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.

Oil law hits more bumps in the road

Opposition to the proposed Iraq oil law is growing.

Any illusions Washington may have entertained to rush this law through Iraq’s approval process have hit a wall. Iraqi lawmakers have not allowed themselves to be intimidated or pressured into making rash decisions and are asking pertinent question.

Opposition ranges from vehement to measured, but two things are clear: The May deadline that the White House had been banking on is in doubt. And even if the law is passed, it fails to resolve key issues, including how to divide Iraq’s oil revenue among its Shiite, Kurdish and Sunni regions, and how much foreign investment to allow. Those questions would be put off for future debates.

Opposition has not only come from the expected camps, but also from allied ones.

The Kurdish regional government voiced its opposition to the measure last month after seeing lists drawn up by the Iraqi central government that categorized the oil fields according to levels of development and geographical boundaries. Those factors would determine who would manage the fields and the contracts involving them — regional authorities or the state-run Iraq National Oil Co., which has yet to be established.

Apart from the sharing of the profits, the other big issue is how much should be given away to foreign companies?

Next to how to divide the money, the most contentious issue appears to be the role of foreign investment. The measure envisions profit-sharing agreements, which reward foreign contractors for doing business in risky environments.

At the end of the day, the fundamental issue remains. The oil belongs to Iraq and it should be Iraq that has the final decision when it comes to any such agreement.

Imad Abdul Hussain, a leader of the Federation of Oil Unions, said workers want oil production to remain in government hands.

“Oil is Iraq’s sovereignty. It is the only wealth in Iraq. It unifies Iraqis. When we give it to a foreign investor, this means the sovereignty is taken away,” he said.

The bottom line is that before the 2003 invasion, OPEC restrictions aside, Iraq had 100% control of oil production and revenues. The possibility of a Saddam unencumbered by sanctions and no longer pliant to US interests was the real threat, not WMD or Al Qaeda. Any country that controls one of the world’s largest oil reserves wields enormous powerful and the possibility of such a country acting contrary to the interests of the US cannot be tolerated.

9 comments ↪
  • Dylan

    The bottom line is that before the 2003 invasion, OPEC restrictions aside, Iraq had 100% control of oil production and revenues.

    The bottom line is that before the 2003 invasion, OPEC restrictions aside, Iraq a brutal dictator had 100% control of oil production and revenues.

    /fixed that for ya

  • BenZ

    Dylan should have fixed the apostrophe in "Oil law hit’s more bumps in the road" as well…

    But then, why should someone who apparently doesn't have a problem with awful abuse of human-rights by Saddam Hussein, be worried about abuse of the English language?

  • Andre

    Dylan,

    Nice try but you missed the point.

    Jingoism aside, the US isn't concerned about whether Iraq was run by a brutal dictator or not, but whether he would take his cues from Washington. Dictators, such as the Saudi's or Karimov in Uzbekistan, have never offended Washington. In fact, they have demonstrated a findness for them, which is why they like to put them into power.

    Take Kazakstan and Saudi Arabia. Both are swimming in oil, and both have a population with 3rd world mortality rates, whereas Venezuela has free health care for all, just like Saddam provided for the Iraqis.

    What does concern Washington/Houston, is when oil rich countries decides to pursue their own interests, as we saw with Iran circa 1953 and Venezuela today.

    The subtlety was apprently lost on you.

  • Andre

    Why the apostrophe in "hits" Benz? Perhaps English is your second language?

    But then, why should someone who apparently doesn’t have a problem with awful abuse of human-rights by Saddam Hussein, be worried about abuse of the English language?

    The human rights abuses of Saddam were vile, but I never understood how punishing the Iraqi people with 'shock and awe' and then creating conditions in Iraq that surpassed those during Saddam's reign in terms of violence, was supposed to be a solution.

    No doubt you agree with the equation that Saddam = the people of Iraq.

  • Dylan

    Why the apostrophe in “hits” Benz? Perhaps English is your second language?

    Ben Z was referring to the title of the post where there was an apostrophe in 'hits' – before it was changed, of course.

  • Andre

    Cheers Dylan,

    Ant must have corrected it on my behalf.

  • BenZ

    Ant must have corrected it on my behalf.

    Yes. You could be excused for not noticing as Antony has a habit of surreptitiously correcting embarrassing errors rather than issuing a correction notice as is standard practice.

    How about an apology to me for your obnoxious remark Andre?

  • viva peace

    I cannot believe you people still do not Get It! Have any of you been awake since the UN Security Council bestowed its legal blessing on the Coalition. Oh, and Hullo! The Iraqis have begged us to stay for another two years at least.

  • Andre

    How about an apology to me for your obnoxious remark Andre?

    Absolutely I appologise, though if you're offended by obnoxious remarks, do you think it wise to issue them as gratuitously as you do?

    UN Security Council bestowed its legal blessing on the Coalition

    Yeah sure. Funny you should mention UNSC approval when the "coalition" blatantly ignored the UNSC when it invaded in the first place.

    BTW. The UN did not bless he occupation, but gave the occupation forces a mandate to help the Iraqi government lead Iraq.

    As for the Iraqis have begged us to stay, was that meant to be funny? The million plus demonstrators in Najaf ring any bells? The first "elections" which was an overwhelming vote for the occupation to leave? The pools that overwhelming reveal that a majority of Iraqis a) want the occupation to end and b) approve of attacks against the coalition forces?

    And then there is that minor detail about the majority of Iraq's lawmakers wanting a deadline for withdrawal.