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.

We are terror

Today is the fifth anniversary of September 11. Many advocates of American imperialism still live with their delusions of Bush grandeur. Debate within Western nations about terrorism still remains infantile, however. “We” are noble and “they” are barbaric. Scott Burchill, Senior Lecturer in International Relations in the School of International & Political Studies at Deakin University, explains:

In Australia the discussion of terrorism is distorted by a doctrinal fiat that the Federal Government and its ideological supporters insist can never be challenged – the West is always the innocent victim of terrorist attacks, never its perpetrator.

The contemporary analysis of terrorism is therefore a quest to discover why others – our enemies – commit crimes against us. This is usually explained by their psychic disorders, their hatred of our superior values and freedom, their fanaticism or their resentment at our innate goodness.

The subject ‘Western state terrorism’ is therefore a non-subject because no such phenomenon has ever existed. If it is ever raised, usually by left wing academics, it is simply the bile of conspiratorial minds afflicted by “anti-Americanism” and “moral relativism” – people with an irrational hatred of their own society, and the West in general.

It is therefore unsurprising that when the non-subject of Western state terrorism occasionally rears its ugly head in print, attempts are made to immediately censor it. Such is the fate of Paul Gilby’s Power and National Politics, which has the temerity to suggest that a serious examination of terrorism should include an analysis of acts of terror committed by the West (see: Textbook links US, Israel to ‘state terrorism’.)

The examples Gilby cites are unremarkable – US terrorism in Nicaragua (Cuba is an even more outrageous example), Israeli state terror in Palestine, Russian crimes in Chechnya, Turkey’s attacks on Kurds, Indonesia terrorism against East Timorese, Achenese and West Papuans. He might also have mentioned US attacks in Iraq since 2003 – most notably the siege of Falluja in November 2004, which is almost certainly a grave war crime. The victims of state terrorism dwarf in number the victims of private, retail terrorism – such as Al Qaeda – by a figure that would be difficult to overestimate. Hence the efforts by apologists for Israeli state terror such as Colin Rubenstein, to dismiss the issue as “ideology” as if no Palestinians have ever lost their lives at the hands of the IDF.

A serious examination of contemporary non-state terrorism, which Gilby’s book appears to be, must also discuss the ‘blowback’ thesis of conservative scholar Chalmers Johnson (based on a CIA thesis), which suggests that attacks by Al Qaeda and affiliated groups may be the unintended consequences of earlier US policies in Iran and Afghanistan during the Cold War.

Federal Education Minister Julie Bishop, however, wants no such analysis in Victorian classrooms. Instead she is trying to censor such arguments, demanding that the book should be immediately withdrawn. For Bishop, the idea that contemporary terrorist attacks may be connected to historical grievances for which the West bears some responsibility is “inconceivable.” Actually it isn’t, and there is a veritable library of books which examine precisely this issue. Many are written by those on the political right.

She is also greatly concerned by the book’s suggestion that “the Howard Government is deliberately using the threat of terrorism to keep Australians fearful and thus supportive of Government policies and actions.” Governments have, of course, never stooped to such depths. The Howard Government, for example, has never exploited the arrival of boat people (Tampa) or the existence of Weapons of Mass Destruction (Iraq) for political advantage. Perish the thought.

Ministers of Education should launch books instead of trying to to ban them – especially those which raise uncomfortable issues for government. Mrs Bishop’s actions are both disturbing and mistaken. If the challenges posed by terrorism are to be met and overcome, the whole subject must be taught, discussed and understood – not just the politically correct version favoured by conservatives. 

Although many frightened people – especially older men, for some reason – still insist that the Bush administration may have mis-stepped, but its heart is essentially in the right place, the response is simple: our governments’ actions have made the world a more dangerous place. State terrorism exists, and causes far more deaths than Islamic extremism. The West “gets” Islamism (despite Tony Blair claiming otherwise) but we also know that invading Iraq, Afghanistan, extraordinary rendition and torture comes with a high price.

6 comments ↪
  • Suze

    On that “path to 9/11” doco- apparently the director is a a member of right wing evangelical group (no surprises there) and the web of associations takes in David Horowitz and the Arkansas Project etc etc- Huffington

  • Addamo_01

    I cannot believe they aired that pircfe of garbage, after sol may people associated with it quite before the movie finished being made.

    Last night they also aired a “Real” doco done by the 2 French brothers who happened to be there with a camaer to do a doco on one of teh fireman. Everyone said it was so much more compelling.

    Anyway, yesterday I watched the on-line version of a new documentary on 911 called 911 Press forTruth. It’s on Google video and it is simply incredible.

    If you have 1.25 minuted free, I highly recommedn it. The amount fo informatino in there is astonishig, yet so easy to follow. It follows Paul Thoma’s timeline and assembles a mind blowing picture just based on main stream news articles.

  • Glenn Condell

    'This anti-Americanism is based on the fact of US power and uncontested military superiority in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union, which made an increase in anti-Americanism virtually inevitable'

    Can such evidence of not 'getting' it be attributed solely to an inability, or is it more likely an unwillingness to face facts? Earth to Gawenda: it's not who we are, it's what we do. Some of us are able to put ourselves in the place of other people who are unfortunately on the receiving end of our freedom loving ministrations.

    Mr Gawenda must have a bad back from carrying Bushco water for so long. It's all the way with GWB (and the 'impressive' Condi Rice) to begin with and us naysayers are deadenders or moonbats, then shills like Gawenda incrementally shed Bush baggage when it becomes too heavy to keep carrying in public. And before you know it, Mr G (and his analogues like Friedman and just recently even Hitchens, in the US) have deserted their he-man hero, shaking their heads sadly like the rest of us at his gross incompetence, but still apparently clinging to the wreckage of his 'rationale'. Bush is bad they now agree, but invading Iraq was AOK. If only it had been done better, sooner, more ruthlessly etc etc. Anything but an engagement with the sort of serious examination of our own motives and behavour that books like Mr Gilby's seek to address.

    Keep flogging that meme fellas, maybe people will keep buying it. Some of us won't, but then such subtle deceptions aren't aimed at people who care enough to be independently informed. In fact I sometimes wonder if the seemingly clueless bumblings of apparent naifs like Frieman and Mr Gawenda are not so much inability or unwillingness to entertain previously off-limit thoughts and scenarios, as they are part of a co-ordinated effort of certain opinionmakers to appear that way (clueless, that is), in order to provide yet more cover for the robbery and destruction of nations incapable of protecting themselves.

    They would appear less clueless if they rolled up the sleeves and evaluated critiques like those of Mr Gilby or indeed of Robert Pape or William Blum, batting them out of the ballpark if their theses proved as inadequate as they infer, but this approach is not popular with the Hendos and Sherros and Gawendas of this world. Much easier simply to say, or rather repeat 'anti-Americanism is based on the fact of US power and uncontested military superiority in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union, which made an increase in anti-Americanism virtually inevitable'.

  • nasking

    Bring it on!!!…:)…directly from the mouth of a baby.

    Effective article Antony. Aptly articulated Glenn. Well spotted Suze.

    Cheney & Condi looked remarkably uncomfortable in their interviews today. Kerry looked comfortable. A positive sign.

  • orang

    "……but this approach is not popular with the Hendos and Sherros and Gawendas of this world."

    I think these guys are locked into some kind of contract.."You shall write XX Op. Ed pieces praising the …" ..It's a legal thing. You can't tell me they actually believe this crap they write?

  • greg

    We should not forget another 9/11 – this year was the 33rd anniversary of the US supported coup by Pinochet in Chile when more people were shot or disappeared without trace than in the Twin Towers disaster. A democratic government was overthrown to intense US pleasure because Chile wouldn't submit to US demands on how to run its economy. The US has been the greatest source of terrorism since 1945 in its imperialist designs and we need to put this in the context of the present state of world politics.It's important to emphasise to the public whenever we can that the US government has been the main instigator of violent assaults on other countries. The invasion of Iraq is only one of many such aggressions