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.

Insight into Israeli propaganda to sell its “civilised” onslaught

What does it say about a military policy that requires so many lies and distortions to try and convince a very skeptical if not hostile world? Here’s Anshel Pfeffer in Haaretz:

The photograph of the wounded baby daughter of Mira Sharf, one of the three civilians killed this morning (Thursday) in a missile strike on Kiryat Malachi, being carried out from her wrecked home, covered in blood, fitted like a glove to the Hasbara policy of Israel’s government. Throughout the day, the photo featured on thousands of websites and throughout the social networks. Israel’s supporters posted it on their Facebook pages and it was even tweeted on the Prime Minister’s twitter account. “Hamas deliberately targets our children” wrote Benjamin Netanyahu. In the early afternoon a group of foreign journalists were brought to the house so they could feel the threat on Israel’s home-front “through their feet.”

Operation “Pillar of Defense” is accompanied by a no less well-planned and orchestrated media operation. The National Information Directorate in the Prime Minister’s Office, the Information Ministry, the Foreign Ministry’s press operation, IDF Spokesman Unit and a long list of governmental and private volunteers are working together to mold the public perception of the operation in Israel and around the world. The Hasbara directors were informed in advance to prepare for a large military offensive, though only a small handful of them were aware of the operational details. Contingency plans had already been prepared and the PR teams had carried out exercises in recent months. The lessons of Operation Cast Lead and the Mavi Marmara commandeering had been learnt.

The national PR operation has a number of main components.

Swift transfer of visual materials from the battlefield – IDF Spokesman Unit is still scarred by the lengthy delay in supplying the footage of the rioting on the decks of the Mavi Marmara in May 2010. While wild rumors circulated and the supporters of the Turkish IHH controlled the narrative, it took the IDF fourteen hours to release the video to the media. To streamline the process, IDF Spokesman set up as special war-room that quickly receives that surveillance footage from air-force and intelligence units and immediately begins editing. Information security officers and military censors are there to authorize the material’s release to the Israeli and foreign press and simultaneously it is posted on the IDF website and Youtube with links to the army’s Facebook page and Twitter account.

That’s how the world saw within a few hours the aerial video of Ahmed Jabari’s car bursting into flames, which became an instant Youtube classic. The footage of attacks on Hamas Fajr missile sites was also released quickly, while the targets were still smoking. The swift and efficient process was created mainly in preparation for a situation in which a strike may cause also multiple Palestinian civilian casualties and Israel will have to quickly prove that it was attacking a legitimate military target.

Emphasizing the Civilian Side of the Operation – while the bombing videos are being distributed, the PR strategists are trying to deflect the world’s gaze from Israel’s military might towards the suffering of Israel’s citizens from the Palestinian missiles. This attempt to “civilize” the conflict began in the days before the operation when Prime Minister Netanyahu made two consecutive visits to the towns of the south with full media attendance. The hasbara apparatus located in advance dozens of articulate and multilingual civilians down south and prepared them with the approved messages for interviews with foreign reporters. The Information Ministry’s Government Press Office (GPO) organized today (Thursday) an organized tour of Kiryat Malachi and Ashkelon for international media crews, including a visit to the stricken house and an emergency command post. The group viewed a battery of the Iron Dome missile-defense system but the visit was focused on the human story. They met many civilians, under the auspices of Information Minister Yuli Edelstein and only a few IDF officers. The PR operation chalked up a major success when missile warnings went off during the tour of Ashkelon.

“The tour brought home to the foreign journalists, some of them just arrived in Israel for the first time, the complexity of the conflict,” said GPO Director Nitzan Chen, “and the fact that no country can allow missiles to fall on its citizens. They felt on their own flesh.”

The message of the harm caused to Israeli citizens will be sharpened tonight when a new website, “Israelis Under Fire” will go online, under the aegis of the Foreign Ministry. The fact that until now, Palestinian civilian casualties have been relatively few and that for the first time in a long while, Israeli citizens have been killed in a missile strike has bolstered the Hasbara operation’s efforts.

Quick response to developments – “We are all scarred by the various Qana incidents,” says one veteran spokesman referring to the severe criticism on Israel following bombs falling on civilian centers in Lebanon and Gaza. Despite the IDF’s attempts to carry out “surgical” strikes and prevent collateral damage, the PR people are constantly aware that as the Gaza operation continues, the chance of major civilian casualties grows exponentially. For this case they have prepared contingency plans with multiple options for responses to evolving events.

In addition, “rumor squelching” teams are continuously monitoring Arab media, especially Palestinian sources, to prevent hostile elements turning stories into facts. Earlier today, when Islamic Jihad claimed to have launched a missile against Tel-Aviv, they were ready with an immediate denial.

Relative openness – In addition to the rich variety of material being offered by the hasbara machine to the international media, the decision was taken to allow foreign journalists based in Israel to move freely through the Erez Crossing into the Gaza Strip and report from the other side. This is the exact opposite of the policy during Operation Cast Lead when there were no international reporters in Gaza and Israel would not allow the hundreds that arrived to cover the fighting to cross over. “The policy is to show that we have nothing to hide since we are not bombing civilians or the local infrastructure” says one of the spokesmen.

In the first 24 hours following Jabari’s assassination, around thirty foreign journalist arrived in Israel, reinforcing the hundreds permanently based here. The GPO has opened a 24-hours facility to issue them press-cards. “This isn’t yet an airlift of journalists such as we had in Cast Lead and the Second Lebanon War,” says a senior official in the The National Information Directorate. “But if the operation continues much longer, hundreds will arrive and we will be prepared for them.”

6 comments ↪
  • At least we have you to counter the israeli hasbara machine..thank you Antony. You were brilliant on last night's ABC 24 WORLD programme.

  • examinator

    I am never surprised by the depths hypercritical self justification functionaries of corporations, political parties, countries will stoop to and for actions that they would find absolutely unjustifiable as or from individuals.
    I find it a tragic irony that Israel was built on political manipulation and sympathy for the Jewish victimhood at the hands of the Nazis in WW2 yet now they are the oppressors.
    The most interesting point is that the Jews in WW2 didn't seem to muster the necessary self defence resistance against their oppressors but now that the 'shoe' is on the other foot they behave shocked, horrified that elements of the Palestinians should/ would consider opposing their oppressors. Why?
    I'd ask which is the most insidious those who exterminate in gas chambers their token scapegoats (villains) . Or those who keep these people in deprivation/ ghettoes like in Warsaw and manipulate them to fight back as an excuse to dehumanise, kill them piecemeal or train them to accept being unofficial slavery (as in at the will of their masters)?

    For truly the captive Palestinian doesn't know when he/ she will be eliminated as 'collateral damage'. Which of us in Australia lives with the constant fear that we may become collateral damage in a war we have no part in. Which of us fears that our children playing football or even throwing stones at the police is likely to be shot and just left?

    Personally If I despise an action I regardless of it is by a corporation, political party, nation or individual. In essence unless I as make it clear and actively do what I can as a member of society then I am responsible. While I'm not religious wisdom knows many sources. therefore I believe "I am my brothers (sisters) keeper" . In context that concept exists in most religions yet it is the most ignored
    (hypercritical or what?)

    If Israel is losing the PR war, and I believe they are, it is because the reality is starting to seep through… to answer my question of 'which is the most insidious?' Consider appropriately an American Patrick Henry's who quoined the phrase
    "give me liberty or death" in other word one is as bad as the other the intent result is the same. All that differs is the Hypocrisy

  • Kolin Thumbadoo

    It is a querious feat of history that the grotesque spiritual twins of Nazism i.e Apartheid South Africa and Zionist Isreal emerged around 1948.Their collaboration was for a time mutually sustaining through the violation of international sanctions.It is no surprise that the zionists chief propogandists are former Apartheid South African apologists. They are overly represented in all significant zionist organisations in Australia. We defeated the racist scourge in South Africa as we will surely do in occupied Palestine.As with Apartheid South Africa Zionist Isreal has no right to exist.
    Amandla.