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.

Remember #Kony2012? US massively expands private contractors in Africa to find him

The Washington Post recently published this fascinating report on Washington’s huge reliance on private contractors in Africa for a range of unaccountable tasks. 21st century war:

Four small, white passenger planes sit outside a hangar here under a blazing sun, with no exterior markings save for U.S. registration numbers painted on the tails. A few burly men wearing aviator sunglasses and short haircuts poke silently around the wing flaps and landing gear.

The aircraft are Pilatus PC-12s, turboprops favored by the U.S. Special Operations forces for stealth missions precisely because of their nondescript appearance. There is no hint that they are carrying high-tech sensors and cameras that can film man-size targets from 10 miles away.

To further disguise the mission, the U.S. military has taken another unusual step: It has largely outsourced the spying operation to private contractors. The contractors supply the aircraft as well as the pilots, mechanics and other personnel to help process electronic intelligence collected from the airspace over Uganda, Congo, South Sudan and the Central African Republic.

In October, President Obama sent about 100 elite U.S. troops to central Africa to scour the terrain for Joseph Kony, the messianic and brutal leader of a Ugandan rebel group. But American contractors have been secretly searching for Kony from the skies long before that, at least since 2009, under a project code-named Tusker Sand, according to documents and people familiar with the operation.

The previously unreported practice of hiring private companies to spy on huge expanses of African territory — in this region and in North Africa, where a similar surveillance program is aimed at an al-Qaeda affiliate — has been a cornerstone of the U.S. military’s secret activities on the continent. Unlike uniformed troops, plainclothes contractors are less likely to draw attention.

But because the arms-length arrangement exists outside traditional channels, there is virtually no public scrutiny or oversight. And if something goes wrong, the U.S. government and its partners acknowledge that the contractors are largely on their own.

U.S. Africa Command, which oversees military operations on the continent, declined to discuss specific missions or its reasons for outsourcing the gathering of intelligence.

In response to written questions from The Washington Post, the command stated that contractors would not get special treatment in case of a mishap. Instead, they “would be provided the same assistance that any U.S. citizen would be provided by the U.S. Government should they be in danger.”

There is precedent for the use of contractors in spying operations. The military hired private firms to conduct airborne surveillance in Latin America in the 1990s and early 2000s, with sometimes-disastrous results.

In 2003, for instance, one American was killed and three others were taken hostage by Colombian insurgents after their plane crashed in the jungle. The contractors, who were working for Northrop Grumman on a Defense Department counter-narcotics program, endured five years of captivity before they were freed in a raid by Colombian police.

Peter W. Singer, a Brookings Institution senior fellow and an expert on military contracting, said the Pentagon typically turns to the private sector for “deniability,” but he added that “it rarely turns out that way.”

“When things go bad, you can have two scenarios,” he said. “Either the contractors are left holding the bag, complaining about abandonment, or else some kind of abuse happens and they’re not held accountable because of a mix of unclear legal accountability and a lack of political will to do something about it.”

3 comments ↪
  • rehmat1

    I bet the Washington Post will never dare to mention the 2010 CFR-George Clooney spying satellite over South Sudan to spy on Khartoum forces and pass on the information to CIA, Mossad and the Sudanese rebels.

    The satellite surveillance of southern Sudan went live on December 30, 2010. According to TIME magazine (December 28, 2010), the Satellite Sentinel Project – a joint experiment by the U.N.’s Operational Satellite Applications Programme, Harvard University, the Enough Project and Clooney’s posse of Hollywood funders – will hire private satellites to monitor troop movements starting with the oil-rich region of Abyei.
    http://rehmat1.com/2010/12/30/zionist-spy-satelli

  • examinator

    I wonder which came first the IM teams series or the on ground spooks.
    i.e. fact imitating fiction. Then again the Americans are still fighting the Vietnam war with quasi super heroes in order to make up for the reality…..that they haven't had a clear win since WW2. One where they didn't create the problem in the first place.
    Ho Chi Mihn, Saddam Hussein, Iran, Afghanistan even Pakistan all at some time funded and armed by the US.
    Frankly this says heaps about the American psyche. i.e. they can buy anything and to hell with responsibility and the delusion that these people don't have agendas of their own. (that will come back and bite) . But it does ensure a lucrative profit for the arms manufacturers…..pity about the victims. Oops I mean the Collateral damage, just so they 're not US Citizens and/or the population doesn't take notice of what is being done in their name. Even if they did, ensure that they can claim (no matter how hypocritical) it was Someone Else's Problem, their Arms jobs and industry are not effected

  • Dear Anthony, the other night I was at your talk in Melbourne at the Trades Hall in Lygon Street. As soon as I walked in the room the atmosphere struck me. Afterwards I could not put a word to it, but now I know – it felt free.
    It was if the cloak covering the world was lifted. Under that cloak, thought is expressed after being processed. Formulas are exchanged instead of real ideas and everyone is talking in cartoon bubbles. Suddenly here was a man, reading his bit, word by word, and then opening himself to others. The fact that you got off the stage was also symptomatic for me – a nearly physical act of connection. We were all aboard the human boat.
    After reading your book 'My Israel Question' I felt the power of parrhesia returned. Here was someone broaching deep moral ground with risky concrete examples. When you say we are using the Hamas to ignore the claims of the Palestinian people, you show how the bully country keeps the role of the victim. It is a psychological situation writ large. The 'other narrative' is never heard. The power of one story dominates and it reminds one of the Old Testament. One template dominates a complex situation. Facing that complexity, as you have in your book, makes our thought embrace opposites.
    Socrates was inciting Athenian youth in favour of Sparta. The fact the Athenian Senate did away with him was a blight to the very democracy they were trying to defend. Yet, his principles were robbing Athens of the parrhesia, the freedom of speech, he was himself using to express them – a freedom of speech he would not have access to in Sparta. The wrong and the right is so intimately linked, the greatest crime in Athenian democracy was committed in defending democracy …against the teachings of Socrates'.
    Now America and the world press are behaving like the Athenian senators to defend behaviours that have nothing to do with democracy.
    As you say, the Zionists are 'betraying a long tradition of Jewish dissent..' , one truth, one belief, one system is putting us in the hands of an autocracy that is modelling our minds from within.
    Rather than read the press, I prefer to read books and blogs like yours and David Slezak's.
    I think the effect you are having is far reaching and long term.

    Catherine de Saint Phalle. blog: dwarfgoose.com