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.

Highlighting Israeli brutality

With news that two ships have finally left Cyprus headed to Gaza to break the international blockade of the Palestinian territory, it’s probably unlikely that the Israelis will allow them access. If nothing else, this proves that Gaza is still an occupied territory, despite the rhetoric from the Jewish state and its courtiers the world over. The BBC writes:

The two vessels – named Liberty and Free Gaza – are carrying 200 hearing aids for children and 5,000 balloons.

“No matter what happens we have already achieved our goal by proving that ordinary citizens with ordinary means can mobilise a defence of human rights for Palestinians,” organiser Paul Larudee told the AFP news agency.

“We want people to see the Palestinian problem as one of human rights, not feeding them rice,” he added.

The activists include Lauren Booth, sister-in-law of former British PM Tony Blair, who is now an international Middle East peace envoy. Also on board is left-wing Greek MP Tasos Kourakis.

The only Israeli Jew on-board is Jeff Halper, founder of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions. He told Democracy Now! yesterday:

I’m the only Israeli Jew onboard this mission… So I think it’s very important that there be an Israeli presence, because, after all, we’re the occupying power, and we have to take responsibility. And so, in a sense, symbolically, my presence here is a taking of responsibility by Israelis for the occupation and for the siege and the oppression for which we put the Palestinians under…

I think this is a common theme between Jews and Israeli Jews, and that is that we have to begin to take responsibility. We can’t always present ourselves as the victims. We’re not the weak party. And we have to take responsibility for what we’re doing. And that’s, I think, our central message to our own people.

5 comments ↪
  • Marilyn

    They got in. Sort of.

    It is an outrage that the world watches while this happens to the Palestinians who have been brutalised for 60 years and still whine about being the bloody victims.

  • moshe

    Marilyn the flat backer preaches her outrage.

    Frida Ghitis: How to fix Gaza’s problems

    01:00 AM EST on Sunday, February 17, 2008

    FRIDA GHITIS

    ATLANTA

    THERE WAS A TIME — a rather short-lived moment in the troubled history of the Middle East — when the people of Gaza thought life would get better, and the people of Israel’s town of Sderot thought they, too, would stop living in hell.

    “We thought we would live in peace,” is how one Israeli woman put it to me in Sderot a year ago. The moment of dashed hopes came in the summer of 2005, when Israeli forces forcibly removed all the Jews living in Gaza. With Gaza free of Israeli soldiers and settlers, Palestinians there would have full autonomy — a step towards nationhood — and Israelis could live without constant attacks. The optimists, as it turned out, were tragically wrong. Life has become even worse for people on both sides, with events in the last few weeks highlighting the need to find a solution to the problems of Gaza and its neighbors.

    The rocket attacks, which started in 2000, did not stop after the 2005 withdrawal. And when Hamas, the Islamic Resistance Movement, took control of Gaza seven months ago, rocket and mortar attacks became far worse, in keeping with Hamas’s goal of destroying Israel. Between international sanctions against Hamas and Israel’s tight controls at border crossings, living standards began plummeting inside Gaza.

    While news about the suffering of Gazans fills the airwaves, there is a peculiar lack of interest in the nightmare that is life for the people of Sderot and its vicinity. Every day, every few hours, the sirens wail their warning, giving terrified parents and teachers and children less than 15 seconds to take cover. The rockets are deliberately aimed at civilians. They have fallen on schools and day-care centers.

    A recent study shows the homes of 56 percent of the population have been hit by a rocket or shrapnel. More than 90 percent say their street or an adjacent one has been hit, and almost 50 percent know someone who was killed in such an attack.

    Every response by Israel draws international condemnation. Other countries have reacted to attacks against their populations by pulverizing their opponents. Israel targeted militant leaders and tried economic sanctions. A cut in fuel supplies prompted Gaza to shut its power plant, even while Israel continued to provide, as it always does, almost 75 percent of Gaza’s electricity needs.

    Israeli President Shimon Peres noted, “We have no interest in seeing Gaza’s residents suffer. They are not our enemies,” but added, “they must demand that Hamas stop firing on Israel.”

    Hamas, as other extremist groups, knows how to produce public-relations coups by exploiting the suffering of their people. News reports about the events make a cursory reference to the attacks against Israel, preferring to portray Israel as the ruthless aggressor. Not everyone buys this, however.

    The Palestinian Authority’s information minister, Riad al-Maliki, said Hamas and its “insistence on creating an Islamic Republic” were at the heart of the problem. He accused Hamas of failing to take responsibility for the deteriorating situation. Another P.A. official said Hamas is exploiting the situation to rally support in the Arab world and beyond. That tactic is working, but not everywhere.

    The European commissioner for justice, freedom and security, Franco Frattini, rejected claims by Israeli critics that the border closure is a war crime. (Firing rockets at civilians, as Hamas does, is a war crime.) According to Frattini, “Israel is justified in its concerns,” he said, adding that “for too long Europe has put too much blame on Israel.”

    Even the manager of the Arab network Al-Arabiyah criticized Hamas for creating this crisis, a sign that Saudi Arabia is growing increasingly irritated with Hamas.

    Then came the toppling of the border wall between Gaza and Egypt. Hamas spent months cutting into the wall, according to The Times of London, preparing for this moment. Now people and supplies — from food to missiles — can move freely between Egypt and Gaza.

    Some in Israel say it’s time to disengage completely and let Egypt become the conduit for Gaza trade. No other country is asked to support and supply an enemy sworn to its destruction. Others say leaving the Egyptian border open would let Iran-backed Hamas arm, as Hezbullah has done in Lebanon, leading ultimately to a much more violent and deadly confrontation.

    For Egypt’s government, the prospect of Hamas, an outgrowth of the Muslim Brotherhood, running free in its territory, paints an ominous picture. The options are terribly difficult.

    The only way to end the suffering in Gaza and in Sderot is to stop Palestinian attacks from Gaza into Israel. Handing a propaganda victory to Hamas makes that goal more distant. The nonviolent way to accomplish it is to persuade the Palestinians to remove Hamas from power or pressure it to change its ways. Every other alternative spells more suffering ahead for Palestinians and Israelis.

    Frida Ghitis, an occasional contributor, is a long-time foreign correspondent.

  • moshe

    This butt head blog highlights this report:

    " The decline in Israel's legitimacy among previously supportive populations in Europe and (to a much lesser extent) America was always going to be a syncopated and drawn out affair. The French Left followed Charles de Gaulle in supporting a two-state settlement after 1967. The British Left first decisively broke with Israel during the 1982 invasion of Lebanon. The American Left has been gradually adopting Palestine as a serious cause and the first time Palestinian flags made a significant appearance in American streets was as part of the antiwar movement. (Of course there remains an intransigent liberal bloc who are stridently supportive of Israel). And that's just the Left. It has taken much longer for public opinion as a whole to become hostile to Israel. That crisis would be significant enough, but one aspect of it that ought to be drawn out and looked at more is the extent of Jewish disaffection with Israel.

    Gary Younge, writing in The Guardian some years back, cited research by the Institute for Jewish Policy Research from as long ago as 1995 which found that 20% of British Jews held hostile feelings toward Israel. Not to a policy or a particular leader such as Netanyahu – and this in the middle of the so-called Oslo peace negotiations. A 1999 research draft by Stephen Cohen of The Hebrew University suggested that among American Jews there was "a gradual and nearly uniform slippage in Israel attachment as we descend the age ladder, from older, to middle-aged, to younger Jews." He reviewed survey data that showed that just over a quarter of American Jews would say they were "very attached" to Israel. Conforming to this trend was a general decline in "involvement in Jewish life", by which he seems to mean involvement in the religious traditions of Judaism. It is worth noting at the same time that a scholarly essay published in 2000 by Moshe and Harriet Hartman noted that among American Jews, a denominational difference was also evident, with Orthodox Jews far more attached to Israel than Reform Jews. Various measures to combat this, such as arranging trips to Israel for Jewish students, have only limited impact since those most willing to visit the country are those more likely to identify with it in some way already. Other research data presented by Steven Cohen and Charles Liebman found that "more Jews identify Judaism with a commitment to social equality than with support for Israel or religious observance". Further research from 2002 by the American Jewish Committee confirmed all of these trends, despite a brief surge in support for Israel after 9/11 and during the early months of the second Intifada. It also documented a steep rise in support for a Palestinian state, which had reached almost 70% by 2002.

    The reasons for this growing disaffection are discussed by Steven Rosenthal in his 2003 book, Irreconcilable Differences? The Waning of the American Jewish Love Affair With Israel. Discussing findings that show only a third of American Jews see Israel as being important to their sense of Jewishness, while almost a third evince no attachment to Israel at all and a mere 20% thought it essential for a good Jew to support Israel, he offers three key explanations. They are: defeats inflicted on Israel after its 1967 triumph; the rightward drift of the Israeli mainstream since the late 1970s and particularly the enduring militarism of Israeli life; and the increasing harshness of Israeli policy in the Occupied Territories and also in Lebanon. American Jews, having been extremely supportive of Israel thus far, were revolted by the idea of being associated with the right-wing elements in Israel, from Ariel Sharon to the lunatics of the Orthodox fringe. Unsurprisingly, given the relationship between liberal or left-wing views and hostility to Israeli policy, by far the biggest supporters of Israel in American public opinion surveys on all questions, from the future of the West Bank to US government support for Israel, are the Christian fundamentalists. This is one of the reasons why various Jewish organisations which have themselves warned against the antisemitism of the Christian Right in the past have subsequently become their staunch allies in American politics.

    This is not an uncomplicated matter, and it is important to put these findings in perspective. In the case of American Jews particularly, there is still vastly more support for Israel than there is for the Palestinians. The Palestinian struggle carries overwhelmingly negative connotations, while Israel is generally perceived as desiring peace and security. This is true of American public opinion in general, of course, but this story is about Israel's relative success and failure in maintaining Jewish support. Notwithstanding such qualifications, there is clearly a crisis brewing in Israel's global legitimacy particularly with respect to its most desired constitency, Jewish people themselves. A crucial argument of Zionism, which is not a recent innovation but has been with it since its inception, is that Jewish people in particular owe support to the Zionist movement and to Israel. It is their homeland and as such, the failure to support it can be seen as self-hating assimilationism among the Diaspora. Much of the research I've cited above is given over to bemoaning the emerging situation and trying to find ways to reverse it. Retaining the basic ideological attachment of non-Israeli Jews is seen as crucial for sustaining support among Western political classes. To that extent, this puts Israel and its apologists on the defensive. That is why, when Jewish people organise in support of the Palestinians and protest against Israeli aggression, the usual unpleasant and vindictive voices are raised in denunciation. It is why they are admonished in the terms of authoritarian communalism: "Do not separate yourself from the community. "

  • Hendro

    is "Israel’s town of Sderot" in israel?

  • moshe

    Hendro is your brain in your head? Your a funny clown.