A. Loewenstein Online Newsletter


ABCTV News24 on the economy, Afghanistan and Murdoch thuggery

Posted: 07 Nov 2011

I appeared last night on ABCTV News24′s The Drum (video here).

I argued that chequebook journalism is only problematic when the public increasingly distrusts the media and presumes exploitation is taking place.

The mainstream media far too often simply accepts the allegedly unbiased reports released by think-tanks and interest groups. More skepticism required and independent analysis.

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has just visited Afghanistan and talked about staying the course, holding fire and finishing the job. Add a few other cliches to the mix. Most Australians oppose the mission and understand that we are supporting a fundementally corrupt Kabul government.

Finally, the massive payment to the former Murdoch employee in the UK, Rebekah Brooks, proves that this criminal organisation has little understanding about accountability and would, if they were an honest group, not reward a woman who is now under suspicion of being involved in phone-hacking in Britain.

ABC Radio PM interview on far Right violence and mainstreaming anti-Muslim belief

Posted: 07 Nov 2011

The following story appeared on ABC Radio’s PM yesterday:

MARK COLVIN: Researchers in Europe say the financial crisis and the immigration debate are fuelling support for far right groups. Young men, in particular, are joining them via social media.

The same sets of issues are politicising young Australians but commentators here say there isn’t the same attraction to fringe groups.

Adam Harvey reports.

ADAM HARVEY: Researchers with the British think-tank Demos say young Europeans are being drawn to far right groups and they’re showing their support in a very modern way, by becoming Facebook friends with, and Twitter followers of, organisations like the British National Party.

Demos surveyed the opinions of more than 12,000 supporters of the BNP and other anti-immigrant parties like Marine Le Pen’s French Front National, and Italy’s Northern League.

And the group used Facebook’s own data to analyse more than 400,000 supporters of these groups. Most are aged under 30, and more than 75 per cent were men.

Australian journalist and author Antony Loewenstein says the rise of the far right is no secret.

ANTONY LOEWENSTEIN: One of the things that is very clear in the last 10 years, particularly since September 11th has been the growth in anti-Muslim, anti-immigration parties in many European countries, including countries that were traditionally quite liberal, open minded towards immigration.

ADAM HARVEY: Loewenstein is a contributor to a new book on the rise of the far right. The book, On Utoya is a series of essays prompted by the massacre on Norway’s Utoya Island by extremist Anders Breivik.

ANTONY LOWENSTEIN: His manifesto, 1500 page manifesto very clearly stated mainstream views these days, mainstream being anti-immigration, anti-Islam, very, talking about white pride, white culture, very supportive of Israel, supportive of the idea of Israel being a strong nation dealing with the Islam or the Muslim and the Arab problem. And that’s the kind of thing that used to be on the fringes but now is very mainstream.

ADAM HARVEY: The Demos research found that far-right supporters like Breivik who may once have been anti-Semitic, have found a new enemy.

ANTONY LOEWENSTEIN: They way that Jews used to be viewed, as strange, weird, strange dresses, odd food, a threat to the harmonious society has now been replaced by the strange, crazy Muslim in these people’s languages.

ADAM HARVEY: Social media commentator Tommy Tudehope says it’s easier these days to join far right groups.

TOMMY TUDEHOPE: You know for something that’s unpopular or something that can be embarrassing or if you don’t want to be publicly seen to be backing a far right cause, jumping on the internet and a few clicks supporting such a movement gives you that anonymity and gives you that right to support that thing which you may previously not have had.

ADAM HARVEY: But Tommy Tudehope says it’s important not to confuse online support with actual feet on the ground and that’s as true for the far right, as it is for far left groups like the Occupy protesters.

TOMMY TUDEHOPE: And I think there needs to be a far more considered approach in measuring how effective or how actually authentic these movements are. Now the Occupy Sydney movement, they may have cultivated some online presence but there’s very few of them in the street.

ADAM HARVEY: He says Australians aren’t as likely to be drawn to the fringe.

TOMMY TUDEHOPE: People are less likely to subscribe to an extreme movement regardless of its belief system simply because of the fact they think, well you know if I’m going to make a difference, I’m going to have to vote anyway so I might as well do it at the ballot box every couple of years.

But you know in terms of extreme movements, we have a very stable democracy and both parties are you know relatively vibrant in their membership and offer relative ease in terms of joining.

So I don’t think there’s too much of a cause for any sort of extreme movements to pop up.

MARK COLVIN: Social media commentator Tommy Tudehope ending that report from Adam Harvey.

Australia silent over Israeli abduction of one of its own citizens

Posted: 06 Nov 2011

The following statement is released today:



Contrary to Israeli claims that the takeover of the two Freedom boats Tahrir and MV Saoirse by the Israeli navy was peaceful, organisers of this latest Freedom Wave to Gaza say it was aggressive and dangerous. The two boats were violently intercepted in international waters, says Michael Coleman, an Australian aboard the Tahrir, who is currently imprisoned in Israel.

Organisers in Sydney are outraged, saying Israeli forces water-cannoned, tasered, beat and shackled activists on the Canadian ship Tahrir who were seeking to challenge Israel’s illegal naval blockade of Gaza.

Dr Fintan Lane of the Irish boat MV Saoirse reportedly said: “The boats were corralled to such an extent that the two boats collided with each other and were damaged, with most of the damage happening to the MV Saoirse.”

Michael Coleman was finally able to speak for just over a minute to his father John Coleman on Sunday after nearly 40 hours in Israeli detention.

Michael told his father: “We were intercepted in international waters, illegally boarded by about 30 armed Israeli troops and forcibly taken to Israel against our expressed will. We were assaulted and thrown around. I had my arm twisted hard up my back. One activist was tasered.”

“We have been hand-cuffed and shackled, sleep-deprived, with our watches impounded and the clock in the prison set to the wrong time. This is all designed to disorient and demoralise us. But our spirits are high. We are political prisoners, defending the rights of Palestinians. We have refused to sign any statement that we came illegally to Israel. We were headed for Gaza, not Israel. We were forcibly, violently and illegally taken to Israel against our will,” he said.

Many goodwill messages for Michael have been received. Australian journalist, writer and film-maker, John Pilger wrote: “Be assured the great majority of humanity is with you in spirit; …All power to you.”

Australian writer and journalist Antony Loewenstein wrote: “The silence of the political and media elites over both Michael’s imprisonment and the suffering of the Gazan people proves how Zionist ideology has corrupted our democratic process.”

Spokesperson Vivienne Porzsolt says: “We are calling for the immediate release of Michael and the other brave activists. The maltreatment of international peace activists is unacceptable but pales in comparison with the treatment of Palestinians by Israel. Just last week 9 Palestinians were killed and 2 more yesterday.”

“Initiatives like the Freedom Waves would be unnecessary if Israel would finally end this illegal blockade. Western governments, including Australia, must hold Israel accountable for its defiance of international law,” said Ms Porzsolt. “Israel’s impunity must stop.”

Murdoch editor loathes Palestinians and that’s just fine

Posted: 06 Nov 2011

Herald Sun senior editor Alan Howe loathes Muslims, Arabs, Palestinians and anybody who doesn’t embrace US foreign policy.

Today he takes his hatred even further. “Journalism”, Murdoch style:

There was some truth told last week, and the usual suspects – devious and untrustworthy – found it most uncomfortable.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, not for the first time, acted out another UN farce and voted to grant membership to Palestine.

Not enough people in Palestine know much about science, or education, or culture, so on the surface it might look a good idea.

The truth is that it is a dangerous ploy by the Palestinians to try to get the UN to grant them nationhood.

Palestine is not yet a nation – it rejected that opportunity in a generous offer made by Israel 11 years ago – and so should not be part of any UN body. It’s the United Nations.

In all, 107 nations voted away their souls on the Palestine issue. They predictably included Russia, China, Austria and South Africa. Oh, and France, of course; there’s a country that never passes up an opportunity to display how contemptibly weak it is.

The noble nations that told the truth – just 14 of them – included Australia, the US, Canada, Israel and Sweden, while 52 nations, only slightly to the north of the French when it comes to courage, abstained.

There was pressure on Julia Gillard for Australia to abstain. Instead, she told the truth.

ABC’s The Book Show discusses On Utoya, Right terror and Norway massacre

Posted: 06 Nov 2011

The recent release of the e-book On Utoya about the Norway massacre and Right racism continues to generate necessary discussion about the highly political act of murdering dozens of Left activists. My chapter is about Israel and the far Right.

This morning I was interviewed on ABC Radio National’s The Book Show alongside Overland editor Jeff Sparrow on the reasons behind the book – not least challenging the mainstreaming of anti-Muslim hate – and the rise of e-books in general:

This posting includes an audio/video/photo media file: Download Now

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