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.

Held in contempt

The New York Times published an article on May 21 that should have been on the front page of Australia’s leading broadsheets. It told the real face behind America’s “War on Terror” (WOT):

“For many Muslims, Guantánamo stands as a confirmation of the low regard in which they believe the United States holds them. For many non-Muslims, regardless of their feelings toward the United States, it has emerged as a symbol of American hypocrisy. “The cages, the orange suits, the shackles – it’s as if they’re dealing with something that’s like a germ they don’t want to touch,” said Daoud Kuttab, director of the Institute of Modern Media at Al Quds University in Ramallah, in the West Bank. “That’s the nastiness of it.”

Expressing skepticism towards America is healthy, especially in light of so many scandals involving US forces around the world. Showing contempt, however, is a more worrying trend. Being against the policies of George W. Bush is one thing but harboring deep-seated hatred for what America now stands for suggests a world community fundamentally at odds with the radical agenda of Bush’s neo-cons. The long-term effects of such sentiments are patently clear.

Human Rights Watch released a report last week that revealed the smokescreen of the Newsweek scandal:

“U.S. forces in Afghanistan were involved in killings, torture and other abuses of prisoners even before the Iraq war started. These crimes, known to senior officials in the military and Central Intelligence Agency, have not still been adequately investigated or prosecuted.”

Blind defenders of American and Australian foreign policy, and tacit acceptance of abuses by the US military and their bureaucratic masters, are contributing to a rising hatred of all things American. How can the US be taken seriously in world affairs when it refuses to fully investigate systemic issues at the core of the WOT?

Let it be understood that I am not defending American government policy. Far from it. I’m not a believer in America being the only superpower able to implement positive change. I’m constantly amazed at the cultural amnesia in our mainstream society on this matter. Take today’s editorial in the Sydney Morning Herald. The issue is America’s relationship with the Uzbek dictator and the contradiction between Bush’s stated belief in freedom and democracy and reality in the Central Asian country. The final line is priceless: “Mr Bush’s own claim to global moral leadership is at stake.” Implicit in such a statement is that America under Bush is capable of delivering on such lofty promises, despite vast evidence suggesting otherwise. This delusion, common in much allegedly progressive commentary, is part of a simliar problem with viewing America’s role in the world. Is it not time to assume that America is simply incapable of delivering moral leadership on any issue? Blood stains its hands in virtually every corner of the globe.

Attitudes towards the US in the Muslim world are becoming so toxic that issues like Guantanamo Bay are proving to be the ultimate recruitment tool for extremists. And guess whom we have to blame?

3 comments ↪
  • Tim

    Extremely strong post, Antony.

  • Gerry

    Antony, you said "How can the US be taken seriously in world affairs…"I'm hoping that the US is never taken seriously again. Their 100 years of manipulation of world affairs was only possible because we took them seriously. Now, thanks to George W, many people have started to question US motives and have even started reading Blum, Chomsky, Pilger, etc. This can only be a good thing. I hate to say it, but it took Dubbya to show the world the true face of the US. Onya, Dubbya !!!

  • Antony Loewenstein

    Possibly very true. Because we only hear from the echo chamber of the Right in Australia, we fail to realise how many around the world are upset and frustrated by US hypocrisy. Sales of Pilger, Blum, Chomsky etc have never been higher, I'm reliably told.