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.

Getting results

Just how does the Pentagon conduct its PR exercises? It takes skill and millions of dollars in the Middle East and Central Asia to contribute to a fall in America’s international standing. Iraq, Guantanamo, Afghanistan, torture, Abu Ghraib and “rendition” may have something to do with it, as well.

Who ya gonna call? The Rendon Group is the answer.

19 comments ↪
  • Pete's Blog

    ALCountries have used PR and waged politically conscious military operations since the Trrojan wars. What else is new?The money received by Rendon is surprisingly small. You may have heard of the US Information Service, and the (CIA's) Voice of America whose budgets go into billions.Re Afganistan (specifically). How do you expect the US should have responded to having 3,000+ of its people murdered in a day? Wasn't seeking out bin Laden and international trainee terrorists in Afghanistaan a good idea? Do you expect the US to await a peace committee decision?Methinks you see the US as less than wonderful and I don't make that criticm lightly.

  • Antony Loewenstein

    Of course, govts have used PR to sell their message for ever. Nothing new there. It is, however, interesting to see how a rogue superpower tries to convince oppressed people in the Middle East that they come in peace etc, when evidence is huge to counter that view.I didn't support the Afghan invasion. And I don't see the US as a liberated nation, sorry to disappoint.

  • boredinHK

    AL, Big call on supporting the Taliban .This assumes you don't support them being attacked so what was going to happen to the Afghans who didn't agree with their rule? Please don't suggest they had to wait for an election.Did you support the Pakistani sercet services and their efforts to put the Taliban in power though?It would be difficult to condemn the US and not Pakistan.

  • Shabadoo

    Indeed…Ant, serious question: what do you think the US should have done post-9/11? The words, "thank you sir, may I have another!" come to mind…

  • Edward Mariyani-Squi

    "what do you think the US should have done post-9/11?"How about: not engage in vengeful, mildlessly inhumane and totally unnecessary invasions on behalf of a bloodlusting electorate (oh, and for a certain oil pipeline)?How about: go and get the terrorists the old fashioned ways (on-the-ground intelligence, which the US govt de-funded; 'go-in-and-grab' operations, and so on and so forth). And then bring them to an international court, try them for crimes against humanity, for all the world to see. You don't have to destroy an entire country and then install a former US oil company consultant as President to do THAT. ….Or do you?

  • Shabadoo

    Oh Gawd, the oil pipeline thing…be real, al-Edward, if the US went going around and grabbing terrorists in other countries, you and Anty and the rest of the crew would be shrieking about violations of sovereignty, illegal kidnappings, "disappearings", etc. And what international court are you suggesting they be brought up before? Something UN-based, where a vast majority of members are dictators who love to stick a thumb in the eye of the US? The crimes were committed on US soil, US federal court would be fine.Of course, it was this sort of incrementalist law-enforcement approach to fighting terror through the Clinton years (WTC 1, Khobar Towers, African embassies, USS Cole, etc etc etc) that continued to embolden the enemy, who thought the US was too weak to fight back.Also, you avoid BoredInHK's quite legitimate query re: the Taliban. Is it a case of elections for me, but not for thee?

  • Wombat

    On the contrary Shab, I think the US's inability to control the uprising in Iraq has shown them to be pretty impotent.The oil pipeline was definitely significant. The Taliban were being wooed in by Unocal. They were told that their future was a choice between a land paved with gold or paved with bombs, depending on how co-operative they woudl be with regard to the pipeline deal.Much of this ties into Dick Cheney's energy taskforce, the documents of which he has kept classified. It's well known that Enron figured prominently in that taskforce and that the vability of their recently purchased power plant in India depended on cheap gas from piped in from the Caspian sea.

  • Shabadoo

    Addamo, actually, many of the reports I see suggest that the situation with the insurgency is getting better, and that the Iraqis are more and more able to hold their own…but that's another debate…in the meantime, won't any brave soldiers of the left suggest an alternate way to handle the existence of a loathsome regime like the Taliban?

  • Wombat

    That's become a diffciult topic. The US has got itself between a rock and a hard place. With the world watching, they have to allow the Iraqi's to choose their own leadership, while risking the country descending into Sharia law.The only thing that can stop this, and keep the country from fragmenting, might be another strongman. Hardly ideal, but what's the option?

  • boredinHK

    Addamo_01, the pakistani secret service aided and supplied the Taliban. This is interference in another country and some suggest it was to exploit the afghans and use them as proxies to fight their war in Kashmir. Do you think this is acceptable ? The Taliban was also given a period of time to surrender the followers of Bin Laden to the US but chose to give them a 2 finger salute. To reply to Edward's " How about: go and get the terrorists the old fashioned ways (on-the-ground intelligence, which the US govt de-funded; 'go-in-and-grab' operations, and so on and so forth). And then bring them to an international court, try them for crimes against humanity, for all the world to see. " The Clinton era sowed this whirlwind . The use of clandestine forces had been wound back for years and it isn't surprising that some thought the US had gone soft. Big miscalculation. My last question is regarding sharia law. After the upcoming elections in Iraq if the politicians support this as a valid part of the legal system why are you concerned ? The choice is for the Iraqis to make. The war was about regime change not domestic issues and why should outsiders be concerned about this particular issue?

  • Wombat

    Boredlink,No I do not consider Pakistans conduct acceptable. This country has a lot to answer for AFAIK. Remember that the the of he Paksitan SS was in Washington the morning of 911, and it was he who arranged for US$100,000 to be wired to Attah prior to the attacks.The US's use of clandestine operations is littered with a very dark history. The legacy they left behind in South Aemrica amoutns to genocide. Clandestine activity on the name of national defense is not the same as defense of US interests, which is the way it is largely utilised.I have no personal issue with Sharia law in Iraq, though it wouldn't bode well for Iraqi unity. The Sunni and the Kurds would not accept it.

  • boredinHK

    Iraqi unity ?Just doesn't roll of the tongue does it.

  • Pete's Blog

    Terrorism is asymetric war by other means. In a situation where terrorists have pledged to fight to the death for a cause (eg by suicide bombing) shooting them first is a legitimate wartime response. They would do the same to the soldiers fighting for a state. Trials sound nice, but not in war, in a warzone.This is well understood by those who govern, of most political shades – right and left.While I think the invasion of Iraq was an unjust, oil grab, the invasion of Afghanistan was mainly to kill terrorists and in that country the US was justified.

  • Shabadoo

    Yes…while I think people can have honest disagreements about going into Iraq, Afghanistan seems a pretty open-and-shut case to me. In terms of calling terrorism asymetric war by other means, though, I worry that you give it a bit of philosophical cover – morally legitimate war seeks to minimize civilian deaths and hit military targets; terrorism specifically seeks to kill ordinary folk.

  • leftvegdrunk

    Shab, speak to a few Afghani-Aussies, mate.

  • Pete's Blog

    Shab We seem to agree about Afghanistan.But I'd say that so little war is morally legitimate that the distinction between state organised war fighting and terrorism for a cause is often blurred. Civilians are the main casualties of both.This is not to say that I see any moral equivalency concerning would-be terrorists contemplating action in Australia. ASIO etc should hunt down the bastards and, as this is not a warzone, put them on trial.

  • Wombat

    Shab,I don't know how anyone can call war morally legitimate and that it seeks to minimize civilian deaths and hit military targets; terrorism specifically seeks to kill ordinary folk.Are terms like shock and awe or crative destruction meant to be social programs of some kind?Aggressive wasr is state sponsored terrorism. The fact that we give it legitimacy goes to the heart of our sense of moral exceptionalism and sense of entitlement.

  • nick_yzf

    My understanding of the 'negotiations' that took place after the attrocity of Sep 11 is that the U.S. demanded that the Taliban hand over Osama Bin Laden. The Taliban then asked for some evidence of Osama Bin Ladens involvement in the crime. That's where the negotiations ended. Obviously the audacity of asking for evidence before handing over suspects was too much for the U.S. administration. Would the Taliban have handed him over? We'll never know as 'negotiations' never got that far. But the invasion of afghanistan was definately a success in terms of the administration being seen to be doing something and killing uncounted numbers of afghanis. What a 'just' war….

  • J F

    Anheuser Busch spent over US$500 million on advertising in 2004, with over US$50 million spent on adverstising directed at Hispanics alone. Sort of makes the money given to Rendon seem like small peanuts, now don't it?