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 Palmer report

The release yesterday of the Palmer report into Australia’s Immigration Department was a depressing affair. Minister Amanda Vanstone may argue that her department “gets it right most of the time”, but a long list of damaged refugees would disagree.

The Sydney Morning Herald’s David Marr neatly summarises Palmer’s findings. The Immigration Department, writes Palmer, operates “a culture in which detention of suspected unlawful non-citizens is the paramount consideration.” Furthermore, “a culture of denial and self-justification that the inquiry found to be at the heart of the problem. Rigid, narrow thinking stymies initiative and limits the ability to deal successfully with new and complex situations.”

Christine Rau, sister of wrongly imprisoned Cornelia Rau, writes of profound anger and shock but also hope that a dysfunctional Immigration Department will be restructured:

“I hope that Cornelia’s and Vivian’s legacy will be for us as a society to take a long, hard look at our immigration detention policies and explore humane alternatives. Surely this can be done without exploiting people’s fear of being overrun by hordes of ‘others’.”

A permanent stain on Australia lives and breathes through our government’s inhumane policies. Let history judge them harshly.

7 comments ↪
  • michael

    I sure wish the corporate media would stop treating Christine Rau as if she were Cornelia's appointed spokesperson. She's not even her official guardian and the fact that none of the Rau family are indicates that the family and Cornelia are not in agreement over how she should be treated.I don't know what the internal family dynamics are, but Cornelia made it plain that she didn't want to speak to family members after she had escaped from the locked ward they sent her to, been missing for many months then turned up at Baxter – only to be promptly returned to a mental hospital. After Cornelia gave her first press conference Christine was quick to delegitimise what she had said by suggesting that it revealed that she 'urgently needed treatment' rather than revealing what Cornelia wanted to say.Christine consistently returns the focus to the abuses perpetrated by DIMIA and ignores the abuses of the mental health system that seem to have most concerned her sister. This is pretty typical of family relationships affected by long term serious mental illness. Carers eventually become burned out and locked in bitter conflict with the sufferer. Eventually the family passes its unmanagable responsibilities onto institutions then wilfully blinds itself to the shortcomings of those institutions so as to absolve itself from any abuse they perpetrate on the sufferer.That's what makes carers groups so easy to capture by the mental health industry – especially the drug companies. You will find that all Australian mental health carers groups receive significant funding from the companies that make the pills used to keep their family members quietly institutionalised.Christine's comment about "discarding them onto the streets and into the jails because they are not quite acute enough to warrant proper treatment" is typical of a carer captured by the mental health industry. The fact is that there is no 'proper' treatment for schizophrenia. Antipsychotic medications can suppress some symptoms at the cost of often serious short term and long term side effects but are of benefit to only a tiny minority of sufferers. The people they do benefit are those who find it easier to run a locked ward with all the patients bombed to the eyeballs and – of course – drug company shareholders.Christine Rau is just another Fairfax hack. She has nothing particularly insightful to say about the immigration detention system and nothing but apologia to offer on the mental health industry. She does not seem privy to Cornelia's views of how she was treated and certainly does not speak for her. Its about time she was allowed to settle back to her own level of journalistic competence.

  • Antony Loewenstein

    Michael, fair enough. Hadn't really thought of the issue in this way, but will take your comments on board.

  • weezil

    Ant, there's very little that's 'fair enough' about attacking Chris Rau's journalism skills when a fully broken system of immigration detention is the issue- not Chris Rau. And BTW, Chris Rau is a damned competent writer, whether she is Cornelia's 'official spokesperson' or not. Chris is Cornelia's sister- which gives her all the right in the world to comment on the torture DIMIA inflicted on Cornelia. Ant, all I can figure is that your blood caffeine level musta been down when Michael commented… ;)-weez

  • Antony Loewenstein

    Weez,I hear you. The real issue, of course, is DIMIA. No issues there.Btw, I don't drink coffee. Or any caffeine at all.

  • Anonymous

    No caffeine? What are you, Mormon or something?

  • Antony Loewenstein

    Er, no. Just don't like the taste of any drinks with caffeine. No political statement, just my tastebuds.

  • michael

    Jeez Weezil, Chris Rau's journalism skills were about the only thing I didn't attack (unless you are suggesting that all of her recent coverage is merit based). Is excess caffeine the excuse for your reading skills?What I attacked, primarily, was the media seeking her two cents worth at every turn of Cornelia's story when she is clearly not in agreement (or in touch) with Cornelia's views on the issue. My secondary target is Christine's way of playing to her reflected celebrity – which includes trying to delegitimise Cornelia's own stated opinions in favour of her own spin.Beyond mouthing empty truisms, perhaps you would like to explain exactly why sharing parents (and working for Fairfax) automatically gives someone the right to speak on behalf of someone who refuses to talk to her and who is perfectly capable of speaking for herself.And the immigration system is a major problem that should be addressed on its own (lack of) merits – not by using a mentally ill person as a means to that end. Whether you're a dog whistling politician or a dedicated refugee activist, using vulnerable people to flog your own agenda while ignoring their stated concerns is immoral. If you actually aspire to help people, its also counterproductive.