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 country lost in its own region

My following article appears in today’s Age newspaper:

On October 30, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told the Knesset’s Security and Foreign Affairs Committee that the Israeli military had killed 300 “terrorists” in the Gaza Strip in the past three months.

According to the Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem, the Israel Defence Force has killed 294 Palestinians in Gaza since the abduction of Corporal Gilad Shalit on June 27, but more than half of those killed – 155 people, including 61 children – had no involvement in hostilities. The group sent a letter to Olmert, demanding to know whether Israel considered “all those who were killed to be terrorists who deserved to die”. The Prime Minister’s statement contained “within it a twisted logic whereby the fact that someone was killed by a military proves that he or she is a terrorist”.

The latest Israeli massacre in Gaza – the killing of 19 Palestinian civilians while they slept in their beds in Beit Hanun – occurred precisely because the IDF regularly fires shells into heavily populated areas. Under international humanitarian law, a state is prohibited from such activity if the attack is likely to cause undue harm to civilians and will not gain any military advantage.

Israel claims that its actions, while regrettable, were designed to eliminate Qassam rockets being fired into Israel from Gaza. The result is the exact opposite, with Hamas already calling for revenge and an ever-growing and justified militancy against Israel’s continuing occupation of Gaza and the West Bank.

It didn’t need to be this way. After Israel’s military, political and bureaucratic loss during the recent Lebanon war, calmer heads would have welcomed a more measured path. Alas, Israel refuses to negotiate with Syria – despite Bashir Assad’s recent conciliatory statements – and continues to build more illegal settlements on occupied West Bank territory.

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz’s Arab affairs commentator, Danny Rubinstein, commented during a speech in Tel Aviv that Israel’s “real aim (in Gaza) is the collective punishment of the Palestinian population. The military operation is designed to prevent the Palestinians rejoicing (when prisoners are released in exchange for Gilad Shalit). This is a political, media-driven operation which lacks any military justification.” US-made weapons are killing hundreds of innocent civilians and the world remains silent.

But this may all be about to change. The elevation of far-right and openly racist Avigdor Lieberman to the position of deputy leader and a new portfolio, the Strategic Affairs Ministry, gives the world a unique opportunity to hear the ambitions of an extremist in the heart of “the Middle East’s only democracy”.

Lieberman has called for Arab MPs who had contact with Hamas to be executed. Last week he demanded the separation between Arabs and Jews, and the establishment of a purely Jewish nation. On one occasion he even demanded that Egypt’s Aswan Dam be bombed.

Despite the elevation of this fundamentalist Zionist, Diaspora Jewry has remained mute, lest they be accused of disloyalty to their beloved homeland. What will it take for the Jewish establishment to openly and unequivocally condemn the utterances of Lieberman, who, according to Haaretz, is “liable to bring disaster down upon the entire region”?

The international community’s hypocrisy is worth noting. When the Palestinians democratically elected Hamas this year, much of the world boycotted them. Yet when the world accepts Lieberman’s appointment without comment, the double standard is galling. So who is really serious about peace?

Israel is a nation in serious decline. Its President may face indictment on charges of rape, the “peace movement” is virtually non-existent, corruption is rampant (a 2005 World Bank report found that the Jewish state’s economic corruption was one of the worst in the developed world) and the military establishment is addicted to military solutions that have failed.

It is time for some uncomfortable truths to be stated. Israel’s long-term future lies not with a superpower thousands of kilometres away, but in the Arab world. Washington’s standing in the region has never been worse, and just last week Hezbollah’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, said that America’s plans in the Middle East faced “failure, frustration and a state of collapse”. He predicted the US would be forced to leave the region in the future.

As a strong supporter of both the Israelis and Palestinians, I believe that only international pressure on Israel can bring a nation addicted to violence to heel and leadership on both sides mature enough to negotiate with honesty.

Antony Loewenstein is the author of My Israel Question (Melbourne University Publishing).

  • orang

    Good point Ant; "Israel’s long-term future lies not with a superpower thousands of kilometres away, but in the Arab world."

    -However how do you explain that to a bunch of racist, Arab hating Moldovian and Polish settlers ?

    Instead of embracing their neighbours they think the answer to their problems is for the US to bomb Iran – as if that's going to get them out of the shit.

  • Paul Walter

    Firstly, concur with Orang's reading.

    Am actually off on a tangent over another comment you made, about Israel "in decline", though.

    Judging by the daily reports about the cesspit that is Australian politics at fed, state and local level,anybody calling themself an Australian this ought to be circumspect in pointing at any other nation, including even Palestine and Israel, who at least can point cite the tensions of their region as a contributing factor.

    Elsewhere, at online op. a blogger called Chris Shaw has run a commentary on the state of Australia at the moment, involving its loss of identity and sovereignty due to globalisation and the US "alliance". What the politicians, with a chutzpah only politicians can conjur, pass off as the anzac or gallipoli nation, has actually not been left the functioning reality of a colony, let alone any sense of identity, judging by the soul-less looting of the Commonwealth going on just now.

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