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.

Fidel

Gabriel Garcia Marquez, The Guardian, August 12:

Fidel Castro is there to win. His attitude in the face of defeat, even in the most minimal actions of everyday life, would seem to obey a private logic: he does not even admit it, and does not have a minute’s peace until he succeeds in inverting the terms and converting it into victory.

His supreme aide is his memory and he uses it, to the point of abuse, to sustain speeches or private conversations with overwhelming reasoning and arithmetical operations of an incredible rapidity. He requires incessant information, well masticated and digested. He breakfasts with no less than 200 pages of news. Responses have to be exact, given that he is capable of discovering the most minimal contradiction in a casual phrase. He is a voracious reader. He is prepared to read any paper that comes into his hands at any hour.

His vision of Latin America in the future is the same as that of Bolívar and Martí, an integrated and autonomous community, capable of moving the destiny of the world. The country about which he knows the most after Cuba is the United States: of the nature of its people, their power structures, the secondary intentions of its governments. And this has helped him to handle the incessant torment of the blockade. 

It seems the anti-Castro forces in the US have failed spectacularly, despite vast evidence to criticise the ailing leader.

28 comments ↪
  • Suze

    I loved Condi Rice's offer to "support" the Cuban people who wanted change. Talk about a poisoned chalice.

  • Addamo_01

    Especiall after the wonderful examples of US style “support” on display in Afghanistan, Iraq and most recently, Lebanon.

  • Captain

    Yes, how poisoned. I mean, who should try and rid them of tyranny? Surely anyone who wants to get rid of a dictator and replace them with a democracy is the definition of evil!!! Blame the joooos.

  • Suze

    Well I think the Cubans may be a little suspicious since the US efforts to rid Venezuela of its elected "tyrant" (fiendishly clever of Chavez to be elected like that- and damned inconvenient)- they might wonder if all this "support" has anything to do at all with their wellbeing as a people and more to do with, I don't know, take a stab in the dark- self interest, maybe?

  • Captain

    yes, self interest: make cuba a stable neighbour. Thats amazingly exploitative of America to want to do that.

  • Suze

    Captain – Cuba has been completely stable for decades. Anyway- what happened to the US exporting its freedomsdemocracyamericanvalues? I thought that's what it did? (when not fighting the islamofascists under the bed)

  • Ian

    make cuba a stable neighbour

    You mean like when those nice 'democratic' mafia hoods were running the place with their tame dictator?

    What I want to know is what all the exiles living high on the hog in Florida will do if/when Castro is gone and relations with America are normalized? Go back home to poverty?

  • M.Mayes

    Captain, America's way of spreading democracy is going to a country, killing almost everything along the way and then installing a government that THEY apporove of and thus exapand and empire (even if not in name).

    I agree Saddam was a tyrant and should have been taken out. But America has failed miserably in every aspect of the invasion of Iraq EXCEPT getting saddam out.

    by the way how do you feel about being lied to by Bush and co. with the claim that Iraq had WMD's as an excuse to get public support for war?

    Also consider that whilst you love democracy, and I love democracy (what we have is more of a sham with the face of democracy) have you ever stopped to think that maybe these Arab nations dont want America's help with their progression.

    Democracy in the west has been a result of evolution of political ideology, the Middle East doesnt need America's big nudge.

  • edwin

    I mean, who should try and rid them of tyranny? Surely anyone who wants to get rid of a dictator and replace them with a democracy is the definition of evil!!!

    Sounds like the white man's burden.

    yes, self interest: make Cuba a stable neighbour. Thats amazingly exploitative of America to want to do that.

    Sounds like a complete misunderstanding of why Castro came to power in the first place. I'll give you a hint – the US was directly involved. In order for a successful guerrilla operation there must be massive public support. Besides the US has done so well at creating stable neighbours. Iran has become quite stable for example. In order to solidify their stability they are working to acquire Nuclear Weapons. Happy with what the US through the Shaw of Iran has created after overthorwing the democracy that existed there?

    The US has also long dreamed of making Canada a stable neighbour. It invaded Lower Canada in 1775 before independence, and again in 1812 before Canadian independence. In fact this second invasion was what probably created the country of Canada. This created the national identity of Canada – "We are not Americans". Without it, probably all of Canada would be part of the United States.

    You can't create stability or democracy at the point of a gun. It did not work in Canada, Iran or Iraq. Violence makes people hate the person who is doing the violence. The people in the British Colonies in Canada where badly treated by the British. US invasion did not create friendship and stability. It created enmity.

    The United States set the groundwork for the public support of the Cuban revolution. After creating Cuba it moulded it into it's present form through refusing to negotiate and work with Cuba. The US's high handed and violent stance towards Cuba has provided the excuses Castro has needed to maintain a stable oppressive society. Instead of working for increasing freedom in Cuba, the US has worked for violent change. People do not want violent change imposed from without.

    Looking at what the people of Cuba have, that the US does not have:

    1. Universal medical care. Looking at WHO's statistics for about 4 years ago it looks like the average Cuban receives almost as good medical coverage as the average person in the US. Given the extreme inequity of medical care in the US, probably the median Cuban receives better medical coverage than the median US citizen.

    2. High Literacy. Cuban literacy is higher than US literacy.

    3. Competant disaster planning: Compare New Orleans to any Hurican in Cuba.

    4. Lack of the extreme racism found in the US – think of Gretna for example.

    Given the popularity of the US throughout the world today it appears that not many people actually want the freedoms that Captain is touting.

    Quoting Dick Gregory from memory "If democracy was so great you wouldn't have to shove it down people's throats. They would steal it." The US and other countries could be making democracy great, but they are not. Instead self interest and greed has always been far more important. The people of Cuba probably do yearn for freedom. Take a lesson from Canada – you are very unlikely to be able to impose it at the point of a gun. Given the US track record in Guatamala, Argentina, Nicaragua, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Canada, Cuba, South Vietnam and so on, one would have to be a fool to trust the United States to bring freedom to anyone.

    The white man's burden is more accurate for what the US offers.

  • Addamo_01

    Thank you Edwin for injecting some factual and hitorical argument into Captain's bumber sticker slogans.

    I mean, who should try and rid them of tyranny? Surely anyone who wants to get rid of a dictator and replace them with a democracy is the definition of evil

    Yeah Cuba such a threat to the US. After all, they have universal health care for their people over there. Most of the public knows how to read.Can't have that can we?

    That goes competely against US style democracy and Western values.

  • edwin

    Addam_01 – you might be interested in this:

    Toyota was looking at building a new factory.

    Ontario workers are well-trained.

    That simple explanation was cited as a main reason why Toyota turned its back on hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies offered from several American states in favour of building a second Ontario plant.

    […]

    He said Nissan and Honda have encountered difficulties getting new plants up to full production in recent years in Mississippi and Alabama due to an untrained – and often illiterate – workforce. In Alabama, trainers had to use "pictorials" to teach some illiterate workers how to use high-tech plant equipment.

    "The educational level and the skill level of the people down there is so much lower than it is in Ontario," Fedchun said.

    In addition to lower training costs, Canadian workers are also $4 to $5 cheaper to employ partly thanks to the taxpayer-funded health-care system in Canada, said federal Industry Minister David Emmerson.

    http://www.cbc.ca/cp/business/050630/b0630102.htm

  • Addamo_01

    Interesting Edwin,

    Yes I was aware of that. Hardly surprising. The public health system in Canada sucks compared to Australia's, but it's way in front of the none existent one in the US.

    But the example you cite is a perfect illustration Capitalism gone out of control. The whole thing about US style capitalism is that it is a myth.

    Defenders of US style capitalism insist that it promotes competition, when in fact the opposite is true – it is about crushing the competition. Contrary to popular belief, most large US corporations are not operating from a level playing field, but one that is distorted to give them ridiculous advantages – which is why they spend so much money lobbying Washington.

    Take the pharmaceutical industry in the US. When they were negotiating free trade with Australia, the American giants were complaining that Australian laws prohibiting false advertising would impinge on their ability to sell product.

    Can you believe this shit?

    Defenders of US style capitalism insist that open markets work and benefit everybody, but the reality is that they are designed to allow those who dominate regional markets to expand their reach. One only has to look at the US to understand what a ruse this all is.

    How long have Australian farmers been battling with the US about being able to sell Australian produce into the US without massive tariffs being heaped on Ozzy goods? Australian farmers receive nothing from the Australian government and still produce better product at lower prices than their American counterparts. Simply put, the US government refuses to allow an open market to exist, because it would hurt America producers and they would in turn, vent their fury at the ballot box.

    So not only are American farmers protected from imports, they also receive massive government subsidies to stay in business.

    Same thing with soft wood lumber with Canada, which the US refuses to import.

    So when the US and UK governments talk about free trade, what they really mean is access for their exporters, while still protecting their own industries.

    US style capitalism is fast approaching it’s Zenith.

  • Adam

    F.A.O

    CAPTAIN and VIVA (and all alike)

    What are you comments about this

    you're in BIG TROUBLE

  • Addamo_01

    Whether you agree with this idea or not, it is so refreshing to hear a lucid person like this accepting the principal of cause and effect and distinguiishing between what took place in WWII Germany and what is taking place today.

  • orang

    The idea that the US objective is to spread democracy and freedom is beyond belief. Historically it has consistently opted for establishing dictatorships often ousting true democratic governance, because it's so much simpler dealing with one guy. As The Idiot has realised democracies are inconvenient and he for one is doing his best to sideline the one at his place.

  • orang

    "I agree Saddam was a tyrant and should have been taken out. "

    M.Mayes , your heart is in the right place, but consider this, if Saddam had say in 2000, invited Enron to supply electricity to Baghdad and Exxon to develop a couple of oil fields, contributed 2$M to the Republicans and 1.5$M to the Democrats and a couple of Wallmart stores in Basra and Baghdad do you think he would have been invaded?

    5 seconds to answer yes or no.

    Knowing your answer was "no", do you then think you would have been told incessantly how bad he was?

    So, in other words Saddam, if he lived the spirit of glogalisation and "free" markets, he would have been an alright stand up kind of guy-correct?

  • Addamo_01

    Knowing your answer was “no”, do you then think you would have been told incessantly how bad he was?

    The spin mahine in Washintogn would have portrayed him as another Gadaffi, a man who learned the errors of his way and was commited to reform and democracy.

    What's more, Washingotn woudl find some loophole as to how Lockheed Martin could sell him some F-16's or Boeing F-18's, to keep Iran in check.

  • orang

    …while donating F-16's or Boeing F-18's to Israel who then sell them to Iran via a private 3rd party independent contractor with ties to Cheney and the undead Sharon (may peace NOT be upon his stinking carcass) for a slightly higher than normal premium for the aggravaton. This to keep the balance of power in the Gulf.

    Is'nt glogalisation beautiful?

  • M.Mayes

    mm indeed good point orang, none the less I dont think any of us can say whether he was a good guy or not unfortunately, no doubt the spin docs were workin some magic there. REGARDLESS bush should have waited for UN go ahead.

  • orang

    I don't believe he was a good guy at all. The point is goodness/badness wasn't the reason of the invasion, it was merely the excuse.

    But what was the urgency to topple him?

    With all the very clever strategists, geniuses (I'm not talking about the "Middle East Experts", the Richard Perles and Paul Wolfowitz so called intellectuals) surely there were ways to get a favourable change in their behaviour without fucking up Iraq for good?

  • M.Mayes

    on no orange, believe me they are my thoughts exactly, i think saddam needed to be taken out but america would most definately have had alterior motives.

  • Addamo_01

    The thing is M.Mayes,

    When you say "Saddam needed to be taken out", it does beg the question, as to what you base this on. After all, what do we really know about Saddam that hasn't been fed to us from the same people who lied us into the Iraq war?

    Remember back to the babies in the incubators story? That turned out to be a fraud. So was the story of Saddam's human shredder.

    The story about the Kurds being gasses does have a back story. Halabja was on disputed territory on the border with Iran and took place during the Iran/Iraq war. Had the US been responsible, they would have put this down to collateral damage.

    The stories of mass graves ignores that they were likely the result of battles during that said war or even Gulf War 1.

    The invasion of Kuwait itself is a complex one, but Saddam's decision to invade was given the green light by US ambassador to Iraq, April Glasby. At the same time, Cheney was showing doctored photographs of Iraqi tank battalions amassed on the Saudi border to the Saudi's in order to scare them into supporting Gulf War 1 (and paying for it). Until then, Iraq and Saudi Arabia had a good relationship. The Saudi's had just forgiven a multi-billion dollar loan to Iraq as gratitude for blunting the Iranian threat, which they feared also.

    I am not making excuses for Saddam. He was probably a bad seed, but he was put there by the CIA, and until he invaded Kuwait, was regarded as a US ally.

    So why did the US turn on him? There are a few theories.

    1. Firstly, after the Iran/Iraq war, Saddam was pumping oil as a huge rate – much higher than his allotted quota by OPEC. This was driving the price of oil down and threatening big oil’s profits. His was doing this to pay off his huge debts from a decade of war. OPEC told him to slow down, but he defied the request.

    2. Also, the US had hoped that the Iran/Iraq war would have destroyed both countries, which didn’t happen. In fact they were shocked that Iraq was able to hold Iran for so long, given how much bigger the Iranian forces were. This worried Washington and Washington’s puppets in the ME, because Iraq stood to become a major power in the region once they recuperated from the war with Iran.

    3. While Saddam was happy to do business with Washington, he was not a puppet. He was clearly a megalomaniac and a staunch nationalist, with a desire to make Iraq into a power in the region. Without being able to control him, this threatened US control of the region, because it meant that massive contracts were not guaranteed to be given to US companies. With reserves rivaling Saudi reserves, this could have tipped the who balance of power in the region out of US control.

  • orang

    What about the oil for Euros angle?

  • Addamo_01

    What about the oil for Euros angle?

    I was referring to Gulf War 1. and why the US went from being Saddam's buddy to back-stabbing him.

    Saddam made the shift to Euros in the late 90's I believe.

  • Adam

    The invasion of Kuwait itself is a complex one, but Saddam’s decision to invade was given the green light by US ambassador to Iraq, April Glasby. At the same time, Cheney was showing doctored photographs of Iraqi tank battalions amassed on the Saudi border to the Saudi’s in order to scare them into supporting Gulf War 1

    This was the perfect excuse for US and its allies to gain a strong presence in the Middle East and have a majority of influence in the way oil was exported and at what price. Bear in mind some information is secret and will never be in the public domain, however at the same time the US and its allies could start the new world order and start to change the shape of Middle East making rival countries less powerful and arming Israel to the teeth to emerge as the super power of the Middle East.

  • M.Mayes

    Agreed "saddam needed to be taken out" was presumptuous and the scary thing is that we will never know, why? because who can you trust (directed at captain) we have freedom of press and whatnot but who is to say who is pulling the other ones strings.

  • Adam

    who can you trust (directed at captain)

    For sure you cannot trust Captain Scalawag

  • Addamo

    M.Mayes,

    That's the whole crux of the issue. Because once you start questioning on one level, you have to ask what is fact and what is fiction?

    So much of what we assume to be common knowledge or conventional wisdom has been shaped, so even those who are questioning the official story, still base their understanding of reality on what they have been told.

    So we are told Saddam was a bad man. Maybe he was and maybe he wasn’t, but how do we really know what or who Saddam was? Maybe through independent journalists and news sources we can get an accurate picture, but so much of what we are told stands in contradiction of a number of facts:

    1. Under Saddam, Iraq’s people enjoyed universal health cover.
    2. Under Saddam, Iraq’s people had a very good education system
    3. Under Saddam, Iraqi women were among the most liberated in the ME.
    4. Under Saddam, In spite of crippling sanctions, Iraq were still able to continue functioning as a strong society.
    5. Under Saddam, Iraq had security.

    How many of US friendly countries can make any of these claims?

    When you listen to MSM news presenters talk about Hugo Chavez, they all refer to him as a dictator as though hit was an established fact, who is controlling the country against the will of the people, when in fact, all independent reporters state the exactly obvious.

    These people are supposed to be well informed and yet they too are victims of state propaganda.

    You often hear about Iraq’s insurgent being referred to as terrorists, when it is clear there is a civil war going on and that violence is inevitable. It is also obviously that the Us is an unwelcome occupier in Iraq, yet attacks against US forces are describes as terrorist attacks.