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.

When the dark PR arts are designed for only one thing; denial and money

If you think PR’s image couldn’t sink any lower, you’d be wrong. Reading the stunning series this week published by the London Independent and the The Bureau of Investigative Journalism reveals a litany of reasons the industry is in desperate need of sunlight. And how many despotic regimes (and some supposedly friendly ones, such as Israel) hire such firms to make them cool and human rights friendly?

One:

A despotic regime could continue using child labour for up to 20 years and still improve its international standing as long as reforms were under way, according to strategy prepared by senior executives from the lobbying firm Bell Pottinger.

While repeatedly insisting to undercover reporters posing as businessmen from Uzbekistan that it would be necessary to instigate reforms in the country they suggested that slow progress need not be an impediment to better international relations.

“No one is suggesting it would be realistic to say tomorrow the problem will disappear,” said Tim Collins, managing director of Bell Pottinger Public Affairs.

“But we need to put some flesh on the bones of what movement in the right direction looks like.

“So it might be step by step, something like this, set a timeframe, 10, 20 years in the future when it will all be gone completely, but we take it step by step.”

He stated that a minimum age for child labour and a limit on the number of days schoolchildren could work in the cotton industry could be introduced to improve the country’s standing.

Mr Collins suggested an independent survey of the number of children working every six or 12 months: “It doesn’t mean it’s got to zero, maybe it takes quite some time to get to zero. But the number is clearly moving in the right direction. That’s a story you can tell.”

His colleague, Sir David Richmond, Britain’s former special representative to Iraq, added: “So you don’t necessarily have to make huge leaps all the time but there must be a sense in which there is constant progress.”

Both men were recorded as part of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism’s investigation into lobbying for The Independent.

Keen to attract business from the fictitious cotton industry representatives with links to the Uzbek government they laid out what the company could offer the regime in terms of bringing the country out of international isolation with only gradual degrees of change.

They suggested that if that was the case, the Prime Minister David Cameron might in future be prepared to increase Britain’s links with the country.

“Obama and Cameron… both in different ways to their domestic audiences said that they don’t believe democracy can be parachuted from 4000ft and they’re less inclined to try to impose particular models of government on other countries,” said Mr Collins. He went on to add: “To some extent that’s an asset from your point of view because they’re more interested in realpolitik.”

And he used the example of Libya, under Colonel Gaddafi, to suggest how it might work. “It’s not a parallel that we would draw a lot but Tony Blair for a time played very strongly on the fact that he had been able to open up Libya and Colonel Gaddafi was now becoming much more cuddly.

“That didn’t turn out too well in the long term but for a time, it actually illustrates that it might be what David Cameron, or even President Obama, would quite like – neither of them are at the moment festooned with lots of overseas policy successes that there is a middle ground that can be [formed].”

Two:

The extent of Bell Pottinger’s internet manipulation to alter its clients’ reputations online can be revealed today.

Evidence seen by The Independent and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (BIJ) shows the company made hundreds of alterations to Wikipedia entries about its clients in the last year. Some of the changes added favourable comments while others removed negative content. Several Wikipedia accounts have been suspended pending an investigation by the co-founder of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales, who last night expressed his dismay at Bell Pottinger’s “ethical blindness”.

Among the changes made in the past year by a user – traced to a Bell Pottinger computer – who made the alterations under the pseudonym “Biggleswiki” were:

* Removal of the reference to the university drugs conviction of a businessman who was a client of Bell Pottinger;

* Edited material relating to the arrest of a man accused of commercial bribery;

* Editing of the entries for prostate cancer expert Professor Roger Kirby and his firm, The Prostate Centre. Both are clients of Bell Pottinger. The user added Mr Kirby into a separate page on “prostatectomy” as a notable expert, and edited the entry on the Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi to include comments made by Mr Kirby about Megrahi’s cancer.

* Editing the articles of both Chime Communications, parent company of Bell Pottinger, and Naked Eye Research after the former company bought 55 per cent of the latter.

In other cases, damaging allegations against clients of Bell Pottinger, which The Independent cannot publish for legal reasons, were removed from Wikipedia. The connection was first spotted by the blogger Tim Ireland, after reading the joint investigation into Bell Pottinger by the BIJ and The Independent on Tuesday. Undercover BIJ reporters, posing as agents of the Uzbek government, were told that “sorting” negative coverage and criticism on Wikipedia was a service the company could provide.

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