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.

Obama’s grand Middle East vision shafts the Palestinians (as usual)

Gideon Levy in Haaretz gets it:

Benjamin Netanyahu may as well have canceled his trip to Washington: Barack Obama did the work for him, or most of it. But the prime minister is already on his way, so he should at least send to the White House a big bouquet of flowers.

Netanyahu can sit back and relax. It’s not that Obama didn’t say clear, firm words on the Middle East; it’s just that most, if not all of them could have been said by Netanyahu himself, who would then go on doing as he pleased.

The 1,500 new apartments in Jerusalem will be built, speech or no speech. The real test for that speech, as for any other, is what happens next, and the suspicion is that nothing will happen at all.

Obama didn’t say a word about what will happen if the parties disobey him. This was the king’s speech, but the king already appears a little naked. Considering America’s weakness, and the power of Congress and the Jewish and Christian lobbies working on behalf of the Israeli government, the Israeli right wing can relax and go on doing what it does.

Yesterday, the U.S. president demolished the Palestinian’s only accomplishment so far – the wave of international support for recognition of statehood in September. September died last night. After America, Europe too will have to withdraw its support; hopes have ended for a historically significant declaration at the United Nations.

The Palestinians are left once again with Cuba and Brazil, while we get to keep America. Here’s another reason for a sigh of relief in Jerusalem: No diplomatic tsunami is forthcoming, the United States is sticking with Israel.

Regrettably, the president also voiced reservations about the Palestinian unity government. The United States supports Israel’s demand for the Palestinian state to be demilitarized, it supports postponing discussions on the refugees and Jerusalem, it talks about Israel’s security and Israel’s security alone, saying nothing about security for Palestinians. All these are impressive, even if virtual, achievements for Israel.

The Palestinians yesterday were not listed among the oppressed Arab people of the Middle East who need to be liberated and aided on the way to democracy. Obama spoke impressively about America’s corrupt allies in the region, and provided further enlightened encouragement to the people of the region.

If the first Cairo speech provided the initial inspiration, Cairo 2 provided a more significant push. Obama and his determination on this should be praised. His words were heard not only in Damascus and Benghazi, but also in Jenin and Rafah. Did he mean to praise Majdal Shams as well? Hooray for the unarmed protesters, hoping Obama meant Palestinian ones as well. If he did, it’s a pity he didn’t say so.

When he mentioned the Tunisian vendor who was humiliated by a policewoman who overturned his stall – the vendor who later set himself and the revolution ablaze – was Obama thinking about the hundreds of Palestinian vendors who have suffered the exact same fate at the hands of Israeli soldiers and policemen? When he spoke nobly about the dignity of the oppressed vendors, was he speaking about their Palestinian brethren as well? The speech didn’t show this enough.

The conflict between Israel and the Palestinian was sidelined in Obama’s speech for the most part, more so than it deserved. This conflict still incites great passions in the Arab world, and with all due respect for the new Marshall Plan for Egypt and Tunisia, the Arab masses don’t want to see another Operation Cast Lead and more checkpoints on their TV screens. When it got to us, the tone was different.

Yes, there were stern words about how a Jewish and democratic state is not compatible with an occupation. There was even a proper presidential plan – the ’67 borders with corrections, a Palestinian state and a Jewish state, Israeli security and the demilitarization of Palestine.

But let’s not get too excited. We’ve heard it before, not only from American presidents, but from Israeli prime ministers. And what did we get? Yet another Jewish neighborhood in East Jerusalem.

The heart wants to believe that this time it’s different, but the head – wise from bitter experience after years of shelved peace plans and vacuous speeches – is finding it hard to believe.

The optimists will say that yesterday signaled the end of the Israeli occupation. The pessimists, and I, regrettably, among them, will say that it was just another speech. It changed virtually nothing for the better, virtually nothing for the worse.

one comment ↪
  • Reality Check

    Obama was right