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.

Gaza, one year on noticed by (a few) Israelis

The one-year anniversary of the Gaza onslaught is being noticed by some of Israel’s leading human rights groups.

B’Tselem:

One year after Operation Cast Lead, B’Tselem is today (27 December) launching a public campaign demanding that Israel lift its siege on the Gaza Strip. This is necessary in order to rehabilitate the Gaza Strip from the destruction wrought by the hostilities. As part of the campaign, the organization is releasing a new animated short film, by Alon Simone. The film shows how goods that are forbidden entry into Gaza from Israel enter from Egypt through tunnels, a process that enriches Hamas, which collects taxes on the goods. Through the film, B’Tselem hopes to demonstrate the absurdity of the Israeli siege policy: while seeking to topple the Hamas government, Israel is gravely harming Gaza’s million and a half residents, and is achieving the opposite outcome.

Not only is the siege unlawful and immoral, it is also utter folly. Two and a half years after it began, not only has Israel’s siege not eroded the status of the Hamas government, it has even achieved the opposite effect. One reason is that Palestinians have built hundreds of tunnels under Gaza’s border with Egypt, which they use to smuggle in goods, as well as to flood Gaza with weapons. The media and international agencies have extensively documented the way in which the Hamas government controls the tunnel economy and collects taxes on the goods passing through them.

Israel has the right and the duty to protect its citizens from attacks coming from Gaza, yet it is not allowed to exploit its control of the crossings to collectively punish one and a half million persons.

Gisha:

Despite the fact that a year has passed since the start of the Gaza military operation, the damage caused by three weeks of war and the near total closure preceding it has yet to be repaired. The reason: Israel’s ongoing policy blocking goods from entering the Gaza Strip, including a near total ban on reconstruction materials.

Funds for Reconstruction:
  • Reconstruction funds pledged at the Sharm el-Sheikh Summit Some $4.5 billion.
  • Number of months international community negotiated with Israeli government over mechanism for transferring reconstruction funds and materials: 9 months.
  • Implementation of mechanism for transferring reconstruction funds and materials: None.
Housing:
  • During the war: Some 3,500 homes were completely destroyed, some 2,800 sustained heavy damage, and some 54,000 were lightly damaged.These homes housed about 325,000 people.
  • Policy on import of construction materials (cement, glass, iron) prior to the war: Banned, few humanitarian exceptions.
  • Policy on import of construction materials today:Construction materials (cement, glass, iron, etc.) banned; 19 trucks of mostly cement and gravel permitted to enter for exceptional humanitarian projects.
  • Needed to rebuild homes: At least 40,000 tons of cement, 25,000 tons of iron.
Humanitarian Infrastructure (Electricity, Water and Sewage):
  • During the war: Seven out of 12 electric lines were shut down; the power station operated only 50% of the time. One million people were without electricity, and half a million people were without running water.
  • Needed prior to the war to repair and maintain infrastructure: 172 types of spare parts that were either completely out of stock or were below minimum supply; 3.5 million liters/week industrial diesel for power station.
  • Needed today to repair and maintain infrastructure: 240 types of spare parts that are either completely out of stock or are below minimum supply; 3.5 million liters/week industrial diesel for power station.
  • Policy on import of materials prior to the war: Industrial diesel supply for power station limited to no more than 63% of need; parts stood idly for months in warehouses in Israel and the West Bank? due to the restrictions and delays on their import into the Gaza Strip.
  • Policy on import of materials for infrastructure today: Permission granted exceptionally for the entrance of fewer than 100 trucks carrying spare parts and building materials; industrial diesel still limited to no more than 63% of need.
  • Repercussions: 40,000 people have no electricity; 10,000 have no running water; power outages eight hours a day, four days a week for most areas; 87 million liters of untreated or partially treated sewage dumped into the sea daily for lack of electricity and spare parts.

Economy:

  • During the war: More than 1,000 factories, businesses and private sector institutions were damaged, at an estimated cost of $45 million.
  • Policy on import of goods prior to the war: Just 25% of the demand for goods was met (2,500 trucks per month versus 10,400); fewer than 40 kinds of items permitted (versus some 4,000 prior to the closure); ban on import of raw materials for industry and on export.
  • Policy on import of goods today: Just 25% of the demand for goods is met, permitting entrance of about 60 kinds of goods; ban on import of raw materials for industry and on export.
  • Repercussions: Some 97% of factories have remained closed; 42.3% unemployment in the third quarter of 2009 (compared to 32.3% unemployment in June 2007); 80% of the population dependent on food aid.

Education:

  • Policy on import of school supplies prior to the war: Banned, except for UNRWA schools.
Policy on import of school supplies today: Banned, except for UNRWA schools.
one comment ↪
  • All human rights organizations in Israel have been passionately involved in ending the Gaza blockade ever since it began.

    Therefore it is incorrect to say, "The one-year anniversary of the Gaza onslaught is being noticed by some of Israel’s leading human rights groups."

    Gila Svirsky

    Co-chair, B'Tselem