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.

Massacre hits Virginia

The US woke to the tragedy of another mass shooting, this time in Virginia. At last count, the death toll was 34.

Such events create diverse opinions.

Glenn Reynolds from Instapundit thinks the solution is more guns.

Nobody seems to know much yet on what happened. These things do seem to take place in locations where it’s not legal for people with carry permits to carry guns, though, and I believe that’s the case where the Virginia Tech campus is concerned.

Leave it to the right to turn such a tragedy into a pro-gun campaign, which in turn, provoked outrage from one of the students.

Former CIA operative Larry Johnson, made poignant comparison.

The next time you hear Dick Cheney or George Bush blame the public attitude regarding Iraq on the media’s failure to report “good news”, examine carefully our reaction to the shooting at Viginia Tech. Look at our collective shock. Our horrified reaction. The public sorrow. Yet, in truth, this is an exceptional, unusual day in America. It is not our common experience. But we cannot say the same about Iraq.

And as always, there are the inevitable conspiracy theories, that while predictable, do raise some serious questions.

17 comments ↪
  • Check out Juan Cole’s thoughts:

    The profound sorrow and alarm produced in the American public by the horrific shootings at Virginia Tech should give us a baseline for what the Iraqis are actually living through. They have two Virginia Tech-style attacks every single day. Virginia Tech will be gone from the headlines and the air waves by next week this time in the US, though the families of the victims will grieve for a lifetime. But next Tuesday I will come out here and report to you that 64 Iraqis have been killed in political violence. And those will mainly be the ones killed by bombs and mortars. They are only 13% of the total; most Iraqis killed violently, perhaps 500 a day throughout the country if you count criminal and tribal violence, are just shot down. Shot down, like the college students and professors at Blacksburg. We Americans can so easily, with a shudder, imagine the college student trying to barricade himself behind a door against the armed madman without. But can we put ourselves in the place of Iraqi students?

  • Adrian Oter

    Thats crazy stuff, America really does need to address its gun addiction.

  • BenZ

    Liviu Librescu, a 75 year old Israeli lecturer in mechanical engineering at Virginia Tech blocked the gunman’s way and saved the lives of a large number of students through his bravery …

    I can only guess that his time in Israel, wondering every day if a person walking into a classroom could be trying to shoot him had programmed him for an instant reaction.

    The Jewish people refuse to be led to slaughter. Good on him. He is a hero.

  • In the same post, Cole has some good advice for Aussies:

    Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, speaking in Australia, said he left it to Australia and the US whether to withdraw from Iraq or not. He said that he did want to stress that if the US and Australia withdrew, they should do so in such a way as to retain their authority and preserve their gains in the region.

    The problem with this advice is that it is impossible to follow it. Any US withdrawal from Iraq will inevitably affect its prestige. But then, the quagmire is a daily reminder to everyone in the region of the limits of US power.

    Olmert made a big deal about 'living in the region' and therefore 'knowing something of its dynamics.' I think his war on Lebanon last summer demonstrates the falsity of the latter claim, and my advice to Canberra would be pretty much to keep his track record in mind. Even in Israel, he is at 14% in the polls.

    Anyway, I think the implication of his statement, despite his beating around the bush, is that he doesn't relish a US and Australian withdrawal from Iraq because he thinks it will adversely affect Israeli security. Olmert doesn't understand regional dynamics and doesn't seem to see that the longer the US and its two remaining major allies in Iraq try to stay there, the worse the situation gets, which actually is the thing that is threatening to Israel.

    The Belgian Minister of Defense has demanded that Israel pay for the clean-up of the 1 million cluster bombs Olmert ordered fired into south Lebanon, mostly in the last 3 days of the war last August. There was no military purpose to this act of vicious sabotage, and it was clearly a war crime. The goal was to injure Lebanese civilians returning to South Lebanon, and, since they largely support Hizbullah, to weaken that group in the south. Kudos to Andre Flahaut for daring stand up on this issue. Israeli politician Shimon Peres has admitted that deploying the cluster bombs was a "mistake."

    So if the Australians know what is good for them, they won't pay too much attention to Olmert, perhaps the most inept prime minister Israel has ever had.

  • Andre

    Liviu Librescu, a 75 year old Israeli lecturer in mechanical engineering at Virginia Tech blocked the gunman’s way and saved the lives of a large number of students through his bravery …

    The man is indeed a hero, but it's extremely lame to suggest this has any connection to Israel. This is an example of individual bravery and courage.

    Uri Avnery made an interesting comment about the 2006 Lebanon war. He said that one of the reasons Israel was resoundingly defeated was because none of the IDF troops were prepared to die for their country, and certainly not for their government.

  • BenZ

    but it’s extremely lame to suggest this has any connection to Israel

    Not really. Every Israeli has a different mindset to your typical American or Australian who don't have to live in constant threat of terrorism.

    Every single Israeli schoolkid, teacher and staff member has been trained in what to do in case of an attack. Ditto bus drivers, cafe owners and shopkeepers.

    The answer: Fight as though your life depends on it for it does.

    I'm sure there are some in the world who probably think the shooter could have been negotiated with.

  • viva peace

    It seems the Americans have been watching too much Al-Jazeera. They'd better look out or they'll end up like Gaza, Pakistan, Egypt, Libya, Morroco……

  • Andre

    It looks like Viva has put his days of intellectual debate behind him and decided go become our resident trash talking shock jock.

    The answer: Fight as though your life depends on it for it does

    .

    Uri Avnery made an interesting comment about the 2006 Lebanon war. He said that one of the reasons Israel was resoundingly defeated was because none of the IDF troops were prepared to die for their country, and certainly not for their government.

    I'd say that this brave man responded to human protective instincts, this is certainly not an Israeli only trait.

  • E.Mariyani

    BenZ – Apr 18th, 2007 at 3:03 pm

    Every Israeli has a different mindset to your typical American or Australian who don’t have to live in constant threat of terrorism.

    ….

    The answer: Fight as though your life depends on it for it does.

    You're right, of course….except perhaps when it comes to Israeli refuseniks. Then again, they are bravely fighting for humanity too.

  • viva peace

    Andre

    How can you say Israel was "resoundingly defeated?" Last time I checked, Lebanon was a basket case, the so-called "Palestinians" are committing suicide. No Hizbollah flag flying in Tel Aviv, though.

  • viva peace

    E. Mariyani

    The men you linked to have evry tohold any opinion they wish. They live in Israel and as soldiers have been to die for their homeland. They are also Jews.

    What are YOU credentials?

  • viva peace

    Still, given the military intentions of the Muslims, Israel would be wise to prepare for a massive war.

    Israel would be mad to just piss about again. They need to flatten them

  • E.Mariyani

    viva peace – Apr 20th, 2007 at 8:02 am

    Israel would be mad to just piss about again. They need to flatten them

    "Flatten", meaning murder, and "them" meaning Arabs, without qualification. How disturbing to scratch the surface and find a person who openly advocates genocide.

    I prefer "never again," but then again, perhaps BenZ is right in asserting that "Israeli[s] ha[ve] a different mindset to your typical American or Australian."

  • viva peace

    E. Mariyani

    ROFL. If Australia ever had to put up with the crap the Israeli's have, we would have flattened them decades ago.

  • Andre

    How can you say Israel was “resoundingly defeated?” Last time I checked, Lebanon was a basket case, the so-called “Palestinians” are committing suicide.

    What a desperate piece of work you are?

    51% of Israeli's admit Israel were defeated militarily. That Israel got to drop more bombs on civilians and Lebanese infrastructure only proves how ineffective the IDF are. No wonder they prefer to have the Us fight their wars for them while they pick o rock throwing Palestinian youths.

    No Hizbollah flag flying in Tel Aviv, though.

    Hizbollah never intended to invade or occupy Israel, only to repel Israel, which they did. Of course, there is no Israeli flag flying in Beirut either.

    It doesn't help that the IDF banned anyone from flying a Hizbollah flagh in the occupied territories, or even on their cell phones.

    Israel would be mad to just piss about again. They need to flatten them

    This just goes to show how poor a student you are. Flatten what? More of Lebanon? You don’t win wars by flattening countries. The Us carpet bombed the hell out of Afghanistan, and still, more Taliban died from suffocation in the back of trucks than aerial bombardment.

    The reason Israel finally agreed to a ceasefire in Lebanon, was because the aerial bombardment was achieving nothing but bad press. Sooner or later the war had to include ground troops and every time the IDF tried that, they got smacked. These poor souls had gotten so used to manning check points in Palestine, that they had forgotten what it meant to have armed people firing back at them.

    The other problem with the bombing campaign is that the IAF had no idea what to target. This was highlighted by the fact that the Hizbollah TV station ran uninterrupted throughout the entire conflict.

    Fighting weak opponents make you weak. Long gone are the glory days of the IDF I’m afraid.

  • E.Mariyani

    viva peace – Apr 20th, 2007 at 9:24 am

    If Australia ever had to put up with the crap the Israeli’s have, we would have flattened them decades ago.

    What are you trying to say now? That Australians carry within them the latent urge to genocide when they are occupiers, whereas Israelis are morally superior because they show restraint in the face of the "temptation" to murderously obliterate?

    So first you reveal yourself to be an extremist racist by advocating genocide, and then in your ham-fisted attempt to divert attention from that, you stumble into the racist slur that Australians are by their very nature inherently morally inferior beings to Israelis.

    No matter in which direction you cast your eyes, it does not change the racist lens through which you see.