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.

A man of war

When was the last time a former head of Mossad lectured in Perth? It’s a question that went through my head during Efraim Halevy’s speech last week in Perth at the University of Western Australia. Entitled ‘Where do we go from here?’, the former spook spoke to an enthralled, predominantly 400-strong Jewish audience who seemed content hearing the official Israeli government line on the recent war with Hizbollah. He was welcomed like a present-day Moses.

Halevy is in Australia as a guest of the Australian Friends of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and will be speaking in Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra and the Gold Coast. He is the current head of Center for Strategic and Policy Studies at The Hebrew University’s School of Public Policy. After all, it is exceedingly common for former senior public servants to serve out their twilight years in academia (and I was in Perth for a book event organised by Project Safecom.)

Before Halevy started his off-the-cuff remarks, a lone protestor stood at the back of the auditorium waving a BLF-union flag. “Australia wouldn’t let [Holocaust denier] David Irving in”, he shouted, “so why let Halevy in?” A well-built security official soon escorted him from the room.

Halevy’s principal aim was to debunk the currently accepted wisdom that Israel lost the war against Hizbollah. Wrong, stated the former Mossad head.

He claimed that Hizbollah “miscalculated” Israel’s military superiority and “mauled” the militia’s capability. He said the Lebanon war “was not pre-ordained or pre-planned” and “happened by accident.” Syria and Iran were equally chastised, he alleged.

Halevy delivered a solid PR performance. Israel was a “responsible” and “stable” nation at the forefront of international development. He praised the medical and technological advances in Israel. He said that Israel was “setting precedents” in the “war on terror” by teaching the world how to fight Islamic terror. At this point, a lone fist was heard pounding on a side door of the auditorium and the screamed words, “Israel is a terror state.”

Halevy was silent, however, on the occupation of West Bank and Gaza, so I stood up and asked whether he’d like to comment on the ongoing occupation that is contributing to unprecedented levels of anti-Israel sentiment – justified, in my opinion – around the world.

He said that Israel had the right to “every square inch” of Palestine for “strategic considerations.” He said that the Palestinians also claimed all of Palestine as their own (in fact, Hamas now states that that it is willing to accept a Palestinian state on the lands occupied by Israel since 1967.) Although he talked of “mutual recognition on both sides”, he refused to acknowledge that Israel is currently expanding its West Bank settlements and imposing even more checkpoints against the Palestinians.

Despite the obvious gaps in his talk, the audience seemed reassured by his words. As they left, they were greeted by a small but noisy protest that accused Halevy of being a “terrorist” and Mossad a “terrorist organisation.”

Perhaps the life of a former Mossad head is to live out his days speaking to friendly audiences in unlikely places like Perth.

one comment ↪
  • What a poisonous bucket of unquestioning groupthink that lecture must have been. Don't you love how Israel has hitched its wagon so successfully to the War on Terror? It seemed about 5 minutes after 9/11 that Arafat was equated with Bin Laden and off they went from there. For a long awaited (for me) overview of the War on Terror, have a look at the Sept/Oct 2006 Foreign Affairs journal piece by John Mueller, entitled "Is There Still a Terrorist Threat?: The Myth of the Omnipresent Enemy"

    A sample: "But while keeping such potential dangers in mind, it is worth remembering that the total number of people killed since 9/11 by al Qaeda or al Qaeda­like operatives outside of Afghanistan and Iraq is not much higher than the number who drown in bathtubs in the United States in a single year, and that the lifetime chance of an American being killed by international terrorism is about one in 80,000 — about the same chance of being killed by a comet or a meteor. Even if there were a 9/11-scale attack every three months for the next five years, the likelihood that an individual American would number among the dead would be two hundredths of a percent (or one in 5,000)."