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.

Major Australian union shows colleagues the real Israel

APHEDA is the aid arm of Australia’s biggest union, the ACTU.

Yesterday they released the following statement:

Union Aid Abroad–APHEDA study tour to the Middle East

Union Aid Abroad–APHEDA, the overseas humanitarian aid agency of the ACTU, led a study tour of trade union officials and members to the Middle East from Monday 1st March to Monday 15th March, 2010.

The purpose of the study tour was:-
• To examine Union Aid Abroad–APHEDA’s aid projects with Palestinian refugees in Bourj el-Barajneh camp in Beirut, Lebanon; food security and agriculture projects with Palestinian families in the West Bank and Gaza Strip; and projects of medical assistance to the El Wafa Medical Rehabilitation Hospital in Gaza.
• To meet with Palestinian and Israeli trade unions and workers’ organisations

Study tour participants came from NSW, Queensland, Victoria and the ACT, and unions represented were the Teachers Union, the Construction Union, the Australian Services Union, the Health Services Union, the Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union, and Unions ACT.

The study tour visited Lebanon, Jordan, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Meetings were
held with:
• Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU), Nablus and Jericho branches
• Histadrut (General Federation of Labour in Israel), Tel Aviv
• The Australian Ambassador to Israel, Tel Aviv
• The Australian Representative to the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Ramallah
• United Nations Deputy Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Mr Maxwell Gaylard, Jerusalem
• United Nations Relief & Works Agency Gaza Director, Mr John Ging
• UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs – Hebron, Mr Hamed Qawasmeh, Hebron
• Four members of the Palestinian Legislative Council, Ramallah
• Representatives from the Palestinian Negotiations Support Unit, Jerusalem
• International Trade Union Confederation (Jordan), Mr Nezam Qahoush, Amman
– General Union of Palestine Workers (GUPW), Ramallah
• Federation of Independent Unions of Palestine (FIUP), Ramallah
• Democracy and Workers’ Rights Centre (DWRC), Ramallah
• Palestinian BDS National Committee, Ramallah
• MA’AN Development Centre, Ramallah & Gaza City
• El Wafa Medical Rehabilitation Hospital, Gaza City
• Women’s Humanitarian Organisation, Beirut
• The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD), Jerusalem
• Workers’ Advice Centre, Tel Aviv
• Kav La’Oved (Workers’ Hotline), Jericho

The tour was led by Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA’s Middle East Project Officer, Lisa Arnold, and volunteer Yusuf Douer, and assisted by Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA’s Executive Officer, Peter Jennings.

Participants were:-

Sally McManus Secretary, ASU     NSW
Kim Sattler  Secretary, Unions ACT    ACT
Mal Tulloch  Assistant Secretary, CFMEU C&G   NSW
Leonore Hankinson Industrial Officer, NSW Teachers Federation NSW
Evan Moorhead ALP State Member for Waterford   Qld
David Forde  Labor 4 a Just Palestine & CFMEU C&G  Qld
Wendy Turner  ALP Vice President & LHMU    Qld
Ross Franks  Organiser, CEPU – ETU Division   Qld
Phil Monsour  State Council Rep., Qld Teachers Union  Qld
Ginny Adams  Organiser, HACSU No 2 Branch   Victoria

Of particular concern to the participants were these issues:-

1. Sanctions against Gaza
Israel has imposed a blockade and economic sanctions against Gaza since June 2007.  These sanctions are illegal, inhumane and counter-productive.  They are illegal because they contravene international law such as the Geneva Conventions.  They are inhumane because they are resulting in great poverty and immense suffering for 1.5 million people, and as usual, women and children suffer the most.  They are counter-productive because they actually strengthen Hamas, who control goods smuggled through the tunnels from Egypt into Gaza, and charge a tax upon these goods.

2. Illegal settlements in the West Bank
The growth of illegal settlements of people from Israel into the West Bank and East Jerusalem continues apace, and the methods used to drive Palestinians off their land and from their homes as part of a deliberate Israeli Government policy of creating circumstances to force people out has been described as ethnic cleansing.  Adding to the dispossession of Palestinians from their land, these illegal settlements are generally surrounded by no-go zones that vary in size from a couple of hundred meters to approximately one kilometre, and are connected by settler-only highways which also have wide no-go zones for Palestinians.  With almost 60% of the West Bank now taken by the settlements, settler-only roads and the Separation Wall, Palestinians are increasingly squeezed into a small number of “districts” or “ghettos” or “bantustans”.  The Palestinian chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, claims that the illegal settlements are now reaching a “tipping point” and soon a one-state solution will be the only option, and Ehud Barak, former Israeli Prime Minister and current Defense Minister, has stated that “Israel will be an apartheid state if no peace deal is reached”. (Haaretz, March 7th, 2010)

3. The Wall
A 700 kilometre long, 9 metre high Wall is being built throughout the West Bank.  The vast majority of the Wall’s route does not follow the pre-1967 “Green Line” international border between Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, but rather cuts through Palestinian land, taking approximately 10% of the West Bank as it snakes between illegal Israeli settlements and Palestinian communities.  It frequently cuts through Palestinian communities, separating families, and cutting farmers off from their land.  Families trapped between the Wall and the internationally-recognised border are subjected to the most extreme conditions, including restrictions on food and access to land and external medical facilities in emergency situations.

4. The Checkpoints
There are over 550 military checkpoints throughout the West Bank and East Jerusalem.  Palestinians on their way to work or even children on their way to school are often kept waiting at these checkpoints for lengthy periods, often hours, before being permitted to proceed by the Israeli soldier.  We ourselves witnessed many Palestinians being humiliated in this way before being permitted to proceed through the checkpoint, including an elderly man on his way to worship in the mosque at Hebron.

5. Workers’ Rights
Although we were assured by the Israeli Trade Union Federation, the Histadrut, that, following an Israeli High Court decision in 2007, there is now no discrimination in Israeli Labour Laws between Israeli and Palestinian or other migrant workers, we were also informed by the PGFTU, the GUPW, the FIUP and all workers’ rights organisations we spoke with, that there still exists five strata amongst workers, with differing wages, conditions and rights.  There are Israeli citizens, Israeli citizens who are Arabs, Palestinian workers with permits to enter Israel or the illegal settlements to work, Palestinian workers who work in Israel or the illegal settlements without permits, and Asian migrant workers.

6. Political Prisoners
It is estimated that there are over 7,000 Palestinian political prisoners in Israel, over 300 of them are children, and one-third of the elected Palestinian Legislative Council are still in Israeli prisons. Many prisoners are held in administrative detention for periods of up to 6 months without charge and with limited access to legal representation.

7. Palestinian Refugees
There are over 422,000 Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, more than half of whom reside in 12 United Nations-administered refugee camps throughout the country.  The camps have no proper infrastructure, and suffer very high levels of overcrowding, poverty and unemployment.  The Lebanese constitution explicitly forbids integration for Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.  They have no social and civil rights (they cannot obtain Lebanese citizenship), very limited access to government-provided public health or educational facilities, and no access to public social services.  Palestinian refugees are also prohibited by law from working in 72 trades and professions, hence their high levels of unemployment. Consequently, Palestinian refugees remain dependent on United Nations agencies or local non-government organisations to provide services, which remain grossly inadequate for the growing refugee population in Lebanon.  The minimum demand from these refugees is their right of return or to receive compensation, as guaranteed in UN General Assembly Resolution 194 (1948).

Conclusion
The study tour group believes that both countries, Israel and Palestine, have the right to exist within internationally-accepted borders in accordance with United Nations Resolutions.

The study tour group acknowledges Israel’s right to security, but believes that true security will only come about when Israel has the courage to make a just peace with its Palestinian neighbours, rather than attempting to crush them, humiliate them at checkpoints and drive them off their land.

3 comments ↪
  • Kevin Charles Herber

     

    Have they sought a comment on their findings yet with Gaza Gillard & Ramallah Rudd?

    Australia's two disgraceful rusted-on Christian Zionists.

  • Shaun

    Reminds me why I quit the union many years ago. 

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