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.

Why Gillard is acceptable to the foreign policy elites

Scott Burchill, Fairfax National Times, 30 June:

It is not a ”privilege” to talk to the US President with our troops at war.

The primary goal of the US lobby in Australia is to insulate the alliance from changes of government after elections and leadership movements within the major political parties. Bipartisan support for the US alliance cannot always be assumed, however, so strategies are devised to raise the strategic aspects of the relationship above the fray of domestic politics in both countries.

During the Second Gulf War, Washington’s boosters in the Australian media sought to quarantine the alliance from widespread public hostility to George Bush. So, Labor leader Mark Latham could get away with describing Bush as ”the most incompetent and dangerous president in living memory”. But his questioning in his diaries of the value of the alliance confirmed for Australia’s US lobby that he was unfit for high office.

The Australian American Leadership Dialogue meets annually (alternately in the US and Australia). It’s an invitation-only bipartisan group of politicians, journalists, academics and businessmen who work to preserve and protect the bilateral relationship from criticism and challenges. Its deliberations are not made public.

One of the group’s primary aims is to socialise contemporary and future leaders into accepting the incontrovertible importance of the alliance. In the past week, the group has had good reason to believe that its investment in Julia Gillard – who has been attending its meetings for several years – has paid off.

In one of her first policy statements as Prime Minister, a remarkably obsequious Gillard told US President Barack Obama it was a ”great honour and privilege” just to talk to him. She then ”reassured” the President of her fidelity to the alliance, and gave him Australia’s continuing support for the military campaign in Afghanistan. Kevin Rudd may be gone, but his approach to the longest war in Australia’s history would not be changed by his successor.

To say that the conversation Gillard had with Obama was a missed opportunity does not fully capture the folly of her first foreign policy utterance as Prime Minister.

Three points stand out.

First, popular support in Australia for the Afghan war has collapsed. Depending on which poll you read, either 54 per cent (Lowy) or 61 per cent (Essential Media) of the population oppose continuing military involvement in Afghanistan and want Australian troops withdrawn.

These views have no representation in the lower house of the Federal Parliament. They are not even considered by the new Prime Minister to be a factor that qualifies Australia’s participation in the war. Gillard’s reflexive support may reassure Washington that she is ”sound” on national security – that the ”informal bar” on someone from the Left becoming Prime Minister could be lifted, to quote one lobbyist. However, it fundamentally betrays the wishes of the people she now represents.

In response to findings that 55 per cent of Australians are not confident that Australia has clear aims in Afghanistan (Lowy poll), former Labor senator Stephen Loosley reportedly said that ”as long as [there is] bipartisan support for [Australia’s] Afghanistan contribution in Canberra, declining popular support for Afghan conflict is not an issue”.

This is a perfect illustration of elite disdain for public opinion. No wonder the same poll found that 69 per cent believe the government pays too little attention to their views ”in comparison to the opinions of foreign policy experts”.

Second, the vigorous discussion of the war now taking place in the US media and inside Washington’s is not mirrored here. This is largely the government’s fault. For a war that seems unwinnable and futile to so many Australians, the absence of an equally vibrant debate in this country is an indictment of our democratic processes. What are our politicians so frightened of?

The forensic examination of tactics, personalities, operations and the Taliban – which can be found across the US press every day – is almost entirely missing from the Australian media. It is only when tragedy strikes and casualties increase that analysis rises briefly above the superficial. Comparisons with the Vietnam War could not be more striking. Third, the humiliating departure of General Stanley McChrystal provided the opportunity to ask Obama critical questions – and leverage Canberra’s support against more definitive criteria.

We could be asking : What are your war aims? When will they be achieved? What are your criteria for ”success” in Afghanistan? What is the exit strategy? Instead, Gillard rushed to ”reassure” Obama (as if he needed it) that Australia would continue to be an uncritical ally in a war the public opposes. It’s an inauspicious start in diplomacy for our new Prime Minister.

2 comments ↪
  • Mallee

    The public was 'lied' into Afghanistan, [bin Laden did it – not] the public was 'lied' into Iraq [wmd;s – not] the public was 'lied' into a concocted 'war on terrorism' [BS] and with the present US and Israel build up of naval forces near Iran and  Israel's logistical placement of aircraft, no doubt we will soon be 'lied' all the way to Iran to die for Israel.

    The planned agenda from pre 9/11 has been reported by General Wesley Clark [ret' ex NATO chief] in an interview available on the net; ' war………. ….'ending with Iran'!

    Some 'bloody' lunch and 'we' will be paying for it with more of our boy's lives.

    To think; Australia is now joined with common invaders and thieves…..Hardly Australian.

  • Pingback: A.LOEWENSTEIN ONLINE NEWSLETTER | Shoah()