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 US has a role to play

The Washington Post’s Post Global is “an experiment in global, collaborative journalism, a running discussion of important issues among dozens of the world’s best-known editors and writers. It aims to create a truly global dialogue, drawing on independent journalists in the countries where news is happening – from China to Iran, from South Africa to Saudi Arabia, from Mexico to India.”

It aims to present perspectives rarely heard in the Western mainstream, especially in a publication like the Washington Post. As ever, the web presents opportunities a newspaper simply won’t or can’t.

I’ve been invited to join their roster of writers and commentators. My articles will be featured irregularly on a host of issues and upcoming pieces will cover areas such as terrorism and the Middle East. My first, short piece (a comment, really) is a response to the following question:

American policies and rhetoric in the past three years has created a rise in anti-U.S. sentiment among the world’s Muslims, some of whom are turning to violence.

Should it be a goal of the U.S. to reduce that hostility and, if so, what’s the best way to do it?

My response:

A recent poll taken in Australia underlined the growing racial divide in the country. 75% of respondents believed that the “war on terror” was being lost while many feared a terrorist attack would occur on home soil within the next 12 months. Although 52% believed most Muslims living in Australia were moderate, 21% worried they were extremists and 27% simply did not know.

The fear of radical Islam, grossly exaggerated by many Western mainstream commentators, has created a dangerous tendency to demonise all Muslims as potential terrorists. It’s no wonder societal paranoia is the result.

Washington’s foreign policy is integral to the rise of anti-US sentiment around the Muslim and wider world. Images streaming out of Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon and Western-friendly dictatorships such as Jordan and Egypt prove that the supposed “democratisation” agenda implemented by George W. Bush is in fact unfriendly to true democratic principles. If there were free and open elections across the Arab world, Islamist, anti-US and anti-Israel parties would likely dominate.

The Bush administration, along with its Western partners such as Tony Blair’s Britain and John Howard’s Australia, insists that “terrorists” hate the West for its alleged freedoms. The opposite is in fact true.

Robert Pape, Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago and author of “Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism”, argues that much of the violence directed at the West is not a result of Islamic fundamentalism but a product of secular and strategic goals.

Pape recently told the Sydney Morning Herald that the US-led invasion of Iraq was the perfect way to increase suicide bombing. “Since the invasion of Iraq”, he said, “suicide terrorism, both by al-Qaeda and in Iraq itself, has just been surging. We now have a pretty good idea of the cocktail to create suicide terrorism, and it’s not a madrassa [Islamic religious school], it’s the presence of foreign combat forces.”

As the world’s most powerful nation, the US has a duty to take responsibility for its actions. Rhetoric emanating from the White House is angering Muslims around the world, including in the US. The now-endemic use of the word “Islamo-fascism” may elicit strong emotions, but security expert Daniel Benjamin of the Center for Strategic and International Studies told the BBC that the term is meaningless and is effective simply for propaganda purposes. Both US actions and language seem to be deliberately alienating moderate Muslims, men and women who are desperately needed to address extremists within Islam.

The troubles are also closer to home. A recently released Gallup/USA Today poll found many Americans were highly prejudiced against Muslims and their religion. It is not simply enough to continually defend US policies to a sceptical world without asking why they are increasingly treated with contempt within the wider world and the US itself. The US needs more than a PR makeover.

2 comments ↪
  • Glenn Condell

    Great stuff Antony. I have had large problems with the WaPo under Len Downie, ever since it decided to join the Clintonhunt and especially it’s role in helping smooth the way for the illegal war in Iraq. If this initiative is fair dinkum (genuinely wide spectrum of views, unedited) then good for them. They will get more than they bargained for; let’s hope their nerve holds. I guess the Guardian’s Comment is Free has played a role in this.

    Nice to see you taking part in the conversation that has begun over there. Look out for that nasty Dana Milbank though, won’t you?

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