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 liars and the thiefs

The New York Times, June 14:

The flow of illicit weapons from Iran to Taliban fighters in Afghanistan has reached such large quantities that it suggests that the shipments are taking place with the knowledge of the government in Tehran, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said Wednesday.

Mr. Gates said he had seen new intelligence analysis over the past couple of weeks “that makes it pretty clear there’s a fairly substantial flow of weapons” from Iran across its border to assist insurgents in Afghanistan.

Commenting on potential Iranian government involvement in the arms flow, Mr. Gates said, “I haven’t seen any intelligence specifically to this effect, but I would say, given the quantities that we’re seeing, it is difficult to believe that it’s associated with smuggling or the drug business or that it’s taking place without the knowledge of the Iranian government.”

Mr. Gates is the highest-ranking member of the Bush administration to give voice to its suspicions that Iran is arming Taliban insurgents who have attacked forces of the Afghan government as well as American and other coalition troops.

Associated Press, June 14:

Afghanistan’s defense minister on Thursday dismissed claims by a top U.S. State Department official that there was “irrefutable evidence” that the Iranian government was providing arms to Taliban rebels.

“Actually, throughout, we have had good relations with Iran and we believe that the security and stability of Afghanistan are also in the interests of Iran,” Abdul Rahim Wardak told The Associated Press.

So, the Americans would like to blame the Iranians for the troubles in Afghanistan. The reality of the situation is impossible to determine, but it seems highly likely that the US is frustrated by its lack of success in “liberating” the poppy-ridden nation. Let’s not forget that the Iranians assisted the US to oust the Taliban in the months after 9/11 and were never too friendly with the fundamentalist regime there.

It’s morbidly amusing to watch the Americans flailing about in a variety of conflicts. No clue how to interact with the locals, no idea how to conduct themselves, paranoid about foreign intervention, determined to kill as many “terrorists” as possible and ultimately turning the “liberated” into the opposition.

Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan are now claiming that they are fighting their own war on drugs, but it’s likely to be as futile as the battle waged by the Americans. Supply and demand plays by its own rules.

2 comments ↪
  • Marilyn

    Morbidly amusing indeed.

  • stu

    A.L. –

    Consider the following assertion –

    After the First Gulf War (1992) Israeli political and military leaders embarked on a foreign policy program with the stated objective of establishing hegemonic rule over the Middle East. In order to do this the Iraqi, Syrian, and Iranian regimes will have to overthrown militarily. Since this would be to large an undertaking for Israel to do alone they would have to convince other countries that the three aforementioned pose an unacceptable threat to world peace. Israeli leaders believed that the best hope for accomplishing this enterprise would to somehow get the United States involved in a Middle East conflict. The ideal starting point for the US would be to take on Iraq….followed by Syria and Iran. This would require swaying US public opinion. Israel would work closely with pro-Israel advocacy groups, think tanks, and friends in the media in the US to formulate a marketing statedgy. Extra effort would be required lobbying US elected officials and campaign funding only to those candidates that are pro-Israel. And it goes on…..

    This sums up Israel Shahak prophetic warning published in 1997…."Open Secrets: Israeli Foreign and Nuclear Polices". A 200 page book which is curiously out of print…you can buy it used for $60.