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.

Taking sides

Saree Makdisi, Counterpunch, February 10:

“…There can be no doubt that the Hamas charter is not only xenophobic, sectarian, and racist, but also ill-conceived, inaccurate, retrograde, and intellectually vacuous. Nevertheless, the obsessive attention being paid to this document in the US in recent weeks forces one to ask not merely what purposes such an obsession serves, but also what equally (or even more) important issues it elides or covers up.

“First, one has to marvel at the interest being paid to the racism of the Hamas charter, given the extraordinary lack of interest here in Israel’s own racism, which is executed not merely on paper and in theory but actually, practically, materially.

“Israel’s Basic Laws, for example, discriminate between Jews and non-Jews in ways that many of those Americans who object most loudly to the mixture of religion and politics strangely don’t seem to find objectionable. And Israel’s unique existence as a country that expressly claims to be not the state of its actual citizens but rather of a globally dispersed people manifestly privileges the (non-Israeli) Jews of New York and Chicago over Israel’s actually existing non-Jewish citizens. Although they amount to some twenty percent of the state’s population, the latter are literally written into second class status by virtue of their non-Jewishness in what loudly proclaims itself to be the Jewish state.”

16 comments ↪
  • psydoc

    Hmmm, thats a toughie. Why would anyone "obsess" about a charter that was racist etc etc etc? Could it be because the charter has been the basis of deliberately targetting non combattants with suicide bombings? Is this the tiny detail that eludes the author?No, it is not enough that Palestinians would voluntarily elect a terrorist entity that holds these values. This again would not be enough reason to examine them closely. The close attention must be denigrated into the world 'obsession' in order to de-legitimise the real interest that should be paid to a country that elects terrorist leaders. Makdisi merely tries to obfuscate thse issues by once again pointing the finger at Israel. This is the typical action of the antisemite with their backs against the wall: when in doubt, accuse Israel.Israel's basic laws reflect the utter failure of the world to protect Jewry during the second world war. Jews cannot rely on any state other than their own for complete sanctuary. It is transparently discriminatory and requires no defence.Israel is not the only state based on religious values. Almost all Western states incorporate Christianity and Most Arab states Islam. I don't think as a Jew I am even allowed to go to many places inside Saudi. The Vatican will always be headed by the pope. Frankly I don't care. I do care however about a terrorist group that has as its raisen detre the elimination of a peaceful neighbour.

  • Clumsy Birds

    Comparing what is effectively Israel’s Constitution to Hamas’s Charter is a nice attempt at tying to show some kind of institutionalised South African (circa Apartheid) state, but the evidence just isn’t there.That’s never mattered much to Counterpunch though, Makdisi is probably just another ‘creative writer’ employed for $25 an article.

  • Wombat

    Psydoc,Excuse me for being flippant but this passage is just ridiculous, "Israel's basic laws reflect the utter failure of the world to protect Jewry during the second world war."How long are Israel's supporters going to rely on the holocaust? They repeatedly complain that Israel's existence or legitimacy is under scrutiny, not only from Arab and Muslim countries, but from the West also, yet insist on tying Israel's legitimacy to the events of World War II. What are Israel’s amen actually saying here? That in light of the trauma of the Holocaust, it is discriminatory for the international community to hold Israel to the standards it holds other western countries, and that they should continue to tolerate the ongoing irrational behavior of Israel as it continues to exorcise it's demons through inflicting brutality on others?This statement is even more fanciful, "Jews cannot rely on any state other than their own for complete sanctuary. It is transparently discriminatory and requires no defence."Again, Israeli apologists pull this one out at the drop of a hat, insisting that there is a second impending holocaust on the horizon, in spite of the fact that there is not a shred of evidence to suggest this is likely.The notion that Israel's existence is some insurance policy to ease the minds of Jewish people, raised to believe that the world hates them, makes debating this very subject impossible, because it ensures that such debates are driven by irrational arguments.And Clumsy Bird, COnterpunch has pumped out some incredile articles, including those from Uri Avnery. Sorry that they don't aspire to the lofty standrds of your poster boy, David Horowitz. Whereas Counterpunch raises it's money through public donations, Horowitz recives big fat cheques from right wing think tanks.

  • Brian

    Israel's basic laws reflect the utter failure of the world to protect Jewry during the second world war. Jews cannot rely on any state other than their own for complete sanctuary. It is transparently discriminatory and requires no defence.The reality is that the concept of a sectarian state in the mode of Israel has become "outdated" in the short time since Israel's formation. It is true that many western states still have some claim of official religion, but any attempt to use the tactics employed by Israel to preserve that identify, such immigration restrictions based on religion, state sanctioned attempts to increase the "preferred" population and the second class status of the non-state approved group would be pilloried.Think if the UK or the US attempted similar policies? One only has to look at the treatment of the BNP to see the result. Additionally, much of the backlash would come at the hands of mainstream Jewish organizations.And this does not even include the day-to-day outrages Israel engages in in the name of security such as tying illegal Palestinian workers to donkeys, killing of young children and confiscation of housing with "absentee" owners who are living in the houses.All this adds up to significant condemnation from the mainstream and left sides of the isle for Israel. (The hard right is only angry because they can't do the same.) Frankly, the condemnation is rather mild all things considered.Israel is not the only state based on religious values. Almost all Western states incorporate Christianity and Most Arab states Islam.As i mentioned above this is in name only. No western state employes the same methods as Israel. I don't think as a Jew I am even allowed to go to many places inside Saudi. Not a western state.The Vatican will always be headed by the pope. Frankly I don't care.Well, other mainstream Jewish groups do care, as well as the mainstream left press. They scream bloody hell if anyone proposes preserving the religious identity of their nation using the tactics employed by Israel.And, this does not even go into the racial component of "Jewishness," which simmers below the surface of this debate. I do care however about a terrorist group that has as its raisen detre the elimination of a peaceful neighbour.While I don't want anymore conflict, you really can't argue that, from a Palestinian point of view, that Israel behaved peacefully towards them over the last 60 years. As someone who lives in "settled" territory (the US) I concede that the matter is very complex, but to argue that Hamas is completely unjustified in its anger toward Israel is not taking a full view of things.

  • Edward Mariyani-Squi

    Yeah, you're right clumsy. As long as there is something more outrageous out there than the Israeli state's racism, then it's not really something to be condemned. In fact, we should be supporting it. Two cheers for institutionalised racism.

  • psydoc

    brian: "to argue that Hamas is completely unjustified in its anger toward Israel is not taking a full view of things."You need to understand the difference between anger and terrorism. I don't care who is angry, I do care about a policy of deliberately targetting men, women and children with suicide bombers in pizza parlours. There are the elected representatives of the palestinians. It is a shocking indictment on palestinians to have elected such blatantly bigotted fanatics. In doing this they condemn themselves and reveal to the world that it is not a small group that support such tactics, but the vox populi.American Indians don't do it, Australian Aboriginals don't do it and neither should Arab/Islamic terrorists.No Western state employs the same methods as Israel for very obvious reasons, no western state has been under an existential threat since its very existence. The threats are continual, military and political in nature. No Western state responds perfectly to terrorism, because it is a burden that is extrodinary and outside the realm of usual experience. It is a dilemma for all countries to respond adequately whilst attempting to preserve autonomy and freedom. This is something that Arafat and his terrorist cronies have exploited over years: use ambulances for terrorists then complain of human rights violations when they are then stopped; use schools and hospitals as military bases then complain that the Israelis are killing children and the sick; use Mosques as refuge for combattants and then complain that they are religiously persecuted.Sure Palestinians are angrey: they have been the victim of sinister and cynical manipulaiton by their own leaders as a strategy to demonise Israel. And guess what everyone suffers.

  • Wombat

    And so continue you absurd generalizations Psydoc.Abumlances being used for terrorists huh? What about when Israel lies to the world about UN ambulances being used to move missiles and get's caught out by video which proves otherwise? Where are you getting your information from?As usual, you make these biased comments with the assumption that terrorism happens in a vacuum. It's a non issue that Israel inflicts what is essentially state sanctioned terrorism of it's own, just so long as the Palestinians don't do it is that right?Oppression is to be excused and even encouraged, but how dare the victims fight back. It's perfectly alright to bulldoze 10 thousand homes, and build Israeli settlements in their place, but how dare those terrorists bomb a pizza bar! 10 thousand homes destroyed and yet you suggest that the real reason to be angry id that they have been the victim of sinister and cynical manipulation by their own leaders as a strategy to demonize Israel. Yes, the Palestinians are the victims of manipulation by their leadership, while in the absence of any facts to support the theory, people like yourself maintain the fantasy that the Jews are facing a repeat of the holocaust.What delusion and denial. Yes, there's that word again.Incidentally, you seem to have avoided responding to my rebuttal of your earlier missive.

  • psydoc

    <a href="http://www.israelnewsagency.com/palestinianambulancesterrorism1009.htmlhttp://www.israelnewsagency.com/palestinianambula… />Oh, thats right, step inside a pizza bar and kill young children rather than resort to the law to address your grievances.

  • Wombat

    The law? You really want to play that childish game Psydoc?By the law, I gather you are referrign to to the law that sanctions the act of firing 17 rounds into a 13 year old girl (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/3748054.stm) or shooting a 9 year old girl (http://www.haaretzdaily.com/hasen/spages/675441.html. Thos terrorists sure do start young don't they?I guess there is little reason to step into a pizza bar and waste your own life when you can do the job from safety of a check point and get paid to do it.

  • psydoc

    addamo, it is impossible debating with you. The tragic death of the young girl you speak of was fully investigated. It is self-evident that the IDF do not target children as a matter of policy. The same cannot be said for Hamas. It is amazing that you cannot appreciate the difference.

  • Clumsy Birds

    Edward, I linked the Basic Laws. No institutionalised racism there.

  • Wombat

    You just cannot get past your own blinkeredness or bias Psydoc. You draw comfort from the fact that an investigation took place, and that this in and of itslef is evidence that all is well.Were these young girls killed as a result of accidents? No. Would they have been killed had they been Israeli Jews? No.Just open your eyes for a minute Psydoc. At the conclusion of the court hearing of the IDF soldier that killed the 13 year old girl, it was concluded that he had followed protocol. He was let off with little more than a slap on the wrist. This was not an isolated incident, it was the consequence of sanctioned directives and IDF policy.Are you trying to tell me that it would be cathartic if Hamas were to conduct court room hearings in absentia of suicide bombers, and conclude that they were innocent seeing as they were obeying the Hamas charter? The only difference is that violence conducted by Isirael is branded as maintaining security while vilnece against Israel is branded terrorism, and you have bought right into the whole charade. When Israeli's are attacked, the world condems the acts of terror; when Israel targets a Palestinian leader and kills a dozen innocent bystanders, the world calls for restraint. How long do you insist on being marooned on the island of moral exceptionalism?

  • Wombat

    Acutalyl Psydoc,My mistake. I meant to also link to this earlier incident. Israeli officer: I was right to shoot 13-year-old child http://www.imemc.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=15033&Itemid=1 A schoolgirl riddled with bullets. And no one is to blame http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,2763,1332219,00.html“An Israeli army officer who fired the entire magazine of his automatic rifle into a 13-year-old Palestinian girl and then said he would have done the same even if she had been three years old was acquitted on all charges by a military court yesterday.”Not guilty: The Israeli Captain Who Put 17 Bullets Into a Palestinian Schoolgirlhttp://www.palestinemonitor.org/nueva_web/articles/features/not_guilty.htmAnd just in case you want to argue that these were isolated incidents: Israeli soldiers tell of indiscriminate killings by army and a culture of impunity http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,,1563273,00.htmlAnd need we forget about Rachel Corrie, who’s killer were also acquitted. http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,936305,00.html

  • Edward Mariyani-Squi

    Clumsy Birds said… "Edward, I linked the Basic Laws. No institutionalised racism there."Nice slide, but I'm more interested in the actual institutionalised racism (rather than desperately searching for knooks and crannies devoid of it):here is a summary of the revised edition of Uri Davis's book Apartheid Israel. It gives an idea of how the racism is institutionalised.

  • Clumsy Birds

    It wasn't a 'slide' at all. I was staying on the topic raised by Antony's quotations from Counterpunch- which was an attempt to compare the Basic Laws to the Hamas Charter.I glanced through your link. Worn arguments and attempts to rewrite history, especially regarding 1948.Israel also get's the blame for PA and Arab activities- [under occupation, Palestinians are refused] the right to adequate medical help […] and the right to work.It was Arafat who proclaimed that no Arab should go to Jewish hospitals. Israel shouldn't be responsible for providing jobs to non-Israeli's, its like blaming Australia for unemployment in the Pacific.Although, an interesting point on Israel's economy- that its citizens are becoming worse off as a whole, and there is a general decline in economic strength.Also interesting is the decision that its a good idea to destroy Israel to protect the world from its inhumanity or whatnot.I shouldnt have to try and convince Antony's fans here so often, but there is clearly no evidence of an ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians as claimed in Apartheid Israel.

  • boredinHK

    Clumsy Birds said-"I glanced through your link. Worn arguments and attempts to rewrite history, especially regarding 1948" Please re reread the article – it can't be glanced through. The following may help as you may not have time to read the relevant bits -Apartheid in Israel is an overarching legal reality that determines the quality of everyday life and underpins the circumstances of living for all the inhabitants of the State of Israel. … The introduction of [the] key distinction of ‘Jew’ and ‘non-Jew’ into the foundation of Israeli law is, however, accomplished as part of a two-tier structure. It is this structure that has preserved the veil of ambiguity over Israeli apartheid legislation for over half a century. (39)The first tier, the level at which the key distinction between ‘Jew’ and ‘non-Jew’ is rendered openly and explicitly, is in the Constitutions and Articles of Association of all the institutions of the Zionist movement and in the first instance, the [World Zionist Organization (WZO), the Jewish Agency(JA) and the Jewish National Fund (JNF)].The second tier is the level at which this key distinction between ‘Jew’ and ‘non-Jew’ … is incorporated into the body of the laws of the State of Israel, notably the body of strategic legislation governing land tenure.The situation alters radically after the establishment of the State of Israel, in that now the exclusivist constitutional stipulations of the WZO, JA and JNF (for Jews only) are incorporated into the body of the laws of the State of Israel through a detailed sequence of strategic Knesset legislation … Thus organizations and bodies that, prior to the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, could credibly have claimed to be voluntary have been incorporated … into the legal, compulsory, judicial machinery of the state:* 1950: Absentees’ Property Law; Law or Return; Development Authority Law* 1952: World Zionist Organization – Jewish Agency for the Land of Israel (Status) Law* 1953: Jewish National Fund Law; Land Acquisition (Validations of Acts and Compensation) Law* 1954: Covenant between the Government of Israel and the Zionist Executive …* 1958: Prescription Law* 1960: Basic Law: Israel Lands; Israel Lands Law: Israel Lands Administration Law* 1961: Covenant between the Government of Israel and the Jewish National FundIn subsequent years this body of strategic legislation governing the terms of tenure of 93 per cent of Israel lands was further refined in such pieces of legislation as the Agricultural Settlement (Restriction on Use of Agricultural Land and Water) of 1967 and the Lands (Allocation of Rights to Foreigners) Law of 1980. The list above, however, represents the mainstay of Israeli apartheid …… it is through this two-tier mechanism that an all-encompassing apartheid system could be legislated by the Israeli Knesset in all that pertains to access to land under Israeli sovereignty and control without resorting to explicit and frequent mention of ‘Jew’, as a legal category, versus ‘non-Jew’. (40-43)In other words, in the critical areas of immigration, settlement and land development the Israeli sovereign, the Knesset, which is formally accountable to all citizens, Jews and non-Jews alike, has formulated and passed legislation ceding state sovereignty and entered into Covenants vesting its responsibilities with organizations such as the WZO, the JA and the JNF, which are constitutionally committed to the exclusive principle of ‘only for Jews’, that legal apartheid is regulated in Israel. And it is through this mechanism of legal duplicity that the State of Israel has successful veiled the reality of Zionist apartheid in the guise of legal democracy since the establishment of the State of Israel to date.The same procedure has been applied by the Knesset in order to veil the reality of clerical legislation in Israel. Israel is a theocracy in that all domains pertaining to registration of marriage, divorce and death are regulated under Israeli law by religious courts. (48)The critical importance of these structures of veiling and obligation cannot be sufficiently emphasized. They represent one of the primary vehicles that made it possible for official representatives and various apologists of the Zionist movement and the Government of the State of Israel to deliver the claim that the State of Israel was a democracy akin to western liberal democracies, the Palestinian nakba notwithstanding.I have chosen to state the case of Israeli apartheid rather parsimoniously. In fact there are quite a number of instances of exactly such discrimination of ‘Jew’ versus ‘non-Jew’ or ‘Jews only’ in the body of Israeli law. (52) This is from the link in Edward's message.