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.

Iraqi voices heard

The New York Times has had a tortuous relationship with the Iraq war. In the run-up to the 2003 invasion, senior journalist Judith Miller produced any number of “exclusives” that allegedly proved Saddam’s vast weapons of mass destruction. Her source was leading Iraqi dissident Ahmad Chalabi, who now blames the Americans for the country’s current fate.

Since 2003, however, the Times has often campaigned against the war, and the various inadequacies of the Bush administration, but questions remain as to whether its opposition is to the ways in which the war has been fought or the original premise of the mission.

One of the great tragedies of the war has been the Western media’s continuing ability to ignore the voice of Iraqis. What do they think of the current power-play in Washington? How do they deal with the near-apocalyptic violence wracking the country?

In the last days, the Times have at last provided a small forum for such perspectives on its op-ed page.

Waddah Ali is a poet, translator and university lecturer. He explains how he worked for the Americans, even viceroy Paul Bremer, but quit after threats on his life. He argues that the Americans simply didn’t appreciate the country they were occupying:

America did well to liberate Iraq. But Iraqis were used to tyranny and afraid of freedom. The Americans entered Iraq without a psychological program for dealing with this fact. Iraqis had been programmed according to another system of thought and feeling. America should have considered that.

Basim Mardan is a poet and translator and remains more sympathetic to American ambitions for his country. He recalls a caring US military that should not be defined by the Abu Ghraib scandals.

Omar Ghanim Fathi, an essayist and college lecturer, thinks the Americans failed by not installing a strongman to replace Saddam. The Iraq people had no experience with elections or democracy, he argues, and “after four to eight years, we could have had an election, and the new government could have started working on the basis of the new Constitution.” A civil war is essential to solve the country’s problems, Fathi believes.

Reading the words of these Iraqis is revealing. It confirms reports by Robert Fisk last weekend – both Sunni and Shiite death squads are systematically trying to “cleanse” whole neighbours – and paints a nation fundamentally at odds with claims by John Howard that Iraq is not a disaster.

A former UN envoy to the country, Lakhdar Brahimi, now says that the US, Britain and Iraq are in a “state of denial” over their failed policy. The Australian government is equally positioned.

How long will it take for the Times to advocate withdrawal from Iraq? At this stage, the paper remains unwilling to embrace any fundamental shift in US strategy.

  • Good article Antony

    Not to hear some Iraqi voices over the noise of Australia's American leaders.

    "How long will it take for the Times to advocate withdrawal from Iraq?"

    I think most Americans are waiting for the Democrats to take up the congressional mandate. That unfortunately boils down to waitng for the new Congressional session from January 2007.

    The Democrats also need consensus – some advocate a force increase in Iraq while others go for rapid withdrawal – many are sitting on the status quo fence. I'm concerned the Dems will dither for quite a while until pushing strongly for the necessary withdrawal.


  • The NYT actually had a very long piece on Chalabi himself, quoting him at length. For example:

    "“The real culprit in all this is Wolfowitz. They chickened out. The Pentagon guys chickened out…

    "It was a puppet show! The worst of all worlds. We were in charge, and we had no power. We were blamed for everything the Americans did, but we couldn’t change any of it."

    Here's the link.