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.

Propaganda for the converted

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps have launched a plan to start 10,000 blogs for the paramilitary Basij forces as a counter-weight to the perceived liberalism of the country’s blogosphere.

  • Ekk

    Sorry Antony,
    Somewhat off topic, but you/anyone have some thoughts/info on this?
    All seems pretty precipitous/portent moment, what with UN Gaza Conflict draft resolution, change of presidency in the US & upcoming elections in Israel …
    Just thought the Irish Times writer may be onto something here?

    Friday, January 9, 2009
    Fatah fears protests at Gaza assault will destroy security gains in West Bank
    Fatah fears protests at Gaza assault will destroy security gains in West Bank

    With Mahmoud Abbas's term as president officially ending today, Michael Jansen , in the West Bank, examines the relationship between the two Palestinian factions

    DOCTORS IN white coats gathered at Manara Square at the heart of the West Bank's administrative capital to protest Israel's onslaught on Gaza while students brandishing placards chanted anti-Israel slogans at Bir Zeit university and lowered the Palestinian flag to half-mast.

    The demonstrations were heartfelt but without the usual fire and vigour. The Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority (PA) has cracked down hard on protesters storming Israeli checkpoints and barricades.

    Ghassan Khatib, former PA minister of labour and planning, said that the PA did not want violence to destroy the security gains made over the past two years when the police force was rebuilt and armed factions were brought under control.

    However, the crackdown on expressions of popular feeling exposed the weakness of the PA headed by president Mahmoud Abbas and his secular Fatah movement.

    "This is the first war not led by Fatah," said Khatib. "This war is being led and fought by somebody else, marginalising Fatah."

    Hamas is in command and challenging Israel on the field of battle. For them "it is a win-win situation", said Khatib. "The losers are the civilians in Gaza, the PA, Egypt and the 'moderate' camp in the region. The objectives of Israel and Hamas are not mutually exclusive. Israel wants to stop the rockets and the smuggling of weapons into Gaza and to get rid of Gaza by making it an Egyptian protectorate.

    "Hamas wants to stop the offensive, survive, maintain its poten- tial power . . . and assert itself as the main party for war or peace.

    "This could bring about a regional shift in the balance of power in favour of the Islamists."

    The PA, out of action and undermined by its failure to secure a Palestinian state in negotiations with Israel, is in an impossible situation.

    Abbas's presidential term ended yesterday. "Today is the day, the end of Abu Mazen [Abbas]," said Ali Jarbawi, academic and former head of the election commission. According to the Palestinian constitution, it was the last day of Abbas's four-year term.

    Although elections for president and parliament should take place simultaneously, Abbas was elected in 2005 on the death of Yasser Arafat and parliamentary elections were held in 2006.

    Consequently, Jarbawi said, Hamas could be expected to declare today that Abbas is no longer president while Fatah will argue that he should remain in power until elections are held.

    "The problem is not legal or constitutional but political," caused by the bitter rivalry between the two factions. With goodwill, it could be resolved, Jarbawi said.

    Even if Abbas calls for early elections, the polls cannot be held for 95 days.

    Furthermore, the devastating Israeli strikes on PA ministries and offices in Gaza mean that it could take at least six months before the strip could vote along with the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

    The dispute on the issue could be resolved over time. Abbas could remain caretaker president until next summer or even next January, conforming nearly or actually to the timetable put forward by Hamas. This should promote unity and a measure of reconciliation. However, Jarbawi does not expect this to happen.

    In his opinion, the division between Gaza and the West Bank is irreconcilable. As long as Arafat was in charge of Fatah and the PA, he governed both the West Bank and Gaza. But when he died, Jarbawi said, the split – which "was waiting to happen" – occurred and deepened.

    This was caused by the "geographical separation" fostered by Israel, which never permitted the PA to open a corridor connecting the two wings of the Palestinian territories.

    He compared the Gaza-West Bank situation with that of Pakistan and East Bengal which seceded to become Bangladesh. The PA also made the mistake of allowing local officials to run the two areas, strengthening the divisions.

    Jarbawi does not believe Fatah can reassert itself in Gaza and govern it along with the West Bank, a hope held by the international community.

  • Ekk,

    I don't expect Hamas to agree to having international monitors in Gaza. Syria and Iran are indeed pushing Hamas to reject this.

    The UN resolution is symbolic, but doesn't really lay the ground work for concrete steps. The Syrians and Iranians won't allow Hamas to be contained by a joint EU-Egyptian-Israeli-Fatah taskforce. On the other side of the coin, the Israelis can't leave without achieving something, otherwise they'd be humiliated as in 2006. At least in 2006, they achieved the deployment of a multi-national force and the Lebanese Army to South Lebanon.

    So I expect the conflict to continue until someone backs down. At the moment, neither Egypt, Israel, Hamas, Syria or Iran are showing any signs of compromising.

    Fatah is hoping Hamas will accept the Egypt-Franco cease-fire, which would see it regain some presence in Gaza. That's all Fatah can really do. I doubt it will succeed.

    A similar scenario was played out in Lebanon. The pro-American axis backed a few factions in order to counter, and diminish Hezbollah's power. It backfired, and Hezbollah is favourite to win majority in this year's elections. The West, Israel and the Arab puppets shouldn't underestimate popular sentiments. This war has only increased Hamas' popularity, not just among Gazans, but among Israeli-Palestinians and in the West Bank.

    Fatah's attempts to "crackdown" on protesters in the WB will only bolster Hamas' popularity.

    It all depends on what deal the regional powers will come up with. The Syrians/Iranians are pushing for international recognition of Hamas, whilst Egypt/KSA/US/Israel/EU are aiming to contain Hamas and empower Fatah.

    We'll find out in the next few days who wins the diplomatic tussle, but for the moment the tanks are still rolling.

  • Ekk

    Thx Antoun,
    That's an insightful take in the situation.
    Saw several bits of info on the web today which support your thinking.

    Here is one:

    Hamas Support Grows in West Bank
    January 9, 2009 | From
    Is Hamas about to gain control of the West Bank?

    The current Israeli counteroffensive against Gaza is stirring support for Hamas in the Fatah-controlled West Bank. Fatah-backed security forces have already had to break up large pro-Hamas rallies in both Hebron and Ramallah—using tear gas against their own people for the first time in Palestinian history. Such heavy-handed crowd-control techniques, however, have only served to intensify resentment against Fatah.
    In addition to growing dissent among the masses against the Fatah-backed government, an increasing number of Fatah leaders have broken ranks and given their support to Hamas.

    “Fatah and its men are an integral part of this battle and in confronting the aggression,” said imprisoned Fatah official Marwan Barghouti in a message from the Israeli prison where he is serving five life terms for murder. “The Israeli aggression is directed against all the Palestinians and their cause. This is the time to join forces in combating the Israeli occupation.”

    Sources close to Hamas claim that dozens of members from Fatah’s armed wing, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, have already broken ranks with Abbas and joined Hamas’s fight against Israel. Five of these radical militants have already been wounded while fighting Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip. Other Islamic militant groups known to be aiding Hamas include Islamic Jihad, the Popular Resistance Committees and the Popular Front for Palestinian liberation.