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.

Delusions of the “liberal” media

The disconnectedness and arrogance of the Beltway pundits is reaching a point where it can no longer be ignored or spun. Most of these pundits remain convinced that in spite of a poll that contradicts their position, they alone understand the sentiment of the American public. What more evidence does one need when figure like Joe Lieberman, who should be regarded as a national embarrassment, are still considered high watermarks of credibility?

Media pundits are so suffuse with narcissism and self-importance that they automatically think that their own views on any topic are, by definition, held by “most Americans,” on whose behalf they speak, even when they don’t.

An example is that in spite of virtually unanimous disapproval of the Bush administrations presidency and policy failures, none of these “experts” bothers to consider whether Bush and co have moved too far to the right. Instead, they regard the Commander Guy’s position as centrist and question whether critics are too far to the left.

On the Stephanopoulos bobble head roundtable this morning, Cokie Roberts raised the baton and started the drumbeat: the Democrats risk moving waaaaay too far to the left and that is going to be a biiiiig problem for them “just like it was in Vietnam.” Yes, she said it out loud. And David Gergen agreed whole heartedly.

Does anyone recall these gasbags saying that Bush was moving so far to the right with his monarchic, fundamentalist, shock and awe presidency that it was going to be a biiiig problem for them? I must have missed all those warnings. Now that he’s at 28% and the conservatives are on the run after having proven that there really is a limit to how far the crazed radical wingnuts can go, they are still warning about the Democrats moving too far to the left. These people have not had an original thought in 40 years.

Recently, there was the apparent debate between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton during the CNN/YouTube Democratic debate. The Beltway media were quick to seize on this moment as a defeat for Obama, in spite of evidence to the contrary.

As always, when wielded by Beltway media stars, the terms “centrist” and “moderate” and “mainstream” mean “whatever views I personally happen to hold on a topic, regardless of how many Americans actually share it.” Hence, the unanimous, wise Beltway wisdom was that Barack Obama “blew it” in the last Democratic debate by proclaiming his willingness to meet with leaders of hostile countries, while Hillary Clinton scored a big victory.

And what of polling data that shows exactly the opposite? Who cares? Beltway wisdom is more representative of what Americans believe than what Americans actually believe. From the latest Rasmussen Reports poll:

Democrats, by a 55% to 22% margin, agree with Obama.

It is not difficult to understand why Americans are supportive of Obama’s pro-diplomacy instincts. It is because they have seen the alternative for the last six years and know that it is a petulant refusal to speak to the Bad People that is the real fringe, dangerous, extremist position.

The Weekly-Standard/Giuliani/Lieberman position is a view that is overwhelmingly rejected by the American mainstream; it is a true fringe position:

Yet while Obama-like calls for diplomacy are almost immediately labelled “too left” or “extreme” despite polling data that shows the opposite, people who advocate insane military attacks on Iran are virtually never labelled as such even though polling data shows how fringe they are. That is because “centrism” and “extremism” and “fringes” designate nothing other than what Beltway media stars personally believe, and anyone who favors war — old ones or news ones — is inherently mainstream, responsible and . . . serious. That, more than anything else, is why we are still in Iraq, and why withdrawal is universally depicted as the “extreme” leftist position even though most Americans favor it.

2 comments ↪
  • Debra Carr

    Excellent summary here, the way some members of the Beltway media kowtow to the likes of Hillary Clinton and Joseph Lieberman is pathetic.

    As you say, surveys after the debate consistently demonstrate that the public most agrees with Barack Obama, and with good reason– the alternative, supported by George W. Bush and Hillary Clinton, has led to a catastrophic defeat in a Middle Eastern War that has caused permanent damage to the United States and probably ended our days as a significant power on the world scene. And the worst hasn't even hit the fan yet, and won't until the US and Britain withdraw in defeat and humiliation.

    Although I've been a steady Democrat for many years, I won't vote for Hillary Clinton if she's nominated, I'll just find a good Third Party to support. If it means a Republican in the Oval Office for another 4 years? Who cares? At least we'll then have a very strong shot at electing a genuine progressive in the 2012 election– not a warmongering, corporatist, labor-hating DLC shill like Hillary Rodham Clinton. What a miserable dilemma the Democratic Party has put itself in, by placing such a repugnant, distasteful figure such as Hillary Clinton in such a public position for such an important position.

    There's a reason that Barack Obama and even John Edwards consistently trounce Hillary Clinton in national polls of all voters and are the only 2 Democrats actually competitive against the top Republicans– Hillary Clinton's negatives are far too high. Even her fellow Democrats are furious at her. It would be idiotic strategy for the Democrats to nominate someone like this.

  • al loomis

    if you imagine there are 'good' politicians perhaps you think that some hyenas are better than others?

    america's history has been pretty consistent and much less glorious than american history texts would suggest. it's the natural result of power without restraint. by all means get rid of bush, but things won't get better while americans think they have a right to oil inconveniently placed under other people's land.

    instead of backing democrats, struggle for democracy. you certainly ain't got it yet.