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.

Helping terrorists everywhere

What is the Jewish state doing here?

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh has said the security forces have arrested a group of alleged Islamist militants linked to Israeli intelligence.

Mr Saleh did not say what evidence had been found to show the group’s links with Israel, a regional enemy of Yemen.

The arrests were connected with an attack on the US embassy in Sanaa last month which killed at least 18 people, official sources were quoted saying.

Israel’s foreign ministry has rejected the accusation as “totally ridiculous”.

“A terrorist cell was arrested and will be referred to the judicial authorities for its links with the Israeli intelligence services,” Mr Saleh told a gathering at al-Mukalla University in Hadramawt province.

one comment ↪
  • frank

    Moral Confusion: China-Tibet vs. Israel-Palestine

    Two excellent and thought-provoking articles came out this week on the current uprising in Tibet against its long-standing occupation by China. Both articles touch on the following points:

    (1) The errors of comparing the situation with the Israeli “occupation” of Palestine, the conclusion in both articles being that the latter “occupation” is nothing of the sort and that there is nothing in common between peace-loving Tibetans and bloodthirsty Palestinians.

    (2) The twisted moral confusion of the do-nothing U.N. and the world community—the same U.N. and world community whom U.S. Democrats constantly look to for approval.

    March 25, 2008

    Why do ‘Palestinians’ get much more attention than Tibetans?

    By Dennis Prager

    […] Consider the facts: Tibet, at least 1,400 years old, is one of the world’s oldest nations, has its own language, its own religion and even its own ethnicity. Over 1 million of its people have been killed by the Chinese, its culture has been systematically obliterated, 6,000 of its 6,200 monasteries have been looted and destroyed, and most of its monks have been tortured, murdered or exiled.

    Palestinians have none of these characteristics. There has never been a Palestinian country, never been a Palestinian language, never been a Palestinian ethnicity, never been a Palestinian religion in any way distinct from Islam elsewhere. Indeed, “Palestinian” had always meant any individual living in the geographic area called Palestine. For most of the first half of the 20th century, “Palestinian” and “Palestine” almost always referred to the Jews of Palestine. The United Jewish Appeal, the worldwide Jewish charity that provided the nascent Jewish state with much of its money, was actually known as the United Palestine Appeal. Compared to Tibetans, few Palestinians have been killed, its culture has not been destroyed nor its mosques looted or plundered, and Palestinians have received billions of dollars from the international community. Unlike the dying Tibetan nation, there are far more Palestinians today than when Israel was created.

    None of this means that a distinct Palestinian national identity does not now exist. Since Israel’s creation such an identity has arisen and does indeed exist. Nor does any of this deny that many Palestinians suffered as a result of the creation of the third Jewish state in the area, known — since the Romans renamed Judea — as “Palestine.”

    But it does mean that of all the causes the world could have adopted, the Palestinians’ deserved to be near the bottom and the Tibetans’ near the top. This is especially so since the Palestinians could have had a state of their own from 1947 on, and they have caused great suffering in the world, while the far more persecuted Tibetans have been characterized by a morally rigorous doctrine of nonviolence.

    So, the question is, why? Why have the Palestinians received such undeserved attention and support, and the far more aggrieved and persecuted and moral Tibetans given virtually no support or attention?

    The first reason is terror. Some time ago, the Palestinian leadership decided, with the overwhelming support of the Palestinian people, that murdering as many innocent people — first Jews, and then anyone else — was the fastest way to garner world attention. They were right. On the other hand, as The Economist notes in its March 28, 2008 issue, “Tibetan nationalists have hardly ever resorted to terrorist tactics…” It is interesting to speculate how the world would have reacted had Tibetans hijacked international flights, slaughtered Chinese citizens in Chinese restaurants and temples, on Chinese buses and trains, and massacred Chinese schoolchildren.

    The second reason is oil and support from powerful fellow Arabs. The Palestinians have rich friends who control the world’s most needed commodity, oil. The Palestinians have the unqualified support of all Middle Eastern oil-producing nations and the support of the Muslim world beyond the Middle East. The Tibetans are poor and have the support of no nations, let alone oil-producing ones.

    The third reason is Israel. To deny that pro-Palestinian activism in the world is sometimes related to hostility toward Jews is to deny the obvious. It is not possible that the unearned preoccupation with the Palestinians is unrelated to the fact that their enemy is the one Jewish state in the world. Israel’s Jewishness is a major part of the Muslim world’s hatred of Israel. It is also part of Europe’s hostility toward Israel: Portraying Israel as oppressors assuages some of Europe’s guilt about the Holocaust — “see, the Jews act no better than we did.” Hence the ubiquitous comparisons of Israel to Nazis.

    A fourth reason is China. If Tibet had been crushed by a white European nation, the Tibetans would have elicited far more sympathy. But, alas, their near-genocidal oppressor is not white. And the world does not take mass murder committed by non-whites nearly as seriously as it takes anything done by Westerners against non-Westerners. Furthermore, China is far more powerful and frightening than Israel. Israel has a great army and nuclear weapons, but it is pro-West, it is a free and democratic society, and it has seven million people in a piece of land as small as Belize. China has nuclear weapons, has a trillion U.S. dollars, an increasingly mighty army and navy, is neither free nor democratic, is anti-Western, and has 1.2 billion people in a country that dominates the Asian continent.

    A fifth reason is the world’s Left. As a general rule, the Left demonizes Israel and has loved China since it became Communist in 1948. And given the power of the Left in the world’s media, in the political life of so many nations, and in the universities and the arts, it is no wonder vicious China has been idolized and humane Israel demonized.

    The sixth reason is the United Nations, where Israel has been condemned in more General Assembly and Security Council resolutions than any other country in the world. At the same time, the UN has voted China onto its Security Council and has never condemned it. China’s sponsoring of Sudan and its genocidal acts against its non-Arab black population, as in Darfur, goes largely unremarked on at the UN, let alone condemned, just as is the case with its cultural genocide, ethnic cleansing and military occupation of Tibet.

    The seventh reason is television news, the primary source of news for much of mankind. Aside from its leftist tilt, television news reports only what it can video. And almost no country is televised as much as Israel, while video reports in Tibet are forbidden, as they are almost anywhere in China except where strictly monitored by the Chinese authorities. No video, no TV news. And no TV, no concern. So while grieving Palestinians and the accidental killings of Palestinians during morally necessary Israeli retaliations against terrorists are routinely televised, the slaughter of over a million Tibetans and the extinguishing of Tibetan Buddhism and culture are non-events as far as television news is concerned. […]

    In this next article, Joe Klein focuses on Tibet and the actions (or lack thereof) of the U.N.:

    The U.N.’s Hypocrisy in Tibet

    By Joseph Klein | Friday, March 28, 2008

    It’s a storyline tailor-made to arouse the United Nations’ ire. Troops move in to occupy the land of an indigenous population; civilians have been murdered and imprisoned en masse; local residents have been displaced to make way for settlements by outsiders sent by the occupying power. And, indeed, were Israel the main culprit in this scenario, one may be certain that the U.N. would waste no time condemning its conduct.

    But China, it appears, is held to a different standard. Thus, in just in the last few days, the world’s premier human-right organization has looked on, mostly in silence, as dozens of Tibetan demonstrators have been reportedly killed and many more have been languishing in jail cells, with the less fortunate subjected to torture at the hands of the occupying Chinese. In the face of such atrocities, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour have issued only the mildest of criticisms and sidestepped calls for an international investigation. […]

    The history of that conflict is well-known. The Chinese occupation of Tibet predated the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza by nearly two decades. With the Chinese invasion in 1951, the Tibetans lost their homeland and religious freedoms. Although the Chinese invasion violated international law, the Chinese suffered no repercussions from the UN or from any other international body.

    On the other hand, the Palestinians could have been living in their own internationally recognized state since 1948, when the United Nations recommended the creation of Palestinian and Jewish states co-existing side by side. The Jews living in Israel accepted the UN proposal and declared independence within the borders demarcated by the international body. The Palestinians refused the offer.

    Instead, they thought Israel would be crushed in a matter of days as the neighboring Arab countries violated international law and invaded Israel right after it declared its independence. The Palestinians made the wrong choice. They lived in the West Bank and Gaza under Jordanian and Egyptian control respectively for nearly twenty years. Israel finally did occupy the West Bank and Gaza as defensive buffers against more Arab invasions, after winning the territories and Jerusalem in the 1967 Six Day War.

    If the Palestinians’ claim to victim status is tenuous at best, the Tibetans’ case is more straightforward. According to various estimates, up to 1.2 million Tibetans have died due to the Chinese occupation. By contrast, the U.N.’s own estimates conclude that, as of 2006, the post-1967 rate of avoidable mortality in the Palestinian territories is at most 300,000. But as the UN General Assembly came under the sway of the Islamists and their allies, including China, Israel became the UN’s singular villain. Despite the far graver harm that China was inflicting on the Tibetan people, China’s brutal occupation of Tibet received little notice.

    This glaring double standard continues today. The UN harshly condemns Israel for its settlements in the Palestinian territories, failing to give Israel even the slightest credit for removing Israeli settlers from Gaza when that territory was turned over to the Palestinians in 2005. But the remaining Israeli settlements in the West Bank pale in comparison with the vast Han Chinese migration into Tibet that the Chinese government has been actively pushing for years.

    Consider the numbers. In 2006, there was a total Israeli West Bank settlement population of 267,163. This is about one tenth of the number of Palestinians living in the West Bank. On the other hand, the migration of Han Chinese into Tibetan lands has inundated Tibet with millions of Chinese setters seeking to turn the Tibetans into a minority within their own homeland. Thus, in the cities of Tibet, where the best jobs are available, the Han migrants outnumber the Tibetans about three to one. When one counts the rural areas in Tibet’s autonomous regions—Qinghai, Gansu and Yunnan—the Chinese population still exceeds the indigenous Tibetan population by nearly two million people. […]

    By contrast, the Palestinians have not been forced to give up their religious autonomy while living under Israeli occupation. Despite all of the sermons of hate and incitement to violence being preached daily in the Palestinian mosques, the Israelis have not denied the Palestinians their freedom of worship. There has been no attempt by Israel to interfere with the Muslims’ practice of their own religion or to replace even their incendiary religious leaders with any hand-picked puppets of Israel’s choosing. […]

    The U.N.’s disparate approach toward Israel and China is a lesson in hypocrisy. Israel is the constant target of vitriol from the UN Human Rights Council on which China sits along with other serial human rights violators. Indeed, while China has gotten away with regularly breaching the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention, which is supposed to protect Tibetan civilians living under Chinese occupation from being deliberately targeted for violence, Israel is regularly accused by U.N. bodies of violating this same Convention whenever it tries to contain Palestinian terrorism against Israeli citizens. China also has escaped any reproach for its repeated violations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which recognize that freedom of religion is a basic human right.

    Most tellingly, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (“OHCHR”) did not mention Tibet even once in its Human Rights Program for Asia-Pacific (2008-2009). It had only this to say concerning China’s human rights record: “OHCHR will also continue its technical cooperation program with China and work in close partnership with the UN Country Team, particularly as the 2008 Olympics create further impetus to reform.”

    This silence speaks volumes. For the U.N.’s morally challenged establishment, it is more preferable to enable the phony façade of progress that China intends to display at this summer’s Olympic Games than to speak out against its slaughter, torture and imprisonment of hundreds of innocent Tibetans. It is much easier—and more politically correct—to make Israel the UN’s favorite punching bag.

    Two well-thought-through expositions by two men whose moral compass isn’t skewed by politics, ideology, and revisionist history. Which is a lot more than I can say for the U.N., the mainstream media, and other bastions of Leftism who equate the manufactured plight of “Palestine” at the hands of Israel with the real oppression of Tibet by China. Or worse: Make the Israelis into evil personified while ignoring the actions of China altogether.