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.

The real story

When the New York Times and a host of other newspapers recently published stories about the US Treasury Department’s program to covertly monitor worldwide money transfers of “terrorists”, it was a necessary and important story.

It is not the job of journalists or media companies to support any administration or governmental authority. It is certainly their duty to undermine actions that are unaccountable and possible illegal. The Bush administration is a legitimate and worthy target of contempt, and should be undermined at every opportunity.

Unsurprisingly, a number of extremists are claiming the Times should be punished and prosecuted. Some are even issuing death threats to senior members of the Times family. Such individuals or groups would clearly prefer to live in a nation where the press simply publishes governmental press releases, asks no questions and conducts wars as silently as possible. Such people don’t believe in democracy.

Meanwhile, back in reality, the Iraqi town of Fallujah continues to struggle under the weight of US occupation.

UPDATE: The New York Times answers its critics.

  • Addamo

    Orwellian isn't it?

    Death threats against a paper that was instrumental in selling the war to the American Public.

    Wht's so ludicrous about this BS "terror" surveilance program, is that we are supposed to believe the terrorists cells out there do not suspect such programs exist. As Greg Palast said, after 911, the American public became the suspects.

  • smiths

    the real money that flows to terrorists is protected as long as the power structure remains essentially the same,
    for an example of what happens when a real shift occurs have a look at whats happened in italy starting the day prodi won the election

  • Addamo

    for an example of what happens when a real shift occurs have a look at whats happened in italy starting the day prodi won the election

    What are you alluding to Smiths? Sounds interesting, but perhaps Imissed it.

  • captain

    Yes, how completely crazy of the Bush administration to be upset that their efforts are being undermined by media. I mean national security is a pretty lame reason to keep operations covert. Surely the terrorists have a right to know how we are trying to stop them.

  • Addamo

    I mean national security is a pretty lame reason to keep operations covert. Surely the terrorists have a right to know how we are trying to stop them.

    It's underestandable that someoen of such limited injtellect woudl believe this program has anything to do with catching terrorists. I'm sure they are out there moving money back and forth to and from Saudi Arabia/Pakistan and and Afghanistan for all to see.

    So many terrorists, terrrorists everywhere – so little time.

  • The Swift Program as reported by the NYT looks like a good idea. After 3,000 people were murdered in 9/11 the US indicated it would search for terrorist financial connections and Swift seems like One of the effective tools for doing this.

    Just because surveillance/detection methods seem obvious doesn't mean they are ineffective. Note that terrorists in Indonesia have also been caught because their mates used mobile phones…

    If the NYT choose to print US national security secrets because some officials involved with Swift have some unproven ethical worries then the NYT should be able to face up to the democraticly expressed wrath of some members of the public.

    The NYT is not in it for "the public's right to know" – its in it for the advertising revenue to add to the fortunes of its bosses.


  • Addamo

    I;m suree the Swift program started out with the righ intentins, but as this administration has show repeatedly, it is prone to abusing what it is allowed to do in secret. What's more, this adminstraiton, being the most secretive in recent history, is renowned for classifying whatever it would rather the public didn't know, whether or not there are any National Security ramifications.

    As we saw during the wriepats fiasco, the groups like Quaker groupos and anti-war groups were targetted. The DHS is probably monitoring money transfers to the ACLU, P.E.T.A.,, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Defenders of Wildlife, and EarthJustice, , Greenpeace, Cindy Sheehan's Gold Star Families For Peace, and any of the Muslim organizations, regardless of their nature.

    This whole affair is just an NYT bashing excercise. Anyone who has tried to transfer any largish such of money knows that governments track these transactions, especialyl since 911. Even a transaction above 5k has to be declared to the government these days.

  • The administration is the most secretive because it needed to initiate new anti terrorist programs in view of 9/11. It would be seen as negligent if it woundup any of the programs just prior to another major terrorist event.

    "wiretapping" (in the tracking phonecalls calls sense) as well as "data mining" are now commonly used practices in the commercial world. Why should Government agencies be precluded from using what is now a common software and hardware technology – especially against a murderous target?

    DHS does not have an independent financial tracking capability. But the FBI, IRS and other agencies do within the US. Much of the financial information about the groups you mention is overt and comes up in standard auditing. The whole world knows that many Musslim organisations are a subject for scrutiny.

    NYT arguments that terrorist are scrupulously security aware belies the reality that their witting or unwitting supporters could phone a "terrorist" or deposit money into a "terrorist bank account". "Terrorists" only have to be the receivers to get identified (once they are crosschecked in many ways) and then hopefully put on trial in a legal (non Gitmo) way.


  • Addamo

    I disagree Pete,

    This administration was secretive before 911 – think back to Cheney's energy task force. Then there was the 911 Comission and Bush insisting on testifying behind close doors, with Cheney there to hold his hand and forbidding the Commisioners from taking notes.

    Looking at the "successes" i ncapturing terrorists, it begs the question how effective these anti-terrorism measures are.

    After all this hoopla and claims of thwarting major terrorist attacks, the best that the DHS and FBI have been abel to come up with in 4 years is Jose Padilla, John Walker Lind, the polot to blow up the Brooklyn Bridge (with a welding torch) and the magnificent 7 in Miami.

    Makes for great entertainment if you're a fan of the keystone cops.

  • Yeah OK Bush and mates are secretive. But note that considerable secrecy went on before Bush eg Clinton signing the first executive order permitting "rendition".

    I'd say that due to US demographics ie its Muslim population has had a long term presence there you don't get the first and second generation lads who launch domestic terrorism schemes. The US domestic counter-terrorism apparatus is also highly advertised, overlapping (and enormously expensive). I think this has deterred many would-be terrorist beforehand from doing anything. Hence few have been convicted in America but, most importantly, there have been no major terrorist bombing in the US since 9/11.

    The most US successes in interception, datamining and financial transfer tracking (through in humint) has been in the pursuit of al Qaeda types outside the US where it has been estimated that two thirds of the senior al Qaeda leaders have been killed or captured. Only some of this activity has been publicised because some of the captures have been kept secret to ensure secret interrogations. Some of the kills have also been kept secret (particularly in Afghanistan and Pakistan) because the US has recognised that Predator UAV (Hellfire missile) assassinations do not necessarily generate good PR.


  • Addamo

    I think this has deterred many would-be terrorist beforehand from doing anything. Hence few have been convicted in America but, most importantly, there have been no major terrorist bombing in the US since 9/11.

    That's a tad simplistic Pete. All it manages to do is force those groups to get creative.

    The Bush administration describe the "terrorist" as sophisticated and resourceful, yet they implement measures which woudl only ever entrap useful idiots with money. It's fair to say that eveb the meatues in place 911 could have prevented the attacks had there not been a succession of failures from NORAD falling asleed, to Bush ignoring August 2003 PDB's, to issuing Visa's to these guys contrary to the warnings from teh US embassy in Saudi Arabia, to forcing FBI agents to drop investigations inot Bin Laden and the highkackers, to letting Abel Danger fall alseep, to the deliberate cover up of intercepts realting to 911 activities which Sibel Edmonds tried to make public.

    Some of the kills have also been kept secret (particularly in Afghanistan and Pakistan) because the US has recognised that Predator UAV (Hellfire missile) assassinations do not necessarily generate good PR.

    Again that makes little sense given the marketing blitz of the Zarqawi hit. It is also contrayr to the treand of air strikes against large fmailies that have led to the deaths of innocents. If any of these strikes had been a bullseye, I doubt the Pentagon woudl have been shy to boast of such successes.

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