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.

Petraeus the Messiah or just a very naughty boy?

In the face of all indicators that the Iraq war has been lost, the standard fall back position for the dead enders has been to insist that all judgment should be reserved until General Petraeus gives his progress report in September. We are reminded that this will be the Rosetta Stone of hard hitting truth with regards to the success of the US military in securing Iraq.

What is becoming all too obvious however, is that the script has already been written. A month ago we were given a sneak preview of what is to come.

I just watched Meet the Press, and there was Ryan Crocker, U.S. ambassador to Iraq, who together with General Petraeus will testify to Congress. He demonstrated that along with the surge in troops, there’s also been a surge in BS.

This week, Petraeus sat down for a warm-up with war sycophant, Hugh Hewitt, who’s already convinced that the surge is the greatest strategy ever invented.

Andrew Sullivan was not impressed:

If I were eager to maintain a semblance of military independence from the agenda of extremist, Republican partisans, I wouldn’t go on the Hugh Hewitt show, would you? And yet Petraeus has done just that. I think such a decision to cater to one party’s propaganda outlet renders Petraeus’ military independence moot. I’ll wait for the transcript. But Petraeus is either willing to be used by the Republican propaganda machine or he is part of the Republican propaganda machine. I’m beginning to suspect the latter.

The only thing worse than a deeply politicized and partisan war is a deeply politicized and partisan commander. But we now know whose side Petraeus seems to be on: Cheney’s. Expect spin, not truth, in September.

The most effective propaganda behind the surge has been the re-branding of Petreaus as some maverick devoted to truth and impervious to political partisanship and spin. This has been enabled by the media, who have yet to devote much coverage to the corkers Petreaus has given us in the past.

Here is just a taste:

In December, 2003:

“What we’ve had starting a month ago or so is a sustained spike. Arguably the spike has already gone down.”

In early 2004, Newsweek:

“Iraq’s security services are not dominated by non-Sunnis. ‘Absolutely not . . . The national forces are national forces, typically Shia, Sunni, Kurdds, Yezidi, everything. There is no shortage from all the difficult areas.’” That was a relief, since it sure would have been terrible if the Iraqi sercurity forces turned out to be Shiite death squads fighting sectarian battles.

Jim Lehrer News Hour 2003:

The U.S. military has found a second trailer in Iraq that could have been a mobile bio-weapons lab. the commander of the 101st Airborne Division, Major General David Petraeus, confirmed that today.

Fred Kagan October 2005 Weekly Standard article:

After the fiasco with the half-trained forces that fled Falluja in April 2004, CENTCOM brought in Lieutenant General David Petraeus in mid-2004 to overhaul the Iraqi army completely, with the particular goal of focusing on counterinsurgency. This undertaking has proven far more successful than the handful of light infantry divisions originally envisioned. Iraqi units performed admirably in the second battle of Falluja (in November 2004), in Tal Afar (September 2005), and in numerous other fights.

Some might remember how Michael Ware debunked that one.

Fred Kagan Los Angeles Times in August 2005:

Perhaps the best news from the region these days is that the Iraqi army is finally producing units able to fight on their own. According to Lt. Gen. David Petraeus, there are now more than 170,000 “trained and equipped” Iraqi police and military personnel, and more than 105 police and army battalions are “in the fight.” Over the next few months, tens of thousands more Iraqi troops will be able to take the field against the insurgency. They should number around 250,000 by next summer.

Jack Kelly in The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, August 2005 (via Lexis):

Ever since Army Lt. Gen. David Petraeus took responsibility for training Iraqi security forces last year, the target date for beginning a major American withdrawal has been June 2006.

There are plenty more where that came from.

one comment ↪
  • al loomis

    you don't get to be chairman of the joint chiefs by saying no to the president.

    but frankly, m'dear, i don't give a damn.

    the baboon model of society worked well on the plains of africa, and is still flourishing in the capitals of human society. this results in a great deal of pain at the lower edge of human society, but the upper edge is doing just fine.

    to those who may be restive, the general field theory of political science is:

    "you get the government you deserve"

    if the ordinary people are not citizen quality, they can not have democracy.