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 reasons most Israelis have no real interest in giving up the West Bank

While America’s neo-conservatives begin a full-fledged campaign of hatred directed at Turkey, this is how one of the United States’ major (war-supporting) Jewish writers, The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg, frames the debate; Israeli fear, paranoia and belligerence:

Last night Mrs. Goldblog and I went to a dinner at which The Situation was the main topic of discussion. At one point, someone asked an Arab ambassador at the table how central the question of Jerusalem was to the peace process. Very central, he said, and then threw the question to me. I answered that it wasn’t an entirely relevant question. Seventeen years after the inception of the Oslo peace process, the Israelis and the Palestinians — or at least the half of the Palestinian polity theoretically committed to peaceful compromise — are no longer speaking directly to each other. In other words, asking about the final disposition of Jerusalem right now is akin to asking how best to distribute the AIDS vaccine to the interior of the Congo. It’s a good and necessary question, but we should probably develop an AIDS vaccine first, and then worry about its delivery.

One main reason it is so premature to talk about the disposition of Jerusalem is that the cynicism among Israelis about the ultimate aims of the Palestinians is deep and wide. It is true that many Israelis believe — as many American Jews believe — that the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, and his prime minister, Salam Fayyad, are very different sorts of leaders than Yasser Arafat. They are practical men who are trying to create reality-based policies that actually serve the best political and economic interests of their people. But Israelis tend to see them as semi-powerless; they see Hamas as the rising power (especially after Hamas’s victory in the Turkish flotilla war), and they understand, in ways that many Americans don’t seem to understand, that Hamas poses an existential threat — you should pardon the expression — to the Palestinian Authority led by Abbas and Fayyad. Seizing the Palestinian Authority, and taking over the Palestine Liberation Organization, is Hamas’s penultimate goal (well, maybe not penultimate, because Hamas’s ultimate goal is not merely the eradication of Israel but also the creation of a pan-Muslim entity led by the Muslim Brotherhood.)

But about those Israeli doubts: For the typical Israeli (and again, I’m not talking about settlers, but about people who have, in the past, agreed in principle that the Palestinians should have an independent state) two events in particular have soured them on the chance for compromise. In 2000, the Israeli army pulled out of Lebanon. It was hoped that this pull-out would lead to peace on the northern border, but instead it led to rocket attacks by the Iranian-sponsored Hezbollah. In 2005, Israel unilaterally pulled its soldiers and settlers out of Gaza. Again, rockets followed. The saving grace of these rockets attacks — both the Lebanon attacks and the Gaza attacks — was that the rockets did not reach the center of the country — Tel Aviv, as well as Israel’s only international airport, Ben-Gurion.

Now, of course, the peace process, such as it is, hinges in part on an Israeli willingness to withdraw from the West Bank, including the hills of the West Bank that overlook Tel Aviv, the airport, and the entire thickly-populated central region of the country. This withdrawal will not be happening anytime soon, because there is a high degree of certainty among Israelis that a withdrawal from the West Bank hills would be followed not by peaceful reconciliation, but, again, by rockets.  No Israeli wants to be a freier, a sucker, and right now the Israelis feel like suckers. Twice in ten years they’ve withdrawn from territory, and twice they’ve been hit by rockets. They are not doing this again, not until the politics of the Palestinians — and the politics of Iran — change dramatically.

So this is Prime Minister Netanyahu’s dilemma. He has said he agrees to the creation of a Palestinian state, but he knows his populace will not soon countenance the birth of a Palestinian state of the type and size the Palestinians demand. He also knows that Israel’s protector and benefactor, the United States, believes that the creation of this Palestinian state will help ameliorate other problems in the Middle East, especially the problem of Iran, while he believes the opposite, that only the neutralization of Iran (preferably by the Americans) and its proxies will lead to conditions in which it is possible for Israel to once again take risks for peace. So he has five main tasks over the next year: Stopping Israel from committing grievous, unforced errors of the sort we saw with the Turkish flotilla, despite the rising number of provocations emanating from the Hamas-friendly movement that seeks to delegitimize the idea of a Jewish state; continuing to pressure the world to confront Iran and its existential threat to Israel, so that he doesn’t have to do it by himself; creating a better life for Palestinians on the West Bank, all the while knowing that he will not be able to give them what they say they want; figuring a way out of the Gaza blockade morass that does not wind up rewarding Hamas; and all the while maintaining good relations with an American administration that wants Israel to do things right now that it can’t do.

This next period, in other words, is going to be among the most challenging in Israeli history.

2 comments ↪
  • iResistDe4iAm

    "despite the rising number of provocations emanating from the Hamas-friendly movement that seeks to delegitimize the idea of a Jewish state; continuing to pressure the world to confront Iran and its existential threat to Israel…" 

     

    Only in Israel 

     

    According to Israel, Terrorism is an existential threat to Israel

    According to Israel, Al Qaeda is an existential threat to Israel

    According to Israel, Radical Islam is an existential threat to Israel

    According to Israel, Arab anti-Semitism is an existential threat to Israel 

     

    According to Israel, Iran is an existential threat to Israel

    According to Israel, Syria is an existential threat to Israel

    According to Israel, Hamas is an existential threat to Israel

    According to Israel, The PLO is an existential threat to Israel

    According to Israel, Hizbullah is an existential threat to Israel 

     

    According to Israel, IHH is an existential threat to Israel

    According to Israel, The Free Gaza Flotilla is an existential threat to Israel

    According to Israel, Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Campaign is an existential threat to Israel

    According to Israel, The International pro-Palestinian Human Rights Movement is an existential threat to Israel 

     

    According to Israel, The free movement of Palestinians in their ancestral homeland is an existential threat to Israel

    According to Israel, Chocolate, biscuits & sweets, fresh meat, vinegar, toys, writing implements, notebooks, heaters, musical instruments, cement, etc [partial list only] in Gaza are an existential threat to Israel

    According to Israel, Fishing beyond 3 nautical miles (nm) from the Gaza shore is an existential threat to Israel 

     

    According to Israel, Turkey gives aid and comfort to terrorists

    According to Israel, The United Nations gives aid and comfort to terrorists

    According to Israel, Every Major International and Israeli Human Rights Organisation gives comfort to terrorists

    According to Israel, Jimmy Carter, Desmond Tutu, Richard Goldstone, George Galloway, Norman Finkelstein, Naomi Klein, etc [partial list only] give comfort to terrorists 

     

    "To a man with only a hammer, says the proverb, every problem looks like a nail" 

     

    Never before has a belligerent nuclear-armed regional superpower*,

    which is diplomatically, financially and militarily backed by the world's greatest superpower,

    and is militarily occupying territory from three (3) neighbouring countries,

    been threatened by so many perceived "existential threats",

    which it routinely chooses to confront using brutal military aggression. 

     

    The last time a belligerent nuclear-armed regional superpower felt threatened by so many perceived "existential threats", it bowed to international pressure, released the leader of the "terrorist" organisation (considered its biggest "existential threat") from jail, and learned to co-exist with the very same indigenous inhabitants it had brutalised, oppressed, dispossessed and routinely massacred. 

     

    The last time a belligerent conventionally-armed regional superpower felt threatened by so many perceived "existential threats", it allied itself with two like-minded belligerent countries, and started a worldwide war. 

      

     

    [*] The Israel Defense Forces are equipped with state-of-the-art heavy weapons systems including:

    [Source: Wikipedia]

    High quality main battle tanks = 1030 In Service  (+300 Being delivered)

    Medium and low quality tanks = 1620

    APCs, IFVs, ARVs, LCVs = 7070  (+250)

    Self-propelled artillery = 1114  (+60)

    Combat warplanes = 541  (+25)

    Transport warplanes = 66  (+9)

    Training warplanes = 110

    Military helicopters = 184  (+6)

    Heavy SAM batteries = 25 (+1)

    Warships = 13  (+9)

    Submarines = 3  (+2)

    Patrol boats = 50  (+8) 

     

    Israel is widely believed to possess Weapons of Mass Destruction:

    Chemical Warfare Capabilities  (US Congress Office of Technology Assessment)

    Offensive Biological Warfare Program  (   "   )

    Nuclear Warheads = 100 to 300  (Jane's Defense Weekly, 2010)

  • Bill

    I'm always bemused by people like Goldberg complaining that Hamas didn't respond to Israel's unilateral withdrawal.  What do they think "unilateral" means?