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.

Australia and Abu Ghraib; a cosy relationship

Years after this scandal exploded, we’re still receiving details on US allies being far too willing to excuse and defend abuses:

Secret Defence documents obtained under freedom of information laws show an Australian officer, Major George O’Kane, was far more deeply involved in the operations of Abu Ghraib prison when terrible abuses of prisoners occurred than previously revealed.

The documents, which include extensive interviews with Major O’Kane when he returned from Iraq in 2004, reveal that as a military lawyer embedded with the United States he was a primary author of the manual for processing prisoners in Iraq.

He also advised on the legality of interrogation techniques being used on at least one detainee. Major O’Kane was instructed to deny access to the Red Cross to nine ”High Value Detainees” during their January 2004 visit because the prisoners were undergoing active interrogation and, according to the US view, fell under the exemption of ”imperative military necessity”. This view was contentious.

After his return he told superiors he was aware of rumours that the US had ordered an internal investigation of Abu Ghraib and it had something to do with photos, though his knowledge does not appear to have extended beyond a conversation with a US officer who assured him it was being investigated.

Although Major O’Kane’s role was discussed at a Senate inquiry in May 2004, he was not permitted to give evidence because he was said to be too junior.

He also did not attend US congressional hearings into the abuse, despite the documents revealing that the Democrat leader, Nancy Pelosi, personally asked the then prime minister, John Howard, to allow him to attend.

As point man for the Red Cross during visits to Abu Ghraib, Major O’Kane saw highly critical Red Cross working papers alleging abuses at Abu Ghraib and drafted responses for the prison chief, Brigadier-General Janis Karpinski.

Major O’Kane was also aware that the US was hiding a high-level detainee – dubbed ”Triple XXX” in the US media – from the Red Cross. This had been done at the direction of the US defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld.

Even more sensitive was Major O’Kane’s involvement in a highly secret mission referred to in the documents as ”Operation Eel”.

This involved the transfer of a high-value detainee from the US warship USS Higgins, anchored in the Persian Gulf, back to Abu Ghraib on December 16, 2003. The timing is significant because it was near the time of the capture of Saddam Hussein. This week Defence denied Major O’Kane was involved in the transfer of Saddam. But the documents and other sources suggest the detainee might have been someone who helped pinpoint Saddam’s last hideout.

”Major O’Kane did not observe any abuse of the suspect who was manacled and hooded during the transport operation,” the Australian Eyes Only report says.

In December 2003 and January 2004, Major O’Kane was involved in negotiations with the Red Cross for access to Saddam.

one comment ↪
  • Australians should know that if they are to do the Empire's bidding, they will need to be prepared to have 'dirty hands', very dirty hands.