Book Review: Profits of Doom by Antony Loewenstein

Profits of Doom book cover

Antony Loewenstein’s book “Profits of Doom – How Vulture Capitalism is Swallowing the World” is an apt extension of the investigations conducted in Naomi Klein’s “The Shock Doctrine” and Jeremy Scahill’s “Blackwater – Rise of the Words Most Powerful Mercenary Army”.

What does the book promise/offer?

Antony’s focus on giving a voice to those directly impacted by vulture capitalism makes for a refreshingly honest and compelling read. There is no false pretext of neutrality in this book. Antony’s purpose is clear from the get go – to pick up where Klein & Scahill left off exposing massive international industries which profit from the perpetuation of human misery – and there is no doubt he achieves this goal.

Naomi Klein exposed the history of vulture-like multinational corporations and their exploitation of disasters both natural and man-made to reap massive private profits. Jeremy Scahill examined how unaccountable privatised military organisations grew to be the favoured tool of exploitative governments and corporations, used to enforce unpopular policy and redistribute military spending to achieve maximum private profit from the public purse.

In Profits of Doom Antony expands this research to include a variety of other contexts, including how disaster capitalism has made itself at home in Australia. Continue reading Book Review: Profits of Doom by Antony Loewenstein

Baghdad cleared or ‘al-Qaeda’? I call bullshit.

Al-Qaeda in Iraq has been cleared out of Baghdad by the US military. *BULLSHIT*.

Here’s what is really happening. The US invasion has piece-by-piece destroyed the very fabric of Iraqi society; beginning with it’s economy and family units during the invasion of 2003. Foreign interests have pushed tensions to boiling point and beyond, exacerbating the poverty and poor conditions in Iraq.

Eventually distrust and even hatred have become the unifying factor shared by many Iraqi’s. They distrust their extremists neighbours who support and supply the many dangerous terrorists and militia’s amongst both Iraqi Shia and Sunni. They HATE Al-Qaeda in Iraq. They HATE what Iraq has become since the US invasion. Though they may not all trust each other Iraqi’s are coming to realise they can’t trust anyone else to intervene in their internal conflicts, and as such are beginning to turn against the foreign elements who wish to control Iraq for their own purposes.

Here are a few of the catalysts behind this unification:

Firstly I will start by mentioning the biggest no-no. The decision by the US Senate that it would be a good idea to split Iraq along sectarian lines.

Secondly we have the Blackwater incident, which confirms the story we (who give a damn about Iraqi civilians) have KNOWN all along; that the foreign security contractors are trigger-happy and above the law.

Third is actually two-parts; part one is the constant pressure the US has placed on Iraq to pass oil-laws which would open oil-reserves to “private” investors. Part two is the recent deal made between the Kurdistan Regional Government and the Texan Hunt oil company.

And need I mention the al-Askari shrine bombings, the seemingly unreported rise of the  Badr Brigade militia in the aftermath of the 2003 invasion, extremist members of Al-Sadr’s Mehdi Army and their connections to Iran.

These are just some of the reasons why we can see an gradual easing sectarian tensions in Iraq and the fall of foreign extremist groups like Al-Qaeda in Iraq. It has little to do with the “surge” though some may disagree. Even a US soldier based in Fadhil district of Baghdad can confirm; the recent cleansing and actual reconstruction going on in that part of town was a localized event.

It was Baghdadis’ who rose to the challenge and expelled extremists from the area. It was Iraqi’s who have laid mains-capacity electrical cables in preparation for the arrival of new electrical generators promised by the US military. It was even Iraqi Sunni who expelled Sunni extremists from the formerly Shia parts of Fadhil and invited the displaced Shia families to return to their deserted houses with the promise of security.

Now lets hope the US delivers on their promise and that this process can be emulated across other parts of Baghdad.

Not to say that things are all well in Baghdad or across Iraq. There is still wide-scale aerial bombardment going on, suicide bombings and mafia-style kidnappings, extortions and general thuggish activity. The infighting still exists it’s just changed. There is shia-shia conflict between members of the Mehdi Army & Badr Brigade; and there too is conflict among the sunni. There are tribal conflicts too.

Nothing is going to change overnight, but it has been confirmed to me; Baghdad is improving at the moment- and I stress that point; “AT THE MOMENT”.