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.

Our tax dollars used to back Facebook pages urging war and liberation

How much money is spent by our governments to support the noble wars fought in our name?

Michael Hastings is a leading American investigative journalist who likes nothing more than uncovering the lies and spin told by US officials to back conflicts globally.

In a recent interview with US magazine Guernica, he further uncovers these tactics:

Guernica: Your most recent high-profile article revealed that the American military was using psychological operations—psy-ops—on visiting American senators in order to manipulate them into providing more resources for the Afghanistan War. This sounds like something out of a bad spy novel. Tell me about it.

Michael Hastings: An information operations team was sent to Afghanistan to conduct various psychological operations on the Afghans and Taliban. The team was then asked not to focus on the Taliban but on manipulating senators into giving more funds and troops [to the war]. But this unit said no, that’s not right. The military then launched a retaliatory investigation into the guy who had complained. But keep in mind this isn’t Manchurian Candidate. The word psy-ops is spooky. They’ve changed that to MISO, by the way—Military Information Support Operations. What’s incredible about it is that if you look at what psychological operations are, what information operations are, what public affairs are, they’re all trying to influence and manipulate. The key is that the psy-ops guys are allowed to lie. And they’re only supposed to target foreign populations. The way the Pentagon and its defenders have pushed back against this story is to say: “They weren’t doing psychological operations, they were doing information operations and public affairs. They were just helping us spin senators like we normally do [laughs].”

Guernica: What were some of the psy-ops techniques?

Michael Hastings: It’s pretty innocuous stuff. Do a lot of in-depth research on Senator [Al] Franken and find his pressure points. How do we plant ideas in his head, and how do we manipulate these guys? So it wasn’t a Jedi mind trick—and the story never makes that claim. But the frightening aspect is that it’s part of a larger effort from the Pentagon to tear down the wall between between public affairs and propaganda, and essentially say there is no difference between information operations, public affairs and psychological operations. It’s all one and the same. They have a new name for that too, it’s called Information Engagement. What I hope people take away from this story is that it’s a window into a larger phenomenon. After a decade of war you have this Pentagon-military apparatus run amok using resources that they shouldn’t be to try to manipulate U.S. public opinion. Some of the pushback was “Oh, well it’s not a big deal.” But Senator [Carl] Levin, one of the senators targeted, voted in favor of giving $2 billion to General Caldwell a year later. So, obviously there’s informal spinning going on, but when you’re using a unit that is trained to influence and target the Taliban and Afghans, that’s what they’re there for. That’s why we’re spending $6 million on them.

Guernica: That’s $6 million for a five-man unit. Sounds like a lot of taxpayer dollars fund the military spin machine.

Michael Hastings: You have the general’s PR staff of two dozen, which is already costing us close to $28 million in Afghanistan. Plus the PR staff at ISAF headquarters, which costs tens of millions more. Plus the PR guys scattered throughout the country. We’re talking huge amounts of money spent on the spin machine.

Guernica: What other ways does the military spin American citizens and journalists?

Michael Hastings: The U.S. mission that trains Afghans is called NTM-A/CSTC-A, it’s an $11.6 million a year mission and their sole purpose is to train the Afghan army and police. But one of their major initiatives this year was getting all of their officers on Facebook. So the question is, Why are these people who are there to train the Afghans being pressured to be on Facebook? Again, it sounds benign until you realize that the military’s concern isn’t the Afghans, it’s convincing the American people that we should be in Afghanistan.

Guernica: How is being on Facebook supposed to accomplish that?

Michael Hastings: Soldiers can put up pictures and say “See how happy the Afghans are because of our presence here.” It’s a way to directly influence the American people using propaganda. But one of the absurdly comic things… I had this chart that listed the top 100 Facebook users in this one command. Over a two-month period they used ninety-nine days’ worth of Facebook and forty-five gigabytes—so much that the base’s network slowed down. This is all taxpayer-funded. And then you have this new program that they’re developing, which I didn’t get into in my story. A $200 million contract just got awarded to develop software to provide the Department of Defense with all these sock puppets who have fake Twitter and Facebook accounts.

Guernica: Explain that.

Michael Hastings: A new software is being developed so the psychological operations guys and the Pentagon’s strategic communications guys—and we don’t really know who’s running it—but this is all totally out in the open. It’s this new program that will allow them to have like ten fake Twitter accounts and ten Facebook accounts so you can pretend…

Guernica: So you’re saying people at the DOD will be creating phony users on Facebook and Twitter?

Michael Hastings: Exactly. It’s called Operation Earnest Voice. It’s incredible when you think of the power of this. Why not create ten fake Libyan Twitter users and then get one journalist to follow them. But the problem is, of course, it corrupts the entire process. One of the caveats is that [the DOD says] anything they write is going to be in a foreign language so it won’t affect Americans. But that doesn’t make any sense because: A) it can be translated pretty easily, and B) Americans also speak other languages.

one comment ↪
  • Libertus

     

     

    Try COVERT OPS  & torture, not very far from here, inhuman METHODS ARE USED AGAINST CERTAIN CITIZEN.

    TORTURE, sleep deprivation, destabilization, disconnection in a much bigger prisons, the only prison where cameras are not allowed.

     

     

    No Terror No Torture Just Truth.