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.

Deadly double standards sow terror

The following article appears in today’s Australian newspaper:

Israel’s response to the abduction and killing of its soldiers is disproportionate and counter-productive, warns Antony Loewenstein

Israel is fighting on two fronts and against two forces it helped create. Hamas and Hezbollah gained their political capital by resisting Israeli occupation in Palestine and Lebanon. The past decades have proven that the harder Israel tries to destroy these movements, the greater their credibility and political power.

And what does Israel have to show for countless years of military opposition to terrorism? A region that supports growing Islamic resistance movements and Arab populations that when given the chance vote for them in overwhelming numbers.

Tragically for innocent civilians caught in the ideological crossfire, the escalation in the Middle East has taken a predictable path.

Terrorism is followed by righteous revenge. Israel views itself as the aggrieved party, the victim of unwarranted violence towards its soldiers and citizens. After the abduction of three Israeli officers by Hamas and Hezbollah, the Jewish state, backed by the Bush administration, has unleashed its military might against Palestine and Lebanon.

The ramifications of such disproportionate and illegal force are disturbing and potentially dangerous in this unstable region. In the short term, the moral case for Israel has taken an inevitable battering.

During the past week, civilians have been murdered by Israeli air strikes and artillery. Infrastructure, such as bridges, roads, power plants and airports, has been destroyed.

The Geneva Conventions specifically state that such behaviour is a war crime. Israel and its supporters ignore these legal niceties while demanding enemy forces abide by them. Many Western governments, including Australia, are ignoring this double standard but the Arab world has a long memory, and the stakes are higher than ever in the present geopolitical climate. The US and Israeli response towards the democratically elected Hamas Government in Palestine is clear: no negotiations, no financial support and relentless punishment of the Palestinian people for electing the wrong party.

The recent reoccupation of Gaza – although Israel never really left, controlling all sea, air and road entries into the territory – is aimed at destroying the newly elected Palestinian Government. The imprisonment of dozens of Hamas politicians inevitably will radicalise the Palestinian population. Is a siege mentality now endemic to the Israeli national psyche?

For the international community the Middle East is once again a hot spot: the local drama of conflicting national aspirations sits alongside the twin global interests of nuclear power and petro dollars. In this larger context Iran and Syria are volatile players. They are clear ideological soul mates of Hamas and Hezbollah and are using their proxies to battle Israel and the US. Although Arab governments have long used the Palestinians as a convenient political football, support for the Palestinians can only increase as the occupation continues.

After the abduction of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, the Western world was bombarded with information about his background and family. He was humanised. But what of the countless Palestinians imprisoned without trial in Israel jails or the numerous Palestinian women and children regularly taken from their homes in the middle of the night? The Israeli army is a people’s army; the Israeli state is founded on the principle of a freed people. By contrast, the Palestinian struggle for freedom is constructed as an illegitimate terrorist plot.

In any other retelling of the imperial-colonial story across the 20th century, the Palestinians’ struggle would be an honourable fight for freedom and independence. The suffering of the Palestinians is clearly now not worthy of examination. During the present crisis, it seems as if Israelis are the only victims of terrorism, that Hezbollah rocket attacks are unjustifiable aggression.

The Bush administration’s “war on terror” requires us to believe that the West must fight terror in Lebanon, West Bank, Gaza, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Africa, Asia and South America. According to Israeli spin, Lebanon is an “axis of terror” and the Jewish state is “fighting terror on all fronts”. The Palestinians are, as always, caught in the crossfire between Israel’s view of its place in the region and the Arab world’s indifference to their plight.

Israel and the international community are facing a moment of truth. Negotiations are the inevitable conclusion of the present violence, as is the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails in exchange for the return of abducted Israeli soldiers. With the UN Security Council becoming a toothless vehicle for the US to stifle any action against Israel, uncomfortable questions need to be asked. The West’s blank cheque towards Israel since 1948, primarily due to Holocaust guilt, can no longer excuse, justify and fund a supposed democracy that occupies a neighbouring state and bombs its civilians.

Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh recently wrote in The Washington Post that the American people should open their eyes to Israeli behaviour in the occupied territories. “If Israel will not allow Palestinians to live in peace, dignity and national integrity”, he concluded, “Israelis themselves will not be able to enjoy those same rights.”

It is now more than ever in Israeli and US interests to ensure a democratic and economically viable Palestine is constructed. For those of us committed to finding a just and peaceful solution, one that honours the legitimate national aspirations of Israelis and Palestinians, this is a matter of urgency.

Antony Loewenstein is the author of My Israel Question, to be released in August by Melbourne University Publishing.

11 comments ↪
  • Rich Bowden

    Hello Ant,

    Congratulations on the article….well argued and well written. I cannot but feel sorry for the Lebanese and Israeli people, caught as they are between two forms of extremism, Hizbollah and the policies of the Israeli government.

    To quote from The Nation

    " the most likely casualty of the latest case of Israel's massive retaliation will be the fragile social peace and the democratically elected government in Lebanon. Ironically, the much-trumpeted Cedar Revolution, the only example of the success of the Bush doctrine that neoconservatives can still point to, could be brought down by the Likudnik policies of Israel that the neo-cons so champion."

    God preserve the ordinary people of both sides of this ongoing conflict.

  • Addamo_01

    I think it's fair to say that with this development, along with the failure of Iraq and the return of Taliban Policing Laws in Afghanistan, Bush's democracy experiement has been an utterly miserable failure.

    That's not to mentino the Oang revolution being in chaos in the Ukraine. The Not a good look when Putin can throw Iraqi democracy in your face at a press conference and cause the press corps to laugh.

  • orang

    Great piece Antony. Well said.

  • viva peace

    It is good to see The Australian giving some balabce for a change and publishing an article from somebody with a more humane appreciation of the reality, rather than hackneyed cliches of Che Guevara. Grant Bertram's artcile is a must read.

  • boredinHK

    Addamo-01,

    a different view on the state of things in afghanistan.
    http://vasco-pyjama.livejournal.com/

    Check the entry for July 11.

    The comments rightly question the opinion expressed but the viewpoint is encouraging for the progrees of stability at least .

    And Vasco Pyjama just has a great site.

  • ross wickenhofer

    A great article Antony. Amazed but encouraged that The Australian ran with it- a balance to the assumed free ride that the Zionist lobby gets all too often.

  • Don Wigan

    "it seems as if Israelis are the only victims of terrorism, that Hezbollah rocket attacks are unjustifiable aggression."

    I got exactly that impression from the 730 Report interview with the Israeli Foreign Minister. He said that the most important objective was to secure Israel by stopping these rocket attacks. Pardon? When was the first rocket attack? Quite a while after IDF had taken out the airport, various bridges and infrastructure and numerous civilians. Evidently there is a belief that the IDF should be allowed to do this with impugnity; after all they did have two soldiers they were keen to rescue.

    Somebody fights back and shock, horror, the security of innocent Israeli civilians is threatened. Perhaps they thought it would be like Shock and Awe, where there was no effective air defence. It's pretty easy to terrorise then. But as the Americans found out, it doesn't necessarily win the affection of locals or even their respect. Didn't work for the Luftwaffe all those years ago either.

  • Adam

    The media has the power to show and make believe white is black and black is white. The media is practically fighting the war on behalf of the Israel against Lebanon and other Arab (Muslim) countries. It has simply come to a point where I can just read bias and prejudice reports against the government or democracy of Lebanon. Since World War I and II, the western powerful nations have invented the media as part and parcel of military and propaganda warfare and without a doubt its definitely does the job as it should.

    The media is clearly responsible for the message they bring to us, that responsibility includes public trust, fairness and equality but in recent decade it become more the case that the media tells you this is what you should believe in, your choice is only this and if you resist then your on your own.

    Coming back to my original point, which was that people should make assessments for them selves, use what ever tools and mediums are to assist but always remember “you can’t clap with only one hand” and neither can you allow someone make you believe “white is black and black is white”.

  • Deb

    And what does Israel have to show for countless years of military opposition to terrorism?

    This is the key quote, ant.

    Putting aside any questions of morality (which both sides seems to be able to do in this mess) the simple fact is that if using hardline, high tech military tactics against terrorism worked, Israel would've crushed Palestinian resistance by now.

    How many more decades are they going to keep doing what clearly doesn't work?

    Liked the article all 'round.

  • Adam

    Deb

    Your comments don’t make sense, especially the following lines:

    if using hardline, high tech military tactics against terrorism worked, Israel would’ve crushed Palestinian resistance by now.

    If the Palestinian people are resisting an illegal occupation of their own mother land then how do you define that as terrorism? Throughout history stories and evidence has existed that a nation which has been illegally invaded naturally would have grown a resistance group. Take the French history, or the British rule over India. A resistance group cannot be a terrorist group but rather a group to win back their freedom in their own land.

    My point is that until you don’t make up your mind and recognize the definition of terrorist groups and freedom (resistance) fighters, you will still be indulged in a confused understanding of the current conflict in Middle East.

  • Thai Van

    I am just amazed that the US did nothing to stop the slaughtering of the Lebanese people, they are so biased towards Lebanon and the whole Arab countries. They should try to bomb Iran to see what they would get in return. No wonder all the people in the Middle East hate them that much. Instead of spending all their Billion of Dollars of aid from the US on bombs and guns, they shoud instead give them to the Palestinian people to build schools and hospitals so the children can get some education and improve their lives then Israel might be able to live in peace. If Israel continues bullying those defendless states then Israel will suffer in the long term.