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 rejection of Zionism

The Church of England recently announced it would review its investments in companies whose products are used by Israel in the occupied territories. Chief UK Rabbi Jonathan Sacks criticised the move and claimed the decision would only inflame relations between the two religions.

Anglican churchmen have now responded. 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:

…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.

I began with the recognition that the cancer of anti-Semitism has not been cured. Tragically, Israel’s policies feed it – and when world Jewry defends Israeli policies right or wrong, then anger turns not only against Israel, but against all Jews. I wish it were mere rhetoric to say that Israeli politics today make a holocaust the day after tomorrow credible.

He bravely chastises the Zionist lobby for attempting to silence dissenting views on the conflict and abusing the “anti-Semitic” term. Oestreicher should be congratulated for articulating the growing sentiment of Jews and non-Jews worldwide. “My concern, however, is to express solidarity with the Israel that is not represented by its leaders or popular opinion”, he writes. I share this view.

19 comments ↪
  • edward squire

    The statements by Canon Oestreicher chime perfectly with Uri Avnery's in his chapter entitled "Manufacturing Anti-Semites" from the 2003 book The Politics of Anti-Semitism (eds Cockburn & St. Clair):

    …the State of Israel is causing the resurrection of anti-Semitism all over the world, threatening Jews everywhere.

    Sharon's propaganda agents are pouring oil on the flames. Accusing all critics of his policy of being anti-Semites, they brand large communities with this mark. Many good people, who feel no hatred at all towards the Jews, but who detest the persecution of the Palestinians, are now called anti-Semites. Thus the sting is taken out of this word, giving it something approaching respectability.

    The practical upshot: not only does Israel not protect the Jews from anti-Semitism, but quite on the contrary – Israel manufactures and exports the anti-Semitism that threatens Jews around the world.

    For Jews, this creates a dangerous vicious circle. Sharon's actions create repulsion and opposition throughout the world. These reinforce anti-Semitism. Faced with this danger, Jewish organizations are pushed into defending Israel and giving it unqualified support. This support enables the anti-Semites to attack not only the government of Israel, but the local Jews, too. And so on.

  • rhross

    Israel's moral bankruptcy is dangerous not just for Israelis but for all followers of the Jewish religion because people do not differentiate.

    The appalling excesses of Christians throughout the centuries has left a taint on all Christians, not just those who were actively involved in the barbarous acts committed in the name of the religion.

    Not only Israel is tainted by its actions but the Jewish religion and all those who call themselves Jews, no matter how innocent they may be.

    It is, in essence, Judaism's worst nightmare and tragically, it is all of their own making.

  • Glenn Condell

    That is a great piece, up there with Avraham's Burg's righteous rant a while ago. How widely read will it be in Israel though?

  • Chris

    Israel is not morally bankrupt and there is no reason to congratulate him because he merely articulated the position of reactionaries who have become tiresome in their silliness.

    The actual world, the one that counts, realizes what Israel is up against they they applaud Israel for defending its citizens.

    With the new palestinian government, a christian organization again has egg all over their faces.

  • edward squire

    Chris:

    Israel is not morally bankrupt…

    There is a continuum. When one finds a evil event , one can perhaps charitably label it an 'error', and a moral failing.

    When those evils become a pattern, one can speak of moral corruption, but one could perhaps doubt the intent and the full consciousness of it, again, if one is charitable).

    When those moral evils become state policy , however – an openly acknowledged, fully conscious choice by political elites and freely voted for by the majority of the population – then one faces moral bankruptcy.

    The 35 year occupation, dispossession, subjugation, and slow methodical 'cleansing' of the land, falls into the last category.

  • Chris

    As Israel has been surrounded by morally bankrupt nations its entire existance as well as being constantly pummeled by morally bankrupt nation in the morally bankrupt UN, it is no wonder that one might confuse Israel's actions with those of its neighbors.

    But that is just a reaction to that confusion, rather than a statement of fact. Israel is not morally bankrupt and is in no danger of such bankruptcy. What is more, any concern for such is just a red herring put forth by those who can not defend (and who could?) the actions of the Palestinian majority vote for suicide bombing.

  • Addamo

    Israel's moral bankrupty is beyond dispute for anyone who has not been living in a cave or the past few decades.

    The UN is indeed morally vacuuous, but nonethelesss, Isrel has still thumbed it;s nodse as no fewer than 64 resolutrions gainst it. That does no include the findings of the World Court.

    To say that the Palestinians voted for cuicide bombing is about as meaningless as saying israeli's vote to legalise war crimes by voting for Sharon.

    Israel's neighbours are not blamless by any means, but to stick your head in the sand and insist that Israel's hands are clean is delusional in the entreme. They are in breach of international laws,w hwich they flout and continue to exhibit one of the worst human rights records in the world.

  • rhross

    chris,

    You might like to explain how the nations surrounding Israel are morally bankrupt. They do not claim to be something they are not as Israel does.

    Israel claims to be a civilized democracy and acts in non-democratic ways toward its citizens and those for which it is responsible, the people it occupies. Israel's actions are also barbaric and completely lacking in any morality.

    It's neighbours on the other hand are guilty of what? Yes, they attacked Israel because Israel was established illegally on Palestinian land. they were allies of the Palestinians if you like in the same way that the British and Americans became allies of the French, Dutch, Belgians, Polish etc., who were occupied by the Germans. So no moral bankruptcy there.

    In terms of the wrongs inherent in non-democratic societies, certainly they are many but they do not constitute moral bankruptcy in the same way as Israel simply because they never set themselves up as being 'superior' to others, a 'light unto nations' as Judaism has done with its followers.

    To become morally bankrupt one must have taken a 'moral' position as Israel has done and still tries to do.

    No, Israel's neighbours are not perfect but that is not the point. You have to compare apples with apples and oranges with oranges. When you compare Israel to what it says it is, what it claims to be, what it strives to be it is morally bankrupt. When you compare Israel to what a civilized democracy should be it is morally bankrupt.

    You cannot compare a free democracy with non-democratic nations. You can only compare peers. This does not justify the wrongs inherent in non-democratic nations it merely makes the point that those nations and the citizens of those nations, because they do not have the freedom to act, cannot be held accountable to the same degree as people who function in free and democratic societies. Like Israelis.

    And, people who fight to free themselves from occupation have a high degree of morality on their side.

    People who fight to maintain an occupation have no morality on their side.

  • Chris

    Dispite the insulting reference, Israel is no more morally bankrupt then any other nation that subscribes to western civilization. Suggesting otherwise is almost a statement going beyond the objective observer status.

    Even failing to state that the majority of Un resolutions ignored were of such a biased nature to be laughable (Especially after admitting that "The UN is indeed morally vacuuous")and well deserving of a thumbed nose, is such a statement of bias.

    The world, at least that part of the world that makes decisions that have meaning, knows that the Palestinian vote was a vote for terror, for continued suicide bombing, and for what could only be termed "The Peace of the Dead". Previous polls show the same feelings.

    So called 'occupation' gives you absolutely no moral liscence. And as for breeching international law, those laws have to apply to the situation. Any International attorney worth his salt (as long as he has no agenda) will tell you that they do not apply.

  • Addamo

    Ahen,

    You should be cautious about using the word biased when you are in such deanial.

    Have you stopped to think that is spite of your ad hominem agrguments about Hamas, it actualyl got it;s break thanks to the support and financing from Israel in the early 70's? That's right. Hamsa is the creation of israel.

    Your blanket reference to polls is lretty lame. Care to point to a link?

    There is no "alled ‘occupation’ ". It is absolute. Israel occupaies territories it acquired by force, which is contravenes international law. Under international law, refugees are entitled to return to their homes once the battlefield conflict has died down. In accordance with the fundamental principle of international law, it's inadmissible to acquire territory by war. The West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem, having been acquired by war, have to be returned.

    Under international law, there is no dispute, no controversy. Under Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, it's illegal for any occupying country to transfer its population to Occupied Territories. All of the settlements, all of the settlements are illegal under international law. No dispute. The World Court in July 2004 ruled that all the settlements are illegal. The Palestinians were willing to concede 50% — 50% of the Israeli settlements in the West Bank. That was a monumental concession, going well beyond anything that was demanded of them under international law.

    This is not a matter of interrpretation by any International attorney.

    End of story.

  • Addamo

    As for Israel's moral bakruptcy, it has very littel in common with Western countries other than the US.

    Israel's is the only country in the world that legalized torture. It was also the only country in the world that legalized hostage taking. It was also the only country in the world that legalized targeted assaninatios both within it;s borders and abroad.

  • Chris

    Land which was not held by any other nation can not be said to be occupied. Their must be a nation in which to turn other soverenty. There is not any other than Israel in the disputed territories, therefore, legally, there is no occupation. Therefore,

    By UN resolution, Israel is not required to vacate said lands until borders have been established. They have not been. Therefore, there is no legal requirement to leave such lands as described above. Therefore, article 49 does not apply.

    The world court does not have juridiction over Israel in this matter. therefore, any decision made by said court does not apply.

    That you believe you understand the law better than an attorney doesn't say much for you or your argument. Sorry, but that's how it is. I don't need to put out the usual bromides about defending your cause without the required education.

  • Chris

    The remark regarding 49 should have been on the first paragraph.

    I just read an interesting story about the actual lack of concern by most Jewish groups over this latest divestment scheme. It appears that the actual powers in the church have ensured that absolutely nothing can occur until 2008, that the membership of the church disagrees with divestment, and that all organizations that have urged such have suffered set backs.

    It seems that real people feel this divestment campaign is all pish and tosh. Real people admire Israel. Real people do not admire the palestinian people. I am discussing the majorities, not ALL real people.

  • Addamo

    Chris,

    Yor comment abto ureal people is the epitome if inifatile logic. No wonder you are totally bereft of any appreciaton of the facts on the ground. Is that what you learned at Zionist school. Come on mate, wake the hell up for the first time in your life.

    Israel is occupying land which was previously occupied by Paelstinians. Ten thousand homes were demolished to make way for Israeli settlements. The West Bank and gaza were indeed owned by other countries in case you forgot and occupied by Paelsitnians. Forcegfully removing peopel from their homes and their land is against Geneva Conventinos and International law.

    Stimply stating that the World Coutr has no jurisdiction over Israel in this matter is a pathetic and petulant avoidance of hte debate. The World Court has jurisdication over Israel so long as Isael considers itslef oto be a democracy that abides by International Law.

    An attourney can argue and twist the logic all he wants. Laws are nto written by attourney, and legal judgements are not made by them. They are irrelvant in the creation and application of law. You don't need a law degree to knwo that.

    It doesn't requrie eduication to aknowledge that simple case. It's common sense.

    Anyway, perhaps you should move to another forum where "real people" congregate. This one is for grown ups.

  • Chris

    Please leave your petty insults at home. Using inflamitory remarks merely opens the way for retaliation.

    It is well recognized the the World court has no jurisdiction on the case. That being, its opinion is moot.

  • Addamo

    Recognised by whom Chris? Israel and Israel alone? Oh and yes, the US maybe, because the World Court found the US guilty of State Terrorism for it;s attack on Nicaragua.

    That is hardly definitve or a stament of fact.

    Petty insults Chris? Are you for real? You who insists that real people admire Israel? real people do not admire the Palestinians?

    What kind of infantile diatribe is that? One would epxetd to hear that backward logic in a kinds playground, not a political forum.

  • Leo Braun

    Edward Squire: “There is a continuum. When one finds an evil event, one can perhaps charitably label it an error, and a moral failing. When those evils become a pattern, one can speak of moral corruption, but one could perhaps doubt the intent and the full consciousness of it (again, if one is charitable). When those moral evils become state policy, however an openly acknowledged, fully conscious choice by political elites and freely voted for by the majority of the population – then one faces moral bankruptcy. The 35 year occupation, dispossession, subjugation, and slow methodical cleansing of the land, falls into the last category”.

    Mind you that in 21st century the worldwide communities having to face still the same so unattainable goal to establish fair living society. Which proved to be absolutely futile, in spite of millenniums long, so undeterred good principles faith in Jew rulers humanity. Even highly pitched protests are often blasted from distant Australia against the other tyrannies reign, yet in reality that didn't mean for the genuine justice to come downunder in here!

    When all along the hypocritical preached freedom of speech and fair justice for all of us in the Ghetto Australis, those connived Jew-jelly-back spiteful pollies are fatally stoning our role model citizens here. Perpetrated by thriving untouchables cliques within its vast Zionist apparatus. Camouflaged via melodramatically staged repertoires, ample of mud slinging contests between the parties of flip-flop persuasions.

    Reflected in the Australian Parliament's contours of the Zionist power with the Legislative Assembly interior benches array moulded into significant judeo MENORAHimage. Beset by Jew faced reflections to augment its brotherhood pollies into massively corrupted scum. Who also took on Aussie people's representative roles under Constitutional Convention's smoke screen banner. What essentially was to charter Australian people's future by utmost deplorable creatures, still lingering colonialist Zion relics from a bloody diabolical Zionist sphere under global echelon's hegemony.

    Propagated and flourished behind the utmost impregnable walls of the imperialist injustice. While operating from within the civil society of "sovereign nation" to render its Zionist evil masters tyranny only. Smacked with the malignant plague in the fascist doctrine of the final solution. Ultimately leading our humankind to be squandered and annihilated forever (if we fail to speak about it right now).

    Clandestinely accomplished worldwide via deviously incubated on mass the Zionist institutional mole infestations, which are creeping all over on us. Triumphed via many millenniums so atrociously engineered elitist Jewry pursuit. Responsible for the holocaust crimes under demonic darkness besieged on the humankind. Compounded by the deliberately devastating, their filthy monetary swindles worldwide. Ultimately setting many world backyards on fire.

    Attempting thus by hook or by crook to demolish and enslave an ample of decent, struggling communities within remaining (if any) sovereign nations on the planet of Earth. Yet ones to endeavour to fend it off, while putting objective views across, are fatally trapped and committed for life. Whilst Zionist echelon moguls worldwide perpetuate to scoop their massively pillaged loot.

    No wonder with the Zionist money lenders ability to make a fortune for seemingly no work or the obvious product, created the notoriously mean image of the avaricious Jews. Encompassing debt based malignancy system of finances, conceived and practiced by cunning Jews, versus earlier Christians and Muslims forbidden to charge any interest on the loans made.

    So time is nigh to wake-up for your own sake, and don't you take anything for granted as connived Jew scribes had an ample of time to doctor history annals. Encompassing religion's kaleidoscope for the gullible suckers devotion in vain. So much for the wishful thinking, expecting to come across sought proofs and references, when any such ancient libraries and museums were ravaged already (besides Vatican's repository).

  • Leo Braun

    Edward Squire: "The State of Israel is causing the resurrection of anti-Semitism all over the world, threatening Jews everywhere. Sharon's propaganda agents are pouring oil on the flames. Accusing all critics of his policy — of being anti-Semites, they brand large communities with this mark. Many good people, who feel no hatred at all towards the Jews, but who detest the persecution of the Palestinians, are now called anti-Semites. Thus the sting is taken out of this word, giving it something approaching respectability".

    "The practical upshot: not only does Israel not protect the Jews from anti-Semitism, but quite on the contrary — Israel manufactures and exports the anti-Semitism that threatens Jews around the world. For Jews, this creates a dangerous vicious circle. Sharon's actions create repulsion and opposition throughout the world. These reinforce anti-Semitism. Faced with this danger, Jewish organizations are pushed into defending Israel and giving it unqualified support".

    Warranting call to attention as to the present anomaly, where Israeli junta pretends to speak for all Jews around the world, yet no attempt has been made by Jewish communities to reject such a patronising regime tone. This may turn out to be a terrible mistake for the sheepishly desensitised minds. Indeed, so I am compelled to respond in reflection on the authentic history lessons, which reveals that the supremacist Zionism is not now, nor was it ever coextensive with a common Jew aspirations.

    It is equally true (as reader is invited to research for oneself) that the majority of Jews, particularly in Poland, repudiated Zionism on the eve of the WWII. They abhorred politics of Menachem Begin (future Israeli PM) in Sept 1939. One of the Zionist Jew leaders of the self-styled Revisionist-Zionist movement in Polish capital. When anti-Zionist Jews faced a horrid backlash, encompassing vile charges against the anti-Zionist objectors, tainted as an equivalent to anti-Semites and anti-Jew self-haters.

    So it's scarcely necessary to add, that any resemblance attempts to equate the Jew lesser brethren with the supremacist Zionists (born to rule aristocracy), and as such therefore to attack the Jews as a whole, was counterproductive and ought to be sternly precluded. There mustn't be any slightest confusion between the struggle against the diabolical Zionism, and the relentlessly misguided hostility fallout at the scapegoated Jew lesser brethren.

    Needless to remind that the supremacist ZIONISM survival always thrived on the sheepish Jews fears in diaspora against the another calamity, when conceivably the proverbial armageddon in Israel could result more likely due to tyrannical Zionist junta exploits (versus abandoned people of Palestine). Unless we start speaking about it right now … within our mammoth exertion to prevent the impending catastrophe.

    Certainly individuals as myself are appreciative of the moral support given by the rational Jews. Where neither nationality, theology or social theory mustn't in any way be allowed to become a stumbling block for Jews in Israel or elsewhere, who are determined to walk with Palestinian people against the diabolical injustice and condoned racism. It can be said that without the indestructible civil liberties world wide, Arab and rational Jew unity … the victory over the heinous scourge of the fascist Zionism is not merely difficult, it might be impossible.

  • Leo Braun

    How about the above illustration of Australian Parliament's contours of the Zionst seat of power in the 21st century. Prominent of the Senate and Legislative Assembly benches array of the Ü shaped silhouette. Moulded in the significant MENORAH image with the house speaker's throne formation, placed at the helm. When seven-branched candlestick symbol was quoted as a God given to the children of Israel. So Israeli junta in its search for the Jewish authenticity symbol for the "safe haven" mandate in Palestine, chosen an official emblem as the Menorah.

    Now would it be conceivable to conclude that the "New Jerusalem" pulpit has been shifted already downunder? No wonder for the real-estate values to quadruple in excess and far beyond the reach of Aussie battlers. Relegated out of main stream society onto (we had to have it) unemployable's heap. Conditioned with a sense of guilt on achieving savings if any. Not even capable to buy cost escalated fruit and veggies under US Deputy Sheriff Jonny Howard's hijacked economy and savages managed democracy brand. Nearing the midst of the ravaging fury in Ghetto Australis, evolving mutation monstrosity shift throughout the blindfolded nation.