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.

Today’s fun and games around Australia/Israel (and watch backing for the Zionist state decline)

There’s no indication that the current political theatre between Australia and Israel will end soon. Jews are upset, conservatives are fuming that Israel can’t just keep on killing anybody it wants and some rational players are calling for an even stronger reaction.

Here’s the Herald Sun’s Andrew Bolt, never short of fury at, well, anybody really who isn’t white, right-wing and pro-Israel:

Is there anything Prime Minister Kevin Rudd will not sacrifice to his manic vanity?

Take his decision this week to expel an Israeli diplomat – a reckless over-reaction that has privately outraged key figures of the Labor Right.

And see who, in capitals around the Middle East, is cheering Rudd most, having dangled before him the bribe of a vote his ego craves, but which this country cannot afford.

It is beyond serious doubt that it was Israeli spies who used forged Australian passports in Dubai in January when assassinating the leading weapons buyer of Hamas and co-founder of the terrorist group’s military arm.

That deserved our condemnation, but only on the grounds that Mossad is now so slack that its agents got caught out with our documents in their hands.

The killing itself hardly deserved comment – and certainly should not have been described by Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith as “murder”.

After all, knocking off a jihadist boss on an arms-buying mission is morally no different from what SAS soldiers do every week in Afghanistan, hunting more jihadists there. Or do our soldiers “murder”, too, Mr Smith?

The assassination was also a lot more clinical than we tend to get when an American drone drops a bomb on a group of suspected Taliban in some Pakistani village.

Still, these were Australian documents, so some level of protest was called for. But this much?

Seems like Bolt simply believes any Western government that say it’s engaged in a struggle for freedom, liberation and the Zionist way.

Meanwhile, back on planet rationality, here’s the letters in today’s Sydney Morning Herald:

As someone of Jewish heritage, I am sympathetic to Israel’s situation and history. But no matter what the provocation, state-sanctioned forgery of Australian passports is a serious matter (”Move catches Israel by surprise”, May 25). Especially when those passports were then used to gain entry to another country in order to commit murder.

If the Australian government has reasonable evidence it is right to expel any diplomat involved. We can still be friends with Israel, while letting it know it must act within international laws and, particularly, not compromise our national security.

The opposition spokeswoman, Julie Bishop, has overturned decades of tacit bipartisanship on such matters to openly criticise the government. She obviously feels it is fine for our national sovereignty to be abused in this way.

Alex Kemeny Wahroonga

The basic calculation looks something like this: Israel has claimed no responsibility, nor has conclusive proof emerged that Israel was responsible for the hit; the world is rid of a murdering terrorist (found dead with multiple forged passports of his own); the Rudd government continues its relentless push for a UN Security Council seat at all costs, against a backdrop of known diplomatic violations such as Iranian nuclear proliferation and Chinese imprisonment of Australian citizens, all of which are consistently ignored.

Adding these three apparently equals justification for the expulsion of a diplomat of one of this country’s closest friends, and the loss of a strategic ally and expert in Australia’s continued fight in the war on terrorism.

Evan Guttman North Bondi

In opposing the expulsion of an Israeli diplomat Tony Abbott has described Israel as a country under ”existential threat”. The opposition’s credibility is facing a similar threat.

Instead of offering alternatives the Coalition has opted for mindless opposition to almost everything. In the ”passports for murder” expulsion Australia followed a British precedent, but was promptly criticised by Julie Bishop because there was no proof that Israel forged the passports. Presumably she expected the intelligence reports to be tabled.

To cap it all, Alexander Downer called the expulsion an overreaction, although he was the foreign minister in 2004 when an Israeli diplomat was expelled by the Howard government with 48 hours’ notice.

It’s fair enough for an opposition to be competitive, but slipshod criticism weakens its claim to be an alternative government.

James Moore Kingsgrove

Did Julie Bishop get “absolute proof” from John Howard and Alexander Downer about weapons of mass destruction before she agreed to us invading Iraq?

Rog Cooper Boambee East

If Australia had been aware that there was a planned bombing of a nightclub in Bali which hundreds of Australians regularly frequent, and we forged a British passport to send an ASIO agent to intercept the terrorist attack, would Britain expel our Australian representative? And would we care?

I think not.

Robert Krochmalik Pearl Beach

Australia, unlike the US, allows people to retain dual citizenship. Maybe we need to follow its example and maintain that you are either Australian or something else, not a bit of both. Our passports would not then be quite as freely available when people visit Israel.

It would also be interesting to know how many Australians are sent by their families to do national service (military or civil) in Israel, and whether this really is what Australian citizens should be taking part in.

Terry Beath Surry Hills

And the letters in the Melbourne Age:

THE forged Australian passports saga is teaching Australians what Palestinians have known for years – the Israeli government and army do whatever they like, whenever they like, to whomever they like, regardless of international law and morality (”Israeli envoy expelled on identity theft”, The Age, 25/5). Israel is a classic example of the formerly oppressed becoming the oppressors. Tragically, Western nations have rarely spoken out against Israeli oppression.

The Rudd government is to be commended for at least officially letting Israel know that what it did to our citizens was wrong. Much more international pressure needs to be placed on Israel to prevent it from committing further atrocities against innocent civilians.

Robert Van Zetten, Highton

PATRICIA Philippou (Letters, 25/5) is correct that the world is finally coming to terms with the monster created by allowing Israel unfettered abuse of international law.

Israel was born out of acts of terrorism and the dispossession and suffering of the Palestinian people. It has demanded and received sympathy and support from the world due to the persecution of the Jews during the Holocaust. But, by its continued persecution and dispossession of the Palestinians, it has forfeited any right to this support.

I don’t consider any country that lies and flouts international law a friend of Australia.

Roger Bau, Richmond

And the Australian:

ONCE again the Rudd government is using the Dubai passport affair to deflect attention from its own domestic failings (“Mossad’s man in Canberra has to go”, 25/5).

Coupled with this attempt to sideline the major issues confronting Australia by announcing the expulsion of an Israeli intelligence official is a blatant and desperate bid to curry favour with anti-Israel groups in the electorate.

This government would do well to remember that expelling an Israeli diplomat did not help Gordon Brown in the UK and it won’t help Kevin Rudd in Australia.

N. Balkin, Rose Bay, NSW

IT’S only right that Australia has a very strong and important relationship with Israel. However, this is not the first time Israel has wilfully disrespected that relationship by risking the security of Australian citizens (and those of other friendly countries) to further its own cause. It does only harm to Israel’s reputation and reduces Australian goodwill towards Israel. I hope the Executive Council of Australian Jewry and the Australia-Israel and Jewish Affairs Council remember that it’s not Australia that is at fault here and, for a change, condemn this dangerous action by Israel.

B. Cavanagh, Moorooka, Qld

I FELT some pity for the poor Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith as he spoke in obvious discomfort about the unjust expulsion of Mossad’s man in Canberra. No doubt his action was forced on him by the extremist fringe of the Labor Party.

As Smith’s bottom lip quivered, I could almost hear the peels of laughter from Osama bin Laden and his minions. No honour will be bestowed upon timid rulers who act against friends to appease aggressive foes.

Barry Walters, Subiaco, WA

A RARE bit of praise for the Rudd government and especially Stephen Smith. The expulsion of an Israeli intelligence official over the forging of our passports is justified. Israel is smart enough not to forge US passports, and similarly, it should realise our friendship is more important to it than to us.

If democratic Israel asks us to support its moral existence in its terrorist-ridden part of the world, we should demand that it does the right thing by coming clean and signing the UN Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty. True democracies have nothing to hide.

Vivian McDonnel, Cook, ACT

WHETHER the government’s decision to expel an Israeli diplomat over forged Australian passports was appropriate may warrant further debate. Opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Julie Bishop’s statement that it was taken to gain support in Arab nations, on the other hand, would seem both rash and short-sighted. I wonder if she has considered whether Britain, which took the same action, was motivated by similar reasons. I wonder if she would have been so outspoken if the offence had been committed by another nation. The fact is that Israel has insulted our nation by its actions. Bishop might consider Australia’s interests before jumping to the defence of a foreign government to score a few political points.

George Crisp, West Leederville, WA

WOULD it be too much to expect the Canberra press gallery, which so enthusiastically savaged Joe Hockey last week, to have asked Stephen Smith one simple question: “Are you wrecking our relationship with Israel because internal ALP polling is showing you are in trouble in Western Sydney where you need to shore up the Arab vote?”

Bryan Connor, Cloncurry, Qld

ONE might assume from its adverse reaction to the government’s expulsion of an Israeli intelligence operative that the Jewish Board of Deputies’ allegiance is not to Australia but lies elsewhere.

Graeme Noonan, Phillip Island, Vic

Weirdly, amidst all this noise, Fairfax has published online a rather pathetic article rejecting Elvis Costello’s refusal to play in Israel. And the reasoning? Israel may do terrible things but its neighbours are far worse. And seriously, to continue calling Israel a “democracy” when it occupies millions of Palestinians is both an affront to truth and simply not believed by millions around the world. Truth in advertising is appreciated.

5 comments ↪
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  • Marilyn

    Let's not forget that much of our media are paid up shills for Israel.

  • iResistDe4iAm

    Why is the expulsion of a foreign secret service officer — whose country forged Australian passports and used them to summarily execute a suspect without trial — such an unjust, harsh, inappropriate, heavy-handed, reckless over-reaction, disproportionate response to the crime of passport forgery?

    (Ignore the crime of murder as defined by national and international laws and the fact that no foreign secret service officers are executed, tortured, imprisoned or even harmed in the diplomatic process of expulsion). 

     

    And how can the massive Israeli air, sea and land war — using state-of-the-art weapons of mass destruction including white phosphorus, cluster and bunker-buster bombs — against a blockaded, forcibly impoverished and defenceless population in the most densely populated strip on earth, possibly be proportionate?

    Human casualties in the war on Gaza:

    Palestinians = 1,417

    Israelis  = 13  (including 4 by Israeli fire)

    Kill rate ~ 109-to-1 

     

    Perhaps that is why all major international and Israeli human rights organisations have documented and condemned the disproportionate Israeli war crimes. An extract from the Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict: 

     

    “The Mission found that, in the lead up to the Israeli military assault on Gaza, Israel imposed a blockade amounting to collective punishment and carried out a systematic policy of progressive isolation and deprivation of the Gaza Strip. During the Israeli military operation, code-named “Operation Cast Lead,” houses, factories, wells, schools, hospitals, police stations and other public buildings were destroyed. Families are still living amid the rubble of their former homes long after the attacks ended, as reconstruction has been impossible due to the continuing blockade. More than 1,400 people were killed during the military operation" 

     

    Australians are not fools, they are capable of digesting all the relevant information and making up their own minds as to proportionality, disproportionality and war crimes.

  • iResistDe4iAm

    "In fact, the Israeli assassins also used forged passports of France, Germany, Britain and Ireland, yet only Britain has as yet retaliated as harshly as Rudd has done now, by expelling an Israeli diplomat" – Andrew Bolt (Herald Sun), 26 May 2010 

     

    "We would note in this regard, while Australia followed a British precedent in its over-reaction, no similar step has been taken by Ireland, France, or Germany, all of whom also allegedly had forged passports implicated in the killing," [Colin Rubenstein] said – Haaretz, 25 May 2010 

     

    It never pays to prematurely brag about Israel getting away with murder, especially while pleading to let Israel get away with murder

     

    "Israel was not really surprised when the UK decided to expel the Mossad representative following the entanglement of the affair. It was not really that panicked neither by the Australian decision to expel an Israeli diplomat, nor by the Irish announcement it intended to expel one of the security officials from the Israeli Embassy in Dublin. But when it learned that Germany had issued an arrest warrant against an Israeli citizen on suspicion of his involvement in the assassination, political sources in Israel were shocked" – Maariv, 13 June 2010 [as translated by coteret]

     

    http://coteret.com/2010/06/14/the-end-of-israeli-

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