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.

Iraq, the Kurds and where to from here

I was recently interviewed by Peshawa Muhammed of the Kurdistani Nwe Newspaper, the publication of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan in Iraqi Kurdistan (Noam Chomsky was also interviewed recently.) The article ran on May 4:

Peshawa Muhammed: Five years on, how do you assess the current US policy in Iraq? Which option do you think can finally put an end to the ongoing fiasco; partition or keeping Iraq united?

Antony Loewenstein: The Iraq war is one of the greatest crimes of my lifetime. After more than five years, the death of over 4000 American troops, over a million Iraqis and millions of displaced refugees, the decision to invade and occupy the nation remains a disaster on all levels. The majority of polls in Iraq since 2003 find citizens believe life under Saddam, as brutal as it was, remains preferable. Foreign troops must leave the country as quickly as possible and the future of Iraq decided by Iraqis alone. I am against partition because it appears most citizens oppose it. The international community has a responsibility to assist the Iraqi government to get back on its feet. The current regime in Baghdad’s Green Zone is an illegitimate puppet of Washington, creating Shia death squads to obliterate potential enemies. Ethnic cleansing must stop.

Muhammed: Previously, Australian Defence Minister Brendan Nelson has admitted that securing oil supplies is a key factor behind the presence of Australian troops in Iraq. How do you explain the Australian objectives in the Iraq War?

Loewenstein: Australia, like many so-called allies in the war against Iraq, joined the Bush administration out of compulsion, fear and gutlessness. The previous Australian government, led by Prime Minister John Howard, was an unashamed fan of Bush and his “war on terror” policies – by pure coincidence, he was in Washington on September 11, 2001 – and believed that “democracy” should be imported by bombing and occupying a nation. Oil was certainly a key reason for the war as was securing a new, post-Saudi Arabia staging post in the Middle East. The US embassy in Baghdad, the largest in the world, indicates that America never had any intention of leaving.

Muhammed: If Iraq eventually fails as a state, what alternatives are there for the future of Iraqi Kurdistan and what assumptions are made by each alternative? Will Independent Iraqi Kurdistan be a viable option?

Loewenstein: The idea that Iraq is a state is clearly the invention of the Western powers just under one hundred years ago. Iraqi Kurdistan has the right to autonomy and independence, if a fair and free vote is taken. Of course, Turkey and the central Iraqi government oppose such a move, but it is probably inevitable. It is encouraging that Iraqi Kurdistan has benefited from the invasion and largely prospered. A ray of light in a sea of darkness.

Muhammed: Nothing or little is known about Australian-Kurdish relations. To the best of your knowledge, how does Australia view the Kurdish question in Iraq?

Loewenstein: There is a stable Kurdish population in Australia that receives little media coverage or discrimination, as far as I know. When the largest protest in the country’s history took place in 2003 against the Iraq war, the Kurds here were one of the few groups, aside from the Howard government, to encourage America to invade. In terms of Australian attitudes towards the Kurdish question, this is a difficult question. There is general sympathy for groups that are legitimately calling for a homeland – such as the Palestinians – but the issue receives little attention. My gut feeling is that there would be concern over creating a Kurdish state and increasing instability in the region.

Muhammed: What will happen of the coalition forces withdraw from Iraq prematurely? Regardless of the causes of the war and its eligibility, don’t you think it is the responsibility of the invading forces to restore peace and order before leaving Iraq?

Loewenstein: The international community certainly have a responsibility to assist the Iraqis, but poll after poll has found since 2003 that a majority of Iraqi people want foreign troops to leave. Indeed, much of the insurgency is directed at foreign troops. I fear that the Western powers will continually say that the country is too unstable to withdraw troops, therefore ensuing an endless occupation (something seemingly suggested by Republican presidential nominee John McCain.) There are other ways to support the country other than American troops, such as food aid, infrastructure support, financial compensation and the UN.

Muhammed: What are your general recommendations and advice for the future US Policy in Iraq?

Loewenstein: The US operates under the delusion that it had and continues to have the right to occupy Iraqi indefinitely. The countless examples of abuse committed by US troops against the Iraqi people must be compensated. Lessons must be learned, namely that the mentality that led the country to invade a nation that didn’t threaten it in any way has been counter-productive, weakened Israel, emboldened Iran and allowed China and India to continue to challenge Washington’s dominance of the globe, not a bad thing, in my opinion.

one comment ↪
  • mallee

    Antony, nearly every one I speak to agrees. Who in Australia now supports our murderous attempted conquest of Iraq and Afghanistan? The only one I know of has been collecting salad bowls and $45,00 prizess in the US recently, plus the support from the rump of his previous cabinet and people like Sheridan and Ackerman.

    So when are the are war cimes tribunals going to get under way??

    The Wahsington armed madhouse has so painted itself into a corner that they will be crazy enought to continue the disaster into Iran, be it just as an attempt to forestall some mass trials, as indicated by the sabre rattling of Israel and the US.

    Will people please do their internet research and ignore our controled mass media commentators and false reports.

    Even in the US, it has now been admitted that the press merely rejurgitated US propaganda to spruke for war against Iraq. {i.e. sucked in the media to the resultant killings in Iraq}

    Why are not the journalists and media bosses alongside our troops, for their cowradly lies, they could be used as personal protection against "enemy fire"? Fat chance, they are lounging like lizards in their holes.

    Will some of our intelligent, independent investigative press look up General Wesley Clake's interview on video where he recounts that he was told a week or so after the 911 false flag murders that the US was going to war, to do 7 countries in 5 yeas ending with Iran. Suppose our Government were in on that!!

    If the Australian media were not deceitful, it would be on the front page, then our stupid politicians might realise that they are either; liars or have been duped, in either case they do not deserve to be paid to represent Australia.

    Even the outspoken Greeens are not willing to use all the information at their disposal, seems that, compared to the US Greens, ours are very light green Greens, even of a'brown' hue.

    As somone once said; they shall know them by their deeds. I add that, they shall know them by their silence.

    Mass media: Read Prof Jones' et all, paper on 911 entitled The fourteen points..". []now why is that not on the front pages?

    Thanks Antony for providing a milk crate to rant. The Australian would probably just put up that David Aaronovitch attack [I sent it to you]on David Ray Griffin again and try to poison any considered debate on the the 911 murders which caused us to be in the Middle East mess from the start, by demonising those who would 'attack our freedoms'!!! If anyone has attacked our freedoms, it was the Howard Government and a duped house of Parliamentarians. I wrote to them about it but no response.

    The time must approach when our parliamentary representatives realise that they are failing humanity by their silence.

    By the way bom bomb bomber McKain has said that The US should be sel sufficinet in oil so that they do not need to depend on palces like Iraq (not an exact quote) Strange how our Brendan Nelson said something about going to Iraq for resources and pulled his comment.

    People of Australia; if you want a plasma tv and go next door and kill your neighbour to steal it, you are commiting murder, so how do you distinguish our murderous attempted conquest in the Middle East?.