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.

Woodside in the Kimberley; Exploitation Inc

My following investigation appears in today’s Crikey:

When West Australian Premier Colin Barnett said recently that he welcomed the announcement of a permanent US military presence in northern Australia, his words were worth considering in a wider context.

“We have a large open expanse in northern Australia, we are near one of the most troubled regions in the world and the problems of Asia are now our problems,” Barnett argued. “There’s no doubt that the offshore gas facilities are vulnerable … so I think we are wise to have a friendly military presence in our north.”

The premier was effectively advocating militarising the vast Kimberley, an expanse of desert that potentially holds billions of dollars of resources to be exploited in the coming decades. The current campaign by Woodside to develop James Price Point (JPP) near Broome is just the latest example of this trend.

Crikey recently visited the area — about one hour by car from Broome along mostly red, dirt tracks — and found a pristine area of coastline and signs of collusion between the West Australian police and private security forces against indigenous owners and protesters opposed to the massive $50 billion development. Crikey was told by local campaigners and activists that footage shot by private security is handed over to the police and used against them in a court of law, all without proper accountability of the process. Police have publicly said they support private companies suing peaceful protesters against JPP and Crikey was told many times that police would often turn up at the blockade and show them footage shot by a private security company.

Environmental issues continue to haunt the project.

Most of the mainstream media have ignored instances of strict policing, not least because the corporate press in Perth and elsewhere largely support the Woodside plans, despite investors questioning the company’s “execution risks” over various gas projects.

The company itself released its own draft environmental impact statement in mid-November (claims dismissed by a range of green groups with whom I spoke in Broome) and the company claimed JPP would bring 8000 jobs and “did not represent a significant risk” to the ecology of the area.

What I saw on the current Woodside compound near JPP challenged this assertion, with countless bits of broken concrete in the dirt, air-conditioners attached with flimsy pieces of rope and leaking water. Evidence for this damage is constant and includes environmental experts disputing Woodside claims.

As we walked around the site, a man appeared carrying a video camera — he refused to say what he was doing or for whom he worked — and began filming us. He disappeared 30 seconds later.

Later, another man appeared, wearing a bright-yellow fluorescent Thrifty car rental vest and dark sunglasses, and a small camera attached to his chest was flicked on to film us. He refused to say what he was really doing (apart from claiming he was protecting our “safety” near the Woodside compound) or where the footage would be screened or used.

My guides in the area, Damien and David, two men who have spent months at the blockade at JPP and established a sustainable camp with phone and internet coverage, said that these kinds of acts — the guards are employed by Hostile Environment Services (HES) — occurred daily.

ABC TV’s Lateline reported in May that Woodside-backed security were harassing and intimidating residents for peacefully protesting the JPP development. Damien said that massive generator-powered lights routinely shone into the camp in the middle of the night and HES guards appeared at all hours with video cameras filming them on public land.

Nothing has changed since the ABC story and it seems the pressure has only increased as Woodside notices a large swing in Broome against its plans — despite constantly inaccurate and pro-Woodside mainstream coverage.

Activists told Crikey that none of the appropriate state policing or environmental bodies took action against the evasion of privacy with the indiscriminate filming or environmental damage, despite being informed about them on a regular basis. I was shown large amounts of footage detailing HES interrupting scientists gathering evidence of dinosaur tracks in the area.

The Woodside plans have mostly received unquestioned state and federal government backing but they’ve been surprised by the diverse range of opposition in the Kimberley. Moreover, The Wilderness Society, the group I independently accompanied during my visit, has committed many resources to place JPP as its top campaign priority.

Groups such as Save the Kimberley and Environs Kimberley have utilised people power and social media to generate growing resistance to Woodside’s plans, principally by explaining through community events and actions that the JPP plans will not bring long-term economic gains. Both organisations state they are not ideologically opposed to any development but demand alternative forms of resource exploitation.

Even the former chief of the Western Australian Environmental Protection Authority Barry Carbon recently stated to Perth Now that the state’s approval process for development projects was “corrupt”. ”It has now become a universal stand-over for proponents to contribute so called ‘offsets’ to governments, government friends, or favourite causes before approvals are considered,” he said.

The only major local organisation backing the JPP plan, The Kimberley Land Council, voted in highly suspicious circumstances  — earlier in the year and every Aboriginal land owner I met told me they believed indigenous people would not benefit from the JPP development despite the financial incentives given by Woodside.

Crikey was told by leading anti-gas hub campaigner Louise Middleton that, “we shouldn’t be bought by big business because they don’t have our interests at heart.”

The JPP development is an attempt by Woodside and its corporate partners to establish a stronghold in the Kimberley that will then allow them to invest in the upcoming gas boom. Crikey heard many times in Broome, including from The Wilderness Society’s Glen Klatovsky, that the Canning Basin could be the ultimate source of shale natural gas and fracking. Is Australia the next global energy hub, a future Saudi Arabia or Qatar? I was shown by the head of Environs Kimberley a document entitled the Petroleum Titles Map and it detailed the literally dozens of proposed fracking places across Western Australia. Rey Resources and TPL are two key companies involved.

This tantalising possibility is why the battle of JPP is so crucial. Stopping a $50 billion project would be an Australian first. This has global resonance as corporations ramp up their bids to win lucrative contracts in remote locations. Witness the successful lobbying in America and Canada against the Keystone XL pipeline that is now on semi-permanent hold  — with public protest a major factor in shaping this outcome  — and the largely ignored energy Great Game in Afghanistan.

*Antony Loewenstein is an independent journalist currently working on a book about disaster capitalism.

3 comments ↪
  • eyesoncountry

    thankyou for investigating. this community is at its wits end but we will continue with our nonviolent actions and continue to expose the real truth.
    stand up for the planet!

  • What a mess over there,Guys. What do you think the biggest power in the World thinks of this all??? Meaning Mother Earth…Don't you think that this is going to be a lot of shit…Don't you think being in charge you have a commen responsibility? Avoid to be obliged to learn a lesson,if you do not NEED a lesson you will not have it.Avoid to make people unhappy,try to do well….The time is Now. I will pray for you all….Get real. This is not making sense…..I swear

  • colinpenterconsulting

    Great work Antony.