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.

Kick the British out

Dr Jasem al-Aqrab, head of organisation for the Iraqi Islamic party in Basra, The Guardian, February 16:

“Since April 2003, the people of Basra have consistently been bemused by reports that they and their city enjoy a state of calm and stability under the command of the British forces, in contrast to the north of Iraq and the so-called Sunni triangle. As someone born and bred in Basra, I hope that the recent images of British troops beating young Basra boys to within an inch of their lives will allow such claims to be laid to rest and show a fraction of the reality that has made life throughout Iraq a living hell.

“I share with the majority of Iraqis the belief that the only way forward is the immediate departure of American and British troops from our country. The suggestion that this would make matters worse is at best laughable and at worst a scurrilous lie. Matters cannot get any worse, and they only became this bad because of the decision by American and British leaders to wage war against a people who were already suffering.”

8 comments ↪
  • Progressive_Atheist

    It's good to hear another Iraqi voice.

    Why anyone would give credence to the Americans or British after they lied us into war is beyond me.

  • orang

    I have experienced this type of thing 1st hand and know for sure there is nothing more hated than an occupier a la the Brits who don't have the excuse of being inherently fukin stupid as in "forgive the Americans lord for they are dumb". No , the Brits have a long history in this. There's a few Iraqis who will gain financially with the occupation and will tolerate it for a while but my guess is 95% will always hate them with a passion.

  • edward squire

    An ex-Iraqi colleague of mine (who escaped Saddam's regime yonks ago) for a comment on the current situation:

    "Saddam was never as bad as this."

  • rhross

    It is not possible to win a war of occupation in the modern age because genocide, the only effective solution, is no longer allowed.

    Of course people hate those who occupy them. What beggars belief is the fact that the occupiers, the US and its allies, can't grasp this fact.

    When you add brutality, incompetence, murder, maiming, theft, corruption and a desire to steal Iraq's oil, or Palestinian land, to the equation, the hatred is magnified a thousand-fold.

    The capacity of human beings to hold two conflicting thoughts at one and the same time never fails to amaze me. America is hellbent on becoming the world's only military power for what? To protect its people. From what? From invasion and occupation of course.

    And yet it cannot understand why those who live under occupation want to be free. I'm beginning to think that beyond the venal and self serving the US is run by the insane.

    I watched Downfall last night, the brilliant German film about Hitler's last days and it was a reminder, yet again, of how evil is done by the ordinary and how the worst of things come to pass because people truly believe they are doing the best of things.

    How quickly we forget. Or maybe we never knew. Israel is an egregious example of this human capacity to fail to learn from experience…. it's all a bit depressing unless one has a sense of humour.

  • Addamo

    Rhross,

    I love this paragraph you just wrote:

    "America is hellbent on becoming the world’s only military power for what? To protect its people. From what? From invasion and occupation of course."

    I was asking myself the other day, if the US can justify using a nuke to stop a nuclear strike on it's territory, would it use a nuke to prevent or halt an invasion?

    I too watched that film, Downfall, and really enjoyed it.

    Needless to say, there were many familiar themes that are most certainly applicable today.

    I remember reading somewhere how during the Nuremberg trials, one of the survivors from the holocaust attended the trials. The man sat and watched these men on trial, looking for signs of what made them evil. I think the story goes that he broke down and had a major crisis of heart when he realized that these monsters were ordinary men, indistinguishable from any other decent people. There was no telltale sign which would alert one to the actions these people were capable of.

  • rhross

    addamo

    Yes, I liked your story about the guy at the Nuremberg trials.

    I was thinking, after watching Downfall, and it was depressing simply because these people were so ordinary …. something I had always believed anyway since my life experience has been to teach me that people are more damaged than evil and more frightened than cruel …. but, I could see how people found it easier to try to make the world black and white, good and evil, right and wrong because the sheer complexity of anything else is too challenging.

    If for example, you can accept that ordinary people do the worst of things, that evil is not personified, then you admit to the possibility that you too are capable of the worst of things and capable of great evil. By extension this necessitates accepting that one is not what one thinks one is and almost demands a closer look.

    It is this which makes people run away. They point the finger to evil in others because they are in terror of seeing it in themselves.

  • rhross

    addamo,

    I would add, circumstances pre-dispose people to monstrous acts: 'they do because they can,' and at core, it is about power.

    When people feel powerful they feel less frightened; power gives the sense that one is in control. Situations where people have power, or feel they have power, create the potential for the use of that power.

    There was a scientific study done some years ago with university students who were told they were testing the human levels of pain tolerance. They had to press a button causing ever greater levels of pain. They were not really causing pain, the subjects were actors, but they truly believed they were causing pain. The interesting thing was that almost all of the students were prepared to subject people to the most terrible agonies…. because they could. There seemed, in most, no 'cut-off' point for what they would do. The study was ultimately stopped because most people, it seemed, were prepared to cause terrible suffering because they had been told to do so

    War creates the same sort of 'empowerment' and so do tyrannies. Ordinary people 'follow orders' and find a sense of fulfillment, if not satisfaction in their power.

    There are always exceptions of course but they are not the rule and in tyrannies they end up dead anyway.

    There's a corporate adage: 'Systems drive behaviour,' and this particularly applies, in any system, where people are given power over others. Beyond the brutalities of war and Abu Ghraib you only have to look at prison systems and, in decades past, education systems and religious systems caring for children.

    The only time I ever experienced something akin to this 'sense of power,' was when I was living in India and I realised the maid was frightened of me. I had been very strict with her and in fact, the four years she was with us were problem free, but my goal had not been to make her fear me.

    Anyway, I remember this day I became aware of this fear and the feeling I had in turn that I had 'enormous power over this person.' Which I did. Clearly, even before awareness I took care not to abuse that power as so many did in India, but beyond the awareness I had an understanding I had never had before, and have not had since, of why 'power over others' is addictive.

    It was a sobering realisation but one that provided a deeper level of understanding as to how and why abuse of any kind takes place.

    It happens only when it can happen. It happens more when it is tolerated. It happens when we lose respect for the dignity and human rights of others.

  • Leo Braun

    "I remember reading somewhere how during the Nuremberg trials, one of the survivors from the holocaust attended the trials. The man sat and watched these on trial, looking for signs of what made them evil. I think the story goes that he broke down and had a major crisis of heart when he realized that these monsters were ordinary men, indistinguishable from any other decent people. There was no telltale sign which would alert one to the actions these people were capable of".

    Wrong in accordance with the wishful-thinking attitude, instead of focusing on the actual raison d'être! Detection of which, necessitates meticulous scrutiny of the bona-fide German history (prior to WWII), when on the whole, most Jew students remained conventionally Kaiser-treu, stout nationalists, who insisted that thousand years on German boden, made them into Germans of the Mosaic persuasion. Who eventually filled top echelon ranks of the Nazi hierarchy.

    Encompassing overwhelming majority of the elite Nazi officers, who outperformed each other towards the final solution, according to the Zionist prescribed recipe of the brutal coercion versus obstinate Jew lesser brethren of Europe (youngsters of whom, were prime candidates for Palestine deportation).

    Otherwise tainted with the revolutionary Marxism ambitions, regarded as anti-Zionist enemy, for their assimilationist tendency (the last straw to break the proverbial camel's back). Not that the Zionism adherents minded their Marxist ideology to propagate Israeli kibbutz movements.

    Now having exposed that, lets us to return back to the infamous Zion – Nazi generals, who appeared at Nuremberg trials. Where one of the holocaust survivors sat and watched these monsters on trial, looking for signs of what made them evil. Ultimately he broke down while having a major crisis of heart, when he realised that these evil creatures were distinguishable as Jews.