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.

Same old story rehashed

Australian columnist, Glenn Milne, is never one to shirk a government or opposition leak. In fact, he’s best known for channelling Howard government propaganda as his own musings.

Today, he writes of the ALP’s supposed antagonism towards Israel. Following recent comments by Labor backbencher Julia Irwin in federal Parliament, “an understandably furious Australian Jewish community believes Irwin is engaged in dangerous moral relativism, putting forward the phony proposition that Israel is acting in the same way as Hitler.”

Irwin said the following:

“Gaza is now a Palestinian ghetto; a prison for its one million people. All flows of people and goods must pass through Israeli border controls, which has resulted in the World Bank’s reporting that unemployment and poverty will rise in Gaza. Now Israel will rule Gaza like a walled ghetto, a giant penal colony, a concentration camp.

“We are witnessing the ethnic cleansing of East Jerusalem, the heart and soul of the Palestinian nation. The world must not allow this to happen.”

Irwin’s comments – except perhaps her use of the word “concentration camp” – are reasonable and factually accurate. If Milne doubts Irwin’s veracity, perhaps he’d like to read this on Israeli settlement expansion in occupied Palestinian territory and attempts by Israeli authorities to marginalise and ghettoise Palestinians in East Jerusalem. I saw it with my own eyes earlier in the year. If Milne ever goes to Israel, of course, he’d be on a Zionist lobby paid jaunt.

For Milne however, “Labor’s overall credibility on the Middle East” is in question. The comment is ludicrous. During an interview with the Australian Jewish News in June, Beazley completely agreed with the extreme positions taken by the Howard government in relation to Israel. There were no quibbles or disagreements. Surely a mature political party can stomach dissent from the official line? It’s clear, however, that neither Labor nor Liberal are evolved enough to hear anything other than “Israel is always right”.

A number of Australian Zionists including AIJAC’s Martin Guenzl – a man who used to write abusive emails to me in years past, chastising my less than acceptable Zionist credentials – accept nothing less than complete subservience to the pro-Israeli and pro-American line. If they do not receive that from either Labor or Liberal, except propagandists like Milne to stand up for what’s “right”.

Milne suggests that any debate daring to suggest Western actions contribute to Islamic fundamentalism is almost tantamount to treason. After all, he writes, “anti-US sentiment necessarily equates to being anti-Israel.”

Milne’s “you’re either us or you’re with the terrorists” worldview fits perfectly with the Murdoch line as well as the established Zionist perspective. Surely with the Iraq war beyond its tipping point – ably supported by “pro-US” types like Milne and the Zionist lobby – the days of lecturing us are well over.

Never expect a propagandist to admit he’s wrong. Milne isn’t a journalist, he’s a useful mouthpiece for various factional interests in the Liberal and Labor teams. And his understanding of the Israel/Palestine conflict is as nuanced as Binjamin Netanyahu.

When former Labor minister Barry Cohen claimed in late 2004 that anti-Semitism was rife in the ALP, he had people like Irwin in mind. I interviewed Cohen for my forthcoming book on the Middle East and his view of Israel was far removed from reality; a perfect, democratic paradise amidst evil Arab states, he thought.

Milne’s column rehashes old prejudices and attempts to shut down legitimate debate around the most sensitive of subjects.

  • Glenn Condell

    As in America, there is no significant political representation in Australia for a fair view on the Palestinian question. The number of people who are informed and balanced enough to hold a fair view on the matter has increased with no obvious effect on the political establishment. I wonder why. Yet another black mark for the Fat Man. What a waste of space he is.

  • Antony Loewenstein

    And a number of people who do speak out on Palestinian rights get hammered. Our media and political elite chose to ignore it. This is changing, though, as the Muslim communities gain in numbers and political savvy.Also, how many journalists aren't simply white honkys (er, like me…)? We need media people from more diverse backgrounds.