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.

Victory will never be at hand

“We understand the Americans have sided with the Shi’ites. It’s shocking. It doesn’t fit American values. They have spent so much blood and money here, only to back the creation of an Islamist state. I can’t believe that’s what the Americans really want or what the American people want.”

A secular Kurdish politician in Iraq expresses dismay at American claims of spreading democracy in Iraq. Fairfax’s embedded Washington reporter Michael Gawenda may claim that, “there are no lessons from Vietnam that apply to Iraq”, but he’s clearly been spending too much time in White House briefings. “Bush’s place in history depends on something he can call a victory and he has three years to do it.” Victory? Gawenda’s belief that “victory” is possible is laughable. What exactly does he have in mind? That Bush is still able to implement democracy in Iraq? Almost nobody believes that anymore, apart from the usual stragglers.

Back in reality land, news reports are finally giving us the perspective long denied: insurgents are taking over the country and “Coalition” forces have little or no control over large swathes and regions. Take this Guardian report from Haditha:

“A three-hour drive north from Baghdad, under the nose of an American base, it is a miniature Taliban-like state. Insurgents decide who lives and dies, which salaries get paid, what people wear, what they watch and listen to.”

Or a report in Saturday’s Washington Post:

“Shiite and Kurdish militias, often operating as part of Iraqi government security forces, have carried out a wave of abductions, assassinations and other acts of intimidation, consolidating their control over territory across northern and southern Iraq and deepening the country’s divide along ethnic and sectarian lines, according to political leaders, families of the victims, human rights activists and Iraqi officials.”

How about Robert Fisk’s latest eyewitness journalism from beyond the Green Zone:

“On Friday night, this crusader castle was bathed in its usual floodlights. I was looking up at the stars over the city when there was a dull sound and a flash of light from within the Green Zone. Somewhere not far from me, someone had launched a mortar at the illuminated fishbowl that has become the symbol of occupation for all Iraqis. Many ask what will become of it when the whole Western edifice here collapses. Some say it will become insurgent headquarters, others the next parliament. My guess is that whoever runs Iraq once the occupation collapses will turn the whole thing into a theme park. Or maybe just a museum.”

Where exactly is any good news? Now that government propagandist Arthur Chrenkoff is retiring, who will tell us dear readers about the progress of Western forces in Iraq? This person? How about this individual?

I can picture it now. Just like some still defend Vietnam as a necessary battle against rampaging communism, deluded souls will still be talking about the “glory days” of American imperialism in years to come. Of course, most of the world will treat these dangerous ideologues with appropriate disdain; there are always people under Western-led bombs.

2 comments ↪
  • Glenn Condell

    Gawenda, Joe Gutnick hagiographer and Leunig censor, is obviously a rusted on Likudnik. At least they put his manure under the word 'comment' nowadays instead of sneaking his boosterism into the news.Poor bloke; his neocon mates in Washington are still able to swing their dicks around, but he's aware he has to pull his horns in at the Herald. Turning it's educated readership into the sort of drones who believe what they read in the Tele or the Australian is a dirty job, but someone has to do it, and while he possesses the trademark relentlessness and resistance to both common sense and the historical record of his peers, he's not in the top grade, lacking the evasive skills of a William Kristol for example. Today, he wrote: 'the Vietnam war was lost because America had lost confidence in itself, because the 60s cultural revolution, of which the antiwar movement was a part, had undermined American institutions and shared values'Now it's not absolutely clear whether this is Gawenda, or Gawenda chanelling the neocons he is discussing. The blurring is probably deliberate; certainly he makes no attempt to challenge or criticise or even examine this childish and dangerous formulation. His antipathy to the baby boomer protestors by contrast is palpable.The neocons are discussed in almost admiring tones, these chickenhearted warmongers who sent other people's children off to fight their wars. The war was lost because it was WRONG Mr Gawenda; it was not a war of self-defense, it was a war of choice, a war of aggression, so there was no animating force, no unifying moral centre for it to cement a winning American effort. The soldiers, utterly ignorant of the people who's land they were destroying, largely took refuge in drugs. Underestimating the enemy didn't help either.As always, the right's dreams of conquest are to blame and it's no good telling me McNamara was a Democrat… there is no real left in America, just two wings of the War Party, backed by business. Of course, Gawenda is partly about setting us up for blaming the left again, this time for the disaster in Iraq. Cindy Sheehan will be the scapegoat in chief when it all goes pear shaped, for creating the divisons she simply gave expression to, in the continuing absence of the corporate media.As for Bush's place in history, providing most of the op-ed slots in the media of Western democracies continue to be occupied by foot soldiers of Mr Gawenda's stripe, that place is assured.History is after all written by the winners, but despite their conviction that they now create reality as well, I have a feeling reality might have a few surprises for them.

  • Antony Loewenstein

    Glenn, little more than I can add. Gawenda's column is rather pathetic but is part of an increasing number of pieces in the Fairfax press, especially the Herald, defending the war. Strange, really. They simply can't bring themselves to admit reality…