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.

Blaming the occupied

Mubashar Jawed Akbar is a leading Indian journalist and writer. He writes for the Washington Post about the legacy of the Iraq war:

In ten years, George Bush’s legacy will be evident. In Iraq, give two years for the departure of American troops, three years for local power struggles, and five years for consolidation and recovery.

Iraq in 2017 will be an overwhelmingly Shia-majority nation, with most Arab Sunnis having migrated to Jordan, Palestine or a much-altered Saudi Arabia. Sunni Kurds will remain in their province, but under watch since Baghdad, Damascus, Istanbul and Tehran will cooperate to shut out any hopes of Kurdish independence. Iraq will be part of an Iran-led economic-military alliance that will stretch from the border of Afghanistan to the border of Syria and Jordan. It will probably also include Bahrain as its Dubai oasis: an outpost for finance, paper, and leisure for those Shias who might find domestic laws a trifle too restrictive for their weekends.

The Iraqi armed forces, now strengthened by the inclusion of Shias who fought to defeat Bush’s armies in partnership with Iran, will raise confrontation with Israel to the top of its agenda. The Iraqi army will still be equipped by the mountain of weapons that George Bush left behind, on the assumption that he was arming a friendly force or simply because it was too dangerous to lug back so much weaponry along roads and routes over which America had lost control.

If Iran’s nuclear capability has been destroyed, it will be a nation seething with the desire for revenge against Israel by other means; if it has not been destroyed, then its nuclear capability will be the shield in a war to restore the borders of 1967 and create a fully independent Palestinian state.

A front against Israel will be the one major area of agreement between the Shia bloc and the Sunni-Arab states, with Iraq far keener to provoke confrontation than the others. Baghdad and Tehran will not raise the ante against Israel; they will be equally keen to further radicalize the Arab Street in Cairo, Damascus and Amman, where the people will no longer see any merit in the no-war, no-peace policy towards Israel of their governments.

Saddam Hussein will be remembered only by the final hours of his life, and his last words: “Palestine is Arab”. The secret service protecting former President George Bush will never permit him to visit two countries – Iraq and Israel – albeit for vastly different reasons. 

An equally prescient analysis of the Iraq war is that, according to a US diplomat, “US President George Bush’s new Iraq policy is the contemporary equivalent of Vietnamisation, the purpose being not to win an unwinnable war, but to provide political cover for a defeat and eventually to blame the loss on the Iraqis.”

4 comments ↪
  • Ken Burgin

    Fascinating observations. Thanks for your regular updates…

  • number6

    Yes, interesting observations. However, one fact that doesn't seem to get taken into account in such forecasts is that Iran is Persian, not Arab. Arabs may not be as enthusiastic about Iranian hegemony in the Middle East as Mr Akbar suggests. Indeed, there is apparently tension between the Iranian Hezbollah in Teheran and the Arab Hezbollah in lebanon, the Arab flavour being more conciliatory than their hard line Teheran-based bretheren (after all, they hope to continue to live there). Some Iranians may be dreaming of a reconstructed Persian Empire, but I doubt that many Saudis, Jordanians or Syrians are.

  • al loomis

    well, maybe.

    but maybe the yanks will do a deal with kurds: bases and oil in exchange for protection as an 'independant' kurdistan.

    not what bush and exxon had in mind, but a big improvement on nothing at all. i bet israel would recognize kurdistan in a flash, and syria might then think it best to go with the flow.

    all kinds of interesting possibilities, but since applied force is not having noticeable success, maybe it's time to let ethnic pressures shape middle east boundaries. the kurds have a much better claim to 'kurdistan' than the zionists to israel. a deal between turkey, israel, syria, and kurdistan would have internal pressures, but all would have something to gain.

    usa might broker and guarantee a treaty which gets a middle east presence with some oil, creates an ally for israel, neutralizes syria, and attaches turkey more firmly to western interests.

    it's a shame they hired condy, when i have so much better ideas.

  • John Swanston

    Re Al loomis' comments. I understand that Israel is already assisting Iraqi Kurdistan.
    Mind you Israel also has access to airbases in Turkey as well.