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.

How vulture capitalism evolves in Afghanistan

A key theme in my new book Profits of Doom are the ways in which corporations enrich themselves in times of war.

Here’s the latest example, via the New York Times:

Dollar for dollar, Mahmood Karzai may well hold the title for getting the least value out of his pricey American lawyers. Mr. Karzai, a brother of President Hamid Karzai, paid one of them $100,000, and all he got was a single meeting and one follow up e-mail — and then the lawyer died.

Now he is looking for someone new to sue the estate of the dead one. “I need to find a good lawyer,” he said in an interview.

While it may not be surprising that a Karzai has access to high-powered legal help, thanks to an economic boom underwritten by the United States, there are more Afghans than one would imagine who have the money to pay legal talent from places like New York and Washington — and who have the reasons to need it.

It was probably inevitable that lawyers would follow American dollars to Afghanistan, and the arrival of some of the most prestigious law firms on the scene in recent years says a lot about just how good a business opportunity this war has been for many people.

First came the military contracts: deals with Afghans to do all kinds of things, including shipping supplies for American troops and hauling out human waste from military outposts.

Then came the crackdowns, and lawsuits, when jobs did not get done right, or the money simply went missing.

And now many Afghans who grew wealthy off American contracting are learning that the price of keeping their good names, their revenue streams and, potentially, their freedom starts with a six-figure retainer.

“We paid them when they started our work, and we paid them when they finished,” said Ahmad Rateb Popal, chairman of the Watan Group, an Afghan security and logistics firm. There was, he noted, “no bargaining.”

The lawyers in question were from Venable of Washington. The Watan Group hired the firm after being banned in 2010 from doing work for the United States government over allegations that it had paid off the Taliban to keep supply convoys safe.

It cost almost $1 million in legal fees to get the ban reversed in 2011, and Watan still had to agree not to guard convoys for three years, Mr. Popal said. At the time, much of the $25 million to $30 million a year Watan was making on work for the United States was for convoy security.

Venable did not respond to a request for comment.

Before its run-in with the Pentagon, Watan was spending nothing on legal fees, Mr. Popal said. Now, as it has branched out into other business, like oil exploration, it has added to its stable of legal talent, seeking advice on structuring deals and reviewing contracts from other firms. Mr. Popal said they include Fulbright & Jaworski, one of the largest in the United States, based in Houston.

It is hard to say just how many Afghans have sought outside legal counsel to smooth their dealings with the United States — neither the entrepreneurs nor their clients are eager to advertise their relationships. But in general, the owners of big Afghan businesses seem to fall into two categories: those who already have legal problems with the United States government, or those who anticipate they will have them soon enough. To that end, the firms they favor tend to have big Washington practices.

To be clear, most of the billions of dollars spent by the United States in Afghanistan have gone to American companies, which then subcontracted work to Afghans firms — and, when needed, provided their Afghan partners with referrals for legal counsel in the United States. Many of the American companies have also run into legal troubles of their own, but most are used to paying top dollar for legal help as the price of doing business.

It can feel a bit more surreal when the Afghan owner of a used car and spare parts garage in the United Arab Emirates, Yousef Zaland, stops an interview and mentions that perhaps it would be best to call his lawyer in the United States.

“He is in Washington. He is at Patton Boggs,” Mr. Zaland, a businessman who has been accused of aiding the Taliban, said during the interview in July.