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.

West complicit in Israeli terror and oppression

My following article appears in today’s New Zealand Herald:

The day after the Australian Government announced it was expelling an Israeli diplomat over the forging of its passports in the assassination of a Hamas official in Dubai, the Murdoch press was incensed.

The Australian’s foreign editor, Greg Sheridan, last week condemned Kevin Rudd’s “over-reaction” to Israel’s “mistake” in the murder of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh.

For blind defenders of the Jewish state, Israel is engaged in a war on terror that justifies every offensive action.

For Sheridan and many others, Hamas is a terrorist organisation and its members are legitimate targets. But imagine the outcry if Tehran viewed American and Israeli officials, who regularly condemn and threaten the country’s very existence, as enemies of the state and systematically killed them across the globe. The world would respond with outrage and rightly so.

But Israel and its proxies are simply asked to forgive and forget. In the words of Australia’s Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, Israel “is under existential threat”. End of conversation.

Zionist spokespeople in Australia were distressed that the Government had made an “unhelpful” decision over the passports affair and argued that there was no evidence Israel was even behind the assassination; denial mixed with delusion and a dash of arrogance.

The Jewish community is used to getting its way in the halls of power through the canny mix of financial backing, arm-twisting and brutal realpolitik.

Australia’s decision to remove a Mossad agent from Canberra was slightly surprising. Although the British, in the dying days of Gordon Brown’s leadership, expelled an Israeli agent in retaliation for its passports also being forged – alongside countless other affected nations, including France, Germany, Ireland and New Zealand but notably not the United States – Canberra remains one of Israel’s staunchest backers.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd once said that Israel was “in my DNA” and since his election in 2007 has provided diplomatic and political cover for the ongoing siege on the Gaza Strip and continued colonisation in the occupied West Bank, both illegal under international law.

It is seen as political suicide to even mildly chastise the Zionist entity in most Western states, despite Israel’s growing intolerance of free speech, discrimination against Israeli Arabs and forced removal of Palestinians from the West Bank into Gaza, all in direct violation of countless United Nations resolutions.

This week’s massacre by Israel of protesters on the flotilla heading to break the illegal blockade on Gaza is simply the latest example of Israeli arrogance.

For many politicians in the West, Israel is a thriving democracy amid a sea of dictatorships. In reality, it’s a democracy for Jews only, illegally occupying millions of Palestinians and funding Jewish-only roads in the West Bank and Jewish, settler-only infrastructure. I saw last year in the Hebron Hills the running of raw sewage from Jewish settlements directly into Palestinian villages. Furthermore, I witnessed the Israeli Army refusing to allow Palestinian farmers access to their own lands because fundamentalist Jewish settlers blocked the path.

These truths are never seen by the free trips organised by the Zionist lobby for politicians and journalists. Instead – and I heard this during my meeting with senior MPs on a recent visit to New Zealand for a speaking tour – Palestine is visited briefly at best and then only with the Palestinian Authority, the corrupt body armed, funded and backed by the Western powers.

I was pleased to hear, however, that every politician told me that the last five years had seen a seachange in public opinion on the Israel/Palestine question with vastly more letters of concern arriving worried about Israeli actions across the Palestinian territory. This has nothing to do with anti-semitism or anti-Israel sentiment but legitimate outrage over Israel’s flouting of international law and decency.

Such shifts are not yet reflected in the conservative John Key Government. I have obtained a letter sent by Foreign Minister Murray McCully to the Palestine Human Rights Campaign that detailed the reasons New Zealand backed Israel’s recent ascension to the OECD. Although he acknowledged the “number of areas where Israel is failing to meet its international obligations … a lack of a dialogue does not advance solutions to these failings”.

Such weasel words belie the complicity of New Zealand in Israel’s economic development while ignoring its behaviour in the occupied territories.

The recent announcement by musician Elvis Costello to not perform in Israel because of his concerns over treatment of Palestinians is just the latest example of a growing global movement to isolate Israel until it abides with humanitarian law.

The daily breaches of international law are just one reason why virtually every human rights group in the world now calls Israel’s policy of separation and discrimination apartheid in the occupied territories.

Many members of the African National Congress visit the West Bank and argue the situation for Palestinians today is far worse than anything they ever experienced under apartheid South Africa. A new book released last month, The Unspoken Alliance, details extensive connections between Israel and apartheid Pretoria right up until 1994, including the sharing of nuclear technology, arms and methods of oppressing the blacks and Palestinians.

Israel’s relationship with apartheid South Africa remains relevant today because one regime recognised the errors of its way and reformed while the other merely accelerates the colonisation process.

In many ways, therefore, the killing of the Hamas official is a convenient distraction from the wider issue of Israeli actions in the Middle East. Australia has not condemned the murder but merely the use of its passports in the action. Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said relations between the two countries will “cool” for a short period then resume normal proceedings. The fact that the Arab states are uniformly repressive – most of them backed by Washington, of course – should not distract us from the status of the Middle East’s only self-styled democracy. Hamas and Hizbollah are both facts of life, born in the fire of resisting Israeli actions. Iran, meanwhile, is not an irrational player and must be rationally engaged to avoid further regional strife. A country such as New Zealand could play a productive role in highlighting the profound disconnect between rhetoric and reality in the Middle East conflict.

Antony Loewenstein is an independent Australian journalist who has published in the Guardian, Washington Post and Haaretz and is the author of My Israel Question and The Blogging Revolution.

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