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.

The truth lies behind

While some in the Australian mainstream media seem to naively believe that the Hamas win in the Palestinian elections was a great surprise – read Amira Hass to discover why so many Palestinians voted for the militants – veteran Israeli commentator Aluf Benn articulates an official, yet revealing, view:

“The Israelis warned the Americans that that unsupervised Arab democracy will bring the Muslim Brotherhood to power, not pro-Western liberals. But Washington refused to listen and insisted on holding the elections on schedule. The new reality requires both Washington and Jerusalem to re-evaluate the situation, before the Hamas effect hits Amman and Cairo. In any case, it will be hard to turn back democratic change and resume the comfortable relations with the old dictatorships.

“Israel will have to formulate a new foreign policy and strive for peace between nations, not merely with their rulers. And that will be much more complicated.”

Putting aside the fact that the Americans and Israelis seem to believe they have right to “supervise” Arab democracy – Robert Fisk recently said that, “The Arab world, which is principally what we’re talking about, would love some of this shiny beautiful democracy which we possess and enjoy. They would love some of it. They would like some freedom. But many of them would like freedom from us – from our armies, from our influence. And that’s the problem, you see. What Arabs want is justice as much as democracy. They want freedom from us, in many cases. And they’re not going to get that” – the rise of Hamas signals a radical shift in the Middle East conflict.

Although one Hamas official has already signalled that Islamic law would be a source for legislation in the occupied territories – Gideon Levy rightly says that a “secular, moderate and uncorrupt movement would have been preferable” – last week’s election result certainly offers the Israelis and Americans a lesson: force will never work. The Israelis may have assassinated any number of Hamas “terrorists”, and yet such moves only led to a stronger resistance movement.

Besides, Israel once funded and supported Hamas. Read this UPI report from 2002:

“Israel and Hamas may currently be locked in deadly combat, but, according to several current and former U.S. intelligence officials, beginning in the late 1970s, Tel Aviv gave direct and indirect financial aid to Hamas over a period of years.

“Israel ‘aided Hamas directly – the Israelis wanted to use it as a counterbalance to the PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization),’ said Tony Cordesman, Middle East analyst for the Center for Strategic Studies.

“Israel’s support for Hamas ‘was a direct attempt to divide and dilute support for a strong, secular PLO by using a competing religious alternative,’ said a former senior CIA official.”

The future path of the Middle East peace process is certainly in question, but to suggest, as many Western commentators seem to believe, that the election of Hamas has ruined any chances of peace, conveniently forgets the fact that the PLO and Israel were not moving in that direction for years.

28 comments ↪
  • weekbyweek

    If (I repeat IF) Israel provided what amounted to as seed-funding to Hamas, could Hamas now not be accurately accused as being hypocrits and duplicitous, given their hatred of Israel?

  • CraigS

    last week's election result certainly offers the Israelis and Americans a lesson: force will never work.Wouldn't Hamas conclude that force worked quite well..?

  • Angela M

    Antony, As an anti-Zionist, do you support the part of the Hamas charter that calls for the elimination of the state of Israel?

  • Progressive Atheist

    The Israelis warned the Americans that that unsupervised Arab democracy will bring the Muslim Brotherhood to power, not pro-Western liberals.I take this to mean that the Americans forgot to fix the elections, just as they did in Iraq.I also find it interesting that Israel "used" Islamic fundamentalism to counter Palestinian secularism. This appears to be the strategy that America is currently using in Iraq. They have manipulated the Iraqi constitution so that it favours the Shiite fundamentalists there, at the expense of the secular Sunnis. Perhaps the Americans learned from their recent constitutional misadventure in Iraq and tried to favour the more secular but corrupt Fatah in Palestine.We can only hope that the sudden transition to government will change the outlook of Hamas. Time will tell.

  • Antony Loewenstein

    I most certainly do not support the eradication of Israel. The Hamas charter is worrying in many ways.I support, ideally, a bi-national state with all peoples living together. In the interim, a two-state solution is the best option, but until the Zionists learn that expansion and oppression is completely contradictory to a free and open Palestine, we have a serious problem.

  • James Waterton

    "I most certainly do not support the eradication of Israel.""I support, ideally, a bi-national state with all peoples living together."So in practice – "ideally" – you support the eradication of Israel. Do you honestly think that the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza would live with the current day Israeli jews in a country that incorporated Israel and Palestine called Israel?

  • Angela M

    Excuse the confusion, but if a bi-national state were to replace Israel, wouldn't Israel effectively be eradicated? Or have I misunderstood?As for a bi-national state, Jews would be a minority – I'm not sure if it would be now or some time soon. Historically, Jews living under Shari'a law have been considered dhimmis, or second-class citizens, and don't have the same rights as Muslims – this is written in the Qur'an. I'd be interested to know how a workable bi-national state could happen. Your thoughts on this?I'd also be interested to hear what in particular worries you about the Hamas charter.

  • Melanie

    73% of Palestinians vote for a party whose charter calls to kill Jews, and you support a bi-national state.Antony, do you honestly believe that a bi-national state is realistic?When most Jews don't want it and most Palestinians don't want it (unless it is Jewless), why do you feel you know what's best.

  • David Heidelberg

    You really all miss the point. The increased vote for Hamas wasn't for the 'eliminate Israel' charter – It was because Fatah was notoriously corrupt, and Hamas' charity arm provided food, medicine and shelter, whilst Fatah members drove around in new Audis.Certainly not defending Hamas, merely pointing out the reasons for the result.

  • Edward Mariyani-Squi

    A.L. said…"I most certainly do not support the eradication of Israel." "I support, ideally, a bi-national state with all peoples living together."James Waterton said… "So in practice – "ideally" – you support the eradication of Israel."It depends what you mean by Israel. According to some (and A.L. seems to fall into this category), in the ideal case, Israel can still be Israel without it being a race-based or religion-based state. The theologian and Zionist Martin Buber argued on the other hand, that on his definition of "Israel" (which, contrary to the secular view, was partly religious in nature), Israel does not currently exist; it will only come into existence when Palestinians are treated as equals, irrespective of the demographics."Do you honestly think that the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza would live with the current day Israeli jews in a country that incorporated Israel and Palestine called Israel?"Since you are now in fact leaving aside the ideal case, so one should not attempt to slide this together with real politik of this moment in time. Now, would the Occupied Palestinians want to live side by side as equals with Israeli Jews in a Greater Israel? The option is not on the table, and I don't think anyone has ever asked the Occupied Palestinians the question (in part, I suspect, because nobody really cares what they think), but for argument's sake, let's say they would definitely not at this very moment in time. That is hardly an argument for the status quo. That argument could have been – and indeed was – used in South Africa as a means of maintaining the apartheid regime: 'yes, yes, we want justice for the blacks, but because of their justifiable hatred of the whites, they will massacre them, so to avoid that we must maintain the current power-structure.' And there was a skerrick of truth to that in the heat of any particular moment, but to universalise present hatred (on all sides) not only serves vested interests in the long-run, but is built on a lie (as South Africa shows, as the aftermath of Rwanda shows, and as East Timor now shows).Now, that answer assumes you are talking about the issue of co-habitation. If all you were referring to was the label of the country, then who knows? – and frankly, this is fairly minor when put up against the issue of prolonged human suffering and injustice.

  • Wombat

    Progressive Atheist said…"I take this to mean that the Americans forgot to fix the elections, just as they did in Iraq."You back to many horses and sooner or later, it will catch up on you. The US indirectly supported Hammas when Israel did, via Saudi Arabia, in the 70's and 80's."I also find it interesting that Israel "used" Islamic fundamentalism to counter Palestinian secularism."Or hwo the US used to fund the mujahadeen in Afghanistan against the Societs."Perhaps the Americans learned from their recent constitutional misadventure in Iraq and tried to favour the more secular but corrupt Fatah in Palestine."The US just doesn't seem to learn it's lesson of blowback.

  • psydoc

    Ant, your silence speaks volumes. You can sling shit endlessly, but lack the real courage of a professional journalist to set the record straight.

  • Wombat

    Psydoc,Your comment is typical of right wing posters who demand that Al march to the beat of their drum and deem is as cowardice when they aren't immediately attended to.Could it be that right wing ideology appeals to those with an unjustifiably inflated sense of self importance?

  • Wombat

    BTW Psydoc, What is it you are demanding of AL, to set the record straight?

  • orang

    This rubbish thrown about by the Zionist fan club (Motto: Say it often and say it loud and they will believe) is getting a new lease of life with the Hamas election. Whatever their charter supposedly says, they are also on record as saying things like; (sourced from Wikipedia)"Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin stated that the group could accept a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip."…."On March 22, 2004, Yassin – now an old man, restricted to a wheel-chair due to his life-long paralysis – was assassinated in an Israeli missile strike. " (Now why would he be assassinated when he's making peace-like statements? – beats me)"On January 26, 2004, senior Hamas official Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi offered a 10-year truce, or hudna, in return for a complete withdrawal by Israel from the territories captured in the Six Day War, and the establishment of a Palestinian state." ….."On April 17, 2004, Rantissi was also assassinated in an airstrike by the Israel Defense Forces,.. "I guess we ran out of partners for peace eh?

  • smiths

    absolutely spot on orang, those assassinations dont make sense unless israels interest was in the continuation of hostilities and demonization of the palestinians,they love the chaos as long as they hold the reins,and iraq is a good parralell, the looting at the beginning was forseen and allowed to occur, the message was approved lawlessness, the ransacking of iraqi culture was allowed, increase frustration and hopelessness,the violence of one muslim against another incited,just what were those two SAS men doing dressed as arabs with a car load of bombs,divide and conquer

  • Wombat

    Smiths"just what were those two SAS men doing dressed as arabs with a car load of bombs, divide and conquer"A very pertinent question. Relations between Basra and the UK miltary have never recovered since that episode and certainyl cast some serious quesrions as to how much of the violence attributed the the Iraqi insurgents agsint their own is not the work of such clandetine activity.

  • David Heidelberg

    Well Captain (psydoc) – I noticed your comments at tim blair's, bragging about your trolling behaviour here.It's interesting that you demand Antony's immediate response. I say this, because as a blair sycophant, you seem to forget that blair not only does not participate in discussions with his contributors, as Antony often does, but also refuses to allow dissenting comments on his site.

  • Viva Peace

    antonyI am confused by what people mean by a "bi-national secular state." Maybe I am being naive but surely "state" and "bi-national" are contradictory?Also what do people mean by a "secular" state. I have started reading Noam Chomsky and he often talks about a "bi-national secular state." What does this mean? How is it different from the current situation?

  • orang

    David Heidelberg said… "Well Captain (psydoc) – I noticed your comments at tim blair's, bragging about your trolling behaviour here."You mean he's a SPtBYRD? (Small Penis tim Blair Yapping Running Dog)Only at Blair's would he be able to brag.

  • Angela M

    Antony,What's your take on why the Third Way – the party of Salman Fayyad and Hanan Ashrawi which campaigned on an anti-corruption platform, but one which does NOT advocate the destruction of the State of Israel – only got 2 of 130 seats, compared to Hamas's 76?

  • James Waterton

    'yes, yes, we want justice for the blacks, but because of their justifiable hatred of the whites, they will massacre them, so to avoid that we must maintain the current power-structure.'Who was making that argument? I doubt the Afrikaaners in power were. Anyway, sure, nothing is static. However some problems are more intractable than others, and we're talking about some rather insurmountable cultural differences that, in my analysis, are unlikely to erode with time. Due to the cultural traits of many Muslim Palestinians, I strongly doubt they will ever agree to live in an entity called Israel, even if relations between Palestinians and Israelis improves and even if they're guaranteed equal rights. In my estimation, a two state solution is the only acceptable outcome for both sides now and into the future. Thus, I think it's extremely difficult to say "I support the continued existence of Israel and I support a one state solution." Keeping those two balls in the air isn't possible now and in the future, by my reckoning. You may not agree, but there you go. Anyway, that was the topic at hand, and that's what I was commenting on. Perceived injustices etc I wasn't.

  • Wombat

    "Only at Blair's would he be able to brag."I wonder if we took a poll how many Tim Blariistes would say they believed Iran had nukes. Psydoc seems to think it's a given.Once again, ideology trumps logic, reason and evidence.

  • psydoc

    David, Adamm01 and Orang, there is a very real reason that the record needs to be set straight. It is because Ant is actually part of the story. He has nothing to add to the middle east debate other than his empty polemics. Why should his views be preferred over others? Does he actually have any qualifications? Does he only selectively present material here? Who does he actually represent? Real journalists would answer such questions.It must be very comforting for Ant that the most erudite response in his defense comes from a sycopANT who needs to refer to my penis size.He does have a case to answer just as he puts those under close scrutiny whom he believes to act unethically. The Macquarie University episode is an indictment on tertiary education.

  • Wombat

    I love this one:"Real journalists would answer such questions."What real journaalist are you referring to Psydoc? Tim Blair? What journalists have come clean about their own complicity in selling the war to the public, and continuing to give free passes to governments who lie repeartedly and get away with their authority unblemished?Who are these jouiranlists that don't repeat government BS as if it were fact. Do tell.You continue to maintain that AL owes somethign to you and the public, without ever explaining what that means. It's a shame you don't hold those with real power to the same accountability. You really are a hypocrite Psydoc.

  • psydoc

    I am sorry, I don't know what a "jouiranlists" is.Journalists however usually make others the subject of their enquiry. Not so with Ant and hence the onus on him to come clean.

  • Wombat

    I take that as an admission that you are at a loss for an example of the lofty expectations you have laid out for AL."Journalists however usually make others the subject of their enquiry."Which journalists are you referring to? Go on. Don't be scared.Now if you will only come clean with an explanation as to what it is you want AL to come clean about.

  • Progressive Atheist

    Why should his views be preferred over others?Postmodern relativism!