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.

When will anybody even acknowledge Palestinians?

Murdoch’s Australian editorialises today on the Durban II conference and predictably focuses on the rantings of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (rather than even acknowledging the issue of Palestinian suffering):

Australia was right to have no part of Durban II

Before its second conference on racism opened in Geneva, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon acknowledged the UN’s reputation was on the line: “Let us recognise the difference between honest disagreement and mere divisiveness or, worse, sheer obstructionism. Let us lead by example, knowing that our own reputations are at stake.”

The UN’s integrity has been tarnished as the conference degenerated into bitter farce because of the pernicious, anti-Semitic tirade by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Singling out Israel as “the most cruel and racist regime” created “under the pretext of Jewish suffering” in World War II, the Iranian tyrant’s 30 minutes of racist bile, a day before Holocaust Remembrance Day, vindicated the Rudd Government’s decision not to attend.

Australia’s non-participation could cost us heavily in our quest to be elected to a temporary seat on the UN Security Council in 2013-14. But the more important question the Rudd Government must consider is whether it is worth committing scarce resources to further that aim. Last month, the Lowy Institute reported that Australia’s diplomats are overstretched, underfunded and ill-equipped to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

As Greg Sheridan reported recently, Australia has 91 diplomatic missions across the world when the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development average is 150. The only OECD nations with fewer missions than Australia are Ireland, Luxembourg, the Slovak Republic and New Zealand, with populations no more than a quarter of ours.

On paper, the aims of the Geneva conference were laudable: eliminating racism and promoting tolerance. Such efforts deserve the support of all civilised nations. As a sequel to the 2001 conference in Durban, South Africa, however, the talkfest was always likely to be problematical. Far from decrying racism, the final declaration of the Durban I conference was highly racist, branding Israel a racist, apartheid state. And the attendance of Mr Ahmadinejad – who has called the Holocaust a myth and who wants Israel wiped off the map – made an anti-Semitic tirade inevitable.

Australia’s decision, last weekend, not to attend Durban II came after US President Barack Obama made a similar call. Australia delayed its decision in the hope that organisers would improve the draft text, but the Government also, undoubtedly, had an eye on gathering support for its Security Council bid. This was also the point of Governor-General Quentin Bryce’s 10-nation, 19-day lobbying tour through Africa.

To put the Security Council battle in perspective, its current non-permanent members are Austria, Burkina Faso, Costa Rica, Croatia, Japan, Libya, Mexico, Turkey, Uganda and Vietnam. Membership would extend our influence temporarily, but joining would make no difference to Australia’s status as a middle power. Australia’s democratic values, stability and engagement with the world have given us the strength and status to hold our head high on the world stage.

Before Durban II, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, said participants would “be judged harshly” if the conference failed. So they will be. Some nations, rightly, walked out as the Iranian President spoke. Whatever the cost of our non-participation in terms of votes for the Security Council, Australia was right to have no part of it.

The paper’s letters on the subject are mixed:

In Geneva a notorious anti-Semite and misogynist was the keynote speaker at a UN “anti-racism” conference on the eve of the annual commemoration of those who were murdered in the Holocaust—Holocaust Memorial Day (“Ahmadinejad sparks racism meet walkout”, 21/4).

Is it not time for the world to acknowledge that the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and this conference actually promotes racism and misogyny? UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Navi Pillay should be called upon to resign.

How can any country whose leaders genuinely believe in human rights attend such a farce? How can any human rights organisation be taken seriously when they take part in a circus that denigrates the basic tenets of human rights and where Eli Wiesel stands outside as a protester and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is the keynote speaker?

Elise Margow
Caulfield South, Vic

A perfect example of irony: the Iranian President, an adversary of peace and the leader of a country which practises human rights abuses based on gender and religion, addressing a UN conference on racism.

Joel Feren
Melbourne, Vic

Criticism of Israel is justifiable given its poor track record of treating the Palestinians. The recent assault on Gaza surely demonstrates this. Palestinians living in Israel, Israeli-Arabs, do not have the same access to housing, education, employment and other aspects of daily life, yet Israel qualifies as a democracy? Surely this is racism—read apartheid. The world forced South Africa to change, so too must Israel.

Moammar Mashni
Australians for Palestine
Melbourne, Vic

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