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.

Gaza distorted by the media lens

The following article, co-written with Peter Slezak, was published today on Online Opinion:

Palestinians are paying the price for what we in the West are doing, or rather, failing to do. Israel and its “supporters” rely on rewriting history even as it happens, with the complicity of our media and politicians.

The average television viewer or newspaper reader could be forgiven for thinking that Palestinians have caused the collapse of the cease-fire with Israel and that the rockets on Israeli towns are the justification for the devastating large-scale military aggression against Gaza.

However, Israel’s own newspaper Haaretz reminds us: “Six months ago Israel asked and received a cease-fire from Hamas. It unilaterally violated it when it blew up a tunnel, while still asking Egypt to get the Islamic group to hold its fire.”

A recent letter writer to the Australian Jewish News (AJN) was more honest in a contorted Orwellian manner: Palestinian Qassam rockets were launched “following a response from the Israeli military”, which attacked a Hamas tunnel. Of course, “responding first” is not just a violation of logic or English grammar but a violation of international law.

Echoing White House spokespeople our own politicians are more logical if less candid. Australia’s Acting Prime Minister Julia Gillard said: “Obviously, they [Palestinians] have broken the ceasefire and engaged in an act of aggression against Israel. Israel has responded.”

The cause of justice and peace between Israel and Palestine is not served by such systematic misinformation about the ongoing conflict. Foreign journalists have been largely prohibited from entering Gaza by Israel, and our media are inadequately reporting the human consequences of the ongoing massive air-strikes.

Nevertheless, horrifying accounts of human tragedy are emerging from human rights workers who describe the carnage of civilians – around 380 dead and more than 1,700 injured by “surgical” air strikes that have hit mosques, television stations and other non-military targets including a medical supplies store, civil defence sites and refugee camps. Hospitals such as Shifa are unable to cope with the influx of casualties especially in view of the shortage of key items due to Israel’s blockade.

Despite Red Cross and UN urging, Israel does not permit import of spare parts the hospital needs for the main generator that keeps the ventilators, monitors and lights on. Shifa’s Head of Casualty, Dr. Hassanyeh, explained: “Not even the most advanced hospital in the world could cope with this number of casualties in such a short space of time.”

While the Palestinian rockets against Israel are undoubtedly crimes to be condemned, their minor damage cannot be compared with the disproportionate Israeli response. Israel has declared Gaza a “special military zone”, a classification that is one degree below a declaration of total war against an enemy state. The Israeli media are reporting that the current assault has already killed the largest number of Palestinians in an Israeli military offensive since 1967.

Despite rhetoric from the Zionist lobby about media bias against Israel, recent events demonstrate quite the opposite. Palestinian restraint in observing the cease-fire was under conditions of a deteriorating crisis that has been imposed by Israel’s blockade of Gaza. This has caused desperate shortages of bread, fuel, ink, paper and glue to print textbooks for children, medications and other elementary necessities of life. Some were forced to eat grass.

In view of the dire humanitarian tragedy reported by the Red Cross and following the Rudd government’s vote against Israel on two resolutions at the UN, it is a welcome sign that an Australian Jewish News editorial on “Tough Love” recognized the need for friends of Israel to be critical.

In this respect, AJN echoes the sentiments of nearly 500 signatories of the public statement by Independent Australian Jewish Voices (IAJV) in early 2007 who expressed concern about the misleading framing of the mainstream commentary on Israel and Palestine.

However, it is clear from recent comments that representatives of the Jewish community such as the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) and Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) evidently can’t dissociate themselves from the policies of the Jewish State to support international humanitarian law.

It is little wonder if others fail to distinguish anti-Zionism from anti-Semitism. The West Bank settlements, the separation wall, house demolitions and brutal collective punishment of Palestinians in Gaza are crimes violating the Fourth Geneva Convention. Above all, the very possibility of a two-state solution that the Jewish community professes to support is completely undermined by the illegal settlements that it refuses to condemn.

Our media, commentators and politicians must urgently face more honestly the long-standing injustice and suffering of the Palestinian people. If we are to make some contribution towards a just peace, we might support such recommendations as that of the Brookings Institute in December urging negotiation with Hamas as the legitimate elected government. We must join with Israelis such as peace group Gush Shalom to condemn the unprecedented terror being perpetrated by the Israeli government against the people of Gaza.

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