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.

Israel 0, Arab world 1

Robert Fisk, The Independent, August 16:

In the sparse Baathist drawing rooms of Damascus, reality often seems a long way away. But it was a sign of the times that President Bashar al-Assad was able to bring the great and the good of Damascus to their feet by the simple token of telling the truth – which no other Arab leader has chosen to do these past five weeks: that the Lebanese Hizbollah guerrilla army has, in effect, won this round of their war with Israel.

There was plenty of hyperbole in the Assad speech. A conflict that has cost 1,000 Lebanese civilian lives can hardly be called a “glorious battle” but he did at least reflect more reality than his opposite number in Washington who, driven by self-delusion or his love of Israel, claimed that Hizbollah had been defeated in Lebanon.

Israel’s “victory” in Lebanon presumably has to be added to our own famous “victories” in Iraq and Afghanistan. Syria and Iran, according to Mr Bush, were responsible for the “suffering” of Lebanon – which contains the seeds of truth since Hizbollah provoked this war by capturing two Israeli soldiers and killing three others on 12 July – although it wasn’t the Syrian or Iranian air force that was slaughtering the convoys of innocent refugee civilians in Lebanon. So it was that President Assad must have enjoyed his little peroration in Damascus yesterday. 

Plus, Amira Hass calculates the Palestinian toll in the latest conflict.

8 comments ↪
  • Juan Cole is excellent today, Battle of the Speeches Breaks out in Wake of Lebanon War:

    I suppose it is better for them to wage a war of words than one of bombs, though one tends to lead to the other. Since the United Nations resolution calling for a halt to hostilities, Prime Minister Olmert, President Bush, Secretary-General Nasrallah, President al-Asad and President Ahmadinejad have all been procliaming the war a personal victory.

    I don't know why they would want to claim it.

    It was such a stupid war. It was thick-as-two-blocks-of-wood strategy on all sides. It was moronic for the Israelis to plan it out last year. It was idiotic for Hizbullah to cross over into Israel, kill soldiers, and take two captive. It was brain dead for the Israeli officer corps and politicians to think they could get anything positive out of bombing Lebanon back to the stone age and making a million people homeless. It was dim-witted for Hasan Nasrallah to threaten Israelis with releasing poison gases from Haifa chemical plants on them. It was obtuse for the Israelis to confront a dug-in guerrilla movement with green conventional troops marching in straight lines. It was dull of Hizbullah to fire thousands of katyushas into open fields where they mainly damaged wild grass. The few times when the rockets managed to kill someone, it was often an Arab Israeli civilian. Stupid…

    But this war was a keystone cops war. It was horribly destructive for Lebanon, but not to any purpose for anyone, including the Israelis…

    But there you have it. Everyone wants credit for this cornucopia of foolishness.

    Cole also ridicules Bush's assertion that the war will stop Syria supplying arms to Hizbollah (with a handy map to show George were the border with Syria actually is).

  • Addamo_01

    52% of Israelis think Israel lost, which just abotu says it all.

    Resolution 1701 plays right into Hezbollah's hands. The disarming of Hezbollah will just result in Hezbollah being absorbed into the Lebanese armed forces, just as the Shi'ite militias in Iraq (the Badr Brigade, the Da'wa Party fighters, the Mahdi Army, etc.) have become the de facto Iraqi police and military. The only difference is that, in Iraq, this process is being resisted by the Americans; in Lebanon, it is being legitimized by 1701 and given the official imprimatur of the international community.

  • Suze

    Great article about the upcoming Iran war- there are a few reports now that the US military is getting sick of waging war for the benefit of Pentagon contractors. Via Iran Information Agency

  • Ian

    Nothing much changes, Suze:

    I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902–1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested.

    During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. Looking back on it, I feel that I could have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.

    and

    [1030] "I'm sick and tired of my Marines dying over oil. Why doesn't the United States get other foreign countries to go in with them?"

    — Major-General Smedley Darlington Butler, USMC

    one of only 2 Marines to be awarded the Congessional Medal of Honor twice

    His book, War is a Racket, is well worth reading. It pretty much sums up American foreign policy over the last 100 years in about 50 pages.

  • Ian

    Oops! "[1030]" should read "[1930]"

  • Addamo_01

    Ian,

    Another book ou shoudl read along those lines is "Confessions of an Economic Hitman" by John Perkins.

    Anyone who thought free trade was a force for good will get an ulcer reading it.

  • Suze

    I came across that famous Eisenhower speech recently- the one that warns about the dangers of the Military-Industrial complex. How prescient was he? The term "military-industrial complex" may have gone out of vogue but to me what he describes is exactly what seems to be happening now.

    I'll have to look out for these books you mention- thanks.

  • Addamo_01

    Yes Eisenhower's speech was very profetic. In fact, he was forced to change the term from Congressional-Military-Industrial. He clearly saw that the problem was just the military, but the buying of Congress by the lobby groups.

    "Confessions of an Economic Hitman" will really blow your mind. Here are some interviews done by Amy Goodmna with the author. Well worth the listen.
    http://www.archive.org/download/dn2005-0517/dn200
    http://www.archive.org/download/dn2006-0215/dn200