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.

How dare anybody accuse Australia of acting illegally in war?

Following my lead story in Crikey yesterday on the role of Australian troops in US-led assassination squads, the following responses appear today. For the record, a number of people have contacted me since publication and confirmed the allegations in the story. Much more in the coming years:

Neil James, Executive Director, Australia Defence Association: As the independent, non-partisan, national public-interest watchdog for defence and wider national security issues, can we point out that the article by Antony Loewenstein in yesterday’s Crikey suffered two substantial and serious flaws that surely should have been challenged and corrected during the Crikey editorial process. Or else the whole article should have been spiked as crap, not journalism, or even as reasonable comment in public debate.

First, the article was merely a mixture of undergraduate-level urban rumours, historical myth (especially about the Phoenix Program during the Vietnam War) and left-wing conspiracy theory, flavoured by numerous factual mistakes, misrepresentations and misunderstandings about our defence force, its compliance with international law and, indeed, the way Australia actually works as a democracy ruled by law.

Even the two Australian sources cited, such as an equally fact-free, six-year old, long-discredited Brian Toohey article in the Australian Financial Review, and a more recent but also unbalanced and quite factually erroneous article by Sally Neighbour in The Monthly, provided no actual basis for the specific and general claims made. Journalists quoting other mistaken journalists is not substantiation.

Second, everyone is free to write such tripe but it was plainly very irresponsible of Crikey to publish it. Our soldiers are deployed in Afghanistan fighting a UN-endorsed war at the lawful direction of our elected government, and on our behalf. It is unfair at best for any Australian to make their job harder or more dangerous by writing or publishing biased nonsense that can be so easily misused in Al Qa’eda propaganda. There is no excuse to betray the men and women of our defence force by such stupid, thoughtless and irresponsible claims. If you disagree with the war in Afghanistan, argue with our government (using facts), not endanger our troops (by wild claims).

Let us also be clear here about what Crikey has boldly stated. “Crikey understands Australia has been engaged in such behaviour [alleged assassinations contrary to the Laws of Armed Conflict] in the past decade in the Middle East, leaving Canberra and its officials open to potential charges of war crimes and prosecution in an [sic] international criminal court”.

Previous Ministers for Defence and the current Chief of Defence Force have pointed out on several previous occasions — when journalists have made incorrect claims about “assassinations” — that the ADF, including its Special Forces, have not and do not ever assassinate anybody. They do not even deliberately kill anyone, except in battle, and where authorised by Australian rules-of-engagement grounded in the Laws of Armed Conflict and the ethics of a professional defence force made up of fellow Australians.

Similar denials have been made by Ministers responsible for ASIS. No journalist, or polemicist, has ever been able to back up such a claim with a single substantiated fact. Furthermore, as in this case, every journalist’s sole defence when challenged to prove it has been merely to cite older unsubstantiated claims by other unprofessional journalists or ideologues.

Then there is the determined lack of balance that permeated the article. The numerous denials by the Ministers and CDF are not even mentioned. No military or intelligence historian was cited either. The only two academic experts consulted, a defence finance expert and a lawyer who does not specialise in LOAC, naturally commented on a hypothetical basis only (and I suspect were not quoted accurately anyway). Both made the unsurprising qualified observation that, if true, such acts would be illegal.

Neither, however, offered any confirmation of the wild claims made or that they considered such claims might or could be true. Moreover, neither the ADA as the relevant public-interest watchdog, or the Australian Institute of Professional Intelligence Officers as the relevant professional body, were asked for an opinion. Antony has consulted us before so the omission this time is puzzling if one assumes he approached the topic objectively.

And just in case someone claims that the ADA is somehow biased, may I point out our extensive record of condemning the use of torture, rendition and assassination in the UN-endorsed international campaign against Islamist terrorism (usually referred to incorrectly by polemicists as the supposed “war on terror”).

Professor Douglas Kirsner, School of International & Political Studies, Deakin University, writes: Antony Loewenstein suspects that Australian SAS soldiers are committing war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. His evidence: a six year old article by Brian Toohey claiming that Australian soldiers are being clandestinely trained in assassination preparations, and, Loewenstein says with no evidence, that it’s gone beyond that. He makes allusions to US Phoenix operation during Vietnam and to such operations being carried out currently by the US, through Wikileaks. So what has this to do with Australia?

The evidence is nothing but the usual Loewenstein conspiracy theory innuendo. “Unspoken and unasked”, Australian soldiers are involved in “preparations for assassinations”. When Crikey (i.e., Loewenstein) contacted national security reporters, they knew nothing about it. Sounds sinister? Sally Neighbour’s Monthly cover story mentioned little about illegal activities. (Still more sinister — what are they hiding?). Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s Mark Thomson knew nothing about it and thought it a silly idea anyway. (It must be true then). Ben Saul from the University of Sydney knew nothing of any such activities of Alliance Base. (Therefore true) If it were true, then that would be bad, etc., etc.

There is a credibility gap here, but it lies with Loewenstein and Crikey. This appalling investigative journalism is not even fit for your rumour bin. Israel-obsessed Loewenstein has crossed the line with outrageous allegations about our defence forces, based only upon innuendo and far-left conspiracy theories.

5 comments ↪
  • Ben G

    How incredulous these detractors are, and yet, the US whom we are supporting in Afghanistan, proudly admit in Lisbon not a day ago how successful they have been at their assinations in S/E Afghanistan. Only the naiive or those denying the truth would respond so strongly to suggestions that are very very plausible indeed.

  • Kevin Charles Herber

    They both sound a bit shrill to be serious in what they allege.

    Very amusing attempt to delegitimise AL in a way that has been perfected by the Zionist lobby globally.

  • Seamus Dodrill

    Neil James and the ADA "independent, non-partisan, national public-interest watchdog for defence"???? Ha ha ha. Pull the other one.

    James and the ADA are the blind propagandists and spin doctors for war in general and the actions of the Australian miltary specifically.

    Talk about lack of credibility.

  • MERC

    With regard to Australian special forces' involvement in covert raids, your readers may be interested in the comments of Yossi Melman in my 29/5/10 post All the Way With Mossad, and Stephen Smith in my 16/8/10 post Diplomatic Dancing, at Middle East Reality Check http://middleeastrealitycheck.blogspot.com.

  • Marilyn

    Neil James still insists that the lies around invading Iraq were the truth and David Hicks is really a terrorist.

    Who gave him so much right to blather so much bullshit.