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.

Israel’s choice is clear

My following article appears in today in New Matilda:

The deadly attack by Israeli forces on the Gaza relief ships has provoked global outrage, writes Antony Loewenstein. Has Israel bitten off more than it can chew this time?

Within hours of Israel’s storming of the Gaza flotilla yesterday in international waters, Haaretz columnist Bradley Burston wrote that the over three-year siege of Gaza “is becoming Israel’s Vietnam”.

Some serious ramifications of the massacre are already clear. Today the UN General Assembly has called for the lifting of the blockade on the Strip and Israel faces the possibility of diplomatic isolation if a kind it has never felt before.

Turkey, once a close Muslim ally of the Jewish state, is fuming, and has called its actions “state terrorism”.

Yesterday’s event was shocking to even the most cynical watchers of the Middle East. The killing of up to 19 protestors with dozens of injuries aboard the Mavi Marmara ship, carrying around 600 activists, appeared chaotic and possibly premeditated.

The Israeli press is reporting that unnamed government ministers had received guarantees from the military that their action would end without casualties. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was continually briefed on the flotilla in the past weeks and presumably made a calculated decision on how to stop the more than 700 civilians making their way to the Gaza Strip. Israel had made continued threats against the ships for days.

Hailing from over 50 countries and bringing 10,000 tonnes of aid including food, medicines, cement and reconstruction materials, the Gaza flotilla aimed to both highlight the suffocating siege but also confront the myth that the Strip was an independent entity after Israel’s 2005 withdrawal of troops and settlers.

The action has already succeeded in its aim of drawing attention to the military blockade of Gaza. The Strip has remained under siege by Israel and Egypt for over three years since Hamas, pre-empting a Fatah-US backed coup, violently took over the Gaza Strip in 2007. Since the Israeli onslaught against the Strip in late 2008 and early 2009, the territory has remained in limbo, unable to rebuild due to Israel and Egypt’s refusal to allow even adequate rebuilding materials to cross their borders.

The Hamas-controlled tunnels from Egypt are now a lifeline to the 1.5 million residents living inside the world’s biggest open-air prison. I saw myself the devastating effects of the siege on people’s lives during a visit there last year.

Over the last years a number of boats have attempted to break the blockade and a handful have been successful. This Gaza flotilla was the largest attempt made so far and was led primarily by Turkish human rights organisations and peace activists. The Free Gaza movement also contributed a few boats to the mission.

After some false starts and mechanical trouble with the ships (some blamed Israel for sabotaging them) the flotilla set sail on its journey toward the Gaza Strip. Sydney Morning Herald journalist Paul McGeough was on one of the boats as they left Greece. He is now missing, likely detained by the Israelis, as the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs attempts to confirm his whereabouts.

While still in international waters, the Israeli navy demanded the boats turn back but they refused. Then, without warning, commandos descended from helicopters and stormed the Mavi Marmara causing chaos. The Israeli narrative says that the men faced a barrage of axes, knives and gunfire from the peace protesters.

I agree with the editorial in the Electronic Intifada that states, “it is unclear how anyone could credibly adopt an Israeli narrative of ‘self-defence’ when Israel had carried out an unprovoked armed assault on civilian ships in international waters. Surely any right of self-defence would belong to the passengers on the ship.”

Indeed, the barrage of information and images, pumped across the Israeli media, shows soldiers being blocked and will, according to some Israeli bloggers, lead many in the country to back their troops. The IDF has issued countless statements that allegedly prove a collection of weapons was “prepared” to attack any Israeli intervention and that insist the soldiers feared being “lynched” by the protestors. It is a position vehemently rejected by the flotilla organisers.

Meanwhile here, ABC TV’s Lateline program last night absurdly gave the Israeli Government a lengthy opportunity to defend its position. At a time of claim and counter-claim, this sort of choice by the network highlights the depth of Western complicity in the Zionist project that has itself permitted the high seas attack.

Despite the rather mild call from Australia’s Foreign Minister Stephen Smith this morning for Israel’s blockade to end, the fact is that the Gaza siege has been allowed to continue for years.

Hamas has been demonised as a Hitler-in-the-making, yet as its leader, Khaled Meshal, told the The Guardian this week, it is willing to negotiate with Washington. Indeed, it appears that the Obama administration may have already sent a number of envoys to open dialogue with the group (but hasn’t found the guts to admit it).

Now Israel’s staunchest backers are questioning its actions — witness The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg writing yesterday that he is worried for the future of Israel: “a worry I feel in a deeper way than I have ever felt before”, and critics such as Norman Finkelstein are calling Israel a “lunatic state”. Even Israel recognises this is a crisis. The question is what happens next.

Debate should not focus solely on Israel’s killings on the high seas (though serious questions must be asked why commandos, hardly expert in peaceful crowd dispersion, are sent to disarm a ship full of humanitarian workers). Will the Zionist lobby simply mouth Israeli Government spin? Will Australia’s Jewish community leaders actually care about the facts or stick to the script, trying once more to defend the indefensible?

One Jewish writer, Moshe Yaroni, has already written a powerful piece that calls the event a “massacre” and pleads for Israel to stop “committing to this suicidal and murderous course it is on”.

While the West Bank occupation deepens every day and the rights of Israeli Arabs inside Israel decrease, “loyalty oath” legislation is making its way through the Knesset. As more in the Diaspora recognise the self-destructive nature of the Jewish state and its proud history of chauvinism, Israel has a clear choice: reform or face growing international isolation.

Unfortunately, yesterday’s actions near Gaza show the country seems, very deliberately, to have already chosen.

one comment ↪
  • gandhi

    SBS NEws tonight gave Israeli spokesman Mark Regev an extensive opportunity to spout his propaganda, right at the top of the news bulletin, before people even had a chance to digest the story. There was only one serious question put to him by the male TV news anchor, utterly deplorable.

     

    And all our government can do is demand an investigation, as if we cannot see with our own eyes what is happening. Deplorable.