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.

The policy on Israel

My following article is published in Dawn, Pakistan’s leading English-language newspaper:

During this year’s US presidential campaign, both Republican nominee John McCain and Democratic contender Barack Obama expressed unwavering support for Israel.

It was the only country in the world that required constant loyalty tests. Obama told the leading Zionist lobby, AIPAC, that he would “bring to the White House an unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security”. Palestinians were understandably upset when he argued that “Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided.” Such sentiments invalidate the possibility of a two-state solution, the road map long endorsed by the western world.

In February, Obama made the only comment in this year that could be construed as critical of the Zionist diaspora. “I think there is a strain within the pro-Israel community that says unless you adopt an unwavering pro-Likud approach to Israel”, he said, “then you’re anti-Israel, and that can’t be the measure of our friendship with Israel.”

In other words, the best friends of Israel, indeed any nation, are ones that offer both praise and anger. Unsurprisingly, the Jewish establishment reacted with fury to the statement, incensed that anybody would dare challenge Israel’s policies, such as its ever-expanding, illegal occupation of the West Bank, strangulation of Gaza and imprisonment of thousands of Palestinians without charge.

President Obama therefore presents a unique chance to re-frame the conflict, though the initial signs are less than promising. The appointment of Hillary Clinton as secretary of state and James L. Jones as national security adviser — the latter described by The Nation commentator Robert Dreyfuss as a “proverbial hammer in search of nails” — suggests a business as usual approach.

Will any global power dare tell the Jewish state — whose behaviour in Gaza was recently slammed by the United Nations as a “continuing flagrant and massive violation of international humanitarian law” — that its current behaviour is unacceptable to civilised nations?

The role of other international players will be essential. India and Pakistan should play their parts and engage both the Israelis and Palestinians. Each country brings a unique perspective to the negotiating table and necessarily challenges the blatantly one-sided partisanship of Washington and much of the European Union during the last eight years of the Bush era. At the end of this period, with Afghanistan and Iraq still in flames, Israel remains more isolated than ever before, thanks to resurgent Arab nationalism, led by Hizbollah, and Iranian ascendance.

Pakistan officially first engaged with Israel in 2005, despite robust opposition from hardliners. Following the Jewish state’s ‘withdrawal’ from Gaza, Pakistan’s then foreign minister Khurshid Kasuri said that, “We see this development as the beginning of the process of [ending] Israeli occupation and establishing a Palestinian state living side by side with Israel in peace and security.” Israel’s then foreign minister Silvan Shalom expressed optimism that the Muslim state’s moves would lead to “a full diplomatic relationship with Pakistan as we would like it with all Muslim and Arab countries.”

The last three years have solely led to expanded Israeli occupation on Palestinian land and growing frustration with Israel’s intransigence. Former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf said that his country would only fully recognise Israel when an independent Palestinian state was established.

“Pakistan is like Israel, an ideological state,” said Pakistan’s former dictator Ziaul Haq in 1981. “Take out the Judaism from Israel and it will fall like a house of cards. Take Islam out of Pakistan and make it a secular state; it would collapse.”

In the coming years, does Pakistan want to become friendlier with Israel to deepen its relationship with Obama or distance itself from a country that oppresses Palestinians on a daily basis?

The most likely scenario, assuming a relatively pro-western government remains in Islamabad, is a Pakistani elite that expresses occasional diplomatic solidarity with another nation fighting its own ‘war on terror’. Realpolitik is likely to win the day, not least because of India’s growing strategic partnership with Israel and weapons deals between the two countries. Pakistan fears its rival’s edge.

From Israel’s perspective, Pakistani recognition would be a coup — Turkey is one of the few Muslim states that recognise its existence — and could lead to Malaysia, Indonesia and Bangladesh following suit. Furthermore, Pakistan remains the Muslim world’s only known nuclear power and Israel has long worried about this technology being transferred to its enemies. An alliance may lessen this risk.

But Pakistan should think very carefully before giving Israel what it craves. The vast bulk of the Muslim world regards Israel’s 41-year occupation of Palestinian territory as a crime against humanity and would not look kindly on Islamabad ignoring this reality. The Bush doctrine is hopefully dead and Obama may bring some greater pragmatism to the international arena. Pakistan would be unwise to show solidarity with the Jewish state at a time when virtually every country in the United Nations consistently votes against its policies.

India, that formed diplomatic relations with Israel in 1992, remains tightly bound to the Jewish state. It even launched an Israeli spy satellite in January this year, primarily to monitor Iranian soil. The Indian secretary of defence Vijay Singh visited Israel recently and a senior Israeli security official told the Haaretz newspaper that “our security cooperation with the Indians is excellent — there is simply no other way to put it.”

Cooperation against ‘Islamic terrorism’ and the possible dissolution of Pakistan were also discussed. Relations between India and Israel tend to improve during periods of tension between New Delhi and Islamabad, so the period after the Mumbai terror attacks is proving to be lucrative for both sides.

Equally important, from Israel’s point of view, is the realisation that America’s influence in the world is declining and making friends in other regions is important for its long-term viability. India is the world’s largest democracy and a large market for its missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles.

The beginning of the Obama administration presents opportunities for a rejection of years of failed policies towards the Jewish state, but caution is urged. For example, the new president has spoken of challenging Iran’s suspected nuclear programme and will be looking for partners in this mission.

Pakistan and India, states that both commit their fair share of human rights abuses, should think carefully before fully embracing the racially exclusionary Jewish nation.

Strategic partnerships only make short-term sense. Israel’s survival is challenged by fundamentalist settlers in the West Bank and soaring Palestinian birth rates and is unsustainable as a western colonial outpost.Justice is not on its side.

The writer is a Sydney-based journalist and author.

no comments – be the first ↪