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.

Hamastan, Hamastan, Hamastan

…  posted by lenin

Big up Hamas, innit? Apparently, some people are a little upset about this: these are the people for whom a ‘radical’ is an elected Palestinian MP, and a ‘moderate’ is someone trying to effect a putsch. The bulk of those now complaining didn’t have much of a problem with the deliberate and sustained efforts by the US and Israel to produce civil war in Palestine, by shipping weapons to Fatah troops, then training their men and sending them into Gaza in the first place. When it started to become clear that Fatah was going to lose this one, Mahmoud Abbas decided to declare a state of emergency and dismiss the elected Hamas-led government not only in Gaza, but in the West Bank (hat-tip). That won’t hold: Fatah will have lost all political sympathy in the West Bank by now, and it has certainly lost the entirety of Gaza. Fatah’s Preventive Security goons have now fled for their lives. Preventive Security is one of the four Fatah run bases under the charge of an acolyte of Mahmoud Dahlan, whose claims to fame include being one of the most right-wing pro-Israeli Fatah leaders and also being the guy who has repeatedly used Palestinian security services to attack political opponents. He has thus been Washington’s point-man in this recent upheaval.

One of the most interesting quotes in the recent leaked UN report on the Middle East is highlighted by David Wearing:

“…the US clearly pushed for a confrontation between Fateh and Hamas — so much so that, a week before Mecca, the US envoy declared twice in an envoys meeting in Washington how much ‘I like this violence’, referring to the near-civil war that was erupting in Gaza in which civilians were being regularly killed and injured, because ‘it means that other Palestinians are resisting Hamas’.”

Well, they don’t like it now. Time Magazine’s Tony Karon reports on the utter cynicism of the White House spokesperson in all this:

Coming, as he does, from Fox News, Tony Snow is obviously a deeply cynical fellow, but this takes some beating: Asked to comment Wednesday on the bloodbath in Gaza, he answered: “Ultimately, the Palestinians are going to have to sort out their politics and figure out which pathway they want to pursue — the pathway toward two states living peaceably side-by-side, or whether this sort of chaos is going to become a problem.”

Everyone following the conflict in Gaza knows full well that the reason for the violence is not that Palestinians have not “sorted out their politics” — they’ve made their political preferences abundantly clear in democratic elections, and later in a power-sharing agreement brokered by the Saudis. The problem is that the U.S. and the corrupt and self-serving warlords of Fatah did not accept either the election result or the unity government, and have conspired actively ever since to reverse both by all available means, including starving the Palestinian economy of funds, refusing to hand over power over the Palestinian Authority to the elected government, and arming and training Fatah loyalists to militarily restore their party’s power. Unfortunately, after three days of some of the most savage fighting ever seen in Gaza, that strategy now lies in tatters. Fatah is, quite simply, no longer a credible fighting force in Gaza, where it has long been in decline as a credible political force.

He also points out some of the salient political background to Dahlan’s operations: like a Palestinian Pinochet in the making, he has been anxious to effect a coup and get backing from the Israelis and Americans. His plans, and those of the US, lie temporarily in ruins. Hamas has won, which means that the forces of coup and pro-Israeli reaction have lost. The bulk of Fatah’s activists and supporters will not have approved of the way the lumpen elements around the warlord Dahlan have behaved, and so peace can be made and basic unity restored. Dahlan is now in Cairo, “recovering from knee surgery”, and he probably isn’t coming back: as Johnny Cash once sang, “the general, he don’t ride well any more”

17 comments ↪
  • BenZ

    Oh good one Andre.

    Palestinians are throwing people to their death, off buildings. Palestinians are shooting people lying in hospital beds. Palestinians are killing 14 year olds, women, anybody.

    Hundreds killed. Not an Israeli or an American to be seen.

    I don't envy you trying to come up with any possible way of blaming the US and Israel. Fortunately there's always obscure little blogs to link to in order to fit your viewpoint. Who knows, they might even link back here as a courtesy! Another 1-2 hits from the True Believers eh?

  • Jon

    For goodness sake Antony.

    Posting a blog, which stinks of apologetics towards Hamas is a bit rich. Even the Arab league has condemnned Hamas's bloody behaviour in Gaza.

  • Andre

    Palestinians are throwing people to their death, off buildings. Palestinians are shooting people lying in hospital beds. Palestinians are killing 14 year olds, women, anybody.

    And Israel are killing Palestinian children with tank shells, but hey, that's what you would call that an act of defense of Israel right? You don't need Israelis or Americans to be seen when you are arming one side BenZ. After all, Iran is being blamed for everything other than global warming these days. Meanwhile, on planet earth:

    As world leaders expressed alarm, the US State Department declared its full support for the Abbas-declared government and hinted of stepped up security aid amid fears of alleged destabilisation activities by Iran and Syria.

    Obscrure little blogs BenZ? Like this one perhaps?

    Jon,

    The blog is giving an factual account of what has taken place on the ground. Just becasue it is not riddled with anti – Hamas hyperbole does not make it apologia. My guess is that you are so accustomed to seeing a furry of invective thrown into any article about Hamas, that you're in a state of confusion right now. Hamas are the elected government, not Fatah. The activities of Dahlan and that he is acting as a proxy for Israel and the US is no secret.

    Hams' behavior is appalling, but like the author says, what option do they have?

  • Marilyn

    The boycott on the Palestinians is the first time in history that the victims have been further punished by those who should know better.

    Why the hell the morons in the west want to keep supporting the murderous Israeli regime is beyond me.

    Benz, you need to get a life – Israel has slaughtered tens of thousands, locked out about 670,000 over the years and pushed nearly 1 million people into the sea.

    To this day Israel is not a state and never will be.

  • Jon

    Andre,

    Listen to what you have said again.

    "Hamas are the elected government, not Fatah. The activities of Dahlan and that he is acting as a proxy for Israel and the US is no secret.

    Hams’ behavior is appalling, but like the author says, what option do they have?"

    I just note the following:

    1. if you want to be technical, the Interior Ministry that was to control the security services in the PA was to be an independent official, not controlled by Hamas and Fatah according to the Unity Government agreement reached in Mecca. Killing Fatah activists, taking over PA security installations, looting Fatah official homes including the late Yasser Arafat, was not the only "option" they had as you put it.

    2. Yes, Israel and the US were supporting Fatah and supplying them with very limited funds (although according to a Haaretz report recently Fatah complained that Israel was in fact preventing Fatah from being rearmed)because ultimately it is in their interests to see a secular rational faction in power not a rigid religiously inspired party that it is not willing to accept a genuine two state solution. If you actually understood the reaction within Fatah, many Fatah activists were not happy about this at all, because of the perception that they would look like collaborators.

    3. Hamas has a very simple other option – accept three relatively simple conditions as laid down by the Quarter – recognise Israel (which is different from its right to exist which they are not being asked to accept), accept existing agreements and stop terrorism. Pretty basic demands – its not as if they're being asked to give up Jerusalem.

    Let's face facts: they don't want to do it because in the end of the day their foolish ideology trumps rational and pragmatic decision making. Can you honestly see Hamas engaging in a Geneva style initiative with the most moderates of the Israel's left. Please – give me a break.

  • Andre

    Jon,

    1. If there was a unity government indeed formed in Mecca, then why has Fatah and the Abbas clan continued to receive financial and military aid from the US independent of their Hamas brethren?

    2. I’m glad you qualified that Israel is providing limited funding while purposely sidestepping the fact that the US is providing it in abundance.
    http://www.wakeupfromyourslumber.com/node/2143

    Now do explain how Israel was preventing Fatah being re-armed while the US were publicly and openly shipping arms to them?

    I have no doubt that many Fatah activists were not happy about the clandestine support their leaders were getting, as I am sure is the case with many Hamas members.

    3. What part of Israel would you have Hamas recognize? The Israel with the 1948 borders? The Israel with the post 1967 occupation? The Israel of today that refuses to declare it's borders while continuing to expand it’s settlements and continues to build their "fence" that encroached tens of miles into Palestinian territory?

    And while we’re speaking about recognizing Israel, let me know the name of one Israeli leader who recognizes Palestine. Take your time, I’m sure you have never stopped to ponder that question.

    A guy named Arafat recognized Israel on the behalf of Palestinians and yet Israel continued to build illegal settlements for the seven years that followed. What you are essentially advocating is that Hamas stand still while they get punched in the head, or risk a bullet to the brain.

    Yet their refusal to take the abuse lying down and sit idly by while Israel starved the resident of Gaza out of existence can only mean one thing, That they are committed to killing Jews. Funny that you should mention a Geneva style initiative while Israel hold the world record for negating and ignoring USC resolutions.

  • BenZ

    Israel has killed "tens of thousands" now is it Marilyn?

    Why not millions, or billions? Because pulling a figure like that out of your arse might actually hurt a little?

  • BenZ

    Marilyn,

    As you keep reminding us you've read Ilan Pappe and Norm Finklestein, might I suggest you consider Mein Kampf for your next read. You'll find yourself nodding at most of it. I believe you can even find an illustrated version if you look hard.

    Something to read while you wait for your next regular cheque from the Eeevil Howard Government.

  • Andre

    BenZ,

    Did you skip mathematics during your limited education? At least 20,000 Lebanese civilians have been killed by the Israelis since 1978, not including the 1300 killed last year.
    http://www.thejerusalemfund.org/carryover/pubs/19

    5,144 Palestinians (including 952 children) have been killed since September 2000 alone. This does not include deaths from starvation and denial of access to medical treatment.
    http://globalavoidablemortality.blogspot.com/2006

    Figures released by the Prisoner and Ex-Prisoner Ministry showed that 177 Palestinian detainees were killed inside Israeli jails since 1967.
    http://www.ifamericansknew.org/cur_sit/prisoners-

  • viva peace

    The poor Israelis!I am going to set up a blog so that Australians can report on ANY Australian person or agency who provides any support – financial or political – to these truly disgusting human beings.

    Now the Muslims want the Jews to rescue them from the sea as they are pushed in by their own fellow Muhammadans! Take them to the truly vile Ilan Pappe, Harold Pinter, Stephen Fry and that abominable Rose woman to take them in.

    I would wish them on AL as well, but there is no way in hell, we want the wretches in our country.

  • al loomis

    could someone fill me in on how a land about 80% moslem in the 1940's came to be a jewish state? was it a peaceful arrangement, wherein the muslims said: "take my land, take my home, it was careless of me to live on land you wanted?"

  • viva peace

    al loomis

    It happened when the trult stupid rag-heads started a war and lost.

  • Jon

    Andre,

    In relation to your commetns:

    "And while we’re speaking about recognizing Israel, let me know the name of one Israeli leader who recognizes Palestine. Take your time, I’m sure you have never stopped to ponder that question"

    – Try the whole of Meretz and the Israeli Labour Party.

    "A guy named Arafat recognized Israel on the behalf of Palestinians and yet Israel continued to build illegal settlements for the seven years that followed. What you are essentially advocating is that Hamas stand still while they get punched in the head, or risk a bullet to the brain".

    – I accept that the Israel's govnts approach over the last six years has been truly pathetic – and that the doubling of the settlement population during the Oslo period was utterly stupid and self-destructive. The Pal. approach, and in particular the Hamas approach has unfortunately been pretty pathetic as well. The only credible Pal. approach is to recongise Israel (in its pre-67 borders)and enter into final status negotiations based on the approaches in Camp David, Taba and Geneva. The Hamas approach scorns this approach and dreams of one united Islamic Republic in all of Palestine – pretty stupid stuff don't you think.

  • Andre

    Jon,

    Try the whole of Meretz and the Israeli Labour Party.

    That's too pathetic to contemplate. There has never been a statement, much less an official position that recognizes Palestine. Israel has never even gotten to first base and declared it;s own borders, so how can they possibly recognize a Palestinian state?

    The Hamas approach scorns this approach and dreams of one united Islamic Republic in all of Palestine – pretty stupid stuff don’t you think.

    While both sides have made too many mistakes to count, this argument is an anachronism. Hamas have for an intents and purposes openly admitted that Israel is not going anywhere and that they are accept that the only option is a seperate Palestinian state alongisde Israel.

  • Peter H

    Hamas' popularity is a direct function of the brutality of Israel's occupation. If Israel, the United States, & the EU are successful in weakening Hamas, then the alternative will be groups that are even more radical, violent, & uncontrollable. We're already seen the emergence of Salafist groups in Gaza that make Hamas look like a bunch of boy scouts.

    I'm certainly no fan of Hamas, but there are more moral and more effective ways of dealing with their victory than encouraging a Palestinian civil war & starving the Palestinian people. Norway, Switzerland, & Russia have tried to focus on changing Hamas' ideology through cautious engagement rather than through pressure & isolation. There are steps Hamas has taken the past few years – freezing sucide bombings, largely adhering to a hudna in the face of constant Israeli provocations, participating in Palestinian elections, signing the Palestinian Prisoners Document which calls for a Palestinian state in all of the West Bank & Gaza – which could be built on as positive steps in encouragng Hamas to move away from the apocalyptic anti-Semitism of its Charter towards pragmatic acceptance of a 2-state solution.

    As Andre says, it's hypocritical to place the 3 conditions on Hamas without placing parallel conditions on Israel. Palestinians are required to accept Israel's right to exist, but Israel has never defined its borders & continues to assert its rights to hold land & build settlements in "Judea & Samaria". Israel has killed over 160 Israeli civilians the past year, yet only Palestinians are required to reject violence. And Hamas must accept the Oslo accords (which even many Palestinian supporters of a 2-state solution felt was grossly unjust), yet it's OK for Israel to explicitly violate Oslo's terms by refusing to transfer Palestinians custom revenue to the Palestinian Authority & prohibit freedom of movement between Gaza & West Bank.

  • BenZ

    Hamas have for an intents and purposes openly admitted that Israel is not going anywhere and that they are accept that the only option is a seperate Palestinian state alongisde Israel.

    What an utter crock. Is there any limit to how much you don't know Andre? Or are you being deliberately dishonest.

    While Hamas do recognise Israel's strength the Hamas charter very clearly disproves what you are saying. Grab a copy. The weekly sermons on Palestinian TV eliminate any further doubt.

    A key difference between Hamas and Fatah, is that Hamas have always been quite honest about their refusal to put up with an Israeli state or any two-state solution.

    Sometimes I wish you were as honest as they were…

  • Marilyn

    Look, lets get one thing straight once and for all. Israel is not a state. It has no constitution and on borders, those things which legally define states.

    East Timor, Afghanistan, Iraq, even these places have borders and constitutions.

    Israel simply stole the land of the Palestinians for reasons that are so deranged they can scarcely be comprehended.

    I will say it again – Israel is not a state, never has been and never will be.