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.

Motivations

The ramifications of the London bombings continue to resonate. The Sydney Morning Herald’s Peter Hartcher – becoming more and more like an obedient mouthpiece of officially sanctioned propaganda, such as today’s piece and yesterday’s tongue-kiss column with any number of vetted diplomats – may argue that the attacks will not affect the political standing of Bush, Blair and Howard. Perhaps. But their justification in “staying the course” in this “War on Terror” is beginning to look a little shaky.

Blair called the massacres an act of barbarism, but as Robert Fisk argues, “what were the civilian deaths of the Anglo American invasion of Iraq in 2003, the children torn apart by cluster bombs, the innocent Iraqis gunned down at American military checkpoints. When they die, it is “collateral damage”; when “we” die it is “barbaric terrorism.” Once again, the West’s racist heart is exposed. “We” are suffering and “they” are liberated.

Democracy Now interviewed a number of British commentators in the wake of the outrage, including British MP George Galloway, George Monbiot and Sunday Times journalist Stephen Grey. The Murdoch reporter issued the most telling statement:

“I have spent a lot of time in the Middle East recently and in Iraq, in fact, last year. I think one important thing to understand about the nature of Islamic terrorism is that it’s not just about a threat to the way of life of the West. If you talk to people who actually are close to these movements, I mean, they hate, above all, the policies of the West, and what – you know, I won’t comment on those policies, but they extend much – they’re not just invasion of Iraq, they also extend to our policies to the Middle East peace process, our involvement in Afghanistan.

“Many of the people who are drawn to these movements are not people who are looking for some sort of Taliban lifestyle, they’re people who are actually motivated because they support some kind of insurgency about the way the West is dealing with the Middle East, and they feel the Middle East is utterly humiliated. The Middle East people are utterly humiliated by the West and the Western policies. And this is the response they seek. It’s an appalling response, but I think to understand it, you’ve got to understand it goes a lot further than simply a kind of revulsion against the Western way of life.”

Such truths were virtually ignored in today’s Australian media (though the SMH’s Alan Ramsay made a valiant quote-reliant effort.) The SMH didn’t even mention Iraq in its editorial. Air-brushed from reality. “We” bare no responsibility for London, they were arguing. The perpetrators were “evil.” Their meaningful words were echoed by the ALP leader Kim Beazley: “These terrorists are sub-human filth who must be captured and eliminated and we condemn them and their evil.” Would the Opposition Leader like the British authorities to be as ruthless as the bombers? Does he support the death penalty now? Who could forget former ALP leader Simon Crean and his acceptance of the Indonesian death penalty for the Bali bombers?

As ever, we’re treated to the Australian’s Greg Sheridan, pontificating about a conflict he barely understands – such is a man who prefers travelling overseas and solely interviewing government officials, leaders and conservative think-tanks – and telling readers the following:

“Too many commentators think of the war on terror as a Western invention, an ideological construct to justify the quagmire in Iraq, which they inevitably and foolishly compare with Vietnam. But the war on terror is not Vietnam, it is World War II, a global struggle of many years’ duration against an implacable and powerful enemy, seized of a total ideology that brooks neither compromise nor amelioration, only defeat or victory.”

“The terrorists are committed, in the long term, to the destruction of the West, but this is for now a lesser priority than kicking the US out of the Arab world and the Muslim world more generally, and destroying the governments which rule those lands now.”

“…It would be wrong simply to dismiss the Iraq of today as a disaster in the war on terror. Most of Iraq is relatively calm. The terrorists have no positive program for the country and have been reduced to killing indiscriminately large numbers of Iraqi civilians, including Sunni Arabs, their core constituency.”

Sheridan’s glaring ignorance – and the echo chamber within the Australian media – allows such propaganda to pass as fact. It is not. Take this report from the London Times of July 7:

“Iraqi security forces, set up by American and British troops, torture detainees by pulling out their fingernails, burning them with hot irons or giving them electric shocks, Iraqi officials say. Cases have also been recorded of bound prisoners being beaten to death by police.”

Furthermore, many of the men hired by British and American forces were trained under Saddam Hussein and are well versed in the art of torture and abuse.

Toppling Saddam was always going to be easy part of the “Coalition’s” mission. Their utter failure in establishing a free, secure and democratic country is more than enough explanation for the London attacks. “We” are building a “democracy” based on the very same ideology of Saddam. Secret prisons, unbridled torture, death squads, arbitrary arrest.

So enough with the hand wringing about London. Let the facts emerge, the perpretators caught and punished, the intelligence improved. Fisk rightly says that this inhuman attack, “represented a total failure of our security services – the same intelligence ‘experts”‘ who claim there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq when there were none, but who utterly failed to uncover a months-long plot to kill Londoners.”

Isn’t it about time we realise that “our” terrorism is contributing to “theirs”?

5 comments ↪
  • Anonymous

    Ah, a cup 'o' java and am calmer now, it's just that trawling sites that are pro-war gives me a Tourette Syndrome mindset. Here is a great link for your good readers :http://www.lewrockwell.com/shaffer/shaffer111.html Regards Grinna

  • Antony Loewenstein

    Such sense is in very short supply these days. We are not "winning" the war, never have been and never will, the way we're going. Probably because it's not really a war. Our deluded media and govt cheerleaders don't want citizens asking too many questions because they'll be getting some pretty damn uncomfortable answers.

  • Dennis Smith

    In the Middle Ages, uneducated, ignorant people thought the world was flat and that ships which got too near the edge would tip off.In the year 2005, cunning business and media tycoons and shifty, self-serving politicians try to convince the educated but still gullible masses that anyone who opposes their narrow Judeo-Christian-Capitalist-Imperialist Coalition is evil, subhuman filth.Despite education, ignorance still reigns!

  • Iqbal Khaldun

    Absolutely. In fact, a good education often opens the gates to all manner of chauvinism. Much of our education system is in this mould. Not all, but much. For instance, economics is taught to school and university students from a very narrow, essentially market-capitalist paradigm as though it was a collection of the laws of nature, and no other manner of facilitating an economy is conceivable. Some may say that all manner of other economic systems are conceivable but the present manifestation of capitalism has proved to be the most workable. Assuming that were true (and I don't but will hold my peace for the time being), the unfortunate fact is that even the economic theories students learn are inconsistent with the reality. Mainstream economic theories are rarely, if ever, practiced by the largest economies in the world (the US, EU, Japan, and so on). All the major economies are driven by some form of corporate welfare and protectionism. Yes, there are constantly tensions amongst different camps of capitalists, but the situation remains fundamentally the same.Faced with that premise, a question springs to mind (yes I'm big on questions today). What steps can be taken to educate and inform members of a society in a manner that favours free thought and creativity?

  • Dennis Smith

    Absolutely! What passes for eduction in 2005 in no more than vocational training. The rich and powerful don't want the masses to think for themselves but instead chase illusions that will make the rich and powerful more so.If people stopped to think for a moment, they would clearly see that war and violence only breeds more war and violence. They would see that dropping cluster bombs on, and using depleted uranium explosives against, people eventually leads to what happened in London.Let's bring education back into education!