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.

Those double standards

28 comments ↪
  • James Waterton

    Is hoolocaust denial illegal in Denmark? I haven't read that. I know it is in Germany – whilst I don't agree with this for the same reason I support the publication of the cartoons – it's perhaps arguable that Germany requires a degree of special consideration due to its history. Where else is holocaust denial illegal?

  • Iqbal Khaldun

    You may just be missing the point James.

  • Wombat

    I believe it is also illegal in Austria. Isn't that where David Irving got nabbed?

  • James Waterton

    Enlighten me with whatever you think the point is, Iqbal. Then it's time for discussion.

  • Shabadoo

    This is unbelievable. If there is one freedom the left should treasure, it should be the freedom to make fun of a religion (Life of Brian, anyone???), especially one whose most severe, intolerant adherents are anti-women, anti-gay, anti-freedom of expression, anti-just about any good time you can think of.And here you all are, rolling over, making excuses, false comparisons, and bad justifications. I swear, part of me was really hoping we could all get togther on this thing, the rest of me despairs that young clever lefties are so willing to let freedom of speech be curtailed by such a low common denominator of lunatics and embassy-torchers.Sigh.

  • JohD

    Holocaust denial is illegal in Germany, Austria, France, Italy, Poland, Israel, Canada, and is also illegal in Australia under the racial vilification law. Some guy was ordered to pull revisionist literature from his website by the Supreme court. I can dig up the reference if you want.Never mind it is here:http://www.adelaideinstitute.org/Legal/judgment27june.htmThe point is that this is not a complete list. Many countries have racial vilification laws of some sort or the other, a blatant violation of the principle of free speech. After all, it is the hallmark of a democracy that we be able to insult people with impunity. That is the argument that seems to be ascendent at present.Personally, I am heartened that Muslim's have at least decided to take action. Not only are they taking action, they are taking action over a relatively unimportant issue, are doing so in ways that displeases the masters of discourse, and doing so in a manner that threatens to undo the decades of patient building of the neo-liberal facade – free trade. I have hopes that they will tear up all those free-trade agreements that forbid the economic sanctioning of anybody not specifically sanctioned by the masters. The EU is already screaming blue murder and warning that the boycot violates fundamental free trade agreements. I expect they will get the big finger form the Muslim world. http://mensnewsdaily.com/Library/widgets/2006/02/europe-warns-saudi-arabia-against.htmlMuslims have widely differing views, and not all Muslims find it imperative to concern themselves of the war being waged against them and their religion. So many don't give it a second thought. This incident is perfect to rally Muslim solidarity. Now radical and moderate Muslims only have tactics and responses to concern themselves about, they all all convinced of the campaign against their religion. It is not about western public opinion, but opinion in the Muslim street that counts. Another hope is that Australia will be sanctioned by Muslims for trading with that monster Saddam Hussein, and providing funds for suicide bombers. Ain't hypocrisy a lark?

  • Adam Smith

    Not really the same thing, but I do agree that the truth needs no protection.

  • Adam Smith

    Not really an apt comparison but I do belive that the truth needs no alws to protect it.

  • Brian

    The leaders of British Nation Party were just tried for some "hate speech" in Scotland. They were acquitted on some charges and the jury was hung on others.While am very watchful that this party could "step over the line", so far they seem to be a just a legitimate political party. I find the prosecution troubling, based on what I know so far. Also, a party in the Netherlands was also banned for some positions that they took on immigration.Europe is in a strange place right now.

  • Brian

    Ah, I may have missed the point as well.Let just say that although holocaust denail is not the easiest speech to defend (to put it mildly), we really need to preserve as much speech as we can stand less our particular issue be the next one on the list.

  • psydoc

    It is called defamation of the dead. Just as we have defamation of the living, countries like Germany have taken a special responsibility to ensure that there is no white-washing of their own hideous history.An unflattering or inflammatory cartoon of Mohamed does not engage in any defamation. When you consider it in the context of the blatantly anti-semitic cartoons that come out of state-sponsored newspapers, you really have to wonder what all of the fuss is about.The Arab world is the one where the double standards exist. This current disgraceful episode of violence was a sinister pre-meditated series of acts designed to retaliate against the current pressure being brought against Iran.Where is all of the outrage from the left about calls to close down newspapers from the Arab world? Where is the outrage at the burning of embassies? Are Arabs against diplomacy? Should they intimidate free news sources into submission?

  • Ros

    7 European countries apparently including Switzerland. But this is a furphy. Holocaust denial is about a specific event, not freedom of speech as such. All of Europe feels shame for that horror and it seems to me reminds themselves in such acts. And it is Holocaust denial, not that the Jewish religion be held above criticism or satire or savaging. And as many like to put about, many other groups suffered as well. The holocaust was about denying people their humanity and their lives, not their sensitivities. There was once in the 20th century 18,000,000 Jews in the world and with a short period of time there were 12,000,000. It must never happen again is the very clear message from Europe and it’s position on Holocaust denial, this madness that overwhelmed them in the last century.„In the mid-1980s, German newspapers were filled with the so-called Historiker-Streit, a passionate dispute between German historians, not about whether the Holocaust occurred, but about whether it was a unique event in world history. In the end, the opinion prevailed that the Holocaust was a crime that could not be equated or even compared to the horrors of Stalin's regime in the Soviet Union.“This response from SOME muslims is about acknowledging their God and his pre-eminence in our affairs. That they equate cartoons with the murder of millions I find very disquieting. Islam is just one of many religions (or a particular kind of ideology) and does not deserve a special place in our societies. By their lack of response to the hate spewed at others who hold to different beliefs, the mainstream Muslim community has no standing here when it comes to seeking restriction of one of the fundamentals of a democratic politic. The Middle East that peddles obscenities to justify their hatred of other’s beliefs is totally without clothes.But after all they are just dhimmi.I again quote this character from the USA. His message is clear, our mores will be your mores. Jim Lehrer Hour. Ahmed Younis.And secondly, integration is the way of tomorrow. Whether its Tariq Ramadan in Europe or the American Muslim community here, to develop an identity that is germane to the country of which those individuals live and is perceived as organic and legitimate within the classical discourse of Islam, and perceived by Muslims around the world to be legitimate within the classical definitions of Islam, this is the goal of Muslim minority communities in the West.”.Integration “the action of incorporating a racial or religious group into a community”It does not mean that the western society is required to reduce it’s rights to meet the lower standards of a religious polity. He asks for a take over.

  • Ros

    Holocaust denial is illegal in Germany, Austria, France, Italy, Poland, Israel, Canada, and is also illegal in Australia under the racial vilification law”Did you read the case johd“(c) Jewish people who are offended by and challenge Holocaust denial are of limited intelligence; and (d) some Jewish people, for improper purposes, including financial gain, have exaggerated the number of Jews killed during World War II and the circumstances in which they were killed. “In case you are struggling it is not about Holocaust Denial it is about racial vilification. That is the racial discrimination laws of Australia do not make Holocaust Denial a crime, As follows“Carr J, correctly in my respectful view, has described parts of the document as "deliberately provocative and inflammatory" as "contrived to smear" Jews and as containing reference to "paint Jews in a bad light". His Honour, correctly in my respectful view, has said that the tenor of the Document was to offend and insult, amongst others, Jews.”Referencing the Adelaide Institute.”

  • Stev

    Holocaust denial is about a specific event, not freedom of speech as such.This doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. We can have freedom of speech about concepts, groups and religions, but not specific events? Yes, Holocaust denial is about a specific event, but it is 'speech' about a specific event and as such should remain 'free'.It must never happen again is the very clear message from Europe and it’s position on Holocaust denialCan one not question the authenticity of reports of an event while still holding true that such an event should not happen/happen again? How does restricting the rights of people to voice their thoughts and beliefs stop such a tragedy from happening again?That they equate cartoons with the murder of millions I find very disquieting.For all the missed points thus far, I think this is the most troubling. Although it doesn’t seem as though the point has been missed as much as it has been completely distorted. The cartoons are not equated with the murder of millions. The cartoons are compared with voicing questions about the murder of millions. The grounds for comparison is a perceived lack of consideration concerning an event/person who is held as an integral part of a social group's history.While you may not agree with the comparison, it's worth noting that it is, and always has been, a comparison and not an equation. And it's also worth noting that the comparison in question is essentially between two examples of the treatment by members outside of that social group of things held as sacrosanct for said group.I may not agree with the position of holocaust deniers, but from what I’ve read theirs seems to be an academic consideration of history rather than an attempt to make fun of Jews. Sure, there are some people who use holocaust denial to vilify Jews. But this is some, not all, and there's certainly no call to throw the baby out with the bathwater.I see the right to freedom of speech in both examples as important, but it seems to me there is more validity in honest historical question than there is in a few cartoons. Though I personally believe each are equally entitled to free speech, from that perspective the argument could be put forward that holocaust deniers are more entitled to free speech than these cartoonists.I do agree with you though that it is a stretch to align Australian racial vilification laws to laws against Holocaust denial. I think racial vilification laws could conceivable be used to silence geniune questions regarding the holocaust, but in comparison to the specific laws in European and other countries there is really no comparison.

  • James Waterton

    Still waiting for that elusive point, Iqbal.My original post was an opening salvo against the cartoon itself, which made a special effort to declare "something is rotten in the state of Denmark". This is obviously wrong – I think it's great that the Danes are at liberty to print these cartoons, and I haven't heard anything about holocaust denial being illegal there. Something clearly isn't rotten in the state of Denmark, yet the cartoon erroneously singled them out anyway.As far as the countries whose media printed the cartoons, yet ban holocaust denial – this is a hypocritical position. I believe holocaust denial should not be criminalised – free speech is a right for all, even racist morons.

  • Wombat

    I agree James,Seems a touch unecessary to go to such lengths to shut down those who denouce something if it can be proven historically.

  • Wombat

    BTW Stev,Excellent post. I do think the line about comparisons not being the same as an equation is very pertinent.

  • JohD

    Lets make something quite clear here; 'freedom of speech' is nothing but a propaganda slogan. There is no freedom of speech. It some speech is deemed to be against the law, however justified, there is no freedom of speech – period. As to just how dangerous freedom of speech is, one only has to ask; 'how many people will die for this?'. It is clear that this type of insidious propaganda(read 'free speech') is more than likely driven by an agenda. It behooves us to examine whether an agenda is at play or not. It it can be shown that it is driven by an agenda that seeks to highlight a difference between 'us' and 'them', in order to justify an attack on 'them'; charges of racial, religious and/or ideological vilification should be contemplated and applied. Thousands of Iraqi's were killed because of the vilification of an idividual – Saddam Hussein. Many people jumped on this bandwagon, on grounds that Saddam was a modern day Hitler. In the end thousands of innocent people have been killed, and millions have had their lives disrupted and their livlihoods destroyed. It is the epitome of evil to apply such utilitarian principles; that it is legitimate that some should suffer for the greter good, but it is the prevailing ethos in Western society nowadays. 'Free speech' like this is always the precursor to applying such utilitarian prinsiples – today they are irrational fanatics, tommorrow we want to feel justified for bombing them to smithereens. As far as I can tell, that is why war-crime tribunals have been set up to try radio broadcasters that painted people as 'cockroaches' and Nazi's were hung at Nuremburg for little more than being propagandists.

  • Jon

    Come on Antony. As you quite well know only a handful of countries have banned holocaust denial and there is no comparison been criticising a religion and denying the holocaust. You are simply unwilling to accept that the reaction to these cartoons by the Islamic world has been so over the top and ridiculously excessive that it brings into questions the Islamic world's commitment or lack thereof to modern values including freedom of the press. Whether an editor of a paper should publish a cartoon is for the editor to make but they should not be intimidated with hysterical violent reactions by any group from doing so.

  • James Waterton

    Johd – I barely understand your point, but what I’m getting is quite chilling. Who decides whether an agenda is at play? What’s their agenda? Who decides where to let the axe fall on what’s decided as agenda-pregnant speech?

    Personally, I believe in extreme free speech – personal responsibility is everything; “incitement” is nothing if the individual incited is of age and of sufficient mental state.

    Direct threats of violence, slander and libel are where I draw the line. I disagree that there is no comparison between criticising a religion and denying the holocaust. I strongly believe one should be able to announce to the world that they deny the holocaust – who does it really affect, apart from the PC brigade? I’m sure most Jews would treat the monosyllabic utterances of such the holocaust denying knuckledraggers with the uninterested dismissal they deserve.

    Frankly, those who argue for the right of publication of these cartoons have a clear double standard if they think that holocaust denial should be prohibited as well.

  • orang

    Seems to me this freedom of the press/expression thing has it's downside. Denmark, always been pretty "free". Remember the good old days when Danish mags were pretty risque compared to Playboy & Penthouse. WOAH Mama, they showed it all!! They seemed to take the lead in that particular free speech. Now look at it, you got a few billion porn sites on the web, anyone can access practically anything..and it's all…FREE! Must be good. However there are some who object to say, pedophiles watching naked children. Just depends on what you're sensitive about I guess.

  • JohD

    Well it should be provable in acourt of law if a deliberate agenda to incite is at play. That is why there are laws. So the answer is that people should be able to decide legally if there was a deliberate provocation. The idea that 'incitement' should not be legitimately sanctioned on grounds that people are adult is specious, there is after all the reality of a mob mentality. Free Speech carries with it obvious responsibilities. Someone standing on a street corner inciting hatred is patently not the same as someone publishing those same views in a mass produced broadsheet or tabloid. For that reason, the mass media bears more responsibility for their actions than do an individual.

  • JohD

    Stuart Pethick over at Global Research gives a good rundown on this issue. "Freedom to Express or Repress?"http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=PET20060207&articleId=1901Boy, that word verification process is a bugger when you are legally blind. It takes me at least four go's.

  • Stev

    For that reason, the mass media bears more responsibility for their actions than do an individual.They should, but very rarely do.

  • James Waterton

    Johd – Your devaluation of individual responsibility because an adult allows themselves to be swept away by (what you term) a "mob mentality" is specious.And your idea about prosecuting to discover an "agenda" is ridiculous. The courts would be backed up for decades under this farce you envisage. Who decides which agenda is permissable, and which isn't? I seldom come across a more ill-considered concept.

  • JohD

    What's the matter james, have you never heard of 'mob mentality' before? People go on a rampage for all sorts of reasons, and it is not just Muslims either. If someone is inciting a mob, they need to be prosecuted, full stop. Certainly nobody seems to object to calls to prosecute Muslim agitators, so why the objection to calls for non-Muslims who incite Muslim mobs to be prosecuted? If these cartoons were published to incite a Muslim mob, then it should be provable, and if provable, the incitement should be the subject of a prosecution. Simple. As far as I am aware, there does exist laws in Demark to prosecute on this basis.http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2006%5C02%5C08%5Cstory_8-2-2006_pg7_51Apparently, the prosecutor has decided that there is no case to answer, but the case has been apealed and there is lively legal debate as to whether a case should be brought under the blasphemy law:“Section 140, which deals with blasphemy, reads: ‘Those who publicly mock or insult the doctrines or worship of any religious community that is legal in this country, will be punished by a fine or incarceration for up to four months’.”which has not been done since 1938, or the Racial vilification law:“Section 266-B of the Danish Criminal Code says: ‘Any person who, publicly or with the intention of wider dissemination, makes a statement or imparts other information by which a group of people are threatened, insulted or degraded on account of their race, colour, national or ethnic origin, religion, or sexual inclination shall be liable to a fine or to imprisonment for any term not exceeding two years.’So, however much your thespian adherence to free speech dogma might otherwise dictate; there does exist laws that prescribe the limits of free speech, even in Denmark..

  • James Waterton

    I imagine due to the presence of superior law (perhaps even constitutional law) which cancels out specific passages you cherry pick from (what you allege is) Danish legal code. Has it ever crossed your mind that there's a reason it hasn't been touched since 1938?there does exist laws that prescribe the limits of free speechReally? Are you an expert on Danish law? Thought not. Things are usually more complicated than a couple of cheap quotes you've Googled.Anyway, when I laid out my opinions of the limits of free speech, I wasn't using Denmark as the benchmark of my ideal. Do try to follow my argument, there's a good chap.

  • James Waterton

    Incidentally, I realise that people go on "the rampage" for all kinds of reasons. The difference between you and me is that I don't try to pin responsibility on a "mob" that you seem to think is less responsible for its actions than the sum of its parts – a group of free thinking individuals that have decided to act like animals. That is mob law. A group of people who have – each and every one of them at one point in time – decided to discard the vestiges of civilisation.There should be no added defence for the damage any individual may cause simply because s/he made a concious decision to run with a mob.