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.

Dancing with the devil

Is the leading Murdoch pro-Howard broadsheet starting to turn against him?

“John Howard says he did not know AWB was paying bribes to secure sales of wheat to Iraq. He says his ministers did not know either. And the same goes for officers of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. If it is established “in a proper legal sense” that AWB did pay bribes, Mr Howard says he will be very angry because “we frankly believed all along AWB was an organisation of complete integrity”. So that’s all right then. AWB was off on a frolic of its own, and the Government was gulled. No, it’s not.

“The more AWB officers admit to Terence Cole’s inquiry into the food-for-oil scandal, the more reason there is to wonder if the Government is gullible, duplicitous or worse. And whether ministers knew about this grubby business is perhaps the most important question the Prime Minister and his colleagues have faced in their decade in office. Australians fought Saddam Hussein’s wretched regime twice in 15 years. Proof that the Government knew, or even suspected, AWB was paying off the dictator, but did nothing to stop the bribes, would be a betrayal of the men and women who risked their lives on active service. It is hard to conceive of circumstances in which any minister so implicated could survive.”

For more on this growing scandal, see here, here, here, here and here.

When Foreign Minister Alexander Downer is forced to slam his accusers as having an “intemperate and demeaning approach to political debate”, some of the mud is clearly starting to stick. And the pressure is starting to show. The key point, lost in some of the desperate attempts to defend the Dear Leader, is that ignorance is no defence. It is virtually inconceivable that leading Howard ministers, and possibly Howard himself, were unaware of the way in which AWB – and host of other companies around the world, for that matter – are “forced” to do business in any number of countries.

Involvement in a war to “liberate” Iraq from Saddam, while at the same time turning a blind eye to providing money for that regime, is hypocrisy at best and duplicity at worst.

12 comments ↪
  • Wombat

    I noticed journalistic hoar Piers Ackerman rushign to Howards Defence last week, pretending that there was "nothing to see here". How utterly predictable.He had nothing to say at Washington's high profile dummy spit at Canberra's denial.How is it that Bush, Blair and Howard get away with selling themselves as strong descisive leaders, while all three are maters at feigning ignorance or passing tgh ebuck when the lights are turned on to their shady operations?

  • Antony Loewenstein

    That gem of an Akerman column is here:http://www.dailytelegraph.news.com.au/print/0,20285,17984513-5001032,00.htmlAfter all, without Johnny, little Piers will be awfully lonely.

  • James Waterton

    There's nothing to see in this blog post, either. You may perceive the Oz as showing bias towards Howard (although various columnists frequently lambast the government), however I think it's simply a reflection of the fact that for a number of years the opposition has been simply unelectable. So the paper's doing its job and when a real scandal pops up where real impropriety is committed, the paper comes down hard. Why is this so amazing to you? You do realise that the editorial line (and the opinions of individuals) may vary as events unfold, right?Incidentally, I'd be more than happy to see Howard take a fall for this – I'm certainly no fan of a Liberal govt headed up by someone like Howard. Trouble is, the alternative is so depressing.

  • Edward Mariyani-Squi

    "The more AWB officers admit to Terence Cole's inquiry into the food-for-oil scandal, the more reason there is to wonder if the Government is gullible, duplicitous or worse."Did the OZ have the same sceptical line for the Kids Overboard Saga and all the other Shaggy-style "It Wazn Me" scandals? It certainly looks like the beginnings of a change in tune. Of course these things have to be done gradually, otherwise plausible deniability of "taking a line" is impossible to sustain.

  • Wombat

    I totally agree James, with everything you said.My references to Ackerman is that he is a ferevent Howard appologist. But as for opposition, they are indeed a sad lot.

  • James Waterton

    What other "it wazn me" scandals are you referring to? What Simon Crean characterised as "Kids Overboard" had two very distinct sides to that story. The newspapers didn't chase the anti-govt side as hard as they might have because the whole affair was mainly driven by conjecture and anti-Howard bias. The facts of the case simply didn't provide Howard's foes with the "smoking gun" they so desperately craved, although it's hitherto sunk into leftist mythology as a great unsung scandal.Fact is, a respectable newspaper isn't going to go hanging its hat on some half cocked story like Children Overboard. However, if they smell blood (or, more appropriately, shit), they'll follow the scent. Perhaps the Oz believes there is a firm prospect of a strong paper trail leading to government impropriety regarding this issue. Before the anti-Howard types start hyperventilating, I would caution; early days still. No time to be making rash assumptions. Wait until you see the whites of their eyes.

  • Wombat

    James,I disagree with your characterisatinos of the children overboard fiasco. There were conflictring reports from the military about the validity of the claim , but there is no doutb that Howard and Crean milked the scenario for all it was worth.I remember that sfter that election victory, Howard's cabinet met for a celebrtion and as hhOward approached Crean to congratulate him, he feigned a hug, as though to say to him, "job well done".There have been a litany of smoking guns against Bush, but the media have repeatedly given him a free pass. Just because these guys get away with the crime, doesn't mean it was through lack of evidence.

  • Progressive Atheist

    I am amazed. Dr Andrew Vincent, sponsor of Antony's membership on the board of the centre for North African and Middle East Studies at Macquarie University, said on ABC midday news that the Cole enquiry should stop, because it jeopardizes Australia's ability to bargain in international trade deals, despite the fact that UN sanctions were broken. Antony, response please!

  • Antony Loewenstein

    Well, I disagree, simply put. I didn't hear Andrew's comments, but I think they miss the point. This inquiry is vital to understand the ways in which Australia does business in the world. The fact that the media has missed many of the other relevant issues – not least the human cost of appalling sanctions – doesn't change a thing.May Cole continue!

  • James Waterton

    Children overboard is a classic case of a lot of smoke (generated elsewhere) and precious little in the way of fire.And are you trying to suggest that the "scandal" was covered up by collusion between Howard and Crean?That's so ridiculous as to be laughable. What on earth did Crean get out of it?

  • Wombat

    Sorry, I'm confusing Crean with Ruddock. Been away from Oz too much. ;-)Yes I do think there was a cover up. The Howard government publicised and used the Tampa/children overboard case as a platform for their campaign. When it was revealed that there were no facts to prove the situation occured, the Howard mob stuck t their guns and the navy closed ranks.When it was subsequently raise,d teh Howard leadership just dismissed the affairt as old news.

  • James Waterton

    Re. Crean/Ruddock switcheroo – fair enough 🙂 Point is, when viewed objectively Children Overboard was far from a conclusively proven case of government malpractice.So you *think* there was a coverup – that's not going to be good enough for a broadsheet like The Australian. Like I said, conjecture and anti-Howard bias. I'm sure some journos for the Oz dug and realised they couldn't make anything stick, so they walked away. The paper – as well as other broadsheet publications who would have done the same thing – have reputations to uphold.Maybe the journos reckon they're backing a stronger horse with the Cole Inquiry, which is why they're going for the jugular.The above seems bloody obvious to me, although Ant detects pro-Howard bias in any publication that doesn't read like the Green Left Weekly.