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.

Jews, Israel, China, Tibet, anything to change the subject

Yet more letters in today’s Crikey following the ongoing debates about Israel, Zionism, human rights abuses and anti-Semitism:

Guy Rundle writes: If Michael Danby (yesterday, comments) thinks that all he was commenting on in his parliamentary speech was Crikey and New Matilda’s comments policy he should, well, read his speech. Here are two excerpts:

“Of course people can be fairly critical of any state in the world and critical of particular actions of any state, but … Scant attention is given in the same publications to Burma, Darfur, Zimbabwe, Tibet, North Korea, Chechnya, Eastern Turkistan or any other place witnessing gross abuse of human rights. That is a double standard.

“In examining the evidence of lopsided coverage of these two internet publications, our toughest critique must be of their unadulterated racism: the perverse nature of their criticisms and the vitriol that is not present in the appraisal of other conflicts; the use of terms such as “ethnic cleansing” and “Nazi”; and the dropping of all pretence of anti-Zionism by openly discussing Jews and so-called Jewish proclivities.””

It was these accusations I was replying to. Quite aside from the fact that Crikey has provided excellent and unmatched coverage of oppression in Burma and East Turkestan/Xinjiang among other places, I simply reiterate the point that Israel’s governments repeatedly draw on the notion of a unified West, to legitimise their actions  — and since that legitimation has become, post Gaza, increasingly shaky (about to become a lot more so, as the recent UN report circulates) the whining that we are not playing fair will become louder.

In that context discussion of ethnic cleansing now and before, and of the fascist strains within right-wing Zionism, remain legitimate. If Michael Reich thinks that Zionism, anti-Semitism and fascism had simply a few incidental links pre-WW2 he should read some history.

Les Heimann writes: What a lot of silly little boys and girls are you. Zionist, Nazi, anti-Semitic, not anti Semitic — claim and counter claim — truth or rumour — baiters and the baited. With the single exception of Michael Danby, the absolute twaddle written by so many concerning the actions of the Israeli government must now come to a halt.

Frankly I am much disturbed by so many pieces of hysterical garbage spewed out that those authors. It makes me very angry that Crikey allows a stage to peddle their hatred. Now it is enough, lest Crikey becomes equally branded and trashed.

It’s like printing the racist Muslim trash expression “not every Muslim is a terrorist but every terrorist is a Muslim”. Clearly the so called “anti Zionists” do protest too much. Pick on someone else for a change, and when you do get it right just for a change. Better still Crikey would be well served by adopting a policy of accuracy coupled with constructive criticism. In the real world — where things get done — the committees and boards do not allow criticism per se.

In the real world you have to prove your point and in the real world you ultimately get trashed yourself if you mislead or demonstrate bad character traits such as racism. Grow up you silly little people.

4 comments ↪
  • ej

    Les Heiman

  • ej

    Les Heimann's comment is a masterpiece of absolute twaddle.

    Herein lies the rub:  'the absolute twaddle written by so many concerning the actions of the Israeli government must now come to a halt.'

    So what then characterises 'constructive criticism'?

    He has already given the answer – no criticism at all. 

    Ah, the use and abuse of language. Our mob will monopolise the definition of the word 'constructive'. We will also monopolise the definition of the word 'accuracy'.

    The hitherto conventional usage of these and other words is vitiated at our discretion.

  • Bara

    As as observer of the Australian political scene from the distance of many years far away it is astonishing to realize just how the Zionist thought police have distorted the sphere of allowable discourse—not just on the issue of the Middle East, but also about the phony war on terror, and on Anglo-American militarism and war crimes. It's embarrassing to see how supine politicians, media, and intellectuals have become in censoring themselves.
    I take it that Crikey is supposed to be some bastion of independent free-thinking. Yet they have to admit to dereliction in letting through a few uncivil comments written in the heat of a debate to individuals trying to justify brutal war crimes. The disproportion of the outrage felt by Zionist defenders like Danby at these incivilities relative to the outrage (if any) felt or expressed at the war crimes that provoke them is the real scandal in all this.
    As noted above, the comment by Mr. Heimann is halfwitted and arrogant, and the fact of its publishing is in my eyes more shameful to Crikey than the comment cited by Danby as offensive—after all the news site cannot condone the sentiments of all its commenters.
    To the likes of Heimann anti-Zionism is simply an illogical and untenable position—preferably it should be criminal.
    Condemning injustice and war crimes is so negative "silly people."
     

  • shirin

    Burma? Sudan? Zimbabwe? China? North Korea? Is this the company that Israel wants to be associated with? How come they keep on talking about what an oasis Israel is within (human flesh eating?) Arab countries; that they are the only democracy in the Middle East, however when they are asked to keep up with the standards of a democratic state they claim to be, they go on throwing the names of the states that would not know democracy if it threw a ballot box on their heads, and whine about why those countries do not get criticism? I have not heard North Korea claiming to be the pioneer of freedom in the region. Israel can't have her democracy cake and eat it too.