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.

A healthy start, but…

A fascinating study by the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations:

“A new poll finds that a majority of Americans reject the idea of using military force to promote democracy. Only 35 per cent favoured using military force to overthrow dictators. Less than one in five favoured the US threatening to use military force if countries do not institute democratic reforms.

“The effort to promote democracy in Iraq is generating little enthusiasm. Seventy-four percent (including 60% of Republicans) said that the goal of overthrowing Iraq’s authoritarian government and establishing a democracy was not a good enough reason to go to war. Seventy-two percent said that the experience there has made them feel worse about the possibility of using military force to bring about democracy in the future. Sixty-four percent (65% of Republicans) are ready to accept an Iraqi constitution that does not fully meet democratic standards and once the constitution is ratified 57% want to start withdrawing troops.

“Steven Kull, director of the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) comments, ‘More broadly, most Americans do not appear to have been persuaded by President Bush’s State of the Union argument that promoting democracy is a critical means of fighting terrorism and making the world safer.'”

The results are instructive and reflect a growing unease at using American military power across the globe. However, the Iraqi invasion was never about bringing democracy to the country or the region, so the presumption of some questions was misguided. Furthermore, some respondents expressed dissatisfaction with America’s own form of democracy and their inability to shape policy in Washington.

The key message is this: even though the majority of the mainstream media – from the conservative to the more “liberal” – all accept America’s role in the world as destined to spread freedom, more people are starting to see the dangerous assumptions of many in government – and the commentariat – who always rush towards the military option. Americans view of themselves is largely distorted through the prism of their perceived importance in the world. Interestingly, many Americans will be unaware of the hatred towards them by individuals in countries supposedly “liberated” by the US.

15 comments ↪
  • Andjam

    (Actual questions asked available at currently http://www.pipa.org/ )

    John “I couldn’t justify on its own a military invasion of Iraq to change the regime” Howard seems wussy compared some of the respondents.

    28% of independents disagreed with “Democracy is the best form of government”, compared to 13% of republicans and 10% of democrats. It’s a bit surprising what would be viewed as the middle of the spectrum has stronger views than either Democrats or Republicans.

    Only 28% think nearly all countries will eventually become democracies. That seems fairly pessimistic.

    Q16: promoting democracy is more likely to be viewed as a very important foreign policy goal in September 05 than July 04.

    “Seventy-four percent (including 60% of Republicans) said that the goal of overthrowing Iraq’s authoritarian government and establishing a democracy was not a good enough reason to go to war.”

    They seemed to remove from Q42 (the question asked) “by itself”. Just a typo no doubt.

    Q44 seems to be a very “with us or against us” question.

  • Bernard

    The US goal of “using military force to promote democracy” (a contradiction in itself) is no more credible than the WMDs or ‘terror links’ excuse. Its about permanent bases and Gulf oil, and always has been.

  • Edward Mariyani-Squire

    Ibrahamav said…
    But it did show how blood thirsty Sunni Islamistism is.

    Actually, I seriously doubt it really show that at all. I suspect this is another grossly inaccurate generalisation by your good self, Ibrahim.

    There is nothing particularly ‘bloody’ about Sunni Islam. (I’m not sure what ‘Islamistism’ is, but I assume it has something to do with Islamistinianisation.) Again, take examples in the world where Sunni Islam is hegemonic – such as Turkey. I don’t think anyone would claim that Turkish society has reduced itself to a bloody rubble due to the evils of Sunni dominance. I suppose one could always say, “Ah – but the seething mass of evil bloodiness lurks deep in the Sunni heart, just waiting to explode in a spasm of bloody bloodthirstiness. It’s just a matter of getting the conditions ‘right’.” Perhaps. Let’s think of an example. I think we can agree that World War One was pretty much a living hell – perhaps more hellish than Iraq. Did the Sunni Islamic Turks become evil blood thirsty psychos, as is implied in you statement, Ibrahim? Nope. By all accounts they behaved honourably – more honourably, by some Australian accounts, than the British. Perhaps the bloodthirtiness you are observing has more to do with the psychosis of civil war than religion. I seem to remember a very similarly “bloodthirstiness” – although in outcome, worse – in Rwanda. Both Hutu’s and Tutsi’s are Christians.

    I like accuracy. It’s fun! Ibrahim, you should have some fun too.

  • ph7

    The U.S. is a capitalist economy & surely even the government must comply with the principles of capitalism & must be able to show if not a profit, then some cost justification for their actions.Does anybody know of any published figures showing an acceptable cost for the forced implementation of democracy in a foreign state?I'd like to see a breakdown of acceptable costs by — number of civilians killed/wounded/incarcerated/tortured- number of military killed/wounded- dollars- timeI believe that an invading government should abide by 'due-process' & publish a cost/benefit analysis before an aggressive attempt to implement a democracy & get approval before funds/body-counts are allocated.

  • Ibrahamav

    You are both mistaken. The whole purpose was the elimination of Saddam and the attempt to ensure another Saddam did not take his place.That required the attempt of introducing democracy.So far, it hasn't worked. Oh well.But it did show how blood thirsty Sunni Islamistism is.

  • Edward Mariyani-Squire

    Turkey isn’t bloody? Your forgetting the Armanian Genocide?

    Of course not. The reference to Turkey and WWI was obviously not simultaneously an attempt to deny ArmEnian horrors. I can’t imagine how you were able to draw such a creative and inaccurate conclusion.

    I’m saying that one can hardly extrapolate from what is happening in Iraq right now to “Sunni Muslims” in general, as if something universal is being revealed. My example was the relatively honourable – as opposed to bloodthirsty behaviour of the Turkish Sunnis during WWI. Are we on the same page now? Let’s hope so.

    Actually, your reference to the Armenian genocide (or more accurately, the attempted genocide) is also useful in making my point. Why? Well, there had never been anything remotely like this act before – and yet, amazingly (to those who are not familiar with Sunni Islam), the Turks were Sunni Muslims the whole time. One would have thought that if Sunni Islam is truly evil and bloodthirsty, the Turks would have elminated the Armenians hundreds of years before, or would have been at least attempting for their entire history. But no, not a sausage of this sort of thing. How very, very curious … or alternatively, very, very obvious if one already knew that Sunni Islam was not somehoe inherently bloodthirsty.

    The attempted genocide was, of course, a quite contextually specific event. It is no surprise that it only emerged in the Age of Nationalism, in the middle of a brutal war. That’s right: the root cause seems to have been the rise of nationalism and the subsequent divergence in the national dreams of certain members of the Turkish govt (the “Young Turks”) and the leaders of the Armenian community. (Hmmm – nationalist fervor blinding people to a nation’s human rights atrocities. Haven’t heard of that happening before. And I can’t imagine it could possibly happen in a modern democracy today. G-d forbid!)

    Look forward to your next post. I’m always impressed by your ability to be so inaccurate in so few words. I must say, the economy of your errors is very impressive.

    Kind Regards, Ed.

  • Ibrahamav

    Turkey isn't bloody? Your forgetting the Armanian Genocide?There is no Shia majority in Turkey for the Sunnis to murder.

  • leftvegdrunk

    Ibrahamav’s “oh well” with regard to the outcomes of the Iraq invasion sums up the position of the war-mongering right so neatly; “There is no doubt we are doing the right thing. A few lives have been destroyed, but oh well. The end (if it ever comes) will justify the means. And anyway, I am not amongt the dead.”

  • Ibrahamav

    Oh well?

    The means are justified by themselves. Saddam needed to go and “his” countrymen were doing nothing about it.

    Dirt seems to care less that Saddam deliberate killed 500,000 children in a PR scheme.

    Keep playing in the dirt.

  • Ibrahamav

    What is happening in Iraq, specifically, and what is happening in the rest of the world, generally, can be atributed to the terrorism generated by the SunnisSunnis seem to get their blood lust up when the 'lessers' get on their high horse and demand equality or seem to be acting against what the Sunni believes to be in his best interest. It seems this Sunni instinct to slaughter the 'other' must be aroused. If their 'superiority' is acknowledged in word and deed, they are happy.What impresses you is the least of anyones concern.

  • Nadia

    ibrahamav said "Saddam needed to go and "his" countrymen were doing nothing about it."This is just one of many insults Iraqis have to put up with since this invasion. Do you know that there were times when Saddam was told by western intelligence about planed attacks against him? The attacks failed, the people involved where tortured and killed.Iraqis from ALL backgrounds tried to get Iraq a better future under Saddam, many of them ended up in mass graves, others in prison, others learned the hard way by fear to save your life and your family’s life you better shut up when it comes to politics, and some hold on to what ever strength they could find and fled the country.You should know that I feel very insulted on behalf of all my countrymen who gave their lives for a better Iraq. And what did the western democratic countries do? They sold Saddam weapons, they gave him loans, they did business for millions of dollars; during all the time he was torturing his people but no western government complained. He was pro-west and sold them oil so they had no objections that he was a brutal dictator. Money, oil and business deals was far more important then Iraqis lives and human rights.Some argue we made a mistake and we are correcting it now, I say you are not honest at all, empty words. You don’t correct this “mistake” by sending napalm like weapons on us Iraqis; you don’t correct this “mistake” by dropping cluster bombs on us, you don’t correct this “mistake” by tortuing us, you don’t correct this "mistake" by saying its better to get the terrorist to Iraq in order for you to have your war on terror in Iraq and by it scarify us Iraqis instead of U.S folks.You don’t correct you “mistake” and act as you do in Uzbekistan now, the west is behaving in a way that makes me see it as Iraq was in the beginning of the 80:s. Don’t you think that people who loose their loves one from torture boiled to death of the Uzbekistani government are blaming western democratic countries for their support to a brutal leader, for them selling weapons, army training and business deals with their brutal terrorist governments? Or have you so blindly memorized “they hate our freedoms”? Aren’t the western democracies once again making a brutal leader more strong and powerful in using his terror? How can this be allowed when we at the same time hear Blair and Bush etc say supporting terrorism by financial and other means must be punished? Why aren’t they punishing each other then?If this hypocrisy ended and we started being honest a lot of people will be better-off!In Iraq they are even talking about giving a death penalty to anyone found guilty of such support to terrorists. Why are western democracies so blinded to the fact that they say we are against terror and at the same time using terror attacks themselves and giving support to dictators who use terror?Take a look at China, western democracies are flooding over there, investments are done with the biggest dictatorship on this planet, how is this allowed? Money, money, cut cost, business and wealth back to the west then anything is allowed. Western companies are even helping this dictatorship censoring words from the Internet, words such as human rights, freedom etc, it’s absolutely disgraceful.I fully believe that doing business with each other is good but not when one partner is a dictator government and the other partner is taking advantage of the dictatorship to become richer. This is exactly what happened in Iraq, why are we doing it again? Doing it in many other countries too? Why is the Blair government selling so huge amount of weapons for years to Saudi Arabia? Saudi Arabia is a dictatorship? When we start being honest a lot of us will be better of!

  • Ibrahamav

    I'm glad you're insulted. Now maybe you'll learn how to do things right.Then you can insult me. But until you figure it out, you're screwed.

  • leftvegdrunk

    That's a piss weak reply, Ibrahamav. Out of your depth, mate?

  • Ibrahamav

    Weak response to a sob sister whose sole complaint is the lack of credit given to the typical Iraqi rebel who attempted to overthrow saddam, only to be thwarted when the French or Russians leaked their plans?Hardly.

  • leftvegdrunk

    You’d better explain that response, Ibrahamav. Is it a reference to another blog or something?

    Sorry – I’m not taking the piss. I have no idea what you are on about.