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.

Even the FT gets it

The following article appeared in the Financial Times on July 8. I’ll post the entire piece below, as the link requires subscription. Simply put, the possible motivations behind the London attack are discussed as well as debunking, yet again, the myth that “they hate us for our freedom.”

“The cataclysmic attacks on New York and Washington on September 11 2001 created a small but influential industry, arguing through and on behalf of the Bush administration that the Islamist perpetrators of that atrocity “hate us for our freedoms”. That they loathe us for our values, for what we are and think rather than anything we do.

“If only that were true. What we face, instead, is a war of ideas within the Muslim and Arab world. In that light, this is a delusionary proposition, which conveniently absolves us from having to re-examine critically our policies towards this world.

“Although we do not know for sure who carried out Thursday’s vicious attacks on London, it was very likely part of the loose and protean franchise of fanatics inspired by 9/11 and its architects, Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda. But we cannot wait for the precise answer. We need now to engage fiercely with the substance of the problems that are proliferating jihadi terrorism. We need to find ways of isolating this minority before they make any further inroads into the Muslim mainstream.

“The most important thing to recognise is how the great democratic wave that freed east and central Europe, Latin America and swaths of sub-Saharan Africa over the past two decades ran into the sands of the Middle East, leaving the Arabs marooned in tyranny. That was in no small part because the US and its main allies shored up local despots in the interests of stability and cheap oil.

“These tyrants laid waste to the entire spectrum of political expression in their countries, leaving their adversaries no alternative but to fall back on the mosque. That, in turn, suited their purposes, enabling them to blackmail their western patrons: back us, or deal with the mullahs. There is probably no greater single source of rage in the Arab world than this collusion in tyranny and repression – not even the Israel-Palestine conflict, which, furthermore, is manipulated by Arab rulers as an alibi for maintaining their national security states on a spurious war footing.

“The overwhelming majority of Muslims do not hate us for our freedoms. They do, however, despise these policies and some of the more frustrated among them are thereby prey to the siren songs of the jihadis.

“Validation of this analysis came last September from the Defense Science Board (DSB), a federal advisory committee to the US defence secretary. The polls the DSB looked at are chilling. People in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, for example, Washington’s main Arab allies, gave a 98 and 94 per cent “unfavourable” rating to the US and its policies. But at the same time, the DSB study found that majorities or pluralities in the Arab countries do support values such as freedom and democracy, embrace western science and education, and like US products and movies. “In other words, they do not hate us for our values, but because of our policies,” the DSB says, before demonstrating how hatred of the policies has begun to tarnish the appeal of the values.

“Compounding this disenchantment, a great many Arabs are sceptical about American intentions. For the most part, Arabs plausibly believe it was Osama bin Laden who smashed the status quo, not George W. Bush. Why? Because the 9/11 attacks made it impossible for the west and its Arab despot clients to continue to ignore a political set-up that incubated blind rage against them. The subsequent decision to invade Iraq further undermined the status quo, but in ways it is not obvious the Bush administration had thought through.

“This January’s elections in Iraq saw a remarkable display of heroism by its people that struck a deep chord in Arab countries. Yet however much the triumphalists in Washington claim this as vindication for their bungled strategy, these elections took place at the insistence of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who vetoed three schemes by the US-led occupation authorities to shelve or dilute them. By that time, moreover, Iraq had started on the road to a sectarian war that may end by sucking in its neighbours: with Shia Iran on one side and Sunni rulers terrified by the empowerment of Iraq’s Shia majority on the other.

“The policies of the US and its allies often seem contradictory, at a time when great clarity is needed. Mr Bush rightly attacked the “cultural condescension” that suggests Arabs and Muslims are unsuited to democracy nearly two years ago in a speech to the National Endowment for Democracy. More recently, and in Cairo, Condoleezza Rice, his secretary of state, announced that after 60 years of backing stability at the expense of democracy and getting neither, the US has learnt its lesson. But has it?

“The answer is vital, because the jihadis need the story of the last 60 years to continue. They need the US to keep shoring up tyranny and defending the status quo. Of course, democracy alone will not resolve the problems of the Middle East. It will, moreover, often be antithetical to short-term stability, since it is Islamist movements that are emerging as the region’s centre of political gravity. But if the west continues to collude with local despots in denying their peoples freedom, we will lose that war of ideas. The jihadis will enter the Muslim mainstream, and continue their tactics of immolation. The shared values of Islam and the west will wither.”

UPDATE: Deakin University lecturer Scott Burchill writes in this week’s Australian Financial Review:

“…as liberal commentator Anatol Lieven observed in the months before the war against Iraq in March 2003: “the classic modern strategy of an endangered right-wing oligarchy … is to divert mass discontent into nationalism.” You are either with us or against us. There is no middle ground. Of course this is also the view of the jihadists.”

3 comments ↪
  • Simon

    Of course, this ignores the big Koranic elephant in the room…ignore the religious element of it and the FT makes perfect sense. But factor in the fact that even moderate Muslims believe that the Koran is the be-all, end-all word on everything, and that everyone who's not a Muslim is in error, and things change.P.s.: http://csmonitor.com/2005/0711/p01s04-woeu.html

  • Glenn Condell

    Why does the FT hate America?And Simon, give the racism a rest eh? What do you suggest, a billion strong Muslim pogrom?

  • Antony Loewenstein

    Ignorant, racist anti-Muslim sentiment is rife, even from those who allegedly understand more than their backyard.Simon, your comments about the Koran are ignorant and nonsense. Are you claiming that those fundamentalist Christians who support Israel's plan to ethnic cleanse the Palestinians are also racist? They are, big time. Nutters inhabit all relgions…