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.

Enjoying death

George Bush, Tony Blair and John Howard must be so proud:

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Iraq’s al-Qaeda leader and the nation’s most wanted man, has been killed in a US air raid north of Baghdad.

The glee with which this news has been received in the West is remarkable. The Iraqi insurgency – of which al-Zarqawi’s foreign group consisted of around five per cent – will be little affected by his death. There are many to take his place. The Western media, still happy to parrot government spin on killing “terrorists”, were complicit in creating the “mastermind” tag for al-Zarqawi (today’s Sydney Morning Herald doesn’t disappoint.) He was nothing of the sort. The vast majority of murders in Iraq are carried out by US-backed, Shiite death squads.

This is the real face of Iraq:

The women of Basra have disappeared. Three years after the US-led invasion of Iraq, women’s secular freedoms – once the envy of women across the Middle East – have been snatched away because militant Islam is rising across the country.

Across Iraq, a bloody and relentless oppression of women has taken hold. Many women had their heads shaved for refusing to wear a scarf or have been stoned in the street for wearing make-up. Others have been kidnapped and murdered for crimes that are being labelled simply as “inappropriate behaviour”. The insurrection against the fragile and barely functioning state has left the country prey to extremists whose notion of freedom does not extend to women.

The death of al-Zarqawi is a symbolic blow to al-Qaeda, but little more (and why, by the way, are Western leaders so content praising the murder of “terrorists” and civilians from a great height?) Jihadist ideology isn’t about one man, or even a group. It’s a movement feeding off the discontent of occupation and invasion. An occupied people have the legitimate and legal right to resist occupation.

The death of al-Zarqawi will be as effective in killing off the insurgency as the capture of Saddam Hussein.

33 comments ↪
  • Antony

    I agree that al-Zarqawi's death is most likely a short term political victory.

    BUT

    "Shiite death squads" – Muslims killing Muslims.

    "The women of Basra have disappeared." Muslim men dictating what Muslim women wear and do.

    Leftwing Mantra – "America exists so it must be to blame" is our fundamental disagreement.

    Pete

  • Addamo

    All this will prove is how incosequential and irrelevant Zarqawi was to th einsurgency, beyond being a boogie man du jour for the occupation.

    The Bushies will now be forced to find a new figure to demonise. What to do?

    Of course, few will mention how Bush had the opportunity to take out Zarqawi before the war began, but chose to leave him in place so that his presence in Iraq could be used to strengthen the case for war.

    Also, the death is timely, seeing as it will serve as a precious distration fron the Haditha massacre.

  • Addamo

    Pete you have your facts wrong.

    Shiite death squads are US trained and US condoned. This has nothing to do with Shiites settling scores, but Rumsfeld's Salvador option. The are operating out of the Ministry of the Interior, under teh command of a Sunni general who suppressed the Shiite uprising in 1991.

    These guys are passing US military checkpoints in the middle of the night, and being allowed to do so with their large pickups.

    They serve one purpose. To convince the locals to be more scared of them than the insurgents.

  • boredinHk

    AL, this is all that it is ?

    " Jihadist ideology isn’t about one man, or even a group. It’s a movement feeding off the discontent of occupation and invasion. An occupied people have the legitimate and legal right to resist occupation. ".

    Sounds like 2 problems and I'm sure all the occupied people aren't jihadists.

  • smiths

    100% agree addamo,

    if you would like me to overwhelm you with the stories and circumstantial evidence pete i would be happy to do so

  • captain

    Oooh, I like the scare quotes aroung terrorist. Don't you think he was a terrorist Ant? Is this is the same contradictory manner that your chum Fisk said and then retracted that we created this evil man?

  • Addamo

    Zarqawi was a terrorist yes, but the byu the Pentagon's own admission, he was lionised to mythical proportions for the sake of propaghanda.

    Not to mentino that Bush decided NOT to attack Zarqawi prior to the invasion becasue his presence in Iraq helped to bolster the case for the attack. If you let a serial killer out of prison, the blood is on your hands is it not?

    So according to the Petagon, Fisk was 100% right.

  • captain

    Adduummmmboo, don't you think he helped himself but chopping people's heads off? Oh, the Pentagon must have been filming that, I forgot; thats how the conspiracy goes, right?

    Right to resist occupation? A democratically elected government who have not asked the coalition to leave is occupied how? Ant wouldn't be justifying terrorism would he?

    I wonder if the situation were transposed and Australian Aboriginals started thinking of themselves as occupied would be justified to exercise their legal right to resist i.e. to murder, kidnap and terrorise. Would this be right? Whooops, the victim would not be evil amerikkka or the jooos, so maybe not.

  • viva peace

    It seems as though even the ABC has caught on to the international joke known as Robert Fisk. He has not even been mentioned since this news broke, let alone interviewed! Unless ABC Kids has had him on Playschool! 🙂

  • viva peace

    Addamo

    The cheering Iraqis don't seem to share your view. Perhaps they, unlike you, cannot see that they are just suckers for the Zionist Islamophobic Fundamentalists Bush Occupation and Internationally Law-breaking War for Israel….

  • Ian

    "I wonder if the situation were transposed and Australian Aboriginals started thinking of themselves as occupied would be justified to exercise their legal right to resist i.e. to murder, kidnap and terrorise. "

    Given that these are in fact the tactics employed by Zionist terrorists to "reclaim" the dispossessed land of their Israelite forebears, you must consider the Aboriginals would be perfectly justified in using "murder, kidnap and terrorise" in resistance. After all their claim is even stronger, some have been dispossessed in the lifetime of the present government, not nearly 2,000 years ago!

  • orang

    captain – " A democratically elected government who have not asked the coalition to leave is occupied how? .."

    Yeah right captain. Good one . You actually believe this tripe do you?

  • captain

    Ian read a bit of history and then come back to us, ok?

    orang, the democratically elected government in Iraq does not consider itself occupied. Only far left lunatics and islamist terrorists share the views you espouse. The cheering Iraqis on learning of z's death clearly don't consider my views tripe. But what would they know?!

  • Addamo

    Yes it could be that the Shiites are unprincipled enough to be persuaded by "infidel Westerners" alone to kill their fellow Muslims.

    Naturally no other force but "Amerika" (such as the long dream of the Shiite MAJORITY for dominating Iraq) could ever be held up as a possibility…

    Shiite Iran, close across the border, also has never had an interest in Iraq…

    We English speakers only view things in terms of our English speaking cacoon.

    Pete

  • Addamo

    Pete,

    It's the other way around. Consider the main players.

    Steven Casteel is the most senior US advisor within the Interior Ministry.

    In the 1980’s and 90’s, Casteel, working for the DEA, and was deeply involved in Latin Amercia’s “drug” wars. These war serves as cover for counterinsurgency and lead to widespread paramilitarism and the growth of the death squads.

    Casteel charged Ex US Army Col. James Steele, who lead the US military in El Saldavor as the height of the civil war 1986, with creating the Interior Ministry’s Special Police Commandos.

    Stelle’s methodology was to pick the most psychopathic individuals and given them a special patch. These units inflicted the majority of the casualties in the war and the victims were mainly peasants, union members and students. Steele taught the Special Police Commandos to cultivate a frightening paramilitary image.

    While the media insists the Police Commandos have fallen into the hands of Badr, the armed wing of SCIRI, it does not explain how their commander remains the same Baathist general responsible for putting down the Shia rising in 1991.

    Nor doe it explain why the head of the Interior Ministry forces in another former Baathist general who is a Sunni also.

    The Interior Ministry is clearly not the fanatical bane of the US that the media suggests.

    We are also led to believe that the elite US trained police have taken upon themselves to conduct brutal sectarian vendettas, who are slipping away from embedded US trainers at night with their police equipment and sneaking fleets of pickups through roadblocks.

    It is clear that the thousands upon thousands of killings taking place across Iraq are the work of the death squads unleashed by the occupying powers to maintain their grip on Iraq.

    Civil war is and always has been the favored alternative should the US fail to dominate Iraq politically. The violence we currently see is an indication that the option to destroy Iraq is constantly being cultivated. What we have is the importation of ex-patriots lifted to power by the US who have been imposing a sectarian framework on the country. Iraq is not in civil war, it is under occupation.

  • Anon

    Why oh why does the world have to house idiots like Viva and Captain?

  • Addamo

    You've clearly been researching this issue. It could be as you say.

    My point is that its Iraqis who are Muslim that are killing other Mulim Iraqis in most cases.

    They should have the strength of personal, national and religious character to resist any US encouragement or at least complicity in the killings.

    It is obviously an occupation dictated by armed force. A civil war that consumes Iraq's and Iran's more aggressive energies (in the medium to long term) may be an outcome not only in Coalition interests but also in the interests of militarily weaker Arab states (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE) which might otherwise feel threated.

    So your reading of this might be right.

    Pete

  • captain

    Anon, its amazing how Islamist terrorists share your intolerant views.

    Pete, when you find yourself agreeing with Addumbo, it usually means you are a candidate for a frontal lobotomy.

  • ed squire

    Anon Jun 11th, 2006 at 2:57 pm

    Why oh why does the world have to house idiots like Viva and Captain?

    To entertain, of course! Where else (aside from the White House Press Releases) are you going to read side-splitters like this….?

    captain Jun 10th, 2006 at 9:44 pm

    the democratically elected government in Iraq does not consider itself occupied.

    Oh God, I almost hurt myself with laughter after reading that one.

  • Anon

    Captain it's amazing how every person on the planet, bar an idiot like you, shares my views. Aren't you sick of wheeling out the most extreme, insane comments everytime you visit this blog? Surely by now you'd have developed a more sophisticated and nuanced argument to further your position. An example of your idiocy:

    "captain Jun 10th, 2006 at 9:44 pm

    the democratically elected government in Iraq does not consider itself occupied."

    Can someone explain to him how the government wasn't democratically elected, that it is a puppet government, non-representative of the Iraqi people and that there IS indeed an OCCUPATION IN IRAQ just like there is an occupation in PALESTINE? Oh God why bother …..

  • Addamo

    Captain,

    The man who's idea of history and politics comes from spending time in front of a PLaystattion.

    "the democratically elected government in Iraq does not consider itself occupied."

    I have to agree with you Edward.

    Captain, if I came into your home, kicked you out, locked your family in the garage, and gave the house to my bother, who then let me stay in the guest room, I could just as easily turn around and insist that I was invited by the new ownere to stay.

    I got news for you Captain, the guinea pig in a lab is not the one who's conducting the experiment.

    Simply put, if the occupation were to withdraw today, the government would be overthrown within a week.

  • viva peace

    Christopher Hitchen's has written an excellent article of the glorious demise of this pimp.

  • viva peace
  • viva peace

    Ian

    Actually israel is not "reclaiming the dispossessed land of their Israelite forebears." Israel is a legitimate nation-state that its defending itself from tens of millions of crazed Islamofascists who have tried for the past 60 years to push all the Jews into the sea. Until they grow up and concede that they lost, things will not improve for these people.

  • Addamo

    Christopher Hitchen’s has written an excellent article of the glorious demise of this pimp.

    Poor Hitchens,

    Another piece of garbage that tries desperately to convince his readers that killing Zarqawi was worth the 2400 dead Us servicenmen, the 100 thousand plus dead Iraqis and 300 billion plus in treasure.

    Like so many of his neocon pack, Hitch used Zarqawi;s presence in Iraq as the glue to connect Saddam to Al Qaeda, and as a prized boogie man on whcih to pin the blame for just about anything that went wrong. Now he's gone, they are going to have to explain why Zarqawi's demise makes any difference whatsoever.

    Back in April, the Christian Sciene Monitor published a piece that Zarqawi was already being disowned by Al Qaeda and others were predicting that Zarqawi would soon be turned in by one of his own.

    Israel is a legitimate nation-state that its defending itself from tens of millions of crazed Islamofascists who have tried for the past 60 years to push all the Jews into the sea. Until they grow up and concede that they lost, things will not improve for these people.

    Tens of millions? Lost? Thanks Viva for proing what an idiot you are.

    The nation state to which you refere, clearly does not include the occupied territories. So I take it, you are in favor of withdrawl?

  • Addamo

    Gotta love this quote from Hitch:

    That would have catapulted Iraq into stone-age collapse, and instated a psychopathic killer as the greatest Muslim soldier since Saladin

    Cometimes oyu have to wonder if Hitch makes these grandiose historical references just becase he thinks someone ignorant of these players will be impressed. Hitch maintains that Saddam was like Stalin, only more crazy, even thought Saddam was responsible for the deaths of a fraction of the carnage that Stalin inflicted.

    Nowhere is it mentioned that Bush had the opportunityt o take out Zarqawi on more than oen occasion, before the Iraq war, but decided not to proceed, because Zarqawi's presence could be used to tie Saddam to Al Qaeda.

    If a bar tender continues to serve someone who's clearly drunk, that makes him responsible if that guy kills somene drivign home. The same can be said for Bush.

  • Ian

    Actually israel is not “reclaiming the dispossessed land of their Israelite forebears.”

    Really, thats going to be news to a lot of people, especially the Zionists!

    Israel is a legitimate nation-state

    Says who?

    The British, Americans and UN hierarchy, may have decided they have the right to steal someone elses land and give it to the descendants of a small tribe that once had a few settlements there, and despite the image people have, thats all Judea was in 70 AD, but that legitimacy is questionable.

    If you accept that a few big players had that right then you must accept they have the right to steal your land and give it away to whomever they choose to!

  • captain

    The UN seems to accept the democratically elected Iraqi government, but Ant's sycophantic bloggers know different. Obviously the true representatives are the axe wielding murderers who want to create an Islamist state.

    adummmbo, did someone forget to tell you that Saddam was self appointed? Yes he was kicked out, but his rule had no legitimacy. He had no mandate beyond muscle and terrorised Iraq for decades.

    The Iraqi government is not in a guest room but in a state of transition. This is obvious to all apart from ed (who seems have some sort of intellectual inferiority complex), anon, Ian and of course the class clown, addddummmmbooooo.

    It always amazes me how the left can defend against regime change when these despotic regimes caused so much misery and incursion on personal freedoms. The new left agenda appears to be the denigration of democracy in order to facilitate the status quo with the worst world citizens. Oh, and Israel bashing of course.

  • Addamo

    Simple minded folk like yourself Captain are easily impressed. You no doubt believe that governments and politicians don't lie.

    The Soviets used to do the same trick. Invade a country, then "elect" a new leader and insist that their troops remain at the behest of the leadership. An Islamist state would not tolerate the presence of a foreign army, much less a US occupying power.

    Saddam's rule has as much legitimacy as this one. He too held elections remember? Yes those elections were illegitimate, but then again, voters in Iraq by in large had no idea who they were voting for security reasons. You call that legitimate?

    The Iraqi government is not in a state of transition, but is unsustainable. Any legitimate leadership, transitional or otherwise, would be able stand alone, without the presence of 150,000 US troops to keep them in power.

    Only a complete moron would continue to maintain that the regime change forced upon Iraq was done for the benefit of the Iraqi people. The first thing the US did when invade was make a bee line for the oil ministry buildings, leaving everything else, including banks and government buildings, to be looted and ransacked. Iraqi’s laws were scrapped and re-written without the involvement of a single Iraqi.

    Captain Cretin forgets that the Bush administration had no intention of allowing free and open elections, but rather to install their heir apparent, con man and fraud extraordinaire, Ahmed Chalabi. It was only because Sistani organized mass demonstrations by the Shia (which the US could not affords to piss off at the time) that the US blinked and agreed to have elections at all.

    There are no personal freedoms in Iraq. People are having their homes invaded in the middle of the night by death squads or US forces. Babies and old men in wheel chairs are being shot just for being Iraqis. The residents of Ramadi are fleeing their city as we speak because the US intend forces are preparing to give it the Fallujah treatment. Who exactly is enjoying personal freedoms?

    But being he Zionist that you are, it’s obvious that this is all the Arabs deserve right? So long as Israel can rest easy now that Saddam is out of the way.

  • captain

    Addumbo, don't forget to pick up your cheque on the way out. You just can't buy that kind of propaganda!!!

  • Addamo

    Captain,

    When you next take a break and pull your head out of your arse, you might want to check the main stream news.

    But even with your head up your arse, you manage to convice all that you are indeed a moron. How ever does he do it?

  • captain

    As a typical conspiratorialist, the only information that is correct is the information that conforms to your world view. Nothing else penetrates. Any opposing information is passed of as naieve or propaganda.

    There is no point ever to argue with a conspiratorialist, only to point out the tell-tale signs: Unprovable theories, idosyncratic failure to reconcile anomalies, paranoia, hidden motives (usually involving Jews) and unique access to the truth.

    Further addddumbooo, it is obvious that US forces quickly secured the Iraqi oil, it has proven to be a major terrorist target. It remains Iraq's biggest asset and clearly it is in the Iraqi's best interest that this is protected.

    Addumbo, you can continue to engage in ad hominem attacks all you want. Whilst you have many fellow intellectually challenged paranoid islamist sympathisers here, your views are in the minority (outside of Iran).

  • Addamo

    Please list what you consider to be the inaccuracies Captain, rather than just spouting your usual bullshit.

    You are such a delusional fanatic, which is why you consider mainstream news to be conspiratorially, improvable theories, paranoia. You really think the world revolves around Jewish conspiracy theories don’t you Captain. That there are neo Nazi head hunters waiting for you in every closet, under your bed, and around every corner. And you call me delusional and paranoid?

    Everything I mentioned was reported in mainstream news.

    Further addddumbooo, it is obvious that US forces quickly secured the Iraqi oil, it has proven to be a major terrorist target.

    Before the invasion, the US had already decided how to spend the oil money remember? How easily you forget Zionazi grand poo bah, Wolfowitz , telling Congress that the war would cost 50 billion and that Iraq's oil would pay for it.

    If the US have any intention whatsoever to bring security, freedom and democracy to Iraq, they would have also secured the banks, government buildings and hospitals.

    When J Garmer, Bremmer’s predecessor arrives in Baghdad, (believing the crap about democracy and freedom), he gave a press conference talking about democracy and free and open elections. Rumsfeld got onto the phone to him immediately and told him not to unpack his bags, but take the next plane out of Iraq.

    Bremmer disbanded the military and police force. He scrapped Iraq's laws from top to bottom. He began the process to privatize all Iraq's assets, and he turned Iraq into a tariff free trade zone.

    All of which is entirely illegal under international law mind you.

    These are historical facts Captain, but it is understandable that your pee brain would so easily go into overload.

    This stuff is clearly a little too high brow for our resident village idiot.

    your views are in the minority

    A man that’s truly hilarious. Even in the US, 59% of people believe the war was a mistake. You call that a minority my mathematically challenged dufus?

    Where do you get your statistics Captain? The little voices inside your head?