing under the cruelty of this evil dictator.
It was through my education about Libya , did I begin to see ,our ( meaning the WEST) shame , because for years , we in our ignorance , and because of our leaders, had been led to believe the Peace and Stability in the Middle East and Africa , was because …the way people lived and functioned ,was the way they WANTED to live , but we had no idea about the cruel dissension of the leaders of those countries, how they would smile & put on a friendly appearance to the WEST , but in their OWN country to their OWN citizens ,they were beyond brutal and despicable . We couldnt even COMPREHEND “emergency law” or a Police State or people not being able to vote ,or being TORTURED , kidnapped, RAPED , or a man threatened with Rape done to his wife or daughter if they didnt comply , or beaten to a pulp for no reason , , or gather in protests ,but we had no idea the only reason we never knew these things , was because these peoples MOUTHS had been so TAPED SHUT they lived in TERROR of saying what they really felt , so they simply “obeyed” the dictator.
Suddenly I began to see that GOD was doing something , for HE had seen the oppression of these people all these years and NOW is the time He chose .
Now , He was AWAKENING Hearts in the West . He was beginning to Turn things upside down” . He was beginning to abolish long standing dictatorships that brutally controlled their own citizens and though the battle would not be easy , and it would be bloody still HE would Prevail and the FREEDOM and TRUE Justice that HE stands for , would prevail.
It was through this “Divine Education “of Libya , did I begin to better understand how “Terrorist Groups” came about all these years….and it made sense and I did realize too, that , it had partially been the fault of the West , not because of what the West had done , but rather what it HADNT done enough of .
When you are trapped in a society ruled by a brutal dictator for decades ( whereas in the West we get to see a new leader every 4 or 5 years usually ) and experience the same kind of oppression and inability to express yourself , you finally get FED UP and look for a “place” that you can be accepted or even a CAUSE where you can be heard ……and unfortuately , the DEVIL has many opportunities for that .
If those Dictatorships had not existed and there had been REAL Freedom and democracy -like the WEST has had the BLESSING to experience , then ……..there would be no place for Terrorist groups ,because there would have been total freedom to speak , to express to DO , but …sadly , FEW people right now are even willing to CONSIDER that God could be in this “Uprising”.
They just dont want to believe that GOD is in it . Its EASIER to explain it away through some sinister theory. SHAME ON YOU ALL. .You’re from the West. You know what Freedom of expression is. You HAVE it & yet , you MOCK those whom are DESPERATE for it ??
Well……more and more I had been getting utterly horrified by the Youtube Videos shown on NewsChannels all over the world , that ppl in Libya RISKED THEIR LIVES to get to the world to see . Far too many to count with LOTS of Evidence of Ghdafis Brutality and his use of MERCENARIES and the lengths he would go to , to quell this cry for Democracy . It was absolutely CLEAR he was ordering the use of GUNFIRE, Mortars and even GUNSHIPS from above and snipers to SHOOT TO KILL innocent Libyans simply holding up flags.
Then there were the phone calls coming in to News Stations around the world and the accounts shared of the terrors the people were living through, throughout ALL of Libya .

Some of you people, by your snarky comments seemed to imply that it was perfectly alright for Ghdafi and his “thugs” and hired guns to shoot to kill, whomever they felt like , including women and babies , just going to stand on their balconies -like ….this was normal and accepted. NOT TO GOD it isnt !!
Libya however, had this horrible law against REAL Journalists being in their country.
WHY ?? WHY WAS THAT SO IMPORTANT FOR THEM ,?Thats unacceptable -unless they had something to HIDE from the rest of the world .
So………….as impossible as it seemed , I started praying on my knees on Feb.21st , that somehow GOD would make a way , for even ONE bonafide International Journalist to enter LIBYA , to report to the rest of the world , what was being “hidden” by the Libyan Government ( because that is what God does. Eventually He EXPOSES what is hidden in darkness and brings it to the Light) so that GOVERNMENTS around the world were made more aware of what people living in a shroud of SILENCE were so desperate to get heard .
HOW DO YOU THINK ALL THE JOURNALISTS THAT ARE IN LIBYA TODAY ( including the German and the Russian ones ) even GOT there , in the first place when there was a total BAN on all Foreign Journalists?) HOW you ask ?
It started with ONE from MY PRAYER to GOD!
Six hours later , after my prayer, He ANSWERED IT !
There was breaking news on CNN, that the very FIRST and ONLY Foreign Journalist had somehow slipped through the Egyptian Border and was now in Tobruk, Lybia !
I couldnt believe it , now I knew there was HOPE for those poor suffering ppl.
I knew it wouldnt be long b4 more Journalists followed that lead & little by little , the world would begin to see what had been so HIDDEN and CUT OFF .
Eventually , when Ghdafi saw that He could not control Journalists from coming in through the EAST, he finally relented and “invited” World Journalists to TRIPOLI .
I also knew ( because the Lord showed me this beforehand ) to EXPECT a “river of Propaganda” from his Regime ,with so many lies & cover-ups and “staged” scenarios ( like trucking in a group of Green Flag Wavers into the VERY EDGE of Misrata to show the WHOLE city had been liberated (when that wasnt the case) and these Green Flag Wavers didnt even LIVE in Misrata. How insulting !! ) or …the “hospital scenes with the fake blood,or no blood on bandages, and oxygen masks put on upside down and very HEALTHY untouched “victims” propped in a bed, or the funerals with “Empty coffins that accidentally fell open” ,or the continual refusal to International Journalists to even SEE any bomb sites -except for the odd few and some of which , werent holes in a building BIG enough to be from a missile , or of course, the instant “shut down” of Eman Obedi whom broke through tight Libyan Security , in a desperate bid to get her story THE TRUTH to International Journalists of how she had been gang raped by 15 Ghdafi thugs – and o how quickly she was silenced then slandered ( I cannot believe that you , or Russians or Eastern Block Europeans would have the GALL to believe a pathologically lying crooked Regime against HER brave transparency risking EVERYTHING to be heard. Shame on you., God knows your heart !)
I could go on for hours but , there are 2 other things that God did , but no “sceptics” take into account .
When Ghdafi was telling the world there were no uprisngs and his forces did NOT shoot at unarmed civillians , well , no one knew what the Lord had done in secret until many days later.
He chose a woman reporter , to go into Misrata on a certain day .
Somehow she had gotten past Ghdafi checkpoints and she snuck in with camera and laptop. (Usually the Ghdafi thugs confiscated cameras or Memory Cards ) . She just happened to be INSIDE Misrata and was FILMING at the time , when there was a very LARGE protest in the streets. THOUSANDS of people carrying the STRIPED Flag , woman , children , babies, old people , and young. They were UNARMED !
Suddenly ……..as the camera was rolling , the peaceful scene of marchers shifted towards INCOMING Gunfire, MORTARS , SNIPERS , Tanks right towards all of them.
For THREE DAYS that reporter recorded what she heard and what she SAW.
People were dropping like flies before her , from sniper fire from GHDFAI FORCES.
They were being SHELLED by tanks .
She saw blood everywhere and the sound of the melee went on for DAYS.
Defected soldiers whom just happened to be marching with the crowds PEACEFULLY, ran to their tanks and grabbed their weapons to PROTECT the citizens from Ghdafi forces trying to KILL them all . Young men whom had never held a weapon in their life, were suddenly getting 20 minute lessons on how to fire off an RPG .
Somehow , GOD protected this one and only Journalist when NO OTHER Journalist had been allowed into Misrata and he made SURE that she got out , of it all , SAFELY ,with her Video camera intact, so that she could bring that footage to the world , to REFUTE Ghdafis lies.
Ghdafi had no idea she was even there. But GOD did. He sent her there , cause He wanted the DARK and EVIL things the Regime was doing , to be brought to the light and that is the DIFFERENCE between real Journalists and the Puppets of his Regime , whom are NOT Journalists .REAL JOURNALISTS TAKE RISKS to get the TRUTH .
Libya TV takes NO RISKS . Thats the difference. Thats when you know one is GOD and the other is NOT .
Then, on March 10th , France had just announced that they RECOGNIZED the newly formed Transitional National Council in Benghazi as the LEGITIMATE Government of the LIBYAN People .
It was at that moment that THE LORD stirred me to PRAY for the HEARTS and MINDS of Nations Leaders around the world , to follow suit . RECOGNIZE the newly formed TNC as the LEGITIMATE Government of Libya representing the ASPIRATIONS of the Libyan people .
WHY ? Because GOD did .
He did not recognize GHDAFI and his REGIME as the Legitimate Government of Libya whom represented the ASPIRATIONS of the Libyan people . His FAVOUR was apon the small , newly formed united alliance , rising out of the ashes , operating out of a bombed out building , in Benghazi.
THEY represented the asprations of the Libyan PEOPLE , not Ghdafi.
He told me to share this with Christians all over the world to pray for this and this I have been doing , as GOD asked me to do .
Its now the end of April . Look at the progress in Benghazi , since that prayer .
Dont be looking for some “conspiracy theory “ to explain it all , it was GOD , pure and simple. You just never knew it . He is PROTECTING Benghazi as He NURTURES this small group of people to form into a stable and co-hesive and progressive GOVERNMENT .NO one “leader” as they have been used to . Its not what they want . The Libyan people want a TRANSPARENT COUNCIL that is APPROACHABLE , and not “secret” whom they feel SAFE with and dont have to worry about being thrown in prison or tortured for complaining about an issue.
Why do you and so many other skeptics have such a hard time believing that , not only this is what is really happening , this is what people really WANT , or that people should be DEPRIVED of it, just cause YOU dont approve or such a simple idea seems too “suspicious” to align with your “Conspiracy Theories ……..and …..that .God is forming it, by His Hand?

The WISDOM of MEN is FOOLISHNESS to God . All your articles and Videos mean nothing to God. He knows the truth. He knows Mens hearts. Start asking HIM for the answers instead of relying on the imperfectness of MEN.Start believing instead of constantly DOUBTING .
For every article and Video you throw at me , I’ll show you HUNDREDS of others that REFUTE it all , because I know what God sees and ..what His Hand is doing , whether you like it or not.

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The Shock Doctrine hits New Zealand

A disaster strikes (man-made or otherwise) and governments and businesses look to take advantage of the crisis. Canadian writer Naomi Klein has written a book about it and I’m currently working on a book that examines similar issues.

A regular reader of my work has informed me that New Zealand is undergoing something akin to the Shock Doctrine. After the recent terrible Christchurch earthquake, this happened:

The controversial Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Bill become law today, rushed through under urgency originally called to pass Canterbury earthquake legislation.

It passed its second reading last night, and was voted into law 111-11 this morning. The votes against it came from the Greens, Chris Carter and Hone Harawira.

The law is designed to stamp out illegal filesharing over the internet. It allows copyright owners to send evidence of alleged infringements to internet service providers (ISPs), who will then send up to three infringement notices to the account holder.

If the warnings are ignored, the copyright owner can take a claim to the Copyright Tribunal and the tribunal can make awards of up to $15,000 against the account holder. The tribunal currently has three part time members, according to the National Business Review.

There is also a provision in the law that allows copyright holders to eventually apply through a court to have alleged repeat offenders’ connections suspended for six months, with or without a conviction or proof, and it is this clause which has many internet users and civil libertarians up in arms.

Some bloggers and journalists have noted that the current conservative government has form on these matters, often rushing through legislation without proper discussion or scrutiny.

One of the key elements of the Shock Doctrine is taking action before enough people have realised, by which time it’s too late:

Influential US-based sci-tech and internet culture website boingboing.net weighed in, saying: “Using the tragedy in Christchurch as a means to advance the corporate agenda of offshore entertainment giants is shameful, to say the least.”

The late night debate meant many locals were probably in bed by the time it was done, but some stayed up, including blogger and computer science student Gian Perrone.

“It reflects a perversion of the democratic process in which due time and consideration is given to the will of the people,” he wrote on his blog.

“Furthermore, the tone and substance of the debate in the house suggested that the majority of the MPs are not well-informed about the complex technical, legal and social implications of this legislation, particularly the ‘disconnection clause’ that gives an extra-judicial remedy to intellectual property owners who are not required to submit to the usual burden of proof as in any other civil action.”

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Job of New York Times to amplify Zionist faux fears

Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting get it in one:

The New York Times’ David Kirkpatrick filed a report today (4/29/11) on one apparent problem with the move towards democracy in Egypt–the country might pursue policies more in line with what the Egyptian public supports. The most important news here is that Egypt doesn’t want to maintain a blockade on its border with Gaza. In the Times, this news is filtered through the perspective of Israel– thus the headline:

In Shift, Egypt Warms to Iran and Hamas, Israel’s Foes

And then there is this  description of the crippling economic blockade that was enforced with the help of the Mubarak regime:

“Israel had relied on Egypt’s help to police the border with Gaza, where arms and other contraband were smuggled to Hamas through tunnels.”

The blockade was about far more than that: blocking access to food, medicine and construction material necessary to rebuild what Israel destroyed in the recent war. (See Extra!, “Gaza’s Ongoing Crisis Is Not News,” 8/10.)

The Israeli government would like people to think blockading Gaza is just about weapons and tunnels contraband; the New York Times is doing its part to help that effort.

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News flash; some Australian politicians see Palestinians as humans

The following statement was just released by the Australian Parliamentary Friends of Palestine at the conclusion of the delegation’s Middle East visit:

The Parliamentary Friends of Palestine study tour arrived in Palestine on 17 April and has been here for eight days, visiting the West Bank, Gaza and Israel. It has been an informative and rewarding experience.

We were given a very warm welcome by the people of Palestine and we are grateful for the hospitality and friendship that has been shown to us.

We have met with Palestinian leaders, religious representatives, NGOs, academics, United Nations representatives and we visited Australian development projects.

In addition, the members of the Parliamentary Friendship Group met with current and previous Israeli Knesset Members and Israeli civil society organizations.

We appreciate Australia’s long-standing and bipartisan foreign policy commitment to a secure and independent Palestinian state existing side-by-side with a secure and independent Israel.

Australia is delivering support for Palestine through 4 main pathways:

1. A 5 Year Funding Agreement between Australia and the Palestinian Authority via the World Bank Palestinian Reform and Development Program Trust Fund for the building of transparent, accountable government institutions.

2.    Direct aid to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for the Palestinian refugees.

3.    Long-term funding for Australian aid agencies working with Palestinian civil society on a range of projects in the West Bank and Gaza.

4.    Education funding through the Australian Leadership Award Fellowships and Australian Post-Graduate Scholarships

The Delegation learned first-hand about the importance of resolving the Final Status Issues of Borders, Security, Settlements, Jerusalem, Water and Refugees.

Our group has visited both the West Bank and Gaza and has seen first-hand the difficulties experienced by Palestinians in their daily lives under occupation; from checkpoints, closures, home demolitions; settlements; the separation wall; and the permit system; as well as the crippling effect of the blockade on Gaza.

It has been instructive to hear first hand from Palestinian farmers about the severe economic and social effects on families and communities, of losing significant farming land to settlements and the Wall, and to then have access to their remaining land severely restricted through the system of permits.

We were told of the lack of access to water, severely impacting Palestinian communities.

Young Palestinian students explained to us the difficulty of crossing multiple checkpoints in order to attend university.

At Augusta Victoria Hospital in East Jerusalem and the Al Ahli Hospital in Gaza, the group met with Palestinian women with breast cancer who are experiencing difficulty accessing treatment.

Statistics show that the death rate for breast cancer within Gaza and the West Bank, stands at 70%, some 30% higher than in the rest of the world.

We will return to Australia with energy and determination to inform our parliamentary colleagues and our communities about the situation as we experienced it on the ground. We look forward to further developing the relationship between our parliaments and peoples.

Palestinians and their President Mahmoud Abbas with whom we met yesterday, have reaffirmed their commitment to peace and their readiness for statehood. We know that ordinary people in Israel also want peace and security.

We sincerely appreciate the support provided by the Palestinian Authority, the Australian Representative Office in Ramallah, the Australian Embassy in Tel Aviv, and the General Delegation of Palestine in Australia.

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My book news for those who still like to read anything longer than an article

My first book, the best-selling My Israel Question, has just been released as an e-book and is available via the Kindle, iBook and other formats. The title is currently being updated and translated into Arabic and Indonesian and will be released in various nations over the coming 12 months. My second book, The Blogging Revolution, is also being updated, in light of the Arab revolutions, and will be released in Australia, India and globally later this year.

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We’re in Libya to (insert noble reason here)

Tariq Ali on the West’s gloriously clueless war in Libya:

Libya is yet another case of selective vigilantism by the US and its attack dogs in the west.

They can rely on the French as well. Sarkozy was desperate to do something. Unable to save his friend Ben Ali in Tunisia, he’s decided to help get rid of Gaddafi. The British always oblige and in this case, having shored up the Libyan regime for the last two decades, they’re making sure they’re on the right side so as not to miss out on the division of the spoils. What might they get?

The divisions on this entire operation within the American politico-military elite have meant there is no clear goal. Obama and his European satraps talk of regime change. The generals resist and say that isn’t part of their picture. The US state department is busy preparing a new government composed of English-speaking Libyan collaborators. We will now never know how long Gaddafi’s crumbling and weakened army would have held together in the face of strong opposition. The reason he lost support within his armed forces was precisely because he ordered them to shoot their own people. Now he speaks of imperialism’s desire to topple him and take the oil and even many who despise him can see that it’s true. A new Karzai is on the way.

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New Zealand soldiers possibly complicit in torture in Afghanistan

How many US or Australians are potentially equally responsible for caring too little about gross breaches of human rights?

Labour is adding its support to calls for an inquiry into claims Kiwi troops handed over Afghan prisoners to authorities who tortured them.

Journalist Jon Stephenson claimed on TVNZ’s Marae programme that NZ’s Special Forces in Afghanistan are “very involved in arresting prisoners and transferring those prisoners to Afghans, who are likely to torture them”.

New Zealand Defence Force rules, and international laws, say troops can not hand over prisoners to another country if there is evidence they will be tortured or mistreated.

“I have absolute confidence in the integrity of the SAS people themselves,” Labour leader Phil Goff told TV ONE’s Breakfast.

“What I have less confidence about is if prisoners are being handed across then what happens when they’re given to the Afghan authorities – they’re notoriously corrupt and notorious for ill-treatment of their prisoners.”

Goff was Minister of Foreign Affairs in 2002 when he said the SAS handed over 55 Taliban suspects to US and Canadian forces. He only found out about the incident five years later.

He said the prisoners had been handed over in good faith because the New Zealand forces did not have suitable facilities for keeping them.

“Subsequent revelations show the treatment of Afghan prisoners by those authorities was less than acceptable from our point of view.

“We did not take prisoners and hand them over for some time after that.”

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It’s my fault that Hamas is now working with Fatah?

The proposed Hamas/Fatah reconciliation is a big “what if? moment. How such a decision can operate well under occupation is the ultimate question.

In this context, I just received the following email from Jeff Lenchiner, publisher and editor of InsideHoops, on US basketball. Yes, a man who loves sports thinks he should write and tell me that I’m backing terrorism and madness in the Middle East. I’ll take this advice on-board:

If Hamas was anywhere else in the world, the extreme-left (like you) would correctly completely cast them off as crazed radical fundamentalist terrorist organization.

But, because they try to kill Jews and try to kill Israelis, the extreme-left (like you) make excuses for them and instead shift all blame all the time onto Israel.

Sorry dude, but Jews and Israel aren’t going to suicide themselves, despite the wishes of the extreme left (fake peace activists who are basically just anti-Jew and anti-Israel bigots) and the extreme right (anti-Jew and anti-Israel bigots who are open about it and don’t pretend to be peace activists).

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Just how many Western “security” firms helping repressive regimes?

In my book The Blogging Revolution I document a range of companies that sell equipment and software to dictatorships to help them monitor mobile phone calls, text messages and web traffic. I’m currently updating the book in light of the recent Arab revolutions – it’ll be released in Australia and a new overseas edition later in the year – and this topic keeps on appearing.

The UK Guardian has now discovered this:

A British company offered to sell a program to the Egyptian security services that experts say could infect computers, hack into web-based email and communications tools such as Skype and even take control of other groups’ systems remotely, according to documents seen by the Guardian.

Two Egyptian human rights activists found the documents amid hundreds of batons and torture equipment when they broke into the headquarters of the regime’s State Security Investigations service (SSI) last month.

One of the papers, in English and headed Finfisher Proposal: Commercial Offer, contained an offer dated 29 June 2010 to provide “FinSpy” software, hardware, installation and training to the SSI for €287,000 (£255,000). The name on the invoice, dated Tuesday 29 June 2010, was Gamma International UK Limited.

Other documents, written in Arabic and marked “ultimately confidential”, state that after being offered a “free trial version” of Gamma’s Finfisher software to test its ability to hack into email accounts, the SSI concluded it was “a high-level security system” that could get into email accounts of Hotmail, Gmail and Yahoo, as well as allowing “full control” of the computers of “targeted elements”. It went on to describe the software’s “success in breaking through personal accounts on Skype network, which is considered the most secure method of communication used by members of the elements of the harmful activity because it is encrypted”.

The find throws a spotlight on western companies that provide software to security services and agents of oppressive regimes to spy on, censor and block the websites with which activists communicate. Last month a report by OpenNet Initiative said nine countries across the Middle East and North Africa used US and Canadian technology to impede access to online content, including sites with political, social and religious material.

Mostafa Hussein, a Cairo blogger and physician who took the documents, said they formed important evidence against the SSI’s activities. “This proposal was sent to a department well known for torture, for abuse of human rights, for spying on political campaigners. This company, Gamma, should be exposed as collaborators in the crimes of trying to invade our privacy and arrest activists.”

Hussein posted the documents online and passed a copy to the Guardian.

A Gamma International website called “Finfisher IT Intrusion” describes its software as allowing “remote monitoring and infection” that can provide “full access to stored information with the ability to take control of the target”. It is advertised as capable of “capturing encrypted data and communications” and allowing a “government agency to remotely infect target systems”.

The documents found in the SSI HQ, one dated 1 January 2011, said that the proposal from Gamma International had come via a subsidiary company, Modern Communications System. Following a “free” five-month trial, SSI described the software as like “planting a comprehensive spying system in the location where the targeted computer exists”. The software could record voice and audio calls, movements through video and audio where the computer was located, and hack into all the computers in the same network.

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Superman now ashamed to speak up for America

Read on.

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Rules for aspiring politicians and journalists; Israel must be obeyed

If anything has been clear over the last months during the Marrickville BDS/Israel-Palestinian debate, it’s that every major, Australian mainstream politician and most journalists simply won’t allow any dissent on the Middle East. Insecurity, paranoia and bullying are the norm. The local Zionist community just wants to sing the Israeli national anthem. And now this insidious McCarthyism grows:

Greens MPs in the Victorian parliament will be forced to declare whether they support a boycott of goods and services from Israel in a potentially fiery reprise of the dispute that has dogged the party in NSW.

A senior Baillieu government minister is planning to draft a motion for debate in the upper house that would force the three Victorian Greens to say whether they back a ban on Israel.

Health Minister David Davis urged Greens MPs across the nation to state their position on the global boycott, divestments and sanctions campaign.

Mr Davis said that if the Greens in Victoria did not publicly state their opposition to the ban he would introduce a motion to force a vote on the issue.

“Given the damaging statements by the Greens in NSW and the unfortunate policy of targeting Israel, it’s important Greens all around the country declare their hand,” Mr Davis told The Australian.

“Do they support the boycott being proposed in NSW or are they opposed to it?”

Mr Davis said it was important for Greens MPs to be honest and open about where they stood on the issue.

Two of the three upper house Greens MPs yesterday refused to reveal their attitudes on the boycott, while the third did not return calls.

The Greens leader in Victoria, Greg Barber, said he had not seen any motion on the issue and that it was a matter of federal policy.

“It’s not my job to have a view because I am a state MP,” he said.

His colleague, Colleen Hartland, said she would not comment until she had seen the proposed motion, adding it was an “interesting” way for Mr Davis to operate in parliament.

The Greens parliamentary whip, Sue Pennicuik, did not respond to calls.

Mr Davis’s bid to force a public declaration from the Greens comes after the push for an Israel boycott sparked heated debate during the NSW election and at Sydney’s Marrickville Council.

Anybody want to talk about Israel’s ever-increasing colonisation? Of course not. The Middle East is changing, and Zionism wants to maintain a status-quo that allows it to occupy and brutalise Palestinians. Fat chance.

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Obama appoints pro-war Petraeus to run thuggish CIA

This Washington Post story accurately reflects the kind of world Barack Obama both inherited and expanded; he ain’t no peace President:

Gen. David H. Petraeus has served as commander in two wars launched by the United States after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. If confirmed as the next director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Petraeus would effectively take command of a third — in Pakistan.

Petraeus’s nomination comes at a time when the CIA functions, more than ever in its history, as an extension of the nation’s lethal military force.

CIA teams operate alongside U.S. special operations forces in conflict zones from Afghanistan to Yemen. The agency has also built up a substantial paramilitary capability of its own. But perhaps most significantly, the agency is in the midst of what amounts to a sustained bombing campaign over Pakistan using unmanned Predator and Reaper drones.

Since Obama took office there have been at least 192 drone missile strikes, killing as many as 1,890 militants, suspected terrorists and civilians. Petraeus is seen as a staunch supporter of the drone campaign, even though it has so far failed to eliminate the al-Qaeda threat or turn the tide of the Afghan war.

But if Petraeus is ideally suited to lead an increasingly militarized CIA, it is less clear whether he will be equally adept at managing the political, analytical and even diplomatic dimensions of the job. His nomination coincides with new strains in the CIA’s relationship with its counterpart in Pakistan, and a chaotic reshuffling of the political landscape in the Middle East. If confirmed, he would be the CIA’s fourth director in seven years.

Murderous drones will be so 2011 and beyond.

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