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.

Does the Zionist lobby have blood on its hands in Australia?

The Australian blog Middle East Reality Check – previous coverage heredissects yesterday’s column by the Australian’s Greg Sheridan on Israel and the fall of Kevin Rudd. Over to you:

The foreign editor of The Australian, Greg (Jerusalem Prize) Sheridan, seems to be suggesting that Australia’s Israel lobby, referred to euphemistically as “some friends of Israel,” was at least a factor in, if not a party to, the decision to oust Prime Minister Kevin Rudd:

In some ways [Gillard] has been even more courageous than Rudd in staring down the Left of her party on foreign policy. There was a vociferous campaign from the Left to stop her from attending the Australia Israel Leadership Forum in Jerusalem in 2008 [sic: 2009]. But she defied it and gave a fine address at Jerusalem’s King David Hotel celebrating not only Australia and Israel’s friendship, but also the common values of the two nations. Similarly, during Operation Cast Lead, when Israel attacked the Hamas rockets [!!!???] launched from the Gaza Strip, Gillard was acting prime minister and steadfastly, day by day, defended Israel’s right to self-defence against overwhelming commentariat hostility. When some friends of Israel raised this with Rudd, in contrast to what they thought was his cheap resort to anti-Israel actions and rhetoric in expelling an Israeli diplomat recently, Rudd was furious. He was the one on the phone to Gillard all the time during this period, he told them. Oddly, the expulsion of the Israeli diplomat may be the single foreign policy issue that did Rudd the most harm in domestic political terms. It had 3 deleterious political results for Rudd. It was seen by Labor professionals as likely to help open the pockets of the friends of Israel for Tony Abbott’s Liberals. It was also seen as a sign of Rudd not sticking with a friend under pressure. And, perhaps most significantly, many within Labor’s Right saw it as another episode in which Rudd refused to solicit, or listen to, their advice, making a unilateral and ill-considered decision.” (Continuity in foreign affairs but questions remain, 1/7/10)

Let’s tease this out:

Sheridan claims that Rudd’s decision to expel an Israeli diplomat/Mossad agent as a sign of his anger over Israel’s use of Australian passports in its assassination of Hamas member Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai in January has in some way harmed him domestically. How so? Sheridan can hardly be referring to a public backlash – there was none that we know of. The only possible construction here is that Rudd’s standing with the lobby was damaged. So how could it be said to have harmed him? Surely only by being involved at some level in last week’s coup against him?

According to Sheridan, the plotters of the Labor Right in federal parliament, Mark Arbib, Bill Shorten, Joe Ludwig and David Feeney, all known supporters of Israel, were motivated, at least in part, by a concern that the lobby was sufficiently angry with Rudd to consider redirecting its money to the Liberals in the lead-up to the coming federal election. The importance of lobby donations and fund-raising to Labor’s re-election prospects had been underlined by Herald journalist Peter Hartcher in his June 22 report on Rudd’s bid to appease lobby leaders over dinner at The Lodge on June 3 : “When Labor approached key groups to hold fund-raising events for the coming election, they feigned busyness, but it was a deliberate and unmistakeable retaliation.” (See my 22/6/10 post The Best Israel Policy Money Can Buy)

In addition, when Sheridan asserts that the Labor Right saw the expulsion as yet another episode in which Rudd refused to solicit, or listen to, their advice, the implication appears to be that Arbib, Shorten, Ludwig, Feeney and Co had actually voiced the lobby’s concerns on the matter to Rudd but had been rebuffed. That this was an issue for the lobby leaders invited to The Lodge to dine with the prime minister also emerged in Hartcher’s report: “On the passports affair Rudd stood his ground. He said he was personally hurt by Israel’s use of Australian passports [and] had a duty to passport holders…”

It is reasonable then to assume from what Sheridan has written that, to one degree or another, Australia’s Israel lobby was a factor in, or even perhaps a player in, Rudd’s removal from the prime ministership. If so, this is a truly extraordinary and deeply disturbing development in Australia’s political history and merits the closest possible examination. To quote the anonymous “Australian official” in an earlier Hartcher piece: “It wouldn’t matter whether it was John Howard or Kevin Rudd or Tony Abbott in the prime minister’s chair… [the Israelis] know they’ve got us by the balls… partly because of the strength of the Israel lobby…” (Betrayed PM should not be taken for granted, SMH, 26/2/10)

Maybe now, in La Guillotine, the lobby has finally found the Australian prime minister of their dreams. After all, they’ve had their eye on her for some time now: “As one Jewish leader put it, ‘She wants to be Australia’s first female prime minister and she knows that means currying favour with the Jews‘.” (Australia renews its love affair with Israel, Dan Goldberg, thejc.com, 10/12/09)

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