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 we do what we do

Why does the Israeli air-force kill civilians?

It’s the Holocaust, stupid.

42 comments ↪
  • viva peace

    Too right. As the colonel so rightly points out Nasralla and Armadinnerjacket are up for a replay. As they sow, let them reap!

  • Roonaldo

    Still spouting your hatred Viva? What did the children in Qana and elsewhere sow?

  • orang

    So when the President of Iran says Israel you stink, I immediately feel not guilty about spilling the guts of a Lebanese..(they're all the same you know….those people. You know to us Poles they all look alike anyway.)

  • Adam

    Were the Nazi-Germany ever oppressed or abused and suffered a similar holocaust before they decided to mass murder Jews in Europe? It seems the trend that Israel is following here is that the oppressed and abused are oppressing and abusing, so was it the same for the Nazi-Germany.

    I mean if that is the case where Israel who once were oppressed and abused civilization are now doing exactly that to others and seem to fight hard to justify their holocaust actions against another civilization, then does the same go for Nazi-Germany?

  • Suze

    whoah there!

    One of the most distasteful things to me about the constant references to the Holocaust is that it weakens what should be the most important memory for humanity- not just for Jewish people but for everyone. Have we learned what happens when you turn a blind eye to the "Unpeople" of the world- be they the Jews of Europe in 1940 or Armenians in 1919 , Kosovars or Rwandans? NO NO NO

    If it is expedient, if we can work up some grossly immoral self-justification to turn our backs on a genocide, still. But be very very careful before you raise the spectre of the holocaust. We are witnessing a terrible, horrific injustice against the Palestinians, a most callous and unjust war against Lebanon, but this is not a genocide at present.

  • Captain

    Thats it, make fun of the Holocaust. It is an inescapable context of the current difficulties.

    And isn't it funny how no Hezbollah are ever killed? Israel just likes killing innocent civilians: welcome back to the Jewish blood libel: Leb style!!

  • orang

    No definitely the Holocaust would be the biggest of bad things that happened, so bad that when the Israeli pilots get a Hezbollah in their sights, they get so excited at the thought of exacting revenge for the Holocaust, their hands tremble, they sweat profusely bells are ringing lights flashing..and they miss!!

    Just hold your breath and squeeze – don't hey get shooting lessons these boys?

  • Adam

    but this is not a genocide at present

    Suze, there are no other words to explain what the illegal state of Israel has subjected the Palestinian people to. The Palestinians are living in one mass concentration camp where slowly and gradually their existence is being hidden from the International community. You maybe right that it may not seem as genocide at present as its in the baby stages of it.

    Media can coat a different layer to this latest holocaust.

  • Suze

    Who's making fun?? The holocasut has absolutely nothing to do with the middle east conflict. Did a Nazi stray into the middle east and infect the populace with Hitler's own brand of deranged antisemitism? Ahistorical, obscurantism.

    That is disgraceful Captain.

  • orang

    "….. but this is not a genocide at present. "

    Hmmm. Is it ethnic cleansing perhaps?

    Maybe a little War Atrocities with some Demographic changes thrown in – ie 1,000,000 people turned into refugees.

    That's good though Suze, I like the style.

    Everybody, they have been blasting at civilians intentionally killing them – but good news no-one's calling it a genocide yet. I think then there must be a magic number – or is a ratio you have to achieve before you call it genocide?

    -I'll look it up

  • Suze

    Adam, – ghettoisation I can understand, but I reiterate what I said above. If we, like Olmert refer to events in WWII inadvisedly, what moral authority is left to mobilize people when genocide occurs? Did the world leap to the defence of the tutsis? I sympathize with your intent but I worry that the immense moral weight of the Holocaust is being gradually eroded.

  • Adam

    Suze

    That the difference you see, Israel have taken the holocaust excuse and used that to defend it self against a civilization who Israel themselves have changed their environment into a massive concentration camp. Any hostilities towards Israel is its own doing and Israel has emerged to be the evil monster in the Middle East with its big brother monster living in the west.

    The holocaust has given Israel a green light to exercise any action irrelevant of any international law, the fact is that Israel have down play this new Arab-holocaust through their influence in the media.

    No one needs to convince anyone as the world can see for themselves what Israel is doing to innocent people in Palestine and Lebanon.

  • Suze

    War crimes have been alleged, but as yet noone has successfully prosecuted. if the policies at present enforced continue I think apartheid is a reasonable accusation- and that is a Crime against Humanity. Genocide is different -see Genocide Watch which has laid out a series of distinct phases of Genocide.

    I don't think it is helpful to use hyperbole as a means of shocking people into paying attention. So far, noone has been able to bring a successful suit for War Crimes against Israel. Most people "see" Israel through a filter which explicitly prevents them from admitting that Israel as an entity is capable of immorality. How to combat this? I don't think unsubstantiated accusations will help- rather hinder.

  • Captain

    It is not disgraceful at all.

    I don't care how sick you are of hearing about it. Hamas and the Nazis share the same platform. Hezbollah have openly genocidal goals, Nazi style.

    The only arab holocaust that is happening, is courtesy of Al Reuters.

  • Adam

    Did a Nazi stray into the middle east and infect the populace

    YEAH – and it is known today as Israel.

  • Addamo_01

    And isn’t it funny how no Hezbollah are ever killed? Israel just likes killing innocent civilians: welcome back to the Jewish blood libel: Leb style!!

    Isn't it funyn just? Just how it's funny how Hezbollah rockets are somehow only killing Arab Israelis.

    Hamas and the Nazis share the same platform.

    And seeing as Isrel gave Hams thei start in life, no doubt Israel also share the Nazi platform.

    Hezbollah have openly genocidal goals, Nazi style.

    Genocidal goals? Where did you read that you moron? They are a resiatance movement who specialise in kicking IDF arse.

    The only arab holocaust that is happening, is courtesy of Al Reuters.

    Based on what? Two doctored photographs? Nice try maggot.

    It is clear this whole storm in a tea cup is a plant, designed to discredit and censor the images comming out fo Lebanon that were ruining Israel's image. The maniulatino of those pictures was so bad that it was almost begging to be picked up on.

    Just a typical mossad type operation. Worked well. Now the IDF can do what it does best, do back to killing children and no one will be there to report it.

  • Leo Buddha

    Why do you do what you do Antony?

  • Addam

    As the colonel so rightly points out Nasralla and Armadinnerjacket are up for a replay. As they sow, let them reap!

    So far, the only ones reapindg are teh Lebanese and the IDF (who are getting their arses kicked).

  • Suze

    Here is a translation of israeli leaflets telling citizens south of Litani R. to leave
    (via angry arab blog)

    A better literal translation indicating how bad their Arabic:

    To the Lebanese citzens residing south of the Litani River

    Read this document with full comprehension and do as it orders.

    The IDF will escalate its activities and will hit with the most excessive force terrorist elements that uses you as human shields and fires rockets/missiles from inside your houses in the direction of the state of Israel.

    Every car including any type that moves south of the Litani river will be bombed because it is suspected in transporting rockets/missiles and military and ruining equipment.

    It is your duty to do so as every person in any car is placing their life in danger.

    State of Israel

    (Apparently the IDf still doesn't know Katyushas can't be fired from within houses.)

  • Addam

    Read this document with full comprehension and do as it orders.

    What law gives Israel the authority to issue these orders?

    Anyone notice the glaring contradiction? The IDF is insist that Hezbollah is using peope as human shields while bombing those human shields without any regard.

    If you happen t be handicapped and your only means of transport are vehicles, we are teh chosen will see to it that you get a VIP pass to give to St Peter.

  • Addamo

    Why does the Israeli air-force kill civilians?

    Short answer – because they can.

  • M.Mayes

    In summary, the holocaust whilst it is a tragedy not to be forgotten, is completely irrelevent to events in the middle east, the Colonel, Captain, Viva (and anyone else who has brought up the holocaust in direct relation to current events) need to focus on the issues at hand and stop falling into the trap of the Zionist victims complex.

  • Captain

    Jews as child killers is a very old antisemitic blood libel.

  • Addamo

    Jews as child killers is a very old antisemitic blood libel.

    Every time the IDF is accused or massacrs, you bleat "blood libel", as though the act of stating he obvous (that the IDF kills civilians) is more f an outrage than eh killing itself.

    Blood libel implies blood sarifice. What Isrel is doing is killing cvilians – Arabs in particular, so there is nothing blood libe about that.

    When Israelis kill children, that makes them child killers. What would you have them called, charity workers?

    You relly do have a Zionist brain turmour.

  • Addamo

    Jews as child killers is a very old antisemitic blood libel.

    You are priceless Captain. That the IDF are killing children by the hundreds is beyond dispute, but what offends you is that it is being reported.

    So rather than express any regret, you merely bleat "blood libel" even though it has nothing to do with Blood Libel. Perhaps you need to have explained what Blood Libel means, but it's not like teh IDF are parkign their F-16's to have a ritual every time they bullseye a building filled with Arab Children now is it?

    When the IDF kills chilren in the hundreds, that makes them child kilers. Just like when the IDF forced 1000 Egtina POW's to dig their own graves and mowed he down with Uzis, that makes them mass murderers.

    What woudl you have them called? Freedm fighters?

  • Addamo

    Fom Wikipedia:

    Blood libels are allegations that a particular group kills people as a form of human sacrifice, and uses their blood in various rituals. The alleged victims are often children.

    Jews are the most common target of blood libels, but many other groups have been accused, including Christians, Cathars, Carthaginians, Knights Templar, Witches, Christian heretics, Roma, Wiccans, Druids, neopagans, Satanists, and evangelical Protestant missionaries.

    Where Captain, has anyone mentinoed anything about the IDF partaking in using the blood of Lebanese muslim children for various rituals?

  • Suze

    Israel helps its Generals avoid War Crimes Prosecutions. Thats Generals- plural

  • Glenn Condell

    That pilot epitomises for me the tragic stupidity of Israeli behaviour. Under all the macho chest-beating and teeth-baring, there beats the heart of a traumatised and frightened child, one who has vowed, consciously or otherwise, to avenge their parents or grandparents, and more widely the abuse of their people and religion. There is eager institutional support for this reaction, and indeed organised societal vituperation for those who demur from it's tenets. Unfortunately the tenor of this approach for many of it's practitioners has shifted from 'never again' to 'our turn now'.

    Grandaddy of the US strain of this thinking is Irving Kristol, who has let the veil slip on a few occasions, most recently regarding the cynical use the Lobby makes of it's fundamentalist Christian confreres, but most relevantly years ago when he defined statesmanship as knowing who your enemies are. This perfectly captures the essence, and the fatal flaw of neoconnery and Likudnicity, for statesmanship if it still means anything, should be about making even enemies friends, or at least not enemies any more.

    Kristol's formulation is an impoverished recipe for getting on with a full and happy life, let alone a wise and effective foreign policy, and while one can readily appreciate where it came from and why, you can't if you are serious about peace, support it. Ironically, Likudnik and neocon aggression is all theoretical – grunts or proxies do the fighting, the Other does the dying. The battle cries come from the safety of the Upper West Side or Golders Green, and it is difficult to gauge from these distant ramparts the longterm damage they are doing to their own cherished cause. This distance is both a cause and an effect of the perceived effeteness of the mostly nerdy, eggheaded chickenhawk brigade.

    'Were the Nazi-Germany ever oppressed or abused and suffered a similar holocaust before they decided to mass murder Jews in Europe?'

    Well no Holocaust, but you have to remember that the collective German self-image between the wars had taken a fearful battering. From becoming the foremost power in Europe at the end of the 19th century, they had been beaten in WW1, but what hurt most was the terms of the Versailles treaty, which were punitive and vindictive in a modern sense, replacing the old idea of war fought with honour.

    The sense of dishonour and weakness was palpable, and when admixed with the grinding poverty that the war, reparations and an incipient depression had wrought, it provided a bed of tinder in which Hitler and his henchmen could thrive. Primarily they offered to arrest the generally perceived decline of Germany and, along with the promise of a more stable economy, they did this by allowing Germans, via exclusionary, race-based national narratives, to feel superior again, or at the very least not inferior as had been the case since 1918.

    So for me there are parallels; a collective aggressive psychosis is normally preceded by a collective trauma, and is fueled by the promise of restored dignity and honour. Which is one reason why visiting just such a trauma upon millions of the Others right now, in our possibly short window of opportunity, strikes me as such tragically stupid behaviour. What comes around etc. Imagine a billion Muslim versions of our cap'n sometime down the track.

    'I worry that the immense moral weight of the Holocaust is being gradually eroded.'

    Me too, but it is children of the Holocaust who are doing most of the digging at the base. Spikes in antisemitism worldwide lately aren't some statistical quirk. It is difficult to get too worked up about something that happened to lots of Israeli forbears 60 years ago when you are seeing Israel murder innocents in real time.

    Israel's very existence is courtesy of the world's sympathy, so much of the world is understandably vexed by the Israeli preference for inflammatory behaviour and peremptory, unilateral decision-making. The preference for wildly disproportionate hair-trigger response does not come across as strength; rather it looks like the panic of true cowardice. To a lot of us, the Holocaust card, one which should rarely if ever leave the deck, is being cynically played to advance short-sighted political agendas, most of which involve theft from and killing of innocent neighbours. In this light it will be interesting to see where the waters of the Litani end up flowing once the dust settles. If they find their way to arid Israel the comparison with Nazi 'lebensraum' will not only be inevitable it will be appropriate.

    'I don’t think it is helpful to use hyperbole as a means of shocking people into paying attention.'

    I can see your point (and you made several very good ones Suze) but I'm not so sure. Where have calm, reasoned, learned dissertations ever got us? Name-calling I agree gets us nowhere but a spade at some point has to be called by it's right name. What's happening now is lesser in scale I agree; far less Lebanese have had their lives destroyed by Israel than European Jews by the Nazis, but then far less Israelis have been killed in this conflict than Lebanese, so while extent is relative, the essence of the behaviour is not. Plus Israel has the Nazi example of how not to ethnically cleanse a region, and so, rather than blitzkreigs or death camps, they slowly strangle the place to death or to utter ineffectiveness as a rival, with the world's only superpower standing guard like a faithful hound, loyal but none too bright.

    Having said all that, the leaflet you quote from, and the atrocities it seeks to warrant, are very middle Europe circa 1939 don't you think?

  • Suze

    Several countries are now openly canvassing the term apartheid in relation to Israel- but how to get anyone before a court? 900 odd days before Bush's terms up. I fear that millions of Muslim captains are exactly what we are getting right now. I notice on some of the arab blogs that they are greeting the piffling attempts of small groups of Jewish people to express outrage and solidarity with a kind of "thanks but it is all far too late".

    To say that Israeli outrages causes antisemitism removes the essential component of choice and self- responsibility. Hanan Ashrawi says that after years of abuse, including beatings she was proud to say that she had never given in to hatred. This is how one maintains humanity.

  • Addamo_01

    Excellent post Glenn,

    It is a paradox that in spite of the age old saying, time heals all wounds, Israel in fact appears to be defying this process

    A nation that mandates the primacy of it’s ethnicity or religion over all others, will eventually become psychologically dysfunctional, and we are seeing that with Israel today. The event that led to the creation of Israel has become relegated to second place behind the narcissistic obsession with its own image. Not only does it strive to maintain its racial superiority (at all costs), it views any resistance to this imagined superiority as an existential threat.

    This is displayed by the intolerance the Israel lobby has to those who even regard Arabs as human beings, much less consider that one can support Israel’s existence while also supporting a two state solution.

    Groups like the ADL and people like Melanie Phillips see to it that phantom threats are plentiful and insist that societies refusal to recognize these imaginary dangers is in itself, evidence that the danger is all the more foreboding. Israel has become increasingly paranoid, its society closed and insular, and intellectually limited. Setbacks enrage it; humiliations madden it to the point it loses all reason. Israel now lashes out in a crazed effort, lacking any sense of proportion, to reassure itself of its strength.

    The Israeli lobby no has ceased to be discreet about it’s influence in Washington, now choosing to blatantly flaunt this influence in a belief this will warn off all challengers.

    In physiological behavior, they say that dependents come to resent their benefactors. It seems pretty obvious too all but the US that Israel almost holds the US in contempt. Expecting that they will get whatever they want, whenever they want it, and without question, but forever mindful that the vales of this largesse can be turned off at any time, which only heightens the resentment.

    As Billmon wrote this week:

    The thing is, when a charge like anti-Semitism is repeated, over and over, high and low, to cover everything from David Duke's poisonous rants to the mildest criticisms of the Israeli war machine in action, it inevitably starts to lose its sting. If you've got any intellectual courage at all, you begin to think: I'm going to be accused of anti-Semitism no matter what I write, so why not write honestly, and let the readers decide who's telling the truth?

  • Suze

    I just did a search and could find no reference to the war crimes charges against Generals Kochavi or Almog at SMH or The Age. Interesting.

  • orang

    Suze, I don't believe you will see "Israel" and "war crimes" on the same page of these papers, let alone the same article. Word associations and all that – can't have 'em.

  • viva peace

    Suze

    Your responses on thgis thread fill me with some hope. I have seen the first light bulbs flash that you have been swimming with Holocaust-denying piranahs. I also advise you to consider the fact that you are a woman in relatiion to these issues.

  • Suze

    No one has denied the holocaust here Viva- don't be so paranoid.

  • Captain

    Blood libel: killing children for the services of Zionism. It is merely a new incarnation of the same theme. But addambooo, nuance was never your strong suit.

  • orang

    The sun has gone down, the blood , the blood

  • M.Mayes

    I see Captains logic here now Addamo.

    Arab's killing Israeli children makes them CHILD KILLERS, but Israeli's killing Arab children is just the "services of Zionism"

    my apologies for ever doubting your logic captain… and you call other people facists?

  • Addamo_01

    Blood libel: killing children for the services of Zionism. It is merely a new incarnation of the same theme. But addambooo, nuance was never your strong suit.

    Where is that definition Captain? Is it one you have nuanced yourself so that you can use it at will? Like say for example, changing the definitino for anit-Israeli to be anti-Semitism?

    So tell me Captain, is there a word to describe the killing of children in the service if corporate greed an imperialism? And what world should be used when Israel kills children in the service of their state?

  • Addamo_01

    Viva,

    As Suze has pointed out (and I repeatedly) you are either paranoid or senile (depending on how old you are). No one has EVER denied the Holocaust, but I am beginning to understand how imperitive it is for you to believe they exist or your universe would crumble.

    Don't worry about Suze, these sharks will look after her. It's the bottom feeders that we have to keep her away from.

  • viva peace

    Suze

    Sorry, you are wrong. To use "the Holocaust" in relation to the tawdry failings of modern-day Islamists is indeed to deny the Holocaust.

    Think about it.

  • Addamo

    Hear that Suze,

    Only Judeofascists are allowed to use the Holocaust to justify their position. Hands off darling.

  • viva peace

    Addamo

    I do not need to use the Holocaust for anything. The Holocaust is uniquely humanity's bleakest stain. Second is Islam.