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.

Former Aussie ambassador questions the closeness between Israel and Australia

The following article in today’s Sunday Age is by Ross Burns, a former Australian Ambassador in the Middle East:

In the course of a career in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, much of it spent handling Middle East matters, I rarely heard language as portentous as the statements on relations with Israel from Australian political leaders in the past couple of days.

Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said he had called in the ambassador of Israel to seek Israel’s co-operation in following up information that three Australian passports were used by suspects allegedly associated with the assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, a senior ues figure in Dubai.

“I made it crystal clear to the ambassador that if the results of that investigation cause us to come to the conclusion that the abuse of Australian passports was in any way sponsored or condoned by Israeli officials, then Australia would not regard that as the act of a friend . . . In the course of that inquiry, we would expect the Israeli government . . . to fully co-operate . . . If we don’t receive that cooperation, then there is a distinct possibility that we would draw adverse conclusions.”

The message was even stronger in Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s version: “This is of the deepest concern to the Australian government . . . It is not just one of those little things that happens that you deal with today and it’s fixed tomorrow.”

This prompt response to the protection of Australian national interests is fully justified. But it is remarkable in that the present government, led by a prime minister happy to be described as a “Zionist”, has held back from the slightest criticism of Israel, in spite of the many excesses of its response to the rocketing from Gaza in early 2009 and in the face of the obvious disinterest in the Netanyahu government in ending settlement activity on occupied lands to advance a “two-state solution”.

What has gone wrong? Has Australia encouraged in Israel an assumption that it is not just a supporter of Israel but an uncritical one? The acting prime minister during the Gaza operation, Julia Gillard, quickly cranked out two mantras – “Hamas brought this on itself” and “Israel has a right to defend itself”. She neglected to add that the “right to defend itself” also requires it to act within international norms.

While most Western countries have been cautious in their dealings with Benjamin Netanyahu and his openly anti-Arab Foreign Minister, Australia appeared more enthused than ever. Instead of buttressing US President Barack Obama’s stand on settlement activity, for instance, Australia floated a series of vacuous but highly symbolic gestures towards Israel including parliamentary congratulations on the sixth decade of its existence (not normally a topic for parliamentary resolutions) and instituting a “leadership exchange” jamboree at deputy prime ministerial level that no other nation enjoys except the United States.

Most inexplicably of all, perhaps, Australia has been in the forefront of those countries that have chosen to blacken the UN fact-finding mission on the Gaza war, headed by Richard Goldstone. I knew Goldstone in South Africa as a judge in the Orange Free State. Even under apartheid, he had devised a notable process of law reform that helped unravel the race-based political system. His energy, imagination and sincerity were without bounds.

I flew down to Bloemfontein to tap some of that inspiration while I was waiting to present credentials to then president F. W. de Klerk. The day we spent talking was among the most heartening I spent in South Africa. In my view, he did more than anyone except Nelson Mandela to help South Africa map a law-based path to negotiations. None of this has been noted 15 years later in Australia’s bucketing of his immensely thorough and impartial work last year.

This is perhaps an indicator, too, of our downgrading of the status of UN resolutions that define how a peaceful outcome to the Palestinian issue must be realised.

The ALP has stripped all reference to those UN instruments from its policy platform- strange for a party that still claims an “internationalist” approach to world affairs. Stranger still for a country that aspires to a seat on the Security Council.

Likewise, the government has sadly completed the work of its predecessor in neglecting our links with the Arab world. Except for drop-by calls on the way to Iraq or Afghanistan or to attend international meetings, I am aware of no bilateral foreign ministerial visits to the Arab world.

Of course, nothing that Australia might have said would necessarily have dissuaded Mossad from its obsessive tradecraft, and several countries more measured in their approach to Israel had their passports abused. The episode has all the marks of another over-the-top operation, the objectives of which could never justify the fallout. As soon as a figure like Mahmoud al- Mabhouh is rubbed out, another 10 enter the system.

It is unlikely that Australia will get the co-operation it seeks. The dark fulminations will pass. Economic links are minimal and won’t be affected. The ambassador-designate might have to cool her heels a bit longer in Canberra and the scrutiny of anything the Israelis present as “evidence” might be intensified.

Given community pressures and an election coming up, the old pattern will resume-hopefully, however, with fewer oscillations between euphoria and rejection.

That requires a more hard-nosed emphasis on Australian interests, including those in the wider region, by a government and party that have been too smitten for their own (or Israel’s) good.

4 comments ↪
  • delia ruhe

    Gosh, you Ozzies are lucky — you still have a Press.  Ours here in Canada, along with that of our infamous neighbour, has long been muzzled by the pro-Israel lobby.

  • mallee

    Dear Canada,

    We only have a sort of free press because the internet is breathing over their quills and they have to keep up to manage some illusional credibility so they can sell advertising space by the acre.

    Hey, can we send our Senator Conroy over to you lot, we will have finished with him very soon?

  • Mac from Vancouver

    Sorry, just have to respond to that first comment.  Canadian media is just as  anti-Israel as the Australian media, and the Globe and Mail in Ontario (the most widely read newspaper in Canada) has written far worse than what Mr. Burns has to say.  I honestly don't know what possesses you to make that comment, delia.

  • Mallee

    Antony,

    You must be doing something right and fullfilling a demand, as demonstrated by the international visitors popping in. Now, if only the average American might try educating themselves!!

    Keep up the good work.