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.

Killing the non-Jews

Jonathan Cook, January 4:

It apparently never occurred to anyone in our leading human rights organisations or the Western media that the same moral and legal standards ought be applied to the behaviour of Israel and Hizbullah during the war on Lebanon 18 months ago. Belatedly, an important effort has been made to set that right.

A new report, written by a respected Israeli human rights organisation, one representing the country’s Arab minority not its Jewish majority, has unearthed evidence showing that during the fighting Israel committed war crimes not only against Lebanese civilians — as was already known — but also against its own Arab citizens. This is an aspect of the war that has been almost entirely neglected until now.

The report also sheds a surprising light on the question of what Hizbullah was aiming at when it fired hundreds of rockets on northern Israel. Until the report’s publication last month, I had been all but a lone voice arguing that the picture of what took place during the war was far more complex than generally accepted.

The new report follows a series of inquiries by the most influential human rights groups, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, to identify the ways in which international law was broken during Israel’s 34-day assault on Lebanon. However, both organisations failed to examine, except in the most cursory and dismissive way, Israel’s treatment of its own civilians during the war. That failure may also have had serious repercussions for their ability to assess Hizbullah’s actions.

one comment ↪
  • Sol Salbe

    A critical reading of Jonathan Cook on Hezbollah and Israel

    Sol Salbe

    Disclosure: Jonathan Cook is a journalist whom I have previously described as being more critical of Israel than he needs to be. I am not a fan. With that out of the way I think that the following is an example of how not to do a good job reporting. Cook takes a report which I regard as both valid and valuable on the behaviour of both the Israeli military and Hezbollah during the war. He then proceeds to add his own comments. Some of this are valid but far too many are simply wrong, (and, as I understand it, Cook can read Hebrew and he therefore ought to know they are wrong.) The result is an article with credibility gaps that uncritical supporters of Israel can drive a D9 bulldozer through, without touching the sides. Perhaps some audiences will ignore the details and choose to trust Cook. It may not be important for some if the central thrust remains valid. But unless you are only preaching to converted, and do not wish to convince anyone of your case, it is important to tell the truth. Why score an own goal for your opponents?

    Let’s get down to specifics.

    Israel had held on to a handful of Lebanese prisoners after its pullback.1 Most of these prisoners, including some who were specifically kidnapped for the purpose of exchanging them for an Israeli navigator, were actually exchanged on 29 January 2004 for a high-ranking Israeli drug dealer and the remains of three Israeli soldiers. At the last moment Israel declined to hand over the longest serving Lebanese prisoner Samir Kuntar (regarded by many Israelis as particularly unsavoury) who was actually part of a Palestinian rather Lebanese outfit. It was the Kuntar’s release rather than anyone held over from the occupation of Lebanon that formed Hezbollah central demand.

    UN catrographers disagree, backing Hizbullah’s claim that the area is Lebanese.2 No they didn’t. In fact Israel sought and received a certificate from the UN that it has withdrawn out of every square millimetre of Lebanese territory. After that an Israeli researcher found the documentary evidence in Paris showing that in the Shebaa farms actually belonged to Lebanon. But it was only after the war that UN cartographers expressed the view that the area may indeed belong to Lebanon after all. The present writer happens to think that on the balance of the evidence the UN made a mistake in its original determination but re-writing history, particularly when it is so well known, is just not on.

    Hizbullah attacked a border post3. It was actually a mobile patrol. There’s no political significance here but it does show sloppy journalism.

    Israel dropped more than a million cluster bombs4 A fair proportion of these were actually MLRS rockets and shells fired from the ground. These are even less accurate than air borne bombs. The significance here is that it appears that it was the ground troops (composed mainly of conscripts and reservists) who are likely to be the source of Meron Rapoport’s reports on the subject in Haaretz. A lot less gets leaked out of the air force which mainly uses career pilots. My understanding is up to four million bomblets were used.

    The hostile climate in Israel towards the fifth of the population who are Arab has made publication of the report a risky business. Azmi Bishara, Israel’s leading Arab politician and a major critic of Israel’s behaviour during the Lebanon war, is currently in exile under possible death sentence5. Cook uses a slight of hand here – sure there’s a death sentence for treason in Israel but seeing that it has never been applied no one in the Israeli media or Left blogosphere has seriously expressed the opinion that Bishara faces death (I know of one private expression of that opinion though). Of course a life sentence in an Israel jail could be perceived as worse than death. [On the other hand Israel has killed hundreds of Palestinians without resorting to any trial through “targetted killings” which the Hebrew media usually refers to by the more accurate rubric of “liquidations”.]

    Nonetheless they have successfully intimidated most of the Arab minority into silence.6 As an avid reader of the Israeli media including left-wing websites I’ve not noticed any cowering by Palestinian Israelis. I’d be interested to see Cook’s proof

    …a reporter from Maariv quoted parents in the Arab village of Fassuta complaining that children were wetting their beds because of the frightening bark of tanks stationed outside their homes.7 I couldn’t find that report (not all Ma’ariv articles make it to the Net.) I did, however, find a report from a year later where military correspondent Amir Buhbut of Ma’ariv was reminiscing about the time he spent “with the commander of the IDF’s Artillery Corps, Brigadier-General Lawrence Mualem, when he conducted the ‘rain of shells’ on southern Lebanon.” Again it may sound better to talk about tanks but the bombardment that did take place from that location was carried out by heavy guns that do much more damage.

    …it was widely reported during the war that 12 soldiers were killed when a Hizbullah rocket struck the rural community of Kfar Giladi, close to the northern border8. Cook is being disingenuous here. The reason the soldiers were killed was that they were outside Kfar Giladi and had not made use of its ample shelters. [And did not take any alternative measures such as digging themselves into trenches.] This matter has received wide-spread publicity as some of the parents of the dead soldiers accused the kibbutz of deliberately keeping their sons out in order to minimise the risk of Hezbollah attacks. The IDF had recently cleared the kibbutz pointing out that it was the IDF’s decision not to let the soldiers in. With ample evidence of Israeli operation from within Jewish communities why pick one where the very opposite is well documented?

    Plainly there are just too many errors and misleading statements here. It would be better for Cook to have concentrated on the actual report rather than his embellishments. As it is, he is at his best when does precisely that as he does here:

    “The Human Rights Association, however, reaches a rather different conclusion, one based on the available evidence. Its research shows a clear correlation between an Arab community having an Israeli army base located next to it and the likelihood of it being hit by Hizbullah rockets. In short, Arab communities targeted by Hizbullah were almost exclusively those in which the Israeli army was based.

    “’The study found that the Arab towns and villages that suffered the most intensive attacks during the war were ones that were surrounded by military installations, either on a permanent basis or temporarily during the course of the war,’ the report states.”