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.

Torturing as a way of life

The US military in Iraq is young, dumb and clueless, according to a senior British officer:

“The US Army in Iraq has been accused of cultural ignorance moralistic self-righteousness, unproductive micro-management and unwarranted optimism in a magazine published by the army.

“The scathing critique of the US Army and its performance in Iraq was written by a senior British officer.

“In an article published this week in the army magazine Military Review, Brigadier Nigel Aylwin-Foster, who was deputy commander of a program to train the Iraqi military, said American officers in Iraq displayed such ‘cultural insensitivity’ that it ‘arguably amounted to institutional racism’ and may have spurred the growth of the insurgency.”

We are now discovering the way in which this “liberating” army has fought this war. Spc. Tony Lagouranis (Ret.) was a U.S. Army interrogator from 2001 to 2005, and served a tour of duty in Iraq from January 2004 to January 2005. He was stationed at Abu Ghraib then joined a task force roaming the country looking for intelligence. He recently told PBS Frontline of the “culture of abuse” throughout Iraq. It was acceptable, condoned or ignored to treat Iraqi detainees however a soldier wished:

“The worst stuff I saw was from the detaining units who would torture people in their homes. They were using things like…burns. They would smash people’s feet with the back of an axe-head. They would break bones, ribs, you know. That was serious stuff…I remember one guy who was forced to sit on an exhaust pipe on a humvee, and he had a pretty huge blister on his leg. Another guy, I don’t know what they used to burn him, his legs. He was blindfolded so he didn’t know either, but it looked like it might have been a lighter. He had some pretty big, [some] smaller blisters, but a lot of them.”

This is the true face of the Iraqi occupation.

15 comments ↪
  • Wombat

    Winning hearts and minds hey AL?And yet we keep being told to support the troops. Yes I'll support troops who conduct themselves appropriately, but it's clear this is based on a culture that made the troops believe this was acceptable behavior.All the while, the was appoologists continue to maintain that the violence in Iraq has nothign to do with the occupation.Given this climate, it wouldn't be hard to imagine a few of the victinms actually being killed if they resisted or fought back.And for those who insist that the US administers justice for wrongdoing, I would ask how many of these "bad apples" will see themselves being brought to account?

  • Antony Loewenstein

    Lagouranis explictly talks about the ways in which the Geneva Conventions were regarded as a joke and rountinely ignored. More and more Iraqis know this, suffer this and are fighting this. Hence (some aspects) of the insurgency. There is a price to pay for torturing citizens of a country.As for bringing them to account, in time, probably some. But the internet and faster communication today allows more of the world to truly see what US 'liberation' is about.

  • orang

    Hey, we DELIVER!"The worst stuff I saw was from the detaining units who would torture people in their homes. They were using things like…burns. They would smash people's feet with the back of an axe-head. They would break bones, ribs, you know….."They should franchise this, it's like Dominos pizza. I wonder if you can order a selection.(why do they hate us)

  • CB

    After reading the paper, not just the bits The Age selectively quoted, you would find that Brig Aylwin-Foster does indeed see some issues with the first use of kinetic opposition to the insurgency, when several coalition allies such as UK and AUS would more than likely have used a psychological approach.The decision by the US Army to revert to force in the majority of instances and the cultural thinking behind this decision is what the paper is about. Using this paper as evidence that the US policy in Iraq is wrong, and to bolster your case for immediate withdrawal of all troops is foolsih and definitely AGAINST the thrust of his argument.Combating counter insurgencies is a delicate art, balancing the indiscriminate use of force by the terrorists against the undermining of their cause via political means. The US Army has commanders which have successfully integrated a public image of assistance along with a military threat of force, notably the areas around Mosul and parts of western Iraq. The UK contingent with it's vast Northern Ireland experience has quite successfully kept the threat of violence to a minimum in the southern Iraq delta region, through active patrolling and continual community liasion, actions which the ADF have continued with success. It's clear that some US Army commanders don't see this as a viable method to defeat terrorism. Brig Foster goes to some lengths to detail the quite commendable work various US commanders have done, but is understandably concerned that some of their peers are failing to see the bigger picture.Not suprisingly, this issue is being commented on by those here who couldn't understand an exit strategy if it was lit up with lights.Stick to hating yourself Loewenstein. It's the only thing you're good at.

  • orang

    cb,compared to the US style anyone is "successful".Give up, we're not welcome, let's just fuck off out of there.

  • leftvegdrunk

    cb, you couldn't make your comment without a childish remark at the end, could you?As for an exit strategy, do you support the withdrawal of some US ground troops (for domestic political reasons) and an intensification (long underway) of the post-war air war? Is this the "delicate art" you are talking about? Perhaps you are referring to the My Lai strategy, or the recklessness and arrogance of last week's bombing of an Iraqi home in Baiji.Bombing things – and people – from the air has failed to stop the insurgency so far, just as it has failed in US wars of the past. What will change that? And what is fuelling that insurgency anyway?And if that isn't the exit strategy you are alluding to then what is it? Blindly supporting Washington, which, as Paul Dibb has argued, is becoming increasingly bogged down in its Middle East nightmare? Watching out for Shrub's big picture? And where is that Iraqi army, anyway? Enlighten us.You reckon Loewenstein and his readers are ignorant. Show us how you aren't, or cut the crap.

  • CB

    As long as Dibb is arguing the point, then hell, why have your own opinion?

  • leftvegdrunk

    What an excellent response, cb. More than I expected. 😉

  • Wombat

    Yeah what excellent the coalition has done, and to top it off, Dubya has decided to cut spending on recosntruction. Great news seeing as reconstruction never even got to first base, the money going to provide security instead. Until now, progress has been largely measured by rebuilding what the coalition managed tro blow up. In the end, the coalition wont even end up fixing what it detroyed.As least you gotta take your at off ot to Bush. He consistently fails upward.

  • neoleftychick

    addamoTwo free elections attended by an overwhelming majority of the population. Saddam gone. If only the rest of the Muslim world could catch up. hopefully things will speed up when israel takes out Irans nuke-making operation. 😉

  • Wombat

    Neo,For someone with intelligence, you don’t seem to want use it as often as you should. Two free elections that went where exactly? The January 2004 elections were about the Shiites voting overwhelmingly for US withdrawal and not getting their wish. The candidates were to scared to even be identified on TV. The US occupation remained. Then there were elections over a constitution that no one got to read and which proved absolutely meaningless, given that a constitution means nothing in the absence of security in Iraq. The most recent elections will result in either a fragmented Iraq (and possible Civil war) or one under theocratic rule, which pretty much means that any elections that follow with no be free, or be subject to one party rule.Yes, the rest of the Muslim world has watched and collectively rolled their eyes at the whole pathetic joke.As for Israeli’s taking out Iranian nukes, what’s the likelihood that we will be provided any evidence? If the Iranians are making nukes, it will not be using nuclear reactors, but uranium enrichment facilities deep underground. The Iranians put them deep enough to be safe from conventional bunker buster bombs, which means nuclear weapons. Great so the Israeli/US forces get to nuke Iran. Where do you think that will leave the Middle East? Do you think that Russia, who has vowed to protect Iran, will sit by the way side and do absolutely nothing?What do you think the Shiites in Iraq will do. Ignore the whole thing while they stay glued to their plasma TV’s?It’s one thing to make childish remarks about towel heads. It’s quite another to cheer on a situation you obviously don’t understand.

  • neoleftychick

    addamoI have never made claims of profound insight. But what I have shown is that at least on this site, I am the most knowledgable poster. God knows how the rest of you can be so full of self-righteousness when even I can show you up.

  • Wombat

    Noe,Bless your heart sweetie. The only thing you have demonstarted in spite of an casutric sense of humour, is that you are a prime example of how a little knowledge is a dangerous thing and that you are utetrly full of yourself.It's so easy I know, to convince yourself that you are knowledgeable when you obsessess with only one side of a complexed issue.Even in the areas you consider yourself knowledgeable, your arguments have been demonstrably disected. Evidenced by the fat that you quickly turn from an impassioned debater into a feral cat as soon as holes start being picked in your flawed raional.Then again, maybe your just being sarcastic and I am completely underestimating you.

  • leftvegdrunk

    Neo: "But what I have shown is that at least on this site, I am the most knowledgable poster."Not to mention the most humble.

  • Wombat

    I like this bit:"I have never made claims of profound insight. But what I have shown is that at least on this site, I am the most knowledgable poster."Talk about a contraditction in terms. How does one manage to possess such a wealth of knowledge, and yet continue to lack insight at the same time?Iraq has sent one clear message to the rest of the Middle East. Failure to develop nuclear arms is an invitation for the U.S. to engage in a little "regime change."As for the elections being some panacea, how about a reality check? After every "milestone," from the killing of Saddam Hussein's sons and the capture of Saddam himself through the "handing over" of sovereignty and various elections, things have only gotten worse. Remind me why it should be different this time?Knowledge is no guard against stupidity.