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.

Ditch the myths

May the myths continue to fall:

“Australia wanted East Timor to remain an Indonesian province and the Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, lobbied Jakarta to delay a vote for independence, a report to the United Nations has found.

“East Timor’s truth and reconciliation commission has been collecting evidence from thousands of witnesses for the past three years about Indonesia’s takeover of the former Portuguese colony in 1975.

“It also makes special mention of the more recent role of Mr Downer before the vote for independence in 1999. It says he lobbied Indonesia to delay the poll because it was in Australia’s interests for East Timor to remain part of the archipelago.

“‘The commission finds that, even when [the Indonesian president B.J.] Habibie was moving towards his decision to offer the East Timorese a choice between remaining part of Indonesia and independence…[Mr] Downer made it clear that his government believed it should be several years before the East Timorese exercised their right to make that choice and that it would be preferable…if Timor-Leste remained legally part of Indonesia.'”

Dr Clinton Fernandes, author of “Reluctant Saviour“, has long known that the myth of the Howard government’s “liberation” of East Timor deserved greater scrutiny. Indeed, the government encouraged Indonesia’s brutal suppression of East Timor until the very last minute, until massive public outcry forced a change of policy.

  • Edward Mariyani-Squi

    The traditional story is that the Indo govt was dragged kicking and screaming out of East Timor. This story is very strange because it terms the traditional story on its head: that DFAT was having to lobby the highest levels of the Indo government to not walk out. It almost sounds absurd.The best explanation, I suppose, lies with the "Jakarta Lobby" in the federal bureaucracy. I always thought that because Soeharto was pretty much the linch-pin to everything in Indonesia (and the Lobby's influence derived in large part to not only the Soeharto administration but Soeharto the man), the Jakarta Lobby would loose its relevance. Obviously I thought wrong. Bizarrely, it seems as if DFAT was arguing for a position that was perfectly aligned with the Soeharto position even though Soeharto was no longer there. (It reminds me of a sci-fi movie where the computers goo on, business as usual, long after their human masters have expired.)Incidently, A.L., Scott Burchill (a good Indonesia specialist) draws an interesting parallel:"To the extent that Indonesia under Suharto became a "special case" for Australia, the Canberra-Jakarta axis parallels the Washington-Tel Aviv relationship which developed at around the same time. In both instances a small minority of highly influential people started lobbying their own government (often from within it) to protect and further the interests of another which illegally occupied adjacent land (East Timor, Palestine). The strategies of both lobbies included -* protecting each state from criticism and scrutiny (downplaying human rights violations in occupied territories (Santa Cruz, Jenin), portraying state terrorism as self-defence, silence on WMD programs, attributing atrocities orchestrated by senior state officials to middle management or "rogue elements");* exaggerating their strategic vulnerability (Indonesia's fragmentation, "tiny Israel" – armed with WMD – surrounded by hostile neighbours – conventionally armed);* providing diplomatic protection at the UN (Whitlam's visit to UN, Washington's Security Council veto);* recognising the acquisition of territory by force and denying rights to self-determination (Canberra's de jure recognition of Indonesia's occupation of East Timor, Bush's recognition of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and the denial of refugees' right of return);* portraying critics of the governments in Jakarta and Tel Aviv as being motivated by racism (anti-Indonesian, anti-Semitic); and* accepting, despite global trends heading the opposite way, the militarisation of politics as legitimate (TNI in politics, former generals as heads of Indonesian and Israeli governments, the brutality of their military in occupied territories – Aceh, West Papua, Palestine, Lebanon)."

  • boredinHK

    Edward , I have a few questions on this -Was Habibie acting as a lone, loose canon when he gave the decison for the east timorese to have a vote on independence? What might have been his motivation in changing the stance of Jakata?Apart from oil and gas ( this may render the question void ) what were the factors which were considered so important that successive Australia governments aided the colonisation of the archipeligo by the javanese? Was it cold war style fear of communism? I have never been able to understand why the ALP was so close to the Soeharto regime.If anyone can explain the pig farm investments/Keating's role and subsequent bruhaha I'd love to hear about that too!