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.

This is how Australia handles Palestine; contempt with a smile

A Sydney-based friend wrote the following letter to members of the Labor Party in early November 2011:

Dear Member

I wake this morning to hear once more, with dismay, of the craven obeisance of the Australian Labor government to the wishes of the United States in voting against the recognition of Palestine at UNESCO.  At least a vast majority of other member nations were not so pathetic and self-interested, and voted to recognise and hopefully speed an end to one of the most heinous human rights abuses currently being perpetrated on the planet.

I spent 10 days in the West Bank earlier this year, and as one of (very) few Australians who has thus witnessed first hand the nature of the oppression and discrimination being inflicted on the Palestinian people, I find it incumbent to inform as many people as possible of the actual situation in the Occupied Territories.  Naturally this includes informing Australian voters of the disgraceful track record of the Australian Labor Party in backing every policy and opinion of the Israeli government.

The ALP is in sufficient trouble without further alienating what is a core constituency, those informed and decent people who regard human rights as pre-eminent in the conduct of its foreign policy.  Especially those ALP members currently sitting in marginal inner city electorates in Australia should be aware that such policy decisions as that enacted overnight at the UN force all thinking Australian voters to direct their attention to the only party with a principled policy position on Palestine, the Greens, whatever misgivings we may have about other aspects of their policy-making.

I have recently given a presentation to group of interested Australians about my trip to the West Bank.  I would be very happy to give a similar presentation to ALP members and anyone else who is interested in what is really happening in Israel.  It might offer some balance to the views proffered to those ALP members who are so quick to accept Israeli-government sponsored junkets to the Middle East.

Regardless, I hope some realistic understanding of the oppressive policies of the Israeli government might inform future ALP decision making, and that voters interested in human rights will be able to look to the ALP once more as a party who can be trusted to defend the rights of suffering people around the world.

With the release of Gilad Shalit (and his subsequent call for peace and reconciliation) the ALP could begin with one small step and push Israel to lift its illegal blockade of Gaza.

A few days ago The Hon. Tanya Plibersek MP, Federal Member for Sydney and Federal Health Minister, responded and her comments show just how utterly compliant Canberra is with Washington on Middle East policy. We aren’t independent. We don’t think for ourselves. We parrot talking points given to us by DC. We don’t truly care for Palestinians and their freedom. And for that reason, Australia, along with America, will never bring peace to Palestine and they should both be shunned as honest peace-brokers:

Dear ****,

Thank you for your recent correspondence regarding Palestinian statehood.

Australia strongly supports a negotiated two-state solution that allows a secure Israel to live side-by-side with a secure and independent future Palestinian state.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon Kevin Rudd MP, underlined to both sides Australia’s strong support for a negotiated two-state solution during his visits to Israel and the Palestinian Territories in December 2010 and March and April 2011, and urged parties to return to negotiations.

I have raised this issue with the Foreign Minister who assures me that Australia’s decision to vote against the Palestinian resolution reflected Australia’s strong concern that consideration of Palestinian membership in UNESCO was premature.

The matter of Palestinian membership of the United Nations (UN) had only recently been placed before the UN Security Council (UNSC). 

Australia believed we should allow the process of UNSC consideration of Palestinian membership of the UN to run its course, rather than pre-empt it by seeking to address this question in different UN forums.

The Foreign Minister assures me that if a Palestinian resolution is introduced to the UN General Assembly the Australian Government will consider it carefully before deciding how to vote.

The Australian Government strongly supports the aspirations of the Palestinian people for their own state and is providing practical support for Palestinian institution-building in support of a future state.

On 18 September 2011 in New York Mr Rudd signed with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad a five-year, $120 million development partnership with the Palestinian Authority. 

This partnership includes regular budget support delivered through the World Bank. It is part of more than $300 million in development and humanitarian assistance Australia will provide to the Palestinian people over the next five years.

This increase is expected to place Australia in the top ten donors to the Palestinian Territories next year.

Australia has also launched a scholarship program focusing on disciplines critical to institution building including law and public sector management. Under this program Australia will provide up to 50 post-graduate scholarships to public officials and legal academics. The first scholars under the program will commence study next year.

Australia is also the 10th largest donor to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East – the main provider of social services to the 4.7 million Palestinian refugees.

Thank you for taking the time to write to me and letting me know your views on this important issue. Regarding federal issues in the future, it would be best for you to contact your Federal Member of Parliament, the Hon. Anthony Albanese MP and Member for Grayndler, as Kingston Rd Camperdown is outside the electorate of Sydney. 

Best wishes,


  • Marilyn

    She really is a nitwit, Rudd wanted an abstained vote.

  • In the days when the ALP was still in opposition, Tanya Plibersek had very strong views on war, occupation and human rights (including for Palestinians).

    Here's a copy of an anti-war speech she gave prior to the Iraq war (2002 – "War on Iraq, 17/09" – PDF 122 KB):
    [via Internet Archive Wayback Machine]

  • Part 2 of 3 (due to comment size limitations)

    Some extracts:
    "My concern for Iraqi civilians is the first reason I have for opposing armed conflict in the area. The second reason is I believe that, in this matter as in most others, the US response is governed by self-interest and not by universal principles. This leads to hypocrisy. I can think of a rogue state which consistently ignores UN resolutions, whose ruler is a war criminal responsible for the massacres of civilians in refugee camps outside its borders. The US supports and funds this country. This year it gave it a blank cheque to continue its repression of its enemies. It uses US military hardware to bulldoze homes and kill civilians. It is called Israel, and the war criminal is Ariel Sharon. Needless to say, the US does not mention the UN resolutions that Israel has ignored for 30 years; it just continues sending the money."

  • Part 3 of 3

    "The whole world ignored Indonesia's invasion and occupation of East Timor. Israel has still not withdrawn from the occupied territories, and has done so only recently from southern Lebanon. Turkey ignores the international calls for it to leave Cyprus…"

    Here's a link to Tanya's other archived speeches from 1998 (maiden speech) to 2004: