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.

Nothing in the Wikileaks documents? Please

One:

The prime minister of Mauritius has accused Britain of pursuing a “policy of deceit” over the Chagos islands, its Indian Ocean colony from where islanders were evicted to make way for a US military base. He spoke to the Guardian as his government launched the first step in a process that could end UK control over the territory.

Navinchandra Ramgoolam spoke out after the Labour government’s decision to establish a marine reserve around Diego Garcia and surrounding islands was exposed earlier this month as the latest ruse to prevent the islanders from ever returning to their homeland.

A US diplomatic cable dated May 2009, disclosed by WikiLeaks, revealed that a Foreign Office official had told the Americans that a decision to set up a “marine protected area” would “effectively end the islanders’ resettlement claims”. The official, identified as Colin Roberts, is quoted as saying that “according to the HMG’s [Her Majesty’s government’s] current thinking on the reserve, there would be ‘no human footprints’ or ‘Man Fridays'” on the British Indian Ocean Territory uninhabited islands.”

A US state department official commented: “Establishing a marine reserve might, indeed, as the FCO’s Roberts stated, be the most effective long-term way to prevent any of the Chagos Islands’ former inhabitants or their descendants from resettling in the BIOT.”

Nearly a year later, in April this year, David Miliband, then foreign secretary, described the marine reserve as a “major step forward for protecting the oceans”. He added that the reserve “will not change the UK’s commitment to cede the territory to Mauritius when it is no longer needed for defence purposes”.

“I feel strongly about a policy of deceit,” Ramgoolam said , adding that he had already suspected Britain had a “hidden agenda”.

Asked if he believed Miliband had acted in good faith, he said: “Certainly not. Nick Clegg said before the general election that Britain had a “moral responsibility to allow these people to at last return home”. William Hague, now foreign secretary, said that if elected he would “work to ensure a fair settlement of this long-standing dispute”.

Ramgoolam said he believed the government was adopting the same attitude as its predecessor. Mauritius has lodged a document with an international tribunal accusing Britain of breaching the UN convention on the law of the sea. It says Britain has no right to establish the marine zone since it was not a “coastal state” in the region, adding that Mauritius has the sole right to declare an “exclusive zone” around the British colony.

Two:

US diplomats disparaged New Zealand‘s reaction to a suspected Israeli spy ring as a “flap” and accused New Zealand’s government of grandstanding in order to sell more lamb to Arab countries, according to leaked cables.

The arrest and conviction in 2004 of two Israeli citizens, who were caught using the identity of a cerebral palsy sufferer to apply for a New Zealand passport, caused a serious rift between New Zealand and Israel, with allegations that the two men and others involved were Mossad agents.

“The New Zealand government views the act carried out by the Israeli intelligence agents as not only utterly unacceptable but also a breach of New Zealand sovereignty and international law,” New Zealand’s then-prime minister, Helen Clark, said after the arrests.

But US officials in Wellington told their colleagues in Washington that New Zealand had “little to lose” from the breakdown in diplomatic relations with Israel and was instead merely trying to bolster its exports to Arab states.

A confidential cable written in July 2004, after New Zealand imposed high-level diplomatic sanctions against Israel, comments: “The GoNZ [government of New Zealand] has little to lose by such stringent action, with limited contact and trade with Israel, and possibly something to gain in the Arab world, as the GoNZ is establishing an embassy in Egypt and actively pursuing trade with Arab states.”

A cable two days later was even more pointed, saying: “Its overly strong reaction to Israel over this issue suggests the GNZ sees this flap as an opportunity to bolster its credibility with the Arab community, and by doing so, perhaps, help NZ lamb and other products gain greater access to a larger and more lucrative market.”

Three:

Halliburton’s senior executive in Iraq accused private security companies of operating a “mafia” to artifically inflate their “outrageous prices”, according to a US cable.

Written by a senior diplomat in the US’s Basra office, the confidential document discloses the tensions between private security firms, oil companies and the Iraqi government as coalition forces withdraw from protecting foreign business interests.

John Naland, head of the provincial reconstruction team in Basra, wrote in January this year that several oil company representatives complained of “unwarranted high prices” given an improving security situation since 2008.

“Halliburton Iraq country manager decried a ‘mafia’ of these companies and their ‘outrageous’ prices, and said that they also exaggerate the security threat.

“Apart from the high costs for routine trips, he claimed that Halliburton often receives what he says are ‘questionable’ reports of vulnerability of employees to kidnapping and ransom. He said that he recently saw an internal memo from their security company which tasked its employees to emphasize the persistent danger faced by IOCs [international oil companies].” Naland wrote.

The memo, written nine months after British troops handed over control of their base in Basra to the US army, does not name the Halliburton manager.

According to the cable, it cost around $6,000 (£3,900) to hire a security firm for four hours in Basra in January. A typical trip would include four security agents, drivers, and three or four armoured vehicles. A recent visit by a member of Iraq’s government from Baghdad to Basra and back cost about $12,000 (£7,800), the cable claimed.

Tensions between private security companies and the Baghdad government had increased in Iraq following the decision by the US courts in December 2009 not to prosecute anyone for the Blackwater killings of 17 Iraqis in Baghdad in September 2007.

The source for this information was a British security company boss, whose name has been redacted.

“According to [the British national] a China National Petroleum Company (CNPC) security team was stopped in Basrah [sic] city by the Iraqi police in a ‘clear attempt to disrupt and cause panic to the clients.’ [The British national] said that the Iraqi police stopped the convoy and showed a letter from the Ministry of Interior (MOI) stating that as of January 12, personal security teams now faced a more restrictive weapons regime. The situation was eventually resolved, and the convoy was released, but [the British national] said that this episode could presage a more restrictive posture towards security firms ‘in retaliation or the Blackwater verdict’,” wrote Naland.

The cable also says that security companies are being encouraged by the Iraqi government and the oil companies to employ more Iraqis and less westerners in frontline jobs.

“According to XXXXXXXXXX, the GOI [government of Iraq] is anxious to ‘get rid of all the white faces carrying guns’ in their streets,” it reads.

one comment ↪
  • Christos

    Anything hard hitting about Israel? Not really. You'd think there'd be something about Operation Cast Lead, the attack on the Turkish aid ship, the strangulation of Gaza… But no. Instead we get things like Arab countries want Israel to strike Iran, or Arab leaders have good relations with Israel behind closed doors but not formally so the Arab population doesn't get upset. Or that Fatah colluded with Israel to destroy Hamas.

    The leaks of US actions in Iraq and Afghanistan have led Israeli commentators to ask "But I can't help wondering how the "international community" would have reacted had Israel been accused of similar actions" or "Meanwhile, Israel is being put through investigation after investigation following Operation Cast Lead and the flotilla affair – forced to answer for every civilian killed under its watch. Funny that."

    Yeah real funny.

    I don't trust Wikileaks… yet. Time will tell.