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.

Making the kids hate you

Even Time magazine, a bastion of conservative American journalism, cannot ignore the brutal realities of Israeli occupation in the West Bank. A sea-change in public perception is occurring:

Walid Abu Obeida, a 13-year-old Palestinian farm boy from the West Bank village of Ya’abad, had never spoken to an Israeli until he rounded a corner at dusk carrying his shopping bags and found two Israeli soldiers waiting with their rifles aimed at him. “They accused me of throwing stones at them,” recounts Walid, a skinny kid with dark eyes. “Then one of them smacked me in the face, and my nose started bleeding.”

According to Walid, the two soldiers blindfolded and handcuffed him, dragged him to a jeep and drove away. All that his family would know about their missing son was that his shopping bags with meat and rice for that evening’s dinner were found in the dusty road near an olive grove. Over the course of several days in April last year, the boy says he was moved from an army camp to a prison, where he was crammed into a cell with five other children, cursed at and humiliated by the guards and beaten by his interrogator until he confessed to stone-throwing.

Walid says he saw his parents for only five seconds when he was brought before an Israeli military court and accused by the uniformed prosecutor not only of throwing stones but of “striking an Israeli officer.” The military judge ignored the latter charge and chose to prosecute Walid only for allegedly heaving a stone at soldiers.

The boy got off lightly: he spent 28 days in prison and was fined 500 shekels (approximately $120). Under Israeli military law, which prevails in the Palestinian territories, the crime of throwing a stone at an Israeli solider or even at the monolithic 20-ft.-high “security barrier” enclosing much of the West Bank can carry a maximum 20-year-prison sentence. Since 2000, according to the Palestinian Ministry for Prisoner Affairs, more than 6,500 children have been arrested, mostly for hurling rocks.

Walid’s story is hardly unusual, judging from a report on the Israeli military-justice system in the West Bank compiled by the Palestine office of the Geneva-based Defense for Children International, which works closely with the U.N. and European states.

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When some Jews only want to shut down debate

During a fund-raiser in New York last night for the NGO 3 Generations – tasked to raise awareness of genocide – guest speaker New York Times columnist Roger Cohen told me that he was amused and frustrated when Jewish critics of his work could solely accuse him of “self-hatred”.

I said it was because his work challenged the core belief of blind, Zionist nationalism. He was, in my view, questioning the very idea of Israeli morality and the nation’s increasingly slim chances of a viable future. Occupation can be ignored for only so long.

Cohen spoke movingly about the recent Iranian uprising and his belief that what the world witnessed was the birth of a very public challenge to the Islamic Republic. He almost begged for other stories, such as the death of Michael Jackson, not to overwhelm far more important struggles around the world.

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Killing any prospect for peace

The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions released the following statement on June 29:

The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) and Rabbis for Human Rights-Shomrei Mishpat welcome the Jerusalem Municipality’s announcement that it is considering a freeze on the demolition of 70% of the so-called “illegal” Palestinians homes built without a permit. The Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem himself, Yakir Segev, revealed that in 2008 only 18 permits were issued for building in the Palestinian parts of the city, home to some 270,000 Palestinians. It was the Municipality’s policy of granting so few permits that was driving Palestinians to construct illegally. “To get a construction permit in East Jerusalem you have to be more than a saint,” said Segev. In 2008 the Municipality demolished 87 Palestinian homes, issued 959 demolition orders and collected $3.6 million/€2.5 million in fines from Palestinians, 70% of whom live below the poverty line.

While we welcome any change of policy that reduces home demolitions, we must protest the continuation of that policy, even if parts of it are “frozen.” Twenty thousand (20,000) Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem housing 180,000 people currently have demolition orders.  Freezing the demolition of 70% of them means that 6,000 homes would still be slated for demolition.  In fact, the Municipality has indicated that it intends to remove completely those 6,000 homes. It seems to believe that offering compensation will legitimize that action.

This is not merely a game of numbers. Lying behind the plan is the intent to leave intact “unauthorized” Palestinian homes in areas of East Jerusalem of little interest to Israel – those on the periphery of the city in particular – while targeting those in areas that Israel wishes to annex. The targeted 30% are therefore in the most politically sensitive areas subject to conflict: the Old City, the Silwan area adjacent to the al-Aqsa mosque (already renamed the “City of David”), the Mount of Olives, Sheikh Jarrah and other strategic locales.

We call on the Jerusalem Municipality and the Government of Israel to end their policy of demolishing Palestinian homes altogether, whether in East Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza – or inside Israel, where the homes of Palestinian and Bedouin citizens of Israel are also targeted.

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It’s not as if Hamas should be allowed to rule

The US and Israel will be most pleased; you suffocate a strip of land for too long and its ruling (elected) party will suffer:

Discontent with Hamas over slow-moving Palestinian unity talks and Israel’s ban on Gaza reconstruction aid have led to a sharp decline in the Islamist group’s popularity, an opinion poll showed on Monday.

The survey by the Jerusalem Media and Communications Centre (JMCC) put public support for Hamas in the West Bank and Gaza Strip at 18.8 percent compared with 27.7 percent in its previous poll in January.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction is now more popular than Hamas with a 34.9 percent rating, up from 26 percent in January, according to the poll of 1,199 people.

Khader Khader, head of the media unit at the East Jerusalem-based JMCC, said Hamas’s popularity was hit by discontent in the Gaza Strip, where the group rules, over a lack of movement in Egyptian-sponsored unity talks with Fatah and in reopening the territory’s borders.

According to the poll, 26.5 percent of those surveyed blamed Israel for the deadlock in the Hamas-Fatah dialogue while 23.5 percent pointed a finger at Hamas and 15.5 percent said Fatah was responsible.

“It’s a sort of protest by the people (of Gaza) because there is no progress on these two major issues,” Khader said.

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Because God told me so

Those poor, Jewish settlers in the West Bank just want to live “where Judaism was born.”

Fundamentalist Jews make the occupation sound so benign.

It is both immoral and brutal.

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The terrorist threat of war

A West Bank checkpoint managed by a private security company is not allowing Palestinians to pass through with large water bottles and some food items, Haaretz has learned.

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Israel must pay a price again and again

Ken Loach is an internationally-recognised film-maker who recently pressured the Edinburgh Film Festival to refuse money from the Israeli Embassy.

Now, Jewish activists in Australia are trying to make Loach aware of issues closer to home. The following letter was just sent to the Melbourne International Film Festival:

My name is Dr. Ned Curthoys, an academic at the Australian National University and someone with a long running concern for Palestinian human rights. It troubles me greatly that the state of Israel is listed as a sponsor of your event. I hope you’re aware that Israel has maintained an ever expanding 42 year old illegal occupation of Palestinian lands that deprives of Palestinians of basic human rights including freedom of movement, the right to harvest one’s crops, access to education and water, and the right not to have one’s ancestral home demolished because one isn’t Jewish. Operation ‘Cast Lead’ in Gaza has left many thousands of Palestinians homeless, killed hundreds of Palestinian children, and largely destroyed Palestinian civil society in the Gaza strip with schools, hospitals, and universities destroyed or severely damaged.

The quote below is from none other than Ken Loach, director of ‘Looking for Eric’, due to be screened at your festival. He is currently being made aware of Israeli sponsorship of the festival, and based on his stance at the Edinburgh film festival, will seriously consider withdrawing his film from the event. For ethical reasons, in defense of the human and political rights of a dispossessed and maltreated people, the Palestinians, I urge the Melbourne Film Festival to immediately refuse Israeli sponsorship of a film festival that should expand our intelligence and understanding rather than diminish us all.

We remember that the Palestinians have been dispossessed for sixty years, houses destroyed, communities wrecked. Israel ignores international law, the Geneva Convention and many UN resolutions.

We saw with horror the recent massacres in Gaza , how the Israeli army used phosphorous bombs in populated areas, how UN food stores and shelters were destroyed. The Red Cross described strikes on medical crews and the injured denied attention. Israeli journalist, Amira Hass, wrote of the killing of people flying white flags and the annihilation of entire families.

Faced with such crimes, Israeli poet, Aharon Shabtai, writes: “I do not believe that a state that maintains an occupation, committing on a daily basis crimes against civilians, deserves to be invited to any kind of cultural (event).”

I applaud this move and will provide whatever support I can.

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Do we not matter?

Iraqi bloggers talk about the uprising in Iran and wonder why the lives of Iranians seem more worthy in the international arena than their own.

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Planning to abuse any witness

Just another brutal day in the occupied, West Bank…

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Sweeping the fools out to pasture

A telling example of how the old, establishment media simply doesn’t understand why their power and influence is waning:

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An important hearing for all concerned

The UN has held an unprecedented public hearing in Gaza to broadcast live witness accounts from Palestinians who described seeing their relatives killed and injured during Israel‘s January war.

One after another, they detailed Israeli rocket strikes and artillery shelling near a mosque, a UN school and on several homes across Gaza during the three-week war. The two-day hearing is part of an inquiry by the UN human rights council into the war led by the respected South African judge, Richard Goldstone.

Israel has refused entry for the inquiry team, accusing the UN council of an anti-Israel bias even though Goldstone himself is Jewish. But another round of hearings will be held in Geneva next week, for which some Israeli witnesses are expected to be flown in. They may include residents of Sderot, near Gaza, which has suffered repeated Palestinian rocket attacks.

“The purpose of the public hearings in Gaza and Geneva is to show the faces and broadcast the voices of victims – all of the victims,” Goldstone said last week. He had sat on South Africa’s constitutional court after the fall of apartheid and was a chief prosecutor on the UN criminal tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.

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The emperor is very naked

Gideon Levy in Haaretz:

You can no longer scare the world with Palestinian terrorism, because – what to do? – there hasn’t been any for a long time, touch wood…Thanks to Obama, we have returned to the fateful, fundamental question: Will the Israeli occupation last another 40 years, or has the world become totally fed up with it, having decided to put an end to it? Obama is sending signals that he has chosen the second option.

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