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.

Freedom curtailed

Afghanistan is a struggling country, a faltering narco-state at the heart of the US “war on terror.” Not unlike Iraq, the country is experiencing a strong move towards politics dictated by religious extremism. Case study number one:

“An Afghan appeal court on Wednesday reduced to six months a two-year sentence handed to a women’s magazine editor convicted of blasphemy in a trial that prompted an outcry from international media groups.

“Ali Mohaqiq Nasab, editor of the Haqoq-e-Zan (Women’s Rights) monthly, was jailed in October and convicted and sentenced weeks later, with conservative Islamic clerics demanding the death penalty.

“The appeal court cut the sentence after the editor apologized for one of the articles in his magazine that questioned an Islamic law that bans conversion to another religion, a court official said.”

We can expect similar “blasphemy” charges in Iraq in the coming years as sharia law becomes the norm.

20 comments ↪
  • Wombat

    Now listen to the Violets of this world spin this blow to women's rights in Afghanistan as the fault of the war critics and critics of Israel.

  • Shabadoo

    Actually what is more interesting is that Anty on one hand recognizes the retrograde nature of political Islam (and indeed Islam has from day one been a political system) when it supports his case that Western actions in Iraq and Afghanistan have been disastrous…but when anyone points out Islam's anti-women, anti-gay, and generally anti-freedom characteristics in a different context (and I don't just mean the Violets of this world but more sober commentors as well), they get smacked down with the "R"-word,

  • violet

    Actually addamo last month a wonderful Afghani writer and poet, Nadia Anjuman, was beaten to death by her husband. Her crime? She wrote and published a book of poetry, Dark Red Flower. She left the world her book of poetry and her six-month-old daughter. Antony is a bit slow with his news updates.

  • violet

    Awards shabbydoo the Perception Awardfor this:but when anyone points out Islam's anti-women, anti-gay, and generally anti-freedom characteristics in a different context , they get smacked down with the "R"-word,and the Dud Award for this:(and I don't just mean the Violets of this world but more sober commentors as well)

  • Wombat

    Yes I can see how you can twist the argument Shab, but the issue really comes down to the hypocrisy of the West, when from an assumption of moral exceptionalism, it purports to be a champion of human rights, when in fact, it uses the slogan only when it is convenient and is just as quick to turn a blind eye to human rights violations otherwise.Afghanstan and Iraq are two examples of the US pretending to a) give a damn about the local people and b) be improving the living conditions of the locals, when it fact it has achieved or cares about neither.Like I said before, women's rights are paramount, but they do take a temporary back set when the general population is being rained 500 pound bombs. Let's stop the sanctioned murder and exploitation of these people and then we can get back to focusing on women's rights.I have a close friend who was making a documentary abtou female circumcision. She has put that on hold because she sees the himanitarian crisees in the Middle East and Sudan as more pressing. She fuly intends to reurn tot he project, but like most people, she has her priorities.As for AL's news updates Violet, I'm sure we could all produce morsels like the moving story of Nadia Anjuman. For example, you could, if you were the least bit genuine about your empathy towards women, consider the story of al-Hajjah Umm Khattab, a woman who was shot by a US soldier as he entered her home. The woman asked the officer to wait before entering so that the women in the house could put on their veils and scarves. The officer refused, and he and his troops just burst into the house by force, pushing her aside. She responded by spitting in the officer’s face and insulting him and he shot her four times in the chest, killing her instantly.No doubt you will take great comfort in the fact that there was no rape involved right Violet?

  • Pete's Blog

    AL is to be commended for not placing an anti Western spin on this story.Its simply racist and Western-centric to assume that aggression between people in the third world is always the fault of the West.In Afghanistan and Sri Lanka many third world people kill each other out of religion and as a traditional way of resolving differences.US Liberals always blame the President for Not stopping killing between third world groups. Equally the US is accused of meddling in everything.Attempt's to blame the West for everything simply make it easier for neocons to say – "Our Liberal political opponents are simply unreasonable – we don't need to listen to them because they lack credibility"

  • Wombat

    That's a fair argument Spy, but seriously, one would have to go out of their way to cite examples of where the US or the UK has not actively meddled in the affairs of other nations, particualrly when it comes to resource rich lands.The list is formidable. In the Middle East alone,vitually every country has experience some form of US intervention (overtly or otherwise). Iran was a healthy and preogressive democracy before Mossadegh was overthrown. The House of Saud exists today only because it has received unconditional support fro mthe US, as has the leadership of Jordan and Egypt.Latin America is too tragic to even consider.

  • Shabadoo

    Latin America is actually quite a mixed bag, depending on the country. For example, I wouldn't throw Costa Rica in the same boat with Nicaragua, even though they're next-door neighbours, would you? And much of the misery there (think Cuba for an ongoing example) was the result of Communism and Soviet aggression.

  • Stev

    But even if we ignore past US intervention in the region, it's worth pointing out that the Taliban was demonised (and perhaps rightly so) for the human rights abuses that occured under its rule. The US invasion of Afghanistan was justified by the removal of the Taliban. It seems most conservatives would like to pretend that everything is hunky dory in Afghanistan now that the Taliban's gone. Stories like these are worth noting because they expose that myth for what it is.I'm not saying we shouldn't try and better the lives of people in these countries. But we should recognise that even in an Islamic democracy the people tend to vote for Islamic leaders which just leads to more religious extremism.Perhaps Islam does need to change, though I can't see any realistic way for that to happen. Frankly I would be stunned if Violet really thinks that all it will take for Islam to change is for enough people to say 'this isn't right'. Religion has a history of changing and adapting, but I'm not aware of any case where a religion changed because external influences demanded it do so.I don't really know what the answer is, but I think it's important to be realistic and acknowledge that it's not simply a matter of dropping a democracy onto a nation and hey presto everything's flowers and puppy dogs.

  • Wombat

    "And much of the misery there (think Cuba for an ongoing example) was the result of Communism and Soviet aggression."Cuba was on it's way to independence before the Soviets camea along. The fact that Cuba sought to establish a relatioship with the USSR was not because of Communism so much as the fact that the US was out of the question.As for Soviet agression in Latin Aemrica, much BS needs to be sorted from reality. Reagan was notorious for his communist paranoya and who could forget his abismal foray into Grenada?

  • Clumsy Birds

    Isn't this story, in fact, an example of progress?Afghanis allowing (or perhaps I should say, forced to allow) a Women's Rights magazine, that isn’t scribbled in dirt, to be published within the country.The conservative clerics haven’t exactly ‘won’ here, with the editor being released from gaol, and this- more important- gem:Nasab's case was also brought before Afghanistan's Media Monitoring Commission, a government body, which stripped him of the title of chief editor of the magazine but recommended that the blasphemy charges be dropped.In many ways, this is an imperfect win for reformists within the country.More examples of (imperfect) victories.The above link also has a brief snippet on an Afghani Journalist attacked in Canada. That doesn’t mean that Canada is “experiencing a strong move towards politics dictated by religious extremism”Still more.Stev: it's worth pointing out that the Taliban was demonised (and perhaps rightly so)Perhaps?

  • Shabadoo

    Check your facts re: Grenada, what the Russkies were up to there, and Reagan's communist "paranoia" in general. To go back to Afghanistan, remember that under his predecessor's watch, the Soviets rolled in the tanks (as they had in an awful lot of other places in Eastern Europe and across the world).Soviet Communist expansionism was not a matter of paranoia, but a matter of reality, but Reagan saw its internal weaknesses and brought the whole rotten stinking evil edifice – yes, that's right, I said evil – down, and for that we can be forever thankful. His relationship with Thatcher during the 1980s to bring down the USSR was on a par with Churchill's relationship with FDR to bring down Naziism.

  • Stev

    Stewie: Unlike just about everyone else in this world, I don't rush to judgement on things I have no personal experience with. So yes, perhaps.

  • Clumsy Birds

    Stev, I can respect that.Although I cant help criticising your logic.I've had to personal experience with Nazi Germany- at least not firsthand- I still find that period and its supporters disgusting. Should I not rush to judge Hitler?I’ve had no personal experience travelling in the United States- I still loath the Presidential system.Etc, etc. do you see what I mean?

  • Stev

    I definitely see what you mean. And truthfully I believe that as people we judge something simply by the act of perceiving it. I just think it's important to remember that there is no such thing as an unbiased source. Can't say I blame you for your criticism, I'm sure it seems folly to avoid judging things one has no personal experience with, particularly when one has as limited personal experience as I do – I just think recognition of the possibility that we're being misled by sources is paramount.

  • Wombat

    Shabadoo said…"Check your facts re: Grenad"Grenada was about as much of a threat to the US and the region as a mozzie is to an elephant. It was to Reagan was Panama was to Bush, a chance to pick on a defenseless nation. It was an utter joke and a disgrace.Shabadoo said…"but Reagan saw its internal weaknesses and brought the whole rotten stinking evil edifice – yes, that's right, I said evil – down'Reagan was a deluded and senile fool who was living out a B grade movie in his head. Communism was imploding nicely without him.Reagan was a as much of a sock puppet as is Bush. If you want proof, one need only listen to his "ho hum, senile old me" speech he came to light. Half his administration was involved and he had no idea. The only people who still believe in the Reagan myths are the GOP, the Murdoch press and people who never took down their Rambo posters from the 80’s.

  • Wombat

    Hmm bad typr there:It should have read:Reagan was a as much of a sock puppet as is Bush. If you want proof, one need only listen to his "ho hum, senile old me" speech he made when the Inran Contra affair came to light. Reagans was abel to "saw its internal weaknesses" yet completely blind to the fact taht half his administration was involved in Iran contra and had no idea what was going on.

  • Ibrahamav

    "Afghanistan is a struggling country, a faltering narco-state at the heart of the US "war on terror." Not unlike Iraq, the country is experiencing a strong move towards politics dictated by religious extremism."The Taliban, which ruled Afghanistan previously, was not a religious extremist state?

  • Wombat

    Good point Ibraham.The democratic falsh in the pan was merely a hickup.

  • orang

    Addamo_01 said…" Reagan was a as much of a sock puppet as is Bush. If you want proof, one need only listen to his "ho hum, senile old me" speech he made when the Inran Contra affair came to light. "No no!! Lalalalalala (covers ears) I don't hear this..He brought down the evil empire!!Another Peter Sellers "Being There" character. Although a likeable sort, good humour. Unlike the current piece of sh*t. Someone had the bright idea that he give weekly talks on …RADIO. What a coup! He's so much better when you don't see his smirking face.