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.

Gung-ho US troops

From yesterday’s Australian:

“Australian and British military legal advisers frequently had to “red card” more trigger-happy US forces to limit civilian casualties during the invasion of Iraq in 2003, according to one of the Australian advisers.”

It’s a remarkable admission that has been ignored by the mainstream media. Colonel Mike Kelly, writing in the Australian Army Journal, “says the junior partners in the coalition forces succeeded in reducing civilian casualties and reinforcing the legitimacy of the invasion to topple Saddam Hussein.”

How the “legitimacy” of the invasion was reinforced is anybody’s guess.

Juan Cole comments:

“I think there is a problem here when professional and hard-fighting Australian and British troops routinely feel that the US military does things that are frankly illegal, and might drag them into illegality. And that this difference in attitude has political implications seems clear – the British and the Australians are chomping at the bit to get out of Iraq ASAP. It is clear that they have often felt in the past two years that American recklessness has put them needlessly at risk. Proud of their own community policing skills, when British forces were briefly moved up to Babil province (the “triangle of death”), they complained that they were going to a place that the Americans had already ruined and made dangerous. Whether it is a fair perception or not, it has consequences.”

Then there are the statements by former Australian defence force chief General Peter Cosgrove that Australia should be out of Iraq by the end of 2006. “I think we’ve got to train the Iraqis as quickly as we can”, he said, “and to a point where we take one of the focal points of terrorist motivation away, and that is foreign troops.”

Cosgrove’s words, while welcome, are too little, too late. Besides, if he was so concerned about Australian involvement in Iraq and the increased risk of a terrorist strike, he should have resigned years ago. Alas, he did not.

Australia should withdraw troops out of Iraq immediately. The argument that such a move would leave Iraq hostage to a violent future seems rather futile considering the current situation there. The Vietnam-era term, “We Had to Destroy the Village to Save It“, is sadly prescient today for the pro-war supporters, the chicken hawks and anybody who fails to understand the lessons of occupation.

5 comments ↪
  • Iqbal Khaldun

    Exactly. Cosgrove is suffering from the Robert McNamara/Malcolm Fraser disease – being outspoken after becoming politically irrelevant. What a midget.Some will say it's better than nothing. And I agree. But it's still far short of what is necessary and, certainly, what someone who was in Cosgrove's position was capable of.

  • Mike Hunt

    Cosgrove a midget? Are you suggesting the Chief of the Defence Force not follow orders from his civilian superiors and conduct his own foreign policy?That sounds a bit like a military dictatorship to me.

  • Antony Loewenstein

    Dare I suggest that Cosgrove should have resigned if he had troubles with his orders or felt his actions would contribute to Australia being a greater terror target?But, of course, as he stated on Enough Rope, he considers John Howard a good mate, and therefore felt his job came become morality. The number of military leaders who work this way is legendary, not least the various generals in the Vietnam War.

  • Ian Westmore

    Juan Cole wrote:"Besides, if he [General Cosgrove] was so concerned about Australian involvement in Iraq and the increased risk of a terrorist strike, he should have resigned years ago. Alas, he did not."I don't know what misgiving, if any, General Cosgrove had at the time regarding the invasion of Iraq fueling terrorism, but he should have had very strong misgivings about the legality of such an invasion. Misgivings that he should have conveyed firstly to the Minister of Defence, and if they were unheeded to the Governor-General. If the G-G was unwilling to act, Cosgrove should have resigned.Mike Hunt said…"Are you suggesting the Chief of the Defence Force not follow orders from his civilian superiors and conduct his own foreign policy?."If the orders from your "civilian superiors" require you to violate international law and leave you open to war crimes prosecution then yes, the Chief of Defence Force, and the other service chiefs, indeed the whole officer corp, have a duty to refuse them.Our tame media has so far pretty much ignored this – new Matilda being a notable exception, so you may not be aware that their British counterparts refused to issue the final go ahead, delaying the invasion by 4-5 days while they sought assurance from the UK Attorney-General that the invasion was legal. They eventually got it, but we now know that those assurances were seriously flawed. To quote the UK Chief of the General Staff, Gen Sir Mike Jackson "I spent a good deal of time recently in the Balkans making sure Milosevic was put behind bars. I have no intention of ending up in the next cell to him in the Hague."If you watched the Dawn Service from Gallipoli earlier this year you may have noticed that the British Chief of Defence Staff, General Sir Michael Walker was more than a little unsteady on his feet. Perhaps the above was why!Of course for us the critical question is did Gen. Cosgrove, AM Huston and Vice Admiral Ritchie have similar concerns and did they act on them. The prolonged silence suggests not!The following links provide more information:Army chiefs feared Iraq war illegal just days before starthttp://tinyurl.com/24kcsRevealed: the rush to warhttp://tinyurl.com/dhe9fNew questions about the legality of the warhttp://tinyurl.com/8rh9l

  • Vasco Pyjama

    I was wholly opposed to the Iraq War, but am not so sure what should be done now. Antony, am I right in thinking that you suggest we pull out of Iraq because we have made such a mess there that we have become a target? That our presence alone causes violence to escalate?I suppose I am just worried this might become another Somalia or Haiti or Rwanda. How do we know that withdrawl won't result in massacre of Kurds or some Shiite-Sunni war?