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.

Truth and lies

Every now and then, I discover a story that makes me realise how sheltered and fearful our media has become. Never heard of Sibel Edmonds? Read on. I’ve seen no mention of this in the Australian media.

She was hired by the FBI in the days after 9/11 for translation work and stayed with the organisation for around six months. Gorilla in the Room continues:

“While at the FBI she uncovered criminal activity by certain Turkish business groups and, more interestingly, another translator within the FBI who was covering up the incriminating translations. When she attempted to expose the activity she was fired. The translator she exposed left the country shortly thereafter never to return.

“What makes the story particularly interesting is that a) she claims some of the translations are related to 9/11 and b) some high level government officials are involved in the criminal activities.”

Her story appears in next month’s Vanity Fair.

She is currently under a gag order and can only reveal snippets of the case (though more details are at her website). During an interview with Scott Horton, she revealed the type of corruption she thinks she may have uncovered:

“These people who call themselves Americans and these people are using their position, their official position within these agencies – some of them in the Department of Defense, some of them in the Department of State – and yet, what they are doing with their position, with their influence is against the United States’ national security, it’s against the best interests of its people, and that is treason.

“Be it giving information to those that are either quasi-allies – and I would underline quasi, who one day will be another al-Qaeda – and who are already are engaged in activities that are damaging to our country, its security and its interests – and that is treason. So that’s what I was referring to. And what would you call someone who, let’s say if they were to go after Douglas Feith, and if they were to establish that Douglas Feith with his access to information, willingly, intentionally used the information he had and gave it to those that would one day use it or maybe right now are using that information against the United States. Would you call that treason?”

During a recent interview on Democracy Now, Edmonds went even further:

“And what I have said all along is the fact that as far as the 9/11 is concerned, September 11 is concerned, these departments – and when I say “these departments,” the Department of Justice, the Department of State, and the Department of Defense – have intentionally blocked the investigations of real – the real criminals in this country. And we are talking about countries involved. The Vanity Fair article points out to Turkey – countries. And it’s very interesting.

“To this date, we are not hearing anything about targeting, you know, certain Central Asian countries. They are not speaking about the link between the narcotics and al Qaeda. Yes, we are hearing about them coming down on some charities as the real funds behind al Qaeda, but most of al Qaeda’s funding is not through these charity organizations. It’s through narcotics. And have you heard anything to this date, anything about these issues which we have had information since 1997? And as I would again emphasize, we are talking about countries. And they are blocking this information, and also the fact that certain officials in this country are engaged in treason against the United States and its interests and its national security, be it the Department of State or certain elected officials.”

Some of her allegations relate to Republican Senator Dennis Hastert and claims that he received Turkish bribes for political favours in Washington.

Even more disturbing is how these current allegations relate to the AIPAC spy scandal and Israel’s involvement in the Iraq war, potential Iran conflict and intelligence failures before and after 9/11. Did certain senior members of the Bush administration, such as departing Pentagon Zionist fundamentalist Doug Feith, actively disseminate false intelligence for goals against the interests of the United States and by extension, her allies?

This story still remains confusing, at best. The amount of credible information slowly emerging reveals a potential conspiracy on a vast scale.

This isn’t scare-mongering. It’s politics in the modern age.

UPDATE: Further reading would suggest the following. Edmonds argues that America is keen to make friends in its “war on terror” – and, by the way, how much, if any, does the Australian government know about this? – and cares little about who these friends are, so long as they’re obedient. Edmonds continues:

“OK, you’re looking at this region of the world that nobody is referring to in the War Against Terror. OK, you’re looking at Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhistan and Uzbekistan, and these are the countries that now we are busy establishing bases in. And a large portion of their GDP depends on narcotics. And there’s a presence, Al Qaida presence, in these countries. We don’t hear anything about Balkan countries and, again, their direct ties and their direct relevance to Al Qaida. They are not even naming these countries. The role that Pakistan played before and the role that Pakistan is playing today. So, as I said, as I have said before, there are several countries, there are several organizations, and not just say, isolate just one country or one organization.”

Her claims are similar to British writer Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed (my post about him is here.) He claims that with one hand the Americans talk tough about so-called rogue states and terrorists, while at the same time they work with countries, groups and individuals who actively campaign against their interests. Why? Perceived pragmatism, desperation for reliable intelligence and woefully short-term thinking. Central Asia and the Balkans, mentioned by both Edmonds and Ahmed, are key areas to watch.

2 comments ↪
  • Shabadoo

    This is a helluva thing, but I'm confused as to where you stand on this…after all, you don't really like America or the GWOT, and this scandal seems to be something that would hurt the US's efforts, so you should be happy about it. Of course, that it in some way involves Israel — predictably Israel's involvement in the Iraq war is the biggest 'scandal' in your eyes. I'm surprised your buddies at the Adelaide Institute haven't linked to it yet…

  • weezil

    The USA used to be a beacon in this world for fairness and democracy. Now it's not… the Sibel Edmonds case is only a small indicator. When the sweet neo-cons turned it into a plutocracy, even the biggest fans of the USA would prefer to see it twist in the wind… including her own citizens. shabadoo, go build your straw men where someone will care.