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.

Who believes that NATO won’t continue terrorising Afghanistan for years to come?

Despite much of the media coverage recently that suggested America and its Western allies would largely leave by the end of 2014, Thomas Ruttig from The Afghanistan Analysts Network – I spent time with this valuable NGO while in Kabul in April – offers the reality:

When President Barack Obama stated at last weekend’s NATO summit in his hometown Chicago that the Afghan war ‘as we know it’ will be over in two years, some media only got half of it. And they are spreading a truncated message in their headlines that will stick in readers’ minds: War will be over then. ‘The countdown to Afghanistan withdrawal begins’says ITV NewsUSA Today sees the Afghanistan war heading to a ‘messy ending’, but an ending, nevertheless. Deutsche Welle, the foreign office-financed, official German broadcaster for the world even titles, completely ignoring reality: ‘NATO to quit Afghanistan in 2014’. Moreover, they already start discussing the logistics of what in fact is only a partial withdrawal, or ‘drawdown’, as if there were no more pressing issues: through Pakistan? through Uzbekistan? ‘Pakistan wants USD 5,000 per container!’ 

Unfortunately for Afghans, the AFP called them the ‘NATO summit’s forgotten people’ very properly, the stress in Obama statement is on ‘as we know it’, not on ‘over’. Neither will war be over around Christmas 2014 nor will the last Western troops have left Afghanistan by then.

Yes, a lot will change in Afghanistan at the end of 2014. ISAF with its logo ‘kumak wa/au hamkari’ will disappear from what the military calls the Afghan ‘theatre’. (‘Arena’ would be more to the point). Most combat troops will be withdrawn indeed. Afghan forces, and the Afghan government, will be in the lead and responsible, which is not a bad thing, as long as they hold together.

But NATO won’t leave. There will be another NATO mission, starting in 2015, under a training-and-mentoring label, as in Iraq. President Hamed Karzai called it a ‘training, advising and assistance mission’ in his Chicago speech. It probably will not be really small, either. Media reports from the Chicago summit were talking about somewhere between 10,000 and 40,000 soldiers, trainers, mentors and other soldiers to protect them.(1)

Additionally, the new NATO mission will be accompanied by another one composed of US and other countries’ Special Operations Forces (SOF)(2) and even more special CIA operators (see earlier reporting about this here and here). US media reports expect something in the range of 6,000 SOF and ‘other agencies’ staff. They will continue to focus on what the US government and military see as their most effective means against the insurgents, night raids and kill-and-capture operations, even after they now need the approval of the Afghan government. That the US seems to attempt to keep control over high-value prisoners at Bagram (possibly including those snatched in future operations) – see our latest blog about this issue – fits into this picture.

The new mission will be smaller and less visible. The war as we know it, will morph from a counterinsurgency/counter-terrorism war (the experts are even undecided about what of both) that is still based on conventional forces mainly, at least when it comes to quantity, to a ‘special operations’ war.

As it has been attempted in Iraq, this is supposed to get Afghanistan off the front pages and out of voters’ minds, whose support has been ‘tumbling to all-time lows’ even in the US, as The Hillblog from Washington DC put it. With a smaller and less visible mission, there will be less embedded reporting and less media-accompanied trips of politicians and, given the low number of permanent correspondents on the ground, less reporting at all about Afghanistan. At the same time, Afghan journalists ring the alarm bell that western funding for them is drying out and threatens to close one of the last channels through which information on the country still could get through.

no comments – be the first ↪