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.

President Bush’s legacy of torture will outlive him

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

Antony Loewenstein, on a US book tour, writes from New York:

Outgoing US President George W Bush has a few regrets.

“The fight in Iraq has been longer and more costly than expected”, he said last week.

But he has never apologised for his administration’s use of torture against its perceived “terrorist” enemies. A former interrogator in Iraq said recently that the US torture policy in the country led to the deaths of thousands of American soldiers.

The New York Times can’t even bring itself in its news pages to call torture by its proper name; it’s presented as “enhanced interrogation techniques“.

President-elect Barack Obama, in a recent 60 Minutes interview, categorically stated that he wanted to close Guantanamo Bay and “make sure that we don’t torture. Those are part and parcel of an effort to regain America’s moral stature in the world”.

Fine words, but is it just rhetoric?

Harper’s Magazine organised a high-powered panel last week at New York University’s Centre on Law and Security titled “After Torture: Discussing Justice in the Post-Bush Era”.

Speakers included Democratic Representative Jerrold Nadler, President of the Centre for Constitutional Rights Michael Ratner, Harper’s contributing editor and Adjunct Professor at Columbia Law School Scott Horton and Retired Major General Antonio Taguba, the lead investigator into the Abu Ghraib abuses (Seymour Hersh’s profile of him is revealing).

Horton, who has written a much-discussed article about these issues, argued that Obama had to appoint a commission of inquiry to investigate the crimes to ensure accountability was done. The key problem remains that the Justice Department “was at the centre of the crime scene”.

Horton despaired at current Attorney General Michael Mukasey’s comments last week that President Bush had no need to issue pardons to administration officials because there was “absolutely no evidence” that anyone who developed policies in the “war on terror” “did so for any reason other than to protect the security in the country and in the belief that he or she was doing something lawful.” A similar defence was regularly offered at the Nuremberg Trials.

Representative Nadler made a compelling case to introduce a Constitutional amendment to impose limits on the President’s near absolute pardon power. “Crimes of state should be prosecuted”, he said to applause in the packed auditorium.

The most intriguing speaker was Antonio Taguba. A softly spoken man, he began by stating that he “complied with the Geneva Conventions”, a direct challenge to the Bush administration’s lawlessness (and he acknowledged earlier this year that “war crimes” had been committed over the last eight years).

Taguba constantly reiterated his support for the 2.2 million US men and women in uniform around the world. “How could the most democratic government in the world commit such acts [Abu Ghraib]?” he asked. He said that even during his investigations at the Iraq prison he was constantly issuing corrections to policy in an attempt to restore order.

Rather than simply being the case of a “few bad apples”, it’s now clear that policies that emerged from the Bush White House both condoned and even encouraged this behaviour.

The Bush era will remain with us well after Obama leaves office.

Antony Loewenstein is the author of The Blogging Revolution.

one comment ↪
  • Austin

    Dear A-Lo

    As always your work is a mix of pleasure at such plain speaking honest and readable copy, and disgust at the subject matter.

    What i really want to know though (and haven’t heard anywhere) is if Obama’s announcement to close Guantanamo Bay Detention Centre is part of a broader plan to end the policy of kidnapping people from around the world and transporting them to secret barbaric dungeons in American backed dictatorships.

    Or do the thousands of prisoners held on boats, in Egypt or Afghanistan and goodness knows where else not warrant his attention?