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.

The concerned Australian legal liberal who wants Israel to act humanely

Leading Australian legal academic Ben Saul wrote back in March that Israel should no longer be a protected species in the international arena.

He’s back with an equally strong statement. And note the growing number of public figures who no longer accept Zionist exceptionalism:

Britain’s expulsion of an Israeli diplomat is a lesson for Australia to stop handling Israel with kid gloves.

Israel has made clear that it does not respond to gentle persuasion or constructive criticism from its friends, nor does it listen to the quiet language of international law. Israel is willing to abuse the trust of its friends by defrauding their passports, assassinating people on foreign territory, and approving new settlements on Palestinian land on the eve of peace talks.

Strangely, Australian politicians from both major parties have often fallen over themselves to defend Israel. In doing so, Australia has often been indifferent to shocking violations of international law by Israel.

Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem, as elsewhere in the occupied West Bank, violate the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and amount to war crimes under international law, yet Australia has seldom protested. The colonial plunder of Palestinian resources by Israeli settlers is forbidden by the law of war, yet Australia does not prohibit the import of settler products to Australia.

When a credible, impartial investigation by an eminent international judge, Richard Goldstone, uncovered possible Israeli war crimes in the Gaza conflict last year, Australia howled that the report was biased and unfair. Australia provided few reasons, preferring instead to smear a complex and lengthy report and to allow Israel to blame Hamas and to evade accountability for its own crimes.

If proved, the summary execution of a Hamas suspect in Dubai would be a serious violation of international human rights law and the United Nations Charter. Australia has objected only that our passports were misused.

There was not a peep of protest by Australia when the assassination itself occurred, as if document fraud matters more than one of our supposed ‘friends’ assassinating a civilian in a peaceful foreign country.

One Liberal Senator, Julian McGauran, even announced support for extrajudicial killings, by claiming that “The tracking down of terrorist leaders is an acceptable act in the context of the war on terror”.

That, indeed, is the policy of groups like Hamas, Hezbollah and Al Qaeda, who show little concern for human rights are all too ready to execute their opponents.

Australia bowed to unreasonable Israeli pressure to boycott the United Nations’ Durban II anti-racism conference last year, on the basis of crystal-ball gazing about possible anti-semitism, instead of engaging in a crucial multilateral diplomatic process to combat racism.

Israel’s security barrier on Palestinian lands, which has impoverished Palestinian communities, was declared illegal by the International Court of Justice some years ago, yet Australia actively opposed the case from even being argued before that Court.

Australian policy towards Israel has served neither the interests of Australia nor Israel, and has been singularly unhelpful in securing the rights of Palestinians. For Australia, being a best friend and ally to Israel has too often meant remaining silent while Israel does what it wants, including thwarting the peace process or violating international law.

Australia’s often unqualified support for Israel panders to the worst, rather than the best, side of Israeli politics. Lack of criticism from its friends has encouraged Israeli lawlessness, since Israel knows that its allies will seldom complain and if they do, few consequences will follow.

The puzzling thing about Australian policy towards Israel is that it is usually contrary to Australia’s own strategic interests. It alienates Australia from large blocs of countries, including the Arab, Islamic, African and non-aligned movements, at a time when Australia is seeking a seat on the UN Security Council.

It fuels radicalisation against the west, at a time when Australia is struggling to defuse terrorist threats against it.

If Australia’s stance were rooted in deep conviction and high moral principle, the price might be worth it. But there is nothing principled about turning a blind eye to serious and often criminal violations of international law by any country, let alone by one’s ‘friends’.

Australian policy is rightly founded on a commitment to Israeli democracy and security, amidst a cruel sea of despotic Arab States. Yet, it is perfectly possible for Australia to support those interests while insisting that Israel complies with international law.

Doing so would align our friendship with Israel with our broader foreign policy goals of building an international community based on the rule of law and human rights.

It cannot be taken for granted that Israel knows what’s best for its own security. Decades of hawkish, militant Israel governments have not brought Israelis closer to peace. Israeli domestic policy has often been warped by extreme politics and a lack of respect for Palestinian rights, and many Israelis are exhausted by the pointless violence of occupation.

If Australia was serious about peace in the Middle East, serious about international law, and serious about its friendship with Israel, it would stop handling Israel with kid gloves. It is increasingly clear that the only language Israel responds to is the language of force.

It is time that Australia stopped whispering sweet nothings in Israel’s ear, and instead staked out more principled and vocal opposition to Israeli transgressions, including in the United Nations. Australia must stop fiddling with its votes on peripheral aspects of UN resolutions and instead draw lines in the sand about what we expect from our friends.

one comment ↪
  • Aaron

    I'm confused Antony. Is there a new Ben Saul @ The Drum? I can't find one, both links head to a March 25 story. I hadn't read the first story anyway, 'twas good, I want more!