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.

Human rights first

Last week the executive director of Human Rights Watch, Kenneth Roth, spoke in Sydney. He gave a passionate, wide-ranging talk, outlined the “rules of the game” for tyrannies around the world and a West that loves to collaborate with them:

The Bush administration, for example, seems to prefer promoting a narrow conception of democracy as a softer, fuzzier alternative to the embarrassing issue of human rights. Democracy is a metric by which the United States still measures up fairly well, but talk of human rights brings up such inconvenient topics as Guantanamo, secret CIA prisons, water-boarding, rendition, military commissions, and the suspension of habeas corpus.

But by divorcing democracy from the international human rights standards that give it meaning, the administration sends the message that mere elections, regardless of the circumstances, are sufficient.

Its response in November to then-General Musharraf’s declaration of “emergency rule” in Pakistan was illustrative. Even after Musharraf’s effective coup and his detention of thousands of political opponents, President Bush said that Musharraf had somehow not “crossed the line”. Bush could hardly trumpet Musharraf’s human rights record, so he declared that Musharraf is “somebody who believes in democracy” and that Pakistan was “on the road to democracy”.

But if, unlike human rights law, “the road to democracy” permits locking up political opponents, dismissing independent judges, and silencing the independent press, it is easy to see why autocrats the world over are tempted to believe that they, too, might be eligible.

Roth is a voice of sanity.

one comment ↪
  • JohD

    I do notice that you are very involved with Human Rights issues Anthony, but you do need to distinguish between friend and foe. Many of the worst Human Rights excesses now take place under the rubric of defending someone’s human rights. Iraq is a prime example.

    Kenneth Roth is the primary purveyor of Human Rights Propaganda on the Planet. One has to question the integrity of an Organisation that is itself solely made up of Naturalised Americans at Board Level, posits a universal Human Right regardless of whether someone wants that Human Right Acknowledged or not, and that promotes a regime of enforcement of those rights that is itself discriminatory – A third world peasant is more likely to be on receiving end of enforcement action to either protect his fundamental human rights, or punish an abuse of somebody’s human rights.

    Something is either right or it is not. We don’t need selective enforcement of these rights to know that it right. Kenneth Roth is simply a highly paid propagandist for the Human Rights intervention lobby exploiting the goodwill of decent people everywhere to promote an agenda whose end result is the violent death of a Somali peasant using the fruits of the labour of exploited Mid-western American hillbillies.

    Don’t fall into the trap of condemning Human Rights abuses everywhere simply because you oppose these abuses on principle. They will use these same principles to kill someone somewhere – even if they are only brainwashed Chinese peoples Army Cadres. That is essentially what the enforcement of ‘universal’ (they aren’t, they are essentially Western … no, they are not even western, they are essentially North American) Human Rights entails.

    Don’t associate what you do, with the likes of a slimeball like Kenneth Roth.