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.

What’s Australia’s real role in pursuing “war on terror” in Muslim world?

Back in November I broke a story that detailed covert Australian missions across the Middle East, mostly off the books and often skirting legality.

Today’s piece in the Sydney Morning Herald by Rafael Epstein appears to add important points to the role Australia is playing alongside the US and Britain in these war zones but so many questions remain, not least the actual tasks of counter-insurgency that often merely inflame anti-Western hatred. There’s much more on this story to come:

Australian special forces soldiers have been serving in highly secretive US and British hit squads in Afghanistan, and some have served with the US unit whose men killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan this week.

The Herald has confirmed that, since 2001, Australians from the SAS and Commando regiments have successfully served on “third country deployments” alongside some of the most highly classified, best-trained and well-resourced combat groups in Afghanistan. Crucially, the Australians have been refused permission to participate in cross-border raids into Pakistan.

The so-called ”capture-or-kill” squads ramped up their pursuit of senior insurgent leaders under the Obama administration, especially after US General David Petraeus took command in Afghanistan last year. They do not operate under NATO’s protocols and rules of engagement, but fight under the banner of the US-led Operation Enduring Freedom, which gives them ”greater freedom of action”, an Australian source said.

Dozens of Australian soldiers have served in Afghanistan with America’s Taskforce 373, and the British-led Taskforce 42, designations detailed last year in cables released by WikiLeaks.

These units have been rebadged, but sources have requested their new number designations not be disclosed, due to the secret nature of their work.

The Herald has confirmed that repeated requests from senior special forces officers were refused when they asked for small numbers of Australian personnel to serve in operations crossing into Pakistan.

One source said the requests were ”beyond the risk profile considered acceptable”, following internal legal advice.

Military sources insist the US- and British-led squads aim to capture, rather than kill, their targets, but with many insurgent leaders regarded as experienced fighters, efforts to arrest are often regarded as a more dangerous option. Another Australian source said the squads “don’t take many prisoners”.

Australian soldiers deployed with these teams go through a legal process allowing them to operate under another country’s flag while ensuring their status as members of the Australian Defence Force. However they are not allowed to participate in many anti-narcotics missions and are barred from deploying inside Pakistan because “if the Aussies breach the rules and they’re found out, it’s over”, one source said.

As many as six Australians at any one time are stationed with elite units such as the British Special Air Service and Special Boat Service, the US 75th Ranger Regiment, and ”Tier One” units, the Combat Application Group or Delta Force and the Navy SEALs Special Warfare Development Group. It was this last group that raided bin Laden’s compound.

The Australians and their counterparts are specially trained and equipped, have priority over almost all other military activity in Afghanistan and have access to many more remote-control drones, helicopters and observation satellites than the special forces that serve under the NATO banner.

Most Australian special forces are deployed with the ADF’s Special Operations Task Group in Oruzgan, and operate under rules and regulations set by NATO, after agreement with the President of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai.

They operate with significant numbers of Afghan soldiers and abide by rules of engagement governing the International Security Assistance Force.

The British and American-led teams – often including an Australian member – follow a different set of rules and regulations, and have been criticised by human rights groups and some of the newspapers that first detailed their existence.

However Australian sources have told the Herald that the secret squads are subject to even greater scrutiny than NATO combat groups and have to explain and justify the precise detail of almost every operation, often personally reporting to the staff of General Petraeus.

The US Taskforce 373 is split into four groups, allowing it to operate all over Afghanistan, with some of its soldiers based at Bagram airbase outside Kabul and others at the Kandahar airbase, near the country’s second biggest city.

The taskforce consists of soldiers trained to target insurgent leaders. There is also other specialised training including targeting moving vehicles.

Overall in Afghanistan allied special operations forces have mounted more than 1600 missions in the first three months of this year, an average of 18 a night. They have captured or killed close to 3000 insurgents, General Petraeus has told US newspapers.

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