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.

Change the message

Danny Rubinstein, Haaretz, September 4:

During the past two months, July and August, 251 Palestinians were killed in Gaza and the West Bank, all of them by Israel Defense Forces fire. About half of them were civilians, including women, children and the elderly. More Palestinians than Israelis were killed during the war in Lebanon, even though the Palestinians did not participate in the war and were not subjected to Katyusha fire.

There has been a total freeze in the diplomatic process between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The road map has not been mentioned for a long time. There is no disengagement and no realignment. There are no unilateral moves, and certainly no negotiations between the two sides. Occasionally, low-level officials meet to discuss essential everyday issues. And there have apparently been indirect contacts about releasing Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. But the only area in which Israel and the Palestinians currently maintain relations is the violent conflict: raids, shootings, shellings, terror attacks, arrests, roadblocks, expropriations. Killed and wounded. 

The Israelis, however, have a major PR problem. During the recent war in Lebanon, many believed Hizbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah over Israeli Defence Minister Amir Peretz.

11 comments ↪
  • Addamo_01

    Here is a welcome and encouraging sign. Damn isnspiring in fact:

    In a Jerusalem coffee shop, 23-year-old former combat soldier, Yehuda Saul, told me he had made it his personal mission to speak out against the Israeli army when its actions were immoral. The Canadian American-Israeli veteran said that his “arch-conservative family” had slated him for a career in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). But during his third year of service the young platoon sergeant witnessed a scene of looting and killing at a combat mission in Hebron that had troubled him so much that he decided to leave the army. In June 2004 Saul founded “Breaking the Silence” (Shovrim Shtrika in Hebrew), an organization whose 350 members are all former Israeli combat soldiers who can share similar experiences. “Breaking the Silence” is currently preparing a world speaking tour and photo exhibition, offering a critical look at the Israel military’s occupation of Palestine.

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article14826.htm

    Ant, it would be amazing to have Yehuda bring his “Breaking the Silence” tour to Australia.

  • What a delicious paradox! The Israelis backed their countries war effort against Lebanon to the hilt (at the time anyway), but preferred to tune into their arch enemy Nasrallah for accurate, relatively unbiased news of the conflict. This confirms anecdotal evidence i'd heard from a Palestinian friend who had been in contact with Palestinians in Israel during the actual war. This doesn't say much for Israel's leaders or their media propagandists, who fail on three counts: "gripping the audience, being watchable, and giving the feeling of certainty". Since the Hitler/WWII metaphors are being so widely used and abused these days, you know, Arab Islamofascists = Hitler and the Nazis, anybody who speaks out against US/Israel's policies is an appeaser like Chamberlain, etc, well, we can all play that game. Can anybody imagine the Brits abandoning their news services and tuning into German radio for accurate, relatively unbiased information on how the Battle of Britain was coming along?

    For a further depressing dissection of Israel's spin machine, check out Uri Avnery's piece "When Napoleon Won at Waterloo"

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article1

    Meanwhile, out of the spotlight, the Palestinians continue to be ground into the dust on every imagineable level. Amira Hass' "The Silent Expulsion / Palestinian businessmen wonder why Israel wants them out of the territories" details how Israel is tightening the screws on Palestinian businesspeople – basically in order to prevent any possibility of a functional economy in the Occupied territories, driving out the moderates and radicalizing those left behind. Condaleeza has been informed….
    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/758169.html

  • Addamo_01

    Ah, Israel goign back to what it does best – killing those who can't fight back!! Back to normality.

    Indeed, Israe's PR probrlem gooes much deeper. It seems even Israelis no longer believe what they are being told.

    Israelis believed Nasrallah before they believed their own government. They waited impatiently for the sheikh's speeches so that they could find out what was happening, while dismissing the briefs from their 'defense' establishment. The reason? The Israeli government bullshitted up one side and down the other. Every day they were waging daring commando raids, killing hundreds of Hezbollah fighters – no, thousands – no, millions and squillions of them – and every day they were taking prize hostages like the greengrocer named Hasan Dib Nasrallah, and you could barely move for the debris of Hezbollah's "terrorist infrastructure" falling around you. Halutz, Livni, Peretz and Olmert queued to get into the television studios and tell everyone how fabulously it was all going. And they're still telling people they won.

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3299073

  • Addamo

    Andrew,

    So did this person (ironically calling themselves SS) actualyl troll on thsi blog and identify you that way? What a creep? Sounds like something tim Blair or his trolls would do.

    I guess SS is of the camp that believes merely mentioning Israel’s use of cluster bombs is anti-Semtic,

  • Here is a nice example of what can happen when you use your real name. You get an email entitled: I'm horrified by your Jew hatred

    Andrew
    Your comments on Loewenstein's blog horrify me and I'm letting you know that I would never give you my businss or allow anyone I know to pay you for work.
    Do yourself a favour and go to Israel. You may find the Jews are actually decent people.
    Ughh, you have truly made me sick.

    SS

    I couldn't help myself, I had to respond:

    Sharon,

    For what it's worth, I have Jewish friends here, my accountant, dentist and doctor are Jewish, I say g'day to Jews walking back and forth from the synagogue at the end of the street, I share a building with Jews whom I consider friends and whom I help out all the time (especially Saturdays!). I patronise Jewish shops regularly, I am proud to correspond with Jews like Antony and Vivienne Porszolt (Jews against the Occupation). I've just been down at the park with my kids talking with a Jewish mum about anti-semitism in America. For all I know, nearly all of these people disagree with me on many issues, but it doesn't mean that I treat them any differently or threaten to withdraw my business from them. There is Jewish blood in my family tree, I work for Jews from time to time, so please, I don't need to visit Israel to find that "Jews are actually decent people". Nor does it mean that I shouldn't speak out against Israeli policies and hypocrisy. Just because I don't hide behind a nom de plume and you can use Google, don't threaten me. Instead of wasting my time, why don't you open your eyes and really look at what Israel is doing in your name. Antony's blog is a good place to start. If you've got the courage of your convictions, use your real name and post there, instead of sneaking around trying to find personal email addresses and intimidating people you disagree with.

    Andrew

  • For those that are interested – and on it goes….

    Andrew
    I clicked on your name (on Loewenstein’s blog) and followed a link that said “contact me”. Since when was this “sneaking around trying to find personal email addresses and intimidating people you disagree with.” You advertised your contact, so I pursued it. There is no need to misrepresent me by being dishonest about your accessibility.
    Hasn’t Antony Loewenstein informed you that he censors his Blog? I have attempted to publish polite comments there and he chooses to delete them. I know quite a few others who have been treated in this same way by the self-proclaimed victim of Zionist bullying.
    You, oh so typically claim that you have “Jewish friends” well, what the hell does that make you, an expert? Hiding behind that excuse is crap and you know it. Having Jewish associates does not give you a legitimacy you otherwise lacked.
    I have every right to withdraw my business from you and to advise my friends to keep away from you. You, no doubt support sabotaging Israel’s economy. And from the views you publish on the blog in question, you would prefer it if the 6 million Jews who call Israel their home simply fell into the sea. What is good for the goose is no good for the gander eh?
    Anthony’s book is full of factual inaccuracies and if he had the guts to accept criticism I would be happy to publish my comments on his blog. It’s ironic that the man claims he is censored by the Zionist lobby but he refuses to publish polite questions on his own blog.
    Now Andrew, why don’t you show that you support free speech and post this comment on Loewenstein’s blog?
    And, then, let’s see if he in his usual fashion deletes it — or actually invites me to debate him regarding the errors in his book?
    Otherwise Andrew, I may publish the backstabbing letter that you posted on Loewenstein’s blog on another very well known blog and invite the comment Loewenstein refuses to engage in from a much larger audience. Perhaps your Jewish accountant, doctor and dentist will read your views there and decide for themselves whether they want your business or not. Let’s see if you and Loewenstein can stop being cowardly. Let’s see if you have the courage of your anti semetic convictions.

    SS

    Sharon,

    No, why don’t you post your comment on Loewenstein’s blog? Try it and see. I believe that is the appropriate forum to have this discussion. I was unaware that it was so easy to contact me via the blog, but that hardly constitutes advertising. As for your comments about Israelis and the sea, well, that says much more about you than it does about me, my politics are a million miles from that sort of crap. My comments on the blog, hmmm, in the last few days I condemned the holocaust denial of Abbas and Ronald Reagan and commented on the fact that Israelis trusted Hizbollah for accurate news of the Lebanon conflict over their own government’s reports. Now, if you don’t like the facts, then just keep your head in the sand. If you want to debate them, then debate them. I don’t profess to be any sort of “expert”, but if I was some sort of ignorant anti Semite I would hardly choose to have Jewish friends, doctors, etc. You can’t really get around that. So, um, what sort of “expert” are you anyway? What “legitimacy” do you have? Your threats and ad hominem arguments do you nor your cause any credit. Labelling anybody you don’t agree with an anti Semite is a tired, tired, substitute for proper debate.

    As for Ant’s book, the first edition of My Israel Question does have some minor factual errors as I understand it, but folks like you are unable to contest his broader arguments and you know it.

    Andrew

    Andrew

    Thank you for your response. I have tried numerous times to post on Antony’s blog, to debate him, to comment on his views and his book. But each time, he has deleted my comment. I have discovered since that he does that to many people. Doesn’t that make you a little curious? That he complains about being censored and yet he will not publish anything he doesn’t agree with on his own blog?
    I agree with you that this is an important argument and discussion is one way of understanding it. At any rate, I will post my response on Antony’s blog now and we will see whether he publishes it or deletes it.
    There are many factual and editing errors in both the first and second printing of Loewenstein’s book. And it is not a bestseller, as he claims. The Bookscan figures for the first month were just under 2, 500. This does not cover MUP costs. He would have needed at least 4, 000 to pay for his printing costs. I disagree with you that these errors do not detract from the argument. I understand that to the Left he is merely a symbol, but being a pinup boy is not a legitmate substitute for good scholarship.
    The Palestinian question cannot be understood without studying history. Both Islamic history and geographical history are vital in understanding the question of Palestinian refugees and why they continue to remain so. Why don’t you take a look at UNWRA stats? Why is UNWRA the only UN agency that employs its own clients? Why don’t you study the hadiths that describe the Islamic view of Jews? Why don’t you ask some Palestinians why they will not return to Jordan (which is actually 70% of old Palestine anyway)? They have complete rright of return to Jordan but choose instead to live in refugee camps and be supported by donor nations. Why?
    Loewenstein’s biggest mistake is in claiming that Jew hatred exists because of Zionist behaviour. Israel’s behaviour, he claims, is the cause for everything the Palestinians do and have done. He fails, as many of you do, to recognise that hating Jews is an act centuries old. Hitler had a pact with the grand mufti of Jerusalem to go there after Europe and cleanse the Middle East of Jews. The insane President of Iran plans to pick up there and finish his work.
    I understand how easy it is to see the Palestinians as victims and in many ways, many of them are. It is tragic, but they need to accept a 2 state solution. It’s as simple and as complex as that. Electing HAMAS and calling for the destruction of Israel is not the way to peace. Nor is it the behaviour of a victim state.
    And, why on earth does it matter who I am. You have my pen name. My writing ought to speak for itself. While you may disagree with me, I obviously know a little middle eastern history.
    regards

    Sharon

    There you go Sharon, it’s out there for all to see. I could easily address your statements and hey, I’ve been here before, you could come up with a hundred more. I could also pose any number of questions for you too (beginning with the use of cluster bombs in Lebanon). However, I don’t have unlimited time. If you want to address my posts, please do, on the blog. Please indicate how my posts show that I want Jews thrown into the sea, that I am a Jew hater, etc. If you cannot, please desist with such offensive utterances. For a bit of a reality check I ran your letters past a few friends who aren’t really interested in this issue. They were frankly appalled by what you’d written, particularly by the threats. You might want to do something similar.

    I remain to be convinced that you have been banned from this site. Can you produce copies of your “polite” questions that Ant allegedly censored? If you are really keen to post here and can’t, then perhaps you could get a friend to pass on stuff on your behalf, but please no more emails.

    Regards,
    Andrew

  • Sharon,

    I've had a chat with Antony and he reiterated the comment rules of his site. I've been thinking about this and as I said, I've compared notes with a few people who don't have much interest in this topic, just to make sure I was on the right track. What is going on here is that your perspective is so skewed that you believe that what you write is actually pretty reasonable. It isn't. Your last few emails have certainly been more measured and polite (thank you), but that first one, whoa! Basically pretty offensive and threatening too. You mention the Captain as being an aggrieved fellow traveller, well, I think any reasonable person would find him pretty offensive too and I can understand why we don't hear much from him anymore. I can only conclude that you and the Captain have transgressed the stated comment rules. Even if you can't see that, others can. That is what is going on here, not some wacky notion of Loewenstein as the cowardly censor moaning about not getting a fair go. We could continue to correspond by email, but I think it would be a waste of our time. Do you really want me to take seriously say, your idea that the Palestinians "need to accept a 2 state solution"? You say you know a little about Middle East history, but the ignorance displayed by that comment is astounding.

    Thanks for the ride, but I am adding your email address to my filters. Goodbye.

    Andrew

  • I was very interested in the correspondence Andrew recorded above.

    What keeps on puzzling me is why people persist in hiding behind their pseudonyms to remain anonymous. Haven’t they got the courage of their convictions?

    And again, when push comes to shove, and they support Israel right or wrong, why are they still living here in the diaspora and not throwing in their lot with those Jews who choose to live in Israel?

    Or is it more comfortable here in Australia – and/or safer?

    And it still is a fact that of the 13 miliion Jews in the world, about 6 million live in Israel and the rest are scattered around the globe. In its early days Israel relied very heavily on support from Jews living in the diaspora, but since the USA took over the role of boss of everyone and everywhere, Israel has no financial worries – well, nominally! And it is also a fact that many Israelis have actually emigrated and live in other countries, with no intention of returning home.

    Oh, and by the way, talking of history, wouldn’t it help the situation globally if Israel withdrew from the occupied territories and sat down to negotiate a two-state solution, instead of bombing the hell out of everything in sight!

  • orang

    Andrew, I salute your patience and courage –
    Too many loonies out there. Dear (orang) we know where you live…Brrrr
    Captain was a scumbag but I think even he finally got too embarrassed to rear Isarel's ugly head.

  • Mannie,

    One of my Jewish friends here (obviously I'm still "hiding behind that excuse"), tells me that Jews in Australia are generally more extreme in their views than those in Israel, because they don't have to deal with any of the realities of the Occupation. For them it is all more abstract and they can afford to be more hard line, they don't have to live with the consequences. Another factor could be that they are not so exposed to the diversity of viewpoints evident in the Israeli media. I'd be interested to know if anyone else can confirm this?