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.

How to pick friends

The source of the latest violence in Lebanon is murky, at best. In the latest edition of the Cairo-based paper al-Ahram Weekly, some essential background:

Little ground support is evident for Fatah Al-Islam among the Lebanese or Palestinians and both, initially, backed army bombardment of Nahr Al-Bared. Palestinian outrage, however, mounted with the civilian death toll. By Wednesday morning, when an uneasy truce was in place allowing exhausted civilians to flee by the thousand, 22 militants and 32 soldiers had been killed, according to Reuters. Dead civilians officially number 27, but with access to Nahr Al-Bared remaining dangerous while many buildings have been reduced to rubble, that toll can only rise.

Fatah Al-Islam splintered from Syrian-backed Fatah Al-Intifada in November, both Damascus and the group deny any link between them. Fatah Al-Islam’s ideology is Al-Qaeda-style Salafism — anti-Shia and anti-US. Experts say most militia members are northern Lebanese, joined by Palestinians, Syrians, Saudis and other Arab nationalities.

A political split between the Sunni-dominated government of Prime Minister Fouad Al-Siniora and the Shia resistance group Hizbullah forms the backdrop to Fatah Al-Islam’s growth, according to Ahmed Moussalli, an expert on Islamist movements at the American University of Beirut.

“In Lebanon in the last few months it seems the Hariri group has been channelling funds and allowing weaponry to enter in order to create a Sunni militia… to bargain with Hizbullah,” Moussalli said. Saad Al-Hariri, Al-Siniora and the rest of Lebanon’s pro-US, anti-Syrian government have stepped up pressure on Hizbullah to disarm.

Moussalli proffers that Fatah Al-Islam, Jund Al-Sham and the larger Usbet Al-Ansar are all affiliated with Al-Qaeda by ideology and because of Iraq. “They found a haven in Lebanon to rest, train and recruit, in particular in north Lebanon, which has always been a hotbed for radical fundamentalists.”

The paper also has an interesting article about the difficult relationship between Iran and Egypt.

2 comments ↪
  • BenZ

    Dozens and dozens of people are thought to have been killed in the Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon – at least 70 in two days — as the Lebanese military go all out to destroy the al Qaeda spinoff Fatah al Islam which is apparently embedded in the camp.

    Besides this post (hardly a post, more a blatant plagiarism) Antony doesn't have much to say at all. For "some reason"…

    We have a refugee camp under heavy bombardment; civilians being killed along with the terrorists who are hunkered down among them (as Islamofascisst are known to do) and the threat that they will be removed one way or another because they pose a threat to the country which simply cannot be tolerated ( as opposed to say Hamas v. Israel). My favourite bit: ambulances prevented from reaching the injured and even being fired upon.

    Can you imagine the reaction if Israel were to be doing this? Can you imagine the posting frenzy that would be going on here?

    Andre doesn't have much to say either. Even a poorly spelled post or two? Nope.

    Where are all the denunciations of the Lebanese government? Where are the articles condemning it for dangerous or "disproportionate" over-reaction? Where are the Andre and Antony screams of "war crimes"?

    Funny, that — I seem to have missed all of them.

    There was some crap or other posted about South Africa (and Israel). Oh, and a few of the other usual anti-Israel posts.

    Pretty typical really.

  • Andre

    BenZ,

    You're demonstrating your overwhelming ignotacen yet again.

    According to MI6 operatives and a March report by Sy Hersh, Fatah al Islam were allowed into Lebanon by the government of Lebanon, to wreak havoc on Hezbollah. They are being armed and financed by Saudi Arabia (namely Prince Bandar) at the behest of Washington.

    They might represent a threat now, but that is what happens when governments take their orders from Washington and are then left dealing with the unintended consequences.

    Can you imagine the reaction if Israel were to be doing this? Can you imagine the posting frenzy that would be going on here?

    Who’s to say that this is not being done on Israel’s behalf? Once again. Palestinians are suffering, which always pleases the Israeli leadership and even more importantly, the strife gives added justification for the presence of a US/NATO military base in Tripoli – too keep the peace of course.

    Where are all the denunciations of the Lebanese government?

    Well see as the US has now decided to arm the Lebanese government, don’t expect it from Washington. I take it BenZ, that you are degusted that the US is shipping arms to Lebanon as we speak right? Right?

    So yes, you will likely miss all of that. And where is your outrage at the Lebanese government allowing this spin off of Fatah al Islam into Lebanon to begin with?

    Do you ever question what you read, or just take everything at face value?