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.

We bring torture and misery

British playwright Harold Pinter has won the Nobel Prize for Literature. The following is an adaptation of a speech he delivered on winning the Wilfred Owen Award earlier this year:

“The great poet Wilfred Owen articulated the tragedy, the horror – and indeed the pity – of war in a way no other poet has. Yet we have learnt nothing. Nearly 100 years after his death the world has become more savage, more brutal, more pitiless.

“But the “free world” we are told, as embodied in the United States and Great Britain, is different to the rest of the world since our actions are dictated and sanctioned by a moral authority and a moral passion condoned by someone called God. Some people may find this difficult to comprehend but Osama Bin Laden finds it easy.

“What would Wilfred Owen make of the invasion of Iraq? A bandit act, an act of blatant state terrorism, demonstrating absolute contempt for the concept of International Law. An arbitrary military action inspired by a series of lies upon lies and gross manipulation of the media and therefore of the public. An act intended to consolidate American military and economic control of the Middle East masquerading – as a last resort (all other justifications having failed to justify themselves) – as liberation. A formidable assertion of military force responsible for the death and mutilation of thousands upon thousands of innocent people.

“An independent and totally objective account of the Iraqi civilian dead in the medical magazine The Lancet estimates that the figure approaches 100,000. But neither the US or the UK bother to count the Iraqi dead. As General Tommy Franks of US Central Command memorably said: “We don’t do body counts”.

“We have brought torture, cluster bombs, depleted uranium, innumerable acts of random murder, misery and degradation to the Iraqi people and call it ” bringing freedom and democracy to the Middle East”. But, as we all know, we have not been welcomed with the predicted flowers. What we have unleashed is a ferocious and unremitting resistance, mayhem and chaos.

“You may say at this point: what about the Iraqi elections? Well, President Bush himself answered this question when he said: “We cannot accept that there can be free democratic elections in a country under foreign military occupation”. I had to read that statement twice before I realised that he was talking about Lebanon and Syria.

“What do Bush and Blair actually see when they look at themselves in the mirror?

“I believe Wilfred Owen would share our contempt, our revulsion, our nausea and our shame at both the language and the actions of the American and British governments.”

14 comments ↪
  • Shabadoo

    Is this the same Pinter who was a big backer of the "Free Slobodan" movement? Bloody hypocrites…the left loves a strongman, so long as it's an anti-Western and anti-American strongman!

  • Pete's Blog

    No shabaLife is somewhat more complex these days.Strange exceptions, in the past, to your bland statement.Stalin was widely revered by the US government and people during WW2 (as "Uncle Joe"). Equally Mao was the darling of the US government and many in the rightwing intelligentsia in the early 70s.Name me one strongman who is popular with the Australian left these days? And we can discuss.

  • Antony Loewenstein

    The world is more complex than good vs. evil, black vs. white, noble USA vs. evil terrorists? I had no idea…

  • Pete's Blog

    Are AL But it is YOU who works to make the simple Mid East dichotomy (of Israeli vs Arab) much much too complex for our simple minds. Down the intellectuals!

  • Antony Loewenstein

    I assure you, I will continue doing so. It must be comforting for the blinkered to take intellectual cover under the American/Israel banner. The so-called terrorism debate has skewed reason beyond recognition.

  • Pete's Blog

    AL I agree with your approach. And I've never bought the Israel/US axis argument.When I referred to Israel as a "51st state" earlier on the blog I was just attempting to get a rise from bloggers – as I occasionally do – at first.I'm always aware where US and Israeli sensitivities clash. eg "During the Six Day War, launched by Israel in 1967 with American connivance, Israeli jets with their markings painted over and an Israeli torpedo boat tried to destroy the unarmed US spyship USS Liberty and its crew which had been sent unescorted close to the Sinai coast." (36 dead <a href="http://)http://www.911dossier.co.uk/is04.html)http://www.911dossier.co.uk/is04.html<br />So no worries, I'm with ya.

  • Shabadoo

    Gigolo Pete, you make my point for me: Stalin may have been an Ally in WW2, but the US government never trusted him, though there were plenty of people who "saw the future and it worked" – and they were largely of the Pinteresque lefty-intellectual class that abhored US capitalism and were looking for a new utopia — Walter Duranty of the NY Times is most famous there, of course. Mao, as well, had plenty of acolytes in the West, but as the truth came out he could hide less and less – though sympathetic journos like Edward Snow were again ready to trumpet his cause. (I just read the new Mao biography, which is fantastic, and horrifying, in the documentation of the death of 70 million + people for this one madman's aims…but of course, he remains a pop-culture/kitch icon for so many still).Strongmen who are popular with the American left: * Fidel Castro gets a regular tide of visitors from the left, and seeing him is a real pilgrimage for many in Hollywood; * Hugo Chavez, with his thugs and repression and "election" is a darling of Jimmy Carter-ites, who are all too happy to certify his ballot-box stuffing as legit;Need more?To say that because the US State Department was in love with a dictator means nothing – witness Maddy Albright's suck-ups to Kim in NK!Again and again, lefties fall in love with strongmen who 'can get things done' and remake society…always, of course, with disastrous results. But that doesn't mean they won't keep trying!

  • Pete's Blog

    OK shabaI reckon you've done your research and argued your points…well. Though you still haven't come up with a "strongman" that AUSTRALIA leftists currently admire.I put that down to we Australians not being easily fooled.To make a global generalisation the same "strongmen" are often widely admired by self proclaimed intellectuals (who tend to place themselves on the left) because such admiration is just one part of an "intellectuals" deluded outlook.That's not to say there are authentic intellectuals out there – but rare.But non-leftists also get it wrong. Hence Hitler and particularly Mussolini were widely admired by the "center" and conservatives (pre WW2) until their full agenda/atrocities became apparent. Even Marcos and Suharto were popular.The same with "weak socialists" and the "hard left" regarding the communist leaders you mentioned.I also read the Mao biog and its all the more impressive because its not written in the standard, souless, academic way.My main point is that its deluded for anybody of any political shade to admire a "strongman". But "intellectuals" (usually overseas) keep on doing it.

  • Ibrahamav

    The main problem with Pinter's speech is his connection of "free world" and "actions dictated by God"The free world is free because it's actions are controlled by the people who live in it. If they state that they are guided by a God-given morality, so be it, but it is not free because of "action dictated by God", but because of action directed by people, no matter what their moral guideline may be. And the realization that these morals do not override ethics.Muslims are very moral, but their ethics are in question.

  • Wombat

    "Hugo Chavez, with his thugs and repression and "election" is a darling of Jimmy Carter-ites, who are all too happy to certify his ballot-box stuffing as legit"Shabadoo,I'd be fascinated to see what you woudl regard as legit. The man happens to be the most democratically elected leader in the world. He managed this in spite of money pouring in from Washington to fund the campaigns of his opponents. nto to mentiothat the media in venesueal is probably more free than in most western countries.Then you have that failed coup against him that was appluaded by the US State Department.Perhaps your inclined to believe that Hosny Mubarak's election was an ideal model. Here;s a man who won a greater percentgae of a vote from an election he declared to be legitimate than the ones he admitted to rigging.as for Catro, the guy makes no pretentions abotu being democratically elected. But hen again, he can boast to having a lower infant mortality rate than the US.

  • Wombat

    "My main point is that its deluded for anybody of any political shade to admire a "strongman". But "intellectuals" (usually overseas) keep on doing it."Until the early 90's, Sadam Hussein was the darling of who exactly? What about Islam Karamoz, Jordan's King Abdullah, Hosni Mubarak, Allende?

  • leftvegdrunk

    Time and again the motive and outcomes of the invasion of Iraq are lambasted by high profile individuals, notably intellectuals. This speech is an excellent example.And given the reception to such ideas amongst the ranters and moaners of the media and the web, Pinter's speech demonstrates courage and conviction. His efforts should be applauded.Yet despite such principled and public dissent the war-mongers are without shame. This is indeed a crisis. Has non-violent protest against war finally met its match in media-military-political hegemony? Democracy, international law, a swag of world bodies – none of these things were able to stop the invasion or end the occupation. What now? It is not enough to simply sit around and wait for the military project to implode.Addamo, thanks for effortlessly cutting Shabadoo's tangental bullshit to little pieces. Shabadoo's just another abusive commenter whose ignorance is matched only by their desire to disagree with Loewenstein and their ability to cut and paste the rantings of their internet idols.

  • Antony Loewenstein

    And for the record, Pinter has never supported Milosevic, as claimed by some ignorant fools.Read on: <a href="http://jewssansfrontieres.blogspot.com/2005/10/pinters-prize.htmlhttp://jewssansfrontieres.blogspot.com/2005/10/pi… />Being against that war – as I was – was principled and proper.

  • anthony

    I've only seen small samples of Pinter's work, none of which looked particularly Nobel Prize-inspiring.Does anyone know who a few of the other candidates were?