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.

And yet most Jews remain silent…

Nehemia Shtrasler, Haaretz, June 19:

From the perspective of Likud chief Benjamin Netanyahu, the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip proves that the right-wing stance was correct all along. Israel didn’t have to quit Gaza in 2005 or withdraw from Lebanon in 2000, Netanyahu says. The conclusion of Netanyahu and National Union’s Zvi Hendel is that Israel should not negotiate over either the Golan Heights or the West Bank, because Syrian President Bashar Assad is unreliable and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is weak.

Such a position makes it seem like rockets weren’t being fired on Sderot when Israel was deep in Gaza, and Hamas wouldn’t have taken control of the strip if the Gush Katif settlement bloc had remained in Israel’s hands. Except that if Israel had not withdrawn from Gaza, the Palestinian fire would have been aimed at the settlers, and the Israel Defense Forces would have paid a heavy price to protect them.

But Netanyahu and Hendel are not moved by the death toll. According to their thinking, we will still be living by our swords in another hundred years. They are also unmoved by the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. They think Israel was charitable toward the Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza because the quality of their lives rose during the years of occupation.

But the facts indicate otherwise. In 1970, the gross national product in the West Bank was $250 per capita, and today it is $1,300 – five times as hi gh in nominal terms. During the same period, Jordan experienced 10-fold growth, going from $280 to $2,800.

Similarly, Gaza’s GNP rose from $170 per capita in 1970 to $1,000 today, growing six times, while the figure in Egypt rose from $200 to $1,800 – nine times. In other words, the Palestinians’ conditions under Israeli rule worsened compared with the region, not to mention the large gap between them and us. Israel’s GNP per capita is 20 times larger than the Palestinians’.

Israel has used the resources of the West Bank and Gaza shamefully, taking full advantage of the occupied areas. For years, Israel prevented the Palestinian territories from developing and setting up factories due to opposition from Israeli industrialists, but exploited the cheap and humiliated labor pool. Palestinians stood on endless lines at the Erez Crossing starting at 2 A.M. to land a day’s work in Israel. Israel also saw the 3.5 million residents of the West Bank and Gaza as a captive market for Israeli products, generally those of inferior quality. To this day, Israeli factories in the fashion industry continue to take advantage of the cheap labor in Gaza for simple sewing work.

UPDATE: Conflicts Forum helps unpack the current Palestinian situation:

So here is what will happen. The United States will fail to deliver. Some money will trickle in, but not nearly enough. The little that does trickle in will be spent unwisely. Israeli may remove some outposts, but only a few, and the settlements will continue to expand and settler roads will continue to be built and Palestinians will continue to die. Israelis will die too. A Palestinian security guard will be trained and it will march smartly through the streets of Ramallah. If it should exchange fire with a militia led by Hamas it will just as smartly be defeated. And if there is an election in “Fatahstine,” Hamas will win, while at the White House, Tony Snow will talk about how the outcome was engineered in Tehran. And nineteen months from now, in the waning days of the Bush Administration — with American foreign policy in tatters — Elliott Abrams and Keith Dayton will proudly stand alongside a smiling President Bush as he honors them, the newest recipients of the Medal of Freedom.

11 comments ↪
  • Marilyn

    I read this piece and was impressed. Last week in Parliament that wally new boy Cory Bernardi stated that the Palestinians get the highest level of foreign aid and support than any country on earth and that they are all evil terrorists.

    I sent him the UN report by Alvaro De Soto and he said I was making stuff up so I sent him the report by Uri Avnery and he said Uri was biased and didn't know anything so I sent him the aid figures showing that Israeli's get $6000 a family from the US alone and the Palestinians get 29 cents.

  • viva peace

    The biggest mistake the Jews ever made was letting themselves be pushed around by the Americans from the 1970s onwards. As we now see in Iraq, the Americans have never had a clue about the Arab and Muslim worlds.

    The jews should have learnt. Never negotiate.

  • viva peace

    Marilyn

    The Palestinians are the only "people" ever born as perpetual dole-bludgers.

  • Andre

    Get real Viva,

    Were it not for America's largess, Israel would be a third world country.

    The jews should have learnt. Never negotiate.

    Which is only made feasible when you receive 2-3 billion in aid from the US.

    The Palestinians are the only “people” ever born as perpetual dole-bludgers.

    Israel are have received the worlds biggest dole cheques for the longest time, so it would appear you are wrong…again.

  • viva's loyalty to the cause is admirable.

    Unforuntately, the facts are that Israel has made a profit from its' occupation of the WB and GS, ie. Palestinians have paid for the privilege of occupation.

    Quite a scam. I guess that makes the Palestinians unwilling 'sugar-daddies'.

  • Marilyn

    Just like the US wanted the Iraqis to pay after they had been bombed to bits.

  • Carrie Lewis

    I read this piece and was unimpressed (and not just the headline which like many others around here like Jews who Hate I find offensive). It reminded me of the old line about damned lies and statistics. Mr. Shtrasler compares figures from 1970 with today. He's very selective with his figures and uses the wrong dates for his benchmarks.

    I'm not justifying occupation but if he's undertaking this exercise, why not tell his readers how many universities, schools and hospitals there were in the West Bank and Gaza before and after. Why not reveal the life expectancy and infant mortality figures?

    And why use today as a benchmark? Surely, the best benchmark figure for GNP should be 1995 by which time all of Gaza and the great bulk of major Palestinian towns had been transferred to the PA? Further, by 1995 both Egypt and Jordan had made peace with Israel – a fact that has reaped enormous benefit to their economies. Unfortunately for the Palestinian people, the economic expertise of the PA under both Fatah and Hamas administrations has been, let us say, underwhelming. Where are the economic initiatives undertaken by Hamas since Israel pulled out of Gaza in 2005? Did Hamas do a thing for the 50,000 Gazans who lost their jobs as a result?

    Oh, you'll say, blame it on the occupiers. Go ahead and explain how, in economic terms you can increase your GNP while waging asymmetric warfare against neighbouring civilian populations? It doesn't happen that way and you can scoff at the views of my Palestinian friends but if you deigned to talk to the real human beings over there, they would tell you that under PA rule, infrastructure in their cities, health services etc went backwards as they would when your administration is preoccupied with other things.

  • Andre

    I’m not justifying occupation but if he’s undertaking this exercise, why not tell his readers how many universities, schools and hospitals there were in the West Bank and Gaza before and after.

    Then why not tell his readers how many homes and olive groves also existed before and after?

    Further, by 1995 both Egypt and Jordan had made peace with Israel – a fact that has reaped enormous benefit to their economies.

    Don' you mean aid from the West? Surely you can tel the difference between aid and investment?

    Where are the economic initiatives undertaken by Hamas since Israel pulled out of Gaza in 2005? Did Hamas do a thing for the 50,000 Gazans who lost their jobs as a result?

    This one takes the cake. Since Hamas came to power, Israel and the West have made it obvious that their intent was to starve the Palestinians for voting for the wring party. Israel illegally withholds 50 million from the PA and you are blaming hams for not doing
    better?

    Go ahead and explain how, in economic terms you can increase your GNP while waging asymmetric warfare against neighbouring civilian populations?

    Good question. You can't, unless you are receiving massive amounts of aid from say, the US, like Israel does to the tune of more than 3 billion a year, including loans that they are not required to repay. Go ahead and explain in economic terms you can increase your GNP, while check points make it impossible to export produce out of the country and prevent resident getting to their place of employment or tending to their orchards?

    I am not scoffing at the view of your Palestinian friends, but the proof is pretty irrefutable. the Majority of Palestinians apparently disagree with your friends, or they would not have elected Hamas.

  • Carrie Lewis

    Then why not tell his readers how many homes and olive groves also existed before and after?

    Most likely because the answer to that would contradict his argument. The number of Palestinian homes and olive groves is without any shadow of doubt far higher today than in 1970.

    Don’ you mean aid from the West? Surely you can tel the difference between aid and investment?

    I mean in every aspect of economic life. The fact that Egypt and Jordan are at peace with Israel makes a great deal of difference to their respective economies and enhances their ability to increase GNP.

    This one takes the cake. Since Hamas came to power Israel and the West have made it obvious that their intent was to starve the Palestinians for voting for the wring party. Israel illegally withholds 50 million from the PA and you are blaming hams for not doing better?

    It does take the cake and as usual you haven’t responded to what wrote but rather, went off on a frolic of your own. I'm blaming Hamas for smuggling in weapons, inciting hatred and teaching their kids to want to become martyrs, burning down churches, closing cinemas, throwing opponents off tall buildings and doing nothing to improve the economy they were elected to develop. That's why GDP is in freefall in Gaza today.

    Surely you can tell the difference between aid and investment? If you could, you would know that nobody is trying to starve Palestinians and, in fact, foreign aid to them has increased since Hamas was elected.

    Why should Israel give money to a government that refuses to recognise previous agreements, wants to annihilate it and has a policy of genocide towards Jews. These are things about which Jews won’t remain silent even if you will.

  • Carrie Lewis

    I really stuffed up those quotation marks didn't I?

  • Andre

    Carrie,

    Don't worry. Please try again.