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.

Just which privatised forces are helping Libya feel “liberated”?

Very few media outlets are reporting this but I’ve been hearing rumours for months that a privatised force – paid by the US, British and NATO? – are operating with very few if any rules of engagement. Welcome to the future of conflict. The London Independent reports:

The Berber rebels in the Nafusa Mountains to the west of Tripoli have played a key role in the endgame of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime. What has received less publicity is the small but vital part played in that offensive by British intelligence officials, who from their seat in the Libyan highlands have been advising the rebel leadership on the strategy behind their final assault.

Since 19 March – when the Royal Navy launched cruise missiles on Libyan air-defence targets, followed the next day by attacks by Royal Air Force Tornado jets – Britain has placed itself in the front ranks of Western powers enforcing the United Nations resolution protecting civilians from Colonel Gaddafi’s forces and simultaneously pursuing the Brother Leader’s removal from power.

While the Ministry of Defence has been diligent in providing daily updates on the progress of “Operation Ellamy”, the British codename for its £250m part in the Nato campaign in Libya, a quieter London-sponsored offensive has been taking place on the ground for six months, involving an army of diplomats, spooks, military advisers and former members of the special forces.

One British intelligence operative in the Nafusa Mountains had previously been deployed elsewhere in Libya, including the besieged city of Misrata, part of attempts by London to influence events in Libya beyond the activities of warplanes and naval vessels.

It is a clandestine operation that got off to a spectacularly inauspicious start in March when seven SAS soldiers and an MI6 officer were detained by militia members outside the rebel stronghold of Benghazi, during a botched mission to make contact with anti-Gaddafi leaders. Since then, the British auxiliary efforts have been conducted more clandestinely.

A British diplomatic source said: “From quite an early stage there has been a view that Gaddafi’s stranglehold would only be broken if there were practical measures on the ground as well as the air campaign. We are not talking legions of SAS crawling through the undergrowth. What we are talking about is offering expertise, diplomatic support and allowing others to be helpful.”

The “others” in question are the small groups of former special forces operatives, many with British accents, working for private security firms who have been seen regularly by reporters in the vanguard of the rebels’ haphazard journey from Benghazi towards Tripoli.

These small detachments of Caucasian males, equipped with sunglasses, 4×4 vehicles and locally acquired weaponry, do not welcome prying eyes, not least because their presence threatened to give credence to the Gaddafi regime’s claims that the rebel assault was being directed by Western fifth-columnists.

Amid frustration and even disdain in British and Allied circles about the ragtag nature of much of the Libyan rebel army – whose reputation as fair-weather fighters proved to be literal in April when two days of rainfall halted their offensive – London has been content for the Benghazi-based National Transitional Council to use funds to buy in ex-SAS men and others with a British military background to help train and advise anti-Gaddafi forces.

The Independent understands that the contracts for the security companies, often signed in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, have involved funds provided by Western countries to the NTC, although much of the money has come from previously frozen regime bank accounts and assets.

The coalition, including Britain, France and Italy, has also funded high-tech equipment used by rebel fighters to communicate their position to Nato commanders as they plot the air strikes that have helped to tilt the balance against Colonel Gaddafi’s demoralised military forces. Since March, British forces have destroyed 890 targets in Libya, including 180 tanks or armoured vehicles and 395 buildings.

But it is arguably in the arena of post-conflict planning that the British have been most active. In the wake of last month’s decision by London to recognise the NTC as the de facto government of Libya, expelling pro-Gaddafi diplomats in London, the UK mission to Benghazi is now the second largest in North Africa. Diplomats have been engaged in drawing up a blueprint for a post-Gaddafi Libya, including humanitarian aid, help with policing, governance and reform of the military. The prize of being seen as a “friend” in a stable, oil-rich Libya is considerable.

2 comments ↪
  • chidi

    This is revealing. Whose interest ?

  • Privatised warfare is troubling, so is covert warfare. The new paradigm does not worry about sovereignty, borders, rules of engagement, reporting casualties, paying war pensions, treating PTSD, or (heaven forbid) consulting Parliament. So, at the very moment when we should have thoroughly internalised the lesson that war does not work (as in Afghanistan, Iraq illegal interventions) along comes this bright idea that enables war to stay in business.

    This was never a humanitarian intervention. If the most powerful nations could have paid their dues to UN Peacekeeping forces, and contributed professional soldiers and maybe the UN could have prevented despotic governments like the one in Bahrain from killing their own people. NATO was never legitimate, always exceeded their mandate and never saved lives. It was always a secret operation and aimed at stealing the resources of Libya.

    The people who came to power through the gun will rule by the gun. It will not be democratic unless there is grassroots participation from the population. The presence of these mercenaries won't help to bring that about.