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.

Usual suspects come out against “biased” Middle East simulations

My following article appears in today’s edition of Crikey:

I recently reported for Crikey on alleged anti-Israel bias of educational simulations on the Israel/Palestine conflict conducted by Macquarie University’s Centre for Middle East and North African Studies. The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies and The Australian have both conducted a campaign to stigmatise the simulations as pro-terrorist, pro-Palestinian and anti-US (though the simulations ended late last year.)

Crikey has now discovered that the popular simulations were cancelled after only one complaint. I have obtained the initial letter that was sent to the headmaster of Killara High School in mid-2004. It alleged “pro-Palestinian bias” and concern that “pro-Israeli or pro-US [roles] are given a negative connotation”. The parents contacted the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies with their complaint, and the Board then demanded a meeting with the school’s principal (which he granted.)

After this meeting, the principal suddenly cooled on the simulations – a strange decision considering his letter in late 2003 to Macquarie University Middle East Centre head Andrew Vincent praising the program – and accepted the Board’s suggestion of giving their own presentation to the students (an opportunity not given to a Palestinian representative.) The Powerpoint presentation, seen by Crikey, paints a strongly partisan view of the conflict and deliberately glosses over Israeli crimes against Palestinians during the country’s birth.

The NSW Department of Education began an investigation into the simulations, not to determine alleged bias but rather whether public schools should continue with the program. It was soon decided that the simulations would cease operating within NSW government schools.

A number of sources close to the simulations have confirmed that the NSW Education Department simply capitulated to the demands of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies and refused to continue the programs. To this day, NSW Education Minister Carmel Tebbutt’s office refuses to provide transparent answers regarding the simulations and has provided any number of contradictory statements over the last days. Certain teachers and principals have been told that they can’t speak to the media about these matters.

This is a story about a partisan Zionist organisation forcing its will on educational freedom and wanting to censor perspectives they deem inappropriate. Robert Burton-Bradley, a journalist at the Northside Courier, has interviewed a number of Jewish students who participated in the simulations. Vice-President of the Australasian Union of Jewish Students, Dave Burnett, said that, “the program was brilliant; I have nothing but praise for it. I learnt a lot from the course. I have not seen that much merit to the complaints about the course…” Another student and parent responded similarly. In documents obtained through Freedom of Information by Macquarie University’s Middle East Centre and seen by Crikey, many students and parents wrote to the principal of Killara High School and praised the benefits of the simulations. Over the fifteen years that the simulations had been run by Andrew Vincent, he had never received any complaints from teachers, students or parents.

In one letter to the NSW Education Department in August 2004, Vincent explained why “extremists” must be included in the simulations – such as Hamas, Hizbollah and al-Qaeda – because “failure to have such groups represented would result in a less than accurate simulation of reality and would amount to a form of censorship”. For The Australian and various Jewish lobbyists, even acknowledging that these groups have multiple personalities is akin to siding with terrorists. Such blinkered thinking contributes nothing to a broad educational experience.

The recent page-one Australian story last week on this issue was simply an attempt to raise the spectre of moral panic in the community about anti-Semitism. The Macquarie Middle East Centre, of which I’m a board member, abhors all racial vilification. The fact that one complaint has generated wild claims about bias, anti-Americanism, being pro-terrorist and anti-Israel reflects the deep-seated insecurity of many within the Jewish community. As the Australian’s Cameron Stewart pointed out in a recent article, the Zionist lobby risks overplaying its hand and muzzling academic freedom. The recent war in Lebanon, he writes, “has done great harm to Israel’s international image. This will naturally be reflected in academic studies, just as it has in the media and in mainstream public opinion”.

Is it any wonder that the usual suspects are jumping up and down now about these simulations, more than one year after they were dropped?

one comment ↪