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 development we had to have

The discovery of British suicide bombers is a shocking development in the London bombings. It is, of course, the worst possible situation. To understand why a group of young, British men decided to inflict maximum damage upon their own countrymen and women is almost too hard to understand and yet we must examine how it happened. Life in Leeds goes on but will never be the same again.

Pakistani blogger Zuffar Hali explains how the London attacks affect each and every Muslim:

“A tolerant, moderate Muslim feels as threatened by these as any one not Muslim – or indeed anyone under attack. And that’s a simple fact which needs to be realized and appreciated by those readily pointing fingers in the predictable general direction of the ‘Muslim Problem’, et al.”

The Sydney Morning Herald, aka Murdoch-lite, encourages a greater military commitment to Iraq and Afghanistan and yet appears unwilling or unable to understand the concept of cause and effect. Such deployments will only increase the chances of further attacks on Western cities.

We need to understand how these British men became indoctrinated and seemingly programmed to inflict carnage on July 7, 2005. Dismissing them as mad or simply bad will not be sufficient. The rate of suicide bombings in Iraq is extraordinarily high. What is driving these men to such acts? Indeed, if some of the bombers in Iraq are foreign fighters, is their ideology similar to the London attackers? If so, why?

Australian Zionist leader Colin Rubenstein argues that Islamic terror is created solely in the Islamic world while the West has no responsibility for that region’s frustrations or anger. Rubenstein’s world is akin to Bernard Lewis (who he quotes approvingly): Western values are good, wholesome and benign, while Islamic values are twisted and perverted.

Such racism may be acceptable in the Melbourne Age but they fundamentally misunderstand the source of terror and its root causes. The London attacks must force us to look at Islamic extremism as well as our own government’s policies. They do not operate in isolation.

8 comments ↪
  • Simon

    I don't think 'Zionist' leader Rubinstein is saying Western values are benign; simply that values of democracy, freedom, limited government, etc, produce superior outcomes to despotism and dictatorship – labelling the former Western is inaccurate as Western encompasses a wide range of values and ideas, from Marx to Smith, from Aristotle to Neitsche, etc. The bigger problem is that Islam has never been able to square itself philosophically/theologically with the secular state – creating the deadly certainties of the jihadis and their sympathisers. You can't argue that the Muslim world has not fallen behind, nor can you blame that entirely on the West – there are systematic problems with the way the culture organizes itself. I don't say this to be racist, but if you keep half your population sequestered at home making babies; support leaders who whether secular or religious do not respect the rule of law and rights to life and property; and believe that the greatest thing that could ever happen is the restoration of the mythical glory days of the Caliphate (with all the social structures that entails) with everyone ruled by the will/word of Allah, you are going to fall behind.Lots of people are 'oppressed' in the world, or identify with others who are. Very few of them strap bombs on themselves and blow up innocents for glory and 72 virgins in the afterlife…(and who the hell wants 72 virgins anyway? I like my ladies with some experience! These dumb schmucks now have an eternity of springing for a really nice dinner without getting too drunk, paying for a classy hotel rooom, setting up candles around the bathtub, and awkward bad sex followed by tearful cuddling ahead of them! Hah!)

  • Anonymous

    Multiculturalism must certainly be a sick system where people who are born and bred in a country are encouraged to have no allegiance to it. No doubt these suicide bombers would describe themselves as Pakistanis not British.This same mindset could be found with the Lebanese gang rapists in Sydney. Despite being Australian born, they called themselves Lebanese and targeted Australian girls.The van Gough murderer in Holland is another example of a 'native foreigner'.It's not immigrants that are the problem, it's the children of immigrants. I wonder how long before assimilation is again considered by government as a sensible policy.

  • the young-lib brigad

    What the facts about the suicide bombers in London do is further undermine the whole 'poverty causes terrorism' school of thought. What other reasons then could be given for what they did? Was it the invasion of iraq? I dont see the connection, these kids where from pakistan, they had never been to iraq, and totally not involved with the conflict. So nationalism can't be the reason for what they did. We are left with the only available answer, fundamentalist islam. And remember we have had fundamentalist muslims carrying out terrorist attacks since the 60's.

  • Ambrose

    I would usually leave most comments to the 'keeper' but anonymous predictable tirade against 'multiculturalism' cannot be left unchallenged.So a whole policy which has allowed thousands of people to feel welcomed in Australia is 'sick' because of some bombs in London? or because some sexual criminals were of heritage which was not 'Australian' (whatever that means). If my memory serves me correctly some of the victims were also from a Non-English-Speaking Background, so where are they allocated in the scheme of things?I have some misgivings about 'multiculturalism' because I always believed was a bit of a con. Migrants are only allowed to show their culture when it is seen as 'safe' (ie. food, dance etc) other cultural traits are not encouraged if they challenge the mainstream idea of a white predominantly anglo/celtic-centric Australia. That may not be necessarily a bad thing – but let's not delude ourselves that Australia is truly 'Multicultural'.Coming back to the main point the experience of Australia in welcoming people of different cultures has been overall a success. Straw 'persons' are not going to alter this fact.

  • Antony Loewenstein

    Thank you Guido, well said. Yet another clueless 'Anon' strikes.Back to the meat pies and three veg, racist Anon…

  • doylie

    Simon, does your theory of Islamic states and secularism apply to Indonesia?Anon, does your thoery of "native foreigners" apply to Australian bushrangers?

  • Anonymous

    Meat pies and three veg. But I'm of swedish background.

  • Iqbal Khaldun

    "Lots of people are 'oppressed' in the world, or identify with others who are. Very few of them strap bombs on themselves and blow up innocents for glory and 72 virgins in the afterlife…(and who the hell wants 72 virgins anyway? (sic)"You are quite right, although perhaps not in the way you intended. I don't think the young girls trained by the Tamil Tigers or the Vietcong to blow themselves up bought into the who virgins in paradise thing. What about the flower of European youth which obediently trudge onto battlefields only to be mowed down by gattling guns?Those who commit acts of terrorism do not consider their acts of terror. They consider them acts of war, and suicide attacks merely a weapon more readily available to them than cruise missiles or other more conventional weapons. They consider civilians legitimate targets. Why would they think this way? Because powerful nations do exactly the same thing. And because violence remains the most effective immediate method of coercion. That's the story of human history, championed by Western nations.Of course an aggressor who possesses a sophisticated social set up (eg a nation state) has the luxury to have a regular army, media officers, etc. Not to mention the capacity to divest large portions of its population from the immediate focus of the violence. So, for example, after the French ethnically cleansed portions of Algeria, French settlers began creating communities on land to them might as well have been terra nullius (sound familiar? Probably not.). As we speak some of the finest scientists in the world are developing new bacteriological agents in laboratories in the US.Now none of this provides a justification for acts of terrorism. In fact we need to actively combat such justifications, somehow. But it does aide in the process of beginning to understand what's going on. At least, that's what I think. Unfortunately people like Osama bin Laden more readily understand what more sensible people like us do not. That violence will instigate a response where more passive forms of resistence will not. As Malcolm X once said, the only thing that power respects is power. Then again, the Mahatma was also fond of maxims, and once said an eye for an eye makes the world blind. That might explain why no one trusts high school debaters.The point of my rant is this. Even if we are aiming for a more benevolent world, we must first understand the language of cynacism. That process isn't helped by absolutist statements that completely avoid cause and effect, be they from the 'left' or 'right'.