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.

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