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.

If they renounce violence, when will you?

Interesting analysis from the MEC Analytical Group about Britain, Hamas and Hizbollah:

There are indications of some flexibility in British policy towards Hamas and Hizbullah. On 21 May the Foreign Secretary David Miliband made a speech at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies (text here) in which he called for “a coalition of consent” between the West and the Muslim world. “When it comes to Hamas,” he said “no one disputes that they won the most seats. We are not claiming that their election was ‘illegitimate’. We are saying the failure to embrace a political process towards a two-state solution makes normal political relations impossible.”

On 24 May he went a bit further in an interview with the Saudi owned newspaper al-Hayat. This interview has received widespread comment in the region and elsewhere. No English text appears to be available, e.g. on the FCO website or the al-Hayat English-language website. Perhaps as a result it has been misrepresented. For example, the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, visiting Damascus on 24 May, was asked to comment on what the questioner described as Miliband’s declaration that “it is time to end Hamas’s isolation and to resume dialogue.” Lavrov replied “I can say that it is better late than never. This should have been done much earlier, back in 2006, when Hamas won in the elections that were recognized as democratic, free and fair. But for reasons of political bias the leadership of western countries did not recognize the Hamas government. It was then that the causes of the crisis arose that we continue to watch around the Gaza Strip. I am convinced that in any conflict it is necessary to involve, rather than isolate all influential parties. This holds for Hamas and for Hezbollah and for Syria.”

We circulate below our own translation of Miliband’s interview (the Arabic text is available here).

Miliband to al-Hayat: Hamas is not Al Qa’ida: we urge armed groups to repudiate violence

Saturday 24 May 2009, Kamil al-Tawil

The British Foreign Secretary David Miliband set out in an interview with al-Hayat the objectives of his new plan for cooperation with the Islamic world which he launched last Thursday at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies. He said that he wanted really to address the groups which use violence, to call on them to repudiate it and enter the political process.

Miliband expressed regrets for the errors which had been committed following the attacks of the Al Qaeda organisation in the United States on 11 September 2001. He said that measures taken to combat terrorism had been judged on the basis that they were against Islam. He said that he had been wrong when he spoke about the Islamic world on the basis that it consisted of moderates and extremists, adding that the Islamic world was too large to be encompassed by this division.

He said that another mistake made by the West was to place the Islamic groups which had national objectives within the same framework as Al Qaeda with its world Islamic programme. He explained that the Taliban movement for example was considered as like Al Qaeda, although it was really a number of groups of Pashtun tribes on the Afghan/Pakistan border with purely local aims, whereas Al Qaeda had its world Islamic programme. He said that the Hamas movement in Palestine and Hizbullah in Lebanon could both also be placed within the framework of groups which had a national aim, as he had stated in his speech at Oxford University. He explained, “although there are things in the Hamas constitution which raise question marks about the limits within which its aspirations are contained, it is clear that Hamas is not the same thing as Al Qaeda.”

On Hizbullah he said “our position was always and up to 2005, the date of the assassination of (former prime minister Rafiq) al-Hariri, that we engage in dialogue with Members of Parliament of Hizbullah, and that ceased after the assassination of al-Hariri. The military wing of Hizbullah remains described as a terrorist organisation in the United Kingdom.but we agreed to resume talking to Hizbullah Members of Parliament, partly because Hizbullah has a minister in the Lebanese government which is committed to the Arab peace operation. The result was a single meeting which took place between us and Hizbullah attended by our ambassador at one meeting at which a Hizbullah Member of Parliament was present. The outcome now is that Hizbullah is insisting that at any meeting which takes place with us they should photograph our ambassador, and we refuse to allow the photograph to become part of the election campaign in Lebanon. Therefore meetings will not take place. The Lebanese are the ones to decide on their elections and we will not allow ourselves to intervene in them.

He adds “I want to say to those groups which have militias: stop armed action and commit to political activity. We want people to be respected because of their opinions in the framework of political activity. You can not be half in the framework of political activity and the ballot box, and half outside it with a gun in your hand.”

Miliband acknowledges that the question of Iraq was one of the points of misunderstanding between the Arab world and the Western world but he declares without hesitation “We have said that the peace building operation in Iraq did not proceed as it was supposed to. But I don’t want to look backwards, rather to look to the future. In order to look to the future I must be aware of history. That is what I tried to reflect in my speech. But if we allow ourselves to remain stuck in the past we will achieve nothing.”

2 comments ↪
  • Marilyn

    Too bad about the 1.3 million or so dead, the 4.7 million homeless, the millions maimed and destroyed though hey, we can't look back now.

  • That's all nice, but Hamas has already said it joined the international consensus, so Milliband is blowing smoke when he says

    We are saying the failure to embrace a political process towards a two-state solution makes normal political relations impossible.

    Great. Now what does that mean when Hamas proposes to negociate on the 67 borders and Israel rejects the truce ?