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.

Proud of exclusion

After Saturday’s profile in the Sydney Morning Herald, two letters in today’s paper:

When two sides go to a war of words

Ben Cubby (“The dissenter who dared to ask why“, July 29-30) suggests most of the criticisms levelled at Antony Loewenstein’s work focus on minor errors of time, date or place, leaving his broad themes unchallenged.

Far from being unchallenged, those broad themes are flawed because they are premised upon verifiable factual errors, which he has not acknowledged. Also, he uncritically accepts as fact anti-Israel polemic.

Loewenstein knows that there are no Israeli roads that may be used only by Jews, a claim he makes in his book to found a charge of racism. Israeli Arabs use them all the time.

It is equally inconvenient for him to acknowledge that Israel is a thriving democracy in which Jews and Arabs can vote and where Jews, Christians and Muslims have full freedom of religion, while Israel’s neighbours do not allow Jews to be citizens, have the vote or freely exercise their faith. (About half of Israel’s population consists of descendants of Jews who were evicted from Arab nations.)

For dissent to be credible it needs to be factually accurate and sensibly reasoned. Loewenstein fails on both counts.

David D. Knoll NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, Darlinghurst

As an Australian I support the publishing of the book by Antony Loewenstein. This is what Australia is all about: discussion of a difficult subject with a definite opinion. He is to be complimented for the guts to question and add to the robust debate in Israel that he talks about.

It will be interesting to see if anyone has the same guts to publish the book in Israel. Hopefully debate will bring about change. The fact that the “armchair generals” from the Jewish Affairs Council attack the book makes it a must-read for all morally thinking Australians.

Rodney Bassetti Watsons Bay

Knoll’s letter warrants a response. His suggestion that Israel is a “thriving democracy” in the heart of a violent Middle East may comfort his Zionist heart but perhaps he’d like to reflect on the fact that Israel maintains an illegal occupation over millions of Palestinians, individuals who, without question, do not have the same rights as Jews in Israel proper. Some democracy.

Knoll should read the regular reports from leading Israeli human rights group B’Tselem. Take their dispatch of July 20, alleging Israeli soldiers used Palestinians as human shields in Gaza. Such outrages are now so common in the occupied territories, it’s unsurprising Knoll fails to mention the occupation in his letter.

Many Zionists, including Knoll, has recently alleged that I am mistaken to claim “Jewish-only roads” in the occupied territories. Nothing could be further from the truth. I gain my knowledge from a variety of sources (including Human Rights Watch.) James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute in Washington, wrote in the LA Times in 2001:

As damaging as this cancerous growth of settlements has been to the Palestinians, the dramatic expansion of the network of “Jewish only” security roads – in reality, superhighways connecting the settlements to Jerusalem and Tel Aviv – has been even worse. Large swatches of Palestinian land have been confiscated and declared off-limits to create these roads. Their impact has been to cut the occupied territories into pieces.

Israeli journalist Gideon Levy has written about the existence of such roads. I saw them with my own eyes while I was in the West Bank in March 2005 with Israeli journalist Amira Hass. Palestinians are generally not allowed on such roads and Israeli Arabs are equally prohibited – the majority of time – to use the freshly-paved roads.

How any moral Jew or individual could defend infrastructure that is reserved for one group over another is beyond me. “Security” doesn’t justify anything.

15 comments ↪
  • Addamo_01

    Perhaps Mr Knoll might care to comment on hwo much thriving Israel would do without it's annual doll check from the US, and other forms of support.

    How about the treatment of Palestianians by the IDF, esepecialyl now that the world has witnessed how tolerant and restrined the IDF really is.

    What about commenting on a society that can brush off as unimportant an army officer’s brutal murder of a 13-year-old girl on the claim that she threatened soldiers at a military post — one of nearly 700 Palestinian children murdered by Israelis since the intifada began — is not a society with a conscience.

    What about commenting on a government that imprisons a 15-year-old girl — one of several hundred children in Israeli detention — for the crime of pushing and running away from a male soldier trying to do a body search as she entered a mosque? The girl was shot three times as she ran away and was convicted to 18 months in prison after she came out of a coma.

    As for Jews and Arabs living in peace, perhaps he would also care to comment about the fact that the Israeli parliament openly and unashamedly discusses enthnic cleansing with the off the cuff attitude that over governments discuss the environment.

  • Letter to the Sydney Morning Herald

    It would appear inconvenient for David D. Knoll to acknowledge that although they can drive on the roads in Israel, Israeli Arabs are discriminated against on a variety of fronts. Simply put, they do not enjoy the same rights as Israeli Jews. This means that although Israel is a democracy, some citizens are more equal than others. Israel's Yisrael Beiteinu party openly advocates the ethnic cleansing of Israel's Arab population. Knoll's crucial omissions give credibility to Herald journalist Ben Cubby's claim that Loewenstein's detractors do tend to focus on relatively minor errors, being unable to contest his "broad themes".

    Reckon that'll get published? (despite my boo boo about who drives on which roads)

  • viva peace

    Oh please. Just admit that you have been caught making clueless lies again. The Pals are not Israelis, therefore they do not get Israeli rights. Hullo?

  • Addamo_01

    Viva,

    Why do you even bother to post here? You're hit and run polemics make no contribution whatsoever seeing as you refuse to engage anyone in discussion.

    The Pals are not Israelis, therefore they do not get Israeli rights.

    Even when the roads cut across their land? Do Arab Israeli's get to use the roads unconditionally? If not, then for all intents and purposes, they are Jewish roads.

  • Jacob A. Stam

    This matter of the "roads" seems to come up again and again. What's the big difficulty here?

    The roads in question connect illegal settlements in the occupied territories with greater Israel. As such, they are a part of the infrastructure of illegitimate colonisation. By definition, these roads are maintained for the benefit of Jewish settlers in occupied lands.

    One wonders how mainstream Israeli Jews feel about the considerable cost of maintaining these roads for a few extremists. Especially since it is part of an illegal policy whose effect is to undermine their own security within their country's legitimate borders.

  • Glenn Condell

    Ant

    just saw an interesting piece on HuffPost – by a member of a group who put an advert in the New York Times that is 'the first time a group of major American intellectuals and activists, including leading Jewish progressives, have ever called for an arms embargo on Israel and the suspension of diplomatic relations with it unless and until it accepts a cease-fire'.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mark-levine/cmon-er

    His name is Mark LeVine and he is one interesting guy:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/contributors/bio.ph… Levine

    It would be nice to think that Jews dissenting from the ascendant Israeli fascism all over the world could make contact, pool their resources, compare notes and generally consolidate a little. The rest of us could sleep a little easier.

  • Ahem Viva,

    My boo boo was to assert that Arab Israelis get to use the roads in question. From Antony's information it appears that they can't – most of the time, presumably only at the discretion of the colonists. But "caught making clueless lies again"? My suggestion to you is to put up or shut up.

  • Roonaldo

    Gee, so Knoll is arguing that, "For dissent to be credible it needs to be factually accurate and sensibly reasoned."

    Hang on though, this is the same bloke who wrote in March that, "Israelis know that peace requires compromise, often painful compromise, and they have more than once proven their willingness to give up territory for the sake of peace."

    The fact that this "territory" being offered is, in fact, a set of parcels of occupied land seized from others in war seems to have escaped him. As does the whole concept of Bantustans, walls constructed on occupied territory, checkpoints that disrupt pregnant women attempting to reach hospital and all the other blatant examples of abuses of human rights and international law (of which he is supposedly an expert) that characterise day to day life for people in the Israeli-occupied territories.

  • Roonaldo

    Viva Peace – Palestinians are not Pals, just as Japanese are not Japs. Oh, and we spell hello with an e down here.

  • Addamo_01

    Andrew Worssam

    My suggestion to you is to put up or shut up.

    Advice I have repeatedly offered the guy. I made the mistake of assuming that Viva had a spine and a genuine desire to engage other in discussion. Just thought I might spare you the wasted energy.

    Viva considers anyone without a white face to be of inferior susbstance and deserving of all the ills that befal them. He looks down at the aboriginees and other indigenous people, and considers them weak and simple minded for accepting the white man at his word. He asserts that these people formented their own downfall beccuase they accepting gifts from white men.

  • GreginOz

    ADAMMO! Stop feeding the troll:-) I actually think that Israel is doing EXACTLY what it was set up to do. The Yalta Conference in 1945 was between US, UK, USSR. Three wily politicians with a keen sense of history decided that it would well serve their GENERATIONAL PLANS to carve up the middle east, stymie a 1500 year old enemy (Islam) and guarantee future oil production. E voila! Israel…Catspaw(n) of the west (sic)

  • Adam

    The long term strategic plan for the illegal state of Israel involved racism and apartheid to secure it freedom. I have come across a piece of work by Bruce Dixon who explains Israel and its reality towards Arabs and Muslims. For all the pro-Israeli lovers this article is a must.

    I’ve highlighted some quotes below from the article and I think can be a discussion on their own:

    The ugly and racist realities of Israel society and life under Israel occupation are rarely discussed

    It is nearly a taboo in mainstream US print and broadcast media to apply the word racist or apartheid to the state of Israel or its policies

    The last time Israel invaded and occupied Lebanon, It left 30,000 corpses

    We must combat amongst ourselves the bogus historical narratives which permit indifference to Israel apartheid

  • M.Mayes

    Very enlightening piece by Dixon there Adam, I'd bet my livelyhood though that Captain and co. arent about to read it though. Be mindful though, even though they wont read it, quote bits in future arguements. Much more substance than Captain will ever be able to provide for his cause.

  • Ian

    Yeah, Israel is a great place where everyone irrespective of race, color and especially religion is treated equally, without prejudice and its only those arabs who are blinkered bigots.

    At leat thats what Knoll et al want you to believe. But the truth has a habit of coming out at the most inconvenient times. Like this:

    Marzel to beauty queen: Don't marry a goy

    United Jewish Front leader begs local beauty queen Linor Aberjil not to marry her boyfriend, non-Jewish NBA player Sarunas Jasikevicius, and 'divorce the Jewish people'

    …[W]hile the recent marriage proposal stirred excitement in Israel, some are apparently opposed to the notion of the not purely-Jewish covenant.

    "I was pained to hear you intend to marry basketball player Jasikevicius," Marzel wrote in a letter to Aberjil. "I have nothing against Sharas, and he may well be a wonderful, charming man, but as long as he has not converted, you must not make such a move."

    Marzel wrote Aberjil that if she weds Jasikevicius she would be divorcing the people of Israel as well as her family.

    In the letter, Marzel begged Aberjil to think of her grandparents, Jewish tradition and the Israeli Torah. "The greatest danger to our people is assimilation! I urge you in the last minute not to make this move," he wrote.

    According to Marzel, his experience as a person who for years has dealt with Jewish women who married "goyim" taught him children of mix-marriage couples encounter identity problems.

    "I advise you to think, ask around and consult other people," Marzel wrote.

    Marzel concluded his letter with a sincere offer to lend the beauty queen any help she may need:

    "If you wish to be informed of the dangers associated with marrying gentiles, I am leaving you my cell phone number. Please call me any time and I shall help you."

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3223268

    Damn, how dare one of us gentiles endanger a jewish beauty queen! He should be horsewhipped!!!

  • M.Mayes

    Racism from the jews in this sense is quite Hitlerian actually. He wanted to keep the German people pure…