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.

Western values through terrorism

Mustafa Malik, a Washington journalist, Daily Star, October 7:

“Human rights groups around the world are concerned that the UN resolution calling on governments to punish ‘incitement to terrorist acts’ will further stifle the voices of the oppressed, especially because the world body has failed to define what terrorism is.

“This resolution has, says Human Rights Watch executive director Kenneth Roth, ‘made it easy for abusive governments to invoke the resolution to target peaceful political opponents, impose censorship and close mosques, churches and schools.’

“The draft resolution that sought to define terrorism fell through in the UN General Assembly mainly because the United States and Britain opposed clauses that would permit “resistance against occupation” and call for the examination of the “root causes” of terrorism. America and Britain, representing the European Union, apparently were saying that if you have the guns you can not only invade and occupy countries, but should be able to rewrite political science, too.”

Australia is also currently engaged in a “terrorism” debate. The Howard government insists that new legislation is necessary to safeguard citizens against the terrorist threat. The details of the proposed laws are extreme and even some Liberals are questioning its severity. The Age’s Michelle Grattan rightly argues that the government cannot be trusted on this issue:

“It’s easy for critics to argue that opponents of the anti-terrorism laws are exaggerating their misuse. This overlooks history and human nature. This Government’s treatment of asylum seekers, and its patent disregard for the rights of [Guantanamo detainees] David Hicks and Mamdouh Habib do not encourage giving it the benefit of the doubt.”

An Australian citizen should have the right to openly and strongly oppose government policy. Being against the Howard government’s foreign policy is but one of these issues, not least the folly of the Iraq campaign. Who will define what “encouraging someone to fight for the enemy” means?

I was against the Iraq war. I was not therefore supporting Saddam or his regime. I have a sneaking suspicion that the “you’re with us or you’re with the terrorists” ideology is creeping into Australia. It should be vigorously opposed.

25 comments ↪
  • joe2

    Great post Antony. The failure to define "terrorism" both hear and abroad is scary ,to say the least. It is appropriate to remember the crackdown on dissent in Melbourne, on a sept 11, before that date became well stuck in every memory. Scott Parkin has been forgotten by most. Guess we all are asked to be a big cheering party ,while world leaders pretend that they are safeguarding democracy,at any one of their parties. Thanks for link to Harpers', Mr Fish. Just about to listen ,the editor, on Auntys', "Big Ideas".Should be a tonic.

  • Antony Loewenstein

    Thanks.The lack of true debate about these 'anti-terrorism' measures is highly disturbing. We shouldn't trust govt, ever. Or at least be sceptical about everything they say. Govts lie, that's what they do. Hardly news to many…

  • Shabadoo

    Ant, you say you shouldn't trust government, or at least be skeptical of governments, and I suddenly think you've become a reasonable man – we probably Venn diagram on this more than you think.But then I realize that you only mean don't trust some governments — you're much more willing to buy whatever spin the likes of say, Hugo Chavez, or the Palestinian "Authority", are selling.Furthermore, if you're so anti-government, why are you so in favour of the institution and expansion of large transnational quasi-governmental operations, i.e. the United Nations?

  • leftvegdrunk

    Sorry, Shab. I missed something here. Can you provide a link for the bit about Chavez?

  • Shabadoo

    Here's Ant lauding Chavez and buying his spin:'Of the top oil producing countries in the world, only one is a democracy with a president who was elected on a platform of using his nation's oil revenue to benefit the poor. The country is Venezuela. The President is Hugo Chavez. Call him "the Anti-Bush."…By buying your gasoline at Citgo, you are contributing to the billions of dollars that Venezuela's democratic government is using to provide health care, literacy and education, and subsidized food for the majority of Venezuelans'.There are other quotes (including from al-Jazeera, the one big media outfit Ant trusts) as well, but you take my point.But I'd be very interested to hear Ant's thoughts on this, especially the conflict between not trusting government nad the left's support for transnational, unelected governance. I once heard Christopher Hitchens speak, and he said that you must never trust government, ever, because a government will happily kill you at any time to maintain power.

  • joe2

    Sadly, Antony ,it seems like "the many" have not got it yet. Anyway,a great site and lurking,daily. Despite the crap you seem to endure.

  • James Waterton

    Excellent point, Shab. I'm not really convinced about Antony's anti-government utterances, either. I fail to see how one can claim to hail from the moderate left and also claim to be anti government, considering that leftists rely on governments to engineer their perfect societies. No wonder they're in a constant state of disappointment.

  • leftvegdrunk

    Some leftists, James, rely on workers – the people – not the government. You're painting with the "simple" brush again. Unsurprisingly.

  • James Waterton

    Who organises the workers, DBO? Anyway, you're referring to hardcore Marxists, by the sound of it. A confused, dying breed. They're the ones with this idea about workers owning the means of production and the state eventually withering away after the era of the dictatorship of the proletariat. The vast majority of leftists are generally in favour of more government, not less. Do you deny this, DBO?

  • Shabadoo

    Indeed.

  • Ibrahamav

    The UN has failed to pass a definition of Terrorism because the Arab nations insist that the Palestinians have the right to do anything to kill Jews in the name of the liberation that the Arab nations themselves refused to grant them.Do you expect the moral nations to allow that?

  • Wombat

    Actually this is not as straightforward as you suggest Ibrahamav.The United States is also opposed to defitinition of terrorism becasue it woud itrself be incriminate din a big way. Remember, that the US was found guilty of state sponsored terrorism over it's attack on Panama but he Internation Criminal Court. Needless yo say the US thumbed it's nose at this finding and subsequent damands to pay damages.

  • James Waterton

    No, the International Court of Justice, addamo. And let's face it – it's a court many ignore as a matter of course. Every country in the world realises that national sovereignty trumps the jurisdiction of a court like the ICJ every time. That's the problem with international law – it doesn't really exist.

  • Ibrahamav

    Indeed, the Islamic nations have banded together to add items that are not terrorism in an attempt to defang the US and allow them free rein to terrorize their own people as they have done since 700 CE.And James is correct about the ICJ.

  • Wombat

    Correction duly noted James,I do believe however that the US is truggling with a definititon of terrorism and that the Pentagon's definition differs from the of the State Department fo rhe ver yreason I mentioned. It implicates the US and it's actions.As for the International Criminal Court, I believe the Bush adminstration unsigned from it recently, because it found it could not have it's cake and east it too.Also as for your comment "That's the problem with international law – it doesn't really exist."This is not so, at least in theory. The US Constitution states that the US is bound by law to any internatinal treaties to which it signs. ie. the Geneva Conventions and the UN Charter. It has obviously transgressed elements of both. But in practice of course, this gets discarded.

  • Shabadoo

    Addamo: The US Constitution states that it is the highest law in the land, that the US Supreme Court is the highest court in the land, and that no treaties can be entered into that contravene or supercede US law … so in fact the ICJ Treaty would be immediately unconstitutional because it would be putting another legal layer on top, as it were.

  • Wombat

    yes I believe that is the case fo the ICJ, but I have seen no evidence this applies to the Geneva Conventions or the UN Charter.

  • leftvegdrunk

    James – to backtrack a little. Not more government, but better and fairer government.Dying breed? If you say so. Time will tell, as it is in the factories of Argentina and the picking fields of California, for starters.

  • Human

    Moral Nations? Name one.

  • James Waterton

    DBO: Are we talking in theory or practice? Experience has comprehensively shown the latter. I don't know of a single socialist regime that has maintained a "small government". Socialism is a weed – when it spreads through the halls of power it inevitably colonises the entire society until someone kills it off. So do some flavours of conservatism, incidentally.

  • Human

    Nope. Didn't think anyone could. At least with a straight face anyway. Peace your fellow Human

  • Ian Westmore

    I think the penguins of Antarctica are a reasonable peaceful, law abiding, lot, Human :)Seriously, I think many of the smaller countries do try to live humanly, especially the poorer ones. Unfortunately, they are often taken advantage of because of it. Being populated by humans they may not always succeed, but they do try.

  • Ibrahamav

    Human said… Moral Nations? Name one. Saudi Arabia. They rule by their god's decrees. That is the definition of a moral nation, is it not?Your morals (which are suspect anyway) are irrelevant for the purposes of this discussion.

  • Human

    No that is not the definition. Yes, I guess people who actually promote peace are suspect to you. If my morals are irrelevant why ask and continue to attack me? All you are is a person filled with such hate for humanity that you are blinded. You are a very sick person. I urge you to get professional help as soon as possible.Some links to help you <a href="http://www.mentalhealth.asn.au/http://www.mentalhealth.asn.au/<br />http://www.mentalhealthvic.org.auhttp://www.aasw.asn.auPeace. Your Fellow Human

  • James Waterton

    human : the more I see of you, the stranger you get.