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.

Don’t dare slam the holy Jewish state

Following my lead letter in yesterday’s Sydney Morning Herald, the following letters appear in response today (under the headline, “Define reasonable, Mr Loewenstein”):

Antony Loewenstein says “not many Jews” agree that the 2001 UN conference against racism in Durban was an anti-Semitic hatefest (Letters, July 23).

I was a delegate and I don’t remember Mr Loewenstein being there when hundreds of Palestinians and Muslims were screaming in our faces “death to the Jews”. Nor when Palestinians and members of the Arab Lawyers League were handing out leaflets saying that if Hitler had done his job properly, there would have been no Israel and no Palestinian problem.

More importantly, he misses Anne Bayefsky’s key point, which is that Western values of free speech and support for open interfaith dialogue are threatened, rather than supported, by the UN Human Rights Council.

Alan Gold Leura

The headline on Antony Loewenstein’s letter, “Israel the aggressor must accept reasonable and unbiased criticism” could have been more appropriately worded “Israel must accept reasonable criticism”.

Each of us brings our bias, our opinion weighted with life experience, when we enter into conversation. As a Jew, I recognise mistakes have been made on both sides of the conflict in the Middle East. But to argue as Mr Loewenstein does that the “Palestinians are the eternally demonised people, occupied, starved and killed with impunity by Israel” only presents another “biased” perspective, not reasonable criticism.

In the past week, Israel has mourned the losses of soldiers Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser, while Hezbollah and Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of the Palestinian Authority, have praised the release of the murderer Samir Kuntar. I hope Mr Loewenstein, in his ardent pursuit of human rights, would not condemn Israel while its neighbours dance in the street when murderers go free.

Reasonable criticism and a pursuit of human rights will come only when we acknowledge the mistakes of both sides. But when one nation mourns and others celebrate a vigilante with seemingly no respect for human life, I reserve my right to be reasonably biased.

Paul Jacobson Bondi

A few comments are in order. The issue of human rights in the Middle East is indeed a fraught one, but far too many Jews seem able to convince themselves that Israelis are on the side of angels and only Arabs are the terrorists. Hardly. The occupation of Palestinian land is a daily attack on dignity. Until the Western world understands the reality of Arab resistance to Zionist designs on the region, conflict will continue.

It’s amazing, in the letters above, how I’m chastised for not appreciating the Jew-hatred of the “enemy.” I’m well aware of it, having travelling around the Middle East a number of times. But Zionists refuse to acknowledge their responsibility for creating anti-Semitism, defending the occupation or remaining silent about it.

12 comments ↪
  • S Perry

    As always Antony, you attempt to blame the victim. It's a disgrace you state that "Zionists refuse to acknowledge their responsibility for creating anti-Semitism, defending the occupation or remaining silent about it."

    Let's consider that. When Israel was engaged in peace negotiations with the Palestinian Authority throughout the 1990s, even at the height of the peace process, the PA was still disseminating vehemently anti-Jewish material throughout its media.

    Even in 2000, when Israel offered the Palestinians a state which included approximately 95% of the West Bank, all of Gaza and a capital in East Jerusalem, Arafat refused to make peace. This could have ended the so-called occupation once and for all but instead all Israel received in return were suicide bombers and even more hatred inculcated amongst Palestinian children.

    In 2005, Israel withdrew from Gaza completely, dragging out every last Jew. What did they receive in return? More violence and rockets from Hamas, a group dedicated to Israel's destruction.

    Therefore, despite whether they're in the West Bank, Gaza or not and even when they've tried to negotiate with the other side, it doesn't work. Anti-semitic attitudes seem to be there despite everything they do and this isn't just limited to the Palestinians. As we've seen with Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a man who'd like to wipe Israel off the map, this attitude goes far and wide.

    Even China, who has occupied Tibet, and who haven't really attempted to make peace or promote the rights of Tibetans, hasn't been subject to as much hate and vilification as Israel has been.

    Hence, it's inaccurate and unfair for you to say that "Zionists refuse to acknowledge their responsibility for creating anti-Semitism…". Honestly, do you believe that even if Israel were to fall over and die tomorrow that Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad and Ahmadinejad would cease being anti-Semitic? Don't think so.

    I hope you print my comment but given your track record of censoring dissenting comments, I don't expect to see it here. Have a great day.

  • S Perry,

    Blow it out your *John Howard*.

    You can keep repeating this trite nonsense, but you might have noticed that less and less people on this planet are willing to pretend to believe it.

    What is your long-term solution, given that you seem to think that rabid anti-Semitism is going to prevail across the Middle East no matter what Israel does?

  • S Perry

    Hello Gandhi.

    As for a long-term solution, here's one: for the Palestinians to stop inculcating and teaching hatred to its children. This is clear if you even take a cursory glance at their media, newspapers and television. Here's one such example: http://www.memritv.org/clip_transcript/en/1679.ht

    The Palestinians will need to stop committing acts of terrorism against Israel as well as its own people, in how they continue to indoctrinate them with the idea that destroying the Jewish state is their only hope for survival.

    This is a good start. Once they realise that trying to destroy Israel is not only unachieveable but an insane and unworthy thing to aspire to, then this will produce a profound and long overdue psychological shift necessary for peace.

    Cheers.

  • And do you really, seriously think they will teach their children to love Israel while Israelis continue to treat them like untermenschen? Would you?

    Your entire premise of thought is worse than childish, it is either intellectually dishonest or profoundly stupid.

  • S Perry

    Untermenschen? Nice word.

    Trying to make comparisons or parallels with how Israel defends herself against murderers with how the Nazis treated the Jews during World War Two is a prime example of being intellectually dishonest and profoundly stupid. Well done.

  • Mike

    S Perry either that or the Israelis and people like yourself who support everything this state does unconditionally should acknowledge that in 1948 Jews marched onto land that was inhabited by other people and kicked people from their homes and stole their land. They should acknowledge that these aggressive actions ilicited a half hearted response by the Arab nations into "protecting" these indigenous inhabitants. They should also acknowledge that the way they have treated these people for so long since has contributed to their "hatred" by the occupied people. To suggest that they are just irrational people who just hate Jews because its a fashionable thing to do or taught to hate for the sake of being taught is intellectually dishonest and profoundly stupid. I guess youve been taught by your elders to mouth the rhetoric you mouth.

  • rob

    S Perry, you just dont get it do you?

    You can sit and write around this issue for as long as you like, but the truth will be there for all (or anyone prepared to look) to see. Allow me to explain….

    (1) Israel is the aggressor in this story. Full Stop!

    (2) Zionists claimed land that did not belong to them. Thats right, people from Europe who came to Palestine with the moral authority of "the chosen people" cannot be considered as having a territorial right over people living on land for centuries.

    (3) I dont hate Jews, I dont hate anyone, but I sure as hell can see that the Palestinians have been & continue to be wronged by Israel.

    (4) Israeli civilians commit hate crimes against the Palestinian population. Its not reported in the Western news as widely as the hate crimes committed upon Jews by Palestinians.

    (5) Israeli civilians are just as indoctrinated in the hatred of Arabs – I have heard their stories, I have seen their actions. So please, lets have a balanced debate about who hates more? Jews or Arabs?

    (6) There are monsters within the Israeli military. These monsters are allowed to carry weapons and detain people at their whim. Just in case you needed proof, I have just watched a video of an Israeli 'hero' shoot a Palestinian youth in the leg at point-blank range with a 'rubberised' bullet – what a hero, you should be so proud to have people like that representing the virtuous one in the Middle East. Just imagine the unspeakable acts that are/have been committed by Israel in 'closed military zones?' Does anyone remember Jenin?

    (7) Palestinians have (surprise, surprise) formed para-military groups to fight back against Israel's barbaric policies. Remember the true heroes of Warsaw, they rightly formed groups in an attempt to defend themselves.

    (8) Dont paint Israel as the victim here.

    (9) Dont paint the Palestinians as the bad guys either.

    (10) Stop lying about the so-called generous offer made to Arafat at Camp David. That old one has been debunked on numerous occasions – so lets drop the charade.

    (11) The PA and Israel have been 'talking peace' for nearly 30 years. What has the process provided the Palestinians – nothing! The whole dammed thing is a charade.

  • S Perry

    Mike, as for being kicked from their homes, this isn't entirely accurate. Many Arabs fled on orders from Arab leaders from the neighbouring countries who told them to get out so they could go in and push the Jews into the sea. Others left because they didn't want to get caught in the firing line as the Arab countries were planning to go in and kill the nascent Jewish state.

    These Arab leaders went in to not "protect" anyone but to instead kill the Jews. Their intentions were declared by Azzam Pasha, Secretary-General of the Arab League: "This will be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre which will be spoken of like the Mongolian massacres and the Crusades." Don't think they were trying to protect anyone there mate.

    Isn't it surprising that even though the Jews were pushed around, killed and slaughtered by the Nazis (a good 6 million of them), that they didn't teach their children to go blow up German civilians and wipe Germany off the map?

    As we well know, the Jews have experienced endless discrimination, killings and pogroms for hundreds of years. Despite this, the Jews haven't decided to whine, complain and hate other peple but instead they get on with their lives, decide to survive and build a better life for their future offspring. Throughout all of this they've still managed to contribute an enormous amount to humanity over the centuries. And they've managed to build a great state despite immense internal and external pressures. Pretty impressive you might say.

  • moshe

    S Perry,

    Very well said. When all around you spewed tumah emotionalism you responded with respect and maturity. Your emotional development and your logical and rational arguments wow I find them both motivating and inspiring. Thank You.

  • Steve perks

    Many Arabs fled on orders from Arab leaders from the neighbouring countries who told them to get out so they could go in and push the Jews into the sea. Others left because they didn’t want to get caught in the firing line as the Arab countries were planning to go in and kill the nascent Jewish state.

    I think you need to read up oin Dier Yassin and stop swallowing propoganda – is this rubbush taught to israeli children?

    Do they learn about the terrorist Begin?

  • There are none so blind as those who will not see.

  • rob

    Dear S Perry,

    You don’t need to hark back to 1948 to discuss Arabs being pushed out of their homes. Its 2008 and Palestinians are still politely asked to leave their homes by the nice Israeli State, just before they bulldoze it to the ground (with or without the inhabitants).

    Given that its 2008, and there are no Arab armies ‘ordering them’ from their homes, Israel has come up with new reasons for pushing Arabs out of their homes. Here are a few that I have heard/read about recently (please add to the list if you feel it’s inadequate in any way);

    • Your related to a terrorist;

    • Your home is in our security posts line of fire;

    • Your home is in the way of the 18 foot concrete wall we would like to erect through your village;

    • You don’t have the correct papers for erecting a house here;

    • Our new Jewish settlement needs to be built nearby, and you, your olive grove and your house needs to be removed in order to build a brand new Settler only road.

    In my opinion, your point of view attempts to blur the contribution of Jewish individuals with the actions of the Israeli State. I for one applaud the excellent contribution Jewish people have made in the various facets of history – truly remarkable stuff, but please don’t use this positive to justify the injustices carried out by the State upon the Palestinians (primarily).

    Mr/Ms Perry, the ‘jig’ is up for people like you.

    I suggest that you concentrate spewing your pro-Israeli bias on the likes of The Australian and The Age readers. I think the audience of Anthony’s website are a little bit more knowledgeable of the facts on the ground with respect to the incredibly bad situation in Palestine.