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.

Where are the Arab voices in Aussie BDS debate?

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

A few weeks after the start of the Iraq war in 2003, I talked to a senior editor at The Sydney Morning Herald and asked her why there were basically no Iraqi voices in the paper, either for or against the conflict. “I never thought of that”, she replied.

Eight years later, we still barely hear or see any Arabs in the Australian media.

I’ve been thinking about this recently during the created “scandal” by the Murdoch press over the NSW Greens embracing boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel, a grassroots Palestinian-led movement now backed by many groups globally.

There have been dozens of articles in the Australian recently calling the Greens “extremists”, implying the party is anti-Semitic, claiming BDS is akin to genocide, extensively quoting the Labor and Liberal parties (who unsurprisingly both condemn BDS) and the Zionist lobby (who again oppose it).

Today there are two more articles in the paper that only feature anti-BDS and Anglo voices and force Federal Human Services Minister Tanya Plibersek to distance herself from mildly critical comments she made against Israel many years ago.

Former Labor MP Julia Irwin was harassed and abused for simply daring to advocate Palestinian rights, as she told Crikey in 2010.

No dissent must be allowed in the Australian Parliament, uniformity of opinion is central to maintain the illusion of unqualified backing for Israel (despite public support moving in the opposite direction).

It’s comical to read today union leader Paul Howes condemn the Australian unions who support BDS as “divisive” when none of those unions are actually heard in the story.

Greens leader Bob Brown has also condemned BDS, in all likelihood because he sees the issue as a risk politically, doesn’t want to take on the Zionist lobby, is not fully across the apartheid conditions suffered by Palestinians under Israeli occupation or isn’t listening to the wide section of the Australian community who have publicly backed BDS (including churches, civil society groups and major unions). Sadly, many of these people have remained publicly silent during the recent onslaught by the Murdoch press, despite being approached for comment.

The media coverage has neglected to mention the reality on the ground in Palestine, including pogroms against Arabs in the West Bank and the rise in Christian fundamentalists wanting to join the IDF and live in illegal colonies.

Palestinians or Arabs have been entirely absent from the discussion. Dissident Jews are nowhere to be found.

For example, the public advocate for Australians for Palestine, Palestinian Samah Sabawi, with a long track record of publishing related articles, has had none of her articles published. Last night’s ABC TV news reported the BDS story and ignored all Arab perspectives.

The Australian, which has led the demonization campaign against the Greens, Fairfax and most of the ABC have either pummelled the issue (in the case of the Murdoch broadsheet, while rejecting counter views) while the others are simply absent from the field. It’s a combination of gutlessness, reliance on the usual (read conservative, pro-Zionist and white) sources and continued refusal to feature the Arab voice.

Then there was yesterday’s story in The Australian and The Daily Telegraph on BDS in Sydney.

Marrickville council decided in December to back BDS and next week a report will be released outlining how the council can implement the policy. Both papers claimed residents of Marrickville would have to pay $4 million as a result of cutting ties with businesses linked to Israel. Mayor Fiona Byrne disputed the figure but this didn’t stop a long line of critics, including NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell, coming out to slam the proposal.

The council is today being threatened with the sack unless it rescinds the plan.

The official council report simply provided only unrealistic and very expensive options and ignored the founding principles of BDS that any successful campaign must be strategic and achievable rather than heroic. The council must clearly take some responsibility for not better explaining and selling the BDS decision. The most expensive suggestions for boycott in the council report (such as Holden and Hewlett Packard) aren’t even a major focus of the BDS campaign.

Like a local council supporting a boycott of Burma – something pushed by Marrickville in years past – local government can continue to pursue BDS without any cost to the taxpayer. What remains vital is the original commitment to BDS and its support for non-violent resistance to Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine.

Want examples? Sanctions, such as refusing to meet with Israeli mayors (on the rare chance one comes to Marrickville) would cost nothing but have great moral power. Also cultural and sporting boycotts cost nothing and show solidarity with occupied Palestinians.

There are three key lessons from this story. The Murdoch press is determined to obsess over the Greens on almost every day in an attempt to paint the party as a group of disorganised, rabid loons, although internal party divisions over Middle East policy have been exposed.

How was this week’s front-page Australian story about NSW Greens Senator-elect Lee Rhiannon marching at a rally last year with Islamic cleric Taj Din al-Hilali even remotely a relevant story now? The “facts” in the article were known since the event occurred; media coverage at the time revealed all. Yesterday Rhiannon pledged to continue pushing BDS.

The Australian Jewish News also refuses to publish any dissenting opinions.

The ever-increasing line of politicians and journalists making their sponsored pilgrimage to the Zionist homeland — this week was Sydney Morning Herald international editor Peter Hartcher, “reporting” from Tel Aviv; he’s a repeat offender, as I wrote in Crikey in 2009 — furthers throws the coverage into question.

BDS is now a major topic of discussion in the Jewish community and mainstream media in mature democracies, unlike ours.

The Australian media is revealed as a parochial bunch that prefers to mostly give air-time to white men from think-tanks, academia or the press (there are some exceptions). Today the Arab world is alive with new and exciting voices and yet where are the Iraqi, Afghan, Libyan, Egyptian, Tunisian, Palestinian or Syrian voices in our press, in their own voices, not filtered through a Western reporter’s lens?

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

CORRECTION: In the original story it was stated that Paul Howes has taken Zionist funded trips to Israel. Paul Howes has never been to Israel. The story has been amended to correct the record.

3 comments ↪
  • As per usual the Arab voices are drowned out.  The Western Media by and large will not air, publish or broadcast most things Arabs / Muslims say.  There is no mystery in it.  If the media were to search out ordinary Arabs living in Australia I would suggest most would comment.  It's only the bad news Arab / Muslim stories that sell papers.  Arabs but more specifically Muslims in general not only in this country (Australia) but in Western Nations are classified as sub human by and large.

  • THOMASWADAMS

    Greetings, We need to remind ourselves of the Murdoch intent and integrity that controls all reporting of "News" in all of his publications and Media, electronic or print. Just a couple of years back Murdoch was sued in the U.S. Courts and charged with "misrepresenting and misreporting" the News to the U.S. viewers and readers. THE COURTS FOUND HIM GUILTY. He subsequently appealed to the U.S. Supreme Courts, and they dismissed the charges and reversed the "guilty" decision. It was not a unanimous decision. The Courts Decision gave as their reasons this little gem, "It is not illegal in the U.S. to Manipulate or Misrepresent the News". Never the less, this episode in Murdoch's integrity, confirms his guilt, his Media operates a "Policy" to Mislead and Misrepresent the "News". Thus it has ever been in Australia too, nothing in the Murdoch Australian Press is ever "balanced or fair". With the possible exceptions relating to sport and the weather. Fear of the Jewish lobby keeps all reporting of this and/or criticisms, out of the other Australian Media. The BDS movement must be encouraged and developed, Israel must be called to account for it's egregious and horrendous crimes, both as War crimes and Humanitarian crimes and for the willful ignorance of U.N. and World opinion, and for the many subversion's of International Law. Finally, the world needs reminding, Palestinian Arabs have committed no crime since they were forcibly cleansed from their Lands by Israel, except that of objecting to Israel's domination, and to put up some very small resistance, when compared to Israel's overwhelming military Power. Unless honourable peace, and restitution's, be made with Palestinian Arabs, the citizens of the state of Israel will all become World lepers, and to constantly carry a gun, fearful at every corner or stone turned. The next ascendancy will be Arab/Muslim united on this one aim, to erase this Jewish crime against their collective dignity and pride. Our future World will not include a dominating U.S.; considering the lies invented to start every War in history, this will be a War unstoppable, that Israel cannot win, IS THIS WHAT THE WORLD WANTS? . By this time Murdoch too will be in the dustbin of history, but those left behind, having been poisoned by his Media, WILL BE PAYING THE PRICE. Regards, THOMASWADAMS.

  • Martin

    So The Australian Jewish News refuses to publish any dissenting opinions. And why not? If anybody wants an anti-Zionist viewpoint they know they can rely on self-hating Lowenstein to fit the bill. Show me a single article in the Muslim press that extols the virtues of Israel.