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.

A nice example of the Israel lobby in action (and mouthing talking points)

Here’s how it works.

A columnist in the Sydney Morning Herald, Mike Carlton, writes a column critical of Israel’s attack on the Gaza flotilla.

The following week his column begins thus:

It is a ferocious beast, the Jewish lobby. Write just one sentence even mildly critical of Israel and it lunges from its lair, fangs bared. ”I rejoice every time a f—ing Palestinian dies, f— them!!!! Israel should flatten Gaza with a nuclear strike and be done with it,” said one of hundreds of Jewish emailers this week. ”How dare you insult Israel you over priviledged [sic] racist white moron, f— you and your stupid article. I wish I could smash your dumb face in.”

The stupid article was last week’s column, which suggested that Israel’s attack on the Gaza flotilla was lethal idiocy and that the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was an unprincipled thug addicted to the use of military force.

Few of the emails were as brisk as that one. Many, though, were nakedly racist, such as this from a man named Schwarz. ”Do Jews do drive-by shootings every other day like in Sydney’s south-west? Do Jews or Arabs make up a large proportion of the Australian jail population? Do Jews gang rape young girls in Sydney?” he mused.

Others like to threaten. A travel agent from Double Bay drafted an apoplectic denunciation and circulated it to his friends. ”The more of us write with a copy [sic] to The Sydney Morning Herald, the more chance we may have that the Herald will change its one-eyed view of the situation and give us a more balanced reporting and maybe even sack Mike Carlton,” he said hopefully. One of his chaverim mistakenly forwarded it to me.

It’s standard operating procedure for the lobby to hurl accusations of anti-Semitism with that peculiar Israeli blend of paranoia and belligerence. ”That you are happy to indulge in hate-mongering makes you quite the sadist,” wrote a man from Melbourne. ”Your article gives you away as an anti-Semite and as much as you may hide behind the guise of a pro-Palestinian humanitarian, your Holocaust revisionism in comparing the conflict of the modern era to the systematic extermination of the Jews shows your true colours.”

That is just plain dumb. My Jewish friends would confirm that I am not a sadistic, anti-Semitic, hate-mongering Holocaust denier. But I did enjoy the sneers about my manifold failings as a journalist. ”You are a cheap hack making money out of lies,” was typical. ”Journalists are generally recruited if they have an IQ larger that their shoe size,” was another. Yuk yuk, guffaw.

None of this is accidental. The Israel lobby, worldwide, is orchestrated in Jerusalem by a department in the Prime Minister’s office with the rather Orwellian name of the Ministry for Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs. Less than 24 hours after the attack on the Mavi Marmara, the ministry hit the internet with ”important talking points” for Jews around the world, the first of which was – surprisingly – that ”the Palestinian people are not under blockade”.

”Write letters to your local newspapers, comment on blogs and news websites, call in to radio programs and post links to social networking sites to help spread the real version of events,” urged the deliciously named Mr Ronen Plot, the Ministry Director-General.

This is all free speech, of course. I just wish they could be more polite.

That justified spray brought this letter:

I understand why Mike Carlton (June 12-13) was angered by the emails he received from some Jewish readers, and I deplore their rudeness. But I also deplore that he decided to blame it on what he calls ”that ferocious beast, the Jewish lobby”. What is often – mistakenly – called ”the Jewish lobby” is actually nothing more than individual Jewish people voicing their opinions. To ascribe their extreme opinions to some sinister Jewish lobby is not only incorrect and misleading, but highly inflammatory.

Diane Armstrong Dover Heights

Then this:

Diane Armstrong (Letters, June 14) accuses Mike Carlton of making inflammatory claims in referring ”mistakenly” to ”the Jewish lobby”. There are only ”individual Jewish people voicing their opinions”.

This claim is sheer sophistry. Jewish organisations in Australia appear to speak, and lobby, with one voice; it appears their only concern is to defend a pariah state. With endless dissembling they blame the victims of Israeli criminality.

Jews who oppose this wretched stance, notably the courageous Antony Loewenstein, are excoriated and excommunicated. Tribalism has trounced moral principles.

The Israel lobby is the Jewish lobby and its fellow travellers. I deeply resent the hold this lobby has on Australia’s governments, which debases my integrity and threatens my personal security.

Evan Jones Glebe

Mike Carlton was right to condemn the emails to which he referred. They sound appalling. But he was wrong to use the actions of some individuals to attack what he calls “the Jewish lobby”, thus casting a slur on legitimate representative organisations. For those who know their history, the language he used also had disturbing overtones.

Robin Margo

President, NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, Paddington

I was one of the many Jews who wrote recently to Mike Carlton, but I was neither rude nor hysterical (”Funny, they remember their epithets but not their manners”, June 12-13). I simply asked him what he would do if he were prime minister of Israel. I suggested that the Palestinians would be better off if their militant leadership groups devoted their energies to nation-building rather than waging an unwinnable war.

I also pointed out that Benjamin Netanyahu, whom Carlton described the previous week as an unprincipled thug, correctly declared in the Knesset: ”If Israel were to put down its arms there would be no more Israel. If the Arabs were to put down their arms there would be no more war.” Needless to say there has been no response.

The truth that Carlton and most non-Jews find so uncomfortable is that, collectively, the Jews are the most peace-loving, charitable, cultured people on Earth. Jews, with about 0.02 per cent of the world’s population, have won 129 Nobel prizes, mostly for science and medicine. By contrast Muslims, with about 20 per cent of the global population, have won seven.

For those of a religious bent, Jews are often described as the ”chosen people”. This means chosen not as the favoured darlings of God, but with the awesome responsibility to set an example of morality for the rest of the world.

If, after centuries of persecution and genocide, Israelis find themselves straying from that moral leadership position in order to defend the fragile statehood they have achieved, it is with the greatest reluctance.

Mike Phillips Wollstonecraft

And then this:

My question for Mike Phillips (Letters, June 15) is what he would do if he were a Palestinian leader. How would he build a Palestinian nation when the bulk of the financial and social support necessary was available only from a hostile occupying regime or radical Islamist groups offering to help you throw them out?

If the Israeli government represents ”the most peace-loving, charitable, cultured people on Earth … with the awesome responsibility to set an example of morality for the rest of the world”, can Mr Phillips demonstrate its great reluctance to throw out the two-state solution; bomb the Palestinian Authority’s Department of Education; intermittently block Red Cross access to Palestinian people; encourage the building of Jewish settlements and a wall over Palestinian homes and land; breach numerous international laws; deny the legitimate results of a democratic election in Gaza; and declare that it alone has the right to decide on the future of deprived, desperate and, consequently, angry Palestinians?

I know peace-loving, charitable, cultured Jews and Muslims who do not want conflict and hatred in the Middle East. They would be horrified at the irony of Mr Phillips’s claim that racial superiority justifies the Israeli state’s violence towards Palestinian people.

Sall Forrest Boulogne-Billancourt, France

Who could care less about Robin Margo’s allusion to ”disturbing overtones” (Letters, June 15)? I know my history and I know anti-Semitism when I see it. I do not need the Jewish Board of Deputies and its insinuations to help me.

It is usually surprisingly easy to recognise racism. Just take Mike Phillips, who suggests Muslims are inferior to Jews as they have won fewer Nobel prizes. Using the history of a Western institution to judge an entire race beggars belief. Unfortunately, it is often this sort of ignorant racist rhetoric that the Jewish lobby has no choice but to rely on. Israel has shown about as much reluctance in straying from its ”moral” position as a member of the Jewish lobby in penning a letter.

Robert McLean Annandale

Nominating Jews as the ”chosen people”’ ignores the fact that most deities have given their followers this adulation. But in an enlightened age the term is anathema, as it is so divisive and unhelpful to people living together on the same planet.

Graeme Harrison South Coogee

While Mike Phillips is disseminating data on the differences between Jews and Muslims, could he provide us mere non-Jews with some moral leadership and give us data on how many Palestinians have been killed and maimed by the ”most peace-loving, charitable, cultured people on Earth”?

Steve Sweeney Forestville

Mike Phillips, I think you left out ”modest”.

Marian Lesslie Drummoyne

Does Evan Jones (Letters, June 15) ”deeply resent” any lobby that has a hold on Australia’s government, or just the Jewish ones?

Alice Khatchigian Ryde

Benjamin Netanyahu’s statement that ”If Israel were to put down its arms there would be no more Israel. If the Arabs were to put down their arms there would be no more war”, is silent on the continuing expansion of illegal settlements on Palestinian land.

And let’s be honest. Just because a race of people defined by their religion has won more Nobel prizes than another race defined by its religion hardly goes to the moral goodness or rightness of that people. I will not be looking to warring religions for my moral compass.

Anthony van den Broek Erskineville

I am not as sanguine as Mike Phillips about the reliability of Nobel prizes as an indicator of scientific or moral quality. During my 25 years in Cambridge I came to know or worked with at least 12 prize-winners (Fred Sanger, Max Perutz, Francis Crick, Sydney Brenner, Aaron Klug, Cesar Milstein, Tim Hunt, John Sulston, John Walker, Sidney Altman, Bob Horvitz, Liz Blackburn). Some were exceptional scientists, others were not. Some were exceptional human beings, others were some of the most flawed I have known.

The Nobel Prize is the outcome of the secret deliberations of an anonymous jury and is not exempt from error. Certainly, it is no guarantee of moral rectitude.

Gordon Koch Cherrybrook

Here endeth the lesson (except the important shifts in public opinion towards Israel and the bullying Zionist lobby).

  • Mallee

    “Here endeth the lesson”!!!???? 
    Very good, it would be interesting to confirm who authored this article. (:-o).

  • iResistDe4iAm

    Here's Carlton's follow-up column of 19 June (scroll down to 2nd section)…


  • david singer

    I wrote the following letter to Michael Carlton which he has never acknowledged let alone responded to. I believe I am entitled to a response. Mr Carlton's silence indicates he does not like justifying his position when it is questioned. That is poor form for a journalist.

    “Dear Mr Carlton

    Your attempt to remind the Jewish people of their own history (SMH June 5-6) is in error and grossly deficient for the following reasons:

    1. The Jews on the Exodus were not coming to Palestine as “immigrants” – as you allege – but as Jews legally entitled to settle there pursuant to the rights vested in the Jewish people by the League of Nations in 1922 to reconstitute the Jewish National Home in Palestine. Had Britain not restricted the number of Jews allowed to settle in Palestine in 1939 – millions of Jews could have been saved from the gas chambers.

    2. Suggesting a book that was written in 1958 followed by a film in 1960 – more than ten years after the establishment of Israel – “cemented the idea of Israel in the Western political and cultural imperative” – is nonsense . That battle had been fought and won at the San Remo conference in 1920 and with the execution of the Treaty of Sevres shortly thereafter.

    3. Alleging that “Israel now engages in the savage repression of the Palestinian people and their right to a homeland of their own “ ignores the following:

    * Israel has been trying to achieve such a solution since 1993. Since 2003 Israel and the Palestinian Authority have been unable to achieve that very solution as proposed in the Bush Roadmap. The parties simply cannot – and I believe will never be able to – agree on the terms for its creation.

    * The Palestinian Arabs rejected such a homeland when proposed by the Peel Commission in 1937

    * 77% of Mandate Palestine became the sovereign independent and exclusively “Palestinian Arabs only” state of Transjordan in 1946

    * The Arabs then rejected the partition of the remaining 23% of the Mandate when proposed by the UN in 1947

    * The Arabs chose to unify the West Bank with Transjordan between 1948-1967 when they could have had their own homeland in the whole of the West Bank – and possibly Gaza.

    Perhaps you might like to ponder on whether it is the Arabs – not the Jews – who have failed to learn the lessons of history – as the Arabs intransigent negotiating history above shows. As they continue to demand 100% of Gaza and the West Bank and the right of return of millions of Arabs into Israel, it is clear they have to change such thinking if their yearning now for something they first surrendered more than 70 years ago is to be peacefully achieved through negotiations.

    4. The “bleedin obvious” that “no idea has ever been defeated by force” is not so bleedin obvious. Nazism, Fascism and Apartheid serve to contradict you and Amos Oz.

    5. Strangely two critical words – “Egypt “ and “Hamas” – do not even rate a mention in your analysis that the “the Israeli attack on the Gaza freedom flotilla was an act of lethal stupidity. Lethal for its victims, stupid for Israel“ . Those omissions are enough to question the fairness of your conclusions.

    You wield an enormous amount of influence as a Herald columnist. Are you prepared to publish this response so that your readers may understand that your reading of history is not necessarily the gospel truth?”