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.

How many Australians regards Israel as a problem child?

The following letters appear in today’s Sydney Morning Herald:

Amin Saikal is wrong to call the hit on Mahmoud al-Mabhouh terrorism (”It is time for Israel’s friends to condemn its acts of terrorism”, March 1). This man was an armed combatant, whose chief aim was to destroy Israel and kill as many Israelis as possible. He was neither an innocent nor a civilian and it is the height of hypocrisy for Israel bashers to insist Israel does nothing while its enemies go out of their way to destroy it. If you fire rockets and missiles at someone with the intention of killing, you cannot complain if someone fires back.

Ian Fraser Cherrybrook

Amin Saikal can see no difference between the ”state terrorism” of Israel and that of its enemies. What is undeniably different is that the Israelis at least target the people they are trying to kill. They have not started randomly slaughtering anyone who happens to be around when a bomb goes off. From Beirut to Bali, Islamic terrorists routinely murder thousands of innocents, indifferent to the suffering and misery they create.

The Israelis may be guilty of skulduggery and murder, but it cannot be compared with what terrorists are doing on a daily basis across half the world. We do not have to go through tiresome procedures at airports because of Israeli government practices.

The equivalence Professor Saikal sees between the activities of Israel and Islamic terrorism is a delusion.

Tony Letford Ashfield

Amin Saikal argues that all extra-judicial killings made by agents of a state are a form of state-sponsored terrorism. Under this logic, the policeman shooting the fleeing criminal is guilty of terrorism, as is the soldier in the field when he kills an enemy combatant, as neither has received judicial sanction for their actions.

The argument to be had is one of justification – was the state justified in killing the person in question? In this case the undisputed evidence is that Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was in Dubai seeking to buy weapons for use against Israel. Under international law Israel is justified in defending itself from this threat.

Saikal fails to recognise that in this century the concept of an enemy as a soldier in uniform is increasingly being blurred by those who would fight from beneath the cover of civilian clothes. It is folly to suggest a state has no right to defend itself against an enemy clad in a plaid shirt and jeans, just as it is folly to suggest it cannot defend itself against a man in combat fatigues.

Jack Pinczewski Ainslie (ACT)

If an Israeli agent found himself in the same room as Osama bin Laden and asked his superior for permission to shoot him, I can fully imagine him being told, ”Better not, we don’t want any angry letters to the editor.”

Daniel Lewis Rushcutters Bay

David Ashton (Letters, March 1) asks what is to be done when ”fighting enemies that operate covertly and without rules”. I had to read his letter twice before deciding to which side he was referring.

Mary Purnell Revesby

Can someone please check whether ASIO’s spies travel using false passports? If not, we need an urgent inquiry.

David Ziegler Dover Heights

You quote the Foreign Minister, Stephen Smith, as saying: ”The Australian government always considers UN resolutions on a case-by-case basis and on their merits” (”Australia abandons Israel in UN vote”, March 1).

It would be fascinating to hear the Foreign Affairs Department’s reason for Australia’s voting against a UN resolution in July 2004, which called on Israel to comply with an International Court of Justice advisory opinion relating to aspects of the West Bank separation barrier that the court considered illegal.

The resolution was carried by 150 to six. The six against were Israel, the US, Australia and three US client states (Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands and Palau). The only Western country to abstain was Canada. Given that Australia purports to support human rights and the rule of law, I wonder what particular problems we perceived with this resolution.

Roger Mayhew Surfside

And letters in the Melbourne Age:

IMAGINE the outcry if, in a clandestine operation, Australian agents using forged passports of another country murdered Osama bin Laden.Add New Post ‹ Antony Loewenstein — WordPress

Henry Herzog, St Kilda East

IN THE fight against international terrorism it appears the rules only allow the terrorists to travel the world with false passports.

Michael Burd, Toorak

PERHAPS the time has come to do away with dual-nationality passports.

Brian Haill, Frankston

And a letter in the Australian:

WHETHER or not Israel played any part in the assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh may never really be known.

What is known is that this individual was responsible for the murders of hundreds of Israelis on behalf of Hamas. Why is it then that the Australian media persists in referring to him as a “militant”? I do not recall the same term used for those individuals who murdered so many Australians in the Bali bombings. They were correctly referred to as terrorists.

The term “militant” implies a moral justification for the individual’s actions. Why is the killing of innocent Israeli civilians morally justifiable whereas the killing of innocent Australians is not? Let’s call a spade a spade and call al-Mabhouh and others like him “terrorists”.

N. Balkin, Rose Bay, NSW

5 comments ↪
  • Jack Chrapot

    If the letters you've reproduced are any guide, I would say not many.

    Given that Hamas and Fatah also carry out targetted assassinations, I would suggest they don't care much either and seeing that Mabhouh had five fake passports on him at the time of his death, I reckon that nobody really gives a fig except for a few bloggers and perhaps some politicians who want to get a seat on the UN Security Council.

  • George

    In the Gnostic (Greek for Knowledge) Catholic Church, which is a humanistic sect coming out of the Greek Orthodox Church which practices mysticism (similar to the Jewish Kabbalah), there writings interpret the story of Cain and Abel in allegory. And the allegory is this, Cain is symbolic of higher enlightened man (with his vegetable offering) and Abel is symbolic of lower man (with his tendencies to be drawn into his animalistic side). Cain killing Abel is symbolic of enlightened man overcoming the animal in all of us. These people are akin to animalistic side of man, stupid animals who believe what they want. I hope we have World War 3 so we can be rid of these people, they're are burden on society. They are the reason why mankind is in the trouble it is.   

  • ej

    Jack, it's the Occuption, stupid.  And the associated ongoing ethnic cleansing.

    If you got out of the self-imposed ghetto more often you'd have a better feeling for the disgust.

  • Kevin Charles Herber

    George:

    I would expect that if we did have a world war 3, that you'd witness it no doubt from the comfort of your armchair.

     

    Indeed, you & Jack Chaprot could witness it together…….coffee & cake anyone???

  • iResistDe4iAm

    George, 

     

    You're talking gibberish again. 

     

    Which people are from the animalistic side of man?

    Which people are stupid animals?

    Which people do you want to get rid of, wipe out, exterminate in World War 3? 

     

    And where do you fit in?