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.

Who will protect them?

While newly released documents in Australia allegedly show that Palestinian “terrorists” wanted to kill prominent Jewish and union leaders in the 1970s – such news, if accurate, will certainly harm the Palestinian cause though the facts are shameful if true – the conflict shows no sign of improving (Haaretz yesterday editorialised on the obsession of Israelis to continue building illegal settlements in the West Bank.)

A wider less discussed context of the war is the effect on other conflicts. Take Darfur. The Guardian recently explained the paralysis:

Darfur is too often used as a propaganda tool in a political slanging match in which supporters of Israel highlight what Washington has officially called “genocide” carried out by an Islamist regime and are in turn accused of hypocrisy by ignoring what Israel is doing to Palestinians. Mr Annan’s strictures about learning the terrible lessons of Rwanda and Bosnia are lost in the white heat of this argument. So global “days of action” come and go, and Darfur bleeds on.

Such inaction shames us all, of course. “Never again” has become little more than an empty slogan. It appears that Israel, though, a nation of immigrants, is turning its back on refugees from the war-torn nation (and has clearly been influenced by Australia’s harsh refugee policies):

Ever since they [the Sudanese] arrived here, Israel has not disdained any means in its attempt to get rid of them. Neither the lessons of history, the protests of human rights organizations, the commands of conscience nor moral considerations interfere in the least.

As the new year arrives, it’s worth remembering that nation states around the world are becoming less tolerant of resolving conflicts in far away lands. The UN is often helpless. The US prefers invasion, occupation and subjugation to any other form of behaviour. The EU is frequently tongue-tied and gutless. So who is left?

  • viva peace

    Until such times as people start admitting and vocalising the reality that there will never, ever be a separate "Palestinian" state west of the Jordan, the self-inflicted misery of these people will only intensify.

    It is time for you all to switch to another tune as "Hooked on Stupid" is tired.

  • I think viva peace must have read Paul Sheehan's hilarious diatribe in the SMH today.

    The poverty of debate in this country is amply demonstrated by Sheehans regurgitation of hoary old myths and convenient half-truths, masquerading as opinion worthy of being reproduced in a major daily newspaper.

    Maybe tomorow's piece will be on how the earth reallly is flat.

    On the other hand, maybe I'm misjudging, and Sheehan (and viva peace) are advocating a one-man, one-vote solution for all the people of Palestine.

  • Suze

    Sheehan is an intellectual pygmy. Must be something in the water.

  • viva peace


    No. I do not read Australian MSM very often and certainly not at this time of year. Those who have been reading this blog for some time will attest this has been my position all along. Dare I say, Sheehan stole it from me?

  • Suze

    I thought you used to feign support for the two state solution or was that Captain?

  • Sue viva, sue!!

  • Paul Walter

    Some interesting points here.

    Firstly the 70's. Anyone from the era will tell you "the left" spent far more time fighting amongst itself over the most obscure of ideological reasons and reasonings, than it ever did in fighting the common foe. So an extremist fragment wanted to blow up the Israeli left. No surprises there.

    The reasoning would have been along the same lines as the alquaida 9/11; that common ground amongst moderates is eliminated ensuring only a violent denouement. The rational ground held by say, Gideon Levy and Hanan Ashrawi is removed, and anger and sanctimony replace rationality. Violence escalates. An Iraq 2003-style overreaction occurs, ending hope of anything but a violent future.

    In the middle east, the only people who gain satisfaction from this sort of thing are the fundy cranks, on both sides.

    The other issue raised is Dharfor.

    I have long been disturbed by Dharfor. But not as an example of Islamist feudalism in Africa, so much as a paradigm or running comment on that dysfunctional continent, as a result of past colonilism and recent appalling neo-colonialism and neglect.

    The amount of military $quander that has gone on in the middle east over several generations alone, if applied to lubricating solutions to African dysfunctionality, would surely have obviated many tragedies, of which Dharfor is only the latest.

    Dharfor actually has more to do with something like Palm Island back home here in Oz, than "Islamism".

  • viva peace

    Read it and weep:

    And Israel? Through all the wars, terrorist bombings and threats of annihilation, and despite intense internal divisions, Israel has grown into a muscular economy of almost 7 million, with a per capita gross domestic product far higher than any Arab neighbours, including Saudi Arabia. The Jewish population has grown from 600,000 to 5.3 million, with a birthrate higher than those in Western Europe. Per capita, Israel has the most engineers and the most high-tech economy in the world.

    Please pass this on to all your Palestinian-luvvies. This is the REAL reason for the conflict. 😉

  • Addamo

    Please pass this on to all your Palestinian-luvvies. This is the REAL reason for the conflict. 😉

    The migration fo Jews to Israel just plummeted 18% last year. Take away unconditional US support and and Israel woudl collapse inside a decade.

    The real reason for the conflict is that Israel carries on like a rogue state while it's big daddy pats in on the head and watches it's back.

  • Facts on the ground in Israel/Palestine indicate that a two-state solution has disappeared with the Israeli settlement occupation of the west bank and the building of the new Berlin Wall to serve Israel's apartheid style government of the "colonies".

    One of the best analyses of the situation at the moment comes from Virginia Tilley in her comprehensive discussion of all aspects of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The book is called "The one-state solution" (Manchester University Press, 2005), and should not be lightly dismissed by those who still think a two-state solution is possible.

    The fact of the matter is that the Israelis can not solve the problem by ethnic cleansing on a permanent basis – the Palestinian birth rate will still far outstrip its Israeli equivalent – and the world is finally waking up to the fact that an apartheid style of government over the whole of what was mandated Palestine is totally impractical.

    It may at the moment be anathema to all groups involved it the conflict, as Tilley graphically describes it, but over time there seems to be no other way to overcome the intractible problems confronting this middle-east region.

    And, of course, much of it is about sharing the very limited water resources of the whole region, on which Israel's burgeoning economy depends.

  • Addamo

    Very true Mannie,

    The sad fact is that Israel's so called "muscular" economy is extremely fragile and has no future without Israel continuing to expand, which is why Israel refuses to talk to Syria. It's criminal leadership cannot afford to legitimise the leadership of it's neighbours like Syria, by talking to them.

    The cost of the Lebanon war was massive and woudl have set Israel back severely had the US not wiped Israel's nose clean and picked up the tab.

    I do not hold out much hope for the state of Palestine personally. The US and Israel are putting too much pressure on the leadership and will not tolerate a leadership that is not pliant to their wishes.

    The only shining light seems to be Bush determination to destroy the US. With the US economy tanking and US dollar heading to south, Israel may find itself with a sugar daddy that can no longer indulge the spoiled child, thus forcing Israel to have to engage the world rather than behaving like the regional thug.

  • viva peace


    I think you are being unduly pessimistic. The two state solution is not only viable, but becomes more likely by the day. Those two states will be known as "Israel" and "Jordan."

  • Addamo

    That's if Israel ever decides to demarcate it's borders, which it wont do because the country would not be viable without stealing more land and resources. The lack of fresh water alone could bring the country to it's knees.

    Israel will likely find itself overrun by the exploding birth rates of the Palestinians.

    Israel's survival is pegged to it's flow of support from the US, which is fast heading towards international irrelevance. Once the US dollar becomes worthless, which is inevitable, Israel, like any parasite, will be left without a host to sustain it.

    It's laughable that Viva would talk about a muscular economy, when that same economy continues to receive massive aid from the US.

  • Addamo

    A quote from Zbigniew Brzezinski.

    It would be a disaster both for America and for Israel for America and Israel to become involved in a military conflict with Iran. Anyone familiar with the geopolitical dynamics of the Persian Gulf region knows that such a war would produce devastating economic and political consequences for the global economy and the international system.

    It would also isolate America and create circumstances in which American global pre-eminence would rapidly become a thing of the past. And that in turn would have mortal consequences for Israel itself.

    The attack on Iran is a given, so if Brzezinski is right, the future of Israel looks pretty bleak, to say the least.

  • Addamo

    Here is a great post abtou teh right wing bloggosphere that sums up mud slinging sites liked Blair's:

    The "credibility" of the right-wing blogosphere:

    These right-wing bloggers love to piously masquerade around as "media watchdogs," keeping a watchful eye on the "MSM" and compelling them to adhere to facts. But they are nothing of the sort. Nobody is less interested in media accuracy than they are. Correcting media mistakes is so plainly not their agenda. They are nothing more than hyper-partisan hysterics who jump on any innuendo or rumor or whispered suspicion as long as it promotes their rigid ideological views and political loyalties and hatreds. They have a long, shameful and really quite pitiful history of incidents filled with ones like this Jamil Hussein debacle, including…read on

    I wonder if Tim Blair got his wish for Christmas – one of those cardboard cut-outs of George Bush – that were made famous by the documentary Jesus Camp.