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.

Want to get ahead?

Former public servant, author and whistle-blower Tony Kevin tells Crikey about the new rules of the game at government departments under the Howard regime:
“We should understand the rules of the government service game – the system protects its own as long as they protect the system. That is the operating rule now, for if anyone is penalised now for professional misconduct or out of political expediency, those remaining are at greater risk because an embittered person could leak. So no-one is jettisoned, as long as they all stick to the rules of no unauthorised public comment that could even remotely be construed as expressing regrets or questioning the rules.

“What happens to those kinds of people – even the mildest of dissidents – is instructive in itself – but that is another story.

“This is how the Soviet bureaucracy worked. It is not the way the Westminster system worked or was ever supposed to work – we were supposed to have checks and balances. But we no longer have that system. We have a Soviet-style nomenclature, where the roles of politicians and administrators are indistinguishable, and blind loyalty is the performance criterion that matters above all else.”

5 comments ↪
  • joe2

    The one party state established under the guise of democracy. Farmer gets a good job in Indonesia. Rove a position on American High Court?

  • Antony Loewenstein

    Farmer may well get the gig in Indo, but he won't be loved by the locals, that's for sure. They know how Australia slammed our northern neighbour's supposed slackness with refugees…Our democracy falters again…

  • Iqbal Khaldun

    The AFP has been facilitating 'disruption' operations in Indonesia, at least since Tampa. This is something that Farmer no doubt either directly or indirectly was involved in. The Indonesians know this, and it would add to their distaste for him. According to Tony Kevin in 'A Certain Maritime Incident – the Sinking of Siev X', the AFP (or its agents) would even deal directly with local Indonesian police or officials outside their formal capacities. Viz, use a proxy like a known racketeer to bribe police who would herd up asylum seekers into sabotaged vessels, rigged to sink. The tactic was an astounding success. Hardly any asylum seeker dares travel towards Australia by boat. I know it sounds far fetched, but worth reading Kevin's book for further details.Still, Indonesia needs Australia. They are eager to wash their hands of Timor's blood and become a model Muslim/Asian republic again (so they can continue to get military and economic aid). You know, the type of neoliberal paradise that arouses Tom Friedman. So, in macro terms, I don't think Farmer will have much of an impact. Politics is a cynical game.

  • paul

    Tony Kevin is out of his tiny mind. The public service has always been politicised, never moreso than under Hawke/Keating, when I had the misfortune to eke out a dull existence in its bowels. People don't leak because it's a breach of the Crimes Act, and continues to be after they have quit/retired or been sacked.The current government has been rather easy-going with most of the ratbags who've gone public, mainly because most of what they come out with is the sort of paranoid fantasies that qualified them for "early retirement" in the first place.An acquintance of mine leaked some factual information about an individual who had been shot by the Indonesian military and was getting a snow job in the media, and was diskmissed, charged, fined and copped a six month suspended sentence.If any of these "reliable sources" came out with anything authentic, the AFP would be on them like the ABC on a Howard scandal. BTW- Hawke was the one who brought in outside appointments to the SES and 1st division, and stocked same with party hacks and apparatchiks- most of whom are the current crop of disgruntled former senior staffers. Most actual leaks come from ministers.

  • Antony Loewenstein

    Paul, you're right that the politisation of the public service started well before Howard. Keating and Hawke, indeed.There is though a difference these days. Nobody gets fired or is accountable because the ministers themselves are seemingly Teflon-proof.I've read A Certain Maritime Incident and it poses some pretty bloody disturbing questions. To be answered one day, though unlikely under a Labor or Liberal govt…