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.

Covering the head

The latest fashion accessory for the 2006 World Cup in Germany is already causing waves in Israel. Who says the Dutch don’t have questionable taste?

Meanwhile, authorities in Tajikistan are demolishing the country’s only synagogue.

23 comments ↪
  • edward squire

    Meanwhile, authorities in Tajikistan are demolishing the country’s only synagogue.

    Disgusting … almost as disgusting in fact as building a “Museum of Tolerance” on top of a cemetery!

    But frankly, I don’t find that as disturbing as the mentality of the nutcases commenting on the Tajikistan story in the “TalkBack” section of the Haaretz page. For example, Yishai Kohen’s message is “G-d Is Telling Jews Everywhere To Come Home To Israel”. And I thought Americans were self-obsessed. Yishai seems to actually believe that The Great Real Estate Developer In The Sky manipulates the entire world and the onbiously non-free will of the goyim in order to send messages to The Chosen Ones. How is it that the Englightenment by-passed these people?

  • captain

    IN fact the building of the centre is what is now claimed to be a muslim holy land was actually refuted as such by an earlier grand mufti of Jerusalem. They make a fuss about everything.

    Of course it is merely humour to intimidate and upset Jews by recreating a sense of nazi presence. Legendary in the sense of reviving the legends of Jew killing.

  • Stev

    Nor is a cemetary, once the bodies have been removed, is any different than any other piece of land.

    Depends on your beliefs really doesn’t it? To me the whole region is just a ‘piece of land’ but clearly that ‘piece of land’ holds a great deal of importance to many people. Otherwise we could just move Israel to Delaware and be done with it.

  • orang

    rhross,
    no they are the unmistakenly coal scuttle shape – as worn by Sgt Schultz.

    If anyone should be touchy about the helmet it would be the Dutch themselves as they suffered a lot during the WW2 occupation.

  • Chris

    I don't know that removing the remains and interring them elsewhere with all rites observed is disgusting. Nor is a cemetary, once the bodies have been removed, is any different than any other piece of land. It seems that, throughout history, populous cities have had to move cemetaries further into the country.

    As for destroying the last Synagogue in Tajikistan, there is a loss of some historical note, but hardly disgusting, as it is just a building. Not like the Tomb of Joseph, that was destroyed by the Palestinians for the purpose of displaying their overwhelming hatred of Jews.

    Neither the museum of tolerance, nor the Tajikistanians, is commiting any sort of sacreligious behavior for the sake of hatred or indifference.

  • orang

    Ahhh. The Tomb of Joseph.

    I like this story by Israel Shamir. http://www.revisionisthistory.org/palestine42.htm

    "….What I found at the site of Joseph's resting place was like a replay of the old Jewish joke: "Is it true that Cohen won a million in the state lottery? Yes, it is true, but it was only ten dollars, in a poker game, and he actually lost it." Instead of expected ruins, the tomb shone in its pristine beauty. No traces of war could be seen. The Palestinian municipality of Nablus hired the best stonemasons, brought in Italian experts and restored the tomb to its original state. They removed the barbed wire, the machinegun positions, the armored vehicles, the soldiers' scrubby mess hall, guard slots. An Israeli-built military base vanished to be replaced by the resurrected holy tomb. It was a joy to revisit Joseph, as my previous visit, a month before the uprising, was quite disconcerting. Then I visited Nablus in the company of two tourists, a Christian and a Jew. We visited the Samaritan synagogue, drank water from Jacob's Well in the church, looked into the Green Mosque and decided to pay our respects to Joseph the Beautiful.

    An old Palestinian policeman, who cut his teeth in the British army, allowed us to approach the tomb but warned us that we won't be let in. He was right. Young Russian boys in the Israeli army fatigues, helmets and rifles, popped out and told us, that in order to enter the tomb one has to go to the army HQ out of town, submit to security check andinterrogation, and come back by the armoured bus. We moved on to more accessible sites.

    HATE FROM A KABBALISTIC RABBI

    For generations, the Tomb of Joseph was cherished and attended by the Arab people of Nablus, but it was seized by the Israelis in 1975. The infamous Oslo accords left it as an armed Israeli enclave in the heart of the Palestinian city. It became a Yeshiva of a Kabbalist sect led by Rabbi Isaac Ginzburg. His name should ring a bell. He stated in the interview with "Jewish Week," that a Jew is entitled to cut off the liver of any Gentile in order to save his own life, as the life of a Jew is incomparably more precious than the life of a Gentile. …"

  • orang

    German helmets – the irreverent humour of Northern Europeans is legendary.

  • captain

    edward, of course you know more than the grand mufti of Jerusalem who declared it was not a sacred site. I would say that this puts your knowledge of Islamic belief at ‘below zero’.

  • captain

    and orang, thanks for that gem of an antisemitic joke.

  • orang

    antisemitic heh? How do you know it’s not self hating? Aha!!

  • rhross

    Aren't they the same sort of helmets that many of the police forces use in violent situations anyway? Including the Israelis. It looks like riot police gear to me.

  • Chris

    Squire, I’ve proved nothing other than the disdain palestinians, the vast, vast, vast majority being Islamic, have for cemetaries.

    It appears their latest round of whining is purely political.

    Capt, I do not see the joke as antisemitic. It could apply to most any culture.

    If Sydney Council dug up a parking lot that turned out to have been a cemetary, they would have, respectfully, disenterred the remains and put them in a different cemetary. No one would whine except for political brownie points.

  • Chris

    Just a piece of plastic, nothing to get worked over.

    The cemetary has nothing to do with islamic belief or they wouldn't have treated mount olive with such disdain.

    I like stories by Shamir, they are such wonderful fiction pieces. They remind me of the story of the two jews on the subway reading different papers. One had the America-German Bund press and the other the Forward.

    One said to the other, "how can you read that nazi trash?" The other said, "What do you mean? In the Forward we are getting roobed, beaten and murdered. In the Nazi paper, we run all the countries and own all the banks! So much better than the truth!"

  • Chris

    For what it’s worth, Niami Regan comments on the Synagogue destruction:

    A hundred year- old, gold-domed mosque is destroyed by
    terrorists, and thousands of articles are written about the outrageous act. At the same time, a sovereign government -not criminals- destroy a hundred-year old synagogue in Tajikistan to make way for the president’s “palace” and no one has even heard about it.
    Where is Jewish outrage?

    Naomi

    SPECIAL STATEMENT FROM THE INTERNATIONAL SEPHARDIC
    LEADERSHIP COUNCIL

    Decent people of the world were horrified by the destruction of the gold domed mosque last week, but on the same day, the destruction of an active synagogue by a progressive government, supposedly based on civil law‹was hardly even noted.

    On February 22, 2006, an active mosque, much beloved by its Muslim congregation, was destroyed after a powerful bomb exploded inside it, destroying the gold dome on its roof. This was one of Iraq’s most famous religious shrines. Terrorists detonated powerful explosives, destroying most of the building, and prompting thousands of people to flood into streets across the country in protest. (This attack, 60 miles north of Baghdad, caused extensive international outrage.)

    On February 22, 2006, an active synagogue, much beloved by its Jewish congregation, was destroyed after heavy
    construction equipment tore off the roof, crushed its
    concrete walls and drove through its sanctuary. This was the only active synagogue in the country of Tajikistan, a country north of Afghanistan and south of Russia. The synagogue was destroyed so the government can build a grand palace for its president. іIf the Jews want to have [rebuild] a synagogue, let them pay for it out of their own funds,І said Shamsuddin Nuriddinov, head of the City of Dushanbe, Religious Affairs Department. (This attack, 280 miles north of Kabul, Afghanistan, caused NO international
    outrage.)

    According to Google News, 2,930 news articles appear for the mosque destruction, while only six exist on the synagogue destruction and those six are really just one brief mention that has been repeated through syndication in American newspapers.

    In regard to the mosque destruction, statements were issued from leaders around the world. President Bush stated, I extend my deepest condolences to the people of Iraq for the brutal bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samarra….The American people pledge to work with the people of Iraq to rebuild and restore the Golden Mosque of Samarra to its former glory.І He added: іThe United States stands ready to do all in its power to assist the Government of Iraq to identify and bring to justice those responsible for this terrible act.

    There are some 150 Jews in Tajikistan, mostly
    elderly Bukharian Jews. When news of the destruction of the Tajikistan synagogue reached the Bukharian community in the United States, the news was met with shock; people whose children were brought up in that synagogue reacted in tears. Members of the Bukharian community in Atlanta, Georgia stated they worry about the Jewish cemeteries that are near the synagogue, what will happen to them?

    In regard to the synagogue destruction, not one statement was made by any government of any country around the world. The only Jewish organization to speak up on this was the International Sephardic Leadership Council, of which this writer is executive director of.
    While the media covered some 1,000 Israeli fans of a Tel
    Aviv basketball team demonstrating on Saturday night against the destruction of the team’s historic arena, not one person in the main stream media has come out to address the destruction of the center of Jewish life in Tajikistan. First the government destroyed the mikvah (ritual bath), then the kosher butcher shop, now the entire synagogue.

    While Iraq is 97% Islamic, Tajikistan comes in at 85%
    Islamic and growing. And while the Iraqi Muslims claim say the community near the gold domed mosque was there for 1000 years, the Jewish community has been in the area surrounding Tajikistan for 2000 years. And while the gold domed mosque in Iraq was built in 1905‹a little over 100 years ago‹the synagogue in Tajikistan was built 100 years ago as well. Yet, everyone is quiet about this. Including Jewish organizations‹this must change.

    The destruction of the Tajikistan synagogue is the most
    disgraceful act committed by a sovereign state toward its Jewish population since the end of WWII. The Soviet Union and its successor states may have oppressed and harassed their Jewish communities, but even at the height of Stalin№s anti-Semitic purges they did not seek to wipe every element of Jewish existence like the Tajikistan government.

    It is an ominous message for a Jewish community, that while living under a government that is attempting to rebuild its economic, political and social image‹it starts by wiping out the only synagogue in its country.

    Where is the outrage!?

    ____________________________________
    Shelomo Alfassa
    Executive Director
    International Sephardic Leadership Council

  • orang

    yeh that's a good one.

    What about this one,
    Ester and Mary in middle age are good friends having coffee.
    Well Ester, so how are the children doing?
    My daughter's married to a doctor. He makes her breakfast in bed , cleans the house, goes to work, comes home to cook dinner. She doesn't have to lift a finger. He treats her like a Princess!

    And what about your son.
    My son. Ha! He has to do all the cooking, the cleaning, the shopping. His wife doesn't lift a finger.
    He's married to a SLUT!

    Hahhaaaa . get it?

  • Stev

    Chris,

    It's nothing to do with Islamic belief, it's about personal belief. Just as Mount of Olives is not about Islamic belief, it is about Jewish belief. With Native American beliefs, the sacredness of burial grounds is imbedded into their beliefs, but I bet if a Sydney council wanted to dig up a cemetary and replace it with a building the community would be outraged. How is it then for a 'neighbouring' country to do it?

  • edward squire

    Chris (Feb 26th, 2006 at 2:20 pm):

    The cemetary has nothing to do with islamic belief or they wouldn’t have treated mount olive with such disdain.

    You just proved that your knowledge of "Islamic belief" is zero.

  • captain

    Chris, the ugly Jewish princess stereotype is definitely antisemitic.

  • Chris

    Not every Jew stayed in Israel until 135 CE. Like people everywhere, some moved for trading purposes. Additionally, there was a vibrant community in Babalonia that hard been in existance for some time before the final exile.

    Capt, No where is it stated that either Esther or mary are Jewish. I no plenty of Lutherin and Catholic girls named Esther. Mary also.

  • orang

    Chris,
    If the jews were in Tajilistan for 2000 years, I refer to your quotes to Addamo about them being away from Israel for 1870 tears? Did these ones leave before everyone else? Please clarify.

  • edward squire

    captain,

    edward, of course you know more than the grand mufti of Jerusalem who declared it was not a sacred site.

    You must be reading imaginary or propagandistic newspapers. Mufti Sabri has made quite unambiguous statements to the international media about this matter.

    If you actually knew something about anything even remotely related to the matter, you would have instead pointed to the desecrations of famous “sacred sites” around Mecca and Medina by the Saudi government as a way of supporting your argument. That would have made for something a little more intelligent and challenging than a blatant and embarrassing error.

  • Chris

    I recall the Israeli argument including notice from a Mufti of Jerusalem stating the site was no longer sacred. It may not have been the most current, but once such a declaration is made, and nothing changes, should not the ruling stand?

    Or is this the case of the dog and his bone? As long as know one wants the bone, the dog treats it as garbage, but as soon as it is desired, it becomes the dog's greatest treasure.

  • Chris: “I recall the Israeli argument including notice from a Mufti of Jerusalem stating the site was no longer sacred. It may not have been the most current, but once such a declaration is made, and nothing changes, should not the ruling stand? Or is this the case of the dog and his bone? As long as no one wants the bone, the dog treats it as garbage, but as soon as it is desired, it becomes the dog’s greatest treasure“.

    Well, at first I would like to introduce myself: My name is Jakub Szadaj, I preside the Independent Jewish Faith Commune in Gdañsk. Browsing the Internet Journal, I have come across publications concerning the Holocaust and restitution of the post-Jewish property. I have found the interview you gave to the journal Rzeczpospolita entitled: Who draws profits from the Holocaust? As well as an interview for PAP: Norman G Finkelstein on the Holocaust industry. This was very interesting to read, particularly because these topics are close to my heart.

    I have found somebody who shares my opinion that the Jews living in the restitution areas are more eligible to be given back their property, than the International Jewish Organizations. During the negotiations in Warsaw in 1999, a project was submitted for establishing a common foundation of the ZGW — Union of Jewish Congregations and the WJRO — World Jewish Restitution Organization, presided by Ronald S Lauder. The solutions suggested therein for the Polish Jews associated in the Jewish Congregations, are unacceptable.

    I have the shorthand notes from the negotiations between the Union of Jewish Congregations (ZGW) in Warsaw represented by: Andrzej Zozula, Piotr Kadlcik and Feliks Lipman … and the World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO), represented by: Kalman Sultanik, Arye Edelist and Naphtali Lavie. The negotiations focused on the agreement to divide the property of Polish Jews. The Almanac published by the ZGW states that: “If a Jewish commune or the ZGW are dissolved, their property will be assigned to the WJRO”.

    The Gdañsk Jewish Commune, the biggest one in Poland, has been dissolved under some petty pretext, in order to transfer its property onto the WJRO. Financial support for the WJRO (whose wealth is not a secret) now, that we need these funds ourselves, seems absurd. We have invested a lot of work and effort in reclaiming at least part of the Jewish property. Allowing this property to be taken over by the WJRO is utterly outrageous — it is evidently detrimental to Jews in Poland. and the Polish State.

    Most surprisingly, the project was supported by the ZGW in Warsaw. Since February 2000 we have had our own Commune (independent of the ZGW in Warsaw). I rejoice because of that, but at the same time it saddens me that such a small community (that Jews form in Poland) should be divided and antagonized. I represent Jewish nationalism focused on Jewish communes and congregations whose duties include the protection of the members of Jewish communes and citizens of Jewish extraction.

    I am in favor of the opinion that the International Jewish Organizations are assemblies of interest groups whose intentions are in contradiction with the rights of Jewish nationals. I do not want to and I cannot accept something that contradicts the very idea of post-Jewish property restitution. The property returned to Jews in Poland and the money acquired from it, should remain in Poland and serve the Jews … rather than be taken abroad by the Foundation managed by a multimillionaire.

    I wish to express my respect and admiration for the man who, being such a well-known political scientist, a renowned expert in Israeli-Palestine affairs, an author of many books, openly and fearlessly speaks his mind. He is not afraid to accuse the Jewish leaders in the USA of taking advantage of their compatriot’s martyrdom for their own political and personal ends. Such actions deserve to be praised and fully approved. I hope that our relations will develop further, Yours respectfully, Jakub Szadaj, Gdañsk Jan 24th, 2001 (Letters to Finkelstein 2000 – 2001).