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.

Israel must pay for crimes

My following article appears in the Australian Financial Review today:

Israel’s war against Gaza has left the blockaded strip in ruins. The president of the French section of Medecins Sans Frontieres, Marie-Pierre Allie, wrote recently that her organisation had “been present during armed conflicts for nearly four decades” but “it is difficult to recall a comparable slaughter of civilians in so little time”.

The United Nations has been scathing in its denunciations; Richard Falk, the UN’s special rapporteur on human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, described the sealing of Gaza to ensure nobody could leave, including civilians, as a “distinct, new and sinister war crime”. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, after visiting shelled UN-run buildings and schools in Gaza, demanded action. “It is an outrageous and totally unacceptable attack on the United Nations,” he said.

More than 1300 Palestinians were killed (compared with 13 Israelis), thousands were injured and entire residential blocks were demolished. The Jewish state defended its actions by claiming that the illegal rockets fired by Hamas into Israel justified its use of overwhelming force against the 1.5 million inhabitants of Gaza. Outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said at the weekend that “the terrorist organisations and Hamas were mistaken in thinking that Israel would reconcile itself to [rocket] fire and not respond”. Defence Minister and candidate for forthcoming elections, Ehud Barak, said that the Israeli Defence Forces were the “most moral army in the world”.

The vast majority of global human rights groups disagree and claim that war crimes were committed during the conflict, including the use of white phosphorus in residential areas. The extensive use of white phosphorus in Gaza’s densely populated neighbourhoods, despite evidence of its indiscriminate effects and its toll on civilians, was a war crime, according to Amnesty International.

The furious debate will soon move from the rhetorical to the practical. European courts are likely to be the key battleground for forthcoming investigations of crimes against Palestinian civilians. This is how it should be. The Jewish state, like any other nation, should be held to account for its actions.

A successful war crimes prosecution would prove to citizens around the world that Western leaders are held to the same standard as developing countries.

The International Criminal Court Prosecutor in The Hague has said that it lacks jurisdiction to investigate possible war crimes because neither Israel (nor the United States) is among the 108 countries that have signed the Rome Statute creating the court. However, a former judge at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, Fouad Riad, said one alternative may be “popular tribunal”. Such a body could expose war crimes to the world, tarnishing a person’s reputation in history.

In the absence of international justice for Western state atrocities – is the global legal system designed to prosecute only certain kinds of crimes, such as those committed by African despots? – popular tribunals are a valuable way of bringing the powerful to account. History will judge them accordingly.

Antony Loewenstein is a board member of Macquarie University’s Centre for Middle East and North African Studies.

  • AJay

    An excellent analysis Antony.
    Here is a powerful compilation you may want to post on your blog? Maybe you can locate the original youtube link?

  • sandra budak

    What is tihs enitity there for “The International Criminal Court Prosecutor in The Hague ” can it not try those that are not signatories to the roma statuates in absentia?Why is itonly thired world countires get charged wihtcrimes..this whole system is corrupt..

  • Mary Ross

    It’s about time the press got hold of the real issue that the Israelis, not the Palestinian, are the invaders in what used to be known as Palestine until the Isreali invaders broke the blockade in 1948. Since then, the Israelis have committed war crime after war crime without paying anything. Until this truth is recognised in international circles, the rest of the world is guilty of assisting in the Israeli crime.

  • Antony Loewenstein

    The following comment was submitted by Richard Hill:

    Popular tribunals are certainly one way of bringing about some sort of justice in relation to recent events in Gaza. There are of course many precedents for such tribunals, especially when national/international justice forums fail to rein in unilateralist states. The people’s inquiry into the Australian government’s treatment of asylum seekers resulted in the report, published by Scribe, Human Rights Overboard. One of the authors, Linda Briskman , tells me of the enormous amount of energy , money and commitment required to get such tribunals off the ground, but the results are certainly wroth it. Similarly, the international tribunal conducted by Arundhati Roy and others into the illegal invasion of Iraq has been equally fruitful in bringing to public notice the self interested (and brutal) actions of powerful states. The problem with both tribunals is that they had few teeth and were largely about putting on record terrible injustices as well as adding to public calls for more formal processes of justice. My hope is that the international institutions that are taking hold of what happened in Gaza put in place processes that lead to some formal outcomes – prosecutions, reparations, reconstruction, compensation etc. In my view, Israel’s actions in Gaza, in addition its long standing unilateralism and monotonous dismissal of UN resolutions etc presents a major challenge to those international bodies charged with protecting human rights and ensuing international rule of law. It is utterly morally unacceptable that the Jewish state can continue in this way without any serious attempt to finally bring it to account for its actions. Antony, I commend you and others who have the courage to highlight the great injustices that have been done to the Palestinian people. Justice will one day prevail.

  • John

    Israeli war crimes against the Palestinians can’t go uncondemned.

    Israel says the Holocaust should never be forgotten, but expects the world to forget Israel’s holocaust against the Palestinians even as Israeli cluster bombs and phosphorous shells are exploding in Gaza.

    The Warsaw Ghetto was an atrocity. Nazi concentration camps were atrocities. But Gaza is worse because it is the very people who claim to be the victims of the first who are now committing the outrages of the second.

    Israel uses Nazi dispossession and slaughter of the Jews to justify Israeli dispossession and slaughter of the Palestinians. Israel dictates what the rest of the world should learn from history, but itself takes only one lesson from the European holocaust – the efficiency with which it was done.

    Israel is ruthlessly employing Nazi methods against the Palestinian people. Israel has concentrated 1.5 million innocent victims into the Gaza strip and is systematically murdering them.

    The Palestinians have done nothing to deserve their persecution and slaughter by Israel. The great misfortune of the Palestinians, their only crime, was to have been the existing inhabitants of land the Zionist movement wanted.

    You can’t have it both ways. If you condemn one atrocity, you must condemn all atrocities. If you punish one war crime, you must punish all war crimes. And if you remember the Holocaust, you must weep to see it happening again in Gaza.

  • Tony Nadin

    A popular tribunal is not without precedent. (William) Ramsay Clark – former US Attorney General – conducted such an enquiry into the first Gulf War.

    The following extract comes from Wikipedia – the report itself makes fascinating reading:

    “In 1991, Clark accused the administration of President George H. W. Bush and “others to be named” of “crimes against peace, war crimes” and “crimes against humanity” for its conduct of the Gulf War against Iraq and the ensuing sanctions”

    Source: War Crimes: A Report on United States War Crimes Against Iraq to the Commission of Inquiry for the International War Crimes Tribunal, by Ramsey Clark and others

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  • Marilyn

    What I want to know is why these so-called Australian's who happen to think they are jewish are so gung ho to murder arabs thousands of miles away and think it is a great thing to do.

    It is a sort of madness because almost none of them were born during the holocaust and most of them were born here anyway or like Vic born in South Africa and other places.

    The joke with Vic is that he claims he left South Africa because of apartheid, moved to Israel in 1984 and then left because he wanted to be in an English speaking country. He doesn't even get the irony.

    What makes it even worse is that the jews that did come after WW11 had largely been in Palestine anyway, Peres is Polish and most of them are not survivors of the holocaust.

    Finkelsteins book "The Holocaust Industry" and Giles MacDonogh's "After the Reich" make it clear that nowhere near 6 million jews were killed and in fact MacDonogh points out time and again that most of the victims were common criminals or Polish catholics.

    He also points out that 65% of jews escaped before the death camps ever got started.

    Over it. The world is over it.

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