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.

Australian Greens candidate faces abuse and lies over backing Israel sanction

My following story appears in today’s edition of Crikey:

Soon after Sydney’s Marrickville council announced in December to embrace boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel to force the Jewish state to abide by international law —   Greens and Labor councillors supported the move — federal Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese entered the debate.

In a news story in The Australian and an opinion piece in the same paper, the supposedly left-wing politician damned Marrickville’s decision as “unfortunate and misguided”.

But neither he nor the Murdoch broadsheet saw it relevant to mention a key part of the story; Albanese’s wife, New South Wales deputy premier Carmel Tebbutt, is running in the upcoming election against the Greens mayor of Marrickville and Greens Marrickville candidate Fiona Byrne.

It was the kind of dishonesty all too apparent in this very public debate. Crikey has investigated the story and uncovered a litany of untruths told by the Labor Party, Jewish youth groups, the local Zionist lobby and the NSW Liberal Party against Byrne in a campaign she may well win on the March 26 election.

Opponents have stooped to using push polling and fake phone surveys to discredit Byrne.

Putting aside the fact that BDS is a non-violent tactic increasingly adopted by civil society groups across the world, including in Australia, in the face of ongoing Zionist colonisation in the West Bank, a key criticism of Marrickville has been the supposed cost of debating and implementing the move. Wild figures have been thrown around.

NSW Liberal MP Chris Hartcher, the shadow special minister of state, issued a press release on  March 3 that alleged Marrickville council “has wasted up to $40,000 on this silly, offensive endeavour. That is simply staggering.” He pledged, if his party won government, to use state legislation to stop local councils “wasting ratepayers’ money on this sort of thing”.

Crikey asked Hartcher for the source of his figure and he said that it was “an informed estimate given to us privately by council staff who have been involved in implementing the BDS”.

In fact, Marrickville council haven’t yet enforced BDS with its staff currently writing a report to be released in April on ways the council can implement the policy.

NSW Attorney-General John Hatzistergos tweeted the $40,000 amount in mid-February, letter writers to the Daily Telegraph repeated the number, a Telegraph columnist smeared Greens mayors for daring to care about issues beyond fixing potholes, and the Australian Jewish News simply rehashed Hartcher’s number.

However, there was a slight problem; the figure wasn’t true. Crikey has spoken to a Marrickville councillor and I attended this week’s council meeting to hear from the general manager about the issue. The general manager said that there has been “no expenditure spent on BDS, just a little staff time but it’s impossible to put a figure on it. The local media has made up any figures”.

When Crikey asked Hartcher about Marrickville’s previous embrace of a boycott against Burma, and whether he found this “offensive” as well, he told me that “Australia’s foreign affairs are the responsibility of the federal government, not local councils”.

During the dark days of apartheid South Africa, local, state and federal levels of government eventually took a stand against the regime there and nobody complained. Nor when Burma was targeted for its gross abuses.

The issue here is the perceived democratic nature of the Zionist state, despite its increasingly fascist actions against Arabs and Palestinians. This reality is ignored in the corridors of mainstream power. And the power of the Zionist lobby is legendary in the halls of power.

During Tuesday night’s Marrickville council meeting, when councillors considered an application for a new, local Jewish group to hire a space in the area to host an Australian Rules football team with connections to Israel, several Jewish speakers spoke passionately against Marrickville’s embrace of BDS.

One woman, an Israeli, said that she felt “threatened in my own community” and urged the council to “chose a more positive path” towards backing Middle East peace. Another woman, also an Israeli, claimed that BDS was a “festering, infectious wound” and the council had to rescind BDS immediately.

Such comments suggest a fundamental misunderstanding of BDS. The local Zionist lobby has been spreading distortions against the policy, claiming Marrickville was anti-Semitic, anti-Jewish and anti-Israel. They fear the threat of a good example in Marrickville may catch with other councils (a real possibility in NSW and other states, Crikey has heard).

Federal Labor MP Michael Danby damned the BDS motion — he refused to answer questions from Crikey — and I understand that AUJS (the Australian Union of Jewish Students) were behind anti-Greens posters seen during Mardi Gras around Sydney.

One message read, “‘Do the NSW Greens oppose gay rights? By boycotting Israel, the NSW Greens are boycotting the only country in the Middle East where homos-xuality is not a capital offence or even a crime. Choose Freedom — Don’t Vote Greens on 26 March”.

Other signs included: “Do the Greens support terror?” “Do the Greens hate Christians?” “Do the Greens hate gays?”

These messages are condemned by many queer Israeli and Palestinian groups in Israel and Palestine, which accuse Zionist groups and Israel of attempting to normalise the Israeli occupation and anti-Arab discrimination.

Furthermore, anti-Muslim groups in Australia have joined in attacking Marrickville council over BDS and the Jewish establishment apparently has no issue siding with the far-right because the common love is Israel. No Zionist organisation has publicly condemned these anti-Muslim activists. One website calls Fiona Byrne a “Hamas harlot”.

This fits perfectly with the growing trend of Europe’s fascist parties being warmly embraced by Israel’s Zionist mainstream.

Against the backdrop of a vocal and bigoted minority, who demand local councils don’t take sides in the Middle East then back Zionist policies themselves, citizens across the world have backed Marrickville’s BDS decision and signed a petition in great numbers. Crikey has seen a list of signatories and supporting statements and they include key unionists, lawyers, writers and many residents of Marrickville.

Just this week it was announced that security firm G4S will no longer supply gear in occupied Palestinian territory. That’s because of consistent BDS pressure in Denmark.

During the Marrickville council meeting this week, prominent public campaigner Father Dave told the assembled crowd that BDS was essential in enabling justice and “when peace comes to the Middle East, with Jews and Palestinians living together, let us remember that Marrickville council took an early stand, not the political leaders who will take credit”.

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

20 comments ↪
  • ej

    So how come these Israelis aren't living in their beloved utopia?

    The 'festering, infectious wound' amongst us is Oz zionism itself.

  • Warren

    I live in Marrickville and support the stand taken by the Council. It's so frustrating, our national leaders are so weak on any issue to do with Israel, pandering to them all the time and never saying a negative word, regardless of what Israel does.

    What was interesting was watching how The Daily Telegraph, The Australian and other News Corp papers around the country have all attacked Marrickville Council. Almost weekly they wrote another story attempting to vilify the Council for making a stand. It really exposed the power the Israeli lobby has in our media.

     

    • george feldman

      Hi Warren,
      unlike yourself I do not live in Marrickville,but I did live in Israel for 6yrs.The Palestinians and all the Arab countries have a policy which states openly that they want to push all Israelis and that means all Jews into the ocean.You may also like to know that if a moslem wishes to convert to christianity he or she are most likely to be executed.If you happen to be a christian living in a moslem country you would be treated a lot worse than a second rate citizen,and if you happen to drink alcohol and you are caught out,you would receive 500 lashes with a whip which will most probably kill you.Did you also know that the King of Jordan gave the Plestinians refuge in his country,and within a short space of time they abused the people of Jordan and the king of Jordan had to mobilise his army to throw the Palestinians out.Incidentally there were large numbers of Palestinians killed in that exercise ,The number of Palestinians killed was far more than the Palestinians killed in all 60 yrs of wars with Israel.
      The Palestinians were then offered refuge in Lebanon,and look at the mess Lebanon is in now.Did you also know that the P.L.O sold weapons to Lebanon to be used against their own people.Most Moslem people immigrate to western countries to escape being persecuted in their own countries.If the Palestinians would put their arms down,not one of them would be harmed,on the other hand if the Israelis put down their weapons,they would most probably be exterminated.In all the Arab countries the citizens have very few right.They are undemocratic,the people are oppressed,and women mostly have no rights whatsoever.Its also interesting that Yaser Arafats wife lived and still does the life of a millionairess whilst the Palestinians people live in poverty.Those people that want to pull Israel down are mostly antisemitic or ignorant of the true situation.I hope you take the time to look into this situation and I think that you will change your mind,or maybe live in Israel for a while and then in one of the Arab countries and I would be interested to see what your opinion is then.
      Best Regards
      George

  • Good article Antony and very timely. I must say, I raised an eyebrow over Chris Hartcher's claim today about Marwickville spending $40K on the BDS policy – it did seem an unwarranted impost of local ratepayers. Interesting to discover it's just an invented figure.

  • Jennifer Killen

    I live in Marrickville and I too support the Council's policy on BDS. When I saw Chris Hartcher's press release, I rang to ask him the source of his $40 000 figure.  He asked why I wanted to know.  When I explained I had read the General Manager's report in the council's business paper and quoted it back to him, he said, very quickly "Thankyouverymuchforyourcallgoodbye"and hung up. As shifty as a year 9 student bringing a faked sick note to school.

  • Kerry Sinclair

    Anthony you say:

    "Furthermore, anti-Muslim groups in Australia have joined in attacking Marrickville council over BDS and the Jewish establishment apparently has no issue siding with the far-right."

    On what basis do you claim that Jewish groups opposed to the boycott have sided with anti-Muslim groups? Could you please provide evidence of this assertion? I believe that the opposite is actually the case. Jewish groups and many other Marrickville residents opposed to the BDS did not ally themselves with the Q society because of their unacceptable statements about Muslims in Australia.

    It seems that the "dishonesty all too apparent in this very public debate" might apply to some of your statements.

  • vaa

    Thanks Antony for bringing the issue to light. I live in Marrickville and wholly support BDS , the council decision to adopt it and their stand against the bulls.like others I too was very suspicious of the $40k.

  • Andrew

    Even the public attempt (during Mardi Gras) to link gay rights and the BDS is disingenous and downright sneaky. Mainstream Israel may be more tolerant of gays than neighbouring countries in the Middle East (which really isn't saying much!), but those Orthodox guys in the hats who are spearheading the settler movement are dead against homosexuality (see Leviticus for further whacky explanation).

  • John

    I am dismayed at the ignorance and prejudice displayed by your author and the respondents.

    There continual references to the Zionist entity and not Israel smacks of racism.The

    Palestinian charter asks for the elimination of Israel,a legal UN country.By instituting a boycott Marrickville council is encouraging Terrorist groups such as Hamas to commit their vile crimes.Admittedly Israel occupies some disputed territories, but this is in response to multiple  suicide attacks with hundreds of Israeli's killed and maimed.What would Marrickville's response be if residents of an adjacent municipality continually fired rockets and massacred residents of Marrickville.Israel must defend itself from aggressors. while pursuing a two state solution and not be bullied by anarchists,terrorists and fellow sympathizers.

    • Fred

      "There continual references to the Zionist entity and not Israel smacks of racism." A jews only state which excludes christians and muslims is racist , Everything else you right is bullshit

  • Massimo

    The only comment I would like to make is to note how well organised and relentless is the Israeli (or is it the Jewish lobby) because it seems that any criticism of  Israeli government actions and or policies is immediately interpreted by certain people as an attack on Jewish people as a whole and an expressioin of antisemitism.

    It's time that Jewish people themselves learn there is a distinction between Israel as a modern democratic state and their Jewish identity, but perhaps I am misguided and the majority of Israeli and Israeli supporters elsewhere fails to see that there is or ought to be a difference.

    Massimo

  • Jennifer Kent

    I think Jewish fears of discrimination have been stoked by rank political opportunism by both the ALP and Liberal parties

  • H

    BDS is worrying because it is so hateful towards Jews in that it targets Israel (seen as the Jewish collectivity) without a fair basis.

    I would like to comment in regards to the definition of antisemitism.

     

    BDS would breach the European Union Agency for Fundamental Right's Working Definition on Antisemitism.

    It can be found here:
    http://fra.europa.eu/fraWebsite/material/pub/AS/A
     

    In particular this definition says the following.

    "Examples of the ways in which antisemitism manifests itself with regard to the State of Israel taking into account the overall context could include:

    – Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.

     

    – Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.

     

    – Using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis.

    – Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.

    – Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.

     

    However, criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic."

     

    BDS claims Israel is a racist endeavour – see it's false claims of apartheid (eg. compare Arab human rights in Israel and in the Palestinian Authority to black people's human rights in South African apartheid. There are Arab Justices/Parliamentarians in Israel, but no black Justices/Parliamentarians in South Africa during apartheid). BDS uses double standards on Israel – see it's false claims of Israel's policies against terrorism and compare them to criticism of other Governments' policies against terrorism (eg. Turkey in regards to the PKK, Yemen/US/Pakistan/Europe in regards to Al-Qaeda). BDS is based on the factually incorrect theory that the Palestinian Authority cannot create peace with Israel – in fact Abbass has proven he can negotiate with Israel but at this time chooses to uphold excuses in order to not negotiate.

     

    It should be noted contemporary antisemitism also includes "Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions." Allegations that there is some single Jewish Lobby or Zionist Lobby is no more than a conspiracy theory. There is no need for such conspiracy theories.

     

  • ej

    All this woffle by the zio brigade highlights why BDS is essential against the ethnocracy that is Israel.

    Lies and/or ignorance, the stock in trade of the zio rank and file.

    Fuckwittedness and inhumanity.

    Tribalism triumphs over intelligence and morality.

    A pox on the house of zionism.

  • Joe

    BDS supporters do not condone rocket attacks, suicide bombers or other acts of terrorism we just believe that both sides should be held to account for their actions and not just blame and vilifie the other side in justification for illegal conduct

  • Nick

    The intention of the BDS is to put pressure on Israel to change the way it conducts itself. Pressure of this sort is far preferable to acts of violence – and may well prove more effective in the long run.

    Israel has expanded its borders by purely military means; Israeli residents of Arabic extraction are second-class citizens; Israel consistently ignores UN resolutions, and it has a stockpile of nuclear weapons (WMD). These are reasons enough for the rest of the world (including residents of Marrickville) to bring pressure to bear!

    I support the BDS. Speaking out against the injustices we see within the Israeli-controlled territories is commendable. Thank goodness Marrickville has an enlightened Council. I'm glad I live in Marrickville!

  • I thank God for you mate – for your courage and integrity – and find it enormously strengthening to see you there battling alongside the rest of us beleaguered human-rights activists. 🙂

  • Jasmine

    I am a committed Greens voter, non-Jewish (in fact atheist), and live in the Marrickville local govt area (Newtown). I totally disapprove of Fiona Byrne's stance against Israel and cannot, in good conscience, now vote for her in the State election. I don't think my local council should be meddling in international affairs or targeting one particular country when many other countries have serious issues with human rights violations. Why don't you speak out about the continuing violation of women and children in Congo, Fiona?

    It seems anti-semitism lives on in the hearts and minds of many people in Sydney.

  • Me too, committed Green, Labor have all taken their guided tours of Tel Aviv. The Australian ALP is on the Israel Lobby leash and Rudd expelling a diplomat may be part of the reason he became chopped liver and why Gillard will "never overacts" to anything Israel does.

    http://www.hereticpress.com/Dogstar/Religion/Fait

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