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.

Rise of human rights consciousness

My following article appears in the Amnesty International Australia’s Uncensor campaign about human rights in China:

We don’t need American, mainstream journalists telling us that something is wrong in China, writes Antony Loewenstein

Chinese dissidents will continue to push for democratic change. This is certain in an Olympic year, but these voices are undoubtedly stronger in the West than in their own country. Reformers have regularly experienced similar battles throughout history, from Eastern Europe during the Cold War to anti-Castro activists in Cuba.

I remember speaking to some of these dissidents in Cuba last year and being told that they wished to be better recognised in, say, Havana, as productive members of society rather than threats to national security.

Chinese bloggers are achieving small victories against authoritarian rule, but the struggle for truly alternative voices to be heard in the West is a constant challenge. For example, how willing are Western audiences to hear stories about Chinese netizens not being oppressed?

Propaganda against Tibet and the Dalai Lama continues with an exhibition at Beijing’s Cultural Palace of Nationalities and authorities are warning the Tibetan leader not to disrupt the Games.

Citizen media is gearing up for the August 8 start-date, despite the onerous restrictions. The International Federation of Journalists launched in late June a helpline and website to support thousands of foreign journalists in Beijing.

To clarify the reality of China’s current state for Western audiences, however, sometimes takes the calming words of an American media giant such as Ted Koppel to provide perspective. “The U.S. relationship to China is so intricate and so deep that Americans need to know that it’s more than cheap labour at Wal-Mart or tainted toys,” Koppel said. “We’d have a hard time extricating ourselves from it.”

Well, yes, but who has been creating those stereotypes in the first place? Koppel’s colleagues in the mainstream media.

But the scale of August’s spectacle, and the political risks in doing so, was perfectly realised by McClatchy Newspapers’ Tim Johnson:

“These will be no ordinary Olympic Games. They will be the most extravagant ever put on, designed to dazzle the world and display China’s reclaimed status as a major world power.

“Reaching into its deep pockets, China has erected awe-inspiring new buildings and sports venues, spending an estimated $40 billion, or three times as much as Athens did four years ago.”

China will be expecting some global respect for its efforts. Even taxi drivers are nervous about the event. The BBC reports that gold, silver and bronze have been brought to China from mines in Australia and Chile. Nothing is being left to chance.

Human Rights Watch this week provided a sobering reflection on the challenges facing activists in the Communist country:

“The Chinese government has prohibited local Chinese-language media from publishing unflattering news ahead of the Games, leaving foreign media as the only source of factual reporting about a wide range of crucial issues in China today. But systematic surveillance, obstruction, intimidation of sources, and pressure on local assistants are hobbling foreign correspondents’ efforts to pursue investigative stories.”

Minky Worden, the editor of “China’s Great Leap: The Beijing Games and Olympian Human Rights Challenges” and media director at Human Rights Watch told IPS news service that although the organization doesn’t back a boycott of the Games, they hoped world leaders would act accordingly and “condition their attendance at the highly political opening ceremony on specific human rights improvement.” She went on:

“The year 2008 is also the 30th anniversary of Deng Xiaoping’s reforms and opening policy which transformed the country by allowing economic freedoms – but not allowing political freedom or basically human rights. So you could say that the next leap forward for China needs to be in the area of press freedom, the rule of law and basic human rights.”

Will Australian, Mandarin-speaking Prime Minister Kevin Rudd speak honesty to the Chinese leadership?

one comment ↪
  • Let's start raising "human rights consciousness" bu recognizing that the first human right is the right to live.

    Yet, each year, 1,710,000 baby girls disappear in China. This major human rights abuse seems to be an accepted travesty as no one speaks of this horrific gendercide (the singling out of baby girls for death).

    By the time population growth in China will reach a plateau, 133 million females would have been "missed" since infancy!!!!

    For a more comprehensive analysis of infanticide in China, please view my presentation for the U.N. last year, accessed from the left bar on my home page at

    Talia Carner, author, China Doll