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.

US-led “peace talks” going the way Israel hopes (ie. nowhere)

My following article appears today on ABC Unleashed:

The resumption of self-described peace talks between Israel, Washington and the Palestinian Authority produced headlines across the world last week. The public was told that each side was pessimistic about the prospects of finally sealing a deal after decades of stop-start negotiations. The stated goal was a two-state solution, the supposed ideal of both Israelis and Palestinians.

But most Western media coverage has simply accepted the talking points offered by the major players and not examined facts on the ground in the territory itself.

As leading Israeli blogger Noam Sheizaf documented, the US media was more excited about peace talks than the Israeli press itself.

Sheizaf noted: “The current stage in the conflict is not just about peace. It’s about ending the occupation and getting the Palestinians their rights. Some people in the American administration understood that, but for their own reasons, they decided to pursue the failed policies of the past two decades.”

Equally on the Palestinian side, recent polling by the Palestinian Centre for Public Opinion found only one in three Palestinians supported the current negotiations but neither did they support another intifada.

There is a feeling of resignation that the status-quo is likely to continue for years to come, despite one prominent Palestinian journalist optimistically writing that the world will soon have to accept an independent Palestinian state.

One of the greatest reasons for global scepticism is Israel’s insistence on continuing to build illegal colonies in the West Bank. Despite the oft-repeated and false claims that Israel is currently having a “settlement freeze”, there is vast evidence that building has continued across the West Bank and even accelerated in some places. More than 1000 new homes are being constructed. Israel’s Netanyahu government initiated a “settlement freeze” as a political tool to fool America and it’s worked comprehensively (though it’s likely many in the Obama administration were very happy to play along with the fraud).

One of Israel’s leading followers of the colonies, Dror Etkes, told Der Spiegel last week that, “It’s not just that the building freeze has been undermined – it was a fiction right from the outset” and complicit construction firms have not been fined or punished for the breaches. It’s been business as usual. I’ve heard from various Israeli peace activists who visit the West Bank weekly and tell me that countless settlements have continued expanding in the last months. Even worse are the growing attacks by settlers and the IDF against innocent Palestinians in the West Bank.

An ever-deepening occupation makes a viable Palestinian state impossible and alternative ideas are inevitably gaining traction. Documents proving a covert Israeli plan to permanently divide the West Bank and Gaza recently emerged as well as serious discussion within Israel about what kind of Palestinian entity is imagined by the Israeli elites (a nation with no army, borders, control over airspace or communications).

But ideas once seen as radical are growing in stature. Palestinian academic George Bisharat had published in last week’s Washington Post a compelling argument for a one-state solution, an increasingly discussed option due to the logical call for “principles of ethnic rights rather than ethnic privilege”.

Despite these sensible solutions, it appears likely that talks about the two-state solution will continue for many years to come. Ahmad Tibi, an Israeli Palestinian and member of the Knesset, writes that the Israeli government has no desire for a just resolution and prefers inequality before the law. There is great fear within Palestinian circles of an imposed two-state solution, whereby the Obama administration is so desperate for a foreign policy success (there have been none of note thus far) and twists the arm of the Palestinians to accept a truncated “state”.

One has to ask why the global Jewish Diaspora continues to back racial discrimination in a way they would never accept in their own countries. All Australian Zionist spokespeople want to do is improve the community’s PR and use Twitter instead of realising that apartheid in Palestine is causing incalculable damage to Brand Israel. Even Australia’s leading churches have initiated a boycott against products made in the occupied territories.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, in office illegally after his term expired and yet he refuses to hold new elections, is weak. Although he has belatedly refused to accept Israel’s demand that the Palestinian Authority accept the country as a Jewish state – therefore disenfranchising the over one million Israeli Arabs – he has nothing to show for years of fruitless negotiations.

Many in the Western press accept the exclusion of the democratically elected government of Hamas, a futile act, as its leader Khaled Meshaal said last week. His group had realised that “the legitimate rights of the Palestinians will only be gained by snatching them, not being gifted with them at the negotiating table” and “resistance” was the only way to achieve Palestinian independence. However, Meshaal “does accept a Palestinian state on the lines of 1967.”

The occupation has corrupted Israeli souls, as evidenced by a new study of Israeli teens aged 15 to 18 that found 59 per cent didn’t believe Israelis Arabs should have equal rights. The dehumanisation of Arabs is part of daily life, rendering true reconciliation extremely difficult.

Zionists constantly talk these days about the growing global trend of “delegitimisation” of Israel, implying that Israel is entitled to exist in whatever form it wants and behave as it chooses. Instead, Palestinian rights have been ignored and delegitimized for decades, every motive questioned and thanks to the occupier expected.

The most hopeful sign of progress in the last years have been the explosion of BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions). Just last week the band Massive Attack announced its support with member Robert Del Naja saying that, “I can’t play in Israel when the Palestinians have no access to the same fundamental benefits that the Israelis do. I think the best approach is to boycott a government that seems hell-bent on very destructive policies.” The internet has been central in raising this worldwide awareness.

The movement is starting to bite. The sentiments were best expressed in Haaretz in early September:

“…Underlying the anger against Israel lies disappointment. Since the establishment of the state, and before, we demanded special terms of the world. We played on their feelings of guilt, for standing idle while six million Jews were murdered… But then came the occupation, which turned us into the evil Goliath, the cruel oppressor, a darkness on the nations. And now we are paying the price of presenting ourselves as righteous and causing disappointment.”

It is past time to simply repeat the tired mantras of failed paradigms and American Presidents keen to do the vision thing who end up frozen by the Zionist lobby. The situation is already headed for Greater Israel and the Palestinians will be blamed.

This is the real legacy of the “peace process”.

Antony Loewenstein is a journalist, blogger and author of My Israel Question and The Blogging Revolution.

no comments – be the first ↪