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.

On the massacre in Houla, Syria

Strong piece by Jon Lee Anderson in the New Yorker:

Sooner or later, every armed conflict in which victory is determined by control of the civilian population—as opposed to, say, physical territory—has its My Lai, its Srebrenica, its Sabra and Shatila. And Syria’s civil war (because that, in the end, is what it is) now has a hallmark bloodbath—its before-and-after moment. Saturday, in the small town of Houla, some hundred and eight civilians, including at least thirty-two children, were killed at the hands, apparently, of the Syrian army and the shabiha thugs who often do its dirty work. It’s not that there haven’t been previous atrocities in this fifteen-month-old conflict; there have been scores of them, each adding its quota of blood and agony and vengeance. Houla’s hundred-odd dead may offer a mere shiver of horror to deadened and bewildered onlookers, and statistically may represent only a fraction of the mounting casualties—Syria’s number of dead is calculated by the U.N. to be over ten thousand, but there may well be a thousand or so more, depending on who is doing the counting.

It’s been a month since the arrival in Syria of two hundred and seventy or so U.N. observers, the result of a partial agreement between President Assad and Kofi Annan. The observers have not stopped the killing, and have not reduced it, either, despite some initial wishful claims to the contrary. (Where have U.N. observers, or peacekeepers, for that matter, ever stopped anything?) The killings in Houla took place a mere fifteen miles from the U.N. observers posted in Homs. Unlike in an old Western, the cavalry never arrived. In this gruesome reality show that we all now inhabit, the U.N. men arrived afterwards, in time to film the bodies left behind by their killers, with the merit of at least having confirmed that an atrocity took place. In Houla, the videos show that some of the civilian victims—with pieces of their bodies missing—were probably nonspecific, by which I mean that, as in all wars, they were simply killed because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time, and the men who pressed the “fire” buttons on the artillery piece, or on the tank that fired the shells that ripped them apart, meant them no specific harm, per se, as individuals. Others, though, seem to show the telltale traces of up-close murders—the result of guns pressed against people’s heads and fired, and of knives drawn deeply across throats.

These latter victims, who include some of Houla’s dead children, are the most troubling of the deaths that are occurring in Syria today. They raise the question of whether there is any kind of peace plan, at this point, that is viable, at least in the minds of the actors in the conflict. That is why Houla is such a watershed event (and why the regime is claiming it is a set-up, to make it look bad).

Ban Ki-moon has said that there is no U.N. “Plan B” in Syria. Plan A, to sum it up roughly, relies upon goodwill and a change of heart on the part of the Assad regime and the rebels fighting it. The thing is: What does one do when men become capable of cutting the throat of a small child?

12 comments ↪
  • Ash

    After spending over a month travelling in Syria about 3 years ago, I just cant comprehend this happening there! It is literally heartbreaking. The Syrians were probably the most hospitable people I have ever met!

  • Aaron

    I think it's time for a UN Fact Finding Mission on the situation in Syria.
    It needs to be established if western countries are pumping weapons into the country to try and provoke a civil war and/or regime change – as per Libya.
    Second, who is actually perpetrating these massacres also needs to be established – and so far that is not clear.

  • James O'Neill

    Antony,
    You might like to consider the fact that the picture shown arfound the world of the dead bodies from the alleged massacre were in fact pictures taken of Iraqi victims nine years ago. The BBC is the source of the original photographer has confirmed the real origin of the pictures. This is not to say that a massacre did not occur, but such is the propaganda war being waged now that one has to be very cautious. The use of manifestly fake images by the BBC is a rerun of the fake images from Iraq and more recently Libya. The colonial powers are playing a very dirty game here and it would be prudent to take claims by both sides with a healthy dose of cynicism.

  • backblow

    The UN is now stating that fewer than twenty people in Houla were killed by artillery or tank fire. The remaining victims were "were summarily executed in two separate incidents." Since, at all times Houla appears to have been under the control of the FSA, one has to wonder just how the Syrian Army or government militias could have been involved in those "separate incidents".

    BTW, shabiha has now become shorthand for Alawites in much Arab media. Since I doubt that all members of the government militias are Alawites, this word now has strong racial overtones and its appearance in an article suggests that the author is little more than a stenographer for certain theocratic despots in the GCC.

    Finally, it is not difficult to believe that salafists would be prepared to carry out massacres to advance their cause particularly if the victims were not salafists themselves. You only have to look at Algeria were the government and salafists killed 200,000 people between them and the west did nothing to stop it but continued to support the Algerian government.

  • Michael Howell
  • Ned

    Wonder if Senator Bob Carr reads this site and notes the comments.
    I trust he will eventually realise the purpose of false falg murders and who is who, in casuing trouble by design.
    I certainly hope he has viewed the video interview between General Wesley Clark (ex Chief of NATO forces) in March 2007 with Amy Goodman, wherein General Wesley Clark explained 'the plan' (pre-9/11!!) that he learnt of in September 2001. He spoke to a colleague who reported to him; to the effect: 'Sir we are going to war"."Why" . "Don't know Sir this memo just came down from upstairs" (Rumsfield's office!) "Who are we going to war with'? "Well Sir we are going to do 7 counries in five years' ("We were bombing Afghanistan at the time"). "He said' . 'Iraq, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, Libya, Lebanon, Syria and ending with Iran".

  • I am glad to see there's plenty of healthy scepticism among commentators regarding the real perpetrators of this latest horrific atrocity.

    The official narrative – feverishly promoted by western mainstream media – simply makes no sense. Why would the Assad Government slaughter innocents in the most gruesome manner – then withdraw, leaving the corpses for 'activists' to discover and put on Youtube the same day?

    I just saw Tony Abbott and Julia Gillard endorse this fairytale in a rare outbreak of Question Time consensus. I used to dream about 'consensus politics', but these days when Laborials agree with each other it all too often signifies they've found a Big Lie to share…

    • Ned

      They have the same masters in these matters!

  • PJ London

    I too am glad of the scepticism.
    The early videos showed showed the bodies being moved by the FSA. All in Camo fatigues and carrying arms. How would it be possible for the Syrian army to carry out this action with no casualties to be displayed? If it was an action by "the shabiha thugs who often do its dirty work", why are there no wounded, captured or bodies to confirm this? The FSA was/is in control of the area, are they so useless that an enemy can enter, murder at will and then retire without leaving any evidence?
    At the funeral of course, only "grieving civilians" were shown, not an AK47 in sight.
    Read the articles on the British and Americans setting up suicide "car bombs" in Iraq. Read the article on the Afghan police officer who confronted the British Intelligence officer and discovered 15-20 suicide vests being brought in under ISAF cover. (He fled the country, when instructed to report to Kabul police HQ.)
    Sun Tsu's Art of War is required reading for any would be military commander. "All warfare is based on deception."

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  • templedelamour

    These deaths were organised by the CIA Jihad Unit (yes, there is such a unit, the chief is/was Alfreda Frances Bikowsky). I call it the "Ray Davis Gang" because it is clear that CIA operative Raymond Davis' brief was to manage false-flag terrorist operations and his mistake was to be caught by the Pakistani ISI as he did his rounds of the CIA managed "Al Qeada" safe houses in western Pakistan. This event makes zero sense for the Syrian government to have done, it makes entire sense for the Jihad Unit.

  • Ned

    It is interesting that I should be familiar with all the reports set out above. If I, as a poor dummy Aussie plebian know of all this, why have we in Australia, just built a $500-600 million edifice on Lake Burley Griffin to house those who should know these thing and be pasing the information on to the numbsculls in parliament.
    Bob Carr: Read this! You too ,'Tony and Rhianna'.