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.

Trying to tempt Anwar al-Awlaki with the lure of another wife

An incredible story, if true, that reveals one way Western agencies attempt to target extremist enemies of the state (apart from killing them with drones). The New York Times reports:

The man with the wire-rim glasses and bushy beard, speaking calmly in American-accented English, is familiar from dozens of Web videos urging violent jihad against the United States.

But in one astonishing clip, recorded more than a year before the man, Anwar al-Awlaki, was killed by a C.I.A. drone strike in Yemen, the American-born cleric had a very different mission: to propose marriage to a third wife.

“This message is specifically for Sister Aminah,” Mr. Awlaki says in the video to his future bride, a comely 32-year-old blonde from Croatia who he hoped would join him in his fugitive existence. The woman had expressed fervent admiration for Mr. Awlaki on his Facebook page and later made clear in her own video reply that she shared his radical views, saying, “I am ready for dangerous things.”

Neither Mr. Awlaki nor his prospective wife knew it, but their match was being managed by a Danish double agent as part of an attempt to help the Danish intelligence service and the C.I.A. find the cleric’s hiding place in Yemen. The attempt failed, but the undercover agent, Morten Storm, 36, a former motorcycle gang member who had converted to Islam, continued to communicate with Mr. Awlaki. When Mr. Awlaki was killed in a drone strike on Sept. 30, 2011, Mr. Storm was certain his efforts had been instrumental in it.

But eventually Mr. Storm’s resentment at not getting what he regarded as sufficient credit boiled over. He phoned Jyllands-Posten, the second-largest newspaper in Denmark, and told the bewildered receptionist that he had helped track down one of the world’s most wanted terrorist leaders. The Danish newspaper spent 120 hours interviewing Mr. Storm and verifying his account.

Among the evidence that the burly, red-haired Mr. Storm produced to confirm his wild tale, in addition to the video of Mr. Awlaki and e-mail exchanges with him, were postcards from intelligence agents, an audiotape of a C.I.A agent he knew as Michael and a photograph of $250,000 in $100 bills — money he says the C.I.A. paid him for his role as marriage broker.

As part of that plan, the suitcase carried to Yemen by the bride, identified only as Aminah in her video messages to Mr. Awlaki, was secretly fitted with a tracking device that the C.I.A. hoped would reveal the cleric’s location, Mr. Storm told the Danish reporters. But a wary associate of Mr. Awlaki’s had her discard the suitcase when she arrived in Sana, Yemen’s capital. She traveled on to meet and marry Mr. Awlaki, but the C.I.A. plan was thwarted.

Mr. Storm’s tale shows the lengths to which American intelligence officials went to hunt down Mr. Awlaki, a leader of Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen who some counterterrorism officials believed posed a greater threat to the United States than Osama bin Laden did. Their method was a variation on the traditional so-called honey trap, in which spy services use the lure of sex to ensnare male targets. Mr. Awlaki had been arrested during his years as an imam in the United States for hiring prostitutes; his two Arab wives lived apart from him in 2010, and he had asked Mr. Storm to find him a European woman willing to stay with him in hiding.

 

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