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.

Ali Allawi: The attempt to refashion Iraq was doomed

My following article appears in today’s edition of Crikey:

The Iraq war has barely registered in this election campaign (except Murdoch cheerleader Andrew Bolt declaring last week that the battle has been “won”). Clearly Bolt must have missed the millions of displaced refugees both inside and outside the ravaged country during his visit to the Green Zone. Most Iraqi bloggers remain pessimistic.

John Howard’s stated reason for Australian troops to remain in Iraq is simply to support the Americans, while Kevin Rudd has pledged to remove our combat troops from the country. But in the real world, Iraq remains in turmoil and election campaigns are never the time for sensible policy discussion, let alone accountability for the over one million Iraqis killed since the 2003 invasion.

Ali Allawi, Iraq’s former defence and trade minister, is in Australia this week talking about his country’s prospects and his acclaimed book, The Occupation of Iraq: Winning the War, Losing the Peace. Unlike fellow former Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, who is currently angling to run the nation again, Allawi remains disillusioned with the American mission and deeply resents their numerous crimes since 2003.

“It was doomed”, he told the New York Times in October.

“What was doomed was the attempt to refashion Iraq in a sort of civilisational makeover, using American power in an alliance with a supposedly grateful Iraqi public, led by a Westernised middle class.”

Allawi told a packed audience at Sydney’s Lowy Institute last night that the Iraqi state had “collapsed” on 9 April, 2003. A nation that has had its sovereignty violated four times in the last century is unlikely to regain its national character anytime soon, he lamented.

Iraq no longer has any kind of central authority and currently operates, with tacit American backing, as a dominant Shiite state that both oppresses the Sunni minority and empowers tribal groups to merely worsen the fragmentation. Allawi argued that even the possibility of a centralised government was highly unlikely and federalism was an equally unlikely solution. He said that many in the West didn’t accept that secular parties only gathered tiny support throughout the country and the majority had consistently voted for politicians with strong religious affiliations.

His solution – though he acknowledged this was unlikely to happen anytime soon – consisted of establishing a semi-centralised government with a large degree of decentralisation among the ethnic regions of the country, including the Kurdish minority in the north. Simply put, despite the suggestion of some politicians and analysts in America, Allawi believed that Iraq should not be divided along ethnic lines.

He said withdrawal of Australian troops would make no difference to the security situation (something he agreed had slightly improved over the last months.)

Allawi reminded the audience that America was responsible for Iraq’s current crisis and therefore should institute a regional conference with all the major players to discuss the country’s future.

one comment ↪
  • good post; it will be interesting to see what happens with BOTH Allawi's and I personally support Ayad Allawi's quest for leadership; though I do not support his past and am aware that many Iraqi's view him as a brutal former baathist; I think he is owed SOME merit for both his persistence and his commitment to being non-sectarian.

    Ali is right. Iraq will not be repaired through anything less than time and time alone. There is no quick fix. There is no "one leader" who can calm the country. There is not even an alliance which could achieve such a thing.

    Iraq needs a centralized, non sectarian government. Not federalism; not shia or sunni dominance. Allawi's cross-sectarian alliances certainly have more chance of survival than Maliki's shaky, stalemate of an alliance backed predominantly by shia extremist elements.