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.

Australian commercial TV on West Bank apartheid

Times are changing. 60 Minutes, one of Australia’s most popular commercial current affairs programs, has done a story on the West Bank. The journalist, Liam Bartlett, has written this:

Trying to understand the Middle East peace process is a bit like attempting to unscramble an egg so we travelled to Israel to get a first-hand look at just how hard it might be to even begin a so-called ‘road map to peace’.

At the very heart of the problem are the Jewish settlers, now occupying large tracts of land that the Palestinians say are really theirs. The settlers are essentially squatting on whatever piece they choose and constructing houses and towns in a defiant gesture of “now that I’m here – it’s all mine”.

Nowhere was this sentiment more strongly expressed than at a settlement on the eastern fringe of the West Bank, south of Jerusalem, when Nadia Matar told me that her people had: “Inherited the land from God and they were not going anywhere”.

Nadia is one of the founding members of the “Women in Green” movement, which is dedicated to supporting Israel’s military and has pledged to never give back an inch of territory to the Palestinians. At best, they will let them live in Israel but without the right to vote. Indeed, Nadia told me she didn’t really care where any of the Palestinians decided to live as they had: “Over 20 Arab states to choose from so they can go to any one of them”.

Nadia’s extremism was repeated tenfold by many of the settlers we spoke to and especially through the video footage we saw from a group called B’Tselem. This unique human rights organisation has started a project that was originally dubbed the “Shooting back campaign”. As the name suggests, they armed dozens of Palestinians, not with guns but with video cameras and taught them how to ‘shoot’ when they were on the receiving end of any conflict with Jewish settlers. The result is that the rest of the world, through programmes like ours, can now begin to see that perhaps the violence and confrontations are not as one-sided as the Israeli’s would have us believe.

Certainly, there are still deadly rocket attacks from extremist Arab groups and the seriousness of these should in no way be downplayed but when you witness up close how the average Palestinian is controlled, it puts that violence into perspective.

The case of Palestinian Doctor Mustafa Barghouthi is a prime example. A trained doctor and also an independent member of the Palestinian Parliament, Dr Barghouthi was born and raised in Jerusalem and worked in a local hospital for 14 years. Despite now working only 30 minutes away in nearby Ramullah, he is never allowed to return to his town of birth. His sister is there, his friends and former work colleagues, but he is prevented from ever going back. The Israeli’s deny him access through any one of hundreds of checkpoints. I asked him if they suspected him of being a terrorist, even though he is blatantly independent of either Hamas or Fatah. He said: “Well, they never said so, but I think it’s one way of oppressing me from telling the truth.”

Nowhere is the upheaval these settlers are causing more obvious than in the West Bank city of Hebron. There, the Israeli government has allowed settlers to live smack, bang in the middle of a Palestinian town and, in so doing, has turned a once thriving shopping precinct into a virtual ghost town. Its streets are now strewn with weeds, all the shop fronts are boarded up, and the dusty footpaths are constantly patrolled by Israeli soldiers, stationed there to protect the settlers.

Overall, it’s an extremely sad part of the world, especially when you are visiting from such a blessed country as Australia. The constant animosity is incredibly depressing to observe. In some parts, the argument has become something of a blood sport. At one Palestinian village, Nilim, just north of Ramullah, the local youths protest every Friday at the fence of the adjoining settlement. And like clockwork, the Israeli police and military turn up and fire tear gas at them. Sometimes it escalates, sometimes not, but I can tell you, being on the receiving end of that gas is not a comfortable thing. It snaps your eyes shut, stings your skin and leaves a nauseating taste in the mouth.

That said, it’s preferable to rubber bullets and that’s always a possibility, too. This is the third time I’ve covered a story in Israel and whilst it never gets any easier, it is such a key plank to wider world peace, that you have to remain optimistic that things can change for the better.

This is an important story. Any fair-minded person who visits the West Bank is struck by the ever-expanding occupation and fundamentalist Jews. The occupation is the obstacle, no matter how Israel and the Zionist lobby try to hide it.

Public opinion is shifting and Israel only has itself to blame.

5 comments ↪
  • Marilyn

    Amazing, 60 Minutes in the US did the same earlier this year and the sanctions started almost immediately in all corners of the world against Israeli companies.

    Liam Bartlett also has the memory of being attacked by Israel when he reported the Lebanon destruction in 2006.

    It's about time the Australian media told the truth of the atrocities so good for 60 minutes for returning to their roots of decent, hard hitting reportage instead of fluff.

  • Marilyn

    Excellent program.

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  • Adam

    It appeared to be a solid piece of journalism although it didn't really show anything I haven't already read about previous in other sources.
    Nonetheless I made a point of sending an email to the program immediately after viewing piece because it's important to encourage good reporting in the mainstream press.
    Particularly in light of pressure likely to be exerted to shut up any voice sympathetic to the Palestinians.

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