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.

Vulture capitalism logic; kill and abuse and ensure more business

American mercenary company Blackwater (now known as Academi, to ensure even more lucrative contracts) has an appalling record of human rights abuses. Gawker recently obtained a massive cache of documents that highlight this cowboy firm:

Blackwater, the private mercenary firm that became synonymous with Bush-era war profiteering and reckless combat-tourism,announced yesterday that it has changed its name to Academi (after a previous incarnation as Xe Services) in a bid to distance itself from its history of wanton lawlessness. We’ve obtained a 4,500-page record of that history in the form of State Department incident reports documenting every time a Blackwater guard shot at an Iraqi between 2005 and 2007.

We got them in response to a Freedom of Information Act request we filed four years ago. They come from the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, which was charged with overseeing and monitoring the contractors hired by State to secure its diplomats and other VIPs in the war zone. While firms like DynCorp and Triple Canopy make frequent appearances, the reports are dominated by Blackwater, which was paid roughly $1 billion between 2004 and 2009 to provide “worldwide protective services” for State Department personnel. (It continues to surreptitiously weave its tentacles into various government contracts; hence the name changes.)

In Iraq, Blackwater’s “protective services” consisted in large part of preemptively shooting any car that drove near its convoys. Page after page of the reports feature drivers (and occasionally boat pilots) who were fired upon simply because they drove “aggressively,” attempted to pass, or didn’t heed warnings to keep their distance. There was no routine mechanism for following up with the drivers to determine if they were injured or were actually hostile. Blackwater (and DynCorp and Triple Canopy) guards roamed Iraqi cities and highways, ignoring traffic rules and shooting at other drivers literally at will, and driving on. According to a 2007 investigation by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform [pdf], between 2005 and 2007 Blackwater operatives fired on Iraqis at least 195 times, or an average of 1.4 times per week. That included an infamous Baghdad firefight at Nisour Square that killed 17 civilians.

On February 19, 2007, a Blackwater motorcade carrying a dignitary to a local juvenile prison was attempting to make a left turn when a parked white four-door sedan entered oncoming traffic. “The lead [vehicle’s] rear gunner…noticed that the lone occupant had a device in his hands,” reads a report on the incident. “Suspecting that the vehicle may be a Vehicle-Born Explosive Improvised Device, [redacted] fired one round from his rifle into the grill of the suspicious vehicle…. The impact of the round caused the driver to bring the vehicle to an immediate stop. He raised his hands in the air revealing that he held a cell phone.” The same Blackwater team fired on cars three other times that day.

  • bothandeach

    Bloody F***** hell. One really wants Justice to be meted out to these animals.

  • irascibleexaminator

    As much as I deplore private armies (period!), *this article* offers little substantive evidence of corporate malfeasance or extraordinary practices.
    One must keep in mind the context of the extraordinary time and place where events too place. By that it is fine for us, in hind sight, isolation and removed from the situation where that white car may very well have been an EID. At that time as even now, the headlines tell us this presumed situation was/is a potential reality.
    Sometime situations like the one described, suspicion is the difference between life and mayhem and wholesale carnage. Simply put there isn't enough in the article to do more that raise doubt/ suspicion.
    One should also take into account the number and nature of incidents by the police, and the legitimate armies at or during the same time for a comparison.
    From a recently returned Aussie vet of Afghanistan, shooting the motor is protocol…shooting the driver wasn't. Also mobile phones is one known method of detonating EID.
    To be fair Mi Li in Vietnam was appalling but to then paint all US/Aus troops with the same brush is utter BS regardless of one's philosophic stance on the conflict.
    It is false logic to assert the US/Aust shouldn't have been there at all and therefore the fruit of the poison tree extension applies.
    By no mean am I excusing the behaviour of the (redacted) or for profit armies.
    In reality the weight of incidents raises questions as to the training/ "discipline" as in protocols on lethal actions (rules of engagement) or accountability.
    Notwithstanding I am implacably opposed to private armies.
    And On principle I deplore both hegemonic wars the (US)governments that conduct them using, yet again, proxies to do the dirty work. In my reasoning the fruit of the poison tree applies in this instance. In essence I'm saying that the problem doesn't start with Blackwater … sheets home to the Americans and their governments.
    "USA the home of the Brave and free" yer right ! Just don't look at the bodies they're standing on.