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 Middle Eastern equivalent of WWII?

My following article appears in today’s edition of Crikey:

The “exclusive” in London’s Sunday Times that Israel is planning to use nuclear bunker-buster bombs against Iran’s suspected nuclear facilities is cause for serious concern in the already volatile Middle East.

Of course, such reports, impossible to verify, are reminiscent of a Seymour Hersh investigation in April last year that detailed similar discussions within the Bush administration. The shameless hypocrisy of threatening to use nuclear weapons so that Iran doesn’t itself obtain nuclear weapons almost beggars belief (as is the fact that there is no evidence that Iran is building nuclear weapons.)

Israel has, unsurprisingly, denied the allegations but Israeli experts haven’t been so quick to do likewise. The credibility of the Times story has already been challenged (by a none too reputable source) and the information is likely simply to contribute to growing US and (especially) Israeli pressure over Iran’s mullahs.

This report comes amid a rapidly deteriorating security situation in the Middle East, US attempts to overthrow the democratically elected Palestinian Hamas government, ever-growing carnage in Iraq (the latest “official” figures almost certainly underplay the death toll) and plans to strike Iran militarily in 2007/8. In Israel and within much of the US Zionist lobby (as usual, simply blindly followed in Australia) there are serious moves to challenge Iran and institute “regime change.”

Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wrote on 1 January that the US and Israel must commit all resources to stop Iran’s nuclear push. Lest one thinks military action is pure folly, Netanyahu and his fellow travellers are actively engaged in persuading both the Bush administration and new Democrat leadership that Iran must be confronted, and soon. In this thinking, world terrorism would somehow decrease when the “world’s number one terrorist state” is obliterated or attacked.

One such example of this pressure, woefully bungled, was last week’s “exclusive” by leading neo-con Michael Ledeen that Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, was dead. Many of these people still believe, despite the failures in Iraq, that the Iranian people are waiting to rise up against their leaders and simply need a military push from the White House.

Alongside the rising anti-Iran propaganda is the Iraq quagmire.

Bush’s injection of more troops is destined to fail (and former Iraqi defence minister Ali Allawi’s blueprint for the country is generally ignored). Equally confronting is the news, leaked to The Independent on Sunday, that, “Iraq’s massive oil reserves, the third largest in the world, are about to be thrown open for large-scale exploitation by Western oil companies under a controversial law which is expected to come before the Iraqi parliament within days.” If anything will further encourage the insurgency, this is it.

All these developments may seem unrelated, simply more randomness we’ve come to expect from the Bush administration and Blair government (with the loyal and clueless Howard team in the rear.) But Anatole Kaletsky, a Times associate editor, has other ideas. His New Year analysis may be apocalyptic, but for my money, is the most accurate:

What now seems to be in preparation at the White House, with the usual unquestioning support from Downing Street, is a Middle Eastern equivalent of the Second World War. The trigger for this all-embracing war would be the formation of a previously unthinkable alliance between America, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Britain, to confront Iran and the rise of the power of Shia Islam.

The logical outcome of this ‘pinning back’ process would be an air strike by Israel against Iran’s nuclear facilities, combined with a renewed Israeli military campaign against Hezbollah in Lebanon, aggressive action by American and British soldiers to crush Iraq’s Shia militias, while Saudi-backed Sunni terrorists undermined the increasingly precarious pro-Iranian Government in Baghdad.

3 comments ↪
  • Addamo

    This really is the precipice for the neocons and the Zionst nutters isn't it? The danger, as Hersh has pointed out, is that seeing as the US is headed for their Saigon moment in Iraq, the Bush administration may do a Hail Mary and bet the farm with attacking Iran, hoping that a succesful attack will outshine the setbacks of Iraq.

    What is so frightening is that the same lame brained morons with no clue are running the policy once again. And what happens if this strike is not successful? For that matter, what will constitute success?

  • Pingback: War plans redux at Antony Loewenstein()

  • They have a larger stratgy in mind – don't forget the "birth pangs" of the new middle east. <a>