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.

Role of Taliban central in Afghanistan (whether the West likes it or not)

Intriguing interview in The Daily Beast that highlights the internal struggles within a movement that has beaten the US and its allies in Afghanistan:

Not so long ago, Agha Jan Motasim was one of the most important men in the Afghan Taliban. That was before he was sacked as head of the ruling Quetta Shura’s political committee—and before the day last August when someone pumped him full of bullets and left him for dead on a street in Karachi. No one has claimed responsibility for the broad-daylight assassination attempt, but it’s clear that hardliners in the group wanted him out of the way, and Motasim believes he knows why. He dared to suggest that the group should respect the civilian population’s humanitarian needs and should open peace talks.

In an exclusive interview with The Daily Beast from his current home in Ankara, Motasim talked about what went wrong. “Due to a lack of understanding, some of my colleagues and friends did not agree with my concept that the Taliban should be a political movement as well,” he says. “My differences of opinion were not with the rest of the shura but with a few Taliban hardliners.” His conversation with The Daily Beast was the Western media’s first on-the-record interview with a senior Taliban minister and leader since the 2001 U.S. invasion.

Last year the Quetta Shura finally approved peace contacts with America and the West. The talks are currently suspended, but the insurgency still seems to be tearing itself apart in a fierce dispute over whether to engage in negotiations and with whom. Those who defy the Quetta Shura’s strict line are risking arrest by the council’s enforcers—or possibly even death. Only last month, the powerful southern commander Maulvi Ishmael, a former head of the shura’s Military Committee, was arrested and imprisoned by Taliban forces for allegedly sponsoring unauthorized contacts between local Taliban officers and representatives of the Kabul government’s High Peace Council.

Motasim’s Taliban credentials were no less impressive. Until the collapse of the regime, he served as Mullah Mohammad Omar’s minister of the treasury. After the movement was driven into exile, Motasim was one of the first leaders to begin organizing and raising funds for the Afghan insurgency inside Pakistan’s tribal area. As a member of the the Quetta Shura and head of the ruling council’s key political committee, he had access to the Taliban’s biggest donors in Pakistan and in the oil-rich Gulf states.

That ended in 2009, after he reportedly was tried and found guilty by a Taliban council on charges of embezzlement and opening unauthorized contacts with Western representatives. For years he had been suspected of absconding with millions of dollars from the state treasury when the regime fell, although he still insists he never stole a penny and denies that the council found him guilty of anything. He tells The Daily Beast he handed over everything to the appropriate people before fleeing Kabul.But embezzlement wasn’t his only alleged crime. In fact, his biggest sin seems to have been his penchant for independent action outside the Taliban’s decision-making hierarchy. He particularly made enemies in the movement by urging peace talks with the Americans and the West. “Motasim was the first to realize that besides military power the Taliban must have a political and peace program,” says a high-ranking Taliban official, requesting anonymity for security reasons. “He was the first to open back channels to the West, years ago.”

one comment ↪
  • rehmat1

    For ever Israel Hasbara Committee member like The Daily Beast – every so-called "moderate Taliban" is "very important person". Agha Jan Motasim has never held a decision-making position in the Taliban leadership.

    Washington has never stopped to find "moderate" leaders among Taliban, Hamas, Hizbullah, Iran and other anti-imperialist Muslim resistance groups.

    US-NATO has long been defeated in Afghanistan. Taliban already control more than 80% of Afghan territory. The real winners in occupied Afghanistan are Iran and Pakistan.

    Obama administration in its desperate move to make exit from Afghanistan without further military humiliation – has been negotiating with Afghanistan’s neighbors like China, Russia, India and even Iran. However, it’s trying to keep Pakistan out of the negotiations. In December 2011, both Pakistan and Taliban had boycotted the Bonn Conference on Afghanistan. Iran’s Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi attended the conference.
    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2012/01/06/qatar-to-