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.

Deep inside Syrian rebel territory

In a time of war, great journalists are rare. Ghaith Abdul-Ahad is a truly unique reporter.

His recent dispatches from deep inside Yemen, including Al-Qaeda territory, were remarkable.

Now he’s inside Syria, alongside rebel forces (his photos are here). Read him to understand what is happening inside a civil war:

The column of eight rebel fighters picked their way along the street in Deir el-Zour at sunset, moving carefully through the debris of crushed glass and concrete, keeping their heads low and backs bent under the weight of the guns and rockets they carried.

They worked their way along the cratered road, past buildings chipped with multiple bullet holes and apartments and shops that had spilled out their contents on to the warm tarmac: burned mattresses, sofas, a fridge.

Nearby, mortars and shells were pounding out a rhythm. The men stopped in front of a collapsed building whose remaining walls were black with soot. There was a stench of rotten bodies. “We lost three men here two days ago,” said the commander. He pointed at three dark puddles of congealed blood. “They lay here next to each other.”

One fighter picked up a melted black flipflop. Another picked out the charred remains of a man’s robe. He sniffed it. “This belonged to Abu Qutada,” he said. “This is the smell of a martyr.” He tucked the stinking fabric into his bag.

The eight men moved off, darting across the burned and newly named Freedom Square in the centre of the eastern Syrian city, zigzagging through the arcades that once housed shops selling gold, spices and electrical goods, but now home to packs of dogs half-crazed by the shelling. In Deir el-Zour, the battle appears to be on an endless loop. Every day, loyalist troops and tanks stubbornly try to take the city from the rebels.

The rebels push them back and the army retaliates by pounding the city with mortar shells and rockets.

The barrage starts in the morning and stops at midnight. Its aim is arbitrary: shells can land almost anywhere in the city.

Until recently, when more sophisticated weapons began to flow in from Turkey, the province of Deir el-Zour was the main supply route for the rebel arms and ammunition which came over the border from neighbouring Iraq. Now most of the desolate countryside in the region is in the hands of the rebels, including the main border post.

“We control 90% of the province,” said Abu Omar, a defected Syrian army major with a thick beard who headed of one of the two military councils leading the fight. “Is this province liberated? Not yet. We have more men, but they have the bases and we can’t capture them without ammunition.”

According to the rebels, a month of fierce fighting and artillery bombardment in Deir el-Zour city has seen hundreds of civilians, rebel fighters and loyalist soldiers killed, and 86 tanks and armoured vehicles destroyed.

But even as the civil war has moved into Damascus, the regime’s security forces have continued to fight on this far edge of the country. In the past week government forces managed to take over two major intersections in the city, occupying them with tanks and establishing sniper positions. Many of the rebels are close to exhaustion. Food is served once a day to the fighters and supplies have dwindled to a trickle. They take four hours to travel a gruelling route through government lines.

The soldiers fare better than the civilians, however, as smuggled food comes with smuggled ammunition. The civilians are reduced to begging food from the fighters. One day during a week-long stay, a woman approached us.

“We need food. I have four kids and nothing to feed them,” she said. “I will send you some tins later,” said the fighter, sounding tired. “I have asked three units before and no one gave me anything,” the woman retorted, before walking away.

The ragtag army can fight a war of attrition with the government, but with no leadership and no command structure, they are unable to organise a concentrated attack on its bases.

Opposition forces in Deir el-Zour are organised into around 20 battalions. The fighters consist of secularists and salafis, townspeople and tribesmen from the country, civilians and defected soldiers. They frequently bicker among themselves and accuse each other of hoarding weapons.

Some units have lost 70% of their men through casualties and desertion, and ammunition in some cases is so low that soldiers go to battle with one magazine. Others, however, hold stockpiles of brand new RPGs, Austrian-made machine guns and hand grenades, part of a shipment that the fighters say was bought with private money from Syrian donors and delivered by Turkish military intelligence over the border.

There are more weapons and men in the countryside, but many commanders prefer to protect their villages than send their men and weapons to fight in the city.

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