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.

A blinkered view of the war on terrorism

My following book review appeared in last weekend’s Sydney Sun Herald newspaper:

The Triple Agent
Joby Warrick
(Scribe, $32.95)
Reviewed by Antony Loewenstein

The war in Afghanistan is the longest in modern American history. This year has been the most deadly for Afghan civilians.

British MP Rory Stewart wrote in The New York Times that the presence of foreign troops and private security was inflaming the situation and making peace impossible: “Helmand is less safe in 2011 with 32,000 foreign troops in the province than it was in 2005, when there were only 300.”

Amid this chaos sits the CIA, the highly secretive (and largely unaccountable) organisation given the job, by successive US presidents, of tracking, capturing or killing supposed insurgents and bringing “victory”. This book documents one infamous case of how horribly wrong and misguided this stated aim can be.

In December 2009, a group of senior CIA operatives were based in Khost, Afghanistan, and were ready to greet Humam Khalil al-Balawi, a man they believed was the ultimate al-Qaeda insider who would give America invaluable intelligence on the terrorist organisation. Instead, he detonated a bomb strapped to his chest and killed seven CIA operatives, a deep blow to the agency.

The mercenary company Blackwater is front and centre of the story, often in charge of protecting CIA installations and officers in conflict zones, despite a troubling human rights record.

Such firms have been invaluable to America’s war machine since the attacks on the US on September 11, 2001, without which Washington could not fight its countless battles around the world.

This Pulitzer Prize-winning book reads like a thriller but is infused with a deep sympathy for the war America is fighting in Afghanistan and the “war on terror” in general.

For example, US drone attacks in Pakistan are only seen as “killing terrorists”, whereas the facts tell a different, more disturbing story.

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism recently released a study that found hundreds of civilians had been killed by drones since 2004.

Author Joby Warrick does not seem too concerned with such details, praising the supposed heroism of drone pilots killing remotely from back in America. But Warrick knows how to tell a cracking story and the importance of this book is to reveal the legal black hole of Washington’s actions globally, and the cultural and social ineptitude of US forces in countries they occupy.

This is an insider’s book written by a journalist who admires his countryfolk entrusted with allegedly defending the homeland.

Few doubts are expressed and the work closes with the killing of Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan.

It is framed as a retribution for the CIA deaths – a closing of the circle.

American foreign policy has never looked so tawdry and obsessed with revenge.

2 comments ↪
  • Pulitzer Prizes don't really do it for me, seen too many political appointments for my liking. Now I've read you review, Antony, I don't think I will need to read the book. I get the drift. I have read so much of this nauseating self-congratulatory 'we wuz thar an we dun gud' accounts of the CIA in Laos and Nicaragua. Did they tell you they had children recruited to fight for Unca' Sam? Bastards!

  • Kevin Herbert

    Me 3 re the Pulitzer Prize…it's a reward for media patsies to the neocon establishment.