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.

Why let truth get in the way?

Robert Fisk was in Sydney last week and lectured on the responsibility of journalists in times of war. I’ve now been informed that around 1500 people attended the event, with hundreds being turned away. This week’s Australian Jewish News editorialises on his speech and is very creative with the truth:

…”Experts” such as veteran Middle East correspondent Robert Fisk are invited on to campus to deliver (unchallenged) lectures which pour scorn on the United States and Israel.

In a lecture to an audience at Macquarie University last week, Fisk stopped just millimetres short of suggesting that Israel was the cause of the 9/11 attacks. The audience reportedly (and predictably) showered him in accolades.

In fact, Fisk said the complete opposite on many occasions – and during my interview with him afterwards – and stressed that Israel had no involvement in the crimes against humanity on September 11.

Furthermore, the suggestion that Fisk was “unchallenged” implies that his appearance would only have been appropriate with a counter pro-Zionist speaker. Next time a pro-Israeli speaker appears in Australia, I look forward to the paper advocating a pro-Palestinian perspective to ensure “balance.”

The newspaper is also concerned about alleged anti-Zionist bias on universities across the country. The first example:

It is gratifying that the vice-chancellor of the University of Western Sydney (UWS) blasted the university’s student newspaper for publishing a scurrilous front-page article describing Jews as “bloodsuckers”, “money-grabbers” and “thieves”.

But even though such affirmative action is commendable, question marks remain over why the article was published in the first place.

The author says it was intended as satire in response to the offensive Danish cartoon depictions of the Prophet Mohammed. He says the point was to “show how offensive it is when the same things that are said about Muslims are said about Jews”.

But if the assumption was that the article — not to mention the accompanying cartoons — would cause offence, why was it published?

NSW Jewish Board of Deputies president David Knoll was right to suggest that the protagonists “followed the example of the Iranian Government, which responded to the Danish cartoons by promoting an international competition for antisemitic cartoons”.

But it is the prevailing zeitgeist that exists on many Australian campuses that creates a fertile breeding ground for such scandalous material.

I haven’t seen the student newspaper, so I can’t comment. However, the AJN then complains about the simulations conducted by Macquarie University’s Centre for Middle East and North African Studies (of which I’m a board member), recently stopped by the NSW Education Department (more info on this here, here and here):


…The Middle East history simulation course at Macquarie, which has now been dropped following protests by Jewish groups, was allegedly biased in its presentation of the conflict to high-school students.

In New South Wales a number of public secondary high schools have participated in Arab/Israeli role-play simulations conducted by the Middle East Centre. The simulations have been adapted by teachers to meet the needs of high school participants focusing on the Arab/Israeli conflict. The simulation process has undergone continual evolution to ensure its success in the secondary school context.

The first simulation was conducted in 2001 with students from Killara High School and North Sydney Boys in conjunction with The Centre for Middle East and North African Studies. In 2002 the simulation gained support from the Macquarie ICT Innovations Centre, a collaborative initiative between the NSW Department of Education and Training and Macquarie Uni. Since 2002 both centres have been directly involved with the school simulations and the number of schools participating has increased. In 2005 there were five public high schools.

Teachers have coordinated the school simulations and the coverage and student feedback has been very positive.

In June 2004 the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies contacted the Board of Studies and the Principal of Killara High School to complain, citing perceived bias in the content of the material and that there were too many Arab roles compared with the number of Israeli roles. The results were that the Department of Education conducted a formal inquiry into the running of the simulation and the KHS Principal allowed the Jewish Board of Deputies to talk to the Killara students. Though a Palestinian representative was not given the same access and the other participating school refused to allow any non-educational body to talk to their students. I am also aware that there was a Department of Education delegation to Canberra to speak to the Palestinian representative and we believe Brenda Nelson, who at that time was the Federal Minister for Education (and is now the Defence Minister.)

The inquiry formalized a set of procedures for schools to follow when they participated in any further simulations. Thus in 2005 five schools were involved in a simulation which was extremely successful but again drew complaints from the Jewish Board of Deputies. The issue that they were able to complain about was not educational but that not all the schools followed the bureaucratic guidelines. The Department at the end of last year reassesses the simulation and although all the reviews from the participating school were positive, the Board of Studies, fearful of the political fall out, will now not allow the public schools to participate. Many of the teachers involved are very disappointed with the outcome and would like the Department to be courageous and let the simulations continue.

The Jewish News has reported that the simulations will no longer occur because of bias in their delivery, which are not the findings of the Department. Sadly the Department has not clarified this misinformation with the paper.

The full story is yet to be revealed, though Jewish lobbyists have nothing to be proud of, unless, of course, censoring alternative readings of the Israel/Palestine conflict is their raison d’etre.

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