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.

PM’s sordid vision

PM’s vision: Australia as honest broker” booms today’s front page of The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH). At the official opening last night of Australia’s newest establishment think-tank, the Lowy Institute – funded by the country’s second richest man, Frank Lowy – John Howard explained his “vision” (the paper’s use of this word suggests that the PM’s comments are important and worth contemplating in a positive manner, despite editorially criticising his foreign policy decisions many times in the past.) The PM discussed his government’s closeness with the US and Asia, and how these could be achieved simultaneously.

One could be forgiven for thinking that George W. Bush has stolen my country’s leadership. Howard’s speech was filled with references to freedom and democracy. All noble aims, though missing from the rhetoric was any discussion about Iraq’s missing WMD, Guantanamo Bay detainees held indefinitely without trial and mounting evidence that the West’s involvement in Iraq has in fact helped increase terrorist recruitment. But why let facts get in the way of a rousing speech, likely to be dutifully praised by a subservient media?

The SMH’s coverage conveyed the message that history doesn’t matter. Peter Hartcher’s comment piece today in the same newspaper merely continued the syncophancy. I am not suggesting that one lives solely in the past, but to simply ignore this current government’s numerous foreign policy failings is remiss. Not least of these is our draconian refugee policy, frequently cited with profound confusion and sadness by many people I met recently in Lebanon, Israel and the Palestinian Occupied Territories. This is becoming Australia’s true legacy.

Hartcher continues: “Australia has become our Britain in Asia” was the way that Kurt Campbell, a senior analyst at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, and a senior Pentagon official in the Clinton administration, put it.” This should not be seen as a compliment. In other words, when American comes knocking, our leaders will simply ask how high. We are now learning that Tony Blair knew that the Iraq invasion was illegal, WMD were unlikely to exist and he committed to the Americans, like John Howard, months before he informed the citizens of his country.

So let’s move beyond welcoming every new “important” speech by our leaders as evidence of a revived, visionary and eloquent future. Or do the mainstream media prefer tongue-kissing these pronouncements, enjoying the warm glow of future governmental favours and sanctioned “leaks.”

If journalists want to gain true insights into our foreign policy escapades, perhaps they could start by examining a recent poll conducted in Baghdad. A recent US-run poll showed that one per cent agreed that the goal of the invasion was to bring democracy to Iraq. Five per cent thought the goal was to help Iraqis. The majority thought the US wanted to control Iraq’s resources and to use its new bases there to control the region. Baghdadis felt that the US did want “democracy”, but not one that would allow Iraqis to run their lives “without US pressure and influence.”

4 comments ↪
  • Blue Acre Knowles

    Scarily similar to Peter Cook's TVPM macmillan satire in Beyond the fringe. There's something in that outstanding monologue about 'an honest broker' too. Beyond the fringe should be listened to everyday in these times, it sounds absolutely contemporary.

  • Antony Loewenstein

    Peter Cook. Love the guy. Depressive, now dead, guy.And Dudley Moore. The two together were gold. Derek and Clive. Men can't nor shouldn't be funnier.Thanks for dropping by.

  • Guy

    Howard really is a woeful speaker. Not only was the content full of the rhetoric we have come to expect from him, but I'm quite sure he would have delivered it poorly as well.Any of the journalists present should probably be given a pat on the back for staying awake.This column aside, Hartcher seems more progressive in his views than he directly projects in his columns. Have you had much experience with him?

  • Antony Loewenstein

    I know Hartcher. He's a nice guy and has provided assistance re contacts for my book. He's probably more "progressive" than many other writers at the SMH, but that isn't really saying much.He's a safe writer, never likely to say anything too out there. Then again, that probably matches much of the paper's readership.