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.

The Israeli government’s elastic truth over occupation

The invaluable Gaza Gateway blog has new information, challenging the Israeli government’s spin on conditions in the occupied territories:

On December 6th, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a newsletter highlighting the economic situation in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Though there are some miscalculations, for the most part the MFA’s data are accurate. The real problem is that the numbers appear without context.

In this week’s post we provide context for the MFA’s (mostly) correct numbers.

Israel’s policy in the Gaza Strip: Permit the entrance of humanitarian aid ONLY – no development, no prosperity, no economic activity.

Food: No luxury, no production

True: “All food products are brought into the Gaza Strip, except for those that definitely constitute luxury items”.

More true: Did you know that honey and canned fruit, which have been banned since the beginning of the closure, definitely constitute luxury items? Or that, for 8 months, tea definitely constituted a luxury item, until it was suddenly permitted into Gaza about two months ago, indicating that maybe it is not a luxury item after all? On the other hand, pasta is definitely not a luxury item anymore, since Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed concern about obstacles to the entrance of aid in February. Margarine in small packets is not a luxury item, but margarine in large buckets is definitely a luxury item, because it could then be used as a raw material for local food production, giving Palestinian residents of Gaza the luxury of engaging in productive work.

There are no published lists of what kinds of goods can and cannot enter, and Israel has refused to explain which products constitute a luxury, and which don’t. Without some kind of list – how are we to know?

Unemployment: Revealing all the numbers

True: Unemployment in Gaza dropped from 45.5% in the second quarter of 2008 to 36% in the second quarter of 2009.

More true: According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, the reason for the second quarter drop in unemployment may have been that temporary relief projects, especially for clearing rubble after the military operation, were initiated by international organizations and the local government. The MFA neglects to mention that in the third quarter of 200932.3% unemployment in June 2007, just before the closure began. unemployment again rose to 42.3%, as these temporary relief projects ended. Compare this with

Fuel and electricity: Not meeting needs

True: Israel meets the minimum threshold set by the Israeli High Court for the passage of industrial diesel for electricity production at the Gaza power plant.

More true: The minimum threshold for industrial diesel set by the court is far below what Gaza needs. In fact, the industrial diesel that was transferred in the month of November met just 39.1% percent of needs, creating power outages.

Re-building projects: A drop in the bucket

True: “Israel is conducting discussions with the Palestinian Authority, the US, EU representatives in the area and others, with the aim of establishing an agreed-upon supervisory mechanism, subject to international standards, which will ensure, if and when a decision is made to that effect, that monies, materials and equipment that are brought into the Gaza Strip for vita humanitarian projects actually reach their destinations”.

More true: Israel has refused to allow reconstruction materials to enter Gaza, despite “discussions” that have taken place over the past 11 months. Gaza needs at least 25,000 tons of iron and 40,000 tons of cement for reconstruction. Since the war, Israel has blocked all but 19 trucks of construction materials permitted to enter on an exceptional basis for the humanitarian infrastructure (i.e. water and sewage systems), though restrictions on other materials mean that infrastructure continues to function below capacity (see below). Without reconstruction materials it is impossible to rebuild the more than 3,500 homes destroyed and the approximately 56,000 homes damaged, in addition to over a thousand businesses, factories, and other commercial establishments destroyed and partially damaged during the war. Even if construction materials were permitted in to fix the estimated $45 million in damage to private sector establishments, the ban on import and export ensures that these businesses would likely lay idle, as 97% of factories generally have done so for over two and half years. Some cement enters via the tunnels beneath the Gaza-Egypt border, but prices are beyond the reach of most residents, and many international organizations are restricted from using these materials.

Water, Sewage and Electricity Infrastructure

True: “Israel is conducting a dialogue with Robert Serry, special emissary of the UN Secretary-General, regarding vital humanitarian projects, primarily relating to sewer systems”.

More True: Dialogue notwithstanding, Israeli restrictions on supply of spare parts and materials for the devastated water and electricity systems mean that 10,000 people are without running water, 40,000 people are cut off from electricity, and power outages lasting 8 hours, four times per week are a common occurrence in most homes.

Education: Children paying the price

True: UNRWA schools recently received shipments of education materials, including notebooks and pencils.

More true: UNRWA is the only agency permitted to receive school supplies in Gaza, and only after Israel delayed the entrance of these items for several months. Israel continues to ban the entrance of supplies for two-thirds of the schools in Gaza, the private and government-run schools which educate 240,199 children.

The final section of the MFA newsletter includes a quote by EU Special Representative to the Middle East, Marc Otte. Find here another important statement made by Marc Otte recently in an interview for Al Quds newspaper, describing the EU position on the closure:

“[The] Gaza closure and denying entry to construction materials is morally unacceptable and is a failure. I was in Gaza last week, there were large quantities of cement in Gaza, but the only people who do not get it are the ones who most need it. For this, ban on constructions materials is not acceptable and I have explained this to the Israelis and told them that this is also not in their interest. Our position is clear, especially that winter is coming, and people can not live in tents in the cold and under the rain”.

Post-script: a perceptive reader pointed out to us that in a November 24thbriefing to the Security Council, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Mr. Haile Menkerios, made comments in reference to the stalled Serry Plan mentioned in the MFA newsletter:

“Beyond immediate humanitarian needs and the water and sanitation sector, I regret to inform the Security Council that the United Nations has not yet received a satisfactory response from the Israeli government to the proposal, put forward in May, to complete $77 million of stalled UNRWA and UNDP projects in the area of housing units and school and health facilities. The UN has left no stone unturned in seeking approval of this package in extensive consultations with the Israeli authorities, and is confident of its capacity to ensure the integrity of programming. It is completely unacceptable that no meaningful progress has been made in kick-starting UN civilian construction activities essential for the well-being and recovery of a war- and blockade-affected population, half of whom are children”.

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