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.

Post 9/11 MSM thinking; get somebody, anybody

As the 10th anniversary of 9/11 approaches, get ready for an orgy of self-justification (endless war is required because “they” still hate us).

This piece by Seamus Milne in the UK Guardian is fascinating because it reveals the mindset of so many elites to the terror attacks. It’s a handy reminder that fear-mongers and war-mongers became scared little boy and girls, calling for the blood of Muslims. Ten years on, those policies remain a disaster, with countless Western-led occupations continuing globally.

We are governed by bigoted children.

Here’s Milne (who was the paper’s opinion editor on 9/11):

By the time the second plane hit the World Trade Centre, the battle to define the 9/11 attacks had already begun, on both sides of the Atlantic. In the US President Bush made the fateful call for a war on terror, as the media rallied to the flag. In Britain Tony Blair and his cheerleaders enthusiastically fell into line. Inevitably, they faced a bit more opposition to the absurd claim that the atrocities had come out of a clear blue sky, and the country must follow wherever the wounded hyperpower led.

But not a lot. Political and media reaction to anyone who linked what had happened in New York and Washington to US and western intervention in the Muslim world, or challenged the drive to war, was savage.

From September 11 2001 onwards, the Guardian (almost uniquely in the British press) nevertheless ensured that those voices would be unmistakably heard in a full-spectrum debate about why the attacks had taken place and how the US and wider western world should respond.

The backlash verged on the deranged. Bizarre as it seems a decade on, the fact that the Guardian allowed writers to connect the attacks with US policy in the rest of the world was treated as treasonous in its supposed “anti-Americanism”.

Michael Gove, now a Conservative cabinet minister, wrote in the Times that the Guardian had become a “Prada-Meinhof gang” of “fifth columnists”. The novelist Robert Harris, then still a Blair intimate, denounced us for hosting a “babble of idiots” unable to grasp that the world was now in a reprise of the war against Hitler.

The Telegraph ran a regular “useful idiots” column targeted at the Guardian, while Andrew Neil declared the newspaper should be renamed the “Daily Terrorist” and the Sun’s Richard Littlejohn lambasted us as the “anti-American propagandists of the fascist left press”.

Not that the Guardian published only articles joining the dots to US imperial policy or opposing the US-British onslaught on Afghanistan. Far from it: in first few days we ran pieces from James Rubin, a Clinton administration assistant secretary; the ex-Nato commander Wesley Clark; William Shawcross (“We are all Americans now”); and the Washington Post columnist Jim Hoagland, calling for vengeance – among others backing military retaliation.

The problem for the Guardian’s critics was that we also gave space to those who were against it and realised the war on terror would fail, bringing horror and bloodshed to millions in the process. Its comment pages hosted the full range of views the bulk of the media blanked; in other words, the paper gave rein to the pluralism that most media gatekeepers claim to favour in principle, but struggle to put into practice. And we commissioned Arabs and Muslims, Afghans and Iraqis, routinely shut out of the western media.

So on the day after 9/11, the Guardian published the then Labour MP George Galloway on “reaping the whirlwind” of the US’s global role. Then the Arab writer Rana Kabbani warned that only a change of policy towards the rest of the world would bring Americans security (for which she was grotesquely denounced as a “terror tart” by the US journalist Greg Palast). The following day Jonathan Steele predicted (against the received wisdom of the time) that the US and its allies would fail to subdue Afghanistan.

Who would argue with that today, as the US death toll in Afghanistan reached a new peak in August? Or with those who warned of the dangers of ripping up civil rights, now we know about Guantánamo, Abu Ghraib and “extraordinary rendition”? Or that the war on terror would fuel and spread terrorism, including in Pakistan, or that an invasion of Iraq would be a blood-drenched disaster – as a string of Guardian writers did in the tense weeks after 9/11?

As the Guardian’s comment editor at the time, my column in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 was a particular target of hostility, especially among those who insisted the attacks had nothing to do with US intervention, or its support for occupation and dictatorship, in the Arab and Muslim world. Others felt it was too early to speak about such things when Americans had suffered horrific losses.

But it was precisely in those first days, when the US administration was setting a course for catastrophe, that it was most urgent to rebut Bush and Blair’s mendacious spin that this was an attack on “freedom” and our “way of life” – and nothing to do with what the US (and Britain) had imposed on the Middle East and elsewhere. And most of the 5,000 emails I received in response, including from US readers, agreed with that argument.

Three months later Kabul had fallen, and Downing Street issued a triumphant condemnation of those in the media who had opposed the invasion of Afghanistan (including myself and other Guardian writers) and had supposedly “proved to be wrong” about the war on terror. Rupert Murdoch’s Sun duly denounced us as “war weasels”.

Among these “weasels” was the Guardian’s Madeleine Bunting, who had raised the prospect that Afghanistan could become another Vietnam and the focus of “protracted guerrilla warfare” – when the former Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown (like the government) was insisting that the idea of a “long drawn-out guerrilla campaign” in Afghanistan was “fanciful“. A decade on, we know who “proved to be wrong”.

The most heartening response to the breadth of Guardian commentary after 9/11 came from the US itself, where debate about what had happened, and why, was as good as shut down in the mainstream media in the wake of the attacks. One byproduct of that official public silence was a dramatic increase in US readership of the Guardian’s website, as millions of Americans looked for a perspective and range of views they weren’t getting at home.

Traffic on the Guardian’s website doubled in the months after 9/11, driven from the US. Articles from the Guardian were taped in bookshop windows from Brooklyn to San Francisco. As Emily Bell, then editor of Guardian Unlimited and now digital director at Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism, puts it, the post-9/11 debate was “totally transformative” for the Guardian, turning it into one of the two fastest growing news sites in the US – and creating the springboard for a US readership now larger by some measures than in Britain.

Which only goes to show how those who accused us of “anti-Americanism” in 2001 so utterly misjudged the society they claimed to champion.

  • examinator

    I never cease to wonder at the brittleness of the USA's latter-day mind set that an event (evil as it was) should be so easily blown beyond all proportions. Could it be that (US) America believed it's own arrogant rhetoric of invincibility and/or their“divine right to rule” ?
    There is no doubt that ultimately their foreign policy was/is largely at fault.
    What is seemingly inexplicable is the contagion effect on the rest of the world and more disturbing us.

    Let's be real 4-5000 victims pale into insignificance with some of the body counts for other ideological conflicts before and since elsewhere. This particularly so when one considers it was perpetrated by a small group and tantamount to being committed impersonally as opposed to up front and personal. By any objective measurement the Balkan war or the internecine conflicts in Sri Lanka,take your pick of *on going*warring African countries should engender more concern to us.
    The actual horror of 9/11 pales into insignificant besides the atrocities of forced child soldiers…. taught to kill rape etc yet we hear little in the press.

    Surely the definition of idiocy is repeating a failed ideology harder, louder and expecting a different result
    A decade on “remember 9/11” is as much a potent patriotic call to the right as “remember the Alamo” to a Texan and is in various forms to manipulate those who don't heed the English politician Dr Johnson's warning, “ Patriotism is the last refuge of the Scoundrel”. In other words beware of any person who's only argument for an act is patriotism….he's got another agenda.

    To illustrate this point one tea party celebrity declared that “9/11 is as important to America as the (Jewish) 'holocaust'” is to Israel” and their blaming has been expanded to almost any middle eastern country particularly if it is Muslim and less than coincidently, has oil/commercial value.
    It's a no brainer to see where this this comes from ….the shrill sensational/right wing dominated MSM.

    More fundamentally this is merely one arm of the root cause, business doing what business does …make ever more money and exercise the incremental power it brings to ensue this process ad infinitum. The key element isn't so much making the money and exercise the power that's the problem rather it's the How, the lack of responsibility and that the pool of deciders is getting ever less.

    The question for us is are we getting sucked into the false logic that what is good for US business is good for us?
    And if we stand too close will we become their self fulfilling prophecy…a bigger target? i.e. will we be next? And will it be worth our while?

  • kevinherbert1

    Examinator:____check out Leo Strauss at the Uni of Chicago in the 1950's for the background to your post.

  • kevinherbert1

    Examinator:____check out Leo Strauss at the Uni of Chicago in the 1950's for the background to your post…on Wikipedia of course