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 little taste of what kind of democracy Egypt deserves

My following analysis appears on ABC Unleashed/The Drum today:

An Egyptian blogger displayed characteristic humour when news broke overnight that president Hosni Mubarak would not be stepping down:

Mubarak (n.): a psychotic ex-girlfriend who fails 2 understand it’s over.

If Mubarak and his new deputy Omar Suleiman thought their speeches would placate the protesters, they were sorely mistaken. Local bloggers and activists reacted with anger and determination.

Indeed, one wonders, with recent WikiLeaks revelations about the close relationship between Israel, America and Suleiman if their announcements weren’t coordinated with Washington.

The Obama administration is seemingly incapable of categorically siding with the protestors because America’s matrix of repression across the Middle East requires dictatorships to remain in place. Arab democracy has been a contradiction in terms for the US and Zionism for decades.

Tel Aviv and Washington have long seen Suleiman as a steady pair of hands, a brute all-too-keen to allegedly keep the Islamist beast at bay, suppress Hamas, manage the border with Gaza and maintain the siege and torture “terror” suspects brought from America, Europe or the Middle East.

Indeed, Australian citizen Mamdouh Habib, who spoke exclusively to me last night, knows this reality well.

While in Egypt in 2001 he was personally visited by Suleiman, threatened and physically abused. Habib’s book, My Story, goes into detail about the kinds of psychological and physical pressure applied to him. The Australian Government recently implicitly acknowledged the validity of his claims by paying him an undisclosed amount of compensation.

Habib told me that he wanted the Australian government to assist bringing Suleiman to trial in an international court.

The Egyptian people will not go back to the past, something even acknowledged by president Obama’s latest statement. And yet a democratic façade, with Mubarak and/or Suleiman leading the country, is no change at all.

Sober analysis therefore brings only one conclusion; the Arab street is expendable so long as Israel and its Zionist backers are satisfied. Inside the US itself, there is little diplomatic pressure on Washington to encourage democratic change in Egypt but there is massive paranoia from Tel Aviv that freedom would challenges its “Middle East’s Only Democracy” tag.

This comment in last week’s New York Times, by former Israeli negotiator Daniel Levy, is symptomatic of the problem:

The Israelis are saying, après Mubarak, le deluge…It really can be distilled down to one thing, and that’s Israel.

Mubarak may have been inspired by Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s snubbing of America when calling for a settlement freeze in the West Bank. The tactics were clear. Rally American domestic support against the move. Claim that relinquishing land would bring chaos, instability and a rise in Islamist terror. Talk about a belief in the peace process. Deepen and harden your position. Watch America never threaten the billions of dollars in annual aid. Remain a trusted client state.

Netanyahu and Mubarak are both playing America very skilfully though the Obama administration is well aware of the game.

Many in the Western press are suddenly fascinated with the Muslim Brotherhood, asking simplistic questions about inspiration from the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Tragically, 10 years after September 11, 2001, Islamist politics are routinely misunderstood in the West, often wilfully so. For many pundits, Islamism means Al Qaeda or Wahabi fanaticism. In reality, there are millions of Islamists across the Middle East who don’t loathe the West for its values; they often just want freedom from our meddling.

In fact, as Noam Chomsky correctly states, Western elites aren’t worried about Islamism; independence from the Western axis is the real threat:

A common refrain among pundits is that fear of radical Islam requires (reluctant) opposition to democracy on pragmatic grounds. While not without some merit, the formulation is misleading. The general threat has always been independence. The US and its allies have regularly supported radical Islamists, sometimes to prevent the threat of secular nationalism.

Talking about a truly independent Middle East requires an imagination solely lacking in establishment political circles.

Latin America in the last 10 years is analogous as far as seeing how the US reacts when countries chose to reject the Washington consensus. WikiLeaks has shown the tactics by which successive American administrations tried to tackle Venezuela under Hugo Chavez, a task ably assisted by many in the US media. Human rights concerns were an irrelevance; nationalising key resources was the perceived problem.

The protesters being beaten and tortured in Egypt are unlikely to receive tangible solidarity from Western governments. Instead, anybody across the world can provide solidarity and backing for the disparate masses longing for the kind of freedoms that we can take for granted. Without the huge uprisings in the last weeks across the Arab world, Canberra, London and Washington would have been very happy to continue business as usual.

That tells us all we need to know about who are the real democrats in the 21st century.

Antony Loewenstein is an independent journalist and the author of My Israel Question and The Blogging Revolution.

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