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 what we’re leaving in Afghanistan; likely chaos

International Crisis Group doesn’t mince words in its latest report:

Plagued by factionalism and corruption, Afghanistan is far from ready to assume responsibility for security when U.S. and NATO forces withdraw in 2014. That makes the political challenge of organising a credible presidential election and transfer of power from President Karzai to a successor that year all the more daunting. A repeat of previous elections’ chaos and chicanery would trigger a constitutional crisis, lessening chances the present political dispensation can survive the transition. In the current environment, prospects for clean elections and a smooth transition are slim. The electoral process is mired in bureaucratic confusion, institutional duplication and political machinations. Electoral officials indicate that security and financial concerns will force the 2013 provincial council polls to 2014. There are alarming signs Karzai hopes to stack the deck for a favoured proxy. Demonstrating at least will to ensure clean elections could forge a degree of national consensus and boost popular confidence, but steps toward a stable transition must begin now to prevent a precipitous slide toward state collapse. Time is running out. 

8 comments ↪
  • xeroxcliche

    I made a comment on your new matilda article on Haiti also – I just wanted to point out that nearly all nations from Africa to Afghanistan are colonial constructs that are designed to fail. Basically you put two or more groups within the same borders and you get the possibility of establishing a client state or a country prone to civil war or a country with a weak central government. Right after the invasion the US should have done a deal with Pakistan to recognise their influence in Afghanistan and re establish the pre Soviet power balance – weak central govt – Kabul enclave of western friendly modernity and then allow autonomy in the regions as Pakistan has done in the tribal regions to soften reaction to drone strikes

    • examinator

      Interesting comment. However the gorilla in the room (the USA) is a dysfunctional, self indulgent mega fauna one suffering from Narcissistic personality disorder and Divinity Delusions Comparable to any Machiavellian Dictatorship .
      In short they when they want to know what is good is good for the other 6.6 billion souls on planet earth consult their own giant navel.

  • peterhindrup

    Chaos! According to whose view of the world?

    Obviously the US prefers/requires a 'strongman', one who cares nothing for his people but grovels, as did Howard, over-eager to please the master.

    However for many a non powerful central government for performing the few international niceties, while local councils run the day to day requirements of the area could be and in many cases are the preference. This of course cannot work where the US rules with a ruthless regard to its own interests, or where the 'government' lacks the guts to stand up to them.

    A miscalculation is of course is likely fatal, as Saddam and Gaddafi found to their cost. Saddam, despite his faults put the interest of Iraq ahead of the multinationals plundering the country, and Gaddafi — well Gaddafi took the poorest country in Africa to the highest standard of living in under 30 years, had a surplus in the form of some one hundred and forty tonnes of gold, had effectively paid out all dept owed to the World Bank and the IMF owed by African nations and was in the process of establishing an African. gold backed currency.
    That, along with free health care, free education and free housing were just some of the reasons he had to go.
    You can of course understand that the all knowing, all powerful West could not have some 'sandmonkey' upstart showing them up, illustrating to the world that it is possible to run a country for the benefit of the people, that it there is a better way than that preached by the West, can't you?

    • examinator

      Not withstanding both strong men were monsters in terms of human rights in things like democracy, freedom to dissent, legal jurisprudence et al.
      US history is full of 'miscalculations' about the interests of other countries people.
      Starting with their ethnic cleansing of the indigenous population.
      I agree with Antony the root cause is their obscene collective dedication to 'Feral and Vulture Capitalism ' which has infects(ed) all the world in search for the mythical ' profligacy of instant gratification and forcing others to pay the boat man.'
      What man in general but the west (to an art form) . Don't want to face is that it is literally and figuratively …killing us as a species no exceptions…Where is enlightened self interest when we NEED it.

      • peterhindrup

        ‘Not withstanding both strong men were monsters in terms of human rights in things like democracy, freedom to dissent, legal jurisprudence et al.’

        Depends upon who you believe, and who you are comparing them too!

        Saddam ran a secular country, excellent education system with high quality graduates. Nice man? Not for the unfortunates who didn’t please him. But compared to the mess that is now Iraq?

        Gaddaffi: took power with a bloodless coup, dramatically improving the lot of what was at that time the poorest country in Africa.
        Relinquishing power to become the "Brother Leader" of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya from 1977 to 2011, ‘the hated and feared’ Gaddafi lived in a common cottage, without guards.

        Libya was a direct democracy without any political parties, governed by its populace through local popular councils and communes (named Basic People's Congresses) known as Jamahiriya. Nothing in the ‘West’ is near as ‘democratic’!

        Monsters? Compared to Harry Truman who ordered the atom bombing of Japan, despite the fact that Japan had been suing for surrender for three days, initially the only condition being that their Emperor was spared humiliation, which was then dropped.

        After the fire bombing of Tokio, with the Japanese seeking to surrender Hiroshima was bombed on 6 August 1945, followed by Fat Man over Nagasaki on 9 August. Note that the war was already over!

        Compared to Bush the second? The only president with 100 percent rejection of clemency pleas while governor of Texas; Iraq, Afghanistan. To Obama, continuation of Bush’s folly, the slaughter by drones?

        To the Israelis and the expulsion/genocide of Palestinians? To their ongoing brutality in the region?

        Democracy?! Care to define the meaning, or what you mean? If you take the minimalist definition; the ideal that all are equal before the law, would you care to indicate any country where this is so?

        Which would you prefer? ‘Democracy’, as the right to vote, or security?

        • examinator

          Thank you for your considered response I appreciate one that thinks an issue beyond the instant answer type.
          As I said I can't disagree with what you wrote, only amplify it by pointing out that arguably the Japanese had tried to open negotiations, via intermediaries for a cessation of hostilities weeks before the fist 'A bomb was dropped!

          Having said that Truman's rejection was in a context ….remember Pearl Harbour and all the dead GI's. Anything but an absolute humiliation of Japan would not have satisfied the general US Public. That in no way justifies the actions of Truman and the US public. (simple [morally] principal: 2 wrongs don't make a right ).

          Consider this, it is precisely this attitude ( absolute humiliation of the Germans) at the end of WW1 and the consequences that made the rise of Hitler (or his ilk) inevitable. Human nature rears it's ugly head on both sides. To avoid the problem of WW1 the Marshall plan was instituted. Clearly it worked, well, sort of.

          This has relevance to your comments in that the USA is still living in a semi delusional state that it is still 1945 and all that implies, about their horrendous imperialism. It every bit as obscene as ( morally and in terms of lives lost, blighted) the British Empire or any Empire, for that matter.

          Be of no illusion Gadaffi favoured his own minatory clan reigned by terror against those who weren't ( shades of Sri Lanka). He perpetrated a litany of other violations of human rights and other barbaric acts.
          Threatening to kill the families of soccer players if they didn't win, shooting a member of his council because he disagreed are hardly the act of a reasonable leader… in Roman times perhaps.

          I intend to make my comments as objective as possible (with in the constraint of my 'skills?') . That simply means that in my view of objectivity there is no ABSOLUTEs, no black or white, right or wrong except in the mind of the observer. No issue is simply not cut and dried.
          In that context, I see little value in comparing brutal regimes ..i.e. Starlin , Pol Pot , the Third Reich, Saddam Hussein, USA, Gadaffi or et al. They ALL killed Wholesale in the name of Ideology then, self-interest, not necessarily security.

          The USA tends to do it by proxy … Iran they supported a brutal capricious but US compliant Shar, they support Israel's atrocities.
          Most regimes start with 'high' moral ideals; they all sought to advantage minorities; ultimately they end up using terms like collateral damage to hide justify their elitist presumption, that their interests are more important than others. I'm not convinced they are.
          http://www.zcommunications.org/overwrought-empire….

          Lord Acton's dictum rings true 'power tends to corrupt, absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely'

          Re Liberian example ..to my shame I didn't know their structure.
          But when push comes to shove all the above confirms two things.
          The study of Organisational theory dictates that the primary purpose of any organisation is its own survival/ prospering even to the ultimate detriment of its individual members (history proves that. Corporation want to make money by exploitation even to the point it seems to be jeopardising human existence).
          The second point is that all ideologies don't account for human nature to anywhere high enough degree of confidence… Ultimately it comes down to the eye of the beholder.

          There is no such a thing as a totally good or bad leader/person they/we are a mixture of all.
          Apologies to those who want 50 word answers but the issues don't exist in individual bubbles complete in of themselves.
          See. John Donne 'no man is an island'
          “Critical Mass” by Phillip Ball
          http://catdir.loc.gov/catdir/samples/cam034/20022
          http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB162/ind

    • Ned

      140 tons of gold and his own currency, not printed by private banks and no debt to the banks led to his downfall/takeover. Same is going to happen to Iran and then venezuela would have to be on the banker's list soon.
      "So long as I control the money I care not who runs the government".
      Think on it and replace 'government' with 'world government'.
      Now why has the Australian LABOR government gone into so much debt when the Liberals left a healthy piggy bank.?

  • peter hindrup

    Examinator: Thanks for the reply. A pleasant surprise to get a considered reply as oposed to abuse.__