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.

Defeat: Why They Lost Iraq

My following book review appeared in the Melbourne Age on April 19:

On the fifth anniversary the Iraq War, The Independent’s Patrick Cockburn, the finest Western reporter in Iraq, wrote that the conflict “has been one of the most disastrous wars ever fought by Britain. It has been small but we achieved nothing . . . All governments lie in wartime but American and British propaganda in Iraq over the last five years has been more untruthful than in any conflict since the First World War”. Rupert Murdoch’s Australian praised the “liberation” and hailed the “principled reasons” behind the invasion.

The Guardian’s correspondent Jonathan Steele, a journalist who has spent time in Iraq since 2003, told Democracy Now! in March that, “the war was lost when they decided to have this open-ended occupation of the country without giving any date for withdrawal”. In his compelling new book, Defeat: Why They Lost Iraq, Steele dispenses with analysing how the war could have been fought better, smarter or less violently, a feature of much Western media discussion.

Former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter once said that growing anti-war sentiment in America wasn’t due to real opposition to the war, but rather that his country wasn’t “winning”. Steele writes that, “occupations are inherently humiliating” and the Americans, British and Australians were seen as “murderous outsiders”.

The region was rightly wary of “imperial intrusion”, something ignored or unknown by George Bush, Tony Blair and John Howard. Steele’s book provides ample reasons why the Middle East craves freedom from Western meddling and has every right to resist its imposition.

Under the banners of “freedom” and “democracy”, the Western powers sought to transform a sanctions-starved nation into a nation run by Republican-indoctrinated hacks. Iraqis were not seen as trustworthy to run their own country. More ominously, Washington and its clients ignored the legitimate grievances held by many in the Arab world towards the West. Steele quotes Mohammed Heikal, an Egyptian journalist/historian and editor of Al-Ahram, who writes about the US-led war to oust Saddam from Kuwait in 1991: “When Westerners accuse Arabs of being over-suspicious, they tend to forget that the West has never shown even-handedness on issues which affect the survival of the Arab nation. History’s influence in creating what the West says is an over-suspicious Arab attitude to Western involvement was much stronger than most in the West realised . . . the crusader, the colonist, the mercenary and the spy have all made their mark on Arab attitudes.”

The invasion of Iraq merely consolidated these fears.

Steele, unlike many Western journalists whose understanding of the war has been through the lens of the American military, engages with real Iraqis and reveals their initial relief at deposing Saddam then anger at being humiliated by racist, foreign troops. He claims thousands of innocent civilians were murdered by American troops and the vast majority of the families were never compensated.

Not unlike in the lawless Palestinian territories illegally occupied by Israel – an environment that taught Washington a great deal about “managing” an indigenous population – disorder and chaos were the chosen method of control.

Steele recounts meeting American-appointed political leaders who talked openly about torturing “terrorists” to tame a growing insurgency. One dictator was being replaced with another equally brutal.

This book is a useful primer of a war that has slipped off the front pages of the Australian media. Steele urges a “negotiated withdrawal” that would hopefully “bring an orderly and relatively casualty-free departure”.

Leading investigative journalist Seymour Hersh recently told an audience in Canada, in views likely to be echoed by Steele: “I don’t think it is bad for a journalist to come back (from covering a war) and say it sucks.”

Antony Loewenstein’s My Israel Question is published by Melbourne University Publishing.

one comment ↪
  • gandhi

    Antony, the 5th para at The Age online is mangled and splits here (in my Firefox browser anyway):

    affect the survival of the Arab nation. History's influence in creating what the West says is an over-suspicious Arab attitude to Western involvement was much stronger than most in the West realised . . . the crusader, the colonist, the mercenary and the spy have all made their mark on Arab attitudes."