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.

Reaction to Pilger award reveals Zionist lobby’s fear of dissent

My following article appears in Crikey:

In 2003, Palestinian politician and human rights activist Hanan Ashrawi won the Sydney Peace Prize. The Zionist establishment reacted with outrage, accused her of extremism and pressured then New South Wales Premier Bob Carr to not present the award.

The campaign was a disaster and convinced large swathes of the Australian public that many Jews were intolerant of debate. I investigated the saga in my book, My Israel Question, and found a startling lack of awareness by Jewish leaders of how their actions were perceived by the wider public.

Six years on, little has changed.

This year, the Sydney Peace Foundation awarded its annual prize to journalist, author and documentary maker John Pilger for “enabling the voices of the powerless to be heard”. He will receive the award in November, presented by New South Wales Governor Marie Bashir. Last year Kevin Rudd did the honours for Aboriginal leader Pat Dodson.

Jewish leaders again are on the offensive. President of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ), Robert Goot, said that, “Pilger does not promote peace, but is a polemicist, a distorter of facts and history and he promotes an extreme Palestinian narrative at the expense of Israel’s narrative and objective analysis.”

Leadership strategist Ernie Schwartz told the Australian Jewish News (AJN) this week that he would urge the Jewish establishment to present a “unified view … [and] be realistic about the fact that we’ll always come across as myopic. That’s just the way we’re going to be cast.”

But bullying organisers of the award and threatening them isn’t a perception problem; it’s how the Zionist lobby does business.

Director of the Sydney Peace Foundation Stuart Rees tells Crikey that he has received huge amounts of supportive mail from across the world in appreciation of this year’s choice. “He [Pilger] has a broad body of work that covers a wide range of countries,” Rees says, including Cambodia, Burma, Australia, America, Bangladesh, Iraq and Afghanistan. “He isn’t just about Israel/Palestine.”

Rees dismisses comments by Zionist lobbyist Colin Rubenstein that the prize is discredited and says that “we don’t think that derision is an appropriate form of commentary. When people have lost, they resort to character assassination.”

Rees says he has not yet heard of any pressure on Sydney University management to threaten funding, as happened during the Ashrawi affair, but accusatory letters have started.

The level of Zionist anger towards Pilger was displayed at last Friday’s Politics in the Pub event in Sydney. A Jewish man approached Rees after the talk and asked if the “next winner would be Hitler”.

Curiously, this week’s AJN features a letter that asks whether Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah or yours truly should win next year.

Rees argues that the reason so many Zionist leaders react as they do is because “they’re tribal. They have to repeat a certain mantra, otherwise they would be disloyal to this image.”

Former Zionist Federation of Australia president Dr Ron Weiser proved this point recently by writing, in support of illegal West Bank settlements and against Barack Obama, that the Australian Government’s position would remain blindly pro-Israel if unthinking “consensus” was maintained. Profound fear of dissent was palpable.

The question of academic freedom is central to a healthy democracy. Attempts by any lobby group to stifle it should be challenged. Witness the current moves in Israel and America against Ben Gurion University academic Neve Gordon for daring to write in the LA Times in support of a boycott against “apartheid” Israel.

President Professor Rivka Carmi condemned the article and said: “Academics who entertain such resentment toward their country are welcome to consider another professional and personal home”. In fact, academic freedom is specifically designed to allow individuals to express views without fear of retribution.

Closer to home, Associate Professor Jake Lynch, director of Sydney University’s Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (CPACS), tells Crikey that he rejects any accusations of bias against him or the centre for taking a strong stand against Israeli violations and Sri Lanka’s war against the Tamils.

He currently receives full university backing for his work, despite the steadily increasing number of complaints from the Singhalese and Jewish community to the institution, insisting on spurious grounds of “balance”.

The obligation of a peace centre, Lynch argues, is to get out the “voices of the subjugated”. The university’s former vice-chancellor, Gavin Brown, told Lynch during a 2008 visit by Uighur activist Rebiya Kadeer that “you shouldn’t give the critics [looking for balance] any indication that they’re having an effect”.

Lynch called in May for an academic boycott against Israeli institutions due to their complicity in the occupation of Palestine. The university’s vice-chancellor rejected his overture, supported by many Sydney University academics, but he tells me he’s determined to find a way to pursue the action another way.

Lynch is keen to counter the perception that, “if you criticise Israel you’re anti-Semitic or anti-American if you damn America. The Pilger award should widen this debate. The aim of his British ITV documentary producers is to provide a perspective that is rarely heard; Palestinians are marginalised.”

Stuart Rees commented during last week’s Politics in the Pub that Pilger won the award because he was simply “doing his job [as a reporter]”.

6 comments ↪
  • Peter Gyory

    N.S.W. Gov. Marie Bashir
    is of Lebanese background
    should offer some neutrality and autonomy to proceedings.Maybe she is -god-forbid!- even sympathetic to (all) those who suffer in Lebanon
    Let those who would put John Pilger off rec. his trophy and giving his speech try.
    A journalist who has survived time in 'nam with the Vietcong ,bhd the iron-curtain in czech. in the early '70s and undercover in E. Timor will not be bruised by some boo-ing.Although he does not brag,he has seen much worse than a crowd could [verbally] throw at him.
    Has anyone of his critics ever put themselves in his proverbial shoes.He has virtually been an outcast and rejected by most of the establishment in his own country for decades..and now a few un-balanced people hound him for long overdue recognition for his -at times risky and dangerous- work.
    i'd say the feeling will be mutual and there won't be too much love lost on the day,Nov. 4 at Uni of Syd.
    That said,he always makes the most of his opportunities to speak and be interviewed,perhaps because he is usually articulating on  printed media.Should be quite an event.When he accepts his award.
     
     

  • Messrs Goot, Rubenstein et al would object to anyone, repeat anyone not an adherent to their ideology receiving the Sydney Peace Prize. There is only one truth about Israel, and they are its fiercest guardians. Talk about zealotry!

  • Kerry Sinclair

    I feel that this article is a bit of a beat up.  Has there been any pressure to rescind the award? No! Has anyone on the panel been bullied?  No!! Have some members of the Jewish community  said that they feel that Pilger doesn't deserve the prize. Yes. So what? Why shouldn't they express an opinion?
     

  • philip mendes

    Those readers who don't share Antony's simplistic black and white view of the world may want to read my recent article from the Australian Journal of Jewish Studies, Vol. 22, 2009, pp.97-112 (see abstract below), and make up their own mind whether or not Pilger is a suitable candidate for a peace prize.

    Philip Mendes

    John Pilger on Israel/Palestine: a critical analysis of his views and sources by Philip Mendes,  

    Abstract: The Australian-born journalist John Pilger is recognized internationally as a vigorous advocate of left-wing causes. Included within this perspective is his strong support for the Palestinian struggle against Israel. Pilger’s discourse is generally delivered in black and white terms – Israel as the bad oppressor and the Palestinians as the oppressed victims – which leaves little room for the complexity of the conflict.

     

    This paper critically analyses both Pilger’s one-sided viewpoint, and the frames and metaphors he uses to construct his arguments. Particular attention is drawn to the way he humanizes the Palestinian struggle by interviewing ordinary people rather than official leaders or sources, whilst in contrast he stereotypes Israeli actions by always citing Israeli government leaders and officials. In addition, he avoids discussions with balanced peace activists such as Sari Nusseibeh and Amos Oz who are critical of extremists on both sides of the conflict.

     

  • Pingback: In other news… « Australians for Tamil Justice()

  • Mohan

    Great Hasbara! He stereotypes Israel by always quoting leaders and officials. That would be appropiriate wouldn't it – Mendes wouldn't want Pilger interviewing persons like Uri Aveneri or Aarchists against the Wall. He would be screaming bloody murder that Pilger is not quoting official sources.