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.

Goodbye to all that?

Israeli newspaper Haaretz has become one of the great journals of the world, fearlessly reporting the effects of the occupation. But a new German owner appears determined to radically shift its focus. An insider writes:

A new German owner has purchased Haaretz and a “Putsch is being carried out among reporting staff,” in the most important and liberal Zionist paper in Israel. According to inside sources, the new owner has carried out a rough, sitting room survey that revealed that “the occupation doesn’t sell newspapers” and they are therefore concentrating on the business world (ie. The Marker). Twilight Zone, Gideon Levy’s regular Friday column, has been scrapped, Amira Hass has been degraded to freelance on half salary, Meron Rapaport has been fired and Akiva Eldar has lost at least one half page a week.

The paper frequently allowed journalists critical of the Israeli occupation to publish articles that exposed the reality of the occupation to be exposed to the Israeli population and was circulated around the world. The new editorial direction is disturbing news. Haaretz was one of the few decent Israeli media outlets and showed that in Israel there was some respect for freedom of the press and critical discussion. This is a repeat of the situation when Conrad Black bought the Jerusalem Post and hired an Israeli censor to be publisher. The decent journalists all quit in protest, including Benny Morris back when he still had a moral conscience.

It reflects a more disturbing trend. Norman Finkelstein was recently denied entry into Israel and the West Bank. Bishop Desmond Tutu was denied entry into Israel too. Prominent Palestinian journalists are routinely denied exit visas by the Israelis to leave the Occupied Territories to go on speaking tours and a group of Palestinians students from Gaza were also recently denied exit visas to attend American universities after being granted Fulbright Scholarships from the American Government.

It appears that the Israelis are closing down many if not all of the sources of critical information coming out of Israel.

4 comments ↪
  • Sol Salbe

    Antony, more than once you have written that bloggers ought to be treated as journalists , and you may well be right about this. But surely the corollary must be that to earn that title blogger must do SOME fact checking at least?

    Let’s have a look at the item in detail: granted that Ed Corrigan is well-known inside the 9/11 conspiracy crowd, what exactly make him as insider? Is he an Israeli? A Hebrew reader? A media monitor? A former employee of Haaretz? A staff member with Reporters without borders? Somehow being a Canadian migration agent doesn’t make him an Haaretz insider in my book.

    But let’s get to his specifics:
    “A new German owner has purchased Haaretz”. Actually DuMont Schauberg association with Haaretz is not all that new. They made their purchase in 2006. And since when does owning 25 per cent of a paper makes you the owner that rules the roost? It is hardly a controlling interest. Publisher Amos Schocken and his family are still very much in control.

    “Twilight Zone, Gideon Levy’s regular Friday column, has been scrapped .” A check of last Friday’s paper would have shown that Levy’s column was there in precisely the same spot as usual, covering the same subject of the Occupied Territories. (http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/988412.html)
    The words “Twilight Zone” were missing. But if you check with any of your Hebrew reading colleagues, including for example Ali Abunimah, you’ll find that those words were not missing of the Hebrew version at http://www.haaretz.co.il/hasite/pages/ShArtPE.jht….

    “Amira Hass has been degraded to freelance on half salary” Actually Hass told Dr Dorothy Naor of News Profile that she is on a year’s at her request. No Doubt you know Dr Naor and could check it with her yourself.

    “Meron Rapaport has been fired”. That’s actually true. Several reporters left/were sacked at the time the new editor, Dov Alfon, took over. This is fairly normal in the newspaper business. According to Ice News, a professional Hebrew media industry newsletter, http://www.ice.co.il/article.asp?catId=2&pgId… the reporters were associated with the outgoing editor David Landau. Only one of these, Meron Rapoport, would be familiar to readers who follow the conflict. There does appear to be a financial rather than a political pattern there.

    Akiva Eldar has lost at least one half page a week. Akiva Eldar’s brief is to write commentary as well as break news stories. As a journalist you would know that no reporter get allocated column space. The amount of space reporters and commentators get does depend on the news cycle. You will need several months’ research to make that kind of assertion.

    I put it to you that if you want to be called a journalist, you ought to do more fact checking than you appeared to have had.

  • LeaNder

    Thanks, Sol Solbe, that was a cold shower, caught in the rumor spreading act.

    Anthony, I am from Cologne, Germany. That's the homebase of DuMont Schaunberg. Not too long ago, they took over the Frankfurter Rundschau, a left paper, based in Frankfurt, but read nation wide, numbers sinking. The Social Democrats had to throw them a life line before. You haven't the slightest idea how much I thanked them. Although, and that's part of he problem, I buy less and less papers.

    They are non-Jewish Germans by the way. I don't think they will interfere ideologically. (…)

    Again thanks, now I'll keep your name in mind

  • Sol Salbe

    Dear Antony,
    There further items of interest to help complete the picture. Being unsure as to your word limit I have split them into two postings.

    1)Merron Rapoport had an article in Yesterday’s (Monday) Haaretz in both Hebrew and English A common friend has verified that he is working out the notice period, In other words he HAS been sacked.

    2) A Letter from Amira Hass to Ed Corrigan: (as I received it from him)
    Here is an email that I received from Amira Hass on the current situation and changes at Haaretz.

    Ed Corrigan

    Dear Ed Corrigan,

    I forward you a letter i have already sent to two people who asked me directly about the rumors.

    i should add that as far as i know Gideon Levy’s column is under no
    threat. It was published last Friday as usual, and so are his
    weekly op-eds.

    Dear friends,

    The rumors and and some inaccuracies concerning my work at Haaretz, and the general interest and manifested alarm –
    indeed require my comments. You two have asked me directly about
    those rumors. So here is my answer:

    1. I am on an upaid sabbatical (since March 2008). It was my
    request to have this leave of absence. I needed it badly, after almost 15 years of covering the Israeli occupation from within (and for a great part of this time – working up to 15 – 18 hours per
    day). For long periods the work was done in the stressful
    circumstances of military invasions, bombings and shellings, standing in front of tanks or edgy armed soldiers, curfews, strict closures, PA mainfested malcontent with any critical reporting etc.
    No less stressful has been life in the orwelian theater of a
    “peace process” – trying – usually in vain – to make the
    readers and my compatriots aware of the deception and the explosiveness of the situation.

    2. In November 2007 i was told by Haaretz that my contract and terms of employment should be changed as i had been writing too little over the past year.

    3. In November i was too tired and dispirited to be able to explain all that was obviously needed to be explained, and to negotiate the terms of a new contract, and therefore we agreed to postpone everything. . According to my agreement with Haaretz, i may write free lance during my year leave of absence. As i have been away most of the time, it hasn’t happened yet (except for two op-eds). Also, according to the agreement, by the end of the sabbatical i’ll return to work for a half year – within the same terms. It is then that it will be decided how to proceed.

    4. Alll this took place BEFORE haaretz nominated a new editor in chief.

    5. As for the dismissal of other colleagues (several editors, not
    only reporters): It is of course sad to know that people
    who have worked for years, and dedicated time, thoughts, energy
    and professionalism – have to start looking for a new place.
    I do find it extremely deplorable that Miron Rapoport will not be
    writing for Haaretz. He is a very prolific reporter, who excells
    at investigations, who writes well and for whom journalism is clearly about “monitoring power” and challenging authorities.

    Since i placed myself in Gaza, at the beginning of the 90’s, i have learned that in our society (where there is democracy for Jews) – the right for freedom of thought, expression and information is fairly guaranteed. But there is no OBLIGATION to excercise these liberties.

    This year i intend to complete the writing of a book on Israel’s policy of closure (”the robbery of time and space” – as i term it).

    thank you for your concern –

    amira

  • Sol Salbe

    ) Message from Dorothy Naor of New Profile forwarding a letter from Haaretz editor Dov Alfon. (Please note that I excised the Hebrew expecting it to come as gibberish on thos website. It is avaialbe from me at ssalbe@westnet.com.au

    Start forwarded message:
    Thanks to Hanna for forwarding the Hebrew, and much gratitude to Sol Salbe for translating- and in a wink!

    Below is the response of the editor of Ha’aretz to a letter regarding the issue that has been bandied back and forth in emails the past several days, namely, the changes taking place in the newspaper and the reasons for them.

    One correction to the letter. The editor states that 4 years ago Gideon Levy’s Twilight Zone was shunted from the Magazine to where it now is . This is definitely an error. I doubt that it has been a year, though I don’t remember the exact date. But that, in any event, is not the main issue.

    I think that Dov Alfon’s statement “Obviously, cancellation of subscriptions will have the opposite affect and force us into further cutbacks” should be taken seriously. My sources likewise felt that canceling subscriptions would not achieve the results that we hope for.

    The original Hebrew follows the English.

    Dorothy

    =====================================================

    From: Haaretz Daily Newspaper

    Dear Dr Raymond Leicht and Ronit Beck,

    Thank you for your letter. I’ve received five similar letters today. Some of the writers noted with concern that an aggressive campaign is being conducted against the paper based on false information. It may be the case that the disinformation is being spread out by extreme right-wing circles or perhaps it is based on a simple misunderstanding.

    The substantive point is that, as part of the printed media crisis, five reporters and editors are leaving the paper in consequence of the elimination of the ‘B’ section of the paper. For the record, at least two of these hold opposite views to Meron Rapoport who is mentioned in your letter. He is indeed a talented writer, but he has been working for us for only three years, since he was sacked by Yediot Acharonot. Newspapers are trying to survive and they have two choices – increase their circulation or cut down on editorial costs. The New York Times has recently sacked 7 per cent of its reporting staff (presumably some of these would have been identified as being on the Left). Closer to home, Ma’ariv has announced that it would be cutting down its stuff by 10 per cent in the course of this year. I hope that our path will take the opposite direction, that we will succeed in convincing more people to join our readers circle. Obviously, cancellation of subscriptions will have the opposite affect and force us into further cutbacks.

    This course of action is indeed painful, but it is rather limited compared to developments in similar newspapers around the globe. But, there is no connection between the cutbacks and Amira Hass’s sabbatical leave. That leave was agreed upon well before I took over as Editor, and she is expected to return to the paper, if that is her wish. This is not her first leave of absence nor is it a new practice; Tom Segev had returned from an even longer break less than a year ago,

    In fact, if a change had taken place in the past month – since I took over the role – it has been in precisely the opposite direction to what you describe in your letter. Purely by chance, it was in this period that Haaretz received exclusive information upon which we were able to base some stories that were prominently published. These included the exclusion of Norman Finkelstein (Yossi Melman), the new attempts by the Justice Minister to influence the High Court (Shahar Ilan, Jonathan Lis), the Elad NGO takeover operations in East Jerusalem (Akiva Eldar) and of course the Talansky-Messer affair (Gidi Weitz).

    As for the move of Gideon Levy’s column from the “Week End” to the magazine section, this had happened four years ago, as result of lack of chemistry between Gideon and the then Musaf editor, Rogel Alpher. It was me who initiated the column during my stint as Musaf editor in 1994. I was also the one who came with its name, the “Twilight Zone”. I see it as a vital part of the paper.

    It is saddening to note that such an aggressive disinformation campaign is being conducted against Haaretz. But as a fighting newspaper we are used to encounter organised mudslinging campaigns. We hope to survive this current campaign as well.

    I thank you for your interest in Haaretz and hope this letter has allayed your fears.

    Yours Sincerely

    Dov Alfon

    Editor Haaretz