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.

Strange priorities

While the Bush administration acknowledges that key indicators of the Iraqi economy were better performing before the war and the British government pleads for the public to understand the “ethical” British army – note the Defence Secretary’s concern, and palpable anger, at having to deal with “human rights standards” – perhaps the most intriguing piece of news in the last week is this:

The European Jewish Congress (EJC) is set to file a complaint in the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for incitement to genocide, EJC president Pierre Besnainou told Haaretz. 

This is a truly bizarre idea. Ahmadinejad’s statements on Israel and the Holocaust are both unacceptable and sinister, but for the Jewish community to attempt to isolate a leader of a country that has not launched a war of aggression against any nation, while the US-occupation of Iraq has claimed the lives of untold thousands, shows the priorities of European Zionists. Perhaps the EJC should consider the words of any number of commentators inciting hatred and discrimination against Islam and Muslims. But why should they worry, it’s only Muslims being targeted?

8 comments ↪
  • edward squire

    I was given to understand that Ahmadinejad called for Israel to be "wiped off the map". Let's say he's being serious and not just grandstanding for domestic political purposes. What does he mean by this statement? Does he mean "All Jews throughout the world should be eliminated"? That would certainly be a statement of inciting genocide. But coupled with his nutty suggestion that Israel should be "relocated" to Germany, that is clearly not what he is on about. He seems rather to be referring to the elimination of the political entity called "Israel", not the human beings called "Jews". There was a time – in the first half of the 20th century – when many Jews of the diaspora also called for an end to the political entity of "Israel". Were they also inciters of genocide?

  • Addamo

    Just goes to show how the EJC regards words, ie. metion of violence, is actualyl worse than commiting the violence itself.

  • orang

    You'd think the synchronized screeching and pulling hair out simulations would lose their effectivenes after a while. They seem to think the tactic is still a winner.

  • rhross

    Genocide, by definition, is the murder of an ethnic, religious or national group.

    Ahmadinejad, while clearly radical and intemperate in his views has not called for genocide against Israelis or Jews. He has called for the end of what he, and many others, consider to be an illegal state.

    He has called for the Jews to return to the countries from which they came, mainly Europe. One presumes that Aboriginals, American and Canadian Indians, Maoris and African tribes wished and called for the same sort of thing so there is nothing new in his position.

    Needless to say Israel is not going to go away but its illegitimacy does need to be addressed and redressed, just as other relatively modern colonising nations have had to do.

    I actually think that the core underlying issue with Israelis and Jews is this illegitimacy. It is the lack of belief in their legitimacy, which is real because it has never been addressed, which drives them to such levels of denial and over-compensation which fuels this conflict.

    There is no denying, that, for many reasons, Jews have developed a culture (and religion) based on 'fear' of others and 'fear' of rejection and this fear is exacerbated by the reality of their illegitimacy.

    Fear drives reason out and until Israelis and Jews can face up to the fact that they had and have no 'rights' to the land which they inhabit; that it was taken illegally and only through violent dispossession of others, then they will be unable to move beyond the visceral and irrational to a place where true resolution can be achieved.

    Australia and other relatively modern colonising nations have all needed to address this question in order to move forward. Israel must do the same.

  • Leo Braun

    What a bloody hilarious clap-trap enactment: “The European Jewish Congress (EJC) is set to file a complaint in the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for incitement to genocide, EJC president Pierre Besnainou told Haaretz”…”This is a truly bizarre idea”…”Strange priorities“… Speaking of which lets have a glimpse at the repercussions to follow the issue in question:

    Aviva: “Addamo, Look, I’m sure your heart is in the right place; but dude your head is not even awake here. Read this carefully: This whole conflict is nothing more and nothing less than a political conflict. ‘International law’ is absolutely irrelevant, and in my opinion it has been a major strategic boo-boo of the Palestinians to pursue this diversionary tactic to garner the sympathy of well-meaning, time-poor, clueless western middle-class ‘left’ wingers”.

    Addamo: “You and Chris assert that the World Court has no authority over Israel. Is that in itself supposed to mean that Israel is off the hook? Isn’t that a little like using the argument that if you’re wanted by the police in one state, it doesn’t mean you are subjected to the law in another”?

    Aviva: “Irrelevant; but at law, yes. ‘Following Oslo II in 1995, which extended the legal control by the PA to the rest of the West Bank cities, and since that time, nearly the entire Palestinian population in the West Bank and Gaza has come under the PA’s jurisdiction’. So what went wrong? Why is Israel expanding settlements in the West Bank? Oslo never, ever even remotely addressed settlements. ‘Are they not in contravention of this agreement’? If they are it has nothing to do with our debate here, which is the World Court. ‘What happened to the legal control by the PA to the rest of the West Bank cities’? Huh? ‘Again you maintain that because Israel lies beyond the reach of the World Court it is therefore innocent of the findings’… Again, I have never claimed anything like ‘Israel lies beyond the reach of the World Court’. As the World Court has not presided over any legal issue involving Israel, who cares about the World Court’s ‘findings’? It has never been in any position to rule on Israel’s ‘innocence’ on any legal matter. Therefore, yes, ipso facto, Israel is innocent of any World Court drivel”.

    Addamo: “The World Court has jurisdiction over Israel so long as Israel considers itself to be a democracy that abides by International Law. An attorney can argue and twist the logic all he wants. Laws are not written by attorney, and legal judgements are not made by them. They are irrelevant in the creation and application of law. You don’t need a law degree to know that. It doesn’t require education to acknowledge that simple case. It’s common sense”.

    Chris: “What ever the world court has found, it is unenforceable and inapplicable”.

    Addamo: “Again you maintain that because Israel lies beyond the reach of the World Court it is there-fore innocent of the findings. Is there any court who’s jurisdiction that Israel does reside within”?

    Chris: “The world court has no authority over any nation that does not agree to said authority. Which makes the court a joke, just as the UN often is. But no one maintains that because the world court has no authority Israel is off the hook and thus innocent. Israel is innocent because it is not guilty of the charges!

    Addamo: “You speak like a petulant childs soemtimes Chris. And you don’t ever realise your own choide of words is inadmission of israel’s culpability. “Israel is off the hook and thus innocent”… basically says that as long as Israel refuses to recognise the World Court, it can continue to act criminally. Does the refusal of Israel to recognise the authority of the World Court mean that the findings of the world court are wrong or baseless? Saddam Husseing does not recognise the court that is trying him. Does it make that court a joke? Milosevic does not recognise the Hague. Does that make the court in the Hague irrelevant? Did the Nazi’s recognise Nuremberg”?

    Chris: “The rules of the Hague do not depend on Milosevic’s recognition. The rules of the World court do depend on the recognition by both parties. The rules of Nuremburg did not depend on the Nazi’s recognition.

    Addamo: “Does the refusal of Israel to recognise the authority of the World Court mean that the findings of the world court are wrong or baseless”? “What court does Israel recognise by the way? Or is Israel a law unto itself ie a rogue state”?

    Chris: “Read the words slowly, I did not say ‘Israel is off the hook and thus innocent’… I said ‘no one maintains that because the world court has no authority Israel is off the hook and thus innocent’… You misquoted me. Was it deliberate? The ruling of the World court was erronious. It did not take in account any of the factual proof supplied by the defense. If the court decides not to hear the other side, it can not render justice.

    Orang: “Well, that’s that then. If, as you say the ruling of the court was erroneous, it should be thrown out. By the way, just remind us, what did the defense have to say that wasn’t listened to? Your honour, we’re taking the land on the Pali’s side of the border because we need the extra bit because the wall is pretty big see, and we need a bit more room”.

    Addamo: Chris, You have no clue what significance your ideology is leading to. What court does Israel recognise by the way? Or is Israel a law unto itself ie a rogue state? Israel was charged with dispossessing Palestinians of their homes. Are you telling us that ten thousand homes were not bulldozed and that Israeli settlements were not built on those plots of land? Your credibility is shot to pieces.

    Aviva: “There is no de jure applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention regarding occupied territories to the case of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. This Convention refers to ‘Higher Contracting Parties’ and thus assumes that a sovereign state had been occupied”.

    Addamo: What international body does Israel recognise? What international court does it recognise? Does it recognise the ICJ? Would it continue to recognise those courts if it made judgements that were not in Israel’s favour?

    Aviva: “I have noticed that recently Palestinian apologists have flicked the rhetoric switch to what they call ‘international law’. Reading through apologies such as yours, anybody would think that this issue is no more complex than buying a house. And why would you be quoting an historian as an authority on ‘international law’. In fact what you have quoted below is just nonsense. Let’s unpack it: “It turned out Arafat was not willing to make those concessions to deny Palestinians what their rights were under international law, and I think that’s where the impasse occurred at Camp David and at Taba”.

    Addamo: Quotes from Norman Filkenstein regarding the Taba and Camp David negations: “It turned out Arafat was not willing to make those concessions to deny Palestinians what their rights were under international law, and I think that’s where the impasse occurred at Camp David and at Taba”…”Palestinians refused to make any concessions, because of what Dr Ben-Ami repeatedly calls Arafat’s unyielding positions; and that Arafat missed a huge opportunity. Now, it is correct to say that if you frame everything in terms of what Israel wanted, it made huge concessions. However, if you frame things in terms of what Israel was legally entitled to under international law, then Israel made precisely and exactly zero concessions. All the concessions were made by the Palestinians”.

    Aviva: “Completely irrelevant. The source is not the University Professor of History but the courses he is quoting. Actually, all you are quoting here is Finkelstein. Now Finkelstein is valuable; as a fact-checker and sub-editor. Of course as a scholar the guy is a D-lister. He has never had an original thought in his life and has no talent as a political scientist or sociologist, let alone as an historian”!

    Addamo: “But under international law Israel has not one atom of sovereignty over any of Jerusalem. Read the World Court decision. The World Court decision said — Jerusalem is occupied Palestinian territory”.

    Aviva: “First of all ‘the World Court’ has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with Israel in the West Bank. Also under UNSC Resolution 242 there is no demand of unilateral withdrawal”.

    Aviva: “Well you have just snookered yourself. As I said: ‘There is no such right, there never has been, and there never will be. And Arafat knew there was no way he could explain this to them’. This is why Arafat was so ready to ‘concede’ the ‘right of return’ of the refugees to Israel. But, he had never convinced his people of this reality. He never even tried, and this reality underpins Oslo’s structural vulnerabilities. You see, Clinton was negotiating with a man who did not have the authority of the Palestinian people to make these ‘concessions’. But we can’t be hard on Clinton; after all, who wouldn’t want their legacy to be underpinned by peace in the middle east … rather than Jewlewd jokes about cigars and stained blue-dresses”!?

    Aviva: “Arafat’s total disinterest in the ‘right of return’ was what gave rise to Hamas. You must understand, Arafat’s power had always been rooted in his ‘take no prisoner’s’ charisma. He was a putative modern-day Saladin (as have been a whole slew of other Arab ‘oriental despots’ from Nasser through to the Hashemites, and of course the various and nefarious Ba’athists from Damascus to Bagdad). Starting in 1958 Arafat had promised ‘his people’ they would push the Jews into the sea and return them to their homes (on a white charger, camel or donkey depending on petty-cash reserves of course). As an historical figure I think Yasser Arafat was da man! A real-life action hero, an Arab Che Guevara; except of course he was as ugly as sin. All lips and no cheek bones! And too short”!

    Aviva: “I attended a very stimulating Round Table debate in Washington last Spring featuring five of the key US negotiators during the whole Oslo process. The standard of debate and exposition of the parameters, nuances and themes that motivate this whole process was just something that blogging hoi polloi, who live by Op-Ed puff-pieces, would never be able to follow. So it just annoys the hell out of me when people spit all over blogs with their 4th hand references and ‘authorities’. And he goes on, Arafat in Oslo reached an agreement that didn’t even mention the right of self-determination for the Palestinians”.

    Addamo: “No wonder you insist the world court has no jurisdiction over Israel. There are probably no international laws pertaining to the law of the jungle”.

    Aviva: “Addamo I don’t mean to be rude here, but it is pretty obvious that you could do with a refresher course when it comes to international law. I realize I am being blunt; but it is for your own good! ‘Is there any court who’s jurisdiction that Israel does reside within’? The answer to that has absolutely no relevance to the matters we are discussing”.

    Aviva: “All I am interested in here is educating you on the issues surrounding ‘international law’. ‘So long as Israel is able to thwart the creation of a Palestinain state, it is able to hold onto the territories’… It is clear that you have long ago abandoned any rational approach to the Arab-Israel conflict. It is this sort of irrationality that the Palestinian PR politburo plays on. I don’t criticize them or even blame them; heck, let’s be blunt, for them, this is war, no holds-barred! But if you want to have any credibility as a ‘voice’ in this debate you will need to address this knee-jerkism”.

    Aviva: “To put it even more bluntly, the ‘Palestinians’ have never been acknowledged as having ownership over this region. In fact, at law, Israel has the greatest legal claim to these ‘disputed” territories’. ‘Under what law exactly? If there were such legal precedent, how do you explain the abundance of UN sanctions passed over this very fact’? Sanctions? Ah, which ones exactly? ‘Surely UN sanctions would fail to pass if there were no legal basis for having them referred in the first place’? True. Hence the current situation in Iraq. However, the gravity of Iraq is a world away from the dreary carping on the West Bank!

    Chris: “And what is Arab public opinion? It seems to revolve around humiliation. No nation can deal with such public opinion. Especially when that nations very existance is a constant reminder of Arabs being humiliated”.

    Rhross: “The problem the Arabs have with Israel”… Chris, is not that it is a reminder of defeat in war but that it stands as a reminder of dispossession and colonisation and the wrongs inherent in its foundation, compounded by the ongoing wrongs of occupation, the brutality of that occupation and continued colonisation”.

  • Leo Braun

    Rhross: "There is no denying, that, for many reasons, Jews have developed a culture (and religion) based on 'fear' of others and 'fear' of rejection and this fear is exacerbated by the reality of their illegitimacy"… Canon Paul Oestreicher, a leading member of the church's peace and reconciliation movement (and refugee from Nazi Germany) accuses Jewish groups of engaging in moral blackmail. He bravely chastises the Zionist lobby for attempting to silence dissenting views on the conflict and abusing the "anti-Semitic" term:

    "The main objective of my writing today, is to nail the lie that to reject Zionism as it practised today is in effect to be anti-Semitic, to be an inheritor of Hitler's racism. That argument, with the Holocaust in the background, is nothing other than moral blackmail. It is highly effective. It condemns many to silence who fear to be thought anti-Semitic. They are often the very opposite. They are often people whose heart bleeds at Israel's betrayal of its true heritage".

  • Leo Braun

    Rhross: "Australia and other relatively modern colonising nations have all needed to address this question in order to move forward. Israel must do the same"… First it is critical that we go over the meaning of the word "homeland". Since that is the word upon which the Zionists have based their "moral" claim to Palestine, for two reasons. Reason (1) it is (literally) impossible to "ratiocinate" (to think logically) accurately, let alone communicate with another person accurately, if the true meaning of every word used, is not correctly understood by both parties. And reason (2) the oldest and most often used tool of the Zionist propagandist-miasma is to "twist" the true meaning of the words they use in a such way that they can make a person believe in the end that white is black and vice versa.

  • Leo Braun

    Rhross: "Fear drives reason out and until Israelis and Jews can face up to the fact that they had and have no 'rights' to the land which they inhabit; that it was taken illegally and only through violent dispossession of others, then they will be unable to move beyond the visceral and irrational to a place where true resolution can be achieved"… Without any doubt! Though such a vital debate generated climate, has been auspicious for the Jew lesser brethren to have our say on the matter and to seek an amicable resolution. Concerning an early 20th century Zionist influx from the host nations around the globe into the Middle East, with a sole purpose to invade the lands which for 1,300 years (or so) had been universally known as "Arabia". Yes indeed, Arab homelands. Even under the Ottoman (Turkish Empire) they were still known and called as "Arabia", and not "Turkey". Yet Zionists "justified" an unprovoked armed invasion of the Palestine with a claim that Palestine was their homeland, which they were only taking back, what is "rightfully" theirs!