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.

Is Iran next?

My following article appears in today’s ABC Unleashed:

The fifth anniversary in March of the Iraq war should have given the political and media elite time to reflect on their actions since 2003. Virtually ignored by the mainstream media were stories such as life in Fallujah, where citizens remain mired in poverty and resentment.

Despite the failings of the conflict, increasingly aggressive rhetoric against Iran suggests that a military strike against the Islamic Republic is being considered at the highest levels of the American and Israeli governments.

During the recent testimony of American General David Petraeus, he consistently blamed Iran, and not al-Qaeda, for Washington’s problems in the occupied nation. Tehran now complains that US-backed rebels are provoking its borders. New evidence proves that the Bush administration wanted to target Iran soon after 9/11.

Fox News‘ Bill Reilly blindly accepted the argument that, “Iran is directly responsible for killing and maiming thousands of American troops, and it is the primary reason Iraq remains so chaotic”. Bombing should clearly commence in five minutes.

The reality of Iran’s involvement in Iraq remains confusing, however, something confirmed by Independent journalist Patrick Cockburn. Tehran’s influence is complex, though undeniable.

Cockburn fears that an American attack on Iran is not unlikely, but for reasons other than currently stated. A regional challenge to America’s hegemony is not accepted lightly. Moreover, Washington will simply not tolerate a well-armed and relatively wealthy nation, Iran, challenging its unimpeded flow of oil from various, authoritarian client states.

The fact that America now has less control over the world’s global resources is something ignored by most commentators. The great, ironic legacy of the Bush administration will be its success in increasing the decline of America’s diplomatic influence. Large swathes of the world now largely ignore State Department dictates.

Israel also finds itself in a situation largely of its own making (not unlike its colonial addiction to the settlement project). Yossi Alpher, former adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, has articulated the thinking in Tel Aviv:

“…In order to understand Israel’s response to both the current tension with Syria and Hizballah and the link between that tension and the status of Israeli-Palestinian relations, it is vital to recognize the major evolution that has taken place in recent years in Israel’s grand strategic thinking regarding the Iranian threat. Iran – not Syria and not Palestine – is today the prism through which Israeli security planners look at the region, its permutations and the threats it presents. Any effort at either war or peace with Syria is directed against Iran. The non-state Islamist actors Hizballah and Hamas represent Iranian footholds on Israel’s borders and on the shores of the Mediterranean. Israeli-Egyptian cooperation regarding Hamas relates to Iran.

“Of course, Israel still has a host of strategic threats and issues to deal with. But the prism is Iran.”

The last weeks have seen bellicose statements by various Israeli ministers, not least Infrastructure Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer who warned Iran that any attack on Israel would result in the “destruction of the Iranian nation”. The Iranian response was predictable. Gen. Mohammad Reza Ashtiani said that Iran would destroy the Jewish state if attacked.

The Bush administration provide valuable insights into the mindset that led Tony Blair, John Howard and a host of other leaders into the “war on terror’s” orbit. Time.com‘s senior editor Tony Karon explains:

The U.S. or an ally or proxy launches a military offensive against a politically popular “enemy” group; Bush and his minions welcome the violence as “clarifying” matters, demonstrating “resolve”, or, in the most grotesque rhetorical flourish of all, the “birth pangs” of a brave new world. Each time, the “enemy” proves far more resilient than expected, largely because Bush and his allies have failed to recognize that each adversary’s power should be measured in political support rather than firepower; and the net effect of the offensive invariably leaves the enemy strengthened and the U.S. and its allies even weaker than before they launched the offensive.

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd may be faced with a request from the White House – including from the next President, either Democrat or Republican – to support military action against Iran.

The Labor party has already stated that it intends to bring Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the International Court of Justice (something praised by the local Zionist lobby). It will inevitably fail but worryingly associates Australia with a neo-conservative foreign policy agenda, something supposedly jettisoned last year. It’s a shame our media doesn’t investigate recent claims that Israel is purchasing oil from the Islamic Republic, fundamentally undermining its claims of victimhood.

Rudd’s recent world tour was praised by the Wall Street Journal, though journalists missed a far more important gauge of public opinion. Iranians, in a recent poll, expressed scepticism towards America but a willingness to have “direct talks on issues of mutual concern” and “more access for each other’s journalists” Iranian bloggers continue to be active, despite the onerous restrictions.

Our media has a responsibility to fully investigate the claims and counter-claims surrounding Iran’s alleged nuclear program (though Ahmadinejad’s rhetoric rarely helps matters). As former US President Jimmy Carter said this week about the necessity of including Hamas in any Israel/Palestine peace deal, Tehran will inevitably need to be engaged if Middle East peace is to be achieved.

That is, of course, if what America and Israel truly desires.

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