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.

Missing a coup

John Pilger, June 22:

These days Australia likes to present itself as a helpful, generous neighbour of East Timor, after public opinion forced the government of John Howard to lead a UN peacekeeping force six years ago. East Timor is now an independent state, thanks to the courage of its people and a tenacious resistance led by the liberation movement Fretilin, which in 2001 swept to political power in the first democratic elections. In regional elections last year, 80 percent of votes went to Fretilin, led by Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri, a convinced “economic nationalist,” who opposes privatization and interference by the World Bank. A secular Muslim in a largely Roman Catholic country, he is, above all, an anti-imperialist who has stood up to the bullying demands of the Howard government for an undue share of the oil and gas spoils of the Timor Gap.

On April 28 last, a section of the East Timorese army mutinied, ostensibly over pay. An eyewitness, Australian radio reporter Maryann Keady, disclosed that American and Australian officials were involved. On May 7, Alkatiri described the riots as an attempted coup and said that “foreigners and outsiders” were trying to divide the nation. A leaked Australian Defense Force document has since revealed that Australia’s “first objective” in East Timor is to “seek access” for the Australian military so that it can exercise “influence over East Timor’s decision-making.” A Bushite “neocon” could not have put it better. 

9 comments ↪
  • Comrade Chairman

    Yes at the end of the day it is impossible for the noble East Timorese people or their leaders to shoulder substantial blame.

    You are correct. All evil orginates from Western influence.

    Yours in liberation

    Pete

  • Ian

    I respect Pilger's usually insightful exposure of the self serving and often illegal actions of the world's governments especially those who take the moral high ground, but his implication that the Timor-Leste government was elected by 80% of the people is wrong.

    The only person in ET elected by the people is the President. Alkatiri and the others were only elected (some appointed) to draft Timor-Leste's constitution, not form its government. The Australian government and the UN then decided this constitutional assembly should form TL's initial government. The people of ET were not consulted.

    Secondly, I very much doubt that the "Australian military" wants to influence decision making in TL. The Australian government may, almost certainly does, but not the military.

  • JohD

    That is rather ingeneous; saying that the only 'person' elected is Xanana Gusmao. FRETLIN won the Constituent Assembly elections by a nassive 54% against 14 other parties. Xanana won the presidential Elections, a post that requires hom to directly liase with the Indonesian people. The Constiuent Assembly is required to previde the administrative function of governement. Every indication is that FRETLIN will win the elections scheduled for 2007. All this is very much in line with democratic principles.

    You ignore that Mari Alkatiri is very much in the firing line of outside forces for his policies; which include resisting demands to commit Timor to large World Bank loans. A position that very much preserves Timor's ability to maintain it's independence. He is also opposed by Australia because of his hard-line attitude towards negotiations concerning the Timor Sea Gas reserves.

    Saying that an Australian Military presence is benign because the Military has no desire to influence the affairs of Timor is errant nonsense. The Australian Military is an arm of the Australian Government, and as such it is obvious that they dance to the Australian Government's tune. Australia was desperate to land troops in Timor, and speculation that they were behind the recent unrest is not without foundation.

    I daresay that Pilger's observations are spot-on.

  • JohD

    O further note, although Alkatari was re-elected only a month ago as Secretary General of FRETLIN, Gusmao has challenged that election on the basis it was not held by secret ballot. Gusmao has long ago resigned from FRETLIN. The protests this weekend were designed to scuttle a follow-up ballot on Saturday, which had to be postphoned because delegates were prevented from attending. The Australian press is speculating that Alkatari will be deposed, but I am nbot so sure.

    http://www.theage.com.au/news/world/protest-disru

  • pre-dawn leftist

    I have served in east Timor with the Army, have great affection for the country and its people and believe we owe them a lot, and we have a vested interest in the welfare of them and their country.

    Having said all of that, I would not be in the least surprised if what Pilger says is true. A few months ago I would have dismissed it as conspiracy nonsense claptrap – then I read "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man". The scenario Pilger describes is exactly what is described in that book.

    Most of Australias policy toward Timor Leste has historically been about oil, why would we think that has changed?

  • Addamo

    Indeed Pre-Dawn

    Confessions of an Economic Hit Man is a real eye opener. I recommend it to anyone remotely interested in what has led to the current state of play, especially in the Middle East and Latin America.

  • Ian

    That is rather ingeneous; saying that the only ‘person’ elected is Xanana Gusmao. FRETLIN won the Constituent Assembly elections by a nassive 54% against 14 other parties.

    They were elected to write ET's contitution. There was no suggestion during the campaign that the Assembly would then form the government. The people were not given a chance to either approve the contitution or vote for their representitives in a national parliament.

    If the republic model proposed by our 1998 Constitutional Convention had been automatically signed into law without a vote and the Convention members installed as the first Republic of Australia government without an election would you have considered them legitimately elected?

    Second point, some of the members of the ET Assembly were appointed by regional headmen, not elected.

    You ignore that Mari Alkatiri is very much in the firing line of outside forces for his policies;

    Maybe, but those most opposed to him appear to be the people of Timor-Leste.

    He is also opposed by Australia because of his hard-line attitude towards negotiations concerning the Timor Sea Gas reserves.

    He may have taken a hard line, but they were still robbed with Howard and Downer getting a better deal than I'm sure they expected which hardly makes Alkatiri the bogy man suggested. Fact is we can pretty much do as we wish, we effectively control TL's money supply.

    Australia was desperate to land troops in Timor, and speculation that they were behind the recent unrest is not without foundation.

    Evidence please. And what do we have to gain for our supposed desperation in getting troops there?

  • JohD

    Portuguese Gen. Assuncao Made the allegation early that Australia was desperate to land in Timor to control events – even as two Australian Troop carriers hovered off the East Timor Coast uninvited.

    This insistence that because the constitutional assembly were only elected to draw up a constitution and that it is therefore an illegitinate government is is just so much hogwash to justify another intervention by a Foreign government which is far from an uninvolved party. The election are scheduled for 2007, and it was the widely held consensus that delaying the elections until then was the sensible thing to do to allow the wounds endured through the independence process to heal.

    I do not believe that any right thinking individual today can consider a foreign intervention anything but the pure evil it represents. Clearly Gusmao has fallen for the age-old imperial trap of conquest through division. Nobody ever said that the East Timorese were not susceptable to division. It is an infant country and therefore highly vulnerable to divisive outside inflence.

    When the Australian press is baying for the removal of Alkatiri while the Asian press is reportring on the devious motives of Australia, then we can be sure everything is not as is being reported in Australia.

    Australia – Peacekeeper or Petroleum Predator?

  • JohD

    Well its seems FRETLIN has rejected Ramos Horta's attempt to sell-out and petitioned Alkatiri to remain as Prime Minister.

    Aljazeera:

    "Unanimous appeal not to Resign"

    The Age

    embattled East Timorese Prime Minister""

    Snorrt! Not difficult to see where the bullshit comes from.