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.

Should we trust tech companies talking about censoring speech?

The complete lack of transparency with telecommunication firms deciding with the assistance of government if and when calls or web connections should be stopped or censored is highly disturbing. Who wants a faceless firm making such decisions? From yesterday’s UK Observer:

After the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt and this summer’s looting in England, there is no longer any doubt about the speed with which large crowds can be mobilized on to the streets. As flash-mobbing morphs into flash-robbing, the attention of British authorities is turning to the mobile phones and social media that empower everything from benign groups dancing in railway stations to the vandalism of entire high streets.

During the riots, two London MPs called for a BlackBerry Messenger curfew, proposing a 6pm to 6am shutdown of the service being used by gangs to organize looting. It was not implemented but in the aftermath, a review of police powers, including those to intervene in mobile communications, was announced. Theresa May is to meet Twitter, Facebook and BlackBerry maker Research in Motion (Rim) to discuss tighter controls, and the prime minister has warned: “When people are using social media for violence, we need to stop them.”

Companies and politicians are being forced to rethink the extent to which governments or the police should be able interfere with communication networks. This year has seen at least two heavy-handed interventions. The Egyptian government ordered the closure of Vodafone’s network, and those of other operators, during the Tahrir square uprising. Vodafone remained down for 24 hours, and when service resumed the company was strong-armed into sending out pro-government text messages urging demonstrators to stay at home.

In the week of the England riots, the operator of San Francisco’s subway pulled the plug on its own mobile network for three hours, even preventing passengers from making emergency calls. In an echo of the killing that sparked the Tottenham riots, the San Francisco shutdown was designed to prevent a demonstration over the fatal shooting of an unarmed man by a transport policeman. Last year, Vodafone’s partner company in Bahrain complied with restrictions forcing sim card users to register their personal details. More than 400,000 of those who did not were cut off.

While new companies such as Twitter are beginning to work out where they stand on such issues, the mobile phone networks are used to operating under heavy regulation and have well established systems for co-operating with police. O2, for example, has a high-security police liaison team in Slough which employs 30 staff who are constantly in touch with police over anything from missing persons to murders.

“Switching off any network element or any device should be a last resort,” says Mike Short, European technology vice-president for Telefónica, which runs the O2 network. O2’s view, and that of its fellow carriers, can be summed up by its advertising slogan: “We’re better connected.”

There is only one reported case of a UK network being closed by police. During the 7/7 London suicide bombings, O2 phone masts in a 1km square area around Aldgate tube station were disconnected for a number of hours.

“We don’t want to be big brother about this,” says Short. “The service is primarily for our customers, if we can help the police under law that is also fine but we don’t want to change our systems just for a few incidents, however great they are.”

He says the industry would welcome guidance in the next Communications Act, for which a green paper is expected by Christmas. In the UK as in most other nations, the government has the right to pull the plug if it sees fit, but mobile phone operators are coming under pressure to promote best practice.

Access, which lobbies for communication freedom, suggests a set of principles that would include only closing networks as a last resort for short periods, ensuring all phones can call emergency services during a shutdown, and refusing to act as a spokesperson for a regime.

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