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.

Some questions about Oil-for-Food

While the oil-for-food scandal continues to gather victims in Australia and the mainstream media challenges the Howard government, numerous questions remain. Not least is wider investigation of Western complicity in the oil-for-food scandal. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis died as a direct result of UN-led sanctions. Denis Halliday, the UN’s humanitarian coordinator in Iraq in 1996, has said the following:

“Washington, and to a lesser extent London, have deliberately played games through the Sanctions Committee with this programme for years – it’s a deliberate ploy…That’s why I’ve been using the word ‘genocide’, because this is a deliberate policy to destroy the people of Iraq. I’m afraid I have no other view at this late stage.”

Halliday later resigned from his post in disgust. Hans von Sponeck, Halliday’s successor as UN humanitarian coordinator, also resigned for similar reasons. The pair wrote in the Guardian in 2001:

“The death of some 5-6,000 children a month is mostly due to contaminated water, lack of medicines and malnutrition. The US and UK governments’ delayed clearance of equipment and materials is responsible for this tragedy, not Baghdad”.

The West, not Saddam, was principally responsible for the human calamity, but such truths have been largely buried in the Western media. Australia may have only played a relatively minor role in the scandal, but was clearly complicit, with the US and UK, in punishing the Iraqi people. No such questions have been placed at the feet of John Howard or his government during recent times. The media prefers to talk merely of corruption, rather than dead Iraqi men, women and children.

Many more questions remain about the current AWB scandal. Weren’t the best and brightest of Australia’s intelligence agencies tasked to watch for and prevent funds being secretly sent to Iraq to fund the heinous Hussein regime? That’s quite an “intelligence failure”. And, as Iraq was then “believed” to be supporting Al Qaeda, did no-one think to try to stop the cash being handed over?

Many sycophant terrorologists say that Al Qaeda has provided support to Jemah Islamiyah. Does this not allow under the Howard government’s gaze for AWB funds to have travelled to Saddam then to Al Qaeda then to JI then to Bali to kill Australian tourists?

Where was ASIO, and in Iraq, also ASIS? Did they report back what they found? How was their advice handled by the government? If the intelligence agencies’ prime loyalty is for the Australian public, not the government of the day, why did not one of them think to leak these matters?

Didn’t the AFP ever consider telling Iraqi police what was going on so that they could make some headline-grabbing arrests at the airport as the cash was being smuggled in?

And remember that ASIS informed the US that an Australian company was selling aluminium tubes to Iraq in 2003, ensuring they were interdicted enroute in Jordan. So why did ASIS not detect and stop the 300 million getting to Saddam?

This raises a matter which could be at the stinking heart of this scandal. Ask this question – if the intelligence agencies were so politicised in the run up to the Iraq war, were they incorporated into the Australian effort to use bribes to sell wheat to Iraq? We know that ASIS is regularly involved in “backing” Australian trade efforts overseas. Could the very large ASIS station at the Australian embassy have been involved? Where any ASIS agents embedded inside AWB?

Is Australia going to call upon its Anglo-Saxon blood ties to the US intelligence agencies to help Howard get out of this one?

And if big bags of US cash were being transferred around by AWB, did any of it get diverted into other projects? Australia’s own “IranContragate”?

(Thanks to a fellow journalist for thoughts on this story.)

5 comments ↪
  • Progressive Atheist

    What is the penalty for treason in this country?

  • JohD

    Howard seriously believed that Saddam Hussien was providing financial support for al Queeda. He claims he was deceived by faulty intelligence, but he genuinely believed that at the time. He also believed that al-Queeda was providing logistical and financial support for Jemah Islamiyah. If it is shown that Howard knew about these payments, then we have to conclude that Howard knowingly contributed funds to terrorist to kill Australians.

  • orang

    C'mon now. Nothing will come out of this. The Coleman guy in the US, after ensuring his wheat groweres have got and will keep all the business, will be placated by big W (good friend of Mr Howard don't you know) and will back off the hard line stance. Which will show to us that despite the indiscretions of a few in the rough and tumble world of international trade all's well in the halls of power and we are all right Jack.

  • Wombat

    Good point Orang,Th efact that is has gone so far is probably a phoney sideshow to convince the public that Coleman and his freak show are determined to see that justice is done.

  • Progressive Atheist

    Former Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) officer Warren Reid, who worked for 10 years with ASIS in Asia and the Middle East, said it was impossible for the federal government not to have known kickbacks were being paid by AWB to Saddam Hussein's regime. <a href="http://(http://news.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=84792)(http://news.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=84792)<br />Mr Reid told ABC radio:It's absolutely impossible that they didn't know. In fact, if you look at the core part of the governmental system in Canberra, Foreign Affairs, Defence, even eavesdropping, the whole intelligence apparatus, that's geared to knowing these things. And if they didn't know, they weren't charged specifically by ministers in the government with knowing, people like (then Trade Minister) Mark Vaile, the Prime Minister (John Howard) and (Foreign Minister) Alexander Downer, then they should be shot at dawn.I guess that answers the question I asked at the top. Heh heh.