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.

Denial not necessary

Gideon Levy, Haaretz, February 26:

Words do not kill. So there is no statement for which it is permissible to send a person to prison. Freedom of speech is absolute, even when that which is spoken is as despicable and ridiculous as Holocaust denial. Those who start to doubt that principle will not know where to stop. Is denial of the Jewish Holocaust deserving of punishment while denial of the Armenian Holocaust, perpetrated by the Turks, is not? And why not? Because “only” a million and a half people were destroyed there?

And what about the world’s racist indifference to the destruction of a million Tutsi in Rwanda or the mass murder of 4 million people in the Congo? After all, the world ignores those holocausts even if it does not deny their existence explicitly, and nobody thinks about punishing someone for that outrageous apathy and indifference. The Danish cartoons, which also hurt millions of people, are not deserving of punishment and neither is the denial of the criminal activities of Israel in the territories, even if they are incomparable, of course, to any holocaust. The Jews had a Holocaust, it was the most horrifying crime in the history of mankind, there is nothing similar to it in its evil, and those who dare deny this deserve to be made pariahs, excommunicated and boycotted, even expelled, but not and never jailed. 

13 comments ↪
  • smiths

    Freedom of speech is absolute, even when that which is spoken is as despicable and ridiculous as Holocaust denial. Those who start to doubt that principle will not know where to stop.

    i would have agreed with this i month ago, but i dont anymore.
    for the first time in my life i am starting to wonder about those edifices of western thought, ‘rights’, ‘respect’,
    starting to doubt these principles does not necassarily mean not knowing where to stop,

    anyway, nothing is free, a number of people died in the cartoon riots, dialogue and understanding were smashed, jyllands posten, david irving, their speech is not free, nor is anyones, its a myth

    i saw a speaker at the weeekend, mark kingmill, talking about philosophy and democracy, he suggested that the idea that every person just by existing has rights within a democratic system just doesnt work, that maybe rights can be granted when there is genuine participation in the system, genuine responsibilities taken.

    also saw robert manne, what a fucking dude!

  • Addamo

    Haaretz can be such a breath of fresh air.

    It is proof that there are many living in Israel who are very reasonable and open mided thinker, willing to question the satus quo.

  • Antony Loewenstein

    Indeed, but even Haaretz has moved to the right in the last years. Levy and Hass are the exception, not the rule, sadly.

  • rhross

    smiths

    you seem to be suggesting that people died and violence erupted because freedom of speech was taken too far.

    Freedom of speech (and cartoon) is a principle and it was expressed in a country which enshrines that principle in law.

    The fact that people in other countries, who do not have freedom of speech, chose to react to it with violence reflects on them not the principle of freedom of speech being expressed in Danish law.

    You are also suggesting that violence should be seen as a 'sign' to change, even when the change betrays a fundamental principle of the civilized and democratic world.

    In essence you are saying violence works. That is dangerous. It is even more dangerous to say that the violence of foreignes, which reflects their values, should be accepted as evidence that your values need to be changed.

    And the idea that every person just by existing has rights within a democratic system is, quite simply the system. It does work and it should work. What 'entity' would you have doling out rights as and when they were deemed to be deserving?

    That is the way things used to be for everyone and is the way things still are for anyone who does not live in the West. What you are suggesting, through fear since you cite violence as a cause to effect change, is a step backward and a betrayal of the principles of civilization and democracy for which so many fought so hard for so long and for which so many died.

    Of course there is no absolute freedom of speech or anything. there are necessary rules by which we abide. But, beyond the laws which are applicable to the use and misuse of free speech there is the precious principle that those who live in the democratic world have a right to think as they wish and to speak as they wish, or even to draw as they wish.

    Anything else is tyranny.

  • Addamo

    Also Smiths,

    The idea you;re proposing ultimately means someone is apointed with deciding what degree of freedom of speech is acceptable, which in turm implies that some will be given greater lattitude than others.

    That clearly wil never work outside of a tyranical system.

  • Chris

    I wonder if the reverse is also to be protected. The freedom not to speak. Someone knows of a terror attack in which 1 million will die when the water supply is poisened; Does he have the right not to speak. And if he is found out, he should not be punished? Merely pariahs, excommunicated and boycotted?

    And the expelling, isn't that a punishment? How can you have a freedom od speech and still be punished? Does anyone have the right to single that person out and personally punish them?

  • smiths

    the opening comment of the article,

    words do not kill

    it made me think of this story,

    People who witnessed a stampede on a bridge in Baghdad that killed more than 1,000 people and injured hundreds of others have been speaking of scenes of mayhem.

    Several survivors said the panic began quickly spreading among hundreds of thousands of Shia pilgrims after someone said a suicide bomber was in the crowd.

    "We heard that a suicide attacker was among the crowd. Everybody was yelling so I jumped from the bridge into the (Tigris) river, swam and reached the bank," said Mr Ali, still standing bare-footed and soaking wet.

    An Iraqi man at the scene said he had heard the rumours circulating.

    "We were at the Holy city of Al-Kadhimiya and then some people said that a car bomb was going to explode.

    "There were thousands on people on the bridge. People got scared and began to panic. They began trampling on each other."

    see the thing is, words can kill, there wasnt a suicide bomber in the crowd, and at least a thousand people died.
    everyone has the responsibility to think very carefully about the things they say, the words they use, cos they can kill

  • As far as I know, this whole thing about freedom of speech is a bit of a myth. It is protected by law in the US, but not anywhere else according to Chomsky who was talking about this on the ABC recently (and is generally right about this sort of stuff). Otherwise that creep David Irving wouldn't be looking at 3 years in jail.

  • Chris

    I thought that was the equivilance of "fire!" in a crowded theatre which all should know is not protected speech in the freeist of societies.

  • bob sinclair

    Words can kill. Just ask 1 million Rwandans after their murderers listened to Rwandan Hutu nationalist radio for a few weeks.

    You're very very wrong

  • smiths

    funny how the 'free speech is an absolute right crowd' seem to have muzzled themselves suddenly

  • rhross

    smiths

    Of course words have power. I actually believe they have more power than many might expect or be prepared to accept. What you say does make a difference in terms of the energy that you send out to others.

    Dr Masaru Emoto did some interesting studies looking at the impact of written and spoken words on water: http://www.hado.net/index2.html and it has long been believed, since ancient times, that each letter had it's own energy or power and words themselves had varying impacts in terms of energies.

    It is in essence why Judaism for instance prohibits the use of the name of God.

    But, beyond all this there are two issues:

    1. is how people use words and what outcome they would like to see from the use of those words ….violence, peace,neutrality or simply communication.

    2. the right of individuals to express their beliefs freely.

    The latter is a foundation stone which underpins the democratic and civilized world.

    The former is part of our day to day life and to some degree is disciplined by law in that we may not use words to incite violence, to deceive or to seek to bring harm to others.

    And then there is the 'shit happens' factor. The rumour on the bridge which saw Iraqis die comes into that category. I can't believe you are suggesting that there should be laws in place to stop such a thing. It is simply not possible.

    Like all things there is a downside to freedom of speech and that is because within the gift there is always a curse and vice-versa.

    Everything has negatives as well as positives but is that a reason to ban them or to proscribe them to try to make them 'safer'? Falling in love, getting married, having children, training to be an Olympic athlete, working at being an artist or writer, learning to ride a bicycle ….. all of these things have negative aspects and some of them actually involve great physical or emotional suffering but they remain, like freedom of speech, valuable expressions of individual rights inour society.

  • Chris

    What laws exist limiting free speech, on the most part, is to prohibit speech deliberately designed to cause death and destruction as occurred in Al-Kadhimiya.

    Some countries have gone so far to end speech which deliberately provokes others to violence that they inadvertantly silence reasonable conversation.

    Perhaps in 100 years, those laws will go by the wayside. But I am not looking forward to the day i see hundreds of psuedoaryans marching on Berlin in Jackboot and Brownshirts, Nazi flags held high shouting "Heritage, not Hate" at the top of their lungs, as we saw the same in former Conferderate states in America.