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.

When you dance with the devil…

This story is prefaced with a warning. Its accuracy is unknown, Daniel Pipes has talked up its merits and the “facts” seem extraordinary. However, they are certainly worth reporting:

“According to a new book, Saudi Arabia has crafted a plan to protect itself from a possible invasion or internal attack. It includes the use of a series of explosives, including radioactive “dirty bombs,” that would cripple Saudi Arabian oil production and distribution systems for decades.”

The doomsday scenario, if true, paints a sadly predictable picture of US/Saudi relations. Neither really trusts each other and yet just last month Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah visited Bush’s ranch in Texas, had his hand held by the US President and was asked to boost oil production. Nearly four years after 9/11, and much evidence to suggest that elements of the Saudi establishment are still funding Islamic extremism, we know that the world’s only superpower is still heavily reliant on Saudi oil.

One of the main reasons for invading and occupying Iraq was the country’s massive oil reserves, the American realisation that added energy supplies will be desperately needed in the coming years and the understanding that the Saudi monarchy may collapse in the coming years, possibly handing power to the Islamists. This eventuality would require alternative sources of oil in the region, such as Iraq.

We now learn that that one of the shady figures behind the Iraq invasion, Ahmed Chalabi, currently holding a prominent position in the Iraqi government, is to be pardoned by the Jordanian government. Chalabi “was sentenced to 22 years in prison for fraud after his bank collapsed with $300m (£160m) in missing deposits in 1989.” Chalabi is still suspected of passing intelligence to the Iranians. One can only presume that the Iraqi government, under the thumb of the Americans, have pressured the Jordanians to pardon Chalabi.

How do these issues connect? Chalabi, recently appointed Iraq’s Deputy Prime Minister and temporary control of the country’s oil reserves, sadly proves that oil is being increasingly politicised. With Saudi oil safe for the time being, the Americans need an alternative source if things go horribly wrong. Enter Iraq. A BBC report from March revealed a secret plan, authorised by Chalabi and others before the 2003 invasion, to sell-off Iraqi oil. The plan was eventually scrapped but gives a revealing insight into the true intentions of Chalabi.

4 comments ↪
  • Antony Loewenstein

    So Chalabi is now longer Oil Minister? Ok, more research needed, but I have no doubt he’s still highly involved in that area. The pardon in Jordan smells so fishy… The key new leaders of Iraq are beholden to the Americans, the people know it, survey and survey says that the US should leave and yet we’re still told that liberation is happening daily…

  • Phil

    Hiya Antony, just to correct the fast moving record a Shiite Ibrahim Bahr al-Ulum in now the new Oil Minister, Chalabi held the post for a couple of weeks until the Cabinet was finalised – not that it matters much.

  • Anonymous

    Of course, all of the Saudi infrastructure was engineered by contracted Westerners and other foreigners; I'm skeptical as Saudis themselves couldn't organise a cup of coffee, much less some sort of super-secret-Semtex James Bond-villain's-lair self-destruct device. It's a great story, and not one that should be dismissed out of hand, but the logistics of such a thing are huge, and way beyond the capabilities of a bunch of playboy princelings.

  • Phil

    And up to 14 permanent bases are being dug in. It's just like the video game of Age of Empires.