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 desperate need to recognise failure in the Middle East

The following letters appear in today’s Sydney Morning Herald:

Peter Wertheim (Letters, June 4) is right to say the Geneva Conventions are ”an expression of customary international law and are universally applicable”. The whole civilised world agrees, except the Israeli Supreme Court, which said they did not apply to the occupied Palestinians because without a prior sovereign there could be no occupation. There will be no peaceful solution until Israel recognises they are truly universal.

Paul Unger Grenfell

Many thanks to Peter Wertheim for clearing up the application of customary international law to Israel’s actions last Monday. I wonder if he could advise if the Palestinians might be able to take the same sort of action under the same law in their endeavours to rid themselves of the 340,000 Israelis living illegally in settlements on their land.

Frank Adshead Mona Vale

In the beginning was self-defence: if you hit me, I’ll hit back harder, until you no longer can. Then came international law, the process by which states, to protect their own, agreed to mutual limits: if you keep your blows above the belt, I will too. They limited action against other states, each other’s citizens and their own, and they agreed that attacks that came from your territory counted as yours – as much an invitation to hit back harder as if you had made them yourself.

Some people argue that non-state foreign attackers, although they recognise no limits themselves, should be protected by the states’ self-imposed limits on retaliation against other states. They claim that states have no rights against non-states, only responsibilities. This is nonsense, of course. If attackers fall outside the definition of the limits, they are entitled to no protection.

Judith Rona Bondi

The fact that the San Remo Manual may embody customary international law does not at all mean that it is of universal application. A blockade is an act of war, and Israel is not at war with the Gaza Strip. As a matter of law, it cannot be at war with the Gaza Strip. Israel is conducting a blockade, but not one recognised as legitimate under international law. It is repulsive to claim that boarding foreign ships in international waters was justified by the need to prevent them breaching a blockade that was illegal to begin with.

Nicholas Olson Peakhurst

Describing how the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara was being prepared for the arrival of the Israeli soldiers, Paul McGeough mentions that ”electric angle-grinders were brought in – to cut steel bars from the lifeboat bays”. I am curious to know what these steel bars were going to be used for. Peaceful protests?

Michael Messer Balmain

Would Paul McGeough accompany a convoy of “peace activists” bringing humanitarian aid to Kurdish rebels in Turkey? He might then be able to write an informed article on the relative merits of Turkish and Israeli jails.

Michael Jaku Double Bay

”Strange times indeed,” says Immanuel Suttner (Letters, June 4). What he found strange, among other things, was Turkey’s treatment of its Kurdish minority and the seeming indifference of Herald letter-writers. Turkey was, until recently, a good friend of Israel, notwithstanding its behaviour towards the Kurds. And I don’t remember reading Mr Suttner’s protestations about it.

Andrew Sarkadi Double Bay

I commend the editorial imploring diaspora Jews to question the actions of the Israeli government (”Candour is not Israel’s enemy”, June 4”). As a Jew who attended a Zionist Modern Orthodox school, I am well aware of the assumptions and fears held by many Jews; that it is inconceivable that Israel is not acting morally (even if we do not understand the reasons for its actions); that we will be persecuted and oppressed if we do not hold onto the Jewish homeland tightly with both hands (no matter whom we suffocate in the process); and that the rest of the world doesn’t understand, and stubbornly refuses to see these truths.

I despair that this fear stops us loosening our grip on the status quo for even a moment, and truly internalising that we are helping to perpetuate the existence of the Palestinians under occupation and in poverty-stricken refugee camps. The status quo cannot continue no matter what we choose to believe. Either we embrace our futures together, or continue to defend these increasingly desperate and immoral actions until the world has finally had enough.

Nicole Erlich St Lucia (Qld)

one comment ↪
  • ej

    Ah yes, good to see that one-time inveterate letter writer Judith Rona back on the stumps.

    She hasn't learned anything in the intervening years, except perhaps how not to make sense.  Granted it is difficult to make sense when attempting to defend the indefensible.

    If one can make out the substance of her convoluted ramble, it is that we have made progress against barbarism with the advent of international law.

    Here, here. now if only Israel would come to see the merits of JR's proposition.