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.

Pepper-sprayed for being a peace activist over Palestine

What Zionism is doing to Judaism. Here’s the latest press release from Jewish Voice for Peace:

Last night, up to a dozen members of San Francisco Voice for Israel/StandWithUs, a right-wing Israeli advocacy group with a documented track record of aggressively taunting and intimidating grassroots peace activists, attended a Bay Area Jewish Voice for Peace community meeting at a South Berkeley Senior Center with the intention of disrupting, intimidating and possibly assaulting Jewish Voice for Peace members. Jewish Voice for Peace is the largest U.S. Jewish peace group dedicated to a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on democracy and full equality — the Bay Area chapter is the founding chapter of the organization. Approximately 50 to 60 people were at the meeting, and numerous witnesses are available to corroborate the events.

Watch video of some of the disruptions and the victims and perpetrator of attacks here.
Eyewitness testimonies are here and here.

Wrapped in an Israeli flag, San Francisco Voice for Israel/StandWithUs (SFVI/SWU) member Robin Dubner, an Oakland based attorney, pepper-sprayed two JVP members in the eyes and face after they attempted to nonviolently block her ability to aggressively videotape the faces of JVP meeting attendees against their will. The members, Alexei Folger and Glen Hauer, were careful to make no physical contact with her or her camera prior to the attack.

Folger said, “I did not see it coming and all of a sudden there was gooey stuff all over my head and hand. I have never been pepper-sprayed before, my whole head felt like it was on fire.”

JVP had earlier this year filed a police report about a June SFVI/SWU protest at which JVP and (peace group) Women in Black members were intimidatingly videotaped  and threatened by a StandWithUs supporter after being taunted with chants like “Nazi, Nazi, Nazi” or “Kapo,Kapo,Kapo”. Caught on a widely seen videotape was a SFVI/SWU supporter pointing his camera to the faces of silent peace vigil participants while saying “You’re all being identified, every last one of you…we will find out where you live. We’re going to make your lives difficult. We will disrupt your families…”

For that reason, JVP members were particularly concerned about protecting the safety of meeting attendees and preventing the videotaping.

Hauer, a retired attorney and member of San Francisco’s Congregation Sha’har Zahav who was treated for pepper spray explained, ”When one of the intruders [Dubner] continued standing and filming people despite the facilitator and facility manager repeatedly telling her that she could not, I first asked her politely to please put away the video camera, then several times told her to put away the camera, and then tried nonviolently to stay in front of the camera with my body. I could have taken the camera but decided instead to talk to the woman and to try to be the only person she photographed.”

Hauer, who also leads groups on healing from WWII & the Holocaust, and speaks to churches about anti-Semitism as it relates to the movement for peace in the Middle East, went on:

“In my mind was the history targeting of Jewish peace activists by the right wing of the Jewish community–the posting of our photos on internet hate sites, for example, followed by acts of vandalism at our homes and places of work.  There were many in the room for whom I care deeply.  I could also see that many at the meeting were new to the work we were doing, and I did not want them to be scared away.”

Dubner was accompanied by up to a dozen other StandWithUs members–including Dan Spitzer, Susan Meyers, Mike Harris, Bea Lieberman, Faith Meltzer, and Ross Meltzer–who repeatedly disrupted and aggressively videotaped the JVP meeting and JVP members against their will, wielding the cameras in an intimidating and belligerent manner. Despite repeated requests from the JVP meeting facilitator and other JVP activists to desist from recording and put away their videocameras, the SFVI/SWU activists – who had spread themselves throughout the room – continued to record and launch lengthy monologues while the presenters attempted to speak.

They were explicitly invited by the JVP facilitator to stay in the meeting and participate without videotaping but they refused. They also refused offers for floor time by the presenters. The manager of the facility asked the SFVI/SWU members to abide by JVP’s rules or face the police, and when SFVI/SWU refused to comply with JVP’s protocol, the police were called.

At one point, JVP members and presenters worked to restore calm and de-escalate by singing the Hebrew peace song, Od Yavo Shalom Aleinu (Peace will come to us) while waiting for the police to arrive. Most meeting attendees did not know until later that 2 people had been attacked with pepper spray.

When police arrived, Dubner was temporarily placed in handcuffs while other members of San Francisco Voice for Israel/StandWithUs remained inside the meeting blowing loud whistles, using videocameras to intimidate meeting attendees.

Dubner refused repeated requests by JVP members or the police to identify the substance she sprayed. A police officer later identified it as pepper spray and paramedics were called to help treat the victims of the attack. One of them, Alexei Folger, looked visibly red and swollen, as though she had been burned on more than half her face.

Immediately following the attack, Ms. Folger, not knowing the nature of the substance on her face, rubbed some of it on Ms. Dubner’s shirtsleeve at which point the physically powerful Ms.Dubner, who also wore a pen videocamera in her shirt pocket, started physically shoving the petite Ms. Folger. A Jewish Voice for Peace staff member stood between them to prevent further escalation or physical contact between Ms Dubner and the shocked and injured Ms. Folger.

This deliberate confrontation is part of a pattern of escalating intimidation and attacks against peace activists in the Bay Area. Earlier this year, the home of Tikkun Magazine editor Michael Lerner was covered in threatening posters. In addition to the videotaped harassment of Women in Black and JVP members, several months ago someone grafiited outside of the JVP offices “Jewish Voices for Palestine: Viva Baruch Goldstein”

3 comments ↪
  • obviously this kind of intimidation and violence is unnacceptable in a democratic society. Attacks like this, as well as the attacks on the CFMEU's and Greens' offices in Australia recently arr very worrying. The safe space for democratic expression is shrinking.

    That said, the way this press release talks about the video cameras, as if they were as bad as the pepper spray, seems to be pushing it. This was a public meeting, you people are taking a stand on a public issue, you cannot expect to stay anonymous.

    oh and regardijng the comment " I could have taken the camera " – yeah you could have, and you would have been breaking the law and being a thug yourself. You could also have kicked her in the groin, do you expect applause for not doing that?

    Obviously the threats of violence and vandalism are something else again, but standing

    up to those threats (as well as recording and reporting them to the police) is part of what needs to be done. 

    Once we start making rules about who can film what, especially when it is a matter of public interest, as organised political meetings are, we give credibility to Israeli Occupation Forces keeping journalists out of Gaza and the West Bank, to closed door meetings between political leaders where they secretly betray the peace they claim to seek, etc.

    Standing up for justice means standing up to threats.

    Be not ashamed, be not afraid. 

    They have their camera's out? perfect time to make the case for peace…  

    You can't protest and hide at the same time…

  • Joe

    When the people with the video cameras have explicitly stated that they are doing it so as to identify and later harass the peace activist's (did you read that part?) then it is a legitimate worry, and anyway it was a meeting not a public rally. Attending an informational meeting and attending a public demonstration are 2 different things. The actions of the SFVI/SWU members are a clear attempt at intimidation and are indefensible on any level

  • yes i read that part… did you realise those threats were made earlier in the year? in june, by "a" supporter. have any of the people being taped been harrassed since then?

    was the meeting "private" and "casual" like you say? sounds to me like they'd hired a hal, to campaign on a public issue….

    A camera is not a weapon. A threat is not an attack.

    Obviously its ugly, and worth documenting, i just think the tone is a little shrill, and the balance is wrong:the post dedicate more words to the cameras and the threatened attack than the actual attack which took place with pepper spray!