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 day after

“London’s day of terror” screams today’s Guardian. We still know very little about yesterday’s brutality in London. For the latest news, see here, here and here. We will hopefully soon learn about those responsible, find them and prosecute. Such indiscriminate killing is totally unacceptable in any civilised society.

A word of caution, however. Commentators like American Andrew Sullivan may be calling for a greater British commitment to the “War on Terror”, but this is exactly the wrong response. Nothing happens in a vacuum, no matter how brutal the actions. Already, some voices of reason are appearing, though, it must be said, they are virtually absent from the Australian media. We must not allow these terrorist acts to be simply condemned as atrocities (which they clearly were) without understanding the wider context in which they occurred. Iraq is central to such analysis.

When a Western nation launches an illegal and brutal war against a Third World nation and inflicts massive casualties, does anyone truly believe that there will not be a terribly high price for such behaviour? This in no way justifies terrorist actions. Far from it. Rather, Iraq has become the rallying cry for individuals who see an arrogant West inflicting their will on defenceless civilians. We are only receiving a terribly small picture of the current situation in Iraq. Read about the bruatality of “our” actions in Iraq and then say yesterday’s London wasn’t inevitable. American and British soldiers frequently use indiscriminate force against Iraqi civilians, killing hundreds. Sound familiar? It’s a sick and twisted logic, but London could be the weapon of the weak trying to make a very big statement.

Former British Minister Robin Cook offers this in today’s Guardian:

“The danger now is that the west’s current response to the terrorist threat compounds that original error. So long as the struggle against terrorism is conceived as a war that can be won by military means, it is doomed to fail. The more the west emphasises confrontation, the more it silences moderate voices in the Muslim world who want to speak up for cooperation. Success will only come from isolating the terrorists and denying them support, funds and recruits, which means focusing more on our common ground with the Muslim world than on what divides us.”

And this from the Nation’s Maria Margaronis:

“It hasn’t come out of the blue – there is no blue for it to come from anymore. It feels more like the other shoe dropping, which brings a kind of relief: Though this was terrible and there may be more to come, everyone knows it could have been much worse. After the lies that took us into war and their long-drawn-out exposure, it won’t be easy for Blair to use the attacks to whip up another crusade – though they will probably speed the government’s identity-card legislation. It’s a cliche, but the British really are a pretty stoic lot. We’ve coped with bombs before, though the IRA generally issued warnings and set them off one at a time. With any luck we’ll meet this with cool heads and sharp eyes–on people carrying suspicious bags, but also on our leaders.”

Let’s ignore the calls for more troops in Iraq or Afghanistan or the inevitable escalation in draconian police powers across the UK. Islam must deal with its militancy. Western citizens must never again allow an illegal war to be launched in their name. Tony Blair says: “When they try to divide our people or weaken our resolve, we will not be divided and our resolve will hold firm.” Blair is in no position to be talking about “weakening our resolve.” To hear the various media commentators over the last 18 hours expressing their support of Blair’s strength in the face of this attack beggars belief. The actions of Blair may well be intimately related to this attack.

May common sense prevail.

UPDATE: The Australian Arabic Council issues strong condemnation of the London attacks but adds this:

“It is also a time for leaders of Western countries to reflect on the fact that the “War on Terror” is being lost. Since the formal declaration of the war we have seen an unprecedented number of major terrorist events – it has been reported that the number of what the US Government considers “significant” attacks grew to about 655 last year, up from the previous record of about 175 in 2003.

“The war on terror must address the root causes of terror – injustice, poverty, disenfranchisement and genuine grievances of many about the militaristic power exerted by Western nations led by the US, Britain and Australia. Policies such as the blind support of Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine and the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan feed fundamentalism and have established fertile breeding grounds for extremism. It is not unreasonable to assume that Australia, as the prime mover behind the US and Britain, is next in line for an attack on our shores. The Australian government’s unquestioning support of US foreign policy has not made Australia a safer place.

“While terrorism will never succeed, the current strategy in confronting it will also not succeed. We need to break the cycle of violence.”

UPDATE 2: Commentator Mike Marqusee talks sense:

“…Blair has already appeared on television to address the nation, pledging to defend “our values” and “our way of life” against those who would “impose extremism on the world”. He spoke of the unity of “civilised nations” in resisting “terrorism”. While the delivery may be slicker, his “us” vs “them” world-view was indistinguishable from Bush’s. Even by Blair’s standards, it was a performance of nauseating hypocrisy, as he sought to seize the moral high ground in relation to violence and destruction that he himself helped unleash.”

UPDATE 3: Tariq Ali in the Guardian:

“At the beginning of the G8, Blair suggested that “poverty was the cause of terrorism”. It is not so. The principal cause of this violence is the violence being inflicted on the people of the Muslim world. And unless this is recognised, the horrors will continue.”

10 comments ↪
  • Dennis Smith

    A nicely balanced comment, Antony.The sad part is that those who hold the power: the Howards, the Blairs, the Bushs, the Sharons, the directors of armament and oil companies, the media tycoons like Murdoch and Packer, etc, are not interested in balance. They seek only to increase their empires and enlarge their wealth and/or power and will destroy anything or anyone who gets in their way.Topple them and questions concerning the achievement of peace become relevant.

  • Anonymous

    It might be difficult to prosecute a suicide bomber.

  • Darp

    I'm actually optimistic that the British people on the whole will not view these events in isolation.Well, they certainly won't react as bad as the insular Americanos. They'll be pissed certainly, but I expect a fair percentage of that anger to be directed at their leader and his bumchuminess with Dubya.I know. Which fools paradise am I living in?The parts of London that would be theoretically most ripe for reprisals against Muslims (East End) in the wake of these attacks, I predict, will weather the storm just fine.Why?Londoners are smart and Londoners are integrated. They know that Abdul and Tafiq from the local chippy condemn this attack along with every other Cockney, irrespective of their ethnicity.I feel the high level of integration and understanding between the various communities should head off most violent, reactionary attacks.

  • Antony Loewenstein

    I hope Darp, and Dennis, you're right. Will the UK media go into meltdown and slavishly follow the govt line, aka the US media post 9/11? One can only hope for some more backbone, possible reasons behind the attacks, the Iraq factor etc.London is indeed a wonderful city. I lived there myself for 2 years many years ago. If I was there now, I'd no doubt be unsure of my feelings, though probably angry and shaken.

  • Iqbal Khaldun

    One must always live in hope. People are more psychologically prepared for terrorist attacks in the West following September 11. Britains also have a more robust political life (can you imagine someone like Ken Livingston in New York???). So I hope that helps reduce the fall out from the attack.Poor lovely London!

  • Gibbo

    You fucking bigots!A tragedy such as this occurs and all you can do is use it as some kind of weapon in your biggoted hatred of the US.I expect it from weasles like Lowenstein by I'm pissed of at the conga line of suckholes here ready to insert tongues on cue.I had higher hopes for you young Darp but you have jumped the shark big time here mate.Your hatred has become all consuming and I sincerely pity the lot of you.

  • Dennis Smith

    In London, the Iraq chickens came home to roost. Australia is next. It is unfortunate that the Australian people will suffer the consequences arising from the unilateral actions of our self-serving Prime Minister (who took us to war with no mandate).

  • Anonymous

    Do you know something we don't, "Dennis Smith"? You sound awfully certain about this.

  • joe2

    Back to basics! If somebody is able to define "terrorism", I would love to know. Defining terms always helps in debate.

  • Glenn Condell

    Enjoy your pity Gibbo, and your ignorance. They're all you have, apart from the bad manners.