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.

The marks around my neck

Tim Dunlop takes aim at that Court Reporter, Gerard Henderson, and his rejection by the Melbourne Age. Poor Gerard can’t understand why someone as well connected and unique as himself has been fired by the “Guardian on the Yarra.”

Gerard, there are places for people like you. Like working for the Howard government. Oh, hang on a minute…

The brave Sydney Morning Herald continues to publish Gerard, obviously enamoured with his particular take on history. Risk takers, that’s what Fairfax wants more of. And they won’t be disappointed, if recent columns are anything to go by. In mid May, Gerard explained why America was a champion of democracy. “So much for the mythology that the Bush Administration is dominated by adventurous and unfeeling ideologues”, he wrote. But wait, where does Uzbekistan fit into this neat puzzle? Or Pakistan?

Incidentally, during last night’s SBS Dateline, General Pervez Musharraf was asked about his country’s use of torture. Let’s not forget that the autocrat is coming to Australia next week to sign a memorandum of understanding to assist both countries in their “War on Terror.” But back to torture:

GEORGE NEGUS: Can I ask you this – I mean I don’t know Pakistan’s procedure or principles on this – but would he have been tortured by your people when he was in custody here?

GENERAL PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: I wouldn’t be able to comment on that. We presume not, but again, I mean – as I see it – leave the torturing aside – are we here to give comfort to terrorists or are we here to extract information? Because he is a part of a terrorist organisation and we should not show much sympathy towards an individual who is a terrorist.

GEORGE NEGUS: Understood, understood.

GENERAL PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: Now when it comes to the methodology, I really don’t know what methods they use, but I believe we should not tie the hands of the intelligence operatives in interrogation. That is all that I would like to say. They have to extract information. The key issue is you must get information out of the man.

GEORGE NEGUS: Does that mean, though, that all the human rights rules are out the window… .for the interrogation of suspected terrorists?

GENERAL PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: If you talk idealistically, yes. If you’re talking of human rights, what about the human rights of the number of people he’s killed and what about the human rights of – he’s attacked, he’s the mastermind in attacking me – what about my human right?

Pakistan. Torturers. Ally. Friend. Mate.

14 comments ↪
  • Guy

    Anti-terrorism yay, human rights nay… what hypocrisy?

  • Antony Loewenstein

    Got it in one…

  • Shabadoo!

    Venezuela.Anti-Bush. Lefty cause-celebre. Torturer. Beloved by Ant.

  • Antony Loewenstein

    There are indeed disturbing reports out of Venezuela. And I equally condemn them (though much of the noise around that country is from countries and people who can't accept a govt giving the finger to the US.)Beloved by me? Hardly. I support many policies of Chavez, but not the use of violence of torture. Full stop.As ever, whoever the hell you are, ignores the main issue at hand. Presumably you feel comfortable with our allies using torture on "terrorists".You reap what you sow…

  • Shabadoo!

    Sorry, Ant, I don't condone the use of torture either, but your outrage here appears to be selective…you've written glowingly about Venezuela, urged people to buy Citgo, and this is the first time you've said boo about that country's human rights violations. Basically, your rule seems to be: if the violator is a Bush ally, scream about it from the highest rooftop. If the violator is on your side, ignore it until someone calls you on it and then say "oh, but of course I condemn the use of torture" — while still supporting other policies/the regime writ large.Under your logic, you're allowed to side with torturers as long as everyone coos the right phrases: anti-US rhetoric from the mouthpieces of the government, and the magic words "I condemn torture (but…)" from you. But if Bush is allied with a human-rights violator, it's all the excuse you need to huffily sniff your superiority and call him a hypocrite.

  • Antony Loewenstein

    Far from it.I've regularly written on this blog about human rights abuse in the Middle East, by govts both supported and hated by the US. There is a major difference, though. Only Bush and his cronies, along with their media cheerleaders, actually think that by talking about democracy and freedom, while ignoring internationally accepted norms, freedom and democracy will simply happen. They're preaching hypocrites.

  • Shabadoo!

    Wait…so it's the fact that they talk about wanting democracy that bothers you (what would you prefer?)Again: what's the difference between "anti-terrorism yay, human rights nay" (Bush/Pakistan) and "'provide health care, literacy and education' yay, human rights nay" (Loewenstein/Venezuela)?The commenter above "got it in one", you say, when he called the Bush/Pakistan deal hypocrisy; explain why he couldn't have said the same thing about you?Remember, 100% literacy is meaningless if there's no freedom to read and write what you want. Just ask the Cubans.

  • Antony Loewenstein

    Because talking about democracy is meaningless without serious action behind it. Hello, Guantanamo Bay? As more and more people around the world realise that American policy is based on hypocrisy.Human rights are always important, no matter what country we're discussing. As I've said before, much of the info about Chavez I mistrust, due to the vicious amount of anti-Chavez propaganda in the Western media. HOWEVER, I've read the Amnesty report and fully realise the problems in that country.I'm no supporter of Castro, don't even go there. I am a supporter of alternative forms of government, democratic socialism, for example. As long as human rights are respected.

  • Shabadoo!

    Absolutely right — sometimes it takes serious action to bring about democracy. Like sending in the Marines, for example, which is wht they can now vote in Iraq and Afghanistan. (Yes, I know there are problems still, but democracy is a process, not an event). For talk without action, may I direct your attention to Turtle Bay? I know you'll scream about UN-bashing, but for how many years did Saddam flout countless UN resolutions while using the Oil-for-Palaces program as the biggest international lobbying/bribery slush fund in history?It's emblematic of your own blind spots (I won't go dropping the "H"-bomb, it's too easy and cheapens the word) that you are concerned about anti-Chavez 'propaganda' yet ignore the rampant and reflexive anti-Americanism that is shared by much of the world's press corps. Crikey, there're still people out there who buy the plastic turkey lie, and repeat it ad nauseum. For further proof, look at how gleefully the world press jumped on the weed-on koran story…yet ignore the fact that it's only because of American forebearance that a bunch of jihadis are even given the bloody things in the first place. Some day I'd love to see someone do an expose' of what happens when someone tries to bring a Bible through Saudi customs. You want desecration of a holy book…boy howdy!I never meant to suggest that you were a supporter of Castro, just that that is where this sort of thinking can lead. I've actually been to Castro's worker's paradise, and while there stayed and ate almost entirely in the homes of average Cubans, and wish that every lefty who romanticises the place could do the same. Might see a fair few less Che t-shirts around…

  • Phil

    I understand now that many rotten boroughs in the US, Christian and conservative, are now banning books that are written by homosexual writers and David Horowitz is leading a pogrom against University professors egged on by the troglodyte right. Cuba you say? Unfortunately it looks like under Bush America will eventually resemble it's enemies.Anyway Gerry is emblematic of the unreconstructed right and deserved to be sacked, if only the SMGH did the same.

  • Antony Loewenstein

    Like sending in the Marines to bring democracy? Mmm, the less said the better.Frankly, the Marines/America havn't brought democracy in Iraq/Afghanistan. Loooong story.You seem to feel comfortable dissing Muslim sensibility re the Koran. Fundamentally disrespecting other religions is a key issue. Sadly, you're contributing to that…Finally, the vast majority of the American media, and indeed, Aussie media too, and much of the UK media, is pretty pro-US. Another great myth…

  • Shabadoo!

    Ant, Ant, Ant, my boy, read my words! I'm not dissing Muslim sensitivity to their book — hey, their religion, their rules, right? I'm just saying that there's a huge double-standard involved. Hell, in the States, someone can drop a crucifix in a jar of piss and get funding for it! Just try doing that with a Koran. Yet no one really seems to care to report when the sensibilities of Jews or Christians are offended by others, including Muslims (I don't remember Bondi Road being flooded with rioting Lubavitchers after this lovely incident of religious tolerance).Before the Herald canned you, you must have spent a fair bit of time in the newsroom…don't for a minute tell me that 95 per cent of the staff voted against Howard. In any case, mate, "the less said the better" isn't a response to a criticism, it's a cop-out. Back it up — how are the media pretty pro-US? (What? They don't all hit Ant's Assignment Desk to take direction?). And saying "loooong story" is another cop-out. But I guess it's too hard to explain all those purple fingers. Alright, enough of this. After all, I'm nothing but a right-wing ratbag plutocrat — which can only mean one thing: I've got dinner reservations! Cato, bring the car around!

  • Antony Loewenstein

    I wasn't canned by the Herald. Point one. I left, my choice. My own reasons. To explain how much of the mainstream media is pro-US is rather hard to explain here. I've written about it, and will expand in much greater depth in my book, certainly in relation to the Middle East.You're a plutocrat? A few letters different would make you an autocrat. Does that fit better?

  • shabadoo!

    Oh, it's always like this when lovers break up…everyone wants to save face by being the dumper, not the dumpee.Seriously, though, a few other letters would make me what I truly am — a democrat, in the classical/John Locke/John Stuart Mill mode. Which means I don't think that the citizenry needs to be told what to do by its political betters, nor have the fruit of its labour taken and redistributed around by force to fill the diktats of what you call 'democratic socialism'. And that a fledgling democracy, even if flawed and brought in by the United States, is preferable to living under the boot-heel of tyranny. Alright…I'm off. ALLEZ CUISINE!